Written By: xie_xie_xie
Timeline: Season 2
Summary: A season 2 Christmas Eve.
Author's Notes: Thanks to my beta
I was sitting at my computer, the monitor the only light in the loft. Justin was sleeping, and I’d turned off the light over the bed when I left him there, tangled in the sheets.
I couldn’t sleep.
I’d dropped Justin at his mom’s for Christmas Eve. I knew going there would fuck with him, but when I suggested we go to Babylon instead, he’d given me a disgusted look and said he’d get a ride some other way if I didn’t want to drive him, but he was going.
He was restless and quiet after I got him from his mom’s just past midnight, and I felt a headache start in the back of my neck while we rode up in the elevator. He went straight to the shower and was in there a long time. I’d showered before I picked him up, so I didn’t join him, just stared at my computer and waited for him to come out and tell me about his evening.
But he didn’t. He just got in bed. And I just sat at my computer.
We were going to Debbie’s the next day, an annual homage to the tacky and maudlin that I somehow had let myself get roped into every year since I met Michael. I’d gone there after my own family’s Christmas dinner, where I’d never managed to force down more than a forkful of turkey, to have a plate loaded with sausage stuffing and turkey and mashed potatoes and gravy, followed by pumpkin pie smothered in canned whipped topping.
I heard a sound from the bedroom. I swore. He hadn’t been asleep ten minutes.
I walked into the room and he was curled into a ball on his side. I thought maybe I’d imagined the sound, when he kicked out his left leg and made a strangled noise. I knelt next to him, put a firm hand on his shoulder, and said his name once.
He thrashed out with his left arm, and I calmly leaned back so he didn’t make contact, then gripped his shoulder again and repeated his name, louder. He froze, opened his eyes, licked his lips, and rolled onto his back. He looked at me for a long minute. I didn’t say anything.
When I brought Justin back to the loft after he got out of the hospital, he would sometimes cry after I woke him from a bad dream. There were a lot of things Justin didn’t do anymore. Crying was one of them. And he didn’t cry now. He just stared at me. I stared back.
Then I got off the bed, stripped off my jeans and t-shirt, and climbed in with him. He didn’t say anything, didn’t cuddle up to me, just let me lie along his back and drape my arm over him, let me put my head on his pillow, his head under my chin.
And I waited for him to go to sleep again.
After a few minutes, I thought maybe I was wrong, maybe he was crying. I lifted my head and looked down at his face, but his eyes were dry. Open and staring, but dry.
I bent my legs, fitting them to the exact curve of his, letting my hand slide down over his hip and settle his ass firmly against me. His spine was rigid, but I wrapped my arm across his chest and pulled him into me, and I felt the tension go out of it all in one instant. His neck curved and I felt his hair against my cheek.
I thought about fucking him, but his body wasn’t welcoming me the way that meant he wanted to be fucked, or touched, or jerked off, or kissed. That didn’t necessarily matter, because usually all it took to get Justin in the mood was one soft kiss on the back of his neck, or a murmur against his ear, but for some reason tonight I wasn’t in the mood, either.
He took a deep breath. I felt his ribs expand with it. I wanted to look at his face again, but I didn’t. I just lay there wrapped around him, wishing he were asleep.
I used to watch Justin sleep before he got bashed. He did it the way he fucked, without holding anything back. He let himself go all the way to sleep, his lips parted just a little, his lashes lying on his cheeks, his skin flushed, his body soft. Justin had the amazing ability to sleepily open his arms or legs or body warmth up to me when I wanted that, and to curl away, his cheek on his arm, when I’d had enough.
I couldn’t remember the last time I saw him sleep like that.
Even now, after really intense sex, he sometimes would fall into a deep sleep. I would stare at him, willing it to stay peaceful, but it never did. If I watched him long enough, I could see his breathing get uneven, his eyes start flickering under his closed lids, and hear little sounds in his throat.
And then I’d wake him up. And watch him struggle to get out of the grip of the things in his head, to see just the loft ceiling and me and the darkness beyond the bed.
I used to ask him about his dreams, but it was always the same one, over and over. It never changed. So I stopped asking. I didn’t ask that night.
After ten minutes I felt his breathing get deeper and more regular, and I waited a little while longer and then carefully lifted my head and looked down at his face. His eyes were closed and for a few seconds he looked like he used to look when he slept. Then his lips moved, just a little, and his breathing hitched, and he moved his hand up and stuck it under his pillow.
He didn’t move again for a long time, and I finally got out of bed and went back to my computer and turned it off. I meant to grab some water out of the refrigerator and go back to bed, but now I was the one who felt restless. I walked over to the window and stood staring out, seeing a few buildings lit up for Christmas off in the distance, little dried up crusts of dirty snow up against the curb. My breath made a frost on the glass.