So, last week the lovely nutmeg3 sent me a CD of some of her favourite songs, including Christine Lavin's The Kind of Love You Never Recover From, which is incredibly beautiful and awesome and OMG, you must find and download this song immediately. Her voice is gorgeous, and I've listened to it about 89743 times since Sunday.
As has been my fangirl wont since I was about 10, I immediately apply good love songs to whichever fandom couple I'm currently in love with. The second half of this song made me think of Brian and Justin right away, especially the line "Years from now, will we curse the day you let me let you walk away?"
So, here's a ficlet that's been running through my mind all week. It's about an R, not hard enough to rate a NC-17. And despite the sound of the title, need I remind you all that I am exceptionally sappy?
Feedback is greatly appreciated, as always!
The first time Brian let Justin walk away, he knew it was for the best. The kid had been a damn good fuck, but there was something about him that lowered his defences. Heíd done him more than once. Hell, heíd even told him about his first time. It had to be nipped in the bud, and the kid had to learn that love was bullshit. Yet watching him drive away into the night, Brian felt something suspiciously similar to regret.
He wouldnít know what regret really was until he watched Justin retreat into the darkness of a parking garage months later.
The second time Brian let Justin walk away, he thought it was for the best. Brian knew that he could never give Justin what he wanted. What he deserved. So he revealed himself. He made Justin face the truth: He could never be the man Justin wanted.
Would never be.
He felt the thump of the bass in his bones, although he couldnít tell where the music ended and his heartbeat began. As Justin disappeared into the crowd, Brian could feel the eyes of his friends on him. He placed his mask back on, and waited for the relief to come.
For a little while, he mistook the numbness for salvation.
The third time Brian let Justin walk away, it was only for a few months. It was the opportunity of a lifetime, and Brian wanted Justin to have the world. He held him at the gate, tried to tell him with a kiss all the words heíd never be able to say. He watched him go and told himself that it wasnít forever.
As the months passed, Brian marveled at how his life continued without him. He worked, he played, he ate, he slept, he fucked. Unlike the last time Justin left, Brian didnít see him at the diner, he didnít see him on the street. His absence became normal. Sometimes Brian would catch sight of blond hair and his heart would constrict for a moment. But for the most part, he got along just fine.
If thereís anything Brianís learned, itís that humans are frighteningly adaptable.
When he went to visit Justin in L.A., he braced himself. Surely the connection would be diminished by the time and distance, by months and miles. In the vastness of the airport, he spotted Justin within seconds and when he crossed the ground between them, he wouldnít have been surprised if heíd been flying. When Justin was in his arms again, Brian felt his senses awaken. He closed his eyes against the glare of the sun through the tall windows.
After a weekend of flesh and sweat and laughter, he went home. Once again, the days melted into weeks and months, and his life went on.
When Justin finally returned and Brian saw him once more, he felt the same rush of taste and smell and sound. The loft became their world, a constant slide of tangled limbs and mingled breath, and Brian thought he remembered what happiness was.
It was only a few days before Justin told him about the new job offer.
The fourth time Brian lets Justin walk away, he knows itís the way it has to be. Theyíve always communicated the best without speaking, and thereís only so much distance a relationship can take.
Sometimes Brian still canít believe heís using the word ďrelationship.Ē
They donít really talk about the decision. It just happens, and neither Brian nor Justin raise an objection. It seems they have both silently convinced themselves itís for the best. Justin needs to see the world, after all. They'll be filming in Australia for a year; back-to-back sequels to Brettís first big hit, something about blowing things up. Justin will be art director, and the opportunity is too great to pass up. Brian wonít allow himself to hold Justin back.
Sometimes thatís just the way it has to be, and Brian is a realist.
Justin had never really moved in for good, and doesnít have that much to pack. He books his flight and puts his boxes in his motherís spare room. On his second-last night in the loft, he and Brian lie in bed, awake. Justin tries to say that Brian will find someone else, but only gets two words out before Brian walks into the bathroom and shuts the door behind him. When he eventually emerges, Justin has fallen into an uneasy sleep.
On Justinís last night, Debbie and Emmett throw him a going-away party. Everyone tells Brian that Justin will come back, and that everything will be fine. Brian knows it isnít true. He knows that Justin will replace him, because life goes on. It seems impossible at first, but it always does.
As they drive back to the loft, they're silent. Brian dreads going back for the last time, and takes a different street, heading towards the river and out of the city. Justin asks where theyíre going, but Brian doesn't answer.
By the river, fog has descended. The full moon is obscured, and he remembers another night when the air was thick and he saw things more clearly than he had in a long time. He stops the car, turning off the engine and lights. Justin looks at him questioningly, but Brian doesnít acknowledge him.
He gets out and walks onto the deserted road, staring off into the misty night. Into nothing.
Brian knows that heíll survive without Justin. Heíll go on with his life. Heíll have ups and downs, happiness and sorrow. Heíll keep on living. But he knows with sudden clarity that there will never be anyone else. Sure, there will be men. There are always men. And maybe one day, there will be one who stays for more than one night. Someone who keeps him company, shares his life.
But there will never be this.
He feels the weight of untold years and knows that no matter how much happiness and success he might have without Justin, he will never escape that truth.
Justin calls his name, and he turns to face him. They walk towards each other and kiss slowly, their lips soft and gentle. Justinís eyes shimmer, and Brian wants to tell him that he has seen the future. But words fail him, as they always do.
He sinks onto the asphalt, his arms moving around Justinís waist, hands traveling beneath his shirt, craving the feel of skin. He looks up and sees Justin watching him with something akin to awe, and it occurs to him that he hasnít been on his knees like this for a very, very long time.
He quickly loosens Justinís pants and takes him in his mouth, desperate to taste him, to smell him, to feel him. Justinís fingers weave through Brianís hair tightly and Brian welcomes the pain. He licks and sucks him like itís the last time, and savours every moment. As he takes him deeply into his throat, Justin starts wavering on his feet and Brian holds him up firmly, his hands strong on Justinís hips.
Justin murmurs Brianís name over and over, and then he comes with a gasp and a low moan. Brian swallows without hesitation before Justin collapses onto his knees before him. They kiss for long minutes, barely coming up for air. As their tongues wind together, Brian falls back against the hard pavement, pulling Justin on top of him. The fog has lifted, and his golden hair gleams in the moonlight. Brian holds Justinís face in his hands.
ďStay with me.Ē
The moment seems to last forever Ė dirt and grit beneath him, pieces of gravel digging into his skull. Justinís weight is solid on top of him and the silence of the night surrounds them. Justin takes a shuddering breath and smiles. He nods, and Brian pulls him down for another kiss.
Later, in their bed, Brian moves inside him and whispers things heís no longer afraid to say. They finally sleep as the sun is coming up, and the hour of Justinís flight comes and goes.
Justin does eventually see the world, and Brian realizes that maybe he should see it, too. But they always come home again, to friends and family who listen to their stories with enthusiasm, and look at their pictures with loving eyes.
One year, Brian and Justin walk along the waterís edge at Lake Como, hands clasped tightly and gelato melting on their tongues. The moon is high over the Italian Alps and Justinís hair shines like it did the first night Brian met him, and countless nights since. Without needing to ask, they swap cones and taste each otherís ice cream as they stroll along.
Brian always used to say that he doesn't do regret, and itís the truth.