Disclaimer: I make them real in my head.
Summary: Brian doesn’t know as much as he thinks he does.
Much thanks as always to juteux, who babied me through it.
The night Brian finds out Justin doesn't like broccoli is a normal Thursday in every other respect.
He watches Justin surreptitiously push it out of the way and go to work on the lemon chicken instead. He doesn't eat the grains of rice that are touching the broccoli.
"Why aren't you eating that?" Brian frowns. He doesn't cook that often, but he knows how to steam vegetables, goddammit.
Justin looks up with his mouth full. "Don't like it," he mumbles around the chicken.
"Since always." He takes a sip of wine and clears his throat.
"But you like cauliflower."
“Cauliflower isn’t green.”
“You eat Deb’s string beans. Those are green.”
“Brian, what the hell? I don’t like broccoli. I’ve never liked it. Why do you care?” Justin scoops the last of his rice into his mouth – the part not touching the broccoli – and swipes at his face with his napkin.
“I don’t,” Brian replies tersely, and takes Justin’s wineglass out of his hand on the way to the kitchen.
* * *
Brian watches Justin and Daphne giggle together on the couch. He can see one fair head and one dark one over the back of the sofa, and is momentarily envious of how easily they lay curled upon each other. Brian wants to work on the background of the ad layout on his computer but finds himself listening to their conversation instead.
“So you think I should give him a blowjob before we have sex for the first time?” Daphne has a new boyfriend and Brian smirks to himself.
“You don’t want to give it all away, Daph. Blow him first, fuck him second.” Justin says this with authority.
“You gave it all away,” Brian interjects, and Justin ignores him but Daphne beams over the edge of the couch.
“And then he told me about it,” she says cheerfully, and Brian snorts.
“I did not,” Justin protests hotly, but Brian knows it’s a lie because Justin told anyone who would listen about the night he got his cherry picked.
Daphne sighs and struggles to sit up, pushing Justin’s legs off her and reaching for her jacket. “The news said we’re not going to get snow for a few days,” she informs no one in particular. Brian understands why she and Justin get along so well. Both of them tend to talk whether anyone’s listening or not.
“I bet by tomorrow,” Justin says, and puts a hand on his left shoulder.
“Is it hurting?” Daphne asks, and Justin shrugs.
Brian looks up at this and watches Justin absent-mindedly rub his arm. “Is what hurting?”
“His shoulder,” Daphne answers, putting on her wool hat. “The one he broke.”
Brian blinks. “Broke?”
“When he was twelve. He climbed up a basketball hoop to get my sweater that was stuck there. He came down a lot harder than he went up.”
“How gallant,” Brian says dryly, still eyeing Justin’s shoulder.
“Not really,” Daphne replies cheerfully. “He was the one who threw it up there. He felt bad when I cried, so he got it down. Sucker.”
Justin smiles ruefully. “Now I have my own built-in weather forecaster,” he says. “Hurts before it rains or snows.”
“Handy,” Daphne laughs. “Bye, Brian. Justin, text me, okay?” And then she’s gone, and Brian notes that it’s a lot quieter without her, but that’s not necessarily a good thing.
“You broke your shoulder,” Brian repeats, watching Justin pick up the discarded throw pillows.
“Yeah,” Justin shrugs. “It sort of sucked.”
“Why didn’t you ever tell me about it?”
“What’s to tell? It hurts every time it gets cold. I thought you noticed.”
“How would I notice that?” Brian snaps his laptop closed and leans back in the swivel chair.
Justin accepts the silent invitation and straddles his lap. “What do you think the Icy Hot under the sink is for? My dick?”
“Hey, I’m not one to question anyone’s sexual aids.” Brian punctuates this thought by rolling his hips under Justin’s firm ass.
“I wouldn’t cross ‘sexual aids’ off your shopping list, old man,” Justin says against Brian’s mouth, and gives his top lip a gentle nip.
“I’m not the one with arthritis in his shoulder.”
“It’s not arthritis,” Justin murmurs in his ear, and Brian feels the ever-present erection against his own. “It just gets a little stiff in cold weather.”
“Among other things,” Brian notes, and Justin grins.
They fuck in the chair, slowly, and by the time Brian comes, he’s forgotten about Justin’s shoulder.
* * *
The air is cold and bites at Brian’s exposed cheeks, and he is thankful for the fleece-lined leather protecting his hands. He’s pretty sure the metal bar on the diner’s door might stick to anyone unfortunate enough not to be wearing gloves.
He unconsciously searches for a tousled blond head and spies it in the second booth from the corner. Justin sits with Emmett, familiar blue hoodie making his eyes stand out in sharp contrast to his wind-reddened cheeks, hands wrapped around a coffee cup.
He doesn’t see Brian, so Brian meanders slowly across the crowded restaurant full of Debbie’s regulars, and arrives at Justin’s booth in time to hear Emmett say, “Sweetie, we all come to the realization sometime. Some of us do it early, some of us do it late, and some of us live in denial and never do it at all. Yours sounds pretty normal to me.”
“I guess,” Justin murmurs, and then Brian sees him laugh. “What’s ‘normal’ these days anyway?”
“Exactly,” Emmett agrees cheerfully, and squeezes his hand across the table.
“Neither of you are normal,” Brian comments, dropping into the booth and receiving a bright grin from Justin. “What the hell are you talking about?”
“Oh, the young lad was regaling me with stories of his youth,” Emmett sighs.
“He’s still a youth,” Brian says, and raises a hand to Debbie for coffee.
“And aren’t you lucky,” Emmett grumps. “He was telling me about The Realization.”
Brian blinks at him.
“You know,” Emmett says, waving his coffee cup around. “The Realization we all have. When we know we’re gay, and oh fuck, what are we going to do with our lives? Then we move on? That Realization?”
Brian looks at Justin, who is studying his hot chocolate intently. “I don’t think I know that story, Sonnyboy,” he says sweetly. “Why don’t you share it?”
“How can you not know?” Emmett says. “Everyone’s lover knows how their partner discovered the world of gay.”
Brian smiles benevolently at Justin, who avoids Brian’s eyes and swirls the liquid around in his cup instead. “Yes, Justin,” Brian says sweetly. “Everyone’s lover knows that.” He knows Justin picks up on the sarcasm because the corner of his mouth tightens.
“Poor Justin,” Emmett giggles, “square-dancing in eighth grade with a boy.”
Justin chances a look out of the corner of his eye and Brian puts his tongue inside his cheek. “And that’s the big discovery?”
“Realization,” Emmett corrects. “It’s the Realization. Justin was paired off in eighth grade P.E. with … who was it, honey? Brad?”
“Chad,” Justin smiles a little, “Chad Terrance.”
“Yes! Chad. And Justin. Square dancing. And that was when our brave wee Justin realized that he got that special tingle when he and Chad do-si-doed.”
Brian snorts and Justin shifts uncomfortably. “Not a real exciting story,” Justin says.
“I could have discovered that for myself,” Brian says, “if I’d known it.” He’s pissed off at himself for being pissed off, so to hide it he gets up and shrugs his jacket back on. “Later, boys.”
He leaves them both sitting there, Emmett blissfully oblivious and Justin staring sullenly at the tabletop.
* * *
Brian observes Justin for two weeks while pretending he really isn’t. He buys Charles Chips in the can at the store and leaves them on the bar at home.
Justin is happily devouring them when Brian gets home from work. “Thanks!” he says as soon as Brian walks in the door. “Why’d you buy these for?”
“Aren’t those the method of heart attack you prefer?” Brian hopes there’s still bourbon left in the cupboard because it was a fuck of a day.
“These are the best. But you never buy them. You make me eat Baked Lays.”
“They were on sale.”
“On sale!” Justin giggles. “Do you even know what ‘on sale’ means?”
“Fuck, Justin. I saw them, I bought them, I figured it would get me a blowjob or two. Why is this an inquisition?” Brian is irritated suddenly, because all he really wanted to do was show Justin that yes, he does happen to know some things about him even if it’s just the brand of potato chips he likes.
Justin is eyeing him strangely. “Yeah, hey. It’s not an inquisition. Thanks.”
Brian grabs his keys from the counter and goes to the baths without changing his clothes.
* * *
Dinner at Deb’s on Sunday is loud and warm and familiar. Brian eases back in his chair and drops his fork on his plate. “No,” he says firmly, when Debbie hovers with the pan of ziti, ready to plop a second helping.
“Skinny bastard,” she mutters, and delivers Brian’s share to Ben, who beams at her and digs in.
“Put that plate in the oven for Sunshine,” she says to Vic, motioning to the overloaded dish next to the stove. “He’ll be along in a while.”
“Where is he?” Michael asks, pretending to care, and Brian shrugs.
“I dunno. Panhandling? I hope he brings home more tonight than last night.”
Debbie clucks at him. “He’s at Melanie and Lindsay’s, like he is every Sunday afternoon. You know that.”
“Melanie and Lindsay’s.” Brian feels his own brow furrow and tries to wipe his expression clean.
“Oh yeah,” Michael chimes in. “With Gus.”
“Gus?” Ben asks, and Brian is oddly grateful that someone else asked.
“He watches Gus for them on Sundays,” Michael mumbles around a mouthful of bread. “Probably so they can go to a hotel and fuck. Ow!” He rubs the back of his head where Debbie delivers a stinging slap.
“Why the fuck does he do that?” Brian demands, his voice rising.
“Because he’s a good boy,” Debbie nods, setting a Boston cream pie in the middle of the table. “All parents need some alone time. Justin volunteered to watch Gus for a few hours on Sunday afternoons. He’s been doing it for three months, Brian, are you fuckin’ blind?”
“Yes, Deb,” Brian says, standing up and throwing his napkin down on his empty plate. “I guess I’m fucking blind.”
* * *
Justin wanders in close to ten o’clock, foil-wrapped leftovers in hand. “Hey.”
“Hey.” Brian’s eyes are blurry from staring at his computer screen and he wonders if a hit or two of the joint in the bedroom would help. He figures probably not.
“Deb sent you pie. She said you left without dessert. She also said you were behaving like a moody asshole, and I said how was that any different from how you normally act?” Justin puts the pie in the refrigerator and goes to drape himself over Brian’s shoulders. “That’s not a good font. Try Garamond Bold.”
Brian does. It works, so he changes it.
“So … you’re being kind of weird,” Justin tests.
Brian brushes him away. “Quit breathing marinara in my ear.”
“I could breathe somewhere else,” Justin grins, kneeling down next to Brian’s chair and reaching a hand between his legs.
“Later,” Brian says brusquely, and Justin sits back on his heels with a thoughtful look.
“See?” he says. “Weird.”
Brian slams his laptop closed and pushes away from the table. “You know what’s weird, Sonnyboy? The fact that you know me well enough to know when I’m being weird. That’s what’s fucking weird, Justin.”
Justin frowns and looks at the floor. He raises his eyes to Brian’s again and Brian can see the puzzlement there, Brian can fucking see every goddamn emotion Justin feels because his eyes never lie, and Brian has no fucking idea how this twenty year old kid can be so transparent and such a mystery at the same time.
“We’re supposed to know each other,” Justin says carefully. “We’re partners.”
“Yeah?” Brian asks. “Partners? You like that word, don’t you?” He gets up and stalks to the bedroom, leaving Justin kneeling on the floor with a wrinkle in his forehead. He tears open the top drawer of the nightstand and rifles through it, looking for the joint. When Brian turns around again, Justin is standing at the foot of the bed.
“I do like that word,” he says defiantly.
Brian rolls his eyes. “You would.”
“What’s that mean?” Justin crosses his arms and Brian prepares for full fight mode.
“It means that you twist it to fit your own cozy definition of it, Justin. It means that ‘knowing someone’ only works when you’re the one who knows shit. Is it a fucking game or something? Do you go and chuckle to yourself when you find out there’s something else I don’t know about you? Do you and Daphne keep a scorecard of how many things you can find out about me while keeping yourself a goddamn mystery?” Brian is yelling now, and he can’t help it, and he also knows how ridiculous he sounds. This only serves to feed his unexplainable fury.
Justin cocks his head and looks at him curiously. “I don’t hide anything from you, Brian. Did you ever think about opening your mouth and asking?”
And then he’s gone, and Brian hears the loft door close. He doesn’t slam it, which says a fuck of a lot more than if he had.
* * *
Brian doesn’t get as high off the weed as he was hoping to, which either means that his dealer fucked him, or his head is too full of other things to absorb the effects of the drug. He chooses the former.
He is studying the ceiling when Justin comes back an hour later. Too short for a trip to the back room, too long for a quick pout in the stairwell, so Brian really has no idea where he went or what to expect. He watches the ceiling some more, and waits.
Justin stands like a wraith in the doorway for five minutes before Brian lifts his head to contemplate him. “Back so soon? Pickings slim?”
Justin blinks, slowly. Brian notes the blue of his eyes in the half-light. “You know stuff,” he says.
“I know stuff,” Brian repeats, and lays his head back down on the pillow.
“Yeah,” Justin says softly, and Brian feels the bed dip as Justin puts one knee on the edge. “You know lots of stuff.”
“Mmm,” Brian says thoughtfully. “You’re right. I know how to pitch an ad. I know how to drive a manual transmission. I know how to give a rim job that’ll make the virgin I’m screwing worship me forever. That’s a lot of stuff.”
“I mean stuff about me,” Justin tells him gently, and Brian closes his eyes against it because he can handle anything from Justin but tenderness. Tenderness sparks things that Brian Kinney doesn’t want to deal with outside of his own son.
Justin slides across the bed and winds up stretched out along Brian’s length, smelling of wind and rain and Brian guesses he wasn’t out tricking or sulking but just walking instead, walking and thinking, because lately Justin has taken to doing that.
Brian realizes that maybe he does know some things after all.
“You know what I like,” Justin whispers against his neck, nuzzling into the hollow behind Brian’s ear. “You know how to get me so hard that I can’t even think. You know how to suck me off like no one else.” He brings a leg over Brian’s hip and nudges his erection into Brian’s side. “You just know me, Brian.”
And Brian closes his eyes and listens to Justin’s soft murmurings, letting the words wash over him and allowing them to be oddly soothing, breathing in Justin’s scent and the fresh clean smell of his hair. And when Justin gathers himself even closer, close enough to press hard into Brian’s hip and make small noises in his throat, Brian turns to his side and expertly strips them both.
Naked and lean and tangled together, Brian puts his knowledge to work, gaining confidence with each sigh and whispered assent from Justin. He draws his tongue across Justin’s stomach because he knows it will bring goosebumps, he tugs the silver nipple ring because he knows it will cause Justin to gasp and open his legs wider, and he entwines his hand with Justin’s because he knows it will make Justin clench his fingers around Brian’s tightly enough to bring a twinge of pain.
Brian knows all of it, and uses it to his advantage.
They fuck face-to-face because it’s Justin’s favorite position and because Brian doesn’t fuck anyone else that way, ever. The intimacy of it is enough to make Brian look away sometimes, to avoid Justin’s eyes because everything he doesn’t want to see – or is he past that now? – is always right there, staring at him, and most of the time Brian just avoids the issue altogether.
But sometimes, the avoidance of it isn’t as important as the dealing with it, which Brian finds himself willing to do more and more, and that’s just fucking scary as all hell. But when he can make Justin arch and writhe and whisper his name, dealing with the intimacy seems to be exactly what Brian wants to do.
Maybe he’ll consider the ramifications of that in the morning.
Right now, he wants to consider instead the boy beneath him, the one meeting his gaze without blinking, the one with his tongue darting out to moisten his top lip before bringing Brian’s head down to his mouth. Brian kisses him once, hard and fast, and then breaks the kiss to rest his forehead against Justin’s while he squeezes one hand between them to take Justin’s cock in a firm grip.
Justin bucks at the contact, his teeth making white marks in his lip. Brian knows what to do now, he knows all he has to do is whisper something dirty and Justin will come, spilling all over Brian’s hand. But then it would be over, Brian reasons, and he doesn’t know why it’s so important because there’s always another fuck where this one came from, but there it is.
In the end, it turns out that Justin knows some stuff too.
He clenches his ass tightly around Brian’s dick, making Brian gasp unexpectedly and squeeze his eyes closed, and Justin doesn’t let up. He sets up a rhythm of squeezing and releasing, timing it with Brian’s thrusts, until Brian grunts, “Fuck, Justin, this is about to be over if you don’t stop.”
“That’s the idea,” Justin laughs, and then groans when Brian brushes his thumb over the wet head of his dick. He opens his eyes and looks at Brian. “Together,” he insists, and Brian wants to laugh off Justin’s romantic notion of sex, but somehow he can’t.
So he rolls his hips and strokes Justin’s length, and Justin closes his eyes and swallows hard and whispers his name, and then they’re both coming and pushing against each other and Justin is shaking beneath him.
* * *
“I’m thirsty.” Soft whisper.
“So get up.”
“So quit whining.”
“Jesus!” He gets out of bed with an annoyed sigh.
“No ice! It –"
“Hurts your teeth.” He pauses in the doorway, looks back at the boy in the bed. “I know.”