Written By: severina2001
Timeline: Season One through Post Season Five
Summary: Eight measures in Brian and Justin's lives.
The first time Justin gets fucked in a car is at a rest stop almost exactly half way between New York City and Pittsburgh.
“All right boys,” Emmett announces, interrupting his own Liza Minnelliimpression (for which Justin is eternally grateful), “I think it’s time for a potty break.”
Brian shoots Emmett a disgusted look, and Justin bites his lip and doesn’t remind Brian that he is going 80 in a 50 mile per hour zone and really should keep his eyes and attention on the road. He’s read that driver inattention is the cause of more than half of all highway accidents, easily trouncing collisions relating to drug and alcohol consumption. Justin keeps his mouth shut and makes sure his seatbelt is securely fastened.
“Who says ‘potty break’?” Brian sneers.
“Come on, Brian, let’s just pull over. There’s a rest stop coming up,” Michael whines from his place beside Justin. He throws in a glare at Justin for good measure, and Justin shrinks back in his seat, sliding over to hug the door jam a little tighter. Michael has whined and glared for the entire fucking trip, and frankly Justin is getting sick of it.
“I wouldn’t mind some of this road grime off my face,” Ted says.
“And getting some refreshments,” Emmett puts in.
“And stretching our fucking legs,” Michael mutters with another scowl in Justin’s direction.
“It’s not my fault Emmett called shotgun,” Justin points out.
“It’s your fault that we’re on this little trip in the first place! I swear to God, if I have to call off sick because this puts my shoulder out again--”
“Then you’ll have the good doctor thrust it back into place,” Brian interrupts. “Repeatedly.”
“That’s not the point!”
“No,” Brian says, “the point is that all of you are whining like 12 year old girls. It‘s tedious.”
Ted lifts a finger. “Uh, I’d like to point out that I was not whining.”
“Whatever.” Brian spins the wheel suddenly to the right and Justin grabs onto the door handle as the car whips into the rest stop parking lot. Michael’s elbow connects with his ribs… again. He’s sure it’s deliberate.
Brian avoids the bustling front lot of the building and pulls around to the back, parking beneath the leafy overhang of an ancient elm. It’s dark and cool and a welcome respite from the heat of the road. A welcome break from everything -- Michael’s complaining and Emmett’s singing and Ted’s bad jokes, and mostly from the way Brian looks at him in a way that Justin cannot decipher -- like he’s a little angry and a little horny and a lot of something unnameable, some emotion that’s not yet part of his ongoing Brian dictionary. That unnameable something makes him uneasy.
He piles out of the jeep with the others and stretches. He aches, but there’s no way he’s going to admit it. At least not with Michael in earshot.
He spins to take in the area. Restaurant, bathrooms, and…
“Oooh,” Emmett squeals and claps, and Justin has to grin at his enthusiasm, “there’s a gift shop!”
“Back here in fifteen minutes,” Michael warns.
Emmett sticks out his tongue. “Spoilsport.”
Michael grins at Emmett before turning to Brian. “You coming?”
“In a minute.”
Justin hesitates at the side of the jeep as the boys wander off. It’s been at least five hours since he’s eaten (he doesn’t really count licking the strawberry sauce off Brian’s cock in the hotel room as eating) and he’s starving. But he figures he’s only got about five dollars to his name and no source of income when he actually gets back to Pittsburgh, and he has no idea what roadside restaurants charge for fries. Or whether Brian would even let him bring fries into the jeep.
And somehow, he thinks asking Brian for a couple bucks might not be the best idea.
He fingers the coins in his pocket. Chocolate bar? Will melt in the sun, definitely will be vetoed. Chips? Too messy. He’s got his head down and has taken a couple of steps away from the car when he is pulled back by a finger hooked into the back of his hoodie.
“Where do you think you’re going?” Brian asks.
“Ohhh, I don’t think so.”
The back seat isn’t meant for sex, but Justin finds himself with his jeans around his ankles all the same.
He’s not quite sure how he got there -- his mind tends to blank out when Brian is around, or when he’s thinking about Brian, or when someone mentions Brian’s name -- but Brian’s dick is hot and hard against his stomach and the lube is slick and cold at his ass and--
Brian pauses in the act of sliding on the condom to raise an eyebrow.
“There’s something… my back…” Justin tugs and Michael’s open overnight bag tumbles to the floor of the jeep, sending dirty socks and random superhero comics flying.
“Shit,” Justin mumbles. He makes a grab for the glossy pages, but then Brian is pushing slowly inside him and his brain short-circuits, and the comics fall where they may. He lifts his hips to meet Brian’s steady thrusts and pulls Brian down for a kiss and though a small part of his brain is screaming they’ll be back in 10 minutes the vast majority of his grey-cell function is taken up by more important things like remembering how to breathe.
He’s hot and sweaty and ink tends to run, and it takes Justin three days of vigorous scrubbing to wash the superhero imprint off his hip.
Brian laughs whenever he sees it, and for a week Justin gets hard whenever he sees an image of Captain America.
“Oh!” Justin reaches across to turn the volume up. “This is one of the songs I danced to at Babylon last night.”
He starts to groove in his seat, and much as Brian appreciates the display, he’s also had three hours sleep and is currently working off the effects of an assortment of both legal and illegal pharmaceuticals. He turns the volume down.
“Brian.” Justin turns the volume up. “This is one of my favourite songs.”
Brian winces. “It’s shit.”
“Just because it’s not John Coltrane--”
“Don’t even start on Coltrane.”
“You know, it wouldn’t hurt you to move just a teeeeny bit into the new millennium. There are artists out there who are making significant transformations to the musical landscape. You might be surprised.”
Brian snorts. “Who, Madonna?”
“Please. Madonna is so 1985.”
“All right, Mr. Melody. Enlighten me.”
“Have you ever heard Jesus on Extasy?”
“I’ve seen Jesus while on Ecstasy. Does that count?”
Justin flops back into the seat and flails his arms. “You’re hopeless.”
Brian flicks off the radio and leans back into the comfort of his seat. “And you’re a drama queen.”
“I was listening to that!”
Despite his silent but palpable admission that he and Justin are, in fact, in a “relationship”, there are things that Brian tells himself he will never do.
He won’t take Justin out on a date. He won’t consult Justin on decorating decisions (and he doesn’t care how much Justin hates the new curtains in the loft -- they cost a fucking fortune, they’re practically a work of art, and he’s not giving them up.) He’ll never agree that they have “plans” on a Saturday night -- he might have plans and Justin might have plans, and if those plans happen to overlap then it’s merely a fortuitous coincidence.
He won’t skip out on a planned meeting with Vance and the art department because he gets a phone call from Justin saying that his ride “punked out” and the PIFA campus is in the middle of nowhere and bus service is for shit and he can’t reach Daphne and he really, really needs a ride.
Brian contemplates this as he taps his finger impatiently on the wheel of the ‘vette and muses on exactly how he’s going to make Justin pay for this little chauffeur service. He’s so lost in thoughts of blindfolds and restraints that, for a moment, he doesn’t realize that the blond approaching the vehicle is actually Justin.
Justin, carrying a soggy cardboard container of French fries.
Brian frantically rolls down his window. “You are not getting into this car,” he says fiercely, “with that.”
Justin gives him the patented you’ve-just-sprouted-two-heads look and opens the passenger door.
Justin slides inside, carefully depositing his messenger bag into the space behind the seat while manoeuvring the ketchup-laden fries with his -- Brian blanches -- with his weaker hand.
“What did I just say?”
Justin gives him a beatific smile. “I believe you just said ‘Hello Sunshine, and how was your day?’”
“Get out of the car, Justin.”
“GET OUT OF THE FUCKING CAR.”
“Brian.” Justin places his napkin on the dashboard and turns to face him, and he sees the fries tremble in their treacherous cardboard container. One fry in particular is balanced precariously on the stack, it’s red-dipped end tilting perilously toward his pristine interior. “It’s leather interior. This is just ketchup. It’ll wipe off. IF I were to drop any, which I won’t.”
“My car,” Brian says slowly, “is not a fast food eatery.”
Justin watches him in the same way he might watch a semi-interesting bug. “You know, you really need to relax. Most heart attacks that strike people under the age of 40 are stress related.” Justin snags a fry from the top of the pile and bites. “It’s just a car.”
Brian gasps. “JUST a car. This car is a classic, 330 horsepower--”
“I’ve heard the specs. Fascinating,” Justin says dryly around a mouthful of mashed up potato product. “Did I mention these are chuck wagon fries? Delicious.”
Brian thinks his head might literally explode. “Justin,” he warns.
“Just try one,” Justin says. And then Justin’s holding onto the soggy container with only one hand because the other is shoving a French fry weighed down by entirely too much ketchup toward his mouth, and Brian had skipped lunch in order to bawl out some copywriting lackey and his stomach is grumbling at the tantalizing scent that’s filling the vehicle, but he opens his mouth only because he wants that hand back where it belongs.
Justin has sold three paintings and has a commission on offer for a fourth, and is floating on what could only be called his I-am-a-fucking-genius high. On nights like these, he can almost forget about the rat he might possibly have seen scurrying behind the kitchen cabinet. On nights like these, the move to a slighter better zip code actually seems in reach.
He sips on his second glass of champagne and smiles at the right people (in truth, he smiles at everyone, because he-is-a-fucking-genius) and reminds himself that two is his limit if he wants to be even remotely coherent when talking with the Times reporter. When his cell phone begins vibrating in his pocket, he steps carefully away from the circulating masses and flips it open.
“I’m almost there,” Brian says.
Justin smiles into the phone. “The show’s almost over,” he says lightly.
Justin can hear the din of traffic in the background, the sharp press of a horn. They’d promised -- well, not promised, because they don’t do promises -- but they’d made it a point to be there for the big things. Justin had only missed once (and hearing the stories of Brian’s satisfaction at Babylon’s reopening from Michael and Ben had made him determined to make sure he never missed out again) and now it appeared like Brian was going to unintentionally even the score.
“How big of a hit are you?”
Justin’s grin only gets wider. “Massive.”
“Are you sure your ego is going to fit out the door?”
“Just barely,” Justin answers. He winces at the sound of squealing tires, leans against the pillar and tries to keep the worry out of his voice. “Listen, just take it easy. You’ll be here in time to take me out for celebratory champagne and caviar.”
“Expensive tastes,” Brian says. There’s a pause in which Justin knows that Brian is lighting a cigarette, and when Brian speaks next, it’s around the smoke. “I’m the safest driver you know.”
“Mario Andretti is a safer driver than you.”
“Is that one of the Super Mario Brothers?”
Justin rolls his eyes. From the edge of the crowd, he can see his agent gesturing at him wildly. He tries to decipher the signs, but frantic arm waving is a little difficult to interpret. “I’ve gotta go,” he tells Brian. “Just be safe.”
“I always play safe, Sunshine.”
After another break-up, an emotional reunion, and a tearful Christmas dinner with the family, Melanie and Lindsay decide to move back to Pittsburgh. A month and a half later, they decide to have another baby.
“What do you think?” Lindsay asks, almost vibrating with glee.
“I think it’s the most ridiculous idea I’ve ever heard,” Brian tells her.
Needless to say, Brian is not the father.
In the end, Michael agrees to let Lindsay carry his child. Because, as Brian says, they should really try to fuck up the family tree as much as possible.
Lindsay vomits profusely for six months straight and threatens to dismember anyone who tells her that she is “glowing”.
At the family Christmas dinner (held at Debbie’s, of course, because why would the festivities be moved to a vast open spaces of Britin when 12 adults and 2 children can be squished into Debbie’s 10x12 living room?)
Lindsay paces throughout the ritual gift giving and goes to the bathroom approximately every two point five seconds. They are halfway through their turkey and cranberry sauce dinner when --
“Guys?” Lindsay says quietly. “My contractions are six minutes apart. I think I need to go to the hospital.”
Amid the cacophony of voices Mel’s rings the loudest. “What the fuck? Why didn’t you tell us that--”
“I didn’t want to interrupt anyone’s Christmas dinner!”
There is a rush for coats and boots, a clatter of dishes and cutlery, children squealing and shouting and Lindsay reminding everyone that, yes, she really needs to get to the hospital right fucking now.
Mel leads Lindsay carefully through the snow to the door of the corvette parked in the driveway.
“Wait a minute,” Brian says. “Why are we taking my car?”
“Brian!” Lindsay huffs.
Mel opens the passenger door. “Just get in the car, Linds.”
“Take Mikey’s car!”
“My car is parked halfway down the block!” Michael protests.
Lindsay hesitates with one leg still out of the vehicle. “I can walk to Mich--” she begins.
“Get in the car!” Melanie orders.
Justin rests a hand on Brian’s arm. “You’ll be fine,” he says softly, for Brian‘s ears only. “We’ll be right behind you.”
Lindsay looks from Melanie to Brian… and hefts her bulk the rest of the way into the corvette. “I can’t wait to be rid of this baby,” she mutters.
“Forty seven pounds, Mel. Forty seven… oh.”
Brian squints. “What the fuck is that?”
Lindsay smiles faintly. “My water just broke.”
A murmured ‘Ohhh’ and a dull thud at the back of the assemblage is all that indicates Emmett’s body hitting the pavement.
Ted pushes his way to the front to get a better look. “Oh yeah,” he says to no one in particular. “That’s never coming out.”
A month later, Justin intercepts the outgoing mail just in time to prevent Brian from sending Lindsay the cleaning bill.
In retrospect, it’s ironic that it is Justin who has the car accident.
He won’t get behind the wheel if he’s had a lick of alcohol, and has left his tiny coupe parked behind Woody’s or Babylon on more occasions that he can count. Brian moans about the astronomical cab fare to Britin, and moans some more about having to lug Justin back to the city to retrieve his vehicle the next day.
He won’t get behind the wheel if he’s wasted. Cue more Brian moaning.
He always wears his seat belt and obeys all traffic signs. He never goes above the speed limit. He doesn’t tailgate or hug the curb or weave between other vehicles. “Road rage” is not in his vocabulary.
He is, in fact, doing 37 in a 40 mile per hour zone when the grey van careens through the intersection and broadsides him. Justin has time only to cover his face with his hands before his car is spun 180 degrees across the median. He blacks out.
Later, in the hospital, Brian holds Justin’s hand and barely restrains himself from launching across the bed and shaking answers out of the cop.
“How did it happen?” Justin asks. He has two black eyes, three fractured ribs, and a broken collarbone (“Now we have a matched set,” he‘d joked when Brian first arrived, breathless and terrified, and Brian would have collapsed right on the spot if not for the look in Justin‘s eyes that said
don‘t you fucking dare), and he still sounds calmer than Brian does.
“As far as we can determine,” the investigating officer drones, “drugs and alcohol were not a factor. The accused appears to have been talking on his cell phone when the incident occurred.”
“The incident?” Brian tries to reel in his rage, not altogether successfully.
“It’s very lucky that Justin was wearing his seat belt,” the accompanying doctor puts in. “And that the airbag deployed.” She puts a hand on Justin’s good shoulder reassuringly, and looks at Brian. “That airbag saved his life.”
The corvette, being from a bygone era when dinosaurs walked the earth, doesn’t even have airbags.
Brian sells it the following week.
One advantage to the larger mint-from-the-showroom Mercedes (aside from the leg room) is its passenger space. Brian’s pleased that there’s now room for one additional passenger in particular.
Gus rambles happily about his hockey game and penalty shots and someone named Sydney Crosby, but Brian tunes most of it out, concentrating instead on the length of his son’s lashes. The way his eyes shine when he giggles. The shape of his nails, and the way his fingers curl when he reaches forward from his booster seat to deposit a few kernels of leftover popcorn into Justin’s hand.
They are alike, his partner and his child. Both quick to smile and quick to temper. Both using whatever means necessary to accomplish their goals -- Brian will never forget what it took to convince him to give up his favourite chair to an AIDS hospice of all places, and he certainly wouldn’t have caved to bankbook-breaking skating lessons were it not for Gus’s big brown eyes.
Brian is caught, by both of them, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Eventually Gus’s chatter ceases, and when Brian checks the rear-view mirror at the next red light, his son is fast asleep.
“I think he finally wore himself out,” Justin says.
“Power nap,” Brian says. “He’ll be ready to drive us crazy again in about fifteen minutes.”
“Did you understand a word he was saying,” Brian asks, “about ‘icing’ and… ‘offsides’?”
“Nooo,” Justin laughs. “I’m hoping that Mel will be able to explain it. Or,” he shudders elaborately, “you might have to buy a… sports magazine.”
“Hmm. Is this Sydney Crosby hot?”
Justin smiles and leans back in his seat, and Brian concentrates on the road, the long stretch of tarmac unfolding beneath the wheels. It seems to him that he’s spent long years circling, but now the road always leads straight ahead. To home, to family, to a happiness that he still finds himself trying to deny.
Old habits die hard.
He told Lindsay once that he didn’t want Gus to forget him, but it’s more than that. He doesn’t want the people he cares about to ever doubt his affection. To ever doubt him.
“I love you,” he says.
He dares a side-glance to the passenger seat, expecting a smirk or a smile or a smug “I know.” He finds, instead, tousled blond hair, a gaping mouth, and the subtle yet distinct sound of snoring.
Brian smiles the rest of the way home.
Las Vegas is kitschy, campy, and noisy. Very, very noisy.
“Debbie would love it here,” Justin says as they stroll through yet another themed casino. New York New York, Paris, Egypt. Everything has a theme. Except that the theme is really ‘money’ and the endless cacophony of one-armed-bandits is making his head ache. A lot.
“It’s not that bad,” Brian says.
“Or Emmett! Em would love this place.”
“It’s unique,” Brian counters.
Justin scowls at his feet and doesn’t say a word. When Brian had suggested a much needed vacation, Justin had jumped at the idea. He’d been working non-stop on several new canvasses for his upcoming show, and Brian’s Evian and Levi Strauss campaigns had him putting in 18 hours days. They both needed a break.
Justin had pictured sun dappled beaches and white sands. Or lounging in picturesque cafes after a day spent at the Louvre.
When Brian had suggested Vegas, Justin had laughed.
Apparently the joke was on him.
Brian had done some gambling at the poker tables, breaking even and then calling it a night. Justin had wasted entirely too much money at the roulette wheel. They’d driven to Hoover Dam and been singularly unimpressed with a giant slab of concrete. Brian didn’t even complain when Justin said he wanted to tour the Ethel chocolate factory.
They’d been in Las Vegas days and days (and days) and Justin kept thinking that at any moment Brian was going to jump up and say “Ha! Just kidding! Here’s our tickets to Rome!” Instead, they spent another day in pseudo-Paris and another night trolling the cheesy lounge bars and drinking watered-down Budweiser.
It was… confusing.
“Had enough?” Brian asks, and Justin manages to raise himself from his contemplation of the ugliest carpet he has ever seen to nod. They head back out to the car.
“We’ve never been to this part of the Strip,” Brian says as he takes a right onto Las Vegas Blvd. (Justin scrunches his nose whenever he sees the street sign. City planners have no imagination.)
“Sure we have,” Justin says.
“Yes, I remember that souvenir shop.” Justin points to a slightly tattered building on the corner, “3 Shirts For $9.99” banner dangling in the heat. “That’s where I bought Debbie the ashtray shaped like Vegas Vic.”
Brian slows, idling on the corner. “I’m absolutely certain we’ve never been here before,” he grits out.
Justin huffs out a breath. His head hurts, and he really isn’t in the mood for Brian‘s shit. “Fine, whatever, we’ve never been here--”
And then he looks, really looks, at where Brian has brought the car to idle so patiently.
A Little Wedding Chapel.
Justin sucks in a breath, and he really doesn’t want to look at Brian, because what if Brian is just being a stubborn argumentative shit and the chapel is just a crazy coincidence? But he does look, because he has to know, and Brian is smiling, slyly and shyly. He shrugs, and Justin thinks
he has never been more in love as he has at this moment, with this man who swears up down and sideways that he’s not a romantic.
“Are you kidding?” Justin has to ask.
Brian smirks. “We don’t even have to get out of the car.”
The clerk at the window inspects Brian’s paperwork, and then they are quickly sped through to the drive-through window itself. The civil servant goes through the ceremony quickly and painlessly, and Justin recites his lines with a grin on his face. But when Brian pulls the velvet ring box from the tattered paper bag that’s been unceremoniously tucked away in the car’s glove box for the entire duration of their trip, Justin’s eyes well up and his hands shake and it’s all he can do to push the ring on Brian’s finger and whisper “I do.”
And even though they’re told to drive straight through the cherub-strewn underground lot known as the Tunnel of Vows, they put the car in park and make out like a couple of horny seventeen year olds.
“You know what I liked most about that ceremony?” Justin asks when they have finally emerged back into the sunshine.
“It was honest. It was efficient. We got in and out with a maximum of pleasure and a minimum of bullshit.”
Brian just smiles.