Patterns

Juteux

Feedback is adored. But please be nice to me. *wibbles* <3


Summary: It's always about sex, but things are different this time around.
Notes: Sort-of futurefic that incorporates very, very minor ideas from season four. Hardly anything spoilery at all, I promise.

Thank you to ragingpixie for the support, encouragement, and everything that she is. MFEO. And erinface, who blushed a lot. >:D<



**********************

Justin turns twenty-one and Rage turns popular, and no one expects it.

First it’s selling out every month over the internet, but that doesn’t really click for Justin. It’s hard for him to imagine all the people out there actually reading his comic; they’re just numbers on a screen and dollars in his bank account. Then he and Michael do a couple interviews in local newspapers, and Brian loves to read Justin’s quotes aloud in a mocking tone over the breakfast table at the diner, but Justin still doesn’t really get it. He just spills Brian’s coffee accidentally-on-purpose on his new suit and never mentions the extra copies of the papers he finds tucked away in one of Brian’s drawers.

Then one day Justin gets a letter from some comic book convention company and they’re asking him to come to Chicago because, apparently, there are lots of gay fanboys there.

The first thing he does is call Michael. “What do they mean, be a special guest at their convention?”

Michael laughs. “They want you to do a signing, genius,” he says, in a tone of voice that hasn’t changed since Justin was seventeen.

Justin looks at the letter, at the sketches for the next issue of Rage that are scattered across the kitchen counter. Sketches he loves and takes pride in, but never really took seriously. “Huh,” he says. “Are you coming, too?”

“I didn’t get a letter,” Michael says casually. “They’re probably featuring artists, not writers. I read about that con, it’s a big one. Congratulations.”

“But you should get to come, we’re partners in this,” Justin says, wrinkling his brow.

“Don’t worry about it. Hey, I’ve got customers, I gotta go,” Michael says, and hangs up.

He calls back five minutes later. “If there’s anyone cool there, could you get their autographs for me?” he asks sheepishly.

“Yeah,” Justin grins. They agree to meet later for a business meeting and by the time Justin hangs up again, he’s feeling kind of excited.

Actually, a lot excited. He looks up hotels in Chicago on the internet and researches the con he’s been invited to. By the time Brian comes home, there are print-outs of reservations and maps all over the desk and Justin is wondering what one wears to a comic book signing.

Brian’s bad mood falls over the loft like a blanket. Once upon a time that would have deflected Justin, but today he just smiles as Brian slams the loft door shut, throws his briefcase on the couch and yanks open the refrigerator. Brian loves his entrances.

“Where’s my dinner,” Brian grumps, examining the empty fridge.

“Shut the fuck up,” Justin says cheerfully. “Guess what?”

Brian opens a beer bottle and raises an eyebrow.

“I’m going to Chicago in two weeks.”

“Have fun. I’ll leave you the name of a spectacular bathhouse there...”

“No, it’s a business trip! I was invited to this comic book convention, this other guy was supposed to go but he had a heart attack or something so I’ve been called in as their last-minute special guest.”

Brian pauses, the beer raised in midair to his mouth. “A special guest,” he repeats doubtfully.

“Yeah. A weekend in Chicago in this awesome hotel, and I just have to sign a bunch of autographs or something. They said in the letter that Rage is really popular there.” Justin doesn’t care if he’s beaming or acting stupid because he figures that he deserves this.

“What about work?” Brian asks, stripping and leaving his clothes in a trail on the way to the bedroom.

Justin grins. “I think the boss will give me the weekend off.”

“Don’t be too sure,” Brian says, rolling his eyes. He climbs into bed nude, curling up with his beer bottle.

“So,” Justin says slowly, watching him.

“So,” Brian echoes, like Justin is retarded.

“Are you going to come with me?”

Brian laughs. “Why the fuck would I do that?”

Justin blinks and feels his face fall. He hadn’t really expected Brian to come. Not really. But he had thought Brian would give some excuse like work to let him down gently. Not a flat-out, amused denial. It hurts worse than a lie would have.

“Because,” Justin says, caught off-guard and feeling stupid, “it would be fun.”

“Sunshine, fun is not spending a weekend alone in Chicago while you’re off getting blown by pimply eighteen-year-old geeks.”

“It would just be during the day,” Justin protests, hating the begging quality of his voice and still not able to stop himself. “We could go out for dinner and shopping…”

“Justin,” Brian interrupts, in his ‘drop it’ tone of voice, so Justin does. He turns away and allows himself to throw his papers on the kitchen counter with a slam.

“Don’t pout,” Brian calls warningly from the bedroom.

Justin eyes him in exasperation. “I’m not.”

“Then come suck me off.”

Justin considers it for a moment. “Suck me off instead,” he challenges, approaching the bed.

Brian sighs like it’s the biggest thing anyone has ever asked of him, but flings back the covers and waits. Justin looks at the clock briefly – six-thirty. Orgasms empower Brian – they would have to, considering he has so many of them at random times throughout the day, in bathrooms and alleys and linen closets and other places where one cannot nap – but they make Justin sleepy. Still, despite the early hour and the fact that neither of them have eaten, he crawls into bed with Brian. He wants a kiss, and Brian obliges for a moment, but then he’s pulling away and nuzzling Justin’s cock with his mouth, and Justin lets himself sink easily into the pattern of sex and not talking that they’ve been following for almost five years.

*

The next morning at work Justin escapes his art department for a few minutes and quietly slips into Brian’s office, knowing that he’s in a meeting.

He opens the door and hears a shriek. He jumps in surprise and sees Cynthia, in the act of going through one of Brian’s desk drawers. She and Justin stare at each other for a moment, startled, and then burst out laughing.

“What are you doing in here?” Justin asks.

Cynthia closes the desk drawer she with a slightly guilty expression. “Looking for my birthday present,” she admits. “What are you doing in here?”

He hesitates. “I need to know Brian’s upcoming schedule.”

“You’re looking in the wrong office. Come on,” she says, and he follows her to her desk, where she calls up a complicated-looking chart on her computer.

“What is he doing the weekend of the twentieth?”

“Hmm...he has a dinner that Friday, but other than that, nothing important.”

Justin peers at the schedule and is pleased to note a “J” on last Wednesday, when they went to an art gallery opening together. “Okay, thanks,” he says. “And I got you that Tod’s bag for your birthday.”

“I’ll remember to act surprised,” Cynthia says, and they share a smile when Brian shows up five minutes later bitching about his meeting and demanding coffee.

*

Surfing on his computer at work the next afternoon, Justin upgrades his hotel room to a suite for two and buys an extra plane ticket with his own credit card.

He knows that two things Brian appreciates the most in life are honesty and sex, so Justin decides to combine them to get what he wants. He tells him when they are lying post-fuck on the bed and Brian is lighting a cigarette, looking his most relaxed and open. Justin strokes his chest and Brian smiles a little, cupping the back of Justin’s head with his free hand and playing with the hair there. The silence is comfortable and Justin almost hates to break it.

“I bought a ticket to Chicago for you and I want you to use it,” Justin says then in one breath, and Brian’s hand stills.

“Justin, I told you--”

“I know what you told me. But listen – it’s just a couple days. You could fly up on Friday night and come back on Sunday, you wouldn’t even miss any work.”

Brian blows a few smoke rings and contemplates the ceiling. “Why does it matter so much?”

Justin huffs a sigh and rolls his eyes. “Why don’t you want to go?” he counters.

“I could have paid for it myself.”

“You’ve been paying for stuff for four years and we’ve never even gone on a trip together.” That’s meant to hit a button; Brian hates being reminded of how long they’ve been together. Sometimes Justin amuses himself by imagining that in fifty years Brian will think, “Holy shit!” and have a heart attack.

Sure enough, Brian glares at him and rises out of bed, stubbing out his cigarette “Yeah, well, just return it, all right?”

Justin wants to hit the pillows. Or Brian. “Brian, come on. What is the big deal? One weekend. Just let me do this for you.”

Brian ignores him, walking into the bathroom and cranking on the shower. Justin follows and leans against the doorjamb, watching as Brian tests the water and steps inside, then motions for Justin to do the same. Grumbling to himself, Justin ducks under the spray with him.

“You are the most frustrating person I know,” he says crossly, and Brian grins. He gently brushes the water droplets from Justin’s eyelashes, and then gathers him into an unexpected hug. Justin glares at Brian’s shoulder as he’s pressed against it. “When are you going to stop resisting?” Justin asks.

Brian kisses his neck, tasting the water there. “Do you really want me to answer that?”

Justin takes Brian’s face in his hands and looks at him. “I’m going to leave the ticket on top of the fridge just in case.”

“Okay,” Brian replies, and Justin knows that’s the most he’s going to get.

*

Every Thursday, they go to Brian’s favourite Italian place for dinner. Justin can’t really remember when this tradition started, but Brian always used to say, “I’m fucking starving, put your shoes on,” and that usually tended to be on Thursdays. Now he looks forward to it, knowing that he is a “J” in Brian’s schedule.

Brian bitches at him over the fat content of the food like usual until they have a couple glasses of wine. That’s when Justin is feeling relaxed and foolish enough to ask, “So have you thought about using my plane ticket?”

“Nope,” Brian says, and that’s that.

*

Because Debbie can’t let any occasion go without some fanfare, the whole family gathers for breakfast the morning of Justin’s flight. Justin sits comfortably in the crook of Brian’s arm, playing with Gus who is lolling Brian’s lap. He smiles, thinking of how just a year ago he was the one serving breakfast.

Deb makes a teary speech about how much Sunshine has grown, Brian interrupts with a remark about growth in other regions, and breakfast continues normally. Rodney gives Justin a little book about the gay scene in Chicago; Jennifer squeezes Justin’s cheeks and cries with Debbie. Even Hunter and his boyfriend have shown up. Michael doesn’t appear jealous or bitter at all, and Justin is perfectly content until Debbie starts in on Brian.

“So why aren’t you going with him, huh?” she asks, eyeing him suspiciously.

Brian removes his arm from around Justin. “He’s a big boy, I think he can travel by himself.”

“That’s not the point,” she snaps, “the point is supporting your partner, the person you love!”

Brian looks like he’s going to throw up. “It’s okay, Deb,” Justin interrupts. “Kinnetic’s busy, anyway.”

Debbie opens her mouth to say something else, but Brian stands up abruptly. “I need a cigarette,” he says, depositing Gus with Melanie. Justin remains in his seat until Brian raises his eyebrows expectantly. “You coming?”

Very aware of everyone’s eyes on them, Justin follows Brian out of the diner and into the back alley. “What was that about?” Justin asks, but Brian just ignores him and pushes him against the brick wall. Too surprised to protest, Justin lets Brian push his pants down just enough to expose his cock and ass, and hears Brian’s fly unzip. He squirms as Brian slides on the condom and when he finally thrusts inside with a grunt, Justin feels the air get knocked out of him. He wiggles back against Brian, whimpering frantically, as Brian thrusts with short, quick shallow strokes, humping him against the brick, scratching his hands and face on the rough surface. Justin doesn’t even need to touch his own cock, it takes maybe a dozen jerks of Brian inside him for Justin to be shouting and gasping and coming all over the back wall of Debbie’s restaurant in broad daylight.

Brian pulls on his hair and bites his neck as he comes, too, but he is still hard after. Justin allows himself a moment to breathe, and then he sinks to his knees and lets Brian fuck his face, jerking himself off until they both come again.

Justin stands up shakily afterwards, fixing his clothing, and then sort of collapses against Brian for a moment. Brian pets his hair and kisses his forehead, and then looks him in the eye. “Justin,” he says.

“Yeah?” There’s something odd in Brian’s expression, something Justin can’t quite pinpoint but looks almost like remorse, and Justin doesn’t know what to think. Brian is silent for a long time, and then finally he kisses Justin on the forehead again.

“Have a good trip,” he says, and leaves Justin standing there alone.

*

Brian’s still at work when Justin leaves. The flight is boring but the hotel is amazing, and full of people going to the convention. Justin wanders around Chicago for awhile, smoking cigarettes and enjoying the crisp fall weather. He pretends that he’s in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off but it occurs to him when he slides into the enormous bed night that he’s really fucking lonely.

He leaves his cell phone on his pillow, willing it to ring but unable to dial the numbers himself, and falls asleep staring at it.

*

There still isn’t any word from Brian in the morning, so Justin pulls on clothes, sucks back two cups of coffee and signs endless copies of Rage for dozens of guys. And, interestingly enough, quite a few girls, who seem to enjoy the nudity factor.

The people seem to know who he is, which is sort of funny, at least during the few hours he is seated at a table signing his name over Rage’s cock. Afterwards he goes back to feeling more anonymous, and it’s a relief.

He hangs around his hotel room listlessly. There are art galleries waiting to be explored, but he has an odd sense of boredom, of frustration, and he can’t explain it. For a lack of anything better to do he passes out on top of the covers and sleeps fitfully.

He wakes up to a warm body sliding in behind his. He startles and blinks, and the first thing he sees is luggage piled by the door.

Brian kisses the back of his neck. Justin turns over and stares. “Huh?” he says, still dazed from sleep.

Brian smiles at him. “What, not happy to see me?”

Justin rubs his forehead and blinks a few more times. His mouth feels like cotton. “Huh?” he says again.

Brian’s fully dressed but he presses against Justin warmly, intimately, smelling like expensive cologne. He kisses Justin lightly on the lips, then meets his eyes. “I put money in your account to pay you back for the ticket, all right?” Brian says, and Justin feels the giddy little thrill that was bubbling up inside him die.

“Brian, no--” Justin begins, but Brian just kisses him again.

Then he’s forced to shut up entirely when Brian is guiding him towards his cock, and says, “Show me how inspiring Rage can be.”

*

It’s always about sex for them, and most of the time Justin likes this. Except when he doesn’t. They fuck on the five hundred thread count sheets all night, and in the morning Justin wakes up and thinks that things might be better.

They’re not.

He spends breakfast sipping coffee in silence. Brian turns the page in his newspaper and says casually, “So how were the freaks and geeks?”

Justin shrugs and picks at the crust of his toast. “They like Rage’s cock.”

“Of course they do,” Brian says, smug.

They end up taking a cab to the Art Institute of Chicago Museum. It’s Brian’s idea, because he says the last time he was in Chicago he never did any of the “touristy bullshit.” Brian around art is actually pretty amusing, though.

“That looks like something Gus drew,” he says, stopping in front of one painting by Joan Miró.

“You have no taste.”

“Justin, look at it. It’s like a box and some squiggly lines. If his shit is up in a museum, why isn’t yours?”

Justin laughs a little. “I don’t think they particularly care for the modern x-rated graphic novel.”

Brian calls him over to look at another painting. “There’s a train in a fireplace,” he gestures in frustration. “The fuck?”

Justin is silent, looking at the painting. Brian peers at him, then rolls his eyes a little and sighs. “What is your problem?”

“I’m fine,” Justin says automatically. “Let’s just go have some lunch, okay? Surrealists freak me out.”

Afterwards, back in the hotel, Brian checks his email on his laptop and Justin flips through the TV channels. He’s almost starting to doze off when he feels Brian climb into bed next to him, pressing his face warmly into the crook of his shoulder.

“What do you want to do tonight?” he whispers, kissing his cheek, his ear.

Justin turns off the TV and suddenly everything he’s been feeling all day is coming out of his mouth, unexpected and frustrated and loud. “Why didn’t you let me pay for your trip?”

Brian pauses and pulls back to stare at him. “I told you, you didn’t have to do this for me—”

“I know.”

“Is this about the money?”

“No...”

“Then what?”

“I don’t know.”

Brian rolls his eyes. “Thank you, so helpful. Jesus.” Justin doesn’t say anything and Brian nudges his neck again. “I came to Chicago. That’s what you wanted, isn’t it?”

Justin is silent because yeah, that is what he wanted, but not like this, not with this strain between them, threads of anxiety. Not when he’s so frustrated with himself and he can’t stop it. He feels like he is eighteen and he can’t quite believe that this is happening again.

“Okay then,” Brian continues, mistaking his silence for agreement. “So will you stop fucking pouting already?”

Brian kisses him gently, and when Justin doesn’t pull back, he deepens it. Their clothes disappear. Justin falls into the familiar warmth of Brian’s mouth, the precise curving of tongue against his. Kissing each other is an art they have perfected. There is nothing wrong here, Justin thinks, but that doesn’t make him feel any better.

Brian rocks against him slowly as they kiss, and gradually moves onto his side, still craning his neck to kiss Justin who is curled against his back. Justin is so caught up in the kiss that it takes him a moment to absorb the position they’re in, and that Brian is handing him a condom over his shoulder.

There is a voice in Justin’s head telling him that this is the exact wrong solution for their problems but when Brian is stroking himself and Justin’s dick is slipping in his ass, it’s sort of hard to listen.

“Fuck,” Brian whispers as Justin presses inside. He’s so tight and it feels so fucking good that Justin has to pause and clench his eyes shut, reminding himself to breathe. As he starts thrusting, slowly, and watching Brian jack himself off, he thinks that if he doesn’t come in two seconds he will consider himself lucky.

Justin rests his forehead against Brian’s shoulder blade and swallows, speeding up uncontrollably. He feels the expensive smooth sheets against his skin, the sweat on Brian’s back sticking to his chest, it’s all too hot and too much, his breath hitches in his throat. Brian is groaning, his hand moving faster on his cock, and at the last second, just when Justin is about to come, Brian’s hand leaves his dick and grabs Justin’s hand instead. Their fingers entwine as they come together, moaning freely and jerking against each other, and Justin bites Brian’s shoulder until it passes.

They lie in silence and Justin wonders how this can be so good, so perfect and how he can still feel so fucking miserable.

Brian seems to read his thoughts. Justin pulls out and Brian flops next to him on his back, then turns to look at him.

“You are the most frustrating person I know,” Brian says, and kisses his forehead.

*

Brian starts to get that caged look in his eyes, so Justin doesn’t say anything when he heads out to the clubs that night.

But he finds the pot Brian stashed away in his toiletry bag. And the tiny bottles of vodka in the minibar.

The room grows hot, so he kicks off the sheets and lies there naked, giggling. He thinks the piles of blankets look like mountains and he wants to draw them, but he can’t really get up and the bed is blue, blue like an ocean; if he moves he might drown.

And then Brian comes into view above him. It takes Justin a moment to absorb this. The room spins slightly and it hurts Justin’s head. He laughs and closes his eyes, but that just makes him dizzier. “Hi,” he breathes up at Brian, seeing the sun behind his eyelids, even though it’s dark. He opens his eyes again and they feel so wide, like he can see the entire room, right through Brian.

Brian is smiling a little at him. “What the fuck is all over your hands?”

Justin looks down at his hands, his beautiful big strong hands. He can’t believe there was a time when he couldn’t draw. He loves his hands. He looks at the perfect fingertips and sees they are stained blue, red, and green. It worries him for a moment, but then he remembers. Eating M&Ms, the candies melting in his warm palms.

He tries to explain this to Brian, but Brian just stares at him. His head disappears from Justin’s view. Justin blinks up at the ceiling, searching for him, then feels Brian pushing him over in bed and lying down beside him. He turns his head and looks at Brian, delighted. “You’re back,” he says.

“I was only gone for a couple hours,” Brian reminds him. Justin frowns. That wasn’t what he was talking about. What was Brian talking about? Oh, the clubs.

“Did you have fun without me?” he says breathlessly, wiggling a little. The sheets feel so, so good against his skin, so he wiggles some more. He stretches and rubs his feet on the sheets luxuriously, and moans, feeling the pleasure in the soles of his feet and up his spine and in his cock.

Brian doesn’t say anything, and Justin drops his palms heavily on the bed. “I would have come with you,” he says guilelessly, without meaning to. “I would have come with you and you left.”

Brian’s just watching him, with a glint in his eyes that means he’s not going to give up anything. Justin looks away, growing hard, still rubbing himself all over the sheets. He turns over because if he doesn’t get friction on his cock right now he might cry and he forgets what they were talking about, anyway. He spreads his legs and grinds against the mattress, and then arches his chest so his nipples get rubbed too. And Christ, he’s never felt anything so good in his life, it makes him giddy and dizzy. He thinks that if Brian touched his nipples right now, he would just start coming. He bites the sheets and pushes against the bed faster, whimpering low in his throat. “Brian,” he manages to pant, “Brian, fuck me, fuck me…”

He doesn’t really want to be fucked, of course, and a fuck won’t make up for what happened but right now he’s high and horny and desperate and it’s the best he can think of. Brian is still for a long moment and then sheds his clothes; he moves over Justin’s back, putting on a condom and sliding inside before Justin has time to think.

“Yes,” he cries out. He tosses his head and his red and blue fingernails bite into the mattress. Brian fucks him hard and quickly, grunting with his forehead braced on Justin’s shoulder blade. Justin’s crying out as his cock and balls continue to rub against the sheets. When Brian’s hands find his nipples, squeezing and rolling them hard, Justin shouts and comes like he’s been waiting years to do it.

*

Sex and honesty, Justin reminds himself, so when Brian wakes up the next morning and starts sucking his dick, Justin lets him, and after they fuck he takes Brian’s face in his hands.

“It’s not just about the money,” he says, his words very quiet in the darkness of the hotel suite, the drapes still drawn against the early morning light. Brian’s sleepy, pleasure-filled eyes blink at him in confusion. “I want you to talk to me. I want you to stop running away from me just because I love you.”

Justin expects another avoidance of the topic, a sarcastic reply, but Brian takes his hands and shoves them away from his face. “What is this, Dawson’s Creek? What about you, Sunshine? Jesus, you can never make up your mind about what you want, and then you expect me to indulge your drama princess games?”

“I’m not expecting you to indulge anything,” Justin shoots back.

“Jesus fuck, you’re not eighteen anymore. Where the hell is this coming from?”

“It doesn’t matter how old I am, you still think you can fuck me and I’ll just forget about it.”

Brian stares at him in absolute amazement. “I don’t see you complaining when my dick is in your ass.”

“That’s not the problem.”

“So what are you going to do, find some pretty fiddler to kiss it better? Fuck you, Justin, and fuck that.”

Justin watches in astonishment as Brian pulls on clothes and grabs the bags he packed the night before, and slams out the door.

*

Justin’s flight is several hours later than Brian’s. The entire time is spent drawing. He takes a pill so his hand doesn’t shake as much – it’s still tired from the signing – and just sketches randomly, whatever comes to mind. It’s been awhile since he hasn’t had to draw something for a project or deadline or to spec. Brian fills his page, little doodles of his face, his feet, their hands joined.

“You’re a very talented artist,” the woman sitting next to Justin smiles. “Who is the man?”

Justin bites his thumb as he pores over his drawings and considers the question for a moment. “My boyfriend,” he says.

He rests his head against the airplane window, fiddling absently with his pencil. Brian had once told him that he leaves when he doesn’t hear what he wants.

But he’s not eighteen anymore. And he doesn’t want to leave.

He traces the drawing of their mouths kissing until he falls asleep.

When he gets home Brian is in the shower. Justin quietly dumps his bags in the bedroom and then peels off his clothes, padding into the bathroom. He stands watching until Brian turns, sees him, and slowly slides open the shower door.

Justin looks up at Brian and it feels like they haven’t really looked at each other like this in weeks. He takes a breath. “You’re right,” he says. “You came to Chicago. That’s what I really wanted. And I’m glad you did.”

Brian stares at him for a moment, and then his hand brushes the wet hair back from Justin’s forehead. His eyes soften. “Well,” he sighs, “I suppose I could let you buy shit from time to time, if you need to prove your love or whatever.”

“Or whatever,” Justin echoes. He smiles at Brian until Brian smiles back, and the apology is over without either of them really having to say I’m sorry. And that’s another pattern they follow that Justin has come to know and expect, but it’s one he loves. Justin stands on his toes to kiss him.

They suck on each other’s tongues leisurely for a time, then Justin pulls away. He grins up at Brian and sinks to his knees, licking the water around Brian’s bellybutton, until he feels Brian’s hands hooking under his armpits and hauling him back up, and Brian is saying, “No.”

“What?” Justin gapes, confused, because Brian has never turned down a blowjob, ever, and they’ve just had a fight so this is where the sex comes in. It always comes in.

Brian just kisses him lightly and then wraps his arms around him and – stays like that. They’re pressed forehead-to-forehead, simply holding each other, and Brian seems content. Not moving, not fucking, and not even talking, and Justin finally gets it. It’s enough. They stand together under the spray until the water turns cold.

-fin-