Rating: NC-17
Summary. B/J. Vaguely post-S3. No spoilers. Brian will never stop tricking ... but Justin might.
Thanks: juteux, who sat on AIM with me for literally hours and is seriously the Justin to my Brian. She came, she saw, she kicked beta ass.

*Note: I come from the myrna1_2_3 school of fanfiction, which means that a fic is not a fic unless Justin is suffering, either physically or emotionally. That said, I give you Principles, in which Justin stops tricking, Brian tortures him, and then they make with the sex.

Justin wonders what it would be like if Brian just woke up one day and stopped tricking. He imagines it often in his head, playing out the scene in a hundred different ways, trying to decide which one is the most favorable and what his reaction would be.

What really happens is that Justin is the one who stops tricking, and it takes Brian nine days to notice.

When he does, his voice is accusatory.

“You didn’t let the new guy blow you. The one with the killer stomach.” His eyes are narrowed on Justin while Justin wonders if three oranges will be enough for two glasses of juice.

“Huh? Oh. No, I know. Wasn’t in the mood, I guess.”

“You’re always in the mood.”

Justin just shrugs and thinks he better let Brian have the juice.

* * *

Brian comes home late from negotiations with the company he is freelancing for and stops short in the doorway. Justin is sitting at his computer wearing sweats and a t-shirt.

“You’re not dressed,” Brian says.

“I’m not going out,” Justin says, like that explains everything.

Brian slams the door behind him. “The fuck does that mean.”

“Why is that hard to understand?”

“Oh, don’t do that. Don’t get all righteous and lofty.”

Justin blinks slowly and turns back to his computer with a shake of his head. “Okay,” he says in a tone that Brian interprets as his ‘don’t upset the crazy man’ voice.

“I’m going out,” Brian says loudly.

“I figured,” Justin answers, and adjusts the blue of his picture from cerulean to indigo.

Brian discovers he really doesn’t have anything else to say. He changes out of his suit into his jeans and when he leaves, Justin is muttering to himself over his artwork.

* * *

The sex doesn’t change, which makes Brian even more suspicious. He wants to draw some sort of correlation between Justin’s outside sexual jaunts and the current affairs in their own bedroom, but can’t find one. Justin is just as eager and open and willing as always, which normally would please Brian to no end, but instead it pisses him off.

“I know what you’re doing,” Brian warns him late one night when Justin is still sated and warm beneath him, although Brian really has no fucking clue.

Justin turns his head to look behind him and Brian has to will himself not to smooth away the damp lock of hair stuck to Justin’s forehead. “About what?” Justin asks, confused.

“You stopped fucking guys,” Brian tells him. “And don’t give me some lame excuse.”

“So, what? I’m fucking girls now?”

“You’re not fucking anyone!” Brian fumes.

Justin looks pointedly over his shoulder to where Brian’s dick is still in his ass. “What’s that?”

“Don’t do that thing where you pretend you don’t understand. I know there’s a brain in that pretty blond head.” Brian disentangles himself and moves to sit against the headboard.

Justin pushes himself up on his elbows. “Since when does it matter who I fuck?”

“Since you stopped.”

* * *

Brian forgets about it for another two days because he manages to convince himself that it isn’t important. He remembers at the Giant Eagle.

“Fleet Week at Babylon,” he says casually, while inspecting the salmon in the meat case. “All-you-can-eat navy boys.”

“Cool,” Justin answers, but it sounds to Brian exactly like “How boring.”

“Wear the silver mesh. You’ll get more ass than you know what to do with.”

“Can we get the good bread? That low-carb shit isn’t bread.”

“Not all of us are this beautiful by accident. Some of us need to work to keep our girlish figures.” Brian puts the low-carb bread in the cart and jerks the basket out of Justin’s grasp. “So, you want to meet me there after I’m done at work, or should I stop by and get you?”

“Uh. Neither, I think. I want to finish the thing I was working on.” He does not sound apologetic. Brian wants him to.

“Put that crap back on the shelf. You do not buy wine at the grocery store, and especially not in jug form. What ‘thing’ are you referring to? Not like you have schoolwork anymore.” Slightly cruel, but Brian feels dickish.

“Rage,” is the vague answer, while he cruises the aisle for cheap liquor.

Brian takes Justin’s chips out of the cart when he isn’t looking.

* * *

It doesn’t really get embarrassing until other people start to notice.

“Where’s Justin?” Ted shouts over the thumping bass.

Brian looks around at him in mock surprise. “Theodore! Out on a 24 hour pass?”

“He’s been home for two weeks,” Emmett yells in his other ear. “We had a welcome home party that you ignored.”

Brian chooses to ignore that too and leans both elbows on the balcony railing. His eyes follow a brunet across the dance floor who looks like he’s got a sock shoved in his pleather pants. Brian maybe would have fucked him if it weren’t for the pleather.

“So where is the young lad?” Emmett asks, after shooing Ted off to the bar to fetch another Scarlett O’Hara.

Brian debates how to answer and settles on who gives a fuck. “It’s not my night to watch him.”

Emmett snorts delicately. “It’s always your night to watch him. Why hasn’t he been catting around lately? Not normal for a growing boy.”

Brian lifts one shoulder in a see-how-much-I-don’t-care shrug. “I didn’t notice.”

“Mmm,” Emmett says nonchalantly.

Brian eyes him. “Isn’t there someplace else you can practice your pathetic attempts at conversation?”

“Sure,” Emmett says, unoffended. He spots Ted returning from the bar and pushes off from the balcony. “I’ll leave you to keep tossing pennies into the fountain of youth. Oh, wait … he’s not here. Ta.”

Brian watches him flounce down the stairs and spin Ted toward the dance floor. Ted looks pitifully happy.

* * *

When it’s been fifteen days – to Brian’s knowledge – he takes Justin out to dinner and tries to get him drunk. He figures drunk Justin is more apt to tell him what’s going on than sober Justin, who doesn’t fuck around anymore and makes him nervous.

When Justin’s cheeks are flushed and he starts giggling uncontrollably, Brian hauls him into the bathroom and pins him face first against the cubicle wall. He doesn’t even bother lowering his own pants, instead finding it easier to just unzip and take his dick out. Justin’s pants are around his ankles, the little whore, and he spreads his legs and presents smooth, beautiful ass.

Brian presses into him, not caring that there’s no lube, wanting Justin to just fucking feel it and want it and need it, and if the way Justin is whimpering is any indication, he does.

Brian puts his forehead on the wall next to Justin’s ear, and with a slow thrust, says “The wine steward wanted to do this.”

Justin sucks in breath and shakes his head, and Brian can see he’s stroking himself.

“He wanted you, Sunshine. He wanted you more than he wanted me.” Which totally isn’t true, but Brian’s on a mission.

Justin arches his neck and says “You’re so hard, ohmygod, hurry up. Just hurry, Brian, I’m gonna come any second.”

“Should I invite him back with us?”

“No,” Justin groans. “No.”

“Why?” Brian purrs in his ear, making sure to nuzzle the tiny hollow behind Justin’s lobe. “He’s hot. I bet he’s good for a couple rounds.”

“I don’t need him,” Justin pants. “I don’t need anyone. There’s you. That’s all there is.”

And then he gets it, and it’s not a relief or an answer or the epiphany he thought it would be. It’s Justin’s reasoning, pure and simple, and Brian is fucking furious.

“Fuck you,” Brian hisses in his ear, and Justin comes with a sharp intake of breath.

* * *

Brian has plans to ignore Justin completely until he comes home two nights later and sees him talking to Chris Hobbs.

They stand outside the building, and even from a distance Brian can practically feel Justin vibrating with anger or fear or disgust or something, he can’t tell the emotion but as soon as he touches Justin he’ll know.

And he waits, waits to see what Justin will do and how it will play out, and he stands there tense and ready and he waits.

The conversation is short, and Brian is too far away to hear clearly, but their voices project a wicked sort of hate that he doesn’t need to be close to to understand.

After what seems like an eternity but is probably closer to five minutes, Brian lets out the breath he is holding and watches Hobbs saunter slowly away from Justin, not in any fucking hurry at all. And just when Brian is wondering whether or not to even tell Justin he was there, he sees the little motherfucker turn around.

“Taylor,” he calls, and Justin turns on the apartment steps. Brian curses him for it, curses Justin’s fucking innocence and trust that can’t be squelched no matter who kicks him out or calls him “faggot” or beats him on the night of his senior prom. So fucking trusting.

Hobbs smiles at him from halfway down the street and mimes swinging a baseball bat, and then he is gone. Brian’s gaze goes immediately back to Justin.

Justin stands like a statue for a fraction of a second, staring down the empty block, then abruptly turns and goes in. Brian looks at the sky.

* * *

He is in the shower when Brian makes it upstairs, so he leaves Justin to scrub the distaste away and changes into his oldest, softest jeans.

Brian does not go in, even when he hears Justin slam his fist against the shower door. The pounding reverberates through the loft. Brian sincerely prays for the glass to hold because he just doesn’t want to replace it right now.

Justin comes out and his skin is red enough to make Brian think that the water must have been scalding. Must have gotten in his eyes, too.

“I’m not going out,” he says abruptly, upon seeing Brian lounging on the bed. “Quit asking.”

Brian makes a graceful shrug. “Did I ask?”

“No. But you would have made some asshole comment about it. I don’t need asshole comments. In fact, I don’t need anything, so just get dressed and go out and fuck till you die. Leave me your Palm Pilot in your will.” He stalks down the bedroom steps and Brian hears him tossing pots around in the kitchen.

Brian slouches down on the bed and contemplates the ceiling until Justin’s curiosity gets the better of him. He pokes his head into the bedroom.

“What are you doing?”

“Relaxing,” Brian says, eyes still on the beams above him.

“That’s not how you relax. I don’t see any pot. Or liquor. Or dick.”

Brian reaches over and produces a joint from the nightstand. He lifts the waistband of his jeans and cocks an eyebrow as he looks down. “I got two out of three. I think there’s some Gray Goose in the freezer.”

“Whatever,” is Justin’s clever response, and he huffs back into the kitchen. Brian continues to lie on the bed until he hears breaking glass and Justin’s muffled curse.

There is blood and one of the good wineglasses on the kitchen floor, and Justin is standing at the sink. His head hangs down and there is a dishtowel wrapped around his left hand. Brian only discovers the trembling when he gets close. “Let me see,” he says, and is surprised when Justin does.

The cut is shallow but long and is persistent in its bleeding. Brian probes it gently for glass and Justin holds the counter in a death grip with his other hand. “Fuck, Brian, you’re not digging for gold in there. Fuck!”

“If you’d stop shaking, I could see better,” Brian says calmly, and Justin curls his hand closed.

“I can do it,” he mutters, and turns to rinse it at the sink.

Brian turns him back. “Don’t be a baby. Just let me clean it.” He dampens the towel and wipes Justin’s hand carefully, picking out shards of glass with his fingernails. When it is clean, he ushers him into the bathroom to bandage it.

Justin watches Brian’s dark head in the mirror, bent over his task. “Chris Hobbs was here.” He doesn’t mean to say it but it comes out anyway.

“I know,” Brian says casually, taping the gauze. “I saw you on the street.”

Justin draws a shaky breath and Brian watches a soft droplet splat against the white cotton bandage. He ignores it.

“I think he likes me,” Justin jokes, and Brian’s heart squeezes painfully at the attempt at bravery. He looks up, and Justin presses the heel of his other hand against his closed eyes, fighting the tears away. When he opens them again, they are clear and blue and Brian thinks of rain.

* * *

Michael calls at ten and wants Brian to meet him and Ben for a beer and a reminder of why domesticity is for pussies. Brian thinks about asking Justin to come, but South Park is on and Justin seems firmly ensconced on the couch. After ensuring that there are no lingering effects of ChrisfuckingHobbs, Brian goes.

He returns from Woody’s at half past midnight to find Justin still awake on the sofa with all the lights off. “Waitin’ up, Sunshine? You know better.”

Justin just looks at him with wide eyes and long lashes and Brian suddenly remembers song lyrics he heard on the radio this morning, something along the lines of be my savior and I’ll be your downfall.

Brian wonders when honesty stopped being his best policy.

“Justin,” he says, and tries to project boredom into his voice, “are you ever going out again? Because this is getting really fucking tiresome.” Brian knows that him even asking the question belies his words, but hopes Justin won’t notice.

Justin always notices. “Brian. Jesus. It’s not like I’m cramping your style or anything. Does it really matter?”

“It matters!” Brian explodes, surprising both of them. “It matters because you’re trying to make this a happy little fucking queer home! This is not a home, Justin, and we are not in a relationship, and we will never be life partners. So quit with the dramatics and just go out and fuck someone already!”

“Oh,” Justin says sagely. “Okay. We’re back to this.”

“What? What in hell are you being so condescending about?” Brian is suddenly furious again, conveniently forgetting his anxiety over Hobbs and bleeding Justin. The fury feels better. More familiar. Much more welcoming than the worry.

Justin peruses Brian’s face, not in the least cowed by his anger, which of course pisses Brian off even further. Brian sneers, “You’re useless,” and goes to the bar, where he yanks his Jack Daniels out of the cupboard and pours a shot.

Justin turns on the couch and sits up on his knees. He rests his hands on the back of the sofa and watches Brian slam down the liquor.

“Brian,” Justin says softly, “look at me. I mean really look at me. At who I am.”

Brian looks, despite his fury and helplessness in the face of Justin’s power.

Brian looks.

“I do not want to change you,” Justin says, and his eyes are so young and so old all at once. “We’re done with that. We’re past that. If I want something to change, the only thing I really have power over is me. Did you not get that, when we got back together? I said it, didn’t I?”

And Brian feels a tiny, miniscule flash of shame, because even though Justin had said the words, Brian hadn’t believed him. Brian hates liars. Especially when the liar is himself. The feeling of helplessness grows until Brian feels caged, trapped in his own anger. He runs a hand through his hair and eyes Justin, standing there as calm as you please, and has the overwhelming urge to fight or fuck or scream or hit; he needs an outlet because this is just too much goddamned feeling for one day.

“I love you,” Justin continues, as if Brian’s emotions aren’t already reeling.

Brian sets his jaw stubbornly at that, but Justin smiles a smile too wise for a kid barely two decades old. “Go ahead, freak the fuck out, it’s not like you didn’t know. Not like I haven’t said it before or anything.”

Brian raises his eyes to the ceiling. “Jesus,” he mutters. “Grant me patience.”

Justin chuckles and repeats himself. “I love you. You asshole.”

Brian stares at a spot over Justin’s shoulder but his lips quirk slightly. “I know,” he says, not unkindly.

“That you’re an asshole?”

“Watch it.”

Justin gets off the couch and takes a step closer. “You think you know,” he says. “But the words are surface, Brian. There’s more underneath that you never see. You won’t see. You don’t want to see.” He pauses and takes a deep breath and Brian tenses, sensing Justin has something to say that Brian isn’t going to like. “It won’t make you less of a man to let me love you.”

Brian hears the words and wants to be angry at this punk of a kid for his insight and wisdom, because no one should be able to see into his psyche that way. Especially if they’re twenty years old and wearing scuffed Adidas sneakers. He knows he wants to be pissed, should be fucking raging at Justin for his impudence, his goddamned nerve for telling Brian what does or doesn’t make a man.

But Justin has crossed the floor and is standing close, so close that Brian can see the fine gold tips of his eyelashes, and Brian just can’t muster the energy to be mad. And especially not when Justin threads his fingers through Brian’s and brings Brian’s hand to his mouth, and he can feel warm breath as Justin whispers to him.

“I never said I was trying to make us a couple,” he murmurs against Brian’s skin, which is ridiculous anyway, Brian knows. They’re already a couple and Brian doesn’t quite understand how that happened. He fought it hard enough. “It’s just that … huh. I’m not sure what it is, Brian, I just didn’t feel like fucking strangers anymore, you know?”

And Brian doesn’t know, because fucking strangers is part of his genetic makeup and it’s as natural as eating or breathing or … well, fucking, and Brian cannot admit to himself even a little bit that Justin finds him to be enough. Because that would be admitting something about his inner self that could possibly be redeeming, and Brian doesn’t do redemption. Even for himself.

Especially for himself.

So when Justin looks up at Brian and sees wonder on his face, he decides not to comment on it. Instead, he touches his tongue to Brian’s knuckles, tasting salt and warmth, and skims his mouth down to the edge of a finger. Justin puts his tongue there too, feeling Brian tighten his fist subconsciously, and takes the finger into his mouth where he sucks on it until Brian’s hand goes limp and his eyes are closed.

“Sex as a weapon, Justin? Wherever did you learn such tactics?” Brian tries not to shove Justin to the floor, because that most likely would demonstrate a lack of finesse.

“From fucking strangers,” Justin grins against his hand.

Brian laughs, he can’t help it. Sometimes the kid is just genuinely amusing.

But then amusing changes into something else when Justin lifts his shirt over his head and presses against him in the dark; smooth skin and soft sighs against Brian’s neck and Brian instantly wants him. Just him, only Justin, and Brian doesn’t care that he ranted and railed at Justin for wanting the same thing.

Brian thinks Justin is enough in this minute.

Justin is fiddling impatiently with Brian’s fly, his bandage impeding him, and Brian bats him away. “Take it easy, you’re going to hurt something. Jesus. Are you always this lame? No wonder you don’t want to go out. You’re probably embarrassed by your lack of skill.”

Justin makes a face. “Why do you always talk when I’m trying to seduce you?”

“That’s what this is?”

“Christ. Just shut up.”

And Brian does, dragging Justin to the couch because the bedroom is so fucking far away, and he needs. Brian needs.

Justin’s sweats off, Brian’s buttonfly undone, practiced rip of a condom wrapper and Brian is in, pushing and breathing and needing. Justin faces him, legs spread wide and urgency on his face and pressing back, whispering and whimpering his name.


Brian feels, puts his forehead against Justin’s and concentrates. It’s so goddamn tight, Justin knows how to squeeze him as he pulls out and contract as he pushes in, and Brian has to quick, think of baseball or the stock market or Melanie, because he can’t come yet.

Not yet. Not when he wants to watch the boy beneath him close his eyes and draw sharp breaths as his cock rubs against Brian’s stomach. Not when Justin arches his neck beautifully and Brian leans down to bite on it, wanting to mark him and leave a reminder for tomorrow, because tomorrow Justin might decide to go tricking.


Brian pauses to feel Justin around him and Justin protests with a wiggle and a groan and a whispered, “Brian, not now.” It almost does him in, but he holds on by thinking of junk bonds and insider trading and then he can breathe again.

Justin has his hands in Brian’s hair and is dragging his mouth down, not kissing him but just holding Brian’s lips a breath above his own while he rubs against Brian’s stomach, desperate for friction. Brian revels in the neediness, capturing it, wanting it. Wanting Justin to go out of his mind and remember who sent him there, wants to hear him say Brian’s name while he comes.

But then Justin proves himself a worthy opponent, because he starts lifting himself up to meet Brian’s thrusts, opening himself wider, and although Brian grits his teeth and yanks Justin’s hair to tear his mouth away from Brian’s throat, it’s too late and Brian comes hard, so hard that he feels his stomach clench and can’t help gasping, “Justin. Jesus Christ, Justin.”

Justin finally reaches the right rhythm and arches up against Brian, clutching Brian’s bicep and leaving half-moon marks on his shoulder, panting against his chest and muttering, “Yes, oh God. Stay there, please, don’t move, pleaseohpleaseohplease.” He stops for a fraction of a second, freezes in place with his eyes screwed shut, and draws a sharp breath. Brian can feel him jerk slightly against his stomach, then a spreading warmth.

They lie tangled and Brian listens to the ticking of the kitchen clock and Justin’s breathing.

After a time in which Brian is sure that Justin has fallen asleep, he eases out slowly, mindful of Justin being sore in the morning, but when he looks up, Justin’s eyes are luminous. “Hey,” Justin says softly, and the smile he gives Brian is so fucking full of sunshine that Brian feels guilt pricking at him. He settles himself in the tight space on the couch behind Justin and starts finger-combing Justin’s hair just to listen to him purr.

“Mmm. Do that more.”

“Demanding bitch, hmm?” Brian hums against his ear, making Justin giggle and shrug against him.

More silence, which Brian finds comfortable.

Justin breaks it. “Emmett called before.”

“Yeah? What’d Queen of the Damned want? I’m not fucking going to his little benefit at the hospice, I already told him.”

“Nah. He was checking if we were going to the Shake N Bake at Babylon.”

“And what did you tell her majesty?”

“I said you’d probably be there. And … and that you’d tell me all about it when you got home. Okay?” His tone is unsure and hesitant, and Brian doesn’t like it. If you’re going to have fucking principles, then you’d better sound goddamn confident about them.

“Are you asking me or telling me?”

Justin turns his head and grins up at him with such pure joy that Brian is torn between wanting to cry and wanting to fuck him again.

“Telling you.”