The King of Babylon

Juteux


Notes: Don't take any of this seriously. Completely silly, because I have issues with angst. Set during that comfy post-314, pre-401 zone, because I have issues with new canon. No spoilers for the fourth season whatsoever. Thank you to eleveninches who told me to write it, and gave me the title; erinface, who made me keep writing it; and ragingpixie just because. >:D<



*

The day everything changed seemed pretty normal to Brian. Well, as normal as your day could be when you were unemployed, one hundred thousand dollars in debt, and the hero of Gayopolis. The past couple weeks hadn’t been so bad, though; he and Justin had fucked for three days solid after Stockwell had lost, and they stopped answering the phone two days after that. Brian just kept telling himself that he would get his life back on track soon. Eventually.

Justin was already up when Brian dragged himself out of bed. Coffee was made and Justin stood at the kitchen counter in sweatpants, reading the paper and eating ice cream. Fucking ice cream for breakfast. Brian scowled at him until he had finished his first cup of coffee, while Justin ignored him entirely. Once the caffeine hit Brian’s system a little, he whacked Justin’s newspaper, trying to get his attention.

“Have more coffee,” Justin said calmly, and kept eating his ice cream.

Brian rubbed his eyes, feeling gritty and hungover. He was way too fucking tired to look for a job today. He’d do it tomorrow. Right now he wanted to drink another dozen cups of coffee and have a shower, then fuck Justin against the counter. Maybe have a cigarette, and fuck some more. Being at home together during the day had its benefits.

Justin poked his arm with his spoon suddenly, holding up his paper for Brian. “Hey, look, the Sap sold Babylon.”

Brian just nodded and headed for the shower, leaving his empty cup on the counter for Justin to clean up. “Are you coming?” he barked over his shoulder.

“Let me finish my ice cream first,” Justin said.

*

By eleven that night they both still hadn’t left the loft all day. Brian knew he should be disgusted with himself, but he was too lazy to care. And that in itself was too depressing to think about, so he said, “Let’s go to Babylon.”

Justin was sprawled on top of him on the couch, naked. He had given up wearing clothes after Brian had just kept taking them off. “Can’t,” he said into the crook of Brian’s neck. “It’s closed for renovations. New owner, remember?”

“Oh yeah,” Brian frowned. They both looked in the direction where the TV used to be.

“I can paint you something to put there,” Justin said.

“Will it have HBO?” Brian asked.

They ended up smoking pot for no reason at all except extreme boredom, and passed out when the sun started to rise.

*

Two weeks after that the world was slightly more tolerable to Brian, and he and Justin started hanging out at the diner during the day. Brian would watch Justin serve customers and smack his ass every time he passed by, and at the end of the day they would go to Woody’s where they made everyone else buy them drinks. Brian concluded that it was progress.

But tonight was going to be different, because Babylon was reopening. Brian had started to feel a funny little tug inside himself, not unlike the feeling he used to get whenever he saw Justin’s socks lying around after he had run off with Ian. He loved Babylon. It was his second home, his kingdom; the one place where he could always find friendship, acceptance, enlightenment, and nubile boys to suck his cock. He missed the bartenders and the bouncers and the backroom. He missed getting high in the bathroom stall and having hundreds of guys grope him on the dance floor, and then saying fuck you to all of them and going home with Justin. Life made more sense when he was surrounded by thumping techno music.

He had started planning his outfit that morning when Justin had looked in the paper and discovered that the theme for the grand reopening was Egypt. Lame, but it had potential. Brian had vague fantasies of being carried on one of those big chair things. Getting fed grapes by slave boys. Justin refused to feed him grapes, but agreed to a blowjob in a pyramid.

“I bumped into Todd, and he said he heard from this guy he gave head to last week that the new owner is a millionaire and really weird,” Michael told Brian over lunch that day.

Brian played with the straw of his drink idly. “As long as he keeps the backroom open and the drinks flowing, who gives a shit what he’s like.”

“Hey, if you need the extra cash, maybe he can give Justin a job,” Michael grinned. Brian cuffed him on the back as his cell phone rang.

“Kinney,” he snapped, wondering why the fuck he was answering like he still had clients to impress.

“Hi, Brian, how are you?” Lindsay began, and already Brian could tell this was bad news. “Listen, are you busy tonight? We’re having a bit of an emergency with Gus…Mel’s working late tonight and I have a function at the gallery, and our sitter cancelled, and…”

Brian sighed and reminded himself that his child was more important than a club. His child was more important than a club. “What time?”

“Oh, thank you, thank you. Come by around five? I promise Mel will be home before midnight.”

“Yeah, okay, don’t worry about it.”

Brian hung up and grabbed Justin by his apron strings as he was passing the table. “I have a proposition for you,” he began in his sweetest voice.

“I’m not babysitting Gus, I’m going to Babylon,” Justin said, in an equally sweet voice. He slapped their bill on the table. “That’ll be fifteen-fifty,” he continued, and then left to take other orders.

Brian eyed the bill. “You know, the least you could do is not charge me,” he called after Justin sourly.

“I don’t blame him for wanting to go,” Michael said, “Ben heard from his friend Andrew who knows one of the bartenders that they have this special light show tonight--”

“I’ll be there. After Spongebob,” Brian interrupted. Sighing, he took his last twenty dollar bill from his wallet and didn’t wait for change, yanking on Justin’s apron strings again for good measure as he left the diner.

*

After four episodes of Spongebob, Brian was about to throw the television out the window, so they switched to Candyland. Neither of them really knew the rules; Gus happily moved the pieces around at will until he fell asleep in Brian’s lap.

“I won’t tell your moms you didn’t have a bath if you won’t,” Brian said as he tucked him in. Gus snuggled into his pillow happily, sound asleep. Brian smiled to himself in satisfaction. Parenting wasn’t that bad.

Melanie walked in the door around eleven-thirty, looking hassled and rounder than Brian remembered. “Did he have a bath?” she demanded.

“Yep. See ya,” Brian said, and finally headed off to Babylon. He eyed himself in the mirror of the Corvette that Michael had luckily returned in one piece. He may not have a dollar to his name, but he was still hot. And he didn’t need money to get laid. Thank god for small favours.

From an afternoon with Candyland to pyramids. Brian heightened his fantasies a little. He figured he deserved more than just a blowjob for his long day. Maybe Justin would be in one of those moods where he didn’t mind going along with what Brian said, playing up the role of blond boy ass to perfection. Brian imagined rim jobs in pyramids. And grapes. He really wanted to be fed grapes.

It was quarter to midnight by the time Brian arrived at Babylon, and he smiled in satisfaction as he eyed the long line outside the door. Business as usual. Lighting a cigarette, he strolled up to the front door and started to walk inside.

And was promptly stopped by a large hand on his chest.

Brian turned to eye the bouncer, who was glaring at him. “Excuse me, sir, you’re going to have to wait in line with everyone else.”

Brian snorted. “Yeah, okay,” he said, and tried to walk inside again.

The hand on his chest remained firm. “Sir, get in line.”

“Don’t you know who I am?” Brian asked, bored of this already. “Come on, I’m sure I’ve fucked you before.” He looked the bouncer up and down. “When I was really drunk.”

“Gary Sapperstein’s employees have been fired,” the bouncer said coldly. “We’re the new team.”

“Mazel tov. Now let me in the fucking door.”

“I’m going to need to see some ID.”

Brian stared. “ID?”

The bouncer remained impassive. “ID.”

Sighing, Brian reached instinctively for his wallet – and found it wasn’t there. Shit. Motherfucking shit. He must have left it at the lesbians’ place. “Okay, so I don’t have ID. I don’t need it, I’m twenty-nine years old!”

“That’ll be 20 bucks, then.”

Brian started to laugh. “Are you charging me cover? I’m Brian Kinney. I don’t pay cover. You wouldn’t have a club worth anything without me.”

“I don’t care who you are, buddy, but you aren’t getting in this door.”

“Fuck off. I need to go inside.”

“I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”

Brian sighed again. “Okay, fine. How about I blow you, and then you let me in?”

The bouncer raised one eyebrow. “Are you soliciting me for sex, sir?”

Brian knew he was so very, very fucked.

*

Well, fine. He didn’t need Babylon anyway. What was it, really? Just a big steel box full of hundreds of lame, horny queers with watered-down drinks, and a backroom that had been growing stale. This is what he told himself during the very depressing drive home.

I’m banned from Babylon, he thought, and all I wanted to do was play slaves with Justin.

“I don’t need your fucking club,” Brian said aloud, in his most convincing voice, as he slumped on his bed in the empty, quiet loft. Maybe if he said it enough he would start to believe it. He paused to take a swig of Jim Beam. “I don’t need you,” he repeated. “I don’t. Fuck you.”

“Maybe later.” Brian heard a sudden, drunken giggle as the door slid open and Justin entered, kicking off his shoes. Finally.

“You’re late,” Brian said irritably, then gulped some more Beam.

Justin made his way unsteadily over to the bed. He was bright-eyed and sweaty, all mussed hair and pink lips, and he wasn’t wearing the same shirt he had left in. “I know, we got lost on the way home.” Brian didn’t even want to know. “Where were you? I tried calling…”

Brian sighed and contemplated the ceiling. “They wouldn’t let me in.”

Justin blinked. “What do you mean, they wouldn’t let you in? Don’t they know who you are?”

“Apparently the Sap didn’t pass my good reputation along to his new bouncers. I have a feeling they won’t be letting me in for a long time.”

“Oh god, but what are you going to do? Where are you going to go now? You have nothing!”

Being drunk made Justin even more of a drama queen. “I told you, fuck them,” Brian replied irritably. “Somehow I think I’ll find the will to survive.”

Justin was still looking like his puppy had died, so Brian grabbed him and pulled him on top of himself. It distracted Justin a little; he eagerly rubbed himself against Brian’s body, kissing his neck. “So how was Egypt?” Brian asked, running his hands underneath Justin’s sweaty shirt. “And what the fuck are you wearing?”

“Mm, amazing. There were all these new lights and sound system and bigger bars…and then Emmett thought it would be funny to do body shots, and they dared me to find some guy to do shots off me, and then I lost my shirt, but this guy Tommy--”

Brian made silent plans to find this Tommy later and kill him. For now, he kissed Justin to shut him up and started unbuckling his pants.

*

Brian woke up the next morning feeling rested, like things were really in perspective. He thought that this must be what Ben felt like every day. Brian really didn’t need Babylon. It was just a club. In the grand scheme of things, what did it matter? He could get all the booze and ass and dick he wanted in other places. It would be fine.

Justin had left a note on the kitchen counter—Gone home. Little fucker, staying at Daphne’s two days out of the week and pretending he still lived there. But Brian reminded himself that he was zen now. He decided to go to the diner and have some coffee, and deal with Justin later.

He knew two seconds after walking in the door and spotting Michael’s hungover, smirky face that Justin hadn’t told the whole story about last night.

Once they both had been served breakfast and Debbie was out of earshot, Brian pointed at him. “Spill.”

“So we were doing shots of tequila,” Michael began immediately, like he had been waiting years to tell Brian this. “And this awesome, Egyptian sort of song started playing. Really fast and kind of sexy. And Justin decided that it would be a perfect night to recreate the King of Babylon contest.”

Oh, fuck. “Justin pole-danced? I missed Justin pole dancing?” Brian demanded.

“Yeah, so this guy Tommy was like--”

Fucking Tommy. When would people start realizing it was a bad idea to put ideas in Justin’s head? Why the fuck hadn’t Justin told him about the pole dancing? Had Brian fucked Tommy? He wondered how big his dick was.

Zen. I’m zen.

“—but luckily Emmett got rid of the monkey, and then we went home.” Michael finished his story in satisfaction and took a big bite of bacon. “It was seriously one of the best nights ever, you should have been there.”

“Maybe I would have if one of my FRIENDS had been waiting outside for me,” Brian snipped.

“Hey, what the fuck are you blaming me for, you’re the one that caused the scene and got yourself kicked out!”

“It was a minor misunderstanding and I’m not kicked out, I’m temporarily on the wait list.” Brian fiddled with his fork, thinking. “I’ve got to do something about this. Justin was right, I’m nothing without it.”

“What’s the matter, baby, why are you nothing?” Debbie said suddenly, popping out of nowhere.

“Brian was blacklisted from Babylon,” Michael answered.

“Oh Christ, big fucking loss,” Debbie rolled her eyes. “You’re better off at home with the man you love instead of fucking your brains out in that shithole every night, am I right?”

“You’re right, Ma,” Michael said sweetly. “Brian should be at home with his PARTNER.” He emphasized the word, almost gleefully. “Hey, maybe you two could come over for tofu stirfry tonight!”

Michael, Brian thought, calmly and zenly, I am going to kill you in your sleep.

“Now that sounds like a lovely plan,” Debbie said, patting Michael’s cheek. “Whoops, order’s up. Have fun tonight!”

Brian watched her go, and then banged his forehead on the table.

*

“So we have tofu as the main course, and green tea ice cream for desert!” Ben said cheerfully, setting the steaming plates of mush on the table. “Everybody dig in before it gets cold!”

“Thanks Ben, this looks great,” Justin said sincerely, picking up his fork. “Right Brian?”

Brian thought suicide didn’t seem like such a bad option.

*

Ted found out about Brian’s predicament the next day at the gym. After he stopped laughing hysterically, he said, “Maybe we could try a disguise.”

“Hey, that’s a great idea. I could borrow one of your outfits, Theodore.”

“We could try to sneak you in,” Justin said. “There must be a back entrance.”

“Believe me, I know all about back entrances in Babylon,” Brian snarked. Justin whapped his chest. “They’re all locked from the outside, anyway.”

“Ooh, ooh, I know!” Emmett perked up. “I saw this in a movie once. We could find one of those really big garbage cans and you could squeeze inside, and then they just wheel you in.”

Brian was silent for a long moment.

“So about that disguise idea,” he said finally.

“We could dress you up in drag, I can teach you how to walk in heels,” Michael suggested.

Brian thought he needed new friends. “Or,” he said, with a bitter edge to his voice, “We could face my destiny with grace and dignity and accept that I’m never going to Babylon again.”

That provoked another long, contemplative silence from the group.

Ted shrugged. “Yeah, that sounds great. See ya.”

“Well, I’m off to hit the showers,” Emmett waved, rushing away.

“Good luck with everything, I’ve got to get to work,” Michael said, following Emmett.

Brian and Justin were left alone. Justin stroked Brian’s hair. “Don’t worry, I’ll hang out with you,” he said bravely. “I won’t go to Babylon anymore either.”

“The sacrifices you make for me are just awe-inspiring.”

“Besides, it’s not like that’s the only club to go to.”

“It’s the only decent club that can afford to keep its doors open, after Stockwell was through with them,” Brian replied. “And fuck you if you think I’m stepping inside Meathook anytime soon. The guys in there will eat you alive. Literally.”

“We’ll go to Woody’s and play lots of pool,” Justin argued. “You won’t even notice something is missing.”

Except he did. It didn’t help that he didn’t even have work to keep his mind off things. Broke, jobless, and now fucking bored. It was pathetic. And after three days of non-stop hanging out together, Justin was getting pathetic too.

“Just go to Babylon already,” Brian said irritably. “You don’t have to keep up your noble act for me.”

Justin was in the kitchen getting them beers. “It’s not an act, I told you I wouldn’t go without you and I’m not.” He came into the living room, sitting cross-legged on the floor with Brian and handing him his beer.

“I didn’t ask you to,” Brian snapped. “Just go, would you? You’re starting to get on my fucking nerves.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, I’m fucking sure.”

“Okay see you at three!” Justin said quickly, and he was out the door before Brian could blink.

Well.

Zen. Zen.

I need to go a place where everybody knows my name, Brian thought. It wasn’t just Babylon he was missing, it was the community, the power, walking into a building and fucking owning it. The nubile young cock-sucking boys.

Speaking of cock-sucking…

In the end Brian went to the baths and treated himself, spending precious money on some E and turning down six of the ugliest guys he had ever seen. He came home to a drunk Justin, they had amazing sex on the kitchen counter, and Brian considered the evening a success. Fuck Babylon.

*

It took a week for Brian to start running out of things to do.

Woody’s was always the same, the baths became weary. He was sick of going to the gym. He still had no job and there were few prospects on the horizon. And most nights his friends would go to Babylon, leaving him to die of boredom all alone.

Being zen was wearing very fucking thin.

There was Justin, of course. Brian could admit that they had always spent tons of time together, mostly because they tended to hate everybody else. But now Brian was realizing that Justin did, in fact, spend quite a lot of time at Daphne’s. They would waste away the afternoons and evenings eating, watching TV, lying around together doing Christ knows what – braiding each other’s hair maybe. On his third consecutive evening all by himself that week, Brian decided that it was time to act. Also, he was really, really bored.

Daphne was the one who opened the door.

“What’s up,” Brian greeted her, smiling widely, and presented her with a bag of doughnuts.

Daphne stared. “Uh…”

Justin came out of the kitchen then, calling, “Hey Daph, who’s at the…” When he saw Brian, he too stopped and stared.

“He brought doughnuts,” Daphne told Justin, still looking lost.

“Well, aren’t you going to invite me in,” Brian said, and wordlessly she stepped aside. Brian entered the bright, little apartment and looked around. Everything was pink and there was a Playstation hooked up to the TV. He could see why Justin liked it.

“Brian, not that I’m not glad to see you, but what are you doing here?” Justin managed finally.

Brian knew why they were both so surprised. He had visited their apartment exactly twice, and both of those times he had just picked Justin up to go clubbing. “I was in the neighbourhood,” Brian replied, aiming for casual. “Thought I’d see what Ricky and Lucy were up to.”

Daphne and Justin exchanged looks. Fucking teenagers not understanding his pop culture references. Brian sighed and slumped on the sofa, putting his feet up. He gestured for Justin to join him, and hesitantly he did, sitting beside him awkwardly. Brian looped an arm around him, hoping for a warmer reaction. For Christ’s sake, Brian Kinney wanted to fucking cuddle on his boyfriend’s couch and all Justin could do was stare at him weirdly. Asshole.

“Um…” Daphne said, clearly uncertain if she should play hostess. “Can I get you anything, Brian?”

“Do you have any good beer?”

Daphne and Justin shook their heads in unison.

Brian sighed again. “Then no. So…” He looked down at Justin, and then at Daphne. “Want to go see a movie?”

Justin and Daphne looked at each other again, and then Daphne shrugged. “Sure,” she grinned. “Are you paying?”

“Oh, she’s funny,” Brian told Justin.

Seeing a Tom Cruise movie with two twenty-year olds wasn’t the heinous experience Brian had expected. Justin and Daphne did their little giggly friends routine, and Brian ate their popcorn, and when the lights went out Justin held his hand. Not heinous at all. It was actually kind of…nice.

*

It started to get bad when everyone else noticed Brian’s boredom, too.

During dinner at the munchers’, Mel started looking at him suspiciously. “This is the third time you’ve been over here, you’ve never visited that much in one week.”

“Are you telling me I’m not allowed to see my son?” Brian asked, bouncing Gus on his knee.

“No, I mean it’s usually US that you don’t want to see.” Melanie raised an eyebrow. “What’s up, Kinney? And spare me the bullshit.”

“Are you and Justin having trouble?” Lindsay asked, biting her lip.

“Or Michael, did you two have another fight?”

Brian blinked. “Christ, no. Can’t I do anything around here without a fucking interrogation?”

Both women just looked at him expectantly, with knowing eyes that freaked Brian out. He felt himself caving. “Okay,” he said finally, “the truth is, I was banned from Babylon.”

They kept staring at him. “…So?” Lindsay said, after a silence.

This was exactly why Brian did not discuss this kind of thing with lesbians. “So? So now I’m out of a job and with nothing to do, and on top of that I don’t even have my spiritual home anymore.”

“Spiritual home?” Mel echoed blankly.

“You wouldn’t understand.” Brian deposited Gus on the floor and watched him toddle off to the living room.

“So now what, you’re so bored you’re turning to us for entertainment?” Mel asked.

“Actually, I was hoping you could give me some ideas of what I could do with time. And please,” Brian added, holding up a hand, “don’t tell me to look for a job or give me any of that ‘better your life’ bullshit. I figured being lesbians and therefore inherently more boring, you two know plenty of ways to entertain yourselves that don’t involve back rooms.”

Mel rolled her eyes. “You can deal with this,” she said, and went to fetch Gus.

Lindsay patted Brian’s hand. “It’s okay, I understand. Think of this as a positive development! You were getting too old for clubs anyway.”

“So what do you suggest I do in my retirement?”

Lindsay smiled. “What is the easiest, quickest, and cheapest way to Justin’s heart?”

Brian thought about it for a moment. Then, uncertainly, he reached into his pocket and held out a condom.

“No no, not sex,” Lindsay said impatiently, snatching the condom away. “My gallery is free on Thursday nights.”

Brian raised an eyebrow. “Your point being?”

“Well, what day is it tomorrow?”

“Best Chest contest at Woody’s.”

“It’s Thursday, and I think you and Justin should drop by.”

“I think the condom sounds like a better idea.” At her glare he sighed and raised his hands in submission. “Okay, fine. I’ll ask him.”

The next day on the drive to the gallery, Justin talked enthusiastically about art while Brian seethed silently.

Figures, he thought, I get banned from Babylon and I turn into a fucking lesbian.

*

Later that week Ted phoned him up and said, “You know, the funniest thing happened to me in rehab today…”

Brian decided right then and there it was time to take some serious action.

*

Justin, the little cherub, had actually met the new owner of Babylon several times. Raymond White was in his forties, not particularly good looking, eccentric, and rich. “He’s around a lot. He’s always coming up to us on the dance floor, making sure we’re having a good time,” Justin informed Brian.

“Does he hit on you?”

Justin laughed. “He doesn’t seem interested in anyone.”

Uh huh. “Any idea where he lives?”

“No, but I bet I could ask him tonight.”

Justin got a long, hot blowjob for his troubles and Brian sent him off to Babylon with a smack on his ass. At two forty-six he was back in the loft, a little buzzed and sweaty from dancing, but not wasted.

“Any luck on the Raymond front?” Brian asked him, even though Justin was practically crawling all over him in bed. He wanted to get business over with first.

“No, but one of the bartenders told me he’s always in his office upstairs during the day. No one else is around then.”

Brian considered this Raymond for a moment. “Maybe I could fuck him.”

“I told you, he doesn’t seem interested in anyone. Some people aren’t even sure he’s gay.”

“Since when has that ever stopped me?” huffed Brian.

The next afternoon he drove to Babylon and resolutely walked in the door, finding the stairs to the offices above the dance floor. Justin had been right, nobody else was present, not even a cleaning crew. He got a glimpse of the dance floor briefly and felt a pang of longing. Even in the harsh light of day, the empty, clean box of a club was so welcoming.

Soon, he promised himself.

Brian found one of the office doors open and he peeked inside. A man sat working at a computer, so normal-looking that for a minute Brian thought he had the wrong person. Then the man glanced up and smiled. “Brian Kinney?”

“Uh, yeah?”

“I’m Raymond White. Please, come in and sit down.”

Brian remained standing. “Did Justin tell you I was coming?”

“Hmm? Oh, no, no, I knew you would be here sooner or later. I must admit, it was a surprise when I learned that you had a misunderstanding with my staff…gave me quite a chuckle.”

“Oh yeah, it was fab.”

“So now I suppose you would like access back into my club?”

Brian crossed his arms and tried to remain calm and imposing. “Yes, I suppose I would.”

Raymond smiled slightly. “Brian, do you remember me?”

“…No?”

He laughed. “No, I figured you wouldn’t. That’s all right. Seven years ago, here in this very club?”

Oh, great, thought Brian, I fucked a geezer.

“I had only come out that very year. We had sex in the backroom and afterwards I wanted to see you again. I believe your exact words were ‘Fuck off’ and that was the last I ever saw of you.”

Brian snorted. “What is with people falling in love with me after one fuck?”

“I was disappointed, of course. You were the most beautiful man I had ever seen. But, after that I made a promise to myself. No more casual sex. No more getting my heart broken. A year later I met my husband. We were married this summer in Canada. And it’s all thanks to you.”

Brian decided he needed to sit down after all.

“I also made another promise to myself, when I married my husband. I want all men to feel the same happiness I feel.”

“Then why the fuck are you the owner of the biggest fleshpot in Pittsburgh?”

“It’s business.” Raymond shrugged. “You know, I’ve become quite fond of your young man…”

“Oh, Christ.”

“He’s a very special boy. Talented, too. Do you really believe you treat him with the respect he deserves?”

“Listen, Justin has nothing to do with this. I just need to be allowed back in Babylon.”

“Brian, you too can use this opportunity to change your life, like I did!”

“You don’t understand. You know that rule about no fucking go-go dancers on stage? That’s because of me! And last year when the backroom was illegally reopened? That was me, too!”

Raymond contemplated him for a long moment. “I see. And where does Justin fit into this?”

“He’s….he loves Babylon, too. And…” Brian clutched at straws. “And since I’ve been banned from Babylon, we – we haven’t been spending as much time together.”

Aha, Raymond perked up at that. Finally Brian’s training in advertising was paying off.

“And I – I miss him,” Brian finished, making sure his voice sounded hoarse with longing.

Raymond looked positively touched. “Brian, I understand completely. I think we can make a deal here. You will be allowed into Babylon…if you and Justin--”

“We’re not fucking getting married,” Brian said quickly, feeling his heart starting to pound.

“One step at a time,” Raymond smiled thinly. Bastard. “No, I was going to suggest that you and Justin move in together.”

Brian was silent. Raymond raised an eyebrow. “Well?”

Zen. Zen. Zen.

*

Brian drove to Justin and Daphne’s apartment again, only this time he pounded on the door and didn’t wait for an answer before opening it. “Justin,” he shouted. “Get your ass out here.”

Justin appeared out of his bedroom, eyes wide, looking like he had just woken up from a nap. “Brian? What are you…why do you have boxes?”

“Pack your shit, sonny boy,” Brian said impatiently. “You’re outta here.”

“What? Where am I going?”

Brian held up a large china cat. “Do you want to keep this?”

“I…”

“Well? Are you going to stand there and ask stupid questions, or are you going to help?”

*

“I still don’t understand how this means you can go to Babylon again.”

Brian rolled his eyes. “Don’t question Raymond’s logic, just be grateful.”

Justin sat up a little in bed, surveying his boxes of junk and overflowing clothes piled around the loft. “At least it doesn’t look so empty now.” He smiled suddenly, glancing at Brian and poking his chest. “I think it’s kind of cute. You inspired him to find true love.”

“Don’t make me sick, please.”

“Another happily married queer couple, all because of you.”

“Justin--”

“Hey, maybe that can be your new business, a matchmaking service.”

Brian reached over and pinched his side. Justin jumped and yelped, laughing. Despite himself, Brian started to laugh too, and he rolled over on top of Justin. Legs immediately wrapped around Brian’s waist. They kissed, lightly, and Brian’s hands started playing with Justin’s hair.

“At least I have a live-in slave boy now,” Brian observed.

Justin sighed and nodded. “The sacrifices you have to make for your noble cause.”

“Yeah, it’s a hard life,” Brian replied. They grinned at each other until Brian just had to kiss him. The kiss was longer this time, deep, and Justin’s hands traced ticklish patterns across Brian’s back. Brian sank into the warm cradle of Justin’s body, dicks pressed together, and it felt so good and so right that he barely even registered Justin’s question.

“So, do you wanna go to Babylon?”

Brian glanced down at him and smiled, their noses touching. “No, let’s stay in,” he said, and kissed him again.

-fin-