Stuck in Neutral

Suz


Disclaimer - CowLip/Showtime own them, etc etc, not mine.

Heeeey! It's a fic that's not for a challenge! I was feeling all grumpy because I haven't written anything for a while (despite that fic I posted earlier), but I just didn't have any *ideas*...so I wrote a fic about that ;D

Brian/Justin, humour, schmoop, future fic set post-series so knowledge of the last ep is probably good.



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



Justin couldn't paint. He hadn't been able to paint for nearly two weeks, and it frustrated the fuck out of him. He hadn't mentioned it to Brian, because Brian would only fret in that 'I'm going to act like a total asshole to show how very much I am *not* fretting about something being wrong' way, and frankly Justin was already annoyed at his apparent inability to paint - he really didn't need to deal with Brian being a dick, too.

But Justin had never really been blocked before. Not artistically. Post-bashing he hadn't been able to draw or paint, but that'd been because of his hand, not because he was lacking ideas. Now there was just...nothing. He stared at the blank canvas or sketch pad and there was just...nothing.

Grumbling, he reached for his cell phone. He knew Brian was downstairs, but he really didn't feel like walking all the way down there.

Brian answered as his usual cheery self. "Why the fuck are you calling me when we're in the same house?"

"Mansion," Justin argued simply. "Deb and Carl live in a house. Michael and Ben live in a house. You bought a *mansion*, Brian. Sometimes I still get lost in this thing."

"You were the twat who wanted it," he pointed out. "What do you want?"

"Come up to the studio and fuck the shit out of me, okay?" Ending the call, he tossed the paint-splattered phone onto the equally paint-splattered table.

Justin would never be entirely sure how Brian managed to arrive just ten seconds later, but Brian's tongue was down his throat two seconds after that so he kind of forgot about it (later on he'd decide that Brian must've started walking as soon as he'd answered the call).

*

Sex with Brian had always at the very least been very good, and the sex they'd just had was *really* fucking good.

"Thanks, that was great," Justin breathed dismissively, still trying to even out his breathing as he rolled away and stumbled to his feet. Grabbing a paint brush - any paint brush - he moved towards the canvas and...

Nothing. Fucking *nothing*.

This was bad. For years all he had to do was look at Brian to get inspired, and now fucking-

"Where's my money?"

"What money?" Justin asked absently, staring so hard at the canvas that he should've been burning holes through the fucking thing.

"Well if I'm gonna be treated like a sex toy, I figure I should at least get paid for it."

Justin felt his face flush in seconds, and this time it wasn't because Brian had three fingers up his ass. Turning, he forgot all about painting and studied Brian wryly - he was still lying across the futon they'd fucked on. Dropping the brush, Justin padded back across the floor, kneeling when he reached the futon and stretching out next to Brian. Clasping a hand around his head, Justin pulled him in for a kiss. Brian didn't resist; in fact, he was practically smirking when Justin broke the kiss to softly confess three little words:

"I'm an asshole."

Fuck knew there had been enough times in the past - especially in their first nine months of knowing each other - when Brian had treated Justin like he was disposable, but they were past that. They'd been way past that for a long time.

Still, as Justin kept watching and Brian's smirk kept getting bigger and bigger, Justin realised the truth - he'd never been angry in the first place.

"You shit!" Justin told him but Brian just chuckled, rolling on top of him and kissing him some more.

"You *like* it when I'm a shit," Brian replied in a sing-songy voice, between kisses.

"Think again," Justin retorted, rolling them again until he was sitting up, straddling Brian's body. He reached for Brian's wrists but Brian's hands caught his first and they playfully shoved and tugged at each other for a while.

"So, what's going on?" Brian asked with deceptive innocence.

Sighing, Justin let go of Brian's hands and slumped further against his legs. He really should tell him. Sometimes even he liked to pretend Brian was worse than he actually was. "I can't paint," he said finally. "Or draw. Or anything. And I guess it's not so much the lack of producing anything - God knows sometimes there's just no time for that anyway - but I've had absolutely no ideas. I've felt completely uninspired. It's like I've got...painter's block or something."

Brian stared up at him thoughtfully. "Better than cock-blocking." Justin rolled his eyes. Brian kept staring at him. "If there's anything I-"

"That's what I was trying with this," he smiled, jiggling up and down a few times, making Brian cock an eyebrow. "You always were my greatest inspiration."

"Yeah, well," Brian said with absolutely no modesty, "men with ten inch dicks tend to inspire that kind of thing."

Pursing his lips together, Justin regarded him curiously. "Just what kind of mirror do you study your dick in? Impressive though it obviously is, objects in the rear view mirror may appear *larger* than they-" Suddenly flipped onto his back, Justin laughed as Brian held him down and tried to look scary. That hadn't worked for years, and they both knew it.

"I'm going to fuck you so hard," Brian stared down at him, unable to completely hide a smile, "it'll feel like twelve inches."

Justin didn't doubt it.

It didn't get him painting again, but by that point he couldn't have cared less.

*

Two days later, Justin got a completely unexpected call from Ben. They had each others numbers, but Justin honestly wasn't sure if they'd ever called each other before other than when searching for their respective spouses (okay, so Brian wasn't technically Justin's husband, but as Brian had no mind reading ability what Brian never knew wouldn't kill him).

"Ben?" Justin asked as he answered, even though the Caller ID had told him who it was.

"Hey, Justin," he greeted amiably. "How are you?"

"I'm good," he replied, as he made his way down Liberty Avenue towards the diner. He'd made plans to meet Daph for lunch. "You?"

"Good too," Ben replied, and Justin could picture the exact smile that was spreading across his broad face at the moment. "I was just wondering if I could talk to you about something, if you have a few minutes."

"Sure," Justin shrugged. "I'm on my way to meet Daph, but until then I'm all yours."

"Well, I heard you've been blocked...creatively. I thought it might help to share my own experiences with writers block and how I overcame it."

Surprised, Justin stopped walking. Ben had 'heard'? "You mean Brian called you."

"Actually, he cornered me in the diner this morning," Ben replied warmly. "But I would like to help - if you think it'll help. We creative types have to support each other, right?"

Justin couldn't decide if he should be annoyed at the fact that Brian was telling people about his inability to paint, or not. Either way, it wasn't Ben's fault. "Sure. I really appreciate it, Ben. Thanks."

In the end, he kind of wished he hadn't. Ben was a really nice guy and totally hot, but Justin would never want to be in a class taught by him. He was almost thankful when he reached the diner. Peering inside to make sure Ben wasn't there himself - and seeing no sign of Daph yet - Justin interrupted. "Ben, sorry to interrupt, but I'm at the diner and Daph's already there."

"Oh, sure, Justin, I understand," Ben said kindly, and Justin kind of hated himself for all of three seconds. "I hope this helped, at least a little."

"I'm sure it will. And thank you, again."

"Not a problem," Ben assured him. "And if you want to talk more in the future, just let me know."

"Rest assured, if I want to talk to you, I absolutely will." Saying a quick goodbye, he gratefully ended the call - and instantly made another one.

It took Brian three rings to pick up.

"I hope you're naked and jacking off - unless you got hold of your brother's phone again, in which case, Molly, by now you're well aware of the risk you take every time you call me."

Justin grinned despite himself. "You asked Ben to talk to me?"

"Sure," Brian replied, voice half-distracted, probably studying something important and work-related. "When I saw him in the diner this morning it just seemed an obvious choice. Did it help?"

"If I wanted to develop narcolepsy."

Brian huffed out a laugh. "Well, I wasn't expecting it to be scintillating, I have to admit."

Finally deciding that what Brian had done was actually kind of cute, Justin smiled some more. "I love that you were thinking about me."

Though distinctly more mushy now than he had been in the past, Brian was still hard in general. And in a very good way. "Has Daphne arrived for lunch yet?"

"No."

"Well if you get your ass over here I'll show just how much I've been *thinking* about you."

Justin hesitated, looking around, searching for a familiar face. There was still no sign of Daphne anywhere, Brian's office was barely two blocks away, and his cock was starting to get hard...

Daphne wasn't even annoyed when he finally walked into the diner, red-faced and flushed. She just dunked a fry into some ketchup and asked for the details.

*

That night, Lindsay called from Canada. Justin wasn't really surprised - they were both artists, Linds had encouraged Justin's art when he was first starting out, and she was one of Brian's oldest and best friends. After the Ben fiasco, Brian had probably thought it was a fucking brilliant idea.

Again, Justin appreciated the effort, but somehow he just knew it wouldn't help.

Still, by now he knew how to handle all of his friends. Once he segued onto the subject of Gus, Linds stopped talking about her own frustrations with art completely.

Although he really didn't need to know about Gus' recent case of diarrhoea.

*

The next day, Justin opened the front door to find Emmett standing on the other side.

"Salvation has arrived!" Emmett declared dramatically, spreading out his arms.

Justin just frowned at him, wondering if he'd gone straight again. "It has?"

"I'm here to feng shui your studio!"

Brian was going to get hurt when he got home. Badly.

*

It actually turned out not to be as bad as Justin expected. He liked and respected Emmett a lot, and even though Justin had made it clear he thought feng shui was a bunch of crap, they blared some music out, brought up some snacks, and had a surprising amount of fun moving around what furniture there was in the studio. They paused part way through so Justin could take a call from his agent, then cranked things right back up again.

In fact, they were having so much fun that by the time Brian got home from work, they'd feng shuied half the house.

Brian stared at them in horror. "What the fuck did you do to the bedroom?"

Okay, so Justin *may* have done it partly just to mess with Brian's head. "Don't look at me," he said innocently. "This was your idea."

"For the studio! Emmett," he growled, whirling towards him, "just the studio, I said. *Just* the studio. I don't even believe in this shit."

Emmett wasn't in the least bit intimidated. "I thought the whole point of this was to make Justin's Qi flow better?" he asked rhetorically. "He wanted to continue, and since this was about him, we did. Besides," he held out his hands towards the bed, "now this faces South, which is *so* much better for-"

"West," Brian interrupted.

"Sorry?"

"It's, facing, West," Brian enunciated each word carefully. Justin tried to hide a smile. "And how the fuck did you move it with just the two of you, anyway?"

Frowning, looking lost, Emmett started pointing randomly with his right index finger in front of his face, obviously trying to figure out where South was. Eventually, he shrugged and dropped his hand. "Oh, well. Oops!"

Justin decided that was as good a time as any to get Emmett out of the house. Emmett offered to put everything back the way it had been, but Justin told him not to worry about it, and thanked him for coming over. By the time he made it back up to the bedroom, Brian was sitting on the edge of the bed, clearly not as pissed as before.

Glancing up at Justin, he lifted his eyebrows. "So, I take it all this," he gestured around to the furniture, "is your way of telling me to butt out and leave you to deal with this yourself?"

Pleased that Brian actually got that kind of stuff now, Justin paused in front of him and smiled. "I love that you want to help me," he said truthfully, "but this is your need to fix everything again. Some stuff can't be fixed right away. I've been trying and you've been trying and clearly nothing's working, because I'm still not painting."

Sighing, Brian looked off to one side. "I just hate that I can't..."

Stepping even closer, Justin pushed Brian onto his back - who went, willingly - and followed his body down onto the bed, kissing him. Pausing after a few seconds, Justin pushed away and moved to rest on his side. "Deb told me something once."

Brian didn't look surprised. "Deb tells a lot of people a lot of things."

That was true enough. "This particular conversation basically translated as, sometimes bad shit happens and there's nothing you can do about it. You just have to hold on until the scenery changes. Now, you might not like it, I might not like it, but it's true. Sometimes there's nothing you can do. And, honestly? In the big scheme of things, it could be much worse. Fuck, it *has* been much worse." He leant closer, rubbing his nose against Brian's. "We're lucky this is all we have to deal with." Even Brian couldn't argue with that. Given all the drama they'd been through, this was one of the easy things. "Besides," he grinned, "I love Emmett, but I really think he knows fuck-all about feng shui."

"Well," Brian began, clearly having reached his 'relationship discussion' quota as he rolled on top of Justin, "after you move all this furniture back, I say we should try and fuck the inspiration back into you at every opportunity anyway."

Justin was totally okay with that plan.

*

Three weeks later he started painting again, but he let Brian keep trying to fuck the inspiration back into him at every opportunity anyway.

Just in case.

~FINIS