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Prologue - If You’re Reading This Now...

 

London, England

July, 1941

 

Dear Mother,

 

I hope this letter finds you and the family well. I received your latest packet of letters just yesterday and greatly enjoyed reading all the news from home. The tin of cookies was a big hit with all my mates since our rations are, of necessity, short these days, and nobody wants to stand in a queue for the few sweets you can buy in wartime London. I am pleased to hear that Molly is doing well with school. What about Father, is he well? Please give Molly my love and relay my regards to Father.

 

Now to more serious things - this is one of the hardest things I have ever written because you reading this letter, Mother, means that I am gone. Please do not be overly sad. I can not explain why I say this, but I want you to know that I have never been happier than I have been since I came to England to join the RAF and I am doing what is right for me. I am only sorry that, in this way, my happiness may have caused you any sadness.   

 

I need you to know just how much I love you. It wasn’t something I told you often during my time at home, and that is something I regret deeply. However, just because I did not say the words does not mean I didn’t frequently feel the sentiment. So, whenever you are sad, please close your eyes and think of me, because I’ll always be right there with you, keeping you safe.

 

Have a wonderful life, be happy.

 

Forever your loving son, Justin.

Justin_Letter_Fic

Chapter Text



Chapter 1 - Rusty Dusty Blues.

 

Brian shouldered his way past a rowdy gaggle of twenty-somethings who were bunched up near the side door of the pub. He was desperate to get outside and have a post-fuck smoke. He was glad it was still early enough in the evening that it was light out, although, judging by the lowering grey clouds that he could just barely glimpse overhead between the tall buildings that edged on the narrow alleyway, it would likely get dark quickly once the storm hit. He wasn’t that familiar with this part of Covent Garden though, so he was glad it wasn’t dark yet. Being a tourist in London, he felt like he always needed to be a little bit on alert, even though the pub he was in wasn’t in a bad neighborhood and his hotel was just down the street.

 

He was even more grateful for the fading light since there didn’t seem to be anyone else around as he ducked down the alley, which was a little bit creepy. He noted, in passing, the quaint brass sign affixed to the ancient red brick of the alley wall stating that this crooked, constricted, aisle had it’s own official name: Duckett’s Passage. That caused the jaded man to snort with laughter. Of course the back way out of the gay bar was a back passage. What the fuck else would it be called.

 

Brian pulled his pack of Marlboro’s out of his pocket along with his Zippo lighter and lit up, taking a nice long drag. He knew he really should quit this shit. He’d promised Gus that he would. And he had tried, but there were certain social situations where the urge to smoke was almost uncontrollable. One of which was post-fuck at a bar. It was almost a personal ritual for him. He’d been doing this same thing since his first trip to Babylon, his favorite gay club back home in Pittsburgh, when he was seventeen. There was just something about the kind of hook up you got in the back room of a gay bar - the hot, humid, fast-paced lust, the hands groping you from every direction as you played the game and stalked your intended prey, and the final culmination of the hunt ending with a trick being pushed up against the wall and the mindless thrusting, pushing, pulsing, before the sweet rush of release - that simply needed to be topped off with a nicotine infusion. And what his not-quite-three year old son didn’t know, couldn’t get Brian in trouble, right?

 

As he took his time with the cigarette, Brian ambled slowly down the cobble-paved alley. He fucking loved London. He’d always been a bit of a history buff, so any chance he got to wander through the living history of a place like London was fascinating for him. Just walking around, looking at all the buildings, most of which had been there for hundreds of years, gave him a secret thrill. It made him feel like he was somehow a part of it. A part of the history of this amazing city. Sometimes, when he was visiting, he’d just get off the Tube at random stops and wander around aimlessly, gawking at everything around him. He’d made some really remarkable finds that way - enjoying the tidbits he’d read on the various historical markers that seemed to pop up everywhere, discovering homes of the famous and infamous, learning more about the city around every curve. Only the day before, he’d wandered down an unassuming side street just for shits and giggles and come across the home of Daniel Webster, the creator of the first dictionary, which Brian thought was a great find. So he was in no hurry to leave this interesting little alley, in case it might happen to lead to another such discovery.

 

‘If this alleyway could talk’, he thought to himself with a grin as he examined a stretch of wall where you could tell by the difference in the brickwork that several windows and doors which had previously been there had since been sealed off and vaguely wondering why.

 

He’d only made it about fifty meters down the alley, though, before he felt the first drops of rain falling. He looked up at the clouds, which seemed to be getting ominously blacker by the second. He cursed at them, worried that his brand new Saville Row suit would be ruined if it got too wet. He probably shouldn’t have worn it to the bar in the first place - it wasn’t exactly standard club wear - but he’d just been so in love with it when he picked it up from the tailors that afternoon that he’d decided to keep it on and show off a bit. He did look fucking fantastic in it, too. It was a beautiful, classic three piece, made out of soft, lightweight, merino wool, that felt marvelous against his skin. The dove gray color looked great against his swarthy skin. And the matching gray silk Van Heusen tie and the crisp white Alexander McQueen  shirt he’d paired it with were the perfect combination. He knew the clients he was presenting his pitch to the next day would be blown away by his appearance in that suit before he’d even opened his mouth. Provided, of course, that the damned rain didn’t ruin it.


Brian's suit

Brian quickly turned around, heading at a much more rapid pace back towards the pub, hoping to reach shelter and save his suit. The rain was already starting to get heavier but he thought he would still make it. However, right as he stepped around a small bend, the building there jutting out at an odd angle into the passage, the clouds above completely broke open and buckets of rain began to dump down on him. Brian immediately stepped under the only protection he could find - a small brick ledge fit into the angle of the bend - and huddled as close to the damp, rough bricks as he could get in a vain attempt to save his precious clothing.

 

Not that it was working very well. He already felt like a drowned rat. It’s not like he hadn’t been to London before; he knew better than to leave his hotel room without a fucking umbrella. What had he been thinking? He imagined his hair probably looked atrocious, plastered to his head the way it was. So much for his plans to pull another trick or two at the pub before he headed back to the hotel for the night. Not gonna happen looking like he did now. Plus, he’d have to get his suit to the concierge as soon as possible so it could be pressed again for the next day. Fucking rain.

 

Just as Brian was debating whether or not it was worth it to brave the rain and make a run for the pub, a new freshet of rain drenched him, causing the already wet man to cringe and press back even further against the wall. However, before he had time to recover from that assault or figure out what to do next, the entire alleyway became suffused with the smell of ozone. Brian’s skin prickled and he felt the small hairs on the back of his neck standing on end. There wasn’t anywhere to go or hide, though. Another second and a deafening crack of thunder echoed through the small space of the passage and Brian was blinded by a flash of brilliance as the metal guttering pipe on the building just across the alley from him was hit by lightning.

 

The last thing he saw before his world faded to blackness was the wall next to the metal pipe, which seemed to be throbbing and glowing in the oddest way . . .



Brian groaned loudly as he attempted to pull himself up into a sitting position. He blinked around him in the darkness of the alley, trying to reorient himself. Why the fuck was he lying on the wet ground? What the fuck had just happened? He didn’t think he’d been so drunk that he would have passed out, and he definitely hadn’t left his drink unattended, so there was no way he could have been slipped any drugs . . . but it almost felt like it. The entire right side of his body ached, his forehead stung like a mother fucker, and his ankle hurt whenever he tried to move it. How could such a perfect night turn to shit so quickly?

 

Raising his hand, Brian wiped at his forehead, hissing as it made contact with the giant cut above his right eye.

 

“Shit.”

 

Looking around himself, it was clear that Brian was still in the alley behind the pub. It was much darker now than it had been before, although the rain had thankfully stopped. In fact, oddly enough, the street he was lying on was only slightly damp. It barely looked like it had rained at all, which didn’t make any sense considering the downpour that he’d been caught up in just a few minutes before. He could feel the fabric of his suit jacket was still very wet, so why wasn’t the street wet too?

 

Dismissing that anomaly, Brian carefully climbed to his feet, using the brick wall next to him for support and taking care not to put too much weight on his sore ankle. The narrow confines of the alley were deeply shadowed now, meaning he must have been there for quite a while. He looked up at the sky but saw only the usual night time darkness, giving him no clue as to what time it might be. There didn’t appear to be many clouds lingering after the storm, but even so, it seemed much darker than Brian was used to.

 

He shook his head, trying to clear away the lingering cobwebs and figure out what the hell had just happened to him. He recalled the pub and the great fuck he’d had with the hot little Pakistani trick he’d met there. He remembered going outside for a smoke. He remembered rain. Lots of fucking rain. And then . . . Fuck! He remembered the lightning hitting the building across from where he was hiding from the storm and the passing thought that the brick wall must have caught on fire or some shit, what with the way it had been glowing. He must have fucking passed out from the lightning strike. Shit! He was lucky to be alive! That had been too fucking close.

 

Brian took a deep breath to steady his nerves. He’d never been almost killed by lightning before, so he supposed it was okay to feel a little shaken. He hobbled forward a couple small steps, wincing with the pain, but feeling relieved that it seemed to get easier the further he walked. With one hand braced against the wall, he was able to make his way slowly down the dark alley, one mincing step at a time, even though, at that rate, it was going to take him the rest of the night to get back to the pub.

 

It was so dark that he really couldn’t make out much around him as he hobbled along, but Brian thought that something in the alley didn’t seem quite right. Why the fuck weren’t there any street lights down here? And where was the big dumpster he remembered passing? The entire passage seemed somehow dirtier and more dilapidated. Older somehow? He looked back over his shoulder and saw the building he thought he’d been looking at before the rain started - you know, the one that had the bricked-in doors and windows - but it couldn’t be the same building because this one had all its windows and doors in place. He also didn’t remember seeing the string of laundry hanging out of that window over yonder or that rickety old wooden cart over there. What was going on here? He couldn’t pin down what it was, exactly, but something just wasn’t right. Brian felt very uneasy.



Ducketts Close

He’d only made it maybe ten meters, trying as he went to pin down what it was that was bothering him so much, before he was startled by a loud blaring noise going off overhead. It sounded like some kind of siren or something. He had no idea what the fuck it meant, but it made him even more worried. It didn’t sound like a standard fire alarm or anything. There had been some new terrorist incidents in the city only recently, so it was always possible that it had something to with another of those, right? Did London have some type of new terrorist sirens they’d installed or something? Brian hadn’t heard about anything like that, but it was possible, he supposed. Whatever the cause, he decided he’d better get the hell back to the pub sooner rather than later, and he pushed himself to limp faster.

 

In the dimness of the dark alley, Brian couldn’t see much, but he thought he could hear some kind of commotion coming from the area where the passage opened out onto the High Street and it looked like there were people running past. That was not a good sign. He hoped the terrorists hadn’t bombed that very street. Why the fuck did this shit have to happen while he was visiting? Well, this night was certainly going to fucking hell pretty fucking fast.

 

It seemed to take forever to get back to the far end of Duckett’s Passage. The sirens abruptly died before he was halfway there. He wasn’t sure if that was a good sign or a bad one, but tried to hustle even faster. It seemed like the commotion out on the street had died down too, leaving the whole area eerily quiet. Brian was starting to get seriously freaked out. What the hell was happening?

 

When he finally made it back to the corner where the pub was located, Brian became even more confused. The lively, packed, pub he’d just left a little while before, now appeared to be closed, and the side door he’d come out of earlier was actually boarded up with heavy wooden planks. Had he hit his head harder than he thought? He tried reaching through a gap in the boards where the door knob was located and rattled the latch, but it was securely locked and didn’t budge.

 

“Okay. This is fucking weird,” Brian mumbled, unsure what to do next.

 

He didn’t think he’d be able to walk all the way down the street to his hotel on his injured ankle. But it didn’t look like he’d be going back into the pub and sitting there until it felt better, either. Maybe he could flag down a cab out on the street or something? That seemed silly with the damn hotel only a few blocks away. He didn’t have any better ideas, though, so what the fuck?

 

Brian managed the last few meters of the passage and limped around the corner of the building . . . Only to find the entire street completely deserted and dark.

 

“WHAT THE FUCK!” Brian growled, not caring that his loud voice seemed completely out of place in the silence of the night.

 

Something was definitely not right here. Brian lifted his arm to look at the time on his brand new Cartier watch and noted that it had only just gone midnight, proving he had indeed been passed out in that alley for a lot longer than he’d realized. But, even so, Covent Garden was a busy area and would still usually be packed with people coming out of the pubs and clubs and making their way home. When he’d come down this way earlier in the evening, it had been bustling with late shoppers, people getting off work and heading home for the night, tourists ambling along looking at the sites or going in and out of one of the many hotels in the neighborhood, and about a hundred other people doing the thousand other things folks did in a busy city like London. So where the fuck had they all gone in the few hours Brian had been down that fucking alley?

 

And not only that, why didn’t any of the shops have lights on? Was there some kind of power outage? It must be a fairly serious one since there didn’t appear to be any lights on anywhere in the area. In fact, looking up at the sky, Brian couldn’t see any light anywhere at all - the normal glow of light pollution that usually surrounded any modern city was completely missing. All he saw above him was the deep black of a moonless night studded throughout with more stars than he ever remembered seeing before.

 

“Seriously. What the FUCK is going ON?” Brian yelled at the twinkling Milky Way above him.

 

But, since the stars didn’t provide him with an answer, he simply shook his head and turned back to the immediate problem; he still needed to get back to his hotel.

 

Brian tried to take a few more steps down the vacant street, letting go of the wall he’d been holding onto for balance so that he could further out more into the street where he could hopefully see more. This turned out to be a rather bad idea. He hadn’t gone more than three steps before his ankle gave out on him and he toppled over onto his ass in an inelegant heap. Damn it! Brian definitely wouldn’t be wearing this suit to his meeting tomorrow.

 

Dispirited, in pain, and still confused, Brian lay there in the street, panting through the pain and cursing a string of hateful things at London as well as at his own piss poor bad luck.

 

Suddenly, out of nowhere, he heard rapid footsteps approaching him from behind and then felt someone crouch down beside him. He looked up to see a comical looking little man with a face like a lumpy potato wearing a strange metal hat with a big ‘W’ emblazoned on it. Brian was so surprised by the disconcerting sight, he couldn’t even think of anything to say to this odd apparition.

Warden's Helmet

“‘Ello there, Gov’nah. Looks like you’ve gone all to cock. Need an ‘and?” the strange manifestation in front of Brian asked, his accent so strong that it took a full sixty seconds before Brian was able to mentally translate what the man had said. “Better make a leg or’n you won’t make it to the shelter ‘fore Gerry drops a load on your loaf of bread.”

 

Brian didn’t have a clue what any of that meant or how to respond, so he simply sat there with his mouth hanging open.

 

“Is everything okay here, sir?” Brian heard a new someone ask from the other side of the street, and Brian wasn’t sure why it felt so good to hear an American accent all of a sudden, but it did.

 

“This bloke’s just settin’ here on his jacksy like a Joe Soap. I think he’s gone a bit barmy,” Brian’s incomprehensible potato-faced friend answered for him as the man with the American voice quickly trotted over to investigate.

 

Before the new arrival reached them, though, there was a loud whistling noise coming from somewhere across the city followed by a muffled bang. Both ‘W’ and the newcomer looked over their shoulders in the direction of the noises with matching frowns. Whatever it was, it seemed to spur them both into action.

 

“Right-O. I’m off then. Got my warden duties, ya’ know. You’d better kip off too, Skipper, for’n Gerry gets any closer. Good luck to ‘ya,” the man tugged on the shank of hair hanging down over his forehead and then skittered off across the street and around the far corner of a building Brian could just barely see in the moonlight.

 

“Quite,” the remaining man stated succinctly. “Well, now, what’s to do here? You okay, there, Buddy?”

 

Brian looked at the man who’d started to hunker down beside him  and swallowed audibly. This guy was a great deal better looking than Potato Face had been. He was young - maybe twenty or so - with a trim build and a big beautiful smile. He was also dressed in what Brian believed to be some sort of military uniform. The blue jacket and matching slacks looked neat and tidy, showing off the young man’s form quite nicely, with the belt at the waist pulled tight and the pants stretching a bit tightly across the guy’s plump little bubble butt. There were a number of insignia decorating the area above the pocket on the left of the jacket, including a largish patch embroidered in gold depicting a pair of wings, although Brian couldn’t really see them all very well in the darkness. To top it all off, the man was wearing a matching blue, military-style, cap, tilted at a rakish angle. All in all, the kid looked damn tempting. Brian had never been a sucker for a man in uniform, but after seeing this hot little blond in his spiffy togs, he may have changed his mind.


RAF Uniform RAF Cap

“I-I-I fell or something back in that alley over there and I think I’ve fucked up my ankle,” Brian finally stuttered when he eventually remembered the guy had asked him a question.

 

“Oh, uh . . . Well, I see. That’s rather a rum deal, ain’t it?” the blond commented, seeming taken aback by Brian’s sudden foul language. “Can you stand on it?”

 

Brian nodded and attempted to pull himself up, ignoring the hand that was held out to him to assist him. He almost immediately realized his mistake, though. He hissed loudly at the pain that shot through his ankle before sighing in defeat and sinking back into his ass again.

 

“Shit,” he mumbled dispiritedly.

 

“Here, let me help you,” the blond offered again, ignoring the cursing this time around, and before Brian could answer, the sturdy little blond had placed both hands under Brian’s armpits and manfully hoisted him up to his feet, carefully bracing the injured man on his one good leg.

 

“Alrighty now,” Brian’s helper stated once he seemed stable. “We really do need to make a leg, or they’ll close the doors on us. Do you think you can walk on it if I help you?”

 

‘Close the doors? What was this gorgeous little twinkie talking about?’ Brian wondered, thinking again that he might have hit his head a little too hard in his fall, since nothing around him was making any sense.

 

A new round of disturbing noises interrupted Brian’s musing just then - the whistling louder, and this time accompanied by what sounded like a faint motorized humming, with even more booming noises following.

 

“Applesauce! They’re getting closer. Let’s go!” The blond ordered curtly.

 

Brian nodded, not eager to be caught up by whatever the fuck was making those alarming noises. He let the blond wrap an arm around his waist and support some of his weight as they tottered forward in tandem, heading for the same corner where Potato Face had disappeared. With the younger man’s help, Brian was able to move a lot more quickly. He didn’t know exactly where his Savior was leading him to, but strangely enough, he already felt like he could trust this man. So, throwing caution to the wind, Brian gave in and just let himself be swept along to wherever his SoldierBoy wanted to take him.

 

And meanwhile, despite all the exigencies of the situation, a small part of Brian‘s mind seem to focus not on his surroundings or the odd happenings going on around him, but rather on the person whose tantalizing body was tucked up closely against his side. Brian found that he was intensely aware of every single place their bodies touched. Where Brian’s shirt had become an talked and the man’s hand touched his bare skin, there was an exciting tingle of warmth. And, fuck, the guy smelled good. Brian tried to guess what cologne he was wearing; Brian knew he’d smelled it before, but couldn’t quite place it. It seemed kind of old fashioned, but it was great on this guy. Brian vaguely wondered if his rescue were tasted as good as he felt and smelled.

 

While Brian was busy secretly contemplating all the lusty particulars of his savior, they had managed to walk several meters. The support from the other man helped him walk a lot faster than he would have been able to on his own. They’d already made it clear across the street, down the block, and we’re almost to that distant corner, where the other men had disappeared a few minutes earlier. Brian was impressed.

 

“You’re a lot stronger than you look,” Brian told him, enjoying the way the smaller man seemed to support his weight so effortlessly.

 

They paused for a second and the blond shot him a look before continuing. “I am a pilot and you have to be relatively fit to do what I do,” the young man replied almost defensively.

 

Brian nodded. He definitely wanted to know more about this mysterious blond, but before he could ask anything else they turned the corner and stopped in front of the entrance to the Covent Garden Tube station. And here, finally, there seemed to be some people around. In fact, while he’d been so engrossed in the feeling of the man’s arm around his waist, he hadn’t noticed the virtual gaggle of people that had formed around them in the darkness of the unlit street.

 

“Tickets,” the man at the entrance shouted as he held out his hand and snatched the pieces of paper from people’s hands and ushered them down into the maw of the Underground station as quickly as he could.

 

They joined the queue and shuffled forward with the rest. When it was their turn, Brian’s blond chap took out a rumpled piece of paper from his pocket and handed it to the man at the door. The ticket taker shook his head sadly, shoving the ticket back into the blond’s hand and moving to block their entrance.

 

“This ticket permits just one of ya to enter the station, me lad, and unfortunately there are two of you. Ya see the prol’em here, boyo?”

shelter tickets

“My name is Justin Taylor, First Officer, Eagle Squadron, Fourth Fighter Group,” the blond informed the rather disgruntled man at the door, pointing at the insignia on his uniform jacket. “Lieutenant Jacobs, my C.O., is waiting for us downstairs on the platform.”

 

“Oh, I’m terribly sorry, Sir. Quite right. Head on down immediately. And if you get in any trouble for being tardy, tell them it was because of me. My name’s Alfie Smith,” the ticket taker apologized profusely, stepping aside and gesturing them in with deference.

 

Justin nodded authoritatively to Mr. Smith then renewed his grip around Brian’s torso and promptly led them into the bottleneck of people heading down into the depths of the station. Brian couldn’t help the groan that escaped his lips a moment later, as they started down the non-operational escalator. The larger than normal steps put an awful amount of pressure on his ankle as they descended and he was grateful when he felt Justin wrap his arm tighter around Brian's waist. Despite his earlier misgivings about the slightly built young man, he let himself lean into the wiry strength a little more heavily until they were back on level ground.

 

“Is your Lieutenant really waiting for us down here?” Brian asked quietly, maybe even a little nervously, as they continued to follow the herds of other people down a long tunnel. He still had no fucking clue as to what was going on and there was nothing more irritating to Brian Kinney than not being in control of a situation.

 

Justin looked at him, smirked slightly and shook his head softly as he brought a finger up to his mouth. “As they say here in London, that’s a bit of a ‘Porkie’, but it got us in, so that’s all that matters, right?”

 

Once the tunnel opened up and they reached the train platform proper, the heat hit Brian hard. He looked around and guessed that there were at least a couple of hundred people down there . . . wherever there was . . . he still wasn't sure. Or exactly why they were all gathered here.

 

“It’s like a fucking sauna down here,” Brian complained.

 

“Oi, watch your language,” an elderly man tutted disapprovingly as he walked passed. “Ladies present.”

 

Brian scoffed quietly, but kept his mouth shut. He didn’t realize people in London were so tetchy about that sort of thing; it was definitely not something he’d noticed before.

 

“Here, sit down,” Justin said as he found them a space on the packed platform floor.

 

Brian couldn’t help but scrunch up his nose. No way was he sitting on that dirty ass floor. His poor suit had been through enough this evening. But Justin ignored Brian’s disdainful look and pushed him down gently.

 

Once he was seated, Justin forcibly manhandled him around until Brian was situated so that he was perched on the edge of the platform with his legs dangling down over the tracks. Then the blond jumped down into the pit, narrowly avoiding the rails, and began to remove Brian’s shoe. Brian started to object, but Justin only rolled his eyes at the struggling man, shook his head, and continued what he’d started.

 

“Hold still, mate. I know what I’m doing here; I got first aid training in basic,” Justin ordered, as he carefully peeled the sock over the injured foot and lifted it so he could see better in the dim lighting of the station’s platform.

 

Brian jumped when he felt Justin’s warm hands running over his sore ankle. “What exactly are you doing?”

 

“I need to check you’ve not broken anything.” Justin examined the ankle carefully. “Yeah, you’ve sprained it alright. I’m pretty sure nothing’s broken though. I am going to need to wrap it for you, though” he explained.

 

Brian watched quietly as Justin walked over to a young lady sitting a few feet away and asked her something. Brian couldn’t quite make out what was said, but watched curiously as the woman handed Justin the silk scarf from around her neck. The RAF officer pulled what looked like a money clip out of his pocket and peeled a bill off which he gave to the woman before turning back to his patient.

 

While all this transpired, Brian looked around himself curiously. His nose started to twitch from the fug of too many nervous bodies in such close proximity, too much cigarette smoke, a variety of men’s colognes and women’s perfumes, a few babies with dirty diapers and the overall mustiness of the damp Tube station itself. All of which seemed to overwhelm Brian. In contrast to the quiet up on the street, there was a low roar of noises down here - people talking, babies crying, shuffling feet and bodies moving around, arranging themselves amid the pack of people - all adding up to create a continual susurrus of sound. Several groups of people were already bedding down, using rolled up blankets and jackets as pillows, looking for all the world like they were prepared to sleep there in the station for the night. There were even a couple of children who were tidily tucked into makeshift hammocks strung up between the rusty metal train rails, looking happy as clams in their neat little beds.


Tube Tube kids

Brian was having a hard time taking in everything that was going on around him. He really didn’t have any clue what was happening. If there had been some kind of terrorist attack on the city, why were all these people so calm? Why were they all down here in the station camping out together? Where were the damned police? And why wasn’t anyone telling them what the hell was going on up above? None of this made any fucking sense.

 

Brian was still gaping around at his strange surroundings, so confused and struggling to put together all the little pieces of this fucked up puzzle, when Justin returned, bringing him back to the present.

 

“I'm going to need to bandage your head too,” Justin told him as he began expertly wrapping the silky scarf around Brian’s swollen ankle, tightening it just right so that it felt supported.

 

Brian had almost forgotten about his sore head what with all that had happened, but now that he was reminded, he could feel it throbbing. He reached up and prodded at the tender spot, wincing as he caused himself a new jolt of pain. When he took his hand away, he noted that his fingers were smeared with a dab or two of fresh blood.

 

And, whether it was the sight of the blood, the throbbing pain in his head, the overwhelming heat down there in the Tube station, or just a backlash from the fear and adrenalin that had been keeping him on the run since he first awoke back in that alley, Brian suddenly felt a bit queasy. He saw little flashes of lights go off in the periphery of his vision and the tiled walls of the station seemed to close in around him closer and closer. The blond who’d been holding his ankle just a moment before put his arm around Brian’s shoulders again in order to steady him. Brian looked up into the man’s now worried face. Then the entire Tube station upended itself, spinning around him, and the last thing Brian saw was the pretty, gemstone-bright blue eyes of his concerned blond, before everything went black.

 

*******

Chapter Theme Music - Rusty Dusty Blues by Count Basie .

We’re also writing this story online. Anyone who’s interested in peeking in, offering suggestions or helping us catch typos can come on by and check it out: Time Blitz - Working Doc

Chapter Text



Chapter 2 - To Each His Own.

 

Brian was jostled out of his very strange dream by a pair of strong arms wrapping themselves around him and lifting his body up slightly. He mentally cursed himself for falling asleep without kicking his trick out first. He wished the fucker would just leave him alone so he could sleep. Judging by the lack of light hitting the outside of his eyelids, it couldn’t possibly be morning yet, so why was the guy so insistent that he wake up?

 

“Fuck off. I’m sleeping here,” Brian mumbled, turning his head away from the commotion of the trick barking something at him.

 

Then the trick did something really annoying - he slapped Brian’s face, not hard or anything, but it was enough to sting his cheek a little and it made Brian mad - so he was forced to open up his eyes and deal with the little fucker. Whereupon Brian found himself looking up into the most alluring, bright blue eyes, framed by the longest, dark blond eyelashes that he’d ever seen. At least he knew how to pick attractive tricks, Brian thought, even if they were annoying and loud and woke him up way too early in the morning. However, since he was awake now anyway, he figured he might as well make the most of the moment.

 

Reaching up, Brian hooked his right hand around the back of the blond trick’s neck and pulled the guy’s face down close enough so he could plant a nice, juicy lip lock on the plump, delicious-looking lips that came along with the pretty blue eyes. The trick at first gave in, kissing back before thinking about it, but then, half a minute later, he seemingly changed his mind. The body Brian had been enjoying jerked back and the lips disappeared. Brian groaned, not at all happy to have his kiss interrupted so rudely. What was with this annoying trick anyway? First he wakes Brian up, presumably to fuck again, because why else would you bother waking up the middle of the night, and then he changes his mind and pulls away? THIS was exactly why Brian rarely let his tricks stay over.

 

“Fine. Be that way, Blue Eyes. But if you don’t want to fuck again then you can get the hell out already. At least then I can get back to sleep,” Brian complained, trying to free himself from the arms that were preventing him from rolling over and going back to sleep.

 

“Ahem . . . He’s clearly not . . . I mean, I didn’t . . . He’s . . . He’s obviously hit his head really hard. Probably got a concussion. Doesn’t know what he’s saying,” the trick said, his voice a pleasant low tenor that Brian seemed to vaguely remember from somewhere, even if he didn’t understand why the trick was saying what he said.

 

“Must be if’n he’s trying to kiss ‘nother bloke,” a deeper, more accented voice said from somewhere behind Brian. “Least ways, he don’t seem like ya regular Nancy boy.”

 

That voice didn’t fit into the scenario though. Brian couldn’t, for the life of him, understand why there was a second trick involved here. He didn’t remember any threesomes, although, that was always a possibility. Hell, judging by how badly his head was throbbing, maybe he’d been too drunk to remember anything. But he really wasn’t in the mood for that much entertainment right then. His head really did hurt pretty badly. If the pretty blond had wanted to stay and play, he might have been agreeable, but otherwise, he decided he just wanted them both to go and leave him to sleep.

 

“Hey, Pal. Wake up already.” The trick was now shaking Brian’s shoulder and yelling at him loudly enough to prevent Brian from going back to sleep. “Come on, Buddy. Time to wake up. You can’t go back to sleep with a bump like that on your noggin.”

 

“Ya think he’s gonna be okay? We could try and make a run with him for the hospital, but I’d prefer to wait till after the raid is over,” said the deeper voice coming from the body Brian couldn’t quite see yet.

 

“No. I think it’s safer to just stay here for the time being,” Blue Eyes asserted calmly, looking down at Brian with a worried frown. “If I remember my training right, all we can do for a concussion is keep him awake, watch him to make sure he doesn’t get worse, and keep him calm. The hospital is bound to be full of people who need real help. I think I’ve got this for the time being. But I should bandage that cut and if anyone down here has any aspirin, that might help, too.”

 

“Good idea. I’ll ask around. Be right back,” Deep Voice stated and then, from the sounds of it, moved off.

 

“What time is it?” Brian groaned. If these tricks weren’t going to leave him the fuck alone anytime soon, he might as well get up - it wasn’t like he didn’t have a shit load of work to do before his big meeting tomorrow . . . wait, he hadn’t missed his meeting with Britcom had he? Fuck, if he’d missed the meeting Gardner was gonna have his balls.

 

“It’s a little after one,” the blond replied.

 

Brian opened his eyes properly, or at least as well as he could with the headache from hell that was currently eating away at his brain. It was a good thing the light in here wasn’t too bright, because he didn’t think his head could handle it.

 

“How are you feeling?” Blue Eyes asked.

 

How was he feeling? What the fuck had happened? And more importantly, where the fuck was he?

 

“Like shit. What happened?”

 

The blue eyed adonis smiled softly. “You passed out.”

 

Passed out? How much had he had to drink last night?

 

The confusion must have shown on his face.

 

“You fell . . . sprained your ankle and knocked your head a good one,” Blue Eyes answered, which at least explained his head.

 

Brian nodded. He remembered that part now. And the fact that his gorgeous new suit was ruined. He was also starting to remember how he came to be in the presence of the man with the pretty blue eyes who, unfortunately, was not one of his tricks. At least not yet.

 

“What’s your name again?” Brian asked casually.

 

The blond’s face fell slightly. “Justin . . . Justin Taylor, First Officer, Eagle Squadron, Fourth Fighter Group.”

 

Brian rubbed tiredly at his face, closing his eyes and groaning quietly. He was exhausted. Maybe if he could just get a little rest, this splitting headache would ease up a bit.


Justin tapped his arm. “You can’t go back to sleep.”

 

“Why the hell not?” Brian grumbled at the annoyingly persistent little blond.

 

“Because, unless I’m wrong, you've got yourself a concussion there. Which means I’m not supposed to let you go back to sleep, or you might not ever wake up again,” the officious little do-gooder maintained. “So, work with me here, Buddy. To start with, let's get you sitting up a little bit more.”

 

Sighing heavily, Brian sat up slowly - taking advantage of Justin’s proffered hand. He figured Justin must be right in his diagnosis, since the entire room began spinning around him wildly even with that small amount of movement. The throbbing in his head was also amplified. However, looking on the bright side, at least with his head hurting this bad he no longer really felt the pain in his ankle. Since when had he become such an optimist?

 

“So far so good,” Brian's very own Florence Nightingale averred. “Now, how many fingers am I holding up?”

 

Brian squinted a bit, until the five or six hands full of fingers whirling around in front of his face coalesced into just one, and he was able to see more clearly.

 

“Three. I think. But if you really want to wiggle your fingers around, I can think of a lot funner places do it than in my face like that,” Brian answered, trying for a sexy smirk at the end, but unfortunately only able to muster up a slightly lopsided frown.

 

“Uh . . . Um . . . Well, let’s just say your vision doesn’t appear to be blurred,” Justin responded, ignoring the innuendo, but with the beginnings of a rosy blush tinting his cheeks. “If you feel sick to your stomach, just let me know. Do you feel otherwise disoriented or confused?”

 

Brian thought about yelling out, ‘fuck, yeah. What the hell is going on here,’ but decided not to show his hand that much. He didn’t know who all these people were and he hated thinking that he was basically at their mercy. He preferred to take what little control he could, which meant there was no way he was letting on to Blue Eyes or anyone else how thoroughly confused he really was. Instead, Brian went with a bland, “a little, maybe.”

 

“Hmmm. That’s not a good sign,” Justin remarked, looking into Brian’s eyes again with concern. “Do you remember your name?”

 

“Kinney. Brian Kinney.” Of that much, at least, he was sure.

 

“Nice to meet you, Brian,” Justin nodded and smiled but then hurried on with his questioning. “So, what brings you here to London, Brian?”

 

“I’ve got an important business meeting here tomorrow,” Brian answered readily enough but without giving too many details.

 

“Two out of two, so far,” Justin seemed pleased with Brian’s answers. “Now, how about today’s date?”

 

Brian looked around him at the oddly dressed people, all huddled together on the Tube station floor, then back to his questioner. This didn’t look like 2016 to him. Not unless these folks were all part of some elaborate hoax. Or maybe it was some kind of crazy theme party? Some kind of period dress up party where they locked you in the Tube station for the night? That didn’t sound like Brian’s kind of fun, but he supposed there might be some twisted losers out there that were into that kind of thing? If that was the case, though, they were all doing a smash up job at staying in character . . .

 

“I’m not exactly sure,” Brian finally answered truthfully.

 

“Hmmm. That’s not good,” Nurse Blue Eyes declared, reaching out to tip Brian’s head back so that he could look at the gash on his forehead in the light again. “Yeah, you definitely banged yourself up good there. But I don’t think it’s as bad as it seems. Head wounds always bleed like the Dickens. But maybe we should try and get you to a doctor after all if you can’t remember what day it is . . .”

 

Just then, their discussion was interrupted by a muffled thudding boom and the ground under them rocked slightly. Brian grabbed hold of the edge of the platform, worried he might fall off. Some of the children nearby began to whimper but were soon calmed by parents. Even then, though, Brian was surprised by how matter-of-fact everyone seemed to be. Unless he was wrong, that had been some kind of explosion up on the street. And, if it was big enough to rock them all the way down here, it must have been pretty serious. Why weren’t all these people freaking out? This couldn’t possibly be just a theme party, could it? And surely people weren’t crazy enough to get their kids involved in this messed up shit . . . What the FUCK was going on?

 

“So, um, what is the date?” Brian asked as soon as the minor commotion caused by the distant explosion had died down, almost afraid to get the answer.

 

Justin smiled at Brian. “It’s April 1st, of course.”

 

Well, at least he hadn’t missed his meeting yet, he thought. “Not exactly the kind of April Fool’s joke I wanted,” Brian mumbled. Then he asked the inevitable follow up question, the one he really didn’t want to know the answer to. “And, just for laughs, tell me . . . what year is it?”

 

Justin looked at him curiously, obviously surprised by Brian’s question. “It’s 1941, Buddy. What year did you think it was?”

 

1941? Seriously? Brian scanned the crowd of people around them again and shrugged. Well, that would explain the period costumes and the premise for why they were all hiding in this Tube station. 1941 London would have meant they were in the middle of World War II and the famous London Blitz - the time when Hitler’s air fleets had been regularly bombing the shit out of the English countryside. Brian vaguely remembered that the citizens of London had routinely used Underground stations as shelters from the almost nightly bombing. So, was that what this was? Some kind of Blitz recreation? Okay . . . whatever floated your boat.

 

“Well, it’s definitely NOT 2016,” Brian finally answered, getting a chuckle out of his new blue-eyed friend.

 

“Yeah, well, I’d hope that the war is finally over by then. If we’re still huddling here in the dark getting bombed every other night after another seventy five years, there won’t be much of London left,” Justin asserted.

 

There was another distant boom right then from above and a sifting of dust sprinkled down on them from the ceiling of the station tunnel.

 

Brian jumped a little.

 

“At this rate, I’m not sure much will be left by this time NEXT year if we don’t do something to stop Gerry sooner,” Justin added with a definite frown as he dusted a small accumulation of soot off the shoulder of his uniform jacket.

 

Brian didn’t comment. He was rather impressed with how well this guy stayed in character. And the special effects were pretty remarkable. The booming noises, the dustiness . . . all of it was so realistic. This had to be the most elaborate party Brian had ever seen. Whoever did their advertising must be a fucking genius. He’d have to look into it when it didn’t feel like his head was going to explode.

 

*Achoo!* Brian’s perusal of his neighbors’ costumes was interrupted by the violent sneezing of his Blue Eyes. “Sorry about that,” Justin apologized as he pulled an old-fashioned, personally initialled, starched linen handkerchief out of his pants pocket and swiped at his dripping nose. “Applesauce! This happens almost every night. All the dust down here gets my allergies going every time. It’s a good thing my mother sent over another two dozen hankies in that last care package I got, you can’t find them over here these days.”

 

Brian noticed even in the dim light how red and sore The blond’s eyes were beginning to look. ‘Every night’? Brian thought that was an odd thing for the guy to say. Did they do this party that often? Or was Blue Eyes just trying to stay in character? And why didn’t the kid just take some allergy meds before coming to the party? He didn’t need to adhere to the period atmosphere that strictly that he couldn’t take advantage of modern medicine while attending, did he?

 

“‘Ere ya go, Sir.” The baritone voice Brian remembered hearing before returned right then, along with the person it belonged to, which turned out to be their friend, Alfie, the ticket taker. “The station warden sent me along with his First Aid Kit. He’s a might busy right now or he’d a come his own self,” Alfie explained. “Gerry dropped a whole mess of dem incendiaries o’er our heads t’night, and it’s keepin’ em all busy topside, you know. Fire brigades are hoppin’ all o’er da place. So’s it’s best you stay here nice and cozy like for now, Sir. Hopefully you kin find whatever you need in that there kit. I think it’s even got some of them new-fangled sticking plasters in it, ya know.”

 

“Thank you, Mr. Smith. This should be fine. I’ll take it from here so you can get back to your duties,” Justin advised, accepting the tin box from the helpful ticket taker and immediately beginning to rifle through its contents.



Before Brian knew what was going on, his Blue Eyes had dug out a small yellow box labelled ‘Iodine Swabs’ from the kit. Justin pulled a small white tube of something out of the box, snapped it open and began daubing at Brian’s head with it. The solution in the tube stung a bit, but in a good, medicinal way, so Brian resisted the urge to flinch away. Once the wound was disinfected, Justin pulled a small, white metal cylinder out of the kit, removed the cap from that, and pulled out a self-adhesive bandage, which he promptly administered to Brian’s forehead.

 

“There you go. I know I’m not a bedpan commando, but that should hold you,” Justin smiled at his tidy work. “You’ll be good as new in no time.”

 

“Thanks.” Brian offered his nurse a sexy smile of gratitude, and got another of those blushes in return. “So what’s next?” Brian looked around him and noted that almost all of their fellow Underground denizens were bunked down and snoozing by this point. “This has got to be the lamest party I’ve ever been to. When does the fun start?”

 

Justin raised his eyebrows. “I’m afraid this is about as fun as it gets around here. Sometimes Harry brings his accordion and plays us a song or two, but I don’t see him around tonight. I hope he didn’t get caught up in the ruckus upstairs,” Blue Eyes stated, looking worried for a moment. “This shelter has mostly families, anyways, so it’s pretty tame. Nothing like the rowdier places downtown or out by the barracks. I wouldn’t think you’d be up for that much fun, though, considering your state. But I might have a pack a cards on me if you’re feeling well enough for a game or two,” Justin said as he patted his inside jacket pocket and pulled out a pack of cards that had seen better days. “Aha, we’re in luck. I usually carry a deck on me. It helps pass the time when we’re sitting around HQ waiting for orders. My squadron isn’t completely up to numbers yet, you know, so there’s a lot of sitting around waiting on stuff going on these days. I’ve flown a few training runs with the first squadron already, but that’s about it. I can’t wait to get the okay for our first official mission.” While he’d been telling Brian all this, the young blond had already begun shuffling the deck of cards. “Gin Rummy?” He asked and Brian nodded, thinking, ‘what the hell’.

 

“So, what’s an American doing here in London in a military uniform?” Brian asked, thinking he might as well play along since he had nothing better to do for the moment. “If I remember correctly, the Americans won’t be entering the war until December and won’t be stationing troops in England until at least 1942. Aren't you getting a bit ahead of yourself?”

 

Brian looked up when the blond paused in the act of dealing his cards, staring at Brian like he’d just said something absolutely ludicrous. Then Justin looked around himself with a worried expression. As soon as he noted that everyone else within ear shot seemed to be sound asleep, he relaxed a little, but remained a little bit more on guard than he’d previously been.

 

“I'm not sure what kind of ‘business’ you’re here about, Mister, but whatever it is, you better keep information like that to yourself. Loose lips and all that, right? We definitely don’t want Gerry getting advance word about America coming into the war - not that I believe it, mind you, although there have been some rumblings about that up at HQ - and you never know who’s listening these days, so best keep anything you do know to yourself,” Justin advised with a serious glare in Brian’s direction.

 

“Shit. You really take this crap seriously, I guess,” Brian grumbled, amused that his new friend was so serious about playing his part. “Okay. I’ll play along. Still, what’s an American doing here in 1941?”

 

Justin resumed dealing out the cards, although he was still frowning at Brian’s flippancy. “That’s simple. I’ve always wanted to be a pilot, but it’s tough to get into the training program back in the States. I got . . . I didn’t make the cut back home,” Justin looked sideways at Brian as he said this, obviously holding something back from his story. As he arranged the cards in his hand, he continued, “lucky for me, though, the R.A.F. is desperate for recruits, so I hopped over the pond and signed up over here. There’s a lot of us Yanks doing the same thing. No. 71 Squadron went operational back in February - the lucky dogs - but our squadron is almost ready to join them. We’re not quite up to numbers yet. We should be flying by the end of the month, though. I can’t wait. The training has been great - really interesting, you know - but I’m looking forward to putting it all to the test for real . . .”

 

Brian looked over his hand with an amused smile while listening to the kid go on about his imaginary flight training. He discarded a red ten and drew a replacement card from the deck. Justin threw down a black four and drew as well, talking all the time. And before you knew it, they were both so absorbed in their card game while they chatted that Brian didn’t even realize how far into the conversation he’d been drawn. He hadn’t felt this relaxed around a stranger in a long time. Maybe in forever, now that he thought about it. Which was strange because Brian rarely let his guard down, even with his friends. But here he was, having been pulled into this strange evening’s entertainment against his will, not really even understanding what was going on, and he somehow found himself enjoying the whole thing immensely. Without alcohol being involved. And without having even fucked anyone here yet. But he WAS actually enjoying himself. Go figure, right?

 

“Gin,” Brian declared, laying down all his cards and getting a groan from his opponent who still had a lot of cards in his own hand.

 

They quickly totaled up the points and then Brian began to deal the next hand.

 

“Anyway, I do miss my family an awful lot, but I don’t regret volunteering. There wasn’t much for me if I’d stayed back home. At least here I get to fly. There’s nothing like it, you know. You feel so free up there. Like no one can drag you down. No one can judge you . . . Have you ever been in an airplane?” Justin asked Brian, his face betraying absolutely no hint of disingenuousness at the ridiculous question.

 

Brian laughed. This kid was really good. “Uh, yeah, I fly all the time,” he answered honestly, not as concerned about playing the game as the kid.

 

“Really? You must must be a real high roller. Back in Pittsburgh, where I come from, nobody has much call to fly anywhere, even if they could afford it. But I got to hear Lucky Lindy speak at the local YMCA a couple of years back. He said that air travel is gonna be the next big thing. He predicted that within a decade, we’ll all be flying all around the world, and that being a pilot is gonna be where all the big money jobs are. And I knew then and there, that’s what I wanted to do. No matter what I had to do to make it happen,” Justin rhapsodized on about his supposed profession, causing Brian to chuckle at the kid’s pretended innocence.

 

“Sorry. I guess I tend to talk too much, especially when it’s about flying,” Justin apologized with another adorable blush when he saw Brian smiling indulgently at him. “Gin,” he announced, laying down his cards, and effectively changing the subject. “But enough about me. I’ve already talked your ear off. What brings YOU here to London. You’re clearly not here to volunteer to join the British Gravel Agitators, so what’s this business that’s got you flying all over the place - if you can safely say, that is?”

 

Normally Brian would have happily launched into an explanation of his latest target client - he not only got off on bragging about his prowess in the marketing world but he rarely passed up any opportunity to network, even in out of the way situations like this - but for some reason, he just didn’t feel like talking shop right then. Discussions of modern marketing techniques just didn’t feel like the proper topic for this venue. For one thing, it would be completely out of character at this kind of period party. And, while he wasn’t exactly as into the game as his Blue Eyes was, he didn’t want to ruin the vibe either. Plus, he was actually enjoying listening to the enthusiastic kid rambling on, and didn’t want to bring in a discordant note. So, rather than talking about his work, Brian did something completely out of character, and instead starting telling a little about himself.

 

“Oh, like I said, just business. Nothing you’d be interested in hearing about,” he evaded the direct question. “I almost don’t care if I get the account - except that my boss will kill me if I don’t - mostly, I was just happy to get the opportunity to come back to London. I love this city. Every time I come here I find something interesting that I never expected to find. Or some ONE,” Brian offered with a suggestive wink that seemed to surprise the young man again.

 

Justin seemed genuinely startled by Brian’s flirting. He reacted so oddly. It was almost like he felt guilty or something. The way Justin would glance around furtively whenever Brian came onto him, as if he was truly afraid somebody might notice, seemed inexplicable. Brian was pretty sure his gaydar wasn’t wrong - this kid had to be gay - but if so, why was he acting so off? He couldn’t still be in the closet, could he? As beautiful as this guy was, it would be a total shame. Something was certainly not copacetic though.

 

Since his efforts to flirt didn’t seem to be going anywhere, though, Brian hurried on. “I especially love the museums here. I don’t think any other city in the world has as many, or as varied, museums as London. If I get through with my meeting early enough tomorrow, I’m hoping to get to the National Gallery for a few hours. Have you been there yet?”

 

“Sorry to burst your bubble, Brian,” Justin replied, looking truly saddened. “But the National Gallery is closed. Pretty much all the museums in London are closed. I heard that the government’s shipped as much of the art as possible out of the city to keep it safe from the Blitz and the rest is hidden in vaults somewhere. Shame, too. I’m a bit of an artist myself, on the side and all, and I’d have liked to see some of the Masters. Maybe after the war though, right?”

 

“Oh. Right. I forgot,” Brian replied, a little aggravated by how adamant the kid was about staying in character. “So, you’re an artist too?” He asked, hoping to move to a safer topic.

 

“I dabble,” Justin explained self-effacingly. “You can’t make a living as an artist though. And I don’t want to be a poor starving artist all my life. Not me. My plan is to get through this war, then get my commercial pilot's license and make buckets of moolah flying all around the world for the next ten years or so. After which I should have enough to go back home, buy a nice little place and settle down. By then my mother will be ready for me to find a wife, get married and give her a grandkid or two.”

 

That comment struck Brian as extremely odd. Maybe hitting his head had thrown his gaydar off? Did he really just hear Blue Eyes saying his plan was to get married and pop out a couple kids? Brian could have sworn this guy was gay, but maybe he was wrong . . . Or maybe the kid was just playing his part a little too well.

 

Either way, Brian was starting to get annoyed by all the pretence. His head was also throbbing again. He set his current hand of cards aside and rubbed gingerly at his temples. He was desperately tired. Would it really be that big a deal if he caught an hour or so of shut eye? He wasn’t a doctor or anything, but he didn’t think they really enforced that no sleeping thing for concussions these days, did they? Hell, even the cold tile floor of the Tube station was looking awfully inviting right then.

 

Just as Brian was about to give in and curl up on the floor, though, his personal medical attendant was there propping him up. “Whoa there, Pal. No sleeping remember,” Justin insisted. “Not for at least twenty-four hours. After that, if you aren’t showing any further signs of concussion, you can sleep. But for now, you’ve got to stay with me. Okay?”

 

“. . . so tired,”

 

“I know you’re tired. That’s the bump on the head talking, though. Come on. Sit up again. You can do this. I wish there was room to walk around a bit, but you’d probably step on somebody in your condition.” That roused Brian enough to get a small laugh out of him. “Just stay with me. Talk to me. Tell me . . . Tell me about your family.”

 

“I don’t want to talk about my fucking family. I hate my family,” Brian grumbled uncooperatively.

 

Justin laughed. “Fine. Tell me about your friends, then. What do you do for fun back home? Where is home, by the way?”

 

“Pittsburgh.”

 

“Really? Me too. It’s a small world, huh?” Brian grunted, still eyeing the comfy-looking floor with intention. “So, tell me what you and your friends do for fun in Pittsburgh.”

 

“We go out. Go to bars. Drink. Dance. The usual,” Brian replied grudgingly.

 

“Yeah? What’s your favorite bar?” Justin asked, simply to keep Brian talking.

 

“Woody’s. Or, if we want to dance, Babylon.”

 

“Hmm. I don’t know those joints. And I thought I knew Pittsburgh,” Justin commented.

 

“You must have been hiding under a rock then,” Brian teased. “They’re the two hottest venues on Liberty Avenue. When I’m home I’m out at one or the other maybe five nights a week. Although I haven’t been going out as much as I used to. My best friend, Michael, recently got himself into a serious relationship and now I hardly see him. And hanging out with Loser Ted and Flaming Emmett isn’t the same, you know . . .”

 

And just like that, Brian was launched into a complete and detailed biopic of his life. Justin adroitly kept him taking, asking leading questions here and there, any time it seemed like Brian was at risk of drifting off. Maybe it was the knock on the head, or maybe it was just the strangeness of the night overall, but Brian found himself talking like he’d never done before. While they sat there on the floor of the overcrowded Underground station playing Gin Rummy, Brian basically told this kid all about his life back home. And not the stuff he usually bragged about to strangers - the stuff he felt comfortable telling about his more public persona, his nightly conquests, his reputation as a Stud - nope, he found himself telling this guy he’d just met about his less than happy childhood, his dissatisfaction with his currently lonely life, the way all his friends seemed to be finding partners and settling down while leaving him behind, and even about his son, Gus, who he rarely talked about to anyone. In exchange, Justin told Brian more about his own life, his hopes and his dreams.

 

And, before they knew it, the night was over.

 

“Right-O, Ladies and Gents. That’s the All Clear sounding now,” Alfie announced in his clear, booming baritone. “Time to rise and shine and head on home. Good luck to you all. Here’s hoping Gerry missed your ‘ouses last night. It were a bad ‘un I’m afeared.”

 

“Well, you made it through the night. That’s a good sign. How are you feeling now?” Justin asked Brian, leaning so he could look into Brian’s eyes more closely. “Your pupils aren’t dilated or anything, so I think you’re probably on the mend.”

 

Brian pushed himself to his knees and then climbed stiffly to his feet. His head felt heavy but he thought that was mostly just the lack of sleep. When he bent over to pick up his jacket, he did feel a momentary wash of dizziness, though, and quickly reached out a hand to steady himself. Justin grabbed hold right away.

 

“Okay, maybe I spoke too soon.” Justin moved closer and wrapped his arm around Brian’s waist supportively. “If you’re still feeling dizzy, I think we’d better get you checked out by a doctor, Brian.”

 

“I’ll be fine.” Brian hated being fussed over. He took a deep breath and was glad to note that the dizziness was already passing. “If I can just get back to my hotel, I'm sure they can call a doctor for me. Besides, I’ve got to get ready for my meeting. My boss won’t care about any concussion. If I don't close this deal, he’ll take my head off the rest of the way.”

 

“Well, If you’re sure,” Justin seemed reluctant to let Brian go. “But I’ll feel better if you let me walk you to your hotel. Just to ensure you make it okay.”

 

“Awww. Walking me back to my room with my virtue still intact even after spending a whole night together. You’re quite the gentleman, aren’t you, Blue Eyes?” Brian teased, enjoying that he could raise another blush with his joking. Just one step on his still sore ankle though told Brian he’d be foolish not to take Justin up on his offer. “Fine. I guess you win. It seems I could use some help. But I’m warning you now - once we get to the hotel, I’m not inviting you upstairs. We wouldn’t want the neighbors to talk, now would we?” He snarked with another blush inducing wink, that had him laughing to himself even through the pain of negotiating the stairs back up to the real world.

 

******

Music Selection:  To Each His Own by the Ink Spots .

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 4 - Let’s Pretend.

 

Brian hadn’t made it even five meters down the street after emerging from the Tube station before he realized that his strange night was turning into an even stranger morning.

 

Justin had helped him slowly limp up the stationary escalator from the underground platform up to the station entrance. They were flanked by the rest of the denizens who’d spent the night with them down below. Brian was still marveling at how great all their costumes looked - every single one seemed so authentic to him. But he was really looking forward to getting back to reality.

 

Only, reality was still severely lacking once they made it back to street level. Or, at least the reality Brian was hoping to find. Because it seemed like, either the fancy-dress party from the Tube station had overflowed and taken over all of Covent Garden, or Brian’s hypothesis about what had happened to him the night before was completely wrong.

 

The very first thing he saw after they emerged from the station, was a parade of men wearing what appeared to be rough-spun wool jackets, aprons, and newsboy caps, pulling handcarts laden with bundles and burlap bags full of goods. They all seemed headed in the same direction - down the street and in through a large wrought-iron archway at the front of a large building he didn’t recognize. Nobody around him seemed to pay this incongruous sight any mind at all. It was almost like this was a daily happening or something. Most of the others leaving the station simply stepped around the carters, a few nodding politely or making small talk. Not even Brian’s Blue Eyes commented on the sight.



That’s when Brian noticed that there didn’t appear to be ANY motorized vehicles around at all. The street in front of him was mostly empty, except for the guys and their handcarts, but a little ways down the street there was another cart, this one much larger, hitched to a pair of horses. And these weren’t the kind of picturesque horses you saw drawing shiny carriages for tourists to ride in while viewing the sights, either. These were tired, old, mud-crusted, dray horses that weren’t at all picturesque. The guy sitting atop the wagon guiding the horses wasn’t picturesque either - he looked almost as dirty as the damn horses. And there was nothing photo-worthy of the piles of dilapidated old furniture and boxes on the cart either. What the hell?

 

Looking around him at the street itself wasn’t any more reassuring. The buildings on this street looked somehow older than he remembered them - more sooty and less shiny. They were all brick and mortar, three or four story townhouses, mostly residential, and not the busy street of shops and offices he’d remembered in this area. There wasn’t a single modern, steel and glass structure visible anywhere. And even the few shops he could see looked different - gone were the sliding steel security gates that fronted most closed-up shops, the neon signs, and the security lights. In fact, there weren’t any real lights on any of the shops at all. They were all much drabber than normal shops too - even the colors on the signage was muted-looking to Brian’s eyes. Then it hit him - all the signs were simple hand-lettered placards - there wasn’t a single plastic or lighted sign anywhere.

 

While Brian was still reeling from this disconcerting observance, Justin had been guiding him down the road, back in the direction they’d come from the night before. As they crossed a side street and rounded the corner, Brian got a good look at the broader High Street, and that sight was even more disturbing. The entire street here was strewn with rubble - bricks, wooden boards, bits of metal and other trash, all littered the street. The source of the mess was obviously the large building on the right side of the block, where a gaping hole in the line of brickwork was clearly visible. The windows of the nearby buildings were all broken out as well, and you could see that the interiors had been burned. There was still a strong odor of smoke surrounding the site and through the ruined windows he could see smoldering piles of ashes where the fire wasn’t even completely out.



Several men wearing those same flat-brimmed metal hats that Brian had seen the night before, were climbing around in the remains, kicking aside pieces of wood and dumping what looked like sand on any lingering hot spots. On the pavement in front of the building, a hoard of children were busy gathering smaller pieces of the rubble and, at the direction of an older woman, making neat piles of the remains off to the side. Except for a few gawkers, though, this minor disaster didn’t seem to cause any real uproar. Most of the crowd leaving the Tube station along with Brian and Justin simply shook their heads at the sight and kept on walking. It was almost like the sight of a ruined, burned out building was no big deal to these folks.

 

“What the hell . . . ?” Brian pulled Justin to a halt, standing in front of the gap between buildings next to a trio of children, one of whom was pointing up at a particularly unstable portion of the remains. “What the fuck happened here?”

 

“Hey! Watch your language, Mister. Ladies and children present,” a passerby admonished Brian angrily.

 

“Applesauce! I thought those hits last night were close,” Justin replied, shaking his head at the destruction. “Must have been incendiaries too, judging by the amount of fire damage. I bet the fire brigade had a hell of a time keeping this one under control. It’s still hot, even,” Justin commented before taking a renewed grip around Brian’s waist and starting to turn his charge around so they could continue on their way without further ado. “I hope Mrs. McCready’s didn’t take any damage. Until my squadron’s officially up to numbers, they’ve got us billeted all over the place - wherever they could find us rooms - but we’ll eventually be moving into the barracks out by the Essex airfields. Not that we’ll be any safer out there. Gerry tries to hit the airfields pretty much every night, but our defenses are getting better all the time. In the meantime, though, I’m in a boarding house just around the way here and I’m always worried I’ll come up from the shelters in the morning and find it gone.”

 

Brian was too much in shock at what he was seeing to comment.

 

They soon got beyond the area affected by the bombed building, and the bustling crowd of people around them increased. Brian was outright staring now. Everyone he saw was dressed the same as the people he’d spent the night with down in the Tube. This couldn’t just be some elaborate costume party. He saw women in classic 1940s frocks, hats pinned atop hair rolled like Ginger Rogers. He saw police Bobbies with the traditional rounded helmet-type hats. He saw men in dapper suits just like the one he was wearing. And children wearing short pants buckled at the knee or short little dresses with ribbons in their hair. If this WAS a fancy-dress party, it would have to be a city-wide event.  

 

Brian was starting to get a very, very bad feeling about everything he was seeing.

 

But when they got to spot a little further down the street where the entire pavement had been roped off and a sign put up saying, ‘Danger: Unexploded Bomb’, that’s when it all got to be too much for him. Brian felt his legs go out from under him and the entire crazy street scene in front of him began to spin. He felt like he couldn’t breathe - couldn’t fill his lungs with enough oxygen. His hearing went wonky, the voices around him sounding distant, muffled and their words elongated to the point they didn’t make any sense. He had to sit down. Right then. Right there.



“Brian? Brian, what’s wrong? Applesauce! Here, sit here.” Brian could hear the words Justin was shouting at him, but it was like watching a movie where the soundtrack was off - the words were about ten seconds off from the mouth speaking them. “I think you’re having a panic attack, Brian. Try and slow your breathing. That’s better. Put your head down, between your knees and just keep breathing. You’re going to be okay. Keep breathing.”

 

If he could actually speak, Brian would have asked how he was supposed to keep breathing when Justin had him bent in half so far he couldn’t fill his lungs. But he was still gasping for air and therefore couldn’t get the words out. Bending over did seem to help make the world stop spinning around him, though. He felt reassured when he only had the pavement below his feet to look at and not all the inexplicable anomalies that had been assailing his vision that morning. Justin’s warm, comforting hand rubbing reassuring circles on Brian’s back also seemed to help.

 

After several minutes - Brian wasn’t sure exactly how much time went by in real life, but it felt like a long time to him - he finally felt strong enough again to sit up. Unfortunately the scene around him hadn’t resolved itself into the modern, 2016 London street he was hoping to see. As unbelievable as it seemed, it looked like Brian was still in the middle of a 1940s war movie. Only, he didn’t think this was a movie. Or a costume party. Or any of the other flimsy explanations that he had tried out in his head, all of which fell flat as the reality of his situation continued to pound at him relentlessly. This looked real. It smelled real. It felt real.

 

Unless he’d completely lost his mind, it looked like Brian really was, somehow, back in wartime London.

 

Brian turned to his blue-eyed companion and demanded, “pinch me!”

 

“What? Why?”

 

“Just fucking pinch me already!” Brian snarled angrily.

 

With a confused shrug, Justin complied, grabbing a fold of skin on the side of Brian’s neck and twisting it with a hard pinch.

 

“Ouch!” Brian hollered on cue. “Shit that hurt!”

 

“You said to pinch you,” Justin commented, looking at Brian as if the older man had lost it.

 

“It’s all real? Totally fucking real. Damn! How the hell . . .” Brian was now looking around himself again, this time with wonder, as he tried to take it all in.

 

“Are you sure you’re feeling all right, Brian? Maybe we should get you to the hospital after all. You might have hit your head harder than we thought,” Justin suggested, looking really worried now.

 

“What did you say the date was again,” Brian asked, just to make sure.

 

“It’s the First of April, 1941,” Justin answered, looking even more concerned.

 

“Well, fuck me . . .” Brian shook his head, a smile growing as he surveyed the world around him one more time. “How cool is this, huh, Blue Eyes? It’s fucking 1941! Shit!”

 

“Um . . . Uh . . . Right, so, about that trip to the hospital,” Justin said, backing slowly away. “Let me see if I can get someone to help me carry you there. You just stay put, okay? Don’t . . . Don’t wander off anywhere . . .”

 

Taking quick stock of the situation, Brian decided the last thing he wanted was to get taken to a hospital back here in 1941, where he could catch impetigo or some shit, or worse, get thrown in some antiquated looney bin. He had a fleeting image of himself in a straight jacket, a la ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest’. He figured that most mental health facilities of the time probably weren’t nice places to be and he wasn’t itching to end his stay in this time period like that. No, if he had any hope of getting back to his real life, his proper time, he needed to figure this out and being labeled a lunatic and locked up wasn’t going to help. So, no hospitals.

 

“No!” His yell seemed to startle Justin even more, so he tried to modulate his voice a little. “No, Justin, that’s okay. I’m sure I’ll be fine. I just . . . I had another little dizzy spell. It’s over, though. I’m fine now. Really.”

 

Justin was scrutinizing Brian as if he wasn’t convinced. Brian tried to put on an air of nonchalance, as if nothing was wrong, as if his heart wasn’t still racing. He wasn’t sure he completely succeeded, but in the end Justin sighed and merely offered a hand to help him up.

 

“Well, then, let’s hope your hotel has a doctor on call that can check you out. I don’t want you keeling over as soon as I leave you. I wouldn’t feel right about abandoning you like that,” Justin asserted as he once again assumed his post supporting Brian on the side by his weak ankle.

 

“Thank you again, Justin. I appreciate the help. My ankle really is bothering me, even more so than my head actually,” Brian said, hoping to move the topic to something other than his mental faculties.

 

“It’s no problem. I’m off duty today anyway,” Justin reassured as they started back out into the street together. “Which hotel did you say you were staying at?”

 

“The Strand Palace,” Brian answered, hoping that his hotel was actually in existence in this time period.

 

“Swanky. You really must be a high roller,” Justin commented with a sideways smile in Brian’s direction.

 

If Justin had heard of the place, Brian thought, that was a good sign it was still here. It was the first break he’d had since he’d woken in that alley the night before. Brian silently thanked his stars that he’d chosen to stay at the kitschy, but still grand, old hotel instead of at the brand new, ultra-modern, Hilton that Cynthia had originally booked him into.

 

The rest of the walk went by peacefully. Brian was still so busy looking around him, trying to take everything in, that he was too overwhelmed to talk. He still couldn’t really believe it. But everything he saw and heard around him confirmed that somehow he really, truly, had been transported back in time. It was like some bad science fiction story come to life. That group of men walking together down the street dressed in military garb, really were British soldiers. Those really were vintage WWII London buses and cars out rumbling down the street. It was ALL real.



When they rounded the last corner, and we’re finally headed down the road where the Strand Palace Hotel was located, the last shred of doubt in Brian‘s mind withered and died. The hotel standing in front of them now, bore only a minimal resemblance to the hotel Brian had checked into a few days before. The bones of the structure were the same, and it was located in the same spot, but this hotel was much simpler than the one he was familiar with. Apparently, several floors had been added in the intervening years, the entrance had been remodeled, and the facade had been updated. The sign over the door, though, gave evidence that this was indeed the same Strand Palace Hotel that Brian would be staying in 75 years later.



Of course, there was the one small problem that he wasn’t actually registered at this hotel, in this time. If he let Blue Eyes take him all the way inside, that fact was sure to come out. So, how to get rid of Justin before he realized that the man he’d been helping all this time was an impostor?

 

As soon as they had reached the front steps, Brian turned to his rescuer with a smile of gratitude. “I’m sure I can get along on my own from here, Justin. Thank you so much for your help. I really wasn’t in much of a condition to do anything last night when you found me.”

 

“Aw, shucks. Don’t mention it. We Yanks need to stick together right?” Justin replied, giving Brian a full wattage smile that was almost blinding it was so bright. Then the young pilot seemed to hesitate, looking down at the ground and shuffling his left foot nervously as he stuffed his hands in his pants pockets. “You sure you can make it up to your room okay? I’d be happy to help you the rest of the way. You never know, with the war and all, if the elevator in there is working or not. It might be a long trip up the stairs . . .”

 

‘Shit. This kid is fucking adorable’, Brian thought to himself, and then immediately erased the lesbianic word ‘adorable’ from his mind.

 

“No need. I’ll be fine. You’ve done more than enough.”

 

“All righty then. It was nice to meet you Brian Kinney,” The blond started shuffling his feet again and two spots of pink arose on his pale cheeks. “And, uh . . . Well . . . Um . . . If you’re staying in town for a while . . . and you have nothing better to do . . . Um . . .  my favorite local pub is The White Lion, I’m there most every night, at least when there isn’t a raid on, and if I don’t have any training that night or other duties. But, you know, if you wanted to stop in and buy me a drink to thank me for the expert medical attention, t-t-that’s where I’ll be . . .” The kid stuttered to a stop, his cheeks growing pinker by the minute.

 

Brian put on his most indignant glare. “Are you asking me out on a date, Blue Eyes?”

 

“Uh, no. No! Of course not. I-I would never . . .” Justin replied, looking alarmed, and taking a giant step backward away from Brian. The look of fear on the younger man’s face was enough to make Brian feel a little guilty about teasing him. “I-I-I didn’t mean . . . I’m sorry if . . .”

 

Brian couldn’t help himself; he broke out into a full belly laugh. The kid was sweet and innocent - so fucking easy to tease - Brian didn’t think he’d ever seen anything like it. Maybe there wasn’t anything like it back in 2016. However, he didn’t want to get the kid in trouble either. Brian knew enough about the era that he realized being gay in this time and place could be a serious matter.

 

“I’m just teasing you, Blue Eyes,” he explained, noting the relief in his blond’s eyes and the sudden exhale of breath. “I really don’t know how much longer I’ll be here. If I’m still around, though, I’d be honored to have a drink with you sometime, First Officer Justin Taylor.”

 

Brian held out his hand with an honest and warm smile. Justin stood tall and smiled back, accepting the handshake. Brian held on even through the little jolt of static electricity that shocked him when their hands first touched, and then added a little extra squeeze at the end before he finally released Justin’s hand. The adorable little brat was blushing again but at least this time he managed to look Brian directly in the eyes, allowing the experienced older man to see the implicit invitation hidden there.

 

Yep. It seemed Brian’s gaydar worked even in this century.

 

Recollecting himself, Justin returned his hand to his pocket and took another step backward. Then, with a jaunty tilt to his head, he smiled and waved before turning sharply on his heel with military precision and marching back along the street the way they’d come. Brian watched him for quite awhile, wondering silently what, if anything, his auspicious meeting with the blue eyed pilot meant.

 

But, as soon as Justin disappeared around the far corner of the building, Brian recollected himself and his circumstances. He didn’t have the luxury of sitting around admiring adorable blonds with luscious bubble butts and pretty blue eyes. He needed to figure out how to the get the fuck back to his proper time. As quickly as possible, too.

 

As far as Brian could figure it, everything that had happened to him the past twelve or so hours, stemmed from the events that had occurred back in that alleyway behind the bar. Much of what had happened seemed a little blurry now, but he distinctly remembered that all was right until he wandered down that back alley before the rain storm hit. It must have been that storm and . . . He remembered lightning hitting the building next to where he was sheltering from the rain. And then he didn’t remember anything until waking up in the dark and feeling hurt. Something had definitely happened in that alleyway. He just wasn’t sure what.

 

So, logically, Brian knew that is where he would have to go back to, to find his answers.

 

With that decision made, Brian started back down the street. It was a lot slower going without his handy assistant, Justin, to help him along. His ankle was still ridiculously weak. But, by using the buildings themselves to support him on the side with his bad ankle, he managed to limp along, slowly but surely. When he got to the side street, he had to go even slower for a bit until he’d made it across, but then he was able to use the next set of buildings the same way. And, little by little, he made his way back to the corner where the little pub had been in his time.

 

Of course, there wasn’t any pub there in this time and the building itself was boarded up, as he’d noted the night before. Now that he could see the place in broad daylight, it was clear that this building must have seen bombing damage too. The windows and doors were all boarded up on the ground floor, and the upper stories were clearly vacant as well. There would be no stopping here for a rest or refreshment. No matter. Brian didn’t have the time to waste anyway. Instead, he hobbled on, creeping around the corner into ‘Duckett’s Passage’ as fast as his lame ankle would allow, the cobbled stones making it even more of a challenge for him.

 

The alley looked much different in the daylight than it had by moonlight. If anything, it seemed gloomier and more barren. The walls of the narrow passage were grimy and the cobbles under his feet were uneven and dirt-encrusted. No wonder his poor suit was in such sad condition this morning. The passage didn’t seem very commonly used either - right then he was the only one in the alley for as far down the lane as Brian could see. Which was good, he supposed, since he didn’t want witnesses asking him what the hell he was doing.

 

He made his way along the alley as quickly as he could, doing his best to calculate the precise location where he’d been when the lightning struck. It wasn’t easy, because there were enough subtle changes between the alley of 2016 and the alley of 1941 that it confused him. He did find the stretch of wall that he remembered had been bricked-up in his time but was still intact, doors and windows in place, here. If he remembered correctly the little bend in the wall where he’d tried to get out of the rain was just beyond that.

 

Yes! With a little more searching, Brian found his way to the nook with the small brick ledge above it. So, if this was where he’d been standing when the lightning hit, then that would mean that the wall across from him, over there by the metal guttering pipe that snaked it’s way down the brickwork from the roof of that building to the ground, would have been in the direct path of the electrical strike . . .

 

Brian carefully felt his way, first along the wall where he’d been sheltering - which turned up nothing out of the ordinary - and then the opposite wall.

 

Which is when something extraordinary happened.

 

As Brian stood there, facing the solid brick wall, with both hands flat against the bricks, his right hand slid along the rough surface inch by inch until . . . it seemed to vanish into thin air right in front of his face.

 

He immediately yanked his limb back, almost expecting to find his hand missing or something. Luckily, his appendage was completely intact and, as far as he could tell, no different. He grabbed his right hand with the left, feeling along all the fingers and joints to try and detect any abnormality, but found nothing out of the ordinary.

 

So he tried it again, allowing his hand to move barely a centimeter at a time, until there was a slight dimpling in the visible light, and his hand began to gradually disappear again past that line.

 

“HOLY FUCK!” he yelled, surprising himself at how loud his voice sounded as it echoed off the walls of the tiny passage.

 

He pulled his hand back one more time, just to reassure himself that no harm had come to it, and was again pleased to see it was still there.

 

A third time, Brian pushed his hand through the invisible barrier, this time more rapidly, and held it there this time, wiggling his fingers. He could still feel his fingers, even though he couldn’t see them. He moved his arm around a little, taking a step away from the wall and noted that his hand and even a little of his arm stayed invisible even when he moved them more than a foot out from the brick wall.

 

So, there seemed to be a fairly large hole in the fabric of time right here in this dreary little back passage. Hopefully, it was big enough to get Brian back through to his own time. At least, he hoped it went back to his own time. What if it was another time portal that took him back to prehistoric times. All he needed was to he end up mingling with fucking dinosaurs or some shit.

 

One last test seemed called for. Brian took a deep breath, hoping that he wasn’t being stupid, and then leaned his head forward until it too passed through the invisible barrier. And, after three heartbeats of the scariest nothingness he’d ever experienced, Brian saw the other side of time.

 

There was the same alley, albeit looking a lot cleaner and more modern, along with his disembodied hand floating in the air just a foot or so below where his now disembodied head was hovering.

 

“Holy Fucking Shit!” He repeated himself.

 

From what Brian could see while hovering there, half in and half out of time, this side of the spatial rift certainly looked like his own time. He could see modern lighting fixtures over doors and windows, brighter colors on the various awnings and signs affixed to the doors, and here and there a bit of plastic or other modern textiles. It seemed like the right time. He pulled his head back to the 1941 side of time for one more brief look around at that side, and then, with a shrug, Brian decided to just go for it and stepped through with his whole body.

 

When he was all the way through, Brian paused for a minute to take stock and make sure he’d made it back in one piece. He looked at himself, scanning his body to make sure all limbs were in place and then feeling his crotch to make sure that equipment was there as well. Nothing seemed damaged or out of place, though. He thought briefly about sticking one hand back through to see if the hole to the past was still functional, but then decided not to press his luck. Now that he was seemingly back to his own time, he wasn’t going to tempt fate. And, to make doubly sure, he decided not to even try walking back down the passage in that direction. Instead, he’d walk the long way, down the rest of Duckett’s Passage, until he found the other end and could go the long way back to his hotel.

 

Which is what he did.

 

Brian made it back to the Strand Palace Hotel just as the grandfather clock in the lobby rang out nine thirty. He was dirty, tired and in a hell of a lot of pain from walking so long on his injured ankle. But by then he was certain that he’d made it back to 2016. And he still had time - if he hurried - to take a shower, change into a clean suit and get to the presentation for Britcom.


*****

Chapter Music Selection - Let's Pretend by Nat King Cole

 

The Strand Palace Hotel is a real place, although not affiliated in any way with the authors. It has been in the same location since 1907 and was indeed a favorite place for American G.I.s to visit while on leave during WWII. Check it out here if you’re interested: The Strand Palace

Chapter Text




Chapter 5 - I’ll Be Seeing You.

 

“We got them, Cynthia,” Brian crowed his triumph. “I’m scanning the contracts now. I’ll email them to you in about sixty seconds.”

 

“Yes! Way to go, Brian! Even I was beginning to doubt you could do it, although I should know by now never to second guess the Master,” Cynthia half apologized. “Gardner has been sweating bullets for the last twenty-four hours, though, so this should make his day.”

 

Brian was actually surprised himself. It had taken not only his brilliant initial pitch, but also two follow up pitches and three days of intense negotiation, to close this particular deal. There had been a moment there at the end of the second day, when even Brian had doubted he could convince the crusty old Britcom CEO to sign the deal. But rather than give up, he had spent most of that night revising the boards one last time, pulling out all the stops, and coming back with an even more genius idea than his first two. Somehow, the determination he’d shown must have tipped the scales and impressed the board enough that even the doubters gave in.

 

This account was definitely one of the highlights of Brian’s career. And he wasn’t going to let Gardner forget it anytime soon. Britcom was a $50 million company with international reach. Signing them on would permanently solidify VanGard’s position in the international marketing world. There was nowhere to go but up from here.

 

And Brian wasn’t even that upset by the contract provision the CEO had demanded which obligated Brian to personally oversee the account. It meant that Brian would have to spend considerable time in London over the next weeks and months. And, whereas that idea had bothered him initially, he’d been rethinking that position since his little time adventure. Yes, he’d miss seeing his son for that long, but the idea of maybe getting another chance to venture into the past was strangely enticing. Besides, with all the bonus money he’d be getting from signing this deal, he could easily afford to fly the Munchers and Gus over for a nice long visit.

 

As soon as the contract was scanned, emailed and the original deposited in an overnight envelope bound for the states, Brian heaved a deep breath and collapsed onto his large king-sized hotel bed. It had been a hectic few days and he was bushed. But even so, he couldn’t quite relax enough to catch some zzz’s like he’d hoped. He was still too pumped up on adrenaline to go to sleep. He wished he had someone to celebrate with.

 

Which is when the image of Justin Taylor, First Officer, Eagle Squadron, Fourth Fighter Group, popped into Brian’s mind.

 

Not that the plucky little pilot had been completely out of his mind before then. Even when Brian had been so busy with Britcom he could hardly pause long enough to breathe, the pretty blue eyes and pouty lips of the man Brian had spent that memorable night with kept percolating through his thoughts. That whole bizarre night they’d spent together, playing cards and talking, sharing bits and pieces of their lives, their hopes, even *gasp* their feelings, seemed highlighted in Brian’s memories with a hazy, golden, glow of contentment. He didn’t remember ever feeling that way before, which is probably why it stood out so much. And the kicker was that they hadn’t even fucked. Just that one, unexpected kiss. But for some reason Justin stood out in Brian’s memory far more distinctly than any trick he’d had in the past decade. He simply couldn’t get that man out of his mind.

 

Since he couldn’t sleep, Brian decided to finally give in to his curiosity. He pulled his laptop over onto the bed, propped himself up on his stomach with a couple of pillows under his chest so as to free his arms enough to type, and started to delve into the history of London during the Blitz. And, seeing the pictures that immediately popped up on Brian’s screen, brought everything about that night back to him. The sights, the smells, the feel of the night, the adrenaline when the air raid sirens went off, the warmth of Justin’s body as the smaller but surprisingly strong young man had helped him into the shelter. It was all so real. More real in some ways than the sterile atmosphere of the hotel room he was currently lounging in.

 

And so, fucking, tempting.

 

Brian didn’t have anything else he had to do that day. He really wasn’t sleepy even though he should be. Both his head and his ankle were pretty well healed. Brian turned his head towards the closet and saw his beautiful Saville Row suit hanging there, fresh from the cleaners, only a little worse for wear after his adventure. There was really no reason he couldn’t put it on and take a little stroll down Duckett’s Passage was there? He didn’t even know if it was possible to go back again. But if so . . .

 

Before he had time to rethink things, Brian jumped up from the bed and started changing into the waiting suit.

 

On his walk over to Duckett’s Passage, Brian passed by a small local supermarket and decided on the spur of the moment to make a quick pit stop to pick up a few things. He was in desperate need of a new pack of cigarettes for himself, but for reasons he wasn’t quite sure of, Brian found himself browsing the pharmacy aisle and picking up a couple of boxes of the best over the counter allergy medication as well. As he was checking out, he also grabbed a candy bar, because, well, you just never knew, right? And before he could change his mind, he was done, out the door and on his way towards the little alleyway next to the Royal Oak pub.



It was still early in the evening so the pub wasn’t busy. It looked just the same as it had when he’d ventured in there four nights previously. He wasn’t interested in a pint though. Instead, he skirted the small crowd of people hanging out by the front door and made his way around to the alleyway next to the bar.

 

There was the small bronze plaque at the entry that clearly read, ‘Duckett’s Passage’. Just reading the name gave Brian goosebumps up and down his spine. Was he really going to do this? Would it work? And if he did make it through time to 1941 again, was he sure he could get back?



Brian peeked down the lane and noted that there were a few people hanging out around the pub’s side door but beyond that the alley looked pretty empty. He started to walk down the passage, trying to look casual. There was a small free-standing, sandwich board advertising something at the tiny second hand knick-knack shop across from the pub, and a couple of bicycles chained up next to that door, which he edged past, but after that, the alley was mostly clear. By the time he was a dozen meters beyond the pub, it felt like Brian was the only one there. Nobody seemed to be paying him any attention at all.

 

As he neared the bend in the wall that marked the spot where he’d found the time hole before, Brian slowed his pace and looked back over his shoulder. The pub crew had apparently gone back inside. There was nobody else in sight. Brian cautiously walked over to the left hand wall and felt his way along the bricks . . .

 

But there was nothing. Nothing happened. He kept edging along the bricks, watching for that odd ripple in the light that he’d seen before when his hand disappeared, but didn’t see it. He inched forward a few more feet. And then another foot. But there was still nothing. And even more feet, with still no disappearing body parts. Finally, he was at least a meter or more beyond the little bend in the alley where he’d managed to cross through the time hole before and nothing had happened.

 

“Damn,” he muttered, more disappointed than he would have thought by the fact that his little experiment hadn’t worked. “Sorry, Blue Eyes. Looks like that drink just wasn’t meant to be.”

 

Brian sighed and his shoulders slumped as he turned around, intending to head back out of the alley. He guessed he’d stop in at that pub after all. He didn’t have any other plans now. Maybe he’d find a trick to take his mind off his failure. And if that didn’t work, he could always drink away his problems.

 

Before he’d taken more than two steps back in the direction he’d come, though, Brian felt a wave of electricity wash over him and the alleyway in front of him momentarily disappeared. He felt all the little hairs on his neck stand up and then, almost as abruptly as it had disappeared, the alley was back again. Only this time the alley he was looking at didn’t have the bright lights of 2016, or the bicycles and sandwich board he’d seen waiting near the entrance when he’d come in. This alley was older and darker and dirtier. This alley wasn’t the Duckett’s Passage of 2016.

 

It looked like Brian had made it back to 1941 again!

 

“Excellent!” Brian announced with a big smile. He still wasn’t sure exactly how the damned time portal worked, but at least it was still open. Now he just had to find his Blue Eyes again and see what would transpire.



On the walk to The White Lion pub, Brian stopped every couple of feet to take in everything around him. He still couldn't quite believe that this was really happening. When he thought about it logically, it made no fucking sense, so he decided the best thing to do was put the how's and why's to the back of his mind - at least while he was there - and just try to enjoy the experience.

 

The first order of business was to actually find the pub where Brian hoped to locate his Blue Eyes - which turned out to be more difficult than expected since it seemed to be pretty far off the beaten track. Brian had stopped at least three people, asking if they could direct him to the place, before he got any help. The guy that finally gave him directions did it sort of grudgingly, as if he didn’t care for the place himself. And even after Brian thanked the man and started to move off in the direction indicated, he could feel the gentleman’s disapproving stare following him.

 

As soon as he’d moved far enough away, Brian stopped and took stock of himself and his appearance, worried that something about him didn’t pass muster in this time period. But nothing he could see stood out too glaringly. Brian thought he looked just as dapper as usual. Not that Brian ever needed an excuse to go shopping, but at this moment in time, he was extremely grateful that he’d dropped almost two grand on a tailored suit from Savile Row at the start of his trip. He was definitely one of the better dressed men walking around the area, but his suit was timeless and easily fit in with the rest of the men’s costumes around him. His hair might be a little longer and less rigidly styled than was typical of the era, and he wasn’t about to slather it down with pomade or wax like many of the men he saw passing him, but it wasn’t so far out of the norm that it would cause him to stand out. Maybe that guy just wasn’t too fond of Americans? No, that wasn’t it, going on what Blue Eyes told him the other night. The city was full of Americans and they all seemed to fit in fine. There didn’t seem to be anything else about his person that might have tipped off the guy that he wasn’t a native to this time or place. Maybe Brian had just imagined the guy’s standoffishness?

 

Assured that he looked alright, Brian resumed his trek to the White Lion. After two false turns, which necessitated him turning back and retracing his steps - such was the nature of the sometimes chaotic streets of Britain’s oldest city - he eventually found the correct street and, a couple of houses in from the corner, located the inconspicuous entrance to the fairly nondescript pub. Before he went in, Brian took a moment to admire the old-fashioned, hand-carved and hand-painted pub sign hanging from an iron hook by the front door. It was so typically London, it made him smile.



Brian wasn’t disappointed by the interior of the pub either. It was the quintessential British pub. A small, intimate room with low ceilings, dim lighting, exposed beams blackened by time, rough hewn tables and sturdy backed chairs, the atmosphere hazy from the smoke of a dozen or more customer’s cigarettes and pipes, the whole of it overlain with the smell of slightly stale beer, sweat and day old aftershave. Despite the fairly early hour, there was a good crowd already assembled and most of the tables Brian could see were full. The bar itself was being tended by a rather buxom young woman who was being kept busy pouring for a loud group of boisterous men in various military uniforms. The barmaid seemed to be holding her own though, giving back the banter of the men with gusto. The whole pub, it’s atmosphere and clientele, were eminently reassuring. This pub probably would’ve looked almost exactly the same in any time or era in the last hundred years - or the next hundred for that matter - and Brian immediately felt at home.



Or at least he felt at home for the first thirty seconds or so, until his entrance was noticed by the denizens of the pub, and the majority of the customers fell silent while they scrutinized him. Brian was used to making a grand entrance, but not quite like this. It was obvious that strangers didn’t often make their way into this hidden refuge. From the way everyone was staring at him, Brian felt like he was some exotic bug on display in front of a convention of entomologists. Even Brian Kinney wasn’t comfortable with THAT much attention.

 

Just as he was about to turn tail and flee, though, a friendly American voice piped up from a bench hidden in the back corner. “Brian! You found the place. I’m so glad.”

 

Brian turned towards the welcome sound and saw his Blue Eyes smiling up at him with his drink held up in greeting. As soon as Brian was apparently vouched for by a regular, the rest of the bar patrons seemed to go back to their own conversations once more, leaving Brian to make his way over to Justin’s table, guided by the brilliant smile of his target blond. Once he’d made it to the little table where Justin and two others were waiting for him, Brian suddenly didn’t know what to do. Which was really irritating since he wasn’t usually this indecisive when it came to social situations. But, here, he wasn’t exactly sure what the etiquette was or how he should act. This was all new to Brian, and new was uncomfortable to him. Luckily, Justin stepped in to ease the situation.

 

“Scoot out of the way, Fancy,” Justin ordered, so that the man sitting next to him would move to the other side of the table.

 

“This the chappie you’ve been crowing about, Sunshine?” the man asked as he swung around to the other bench. “I can see why you were so fixated on him.”

 

Brian looked the guy over as he slid into the seat next to Justin. The man his Blue Eyes had called ‘Fancy’ certainly lived up to that moniker. He was an overtly effeminate man, dressed to the nines, who swished even when he was seated. He also spoke with an upper-crust British accent that told of an expensive Public School education. The man made Brian smile. This guy could give Brian’s buddy Emmett a run for his money in the flaming queen department.

 

The other man seated at the table was almost the polar opposite of Fancy. He looked like a working-class stiff - his fingertips were stained and his nails were dirty. He was dressed in a drab grey-green uniform that Brian thought might be Army, although he wasn’t really up on period uniforms and thought that he might need to brush up on that if he planned to come for another visit sometime. The quiet one raised his glass to welcome Brian and then took a gulp of his beer instead of saying anything.

 

“I was starting to think you’d left London already,” Justin commented as soon as Brian was seated.

 

Brian couldn’t help but smile at the look of sincere happiness on Justin’s face. “I’ve just been incredibly busy, that’s all,” he replied. “I had that business meeting, remember? It took me three days to talk the owner of the company into signing the contracts. But now that that’s all settled, I thought I’d come out for a bit of a celebration.”

 

Justin threw back the last of his ale. “Would you like a drink?” he asked, as he signalled over the busy barmaid. “Oi, Daph! Another pint of best and the same for my friend, please.”

 

“Allo, gorgeous,” the attractive young barmaid beamed, as she walked over to their table and collected their empty glasses. “Well, ain’t you gonna introduce me to this ‘andsome fella?”

 

Justin blushed. “My apologies, Daph. Brian Kinney, this beautiful thing is the daughter of the owner, Ms. Daphne Chanders, and my very first friend here in London. Daphne, this is the guy I told you about from the other night, Brian Kinney, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.”

 

Brian took the lady’s hand, making a show of bending to kiss the back of if with an ostentatious flourish. Daphne tittered and blushed so deeply that the rosiness showed even on her dusky cheeks. Brian shot her with his most charming Kinney smile, almost making her swoon as she reached up to pat at her perfectly curled and pinned hair in order to have something to do with her hands.  

 

“You were right about ‘im, Justin. He’s definitely a sweet talker,” Daphne commented with another giggle and a wink as she openly flirted with Brian.

 

Brian smirked. “Please don’t encourage her, Brian. She tries to make eyes at every guy who comes into the joint,” Justin elbowed his seat companion.

 

“Not that it’s h’ever done me any good, working ‘ere,” Daphne complained as she turned and sashayed back to the bar to get their drink refills. When she returned with two pint glasses, she announced, “tuppence, farthing, each, gents.”

 

Brian reached into his pocket for his wallet, but before he could pull it out, Justin stopped him. “This one’s on me,” Justin insisted as he pulled out a pound note and a few oddly shaped coins.



‘Thank fuck for that’, Brian thought, remembering after the fact that all he had in his wallet was a bunch of condoms, some packets of lube, a couple of hundred pounds, fifty U.S dollars and a few Euros left over from his stopover in Paris.

 

“Cheers, Blue Eyes,” Brian stated with a wink as he raised his glass, enjoying once again that damned adorable blush the younger man couldn’t help.

 

Justin lifted his glass at the same time with a mumbled ‘cheers’ back at him. The two other men sitting at the table exchanged amused glances but didn’t say anything until Brian had set his glass back on the table. Then the taciturn one finally spoke up.

 

“So, you’re the guy our Sunshine saved the other night, eh?”

 

“This is ‘Gears’,” Justin introduced his buddy. “He’s a mechanic in the First Armored Division.” Then he turned to the other man at the table and added, “and this is ‘Fancy’. He’s a gentleman of leisure at the present moment - or at least that’s what he says when you ask him what he does.” Then Justin turned back to his recently arrived guest. “And, yes, gentlemen, this is Brian Kinney, the American businessman I ran into before the raid the other night.”

 

“Nice to meet you,” Brian offered with a guarded smile.

 

“So, what kind of business brings a Yank to London in the middle of a war, then?” Gears asked, point blank.

 

Brian shuffled nervously in his seat, his ale warm in his hand. Damn it, he probably should have thought about what he’d say before he visited the 1940s again. He wasn’t prepared to tell these guys that he’d travelled back here in time from 2016 - he didn’t want them all thinking he was bonkers . . . despite the fact that he, himself, still wasn’t one hundred percent sure about his mental state. But if he were going to hide the fact that he wasn’t from this time, he couldn’t tell them the truth about what he did or what he was doing in London. He didn’t think ‘International Marketing Executive’ was even a thing back then. Brian hated lying, though, even in this type of extreme situation. So, what he could tell them that they would understand and that wouldn’t be an outright lie?

 

“It’s, uh,” Brian cleared his throat, “it’s not something I can really discuss. It’s all highly confidential, you understand.”

 

All three of his listeners fell silent at that statement. Fancy nodded his head knowingly and gave Gears a wink. Gears simply whistled and then turned his attention back to his beer without comment. Justin raised his brows with a small complicit smile. Brian breathed a silent sigh of relief, it seemed like vague non-answers were the way to go here.

 

“So, Blue Eyes, how’s the life of a high-flying RAF pilot going? You shoot down any Red Barron’s lately?” Brian asked in an effort to change the topic from himself.

 

Justin laughed with a clear, happy, innocent glee. “I’m surprised you remember what it was I said I did. I wasn’t sure you’d remember much at all after that bump on the head you had. Glad to see you don’t seem to have suffered any ill effects from that at least. How’s your ankle?”

 

“Good as new. Or almost,” Brian answered, extending his leg out from under the table and wiggling his foot in demonstration. “I probably won’t be running any marathons anytime soon, but it’s good enough to walk on at least. Thanks to your excellent doctoring, I might add.”

 

Justin played with the almost empty glass now in front of him. “Oh, it was nothing. I’m glad I could help,” he replied bashfully.

 

Right at that moment, Brian really wanted to kiss that bashfulness away, but he hesitated after looking around at the rest of the patrons of the bar. From all appearances, this place was just your standard British pub. There did seem to be a lot more men here than women, but that wasn’t really unusual, considering the time period. And maybe he was just imagining things, but he did pick up more than a twinge on his gaydar from several of the guys he saw. But even so, none of them were acting on their impulses. So, in the end, Brian really couldn’t tell if this was a straight bar, where a few gay men had just happened in, or if it was a queer bar but everyone there was completely closeted. Either way, he didn’t feel comfortable acting on the urge to show Justin the kind of attention he wanted to show him.

 

Matters weren’t helped much by the silent staring directed at them from Gears and Fancy, both of whom were simply sitting there, sipping at their own beers and intently watching every single move Brian made. He felt like he was on display. Apparently Justin was feeling the same way.

 

“I know you only just got here, Brian, but do you maybe . . . want to go for a walk or something? If your ankle is up for it, I mean,” the young man asked, his head tilting invitingly towards the door.

 

“Sure,” Brian agreed, tossing back the rest of his ale and then getting to his feet.

 

Justin quickly followed suit and a minute or two later both men were walking companionably down the darkening streets shoulder to shoulder.



They walked together in a comfortable silence for the first couple of minutes, both simply enjoying each other’s company.

 

“So,” Brian shivered, watching as his warm breath hit the cold spring air around him. “Tell me more about what you do. What’s it like being a pilot?”

 

“You really wanna know?” Justin asked shyly.

 

Brian nodded.

 

“I love it. The thrill of it. The freedom. I can’t wait for our squadron to be complete so we get to fly on a regular basis. But the good news is that I get to sub in for one of the crew in the First Squadron the rest of this week,” Justin explained, his expression and voice both betraying his excitement. “MacCarthy came down with a nasty head cold so he’s on sick leave for a week or two and I was the next one on rotation, so I get to fly some serious missions. I can’t wait. The training has been great, you know, but I want to DO something with it already. I want to make a difference. I want to be up there, flying, doing what I do best.”

 

Brian admired the enthusiasm and dedication he could feel radiating off the younger man. He’d never really felt that himself. Yes, he was dedicated to his job, to a certain extent, mostly because he liked to be the best in whatever he did, but it wasn’t the same. He had never really felt the drive to put his life on the line for his job. He’d never even contemplated joining the military. He supposed it was different for Justin, growing up in the time he was living in, when war was a much more real and intrinsic part of everyday life. However, he didn’t care for the fact that Justin’s determination and idealism meant that the younger man was now at pretty high risk of becoming one of this war’s many casualty statistics.

 

“Wasn’t there some other way for you to get the training you want, though,” Brian asked, letting some of his worry bleed through. “You could have just stayed back in the states, couldn’t you? Taken some private training courses and got your pilot’s license that way, right?”

 

“That type of training course costs a hell of a lot of money - money which I don’t have. And I did try to get into the American Army Air Division training program but . . .” Justin didn’t finish his sentence, which only incited Brian’s curiosity more.

 

“But what? You seem smart enough and you’re certainly qualified for the position or you wouldn’t have made it through your training here. What happened?” Brian pressed.

 

Justin stopped walking and turned so he could look Brian directly in the eyes, as if searching his companion for some intrinsic character trait that he wasn’t sure of. Brian thought he detected a defiant gleam in the set of Justin’s shoulders. He wasn’t sure exactly what the boy was looking for in him, but for some reason he really hoped that Justin would find it - whatever it was - and by extension, find him worthy. Which was probably nuts, because Brian usually rejected anyone’s judgment of him on those grounds. He told himself over and over again that he didn’t care what anyone thought of him. He wasn’t going to change to please anyone. But, for once, he was really hoping that this man would find him acceptable.

 

Finally, after several long moments of scrutiny, it seemed like Justin had finished his evaluation of Brian and apparently found whatever he’d been looking for. “About a year ago, the US Military board started screening for what they call ‘disqualifying psychiatric conditions’ and I was determined to be unfit due to my ‘homosexual proclivities’,” he stated bluntly, as if daring Brian to say something. “But, luckily for me, the RAF is so desperate for bodies they don’t give a damn. As long as I can fly and shoot down Germans, I guess the British don’t care that I happen to find men attractive. So I came here and I haven’t regretted it for one second.”

 

“Wow,” Brian exclaimed, caught a little off guard by this revelation. He’d known in a vague sort of way that gays hadn’t been accepted in the military during this time, but he hadn’t really ever thought about it that much before.

 

At first, Justin seemed to take Brian’s surprise as a judgmental statement. His face fell and he began to turn away from Brian. It took Brian several long seconds before he realized what was wrong and reached out, laying his hand on Justin’s shoulder to stop the pilot from walking away in a huff.

 

“I didn’t realize that it was so hard for gays to get by here,” Brian blurted out.

 

“‘Gays’?” Justin questioned, not recognizing the more modern term.

 

“Queers. Homosexuals,” Brian clarified. “Whatever you want to call us.” He made sure to include himself in that descriptive term so Justin wouldn’t have any doubt. “I just didn’t know they were doing that back home. I knew that the military wasn’t keen on queers serving but I didn’t know they were actively screening for it. Not that it should matter. Fuckers.”

 

“Well, at least we’re not living in Nazi Germany, right? Not only do they actively enforce their sodomy laws these days, but I’ve heard that after you serve your prison term they ship you right off to a concentration camp. Which is just one more reason for me to want to serve and fight those monsters,” Justin insisted, the gleam of anger in his eyes bright enough to stand out even with only the moonlight to show it.

 

“Shit. That’s so fucked up . . .” Brian didn’t know what else to say. The mere thought of that happening to Justin made him shiver with dread.

 

“Yeah, well, that’s why I’m here in England rather than back home. I want to fly. It’s that simple. I have a plan for my life and I’m not going to let anyone stop me. I can’t help it that I don’t find broads attractive, like other guys. But I’m not going to let some head shrinker tell me that I can’t fly planes because of it either. And, if I can kill off a few thousand Germans share that opinion in the process, well then, that’s just a bonus, right?”

 

“I think you’re incredibly brave,” Brian told the blond honestly, “standing up for what you want like that.”

 

“It’s not bravery. I just don’t have any other choice. I’m not giving in on this and I don’t think I’m going to miraculously change and not want you to kiss me,” the defiant blond announced.

 

After a challenge like that, Brian couldn’t help himself; he gently pushed the younger man backwards until Justin hit the wall behind him. They were tucked away in the doorway of a boarded up shop, out of sight of those that might pass by.

 

“Is this okay?” Brian asked as he traced Justin’s mouth with his fingertip, his touch so gentle it caused the blond to shiver at his touch.

 

Justin could only nod his head, words clearly escaping him.

 

Brian leaned in slowly, taking his time and savoring the anticipation. The moment their lips touched, Brian felt as though their mouths were made for each other. The kiss started off so soft, so gentle, so unlike anything Brian had ever experienced before, and that thought alone should have scared him, but it didn’t. It just made him want to keep on kissing Justin. To taste more of him.

 

Justin grinned into the kiss and was unable to hold back the soft moan as Brian swiped his tongue over the plump, cotton candy pink lips.

 

Fuck, his little Blue Eyes tasted good.

 

Grabbing the front of Brian’s jacket, Justin hummed happily.

 

“Mmm, that was nice.”

 

Brian laughed softly, leaning in for one more quick peck on the lips. “Nice? That’s all I get . . . Nice? I think you’ll find that was nicer than nice.”

 

Justin shrugged his shoulders and bit his lip shyly. This softer, more timid version of Justin took Brian by surprise. He wasn’t expecting it. Justin had seemed so strong and brave earlier, when he’d been talking about his job, and Brian had expected that gutsiness to continue. Seeing this more vulnerable side of the little spitfire, though, was an extreme turn on for him.

 

Brian liked the way Justin was so full of seeming contradictions. So complex. It made him even more curious about the younger man. Brian was intrigued and that didn’t happen to him very often with the men he was usually attracted to. They were too easy. Those other men only touched him on a physical level. Justin, however, seemed to draw him in both physically and emotionally. Maybe it was just the challenge, but Brian found himself even more enthralled.

 

“Well,” Justin explained quietly, “it’s just that . . . I have nothing to compare it to.”

 

That did it for Brian, and he couldn’t quite help himself. He pulled the younger man towards him almost roughly, his mouth firm against Justin’s mouth, but the kiss itself remaining soft and gentle. Without thinking about what he was doing, Brian moved his thigh in between Justin’s legs and began to grind their bodies together. Their breath hitched and Justin trembled in Brian’s arms as their nether parts rubbed together furiously.

 

“Justin, Justin, Justin,” Brian chanted, as the friction increased.

 

“Brian, stop,” Justin finally said, pushing him away firmly as he leaned back against the wall and panted until he caught his breath a little more. “We can’t . . . not here. What if some flatfoot came by and saw us. It’s not safe.”

 

“Shit,” Brian complained, but took the warning to heart. He figured Justin knew the time, and therefore the risks, much better than he did. Although it was a crying shame to have to stop just then. “Just when it was getting interesting too.”

 

Justin laughed softly up at Brian’s frustrated look. “Poor baby. You didn’t think I was that easy did you?” Justin teased him. “I might not have much experience at this, but I know enough not to be an easy mark for the first ritzy hotshot that makes a pass at me.” His words were counterbalanced by the flirty tone he said them in, making Brian’s dick perk up and take notice all over again. Then he relented and became matter-of-fact again. “Besides, there’s no time for this right now even if we wanted to do something. I told you, I’m on duty tonight. I have to be at the base by 23:00 hours. I was actually just about to head out when you showed up at the White Lion. I thought I’d better get on the Tube before it got late in case there was a raid or something and I got caught out.”

 

Brian sighed. But, if it wasn’t meant to be, at least right then, there wasn’t much he could do about it. If anything, the interruption left him even more determined to find a way to get more from his provocative little Blue Eyes. While patience wasn’t really a virtue Brian was accused of frequently, he supposed he could be patient if he tried. If there was enough incentive in it for him. And Justin Taylor was plenty of incentive.

 

Brian took a step back, allowing Justin to move away from the wall, adjusting his clothing in the process. Brian snickered but adjusted himself as well, doing his best to ease the tightness affecting his own trousers. Then, as one, they turned and resumed their unhurried walk down the street towards the closest Underground station. It was a companionable thing, their shoulders brushing together every few steps, every touch raising matching smiles from each of them.

 

When they’d only gone a few steps, a gust of wind swept by, ruffling Brian’s hair and almost blowing off Justin’s uniform cap. The wind was cool but it carried with it a hint of something green and spring-like, foretelling good things to come. It also, apparently, carried with it enough pollen to cause Justin to start sneezing, which ruined the mood and caused him to resort to another of his mother’s handkerchiefs. And it also reminded Brian of the little packet of things in his pocket.

 

Brian rooted in his jacket for a moment, pulling out his wallet and cell phone before he located the small brown bag that held the two treats he’d meant for Justin. He juggled the items, his hands too full to handle everything, and accidentally pushing the button on his phone that lit up the little screen. Justin, who just happened to be looking in that direction, was obviously surprised by the odd little gadget, but he didn’t say anything, so Brian simply shoved the phone back in his pocket, hoping the incongruous item would be forgotten once he showed the younger man the other things he’d brought.

 

Taking one small plastic bottle of allergy meds out of the package he handed it over to Justin. “Here. These are for your allergies,” Brian stated.

 

Justin took the bottle, looking at the unfamiliar packaging with caution. “What is it? I’ve never heard of ‘Piriton’,” he said, reading the name on the front of the bottle.

 

“Um . . .” Brian hadn’t thought about how he was going to explain the miracle meds from the future. “It’s something new. I don’t think you can get it here in England yet. But it works really well. Trust me on this.”

 

Justin looked at him suspiciously. Brian shook his head, annoyed by the doubting reluctance, but understanding it all the same. Then he grabbed back the bottle, popped open the cap, dumped two of the small white pills into his hand, recapped the bottle and shoved it into Justin’s jacket pocket, before picking up one of the pills and swallowing it himself.

 

“See. Completely safe. I promise, I’m not trying to poison you or anything. Just trying to help you avoid turning into a sneezing mess at thirty thousand feet and crashing your plane because of it,” Brian explained with what he hoped was a reassuring smile.

 

Justin shrugged and took the second pill, swallowing it with a little frown. “Thanks. If it works, I’ll owe you one. My allergies are always annoying this time of year.”

 

Brian smiled, encouraged that he’d won that battle without giving himself away, and then handed over the second of his treats, this one less likely to cause an uproar. “I thought you’d maybe like this as well.”



“Chocolate?” Justin’s eyes lit up as he grabbed at the Cadbury’s Dairy Milk bar, the packaging for which, thankfully, hadn’t changed too much even after seventy-five years. “Golly! I haven’t had chocolate in months. Not since I left Pennsylvania. How’d you manage this, Brian?”

 

“I have my ways,” Brian answered evasively, happy to see how thrilled Justin was with this offering.

 

“Mmmmm,” Justin moaned erotically as soon as he’d torn open the wrapper and shoved the first bite into his mouth. “This is like eating a little piece of heaven.” Then he noticed Brian’s amused smile at him and remembered his manners. “Sorry. Would you like some?” Justin asked, braking himself off another square and popping it into his mouth, then sighing happily as the chocolatey goodness melted in his mouth before offering the candy bar to Brian. “Gosh, Brian, this is better than I remembered. It’s the best thing I’ve had in my mouth for so, so long.”

 

“Oh? And here I thought my kisses would be the sweetest thing you’d ever tasted. I’m crushed, Justin,” Brian protested with a laugh, enjoying the way he managed to bring another blush to the boy’s cheeks.

 

Justin smirked flirtily as he swallowed the piece of chocolate in his mouth. “I love how you say my name,” he breathed. “And, as for how sweet your kisses are, well, I guess now that I have this,” the boy waved the candy bar in the air, “I’ll have something to compare it to the next time we try.”

 

Then the feisty little pilot winked at Brian, turned on his heel and sauntered away towards the Tube entrance, leaving the older man standing there laughing. Damn, that Blue Eyes was full of surprises. The saucy wave over his shoulder as Justin descended the stairs along with the rest of the people heading for the Underground only added to Brian’s amusement. And his need to make sure that ‘next time’ happened very, very soon.

*****

Music selection -  I'll Be Seeing You - In case you’re interested, we did research all the stuff about gay rights in the 1940s and it really was bleak. Hitler started interning gays in 1941 and the US Military started screening for ‘perversions’ like being gay the same year. Here’s a good place to start if you want to read more about any of this: LGBT Rights in the 1940s . And, i f you’re wondering about how much a ‘tuppence, farthing’ was in 1940 . . . Wartime Money

 

Chapter Text



Chapter 6 - Sepia Panorama.

 

As soon as Justin had disappeared from sight into the maw of the Tube station, Brian turned on his heel and hurried back towards Duckett’s passage.

 

He might have been a little disappointed that his rendezvous with the fair-haired pilot hadn’t resulted in something more immediately satisfying, but now he was more motivated than ever to figure out this time traveling schtick. Justin had promised him there would be more kissing, and Brian was determined to make that happen. But to do that, he had to figure out how the damn time portal worked.

 

Luckily, Brian was starting to get a better grip on the street plan around the Covent Garden area of 1941. He managed to make it back to the future site of the Royal Oak pub with only one wrong turn along the way. He quickly scanned the street corner, ensured that there was no one around, and then ducked down the darkness of the passage.

 

Things got a little more difficult at that point, though, since the black out of the Blitz necessitated there be absolutely no light at all along the the small alley. The high walls on both sides of the narrow space cut off pretty much all ambient moonlight. Before Brian was more than five meters down the lane, he was forced to grab hold of the wall and feel his way along. He started to worry that he would completely miss the spot he needed to find. After tripping over a loose cobble and almost landing on his face, however, Brian gave in to the exigencies of the situation and pulled out his cell phone from his jacket pocket. Three quick taps and the phone was turned on with the flashlight function activated. After that, it was much simpler to find his way along to the bend in the wall marking the all-important location of the time portal.

 

“Now, to figure this thing out once and for all,” Brian mumbled, his shoulders set in a determined stance.

 

Holding the flashlight up high enough to illuminate a broad swath of the alleyway, Brian reached out with his right hand and slowly stepped across the width of the alley, watching to make sure he would catch the exact moment that his hand encountered the portal. If it were there. He managed to make it all the way across the alley to the other brick wall without encountering any anomaly.

 

“OK. So we know this thing -  whatever it is - isn’t in the middle of the path. Which is probably good, because otherwise everybody and their brother would be stumbling into 2016,” Brian said, voicing his conclusions as he went.

 

Next, with the flashlight still in his left hand and his left elbow trailing lightly along the brick wall to steady it, Brian carefully felt along the wall with his right hand. He moved his hand as slowly as he possibly could, covering only a centimeter or so at a time, trying to pinpoint the exact location of the portal. When his fingers were only about a foot away from the metal guttering pipe that he’d noticed on previous occasions, he began to feel a faint electrical tingling, prickling against the sensitive skin along the back of his hand.

 

“Aha! Gotcha!”

 

Brian stopped and carefully examined the area as closely as possible, trying to memorize the exact location where the sensation had begun. Then he let his fingers slide through the plane of time until most of his hand had disappeared. Which, of course, freaked him out all over again, even though he’d experienced it multiple times now. He didn’t think there was any possible way that seeing your hand disappear in mid air would ever become normal. And just to make doubly sure, he pulled his hand back one last time to ensure things were still okay. But, when his hand reappeared completely intact, as it always had before, Brian was once again reassured.

 

The next thing was to figure out how big this time rift was. With his left hand still braced against the wall and the flashlight pointing crossways over the alley, Brian extended his hand forward through the rift until it disappeared and then slowly moved his arm to the right, away from the wall, towards the center of the alley. He watched as the stump of his arm moved through the air a good two feet, maybe a little more, away from the brick wall. And then, suddenly, the entire thing reappeared.

 

“So, it seems we’re looking more at a ‘crack’ in time than a ‘portal’, per se,” he commented to himself quietly. “No wonder this damn thing’s so hard to find.”

 

Leaving the safety of the left-hand wall for a moment, Brian walked back across the alley to the right-hand wall. Then he walked further down the alley, away from the entrance to the passage, ready to stop at any moment if he felt that telltale tingle of electricity. However, as he had sort of expected, he did not come up against any sense of the anomaly on this side of the alley. He continued to walk down the right side of the alley for two or three meters. Then he stopped, went back over to the left-hand side wall, and felt his way back towards the guttering pipe. Only, this time, there was no tingling sensation at all. Not even when he moved beyond the spot where he was sure he’d felt it before.

 

“Hmm. That makes no sense,” he mumbled. “Unless . . . It only goes one direction on each side of time . . .”

 

Immediately reversing direction, Brian felt his way back towards the guttering pipe and, voilà, his hand disappeared again.

 

“Bingo!” He almost yelled in his excitement at figuring out the mystery. “So, in 1941, you have to move from the entrance of the passage down the length of alley to get back to 2016. And, it then follows logically, that to get back from 2016 to to 1941 you have to move from the far end of the passage back towards the entrance. Simple. Well, simple, if you don’t worry about the physics of the thing,” He laughed to himself, realizing that the entire premise was crazy to begin with and worrying about the physics behind just how this was happening was a futile waste of his time and brainpower. “Maybe, I might someday confess this to some science geek, and let him or her figure it out. But I doubt it. Nobody would believe this. Not even Einstein himself.”

 

To test out his theory, Brian proceeded to head through the time rift back towards the year 2016. As had occurred before, he watched his hand disappear through that odd shimmering wrinkle in the plane of space that seemed to exist right next to the old guttering pipe. This time, however, he didn’t stop with his hand, and followed through with the rest of his body. He again experienced that strange moment of blankness where everything around him disappeared and he could no longer see the alley that was right in front of him. But two heartbeats later his vision returned, and he breathed a deep sigh of relief as he took in the well lit alley of 2016. And then he was through the rift and back to his own time.

 

As further proof, he quickly turned and re-inserted his hand back through the portal, moving it in the direction of the alley’s entrance. As expected, it disappeared. Reassured that he had this figured out, Brian pulled his hand back, walked to the other side of the alley, moved a couple meters down, and then, returning to the left-hand side wall, he followed the wall along its length further from the entrance. And, nothing. As he’d surmised, the rift didn’t work going this direction in this time.

 

“Piece of cake,” Brian concluded, satisfied with his experimentation and overjoyed to know that he still had a way back to Justin for his next visit.

 

Once he was assured he had figured out the time portal, Brian carefully stepped around the affected area, and made his way back to the high street. The Royal Oak seemed much busier as he passed by it this time, but he wasn’t at all tempted to go in. Brian now had an agenda.



“Cynthia, I need some stuff from the art department and I need it yesterday,” Brian barked into the loudspeaker of his phone less than ten minutes after he’d walked into his hotel suite at The Strand Palace.

 

“Yes, your majesty!” Cynthia replied snarkily, unafraid of her boss no matter how loud he bellowed. “You do realize it’s almost five pm here, right? I don’t even know if there’s anyone still left down in the art department.”

 

“I don’t care. Call them back in. Have them work all night if necessary. I need this stuff by tomorrow,” Brian demanded. “I need to show Britcom’s CEO how truly amazing VanGuard’s art department really is,” Brian said, thinking through his cover story as he went.

 

“Can’t you just show them one of your previous campaigns? The one you did for Liberty Air was fantastic.”

 

“They’re ALL fantastic - but, no, that’s not going to cut it, Cyn. He’s seen that stuff. And, frankly, anyone with photoshop on their mobile phone could do crap like that. That’s not much of a test,” Brian asserted with his usual disdain of the art department. “No, I need something more showy. Something with a more personal hook.”

 

“Okay . . . what did you have in mind?” Cynthia asked, seeming to have caught Brian’s enthusiasm for this project.

 

“It turns out Britcom’s CEO is a huge World War II buff. He loves all that retro crap,” Brian lied through his teeth, hating it all the while but unable to think up any way to get what he needed without a bit of prevarication. “So I was thinking that, if we can show him that our art department could recreate some of the memorabilia of the time, we would blow him away. I might even be able to sell him on something with that kind of historical flair for the second stage of our marketing campaign.”

 

“What sort of stuff are you after?” Cynthia asked as she took notes, tapping away loudly on her computer.

 

“Do you think the guys downstairs are up to recreating the money of the time? You know, old pound notes and stuff like that? It shouldn’t be too hard with modern technology.”

 

“So, let me get this straight . . . you want our art guys to make you counterfeit currency from World War II?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Wouldn’t that be illegal? And how is that going to help in a marketing campaign in 2016?” Cynthia asked, sounding perplexed.

 

Brian sighed loudly. “Listen, I know what I’m doing. He loves this type of shit, okay? I just know if we show him what our guys can do, he'll be throwing more money at us than Gardner could ever dream of.”

 

“Okaaay. Whatever you say boss . . .”

 

“And, no, it’s not illegal to reproduce discontinued currency,” Brian opined, crossing his fingers and hoping that what he was saying was true. “Not unless you try to pass it off as being real to a buyer, which would be fraud. But it’s not like I could even try and spend it here in 2016 - England updated their currency to a modern decimal system sometime back in the seventies. And those old notes look nothing like modern money. This is just for show, Cynthia. But I still want it to be good. I want Britcom’s guy to THINK it’s real . . . at least at first.”

 

“Got it.”

 

“And, maybe some type of identification card too? Something that would provide a reason for an American like me to be over here in London back in the middle of, say, the London Blitz? I could flash it at him and get a chuckle or something, you know?” Brian was sure that his longtime assistant would immediately see through this flimsy ruse of his, but it was the best he could come up with on the spot.

 

Cynthia laughed aloud. “‘Brian Kinney, International Man of Mystery’ sort of thing?”

 

“Exactly! And make me look a little dangerous. Hot and dangerous,” Brian teased, glad to hear that Cyn seemed to be getting into the spirit of the deception.

 

“If I later find out that this is just some weird kink to help you pick up a guy, Brian, I’ll personally kick your ass so hard you’ll need pliers to pull my Manolos out of it,” Cynthia warned, only half kidding.

 

‘The woman is too damned perceptive by half’, Brian thought to himself. “Just do it, Cyn. You can bitch at me for it later.” Then, before she could complain to him further, Brian hung up the phone.

 

“Okay. Now that that’s sorted . . .” Brian turned to his laptop computer and set to work to learn everything he possibly could about not only the time period but also about one Justin Taylor, First Officer, Second Eagle Squadron.



Brian awoke around 7:30 am the next morning, exhausted and with a terrible crick in his neck. He’d spent half the night hunched in front of his laptop researching The Blitz in great detail and getting himself all in a tizzy about the safety of his blue eyed boy. Especially when he read that in only two weeks, 1941 London would be hit by one of the heaviest attacks since the war began. Bombs would be dropping all over the city from 21:00 until dawn with the heaviest bombing happening right in central London - where Justin was currently boarding. And that didn’t even cover the dangers Justin was getting himself into with the missions his squadron was going to be flying. Brian felt sick just thinking about it.

 

The worst thing was when Brian happened upon an interactive map of London 1941 showing the precise location of where every single German bomb was dropped. When he first looked at it, it just seemed like a scary blur of red dots. He was amazed that London had survived an onslaught like that. The sheer number of bombs that hit the capital was staggering. It was the best illustration he could think of to explain why they called it ‘The Blitz’. And it didn’t get any better when he expanded the map and looked more closely at the individual dots - there were a lot that were far too close to where Justin’s boarding house was for Brian’s liking. It was made even worse because the creators had included photos from the time which matched up to the individual bomb sites - pictures which made it all seem far too real. He had spent more than two hours obsessing over that map before he eventually fell asleep, his head lying on the computer keyboard, dejected and worried as hell.



Now that it was morning, though, Brian was revved up and ready to do something with all his newfound knowledge. Deciding he needed to get going with his day, Brian checked his phone to see if Cynthia had managed to work her magic and, lo and behold, he found a snarky email from his faithful assistant waiting for him in his inbox.



My Dearest Boss,

 

Lucky for you, your assistant is amazing! So amazing, in fact, that I highly recommend she gets a raise. I managed to convince both Daniel and Steve from the art department to stay late last night, so that they could complete your unusual request. It wasn’t easy, especially with VanGuard putting a hold on all overtime. This meant I had to treat them to dinner - they were extremely grateful for the Chipotle that I ordered in using your card. But, with a lot of persuasion, and a few threats, I got them to do as you ordered, Oh Inflexible One. Two thousand pounds in 1940’s currency and your own personal wartime identification documentation are all sealed up ready to be shipped overnight to you. Attached below are examples of what they’ve made. I hope you find this satisfactory, as it was a pain in the ass to get done at such short notice. If it’s not satisfactory, you can bite me.

 

Love, Cynthia

 

P.S. I like diamonds


Brian Kinney, News Correspondent

 

At least Cynthia’s email gave Brian something to laugh about that morning. The picture she’d attached of the ID card the guys had created looked fantastic. Brian thought he looked rather handsome, in fact. The image showed that the art department had somehow aged the ID so it looked even more authentic. Cynthia had even done a pretty decent job forging his signature, as she always did. He wasn’t sure about the profession they’d given him - News Correspondent - as he’d never been even remotely interested in journalism. He would have preferred to be something more daring, like Assitant to the Secretary of War or maybe CIA Director. However, he supposed that a real spy would probably not be announcing that on his ID, and being a journalist WOULD be a good cover for a spy. He figured he could work with ‘Correspondent’.

 

He was a little disappointed that he’d have to wait yet another day to get the stuff in hand, but he figured he could use that time to prepare himself more thoroughly. He wanted to know precisely what he was going to say and do on his next visit. He wanted to be sure he wasn’t going to be walking into the next bombing in the area. And he wanted to figure out what he was going to say to Justin to convince the little spitfire to stay out of the line of fire as well. He already suspected that wouldn’t be easy. Even from just the little he already knew about the brave young pilot, he could tell Justin was a stubborn shit. But Brian could be just as stubborn, especially when he had a good plan to rely on. So, he headed downstairs to the hotel restaurant, determined to fuel his brain and come up with the perfect game plan for Operation Save Blue Eyes.

 

Brian’s first order of business after he’d successfully managed an English breakfast - he always appreciated the grilled tomatoes but lamented the way everything seemed fried in butter and hated the limpness of their bacon - was to go shopping. Because, well, he WAS Brian Kinney and shopping was one of the things he did best. Plus, if he was going to be making multiple forays into the past, he couldn’t do it with only one period-appropriate suit. So, pushing aside all his worries about bombings, air raids, missions gone wrong, and everything else that might not work, Brian headed back to Saville Row with the intention of getting himself properly outfitted for his planned adventures.

 

That little expedition took pretty much all morning, of course. There was no rushing fashion. But the tailor promised him that at least one of the new suits he’d ordered would be ready and delivered to his hotel by noon the following day. Which fit in with his plans perfectly. He celebrated by walking the few blocks to Piccadilly Circus and treating himself to a nice lunch at a little cafe there before hopping on the Tube for the quick ride two stops back to Covent Garden.

 

The walk back to his hotel from the Underground station happened to take Brian right past Duckett’s Passage and, even though he didn’t want to tempt fate by going anywhere near the time portal before he was ready, he caught himself stopping at the entrance to the lane and looking down the path. He was rather excited by his plan to go back and even more excited to see his Blue Eyes again. He thought he could almost feel the pull of it, although he somehow managed to resist.

 

However, while he was looking down the lane, he happened to once again notice the little shop just around the corner from the entrance. He’d rushed right past it the last few times he’d come that way, not at all interested in some musty old resale shop. But, now that he was thinking about the past so much, he realized that kind of place might prove quite useful. And since he didn’t have any other immediate plans, Brian sauntered over to the place and peeked into the window just to check it out.

 

The first thing he saw was a beautiful, dark grey, vintage homburg hat that he immediately knew would go perfectly with the new suit he’d purchased just that morning. He simply HAD to have it, and rushed right into the shop without another thought. The frowsty older shopkeeper seemed startled to actually have a customer, practically jumping up off the stool she’d been sitting on while drinking a cup of tea. When she saw the extravagantly handsome man who was her latest customer, she got even more flustered. Brian loved that kind of reaction, though, so he hammed it up even more than usual, flirting shamelessly with the woman as he directed her to the hat he wanted to try. If there was any doubt that he’d look wonderful in the hat, it was promptly dispelled the minute the homburg was placed atop his auburn head. The shopkeeper pronounced him to be ‘dashing’. Looking at himself in the mirror, Brian had to agree.



While the woman was busy looking for the hatbox that came with his newest sartorial acquisition, and which she insisted he have, Brian continued to look around the shop. Most of what he found was pure junk - kitschy knick-knacks he would never look at twice - but, near the back, he found a rack of some vintage clothing that was actually in pretty good condition considering the age of the pieces. In particular, he was drawn towards a very nice, thick wool overcoat, in a pleasing navy blue with a double row of shiny brass buttons. It was far too small for Brian himself, but it looked just perfect for a slightly built RAF pilot whose blue eyes would match the color almost exactly. He couldn’t wait to see Justin in it and immediately instructed the shopkeeper to add it to his bill, causing the woman to go into paroxysms of glee.

 

Brian dismissed all the other items of clothing as either too worn or not the right period before moving over towards the counter to pay for his purchases. While the woman was ringing him up, Brian’s eye landed on a little basket of odds and ends that was sitting on the counter. Most of it was simply dross - buttons, beads, little trinkets of no real value - but hidden in amid the clutter, Brian thought he saw a coin. Digging it out, he was thrilled to discover that it was actually a vintage farthing coin with the date of 1937 on it. Exactly what he needed. A quick rummage through the basket turned up another dozen coins of various small amounts, with a face value of maybe a few shillings total. In today’s currency, that would be only a few pennies. But in 1941, it would be the perfect amount to buy him and his Blue Eyes a pint or two. He quickly added these to his other finds, with a word to the shopkeeper that if she ever came across more old coins like that, she should call him - he would buy anything she could get her hands on.

 

After making the woman’s day with probably the largest sale she’d had in weeks, Brian took all his loot back to the hotel. He spent the rest of that afternoon answering emails, returning calls to clients and doing other stuff for VanGuard that at least got his mind off the Blue Eyed problem in 1941. After dinner, he treated himself to a Grindr hookup, just to take the edge off, and then went for a swim in the hotel pool. He finally made it back to his suite around ten that night, feeling refreshed, relaxed and looking forward to his plans for the next day.

 

It was still rather early for him though so, after he showered, Brian took his laptop with him and crawled into bed. He scrolled through a few more random websites detailing more of the woes of the Blitz. Brian was confounded and impressed by all the hardships Londoners of the time had faced. They seemed so fucking stoic about it all, at least according to all the contemporaneous accounts he read. He didn’t think his generation would have been so sanguine about being bombed night after night for years on end.

 

It wasn’t till later, just as Brian was getting sleepy and about to call it a night, that he stumbled across a site that included a much more detailed and extensive history of the RAF’s Eagle Squadrons. He eagerly dove into the information there, reading up on the history of the formation of the various Squadrons, the types of missions they flew and the planes they used. It was fascinating stuff. Brian could see his Blue Eyes wanting to be a part of something that seemed so courageous and daring. Reading it from the distance of seventy five years later, it all sounded so gallant.

 

At least it did until Brian came across the section of the website that went into specific detail about the various individual pilots that had made up the Eagle Squadrons. Then it started to sound a lot less gallant and a lot more foolhardy. The survival rate for the Squadron’s pilots wasn’t great. The first three American pilots that had volunteered to start up the Squadron were all killed in combat by the end of 1941. Several others were injured so badly that they ended up being shipped home early. And then there were the numerous instances where planes had been shot down during missions. Brian started to get more and more worried as he read through those stories. Especially the one about the pilot that was captured after being shot down, imprisoned for three years in the infamous Stalag Luft III and subsequently died on the Nazi’s ‘Long March’ as the Germans emptied the POW camps in the face of the Soviet advance in 1945.

 

It wasn’t till after midnight that Brian found the name he was both looking for and dreaded seeing. And the news was even worse than he’d expected. Because according to these records, three Spitfires that were part of the 121 Eagle Squadron were going to be shot down on the night of July 10th, 1941, somewhere over the North Sea between London and Hamburg. None of those pilots’ bodies were ever found. And among the names of those lost, Brian found ‘Flight Commander, Justin Taylor’.

Flight Commander, Justin Taylor

*****

Music Selection -   Sepia Panorama

*****

Here are the links to our research in case you’re interested:

-The Eagle Squadrons were real - they were made up of American volunteers who wanted to help out prior to the US entering the war in 1942. A lot of the descriptions of what happened to the Eagle Squadron pilots is real too. We were inspired by reading their stories to create Justin’s story. Eagle Squadrons

-Brian’s research on the Blitz - The West End At War

-An interactive map showing where every bomb was dropped on London during the Blitz - Bombing Map

-World War II memorabilia

-Men’s 1940’s vintage clothes & more clothes

 

Chapter Text



Chapter 7 - Ain’t Misbehavin’



Brian burst through the doors of the White Lion at 5:30 pm.

 

He’d been frantically waiting all day long, trying to determine when would be an appropriate time to venture back into 1941. He’d been so distracted the whole day he could barely get any work done. Finally, when he couldn’t take it any longer, he simply bolted out of the hotel and headed in the direction of the White Lion pub. To hell with waiting and fuck anyone who told him it was too early in the evening to even hope Justin would be at the drinking hole yet.

 

Brian rushed up to the bar, elbowed aside a young naval officer and pounded loudly with his knuckles on the bar top. “Daphne! Daphne, I need to find Justin. Where the hell is he? Is he here yet tonight?”

 

“Well, if it ain’t tall, dark an’ desperate,” Daphne teased, turning around and flashing her brilliantly white smile at the frantic man. “It’s a bit early for Justin to be ‘ere yet, Sweet’art. The only blokes in ‘ere at this time ‘a day is the working stiffs on their way home to the missus. The more . . . interestin’ crowd . . . don't straggle in ‘til about eight o’clock, Darlin’.”

 

“Fuck!”

 

“Oi! Watch yer language. Ladies present,” warned the Navy boy still hovering at Brian’s elbow.

 

Brian mumbled an insincere ‘sorry’ before turning back to Daphne. “I really need to find Justin, Daphne. It’s important. I need to . . .”

 

Brian paused there, unable to go on. He didn’t know what he was going to say to Justin, to be completely honest. How exactly did you tell someone that they were going to die? And, even if you knew definitively they WERE going to die, would you tell them? Should you tell them? It was an age-old question; was time static or elastic? If you knew something was going to happen in the future, could you do anything to prevent it, or was everyone’s fate already set in stone? Brian had been struggling with that question all night and all day and still hadn’t come up with any real answer. All he knew was that he had to at least find Justin and try to stop the inevitable. Any way he could.

 

“What ya need to do, Darlin’, is ‘ave a seat, an’ a pint, an’ try an’ relax,” Daphne ordered, pointing to a vacant bar stool a little ways down the counter. “I ‘spect our Sunshine will be along eventually. He comes ‘round most nights. Provided he don’t have no mission to fly that evenin’. But you frettin’ and scratchin’ like a cat in heat ain't gonna get ‘im ‘ere any faster. So, just sit yourself down and I’ll be with you in a tic. All right, Darlin’?”

 

Brian rolled his eyes at the cheeky wench, but he didn’t really have any grounds to argue with her. So he followed directions, sat his ass on the empty barstool, and waited until the beautiful brown-skinned barmaid brought his warm pint over. That was something he was going to have to get used to. He’d kill for a cold lager, to be honest, but ‘when in Rome’, right?

 

It took Daphne quite a while before she made her way back over to check on Brian. There seemed to be a flurry of activity in the pub just then. The working class crowd that had been in the bar when Brian entered, seemed to all take the cue to leave about the same time. Daphne was busy bantering with each of them as she settled out their evening’s tabs. In a way, it was the best possible balm to Brian‘s frazzled nerves to watch this conventional scene play out. It was so redolent of ordinary, routine humanity. It reminded him that even here in wartorn 1941 London, life DID go on. The people persevered. They went on with their lives. It wasn’t as bad as Brian had imagined it to be while he was freaking out in the wee hours of the night.

 

“So, ‘andsome. What’s got your knickers all in a twist this evenin’?” Daphne asked when she finally got a minute to come talk to Brian.

 

“I just really need to find Justin. I’ve got some information for him about . . .” Brian hesitated again, trying for the hundredth time to think of a way to relay his news to Justin without sounding like a total whack-job or giving away his secret. “I’ve come across some confidential information that I think he needs to know.”

 

“Confidential, eh? That sounds a bit dodgy. But, then again, Gears did say as he thought you might be in the know,” Daphne said as she surveyed Brian with a critical eye. Then she turned and looked across the bar, finding the person she was looking for sitting on a bench in the back corner. “Oi, Peaches! Can you pop by Sunshine’s place and tell ‘im he’s got a gen’lman caller ‘ere a waitin’ on ‘im, please. And tell ‘im to leg it.” The man she’d been addressing promptly got up and trotted off, no questions asked. “That should get a fire lit under our Sunshine for ya, ‘andsome. I ‘spect he’ll be round right soon. Can I get yer ‘nother pint while you’re waitin’, Love?”

 

Brian nodded and handed her his empty glass. He could see why Justin had said Daphne was his first friend here. She was a hoot. Brian thought that Daphne and Cynthia would get along like gangbusters if they ever met.

 

Brian had barely downed half his ale before a winded Justin rushed through the front door, looking like he’d sprinted all the way to the pub. When he saw Brian sitting there waiting for him, he broke out into a huge smile that threatened to split his face in two. Despite how worried Brian had been feeling, he had to laugh at the surreptitious way the younger man tried to wipe the perspiration off his brow and straighten his clothing as he walked over. Justin was so guileless, so unworldly. It was quite a refreshing change for the experienced and slightly jaded Brian.

 

“Hello, Blue Eyes,” Brian welcomed him by pulling out the stool next to his own.

 

“Brian. I . . . uh . . . I didn’t expect to hear from you again so soon,” Justin fumbled for something to say as he took up residence on the proffered stool and turned to smile at Brian.

 

They stared at each other wordlessly for several minutes, acting like lovestruck fools without even realizing it, until Brian woke to the fact he was acting like a lesbian and tore his gaze away. What the hell had gotten into him? Maybe time travel was affecting his brain in some indecipherable way and turning him into a twat? Time to get a grip, Kinney.

 

“I need to talk to you,” Brian told him quietly. He still didn’t know what he was going to say, hopefully it would just come to him when he started talking.

 

Unfortunately, they were interrupted by a teasing Daphne before Brian got any further. “That was quick, Sunshine. Run all the way ‘ere, did ya?”

 

“Yeah, you could say that,” Justin smiled sheepishly at his friend.

 

“Well then, you must be right thirsty. Can I get ya a drink?”

 

Justin nodded and reached for his pocket, startling slightly when Brian wrapped his warm hand around Justin’s wrist, squeezing it softly, and stopping him. “I’m buying your drinks tonight, Blue Eyes.”

 

Daphne smiled at the two of them. “So, what you boys ‘avin?”

 

Justin watched as Brian downed the last of his drink and handed his glass back to Daphne. “Same again for me please, Daph.  Blue Eyes, what’ll be?”

 

“I’ll have the same,” he told his friend behind the bar.

 

“So, how was your mission the other night,” Brian asked to fill the time while the barmaid was getting their drinks. “Everyone made it back safely, I hope.”

 

“Just barely,” Justin answered with a grin that belied the gravity of his words. “It was just a defensive run, so we weren’t too far out. Which was good, because we got into a bit of a rumble with a pack of Stuka bombers bringing up the tail end of Gerry’s evening bombing run. We took out four of them in the process, but they shot up a couple of our guys pretty good too. Jeffries had to do a hot landing when his gear malfunctioned and poor Kirk was leaking fuel all the way back to base and barely made it in on the fumes. If we’d been any further away, he would have had to ditch the plane. But at least Gerry will have four less bombers to send out tomorrow night.”

 

Brian marveled silently at the cavalier way the young man sitting next to him bluntly detailed the fact that he’d been part of killing four Germans. Four human beings. Granted, they had been four humans beings fighting on behalf of the Nazi regime, which basically made them complicit with the monsters in charge of that contemptible administration, but still . . . Seen through the lens of his modernistic understanding, Brian didn’t think he could be so sanguine about such a thing. Especially since he didn’t think the populace of April, 1941 even knew yet about the atrocities the Nazis were already involved in with their Extermination Camps in Eastern Europe.

 

“That’ll be one bob, one pence,” grinned Daphne as she placed the drinks in front of them, thankfully interrupting Brian’s morbid thoughts.

 

Brian reached into his pocket and pulled out his handful of change. He should have probably looked at the coins more carefully before he came back.

 

Justin could see Brian fumbling around with the money in his hand and pulled his fingers away from where he was pushing the coins around in his palm.

 

“Here, let me help you,” Justin offered, as he pulled Brian’s hand towards him and quickly selected the two coins. It’s these two,” he showed Brian the coins before handing them over to Daphne. “You’ll get the hang of it eventually. It took me a good month or so to figure out the money when I first got here too.” Justin added with a wink.



“Thanks,” Brian replied, pocketing the rest of the coins. “Britain definitely needs to hurry up and switch over to a decimal based currency system. Who can count by twelve and twenty?”

 

That got a laugh out of Justin as well as Brian’s neighboring bar mate on the other side. “Ain’t never gonna ‘appen, Mate. We don’t go for none of them new-fangled notions. We like us a good ol’ fashioned British Shillin’. ‘Sides makes yer smarter to ‘ave to figger out real money.”

 

Brian just shook his head knowingly and turned back to his blond.

 

“Give me easy to count greenbacks, any day!” Justin offered as he raised his glass to Brian.

 

“Cheers to that,” Brian echoed, tapping his glass to Justin’s and then taking a nice long sip. “And to COLD beer,” he added in a whisper that he hoped only Justin could hear.

 

Justin sniggered at Brian’s comment but didn’t add anything, choosing to change the subject instead. “So, how much longer do you think your business will keep you here in London?”

 

Brian thought he could detect a hint of uncertainty in Justin’s tone, which caused a strange warm feeling to ignite in Brian’s chest. “What? Are you trying to get rid of me already?” Brian teased.

 

“No, you big dolt. I was just wondering . . . Well . . . How much time we have . . . To . . . To get to know each other,” Justin replied, his voice dropping to a conspiratorial hush and the rosy blush Brian was coming to expect painting the boy's cheeks by the end.

 

“Lucky for you,” Brian announced, not quite so demurely, “it looks like I’ll be around here for longer than I originally thought. My business is going to take longer to finish up than I’d anticipated. My client wants me to stay on and personally supervise things until the campaign is completely up and running. So, Blue Eyes, you and I should have plenty of time to . . . get acquainted. Well acquainted, I hope.”

 

Brian said the last bit in his most seductive baritone, moving his hand to rest on the younger man’s thigh under the cover of the bar’s overhanging counter. Justin’s hand covered his and gave a quick squeeze. But then, to Brian’s surprise, the lad intentionally moved Brian’s hand away, off his lap. Brian gave the youth a questioning glance but only got a shrug in response. Which, of course, only made Brian even more curious.

 

“What? Don’t tell me anybody in here would object to us getting a little more friendly . . .” Brian looked around the pub, and just like the previous time he’d been there, picked up a gay vibe from more than a few of the patrons. He leaned in even closer so he was practically whispering in the perfect little shell of an ear. “I’m pretty sure we're not the only gays . . . I mean queers . . . here, Justin. Or are you just shy? You didn’t seem that timid the other night when we kissed.”

 

“No. No, it’s not that . .. Well, not exactly . . . It’s just that this isn’t really that kind of place, Brian,” the younger man explained, looking around himself furtively, as his blush darkened. “Daph and her father are pretty open minded, you know? But still . . . I mean, I know there are places, clubs in the city and all, where things like that are okay, but . . . Daphne‘s father could get in trouble with the authorities if word got out that they allowed such improprieties in their pub. The British aren’t quite as puritanical as the Americans are these days, but there are still sodomy laws on the books, you know,” Justin explained with a dismal half grin. “Besides, the gang here sees me as one of the ‘regular guys’. I don’t want them thinking I’m a sissy or anything.”

 

“A ‘regular guy?” Brian chuckled at that. “What exactly is a ‘regular guy’ as opposed to a ‘sissy’? Aren’t we all sissies? Not that I care. I refuse to let anyone label me.”

 

“Yeah, to outsiders, I guess, we ARE all sissies,” Justin explained, looking at Brian like he must be a little slow not to already understand this stuff. “But in here, we’ve got our own pecking order, so to speak. In here, you’ve got the true ‘Sissies’ - guys like Peaches over there.” Justin inclined his head towards the small, effeminate guy that Daphne had sent to look for Justin earlier. Brian watched as Peaches walked across the bar to seat himself at another table, the way he swiveled his hips as he moved, and Brian had to concede, you couldn’t possibly miss him.

 

“Then there’s the ‘Elites’ - they’d be sissies except they’ve got enough money or breeding to get away with it. Fancy’s one of our more colorful elites here at the White Lion,” Justin continued, raising his glass to his buddy across the way as he mentioned the man’s name. “Fancy’s father is some big shot up in the midlands somewhere. He got the full deal - Public school education, Oxford, trust fund - and as long as he stays here in London where he can’t embarrass the family - daddy doesn’t care what he does.”

 

“Then there’s the ‘Aunties’,” Justin smiled at a group of older men at a back table, all of whom were gabbling like a brood of hens just then. “Aunties are what comes of sissies and elites who manage to make it till they get grey hair.”

 

Justin then turned a bit in his seat so Brian could see past his shoulder to the line of guys propping up the far end of the bar. They all looked like ordinary working stiffs, military men or, a few, older gents that didn’t stand out much at all. “At the top of the pile there’s us ‘Regular Guys’. Guys like me, Gears, Lucky . . . We’re the ones nobody notices. The ones who can get by. The ones who don't get singled out.” Justin looked back at Brian, his eyes intense and focused now. “The ones who get to keep their jobs and positions because nobody knows we’re perverts . . . Sexual monsters who practice ‘unspeakable crimes against nature’ . . . You know, the ones who get to be pilots in the RAF.”

 

Which shut Brian right up. Because for all his Twenty-First Century, Out-and-Proud Gay Man, rhetoric, Brian had never had to choose between his job and his sexual orientation. Not that he hadn’t suffered the usual discrimination that all gays had to put up with. He’d been ostracized, bullied, called names, even beat up a couple times when he was younger, but he’d never had to worry he’d be put in jail just for being who he was. And he’d never personally been at risk of being fired from his job because of his sexual orientation. Justin, and the rest of the men Brian saw around him, had to think about those things every single day. So, maybe, if they were especially cautious about showing themselves to the world, it was understandable.

 

Brian sat up straighter, moving back just a little from Justin so there was a tiny bit more space between their bodies.

 

Justin smiled understandingly at his companion. “It’s not like everyone doesn’t KNOW we’re all the same,” he tried to elucidate further, endeavoring to sound less harsh. “But some of us just don’t like to advertise it, you know?”

 

“I get it, Justin. I didn’t mean to push. And I don’t want to jam you up with your job. I guess . . . I guess I just come from a different world is all.” Bran huffed a little private laugh at the degree to which that was an understatement. Then, to lighten the mood, he asked, “so, since I don't swish like a ‘Sissy’ and I’m too visible to be one of your ‘Regular Guys’, What does that make me? An ‘Elite’?”

 

“No. No, guys like you, Mr. Kinney, are in a class all by yourselves.”

 

“A class all by myself?” Brian chuckled, rather liking that determination.

 

“Yep. You, Brian, are what we refer to as a ‘Notorious Queer’. You’re the kind of cocksure, rowdy, unapologetic queer that spawns legends. You’re the ‘All-American Queer’. The Yankee version of Oscar Wilde,” Justin proclaimed in a teasing voice. Then he leaned in, an impish grin on his boyish face, and added in a whisper, “and even better, you’re all MINE!”

 

“How about we get the fuck out of here, Blue Eyes?” Brian suggested, his voice gone all husky.

 

“I think that’s an excellent idea, Mr. Notorious,” Justin agreed, swallowing the rest of his beer and then clapping his glass down on the bar definitively.

 

They were outside and already halfway down the street before Brian remembered the treats he had in the briefcase he was carrying. It wasn’t till a cool wind blew past them and he saw Justin, who’d been walking a few steps ahead of him, shiver a little, that he recalled his special present. Stepping over to the building side of the sidewalk, and tugging at the sleeve of Justin‘s uniform jacket to grab his blond’s attention, Brian propped his foot up on a convenient step, and used his knee as a platform to balance the overly full briefcase atop.

 

He quickly opened the bag and pulled out the package he’d stowed in there before he left 2016. Brian had asked the hotel staff to specially wrap all his little gifts up in a plain brown wrapping with string around it, so as to fit in more with the times. This also made it simple to pull the entire package out in one piece. Justin seemed surprised by the rather large bundle that Brian subsequently thrust into his arms. Brian rather enjoyed that look of surprise as well as the happy little grin that came with it.

 

“What’s this?” Brian’s Blue Eyes asked.

 

Just some stuff I saw when I was shopping yesterday that I thought you might find useful,” Brian answered evasively while Justin turned the package over, examining it from all sides. “Stop ogling the damned thing and open it already, Twat.”

 

With another of those fucking adorable grins that Brian seemed to have become addicted to, Justin pulled the bow on the string holding the package closed. The paper split open right away, revealing a large bag of perfectly roasted Columbian coffee grounds, three packages of Brian‘s favorite chocolate biscuits (McVities Digestives - a guilty pleasure that he could only find when he came to London and which he secretly loved to the point of bingeing on them whenever he visited), all nestled atop a bundle of wool fabric.

 

“Coffee? Where in the world did you manage to get coffee these days, Brian? I’ve been trying to get coffee at the market here for the last six weeks!” Justin raved as he smelled the package, his eyes almost rolling back into his head with the pleasure of the earthy aroma.

 

“And biscuits to go with it, of course. Because you can’t have a proper English coffee break without biscuits. Although, I suppose to be proper, you’d need to drink tea instead of coffee. But what the hell; we’re American, right? We don’t have to do proper,” Brian insisted.

 

“Don’t tell my mates at the White Lion,” Justin said in a hushed aside, adding in a delightful giggle that went right to Brian’s dick, “but I actually prefer coffee over tea. I know, that’s blasphemy here in London, but it’s the truth. Mmm, you just can't beat the smell of freshly ground coffee in the mornings.”

 

“I promise not to tell ANY of your secrets, Blue Eyes,” Brian promised. “There is more to the gift though. Don’t you want to see the rest?” Brian pointed to the cloth the other items had been nestled in.

 

“Don’t rush me,” the boy joked, as he fondled the coffee and biscuit packages one more time, just to aggravate Brian a little.

 

Brian growled a little fake annoyance at the boy, took hold of the food treats, and yanked them imperiously out of Justin‘s hands. Justin laughed again, but took the cue and began to unfurl the piles of cloth, which turned out to be the beautiful peacoat jacket that Brian had purchased in the resale shop the day before. Justin seemed completely stunned by this development. He stood there, holding the jacket out in front of him, looking completely caught off guard for a good minute and a half.

 

“It’s beautiful, Brian,” he breathed and then lifted the soft wool to his cheek so he could feel it, adding a surreptitious sniff. “So soft. And I love the smell of wool. It had to have been very expensive, though. I . . . I can’t take this, Brian”

 

Justin tried to shove the coat back into Brian‘s arms. Brian wasn’t going to have any of that, though. He turned away, his arms still full of coffee and biscuit packages, and with his back towards Justin simply refused to take the coat.

 

“Nonsense! I bought it for you; it’s yours. And since it doesn’t fit me, and I can’t take it back, you have to keep it.”

 

“But . . . It’s too expensive . . . I just can’t . . .” Justin insisted.

 

“Listen to me, Justin. Are you listening?” Brian paused, waiting for his blond to nod in acknowledgment. “I bought this for you. I want you to have it. I . . . OK, confession time. I’ve never done this before. I’ve never tried to ‘woo’ someone before. Where I come from, we don’t do that. Or, at least, I don’t do that . . . What I mean to say is . . . Fuck it! Just take the fucking coat, Justin.”

 

Justin broke out laughing so loudly that several other people passing by in the street stopped and looked over at the pair. Justin immediately lifted the jacket up and hid his face in the cloth so as to stifle his guffaws. It took him at least a minute to fight back his laughter, before he was able to remove the jacket from his face. Brian stood there the whole time, scowling down at the boy who seemed to be overcome with amusement at his expense.

 

“I’m sorry, Brian, but I can’t help it. You're just so cute,” Justin confessed, causing Brian to glower even more ferociously. “And I’ve never been ‘wooed’ before, either, so I’m not really sure how this works myself. But, I love the jacket, and I will gratefully accept this wonderful gift. Thank you, Brian.” That helped Brian to feel a little less angry, his frown slipping from his face. “Will you help me put it on, please?”

 

Brian quickly dumped the biscuits and coffee back in his briefcase and then grabbed the jacket, holding it out for Justin to slip over his shoulders. As he’d thought, it fit perfectly. The color was a perfect match for Justin‘s eyes, as well. And the beaming, bright, smile on the younger man’s face as he smoothed the lapels down, made it all worthwhile for Brian.

 

“Good. Now, where am I walking you to, Mr. Taylor,” Brian asked, picking up his briefcase and resting one arm casually against the small of Justin’s back to guide him into the flow of foot traffic again.

 

“Well, since I unfortunately have another mission tonight, I think I better have you come with me back to my room. We can . . . Chat . . . While I get ready. Unless, that’s being too forward of me?” Justin proposed, looking bashfully over at Brian with a shy little smile.

 

“I think that’s an excellent idea, Mr. Taylor. Plus, that’ll solve the problem of me not knowing how to find you, other than to show up at the White Lion and have Peaches run and get you for me,” Brian stated unequivocally. “Speaking of which, how DO I get a hold of you if I need to? You don’t, by any chance, have a telephone in that boarding house of yours, do you?”

 

“I’m afraid not. Mrs. McCready refuses to have one in the house. She says they’re ‘evil contraptions’.” Justin laughed again and Brian wanted to take him in his arms so badly he had to clench his fists against the impulse - that laugh was going to be the undoing of him.

 

“Damn! Well, I guess I could always just whistle for you. Do you think that would work?” Brian asked with a suggestive leer as they rounded the corner of one street and Justin began to head them over to a row of townhouses built on the east side of the street. “And you could whistle for me, if you needed me, too.”

 

“Unfortunately, I can’t actually whistle,” Justin admitted with another infuriating little giggle. “I can sing, I can dance, I can fly a plane, but for some reason I just can’t whistle. I never learned how.”

 

“Really? There’s something you can’t do?,” Brian teased and then took advantage of a little out-of-the-way nook beside the building that Justin had been leading him towards, pulling the younger man into the space and out of the line of everyone else’s vision. “Whistling isn’t hard, Blue Eyes,” Brian purred, slipping into his best Bacall imitation. “You know how to whistle, don’t you? You just put your lips together and . . . Blow.”

 

Brian punctuated his suggestive sentence by demonstrating the technique for his perky little pilot. Justin seemed a fast learner. He was already puckered up and ready for Brian‘s advance. Only, instead of blowing, there seemed to be quite a lot of sucking . . . face. Not that Brian was objecting at all.

 

“Mmmmm. If that’s how you learn to whistle, then I’m all for practicing some more,” Justin murmured as soon as they paused for some air.

 

Brian was all in favor of more practicing himself. He understood the danger to his Blue Eyes of open displays of affection in this time period, and he really had been trying to restrain himself. But there was something about the juxtaposition of innocence and strength that Justin represented which simply drove Brian wild. And judging by the way that Justin’s body seemed to melt against his own as they huddled together in their private little corner, the way the pliant, warm lips sucked at his own, the way his strong hands sought out and twined with Brian’s under the warmth of the lapel on Justin’s new coat, not to mention the way the younger man’s hips ground against the solid pressure of Brian’s thigh, it seemed the boy was just as wild for him. Maybe, Brian thought, the need to act clandestinely was just making it worse.

 

“I’m going to kiss you again, Blue Eyes. Prepare yourself,” Brian warned before diving back in for yet another taste of the taboo.

 

“I’m prepared,” Justin teased back, smiling up at Brian with his slightly bee-stung pink lips that simply begged for another nibble.

 

“Damn it, Blue Eyes, you’re just too fucking tempting . . . you know that, right? I want to just . . .”

 

Brian didn’t get a chance to elaborate on just what he wanted to do to the tempting blond, however, because right at that moment another man came barreling around the corner of the building, striding purposefully towards the house they were huddling against. Brian only got a glimpse of a blue uniform out of the corner of his eye before Justin was pushing him away and frantically trying to escape from the corner into which he’d been backed. Brian took a second to wipe his mouth and then turned around to face whatever was coming.

 

“Is that you, Taylor?” the newcomer drawled, a hint of suspicion in his tone.

 

“Hobbs,” Justin replied. “I was just about to head inside to get ready for tonight’s mission. What are you doing back so early?”

 

“Jacobsen’s come down with the same thing MacCarthy got, so I got called in on the rotation too,” the tall, dirty blond man explained distractedly, still busy eyeing Brian while he spoke. “Who’s this?”

 

“Just another American I met down at the pub. He hasn’t learned how to deal with the British currency yet, so I took pity on him. And since he was headed to the Tube station next, I offered to show him the way after I grabbed my flight gear,” Justin explained, impressing Brian with his hastily contrived cover story, which would almost work too if it weren’t for the fact that Justin looked like a man who’d just been thoroughly kissed to within an inch of ejaculation. Justin plowed on, though, all fake confidence as he offered introductions. “Brian Kinney, this is Pilot Officer Christopher Hobbs. Hobbs just got billeted here with me this morning as his prior residence was damaged in last night’s raid.”

 

Hobbs looked Brian over critically and, most notably, did NOT offer his hand in greeting. “Kinney. What brings YOU to The Big Smoke?” he asked suspiciously.

 

Thinking this was as good a time as any to trot out his freshly forged credentials, Brian responded, “I’m a correspondent with the US War Department - here covering the Blitz and all. I was just asking Officer Taylor here if I could interview him for a story I’m thinking of doing on US Expatriates in the RAF.” Out of the corner of his eye, Brian could see Justin looking at him with surprise. “Perhaps you’d be willing to give me a statement as well sometime?”

 

“Uh, yeah, sure, I guess,” Hobbs replied, flustered now and maybe even a little flattered to be asked for an interview by a reporter.

 

“Well, I’ll be going then. I’m sure I can find the Tube from here, Officer Taylor. Thanks for showing me around.” Brian turned his back to Hobbs so he could look in Justin’s eyes and make sure his boy was okay. Justin’s nod and grim smile were only partially reassuring. “I’m staying at The Strand Palace, so if you want to leave me a note there at the desk and let me know when we can meet again for that interview, I’ll be sure and make time,” he suggested with a wink. “Oh, and don’t forget your purchases.” Brian excavated the coffee and biscuits out of his briefcase for Justin and then reluctantly stepped away. “Good luck on your mission tonight, gentlemen.”

 

With a nod of his head and a tap to the brim of his new hat, Brian made his exit. He fervently hoped that Justin was going to be okay. He didn’t think that Hobbs had actually seen anything, but the way they’d been standing - so close together and touching - was suspicious enough. If he’d thought that his sticking around would have helped Justin any, Brian would have stayed, but he figured his presence would only make things worse, so he’d best make tracks as quickly as possible. It was killing him, though, not to know what was going to befall his Blue Eyes after he’d left. Fuck this stupid, homophobic, time period, anyway.

 

Well, there was nothing he could do about the situation now. All Brian could do was wait and see and hope for the best. And he would also go officially check into The Strand so that his perky pilot could leave him that message. It didn’t escape him that a convenient hotel room might be the best solution to their problem of where they could kiss without getting interrupted.

 

Now, if only Brian could come up with a way to deal with his other problem - how to make sure Mr. Justin Taylor, First Officer, Second Eagle Squadron, didn’t end up a missing blip in the annals of World War II . . .


*****

Chapter Music Selection -   Ain’t Misbehavin’ by Count Basie .

*****

Research:

-For a truly insightful depiction of what it was like to be a gay man in the 1940s, you should check out, ‘The Evening Crowd at Kirmser’s’, by Ricardo J. Brown. It’s really eye opening, and we relied on it heavily in this chapter for the White Lion scenes. All credit to Mr. Brown for inspiring us.

- British Wartime Currency

- Women War Correspondents in WWII - Okay, so Brian isn’t a woman, but this is what we were thinking for his cover story idea....

 

Slang:

-In The Know - someone with inside knowledge/a spy

-Leg it - hurry up

-One Bob - a British Shilling coin

-The Big Smoke - a derogatory nickname for London, engendered by all the air pollution caused back when the city was primarily heated/run on coal.

 

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 8 - Lullaby of Birdland

 

Unfortunately, Brian got caught up in work on the Britcom account for the next two days and didn’t get another chance to visit his favorite World War II pilot. Walter Melton, the stodgy old Britcom CEO, was proving to be quite a handful. He insisted on being hands on with every single aspect of the campaign, often changing his mind on things he’d already signed off on the day, or even the morning, before. Brian was about ready to tell him to take his fucking $50 million account and shove it. Only repeated and lengthy calls from Cynthia managed to keep Brian from saying something he’d regret.

 

It wasn’t till Saturday morning that Brian even had a spare minute to himself, and only then because Melton was spending the weekend with relatives in the country. As soon as he’d had breakfast and checked all his messages, Brian sent a quick note to Cynthia telling her he might be busy the rest of the weekend himself, dressed himself in his Savile Row finery, and then headed off towards Duckett’s Passage. On his way, Brian remembered to stop by a grocers and pick up a bag of delicious-looking oranges - something he was sure wouldn’t be easy to find in wartime Britain, and therefore sure to be a hit.

 

The trip through the time portal was becoming almost routine now. Brian had the mechanics of it down pat and didn’t really mind so much the way his limbs would disappear or the moments of blindness when he’d first go through. It still wasn’t ‘comfortable’ but it was bearable. And it didn’t slow him down hardly at all.

 

His first stop was to check in at The Strand.

 

He’d registered there before leaving on his prior visit, reserving a room for two full weeks, with the understanding he might stay even longer. The clerk had been stunned when Brian had brought out the large sheaf of five and even ten pound notes from his wallet to pay his bill in advance. Brian had made a note to remember to carry smaller sums with him in future. But, with all his seeming wealth, he’d been able to get a fairly nice suite of rooms on the top floor. However, even this room didn’t afford him a private bathroom - a luxury that was practically unheard of in London at the time, he was told.

 

Upon his return that Saturday, Brian was told he had one message waiting for him, and he happily accepted the sheet of folded stationery from the clerk before taking the small bag he’d packed up to the suite. As expected, the note was from his Blue Eyes. Brian dropped everything on the bed as soon as he was through the door so he could read it.

 

The stationary was monogrammed at the top with large, ornately scrawled, silver initials: J.C.T. The writing below was neat and compact but with the occasional flair to a capital or an ending embellishment that hinted at the boy's underlying exuberance. Brian thought fleetingly that Justin’s handwriting was very like the man himself.

 

‘Mr. Kinney’, it started off, very formally.

 

‘I regret that I have been quite busy the past few days, and have therefore been unable to make time to meet with you. However, I am so looking forward to doing the interview you mentioned previously. Fortuitously, I will be off duty the 10th and 11th, instant, if either of those dates would be convenient to you for us to meet. You may leave word for me at either my lodgings or with Ms. Chanders at the White Lion as to when I should expect to see you next.

 

With eager expectation of our next meeting,

 

Justin.’

 

The stuffiness and propriety of the letter cracked Brian up. Damn, his little Blue Eyes was a pretentious one! But, once again, Brian was titillated by the clandestine nature of this budding relationship. All the cloak and dagger sneaking around, the secret assignations, and even the veiled, coded letter, seemed quite humorous. It made Brian feel like, whatever he was doing here, was more of a game than his real life back in 2016. This was a refreshing change of pace. It was fun. And it was certainly far different than his usual, clipped, emotionless and frequently unchallenging pursuits of the men he normally went after. Winning Justin was turning out to be far more of a challenge than anything he’d ever tried before. Maybe that explained why he’d been acting so out of character ever since he met the intriguing blue eyed pilot.

 

Since Brian didn’t have anything planned for the rest of the day, he decided to treat himself to a little adventure. After asking the concierge at the hotel for directions, he ventured out into the wilds of 1941 London. His first stop was a small cafe where he treated himself to a traditional London luncheon of chicken pot pie, mashed potatoes and the ubiquitous pint of warm ale. Then he made his way to the famous Covent Garden market. It turned out that was the place all the men with handcarts had been heading towards the morning of his first foray into the past. Now, Brian had the leisure to wander around the place, threading his way through the stalls, poking into unexpected places, looking over all the piles of potatoes and tomatoes and carrots, and thoroughly enjoying himself in the process. Unfortunately, this early in the spring, there wasn’t much that tempted Brian. But, he did get a kick out of buying a bouquet of flowers from a picturesque old woman in one booth, thinking all the while that she could have easily been the original Eliza from Pygmalion.



After leaving the market, Brian continued to wander around the city, enjoying finding his way around the maze of tiny little streets and alleys. Luckily, it was one of those rare, sunny, spring days in London, and Brian was thoroughly enjoying himself. When he somehow managed to find his way to old Charing Cross Road, he was thrilled with his new discovery. Based on his knowledge of modern London, he took a chance looking around the area, and was happy to discover that the old Odeon Theatre near Leicester Square existed even in this time period. Gleefully making a note of that fact for future wooing purposes, Brian turned his steps southward, made his way back to the high street and then to his hotel. It had been a wonderful afternoon, and Brian was energized and excited by all his adventures. Now, all he had to do was find his Blue Eyes.

 

Brian quickly cleaned up in his hotel room and then headed out once more, bound for the White Lion. Again, he was far too early for the interesting evening crowd. But this time he wasn’t dashing around in a panic, so he merely took up his place on a vacant barstool and waited for Daphne to make her rounds to him.

 

“‘Allo, ‘andsome!” Daphne greeted him with a big toothy smile. “Yer jes the sight these poor tired eyes needed this afternoon, Love. But if yer ‘ere lookin’ for our Sunshine agin, I’m ‘fraid you might be disappointed. ‘E ain’t been ‘round much this week. Word is there’s a big push on, and most of our regular boys have been kept hoppin’. Although, ‘e did ‘appen to pop in for a quick spot earlier this afternoon, an’ was asking about ya.”

 

The fact that Justin had been talking about him with Daphne, inexplicably pleased Brian. “He left a note for me at my hotel telling me the same. But he said I could leave word here with you if I wanted to hook up with him this weekend. Which is good, because it gave me an excuse to come around and bring you these.”

 

Brian whipped out the bouquet of flowers he’d picked up that afternoon at the market and gallantly presented them to the blushing barmaid. “For you,” he smiled brightly.

 

“Well, now, if you ain’t the cat’s meow!” the pretty lady gushed as she buried her face in the flowers to sniff their heady perfume. “These are beautaful! What a right gent you is, ‘andsome! If I din’ know you was already rationed, I’d set me cap fer ya myself. Sunshine’s a lucky boy findin’ his’self a dashin’ fella like you.”

 

“It’s my pleasure, ma’am. I saw them in the market today and I couldn’t think of anyone else I’d want to give them to,” Brian replied, laying on the Kinney charm as thick as he possibly could. “Besides, I figured it couldn’t hurt for me to get on the good side of Justin‘s best friend.”

 

“Flatterer!” Daphne exclaimed, and then pottered off to put her flowers in some water with a lingering smile on her pretty face.

 

Brian spent the next hour or so soaking up the atmosphere along with his best ale. It was fun to watch the transition of the clientele from the mostly straight, working men who came in after their shift was over, to the more flamboyant evening crowd. He nodded familiarly to several of the guys that came in, feeling like he was almost starting to fit in by this point. So, it wasn’t much of a surprise when Gears took up the barstool next to him, ordered a pint from Daphne, and then turned towards Brian.

 

“Evenin’,” the laconic man drawled.

 

“Same to you,” Brian replied, waiting to hear what the guy had to say.

 

“Not one for idle chatter, I see? Well, that suits me fine,” Gears stated, pausing long enough to take a sip of his beer. “The way of it is this . . . the boys and me, we’ve taken a real liking to our little Sunshine. He’s a good lad. Breath of fresh air, ‘an all that. So, way’s I see it, a swell bloke like you comes sniffin’ round, puts us all a little on edge. An’ if yer jes whistlin’ and leadin’ ‘im on till you’ve had yer way, then it’d be better yer just shove off now. Leave ‘im be an’ all. Right?”

 

With the man’s thick accent and heavy dialect, it took Brian a minute or two to decipher Gears’ statement, but when it finally dawned on him what the man had meant, Brian burst out laughing.

 

“Are you trying to ask me what my intentions are as to Justin?” Brian asked when he finally managed to speak again.

 

“Why’s ‘at so funny? Less’n yer really are a cad. If so, it’s likely time for yer ta leave, mate,” Gears seemed to take offense at Brian’s hilarity.

 

“No. No, I didn’t mean any offense. It’s just that, I never expected to see myself in a position where I’d be asking for someone’s permission to date a guy. I can’t help finding that a little bit funny.” Brian noticed that Gears didn’t seem to share his amusement at the situation, so he quickly tried to tamp down his mirth. “I assure you, I don’t mean Justin any harm. I like him. A lot. I’m not just ‘whistlin’ around him, as you put it. And I don’t plan to hurt him.”

 

“Right. Well, just so’s you don’ forget an’ gives us a reason to ‘urt YOU, mate, cos we will,” Gears added, lifting his glass to Brian in a mocking toast with a dangerous smile.

 

So much for fitting in, Brian thought to himself, and turned back to his own drink in silence.

 

The next time Daphne wandered by, Brian flagged her over. “I’m out of here, Daph. Can you give Justin a message for me?” When the barmaid nodded Brian hurried on. “Just let him know that I got his note and I’ll be waiting for him at my hotel as soon as he gets off tomorrow.”

 

“Will do, ‘andsome,” Daphne assured him.

 

“Later,” Brian said with a nod to Gears.

 

Then Brian got up, fished for some coins in his pocket - but since he wasn’t in the mood to figure out how much his tab was, he just left a one pound coin on the top of the bar, figuring that should cover it - and quickly left.



Brian was awakened the next morning by a loud rapping at the door to his room. Still only half awake, he struggled out of bed, pulled on his pants and plodded over to open the door, only to find one of the hotel’s porters standing there. The man looked slightly scandalized by the fact that Brian had no shirt on. What did the guy expect at the crack of dawn, though?

 

“What?” Brian barked, unable to care if he was being rude or not.

 

“I’m sorry to disturb you, Sir,” the porter launched into his spiel. “There is a gentleman inquiring for you downstairs at the front desk. He claims that you are expecting him.”

 

Brian rubbed at his face, trying to get his brain to come online. “Who?” was all he managed.

 

“A handsome young American chap, Sir. He said his name was Taylor, I believe.”

 

“Justin?” That fact seemed to penetrate the fumes enough to wake Brian up a smidgen more.

 

“Yes, Sir. I do believe that was the name he gave. He appears to be an RAF Officer, if that helps, Sir.”

 

Brian grunted to acknowledge it did help. “What time is it?” He asked next, proud that he’d managed an entire sentence that time.

 

“It’s just gone half past seven, Sir?”

 

“In the morning?” Brian asked, just to be sure.

 

The porter smiled briefly at how confused Brian appeared.  “Yes, Sir.”

 

Brian yawned and rubbed at his tired face, fuck, he was knackered. He should have felt refreshed after finally managing a decent night’s sleep, what with there being no television or internet to keep him awake. But all the late night’s staying up and working his ass off on the Britcom account had obviously caught up with him. “Can you send him up?” Brian asked, “I completely forgot I asked him here for an interview this morning,” he added quickly, noticing the slightly startled expression on the young porter's face.

 

“Oh, of course, Sir,” the young man answered quickly, his expression having changed to somewhat relieved after Brian mentioned they were meeting for what he assumed was a business interview.

 

Five minutes later, there was another knock at his door. Brian pulled it open and smiled at the young blond pilot in front of him.

 

Brian stood aside and held open his door. “Good morning, Blue Eyes.”

 

“Oh, urm . . . good morning,” his favorite blond stuttered slightly as he took in a shirtless Brian.

 

Brian couldn’t help himself as he ran a hand down his bare chest. “Oh, sorry. I didn’t have time to get dressed. I only just woke up.”

 

Justin looked at his watch. “I guess when you told Daphne that I should come by as soon as I got off, you didn’t expect me at 7:30 am. But all my missions lately have been night jobs so I ‘get off’ at dawn and, well . . . here I am.”

 

Justin’s eyes returned to Brian’s bare torso for several long seconds but then he frantically looked away, trying to find something else, anything else, to focus on. Brian thought it was fucking adorable. But, being Brian, he wasn’t about to let the kid off easy. Nope. Brian intended to play with the boy all he could and milk the situation.

 

Brian stretched with both arms above his head, making sure to get a good flex in through his chest and biceps as he lowered them, and ending with a swivel of his neck to emphasize his deltoids. It helped his plan that the pants he’d only just pulled on but not buttoned all the way up, slid down an inch or two as he stretched, revealing more than a hint of the man’s treasure trail. When he was done stretching, Justin was still just standing there, panting heavily, biting at his lower lip, his eyes locked on Brian’s midsection somewhere around the level of his naval. There might even have been a drop of drool at the corner of those cotton-candy pink lips. The kid was just too easy.

 

And too delicious. Brian couldn’t help himself. He stepped forward, lifted the boy’s chin with one finger and helped himself to a morning kiss from the perfectly plump lips.

 

“Mmmm. Yummy,” he declared when he stepped back a minute or two later, leaving Justin standing there, his eyes half closed, and a dreamy look on his angelic face. “Now, I need to go down the hall and get cleaned up. Make yourself at home while I’m gone, Blue Eyes.”

 

“Huh?” Justin finally realized that someone was talking to him and looked up, causing Brian to chuckle.

 

“I’m going to take a piss and catch a shower,” Brian repeated for the benefit of the dazed boy. “You stay here. Got it?”

 

“Um . . . yeah. Good . . . I’ll just . . . I’ll just wait here,” Justin responded, even more flustered now and blushing desperately as he dropped his hands to try and cover the tenting in his trousers.

 

As Brian walked by to gather himself a fresh shirt and his toiletries, he couldn’t help himself; he stopped right in front of Justin and reached down to pull the frazzled blond’s hands away from his crotch. “Mmm, that’s better,” Brian grinned seductively as he gave Justin’s straining trousers a nice, firm squeeze. “You’ve just given me something inspiring to think about while I’m in the shower.”

 

Justin stood there looking at him, with his hands hanging loosely by his side as his teeth gnawed nervously at his bottom lip.

 

“So fucking cute . . .” Brian mumble as he left the room in search of the facilities and possibly a little relief in the shower.



It took Justin a good five minutes after Brian left before he’d recovered his wits. He could still feel his cheeks burning.

 

“Applesauce! He’s . . . gorgeous!” the boy proclaimed with a huge grin on his face when he was finally able to think coherently. “And he wants me! ME! Applesauce!”

 

Justin danced around the room, unable to contain his exuberance, ending up by flopping bodily onto the still unmade bed. Which really didn’t help matters much, as it still smelled like Brian, all warm and musky with a hint of the cologne he wore. Justin let himself roll around in the sheets, taking in huge whiffs of the man’s aroma for a couple minutes before he sighed and, pulling himself back under control, climbed back off the bed.

 

But then there was nothing else for him to do and he simply had to do something to keep his mind off the nerves that kept attacking him every time he remembered he was there, in Brian’s room, waiting for the man himself to return to do . . . who knew what. He started to nervously move around the little room, looking at the furnishings, tidying the messy sheets on the bed, picking up a random object here and there to examine it. When he came to the pile of personal objects Brian had taken out of his pockets and left on the dresser, Justin only hesitated a moment before he snooped.

 

He picked up the new-looking leather wallet, opening it and noting right away the War Department ID that was displayed in the little window on the left-hand side. It showed a very attractive picture of Brian - like any picture of the man could possibly be unattractive - listing his occupation as ‘News Correspondent’. Which matched what Brian had told Gears the other day, but not so much what he’d let on to Justin the first night they’d met. It left a lot of questions in the young pilot’s mind. Although, with a war on and all, you just never knew about people, did you.



There were some more cards and things in the other slots of the wallet, but Justin didn’t want to get too nosy, so he didn’t pull any of them out. He did notice that there were quite a lot of bills in the back section - both pound notes and dollars. Whatever else Brian Kinney might be, he was obviously rich. Justin had never seen anyone walk around with that much cash on them. Which didn’t quite jive with Justin’s idea of what a reporter would make for a living . . .

 

He quickly put the wallet back where he’d found it and looked over the rest of the items. There was a pile of coins - again, it seemed like a lot to the young pilot who was paid, at least in part, with additional ration coupons instead of cash - along with a set of keys, an expensive-looking gold lighter, an even more expensive-looking gold watch and an odd little rectangular box-thing that Justin recognized as the gadget he’d seen light up when Brian had given him the chocolate bar that one time.

 

Curious, Justin pushed at it with one cautious fingertip, almost relieved when the small black box didn’t do anything out of the ordinary. It was made of some material that he didn’t recognize - smooth and shiny, hard to the touch but not cold like metal. There were some small protruding buttons along the left side of the box, but they didn’t do anything when he pressed on them. However, when he did the same thing to the single button on the right side, the whole front of the box lit up displaying a picture of a small, smiling boy, about three years old, or so, with the time and date scrawled across the top of the image. There was also an oblong box across the width of the picture that had words in it saying, ‘Phone . . . +1 (412) 764-2389 . . . Missed call’. Before Justin could figure out what that all meant, though, the black light box went dark again and he was too afraid of what he might find to touch it again, so he simply backed away.

 

Whatever Mr. Brian Kinney did for a living - whatever job he had that paid him with large amounts of cash and afforded him access to strange gadgets like that light box - Justin didn’t think he was really a run of the mill reporter.

 

The only other item of interest that Justin found in the room was the large bag full of the most beautiful oranges he’d ever seen. His mouth watered just looking at them. That was another odd thing about Brian - where did he get all these amazing things like chocolate, coffee and oranges? Especially now, at the very beginning of spring? Oranges were rare enough in the best of times, but during a war? And completely out of season? Brian had to have some interesting connections to get that kind of stuff.

 

Justin decided not to jump to any conclusions about the man just yet, but would remain wary. He liked Brian too much to walk away from him, but all these strange things did give him reason to wonder. He didn’t want to get involved with a gangster or something. Or worse, a spy. At least not a spy for the bad guys. He really, really, REALLY hoped that wasn’t the case, though. Because the more he saw of Brian Kinney - and he’d just seen a lot of him a few minutes earlier - the more he wanted him.

 

Deciding to put all his questions aside for the moment, Justin set about putting a few of the oranges out in a bowl on the small table and then got out the thermos full of hot coffee he’d picked up when he stopped by the White Lion and set it next to the oranges. That would have to suffice for their breakfast, he thought, wondering all the time what would come after breakfast . . .

 

Brian made his way back to his room, grumbling along the way about the lack of a blow dryer for his hair. He hated not being able to fix his hair the right way. How was he supposed to get the perfect, just fucked look, without a damned hair dryer? He really hadn’t thought about that when he was planning this overnight stay in the past and packing his little overnight bag. Not that it would have mattered much if he had brought one. He figured that the shaky electrical wiring in the hotel probably couldn’t stand up to the power demands of even a measly hair dryer from the 21st Century. He’d probably blow every circuit in the building if he tried to plug it in. He’d just have to deal with imperfect hair for the day, damn it.

 

When he got back to the room, it was perfumed with the welcome aroma of fresh brewed coffee, making him ever so grateful. He pulled the door open and found his Blue Eyes standing by the little table in the corner, fiddling with a thermos and pouring out the wonderful elixir of life into two china cups just a like a good little house husband would. The scene brought a smile to Brian’s lips, although he would never admit to being swayed by such things if anyone were to ask.

 

“Something smells delicious,” Brian announced, dropping his bathroom things on the bed and crossing the room to come up behind his blond, then leaning in to kiss the man’s long, pale neck. “And the coffee smells great too.”

 

“Brian . . .” Justin responded, the name coming out half chiding and half a moan of pleasure as Brian’s lips played along the sensitive column of his neck. “I . . . I . . . I hope you don’t mind that I set some things out. I haven’t actually had breakfast yet and those oranges looked so good and . . . Mmmmm.” The boy lost track of what he was saying as his head fell to the side, allowing Brian better access for kissing him.

 

Brian pulled the trim little body back against his own, enjoying the way Justin seemed to melt against him. And he tasted so fucking sweet, too, his skin clean with a little saltiness where the younger man had sweated earlier, but fresh and the flesh firm under Brian’s lips. He wanted to fucking eat the kid whole right then and there. Hell, his dick was so hard already it was likely to burst through his pants any second now. And the way the kid moaned, completely uninhibited like that . . .

 

“We . . . We should drink the coffee before . . . before it gets cold, you know,” Justin stated, tearing himself away from Brian’s hold just when things were started to get interesting. “I hope you don’t mind, but I left the coffee you gave me with Daphne, since I don’t have any way to brew it in my room. She made me a pot of it this morning when I stopped in there. I . . . I’m really looking forward to tasting it. It smells wonderful . . .” the boy babbled nervously, moving around and seating himself so that the small table effectively separated him from Brian.

 

Brian chuckled at the naive little tyro’s discomfiture. He decided not to push Justin too fast though. He could already tell the kid had basically NO experience, just the raw desire of lust. There would be time enough later to let the youngster explore that side of himself. Besides, Brian was dying for a cup of coffee just then.

 

Seating himself at the table, Brian helped himself to a cup of the coffee, sighing as he sipped the warm brew and ready for the caffeine to hit his system.

 

“So, how was your mission last night?” he asked, trying to make conversation while the flustered boy gathered his wits about him again. “Daphne said you’d been busy all week. I hope everything went well.”

 

“Last night was brilliant!” Justin gushed, joining Brian at the table, and eager to talk about any ‘safe’ topic. “We flew escort for a long-range bombing mission last night - can’t say to where, of course, but it was a major target. And it was all going like clockwork of course until the bombers made their drop and were turning around and then, out of nowhere, we got hit from the side by a whole squadron of Messerschmitts. It was a total dog fight for about a half hour. We showed ‘em what for, though. Took out half of ‘em before the rest retreated. We only lost one plane in the process. And I got my first confirmed kill, too. The guys gave me quite the send off when we got back to celebrate.”

 

The glib way Justin recounted the battle left Brian a little stunned. It was bad enough that he had just glossed over the loss of one of his compatriots, who was presumably killed when his plane was lost, but to crow about his first kill like that . . . it just reemphasized for Brian how different his life was from this boy’s. He didn’t think he’d ever get used to that kind of thing even if he stayed back here in 1941 permanently.

 

“Sounds like you had an eventful night,” Brian commented noncommittally.

 

“Yep. But at least I have the next two days off. I’m bushed.” Justin ended his sentence with a face-splitting yawn, evidencing just how exhausted he really was.

 

“Tired?” Brian asked teasingly, breaking open an orange and deftly separating two slices, one of which he handed over to Justin.

 

“Sorry. I was still all juiced up and excited when I came over here, but I guess all the adrenaline is starting to wear off,” Justin apologized, grabbing the orange slice and sucking on it with delight, humming happily. “Mmmm. This is delicious. I’ve never seen oranges this big, where did you get them?”

 

Brian licked the juice from his fingers. “It’s a secret,” he answered with a mysterious grin.

 

“Oh, okay,” Justin nodded, not wanting to press the issue, as he took another slice of orange from Brian’s hands.

 

“So, do you have anything planned for the rest of the day?” Brian asked casually.

 

Justin yawned again before answering, “No. I’m free as a bird until 23:00 hours Saturday.”

 

That threw Brian for a moment, since it was already Sunday. Then he realized that, although the dates were the same for him in 2016 and here in 1941, the calendar days were different. It might be Sunday in 2016, but it was still only Thursday for Justin. That would definitely complicate things. But he’d figure it out somehow. Luckily he didn’t have to deal with it at the moment. All he had to do right then was take care of the sleepy blond yawning at him across the table.

 

“Good, because I wanted to take you to the movies.”

 

Justin’s face lit up. “Really? I haven’t been to the movies in ages.”

 

“But I’ve changed my mind.”

 

“Oh,” Justin responded sadly. “Well . . . That’s okay. I understand.”

 

“You’re too tired.”

“I’m really not,” Justin tried desperately to stifle a yawn. “Okay, maybe just a little, but I could still stay awake for a movie. I think.”

 

“Here’s what we’re going to do, Blue Eyes,” Brian declared authoritatively. “Right now, you’re going to lay down and we’re going to take a little nap. I can’t guarantee that I won’t try and kiss you again . . . actually, I’ll DEFINITELY be kissing you, but I promise not to otherwise compromise your virtue. I like my men awake when I take advantage of them.” They both laughed. “But for now, why don’t you take off your shoes and get comfy.”

 

Justin looked at Brian for a minute, gauging how sincere the other man was, and then, apparently finding whatever he was looking for in Brian’s eyes, he smiled, sat on the bed long enough to pull off his shoes and then shyly scooted up till he was lying on the pillows. Brian padded over to the other side of the bed, pulled the covers out from under Justin and climbed under before covering them both up with the warm quilt. Justin was lying there stiffly at first, his body tense, but as soon as Brian’s arms wrapped around him, pulling the smaller body close to him in a comfortable spooning position, the younger man relaxed. Brian loved the way Justin seemed to fit perfectly within the scope of his arms.

 

“That’s nice,” Justin purred, wiggling his plump posterior a bit until he found the perfect spot snuggled up against Brian’s front. “You’re so warm.”

 

“Hush, you. You’re supposed to be napping,” Brian ordered, punctuating his sentence with a kiss to the slightly stubbled blond cheek, enjoying the fact that his companion smelled like oranges and warm boy. “Sweet dreams, Blue Eyes.”

 

The only response he got was a quiet snore as the tired pilot was already asleep.

 

*****

 

Music Selection: - Lullaby of Birdland by George Shearing

*****

Research:   Average Income Tables - The average factory or blue collar worker in 1941 made less than £250/year. So, Brian’s flashing around the £2,000 pounds made for him by Cynthia and the VanGuard art department would have definitely turned heads.

 

Slang:

-The Cat’s Meow - The best

-Are you rationed? – Are you going steady? Or, are you taken?

-Set one’s cap at another person - to pursue them romantically.

-Whistl’n (or Whistling Dixie – Wasting Time.

-A cad - a dastardly person, a scoundrel.

Chapter Text



Chapter 9 - On The Sunny Side of the Street.



Brian awoke several hours later to the sound of soft, quiet snuffling coming from the sleeping figure beside him. His entire body felt numb from lying still for so long, but as he tried to move into a more comfortable position, the warm, snugly blond boy in his arms burrowed himself deeper into Brian’s embrace, sighing happily in his slumber.

 

The more his sleepy Blue Eyes snuggled back against him, the harder Brian felt himself become. He groaned softly, enjoying the way the blond’s ass fit so fucking perfectly against him; Justin as the little spoon nested up against Brian’s big spoon . . . A big spoon that was feeling pretty randy by that point in the proceedings, to be honest.

 

Brian couldn’t help himself; his hands began to wander down the sleeping man’s body without conscious thought. He started at Justin’s stomach, pleasantly surprised at how firm it felt under his fingers. Brian debated whether or not to slide his hands under Justin’s shirt; it was as though Justin’s warm, sleepy body was calling out to him to be touched. That silky smooth skin just begging to be stroked. The warm secret places anxious to be fondled. Brian couldn’t help but wonder if Justin’s body was as deliciously milky white as the skin on his face. His fingers itched to explore further.

 

Justin moaned contently as his body began to slowly wake up. His mind, however, was stuck in that delightful place between sleep and wakefulness and was therefore still blissfully unaware of Brian’s roaming hands.

 

Brian began pressing gentle kisses to the side of Justin’s neck, loving the way the blond moved his head, subconsciously craving the feeling of Brian’s warm mouth on his skin.

 

As Brian continued kissing his sleepy blond, his hands wandered under the stiff material of Justin’s shirt, feeling the hot skin of Justin’s belly beneath his fingers. Brian grinned wickedly when he noticed the way his touch left goose bumps over Justin’s silky skin. Brian’s hands caressed further up Justin’s body, moving from his taut stomach up to his chest, where Brian’s fingers naturally found their way to Justin’s nipples. Justin’s back arched as Brian’s fingers teased them gently. He quickly brought his hand out from under Justin’s shirt and sucked a couple of fingers into his mouth, then returned them back to Justin’s nipples, rolling them into hard little peaks, and not relenting until he heard little mewls of pleasure from his now alert blond boy.

 

“Good afternoon,” Brian breathed heavily against Justin’s ear. “Sleep well?”

 

Justin nodded, his breathing loud and labored as he lay there and let Brian touch him.

 

“Did you know you snored?” Brian asked breathily, as his hand rubbed soft circles down Justin’s body, finding the softest of happy trails, which led to what Brian was sure was the happiest place on earth.

 

His Blue Eyes gulped loudly as Brian’s hand found it’s destination and began to caress the very impressive and very hard bulge he found there.

 

Justin lay still, moaning contently as Brian squeezed and rubbed, but after only a minute or two his body tensed up and he pushed Brian’s hand away.

 

“Brian . . . don’t . . . please . . . I . . . I can’t.”

 

Brian tried to turn the blond in his arms so that they were facing each other, but Justin refused to budge. “What’s wrong?”

 

“I’m sorry, Brian,” Justin began to apologize, still unwilling or unable to look Brian in the eyes when explaining. “I guess . . . I’m just not ready.”

 

Justin sounded so unsure of what he was saying, what he was feeling, that alarm bells started to go off in Brian’s head. The Stud sank back against the pillows, feeling a little defeated and confused. He knew he was missing something here, but had no clue what.

 

It wouldn’t be the first time Brian had been rejected by a guy. Normally, if that happened, he’d just chalk it up to experience and move on. But it didn’t feel like that was what was going on here. And, although it was totally out of character for him, this time he knew he couldn’t just leave it there. He couldn’t simply walk away from Justin. Justin wasn’t just some trick he’d picked up in the back room of a club whose rejection could be easily shrugged off. Even in just the short time he’d know the young pilot, Justin had already come to mean more than that. So, instead of blowing off the rest of this conversation, as well as the boy who didn’t seem to know his own mind, Brian renewed his hold on the blond and made the ultimate sacrifice - he offered to talk about Justin‘s feelings.

 

“I don’t understand, Justin. You don’t have to apologize, but . . . help me understand what’s going on here. It seemed like you were enjoying everything . . . up to a point. So, what did I do wrong? What got you so spooked?” Brian asked, not wanting to pressure the boy, but just trying to figure this thing out in his own mind. “I thought you liked when I kissed you.”

 

“I did. I do. You can still kiss me,” Justin told him quietly. “If you want to, that is. It’s not the kissing . . .”

 

“I definitely still want to kiss you, you silly Twat,” Brian insisted, proving his point by leaving a small kiss on Justin’s cheek as evidence. “So what did I do that freaked you out, then?” When Justin didn’t answer right away, Brian sighed again. This was going to take more than the usual amount of finesse, he thought. “Okay, let’s work this out. You don’t mind the kissing. What about touching? Can I touch you?” Brian moved his hand back under Justin’s shirt and slowly began to caress his warm stomach. Justin’s body still felt tense in his arms, and the urge for Brian to find some way to comfort the frightened youth became even more intense. “Is this okay?” he asked, basically insisting on an answer.

 

“Yes,” Justin breathed out the word as his body gradually started to relax and he melted into Brian’s touch once more. “That’s nice, actually.”

 

“Good. So, then, just tell me where the line is. I’m not going to pressure you to do anything you’re not ready for. Just tell me what it is that you want.” Still, Justin remained silent, but Brian was determined to get to the bottom of this. “Come on, Blue Eyes. I can tell something's bothering you, but I’m not a very good mind reader. You’re going to have to actually tell me what’s going through that silly little blond head of yours.”

 

“It’s just . . . this is new to me,” Justin explained nervously, sounding so unsure and unlike his usual strong, forthright self. “I’ve never . . . I mean . . . I’ve wanted to . . . but I’ve never . . .”

 

Brian waited for his nervous blond to continue talking, suffering through the silence stoically, knowing that if he refused to fill the empty space, Justin would be forced to continue, even if he didn’t want to. And it worked. After almost five minutes of nothing, Brian felt Justin’s whole body slump in his arms as he gave up the fight against himself.

 

“I guess I always knew I was queer. Or at least, I knew it from a pretty early age. I always liked to draw and sing. But that wasn’t acceptable to my father, so I did my best to fit in. To keep up with the other boys. I figured I was the only one who had these strange feelings. That there must’ve been something wrong with me.”

 

Brian hugged the slim body even tighter to his chest in sympathy but didn’t interrupt for fear of stanching the flow of words.

 

“It wasn’t till I was in high school - fourteen or fifteen - that I realized I wasn’t alone. It was the director of the youth choir at my parents’ church who brought me out for the first time. He started off by complimenting me, saying how perfect my voice was - you know, the usual stuff. Before long he was singling me out and keeping me after practice. It didn’t go very far - just some fondling and the like. When he started to get a little too insistent, I quit the choir. Which, by the way, pleased my father to no end. But at least, after that, I knew I wasn’t the only one who had inappropriate feelings for other boys.”

 

“Fucking pervert,” was Brian’s only comment.

 

“Other than that, though, I didn’t really have much of an opportunity to get any experience,” Justin continued with his story. “I didn’t think there were any other queers in my neighborhood. My parents were quite religious and we spent a great deal of time in church where any type of ‘perversion’ was railed against. My father regularly disparaged any man he saw that, in his opinion, wasn’t manly enough, which gave me even more incentive to hide. I grew up thinking that, maybe I wasn’t the only one like this, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t wrong. I definitely never even dreamed of acting on my inclinations.”

 

Brian didn’t think it would do any good to commiserate with the younger man now, after the fact, even though he could empathize after experiencing the same thing in his own youth. Although Brian had had the benefit of growing up after the Stonewall Riots and the sexual revolution of the 60s, he thought every gay boy probably had a similar moment in his past. It was a common thread that tied them all together, regardless of what era they grew up in.

 

“It wasn’t till I was rejected by the Army, that I even really admitted it to myself,” Justin confessed. “After being labeled a ‘homosexual’ - having it stamped on a piece of paper and shoved in my face - there really was no sense in denying it anymore, was there? A disgrace, by the way, that my father will never let me live down, even if I wanted to deny it.”

 

“Fucking fathers,” Brian murmured. “What the fuck do they know anyway?”

 

That at least elicited a small chuckle from his contemplative blond. “That was pretty much my reaction, as well. After trying all my life to please that man, I finally realized there was no way I would ever succeed. It was quite liberating, actually. From that point on, I knew that I would only have to please myself. I would only ever have to live up to my own expectations. Which is why I decided I wasn’t going to let the US Army Air Corps stop me.”

 

THERE was the streak of stubbornness that Brian found so attractive. He liked the hint of defiance in his perky little pilot's voice when he made that statement. That was the boy who had captivated him from the first moment they’d laid eyes on each other.

 

“I also decided that I was no longer going to be ashamed that I was queer. I couldn’t change the fact, even though I’d tried for years. And I now had the official, stamped piece of paper saying that I am, indeed, as queer as they come, so why fight it? I may not flaunt it, but I don’t want to be forever afraid of it either.”

 

“Good,” Brian echoed the younger man’s defiant attitude and earned himself a tentative grin.

 

“Which is really a very long-winded way of explaining that I have absolutely no experience in actually being queer,” Justin elucidated. “Since I’ve come to London, I’ve only had a few, very brief, encounters. A couple of guys have asked me out from time to time, and, well . . .”

 

Brian could see as well as feel the blush rising along the boy’s neck and cheeks. Justin seemed determined, though, not to let his embarrassment stop him this time.

 

“I’ve heard all the guys talking, you know? Some of them like to brag about EVERYTHING they’ve done, so I kind of know what to expect. I’ve even touched a few guys, and they’ve touched me - which was nice and all - and one time this guy I went out with offered to let me put it in his mouth - which felt really amazing - but that’s as far as I’ve gone. I mean, I couldn’t see myself letting just anyone cornhole me in some tea room or something. That just didn’t seem right.”

 

Finally, Justin twisted around in Brian‘s arms a little, enough so he could look at Brian face-to-face. “But I can tell, just by the way you act, that you’ve had a lot more experience than me, Brian. And I want that; I want it all. Eventually. I guess . . . Well, to be honest, I was a bit scared that you’d be disappointed when you found out that I don’t have a clue what I’m doing. Or that you’d expect me to go faster than I’m ready for. I get the feeling you're used to men who are a lot more . . . forward . . . than I am. And, if that’s the case . . . If that’s what you want, Brian, then maybe we should just stop this right now. Because I’m not that man. Not yet, anyhow.”

 

Brian saw the rebellious gleam sparkling in the gemstone bright eyes, heard the obstinate challenge in the younger man’s tone, and fell for Justin all over again. Nothing was as big a turn on to Brian as confidence. And he’d never met anyone as confident, as quietly brave and defiantly strong, as this unassuming-looking young man. That kind of dauntless self-assurance, even in the face of all the myriad of obstacles that had been thrown in his path, was probably the sexiest fucking thing Brian had ever encountered.

 

“Maybe not, but you will be, Blue Eyes. You will be. And I plan to be there with you all the way,” Brian vowed, surprising himself with the conviction he heard in his own voice. “If you’ll let me.”

 

“I’d be honored to have the benefit of your experience, Mr. Kinney,” Justin stated formally. “But perhaps we could take things a little more slowly? I think I might have to work up to your level of expertise. I promise I’m a quick study, though, so you shouldn’t have to wait too long.”

 

“I accept, Mr. Taylor. I’d be more than happy to bestow my years of experience upon you,” Brian responded in kind, although with a teasing lilt to his words. “However, if you want to slow things down, we’re going to have to get out of bed now, because if I stay here any longer with your hot little body pressed up against me, I’m not sure how slow I can go.”

 

“Agreed. I think relocating to somewhere OTHER than your bed, is an excellent preventative measure,” Justin assented, twisting around so he could leave a quick, happy kiss on Brian’s lips before jumping out of the bed. “Thank you for listening, Brian, and for not laughing at me,” he added.

 

“My pleasure, Blue Eyes,” Brian replied as he rolled out of bed himself. “And thank YOU for being honest with me.”

 

“I’ll always be honest with you, Brian. There’s nothing I hate more than liars.”



Since they were forced to abandon Brian’s preferred entertainment option for the afternoon, they decided to go for Plan B and head to the movies. It was a nice day out, so they opted to walk to the theater, enjoying the relatively balmy weather and the company as they slowly ambled along. When they got to the Odeon, Brian was thrilled to see that today’s offering was one of his all-time favorite movies: High Sierra.

 

High Sierra Trailer (good for a laugh)

 

“Excellent!” Brian exclaimed in his enthusiasm. “That’s probably my favorite movie ever. I’ve seen it, like, a hundred times.”

 

“Huh? How can you have seen it a hundred times?” Justin asked, looking at Brian with real confusion. “Didn’t it just come out?”

 

“Um . . . Uh . . . I saw it in the States before I came over here,” he qualified, annoyed that he’d slipped up so easily.

“Oh, okay. That makes sense. But a hundred times?” Justin kidded him, with an elbow to his middle. “A HUNDRED?”

 

“Well, I may have exaggerated, a little,” Brian admitted with a grin. “But you’re going to love it. It’s probably one of Bogie’s best films ever.”

 

Brian rushed over to buy two tickets, refusing to let Justin contribute to the purchase price. Then, since they had about forty-five minutes to kill before showtime, they stepped across the street and had a quick bite of lunch at a nearby cafe. But they were back at the theater in good time to be one of the first allowed into the matinee performance. Brian led his boy up to the balcony, marvelling over the interior of the elegant art deco theater - which had unfortunately been updated and refurbished by his day, obliterating the original glory of the grand space. And, once the lights went down and the previews started, Brian reached over to hold Justin’s hand in the dark, happy as a clam that his afternoon wooing plan was going so well.



Brian really did love this movie. He was able to recite most of Bogart’s important lines, annoying Justin as he whispered them in the younger man’s ear, and even earning them a few ‘shhh’es from their neighbors when the giggling became too much. Justin complained that he would have to come watch the movie another time all by himself because he’d missed half of it while fending Brian off. But it was all said in good fun.

 

“Sheesh. You really weren’t kidding about this being one of your favorite movies, were you, Brian?” Justin admonished as they got up from their seats after the end credits. “How did you manage to memorize all the lines like that?”

 

“I told you, I’ve seen it a few times already,” Brian bragged with a grin. “I love Bogart movies. Growing up he was my idea of the perfect man. I just wish I’d had the chance to meet him once.”

 

“Well, you never know. You might still get to meet him one day, I imagine. Maybe if you took a trip to Hollywood,” Justin answered, almost catching Brian out again on the whole time and tenses thing. He really needed to watch that more carefully.

 

Before they left the theater, Justin happened to see a small line of people queued up in the corner of the lobby. Since he was curious, he pulled Brian over in that direction, only to discover that they were all waiting to get a turn in the fancy new ‘photo booth’ the management had set up there. Brian, who’d seen these contraptions a hundred times over the course of his life, was unimpressed, but Justin was simply amazed at the very idea of a contraption that would let just anyone sit for instantly developed pictures.




“Applesauce! What will they think of next?” Justin declared, staring over the shoulder of a recent photographee to look at the small stip of pictures with open admiration.

 

Brian couldn’t hold back the laugh that bubbled out at his boy’s wonderment. If the kid only knew what else was out there . . . “Well, come on then, let’s get in line.”

 

“What? Us? Get photos?” Justin hissed, seeming scandalized by the idea. “We can’t do that, Brian.”

 

“Of course we can. It’s just a photo together,” he asserted, pulling Justin over to join the line of people. Then he leaned in so he could whisper, “I promise not to do anything compromising in the pictures, like kiss you or anything . . . even though I’m fucking dying to do that right now, you silly twat.”

 

Justin, predictably, blushed so hard that Brian was almost worried he’d overheat and explode. He loved being able to fluster the boy so easily. It was an amusing little game he could play anytime he chose. Justin didn’t object too much, though, to the idea of getting their picture taken and stood compliantly in the line till it was their turn.

 

While they were waiting, they listened in on the conversations of the groups in front of them in line. Most of the discussions involved planning out the various poses they all intended to take for their pictures. The general trend seem to be leaning towards humorous photos. This was especially true for the larger groups, those with three or more people, like the rowdy group of young sailors who were trying to figure out how many people they could fit into the booth at one time. Several of them were already practicing silly faces, and earning themselves rounds of laughter from their compatriots.

 

“Edward Mayfield,” one very young woman shrieked as soon as she grabbed up her pictures, which had plopped down into the little slot as soon as they were developed. “How dare you sneak a kiss in a picture like this? If my father sees this, he’s likely to tan your hide good and proper.”

 

Brian could see the suspect picture, which the girl was waving in everyone’s faces, apparently attempting to get sympathy from the rest of the customers for her dire plight. In it, you could see the girl posing prettily for the camera, completely unsuspecting, while her beau must’ve quickly turned his head just as the shutter snapped. The resulting image would forever evidence the boy’s face, puckered up, with his mouth only millimeters from her plump rosy cheek. The boy himself - a tall gangling lad dressed in an army uniform that was far too baggy on his lanky frame - as well as the rest of the audience in the theater, seemed to think the prank was hilarious.

 

“Well, Sadie, your father is going to have to catch me first,” the boy teased, pulling the strip of photos out of the girl's hand and dancing away from her. “And seeing as I’m shipping out first thing Monday morning, I reckon I’ll be safe.”

 

As the pair chased each other out of the theater, Justin shot a warning glance Brian’s way. “I promised, Blue Eyes,” Brian quietly assured his skittish blond. “No kidding.”

 

“So, what pose should WE do?” Justin asked when there were only a couple people left in front of them in the line. “I don’t think I want to goof off like all these others.” Justin looked distastefully after one particularly obnoxious group of young men who’d just left with their series of silly shots. Then his voice fell to a confidential hush and he added, “I don’t want our first picture together to be like THAT.”

 

Brian rolled his eyes and shook his head indulgently at the ridiculously romantic boy. “So, what? You want us to frown at the camera, looking all serious, like one of those old-fashioned daguerreotypes where the people look like it physically pains them to have their picture taken?”

 

“No. But . . .” He thought about it a little, then smiled shyly up at Brian again. “I just feel like I want to take this thing, whatever it is, seriously. Give it some weight. Make it feel substantial. Real.” Then he laughed at himself self-consciously. “That sounds so pretentious, doesn’t it?”

 

Brian was struck by the realization that Justin must be feeling some of the same undertones he’d been experiencing with whatever this thing was.

 

“No, Blue Eyes, that sounds perfect to me. Serious but not sad, then? Just peaceful and . . . Comfortable?” he proposed.

 

“Exactly.”

 

By then it was their turn in the booth. Brian let Justin go in first, then slid in after him, pulling the heavy velvet drape closed behind them. Brian got a handful of coins out of his pocket, ready to insert them, and then squished in next to Justin on the narrow bench.

 

“I have an idea, Brian,” Justin said, sounding quite sure of himself. “It’s something I saw in a museum once when my parents took me to New York. I think it’ll work just fine for our picture.”

 

Brian was game, so he let his little artist arrange them both without protest. They sat quietly, in the pose Justin had arranged, and waited through the three bright flashes of light. Then they calmly exited the booth and waited beside the machine while it clicked and chugged and whirred, until the small celluloid strip with their pictures printed on the front slid into the slot. Justin eagerly grabbed for the finished product, snatching it up and looking at it intently. Apparently, he liked what he saw, snatching it up and looking at it intently, his face quickly changing into a radiant smile. Without even showing Brian, Justin turned on his heel and practically skipped out the door of the theater, the strip of photos held tightly against his chest as if he were keeping the treasure safe.

 

“Well . . . Are you going to show me, or do I have to wrestle you for ‘em?” Brian asked once they were out of the theater and away from potential eavesdroppers.

 

With a smug little smile, his Blue Eyes handed over the filmstrip.

 

Brian had to agree, they’d turned out perfectly.

 

Photobooth pics

With the stip of photos in hand, Brian escorted Justin down the street, headed back to The Strand.

 

The next item on his wooing agenda was dinner at the fancy hotel restaurant and then . . . whatever came up after. But, since dinner wasn’t served until seven pm, they had quite a bit of time to kill. Brian didn’t think it wise to further tempt Gears and the other hostile denizens of the White Lion by going over there for a pre-dinner drink, but that left him a bit at loose ends. However, since the weather was still cooperating with Brian’s romantic plans, he decided a stroll would serve his purpose nicely. Accordingly, he guided his Blue Eyes down the Charing Cross Road towards the river, ambling along at a casual pace and window shopping while they walked.

 

Justin was feeling quite chatty and regaled Brian with a lot of amusing stories about the things he’d seen and done in London since his arrival several months earlier. Brian found himself enjoying not only the conversation but the walk itself. It was turning out to be such a relaxed and pleasant afternoon.

 

Just strolling along, with no time constraints and no real destination was a rare experience for him. Back in his own time, Brian was a busy guy - he almost always had somewhere he needed to be and an agenda for every minute of his time. Except for his evenings of prowling at the bars and clubs, that is. But even then, he was always focused on some personal agenda - which guy he was pursuing, how best to round up his desired prey, what needed to be done to uphold his studly reputation as the Lord of Liberty Avenue. It felt like he hadn’t had a chance to just walk around and do nothing in . . . well, ever. And this afternoon with Justin, when he had no ulterior motive, no agenda, no real plans and no schedule to stick to, was therefore quite a change for him. It was completely out of character for the Brian of 2016, but it seemed perfectly acceptable, and even desirable, to the Brian Kinney here in 1941.

 

As they passed by the imposing structure of the National Gallery, Justin again lamented the fact that the museums were closed because of the war. Brian regretted it almost as much, thinking that his artistic little pilot would have had a blast spending the afternoon in the galleries there. Brian himself had been there several times but almost every visit he still found something new that captured his attention. It was a shame that Justin would never see it himself . . . But as soon as that unwelcome thought crossed his mind, Brian immediately banished it. Today wasn’t the time to worry about what might be coming up for his Blue Eyes come July. Today was for enjoying the fact that Justin was still here, now, and Brian intended to make the most of that fact while he could.

 

When they came to the end of Charing Cross, Justin suggested they take a turn around the wide open expanses of Trafalgar Square. Brian was happy to oblige and carefully led his blond through the crowds of people on the sidewalk over to the less congested areas in the middle of the square. Along with the rest of the tourists, they crossed over to get a better look at the grand pair of lions that guarded the foot of the huge plinth, skirting the large fountains which seemed to have been emptied of their water, probably also because of the war. As they went, Justin explained about the nasty bombing that had happened here back in October, just after he’d arrived in London to start his training. It was the first major air raid the boy had been through and the news about the event had scared him to death. Brian could believe that - especially since he’d only recently lived through his first air raid experience and was still recovering. Justin pointed out the damage that had been incurred by two of the poor lions, whose front paws were mangled and bent from an even more recent bombing incident. Unfortunately, it seemed that not even these brave national monuments were safe from the depredations of the German Blitzkrieg.



When they’d seen all the sights available in the Square, Brian gestured towards the southeast corner where The Strand headed off back towards Covent Garden and the hotel. Justin started to walk that direction, and Brian followed, coming up shoulder to shoulder with the younger man and feeling so at ease that he didn’t even think about it as he casually slipped his arm around Justin’s waist. It was such a familiar action. The motion felt perfectly natural to Brian. He’d walked that way - arm in arm with his friends or even a trick on occasion - so many times, it didn’t even register. It wasn’t until he felt Justin’s body freeze, the pilot’s steps halting in place, that Brian even realized that something was wrong. And even then it took him several long seconds before he understood exactly what the problem was.

 

Brian took a deep breath and carefully withdrew his hand from around Justin’s waist. He was acutely aware of the gust of cool air that hit his palm when it was no longer tucked up against his Blue Eyes’ side. He hated the guilty look that remained on the younger man’s face even after Brian had moved a half step away. He hated the furtive way Justin looked around them, as if trying to figure out who had seen; who might pose a threat.

 

“It won’t always be like this,” Brian tried to reassure the younger man. “Someday, Justin, we’ll be able to be out in the open. We will hold hands, kiss in public, even be allowed to get married. I promise.”

 

Justin scoffed and shoved his hands deep into his pockets as they continued walking back towards Brian’s hotel. “You really think . . .” He looked around him once more and, after confirming that there was nobody within earshot, added in a whisper, “queers will one day be able to do all that?” Brian nodded. “I think you’re dreaming, Brian . . . But even if all that MIGHT come about one day in the very distant future, it doesn’t help us here and now.”

 

And since Brian couldn’t come up with any way to counter Justin’s assertion, they walked the rest of the way back to the hotel in silence, carefully keeping an appropriate distance from one another, and making certain they did not touch again.

 

********

 

Music Selection -  On The Sunny Side of the Street by Dorothy Fielding

 

Research: The History of the Photobooth - yes, TAG even researched this so as to make sure we’d be accurate. LOL.

Trafalgar Square bombing 1940 - One of the many bombings in the neighborhood actually took out the Tube station near Trafalgar Square and killed many who were trapped there in the Underground. Basically, it was a miracle that the only wartime damage to the statues in the square, despite the years of air raids, was the relatively minor damage to the Lions’ paws, which was finally repaired in ~1950.

 

Slang:

-Brought out - not the same as today’s term ‘coming out’ (as in ‘coming out of the closet’). This term was used at the time to infer a gay man’s first sexual experience. The first time he was shown by others that it was okay to be attracted to someone of the same sex.

-Cornholing - a provincial term for anal sex (As in, ‘I was minding my own business out in the barn when he come up behind me and shoved his big ol’ pig poker up my cornhole).

-Tea Room - any men’s restroom, specifically one where gay men regularly hang out looking for sex hook ups.

Chapter Text



Chapter 10 - Boogie Woogie

 

It was still a little early for dinner when Brian and Justin finally made it back to the hotel. Brian proposed they go ahead and get cleaned up and head down to the hotel bar for drinks. Justin, who was rather enjoying being so spoiled, readily agreed to this plan. Brian asked if he needed to run back to his rooms and get something else to wear for the evening, but Justin reluctantly admitted that his uniform was the nicest outfit he owned.

 

“I’m afraid that, after my father kicked me out, I only had enough money on me to pay for the boat fare to get over here to London and not much else. As far as civvies, I only have the few items of clothing that I had with me when I left home. And since clothing rations here in London are pretty meager, I haven’t really had much of a chance to get anything nicer,” he explained, looking uncomfortable at the revelation.

 

“No problem,” Brian tried to reassure him. “I’m sure you won’t be the only guy in uniform at dinner. Besides, you look dashing in that,” he teased, with a small kiss to Justin’s cheek to take the sting out of it. “I’m going to get washed up though and put on a different shirt - I stink.”

 

“Well, I wouldn’t mind a bit of a wash myself,” Justin asserted. “May I borrow a towel and some soap from you?”

 

Brian got them both set up with toiletries and then ushered the boy down the hall to the communal bath facilities. They spent a companionable fifteen minutes or so getting themselves spiffed up and then, with Justin looking trim and neat in his military outfit and Brian looking like his usual runway-model self in one of his Savile Row suits, they headed downstairs to the hotel bar. The clerk standing guard at the desk in the foyer greeted Mr. Kinney and his guest with deference as soon as they appeared. Brian couldn’t object to the service. The young clerk advised them that he’d make sure to come get them as soon as seating for dinner began and directed them to the drawing room.



Once seated in the ostentatiously ornamented Drawing Room, they were almost instantly attended to by a waiter dressed in a crisp black and white uniform bearing a drinks menu. Brian, who was feeling a little whimsical, ordered a Sidecar - something he’d always heard about when watching classic movies of the time, but which he’d never actually tried. Justin, after dithering over the menu for several minutes, ordered a Pimm’s Cup. And then, since they were in an age long before public health concerns had become vogue and everyone else was indulging, Brian also asked that the waiter bring them two cigarellos to enjoy with their drinks.

 

“Holy Mackerel! This place sure is swanky,” Justin commented, sounding so young. “Will you get a load of all the posh geezers in here? I bet they even smell like money. And that dame over there,” Justin tried to point surreptitiously to a woman seated a few tables over who was adorned with quite a lot of jewelry. “There’s more ice around her neck than in the drinks.”

 

Brian chuckled quietly, enjoying the way the younger man was goggling at all the society elites around them. Brian, who had grown up on the wrong side of the tracks as the son of a working-class Irish family, felt almost as awestruck - he was just hiding it better. But it was clear that the people who frequented The Strand Palace Hotel bar and restaurant were the cream of London society. The only reason Brian and Justin were being given this small glimpse of their inner circles was because Brian was a seemingly wealthy American, and in wartime Britain money bought you a lot of clout.

 

To relieve the tension and get Justin to relax a little bit, Brian resorted to a game he and his friends had played many times over the years. “See that old fart sitting in the corner with the older lady?” Brian leaned conspiratorially close to his boy and pointed to a particularly rotund gentleman sitting stiffly in his chair next to a frail-looking woman wearing a severe expression. “He’s actually a closet fag and the reason he’s sitting there like that, so stiff and frowning, is because he’s got horrible hemorrhoids from taking it up the ass one time too many from his butler, Jeeves,” Brian posited, earning him a snort of laughter from Justin. “And his wife, she’s secretly a dominatrix who likes to tie the young stable boys up and spank them.”

 

“Brian!” the scandalized pilot hissed at him, laughing all the time.

 

“It’s true, Blue Eyes,” Brian kidded while picking out his next victim. “And that woman in the blue dress,” he pointed with his cigarillo to a bored-looking woman in her thirties who wasn’t paying any attention at all to the conversation of the two men she was sitting with. “She’s a lesbian. You can tell by the way she’s been following the cigarette girl around with her eyes for the last five minutes. She’s hoping to get her fat, older husband so drunk that he passes out as soon as they get back to their room and then she’s going to sneak out and find Betty Boop over there and spend the night eating pussy to her heart’s content.”

 

“Oh my word . . . Brian,” Justin was now laughing so hard tears were leaking from the corners of his eyes. “You’re terrible. You know that, right? Just terrible!”

 

“I know. It’s a gift,” Brian accepted the compliment and carried on with his game of making up naughty life stories about all their neighbors for the rest of the hour or so till they were called to dinner.

 

Justin had finally relaxed, seeming much less intimidated by all the high society types after Brian had started in on them, which had been the plan all along. By the time they were seated at a table in the dining room, the boy was back to his usual ebullient self. Of course, as soon as their waiter handed them the dinner menus – printed out on crisp, heavy cardstock and displayed in satin-lined, leather binders – Justin lost it again. He was just sitting there, staring at the list with his mouth slightly agape, five minutes after Brian had decided on his own selection.

 

“Is there a problem, Blue Eyes?” Brian finally asked.

 

“I-I-I don’t know what to order,” Justin confessed with another of those adorable blushes that turned Brian into jelly. “There’s just so much, and it all sounds so delicious . . .”

 

“Well, then, why don’t you just order whatever’s at the top of the menu and you can work your way down the list the next time,” Brian suggested with all due logic.

 

“The NEXT time?” Justin laughed out loud at that. “Like I’ll ever be able to afford to come back to a ritzy place like this. Applesauce, Brian! The fanciest place I ever ate at before meeting you was the lunch counter at the Woolworth’s back home in Pittsburgh.”

 

Brian joined the boy in his laughter while marvelling silently about the provinciality of the times. Even though his parents hadn’t had much money back when Brian was growing up, he’d at least eaten out at restaurants often enough as a child that he was comfortable in them by the time he was an adult. He and Justin really had come from two very different worlds. Although he figured that was part of why he found the younger man so utterly fascinating.

 

“If I have anything to say about it, Justin, this won’t be your last time in a restaurant like this,” Brian promised. “So don’t let it get you all flustered. Just order whatever you like THIS time and we’ll take care of NEXT time when it happens.”

 

“A guy could get used to this . . .” Justin mumbled, his grin so huge that Brian thought it might blind folks that weren’t prepared for it.

In the end, Justin ordered the Grenadine of Beef Filet. Brian ordered the Prime Rib as well as an appetizer of Oysters Rockefeller and a Waldorf salad for Justin with a plain green salad for himself. He also commandeered a bottle of nice house white wine for starters. Justin was so impressed that he was pretty much speechless until the ordering process was over.



When the food arrived, Justin’s eyes almost bugged out. He told Brian he hadn’t seen that much food at one sitting since the last Thanksgiving he’d spent back home. He also admitted he’d never actually had oysters before, and was a little leery about trying them, but after watching Brian slurp his first one up with an erotic moan of approval, Justin manned up and tried one himself. His verdict was that they tasted okay, but he wasn’t sure about the texture. The oysters were kinda slimy underneath the yummy stuff they’d been cooked with. Brian told him that they were an aphrodisiac, though, so with a bashful smile, he consented to have two more. The salad course and the main course were less problematic, although they were both feeling very little pain by that point, as they’d already finished off the white wine and moved on to a second bottle of red.

 

For dessert, Brian opted to stick with a coffee - he couldn’t be expected to eat like someone from the 1940s and stay in any kind of shape - but he encouraged Justin ‘Bottomless-Pit’ Taylor to indulge however the youth wanted. After a lot more dithering, the boy ordered a Sweet Currant Tart that even Brian had to admit looked delicious when it arrived. It took Justin less than ten minutes, moaning with every single bite, to devour it.



After they’d stuffed themselves silly, Brian signed off on the bill and asked the waiter what the evening’s entertainment was. They were informed that there was a dance that night in the hotel’s ballroom and that the band was rumored to be quite good. Justin seemed to be game for the idea, so they both headed off in the direction the waiter had indicated looking for the Grand Ballroom.

 

And grand it certainly was. The art deco decor of the hotel had been carried on through this room as well. Brian conceded that it was a beautiful space. And for the time, it was quite modernistic. There was a lot of gold leaf and chrome, bold geometric accents, and dramatic lighting throughout.



It was also quite packed, which was surprising since here in 1941 it was a Thursday night. But, along with the society folks that had also populated the restaurant, the ballroom contained a number of younger folk, including a large contingent of young men in various military uniforms and a whole cadre of pretty young women wearing unfortunately stuffy-looking black wool uniforms, ties, and little pillbox caps. Brian, who wasn’t familiar with all the different uniforms of the military branches of the time, had to ask Justin who these women were. The younger man quickly explained they were all Wrens: Women’s Royal Naval Service members. Altogether it was quite a lively crowd and many were already up and dancing to the big band music blasting from the small band set up at the far end of the hall.



Justin, of course, fit right in with all the other men in military garb, but Brian, as usual, stood out, being one of the only men under forty who wasn’t in a uniform and a good looking one to boot. The Wrens, in particular, seemed very attentive upon his arrival. Their eyes followed him as group as soon as he entered the room, offering up smiles in his direction, and tittering away to each other behind their hands just like real wrens. Never one to pass up free adulation, Brian graced the group with a charming Kinney smile as he and Justin passed by looking for an open table. Justin followed meekly in his wake, secretly smiling at how far off base these hordes of giggling women were.

 

They eventually made it to one of the few empty tables left in the room. As soon as they’d seated themselves, one of the ever efficient wait staff appeared at Brian‘s elbow asking for their drink orders. Brian decided to move on to his usual after dinner whiskey and Justin, a little at sea in this environment, simply asked for the same. As soon as the waiter left, though, Justin turned to Brian with a concerned expression.

 

“Are you sure you’re okay paying for all this, Brian?” The boy asked in a hushed voice. “Everything here is so expensive. I feel bad that I haven’t even offered to help out. But . . .”

 

“Don’t worry about it, Blue Eyes,” Brian immediately responded, shaking his head and waving off even the appearance of an offer of assistance. “It was my invitation, so of course I’m going to pay. Besides, this is nothing. Trust me, I’m used to this.”

 

Justin looked like he might have protested further, but right at that moment the waiter returned with their drinks. Brian again signed off on the bill without even looking at it, and handed the waiter a full shilling tip. The waiter was more than pleased with this amount of generosity, and thanked Brian profusely as he backed away wearing an obsequious grin.

 

“You do realize that you just tipped that man almost as much as the cost of the drink itself, right?” Justin asked as soon as they were alone again.

 

Brian merely shrugged.

 

Justin fell silent after that, sipping contemplatively at his drink, his eyes unfocused even though, to all appearances, he seemed caught up in the whirl of people out on the dance floor. Brian soon became aware that he’d lost his companion's attention. Sliding his hand over so he could tap at the back of Justin‘s wrist without being noticed, he tried to pull his Blue Eyes back to him.

 

“What’s eating you, Twat?”

 

Justin hesitated for several seconds before he finally sighed, set his drink down, and turned to look directly at Brian. “I hope you don’t think that the only reason I’m interested in . . . this . . . is because of your money. Because I’m not.” Justin’s voice got even quieter then, prompting Brian to lean forward in order to hear him clearly. “I don’t need a sugar daddy, Brian. I’m perfectly capable of taking care of myself. So, if you’re trying to impress me by throwing your money around, don’t bother.”

 

Brian could see from the stubborn set of his blond’s jaw how offended Justin was, and he rushed to dispel that impression.

 

“Justin . . . that’s not what I’m trying to do. I would never insult you by trying to buy your approval like that. And I can tell just from the short time I’ve known you, that you’re more than capable of supporting yourself. Look how far you’ve come already, despite all of the obstacles you had to deal with. That’s not what this is about,” Brian insisted. “It’s just that, this,” and he held out a handful of coins, “doesn’t mean that much to me. I make a really good living, Justin. Money is not an issue for me at this stage of my life. Especially here . . .” Brian stopped himself before he finished that sentence, not sure how he would’ve finished it anyway. “Believe me when I tell you that the cost of tonight‘s entertainment, will not be a problem.”

 

Justin nodded, accepting Brian’s assertions, but from the way his mouth was still screwed up in a sort of half frown, Brian could tell that there was still something bothering his intelligent little Blue Eyes. Brian waited, slowly sipping his whiskey and watching as a series of apparently complicated thoughts flittered across his companion’s face. Eventually, Justin seemed to come to some conclusion or other, and he again looked up at Brian with concern.

 

“Fine. I suppose I can accept your word that you’re not simply trying to buy my affections.” The boy offered up a small conciliatory smile there. “But that only brings up the even bigger question of how, exactly, a ‘war correspondent’ can afford something like this.” He swept his hand outward, gesturing at the room full of well dressed strangers. “I may not be as experienced as you are in some matters, but I know enough to know that your average newspaper reporter doesn’t make enough money to be able to afford The Strand Palace. So what is it that you really do for a living, Brian?”

 

Brian knew he’d been caught, and he didn’t really have a good answer to the boy’s question. He frowned, sitting back in his chair, and avoiding Justin’s gaze. A million different stories ran through his mind, each more fanciful than the last. But Brian really didn’t want to lie. He didn’t want to start off in this, whatever, with Justin by lying. He’d always prided himself on being honest, except when he was left with no other choice, and even though this was a tough situation, he didn’t think it merited outright dishonesty. On the other hand, he couldn’t tell Justin the truth either.

 

“I can’t tell you that, Justin,” Brian finally admitted. “It’s . . . complicated.”

 

Justin took a deep breath, nodded his head, and then leaned forward, his forearms braced against the edge of the table, his hands clasped, and his eyes intently scrutinizing Brian‘s face as he asked, “is it something illegal? Because if that’s the case, I’m not interested in pursuing this any further.”

 

“No! Fuck no.” When Justin still looked unconvinced, Brian leaned forward again, pleading with his eyes, asking Justin to believe him. “I swear, Justin, it’s nothing like that. I just can’t explain it to you right now. And even if I could, you probably wouldn’t believe me . . .”

 

Maybe it was the sincerity in Brian‘s voice, or maybe it was the resignation of that final sentence, but something in Brian’s response must have struck a genuine note because, after a moment or two of thinking it through, Justin finally smiled again.

 

“Okay. If you can’t tell me, then you can’t. I suppose I can accept that. For now. I don’t like it, but I can accept it. After all, it is war time, and if I’ve learned anything at all since I’ve been here, it’s that everything isn’t always the way it seems,” Justin stated, sounding much older and wiser than he looked. “But if I find out you’re some gangster or something, and that you’ve been lying to me, it won’t end pretty, Mr. Kinney.”

 

“I’m not a fucking gangster, Justin,” Brian insisted, his voice becoming a little louder with his protestation.

 

Unfortunately, that happened to be the moment when the band finished its current number and, as the applause died, the room fell substantially quieter. Brian’s words carried to quite a few of the nearby tables, turning heads all around. And, while the well off party-goers might not have cared a fig if Brian was a gangster or not, they certainly didn’t approve of cursing in mixed company.

 

“I say, young man,” the fat older gentleman they’d surmised earlier in the evening to have hemorrhoids leaned over from his table and addressed Brian directly. “We’ll have none of that language here. There are ladies present, you know!”

 

“Won’t happen again,” Brian replied, and this time it was Brian who was blushing.

 

Justin, who was trying not to laugh, turned his attention to his drink for the next few minutes, letting Brian cool down in peace. Brian grumbled into his own glass for most of the rest of the next song. The only good thing about the experience was that it had curtailed further discussion with his blond about the source of his income.

 

However, before Brian was ready to take up a new topic of conversation, the band leader announced that the next song they would be playing was ‘Lady Be Good’ and it was going to be a ‘Ladies Choice’ dance. There was a loud commotion from all the ladies assembled in the hall and many of them vaulted to their feet, intent on finding their man. It soon appeared that no male of the species was safe. Not even Brian or Justin.

 

“Hi there, I’m Elsie and this here’s Phoebe,” a rosy-cheeked young Wren announced after bouncing over to their table with her friend in tow. “Would you two gents like to dance?”

 

Brian snuck a quick look over at Justin, who was smiling politely at the girls, and figured they were pretty much caught. He got up from his chair, smiled at the girls and accepted their invitation. Brian then crooked his arm, offering his elbow to the taller of the two girls, and then escorted his dance partner onto the floor just as the band was starting in on the first few notes. This wasn’t exactly Brian’s preferred kind of dancing, and he hadn’t really done any swing dancing before, so he probably wasn’t the most graceful of partners. Elsie was a good sport though and didn’t even complain the one time he stepped on her toes. He did note, however that she didn’t ask him for a second dance, which was fine because he was more than happy to retreat to his table.



Justin, on the other hand, was apparently another Fred Astaire, because no sooner had that song finished than he was swarmed by more women asking for a twirl around the floor. Brian sat back in his chair, sipping at his drink contentedly, watching with a hint of pride as his agile little Blue Eyes spun and strutted around the dance floor. Damn, he was hot, the way he moved around so surely and even the way he swivelled his hips like that, Brian thought. Then, when the band took up a faster paced song, and Justin and his then partner started to show off some more complicated moves, the crowd actually parted for them, giving the pair the entire floor to strut their stuff. The song ended with Justin actually tossing his girl up into the air and catching her in both arms then spinning around to leave her standing alone in the center of the floor just as the song ended. The watching audience erupted with boisterous applause and catcalls, and Justin was ushered off the floor to several rowdy claps on his back and both men and women shaking his hand as he passed by.

 

Brian got up to greet him, pulling out the chair for his returning dance master. “You weren’t kidding when you said you could dance, were you, Blue Eyes?”

 

“Nope,” Justin replied, his blue eyes glittering with fun as he sank into the chair and used his napkin to dab at his sweaty forehead. “Like I said, I can sing, I can dance, and I can fly a plane. Those are my three talents. Everything else, not so much. But those three things I can do like the bees knees.”

 

Brian leaned in so he could whisper the next words in the younger man’s ear. “Well, based on the way you kiss, not to mention that thing you did out there with your hips, I can think of a few more things you’re probably equally talented at. Care to come back upstairs to my room with me and we can give them a whirl - see just how TALENTED you really are?”

 

If Justin hadn’t already been flushed from the exercise, Brian was sure that the boy’s blushing would have been epic. The pilot didn’t argue though - Justin simply smiled bashfully, nodded his head and then followed Brian when the older man got up and started to head out of the ballroom. There was a bit of a crowd in the elevator, so they didn’t say a word to each other as the operator moved them up from floor to floor, finally stopping on the top floor to let out Mr. Kinney and his guest. They still didn’t say anything as they made their way down the hall and into the suite. In fact, it wasn’t till Brian closed the door behind them, turned the lock securely and then faced his now shy companion that they even looked directly at each other.

 

“Okay, Swivel Hips,” Brian purred, crooking a finger at his little dance machine. “Come here and show me again that thing you do with your hips . . .”

 

Justin stepped forward, almost as if drawn against his will by the magnetism of Brian’s personality. As soon as the boy was within arm’s length, Brian reached out and pulled Justin flush against him, wrapping one arm tightly around the slim waist, ensuring there wasn’t even a millimeter of space between their lower halves. Justin gasped at the force of the contact, but he didn’t try to pull away. Then Brian held up his left arm as if in a dance pose, tilting his own hips forward provocatively as he stepped to the side.

 

“So, I think it went something like this . . .” Brian began to swivel his own hips, although what he did wouldn’t qualify as a dance move, per se. “Come on, Tiny Dancer, show me your moves,” he teased.

 

“You . . . you can’t swing like . . . like this,” Justin stammered, almost speechless as he tried to keep step with Brian’s fumbling dance steps.

 

“Oh, I can assure you, Justin, I definitely swing like THIS,” Brian teased, emphasizing his point by swinging his own lower parts hard against Justin’s stomach right on cue. “But I thought you wanted to dance?”

 

Justin laughed, dropping his head onto Brian’s shoulder and giving in, eventually reaching up to place his hand in Brian’s in a closed dance position. Brian proceeded to slowly tool them around the room in a shuffling slow step, dancing to the music in his head. It was nice and intimate and very romantic.

 

And it didn’t even occur to the one-time stud that he was behaving like a ridiculous lesbian until after they’d made a few circuits around the room and he suddenly realized what he was doing. Then Brian almost immediately started to feel uncomfortable. What the fuck was he doing here? What the hell was Brian Fucking Kinney doing slow dancing with a twink in his hotel room without there even being any music? His behavior seemed even more out of character when he thought back over all the events of that long and rather memorable day. Had he really snuggled with the kid in bed, then taken him out to a movie and even done something as inane as getting photo booth pictures with him. Or, worse still, taken the boy out for dinner and dancing? What the hell was he thinking? If his friends could see him now, they’d be laughing their fucking heads off. Was he seriously going through with this whole ‘wooing’ thing? This was fucking insane! This wasn’t him, was it?

 

But even as Brian was silently having a total mental breakdown, he felt Justin sigh, and melt even more into his embrace. “This is so nice. I’ve never danced with someone I actually wanted to dance with, you know? It makes me sad to think we can never do this for real. That I’ll never be allowed to dance in public with the man I want to dance with.”

 

And all of a sudden it didn’t matter to Brian that he was behaving like a sentimental twat. All that mattered right then was that he too found this little dance nice. He had actually enjoyed the whole fucking day, to be honest. In fact, he hadn’t had a day that he’d enjoyed that much in a long fucking time. Maybe not ever. And, yes, his friends would laugh themselves silly if they ever saw him like this. They’d mock him the same way he’d mocked their past attempts at romance. But it didn’t change the way he felt just then. It didn’t change the fact that he WANTED to be slow dancing with this intriguing young man who was such a confusing blend of innocence and strength. Brian liked that he could make Justin happy with something as simple as a musicless, slow dance in a hotel room. He liked doing stupid things like wasting an afternoon going to a movie and taking silly photos with this young man. He had enjoyed talking with him over dinner, sharing the nonsense stories they’d made up about the other guests, watching as Justin experienced the wonders of a grand meal in a fancy restaurant. Brian had enjoyed showing Justin around and showing him off in a way. So what if his future self wouldn’t have been caught dead in a similar situation. He wasn’t in 2016 right then and he was glad of it for the moment because he didn’t think he wanted to be that person anymore. At least not while he was here, with Justin. Here, in this time, he liked being the silly romantic person he had been all day. It just felt right.

 

“It won’t be ‘never’, Blue Eyes,” Brian whispered into the mop of blond hair under his chin. “Someday there will be gay bars and clubs all over the world where we can dance together just like straight people. The world WILL get there eventually. It won’t be easy, but we’ll claw our way out of the darkness and make people take us seriously. I promise you that, Justin. It will happen. Someday.”

 

Justin chuckled, the vibrations of his laughter tickling the skin at Brian’s collarbone. “I hope you’re right, Brian. I’d really love to see a place like that someday. It would be so amazing to dance with you like this, just once, out there in the world . . . I doubt I’ll live long enough to ever see a miracle like that though. But it’s a nice dream, isn’t it?” Then, in an attempt to lighten the somber mood, he added, “plus, if we danced together more often, maybe I’d be able to teach you how.”

 

“Oh, yeah?” Brian took the joke for what it was worth and returned the fun by digging his fingers into the boy’s side, eliciting a snort of laughter. “You’ll teach ME, huh? I don’t think so. If anyone’s got something to learn around here, it’s you, little boy.”

 

“Me? I already know how to dance, Brian.”

 

“Yeah? But do you know how to do THIS?” Brian asked, smirking lustily as he slowly sank to his knees in front of the surprised boy and very deliberately began to undo Justin’s belt.

 

Justin stood there, frozen in place, while Brian took his time with first the belt then the buttons of the boy’s fly. Since Justin didn’t do anything to stop him, he continued what he’d started until the trousers were hanging loosely from the boy’s slim hips. A little tug is all it took and then they were puddling around the kid’s knees, revealing a pair of thin, light blue cotton boxer shorts, also buttoned around the waist. Before going any further, Brian looked up at the young man who was standing there so stiffly.

 

“Is this okay, Blue Eyes?” he asked, fingers poised on the top button of the shorts.

 

Justin only nodded, looking a little scared and a lot excited. Brian took his time on the remaining buttons, not wanting to spook the kid by moving too fast, even though every nerve in his own body was telling him to move, go faster, get on with it. When there were no more buttons left, Brian gripped the waistband and very slowly tugged them down over the boy’s slim hips, revealing one of the most beautiful cocks the experienced Stud had ever had the pleasure of meeting. It was remarkably large for such a small-framed boy, thick and had a lovely, long curve upwards to where the pretty pink head was already poking through the thin foreskin. Just looking at it, with that one bead of cum glistening at the tip, had Brian’s mouth watering. He wasn’t usually this eager to go down on a guy - he was more likely to be on the receiving end of most blowjobs - but this was one time he wouldn’t mind reversing things.

 

Brian ignored the way Justin was simply standing there acting like he was afraid to move, and went straight to work. He licked up the length of that prodigious member, letting the taste of the boy’s sweet jizz rest on his tongue for a minute while he savored the treat. Justin’s gasp slowly turned into a moan, and then turned back into a gasp again, as Brian returned to his work and took the entire large, fleshy head into his warm mouth. After that, all the youth could think to do was hold on, both hands threaded through Brian’s fine auburn hair, as the accomplished master cocksucker went to town. Of course, the little greenhorn was no match for Brian’s superbly honed skills and he was coming gangbusters in only minutes, shooting out such copious quantities of jism that even Brian had trouble swallowing it all.

 

“Ap . . . Ap . . . Apple . . . Applesauce, B-Brian . . . That was . . . That was . . . That was . . .” Justin couldn’t quite get his brain to work through the process of forming words.

 

“It was, wasn’t it?” Brian answered smugly, wiping the corner of his dripping mouth against the hem of the boy’s shirt as he got back up to his feet.

 

“You’re . . . you’re really good at that,” Justin commented, still sounding a bit stunned as Brian guided the boy back to the bed and helped him sit. “Have you . . .” he paused, thinking through what he wanted to say and then changing course. “You’ve had a lot of practice I suppose.”

 

“I’ve had my fair share of blow jobs,” Brian answered honestly. “Although I’m not typically the one doing the blowing. Most of the time, I’m the one on the receiving side. What did you think?”

 

“I think that was the most amazing thing that I’ve ever experienced,” Justin answered, just as honestly, and without sounding like he was at all exaggerating. “Can I . . .”

 

“Can you what, Blue Eyes?”

 

“Can I do that . . . to you? I mean, I know I probably won’t do it right the first time, of course, but I . . . I’d really like to . . . you know, feel it . . . from the other end, so to speak,” the adorable kid stumbled through his plea, so innocent and yet eager, his lusty enthusiasm so fucking charming in such a sweet way, that Brian wanted to laugh and hug him and fuck the bejesus out of him all at the same time.

 

“I’d like that too, Justin. Like I said, I’m happy to teach you whatever you want to learn,” Brian replied with a grin, sitting down next to the boy on the end of the bed and then flopping backwards, his arms splayed to the sides. “Consider my body at your disposal, Blue Eyes. Do with me as you will.”

 

“Stop it, Brian. Be serious,” Justin ordered, laughing at the older man’s antics.

 

“I am serious, Justin,” he rejoined. “Consider me your willing sexual experimentation blow up doll. Have at it!”

 

“What’s a ‘blow up doll’?”

 

That got an even bigger laugh from Brian, but he still didn’t budge. “I just mean that you can do whatever you want to me.” Then he noted the impish gleam in the kid’s eyes and added, “within reason, of course.”

 

“But I don’t know what to do, Brian. What if I do it all wrong?”

 

“I’m sure you’ll do fine. You seem like a natural to me. Just do what I did to you and if you think you’d like something, chances are I’ll enjoy it too,” Brian directed. “The only real rule is to cover your teeth.” Justin still sat there looking uncertain. “Come on, Blue Eyes. You’ve got this.”

 

With very tentative fingers, Justin reached over and lightly ran his hand down the length of Brian’s chest, over his stomach and down to the waistband of his slacks. He hesitated there, chewing at his bottom lip through a timid smile. Brian jerked his chin up in a hastening gesture that seemed to work, getting Justin to finally move.

 

The boy shifted his body, twisting a bit so that he was facing Brian’s supine form, and then resolutely applied himself to loosening Brian’s tie, undoing each of the many buttons on his shirt, and then spreading the fabric apart so that he could see all of Brian’s now bare torso. The smile that bloomed on his face at the sight proved how much he liked what he was seeing. Then, with his fingers returning southward, this time leaving a tingling trail over the warm skin of his subject, Justin focused on the fly of Brian’s pants, carefully undoing the button, lowering the zipper and pulling open the fly. He seemed a bit surprised by the skimpy, black, thong underwear Brian was wearing, but even so, he couldn’t resist letting his hand slide into the front of the man’s pants so he could cup his hand around the generous package. Brian tried to hurry things a long just a little by lifting his hips up suggestively, thus allowing Justin to slip the trousers the rest of the way over his hips. But then the boy stopped, seeming unsure of whether or not he wanted to proceed.

 

Brian didn’t want to push, but he really couldn’t take this painfully slow, halting, progress much longer. So, rolling his eyes and shaking his head, he decided to take matters into his own hands. He hooked his thumbs into the elastic waistband of the briefs, shoving them downwards along with his pants, and then kicked all the useless clothing off with one flick of his long legs. And, while he was at it, he also shrugged off his jacket, shirt and the remains of his tie, leaving him lying there, bare as an egg, on full display for Justin’s viewing pleasure.

 

“Your body is so beautiful, Brian. Perfect. Like a sculpture,” Justin said, his tone full of awe, as he ran his palms over the expanse of firm, warm skin.

 

Brian didn’t bother to respond to this rhetorical comment. He just hoped that Justin’s admiration would move him to more substantial forms of appreciation. And soon. Because if he didn’t, Brian was probably going to explode with the anticipation.

 

Luckily for the both of them, it didn’t take much longer before the younger man was mobilized to act. With the grace of an awkward newborn colt, Justin crawled over Brian, positioning himself in the vee of his legs. He paused for a moment, appearing to analyze the situation’s logistics, and then reached out with one hand to take hold of Brian’s proudly straining cock. Once he had a firm grip on the situation, he seemed bolstered and, with a little more confidence than before, he leaned forward, tongue out, and licked a broad swipe up the drippy popsicle of Brian’s dick.

 

Okay, so it wasn’t the BEST blow job that Brian had ever received. At least not from a technical standpoint. But it was one of the most enthusiastic attempts he’d ever experienced. Justin pounced on that man meat with gusto, kissing, licking, slurping, nibbling with his lips and just generally going crazy, as if trying to taste all of Brian as many ways as possible. It was slightly ticklish and a tiny bit annoying and altogether tantalizing. When Brian could take it no longer and reached down to press slightly on the back of the blond head, Justin easily acquiesced, opening wide and taking the whole of Brian as deep as he could before gagging slightly. Brian pulled out a little and warned the kid to take his time, but Justin was too intent on his purpose for that. He kept working at it, little by little, his wicked tongue swirling around naughtily as he gradually took Brian deeper and deeper until he managed to swallow the whole fucking thing. Brian was impressed. Not many could take all of him like that and nobody had done it on their first time out of the gate either. Like he’d expected, Justin was a natural at this. And once the boy had mastered the basic technique, it didn’t take long at all before Brian was lost to the tendrils of pleasurable fire that erupted as his climax washed over him.

 

When Brian was able to see anything other than the tiny sparks of fireworks that had danced in front of his eyes, he noticed the boy kneeling over him, a gigantic smile spread across his face and little trickles of cum dribbling down his cheeks and chin. Justin looked thoroughly pleased with himself. Brian was actually pretty fucking proud of him too and showed it with his own smile as he pulled the boy down so that they were lying side by side. But when he rolled over to kiss that gorgeous smiling boy, Justin hesitated and turned his head aside.

 

“Shouldn’t I go wash my mouth out . . .” he asked in a small voice.

 

“Fuck, no.” Brian refused to let him go. “I want to share. Taste myself on your tongue,” he explained before demonstrating with a deep, tongue-filled kiss that had them both gasping for breath by the time it was done. “Good work, Blue Eyes,” Brian added, just in case the boy needed to hear it.

 

Justin beamed up at him proudly, all sparkling, gemstone bright, blue eyes, white teeth and blushing cheeks.

 

Brian chuckled, pulled his blond even closer, wrapped the boy in his arms, and held on for dear life.


******

 

Music Selection -  Boogie Woogie by Jimmy Dorsey

 

Research:

- Forgotten Cocktails from the 1940s - yes, we researched what the boys would be drinking.

-You’ve got to love the internet. You can even search Five Star Restaurant Menus from the 1940s

- How to Swing Dance - Hope you’re better at it than Brian. Of course, this is more like what our Justin does - he sure can dance, you know! Boogie Woogie Competition

 

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 11 - All The Things You Are.

 

*Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep*

 

*Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep*

 

*Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep*



Brian heard the alarm going off on his phone and reached out blindly towards the nightstand trying to locate it, with no luck. He really didn’t want to get up and go find it, though; right at that moment he was far too comfortable to leave the warmth of his bed. Which might’ve had something to do with the fact that his bed was also hosting a very snuggly warm blond boy. However, the incongruous noise was already having a negative effect on said blond boy.

 

“What? . . . What is that? . . . Brian, what is that noise? Where's it coming from?” Justin asked, sounding almost frantic as he desperately tried to climb his way out from under a pile of blankets and Brian’s limbs.

 

“Oh, fuck,” Brian grumbled, throwing off all the blankets and rolling out of bed.

 

He quickly took the five steps necessary to cross the room to where a pile of his clothes from the night before was waiting on the floor. After a quick search through the pockets, he pulled out his phone, tapped the screen, and effectively ended the noise. Only then did he stop and think about exactly how he was going to explain a cell phone alarm to his 1941 blond.

 

“Brian? What the heck is that thing?” The inquisitive boy asked again from his spot kneeling at the end of the bed.

 

“It’s nothing. Just my alarm going off,” he answered, hoping that would be enough to satisfy Justin.

 

“An alarm? Like an alarm clock? So, that . . . lightbox thing . . . It’s some kind of clock?” Justin pressed.

 

“Sort of,” Brian replied with a shrug as he set the incriminating item face down back on the top of the dresser and returned to bed.

 

Unfortunately, Justin wasn’t having it. “Explain, Brian. Now.”

 

“Uh . . .” Brian said, flopping down on the pillows and pulling the coverlet up over his naked lower half, trying all the while to think of something he could tell Justin that wouldn’t be a complete fabrication. So far, though, he was coming up blank. “That’s another of those things I probably can’t explain to you, Justin.”

 

“So, this lightbox clock thing . . . It has something to do with the job you can’t tell me about either?”

 

“In a way . . .” Well, Brian thought, he did use his phone when he was working, so yeah it sort of had to do with his job . . .

 

Justin looked at Brian for several long seconds, a deep frown on his normally cheerful face, his eyes boring into Brian’s skull as if he could divine the hidden thoughts there with merely the power of his stare. Brian tried not to flinch. He wasn’t sure he succeeded, but in the end Justin apparently hadn’t found the answers he was looking for. With a huge sigh, the blond boy plopped down on the bed next to Brian and rolled so that he was once again curled up along the length of Brian‘s body.

 

“I feel like I’m trapped in some horrible, torrid, romance novel, where I’ve fallen in love with a German spy who is going to milk me for information and then use it to kill all my friends,” Justin posited, only half kidding. “Please tell me that’s not the case, Brian. After last night, I don’t think I could take it if that what’s really happening here.”

 

“Damn. You really are a silly, romantic, little twat, aren’t you?” Brian teased, trying to get a smile out of his companion. When it didn’t work, he resorted to sincerity. “I promise you, Justin, I’m not a German spy. I wouldn’t work for those fuckers even if they’d let me. Which they wouldn’t, because I’m gay. Right now, Hitler is already busy rounding up all the gays he can find, putting them in concentration camps and doing nasty experiments on them, when he isn’t just out-right killing them. So, no, I am not, and would not, work for the fucking Nazis.”

 

“He’s killing queers?” Justin asked, completely horrified by Brian‘s disclosure. “I hadn’t heard that before. Are you sure? Why isn’t anyone saying anything about it?”

 

“They will be,” Brian explained with a sinking feeling in his gut. “There’s a lot of shit going on over there that nobody’s talking about yet. But it’s all going to come out. Soon. I think by next summer sometime you’re going to be hearing a lot more rumors about what’s going on in those fucking concentration camps. And it’s definitely NOT good.”

 

“What about . . . What about prisoners of war? I’ve had a couple buddies shot down over there . . . We saw the parachutes open so we all assumed they would be fine when they landed even if they were captured, but . . .” Justin didn’t bother to complete his thought.

 

“As far as I know, prisoners of war are still being treated alright. That doesn’t mean they’ll last till the end of the war, though. Even the POW camps aren’t very nice. But I don’t think they’re being out-right shot or put in the ovens . . .” Brian answered as completely as he could.

 

“Ovens?”

 

Brian didn’t bother to answer. He just wrapped his arm more tightly around Justin’s shoulders and hugged the smaller body closer to himself. There really was no way to explain the atrocities going on just a few hundred miles away. Not to someone that hadn’t already seen the evidence, seen the pictures, heard the stories. And he didn’t want to spend the morning talking about that kind of shit anyway. It really wasn’t the kind of stuff you wanted to talk about while lying in bed with your gay lover who happened to be an RAF pilot and who might one day find himself shot down over Nazi Germany. Instead, Brian went with one of his best, tried-and-true back up plans - distraction techniques.

 

Rolling over so that he had the worried little pilot pinned beneath his much larger body, Brian proceeded to pummel his blond with kisses across every square inch of his face, neck, and shoulders. At first, Justin was resistant. Gradually, though, the tension was kissed right out of him. By the time Brian had kissed his way down to below Justin‘s collarbone and was busy licking his way towards one rosy pink nipple, Justin seemed to have moved on from the disturbing conversation of a few minutes earlier.

 

Fate was not Brian‘s friend that morning, though. Just when things - including certain fun parts down below - were heating up, the alarm on Brian’s cell phone went off a second time.

 

*Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep*

 

*Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep*

 

*Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep*

 

“Fuck!” Brian yelled as he rolled off of Justin once again and stomped across the room to go get the annoying device.

 

This time, though, the alert that popped up on the screen gave him a real reason to grumble. He only had an hour and a half to get to yet another meeting with the Britcom marketing team. Fucking clients - didn’t they know he had a raging hard on to take care of and a worried blond to placate in the process?

 

“I’m afraid I’m going to have to take a rain check for this morning, Blue Eyes,” Brian explained as he turned back to face the boy waiting in his bed. “I have a meeting I have to get to. If there was any way to postpone it, I would . . .”

 

“It’s okay, Brian, I should probably get going myself. I didn’t actually tell anyone I was going to be gone all last night. Mrs. McCready has probably already notified the neighborhood wardens that I’m missing. And if I don’t check in with Daphne and the guys at the White Lion pretty soon they’ll be sending someone to find me,” the young pilot said, smiling as he thought of the wonderful reason why he hadn’t made it back to his room the night before.

 

“Then you definitely need to get to the pub and check in as soon as possible,” Brian reasoned. “Gears already gave me a talking to the other day, threatening my personal safety if I did anything to hurt you. I wouldn’t want them to think I was responsible for your disappearance.”

 

“Applesauce! He didn’t . . .” Brian’s amused nod reaffirming it was true made the boy blush yet again. “Great. Well, I’m going to kill him later today, so you’ll be fine from here on out, Brian.”

 

“Hey, give the guy a break. He’s just trying to look out for you. I respect that,” Brian offered with an understanding shrug. “But that won’t matter if I miss this meeting, because my boss will kill me first. So, let’s both go down the hall and get cleaned up and then I’ll walk you back to your room on my way to . . . To my meeting. How’s that sound?”

 

Justin said it sounded fine and within a half hour, they were both dressed, clean, shaved, and ready to head out the door. Brian shoved the bag of oranges into Justin‘s hand as they were leaving, telling him to share with his friends if he didn’t want to eat them all himself. Then they were strolling down the street together heading in the direction of Justin‘s boarding house, which was only a few minutes walk from the hotel.

 

“So, what’s your schedule for the week,” Brian asked, trying to sound casual about it.

 

“Why? You gonna need someone to help you eat another fancy, expensive hotel meal sometime soon?” Justin prodded, not letting him get away with the casual thing.

 

“Something like that, twat,” Brian replied, bumping shoulders with the teasing blond imp.

 

“Sorry, Brian. I don’t know what HQ has in store for us this week. But I doubt I’ll have much free time. There’s been a big push on lately and, with a lot of the guys from the First Squadron out sick the past week or so, we’re all busy picking up the slack. I don’t expect to have another night off for at least a week or maybe more. I was actually pretty surprised to get both last night AND tonight off together, to be honest. I’m not sure I’ll be able to see you again till sometime next week.”

 

Brian quickly calculated the dates in his head and in the process remembered the other thing that would be happening during the upcoming week.

 

“Um, Justin, there’s something I need to tell you . . .” Brian started out, unsure of how to approach his news. “It’s important.”

 

“What?” Justin asked with his usual forthrightness.

 

“It’s . . . confidential,” Brian stated, looking around them at the street full of people.

 

Justin paused in his steps, looking sideways at Brian with a calculating frown. “Why don’t you come inside then,” he pointed to the stairs leading up to the porch of the rooming house they’d just arrived at. “Mrs. McCready won’t mind me inviting you in, as long as we stay in the sitting room. She’s adamant about us not having guests in our rooms, though. She’s always blowing a fuse at the other guys when they try to sneak in their girlfriends. Of course, that’s never been a problem for me . . . before.”

 

Brian smiled through his worry, amused by the boy’s simple joy in actually having someone to invite up for a change, and followed Justin into the frowsty red brick townhome. It was everything he would have expected in a boarding house run by an older British widow - very victorian, far too many little knick-knacks adorning almost every surface, but meticulously clean. However they were in luck, since it seemed the lady of the house wasn’t in at the time, so they were free to take their private conversation into the front room in peace. Once inside, Justin closed the door firmly behind him and then turned back to Brian.

 

“So, about that something . . . confidential?” he said with a resigned look.

 

“Yeah, um . . . Please don’t ask me how I know this, because I can’t explain, but . . . I just need to warn you . . .” Brian felt like a bumbling fool, stuttering through a half-assed disclosure, and decided to just spit it out and let the cards fall where they may. “Fuck it. There’s going to be a really big air raid this week, Justin - the night of the seventeenth. It’s going to be huge. The biggest since the start of the war. And it’s going to hit this area of the West End hard. There’s going to be lots of civilian casualties. So, please, just make sure you and all your friends are safely in a shelter early that night. Okay?”

 

Justin stood there frowning, his arms crossed, not saying anything at first. Then he sighed and rubbed worriedly at his forehead, before looking back towards Brian. You could almost feel the struggle going on in his head as disbelief, worry, and curiosity raged inside the young man’s head.

 

“You’re sure about this?” Justin asked when he finally spoke.

 

Brian nodded.

 

“But you can’t tell me HOW you know?”

 

Brian shook his head in the negative.

 

“I believe you, Brian.” The RAF officer sighed again. “But I’m going to have to report this to my CO.” Brian started to object, but Justin held out a hand to silence him. “I won’t tell him who told me, but I can’t just sit on this information and not say anything. Not if it could mean lives are lost. I swore an oath as an officer in the Royal Air Force, Brian, and I won’t violate that oath for you or anyone else.”

 

“I understand, Justin. I wouldn’t ask you to,” Brian asserted, moving closer to his Blue Eyes, needing the reassurance that only touch could provide. “I’d love to do something to help prevent it and hopefully save those lives myself. I just don’t think anyone would believe me even if I tried. If I had some way to prove what I’m saying, I would . . . Unfortunately, I doubt anyone’s going to believe you either.”

 

“Probably not, but at least my conscience will be clear.” Justin stepped into Brian’s arms, laying his head on the broad chest before continuing. “Hopefully they’ll at least believe me enough to be flying some extra patrols that night. If we have enough fighters in the air, we might be able to head them off . . .”

 

That statement worried Brian even more. If Justin was out flying extra patrols because Brian had tipped him off about an air raid that he only knew about because he had knowledge from the future, did that mean that Brian had somehow changed the past? And if he’d somehow changed the timeline merely by trying to warn Justin to stay safe, did that mean the other things he thought he knew about the future might be altered? The history he’d read said that Justin was safe until at least July, when his plane went missing, but if the younger man was out flying dangerous missions to stop German raids that he might not have been flying without Brian’s interference, might Justin’s fate have been altered too? What if he was hurt or killed on THIS mission rather than later? Brian felt a tight ball of panic starting to form in his gut, and he clasped the plucky pilot to him even more strongly.

 

“Justin . . . I’d feel better if I knew you were safe in a shelter that night, not flying around trying to head off another raid,” Brian started, unsure how he could explain without giving everything away.

 

“I’m not going to just huddle in a shelter like a coward, Brian,” Justin insisted, pulling away from Brian far enough to look him in the face. “Not if I can take a few of the bastards down before they have a chance to drop their damned bombs.”

 

Brian knew Justin was serious since this was the first time he’d heard the young man curse.

 

“I’m not saying to hide, just asking you to be careful, Blue Eyes,” Brian tried to placate him.

 

“Brian . . .” Justin had a spark of stubbornness in his eyes that Brian knew meant trouble. “You know I can’t do that. I’m an RAF pilot. My whole job is to fight the Gerries. And I’m not going to ‘be careful’ or take it easy - not that I even could if I wanted to, because that would only make it more likely that I’d get killed. But that’s not me, Brian. I would never shirk my duty like that. I WANT to fight the Germans. I believe in what the British are doing in this war. And after the other things you told me just this morning - about how they’re killing queers and others - well, that just makes me want to fight them even more. So, no, I’m not going to play it safe or hide, even when I know it’s dangerous. That’s exactly the time when I’m going to fight back even harder.”

 

“I know, Justin. That’s what fucking worries me so much,” Brian replied, frowning back at the frowning pilot.

 

“If you’re looking for the kind of guy who’d back down from a fight like this, then you’re not looking for me, Brian,” Justin stated adamantly, trying to push away from the long arms that refused to let him go.

 

“I’m not, Justin,” Brian insisted, holding on even tighter to the struggling youth and feeling his impotence turning quickly to anger. “I don’t want you to be anyone except who you are. But I can’t help worrying. I looked up the statistics on the Eagle Squadron’s pilots and they’re not good, Justin. I’m just worried you won’t make it till the Americans finally get here. Hell, at this rate you won’t even make it till JULY . . .”

 

Brian froze as soon as the words had escaped his lips, realizing immediately what he’d let slip, but unable to take it back. Justin stilled as well, the words, as well as Brian’s unusual reaction, giving him pause. When he looked up at Brian’s face, the guilty, worried, almost pained expression the big guy was wearing told him that there was likely a lot more that Brian wasn’t saying. It was clear, however, that something significant was going to happen in July.

 

“It doesn’t matter,” Justin finally broke the silence after several long seconds. “I can’t NOT try to stop this, Brian. If you’re right about this raid, then I HAVE to do everything in my power to, if not prevent it outright, at least ameliorate the damage. It’s what I’m trained to do. It’s who I am. It doesn’t matter that it’s dangerous. Every single mission I fly is dangerous, Brian. I’m not going to back down now just because YOU want me to be careful.” Justin’s expression finally softened and he smiled up at Brian again. “Although, I kinda like the way you’re acting all worried about me. If I didn’t know better, I’d say you’re already sweet on me, Mr. Kinney.”

 

That actually got a laugh out of Brian. “Me? No fucking way. I’m never ‘sweet’ on anything. In fact, I’m pretty sure most of the people who know me think I’m a Grade A Asshole who doesn’t know the meaning of the word ‘sweet’,” Brian assured him.

 

“Then they obviously don’t know you very well, do they? Because I’ve only known you a week and I don’t think I’ve ever met another man with such a big . . . heart,” the puckish little pilot teased, giving Brian a squeeze and then playfully tilting his hips up to make contact with Brian’s other ‘big’ parts. “And I love that you’re trying to protect me, Brian, but I can take care of myself.”  

“. . . Fucking hero complex,” Brian muttered with another big sigh as he hugged the bold boy back.

 

That comment caused Justin to giggle and he raised up on his tiptoes, just about to reach up and pull Brian down for an appreciative kiss, when the door to the sitting room was unceremoniously shoved open and Chris Hobbs barrelled into the room. Justin immediately stepped away from Brian, but that tell-tale blush of his gave away the fact that they’d been interrupted doing something that they probably shouldn’t have been. Hobbs seemed just as surprised as they were at first. Then, after he’d scanned the scene and realized that something wasn’t right, he almost immediately shifted into a more judgmental stance, his fists balled on his hips and a gloating sneer on his face.

 

“What the heck’s going on in here, Taylor?” the stocky blond demanded.

 

“What business is it of yours, Hobbs?” Justin shot back, not giving in despite the fact that the other man had a good fifty pounds and half a foot in height on him.

 

“I think I have the right to know who it is I’m rooming with, Taylor,’” the brutish thug persisted. “I wouldn’t want to find out I’m bunking with a damned Nancy-boy or something. I don’t stand for any of that funny stuff, you know.”

 

“Trust me, Hobbs, you’re safe,” Justin responded glibly with a dismissive shake of his head. Then he turned back to Brian and blithely gestured towards the door. “Thank you for the information, Brian. I’ll pass it on to the right people and let you know what comes of it.”

 

“Right,” Brian knew he was being dismissed but he hated to leave like that, before anything had been resolved and with the new wrinkle of Hobbs thrown into the mix. “Just . . . be safe, okay?”

 

“I’ll do my best,” Justin assured him, adding a surreptitious wink. “Now, don’t you have a meeting you said you had to make?”

 

“Shit,” Brian looked at his watch and realized how late it had become. “I do. Sorry, I have to run, but, well, if you need anything, leave me a note at my hotel, okay?”

 

“Will do, Brian. And thank you . . . for everything,” Justin said with a bright, honest smile that easily said more than the words themselves.

 

After that Justin showed Brian out, closing the door firmly behind him. Part of Brian wanted to go back in there and make sure that Hobbs guy wasn’t going to be a problem, and the other part worried that would only make things worse. And he really did have to get a move on if he was going to make the meeting with Britcom. But, in the end, he decided that Justin was probably more than able to take care of himself and he would likely only muck it up worse, so he turned heel and rushed back towards Duckett’s Passage.

 

Ten seconds after he’d made it through the time portal, Brian’s phone started ringing. A glance at the screen told him it was Cynthia calling. It also told him that there was no way he was going to be on time for the Britcom guys.

 

“I’m on my way, Cynthia, but I’m probably going to be late. I still need to stop in at my hotel and pick up the Britcom file. Can you call and tell them I’m running about thirty minutes behind?” he barked into the phone as soon as he’d accepted the call.

 

“Well, you’re in luck, Brian, because I got a call from the CFO a little while ago saying they wanted to reschedule for this afternoon at three,” Cynthia responded, eliciting a whistle of relief from her boss as he immediately slowed his pace.  “I’ve been trying to call you for about an hour now, by the way. Where the hell have you been? I kept getting the strangest message too - something about, ‘the person you are trying to reach is currently unavailable’ and an error message saying that incoming calls weren’t properly connecting to your UA . . . I’ve never seen anything like that before. If your service isn’t working correctly, I’ll call the damned carrier and bitch them out personally. We’re paying exorbitant fees for you to have overseas cell phone service and I’m not letting them get away with shoddy coverage.”

 

“It’s not the phone service, Cynthia. I was . . . out all weekend. But otherwise, the phone service has been fine, so don’t get your panties all in a twist over it,” Brian tried to calm his assistant. “I’m really glad that the meeting is being pushed back, though. I’m desperate to get a real shower and get changed beforehand. Thanks for letting me know.”

 

“Hmmm. So, you haven’t showered yet and it’s already after nine. Where HAVE you been, Mr. Kinney, and what naughty things have you been up to all weekend?” Cynthia teased.

 

“Trust me, Cyn, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you,” Brian explained with a laugh.

 

“Well, I’m glad you’re having fun, Boss. But, now, while I’ve got you, I need to ask you about . . .”

 

The rest of Brian’s walk back to the hotel was spent going over the crop of problems that had sprouted up over the weekend while Brian was MIA and rescheduling the remainder of his day. It looked like it was going to be busy. But even so, Brian made it clear that he was going to be unavailable again that night from about six on - he was determined to get back to the White Lion that evening so he could meet up with Justin again and make the most of the young man’s last night off before . . . well, before whatever else was going to happen.


*****

 

Music Selection:  All The Things You Are by Charlie Parker

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 12 - Lover, Come Back To Me.

 

The meeting with Britcom seemed to take a thousand years that afternoon. The CEO seemed particularly intractable, leaving Brian to wonder whether the old geezer’s weekend plans had been even a fraction as enjoyable as Brian’s were. But he really wasn’t in the mood to quibble over which shade of copper they should use in the little flecks at the corners of the finials on the lettering of the title on the third page of the brochure. Considering the hourly fee Brian charged for his time while working on a campaign, you’d think these guys could find a better use for his talents. But, when Mr. CEO started in on how he wanted to change the layout for the website a fifth time, Brian decided he’d had enough. Without another word, he loaded up his briefcase and walked out the door of the conference room.

 

An hour later, he’d finished emailing all his notes for the day's projects to Cynthia, had dropped off all the files and other useless items from Britcom at his hotel, changed, and was out the door on his way to Duckett’s Passage.

 

No sooner had he walked through the door of the White Lion, though, than he found himself attacked by a snarling, angry, and very pushy Gears. Brian had never seen the laconic Gears up off his barstool before. But once the man was standing in front of him, his lanky body unfurled, Brian realized that the slim-looking Gears was actually taller than him and made with a compact muscularity that was deceptive until he had you pinned up against the wall by your lapels.

 

“You got sum bloody nerve showing yer mug in ‘ere, Mate,” Gears growled, so irate that spittle was flying in Brian’s face. “I warned yer, din’t I? ‘Parently yer don’ listen too good though. Now I got no choice but to follow through on me word.”

 

“I have no idea what you’re talking about. Get the fuck off me,” Brian demanded, trying to pry the man’s hands away from his clothing, but not making much headway.

 

“I’m talkin’ ‘bout the fact that you’re a lowlife bruiser, who ain’t no good for our Sunshine. An’ we look out for our own ‘round ‘ere. That’s what I’m talking ‘bout.”

 

Brian, who still had no idea what the hell was going on, didn’t bother to comment because by that point Gears had his hand wrapped quite firmly around the base of Brian‘s neck and was choking him to death.

 

“Holy Mackerel, Gears! Let Brian go. He didn’t have anything to do with this.”

 

Brian was quite glad to hear his Blue Eyes’ voice intervening on his behalf. He could see, over Gears’ shoulder, the top of a blond head and sensed that Justin was trying to pull the very angry man off of him. So far, though, Justin’s mediation was having little effect.

 

“Don’t you dare try ‘n cover up for ‘im, Sunshine. Scum like this don’t deserve the likes ‘o you,” Gears snapped, his grip around Brian‘s throat tightening incrementally. “An’ I mean to teach this wise guy a lesson ‘e won’t soon forget.”

 

“Criminently, Gears! Would ya cut it out already! I’m fine. It’s just a black eye. And I already told you I got it in a fight; Brian had nothing to do with it,” Justin insisted.

 

His protestations didn’t seem to have any effect on Gears, though. The vice cutting off Brian’s air supply didn’t let up even a millimeter. Brian could hear other voices in the background. The opinions voiced seemed to be about evenly divided as far as who was egging Gears on and who was trying to help Justin calm the situation down. Right about the time Brian's vision started to go a little hazy around the edges from the lack of oxygen, he heard Justin yelling in the background.

 

“Daph, a little help here please?” Justin pleaded.

 

“Da! Seems we got us a dif’rence o’ opinion out here. Best you bring out the Enforcer ‘fore we needs ta call ‘Andsome an ambulance.”

 

The next thing Brian knew, there was a huge, black bear of a man hovering over Gears’ left shoulder. This guy towered over even the well-statured Gears and his neck was as big around as one of Brian’s thighs. In the Bear's hand, was a massive wooden cudgel that appeared to be made of some shining, gnarled, black wood. It was so large, and so ancient-looking, Brian thought it might once have been some Neanderthal man’s weapon of choice. Brian was really hoping that the Bear wasn’t there to help Gears kill him, cause if so, he didn’t have a chance.

 

“You know the rules,” the Bear proclaimed in a deep bass voice that echoed around the entire bar. “There ain't no fightin’ in my establishment. You gonna let the pretty white boy go, or do we need to have a chat?”

 

“Did you see what he did to Sunshine? Can’t just let ‘im get away wi’ that, can we?” the intractable Gears answered, although Brian was happy to note his grip had loosened slightly.

 

“Boom Boom, I already told Gears that Brian did NOT touch me, but he’s not listening. Can you please get him to let Brian go, already?” Justin pleaded, starting to sound a bit perturbed by his friend’s misbehavior.

“You heard the boy, Gears,” Boom Boom the Bear directed, his booming voice making the words sound more like a divine proclamation.

 

“If I find the boy’s jus’ coverin’ fer ya, we’ll be ‘avin this conversation agin’ real soon, Mate. An’ next time there won't be nobody stoppin’ me. You ‘ear me, ‘Andsome?” Gears growled in Brian’s face.

 

Brian nodded as best he could with his head immobilized the way it was in the man’s still tight grip. With a sub vocal grumble of disgust, Gears finally let go, releasing Brian so quickly that the Stud would have fallen on his face if Justin hadn’t been there to grab him. It took a minute or two, with the strong blond pilot propping him up on Brian’s left side, for him to cough and sputter and gasp his way back to normal.

 

“Come on, Brian. Sit down over here and catch your breath. Sheesh, Gears, you didn’t have to practically kill him, did you?” Justin complained as he directed Brian over to an empty table.

 

“Well, whadya expect, Sunshine?” the not-repentant-at-all Gears replied. “First this wise guy comes in ‘ere, sniffin’ round yer like a randy bulldog, then yer goes missing for two days, and when yer do turn up, yer lookin’ like Jack London after a Saturday night matchup. ‘An all you tell us is yer had a fight? Seems bloody suspicious is all I’m sayin’.”

 

Brian turned his attention back to his boy. “You got in a fight?” Brian asked, finally getting enough wind to speak up. “What happened, Blue Eyes?”

 

“Hobbs happened,” Justin explained as he sat down on the bench next to Brian and the older man could finally see the left side of his boy’s black and blue face.

 

“Damn! That looks painful. What the fuck happened after I left this morning?” Brian sympathized.

 

“The big oaf kept trying to take the Mickey out of me for catching us together and I just got tired of listening to him,” Justin tried to shrug off all the attention, but his spellbound audience wasn’t going to let it drop, so he shook his head and continued. “After you left, Brian, Hobbs just kept ragging on me. Like usual. I tried to just ignore him but he wouldn’t let me be. Then he got between me and the door and wouldn’t let me leave; standing there with a smirk and calling me names. So, we got to yelling at each other and, when I said something about how HE

must be the queer one since he seems so interested in the topic and all, he hauled off and slugged me.”

 

“Fucking prick,” Brian commented, reaching out to rub at one of the larger abrasions on the boy’s swollen cheek.

 

Justin shrugged off Brian’s worry with a small chuckle. “I’ll be fine. It’s just a shiner.” Then the boy got a bit of a mischievous twinkle in his eye and added, “unlike Hobbs, who’s gonna be in the infirmary for the next three days or so . . .”

 

“This Hobbs fella, he’s the new guy in your Squadron, Sunshine?” Gears asked warily. “The one yer been complainin’ ‘bout fer the past couple a weeks?”

 

“That’s the one,” Justin confirmed. “He’s been a real thorn in my side ever since he arrived. He’s your typical rich bully. Thinks he’s better than the rest of us because he comes from money. Although, word is that he’s only here because he got kicked out of the US Air Corps because of some scandal. I’m thinking, maybe, my words struck a little too close to home.”

 

There was a general murmur of consent and nodding of heads from all the listeners before Justin continued his story.

 

“Anyway, I wasn’t going to put up with being Hobbs’ punching bag, so I slugged him back. It was a good one too - right in the gut. And when he was doubled over trying to catch his breath, I shoved him aside so I could get to the door and leave, only . . . Well, the idiot somehow managed to trip over Mrs. McCready’s china cat doorstop she had there in the sitting room. Unfortunately, when he fell over, he knocked himself silly against the edge of the bookcase and gave himself a concussion. So, he’s out of the mission rotation for the Squadron for the next week or so. Even better, Mrs. McCready is so pissed off ‘cause he broke her cat, that she’s threatening to toss him out!”

 

That news earned Justin a cheer from the audience and Fancy even proposed a toast to Mrs. McCready’s cat, to which all agreed with gusto.



“The only bad part about the whole thing,” Justin added with a wistful smile aimed Brian’s way, “is that, because Hobbs can’t fly tonight, I have to take his place. So much for my night off, huh?”

 

Brian wasn’t sure he managed to hide his disappointment or not. “You sure you can fly with your eye swollen almost shut like that?”

 

Justin ran a finger over his swollen eye, his skin had turned a beautiful shade of purple. “Oh, sure. It’s not that bad. A couple aspirin and I’ll be good as new,” Justin assured him. Then he leaned in to Brian and quietly added, “but if I’d known you were going to be back tonight, I might have played it up a bit more and tried to beg off for tonight at least.” Then he turned back to the rest of his friends. “I have to head out pretty soon. They’re sending me all the way down to Croydon tonight. I just popped in here to get a bite to eat and let everyone know where I’d been.”

 

“And to brag about your date,” Fancy interjected, causing another Blue Eyes’ blush. “Don’t worry, Darling. We’ll get Handsome here to fill in the rest of the details you didn’t get time to tell us yet.”

 

Brian looked around at all the leering faces, feeling a little worried. Justin laughed at Brian’s reaction and gave his thigh a reassuring little squeeze under the protection of the table’s edge. Brian could already tell he was doomed to be the evening’s primary entertainment.

 

“I’m not sure I should leave Brian in your care, gentlemen. I don’t want you to scare him off.” There was a general outpouring of promises to take good care of Justin’s FRIEND, amid lots of laughter and a few ribald comments that Justin chose to overlook. “Well, as long as you all promise to play nice? And, Gears, you better not touch another hair on his head or I’ll have something to say about it,” the protective little pilot promised to the grumbling of the recalcitrant Gears. “Fine, then. I’m off. Wish me luck, gentlemen.”

 

“You want me to walk you to the station, Blue Eyes?” Brian asked, making as if to get up and leave with the pilot.

 

“Oh, no, no, no, Darling,” Fancy replied for Justin. “Our Sunshine will be just fine. And we’re not letting YOU escape that easily. Not until we get all the details about last night, that is. So you just sit that cute little bum down and start talking, Mister.”

 

Brian looked up at Justin with pleading eyes but got only a giggle in return. “Good luck, Brian.”

 

“You too, Blue Eyes,” Brian answered with resignation. “And remember what I said - be careful, please.”

 

“I will. You too.”

 

And then the bold little pilot was gone and Brian was swarmed by the gossip-hungry hordes of the White Lion.

 

“So, our Sunshine left off right after the part where you wined and dined him at The Palace,” Fancy stated as he slid into the spot on the bench next to Brian that Justin had only recently vacated. “You can start there. And don’t leave ANYTHING out, Darling . . .”



April 13, 1941

 

Brian,

 

I hope this note finds its way safely to your hands. I’m sending it via an RAF buddy, disguised as a letter to my ‘sweetheart’ Daphne. I’m sure you find that quite amusing, as do I. It seemed the most expedient means of communication I could devise, and Ralphie is a good guy, but not exactly the type to frequent the White Lion, so I decided to err on the side of discretion.

 

I’m afraid I won’t be able to meet with you this week at all. I’m in a little bit of trouble over the whole ‘Hobbs Incident’. Nothing serious, but I am confined to base for the remainder of the week while I’m subjected to the most demeaning of chores the CO can come up with for my punishment. This treatment is particularly galling seeing as Hobbs is not being punished at all, even though he is the one who initiated the altercation. At present, the little dissembler is still lying in bed in the infirmary, pretending to be far more injured than he is so that he can escape any consequences. Oh well, I should have known better than to react to his provocations.

 

I’m only sorry that this means I won’t be able to see you again before the end of the week. I did want to finish the conversation we’d started when Hobbs so rudely interrupted us the other day. I’m worried that - being forced to remain here in Croydon - I won’t be available to follow through on those plans we were discussing for the 17th. The welfare of Daphne and my other friends is weighing heavily on my mind. I would greatly appreciate it if YOU would endeavor to see to their care in my place. I’m certain I will be fine here, but knowing they’ll be in your capable hands would be a huge relief.

 

Please send me word through Daphne that you have received this and that you’ll acquiesce to my request above.

 

With warm thoughts,

 

Justin

 

Brian eagerly read through the note Daphne had handed him when he arrived that evening at the White Lion. He was glad to have finally heard from his missing Blue Eyes. He’d come in the night before looking for him, but had been told by the locals that nobody had seen him that day at all. Brian had apparently been right to worry that the Hobbs thing would cause Justin even more problems.

 

For Brian Kinney, the out-and-proud gay man who’d never had to deal with the hassle of hiding who he was, all this deception and secrecy was frustrating, to say the least. Hell, Justin couldn't even send him a fucking letter without couching all his words in a semi-code, out of fear of getting discovered. It was ridiculous. Why the hell should Hobbs - or anyone else for that matter - care who Justin was involved with? It was almost enough to send him running back to the twenty-first century screaming. And if it weren’t for the fact that Brian just couldn’t seem to get the plucky pilot out of his head, he would have done just that.

 

But especially now, after just being seen with Brian had got his Blue Eyes in so much trouble, he felt there was no way he could simply abandon the boy. Plus, there was the whole thing about those addictive kisses of his. And the adorable blushing thing. And the hip swivel thing that Brian thought might come in useful in the future. And the . . .

 

“Shit!” Brian caught himself drifting off into Blue Eyed daydreams again and had to stop before he embarrassed himself.

 

“Language, Handsome!” one of the regulars admonished him again.

 

“Why does everyone keep calling me ‘Handsome’?” Brian asked, exasperated by the annoying new trend he’d noticed developing.

 

“It’s yer name, innit?” Daphne stated with a girlish giggle. “As the daughter of the proprietor of this ‘stablishment, I reserve the right to name all me customers. Where’d you think Sunshine an’ Lucky an’ Peaches got their names from? An’ you, my dear, are and for’ere will be, me ‘Andsome.”

 

“Ah. I was wondering where all that came from,” Brian acknowledged with resignation. “Well, I suppose it’s better than what they call me back home.”

 

“An what’s ‘at, ‘Andsome?” Daphne asked as she refilled his glass of ale.

 

“Mostly they call me ‘Asshole’.”

 

“Oi! Language!” Came the expected chorus of complaints from the peanut gallery, which only caused Brian to smile mischievously.  

 

“Oh, you are a right naughty one, aint you, ‘Andsome?” Daphne giggled, not seeming all that offended by Brian’s cursing after all.

 

“I’d like to be, if only Justin would get his Blue Eyes back here sooner rather than later,” he replied with a frown. “You wouldn’t happen to have a piece of paper I could use to send him back a note, would you, Daphne?”

 

Daphne smiled and, a couple minutes later, brought Brian a leaf of perfumed, pink pastel stationery. He groaned at the indignity of it all, but since he didn’t have any alternative, he accepted the offering and started in on his reply. He also added stationery to the mental list of things he planned to bring with him the next time he came to visit the past.



Blue Eyes,

 

I got your note. Your sweetheart, Daphne, sends her love. I’d like to send you more than that, but what I’ve got for you needs to be delivered in person.

 

I’m bummed that you're stuck out in Croydon all week. It’s boring eating all those expensive hotel meals by myself. Plus, I’ve been having this problem that I thought you might be able to help me with - my room seems far too empty and cold at night. But, since you’re not available, I guess I’ll just have the hotel janitor come up to help me with the heating problems. *wink*

 

About the 17th, of course I’ll make sure Daph & the guys are okay. I’d be even happier to have you here with me then, to make sure the same about YOU, but . . . I guess we already had that conversation. I still don’t like it.

 

Just get your butt back here as soon as you can, Blue Eyes.

 

Preferably in one damned piece, please.

 

Brian



Brian was back again the next night, checking into his 1941 hotel room and then making the now familiar trek to the White Lion for news of his Blue Eyes. Daphne didn’t even ask why he’d come - she just handed him the most recent note from Justin and poured him his usual pint of ale.



April 14, 1941

 

Dear Brian,

 

Thank you for your prompt reply to my last note. I’m glad to hear that my correspondence with sweet Daphne is so amusing to you. She truly is the only WOMAN for me, you know.

 

Your difficulties in finding a suitable dining companion sound quite distressing. I’m sorry I am unavailable to help you out. I realize that it’s likely near impossible to find someone who truly appreciates your particular brand of dinner conversation. I myself am still laughing at some of your more pointed caricatures of our dining companions the other night. Believe me when I tell you I would happily be there with you if I could.

 

I’d far prefer to be eating five star meals at The Palace with you than the slop they are feeding me here in Croydon. If I weren’t so hungry, I’d refuse to eat it at all. However, they are keeping me so busy day and night that I’m practically starving by the time I make it to the mess hall. Today was especially bad. After cleaning every latrine on the base - on my hands and knees with a nail brush, by the way - they had me help out with the inventory by moving every single piece of equipment and machinery out of the storage barn so they could count it, and then move it all back in and put it away. Oh, and I also had to scrub the oil and grease stains off the floor of the machine shed. Needless to say, my body hurts and I’m so exhausted that I’ll be lucky to stay awake on tonight’s mission.

 

The scoundrel that originated all this remains on his deathbed in the infirmary. From all accounts, Hobbs is too weak to even lift his head from the pillow when the doctors come in to check on him. However, when Daniels and Riddle went to visit him earlier today, they did not report finding him in such dire straits. I’m beginning to think I did not hit him hard enough.

 

I have been pondering your heating issues all through the day as I toiled. It was quite a lovely way to distract myself from my problems. Even though it was HARD work, I rather enjoyed our time working together at heating up your room the last time I was there and I look forward to further experimentation along the same lines upon my return. I’m sure your room will be quite warm after we put our two heads together to solve this curious problem.

 

In the meantime, thank you for your reassurances regarding the events coming up on the 17th instant. I am much relieved. Don’t worry for me, I’ll be fine as always.

 

Looking forward to seeing you upon my return,

 

Justin

 

Postscript - Don’t you dare invite the janitor up to help you with your heating problems! I will be very cross if that occurs in my absence. I would like to immediately assert my claim to being your only heating repairman.



Brian read through the note twice before pausing.

 

He loved the young pilot’s wit. The kid was sharp as a tack and funny as hell too. Brian had laughed out loud a couple of times reading the humorous way his Blue Eyes described things. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d found another guy as intellectually attractive as he found Mr. Justin Taylor.

 

That stuff about being exclusive though, had sorta thrown Brian for a loop. He hadn’t really thought about THAT before. Back in his real life, Brian had adamantly refused to settle into any kind of exclusive relationship. He’d even avoided the mere appearance of exclusivity. And the few times he’d come close - like the time he’d fallen into a fuck buddy set up with a trick who really was a fantastic fuck but who'd ended up being way too clingy - he’d been burned. Which is why he’d stuck with a strict ‘No Deposit, No Return’ rule for most of his life. Now, though, this pugnacious little twink who he hadn’t even fucked yet, was basically DEMANDING that Brian commit to him right out of the barrell, and Brian truly did not know how to handle it.

 

Back in 2016, Brian wouldn’t have even considered such a thing. Everyone in Pittsburgh knew Brian Kinney didn’t DO relationships or boyfriends. It was a given. He would have simply laughed off any guy who’d dared to bring up such a ludicrous idea and, if the loser persisted, he’d get kicked to the curb without a thought. But here in 1941 . . .

 

Things in 1941 were different. Really different. Life was a lot harder here for gays. You couldn’t just go out to the closest gay bar, pick up a trick and have your way in the conveniently located back room. There was no handy hook up web app. Brian COULDN’T live here the way he lived his life in the future. You had to be damn careful who you even approached about any kind of homosexual overture. Being a promiscuous gay lothario who blithely fucked his way through the available smorgasbord of gay men at his disposal was simply impossible here.

 

He’d been lucky to have run into Justin his first night here. If he’d acted the way he had with anyone else - even though it was completely unsuspecting, or perhaps BECAUSE it was unsuspecting - it could have ended really badly. It was fortuitous that he’d come upon a handsome, intelligent, available gay man right from the start. Brian could look for a long time and not find anyone else he was so attracted to, especially here in 1941. So it followed, if you found someone you liked and trusted, you probably shouldn’t be too quick to move on.

 

And it wasn’t like Justin was some needy troll begging for Brian’s attention. Justin was smart. He was ambitious. He had drive and a plan to accomplish his goals. And he was fucking hot, to boot. He hadn’t even ASKED Brian to be exclusive - the young man had just outright demanded it as if it was his due. Justin acted like he knew he was worth Brian’s attentions and Brian would be lucky to have HIM. That kind of self-confidence was sexy as hell. If Brian HAD to pick someone he’d want to contemplate an exclusive relationship with, it would be someone exactly like Justin.

 

But, still, this would be a huge departure from the norm for Brian. He wasn’t sure this was something he really wanted. He wasn’t sure it was something he was actually capable of. And what would it mean for the Brian Kinney that lived in 2016?



4/15

 

Dearest Blue Eyes,

 

I had no idea you were interested in pursuing a career as a heating contractor. You told me you always wanted to be a pilot. And, while I’m not opposed to the idea of entering into a more exclusive agreement for your services, you should know that up until now I’ve used MANY different heating services. In fact, I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said I’d tried out just about as many different heating contractors as I could possibly get my hands on over the years. I rather enjoy a good, efficient, readily-available, heating service. Are you sure you’re prepared to handle ALL the potential service calls I might require?

 

Speaking of which, I could definitely use some of your heating right now, Blue Eyes. How much longer are you on lockdown in Croydon? It was very, very cold in my room tonight.

 

Brian (Aka, ‘Andsome, per your sweetheart, Daphne)

 

  1. Please don’t say things like you’re too tired to stay awake during your missions. It freaks me out. Just get your butt back here, already, preferably without any holes shot in it.



On Saturday the sixteenth, Brian finished up the last of the work that was leftover from the week, fired off a few final emails, made a couple of calls home including one to talk to his son, and then informed Cynthia he was going to take a long weekend so she shouldn’t expect to hear from him until late in the day on Monday. Cynthia gave him a hard time, pressing for more information about where he was sneaking off to, but Brian refused to say. Eventually she gave up and just wished him well, telling him she'd hold down the fort, like always. Brian made a mental note to send her a nice gift later in the week, provided all went well.

 

Then he packed up a bag of clothing and all the other things he thought might be useful in the past and headed out. On the way to Duckett’s Passage, he stopped into a grocery store and bought a bag full of non-perishable groceries, two new flashlights, a box of waterproof matches, a pocket knife, some bottled water and a large, emergency first aid kit. He didn’t know if he’d need all that crap but he figured it couldn’t hurt, right? Laden with all his supplies, he finally made it through the time portal and dumped everything off at the hotel before hurrying on to the White Lion to see if there was word from his Blue Eyes.

 

April 16, 1941

 

Dear Handsome,

 

Please tell Daphne that I approve of the new name she has selected for you. It certainly fits you. And I’m glad she has you there to tease and torment while I’m busy; it will keep her (and you) out of trouble.

 

As far as my career plans are concerned, yes, my primary wish has always been to become a pilot. That hasn't changed. But I see no reason why I can’t do your heating work on the side. I’m quite versatile, you know.

 

I am also adamant about holding the EXCLUSIVE rights to providing your heating services. I realize your past may include a variety of previous service providers, but I don’t intend to provide heating for anyone but you and I would expect the same courtesy. If that is not possible, then fine. You are free to get heat from whomever you wish. I do hope you will choose me, though.

 

I understand I do not have nearly the experience some of your other service providers might have had but, as I told you before, I am willing to learn and I am confident I will soon be able to provide you with the best service you’ve ever experienced, bar none. I am an extremely fast study. I will take every opportunity to educate myself so that I can fulfill EVERY aspect of your heating needs. You should, at the very least, give me a try and see if I do not adequately meet your needs. Based on what I know of you already, I honestly believe that the heat we will make together will surprise you.

 

With that in mind, I have good news. I have been informed that my current term of discipline will be remitted effective 0800 on the 18th. Our dear Mr. Hobbs has been told that he is expected to have made a full recovery by that date or his services will no longer be required by the Royal Air Force. This means I will once again be able to have the occasional assignment-free night. And I plan to use my free time to complete all the heating lessons I can manage to fit in.

 

I was hoping to be back with you tomorrow, before the events you told me of were due to occur, but I am afraid that will not be possible. My fellow RAF officers and I will do our best to see to your protection from our airborne vantage points, but it will be up to you to take care of things on the ground. Here’s hoping all will be well. Please stay safe.

 

Your Favorite (Only?) Heating Guy,

 

Justin

 

Brian actually spit out his mouthful of ale the first time he read through this missive and got to the part where his Blue Eyes was bragging on his versatility.

 

“Damn it, Justin,” Brian muttered to himself. “You sure do make it hard not to want to give you a trial run.”

 

Well, Brian supposed they could at least see what developed. Justin was nothing, if not persuasive. And, since he was presumably going to be back in just over thirty-six hours, they would see soon enough whether or not they had the kind of heat between them that the boy was promising.

 

Now, Brian just had to make it through his first serious air raid in one piece . . . And hope his Blue Eyes managed the same.

 

******

Music Selection - Lover, Come Back To Me

Research - Jack London - one of the most famous British boxers of the 1930s and 40s.

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 13 - Why Don’t You Do Right?



Brian woke up in his 1941 hotel room and spent the next fifteen minutes lying there trying to plan out his day.

 

This was it - the day of the first big April raids. Brian had spent a lot of time over the past week researching everything he could about this day, trying to educate himself, hoping to be one hundred percent prepared. He knew, or at least he hoped he knew, where every bomb was supposed to hit. He knew approximately what time the raid was supposed to begin. He knew that there would be over 800 tons of high explosive bombs dropped that night along with more than 150,000 incendiaries and hundreds of ‘parachute mines’ which would drift down slowly, guided by the wind, until they exploded at rooftop level where they could cause the most damage. And he also knew that all that knowledge wouldn’t matter, because there would still be more than a thousand people killed and another two thousand or so injured. And there was nothing he could do to stop it.

 

The evening before, Brian had spent some time feeling out the folks at the White Lion, trying to determine who he might need to take charge of. Most of the men were involved in the war effort in one way or another and therefore would have someplace they’d be expected that night. Gears and Lucky were both attached to the local Army base, and frequently got called in to handle emergencies when there were raids. Those who weren’t in the official military were almost all involved with one of the civilian defense groups - like the Air Raid Precaution wardens or those volunteering for the National Fire Service - and therefore had specific duties that would require their presence. Boom Boom, for instance, was a fire warden, which meant he’d be spending the night of the raid on the streets trying to fight the inevitable fires that would be caused by the coming incendiary bombs.

 

Altogether there were only two or three of Justin’s gang that Brian would need to worry about. The primary one among these being Miss Daphne Chanders. Daphne, like many other Brits this late in the Blitz, had developed a fatalistic view of the war in general and the frequent night raids in particular. She rarely bothered going to one of the official shelters, insisting that her job was to keep the pub open so as to reinforce the morale of her regulars. Only when the bombs started to actually hit the immediate neighborhood did she consent to retreat to the pub’s cellar for whatever protection that might afford. Daphne truly believed as long as she had a nice, warm cup of tea in her hands, there was nothing she couldn't handle. And Brian didn't doubt that one bit, but that didn't mean he was going to sit back and do nothing. He’d made a promise to Justin, and he was determined to keep it.

 

How, exactly, he was going to convince Miss Daphne to abandon her post at the pub and accompany him to a shelter, though, remained to be seen. He couldn’t simply tell her that he knew a German raid was about to happen and demand she come with him. In the first place, she wouldn’t believe him, and even if she did, she’d probably just blow it off and stay in the pub like usual. He didn’t know how he could possibly convince the very independent and highly opinionated woman that he knew in advance what was going to happen without revealing his secret. But even then, it was unlikely she would believe him. I mean, would Brian believe someone who told him they were a time traveler from the future? Fuck, no! He’d call the authorities and have the guy trucked off to the looney bin. And, despite worrying over the issue all the previous night, Brian still hadn’t come up with a solution.

 

“Fuck it,” Brian grumbled. “This is getting too fucking complicated. What the hell am I even doing here?”

 

Nobody answered him, of course. But, since lying there and stewing over things wasn’t getting him anywhere, Brian decided to get up and simply hope some brilliant idea would come to him later. After all, he had until nine that evening to figure it out.

 

In the meantime, he had other plans to set in motion . . .



“Hey, Daph. Any word from Justin?” Brian asked as soon as he took up his place on the barstool that was becoming his customary seat.

 

“Sorry, love. Nothin’ yet today,” she replied and handed him a consolatory beer. “But I reckon he’s just been run off ‘is feet busy today. I’ve heard some o’ the other lads gassin’ about ‘ow there’s a big to do goin’ on t’night. Not sure what’s up, but pretty much all me reg’lars got called off to wherever already. The pub’s been right empty all afternoon. Lousy for business, this war, ain’t it?”

 

It sounded like Blue Eyes’ report to his CO might have already set some defenses rolling. That was all to the good, in Brian’s book. It also meant Brian could breathe a sigh of relief that the potential number of his evening’s charges had already been reduced. That left only his Daphne problem still unresolved.

 

“So, Daph,” Brian started, hoping that the plan he’d finally come up with that afternoon would work. “I was wondering if you’d like to join me for dinner tonight at The Strand Palace restaurant. I’ve got reservations at 8:30, and since Blue Eyes still isn’t back from his exile in Croydon, I could use a dinner companion.”

 

“Blimey! Me? At a posh place like ‘at? I wouldn’t know what to do with meself at some place like The Palace,” she replied, dismissing the suggestion out of hand.

 

“I’m sure you’d be just fine, Daphne. It’s the other folks there that I’d be worried about. They’d all seem pretty dull and ordinary with you there outshining them,” Brian offered, hoping flattery would work where all his other tactics seemed to fail.

 

“Not bloody likely!” She laughed and then sauntered off to help out one of the few other customers.

 

“If you need a date for the evening,” Fancy simpered in his most affected British drawl, “I happen to be available. And I can assure you, you’ll find ME much more amusing than our Daphne. In fact, I could probably even show YOU a thing or two if you were interested.”

 

Brian laughed out loud at the man’s blatant attempt at seduction. “Nice try, Fancy, but I don’t think Blue Eyes would approve. And personally, I’d like my balls to remain attached to my body. So, since Justin strikes me as the kind of guy who wouldn’t think twice about removing them - in the most painful way he could possibly think of - if he got seriously pissed off about something like that, I think I’ll just say fuck no.” And before the guy sitting on the other side of him could say anything, Brian turned to address him too. “If you even start to say something about me not using bad language in front of the non-existent ladies present, be warned that I will throw this entire pint of beer in your face.”

 

The gentleman seated next to Brian immediately got up and moved down several bar stools without saying a word.

 

“Ooh! Yer in a right mood this evenin’, aren’t yer, ‘Andsome?” Daphne clucked at him with an amused expression on her lovely coffee-and-cream face. “What’s got inta yer ta’night?”

 

“Nothing’s got into me. And I haven’t gotten into anyone else all week, either. That’s the problem,” Brian answered with a saucy wink. “But until Justin gets his perky little bubble butt back from Croydon, there’s not much I can do about it, is there?”

 

That statement actually got the imperturbable Daphne Chanders blushing, an accomplishment of which Brian felt quite proud.

 

“So, what do you say, Daph? Help a lonely, bored guy out. Come keep me company at dinner. Don’t leave me to the not-so-tender mercies of Fancy here. Please?”

 

“Oi!” Daphne smacked Brian’s arm playfully. “You are a sweet talker, ain’tcha, ‘Andsome? No wonder our Sunshine has fallen for ya’ hook, line and sinker,” she teased. “If me Da weren’t off on fire patrol tonight, I just might take you up on that offer, ya’ know. But these pints ain’t gonna pour themselves, is they? So, get along with ya’ now - I got customers to see to.”

 

Before Brian could say anything more, she was off.

 

Brian continued his efforts to talk her into his plan for the next two hours. Every time he mentioned it, she just laughed him off. Needless to say, the Stud was getting quite frustrated and time was quickly running out.

 

By the time the clock struck 8:15, Brian was almost frantic. All the reports he’d read said that the bombing had started around 9 PM. Try as he might, he hadn’t been able to find anything more specific than that. Which left him a little unsure and a lot nervous. So, when a large group of pub patrons got up and headed out the door right then, leaving the bar practically empty, Brian decided it was time to take charge of matters . . . Any way he could.

 

“Right.” Brian stood up, slammed his pint glass down on the bar and took a deep breath, then turned to face the rest of the bar. “Sorry, folks, but the White Lion is closing early tonight. Everybody out. Now!” he hollered loudly enough to get everyone’s attention.

 

“‘Oi, whatcha doin’, ‘Andsome? I ain't closing early,” Daphne protested, coming around the bar to confront the man face to face.

 

“Sorry about this, Daph, but I promised Justin . . .” Brian stated.

 

Then, without warning, he grabbed the diminutive Daphne around the waist, hefted her bodily over his shoulder and started walking towards the door.

 

“I SAID, EVERYBODY OUT!” He yelled even more loudly.

 

The remaining four or five customers, realizing that Brian meant it, quickly chugged the last of their drinks and filed out one by one. Meanwhile, Daphne was yelling like a banshee, kicking her feet in the air, beating Brian’s back with her fists and squirming for all she was worth, trying to escape his grip. Brian simply held on, praying that he was doing the right thing and not going to be arrested for assault and kidnapping when this was all over.

 

“I say, Handsome. You can’t treat our Daphne like that. Put her down right this instant!” Fancy expostulated.

 

The flaming queen even went so far as to take a stance between Brian and the door, which just made the big Stud laugh as he shouldered the effeminate man aside.

 

“You mind locking up for me, Fancy?” Brian asked over his shoulder as he continued on his way with the squawking Daphne still struggling to free herself.

 

Fancy, who did indeed lock the pub’s door behind him, trotted after Brian a minute later, still berating the caveman-like actions. Brian ignored him. Fancy tried to grab hold of Brian’s free arm and pull him to a stop, with hardly any effect at all. He even tried to grab Brian around the bigger man’s waist and dig his heels in, but Brian just dragged him along too, and after a few meters Fancy had to let go again before he fell on his bum. In the end, he was reduced to scurrying along beside Brian and pummeling him ineffectively with his fists, yelling at him to ‘Stop this right now!’

 

With all the distractions and both Fancy and Daphne slowing him down, Brian had only made it halfway to his destination before the air raid sirens began their sinister wailing.

 

“Fuck!” Brian muttered under his breath and then turned to address Fancy. “Quit screwing around, Fancy. In a few minutes bombs are going to be raining down on our heads unless we get the fuck into a shelter NOW!”

 

“But . . . But the closest shelter is over that way,” the man pointed to Brian’s right. “The one off of Maiden Lane.”

 

“Fuck that!” Brian grumbled, renewing his grip on his struggling captive and setting off back in the direction he’d been aiming. “We’re going to The Palace where we’ll be safe. IT was never bombed. So either shut the fuck up or you can stay here and take your chances.”

 

Fancy apparently chose to shut up and obediently followed along behind Brian from that point on. A lot of the fight went out of Daphne after that too. Brian wasn’t taking chances though; he was too afraid she’d bolt if he set her down, so he just kept walking down the blackout darkened street. Ten minutes later they’d finally made it to The Strand and the hotel was in sight.

 

Before they could get inside though, Brian began to hear a distant, low hum that was gradually getting louder. Looking back over his shoulder, he could see flashes of light high up in the sky - flares dropped by the first wave of approaching German bombers to light the way for their incoming comrades. His gut clenched as the sinister mechanical whirring of the planes’ engines got nearer.

 

Brian felt a moment of paralysis now that he was actually confronted by the reality of the situation. All that reading, research, and thought, but none of it conveyed the terror of the moment. Shit! This was real! He was REALLY here. In the middle of a real, fucking AIR RAID. People were actually going to die! HE could fucking die. He could DIE - here in the past - and nobody back in 2016 would even know what the hell happened to him since he hadn’t told anyone what he was planning. What the fuck had he been thinking?

 

Before Brian’s moment of panic was over, the first wave of fast flying Messerschmidts was already zooming overhead. Then, all of a sudden, Brian and his companions were surrounded by a swarm of tinkling, metallic pops and right in front of his eyes a little incendiary canister hit the pavement and burst into white hot flames. More of the tiny fire bombs were landing everywhere around them, sparking and flaring up. In the distance he could see the pillars of search lights cutting through the skies and he could hear the pounding booms of what he thought must be anti-aircraft guns. But it was the high-pitched whistling of something dropping fast out of nowhere that finally got him moving again.



Breaking into an all out sprint, Brian dashed across the street and pelted his way down the rest of the block towards the hotel entrance. He made it up the front steps just as the first ear-splitting explosions rocked the neighborhood. Fancy darted ahead, holding open the door for Brian, then they were all through the portal, bringing with them a wafting of smoke and dust.

 

“Mr. Kinney, Sir,” they were greeted by one of the hotel’s porters, who ran over to see if Brian needed help. “You’ve only just made it in time. Things is right nasty out there tonight, Sir. Come right in as quickly as you can. All the guests are being asked to move downstairs to the basement for their own safety.”

 

“Thanks,” Brian panted in response, almost doubled over as he tried to catch his breath.

 

“I reckon ya can set me down now, ‘Andsome,” Daphne commented from her perch atop Brian’s shoulder. “I promise I won’t run off.”

 

“Um, sure thing.” Brian unloaded the girl from his shoulder, setting her down on her feet and waiting nervously until she’d straightened out her dress and patted her hair back into place. “So, are you going to yell at me now”

 

“I should, you bruiser. You just bloody kidnapped me!” Daphne yelled, punching Brian in the arm with her fist, hitting him hard enough to actually cause him to flinch a bit. “But, since yer also probably saved me life in the process, I guess I can let ya off the hook this time.” She followed up her punch with a smile, letting Brian know he was forgiven.

 

Just then they were interrupted by yet another distant rumble of explosions and all looked around worriedly.

 

“Mr. Kinney, Sir, I must insist you and your guests relocate to the basement immediately. It’s not safe for you up here,” the officious porter pleaded, gesturing towards the staircase at the rear of the lobby.

 

“Are you sure it’s safe down there?” Brian asked. “Those fucking bombs are pretty damn close. And we saw a ton of incendiaries dropping as well. Even if no bombs hit this place, there’s always the risk of fire.”

 

“The shelter downstairs is reinforced, Sir. It’s as safe as can be expected these days. And we’re aware of the other issues. There’s a crew handling matters up on the roof, watching for fires as we speak. Everything is in hand,” the porter assured. “I also personally saw to your earlier request to have the bag you left taken down to the shelter at the start of the evening, so you should be all prepared. Now, if you’d please follow me.”

 

With the porter leading the way, Brian, Daphne and Fancy all made their way down the basement stairs and into the hotel’s shelter. However this ‘shelter’ was a far cry from the barren, cold, Underground tunnel where Brian had spent his first raid. This shelter looked much more like the hotel’s elegant Drawing Room one floor above. It was furnished with the same ostentatious elegance, including several small seating areas with plush divans, tables and comfortable chairs. There were even potted palms and Chinese screens providing decorative touches. There was a fully stocked bar set up at one end of the room and a small stage at the other, the later hosting a small jazz quintet that was providing quiet background music.

 

The room seemed to be packed with the same type of clientele that Brian had seen in the restaurant or the ballroom; the wealthy and elite of London. A number of the denizens were wearing evening dress and seemed to be in the middle of a society soirée of sorts, their group being attended by a bevy of waiters and waitresses with trays full of food. Looking at most of these folks it was difficult to tell that there was even a war going on, let alone a frightening and possibly deadly air raid happening just one floor above.

 

The porter handed their trio off to a hostess as soon as they were safely through the door. The piercer immediately retreated back upstairs, ostensibly to see to his other duties. Meanwhile the hostess, a lovely young woman with a heart-shaped face and her blond hair rolled up like Gene Tierney, led their little group over to a table in the back corner of the room and asked if they needed menus. Brian told her they were just going to have drinks for now. The hostess nodded agreeably, and then advised that he’d been assigned to sleeping cubicle number six when they were ready to retire. A waiter who would take their drink orders was standing by as soon as the hostess left. And then they were finally left to themselves.

 

“Well, lah-dee-dah!” Daphne giggled as soon as the waiter trotted off. “Ain’t we the fine ones, hobnobbin’ wi’ the Lords an’ Ladies an’ all. All I can say is, it’s a far cry from the public shelter over in Maiden Lane, where folks gots ta bring their own food an’ drink an’ the Ladies’ is a bucket behind a screen in the corner.”

 

“Unsanitary,” Brian mumbled, wrinkling up his nose with distaste at the idea.

 

“Quite,” Fancy agreed, happily sipping at the Sloe Gin Fizz he’d been handed. “I’ll have you know, the last time I was in that shelter, I even saw a rat! But this . . . Now this is the life, isn’t it? If only I could afford to spend the rest of the war HERE.”

 

Fancy opened his arms wide, as if to embrace all of The Palace’s basement shelter. The look of bliss on the man’s face caused both Brian and Daphne to laugh aloud. Fancy giggled as well - he was the sort who was almost always able to see the fun in life, even when it sometimes came at his expense - waving dismissively at his friends as if to tell them off in a good-natured way.

 

When the humor level had died down again, Fancy set aside his drink, stating, “laugh all you want, my dears, but I know what I like when I see it.” Then the queen got to his feet, made a show of straightening his jacket, lifted his chin high and added, “and I just happen to see something else I like over there. Or should I say some ONE?” Brian and Daphne turned to see where Fancy was looking and discovered he had set his sights on the stage where the band was just then finishing up their latest number. “So, if you’ll excuse me, I think I need to go introduce myself to that dashing saxophone player who’s been looking my way for the past two songs. Tally-ho!”

 

Daphne and Brian sent the man off with another round of laughter.

 

“Speakin’ ‘o affording to spend the War ‘ere, ‘Andsome,” Daphne turned the focus back on Brian. “Just ‘ow DOES an American ‘war correspondent’ manage to afford The Strand Palace hotel? Oh, and while yer at it, you can explain ‘ow yer knew ‘bout this raid b’fore it ‘appened, too . . .”

 

Brian cleared his throat, straightened his tie, took another sip of his whiskey . . . and still didn’t know how to answer Daphne’s question.

 

“The way I figger’ it, only a spy would know that kinda thing . . .” Daphne prompted, frowning at Brian.

 

“I’m NOT a fucking German spy,” Brian hissed at her, leaning closer so he could answer without all their neighbors listening in. “I wouldn’t work for the fucking Nazi’s if you threatened ME with being thrown in one of their fucking concentration camps.” Daphne looked at him with confusion, but he wasn’t going to get sucked into that conversation right then. “Listen, I can’t explain how I knew about this raid, Daphne. It’s complicated and you wouldn’t believe me even if I did try and explain it to you. But can you please, please, just trust me?”

 

“Does our Sunshine know about you?” Daph pressed, not one to give out trust without justification, especially not where her friend’s affections were concerned.

 

“Some.” Brian shrugged. “I told him about tonight, though. He said he was going to pass on word to his superiors. Which is probably why all your regulars were busy. And you can also blame your Sunshine for the kidnapping. He made me promise to do what I needed to do, to keep you safe.”

 

Daphne nodded. “Well, I’ll give ‘im a right telling off next time I see ‘im, but in the meantime, thank yer, ‘Andsome.”

 

“I didn’t have a choice. Justin would have castrated me if I’d let you get hurt,” Brian said, trying to deflect any thanks, as usual. “Besides, you're important to him, Daph, which means you’re important to me.”

 

She smiled at his words. “I’m all he ‘as ova ‘ere,” she went on to explain. “Sunshine’s like a bruver to me, ‘e’s me best mate.”

 

“You aren’t all he has . . . not now anyway.”

 

Brian couldn’t quite believe the words that had just come out of his mouth. 1941 had somehow turned him into a sap. He chucked back the remainder of his drink, hoping a little Dutch courage would help settle the uneasy feeling in his stomach, and promised himself to keep all his future lesbianic sentiments unspoken.

 

Reaching across the table, Daphne patted his hand. “I know . . . our Sunshine’s a lucky boy.” Brian looked away, uncomfortable with the praise. “I ‘ope he’s alright,” Daphne added worriedly. “I dunno what I’d do if somthin’ ‘appened to ‘im.”

 

Brian didn’t say anything. He was just as worried, but this time he managed to control his mouth. And there was nothing he could do at this point to help his Blue Eyes, so commenting on the situation was a futile exercise. Tomorrow would be soon enough to think about that. But secretly, he was hoping the same thing as Daphne.

*******

Music Selection - Why Don’t You Do Right by Bennie Goodman with Peggy Lee

 

Research

- The role of luxury hotels during the Blitz - of course this is where Brian would want to shelter, right?

- Gene Tierney

-Types of bombs used during the Blitz. High Explosives, or H.E. bombs were designed to drop fast, penetrate the ground and then explode. High Explosive Bombs . Incendiaries were fire bombs. The Germans’ hope was that, after the buildings were blasted by the H.E.s, the incendiaries would catch everything on fire, spreading the destruction. These bombs were made of small metal casings, containing numerous smaller bomblets, that were designed to break apart at altitude and then spread fire everywhere. The chemicals inside started hot fires that were difficult to extinguish. Incendiaries . Each bomber could vary hundreds of these small incendiaries.

The other primary bombs used in the Blitz were ‘parachute mines’ these were time/altitude detonated bombs that had their own parachutes so they would drop slowly. The idea was that they’d explode at or above street level causing the most destruction to buildings and toppling walls, etc. Parachute Mines .

Chapter Text

 

 

 

Chapter 14 - God Bless The Child.


About an hour after Brian’s party had arrived at The Strand Palace, the doors to the basement air raid shelter were opened again and a young woman and her small child were pushed quickly inside.


“This way, madam,” the hotel Hostess said, gesturing to the woman. She was led over to a darkened corner of the room. “Sit down here,” she told the young woman, spreading a blanket out onto the carpeted floor. “You’ll be safe in here.”


“Thank yer, Ma’am,” the woman replied with a bit of a curtsy. “I was just so very scared out there, yer know? It was so loud and there’s so many fires. I couldn’t get to the shelter where we was s’posed to be.”


“I understand, Madame. I wouldn’t want to be out there in that with my little one either,” the Hostess replied but then rushed off, leaving the woman on her own, seemingly without another thought.


Brian looked over from their table and scooted closer to Daphne so that he could whisper in her ear. “Why did they put that woman over there in the corner on the floor?”


Daphne watched as the young girl tried her hardest to get her little boy to be quiet and sit down beside her. She couldn’t have been older than eighteen or nineteen years old. The child was fussy, though, and probably scared to boot, and wouldn’t hold still. The more noise the boy made, the more the girl looked about her, seeming embarrassed and nervous. But the more upset the mother became, the worse the little boy acted.


“Because, ‘Andsome, she’s not like the resta yer; she ain’t got money. She belongs ‘ere as much as I do. They’re only bein’ nice to Fancy and meself because we’s wiv’ you. Otherwise, I’d be sitting on me arris on the floor too.”


“That’s fucked up,” Brian muttered angrily. “They can’t do that.”


Daphne laughed bitterly. “Oh, they can, and they will. They don’t care ‘bout the likes of us. We ain’t nuffin to them.”


Brian immediately got up and made his way over to the corner of the room where he crouched down beside the lady and her young child. Seeing the scared little brute snuggled up against his mama made Brian’s heart yearn for his own little boy, who was thankfully safe with his mothers back in 2016. The thought of raising Gus at a time like this made him feel sick.


“Hi,” Brian said, smiling at the girl.


The woman jumped and brought her hand to her chest.


“I didn’t mean to scare you,” Brian apologized softly. “I just wanted to see if the two of you needed anything.”


The little boy in her lap waved shyly, but the woman simply shook her head and looked down quickly. “No, sir, we’re fine. Thank yer kindly, Sir.”


Brian felt someone tap him on the shoulder. “Is everything okay over here, sir? Is this young lady bothering you?” the Hostess asked, looking down at the girl with distaste lining her face.


Brian couldn’t believe what he was hearing, these people had a lot of fucking nerve.


“Everything is just fine and dandy,” Brian replied facetiously. “In fact, I was just asking this lovely lady if she’d like to join our table.”


The Hostess cleared her throat. “May I speak with you privately for a moment, Mr. Kinney?”


Brian stood and followed the lady over towards the bar. “What?”


“I’m sorry to cause you any inconvenience, sir, but the thing is . . .” the Hostess stumbled nervously over her words as she tried to figure out exactly what she wanted to say. “It’s just that . . . we need to be very careful with individuals like that.”


Brian cut her off before she could continue.


“Individuals like that?” he asked, his tone harsh.


The Hostess nodded her head. “Yes, sir.”


“And what sort of individual would that be?” Brian’s tone dripped with contempt.


The hostess cleared her throat nervously. “She . . . Well, she’s working class, Sir,” Brian didn’t respond except to stare at the woman with even more displeasure, so the hotel representative nervously continued. “Unfortunately, that class of people can sometimes make our guests feel somewhat uncomfortable.”


Brian could feel his blood pressure rising with each passing second, this woman was infuriating. Because of the advantages of his education and money, he was being treated respectfully, but if these people knew who he really was - the gay son of a working class Irish drunk - he’d be the one relegated to the corner. Or worse. Fuckers! But Brian Kinney DID have money now and he was not going to put up with this kind of shit.


“Here’s what we’re going to do,” Brian told the hostess sharply. “You're going to bring two more chairs over to my table and then you’re going to get that woman and her son whatever the hell they want to eat, do you understand?”


The Hostess looked scandalized. “But, Sir . . . how will they pa . . .”


“Just add it all onto my fucking bill,” Brian ordered, his voice rising loudly enough that the heads at all the neighboring tables turned.


“Yes, sir,” the Hostess responded, quickly scuttling off, willing to do whatever it took to placate one of the hotel’s best customers.


While the hostess was off directing her staff to find the chairs and warning them about Mr. Kinney’s directives, Brian walked back over to the young lady and crouched down next to her. “Hey there. My name’s Brian Kinney,” he introduced himself, hoping to gain her trust.


“I’m Vera,” she replied shyly. Her eyes never leaving the floor. “Vera Hastings, Sir.”


Vera


“Nice to meet you, Vera. And who is this little guy?


Vera rubbed the kid’s arm and kissed the top of his head. “Can yer tell this nice man ‘ere yer name?”


The little boy buried his face in his mother’s side, peeking at Brian quickly before hiding his face again. “‘Arry,” the boy replied so quietly that Brian struggled to hear him properly.


Harry


Brian smiled at the way the little boy glued himself to his mother’s side, the gesture reminded him so much of the way Gus would snuggle up close to him when meeting someone new for the first time.


“Hi, Harry. It’s nice to meet you. Are you hungry?”


Harry’s head shot up and he nodded excitedly.


“No, he’s fine,” Vera answered for her son.


“Come on, get up. You’re both coming to join my friends and I at our table.”


Vera shook her head bashfully and tried to stop Harry from standing up. “We can’t, Sir. We don’ wanna cause no trouble.”


“I can assure you, Vera, you won’t be causing any trouble. I want you there. Now, let’s go. Your kid’s hungry.” Brian offered his hand and helped her up.


Once Brian got them settled at his table, he introduced them to Daphne and Fancy. Daphne fussed over the girl a little, making sure she was settled and comfortable. Vera seemed to relax a little in Daphne’s presence.


“Harry, do you like warm milk?” Brian asked.


The little boy’s eyes got big and he nodded eagerly. “Yes, I likes it a lot. It makes my tummy all nice an’ warm.”


“Yes, Sir,” Vera looked mortified as she corrected her son.


Brian ruffled Harry’s hair but spoke directly to the embarrassed woman. “It’s okay, Vera. You can both call me Brian.”


Vera nodded in acknowledgement but kept her head down with her hands folded neatly in her lap.


“What would you both like to eat?” Brian asked. “You can have anything you want.”


Harry looked excited and his little tummy rumbled loudly. “Can I ‘ave sum bread?”


“Just some bread?” Brian couldn’t get over how happy this kid was at the mere idea of having a plain slice of bread. “How about a little butter on there too?”


The little boy shook his head. “It ain’t Sunday. Grandma says we can only ‘ave butter on Sundays.”


Brian stage whispered to the little boy. “Your grandma isn’t here and I won’t tell her if you don’t.”


Harry covered his mouth and giggled happily.


“What about you, Vera? You must be hungry too.”


She shook her head.


Brian looked at Daphne desperately for help.


“Well, I know I’m right ‘ungry. I ‘eard their pie an’ mash is to die for,” she said as she looked over the menu. “An’ ‘m gaspin’ for a cuppa.”


At the mention of a warm meal, Vera’s stomach betrayed her and rumbled loudly.


Brian waved over one of the waitresses and gave their order. He wasn’t even hungry, but he wanted to make Vera and Harry feel as comfortable as possible, so he ordered enough to feed all of them - minced beef pie and mash for the other three adults, a plate of buttered toast for Harry, and a Waldorf salad for himself. He also asked for a pot of tea, some milk for the boy, and another round of drinks for all. He figured that should keep them for at least a while.


It didn’t take long for the waiter to bring over the tea and warm milk.


“Have you ever had warm cocoa?” Brian asked the little boy.


Harry shook his head.


Brian asked the waiter to fetch his bag for him. Thirty seconds later, the man came hurrying back with a small black leather tote bag. Brian unzipped the top, reached inside, fumbled around amid all the contents for a moment and then came out with a large chocolate bar in hand. While the rest of the group was still marveling at this magic, Brian broke off a small piece of the chocolate and plopped it straight into Harry’s cup of warm milk.


Harry’s eyes widened as he watched Brian stir the drink until it was all mixed together.


“For me?” Harry asked as Brian placed the chocolatey drink back in front of him.


“Yep. All for you.”


Brian watched as the little boy took his first sip. The smile that bloomed on his sweet little face was so big, Brian thought it might break his angelic little face. Harry quickly seized the cup and started to drink it down quickly.


“Slow down, Harry. You don’t need to drink it that fast,” Brian told him softly, thinking that the last thing he needed was the kid throwing up. “No one's going to take it away from you. And there’s more where that came from, if you want seconds.”


Harry put the cup down and rubbed tiredly at his eyes, his top lip covered in the most adorable chocolate milk moustache. “Yer ‘asta try some, mummy,” he all but begged his mum.


Vera smiled at the look of pure bliss on her son’s face and took a sip, humming appreciatively as the warm drink ran down her throat. “That’s delicious,” she said quietly. “Thank yer, Mr. Brian.”


When their food came a few minutes later, the group ate in relative silence, savouring the delicious grub.


Harry couldn’t stop smiling as he devoured his toast and licked the butter from his chubby fingers.


Vera looked horrified and scolded the little boy. “‘Arry, where’s yer manners? People don’ lick their fingers in fancy places like this.”


Brian locked eyes with Harry and gave him a little wink before he used his index finger to collect some of the leftover mayonnaise from his salad and popped it into his mouth, giving it a little lick.


Harry giggled at the man’s silliness. “Yer funny, Mista,” he told Brian in between a yawn.


“Are you getting sleepy, Harry?” Brian asked.


The little boy shook his head stubbornly as he climbed off of his chair and up into Brian’s lap - much to the older man’s surprise - settling in and resting his head against Brian’s chest. “No. Not sleepy, but me eyes won’t stay open,” Harry explained as he used his fingers to keep his eyes from closing.


“I think that means you’re tired, little guy.” Brian laughed softly against Harry’s head. The little boy had made himself quite comfortable on Brian’s lap.


“Nah, I ain’t,” Harry argued tiredly, his eyes closed more with each passing moment and, within only a minute or two, he was fast asleep in Brian’s arms.


Vera stood hurriedly, arms open, ready to take the sleeping boy from Brian.


Brian shook his head and motioned for her to sit back down. “Finish your tea,” he told her. “He’s fine here.”


There was something about having the sleeping kid snuggled in his arms that pulled at Brian’s heartstrings. It made him miss his own son, Gus. When he got back to 2016, the first thing he was going to do was invite the munchers to London, and spend as much quality time as he could with his own little boy. If there was one thing 1941 had taught him, it was that time was precious and you just never knew what the fuck could happen next.


“‘E don’ usually take ta strangers,” Vera told him quietly. “But ‘e must really like yer”.”


Her comment made Brian smile. “My son’s the same.”


Daphne’s mouth fell open in shock. “Yer ‘ave a son? Well, I woulda never ‘ave guessed it.”


“I do,” Brian grinned. “His name is Gus. He’ll be three in September.”


“Is ‘e as ‘andsome as you?” Daphne asked teasingly.


“It might be hard to believe,” Brian boasted proudly. “But maybe even more so.”


“That don’t s’prise me.”


Brian turned to Vera. “It’s not unusual for kids Harry’s age to be shy. The world’s a big scary place when you’re that little.”


“Yeah, an’ evah since ‘is Dad died, ‘e just ain’t been the same.”


This caused Brian to hug Harry a little tighter.


Vera continued, “it ‘asn’t been easy, ya know. We ‘ad ta move in wiv me mother ta make ends meet and poor ‘Arry misses ‘is friends and ta old place, right badly.”


Brian didn’t want the woman to dwell on that sadness, so he immediately pressed on to a more neutral topic - something he actually COULD help with. “When you’ve finished eating, I’ll show you where you can sleep,” Brian offered, scooting the limp little body higher up his chest to a more comfortable spot.


“That's very kind of yer,” Vera said softly. “But we ain’t got no money to stay ‘ere.”


Brian shook his head. “I don’t expect you to pay for anything. You’re my guests here, Vera.”


Vera started to argue, but Brian stopped her. “The two of you need a good night’s rest. And this air raid is going to last all night, which means you’re stuck here for the foreseeable future. So, no arguing. You're going to take our sleeping cubicle and that’s final.”


“I . . . I don’ know what ta say, Mr. Brian,” Vera exclaimed, looking so sweet and shy and bashful that Brian’s heart melted a little bit. “Thank yer, Sir. It’s right kind of yer.”


Brian waited till Vera had finished her last bite of pie and sipped her last bit of tea and then he signaled the Hostess over.


“Vera and her son will be taking my sleeping cubicle tonight. Please make sure there’s an extra blanket in there for the boy. And if they need ANYTHING else, please make sure they get it and put it on my bill,” Brian ordered.


“Yes, Sir, Mr. Kinney, Sir,” the Hostess replied, hurrying off to comply with Brian’s wishes.


Once the Hostess had gotten everything sorted in the cubicle, Brian and Daphne helped get Vera and a still sleeping Harry settled for the night.


“It’s probably best you take the top bunk, Vera,” Brian whispered as he started to lower Harry onto the bottom bunk.


As Harry’s head hit the pillow, he half woke and, not recognizing where he was, the small boy began to cry. His little body shook and he wrapped his arms even tighter around Brian’s neck, refusing to let go. Brian immediately scooped the boy back up and rubbed his back soothingly.


“Don’ like it ‘ere,” Harry’s voice trembled as he spoke.


“Shhh. You’re okay, you’re okay,” Brian whispered soothingly.


It must have worked, since the boy’s cries eventually petered out. Brian continued to pet the boy’s silky-fine hair, feeling relieved as even the silent tears dried, leaving the child quiet except for the occasional sniffle. Of course, Brian’s opinion about how sweet little boys were changed a minute later, as Harry wiped his runny nose on Brian’s shirt, causing the finicky man to cringe. But Brian’s feeling of disgust quickly evaporated, though, as he felt the little boy once again rest his small, trusting, head against the big, strong chest.


“It’s real dark in ‘ere,” Harry sniffled again.


It was only then that Brian remembered what else was in his special bag of tricks from the future - something he hoped might help.


“Hey, Daph, can you go get my bag for me,” Brian asked, and smiled as the woman ran off at once.


Then Brian ducked down, Harry still in his arms, and settled himself on the bottom bunk. The boy burrowed even closer into his chest, the little arms clenching tightly, as if to prevent Brian from leaving. When Daphne returned with the bag, Brian actually had a bit of a struggle to get an arm free, so he could find what he’d been looking for.


“I have something for you,” Brian told the kid as he pulled his hand out of the bag. “Aha, here it is,” Brian beamed, as he pulled a bright red Maglite flashlight out of the bag and handed it to the curious little tyke in his lap. “See here,” Brian showed him how to twist the lens end, which caused the small but powerful LED light to illuminate. “Bright, huh?” The boy nodded, twirling the flashlight around so the beam darted all over. “As long as you have this, you don’t need to worry about the dark. Right?”



“Un huh!” Harry replied, so fascinated by the amazing little device that he didn’t even notice when Brian carefully shifted the child off his lap and stood up again.


“That should keep him busy,” Brian stated, happy to see the way the boy was giggling at his new toy. “So, Harry, here’s the deal. You can keep that flashlight, but only if you’re a good boy for your mom and go to sleep now. Okay?” The boy nodded enthusiastically. “Good boy. Now, let’s turn it off so you don’t waste the batteries. But if you wake up and get scared again, all you have to do is turn it on, and it’ll chase away all the darkness. Sound good?”


Harry quickly did as he was told, turning the lens end so that the light went out again. Brian waited patiently till the boy squirmed down, laying his little head on the pillow, the nifty new flashlight clutched tightly in his hand. Then Brian pulled the blanket up to the child’s chin and tucked him in. Like most children that age, little Harry was back asleep within seconds of his head touching the pillow.


“Thank yer kindly, Sir,” Vera reached down and took the flashlight out of the boy’s hand, turning to give it back to Brian. “‘At was nice o’ yer ta let ‘im play wiv your torch. I ‘preciate yer ‘elpin’ me get ‘im ta sleep. ‘E can be right tryin’ sometimes an’ e’s never liked the dark. You best take this, though, fore he wakes up.”


Brian refused to take back the flashlight, though, pushing Vera’s hand back. “That’s Harry’s. I gave it to him to keep.”


“Oh, I can’t let yer do ‘at, Sir. It’s an expensive thing, ‘at. Too fine for me ‘Arry.”


“No. It’s his. You heard me give it to him. I’m not taking it back,” Brian insisted. “Besides, it’s no big deal. I’ve got another right here.” Brian reached in the bag and pulled out another Maglite, this one with a blue casing. “See? I don’t need that one. I’m sure the boy will get a lot more enjoyment out of it than me, and I can always get another when I get home.”


“I . . . I don’ know what to say, Mr. Brian,” Vera replied, reaching down to slide the flashlight back into the sleeping child’s hand and then turning to give Brian a big, unsolicited hug. “Nobody’s been this kind to us since my Frankie died. I wish I had some way to repay you.”


“No need,” Brian insisted as he peeled the woman’s arms off him and made to leave the compartment. “Just take good care of that little boy and we’ll call it even.” Brian waited while Daphne preceded him through the door before turning back to say a final, “Goodnight, Vera. Be safe.”


Outside the room, Brian summoned over the Hostess one more time. “Two things.” He dug a twenty pound note out of his wallet and handed it to the woman. “First, make sure you get Vera’s address for me before she leaves tomorrow morning. Then, have someone take that money, buy groceries with it, and deliver them to her. And when that’s done, send whoever it was that delivered the groceries up to see me so I can reward them too.”


The Hostess assured Brian it would be taken care of first thing. As soon as she left, however, Brian found himself being violently hugged by yet another woman. This one Brian didn’t mind so much.


“Why, ‘Andsome, if yer ain't the sweetest man I ever met, I’ll be a monkey's uncle!” Daphne gushed, so impressed with Brian’s generosity she was literally beaming at him with a smile that was practically as bright as Harry’s new torch. “If yer ain’t careful, I’m like as to fall in love wiv yer too and then Sunshine’ll hafta fight me for ya!”


That got Brian laughing. “Sorry, Daph, but I’m afraid you’re just not my type,” he confessed, leaning in so he could leave a kiss on her cheek. “But if I did like women, I’d go for you too!” Daphne chuckled and winked at him boldly. “Besides, you’re not going to think I’m all that great by morning, since I just gave away our beds.”


“No matter. We’ll just stay up drinkin’ all night an’ sleep ta’marra!” Daphne proposed, linking her arm through Brian’s and leading him back to their table so they could start in on the plan.


 

Chapter Text

 

 

Chapter 15 - Oh Where Can You Be?

 

Justin was late getting back to London proper that Friday morning. He’d finished his mission and landed his plane well before dawn, getting debriefed and then cleared to finally leave the base not long after that. But, because the raid had taken out large sections of the rail lines from Croydon into the city, he was forced to hitch a ride with a delivery van as far as Earls Court and then take the Tube the rest of the way. So he didn’t actually arrive in Covent Garden until after 0900.

As soon as he’d climbed the stairs and reached street level, though, he was stunned. There was destruction everywhere Justin looked. The streets looked chewed up, with cobbles thrown every-which-way. Several nearby buildings were badly damaged and a few were even still smoldering from fires that hadn’t yet been completely contained. NFS crews were diligently working the pumps, their hoses trained on the ruins. As he crossed the street, he was almost run over by two Auxiliary Ambulance Service volunteers trotting past carrying stretchers piled high with blankets and other emergency supplies.

 

Even though Justin had been warned by Brian in advance that this raid was going to be a bad one, and he’d seen the huge numbers of German bombers with his own eyes as he flew intercept runs all through the night, he was still overwhelmed by the evidence here on the ground. Justin immediately picked up his pace, headed towards the White Lion. He was even more worried about his friends than he’d been before the raid, which was saying a lot.

His nerves weren’t at all calmed when he got to the lane in front of the pub. Even though there wasn’t as much evidence of HE bomb damage here, at least two of the buildings on this block showed some recent fire damage. One wall of the corner building had toppled over, strewing bricks and pieces of charred wood onto the sidewalk. There was a crowd of people milling around in the street, all discussing the wreckage as if this was just another day. As he ran on past them, he noticed a sad little girl sitting on a beam amid the rubble, chatting with her dolly, telling the toy not to be afraid and that Daddy would take care of it all when he came home from the war. It almost broke Justin’s heart.

 

Justin’s mounting sense of dread wasn’t eased when he finally made it to the familiar front entrance of his Local and found the door locked. In all the months since he’d first arrived in London, Justin had never once found the doors to the White Lion locked. Not once. He found that one little fact more ominous than anything else he’d seen so far that morning. So, even though the pub itself didn’t seem to have sustained any damage, he was still alarmed.

The panicky pilot turned on his heel and sprinted off towards the closest public shelter. That was the only place he could think of that Daphne and the others might be. Although it was awfully late in the morning for his friends to still be lollygagging in the shelter . . . Unless there was something wrong.

And something wrong was exactly
what Justin found when he rounded the corner of Maiden Lane and came to a screeching halt in front of the remains of the public shelter.

 

Where the building that housed the shelter used to be, there was now only a crater filled with rubble. The building next door was still mostly standing, although the adjoining wall was falling over and the rebar and brickwork were exposed. There were dozens of people swarming over the site, shifting shards of concrete and charred beams, digging with shovels and handing up larger pieces of the rubble from man to man in an attempt to clear portions of the wreckage. There were police standing by directing passers-by and even a few suited men - who Justin thought must be politicians based on their clothing and demeanor - overlooking the proceedings.

Justin barely registered any of that though. All he could see were the rows of blanket draped bodies that were laid out on the pavement in front of the building and the new victims that were being added to those rows as the diggers unearthed more of the unfortunates caught in the collapse. To Justin’s eyes, it looked like an awful lot of bodies.

A little further along, there were more stretchers laid out - these holding the people who were injured but still breathing. There weren’t nearly as many of these as there were of the blanket covered forms. Justin made his way in that direction, hoping against hope that the friends he was looking for would be in that group and not the other.

He passed by a little girl, her head bandaged in a swathe of cotton, while two women knelt by her side, trying to ease the child’s frightened tears. There was an older man who looked too shocked to cry, the side of his face still dripping blood and his arm hanging limply at his side from a dislocated shoulder as another volunteer nurse worked on him. A little beyond that, there was a young woman holding two children on her lap, both of whom looked like they’d survived without too many injuries, but who were all tear stained, dusty and obviously scared.

 

At the end of the row of injured was a man sitting with his back to the street, a blanket draped over his hunched shoulders, and only the top of his dusty auburn head showing.

“Brian! Oh, no! Brian!” Justin screamed, running over to the injured man and falling to his knees, tears in his eyes.

Unfortunately, the eyes that looked back up at Justin when the man lifted his head were a dull, pain-filled brown and not the teasing hazel he was hoping to find.

“You’re . . . You’re not Brian . . .”

“Sorry, sonny, but no,” the injured man responded, reaching out with his hand to pat at Justin’s shoulder comfortingly in a strange reversal of roles. “I’m afeared, if you’re looking for someone, it’s not likely you’ll find him. The whole shelter collapsed. Was a huge HE bomb, they say. Nothing . . . Nothing left . . .” The man’s voice drifted off as he looked over at the rubble with a blank expression that matched the deadness in his tone.

“No! No, no, no, no . . .” Justin muttered, getting to his feet and staggering over towards where the rescue workers continued to dig in the wreckage. “No, Brian, no . . .”

“Sunshine? That you?” A familiar, deep, booming voice asked, the words slowly seeping through the horror. “Sunshine?”

Justin looked up into the face of a towering black man whose skin and clothing were all covered in soot and small burn marks. “They were . . . I-I-I told him to take care of them, Boom Boom. To get Daphne and the others to the shelter. To make sure they . . . they were . . . were safe. I asked him to do it. Brian . . . Daphne . . . What have I done?”

“Hush now, son,” Boom Boom ordered, taking the much smaller man in his big arms and hugging Justin until the boy’s shaking was contained. “Tweren’t in there, Sunshine. Tweren't ‘ere at this shelter. I don’ know where me Daphne is, but tweren’t here.”

“They weren’t . . . They weren’t here?” Justin asked, almost begging for confirmation that this might be true. “How . . . How do you . . . How can you be sure?

“I’m sure, me lad. Ya see, I was out doing me rounds last night fer the fire squad,” Boom Boom began to explain as he led Justin away from the site of the destruction, “‘an I sees that the pub is closed up. So’s just to make sure everyone’s okay, I stopped round here, early on. But the shelter warden says to me that me Daphne ain’t come round that night. I looked inside the shelter meself, jes in case, you know, but I din’ see hide nor hair of me girl. I din’ see any o’ the reg’lars either, or I would've asked ‘em where she’d got herself off to. So’s, Sunshine, unless they come by after midnight sometime whilst I was off helping with the fire over on ‘Enrietta Street, she couldna’ been ‘ere.”

“You . . . you didn’t see Brian . . . er, Handsome. . . . here either, did you?” Justin asked, starting to feel the first tendrils of hope.

“Nah. I’d’ve noticed ‘Andsome right off iffin he was ‘ere,” Boom Boom reassured. “Big bloke like ‘at? Showy an’ all? Nah, ‘e weren't ‘ere either, Sunshine, or I’d’ve seen ‘im. I’m sure your Brian and me Daph are holed up te’gether somewhere’s else, jes fine. You’ll see, son. You’ll see.”

The young man took a deep, steadying breath, nodded, swiped at his cheek with one hand to remove any evidence of the tear that had escaped and then cleared his throat. “Thanks, Boom Boom. I . . . I was thinking the worst.”

“Natch. Now, I gots ta git back to work ‘ere, me lad. You run along and find me Daphne. When ya do, tells her to come ‘round and shows me she’s alright afore she worries ‘er old man ta death,” Boom Boom ordered, then clapped Justin on the shoulder and turned back to join the rescue crew.

Justin nodded at the retreating man’s back. “Where the hell are you guys?” he mumbled to himself. Then it dawned on him. “The Palace! They have a shelter, at The Palace! Applesauce!”

He was off again in a second, running pell mell down the street, dodging people walking on the sidewalks and even darting out into the street to get around bigger obstacles. It wasn’t a long run - just around the block and two streets over - and then Justin was pelting up the front steps of The Strand Palace Hotel. He loped past the staff in the lobby, disregarding their calls asking if they could help him, and took the stairs two at a time, unwilling to wait for the elevator. Breathless and dripping sweat he made it to the third floor, but didn’t slow his pace till he reached Brian’s room. Without bothering to knock, he grabbed the door handle, turned it and shoved open the unlocked door.

The door slamming into the wall behind it startled awake the three people sleeping in the big bed inside the room. Brian, who was lying in the middle on his back, had one arm around each of his companions. Both Daphne and Fancy had been curled up on their sides, their heads resting on Brian’s chest.

While the three beauties in the bed lay there, blinking up at him, Justin slammed the door closed behind him, took two steps over to the side of the bed where Fancy was lying, shoved his friend out of the way and then launched himself at Brian.

“You scared the holy heck out of me, Brian! Don’t you ever do that again!” Justin murmured as he grabbed the older man’s head in both his hands and violently kissed the russet red lips of his lover.

Brian seemed happy enough to be kissing him back. It felt to Justin that he couldn’t get enough of this man, couldn’t get close enough, couldn’t touch enough skin or breathe him in deep enough. He wanted to go on kissing Brian forever. Right at that moment he didn’t care who knew it or who saw them, all he could think of was that Brian was there, alive, unharmed, and kissing him back.

The kissing rapidly turned into something deeper and less frantic. Brian’s arms were wrapped around him, pulling Justin’s body down as tightly against him as was possible. Things all over were heating up. Justin canted his hips forward, pressing his growing erection against Brian’s hip and moaning at the wash of pleasure that threatened to sweep him away.

“Mmmm, Blue Eyes,” he could hear Brian mumbling his nickname whenever their lips weren’t directly engaged.

Then, with a feral growl, Brian tightened his grip around Justin’s frame and rolled them both over.

Only to be stopped cold by Justin shouting, “ouch! Stop, Brian. Stop. Get off. My shoulder . . .”

“What the fuck?” Brian rolled off immediately, sitting up and looking down at Justin with worry. “What’s wrong with your shoulder, Blue Eyes?”

“Oh, it’s nothing,” Justin tried to dismiss Brian’s concern but couldn’t help rubbing at the area to try and relieve the pain a bit.

“Iffin it’s nothing, Sunshine, ‘ow come there’s a spot o’ blood on your shirt, then?” Daphne asked.

Justin had forgotten that the girl - and Fancy as well - was even there. The two of them were currently standing together at the foot of the bed, smirking down at the lovebirds tangled together amid the rumpled sheets. Justin felt a wave of heat rising in his cheeks and knew he was blushing. He couldn’t believe he’d just jumped on Brian like that, kissing him in front of other people. He’d just been so darned relieved to find him alive that he hadn’t thought . . .

Brian, who didn’t seem the least bit embarrassed, was too focused on Justin’s injured shoulder to care about anything else. He was already trying to unbutton Justin’s shirt so he could investigate things personally. Justin barely stopped him before Brian would have pulled the shirt off outright - in front of Daphne even.

“Stop, Brian. Stop,” Justin ordered, snatching at the cloth Brian was tugging at. “It’s nothing. Just a few scratches.”

Unfortunately, Brian had already seen the bandages that were wrapped around Justin’s left shoulder and chest. And there were indeed a few spots where fresh blood had begun to seep through. Justin probably shouldn’t have been so rough when he threw himself down on Brian and started rolling around like that. He hoped he hadn’t popped any stitches.

“What the fuck happened to you, Justin?” Brian demanded, frowning down at the pilot with a proprietary air. “And don’t tell me THAT’S nothing. You’re covered in fucking bandages!”

“It was a busy night, is all,” Justin answered, hoping against hope that the man would let it all drop.

Unsuccessfully.

Brian continued to stare at him angrily. Justin sighed and then, as Brian began to unbutton his shirt, he finally answered.

“I got caught in a firefight with two Gerries,” he explained, trying to underplay the whole thing as much as possible so as not to worry his friends, although, as the story progressed he did get a bit caught up in it. “I was holding my own at first, but then one of them did this amazing loop maneuver I’d never seen before and came back at me from above. I managed to peel off to the right, but he got a couple of good rounds in anyway. I would have been okay even then, except one of the bullets shattered the canopy and the pieces went flying everywhere. Luckily, my flight suit protected my face, or I’d a been a goner. Couple a shards sliced straight through to my shoulder though.” He shook his head at the memory. “I had to head back to the base after that, but I did manage to take out one of the Gerries on the way.”


“Shit, Justin! What the fuck happened to you promising to be careful?” Brian complained, once again undoing all the buttons Justin had just finished buttoning up. “Daphne, can you get me that first aid kit from my bag over there?” Brian directed, pointing to the leather valise sitting on one of the chairs.

“I’m fine, Brian. I just stretched it a little too much,” Justin tried to shrug off the concerned older man. “I guess I was just a little happy to see you.” He felt himself blushing again at the memory of just how happy that had made him.

“It’s NOT fine. You’re fucking bleeding, Blue Eyes,” Brian argued, zipping open the soft sided first aid kit and rifling through the contents. “Now hold still and let me fix this or I’ll have Daphne and Fancy pin you down until I’m done.” Brian took up a pair of scissors from his kit and started to cut away the part of the bandages where the bleeding seemed to be. “Damned fucking hero complex . . . Think you’re fucking John Wayne or something . . .” He was mumbling as he worked, causing Justin to smile and look away before Brian saw how pleased he was by the attention.

Of course, that’s when he saw both Daphne and Fancy looking on at the two of them with indulgent affection. With those two watching everything that was going on, Justin figured he and Brian were bound to be the primary topic of all gossip at the pub for the next week or so. Well, if the raid didn’t distract them all.

That brought to mind why he was here looking for them all in the first place. “Boom Boom is looking for you, Daph. When I couldn’t find you at the White Lion, I went by the Maiden Lane shelter to see if you guys were still there . . . Applesauce, I’m glad you weren’t, though.” The curious looks he got prompted him to explain. “Your father’s there helping out with the rest. Digging the place out . . . The shelter took a direct hit, I’m afraid. Not many got out . . .”

“Blimey!” Fancy exclaimed, sinking down on the end of the bed and shaking his head. “It’s a good thing our Brian insisted on taking us here to The Palace instead. I thought he was crazy going the extra distance to get all the way over here, but . . .”

“‘At WAS lucky, waddnit?” Daphne remarked, looking at Brian with an assessing stare that sparked a similar curiosity in Justin.

Meanwhile, Brian was ignoring all of them. He’d got the old bandages off and then checked over the various small wounds to Justin’s shoulder and chest. They were mostly small and shallow, although there seemed to be a lot of them. There were only two large gashes that had required stitches. Luckily, it didn’t look like he’d broken open any of the stitches, but the one in front, close to his clavicle, was seeping, and the big one on his arm just below the ball of his shoulder was bleeding outright. Brian ‘tsked’ at him and then tore open a package containing a large self-adhesive bandage. Justin watched as Brian smeared some ointment from a small white tube on the pad of the bandage and then he slapped it on the bleeding wound. Whatever was in the ointment almost instantly began to soothe the pain away. Justin tried to see how the bandage was sticking by itself - it didn’t look like any bandage he’d ever seen before and he’d been patched up quite a few times over the past few months already - but Brian ordered him to sit still while he went to work on the other injury. When Brian was done there, he added a few more of the smaller self-sticking bandages to one or two of Justin’s other cuts and then, examining his work with an approving nod, the man carefully pulled Justin’s shirt up over his shoulder again.

“You’d think ‘e was a right doctor, wouldn’t yer?” Daphne commented on Brian’s nursing skills. “Feel better, Sunshine?”

“I’m sure if we two left, Handsome would kiss it better right quickly,” Fancy added, giggling along with Daphne like two school girls.

“You know what - that's an excellent idea,” Brian asserted as he gathered together the trash from his doctoring work and then moved towards the door. “Not that I didn’t enjoy your company last night, guys, but . . . Didn’t you say Daphne’s father was looking for her, Blue Eyes? You wouldn’t want to worry your dad, Daphne, right?”

“Right-o! I’m off then,” Daphne said, taking the hint with good grace. “You two pop round the pub later though . . . after you’ve ‘ad a chance ta get reacquainted like.” She winked at Justin and then turned to give Brian a big hug. “Thankee for the ‘commodations last night, ‘Andsome. Yer drinks is on the ‘ouse ta’night, big guy.”

“Later, Daphne,” Brian answered, holding open the door for the woman.

“And I better hurry home and get spruced up,” Fancy declared with a flounce. “I’m meeting Mr. Saxophone from last night for coffee at 1100. Ta ta, gentlemen!’

“Alone at last!” Brian carefully closed the door after them, deliberately locking it before turning back to Justin. “Now, where were we, Blue Eyes?”

Justin grinned up at his lover, lifted his hand and pointed to his lips. “I think you were right about here, Mr. Kinney.”

 

Music Selection -Lover Man (Oh Where Can You Be?) by Billie Holiday 

 

Chapter Text




Chapter 16 - In The Mood.



“Now, where were we, Blue Eyes?” Brian asked as he locked the door behind Daphne and Fancy, happy to finally have his blond back and all to himself.

 

“I think you were right about here, Mr. Kinney,” the sexy young man waiting for him in his bed replied, pointing with his index finger at the coral pink lips that Brian was so eager to get back to.

 

“Yum,” Brian smiled as he walked the few steps back to join Justin on the bed.

 

Brian took the boy in his arms, making sure to be careful of the injured shoulder this time, and gently pushed the blond down onto the pillows. Then he leaned in and sipped deeply from the lips he’d been fantasizing about all damn week. And the kiss tasted just as sweet as Brian remembered. The lean body was just as warm and pliant. It was soft and yielding in all the right places and hard where Brian liked things to be hard. It was just as good as he’d thought it would be.

 

“I’m so fucking glad you’re okay, Blue Eyes,” Brian murmured against those delicious lips, receiving only a moan in response.

 

As their kisses deepened even more, Brian held on tightly. He loved the way Justin seemed to fit so perfectly in his arms, their bodies twined around each other. But it wasn’t long before Brian started to notice that his Blue Eyes was no longer kissing back as ardently as before. Then he noticed the younger man was actually shaking.

 

“Justin?”

 

Brian pulled back enough to be able to see the expressive gemstone blue eyes. Those eyes were showing definite signs of distress at the moment. The young man was panting and the eyes squeezed shut as his face contorted with a look of panic. Every single muscle in the boy’s body had gone rigid and the shaking was only getting worse.

 

“What is it, Blue Eyes? Justin? Justin! Is it your shoulder? Did I hurt you again?”

 

Finally the boy opened his eyes again and it seemed like that helped a little. Brian looked on worriedly, running his hands through the thick blond hair, caressing the slightly stubbled blond cheeks with his thumbs as he waited patiently while Justin struggled to pull himself together. It took several minutes, and even then Brian could feel the radiating tension coming off the other man’s body in palpable waves.

 

“Tell me, Justin?” Brian asked again, hoping that this time he’d get some answer. “Is it your shoulder? Did I hurt you?”

 

Justin shook his head. “No. My shoulder’s fine. I thought . . . I thought . . . I thought you were dead, Brian. You, Daphne, everyone . . . dead,” he panted the painful words out, tears blurring the blue of his gaze.  

 

“But we aren’t, Blue Eyes. We’re all fine,” Brian tried to reassure him.

 

“Yeah, but . . . If you HAD been in that shelter, Brian, you’d have been killed. You COULD have died last night . . . I could have died last night, too. Heck, I could die tomorrow. In the next raid. On my next mission . . .”

 

Justin’s words faded away but Brian could tell he wasn’t done. The young man was fighting against the realization of his own mortality, and something like that didn’t pass easily. Brian had experienced a few moments like that in his own life, so he could understand. Add in the backlash from the adrenaline rush of the pilot’s last mission and the stress of the morning’s discoveries and it wasn’t surprising that Justin was feeling a bit unsteady.

 

“I don’t want to die like this, Brian,” Justin finally announced, sounding like he’d come to some important conclusion. “I don’t want to die without knowing how it feels to make love with a man I care about.”

 

“I thought you wanted to take it slow, Blue Eyes,” Brian asked, wanting to make sure that Justin was sure. “You said you weren’t ready.”

 

Justin looked Brian directly in the eyes as he spoke. “I don’t have time to take it slow. I need to be ready. I don’t know how long I have. None of us do,” Justin insisted. “And I want you, Brian. I want it all. I want to experience everything you can teach me . . . so if I do die tomorrow, I’ll at least have had that. With you.”

 

Brian scrutinized the earnest young man’s face, and found only sincerity.

 

“Okay.”

 

Brian started to roll off the bed.

 

“Wait. Where are you going? Don’t you want . . .”

 

“Patience, Grasshopper,” Brian replied with a grin and a little quelling kiss. “I’m not going anywhere; just getting supplies.”

 

“Supplies?” Justin seemed confused.

 

Brian dug what he needed out of his toiletries kit and tossed the tube of lube and a ribbon of his favorite Trojan Black Velvet condoms on the bed.

 

Justin picked both items up, looking at them curiously. When he looked back up at Brian it was obvious he still didn’t understand, causing the experienced Stud to laugh out loud. Justin blushed again. Brian crawled back up the bed, shaking his head at the tyro, and reached for the apparently confusing articles.

 

“Lube,” he said, taking back the tube. “And condoms,” he pointed to the condoms in Justin’s hand.

 

Justin nodded but it was clear to Brian the boy still didn’t get it.

 

“Lubrication,” he explained, waving the tube in front of the boy’s face. “Makes things MUCH easier. Trust me, you don't want to do this without lube. Especially your first time.”

 

“Okay.” Justin shrugged acceptingly. “But why the rubbers? Don’t tell me you’re worried about getting me pregnant?” He teased, giggling to cover the fact that he was still embarrassed.

 

“Ha, fucking, ha,” Brian scoffed. “No, that’s one of the many benefits of being gay. No unplanned pregnancies. But condoms prevent more than just pregnancy. They’re the best protection available against sexually transmitted diseases.”

 

“So the docs in basic training told us,” Justin admitted. “But WE don’t need it, do we?” Now it was Brian’s turn to look confused, unsure where his blond was going with this. “I mean . . . Well, that’s only with women right? All the stuff the RAF made us read and watch . . . It was all about women, you know. . .”

 

Brian actually snorted with laughter at that assumption. “Sorry, Blue Eyes, but the rule applies to ALL kinds of sex. In fact, sex between two men is even more likely to transmit some diseases than straight sex. So you ALWAYS need to wear a condom.”

 

“Really? . . . I guess that makes sense,” Justin responded, wrinkling his nose adorably. “You probably think I’m an idiot . . . It’s just that they never said anything about, well, men . . .”

 

“Yeah, well, I don’t expect the Air Force will get around to covering gay sex ed for a few more years.”

 

Justin laughed at Brian’s joke, then added, “true. But still, we probably don’t need that. I mean, it should be safe - I’ve never been with anyone else.”

 

“But I most certainly have, Blue Eyes,” Brian stated as he pulled his shirt off over his head without bothering with all the buttons. “And even though I get tested regularly, and as far as I know I’m clean, I still wouldn’t ever put you at risk like that. So, no sex without the condoms. Ever. Got it?”

 

“Got it,” Justin conceded as he examined the condom packages he was still holding. “Hmm. These don’t look like the free rubbers they hand out on the base. Fancy.” He turned the package over and squinted at the writing there. “Use by June, 2017? Wow! These ones last a long time. Impressive.”

 

“They’re . . . A new kind.” Brian snatched the incriminating condoms away from the overly inquisitive neophyte and immediately changed the subject. “So, are you sure about this, Blue Eyes? Cause if you really do want to fuck, I generally find it works much better without your clothes on . . .”

 

“Oh, yeah,” Justin blushed again as he looked down at his still fully clothed body and self-consciously began to shrug off his shirt and then start on the fly of his trousers.

 

Meanwhile, Brian shucked off his own pants, leaving only his black thong in place. Justin seemed to get a little distracted by that sight, his fingers slowing even more on the buttons of his fly. Brian shook his head and smiled at the guileless wonder on the kid’s face. It was sort of fun to be able to shock the brave little pilot like this. But, that wasn’t going to get them fucking any faster, so it was time to take things in hand.

 

He quickly removed his underwear and then turned to his dawdling companion. “Need help with that, Blue Eyes?” Brian asked, rolling around till he was kneeling at Justin’s feet.

 

Without waiting for an answer, Brian took hold of the legs of the young man’s trousers and pulled hard, which caused Justin to flop backwards on the bed. Then Brian reached over and, with one hand, dexterously popped all the buttons in mere seconds. With another tug at the trouser legs, the pants were off, leaving the boy in only his ridiculously large and baggy, white cotton undershorts. Brian ‘tsked’ at the boy’s ugly briefs, glad that men’s underwear had progressed from this unfortunate stage by the time he’d been born. These things were an embarrassment.



But it was easy enough to rid Justin of those too - Brian simply pulled on the elastic waistband and in seconds they had followed the pants over the side of the bed. And then Brian got a chance to see his boy in all his bare blond beauty. Damn the kid was hot. That huge cock sprouting from the nest of dark blond pubes almost made Brian’s mouth water. He wanted to taste it again, but resisted, because he knew neither of them would last if he took that route and Justin wanted more this time. So, with a longing sigh, Brian sufficed himself with only a quick grope and then slapped at the boy’s thigh.

 

“Roll over, Blue Eyes,” he ordered.

 

Justin nervously bit at his bottom lip but nodded and then complied, flipping onto his stomach and lying there while clutching a pillow to his chest. Brian could see the tension in the boy’s shoulders as the blond lay there, hunched over that damned pillow, as if he was waiting for a punishment or something. Brian knew he had his work cut out for him to get the kid to relax a bit. But he was a master at this particular type of performance and was more than prepared for the task ahead of him.

 

Brian quickly arranged the boy how he wanted him, spreading the stocky, well-muscled legs wide enough so he could kneel between them. Then he ran his hands up the younger man’s sides, lightly tickling along the whole length of the slim body - up furry calves, thighs, over bony hips, sensitive sides and then down the hunched over shoulders until his fingers trailed to the boy’s wrists. Circling a wrist with each of his own hands, he pulled them out from under Justin’s pillow and stretched them over the kid’s head. This left Brian spread over the top of the smaller body, skin on skin all down their lengths, with his weight only minimally supported by his hands and knees. His cock naturally found it’s way into the inviting crack of Justin’s ass, twitching with anticipation as soon as it made contact. Mr. Johnson was going to have to wait for a bit though, since Brian had a few agenda items to take care of before they could get to the main attraction.

 

Brian started by kissing his way back down the boy’s neck and shoulders, leaving sloppy, wet, open-mouthed kisses everywhere his mouth could reach. Justin seemed to relax a bit with the kissing. All part of the plan. As soon as Brian felt that first easing of tension, he stuck out his tongue and began to slowly trail a line of wetness down the knobs of the boy’s spine. The lower he got, the more Justin’s head lifted, almost as if there were an invisible string between Brian’s tongue and the top of the kid’s head. When Brian progressed low enough that his tongue began to dip in between the plump globes of the fuzzy, plump ass cheeks, then the blond head reared all the way back in surprise. And, when his tongue tickled over the tiny pink pucker hiding there, he heard a gasp of stunned pleasure. Brian took an extra big slurp across the tender entrance, poking the tip of his tongue in just the tiniest bit as a teaser, and then waited through the inevitable clenching he’d been expecting.

 

“Now you know what rimming is, Blue Eyes,” Brian announced, lifting his head just enough to speak and then diving back down for another taste.

 

After that there was nothing but moaning for several long minutes as Brian prodded and nibbled and explored, until the sensations reached a critical mass and Justin’s moans began to crescendo.

 

“B-b-brian! I . . . I-I-I . . . Oh my . . . Ap-Ap-Ap . . . Apple . . PLE . . . S-S-S-SAUCE!!!!”

 

Brian held on while Justin’s hips bucked wildly in front of him and his ass muscles spasmed through what appeared to be a pretty strong orgasm. The older man’s eyes fixated on Justin’s ass as the kid humped the mattress with gusto and the lustful sounds emanating from Justin shot straight to his own dick. When the last twitch of pleasure had passed, the blond boy slumped back down into the mattress as limp as a ragdoll. Brian chuckled at how thoroughly sated the kid appeared. Little did he know there was so much more still to come.

 

Brian used the sheet to wipe off his face before sitting up and grabbing hold of an ankle to try and flip the boy over onto his back. “Hey, Blue Eyes! No sleeping yet. There’s more where that came from,” he ordered, trying to get some help from the kid.

 

“There’s more?” came a sleeping murmur. “How can there be more than THAT? That . . . what did you call it?”

 

“Rimming.”

 

“Mmmm . . . rimming,” Justin repeated as he reluctantly allowed Brian to roll him over onto his back. “I’ve never even heard of that before. That was . . . I don’t think there are words for what that was, Brian. I think all my bones have melted already. How can there be more?”

 

“Oh, ye of little faith,” Brian chuckled as he bent over and licked at the sticky, salty, residue that coated the young man’s stomach, enjoying his treat before moving on. “There’s so much more. Consider that just an appetizer, Blue Eyes. That was just to take the edge off and help you relax.”

 

“I don’t think I’ve ever been more relaxed in my life, Brian,” the kid said and sighed happily, only to yelp with a new spark of pleasure when Brian engulfed his half-hard dick and sucked on it with relish.

 

“What are you . . . What are you doing now, Brian? I-I-I . . . Ooofph!”

 

Brian’s mouth made a popping sound as he released Justin from his lips. “If you don’t know what I’m doing, Blue Eyes, I’m clearly doing it wrong,” Brian teased, as he went back to work, sucking and nibbling at the boy’s growing erection.

 

Justin hummed with happiness as Brian took him back into his mouth and rolled him around on his tongue, teasing and flicking the sensitive head of his cock. His trim hips bucked off the bed as Brian took him even deeper. Even Brian was surprised at how fast the young novice was becoming ready again, but that was the beauty of youth, he supposed. It was going to make his work so much easier, though.

 

With his mouth still working Justin’s cock, Brian reached for the lube, squeezing the tube and coating his fingers liberally. He knew the boy was going to need a lot of prep, which is why he continued to blow the boy as though his life depended on it. 2016 Studly Brian wouldn’t dream of doing such a thing, but this Brian knew Justin needed the extra care, so he simply shoved 2016 Brian away into a walled-off, sound-proof, compartment in his brain and carried on.

 

“Brian . . .” Justin sighed out the older man’s name passionately as he tugged at the brown hair he was, just moments before, running his fingers through with such great care.

 

Taking his boy deeper into his throat, Brian ran his lube covered finger teasingly down Justin’s crack and tapped lightly on his waiting hole.

 

Justin gasped, which only encouraged Brian more.

 

He traced the lube over Justin’s hole, getting it nice and wet before pushing just the tip of his index finger inside. Damn, he was so fucking tight, Brian had to fight to keep from coming at the mere thought of his cock pushing through that constriction.

 

His boy nearly shot up off the bed at the feel of Brian’s wandering fingers. “Whaaaa?” Justin hissed, as Brian started to push more of his finger inside of him. “What are you doing, Brian?”

 

Once again, Brian pulled his mouth away from that beautiful dick, and looked up into the bluest eyes he’d ever seen.

 

“I’m getting you ready,” Brian explained softly, but without removing his questing fingers.

 

Justin looked confused. “I am ready.”

 

Brian shook his head. “ You might be ready,” he smiled, pointing to the boy’s straining erection, “but your ass most definitely is not.”

 

“It’s not? What . . . I don’t understand. How do you get your . . . you know . . . ready?” the boy questioned, his cheeks growing pinker and pinker with each passing second.

 

“I need . . .” Brian took a deep breath as he worked his finger up to the first knuckle - he’d never had to fucking explain why he had his fingers buried in someone’s ass before. “I need to stretch you out,” he explained patiently, even though this was quite possibly one of the unsexiest conversations he’d ever had while fingering someone, although he couldn’t be pissed off or irritated by the blond’s honest questions.

 

“Stretch me out?” Justin looked scared by the very concept.

 

“Easy, Blue Eyes,” Brian soothed. “Feel this?” he asked, as his finger worked on relaxing the tight rings of muscle in Justin’s ass. “I need to help you relax this a little. If I don’t it’ll hurt a lot worse.”

 

“It’s . . . it’s going to hurt?”

 

“A little,” Brian admitted. “But that’s all part of it. Trust me. You trust me, right?”

 

Justin nodded but still looked worried. He squeezed his eyes shut tightly as Brian’s finger pushed through and opened him up a little more. However, as soon as Brian’s finger found Justin’s prostate, his blue eyes shot open and he gasped loudly. That was the reaction Brian had been banking on. That was what made it all worthwhile. That little spark of indescribable pleasure was the whole reason a gay man pushed through the slight pain in the first place. Justin moaned quietly as Brian’s finger worked it’s way in and out of his ass a few more times, apparently figuring it out pretty darn quickly on his own.

 

Adding a little more lube directly to Justin’s hole, Brian slowly added a second finger. As he breached the tight muscle, he again took Justin deep into his throat, swallowing the boy’s renewed moans. At the same time, Brian was wondering, how could someone taste so fucking delicious?

 

Justin brought his legs up and planted both feet firmly on the mattress, spreading his knees wantonly.

 

“Brian, Brian, Brian,” the blond chanted each time Brian tapped his prostate teasingly.

 

Brian loved the way the smaller man’s body reacted. The way Justin didn’t hold back anything. The way his body writhed and squirmed, giving evidence to just how much he was enjoying every single thing Brian did. There was no coyness. No affectation. No playacting to try and impress Brian. The boy didn’t know how he was supposed to act, so he had no choice but to respond naturally. Brian admired that sense freedom and it spurred him on to work even harder to please the young tyro.

 

When Brian saw that his Blue Eyes was as relaxed and ready as he was going to get, he added a third finger, scissoring them in and out of Justin’s spasming hole. He could feel the tight muscles clenching around his knuckles and he had to reach down and squeeze his own dick so as not to embarrass himself. He felt he could probably come from this alone - something that had definitely not happened since he had started topping way back when he was a teenager. Fuck, fuck, fuck.

 

With his mouth full of yummy blond boy and his fingers buried deeply in this tasty ass, Brian reached blindly for the strip of condoms he’d placed somewhere next to him on the bed. This was it. Holy shit.

 

Brian gently pulled his fingers out and dropped a small kiss to the head of Justin’s penis. “Are you ready, Blue Eyes?”

 

Justin bit his lip nervously and watched as Brian ripped open the condom package with his teeth.

 

“Go on. Put it on me,” Brian insisted, holding it out towards his companion.

 

Justin shook his head, his mouth was open wide and his breathing was already laboured.

 

“Here,” Brian took Justin’s shaking hands in his and brought them up to his aching cock, pinching the top of the condom. “Help me roll it down.”

 

Justin watched as the condom was unrolled down Brian’s straining dick.

 

“You’re . . . you’re really big. Will you . . . um . . . will you fit inside me?”

 

If this was another time, or anyone else, Brian would have died laughing at such a ridiculous question, but the look of pure innocence on Justin’s face told him that laughing right now would be a massive fucking mistake. So, instead, he leaned forward and kissed the hell out of those delectable pink lips. “I’ll fit, Blue Eyes. You’re just going to need to relax, okay?”

 

Justin nodded trustingly, his eyes never leaving Brian’s dick as their still joined hands coated the condom in extra lube.

 

Brian hooked his hand under the blond’s trembling knees. “Put your legs up - on my shoulders. That's it,” Brian sighed as he pushed forward slightly, using one hand to run his cock up and down Justin’s crack.

 

“Now relax.” Brian wrapped one arm around the boy’s thigh and hefted him up slightly. “I want you to always remember this, so no matter who . . . wherever you are, I’ll always be there.”

 

Brian pushed in slowly. He’d never felt an ass that tight before in his whole long and promiscuous life. Before he was very far at all, Justin’s ass clenched tightly around the head of his dick, refusing him any further admittance.

 

“Ahhhh.” Justin screwed his eyes up tight and his hands grasped desperately at the sheets. “It hurts. It . . . it hurts.”

 

“Look at me, Justin. I want to see your eyes.”

 

Justin opened his eyes and breathed heavily through his nose, the pain evident on his face.

 

“When you feel me pushing inside you,” Brian explained, as he leaned forward and kissed the blond’s tightly closed lips. “I want you to push down, as though you’re trying to push me out, okay?”

 

Brian thrust again with his hips and he could feel Justin pushing back, which allowed him to slip further inside the deliciously tight channel. He looked down and saw that there were still lines of tension wrinkling the young man’s brow. He knew it would pass, but he still hated causing the kid any pain at all. Grabbing onto the boy’s thighs tightly, he bent Justin almost in half so that he could bend down and kiss away the pain lines. While he was there, he bussed the coral pink lips as well. It seemed to work well, too, as the boy apparently forgot the pain long enough to realize his own growing sense of pleasure.

 

“App . . . Applesa . . .” Justin moaned as Brian licked at his neck.

 

“That’s it, let me in.”

 

It only took one more push and Brian was balls deep inside his Blue Eyes. He waited a moment to give Justin time to adjust, and then began to thrust slowly. The moment Brian hit Justin’s prostate, it was clear from the way the boy’s face lit up with wonder. And after that, it was like Brian had flipped a light switch or something. The eager neophyte started to not only actively push back, meeting Brian’s every thrust, but to arch his back and press upward using his thighs as a fulcrum to obtain the most effective angle. And then it was just hot and fast and sweaty and oh, so, fucking good that Brian forgot himself in the bliss as much as his Blue Eyes seemed to.

 

Justin’s hands scratched at Brian’s back as he drove in deeper - deeper and harder than he probably should have on the boy’s first time, but it was as though neither of them could control themselves. The way Justin was writhing around and groaning, Brian didn’t think either of them would last much longer anyway.  And, whereas Brian would usually be mortified at finishing off so fast, he was in fact quite proud of himself that he’d lasted as long as he had. Justin’s ass was tight - tighter than any he’d ever had - and he’d had a lot of ass. It didn’t help much that Brian had been sort of trying out the ‘exclusive’ thing all week and was therefore hornier than hell.

 

Brian quickly felt the tell tale signs that he was close to shooting his load. The pressure in his balls grew but he continued to thrust through it, knowing he was about to have the best fucking orgasm of his life. He groaned as his balls tingled and it wasn’t long before that wonderfully delicious feeling began to overtake his entire body, signalling that he was close - very, very close.

 

His hand reached for Justin’s dick, and started stroking in time with his thrusts. For Justin, the sensation of having his cock played with at the same time his ass was being pummelled was too much and he came almost immediately, announcing his ecstasy with heaving breaths as his body shook and his muscles tensed until his orgasm began to overtake him.

 

The look on Justin’s face alone was enough to send Brian over the edge. He couldn’t control the erratic way his hips pumped as he came. Meanwhile, Justin’s ass was literally squeezing the life out of him. And he fucking loved every second of it.

 

“Applesauce!” Brian cried out as his cock was milked dry by Justin’s still spasming ass.  

 

Brian’s body eventually slowed down but he continued to come, shooting his load into the condom. He didn’t think he’d come so much in his fucking life - how was there even anything left? All he could do, though, was hang onto his blond’s hips and shake until there was nothing left and he collapsed on top of the comfortably warm body underneath him.

 

Once Justin’s body had stopped shaking, Brian reached down and clutched the base of the condom, ready to pull out.

 

‘Mmmm. Wait. Don’t go,” Justin pleaded, as he wrapped his legs around Brian’s back and pulled the man down flat against him. “That . . . That was . . . I . . . You . . .”

 

“Try that again in English, Blue Eyes,” Brian teased.

 

His pale legs squeezed Brian tightly. “It’s just . . . I never understood before . . . I mean, the guys at the White Lion talk about it all the time, but . . . Now I get it,” he grinned happily. “Thank you, Brian. That was perfect.”

 

“Actually, it kind of was . . .” Brian found himself admitting, even though it went against the grain for him to say something so inherently romantic.

 

Thankfully, right at that moment Justin himself broke the serious mood with a boyish giggle.

 

“What are you laughing about, Twat?” Brian asked, trying to sound irritated.

 

“Nothing.” But when Brian continue to stare at him, Justin explained himself a little more. “It’s just that I was a little surprised is all. I kind of thought . . . Well, it’s just, I always assumed that two guys would have to, you know, do it . . .” Another of those adorable blushes gave away the fact that whatever his boy was struggling to say was embarrassing as hell. “I just always thought that, with two guys, you’d have to . . .  come in for a landing from the rear, so to speak.”

 

That got Brian laughing so hard that he actually slipped out of Justin altogether, despite the boy’s groan at the feeling of loss.

 

“Dammit, Blue Eyes. If you don’t stop being so fucking adorable all the time, I’m going to get thrown out of the Studs-R-Us Club and have to become a lesbian,” Brian complained when he could finally speak again.

 

“What did I say?” The sweet little blond asked, with unfeigned innocence.

 

Brian only laughed harder, rolling onto his side and clutching at his stomach.

 

“It’s not my fault I can’t understand what you’re saying half the time, Brian,” Justin responded, adding a teasing slap to Brian’s shoulder. “What in the dickens is the ‘Studs-R-Us Club’? Oh, and while we’re at it, what the devil is a ‘Twat’?”

 

When Brian was still wheezing with laughter several minutes later, Justin simply gave up, rolled over onto his side facing away from the infuriating giggler, pulled the blankets up over himself and pretended to go to sleep. Brian eventually pulled himself together and curled up behind his innocent little blond. He couldn’t remember ever feeling this great after a fuck in his entire life. Not only had he experienced one of the greatest orgasms of his life, but his Blue Eyes had given him the rare treat of shared moments of laughter. Which, in Brian‘s world, was priceless.

 

As he slowly drifted off to sleep, sated and content with his arms full of warm blond boy, Brian wondered vaguely if there were, maybe, something to that old saying about how things used to be simpler in the past . . . and if, maybe, simpler was also a lot more fun.



*******

Chapter Music Selection - In The Mood by Glenn Miller

 

Research: Yes, because we’re obsessive like that, we even researched what condoms were like in 1941. In case you want to know more yourselves . . . WWII Condoms .



Chapter Text

 

Chapter 17 - Contrasts.



Brian had fallen asleep almost immediately after they finished, but Justin was too excited to sleep. He SHOULD be exhausted after flying all night, dealing with the craziness of the morning, and then the release of his first time having sex, but there was just too much adrenaline running through his body to let him rest. He felt more alive than he’d ever felt in his whole life. He imagined he might actually be glowing, he felt so amazingly alive. There was no way he could sleep right then.

 

So, after waiting to make sure Brian was so far out of it he wouldn’t be disturbed, Justin carefully shifted Brian’s arms off of him and slowly crawled out of bed. Brian only stirred a little, seeming to reach out in his sleep to find Justin, but then settling down again a minute later. Justin wondered briefly why Brian was so tired. He’d have to ask him later. Or he could ask Daphne - seeing as he had found the woman in his lover’s bed that morning, she certainly owed him an explanation. But, whatever had happened the night before, Brian obviously needed some rest now so, with a last tender look at him, Justin left the man wheezing quietly in bed.

 

Justin decided his first order of business should be to go take a piss and maybe get a little cleaned up. He still smelled of their love making and thought it wouldn’t hurt to freshen up before they - hopefully - went at it again. So, the young man pulled on his clothing, grabbed Brian’s ditty bag along with a fluffy Palace Hotel towel and quietly let himself out of the room. Luckily, it seemed the men’s W.C. was unoccupied at the moment, so Justin was able to walk right in and take over the elegantly appointed space.

 

After making use of the toilet, Justin pulled his shirt off and lowered his trousers, then made good use of the available soap and a towel to wash up. It felt good to get the itchy, dried jism off his skin, not that he minded in the least the way it had gotten there in the first place. He also cleaned up back there, noting the residual soreness and surprised how messy everything was despite the condom they’d used. None of those inconveniences mattered though, not considering how wonderful the act itself had felt. The mere thought of what he and Brian had done just a few minutes before was enough to make him want to crow with happiness. But that didn’t mean he had to go around smelling like a stinky pair of y-fronts either.

 

As he was washing off his face, Justin noticed that he really could use a shave. He hadn’t wanted to take the time that morning when he was washing up after his mission debriefing and the visit to the infirmary for the stitches. But, now that he had the time, Justin figured he might as well take care of that little chore as well.

 

Unzipping Brian’s elegant little black leather bag, Justin dug around inside, looking for a razor. Unfortunately, the toiletries bag was packed so full, it was difficult to find anything. So Justin started to remove the items one by one, setting them on the bathroom counter as he continued to dig.



The first thing Justin unearthed was another ribbon of Brian’s fancy rubbers, which he quickly set aside. Next though, came a strange-looking bag made out of some material Justin didn’t recognize. It was slick to the touch and crinkled loudly when he handled it. It reminded him of an advertisement he’d seen just before he left the states for some new-fangled thing called ‘cellophane’ but he’d never heard of the substance being used to make a bag like this before. This was see-through just like cellophane, though it was thicker, and was covered all over by printing. On the front of the package it said, ‘Disposable Dental Flossers’ - another thing he'd never heard of. Justin pried open the package, wondering over how the top edges of the bag stuck together, and pulled out one of these ingenious little ‘Flossers’. It looked just like other dental floss he’d seen before but it was threaded into a hard y-shaped object made of something like Bakelite. He scanned the package again, saw the section that said ‘Directions’, and followed them as he tried out the little piece of floss between his own teeth. It was really easy. He’d never really bothered with the stuff before, but thought if it was this simple, he might.

 

Setting aside the dental flossers, Justin pulled out the next item in the bag, which was a small glass cologne bottle. This he understood. He admired the beautiful, purple bottle for a moment before uncapping the top and taking a whiff of the scent. Yep, it smelled like Brian. He loved the cologne on his man. He’d never heard of this particular cologne before, though; Ralph Lauren Purple Label. You probably couldn’t find it here in London during the war anyways. But he knew the moment he made it back to the states, he would be hunting this down.



Next, Justin unearthed another small item which, when he pulled it apart, turned out to be a toothbrush that fitted into a case made out of its own base. Justin hadn’t ever seen a toothbrush like that, but again, he thought it was a great adaptation and wished he had one himself. The toothpaste that went along with it came in a strange-looking tube, was a brand he’d never seen before, was also gooey and a strange blue color, but everyone knew what toothpaste was. Justin quickly made use of both, feeling much better after he’d cleaned his teeth. The odd blue toothpaste was quite nice tasting too.

 

Setting the teeth stuff aside, Justin continued to pull out tubes and bottles of stuff - all made out of the same hard yet pliable substance that was sorta like Bakelite but also not - none of which was at all familiar to him. The bottles were all labeled with strange names. He’d never heard of any of them before. There were two matching black bottles, both with the name ‘Aveda’ on them, one saying it was shampoo and the other conditioner. He knew what shampoo was, of course, but didn’t have a clue about the other one. Next there was something called ‘Body Gel’. Justin figured out how to open it by flipping the top back, and found it smelled just like the cologne but was a sticky, goopy substance that looked a lot like the toothpaste and which he didn’t know what to do with. There was another smaller tube with something called ‘hair gel’ in it. Justin didn’t know why you’d put goopy stuff in your hair, either, and just set it aside too. Finally, there was one last black bottle labeled ‘Rugged & Dapper - Skin Fuel For Men’. From the rest of the packaging, he surmised that this was something you used to clean your face, not that he understood why you’d need it when you could just use regular soap. It seemed Brian certainly had a lot of strange bottles of stuff.

 

Once all those bulky bottles and tubes were out of the bag, justin could see the rest of the contents better. There was a small manicure kit - no wonder Brian had such nice hands and smooth nails. There was a little jar of ‘anti-wrinkle creme’, which made Justin laugh thinking of the beautiful man’s apparent vanity at worrying about getting wrinkles. There was a small hand-sized brush with odd-looking bristles which appeared, from the strands of hair caught up in it, to be a hairbrush. And finally, in the bottom, he found another container of something inexplicably called ‘Degree Men Dry Protection Cool Rush Antiperspirant’ that - even after he’d pulled the cap off, sniffed, and read the packaging further - he couldn’t figure out at all.

 

It appeared that the one thing he’d hoped to find - a razor - was the only thing Brian didn’t have. Or at least that’s what Justin thought till he noticed there was another pocket inside the small toiletries case. He unzipped that extra pocket and pulled out two additional items. They both seemed to be mechanical gadgets of some kind that Justin didn’t recognize at all.

 

The first one was a long metallic cylinder with a blunted tip and a black knob at the other end. It was about eight inches long and maybe two or three inches in circumference. It seemed to be made of chrome and was very shiny and slick. To the pilot’s eyes it sort of looked like a small bomb canister or maybe a really large bullet of some kind. When Justin turned the knob the whole thing started to vibrate. As far as Justin could tell, though, it didn’t have any purpose. Who wanted a large shaking bullet?

Shaking Bullet

The final gadget took Justin a minute or two to figure out, but he was glad he’d dug all the way to the bottom of the kit and found it. It was about the same length as the shaking bullet but bulkier. The body was comprised of a hard black material which Justin couldn’t identify although he knew it wasn’t metal. The one end tapered to a flat rounded base. The other end, though, flared out into a wide head which was topped by an angled three-sided metal piece that held three round metal-toothed circles. The circles gave a little when you touched them with a finger.


Shaver

At first Justin couldn’t figure out what the heck this thing was either. It didn’t have any writing on it except for the word ‘Broadcare’ in small silver lettering on the tapered part of the body. Only, right above that word was another round circle, this one black like the casing, with a symbol carved into the material that looked like a circle with a line radiating out from the center through the top. And, when Justin touched that circle, the gadget whirred quietly to life, sending the three toothed, metal circles on top spinning around.

 

He tentatively touched one of the spinning circles and noted that the metal pieces didn’t bite into his skin. Then he tipped the whole thing sideways and saw that it kept spinning no matter what angle you held it at. Finally, he held the device up to his forearm where all three circles could spin against his skin and felt a slight pull on the hair there before the whirling circles shaved it off.

 

Of course! Justin had seen electric shavers before; his father had even received one from a friend as a birthday present the year before he’d left the states. But he’d never seen one like this. He couldn’t figure out how it was powered since it had no cord to plug it in. Plus he’d never seen any shaver with three round cutting blades. However, when he put it up against his cheek, it worked incredibly well. He didn’t think he’d ever had a smoother shave. He quickly ran the shaver all over his face and was stubble free in only a minute or two.

 

When he was done, Justin cleaned the shaver and put it back in the ditty bag along with the shaking bullet thing. Then he started reloading all the other stuff back in the bag as well. As he was going through all the odd little bottles and tubes again, it struck him just how mysterious this stuff was. Which seemed appropriate for a mysterious and enigmatic man like Brian Kinney. And, despite how close Justin felt to Brian after the morning they’d spent together, he realized he knew very little about the man himself.

 

Who was this man? He’d been pondering that question all week long. Why did Brian have all these strange things - items that Justin hadn’t seen or heard of before and gadgets that seemed so inexplicable. Even more perplexing, how did Brian know all those things he shouldn’t have known? How could he possibly have known about the prior night’s air raid BEFORE it happened?

 

When Justin had told his CO that he’d heard rumors from an American friend about a coming raid, the commander’s first question was who he’d heard the information from. He’d said only that it was an American acquaintance who was here in London as a war correspondent and that Justin couldn’t confirm the source of the information but that he’d thought it prudent to pass the intelligence along nonetheless. The next question was how well did Justin know this reporter - the intimation being, was there any reason to suspect the ‘rumor’ came from a foreign agent with ulterior motives? Justin hadn’t really been able to answer his CO on that subject, because he’d wondered the same thing more than once.

 

Who else but a German agent would know the exact date of a German air raid?

 

Despite everything, though, Justin didn’t believe it. He didn’t think Brian could possibly be a German spy. Not the Brian he was coming to know. Even setting aside his personal connection to Brian, though, he just couldn’t see someone who spoke about the Nazi’s with such disgust and horror  ever working for the Germans. The hatred in Brian’s voice when he’d spoken of the atrocities he claimed the Nazis were committing was too real. No, despite the evidence to the contrary, Justin didn’t believe it.

 

That didn’t negate the possibility of Brian being a spy for some other foreign power, though. There were a lot of other governments interested in the course of this monstrous war. If Justin had to guess, he would have to say Brian most likely represented the Americans in some way. Which would explain the dodgy credentials.

 

That was, of course, problematic for Justin as an RAF Officer. Even though he was American too, Justin felt no loyalty to the country that had refused his offer of service merely because he happened to be queer. Instead, he’d pledged himself to the Royal Air Force and the British government that HAD accepted him, and for now his only loyalty was to Britain. So, if Brian really was an American spy, that meant Justin needed to keep his guard up around Brian even as their relationship deepened.

 

Maybe he was being naive thinking that this thing with Brian could work under such trying circumstances. Perhaps he should break it off? How could you have any kind of real relationship with someone you inherently couldn’t trust? Not that Justin didn’t trust Brian with his body - he did, even more so after that glorious morning - but he wasn’t sure he could trust him on a more professional level. He’d always be afraid he was giving away some critical piece of information without even realizing it. How could you love someone with that always hanging over you head?

 

As Justin finished tidying up after himself in the W.C. and started to make his way back to Brian’s room, he reluctantly came to the conclusion that this fling with Brian was doomed from the start. He was going to have to break it off. He simply couldn’t seriously pursue this relationship. It was impossible. What was he thinking?

 

The minute Justin opened up the door to the room, though, all thoughts of ending things with Brian evaporated from his brain. The gorgeous man was lying there on his back, in the bed, the sheets puddling low around his hips, leaving most of the man’s long, lean body fully revealed. Applesauce! That was one amazing specimen of manly beauty! Every single line of Brian’s well-defined frame was simply perfect. Justin had never seen anything that alluring in his entire life.

 

As Justin watched, Brian startled a little without waking fully and then rolled over onto his side. He seemed to be searching for something in his sleep. When he didn’t find it, the man pulled one of the pillows close to his chest, hugged it and murmured ‘Blue . . .’ before he settled down into a deeper slumber again.

 

“Applesauce!” Justin whispered, his heart melting all over again.

 

‘I don’t care if he IS a spy,’ Justin thought as he set the ditty bag back on the dresser, pulled off his clothes again and then crawled into the bed behind the sleeping beauty. ‘How could I NOT want this magnificent man?’

 

Curling around Brian and wrapping his arms around the warm sleeping body, Justin realized he was in far too deep already. He couldn’t break things off with Brian. The man had already got under his skin. He couldn’t possibly do without him now.

 

And once that was settled in his mind, Justin finally drifted off, falling asleep with the man he already loved too much held tightly in his arms.



Brian awoke several hours later to the dim yellow light from the afternoon sun shining through his hotel window. His arms felt heavy from being wrapped around his sleeping blond boy for the last few hours. Fuck, he couldn’t remember the last time he’d slept the day away like this, but they’d both obviously needed it.

 

“What time is it?” Justin mumbled sleepily, his voice muffled from being pressed up tight against Brian’s side.

 

Brian lifted his arm lazily, glancing at his watch. “Almost four.”

 

“Mmm, I haven’t slept this well in months,” Justin replied as he snuggled closer and wrapped his arm around Brian’s waist tightly.

 

“Yeah?” Brian kissed the top of Justin’s head. “I’m glad. You feeling okay?”

 

“I’m good.”

 

Brian rolled them over so that he was lying in between Justin’s legs. “I mean . . . are you sore?”

 

The young man’s cheeks turned a delicious shade of pink and he looked everywhere but at Brian. “Uh . . .”

 

“It’s okay if you are,” Brian smiled. “It’s normal.”

 

Justin wiggled around nervously. “A little, yeah.”

 

Brian kicked the covers off and wrestled the wriggling man still. “Let me take a look.”

 

He could literally feel the heat radiating off of his embarrassed little Blue Eyes’ body as he spread the young man’s cheeks and blew cold air onto Justin’s exposed hole.

 

“It looks a little red,” Brian mumbled, as his fingers brushed along the swollen bud, making his blond squirm. “I’ll pick up some cream for you before next time. That should help. But you’ll be fine,” he soothed, using his tongue to stab gently at Justin’s entrance.

 

Justin reached down and tangled his hands in Brian’s hair.

 

“You taste so good,” Brian breathed heavily as he brought a thumb up to his mouth and sucked on it briefly, before working it inside Justin’s tight hole, massaging the tense muscles that only hours before had been massaging his dick. He groaned loudly just thinking about it.

 

Justin planted his feet heavily on the mattress and gripped Brian’s head tightly between his legs as he squirmed against the older man’s face and rocked himself against that expert tongue.

 

“Brian . . . I . . . I’m . . .”

 

Justin didn’t need to tell Brian he was close; the way his ass clenched around the experienced man’s tongue told him enough. Brian kissed and licked and sucked and nibbled until he was sure his boy was done.

 

“That was . . .”

 

“Wonderful? Fantastic? Mind blowing?”

 

Justin threw his head back and laughed. “I was going to say it was a dilly, but I think I want to change my answer to mind blowing.”

 

“So,” Brian grinned as he crawled his way up Justin’s body and stopped to kiss that beautiful pale belly. “What do you want to do for the rest of the day?”

 

Justin started to answer, when all of a sudden, his stomach rumbled loudly.

 

“Well, I think that answers my question,” Brian laughed at the way Justin covered his pinkening face with his hands. “I just had my tongue up your ass, and THIS embarasses you?”

 

Justin kicked him off his body and sat up. “That’s different.”

 

“Whatever you say, Blue Eyes.”

 

Justin ignored Brian’s teasing and continued on. “We could go to The White Lion for some grub, maybe?” He suggested. “Daph makes the best Spam Hash.”

 

Brian’s stomach churned at the thought but he agreed anyway.

 

The two got dressed quickly and headed downstairs. On the way out the hotel’s door, a porter ran over, holding out a piece of paper and calling Brian’s name.

 

“Here’s the information you requested on Miss Hastings, Mr. Kinney, Sir.” The porter handed him the small, folded piece of paper. “I delivered the food as you asked, Sir. The woman was right chuffed, getting all that grub and all.”

 

“Oh, good. Thanks for handling that,” Brian replied distractedly, stuffing the note into his pocket and pulling out his wallet as he spoke. “Here you go. I appreciate the great service.”

 

Brian handed the man a five pound note, ignoring the gasp of wonder from the man who was holding out the note like he’d never seen anything so beautiful in his whole life. He really did need to do some research into the relative costs of things back here in 1941, he thought to himself privately. He was tired of getting that shocked reaction to his generosity. Not that he really cared about the money - especially since he could always have Cynthia print up some more if he needed it. But it was getting a little embarrassing.

 

Brian quickly turned back to his blond and ushered the boy out before he had to listen to the porter’s streams of gratitude. Justin was looking at him with that indulgent smile of his, like Brian was some confused little boy who didn’t understand money at all. Whatever. They had no idea how difficult it was to be a time traveler and keep all that shit straight.

 

Luckily, Brian had regained his usual aplomb by the time they reached the White Lion. That was almost shattered, though, the minute they walked through the pub’s doors and were greeted by a rousing cheer from pretty much all the patrons. Justin, predictably, blushed so pink that it looked almost like his face was on fire. Brian just rolled his eyes, huffed in annoyance and avoided looking at everyone as he shouldered his way through the crowd to an unoccupied table at the back.

 

Before he’d had a chance to sit, Fancy was in his face, hanging off him like a limpet, with a stranglehold on Brian’s neck. “Here he is - my saviour!” Fancy pronounced loudly enough so that everyone in the bar could hear. “If it weren’t for THIS man, I’d have been crushed to death along with all the other unfortunates on Maiden Lane last night, and my father would have got his dearest wish . . . never having to lay eyes on me ever again.” Fancy turned his adoring eyes up to Brian, “How can I ever repay you, kind sir?”

 

“Letting go of my neck would be a good start,” Brian grumbled as he attempted to peel the man’s hands away.

 

“Back off, Fancy,” Justin warned as he quickly inserted himself bodily between the clingy queen and Brian. “Don’t you have someone else to paw at? A sexy saxophonist, maybe?”

 

“Oh, you’re so so cute when you’re jealous like that, Sunshine,” fancy teased him. “But until you’ve sealed the deal, I would argue that Handsome here is fair game for everyone.”

 

“Yeah, well . . . like I said, back off,” Justin insisted, glaring at his friend in a very possessive manner.

 

“My, my, my! Sunshine, does that mean what I think it means? Did our little baby finally take the big leap?” Fancy asked with all the nosiness a true flaming queer could bolster. “Have you finally become an Able Grable like the rest of us?”

 

Justin didn’t have to answer Fancy’s question, seeing as the fact that he had turned a bright crimson and refused to look anyone in the eye completely gave away the nature of their activities that day.

 

“Oh! Isn’t he adorable?” Fancy fawned, putting his arm around the young blond’s shoulders and giving a familiar squeeze. “It’s about time you finally got yourself deflowered, though, Sunshine. We were beginning to doubt you were capable . . .”

 

“Oh, trust me, Blue Eyes is MORE than capable,” Brian cut in with a knowing wink towards his boy. “In fact, he was capable multiple times in multiple ways.”

 

“Brian!” Justin gasped, glaring back at him and hissing, “we talked about this! I don’t think it’s appropriate to let everyone know my business . . .”

 

“What?” Brian asked, going for innocent but failing completely. “Come on, Blue Eyes. It’s not like they’re under any delusions that we spent the whole day holed up in my hotel room playing checkers.”

 

“Oooo - that’s what I’m going to call it from now on! ‘Playing checkers!” Fancy posited gleefully. “As in, ‘Sam and I were playing checkers last night and I let him king me!’”

 

That got a round of jubilant laughter from all.

 

“I figured you were more a poker player, Fancy,” Brian interjected. “You look like the type who’d like an ‘Ace in your hole’!”

 

And after that, the conversation just devolved into raunchier and raunchier humor until Brian’s embarrassed little Blue Eyes apparently couldn’t take it anymore and, with flaming cheeks, got up and fled the table.



Justin got up to get them both drinks, too embarrassed to continue listening to Brian and the rest of the boys trading jokes and stories about their various sexual escapades.

 

He was going to have to have another talk with his lover about being so blatant. Brian really needed to be more careful - Justin couldn’t afford to have rumors about him getting around, even if the talk was all meant in jest. His career was at stake, and it wasn’t a laughing matter. Not to mention the fact that it embarrassed the heck out of him. But for now, he’d hold his tongue and let the boys have their jokes. He didn’t have to sit around and listen to it though.

 

While ignoring the jokesters and watching Daphne pour out two pints of the best, Justin remembered to ask her what it was they’d all been doing in Brian’s bed when he’d walked in on them that morning.

 

“Ooh, tweren’t nothin’, Sunshine,” Daphne reassured him, correctly surmising that he was a little miffed at her. “We was up all night palaverin’ and on’y got to sleep ‘round dawn when we was sure the raid was over. If yer Brian ‘adn’t given away our beds down in the Palace’s shelter, we’d’ve ‘ad some shut eye earlier, but ‘at one’s got a big ‘eart, dontcha know it. ‘E gave our sleepin’ cubicle to a young girl an’ ‘er son who got caught out in the middle o’ the raid and ‘ad no place else ta go. ‘An ‘e paid for her dinner and such ta boot,” Daphne beamed a smile over in Brian’s direction, obviously quite fond of the generous man. “So’s, since we ‘ad no beds, we decided to jes stay up drinkin’ all night instead. An’ when we finally got the All’s Clear, we was too tired to go further ‘an your Brian’s room. ‘E was nice ‘nough to let us both impose on ‘im a little bit more an’ we all fell inta bed right there and then. Above an’ beyon’, I’d say, seein’ as ‘e already saved our skin by gettin’ us to the shelter in the first place.”

 

“I’m glad he managed to get you to someplace safe,” Justin replied. “I was really worried about you, Daph.” She waved off his concern as she set the two fresh pints in front of him. “How’d he manage to get you to go with him after all? I thought he’d have a hard time talking you into it - you’ve told me, I don’t know how many times, you’d rather be here than in a shelter.”

 

“An’ I would, too. On’y, yer Brian went an’ kidnapped me, so’s I din’ ‘ave a choice now, did I?”

 

“Kidnapped you?” Justin was incredulous. “He wouldn't . . .”

 

“Yep. ‘E would an’ ‘e did. I told ‘im the same thing I always tell you, Sunshine, but he wouldn’t listen, o’ course. ‘E went and threw me o’er ‘is shoulder and carried me out o’ here like a sack a’ oatmeal, ‘e did! Right big bully,” Daphne complained, but with an indulgent smile on her face. “E’s got nice strong arms, ain’t ‘e?”

 

“Yes, he does,” Justin agreed with another blush.

 

“So, what’s the deal with ‘im knowin’ ‘bout the raid ‘fore it ‘appened, huh?” Daphne asked, leaning in so as to ensure they weren’t overheard. “‘E said e’ told ya ‘bout it before’and. What do ya think?”

 

“I don’t know what to think, Daph,” Justin replied. “He did tell me about it and . . . Well, the only explanation I can see is that he’s got inside information from someone. How else would he know in advance exactly what day the German’s were going to bomb us?”

 

“So, yer think ‘e’s a spy or summit?” Daphne whispered, getting only a shrug from the RAF officer. “Well, I don’ b’lieve it, Sunshine,” she responded confidently. “I may not know yer Brian as well as yer do,” she grinned at him and winked, “but I seen ‘ow ‘e is ‘round you. ‘An I seen ‘ow he was wiv that young girl last night. ‘E’s a right good ‘un if you asks me. Nope. If ‘e’s a spy, then I’ll eat my ‘at.”

 

Justin sighed and looked over his shoulder at where Brian was still joking with Fancy and Lucky at the table in the corner. “I don’t know, Daphne. I want to agree with you. I really do. I . . . Jeepers, Daphne - I’ve never liked anyone the way I like him, you know? But, I just don’t see any other possible explanation for how he knew about the raid in advance.”

 

“Well, I do . . . But, yer may not like it, Sunshine,” Daphne stated, once more leaning over the bartop to whisper confidentially. “‘Im bein’ a spy might’a explained ‘ow he’d know the date of a raid, but it wouldn’t explain ‘ow he’d know NOT to take us to the Maiden Lane shelter . . .”

 

“Huh?” Justin asked, not following.

 

“It were the strangest thing, Sunshine,” Daphne continued with her explanation. “After ‘e picked me up and dragged me out ‘o here wiv Fancy taggin’ along, ‘e insisted we go ta The Palace. Francy tried to get ‘im to go along to Maiden Lane, tellin’ ‘im it was closer an’ all, but yer Brian, ‘e says, ‘we’re goin’ ta The Palace ‘cuz IT was never bombed.” Daphne straightened up, looking at Justin with a knowing glint in her eye. “I din’ think nothing o’ it at the time, mind you. We was kinda busy dodgin’ fire bombs an’ all, yer know. But, later, after I started thinkin’ on it, it struck me right strange. ‘Ow in the world would ‘e know NOT to go to Maiden Lane, huh? Or that The Palace would be safe? A spy might know the date o’ a bombin’, Sunshine, but ‘e’d have no way o’ knowin ‘xactly WHERE the bombs would be landin’, would ‘e?”

 

“So . . . what are you saying, Daph?” Justin asked, looking a little stunned.

 

“I don’t bleedin’ know. ‘Cept . . . Well, my old Granny Chanders was said to ‘ave the second sight, you know, an’ she could tell ya when ta bring in the wash ‘cuz a storm was comin’ or what time the bread boy would show wiv the day’s delivery wiv’in a quarter hour. Always give me ta collywobbles when she done ‘at, ya know? It was right uncanny.”

Justin simply shook his head at his fanciful friend. He’d never been the superstitious type. He really didn’t believe in the occult or second sight or anything like that. However, he didn’t have any alternate explanation to offer Daphne about the matter either. And there certainly was something inexplicable about Brian Kinney . . .  


*********

 

Music Selection - Contrasts by Jimmy Dorsey .

 

Slang:

-Collywobbles - intense anxiety or nervousness, especially with stomach queasiness.

-Y-Fronts - a British term for men’s underwear, especially the kind of cotton briefs with a y-shaped panel over the crotch.

-Ditty bag - a term derived from sailing days/the Navy for a man’s toiletries kit. Ditty Bag History .

-Able Grable - 40s slang term for a woman of loose morals.

 

Research - Yes, we researched whether every one of Brian’s toiletries would have been recognizable to someone living in 1941. Most of them wouldn’t be and even the ones that were - like toothpaste, shampoo and dental floss - would have appeared quite different in Justin’s time. Remington was making electric shavers at the time, but their manufacturing was actually put on hold during WWII and only military could buy them, not civilians.


The strangest thing to Justin would probably have been the packaging all these items came in since modern plastic bottle and tubes didn’t come around till the 60s or 70s. Cellophane packing did exist at the time but wasn’t common. And the only type of hard plastic they had was Bakelite which wasn’t really used in packaging. Most toiletries items of the 1940s would have been packaged in glass bottles or jars, or (more rarely after the war began) metal tins and tubes.

Chapter Text



Chapter 18 - ‘S Wonderful.



“Is that stomach monster of yours finally satisfied, Blue Eyes,” Brian asked after Justin had eaten all of his Spam Hash and more than half of Brian’s.

 

Justin leaned back in his seat and rubbed at his rounded stomach. “I think so. He’s good for an hour or so, at least. Why do you ask?”

 

“Well, you told me I couldn’t ask the janitor up to help with my heating problems, so I’ve been waiting for you all week, Blue Eyes. You didn’t think you’d be getting away from me that fast, did you?” Brian whispered in the young man’s ear, sneaking a little bite to the tender lobe before he sat up grinning. “Besides, you said you wanted to learn everything I could teach you, and I’m not even started yet.”

 

“There’s more?” Justin asked with wonder in his tone.

 

“Sooooo much more, little boy,” Brian purred.

 

Justin abruptly jumped to his feet and trotted over to the bar. “Daphne, we’re leaving,” he stated with a kiss to his friend’s cheek.

 

Brian followed him a little more slowly, tossing the spare coins he had in his pocket on the top of the bar as a tip for Daphne. Before he left, though, Justin saw Brian pause for a moment, as if thinking through something complicated. The way the big guy’s face was all screwed up, it seemed like he didn’t care much for whatever conclusion he was coming to.

 

“Daphne . . .” He hesitated again even after he started to speak, but then took a deep breath and plowed on anyway. “Tomorrow night, the 19th, you need to be in a shelter again. It’s gonna be just as bad as last night, maybe worse.”

 

Daphne froze in the act of wiping down the bar and focused her gaze on Brian’s face with an apprising look. “Any partic’lar shelter this time, ‘Andsome?” She asked with a sideways glance Justin’s way.

 

Brian shook his head with a ghost of a smile. “Nah. I think they’ll all be okay this time. At least around here. Just be careful getting there and back. Don’t wait till the last fucking minute this time, okay?”

 

“Will do, Love. Thank yer fer the ‘eads up.” She nodded and smiled at Brian, who rapped on the counter with his knuckles twice, pointed to her and nodded back before turning to follow Justin out of the bar.

 

When they were a couple of meters down the street, walking  shoulder to shoulder in a companionable silence, Justin finally spoke up. “So, I’m assuming you can’t tell me how you know there’s going to be another raid tomorrow, right?”

 

“I’d rather not,” Brian replied without looking Justin’s way.

 

“You’re as confident about this one happening as you were about last night’s?”

 

“Unfortunately, yes,” the big guy answered.

 

Justin shoved his hands in the pockets of his trousers, hunching his shoulders and kicking at a small rock on the sidewalk. What was he supposed to think? What was he supposed to say? Brian’s prescient knowledge was completely inexplicable. How the heck could his otherwise rational and down-to-earth lover know these things? And not only did Brian know the exact date of ANOTHER raid, but he seemed confident that he knew which shelters would be safe. That was impossible, right? How was Justin supposed to react to his information? What was he supposed to do with this knowledge?

 

“Are you going to be flying tomorrow night?” Brian asked, interrupting Justin’s spiraling thoughts.

 

“Yeah. I have tonight off since Hobbs is back on rotation, but I’m supposed to be on again tomorrow.”

 

Brian sighed heavily. “I wish . . . Fuck, I don’t know what I wish.” Brian finally looked over at Justin. “I know you love flying - that it’s your job - but I just . . . Oh, fuck it.” He fell silent again, leaving Justin wondering what Brian was thinking inside that complicated mind of his.

 

They walked in silence for another few minutes, both so immersed in their own thoughts they didn’t have space in their minds for conversation. They were heavy thoughts too. So heavy that it actually slowed both men’s steps to the point that they were merely shuffling along. Finally, though, Justin came to a conclusion that he hoped would relieve at least his half of the problem.

 

“I don’t want you to tell me about any other raids you might happen to know about, Brian. Okay?” Justin voiced his request, stopping and turning to face Brian as he spoke in order to emphasize how serious he was about the matter.

 

“But . . .”

 

Justin cut Brian off before he could voice whatever his ‘but’ entailed. “I’m sorry, Brian, but I mean it,” he insisted. “See, the thing is, I can’t do anything with the information . . . I can’t keep telling my CO that I know about these raids in advance - he already has questions about how I knew of the last one, and if I tell him about this next one, there will be no end to all the questions. I was able to avoid telling them about you last time, but if I speak up again, they’re going to haul your rear in there and interrogate you till they get to the bottom of it. And since I don’t particularly want my lover being subjected to whatever torture the RAF Intelligence Service thinks is appropriate, I really can’t say anything.”

 

Justin looked up pleadingly at the taller man, hoping Brian would see his sincerity. “But that puts me in a really tough spot, Brian. I’m an RAF officer. I owe the Service my loyalty. And not only that, if I fail to tell the CO something that might save lives - including maybe my own life . . . Well, I can’t ethically NOT tell them without feeling like I’m to blame for any harm that comes to any of my fellow service members.” Brian nodded, obviously seeing the dilemma Justin was being put into. “So, since I can’t say anything without hurting you, and I can’t not say anything without it weighing on my conscience, I’d really rather just not KNOW.”

 

“I get it, Blue Eyes,” Brian replied sadly. “But, that leaves me in almost the same situation. If you had knowledge that could save lives - specifically the life of someone you . . . you really cared about - and you didn’t use that information to help them, could you live with yourself if they later got hurt because you didn’t say something?”

 

“Hmm,” Justin hummed, thinking how confusing this had become in such a short time period. “I don’t know what to do, Brian. I really don’t see any solution.”

 

“Fucking Catch 22,” Brian mumbled.

 

“Huh?” Justin asked, confused again by Brian saying stuff he didn’t understand.

 

“Catch 22 . . . You know, a paradoxical situation that has no good solution . . .” Brian started to explain and then caught himself. “Damn. That book hasn’t even been written yet, has it?” Justin looked at him even more confused. “Never mind,” Brian shook his head with a huff of unamused mirth. “The point is that we’re stuck.”

 

“I don’t want to give you up, Brian,” Justin asserted, defying the world enough to reach out and grab his man’s hand even though they were in public. “It would kill me . . . But if you can’t do this . . . If you can’t honor my wishes on this, then I can’t continue seeing you. I just can’t. I’m sorry.”

 

“Even if YOUR life might depend on the information I have, Blue Eyes?” Brian asked, looking so serious and intent that it gave Justin pause for at least a minute as they stood there together in the street with crowds of people passing by them.

 

Justin thought about it, but in the end, that didn’t change his analysis. “Even then, Brian. I just really don’t want to know.”

 

“Fine,” Brian replied after a heart-stopping pause. “I don’t like it, Blue Eyes, but I can see your point.” He gave Justin’s hand a squeeze and then let go. “I won’t say anything more. I promise.”

 

“Thank you, Brian,” Justin responded, all of a sudden unsure if he’d done the right thing and maybe a little disappointed that Brian had given in so easily.

 

“Come on,” Brian spoke up as he started walking again. “I’ve had enough of this introspection shit for one night. I’d rather fuck while we can, Blue Eyes.”

 

“That’s not exactly reassuring, Brian,” Justin responded as he trotted the few steps needed to catch up with his lover.

 

“Fucking is ALWAYS reassuring,” Brian insisted, a little loudly.

 

“Oí! Language, Mate,” a random passer-by admonished him.

 

Brian only shrugged and kept on walking. “Fucking is the only way you know you’re really alive. It’s the best way to tell the universe that you don’t care what the hell it’s agenda is. You’re not going to give in. You’re going to keep on living no matter what it hurls at you. So we fuck and say ‘fuck you’ to everything else.”

 

Justin might not have said it quite like that, but he did have to agree with the sentiment. That was the same attitude that got him through every single mission he flew. It was the motto the citizens of London had lived by since the beginning of the Blitz. It was the only way they could go on. They defied the Germans just by continuing to live. And Justin figured that it was as good an approach to life as any in wartime.

 

“Excellent plan, Brian,” Justin agreed and picked up his pace so as to make it back to Brian’s hotel that much quicker and thereby put that philosophy into action as soon as possible.

 

Brian seemed just as intent on getting started on their new pact as Justin and was taking such long steps as they neared the hotel that Justin almost had to jog to keep up. They ran up the front steps and into the hotel together. With a glance, they seemed to come to a mutual agreement that waiting for the elevator would take too long, so they both turned to the stairs without a word. And even after three flights of steps, they were both still so intent on their goal that they didn’t stop to catch their breath until they tumbled through the door and landed in a heap together on the bed, arms and legs already entangled.

 

While they rolled around, kissed, groped and moaned, a part of Justin's mind was engaged in wondering how he’d become this depraved after only such a short time of knowing the enigmatic hazel-eyed brunet. He’d never been the demonstrative type. He’d always been so restrained. Always worried about being found out. Caught. Exposed. But in just a couple of weeks, Justin had found himself essentially freed from all those constraints. He felt slightly out of control, but at the same time, so freed that he couldn’t really care sufficiently to stop himself. This thing - Brian and everything the man did to him - felt so liberating that Justin seemed to be turning into a different person. And he really didn’t care either.

 

In fact, he was feeling so abandoned right at that moment, that he didn’t seem to have any inhibitions left at all. It wasn’t Brian that was driving him at this point. Justin was the one flailing at their clothing, desperate to get to naked flesh, so intent on his goal that he actually ripped a couple buttons off his shirt in the process. Once he got his own clothing off, he practically attacked Brian to get the older man’s clothes all the way off as well. And the next thing he knew, Justin was rolling them both over, straddling the larger man’s body, and manhandling Brian into position beneath him.

 

At first Brian seemed to be just as caught up in the moment as Justin had been. However, as soon as the young pilot reached over to the side table and grabbed the ribbon of condoms Brian had left there earlier, the older man seemed to take notice of what was going on. Before Justin could grab the bottle of lube, Brian reached out and snatched it away.

 

“What, exactly, do you think you’re doing, little boy?”

 

“I’d think that would be obvious, Handsome. I’m going to put the lessons you taught me earlier today into practice,” Justin announced with a bold assertiveness that caused Brian’s right eyebrow to raise questioningly.

 

“I don’t think so, Blue Eyes. What gave you the idea that your second time out of the chute you'd be taking charge?” Brian questioned, plucking the condoms out of Justin‘s hand and then using his greater weight to flip them both over.

 

“I’m a fast learner,” Justin asserted, trying to grab back a condom packet even as Brian held them aloft, just out of his reach.

 

“Not that fast, Justin. NOBODY’S that fast.”

 

But, while Brian was distracted trying to keep the octopus boy’s hands away from both the lube and the condoms, Justin deftly squirmed out from underneath the larger man’s body and, in a move too quick for Brian to stop, he managed to wrap one arm around a long lean thigh, heave it up high enough to gain some leverage, and then overturn his lover once again. While Brian was still trying to figure out what the fuck just happened, Justin pinned him to the mattress, his one hand pressing with sufficient pressure at the base of Brian’s neck to hold the surprised Stud in place without completely strangling him. The other hand then skillfully yanked the ribbon of condoms out of Brian’s hand.

 

“What the fuck! Get the hell off me, little boy,” Brian demanded, beginning to struggle.

 

“I told you I was a fast learner,” Justin repeated with a huge grin on his impish face. “So fast that I was the squadron champion in our hand-to-hand combat course during basic training.”

 

“Yeah, well, when I need to take out a platoon of enemy commandos, I’ll give you a call, Soldier Boy. In the meantime, get the hell off me,” Brian ordered, biting off the words with a tone that sent immediate warning flares up in Justin’s mind.

 

Justin, of course, had simply been playing around. He hadn’t meant anything by his seemingly aggressive actions. But it seemed that Brian was taking it all much more seriously. Justin thought he might have even detected the tiniest spark of panic in the usually unflappable man’s eyes. There was clearly something here that he wasn’t seeing yet.

 

“Sorry, Brian,” he instantly apologized as he quickly rolled off his lover’s body. “I didn’t mean to get so rough. I guess sometimes my military training just takes over in the heat of the moment. Are you okay?”

 

“Of course I’m fucking okay,” Brian growled as he practically vaulted off the bed and stalked over to the dresser to get his pack of cigarettes and lighter.

 

Justin laid there on the bed, wondering what the heck had just happened while Brian puffed at his fag like a locomotive engine. He thought Brian was overreacting a bit, but judging by how agitated the man was, there had to be a reason behind it. The young man knew enough from listening to the talk of his friends at the White Lion that he understood different men approached sex differently. Some of the guys there had said point blank they’d never let anyone cornhole them, while others professed repeatedly that they loved it. He’d always been doubtful about the idea himself, although he’d still wanted to try it at least once just to find out what it was all about. Now that he’d enjoyed the experience, he knew he wanted to do it over and over again. He didn’t know why anyone wouldn’t. But it seemed like Brian - as open-minded and experienced as the man professed to be - apparently belonged to the group not willing to be on the receiving end of things. Justin figured there had to be some story behind that decision, but he wasn’t going to push for it yet. He and Brian were still too new for that kind of discussion. He would let it slide for now, but planned to get back to it later.

 

He also planned to eventually get back to the idea of HIM getting a chance to try out his lessons on his lover.

 

For now, though, Justin was more than happy to be on the receiving end a few more times. And Brian HAD assured him there was a lot more still to learn. He really did want to experience EVERYTHING Brian had to offer, so it wasn’t a hardship to assume a less dominant role for the time being. If he could only cajole his skittish lover back into their bed.

 

“I really am sorry, Brian,” he apologized again, crawling to the foot of the bed so he could reach out and grab his lover’s arm. “Please come back.” Brian blew out a lungful of smoke and seemed to relax a bit in the process. “Come on, Handsome. I’m eager to see what my next lesson is. If it’s as amazing as my last one, I might just pass out before we’re done,” he added with a coquettish giggle that he hoped would entice Brian from his foul mood.

 

Brian looked down at Justin, shook his head with a trace of a smile and crushed out his cigarette in the ashtray on the dresser. But he did let Justin tow him back to the bed. Before he was out of reach of the dresser, though, Brian grabbed hold of his ditty bag and brought it with him.

 

“You do know that I’m going to take that as a challenge, right?” Brian asked, looking at Justin with a predatory gleam in his eye. “I mean, if I DON’T make you pass out now, I’ll feel like I’ve failed.” Brian smirked down at the waiting blond. “Are you sure you’re ready for that, Blue Eyes?”

 

Justin, who was simply glad that Brian had snapped out of his funk so quickly, merely smiled up at the man. “I think you’ve got your work cut out for you, Handsome. I can take multiple g-forces while flying without passing out. I don’t think sex is going to do it - not even sex with the likes of you. But you feel free to give it your best shot, though.”

 

“Oh, little boy, you have no fucking idea . . .” Brian said with a chuckle. He then unzipped the little leather bag, dug around inside, and came out with the mysterious shaking silver bullet thing that Justin had been curious about earlier. “Normally I would have held off on the orgasm denial lesson until much later, but since you claim to be such a quick learner, I think I’ll step up my training plan.”

 

“Orgasm denial?” Justin asked, not really sure he liked the sound of that.

 

“Yep.”

 

“O-kay . . . So, then, what’s that thing supposed to do?” Justin asked, now eyeing the shaking bullet with distrust.

 

“Roll over and you’ll see,” Brian insisted, prodding at the younger man’s hip with the cold tip of the metal bullet.

 

Justin was torn between trepidation and curiosity. He was starting to get an idea of what the shaking bullet thing was for now. Was Brian really going to stick the thing up there? He supposed it couldn’t be any worse than having Brian himself inside him. But why would it shake? And did Brian seriously intend to try and make him pass out? Would that be a good thing? Applesauce, maybe he shouldn’t have said anything about that passing out thing.

 

“Come on, little boy. School’s in session and you’re gonna be late to class unless you get on your stomach and get your ass in the air in the next thirty seconds,” Brian ordered, poking more insistently with the shaking bullet.

 

Reluctantly, Justin complied, rolling over and pulling one of the fluffy down pillows under his chest to support himself. He could feel the mattress dip as Brian kneeled down behind him, nudging his legs further apart so he had room. Justin gasped when the cold metal of the bullet touched the skin between his shoulder blades and then lightly trailed down his spine. He was already so hard his cock was dripping with jism, and Brian had barely even touched him yet. The anticipation itself was enough to practically make the randy young man ejaculate. He didn’t exactly know what ‘orgasm denial’ was, but he thought Brian was going to have a tough time with it at the rate he was going.

 

“Good boy,” Brian whispered, leaning over his back closely enough so that Justin could feel the heat of the other man’s body just millimeters from his skin even though they weren’t actually touching. “Now, this, Blue Eyes,” there was a small whirring of a motor and Justin could feel the bullet thing start its shaking as the tip was pushed against the very base of his tailbone, “is called a ‘dildo’.” The shaking moved a hairsbreadth lower, just barely touching the tender flesh of his crack. “It’s a VERY handy little device. You’d be amazed what I can do with one. And I’m going to teach you every single trick . . .”

 

The thing slid a little lower, passing over his hole and moving inexorably down till Justin felt it pressing hard against a spot somewhere between his hole and his balls. It seemed to be a very sensitive spot, too. A spot that caused him to gasp as he felt an amazing twinge of pleasure. His body instinctively tried to arch up, so he could get more of the wonderful sensation.

 

“Oh no you don’t,” Brian huffed out a laugh as his free hand pressed down on Justin’s lower back, holding him in place.

 

That was okay, though, because the pleasant, tingling vibrations were still zapping through him.

 

“Nice, isn’t it?” Brian asked with a soft chuckle . . . just before he pulled the pleasantly rumbling little toy away from Justin’s perineum. “Unfortunately, since you’ve been a bad boy, you don’t get to have that. Not for long, at least.” Justin gave an unhappy little grunt that only made Brian laugh again. “Welcome to the Advanced Placement course on orgasm denial, Blue Eyes. Hope you weren’t planning on getting any rest tonight. It’s going to be a long lesson. Better start taking notes, little boy.”

 

“How is NOT touching me with your shaking bullet thing going to make me pass out, Brian,” Justin asked, a hint of irritation rising in his tone at having the fun little bullet thing taken away.

 

“Oh, never fear,” Brian chuckled evilly again. “I’m definitely going to be touching you with it.” He punctuated his statement by shoving the bullet - now slicked with lube and the vibration mechanism turned on to high - quickly into Justin’s unprepared hole, causing the young man to cry out, although it was more from surprise than pain. “I’m just not going to let you enjoy it too much.” The vibrations stopped abruptly. “Not until I’m ready. And by then you’ll be begging me to let you come. Which is when the passing out will happen.” The vibrations started again, on high, as Brian pressed the gadget upwards so that it made direct contact with that spot inside Justin that caused him to see sparks. “Trust me, Blue Eyes. YOU might be an ace pilot, but I’m a master of the sexual arts.”

 

“Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” was all Justin managed to say in response.

 

And then, just when the level of pleasure started to spiral upwards, Justin felt the bullet being yanked out of him, roughly enough that it actually stung a little, and the crescendo of pleasure crashed down again leaving the boy panting.

 

“You gonna take back that challenge now, Blue Eyes?” Brian asked, leaning down to lick his way up the younger man’s back all the way from his tailbone to his hairline. “I can make you come in only seconds, if you want me to, you know. Or I can draw this out all night. Until you’re screaming for me to let you finally come. Begging me. Pleading with me.”

 

Justin felt Brian’s teeth nibbling at his earlobe, the moist heat of his breath tickling over his cheek. Brian’s hands were now wrapped around Justin’s wrists, holding them immobile. But except for his wrists and the lips touching Justin’s ear, the only other point of contact between them was where Brian’s hard and leaking cock was lightly tickling across his lower back as Brian twitched his hips from side to side. It was so intoxicating and yet not enough. Justin wanted more. He needed to feel all of Brian. He desperately wanted to be touched. He needed to be touched. But he was also a stubborn, proud, determined young man and unaccustomed to giving in to anybody. He couldn’t just back down now, could he?

 

“Last chance, Blue Eyes,” Brian hummed in his ear. “Take back your challenge now and admit that I can make you pass out or else I’ll HAVE to prove it to you.”

 

“I ADMIT that you’re annoying as all get out, Brian. But I still don’t think you can make me pass out. Heck, at this rate I’ll be coming in less than five minutes, and then where will you be, Handsome?” Justin teased, bucking his hips backwards with enough force to finally make full body contact with the man hovering over him.

 

Brian actually laughed at his lover’s braggadocious words. “Okay, little boy. You’re on. Let the games begin.”

 

Justin shivered at Brian’s words.

 

Undoubtedly, Justin’s ego would someday be his downfall. Just like it was that day. Because after an hour, or two, or ten - he really had no idea how long he’d been lying there - he came to the conclusion that Brian was probably going to kill him instead of just making him pass out. In fact, passing out would actually be welcome at that point. He’d long since passed the point where he’d started begging. Brian, though, seemed to have gone completely deaf though just carried on with the exquisite torture without relenting even a tiny bit.

 

And that darned shaking bullet thing . . . Well, if that thing wasn’t illegal under the Geneva Convention, it definitely should be. In Brian’s hands it should be considered a deadly weapon. The way he would tantalize with it, using it one minute to slide in and out of his rear end so smoothly, all happy vibrations and pleasure, only to have it pulled out without warning, or shoved deeper and the shaking thing pulsed on and off intermittently without warning, or poked into his prostate without any predictable rhythm, or, the worst of all, having it completely taken away just when he was enjoying it . . . Like he said, it should be illegal to do that to a poor, helpless RAF pilot like that.

 

By the time Brian had rolled Justin over onto his back, and started sucking on his dick, he was so exhausted he felt like his body was turning into a boneless sack of jelly. But even then, Brian didn’t relent. He simply refused to give Justin the release he needed. The begging, pleading, bargaining, even the threats, didn’t seem to work. He would just keep licking, sucking, nibbling and whatever, right up until juston started to feel that happy little tingle of delight starting in his gut and then . . . Brian would ruthlessly pinch back his mounting pleasure without thought.

 

Finally, Justin totally lost his cool and screamed - forgetting completely where they were and that the other hotel guests might be able to hear them through the paper thin walls - telling Brian to fucking get on with it and fuck him already, damn it!

 

“Oooo! The Boy Scout CAN actually curse after all,” Brian teased with an evil grin. “But, since you asked so nicely, I suppose maybe it’s time to give you what you want. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you, Blue Eyes.”

 

Justin rolled his eyes, or at least he thought he did, he was so fucking exhausted he couldn’t be sure.

 

“Are you ready, Blue Eyes? Hold on tight.”

 

Justin obediently wrapped both hands around Brian’s sweaty biceps and held on for dear life.

 

“I didn’t mean that quite so literally,” Brian laughed as he leaned down and kissed the hell out of the blond’s swollen lips. “But I like it, so keep ‘em there,” he grinned.

 

Somewhere in the haze of the night, Brian had apparently already put on a condom and was lubed up. Not that Justin’s ass needed any more lube at this point, probably. But when Brian pulled the shaking bullet out for the last time and then replaced it with his own, nice, warm, thick cock, it felt almost like coming home. It was comforting. It was . . . nice.

 

“That’s my boy,” Brian cooed as he slid all the way home, pausing at the apex of his thrust, and panting slightly, seeming to need to catch himself.

 

Justin’s fingers turned white from how hard they dug into the tops of Brian’s arms and he squeezed his eyes shut tightly as wave after wave of pleasure overtook him. By this point, though, Justin was too worn out to care. He simply lay there and let the experienced older man take care of him. And it felt so amazingly good. He felt almost like he was floating.

 

Plus, this time, when the happy tingling started down by his navel and spread outward to his balls and his dick and his everything . . . this time Brian didn’t stop right at the best part. The initial tiny electric sparks just smoldered and grew and flared up and started to blaze and then, almost before he was ready - which was ridiculous, right, after Brian had kept him hanging on the edge like that for hours, but it was still true - the fire inside him exploded in a conflagration that washed over his whole body from the inside out, leaving Justin gasping and writhing. When it was at its height, he heard himself yelling Brian’s name and thought maybe he was crying too, but he didn’t feel sad. Not in the least. So why was he crying?

 

A heartbeat later, Justin felt Brian convulsing on top of him and then the reassuring weight of the big body draped itself over him, helping to quell the ongoing trembling in Justin’s own limbs.

 

Justin felt completely empty. Right at that moment in time, he didn’t need or want anything. He just wanted to stay right where he was with Brian’s cock still resting inside him and Brian’s body blanketing him and Brian’s scent anointing him. He felt like he belonged to Brian completely. And he was more than happy with that feeling. He never wanted to leave this place ever again.

 

Which was the last thing Justin remembered before it all went happily black.

 

When Justin finally became fully conscious again, he woke up to the sound of an odd whimpering sound and Brian’s calming voice murmuring something. “Shhhh, Blue Eyes. Shhh. It’s okay. It’s okay.”

 

Oh. Apparently that whimpering was him. That was strange. Justin didn’t feel sad or hurt or upset. He felt completely sated in a way he’d never dreamt was possible. But he supposed he’d better try and control the noises his body was making without his permission before Brian thought he was a mental case or something.

 

“I’m . . . I’m . . . I’m okay. I’m okay.” Justin managed to gasp out the words in a shaky voice that didn’t even sound like him.

 

Brian didn’t seem convinced though. He tried to roll off the top of the mewling mess of boy, reaching down to disengage himself from down there. But that only caused a new round of whimpering and complaints of, “don’t go. Please don’t go.” Dang nabbit! Justin seriously needed to get a grip on himself. “I . . . don’t . . . I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” he hiccupped.

 

“Shhh! Nothing’s wrong with you,” Brian soothed, as he used one hand to try and calm down his emotional Blue Eyes, while the other gripped on tightly to the base of the condom.

 

“If nothing is . . . if nothing is wrong,” Justin sniffed loudly and wiped his arm across his face, “then why the heck am I crying?”

 

Once more, Brian started to pull out, which only made Justin wrap his legs even tighter around Brian’s body and pull him in closer. “Stay inside me,” Justin pleaded, exhaling loudly as he tried to calm his thumping heart.

 

Brian pulled his hands away from his softening dick and brought one hand up to play in the matted blond hair of his sweaty lover, while using the other to support his body weight. “Only for a second, ‘kay?”

 

Justin nodded. “What . . . what just happened?”

 

“You passed out. I warned you I could do it,” Brian replied teasingly. “But you’re okay.”

 

“I don't feel okay,” Justin sniffed again as he wiped absentmindedly at the copious amount of drying cum on his chest and stomach. “I’ve never had so much of this . . . stuff . . . come out of me before.” Applesauce! Why did he keep on talking, he was making himself sound like such a fool.

 

Brian grinned proudly. “I’m not surprised. I doubt you’ve ever had an orgasm like that in your entire life.”

 

“But why am I crying? I promise you it’s not because I’m sad. I’ve never . . . *sniff* . . . never felt better.”

 

“Don’t let it shake you, Blue Eyes. I told you this was the Advanced Placement course. Edging is like that. That’s the whole point of it. You end up losing yourself when the release finally comes. Trust me, kiddo, you’ll be fine,” Brian stated confidently enough to almost convince Justin of the truth behind his words.

 

“So you don’t think I’m a pathetic mess?” Justin asked hopefully.

 

“A mess, maybe, but not pathetic. You did just fine on that lesson, Blue Eyes. In fact, I’d say you passed with flying colors,” Brian assured him, adding in a kiss to affirm the statement. “But now I really do have to pull out or we’re going to have to have a lesson in fishing for a lost condom . . . which isn’t really my favorite lesson and I’d prefer to leave that for later . . . much later.”

 

“Okay . . .” Justin muttered, feeling so lethargic now that the emotional waves had passed by him that he couldn’t have held onto Brian any longer even if he’d wanted to.

 

A second later and Brian was gone, leaving him feeling even more empty, but this time in a good way. “There you go, Blue Eyes. You just rest now. I’ve got you . . .” Brian’s words seemed to fade out, but he could feel the man’s strong arms still wrapped comfortingly around him. A few minutes later, right before Justin fell asleep for good, he felt Brian gently wiping him down with a warm wet cloth. “Mmmm. Good . . .” was all he managed, and then he was out for the rest of the night.



*Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep*

 

*Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep*

 

*Beep, beep, beep, beep, beep*

 

Justin was pulled out of the most restful sleep he thought he’d ever had by the musical trilling of Brian’s strange little light box clock thing. He rolled away from where he’d been using Brian’s chest as a pillow and stretched his arms out above his head. Mmmmm. He felt so good. So happy. So . . .

 

Sore!

 

Applesauce. His rear end felt like it was on fire. What the heck was that all about?

 

And then the night before started to come back to him and Justin blushed so hotly he felt like his cheeks were going to catch the pillow he was hiding his head in on fire.

 

“Good morning, Sunshine,” Brian sang out as he plopped back down on the bed next to the flustered young man. “How’s my wanton little sex pot doing this morning, hmmm?”

 

“Don’t look at me,” Justin mumbled through his pillowy protective barrier. “I can’t believe I . . . we . . . did . . . well . . . THAT . . .”

 

Brian seemed to find Justin’s protestations hilarious, and broke out laughing so hard he was rolling around on the bed. “Aw, Blue Eyes, you’re fucking adorable. You know that, right?” When Justin still refused to let him pull the pillow away from his face, Brian slapped him playfully on his bare ass. “Come on, Justin. I spent, like, two hours, with my tongue up your ass last night and YOU’RE the one who’s embarrassed?”

 

Justin heard him but still wasn’t going to come out.

 

“Whatever,” Brian said, his tone amused. “You’re welcome to hide out here all day, if you really want, but I’ve got to go. As much as I would love to spend another day lying around here fucking you silly, I’ve got meetings and work shit I’ve got to get done.”

 

“You’re leaving?” Justin asked, sticking his head out enough to speak clearly and pouting just a little.

 

“Yep. Sorry, Blue Eyes, but I have to go make some money so I can afford my stylishly lavish lifestyle,” Brian answered, rolling over to leave a kiss on Justin’s exposed shoulder since there weren’t any other kissable spots available.

 

“I guess I should probably get up too, then,” Justin admitted as he reluctantly came out from under his pillow. “I never did make it back to my rooms yesterday and I haven’t been there in a week.” When he realized Brian was still lying there next to him looking at him, though, Justin almost retreated back under his pillow but in the end decided instead to man up and deal with the situation head on. “I . . . I’d like to thank you for . . . well, everything . . . Yesterday and last night . . . It was . . . It was all so amazing that I don’t have words for it, Brian. Thank you.”

 

“It was my pleasure, Blue Eyes,” Brian answered with a smirk. “I don’t think anyone’s ever thanked me for fucking them before, though.”

 

“Well, if you . . . you know . . . did THAT to all the others, then they really should have thanked you,” Justin insisted even though he knew he was once more blushing like a fool. “You’re a great teacher, Brian. You deserve thanks. And more . . .”

 

“Anytime, little boy. Anytime.” Brian turned away, obviously done with the whole gratitude thing, and got back to his feet so he could pull on a pair of pants. “How about we get cleaned up and blow this popsicle stand then?”

 

“Popsicle stand?” Justin gingerly shimmied off the bed, wincing at the way every single movement hurt his rear end. “Ow.”

 

“You okay, Blue Eyes?” Brian looked at him with concern.

 

“Just a little sore,” Justin admitted.

 

“Let me look,” Brian insisted, coming back over and basically pushing the younger man down on the bed again so he could carefully examine Justin’s behind. “Hmmm. It’s red and a little swollen, but I don’t think there’s any real tearing. Do you have some lotion at home? I’ll remember to get some before next time.”

 

“I’ll be okay. I think,” Justin asserted, even though he wasn’t one hundred percent sure of that fact himself. “I just wish I didn’t have to fly tonight. How the hell am I going to sit in a cockpit for hours during a mission?”

 

“Well, you could always call out sick,” Brian suggested with a hopeful look.

 

“I don’t think so. They don’t give us days off for homosexual sex injuries, Brian.” Justin returned Brian a defiant look.

 

“Just be careful, okay . . .” Brian started to speak, but then fell silent as soon as he remembered their pact not to speak about whatever it was that Brian might know.

 

“I will, Brian. I promise. And you be careful too, okay?”

 

“Will do, Blue Eyes,” Brian said with a resigned nod. “Now, since neither of us is getting any younger and we’ve both got places to be, let’s get the hell out of here and get on with our day. Sound like a plan?”



********

Chapter Music Selection: 'S Wonderful by Benny Goodman

 

Research: Not really. Unless you count that hour or so TAG spent alone in the bedroom getting inspired to write the shaking bullet scene and the rimming videos Sally was forced to watch for purely academic purposes, of course . . . (TMI?) Oh, and if you haven’t ever read ‘Catch 22’ by Joseph Heller, why the hell not? It’s the most amazing book about WWII ever (well, one of them, at least) although it wasn’t published until 1961 so Justin wouldn’t have read it yet . . . Catch 22 .

 

Slang:

-Fag - Believe it or not, back in the day, the word ‘fag’ meant a cigarette, not a gay man.

Chapter Text



Chapter 19 - Where or When.

 

Brian squinted as he looked at the tiny clock at the bottom of his computer screen and sighed heavily. Today was for shit, he was tired and cranky, and he wanted nothing more than to get the fuck out of there and check in on his Blue Eyes, who he’d been up worrying about most of the night due to the most recent fucking air raid back in 1941.

 

It was almost 4:00pm and because of the dumbasses in the art department, it didn’t look as though he’d be leaving for at least another couple of hours. He didn’t care that there was a five hour time difference and that the folks back in Pennsylvania had only had a couple hours to work on the revisions he’d requested. Brian needed that shit yesterday. He’d have to have a little talk with Cynthia and see if she could help him scare some of those good for nothings into actually doing some work he could use.

 

He rubbed at his temples as he tried to relieve some of the pressure from the headache that had been slowly building all day, but had suddenly come on with a vengeance.

 

“Knock knock,” Cynthia grinned as she rapped lightly at Brian’s open door.

 

Brian fucking hated it when people did that - and Cynthia knew it too. But, after he practically begged her to come join him in London and help them get this project done, he couldn’t very well complain about her overly cheerful demeanor, could he? Especially not if he intended to have her play pitbull for him with the art department geeks.

 

“Okay. I think they got it this time, Brian. Take a look at this and see what you think,” Cynthia stated as she slid around Brian‘s desk and made her way to his laptop. “Ohh! Who is this cutie? I haven’t seen him before. This wouldn’t happen to be the reason you keep disappearing on the weekends, would it?”

 

Brian looked up from the file he’d been pouring over to see a picture of a sleeping - completely nude - Justin fleeting across the screen of his computer as the wallpaper function cycled through the pictures he’d uploaded the day before. He’d covertly snapped the picture the morning after their long debauched night while Justin was still sleeping. The young blond had looked so completely adorable in his thoroughly fucked out state, that Brian hadn’t been able to resist. The pic must have gotten mixed in somehow with the file of photos the Munchers had sent him of Gus.

 

Damn. Now he was going to have to somehow explain Justin to Cynthia. At least in part. Not that she’d ever believe him if he did try and tell her the truth. But he knew his dogged PA would never let up until he gave her something. She could be fucking relentless.

 

“Come on, Brian. Spill. You know I’ll get it out of you eventually, so you might as well make it easy on yourself and just tell me the bare deets now.”

 

“His name is Justin. He’s 20. He’s an RAF pilot. And he’s got one of the nicest asses I’ve ever seen in my entire life,” Brian explained, taking her at her word and only giving her the very minimum of details. “Satisfy you?”

 

“For now, I suppose,” Cynthia relented, hitting the spacebar on the laptop in order to bring the computer to life. “When I need more, I’ll find him myself, and ask directly.”

 

“Yeah. Good luck with that,” Brian chuckled at the thought of finally stymieing his assistant’s otherwise phenomenal research powers by letting her try to find Justin . . . seventy-five years in the past. “Now, as fascinating as my sex life is to you, how about we actually do some real work for a change? Show me what the art fuck-ups got wrong this time.”

 

“Oh ye of little faith,” Cynthia teased him as she pulled up her email and downloaded the file in question. “I think they might’ve done it right this time, or at least mostly.”

 

They spent another fifteen minutes going over the artwork. Brian was happy to note that the mock ups were almost correct this time. With only a few minor adjustments, they’d be ready to present to Britcom the following day. Which meant he could finally get the fuck out of there for the night.

 

As they were tidying up the various files and piles of paperwork, Brian remembered one additional item he needed Cynthia to take care of for him. “Not tonight, but at least before the end of the week, I need you to find a small flat or a cheap long term hotel suite for Gus and his moms. I’ve talked them into coming over to visit starting the end of May. You’ll have to call Lindsey to coordinate the exact date and find out how long they’re going to stay but I think it will be at least three weeks, maybe longer.”

 

“That’s wonderful, Brian. I know you’ll enjoy having Gus here. And he’ll love having his daddy take him around to see all the sights in London.”

 

“Let’s hope so. I’m actually looking forward to spending a little time here with Gus. I’ve got some fun ideas of places to take him. As long as the muncher’s are busy doing their own thing, it’ll be fine.” Brian closed up his laptop and shoved it into his briefcase, then remembered one other stipulation for Cynthia. “Oh, and whatever you do, I do NOT want them in this same hotel. If Lindsay gets that much access to me, she’ll never leave me alone. In fact, maybe you could find some spa in the countryside to send the girls to for at least a week? They’d enjoy that.”

 

“And you'd get more time alone with Gus,” Cynthia caught on right away. “Consider it done, boss.”

 

Brian scanned over the office area one last time, making sure he hadn’t forgotten anything, and then followed Cynthia out, turning the light off as he left. The hotel’s office facilities were quite convenient, and he didn’t mind working there, although it was a bit of a pain to have to clear all of his paperwork out every single night when he left. It was cheaper than hiring offices of his own while he was in London, though. At least now that Cynthia was there she could take on some of the administrative duties.

 

“So, I’ll get the final mock ups done, and have VanGuard overnight the originals to us for delivery tomorrow by ten. Anything else you need before I head out tonight?” Cynthia asked as they stepped into the elevator together.

 

“No. That’s all I need. If they can just get that one thing right, we’ll be sitting pretty.” Brian hit the button for the sixth floor.

 

“I’ll text you later if there are any problems, but I think it’ll be fine.”

 

“Um . . . I’m going to be away again tonight, Cyn,” Brian warned. “You won’t be able to reach me by phone. Just get it done and have it ready by tomorrow. I trust you. You’ll know what to do.”

 

“Hmmm. So, I take it, it’s not just his ass that has you coming back for more? Otherwise you wouldn’t be looking for a rerun, would you, Stud?” Cynthia questioned as Brian left her at the door to her room without answering and continued down the hall to his own suite.

 

Once inside his room, Brian quickly pulled off the Varvatos suit he’d been wearing that day, grabbed a quick shower and then got out one of his more classic Savile Row suits. He packed an overnight bag, making sure to add in a few surprises he thought his Blue Eyes might enjoy, and then hurried to dress. He couldn’t wait to get back to 1941 and reassure himself all was well there.

 

As he was loading his pockets with wallet, keys, lighter and phone, Brian’s fingers found the slightly crumpled note he’d shoved in the inside jacket pocket two days - and seventy-five years - before, detailing the contact information for one Vera Hastings. He’d totally forgotten about little Harry and his mother. Brian hoped they’d be okay and make it through the war in one piece, although their situation had seemed a bit tenuous. It might be interesting to look them up here in 2016 and see if he could find out what happened to them.

 

‘One more thing,’ Brian texted to Cynthia. ‘Not a priority, but I need you to research what happened to a boy named Harry Hastings. He was three in 1941. Mother’s name was Vera. Father killed in the war. Their address at the time was . . .’ Brian finished typing out all the information he remembered about the boy and asked Cynthia to see if she could locate him today, then he put his phone back in his pocket and headed out the door, on his way to Duckett’s Passage.



After making it safely through the portal, the first thing Brian noticed when exiting the alleyway was the extent of the destruction that surrounded him. There was debris strewn throughout the streets, buildings teetering in danger of falling over and craters everywhere. Heavy smoke still filled the air hours after the raid had ended. Brian watched as firemen and members of the National Fire Service worked to contain some of the burning buildings that were threatening to crumble around them. He had to carefully pick his way around some of the more damaged areas, and even detour around one block altogether.

 

This was far worse than Brian had expected, despite the fact that his research had told him that the April 19th bombing was going to be bad. Just reading that the raid would be the second biggest of the Blitz - not counting the inception of the Battle of Britain at the start of the war - and that Germany had sent over seven hundred bombers to London that night dropping over one thousand tons of high explosives, hadn’t impressed him as much as seeing the effects in person. He supposed matters had been exacerbated by the back to back bombings, but still, the situation appeared dire. The devastation was huge and he could feel his heart pounding in his chest the closer he got to The White Lion pub.



Making his way through the rubble, Brian laughed bitterly as he thought about how he really wasn’t built for this 1940’s bullshit. Back in 2016 he’d always considered himself brave enough; he never took shit from anyone and, while he tried to be smart about picking his battles, he didn’t back down from a fight once he knew it was inevitable. But here in 1941, he felt completely out of his league. This was somehow more REAL than his real life back in his own time. And compared to what these people were living through day in and day out, he felt like a coward.

 

As he approached James Street, the road where the pub was located, Brian’s panic increased. He took in the rubble and debris that used to be the local Butchers with a worried glance before noticing the Chemists on the corner was gone too. The neighborhood was a total shambles.

 

What if he’d been wrong? What if he’d misread the interactive map he’d found online that showed him the White Lion would be safe? What if reality was different for some reason this time around in some way he couldn’t have predicted? What if Daphne hadn’t listened to him and had stayed behind at the bar amid all this chaos? Damn it to fucking hell!

 

Brian sprinted the rest of the way to the pub, jumping over fuck knows what whenever his path was blocked, and didn’t stop until he pushed through the doors to the bar. He breathed a sigh of relief as soon as he saw Daphne standing behind the counter. From all appearances she seemed her usual unflappable self, smiling and joking with one of her customers, not a hair on her pretty head out of place. Brian let himself relax just a tiny bit.

 

But the next moment, his eyes were darting around, desperately looking for the one other person he needed to see; the one other person he needed to know was safe. Brian wouldn’t feel completely relaxed until he found his Blue Eyed Boy. And for a brief second he was hopeful when he spotted a group in the corner that included a couple of RAF officers, some of whom he’d seen Justin talking to previously. He immediately turned towards the group, only to stop in his tracks before he’d taken a step. Even from this distance, Brian could already see that his Blue Eyes wasn’t with them.

 

“Allo, ‘Andsome,” Daphne greeted from her spot at the bar behind him, grinning as she took in the puffing and panting man in front of her. “Run all the way ‘ere did yer?” she teased.

 

Brian nodded and took the pint of best that she pushed towards him.

 

He gulped down the warm drink and wiped at his mouth. “Blue Eyes . . . you seen him?” he asked, still panting a bit.

 

Daphne shook her head. “Nah, not since b’fore the raid I'm ‘fraid. ‘E musta ‘ad a busy night, what wiv all them Gerries flyin’ ev’ry which way all night.”

 

“Wouldn’t he have been back by now? The raid was supposed to have ended by dawn and you still haven’t seen him?” There was a sinking feeling in Brian’s gut.

 

“Eh, mate! You wouldna be lookin’ fer our Sunshine, would ya now?” one of the RAF guys who had come up to the bar to get a refill asked as he handed his glass off to Daphne.

 

“Yes. Do you know where he’s at?” Brian asked, annoyed not only by the fact that his blond was missing but also because of the telltale hint of panic he could hear in his own voice.

 

“Aye. I seen him just this morning after our mission,” the RAF bloke responded in a broad scottish accent that Brian found difficult to follow. “He was blethering about like a braw wee bampot at first but then he went all peely-wally and says as how he was a goin’ to have to stop in hospital.”

 

“The hospital?” Brian felt the lump of dread in his stomach growing. “What happened? Was he injured during the mission? What hospital?”

 

“Sorry, Mate, but I do nae rightly know. He just skedaddled aff with nae another word. But he’s a braw lad. I’m sure he’ll be tidy in no time.” The scotsman raised his pint to Brian, as if to toast the health of his comrade. “Slainte!”

 

Even though Brian wasn’t one hundred percent sure what the guy had just said, the man’s flippant attitude wasn’t reassuring. The bottom line was that his Blue Eyes was in the fucking hospital and that couldn’t be good. And the worst part was Brian didn’t even know WHICH hospital to go to. Fucking hard-headed, stubborn, too-fucking-brave-for-his-own-good blond . . .

 

All Brian could think of would be to go to the boarding house where Justin roomed and see if anyone there would have more information on where to find him. He knew that there were several other members of Justin’s squadron rooming there. At least one of them would have to know something concrete about what had happened to his blond, right?

 

Without even a word of goodbye to Daphne, Brian dashed out the door and down the street, back through the destruction of the West End.




It didn’t take Brian long to reach the small boarding house where Justin was staying. Thankfully, this neighborhood didn’t seem to have taken as heavy a hit from the bombing as the more commercial streets closer to the river. He knocked loudly on the door and, before anyone even had the chance to answer, he knocked again.

 

Before long he could hear someone stomping down the stairs on their way to answer the front door. “Alright, alright, I’m comin’, keep your bleedin’ ‘air on, would yer.”

 

An older lady, her blue-tinged, white hair gathered up in a paisley-print kerchief, answered the door, an apron tied around her waist and a feather duster clutched in her hand. “Can I ‘elp yer?” she snapped, causing Brian to hesitate. “Well, get on with yer, sonny. Yer caught me at a bad time. I was in the middle of dustin’ me mantle piece.”

 

“I’m . . . uh . . . I’m looking for Justin Taylor.”

 

“‘E ain’t here. ‘E ain’t returned aft’r last night’s shenanigans,” she replied belligerently. “Now, if yer will excuse me, the ‘ouse ain’t gonna clean itself, is it? Blasted Gerries, causin’ such a ruckus an’ always makin’ a mess. I been cleanin’ night and day to keep up wiv all the dust they keeps raisin’.”

 

“Wait,” Brian said, more desperately than he would have liked, as he held his hand out to stop her from closing the door on him. “One of the other RAF pilots told me he was hurt and was off to the hospital, but I don’t know anything else. I just wanted to see if any of your other boarders might know something or tell me where to find him. Doesn’t Justin have a roommate? Is he here? Maybe he knows something?”

 

Mrs. McCready shook her head and tutted loudly. “‘Old on, let me see if ‘es ‘ere,” she told Brian. “Christopher!!!!” she shouted loudly up the stairs. “Are yer upstairs?”

 

“Is everything okay down there, Mrs. McCready?” Chris called as he jogged down the stairs, a look of concern on his face as he met his landlady in the hall.

 

“Everythin’ is fine an’ dandy wiv me, but this bloke, ‘ere,” she pointed to Brian, “‘e’s askin’ about Justin. Somethin’ ‘bout ‘im bein’ take’ to ‘ospital, or sommit?”

 

Chris's face turned to stone when he saw who was standing right behind Mrs. McCready. “Oh, it’s you. What do you want?” he grumbled.

 

Brian gritted his teeth but, since he needed information from the cretin, he had no choice but to play nice with Hobbs. “Someone at the pub told me that Justin was in the Hospital. I was trying to find out what happened and if he’s okay.”

 

“I’ve got this, Mrs. McCready,” Hobbs said to the older woman who was standing there looking impatient to get back to her dusting. “Why don’t you go back inside and when I’m done out here, I’ll make you a cup of tea.”

 

Both men watched as the older lady went inside and continued on with her dusting as she made her way through the front room. The slimy little snake may be able to fool this sweet little old lady into thinking he was the perfect gentleman, but Brian wasn’t fooled. He saw right through Hobbs’ bullshit. As soon as Mrs. McCready was out of sight, though, the beefy bully boy turned back to Brian with a sneer on his face.

 

Hobbs said nothing and waited with his arms crossed in front of him for Brian to make the first move.

 

“I was at the White Lion earlier looking for Justin, and Curly mentioned something about Justin having to go to the hospital . . . I was wondering if you’d heard anything?”

 

“In hospital you say,” Hobbs snickered. “What happened, Nancy Boy break a fingernail or something?

 

Brian’s fists clenched tightly and he had to physically stop himself from lunging at the little piece of shit standing in front of him; Hobbs wanted a reaction from him and he’d be damned if he was going to give him one.

 

“Listen, you don’t like him, I get it,” Brian spat out bitterly. “But just tell me what you fucking know, and you’ll save us both a lot of trouble, okay?”

 

Hobbs pulled a cigarette out of his pocket and lit up, leaning back heavily against the now closed front door and puffing away like he had all the time in the fucking world.

 

“Well?” Brian asked bitingly, as he waited for Hobbs to say something . . . anything.

 

This guy was a fucking tool. And Brian wanted nothing more than to wipe the smirk off of that prick’s face, but he couldn’t. They weren’t in 2016 - they were in 1941 - and things were different here. No matter how much he wanted to teach this little shit a lesson, he had to have some sort of self control. He had to think about Justin and the young man’s desire to safeguard his career.

 

“What the hell business is it of yours where Taylor’s at? You seem to be spending an awful lot of time together if all you wanted was an interview for some stupid newspaper.” Chris looked Brian over from head to toe with a wary, apprising gaze as he flicked the ash off the end of his cigarette. “I'm thinking you're more interested in Taylor’s backside . . . Oops, I meant back STORY.” The puerile little snicker Hobbs gave to punctuate his sentence did nothing to alleviate Brian’s growing annoyance with the man. “Either way, you’re out of luck, because we’re under strict orders not to give out any information about troop casualties without prior written authorization from HQ. So, it looks like it’s time for you to hit the road, Jack.”

 

“Damm it, Hobbs. Quit being an ass. Just tell me where I can find Justin already, and I’ll leave you the fuck alone.” Brian growled, reaching up to rest a hand against the door which Hobbs seemed ready to slam in his face.

 

Hobbs apparently misinterpreted the motion as Brian about to take a swing at him and he reacted by grabbing Brian's wrist with his right hand and a handful of Brian’s lapel with his left. “You want a piece of me, Buddy Boy? Huh? I’m not afraid of a big old poof like you. So, if you want to dust it up, go right ahead,” the stocky airman snarled, the smoldering cigarette clamped in his spittle-flecked lips about two inches from Brian’s face.

 

“Get your fucking hands off me before you only have stubbs left to jerk off with, Hobbs,” Brian snapped back, and then used his free right hand to reach down and take a steel-fingered grip on Hobbs’ undefended package. “Assuming, that is, that you have anything left to jerk off afterwards,” he added with a nasty grin and a vicious squeeze as the bully boy’s face went instantly pale.

 

“Brian? What the haystacks is going on here?” The confrontation between the two was interrupted as a curious blond boy stepped up next to them, looking at them both like they’d gone round the bend.

 

“Blue Eyes? Are you okay?” Brian almost immediately forgot about Hobbs, dropping his grip on the other man’s genitals and shrugging off Hobbs’ hands as he turned to greet his boy. He barely even noticed the way Hobbs sank to his knees, panting. “That guy, Curly, said you were in the hospital. I thought maybe something happened on your mission last night.”

 

“Pfft. It was no big deal, Brian. I just popped a couple of the stitches in my shoulder,” Justin shook his head with a deprecating gesture. Then he added, with a twinkle in his eye, “I think I probably overdid it the night before, and then, when I did a sharp barrel turn to avoid a wing of Gerries trying to dive bomb me last night, I hit it against the canopy of my plane and that was all it took. But it’s fine, really.”

 

“Damn, Justin, you had me worried. I stopped in at the White Lion and nobody had seen you yet, so I . . .”

 

Justin waved off Brian’s worries. “The infirmary was packed - they’re helping out with the civilian casualties from the raid last night, so I had to sit there and wait my turn for over four hours. It was incredibly boring. I actually fell asleep at one point.”

 

“If your tearful reunion is about over,” Hobbs interrupted them, back on his feet and seemingly recovered from the struggle with Brian, although still a bit pale, “can I close the damned door already or not?”

 

“Fuck off, Hobbs,” Brian sniped distractedly, already dismissing the man and their prior battle of wills.

 

“You need to watch yourself, Kinney,” Hobbs replied snidely, pulling Brian’s attention away from Justin for a moment. “You might think you’re a big deal or something, but as far as I can see, you’re just another sick-minded rump rider. I don’t like your kind. And if you EVER touch me again - especially there - me and my boys will track you down and break every single one of your fairy fingers. You hear me?”

 

“You know what, Hobbs? You’re not going to do that,” Justin intervened moving around so he was standing between Brian and Hobbs. “And you know why you’re not?” There was no answer other than the bully boy glaring down at the shorter blond as he casually tossed aside the stub of his cigarette. “Because Brian is attached to the US War Department and you and I both know we’re under standing orders not to engage in any contact with foreign governments in any capacity. So, if I hear about you going after Brian again - of if he even gets mysteriously injured - I’ll have no choice but to report you and this conversation to HQ.” Hobbs’ face changed from glaring to a look of veiled fear. “And you know how much Britain is hoping to entice the US to join the war effort, so I don’t think they’ll be very happy with you if antagonize one of their operatives. I believe the penalty for disregarding that particular order is immediate discharge . . . If you don’t get hit with a treason charge first, that is.”

 

“You . . . You wouldn’t,” Hobbs spluttered disbelievingly.

 

“Oh, believe me. I would. And I’d enjoy doing it too.”

 

“Damned poofs . . . Ganging up . . . Disgusting fairies,” Hobbs muttered, turning around without another word to Brian or Justin and slamming the door of the house in their faces.

 

“You think that was wise, Blue Eyes?” Brian asked, his eyes betraying how worried he was. “I don’t give a flying fuck what Hobbs thinks of me, but you need to make sure you don’t get on his bad side. He can hurt your career if you make him into a real enemy, Sunshine.”

 

“You let me worry about Hobbs and my career, Brian. I can take care of myself. I’ve been dealing with knuckleheads like Hobbs all my life. They’re mostly bluster. Besides, I couldn’t let him threaten my man, now could I?”

 

Brian smiled. “No, we couldn’t have that now, could we.”

 

Brian wasn’t going to tell the kid how adorable he was, calling him ‘his man’, or anything like that, but secretly, it gave Brian a little bit of a thrill. He’d never been anyone’s anything before and, surprisingly, he found he didn’t mind it one little bit. So, as they walked together back towards Brian’s hotel, he didn’t say much. He was too busy enjoying the company and the knowledge that, for a change, someone was standing up for HIM.



Justin sighed tiredly as he plopped down on the sofa in Brian’s suite back at the hotel. “Are you sure you don’t mind not going out?”

 

“I told you it’s fine,” Brian assured him as he loosened his tie and threw his suit jacket lazily over the back of the sofa, sinking down onto the cushion next to Justin. “Why do you think I suggested we just come back here.”

 

Justin shifted uncomfortably in his seat. “I, uh . . . Well, I know you probably want to . . . to do what we did the other night . . . But, well, it’s just that I’m feeling rather . . . sore, is all.”

 

Justin looked away, seemingly unable to meet Brian’s eyes, his blushing so fierce that it looked almost like his cheeks were on fire.

 

“Justin . . . Blue Eyes, that’s not . . . that’s not why I brought you here,” Brian struggled to express himself. “Not that I would mind a little of that, but if you’re tired, then we can just hang out. Besides, I feel . . . well, I feel a little bad about the fact that I . . . I shouldn’t have worked you so hard, you know. Seeing as you’re new at all this and all . . .” Brian felt just as awkward talking about this as Justin seemed to feel. “In fact, I actually have something for you.”

 

Brian reached over and grabbed his overnight bag, which he'd dropped just beside the sofa. He rifled through the contents for a moment, eventually pulling out his toiletries kit and then unzipped that to extract a small tin he’d put in there before he left 2016. With a little flourish, he presented the gift to Justin.

 

“Here you go, Blue Eyes. This stuff is great. It should fix you right up in no time.”


Sweet Cheeks Butt Butter

“What is it?” he asked as he popped open the lid and took a sniff. “Mmm, whatever it is, it smells wonderful.”

 

“It’s cream for your ass,” Brian grinned cheekily. “It’s really soothing and will help bring down any swelling.”

 

Justin laughed softly and his cheeks flushed again, turning a delicious pink as he read the name on the front. “Butt Butter . . . I can’t believe they can get away with calling it that. Where the heck do you find this sort of stuff anyway?”

 

“Ah, now that would be telling now, wouldn’t it?” Brian tapped his nose teasingly. “Come on, get those pants down and I’ll help you put some of this stuff on.”

 

“You wanna . . .you wanna help me put it on . . . down there,” Justin asked embarrassedly.

 

Brian wrapped his arms around his blushing blond and kissed his cheek. “Justin, It’s not like I haven’t seen it before.”

 

“I know, but this is different.”

 

‘He’s just too fucking adorable,’ Brian thought to himself, wondering vaguely just how many times he’d used that lesbianic word to describe the boy, and then deciding not to care about it because as long as he didn’t say it out loud, nobody would know, right?

 

“Blue Eyes, I would hope you remembered this very important fact, but I very recently had my tongue up your ass, so putting a little cream on there is really no big deal.”

 

Justin bit his lip nervously, not looking Brian in the eyes.

 

“Okay,” he mumbled quietly. “How do you want me?”

 

There were so many fucking answers to that question, but none that Brian could say out loud - not right then anyway - so instead, he helped Justin take his pants down and kneel on the sofa with his arms resting against the back and his rear end poking out at eye level once Brian had kneeled on the floor.

 

“Are you comfortable?”

 

Justin had his head buried in his arms so his response was muffled. “Yeah . . .”

 

Brian thought the boy didn’t sound very convinced, but he wasn’t going to make it worse for the kid by saying anything. Instead, he just set to work. Unscrewing the top off the Butt Butter, Brian inhaled deeply and scooped some onto his fingers.

 

“Mmm, you were right, this stuff does smell good.”

 

“I don’t recognize the smell . . . what is it?” Justin asked, as he lifted his head slightly to look at Brian over his shoulder, smiling shyly when he saw Brian positioned at his ass.

 

“Coconut and . . .” Brian turned the tub in his clean hand and read through the ingredients. “Lavender and apricot oil.”

 

“Holy smokes, no wonder it smells so good. I don’t think I’ve smelt anything so exotic in my life,” Justin explained honestly. “It smells good enough to eat.”

 

Brian had to bite his lip to stop himself from saying anything, because he was thinking that very same thing himself . . . except not about the cream, but the rather pale, yet deliciously perky bubble butt in front of him. With one hand placed on Justin’s lower back, he used the other to gently spread the cream around Justin’s tender hole, watching in fascination as the little pucker quivered at the cold intrusion.

 

Justin hissed.

 

Brian instantly slowed down his movements. “Does it sting?”

 

“No.”

 

“You telling me the truth?”

 

“Yeah . . . it feels really nice, actually. It’s just a little sore.”

 

“It will be for a day or two more,” Brian told him as he bent down to get a closer look. “It’s red and a little swollen, but nothing bad. I think you’ll live to fuck again, Blue Eyes. At least you didn’t tear.”

 

Justin’s head spun around. “That can happen?”

 

“Only if you’re not careful,” Brian assured him as he gave his butt cheek a nice little kiss. “I tried to make sure I prepared you well and we used lots and lots of lube, which helps. And, even though we went at it a little hard, I would never do that to you. I promise.”

 

“I know. I trust you, Brian.”

 

“I’m glad to hear that, Blue Eyes.”

 

“But I think the cream is all rubbed in now,” Justin laughed as Brian continued to stroke and caress his butt lovingly.

 

Brian sighed dramatically. “I’m afraid you’re right about that,” he said as he gave both cheeks a nice squeeze before helping Justin pull his hideous boxers back up so as not to get any cream on the cushions.

 

“Thank you, Brían,” Justin grinned. “It feels better already. You’re taking very good care of me. Or of my ass at least.”

 

“Well, seeing as I was partly to blame . . .”

 

“Partly?”

 

“Okay, seeing as I was completely to blame,” they both laughed, “it was the least I could do.”

 

Justin let out a wide yawn and stretched, groaning in pain as he raised his sore shoulder. “Ahh, Applesauce, I’d forgotten about this darn thing.”

 

Brian made his way towards the bed, stripping his clothes as he went, leaving himself decked out in only his black Armani boxer briefs.

 

“I have an idea. Clothes off, Sunshine . . . although you can leave those ugly ass boxers of yours on if you like . . . and then climb in.”

 

“Huh?”

 

“We’re taking a nap, Blue Eyes. I didn’t sleep well last night and I know you got no rest, either, so come on and get your ass in here.”

 

“You know you’re kind of pushy, right?” Justin teased as he slowly got up off the sofa and made his way over to the bed where Brian was patiently holding up the covers for him.

 

“Hush. Get in,” Brian ordered.

 

Justin giggled but followed directions, making himself comfortable as soon as Brian joined him by curling up along the bigger man’s side and snuggling up against him so that he could use Brian’s shoulder as a pillow. Brian didn’t say anything; he just wrapped an arm around the blond’s shoulders and pulled him in even tighter against his side. And then, assured that his Blue Eyes was there, safe and mostly sound, he finally relaxed sufficiently to follow the already snoring younger man into greatly needed slumber.

 

********

 

Chapter Music Selection: Where or When by Benny Goodman

 

 

********

Research: The German raid on London on April 19th/20th was the second heaviest bombing of the Blitz. It was comprised of over 700 German Messerschmitt bombers flying in multiple sorties. Apparently, this raid was extra bad because Hitler was retaliating for some larger British bombing raids during the prior weeks that hit Bremen and Berlin. West End London Blitz . Luckily, while the property damage to London was very high that night - stemming from the Germans’ concentration on the docks and rail lines as opposed to the residential areas - there were less than 1200 deaths attributed to this raid. Meanwhile, the Londoner’s spirits remained high and some, including the entertainer Noel Coward, carried on as though it was just business as usual. Noel Coward Sings Thru The Blitz

 

Slang: Today we learned scottish phrases. LOL

-Peely-Wally - looking pale or like you’re not feeling well.

-Tidy - This word means everything great, beautiful, stunning, delicious, fantastic, outstanding, lovely, pretty, bonnie — the list goes on and on.

-Braw - pretty much the same as ‘Tidy’.

-Blether - to chat away.

-Skedaddle Aff - to scurry away or venture to another place.

-Bampot - someone who doesn’t necessarily make the wisest of choices in life. However, it should be noted that some bampots can be rather amusing.

-Slainte - Your good Health! Aka, Cheers!



Chapter Text

Chapter 20 - Oh Look At Me Now.



Brian must have been tired since he managed to sleep for more than two hours despite the odd hour. But, when he finally woke, the clock on his phone said it was still only quarter till eight. He knew if he didn’t get up, he’d never sleep through the night later. But he hesitated, not wanting to wake the slumbering blond boy who was still snoring quietly by his side.

 

Brian took a moment to look at the young pilot. Justin seemed beyond exhausted. Despite their nap, Brian could see dark circles under the younger man’s eyes. Flying almost nightly missions was obviously taking a toll on the poor kid. But, even so, Justin was still inherently beautiful.

 

Brian indulged his momentary whim enough to pull down the sheet a little ways, allowing him to see more of the gorgeous package. Unfortunately, that exposed Justin‘s shoulder which was now a patchwork of purple and black bruising, where it wasn’t obliterated by cotton bandaging that had become wadded up in his sleep. He could see that the deeper wound on the outside of the boy’s shoulder had bled a little, and the bandaging was sticking to it in that spot. However, the rest of the bandages had stretched and weren’t even covering most of the rest of the wounds. He made a mental note to replace those stupid swathes of bandages with self-adhesive ones as soon as the kid woke up. He wasn’t sure if anything could be done about the extensive bruising though. Poor kid. That had to hurt. It was probably a good thing that they couldn't do any kind of ‘strenuous exercises’ tonight after all.

 

Brian quickly determined that Justin needed sleep more than anything, though, so he carefully got out of bed, leaving the young man to snore away alone. But that left Brian a bit at loose ends. He didn’t want to go anywhere, but just sitting around in the room seemed like a waste of time. He hadn’t brought his computer with him - for obvious reasons - so he couldn’t do any work. He’d been in a hurry so he hadn’t even thrown in a book or anything else with which to entertain himself. All he had with him was his phone, which of course got no reception in 1941. But it did have a fully charged battery and hours of music on it. So, rather than just sit there and twiddle his thumbs, Brian decided he could get a decent workout in while his Blue Eyes snoozed. If Justin wasn’t awake by nine, he’d order some room service for them and then wake the kid when it arrived.

 

Pulling his headphones out of the bottom of his bag, Brian cued up his favorite workout playlist and then set about to while away the time with some stretching, a few hundred sit ups, some push ups and then some favorite yoga poses he’d picked up at a High Energy Fusion Yoga class he’d taken back at Ript Gym in Pittsburgh. Brian had long been a ‘yoga doubter’ until he’d fucked this yoga instructor one time and found the man to be probably the fittest person he’d ever met. The guy swore by yoga as being the best form of exercise ever invented. And, on top of having an absolutely beautiful body, the guy had been flexible enough to give himself head, which was a bonus in Brian’s book. Not that he’d mastered that particular skill himself yet, but it did give a guy something to aim for, right? And in a small, contained space like Brian’s hotel room, it was the perfect type of exercise.

 

Brian was just working on a tricky yoga pose that involved a combination of a sideways plank and a side leg lift all while holding your entire weight up with only one hand, when he noticed a blond head hanging off the end of the mattress staring at him with a huge grin. He, of course, immediately lost his balance and fell on his ass. That engendered a peal of laughter from the blond that momentarily overcame the Kanye West song piping to him through his headphones.

 

“What in the world are you doing, Brian?” Justin was still giggling at him by the time he’d picked himself up off the floor and pulled the headphones off. “Are you practicing to become a contortionist for the circus or something?”

 

“Ha ha ha. I’m exercising, of course. You didn’t think perfection like this just happened on it’s own did you?” Brian shot back, flicking the towel he’d been using to mop up his sweat at the boy.

 

“Well, if you call that exercising . . .” Justin didn’t seem to think it merited the title.

 

“Yes, Blue Eyes, I call that exercising. If it weren’t, do you think I would have worked up this much of a sweat? Hmm?” Brian emphasized his point by shaking his sweaty hair at the boy, who put his hands up to protect himself from the flying beads of perspiration.

 

“Fine. Fine. I give. Uncle. Uncle!” Justin yelled as he backed away from the dripping brunet. “Sheesh. If I’d known you could exercise by laying on your rear on the floor, I might have been able to argue my way out of all those laps they made us run in basic training. I hate running. The calisthenics were okay, but running is not my forte.”

 

“Well, I’d go running if I could, but it happens to be pouring outside, in case you didn’t notice,” Brian pointed to the window which clearly showed a typical grey, rainy, London spring evening.

 

“Unfortunately the rain never seemed to stop the drill instructors at basic,” Justin recounted, as he lolled back on the pillows of the bed. “I promised myself that if I survived that, I’d never willingly run again. Not unless my life depended on it.”

 

“Well, with a twinkie physique like that, you might not have to work out, but I’m not so lucky, Blue Eyes.” Brian set his phone on the dresser so he could towel off, but quickly realized it wouldn’t be enough seeing as he really had worked up quite a sweat in his short work out. He raised one arm and took a whiff of his pit, making a face at the smell. “Damn. I stink. I’d better shower before I drive you away.” Brian donned one of the hotel robes and then picked up a fresh bath towel and his toiletries kit before leaning down to give his blond a goodbye kiss. “I’d invite you to join me, Blue Eyes, if only we had a private shower. I won’t be long though. Then we can order some dinner, what do you say?”

 

“I say, yum! But I’m starving, so hurry up with that shower, please,” Justin ordered from his comfortable spot on the bed.

 

“Be back before you can jerk off,” Brian promised with a smirk as he sauntered off, pulling the door closed behind him.

 

He quickly made his way down the hall to the men’s water closet. It was a very small room and not really all that comfortable, so Brian wasn’t inclined to dawdle in there even if Justin had been waiting for him. He quickly used the toilet and then set his towel and other supplies down on the rickety wooden stool next to the tub. He turned on the water in the bath, waiting interminably it seemed, for it to heat up, grumbling all the time. Needless to say, the bathroom facilities after The Strand Palace were probably cutting edge for the time period, but they left a lot to be desired when looked at through the lens of a 21st-Century man.

 

When the water finally seemed warm enough that Brian wouldn’t immediately freeze, he flipped the switch to turn on the shower fixture, climbed into the tub and, hunching over a little so he wouldn’t hit his head on the metal showerhead, Brian quickly doused himself in the tepid water, soaped up, rinsed and then got out before the water went cold again. So much for modern conveniences in 1941.



It only took him a few more minutes to shave, brush his teeth, and run a comb through his hair. That was all he planned to do for the time being. He only gave himself ten seconds to regret, once again, the lack of hair dryers here in this decade. And then Brian was off, back to his room and his hopefully entertaining blond. They might not be able to fuck again until Justin was healed, but that didn’t mean they wouldn’t be having other fun.

 

It was the thought of all that fun-to-come that had Brian smiling as he opened the door to his room a minute later. The smile on his face froze, however, as soon as he saw the tableau that greeted him. Justin was standing in the middle of the room, still in only his boxers, Brian’s phone in his left hand and one of the earbuds from the headphones in his other. As soon as Brian appeared, Justin looked up at him with a seriously worried face.

 

“I . . . I saw your lightbox was lit up and there were sounds coming out of it . . . I didn’t mean to snoop but . . . I was just curious . . .” Justin held the vibrating earbud up as evidence. “And then I saw this . . .”

 

Justin held the phone out, tilting it so that Brian could see the phone’s lock screen, which unfortunately showed the nude picture Brian had surreptitiously taken of Justin just a few days earlier. Brian mentally berated himself once again for giving in to the impulse to take that particular picture, let alone the sentimentality that had induced him to use it for his lock screen.

 

“Um . . . Uh . . . I . . . I can explain that . . .” Brian scrambled to come up with some explanation he could offer the boy, but his mind seemed absolutely devoid of any plausible story.

 

“Applesauce! You really are spy, aren’t you?” Justin turned his back and walked away, tossing the phone negligently on the bed as he passed by, before turning around to confront Brian again. “This is obviously some kind of elite new American technology, isn’t it? I mean, I’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve never even HEARD of anything like it. This is way beyond anything the British have. I just . . . I just hope it’s the Americans you’re working for and not anybody else.”

 

“Shit!” Brian swore rather loudly before tossing his shower supplies to the floor and grabbing Justin’s wrist to tow the young man over to the bed with him. “I’m not a fucking spy, Justin. I swear. This is . . . well . . . I can’t really explain to you what this is. I’m sorry. But I’m not doing anything with it that would hurt you or the Allied war effort. I promise.”

 

Justin reluctantly let himself be pulled down so he was sitting next to Brian on the edge of the bed. He seemed hesitant to let Brian even touch him. Brian wasn’t about to let something as stupid as a cell phone mess up his evening though. If he had to come clean - or at least as clean as he could without completely revealing his secret - he would.

 

“Here. Look. It’s nothing secret or dangerous. It’s just a sort of camera. I use it to take pictures. See?”

 

Brian tapped at the screen a few times until the photo app came up. He swiped from the top of the screen down, causing the index of small photo images to fly past until he reached the picture he’d taken of Justin. Then he tapped on that picture to enlarge it, and held the phone out to his skeptical blond to examine.

 

“I took this picture of you the other night after you fell asleep. I couldn’t help it. You were so . . . Fuck it, you just looked so damned adorable, I had to take a fucking picture of it, so I wouldn’t forget it. Okay?” Brian could feel his balls slowly shriveling up as he voiced the lesbianic sentiments, but he couldn't lie to his blond again; not now when the kid was already doubting him. “I promise you, there's no nefarious purpose here, Blue Eyes. I just wanted your damn picture so I could look at it when I’m not around you.”

 

“You just wanted my picture?” Justin asked with a shy smile.

 

“Yes you silly twat. Is that a crime or something?” Brian knew he sounded a little defensive, but this conversation had already taken turns his Studly nature did not approve of.

 

“No. No, that’s fine, I . . . Well, I sort of felt the same way,” Justin stuttered bashfully, then reached over and grabbed his trousers from the pile of clothing still waiting on the floor and fished out his wallet. “I wanted your picture near me too,” he explained as he pulled out one of the photo booth pictures he and Brian had taken a week or so earlier at the movie theater.

 

Brian huffed a little half laugh, hooked his own pants off the arm of the nearby chair with the toes of one long slender foot, pulled out his own wallet and showed his Blue Eyes the matching photo booth picture which he’d had tucked away in a back fold. They both laughed and put away their respective pictures. Then Justin  picked up the suspect phone again and looked over at Brian.

 

“I thought you said this was a clock? And a flashlight of some kind?”

 

“Yeah. And a camera too,” Brian explained, swiping across the screen from right to left to scroll past Justin‘s photo on to some others. “It does a lot of things.”

 

“It plays music too?” He touched the wires of the headphones that were still attached and vibrating with sound.

 

“Yep. That too.”

 

“But . . . How? I mean . . . How can one device do all these things? And why are the photos in COLOR, Brian? How is that even possible?”

 

“Well, you’re right about it being new technology. It’s . . . You’re not gonna see this kind of camera come out for a long, long time. Not for the general public at least,” Brian hedged, feeling bad all over again that he couldn’t simply tell Justin the truth. “But other than the color thing, it’s just regular old photographs, Justin. See?”

 

Brian scrolled through some more photos from his library, most of which had been sent by Lindsey. Justin stopped him when he got to a picture of his son, Gus, sitting on Brian’s lap. It was a favorite of Brian’s, because it showed the boy looking at him adoringly.



“This is the boy I saw on here before. I actually thought it was some kind of painting or something. But this is just a photo? Who is this?” Justin asked.

 

“That’s my son, Gus. He’s three,” Brian explained proudly.

 

“You have a son?” Justin seemed almost as surprised by that news as he had been by the camera phone itself. “You’re married? But, you never said . . . Applesauce!”

 

Before Brian could stop him, Justin had already jumped up off the bed and begun to grab his clothes off the floor.

 

“Whoa, whoa, whoa! Hang on there, cowboy,” Brian looped an arm around Justin‘s waist and forcefully pulled him back onto his lap. “No. I am definitely NOT married, Justin. No way, no how, never gonna happen.” Justin took one more look at the phone that was now laying on the bed next to where they were sitting, the picture still showing, and started to struggle to get up again. “Stop already. I swear, Justin, I’m not married. Gus’ mother is just an old college friend of mine. She wanted to have a baby with her lesbian lover, Melanie. I just helped out with a little sperm donation. I’m not involved other than that and the occasional visit with my son.”

 

“L-L-Lesbians . . . ?”

 

“Yes. Lindsey and Melanie are lesbians. They wanted a baby. Since neither of them have the necessary equipment to make one, I helped them out. That’s it,” Brian attempted to explain, wondering exactly how he’d gotten roped into this odd conversation, and hoping that it didn’t progress to the point where he had to explain in vitro fertilization to the boy.

 

“Wow! Just . . . Wow!” Justin spluttered, examining the picture of Brian and Gus again, a look of wonder plastered on his face. “I’ve heard about lesbians before, of course, but I don’t think I’ve ever met any. Doesn’t anyone ask about who the boy’s father is? I mean, in the neighborhood where I grew up, a single woman with a baby would’ve been . . . Well, that sort of thing is pretty much frowned on, you know? And if she lives with another woman . . .”

 

“It’s complicated,” Brian responded, hoping to curtail this topic before it went any further.

 

“I bet.” Justin copied Brian‘s motions from earlier, moving his finger across the screen of the phone, smiling when it worked and a new picture appeared. “Your son is adorable, Brian. He looks so happy too.”



“He is happy and smart too. Being over here in London, I miss him.”

 

“Well, you wouldn’t want him here. Not with raids like the one we had last night going on all the time. He’s safer at home with his . . . Mothers.” Justin struggled with the plural, but eventually got it out. “You know, I always thought that being a father would be impossible, for someone like me . . .”

 

“Nothing is impossible. Not if you really want it. Sometimes you just have to work harder to figure out a way to get what you want, Blue Eyes,” Brian assured him as he took back the phone and hit the off button. “What I want right now, though, is some food. How about you?”

 

“Please. I’m starving. I missed lunch waiting around in the infirmary all day. I could eat you, I’m so hungry,” the young pilot said with all innocence.

 

“While that sounds great,” Brian laughed as he stood up and shrugged off the robe he was wearing, “I think we should get some food in you first.” He pulled on his pants. “Let me see if I can find a bellhop or maid and ask then to send us up some dinner.”

 

“They’ll do that? Bring your dinner here to the room?” Justin seemed amazed, reminding Brian again of how unworldly the kid was.

 

“Yes, Blue Eyes. They’ll do just about anything as long as you pay for it. Including room service.”

 

Brian pulled on his shirt and started buttoning it up.

 

“Okay. But wouldn’t it be faster if we just went to the dining room? I’m not sure I can wait till they bring it here.” His words were backed up by the loud growling of his stomach at the mere mention of food.

 

Brian shook his head and dug in his overnight bag, coming out with a large plastic box filled with an assortment of eighteen different colors of M&Ms that he’d picked up the day before as he was walking past the M&M’s World store in Leicester Square. He’d meant to send the candy to his son, but as he was rushing out the door in 2016 he’d thrown it in the bag at the last minute. Now he was glad he’d thought of it. That should keep the boy busy till he got back with some real food. And that way they could enjoy eating their dinner here in the room without annoying prying eyes watching them.

 

“Here you go, Blue Eyes. I think you told me before you liked chocolate, right?”

 

“I adore chocolate, Brian,” Justin confirmed as he took the strange see-through box. “M&M’s? I had some of these back in the states before I came to London. They’d just come out. I didn’t know they came in so many colors though. I thought it was just brown, red, green, yellow, orange and purple. And what’s ‘M&M’s World - Las Vegas, New York, Orlando’ mean?”



“I’m not sure why it says that,” Brian deflected. “I got those special for Gus. But you can have this box and I’ll get him something different later.”

 

“Oh, I couldn’t take your son’s present. This is too nice. I’ll wait.”

 

“Nonsense. That’s yours. Don’t worry about Gus. He gets tons of treats from the whole family. He won’t even miss it,” Brian urged, pushing the box back into the young blond’s hands even as Justin tried to give it back. “Now, you nibble on those for a minute while I go order food. Just don’t eat so many you make yourself sick, okay?”

 

“Well, okay. If you insist.”

 

Justin had already broken the seal and was sampling the candies before Brian had the door open. Brian hoped the candy would keep the kid busy and away from his damn phone for a while. He realized he’d dodged a big bullet once already that evening, and didn’t want to have to come up with even more half truths. Besides, he had better plans for the remainder of their evening than to talk about various forms of modern technology. Justin’s ass might be off limits for the time being, but he had plans to teach the boy what could be done with that talented mouth of his.



Brian sat at the desk of his makeshift office and was in the middle of going through a report for one of his accounts back home, when Cynthia knocked on the door.

 

“Lindsay is on the phone for you, Brian.”

 

“Put her through,” he told her, his eyes not once leaving the screen in front of him as he continued to take notes and make changes.

 

A few seconds later the phone at his desk began to ring.

 

“Lindz, where the fuck have you been? I’ve been trying to get hold of you for days.”

 

“Well, hello to you too, Brian . . . and I could say the same for you. You haven’t been available to talk the last few times I’ve called you either.”

 

That was true; they’d been playing phone tag for the last couple of days, but Brian was still pissed that he’d missed out on talking to Gus.

 

Brian cleared his throat. “I know. Work’s been crazy. Between this London project and trying to keep up with my regular clients back in Pittsburgh, I’m working ridiculous hours,” he explained curtly. “Did you check your email? I got Cynthia to send you the confirmation details for your flight and the hotel information for you and Gus.”

 

“I did, and thank you, Brian. But are you sure it wouldn’t be easier for us to stay with you? I can’t imagine The Savoy is cheap.”

 

“Of course it’s not cheap,” Brian scoffed. “But it’s perfect for the two of you. They have a pool and you’re right by the British Museum . . . You’re not that far from where I’m staying, anyway.”

 

“I know that, but I was just thinking it would save some money for us to stay with you in your suite. That’s all.”

 

He was expecting this - for Lindz to lay a guilt trip on him for putting them up in a different hotel - disregarding the fact that he was putting them up in one of London’s finest five star hotels.

 

“Listen, my hours are a little unpredictable right now, so this will be better for Gus. I don’t want to be waking him up if I get in late.”

 

Lindsay laughed heartily. “Unpredictable hours? Tell me you’re not planning on tricking the entire time Gus is visiting?” she asked snootily, the innuendo in her voice pissing him off even further.

 

“No, I’m not planning on tricking while Gus is here. For fuck’s sake, Lindz, have a little faith in me.”

 

“Well, excuse me for assuming something which isn’t really that unrealistic.”

 

“The hotel arrangements are already made, Lindz, and I’m not changing them, so live with it. Or don’t come, for all I care,” Brian barked, finally losing his temper. Lindsey sputtered and backtracked, giving in eventually, as Brian knew she would if pressed. “Whatever. Just put Gus on the damn phone. You haven’t told him yet, have you?”

 

Lindsay sighed, “No, you asked me not to, although I don’t understand why . . .”

 

“Because I want to tell him myself, that’s why. Now, go get my kid,” he snapped.

 

He heard Lindsay put the phone down and call out for Gus. It wasn’t long before the sound of thundering footsteps came over the speaker. Then the receiver was picked up and Brian could hear the excited, high-pitched voice he was longing to hear.

 

“Daddy, daddddy, dadddddyyyyyyy,” the little boy shrieked happily as he came onto the phone. “Hi, Daddy!”

 

Brian laughed at his little boy’s enthusiasm. “Hi, Sonny Boy.”

 

“Hi, Daddy, I miss you.” Brian could practically hear Gus jumping up and down excitedly.

 

Those three little words made his chest hurt. “I miss you too. But guess what?”

 

“Oooooooooh, what? What?”

 

“You and Mommy are coming to visit me in London.”

 

“Mama too?”

 

Luckily for Brian, Melanie was unable to take the time off of work, but he hated disappointing his kid. “No, Sonny Boy, Mama can’t make it. But you, me and Mommy will have so much fun.”

 

“Will I see you today?”

 

“Not today, buddy. In three weeks. When Mommy finishes work for the summer. And when you’re finished with preschool.”

 

“I love preschool, Daddy.”

 

“I know you do, kiddo.”

 

“I learned lots of things. I knowed my shapes and my numbers and how to writed my name,” his kid rattled off proudly. “And my colors, too. Like blue and lellow . . .”

 

“I can’t wait to hear all about school, Gus. Listen. I want you start thinking about things you would like to do when you get here, okay?”

 

“Okay . . . Does they have a zoo there? And a aqu . . . aquwarium?

 

“An aquarium?”

 

“Yeah, where da fishies live.”

 

Brian laughed, his son was seriously cute. “I’m sure they have one of those here.”

 

“And we can eat candy and watch Moana and stay up late, like, maybe even till seven o’clock, and eat pizza and all kinds of fun things, daddy.”

 

He couldn’t fucking wait for his kid to get here, even though he’d probably put on about ten pounds while Gus was visiting. It would be worth it though, as long as Gus enjoyed himself. Now, if only Justin could meet the kid . . .

 

Brian caught himself before he finished that impossible thought. He really needed to get a grip on himself. This thing with Justin was fun and he got a kick out of the thrill of sneaking back to 1941 and all, but he didn’t need to obsess about the pilot quite so much. And there was no way he could let Justin and Gus meet. Was there? No. It was completely unworkable.

 

“Okay, Gus, Daddy’s got to go do some more work now. You have a good night and start making a list of all the things we’re going to do when you get here to visit. I’ll see you real soon, Kiddo.”

 

“Kay! Bye, Daddy! Loves you!” Gus chirruped happily and then hung up the phone before Brian even had a chance to say it back.

 

“I love you too, Sonny Boy,” Brian said to the dead line, smiling despite himself at the thought that he’d soon get to see the little imp.

 

Then, turning back to the stack of work still waiting for him, Brian made a split decision and opted to blow off the rest of the afternoon. None of this crap was all that important. It would wait till tomorrow. And in the meantime, he could spend some quality time with the other boy in his life . . . the boy from 1941.

 

********

 

Chapter Music Selection - Oh Look At Me Now by Tommy Dorsey

 

History of M&Ms

 

Chapter Text



Chapter 21 - Blue Skies.

 

Brian readjusted his grip on the slim hips of the boy draped over the back of the armchair in front of him and thrust home into the plump ass one more time. He loved the dull slapping sound of his balls knocking against the kid’s skin. He also enjoyed the languid groans drifting up from his lover as he hit Justin’s sweet spot for the ten-millionth time.

 

Damn! This was the life. This was everything. Fucking a gorgeous, willing, enthusiastic blond boy all evening, every day . . . it was like a dream come true for Brian Kinney. He wished it would never end.

 

Unfortunately, just as that thought flittered through Brian’s mind, the blond boy in question apparently reached his tipping point and, with a tremendous moan, the kid bucked backward, impaling himself on Brian’s dick as hard as he could and then reared up so that the ribbons of cum shooting out of that perfect prick shot out, decorating the chair, the floor and even the wall behind. The sight, the smell of sex in the air, and the feel of that tight ass gripping his dick like a vice brought him off as well a half a second later.

 

“Applesauce, Brian! That was amazing! I think all my bones have melted . . . again!” Justin proclaimed as he slumped back down over the chair.

 

Brian slapped the pretty rear end as he pulled out, admiring the pink handprint he made on the ivory skin.

 

Fuck, the kid was perfect!

 

After disposing of the condom in the waste basket, he looped his arm around the boneless boy’s waist and started to tow him back to the bed. Justin wasn’t having it though. He struggled to get free and eventually managed to unwind Brian’s arms.

 

“No, Brian. I HAVE to go! I can’t be late tonight and if you get me back in that bed I’ll never be able to get up again.”

 

“You’re no fun, Blue Eyes,” Brian complained, catching himself actually pouting before he could stop himself.

 

“I’m loads of fun and you know it, Big Guy,” Justin replied, sticking his tongue out at his lover like the brat he was. “But I really don’t want to be late tonight. I’m getting my new plane today and I want to have time to give it a thorough tryout before I head off on the mission.”

 

“A new plane?” Brian asked, watching as the boy towelled himself off and quickly gathered his clothing. “Did something happen to the old one that you neglected to tell me about?”

 

“Nah. It’s just that I’ve been flying a really old Hawker Hurricane that has tons of air miles on it and has been due for a major refit for ages. But now that our squadron’s almost up to full strength, they’re re-equipping us with brand new Spitfires. It’s about time too - those Messerschmitts are super fast and we needed the upgrade like you wouldn’t believe if we’re going to keep up with them . . .” Justin’s raving about his new plane died off about then as he gradually realized that he probably shouldn’t be telling Brian something so secret. “Um . . . forget I just said that, please, Brian.”

 

Brian rolled his eyes, but didn’t comment. Justin would believe what he wanted to believe, and unless Brian was willing to tell the boy the complete truth, he couldn’t expect the RAF officer to fully trust him. All Brian could do was keep his counsel and hope that, eventually, the boy would learn to trust him because of his actions.

 

“Fine. Go play with your new toy. Leave me all alone and bored out of my mind. See if I care,” Brian teased, trying to lighten the mood again. “I’ll just have to play with myself, I guess, since you won’t let me invite the janitor up.”

 

“Oh, poor baby,” Justin commiserated, leaning in to kiss Brian one last time, and making it as good as he could. “I think you’ll survive for one night without me. And you’re darned right you’re not allowed to play with the janitor. Or anyone else for that matter.”

 

“Does that mean you’ll be back tomorrow night to take care of me, Blue Eyes?”

 

“Well . . . I have to fly tomorrow too, but if you can finish up your meetings - or whatever it is you DO all day with your time - and get here early enough in the evening, I can certainly take care of you before I head off again.” Justin did up the last button on his shirt and then sat on the edge of the bed to lace up his boots. “I don’t want you to feel neglected or anything.”

 

“Alas, the life of a military spouse . . . we’re always being left behind,” Brian joked, lolling on the bed with a dramatic hand draped over his brow.

 

“Hah! You, waiting around for anyone - that I would love to see,” Justin laughed as he was getting to his feet and adjusting the jacket of his uniform. “But, if that were the case, then I’d be the one being ‘taken care of’, not you, Brian. Which, by the way, sounds great to me.”

 

“Don’t get all cocky on me, Blue Eyes. You’re not ready for that yet. Trust me,” Brian replied, getting immediately defensive all of a sudden.

 

“I thought you liked it when I was all ‘cocky’, Handsome,” Justin said, smirking down at his reclining lover with a defiant grin. “Besides, I think we both know I’d be up to the challenge, regardless of my relative inexperience. Remember, I’m a VERY fast learner, Mr. Professor.” Then Justin leaned down, close enough to whisper in Brian’s ear, and added, “and I’d love to put all my lessons to the test . . . on that pretty little rear end of yours.”

 

Not waiting for a response, Justin gave the man one last, deep, lingering kiss, using all the techniques he’d already learned from his teacher to prove what a good student he really was. Brian was gasping for breath before it was over. But just when he was really getting into it, the plucky pilot pulled away and left Brian with only a last caress to Brian’s cheek and a smile before he headed off towards the door.

 

“Hey, that bag there by the chair,” Brian stopped Justin before he could completely escape. “It’s yours.”

 

“Mine?” Justin picked up the paper bag and looked inside briefly. “What did you bring me this time?” He pulled out two packages of chocolate biscuits and a large artist-quality sketchpad. “Yum! Chocolate cookies! These look delicious, Brian. Thank you. I LOVE chocolate and it’s almost impossible to get here in London these days. This is amazing. But why the sketchpad?”

 

Brian shrugged. “I saw you doodling on the hotel stationary the other night and figured you could use something better to draw on. There should be some pencils in there too.”

 

Justin came back over to the bed, all glowing smiles, and grabbed Brian’s chin to tilt his face upwards. “You are the sweetest man I’ve ever met, Brian Kinney! You keep this up and I’m going to fall head over heels in love with you.” Justin gave his man one more, passionate kiss, and then released him. “Okay, I really do have to go now. I’m off to go meet my other new love - my Spitfire. Have a good night, Handsome. And remember, no janitors! Bye!”

 

“Damn it, Blue Eyes,” Brian complained to the closed door. “You can’t leave me here like this.” He looked down at himself, noting that his dick was already fully erect again despite the fact he’d just come like gangbusters less than five minutes earlier. “And worst of all, I think I’m now jealous of a fucking airplane,” he laughed, wondering at the same time how he’d managed to get this caught up in what had started out as just a bit of adventurous, sexy, fun . . .



“I found him!” Cynthia announced proudly as she slammed a large accordion file of documents down on the desk in front of Brian.

 

Brian looked up, startled, thinking for half a minute that Cynthia was referring to his secret World War II RAF pilot.

 

“It wasn’t easy, but I finally figured it out,” she complained, pulling out several yellow pads and stacks of photocopies. “You know, you could’ve given me more to go with to start, Boss.”

 

“Why would I do that?” Brian answered, looking nervously at the paperwork his personal assistant was flipping through.

 

“Always having to be a Man of Mystery, huh? Well, no matter. I figured out your little game anyway.” Cynthia pulled one sheet of paper out of the stack and laid it smack dab in front of Brian. “So, your little ‘Harry’ seems to have been an industrious young man.”

 

Brian took a deep breath and relaxed as soon as he heard the name ‘Harry’. He’d almost forgotten that he’d asked Cynthia to look the kid up. And now that he knew she wasn’t going to quiz him on his personal World War II connections, Brian was rather excited to see what she’d found.

 

“It was the name that threw me at first,” Cynthia begin her tale. “It seems that Harry’s mother, Vera Hastings, remarried soon after the war ended. Her new husband, George Melton, did well for himself after the war, working his way up from delivery boy to become the owner of a flourishing chain of Grocers in the new suburban areas north of London.” Cynthia held out what appeared to be a copy of some legal document for Brian to look at as she continued. “George also took his role as stepfather to Vera’s son very seriously - so seriously, that he ended up adopting the boy a few years later. Which is how your little ‘Harry’ ended up with the rather pretentious name of, Walter Harold Melton - Harry being his middle name, you see, but since his birth father had also been a ‘Walter Harold’ the father went by ‘Walt’ and the son was called ‘Harry’ as a child. Once I figured out the name thing, the rest was a piece of cake.”

 

“Walter Melton . . .” Brian repeated the name, looking from the copy of the adoption order to Cynthia with incredulity.

 

“Yep. The same Walter H. Melton who founded and has run Britcom for the last thirty years,” Cyn smiled at him snarkily. “Seriously, Brian, you could have just told me you wanted me to research our client’s CEO more thoroughly rather than have me running off on this annoying little goose chase.”

 

“I have to keep you on your toes somehow, Cyn,” Brian replied to cover up his own amazement.

 

“Whatever you have to tell yourself, Boss. Anyway, I admit it did give me more perspective into our latest client. I hadn’t really thought to look that far back into Melton’s past. But this totally explains the other stuff you’ve been hinting about as well as giving us some more insight about how to tailor our campaign to get his approval.”

 

Cynthia pulled out a copy of some old magazine article from almost forty years earlier as she continued to explain what she was getting at.

 

“I found this in the Princeton school newspaper, of all places. It’s a short biography of Melton from when he was doing a short tenure teaching there.” She flipped to the middle of the article, where she’d highlighted several paragraphs. “It turns out Melton was a bit of a wunderkind and a budding inventor even before he left school. At the tender age of eighteen, he got hired by the fledgling Eveready Battery Company in The United States, and worked with none other than Lewis Urry, who’s team invented the first alkaline battery in 1957. Melton, it seems, was instrumental in helping with that discovery. He claims,” she pointed out the paragraph, “he was inspired by a toy flashlight - he calls it an electric torch - given to him by a visiting American during the war. He’d been distraught when the toy’s battery had eventually died and he’d spent the next fifteen years of his life trying to make another one like it. Cute story, huh?”

 

Brian laughed as he read quickly through the article. He couldn’t believe that little Harry had come so far. And to think that Brian’s gift, offered for the sole purpose of keeping a child’s fears at bay, had inspired the eventual invention of the battery that made the very same flashlight possible. That was . . . A bit weird. He’d have to think about that more later.

 

Cynthia was already going on about Melton. “. . . so it’s no wonder he’s such a big WWII buff. That was a good call on your part to try and impress him with the vintage money and War ID and stuff. But what about if we rework part of the Britcom advertising campaign to take advantage of how popular WWII stuff is with the general population these days. See, if we just made these small changes . . .”

 

Brian was impressed by the ideas Cynthia had to work the WWII angle into their ads. He had a hunch Melton would like them too. And it would certainly spice up their campaign. They spent the rest of the afternoon working on the changes and tweaking the idea till Brian was satisfied. The end result was brilliant even if Brian did say so himself.

 

So, maybe, his dalliance back in the past was actually going to pay off big time after all? It wasn’t just a fun diversion and an amusing sexual lark with his favorite RAF pilot. It was going to help him with his real life work too. That’s what Brian called killing two birds - or two decades - with one stone.

 

Brian walked into the White Lion and nodded congenially to everyone.

 

He was becoming pretty well known in the pub these days. Which was probably because he seemed to be here just about every night. It wasn’t his fault that 1941 London seemed a lot more exciting than 2016 London. He’d already done 2016 to the max - yes, it was wild and decadent in a way that Justin’s London wasn’t, but when decadence became the norm, it seemed like the more covert pleasures of the past became all that more enticing. So here Brian was again, night after night, sneaking back to the past to woo his blond pilot boy and teach him more of the lusty pleasures of the future.

 

“What can I get yer, ‘Andsome?” Daphne asked as always as soon as she’d seen him.

 

“How about a hot little blond with a plump backside to start with?” Brian teased, giving Daphne a wink.

 

“I fink I might know the perfect bloke for yer,” Daphne grinned as she pointed to a group of men in the corner. “‘E’s ova there at the table in the back; ‘is name’s Chappy.”

 

Brian rolled his eyes as Daphne continued to laugh at her own joke. He could see why Justin liked her so much. Nothing seemed to faze her or dampen her sense of humor.

 

“Haha! Very funny, Miss Chanders. Nicely played. I think you know that I have only one backside in mind for what I have planned. Any idea where he is?”

 

Daphne pointed to the little trap door behind her that led downstairs. “‘E’s down in the cellar, helpin’ put the delivery away.”

 

“Is his . . .”

 

“An’ bef’re yer say anythin’, I told ‘im not to, what wiv ‘is bad shoulder an’ all.”

 

That sounded like Justin, the stubborn little shit.

 

“Mind if I go give him a hand?”

 

“Be my guest. Jes be mighty careful as yer go down them stairs.”

 

Brian nodded and made his way carefully down the rickety stairs that led to the cool, dark cellar. Which is where he found Justin, with his sleeves rolled up, huffing and puffing as he rolled the barrels into place. Justin was unaware of his presence, so Brian took the opportunity to just watch him. He was fucking beautiful.

 

“Mmm, just what I like to see, a man hard at work . . . All nice and sweaty . . . Need any help, Blue Eyes?”

 

Justin jumped at the sound of Brian’s voice in the echoey basement. “Applesauce! Brian, you scared me.”

 

“Sorry about that,” Brian said, coming up behind the blond and familiarly patting the plump rear that he’d been looking for.

 

“No you’re not,” Justin chuckled as he turned around to face Brian.

 

His Blue Eyes knew him well. “You’re right. I’m not sorry at all,” he smirked. “But, my offer to help was completely genuine,”

 

“Lucky timing for you - I’ve just finished,” the blond told him, dusting his hands off on the back of his trousers. “Looks like we'll have to find something else to amuse ourselves with. Got any ideas?”

 

Brian licked his lips and leaned in, breathing in the delicious aroma of his boy, before he kissed the hell out of those pouty red lips. “Come back to my room.”

 

“Yeah?” Justin breathed heavily from the kiss.

 

“Yeah. School is officially back in session, Little Boy. And you’re going to love the lesson plan I have for tonight.”

 

“I see . . . well, let’s get going. I wouldn’t want to keep the teacher waiting . . . Sir.”

 

Brian was already hard as a fucking rock, but hearing Justin utter those words into his ear made his dick literally ache. The things his Blue Eyes could do to him . . . If Brian  didn’t get this naughty little school boy back to his hotel room soon, he was pretty sure he’d embarrass himself, that’s for sure.

 

“Upstairs. Now!” Brian ordered, eliciting a huge grin from his willing student.

 

“Yes, Sir!”

 

Brian chased the young man up the rickety stairs, only just barely avoiding braining himself on the low ceiling as he crawled through the hatchway at the top. Justin paused long enough to help him up to his feet and then they were running hand in hand through the main room of the bar. They’d almost made it out, too, when somebody called out ‘Sunshine’ and the boy spun around to look at whomever was calling him.

 

“Don’t forget ‘bout Saturday, Sunshine. You an’ ‘Andsome will make quite the pair,” Lucky hollered.

 

Justin waved without comment and then turned back to Brian, who ushered him out of the building. “So, what’s happening on Saturday?” he asked as they made their way down the street in the direction of The Strand.

 

“Oh, it’s just this party that Lucky wants us to go to with him. He’s taking Curly - it’s their first date - and he wants us to double with them. I told him I’d ask you, but if you don’t want to go, it’s no big deal.”

 

Brian snorted at the idea of HIM going on a fucking double date with anyone. If his best friend, Mikey, ever heard about THAT, he’d be laughed off Liberty Avenue. It was bad enough that Brian was actually ‘dating’ anyone, let alone that he was almost de facto monogamous with the little pilot these days. Not that he’d minded much, seeing as he’d been spending every single evening here in 1941 teaching the young man all the decadent pastimes he could come up with. It had kept Brian more than occupied and more than satisfied, if he were being honest with himself. But a fucking double date?

 

“The party sounds pretty sketchy to start with,” Justin was still prattling on, his voice hushed as if he were about to convey something top secret. “It’s a QUEER party.” That earned a laugh from Brian, which was followed by a backhand to his midsection from a peeved Justin. “Don’t laugh. I’ve never been to a party like that before. It sounds . . . dissolute.” Brian just shook his head, thinking back over the last orgy he’d been to and how Justin would see THAT. “Anyway, I doubt you’d be interested. It’s supposed to be a Ball to celebrate the King’s Anniversary. It’s at this private club over in Mayfair and we’re all supposed to dress up. And it’s a lock-in so, once we’re in, we can’t leave till morning. I told him I didn’t think you’d want to go, but he made me promise to ask you.”

 

Brian heard the wistfulness in the kid’s voice as he explained, and it did something weird to the Stud’s gut. “Blue Eyes, if you want to go to this party, we’ll go,” he heard himself saying, surprisingly. “It could be fun. Besides, every gay boy should go to a ‘queer party’ at least once in his life, and we’ll count it towards your sexual education credits.”

 

“Seriously?” Justin looked up at him, the suppressed excitement now bubbling up to the surface.

 

“Seriously. Hell, it could actually be interesting.”

 

“Okay. Only . . . that’s only two days away and I have to fly a long bombing mission tomorrow night to . . .” He caught himself before he gave away anything confidential, looking up at Brian with an apologetic half-smile. “I have to fly tomorrow night, so I won’t have time to get myself anything to wear. I guess I’ll be going in my uniform again.”

 

“You leave the costumes up to me, Blue Eyes. I’ll make sure you’re the Belle of the Ball,” Brian promised.

 

Justin looked worriedly up at him, but didn’t have time to comment as they’d already arrived at The Palace and were being greeted by the Porter who held the door open for them with an obsequious bow. Brian flipped the man a shilling and then gestured for Justin to precede him before following. Brian figured it was only good sense to keep all the hotel staff well tipped and on his side seeing as he WAS spending all that time with his young man . . . Something which was officially frowned upon in this day and age. He tipped the elevator operator the same as the man ferried them up to the fourth floor and held the door for them while they exited. Then, finally, they were at Brian’s room and it was time to begin the lesson he had planned for his boy.



“So,” Brian cleared his throat as he began unbuttoning his shirt and tugged it free from his already unbuttoned slacks. “Are you hungry?”

 

Justin shook his head. “No. Daphne made me a Spam sandwich Back at the pub.”

 

“Oh, that’s a shame,” Brian sighed dramatically. “I guess you won't want to try any of this then,” he smirked, waving a bottle of chocolate syrup in front of Justin’s face.



“Are we eating dessert?” Justin asked, looking rather confused as he squinted at the label on the oddly shaped brown bottle that showed a picture of a bowl full of ice cream. “I’m still full, but I always save room for dessert,” he smiled. “Did you order some cake or something?”

 

“I’m afraid I didn’t order us any cake,” Brian told him as he put the bottle of syrup down and pulled his undershirt off. “But we ARE eating dessert,” he grinned, bending down to yank his boxers off and giving his semi hard cock a quick stroke.

 

Justin gulped loudly as he watched Brian’s hand working himself to full mast. “Oh, okay . . . what are we having?”

 

“You’ll see.”

 

Justin watched intently as Brian pulled the plastic tab off of the bottle with his teeth and licked up some of the syrup that had escaped around the rim of the bottle.

 

“You’re way overdressed, Blue Eyes.”

 

Justin’s eyes remained focused on Brian as he undressed quietly, throwing his clothes carelessly behind him, eager to see what lesson Brian had in store for him tonight.

 

Brian sat down on the end of the bed and beckoned Justin to join him, pointing to the floor in the space between his spread legs. Justin knelt where indicated and turned his face expectantly up to his teacher.

 

“Hey,” Brian breathed. “You okay?” he asked, as he ran his hands down Justin’s arms.

 

Resting his hands on Brian’s knees, Justin nodded his head.

 

“Are you ready to learn all about the art of foreplay?” Brian grinned cheekily at the man in between his legs as he squirted a little of the chocolate syrup into his mouth. “Want some?”

 

Justin nodded and opened his mouth, as if he was expecting Brian to squirt some of whatever was in the bottle into his own mouth.

 

“Come, here.”

 

Brian pulled Justin up onto his knees and ran his chocolate covered tongue over the young man’s lips, watching in awe as Justin’s tongue peeked out, sampled the gooey chocolate syrup and then darted back in. The kid must have liked what he tasted as his blond-fringed eyelids immediately fluttered shut and his lips turned up in a happy smile.

 

“Mmm,” the boy hummed, even as Brian’s tongue invaded his mouth, swirling the chocolatey goodness all around.

 

They spent the next few moments tasting each other, sharing more chocolatey kisses. They nipped at each other’s lips needily and pulled each other’s bodies as close as they could. It felt like they both needed the contact almost as much, if not more, than they needed to breathe.

 

Eventually, Brian pulled away and took in the beautiful, panting man, who was still kneeling in front of him. He'd have to slow down if he wanted Justin to last. He could already feel the little minx rutting against his leg as he tried desperately to relieve some of the building pressure.

 

“That was . . .” Justin mumbled, his brain still a big, goopy mess from their kiss.

 

“Hot,” Brian finished for him as he, too, tried to catch his breath.

 

Justin laughed softly. “You can say that again.”

 

“It was hot.”

 

Justin shook his head at the incorrigible man in front of him.

 

“But that was just a taster,” Brian explained sexily, as he reached for the bottle once more and squirted more of the liquidy chocolate goodness onto his chest.

 

Justin’s eyes followed as the syrup ran down Brian’s body. Brian raised his eyebrows and watched as Justin just sat there with his tongue poking out between his lips. So Brian decided to help the boy out and placed his hands on the back of the blond’s head, pulling his face gently towards his body.

 

“Open your mouth,” he all but groaned. “Lick it off me.”

 

Allowing himself to be pushed forward, Justin delicately stuck out his tongue and lapped up some of the chocolate that had dribbled down the center of Brian’s chest, nibbling along as he went.

 

Justin seemed to only be licking where there was chocolate, so Brian took the bottle and covered both of his nipples, enticing that expert little tongue to venture further afield. He couldn’t help the sigh that escaped him as Justin’s mouth finally closed hotly around one sensitive nub. At first the boy’s tongue was soft and gentle, but it became rougher and more demanding as his confidence grew.

 

“You’re so good at this, Blue Eyes,” Brian groaned loudly as he tugged playfully at the blond hair.

 

Justin’s mouth moved from one nipple to the other, licking and slurping away to his heart's content.

 

“Use your . . . use your teeth . . . and bite me . . . gently,” Brian all but begged, as he held Justin’s mouth tightly to his chest.

 

He cringed a little inside when he heard how desperate he sounded, but by that point Brian didn’t give a fuck. He knew what he needed and he asked for it. Justin obediently did as directed, pulling a guttural groan of pleasure out of his man. Brian couldn’t help himself as he reached a hand down and stroked his cock. Fuck. He was hard and leaking like a fucking fire hydrant.

 

When he couldn’t take it anymore, he pulled Justin off of his chest and smashed their mouths together in a searing kiss. Fuck, he couldn’t get enough of this kid’s mouth. And he knew precisely where he wanted it next. He fumbled behind him for the bottle of syrup and pulled their mouths apart with a slurp, then poured a generous amount of the cool, chocolatey goodness over his throbbing dick.

 

Justin watched, his blue eyes growing bigger as Brian rubbed his hand up and down his cock, coating it liberally with the delightfully sweet and sticky treat.

 

With one hand on the base of his dick, Brian used the other to guide Justin’s mouth to where he wanted it most. He started by teasing the boy’s swollen lips, covering them in chocolate and pre cum, and watching in delight as Justin licked them clean.

 

“What do you want to do now, Blue Eyes?”

 

“I . . .” His cheeks flushed a deep red. “I want you in my mouth.”

 

“Open up,” Brian smiled down at him, the desire in Justin’s eyes urging him on.

 

As Justin took him into his mouth, Brian’s head lolled back and he couldn’t stop his hips, which automatically rocked forward towards his lover’s mouth. That velvety tongue felt so good as it teased his slit then ran up and down the length of his shaft, ensuring no chocolate was left behind. It wasn’t long before Justin opened his mouth and started to swallow around him. Fuck! Brian felt like he was going to explode with the way Justin’s tongue massaged the bottom of his dick. That, combined with how the kid hollowed out his cheeks and more or less sucked the life out of him, left Brain panting. Before he knew it, he was rocking his hips, fucking Justin’s mouth nice and slow.

 

“Fuck,” Brian twisted the bed sheet tightly in his hands as he watched drool pool around the corners of Justin’s mouth while the boy continued working him to completion.

 

The blond head bobbed in his lap and Brian could feel the boy’s throat start to relax as he took him deeper with each swallow. Brian couldn’t help but smile down at his Blue Eyes, tugging the blond hair affectionately as he began to pump his hips faster. Another minute and his breathing became even more ragged and he could no longer hold back the moan he’d been trying to squelch.

 

“You can touch yourself, Justin. I don’t mind,” he offered when he noticed the young man’s hardness pressing against his calf and dribbling beads of cum.

 

Their eyes met, and as Justin started to rock himself against Brian’s leg, he groaned loudly, sending vibrations through Brian’s dick and shockwaves of pleasure through his entire body.

 

Justin’s eyes squeezed shut as he rutted harder against Brian. The well-pleased Stud hummed in pleasure, watching as his boy reach a hand down to help himself along. Brian’s eyes flickered back and forth between watching as his dick continue to disappear inside the hottest mouth he’d ever seen and the sight of Justin’s hand pulling roughly at his own dick, desperate for release. Long before he was ready for the ecstasy to end, Brian’s body started to clench and quiver and he could feel his balls beginning to tingle as he neared the point of no return.

 

“Justin . . . I’m . . . I’m gonna . . .”

 

Brian tried desperately to warn the younger man, but Justin merely looked up at him from under his long lashes and carried on - one hand fondling his balls as he rubbed against Brian’s leg and the other expertly pumping Brian’s throbbing cock. Brian’s hips moved erratically as his overpowering orgasm ripped through him. His back bowed and his stomach tightened and then he was shooting his load into Justin’s waiting mouth.

 

It was only after he’d finished coming, the last spasm of his orgasm finally easing, that Brian realised his leg was dripping wet from his little Tyro’s own release.

 

Justin pulled off him with a pop and wiped his mouth on his arm. “So, how did I do . . . Sir?”

 

Brian growled as he pulled the boy up and into his arms, both of them utterly covered in spit, cum and dried up chocolate. “Oh, you most definitely get an A, young man. Maybe an A+ even.”

 

Justin smiled happily as he curled up in the circle of Brian’s arms and allowed the older man to hold him while they both slowly drifted back to reality.

 

********

 

Chapter Music Selection - Blue Skies by Frank Sinatra

 

Research: History of Alkaline Batteries .

Chapter Text



Chapter 22 - Let The Good Times Roll.

 

Justin showed up at Brian’s room around six that Saturday night. He was literally bouncing with excitement. Brian tugged the boy inside and then spent the next five minutes kissing him until he was at least calm enough to stand in one place. Of course, now Brian was the one who was excited - or at least his cock was excited - but that would have to wait if they wanted to get to the party before the doors were locked.

 

“Here you go, Blue Eyes,” Brian said handing his date the hanging suit bag he’d brought for him.

 

“For me?”

 

Brian nodded with a smile. Justin took the bag in hand, laid it out on the bed and unzipped it as if opening a present on Christmas morning. Then there was a squeal of delight that probably could have been heard out in the hallway if anyone had been passing by Brian’s room.

 

“A tuxedo? For me? I’ve never worn a tuxedo before Brian!” Justin pulled the suit out of the bag and hugged it to himself, spinning around as if he were dancing with the empty garment. “It’s beautiful! Thank you, Brian. Thank you!”

 

The boy danced his tux over to where Brian was standing and ended by kissing his man in gratitude.

 

“I hope it fits alright,” Brian said, trying to deflect all the boy’s enthusiasm. “Since you weren’t there to try it on, I had to guess a little on your measurements. I think it should be good enough though. We can get it tailored better for you later.”

 

“I get to keep it?” Justin seemed flabbergasted by that bit of news.

 

“Of course you get to keep it. I bought it for you. You didn’t think I was going to make you wear a rented suit, did you?” Brian was offended by the very idea.

 

“Oh, Brian! You’re the most wonderful man I’ve ever met! Thank you, thank you, thank you,” The thanks tapered off into a series of new kisses, which in Brian’s estimation were much better than the words anyway.

 

“Enough. Get dressed already, Blue Eyes. We need to get going or we’ll be late,” Brian ordered, turning to take up his own suit bag which held his own new tux.

 

Justin eagerly delved into the bag, unearthing the beautiful new Calvin Klein, slim cut tuxedo. It was a classic cut, which Brian had thought appropriate, but with modern materials. The beautiful, lightweight, charcoal wool was soft to the touch and the satin collar, lapels and pockets were the perfect addition. When Justin put the pants on, Brian was happily surprised by how well the trousers fit despite the lack of tailoring. The double reverse pleating on the pants ensured that it fit Justin’s perky bubble butt just right. With the crisp, well-starched white dress shirt and grey-blue checkered vest and matching bow tie, the kid looked positively edible.



Brian finished admiring Justin’s tux and quickly put on his own. For himself he’d chosen a classic black Ralph Lauren Barathea tux paired with a black satin shirt and solid black paisley-imprinted silk tie. He thought he looked a little like Johnny Cash in his all black ensemble. With the long black wool overcoat, the impression would be perfect.



“Wow, Brian! You look amazing! I’m going to have to beat those other boys off with a stick to keep them away from you,” Justin gushed, running his fingers down the satin lapels of his date’s suit. “Too bad we have a party to go to. I’d almost skip it just so I could stay here and peel that tux off you again.”

 

“Same back at ‘ya, Blue Eyes,” Brian returned, reaching out to straighten the boy’s tie one last time. “But we can do that later. Right now, I’m looking forward to showing you off.”

 

With a couple of minor adjustments in the mirror, they were both ready and out the door once again. It was only three Tube stops up to the Mayfair neighborhood and then the boys were walking through the gentrified streets heading west towards Hyde Park. Thankfully, Justin seemed to know where they were going, because Brian wasn’t as familiar with that area as he was with Covent Garden. Brian knew they must be getting near when he noticed a couple walking ahead of them down the street - the gentleman, a short, squat man with greying hair, and his ‘date’ a gangly person, at least six feet tall, with a rather ill-fitting wig and dress, who tottered on the heels they were wearing as if they weren’t accustomed to such things. Brian laughed under his breath, thinking to himself that his buddy Em did a much better drag act. Of course, the queers of this time probably didn’t get as much practice at it as his friend, who took almost any opportunity he could to dress up.

 

“I think this is the place,” Justin spoke up a moment later, nodding at a large, dignified looking building with ivied walls and a well trimmed front walk. “Blimey, this place is swanky.”

 

“Excuse me,” said a deep bass voice, as a large figure dressed in a gown that would have put Marie Antoinette to shame bustled past them. Brian wondered how the guy wasn’t freezing to death in that low-cut dress, but figured that his exceedingly hairy chest must be helping to insulate him.

 

“Oh my . . .” Justin murmured, his eyes following the big queen who hefted his dress up so that he could stomp up the steps to the porch of the building ahead of them.

 

“Sunshine! ‘Andsome! You guys made it,” a more familiar voice echoed down the street as Lucky and his date, Curly, made their way towards them.

 

Lucky was dressed in a suit that looked like it might have been fashionable during the gay 20’s, complete with spats and a Great Gatsby hat; all he was missing to make the outfit complete was a gat gun. Curly, on the other hand, looked almost unrecognizable in a flapper’s dress with a turban wrapped around his head and full make up. If Brian hadn’t known he was a guy in drag, he’d have sworn that was a woman. Curly certainly didn’t look like the brash, and thoroughly masculine, young airman Brian had encountered in the White Lion just a few days before.



“Jeepers, Curly. You look . . .” Justin faltered, unsure what adjective to use in these circumstances.

 

“Fabulous, darling,” Brian offered, adding in a queenly lisp and a limp-wristed wave just for the fun of it.

 

They were all laughing riotously as they walked up to the door together. The door-woman was a very tall queen dressed in a Japanese kimono, stiletto heels and . . . well, not much else. She waved them in with a deep bow and then advised, in a raspy falsetto voice, they should take the stairs down to the basement. Once they made their way down, they were almost immediately enveloped in the noise and gaiety of a very rowdy party. The basement room, though fairly spacious, was packed with around fifty queers dressed in all sorts of fantastical costumes. There was a bar set up against the west wall and a small band in the far corner. Along the east wall were several couches and chairs with low tables and stools, all of which were overflowing with guests already making merry. The middle of the room was being used as a dance floor, and even though the party had only barely started, there were already several couples out there dancing. Justin seemed fixated on the two men - one a sailor and the other dressed in civilian clothing - dancing together cheek to cheek.

 

‘Yep, his boy was certainly going to get an education tonight’, Brian thought.



“Lucky! Lucky! Over here, dear!” someone was hollering to them before they’d even made it all the way into the room.

 

“Oh, there’s Sparky. Maybe he saved us a seat,” Lucky said, veering off towards that spot and leaving Brian and Justin to make their way to the bar alone. “Save me a dance for later, Sunshine?”

 

“Will do,” Justin responded, although Brian thought he looked a little uncertain about the matter.

 

“Relax, Blue Eyes,” Brian whispered, taking Justin by the elbow and leading him through the crowd to the bar. “Two whiskey’s and two ales,” Brian ordered the bartender, thinking his boy needed a little social lubricant to help him relax. “Take a deep breath,” he ordered his Blue Eyed Tyro and smiled as Justin followed his directions. Then he handed over one of the tumblers of whiskey. “Bottoms up.” Justin also followed that order, wincing as the bite of the liquor hit his throat. “Now, that’s better. Isn’t it?”

 

“Sorry, Brian. I’m just a little . . . overwhelmed,” Justin said, looking around him at the chaos of characters that surrounded them. “I’ve never been ANYWHERE like this before. I never even imagined . . .” He got distracted by the sight of a mixed race couple dancing past - another thing you probably didn’t see much of these days - both of them looking lovely in their tuxes. “Oh, look! Those must be the ‘Lesbians’,” Justin said, his voice dropping uncomfortably on the ‘L’ word, as he pointed to two women also wearing tuxedos. “I didn’t know there would be any of THEM here tonight.”



“Come on, Blue Eyes,” Brian said and handed him the second beer before leading the kid away to a quieter corner where he could stand and observe in peace until he’d managed to take it all in a little better.

 

Brian and Justin stood together in their corner, with Justin exclaiming over every costume and oddity that came into view while the older man chuckled along, more amazed by the boy’s innocence than the other revelers at the party. He was getting a real kick out of seeing the melee through Justin’s eyes. In his world, Brian pretty much took this type of thing as a given. He’d been around drag queens and queers since he was about fifteen and first realized he was gay himself. And back in 2016, this party would have seemed on the tame side. Face it, all anyone here was doing was dancing and maybe a little kissing between couples on the side. Even the dancing seemed relatively chaste compared to what he was used to seeing on a nightly basis in any gay club in 2016. But to Justin, it was like falling down the rabbit hole and finding Wonderland.

 

About the time that his boy seemed to be overcoming his amazement enough that he might be able to venture out into the crowd again, the Kimono-wearing hostess who’d let them in, made her way down the stairs and over to the band. The trumpeter nodded at her and stepped away from his place at the front of the stage, using a cutting motion to tell the band to quiet. The hostess approached the small microphone set up there, tapped it to make sure it was on and then, in that same odd falsetto voice, she began her announcement.

 

“Ladies and gentlemen. And ladies who are gentlemen. And gentlemen who are ladies. And anyone else I might have forgotten,” there was a smattering of polite laughter. “Welcome to the King’s Anniversary Ball!” There was a round of raucous applause. “Our dear King George and his beloved Elizabeth are celebrating their eighteenth wedding anniversary tonight! Isn’t that lovely? So, let’s all raise our glasses to the happy couple. Long Live the King!” the queen intoned, adding in a much deeper voice, “or, as the girls and I down at the Caravan always called him, ‘Dear Bertie’.”

 

“Long Live Dear Bertie!” echoed all the guests followed by riotous laughter as everyone drank a toast to their monarch.

 

“Now that we’re all here and have drunk the required toast,” the hostess continued, “the doors are officially locked and the party is hereby declared to be in progress! Have a wonderful time, boys and girls! And don’t do anything I wouldn’t do . . . which leaves you wide open! Have fun and be merry!”

 

After that the band started up with a fast-paced fox trot and the crowd surged onto the dance floor to begin the revelry in earnest.

 

“Care to take a spin with me, Blue Eyes?” Brian asked, holding out his hand to the younger man.

 

“I’d love to, Brian,” Justin answered, apparently emboldened by the atmosphere and the alcohol he’d already consumed.

 

Brian took the boy’s hand is his and led them through the throngs to a spot amid the dancing masses. Then he took a firm grip on Justin’s waist, pulled the boy up tightly against him, and began to guide the young man around the floor. Justin easily fell into pace with him, their bodies seeming to work together just as well on the dance floor as they did in bed. And, for a moment, everything else around them seemed to disappear as they glided around, arms wrapped around each other, only conscious of the music and each other.



As the music reached a crescendo, Brian gracefully dipped Justin backwards, the boy letting his head fall backward until his blond hair swept the floor. Then Brian pulled him back up, into his arms, lifting the smaller body all the way off its feet and spinning them giddily around and around. Justin was laughing and smiling so broadly that Brian was sure his grin was the main source of lighting for the entire room. He was ridiculously enamoured of his boy right at that moment, and couldn’t have stopped himself from tipping his head forward to kiss those perfect lips even if he’d wanted to. Justin happily kissed him back - their first public kiss - as Brian brought their spinning to a stop right as the last notes of the song they’d been dancing to died away. Even then, though, they continued to stand there and stare into each other’s eyes, only gradually becoming aware that their fellow dancers had made room for them on the floor and were now all standing around applauding their performance.

 

“Damn, you two make a beautiful couple, darlings,” the hostess stated as she came up to them and held her hand out to introduce herself. “Folks call me ‘Jade’.”

 

“Brian Kinney,” Brian accepted the handshake. “Love your party so far. Thank you for having us.”

 

“Oooo. An American. I just love American men. They’re so . . . rugged.” Then she turned her attention to Justin. “And who’s this adorable little morsel? You, I just want to eat up whole, Sugar.”

 

“I’m . . . I . . . I . . .” Justin stuttered and blushed and simply looked too adorable for words.

 

“This is the lovely ‘Sunshine’,” Brian offered, using the boy’s pseudonym in case he wanted to keep his real identity a secret. “And he’s American too, but living here in your fair city for the time being.”

 

“Well, well, well. Two such lovelies at my little party. I must have done something good in a prior life to be graced with a double dose of such manliness,” Jade said, reaching out to chuck Justin under the chin in a familiar fashion. “Welcome, boys. I’m glad you’re here. Please enjoy yourselves. And if you need . . . Anything . . . just ask for Jade.”

 

Then the hostess moved on to greet another of her guests, leaving Brian and his tongue-tied blond to make their way off the dance floor over to an empty spot on a nearby couch.

 

“He seemed nice,” Justin finally found his voice as they seated themselves. “Or should I say ‘she’? I . . . I don’t really know. I’ve never met any other . . . ‘transvestites’.” He whispered the last word, obviously uncomfortable with it.

 

“The convention is to use whatever gender the person is presenting himself or herself in at the time,” Brian explained. “So, someone dressed in women’s clothing, regardless of their biological gender, can be addressed as she or her, unless they tell you otherwise. And, transvestite isn’t a dirty word, Blue Eyes. You can say it out loud.”

 

“Okay . . . Well, that seems fair,” Justin answered, looking at the couple that had just taken up the other end of their couch, the one dressed as a woman seeming to be taking the initiative in a kiss with the other one who happened to be dressed as a man. “Although, it does seem to get a bit complicated sometimes, doesn’t it?”

 

“Life is complicated, Blue Eyes. Why should the people living it be less so?” Brian philosophized. “Now, instead of watching those two kiss, how about you kiss me again? That’s a much better use of our time, don’t you agree?”

 

“If you insist, Mr. Kinney,” Justin agreed readily, getting into the mood sufficiently that he leaned in and initiated this kiss.

 

After that, the party progressed quite nicely, at least in Brian’s estimation. Justin was definitely loosening up. He no longer stared at everyone that passed by like they were all a bunch of circus performers. Brian made sure to keep the drinks flowing at a steady pace and, in turn, Justin kept him returning to the dance floor again and again. They only saw Lucky and Curly from a distance most of the evening - those two seeming to be swarmed by a group of friends that included some of the more lascivious guests. Justin was still a little too reserved for that group, Brian thought, and so they kept mostly to themselves.

 

Before long a photographer came along - with his bulky box-type camera and huge flash equipment - and took photos of the guests, who grouped themselves accordingly on the couches and chairs. The photos seemed to get progressively more debauched as the night ensued. Justin staunchly declined to be included in any of these groups, though, clearly wanting to keep any potential evidence of his participation in the festivities to a minimum. Brian was okay with that, seeing as he wasn’t really supposed to be there in that decade at all. He did wonder where the photos would end up - probably in some gay history museum somewhere, illustrating the gay culture of the the times for future fags everywhere.



It must have been around eleven when the party was briefly disrupted by the building shaking a bit around their shoulders and the sounds of a distant booming. The band only paused a moment, though, before they started up again right where they’d left off in the song. Apparently, Londoners we so inured to the almost nightly bombing raids that they weren’t distracted by it. The party went on regardless. And you could only hear the very closest and loudest bomb explosions above the wailing of the trumpets anyway. It made Brian just a little worried though. Justin seemed to sense his disquiet and took charge of the kissing from then on out, making sure to distract Brian every time they heard another boom.

 

Which is probably why Brian didn’t immediately realize what was going on when the booming changed into the sound of banging and then loud boots coming down the stairs from the building’s entrance. It wasn’t until they were interrupted by shouting and even a rather girly scream, that the band stopped playing and everyone turned to look at the staircase. And even then, most people who looked over and saw the men dressed in police uniforms weren’t sure at first that this wasn’t just part of the entertainment.

 

“Shit!” Jade - who happened to be standing nearby at the time - growled, her gentile falsetto falling into a gravelly baritone. Then she raised her voice, yelling over the growing noise of the confused crowd. “It’s a damn raid. Everyone out! Save yourselves, Children!”

 

Which is when utter chaos broke out. Brian, who was tall enough to see over the heads of most of the others, could see that there were about ten police bobbies coming down the stairs. Most of the guests seemed intent on swarming them, creating a choke point at the bottom of the stairs, while everyone tried to fight their way through the police. It seemed like quite a few were getting through, too, but Brian was doubtful they’d make it far, especially if there were more police waiting at the top of the stairs.

 

“This way, Children,” Jade was stage whispering to those of her guests that were close enough to hear her over the cacophony of the crowd. “The back stairs are through here; behind the bar. Quickly, everyone! Quickly! Go, go, go!”

 

Brian didn’t wait to be told a second time. He grabbed Justin’s hand and towed the panicky pilot after him, shouldering past milling guests that didn’t seem to be reacting as quickly. There weren’t as many people at that end of the room, so Brian was able to make good progress. Over behind where the bar was set up, there was a small door that had been half-hidden by a drape so it wasn’t obvious unless you knew it was there. The band and most of the serving staff had already escaped through there and only a few of the guests seemed aware of this back way out, leaving Brian’s path clear.

 

Ducking his head and squeezing through the small portal, Brian made it through without letting go of Justin’s hand. The space behind the door was only a dark, bare-brick-walled cellar, the sides of the room stacked with kegs of beer, boxes of foodstuffs and crates full of wine bottles. At the far end of the dank little space, there was a ladder leading up through an open hatchway. Brian didn’t stop to look around him. He and Justin dashed to the ladder, climbed as quickly as they could and emerged into a dark, cobbled alleyway. The near end of the alley seemed to be a dead end, but off to the right, they could see dark figures disappearing around the corner, presumably heading onto the high street from there. With other escapees on their heels, Brian took off running as fast as he could, pulling Justin after him and heading for the road.

 

They’d almost made it too, when the exit was suddenly blocked by a solo figure outlined by the moonlight behind him, which clearly delineated the characteristic rounded hat of a London Bobbie.

 

The relative silence of the night was blasted to pieces by the blaring of a high pitched whistle, bringing Brian, Justin and all the rest of the fleeing partygoers in the alley to a screeching halt.

 

“By the authority of the Crown, I order you to halt!” the dark figure demanded, holding up one hand in a ‘stop’ gesture. “You are all under arrest for violating Section . . .”

 

Presumably, the officer was about to rattle off whatever the ordinance number was for whatever they were going to be charged with. Unfortunately for him, his recitation was interrupted by the low whirring hum of a massively dark shape soaring by overhead and then, only seconds later, the alley was lit up by the orange glow of incendiary canisters dropping and breaking open all around them. Before anyone had a chance to recover, they were further startled by the sinister piercing whistle of a large HE bomb falling from the sky.

 

“Fuck this!” Brian growled and, taking hold of Justin’s hand once more, he lowered his head and charged forward at full tilt, aiming right at the startled bobbie.

 

Brian’s reaction seemed to buoy the rest of the crowd, all of whom started to run in the same direction, yelling at the tops of their lungs like an attacking phalanx of crazed berserkers. Brian plowed into the lone bobbie, tackling him like linebacker. He didn’t pausr for even a second to see if the man was alright, continuing on his way at top speed, with Justin right behind him. The rest of their followers followed suit, trampling over the fallen policeman without regard. Brian only glanced back once, long enough to see the poor cop huddled on the ground while a beefy-looking guy in a dress walked over him, not even trying to avoid spiking him with a rather sharp looking size-thirteen pump.

 

Once the pack had made it to the high street, they turned to the left, away from the ruckus still boiling around the front of the club, galloping away toward the safety of Hyde Park as fast as they all could run.

 

They eventually made it all the way to the Marble Arch Tube station, and the group seemed to disburse from there. It was too late to get a ride back to Covent Garden - the trains had long ago been turned off for the night and the station itself was packed with folks sheltering from the raid - so Brian and Justin simply turned to the east and began to walk along Oxford Street. Luckily, the air raid seemed to be mostly over; it had only been a small one, comprised of a handful of planes, and not intended to do much more than keep the Brits in a state of unrest. Brian hoped that they could make it all the way back to The Strand Palace without encountering another wave of bombers. Either way, it was probably good that they were hoofing it, seeing as Brian really needed a way to burn through the adrenaline still coursing through his system.

 

“So, Sunshine, how did you like your first queer party?” Brian asked, after they’d been walking in silence for a while.

 

“The party, I liked. The dancing, I liked. The people, they were interesting and fun to watch. The raid part, though, I didn’t care for,” Justin reasoned. “I think I’m going to avoid any more queer parties for a while. I can’t get caught at one of those things, Brian. I just can’t.”

 

“It’s okay, Blue Eyes. I don’t particularly want to get arrested here myself,” Brian replied, wondering exactly HOW that would work, assuming that the police would pretty quickly find out his ID was fake and he didn’t have any other identity here in 1941. “Even though it totally sucks that we can’t even fucking dance together for fear of being arrested. It’s so ridiculous. Damned prudes, thinking they can legislate away the gay. It never worked in the past and it never will work. But someday, Blue Eyes . . . Someday we’ll be able to come out of hiding. We’ll be free to act and dress and kiss however we like. Whoever we like. Someday . . .”

 

“I hope you’re right, Brian. I hope you’re right,” Justin intoned, his hands shoved in his pockets and his shoulders hunched over to conserve his body heat as the sweat from their run started to cool them.

 

Brian found he was huddling in a similar fashion, and suddenly realized something. “Damn. I left my new coat back there. I just bought the damn thing this morning, too.”

 

“Better to lose your coat than your freedom, Brian.”

 

“Yeah. You’re right there, Sunshine.” Brian grumbled. “You know what? Fuck it. I’m not going to let them ruin our night. As soon as we get back to The Palace, we’ll have our own celebration. A queer celebration to rock the ages. And, at our party, clothing is optional.”

 

“That sounds like a super plan, Brian. I can definitely get behind a plan like that,” Justin assured him.

 

********


Chapter Music Selection - 
Let The Good Times Roll by Louis Jordan .  

 

Research -
-King George VI - His Highness, Albert, Duke Of York, became King of Great Britain on May 12, 1937, when his older brother, King Edward VIII, abdicated the throne so that he could marry his mistress, Wallis Simpson, an American socialite. Albert took the title, George VI, in honor of his father. George and his wife, Elizabeth (not to be confused with the current Queen, Elizabeth II, who is their daughter) were college sweethearts, married April 26, 1923 at Westminster Abbey. And, yes, he went by the nickname ‘Bertie’ among family and close friends. King George VI .
-Queer London Of the 40s and 50s - Even though the British ‘Indecency’ laws remained on the books until the 1960s, the area around Soho, in the West End of London, provided a home (of sorts) to much of the queer culture of the day. If you go to London today, you can even go on walking tours of the neighborhood and take a peek into some of the seedy dens of iniquity our boy’s night have visited. Gay Soho

 

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 23 - That’s The Way It Is.

 

Brian didn’t manage to see Justin again for several days after the Lock-in Party. The busy pilot left a note with Daphne saying that he was being posted back to Croydon again and would be flying some long missions so it would be too tough for him to make it back to Covent Garden every morning. Justin advised that he probably wouldn’t be back until Wednesday or so, but that he’d send word or a note if anything changed.

 

Brian was almost ashamed by how disappointed he felt when he read the note. He had really been looking forward to yet another night of lascivious lessons with his eager little student. He’d been enjoying their time together so much that he’d been spending pretty much every single night here in the past, and to find out that his playmate wasn’t going to be available for several days, was a total drag. But then he mentally kicked himself for being such a wimp. Since when did he become so dependent on Justin for his entertainment?

 

Brian thanked Daphne for playing mailman for him, then turned around and headed back towards Duckett’s Passage and the twenty-first century.

 

Even so, Brian still found himself trotting back to 1941 every evening, hoping against hope that he’d find his wayward Blue Eyes had finished whatever this latest assignment was early. Brian did get either a message, a drawing or a letter from the boy every afternoon, but there was no Blue Eyes in his arms or in his bed. So, every evening he’d pick up his latest message, have a beer with Daphne, maybe join the boys for a little conversation, and then go shuffling dejectedly back to his own time. It was annoying and boring, but there was nothing he could do.

 

To fill the time, and keep himself busy during his empty evenings, Brian started looking into the WWII bombing reports on the German side, which he’d previously not bothered with. From what he could find online, it seemed that the British had been busy the past week or so with retaliatory bombing attacks in response to the heavy Nazi bombings on the 17th and 19th. They’d sent huge strategic bombing missions deep into the heart of Germany, hitting Hamburg, Dusseldorf, Mainz, Berlin, Munich and more with thousands of tons of bombs. No wonder his personal RAF pilot was being kept busy.

 

While the British were more conscientious, on the whole, about only targeting military and industrial assets, Brian was still upset to think of how many people - including civilians - would be killed by these raids. War was a shitty business, regardless of which side you were on; fucking Hitler and all the other authoritarian nutjobs that started wars and didn’t care about the people as long as their egos were appeased. It didn’t help much to learn that the British RAF casualties resulting from some of these bombing forays were quite high. Brian tried to hold on to the knowledge that Justin would be safe at least until July, when his plane was destined to disappear over the North Sea, but he still worried for the kid.

 

The worst moment of the week for Brian came on Wednesday, when he strolled into the pub, only to discover that his daily note was missing. Daphne said she hadn’t heard a word from Sunshine all day. Brian found himself feeling both crushed and worried. Either Justin had forgotten him, or even worse, something bad had happened that prevented him from getting word to Brian. Neither of which boded well.

 

Taking the pint of Best that Daphne handed him with a sympathetic smile, Brian made his way over to a vacant table in the corner. It was still a bit early in the day for the irregular crowd to have arrived, so Brian didn’t even have anyone to commiserate with. He simply sat there, all alone, brooding morosely over his beer. Daphne kept him supplied with alcohol but didn’t otherwise interrupt his moping, which was good because he didn’t feel much like chit chat. And he didn’t care that he was acting like a silly twat - he was going to pout and grumble as much as he wanted - he was THAT disappointed.

 

Finally, when it was getting seriously dark outside, a few of the more picturesque pub patrons began to trickle in. Brian looked up from his pint long enough to nod at a few but didn’t invite anyone to join him. He wanted to be alone to thoroughly enjoy his sullen mood.

 

“Hello, Handsome. Why the long face?” Brian’s pouting was interrupted a few minutes later by the overly cheerful figure of Fancy, who plopped down in the seat across the table from him without waiting for an invitation. “Whatever it is, I’d be happy to kiss it all better for you.”

 

“Fuck off, Fancy. I’m not in the mood,” Brian grumbled.

 

“Oy! Such a dirty mouth on you! I love it!” Fancy teased, not taking the hint that Brian didn’t want company. “Come on, Handsome. Tell Fancy what’s bothering you. You never know - I might be able to help.”

 

Before Brian had a chance to either physically remove Fancy from his table or, in the alternative, bare his soul to the man, the front door of the White Lion opened again and admitted a large group of young men in military garb. And, much to Brian’s everlasting relief, right in the forefront, he saw the familiar mop of blond hair that he so longed to see. Justin was laughing as he came in the door, his bright smile making the atmosphere of the pub seem suddenly brighter. The sound of his laughter went even further towards lifting Brian’s mood.

 

“. . . I know. It was crazy,” Justin was saying to his companions, who were all smiling at him as if the story was hilarious. “And there I was, after flying all the way back from Rotterdam, barely able to keep the darn plane in the air, with one engine on fire and leaking gasoline the whole way, and the tower tells me I can’t land because they’re under attack from the Gerries? Well, I didn’t have time for that. So I just came in, guns blazing, shooting at everything that moved, you know? And I guess the Gerries must have known I meant business or something because they didn’t even bother shooting back. They just all moved out of my way.”

 

“Damn, Sunshine. That sounds hairy!” one of Justin’s RAF mates responded, clapping the blond on the back.

 

“That wasn’t so bad. I’m used to that stuff. What did give me a little scare was the fact that, once I did have a clear shot at the runway, I couldn’t get the landing gear down. But I was completely out of fuel by then, so I didn’t have a choice. I ended up making a belly landing and only barely kept the plane on the tarmac,” Justin explained to his rapt audience, which now included Brian. “It was a real beaut though. Textbook perfect, if I do say so myself. I kept the nose up and just laid it down, soft as a bird’s feather, managing to slide to a stop about twenty feet from the hangar doors.”

 

That earned Justin a rousing round of congratulations.

 

“So, the fire squads are running out to me trying to put out the engine fire, and I’m climbing out of the cockpit barely able to breathe because of all the smoke, and up comes my CO. And I’m thinking he’s there to congratulate me on not getting shot out of the sky and managing to make it back to base in one piece or something, but no . . . He’s all like, ‘What the hell did you do to my brand new plane, Taylor!’” Everyone around Justin, except for Brian, broke out laughing. “So, I guess I’ll be flying my old Hurricane for the foreseeable future now. Evermere said he wasn’t giving me another new plane just to have it shot up again.”

 

Justin had made it over to Brian’s table by that point, smiling down at his guy with a happy grin and a squeeze to Brian’s shoulder. He sank down in the chair next to Brian and, with an impish waggle of his eyebrows, stole Brian’s glass of ale, taking a big swig as he waved off the rest of his admirers. As soon as all his friends said their goodbyes and moved off towards the bar to get their own drinks, the blond pilot turned to Brian.

 

“Hey there, Handsome. Miss me?” he joked, knocking his knee against Brian’s thigh under the cover of the tabletop.

 

Brian smiled tightly and took back his beer. “So, Blue Eyes . . . sounds like you’ve been having a fine old time,” he answered, snippily.

 

“What’s wrong, Brian?” Justin responded, looking at his apparently angry lover with evident concern. “Are you okay?”

 

“Oh, I’m just fine and dandy. No life and death situations for me, thanks,” Brian barked back. “Of course, I’m not out risking my ass on a nightly basis, and then joking about almost getting killed like it’s no big deal.”

 

“Brian . . .” Justin sighed, not exactly pleased with the greeting he’d received. “It really wasn’t that bad. I promise. It’s just . . . well, that’s my job, you know. I handled it. I’m fine.”

 

“How many planes did you lose last night, Blue Eyes?” Brian asked in an angry whisper. “According to my sources, it was more than forty bombers and around twenty of the escort detail. One of them could have been you. Tell me how, exactly, that qualifies as fine? Huh?”

 

Justin didn't know what to say so they both just sat in silence staring at each other, neither one wanting to look away first. Finally, when it became apparent that Brian wasn’t going to back down on this issue, Justin turned his chair so he was directly facing the older man, reached out and grabbed Brian’s hand, and offered up a tiny, albeit serious, smile. Brian was still angry but he didn’t pull away; he was just too relieved to have his Blue Eyes back in one piece.

 

“Setting aside the matter of how it is you seem to know the exact casualty count from my mission last night,” Justin started off, “I really don’t see that it’s any of your business, Brian.”

 

Brian immediately bristled, ready to argue his point, but Justin wasn’t about to let him have his say yet.

 

“No, Brian. Hear me out.” The young man’s serious expression immediately quelled Brian‘s response, forcing him to sit back in his chair and listen, even if it was against his will.

 

“Regardless of whatever is developing between us, you don’t have the right to tell me how to live my life,” Justin asserted with quiet resolve. “I wasn’t gonna let my father tell me what to do with my life. I damn well wasn’t going to let the U.S. Army tell me how to live my life. And no matter how much I care for you, I’m not gonna let YOU tell me how to live my life, either. I am a pilot. I’m an officer in the Royal Air Force. I have given the RAF my oath of loyalty. They, in turn, gave me the training to become a fully licensed pilot. I am not backing out of my agreement with them. Part of that agreement, unfortunately, includes me putting my life on the line on a daily basis. That’s just how it is, Brian.”

 

Brian reflexively squeezed the hand holding his, as if afraid Justin was going to be snatched away from him there and then. Justin squeezed back but his expression didn’t relent. The stubborn little shit simply continued to stare him down.

 

“If you and I are going to make a go of it, you’re going to need to learn to deal with that fact, Brian. We’ve already talked about this. If you can’t handle the fact that THIS is who I am, then you need to just walk away. Because I’m telling you now, until this war is over, or I’m discharged or killed in action, I’m committed to doing what I’m doing now.”

 

Brian felt his shoulders slumping and he sagged even lower in the chair. He knew what Justin was telling him was true. He also knew by this point that his Blue Eyes wasn’t the kind of man who would give in on a subject like this. Justin was stubborn as shit, had an overdeveloped sense of honor, and wasn’t about to change for Brian or anyone else. Brian had never met anyone who had as strong a sense of self-determination as his own before. Sadly, that was one of the things about Justin that Brian found so attractive. So even if he had wanted to pressure Justin into changing, he would never do that. He would never change that particular aspect of the young man’s character.

 

“Fuck, Blue Eyes . . . I fucking hate this fucking war.”

 

Justin cracked up at Brian's admission of surrender.  “I think pretty much everyone I know would agree with you there, Handsome,” the boy replied, finally giving his lover a more relaxed smile. “Now, how about we start over . . . Hi, Honey. How’s your week been?” he asked with a light and airy tone.

 

“Boring. I had no one to play with,” Brian answered, with a return to his earlier pouting.

 

“Oh, poor baby. Good thing I’m back,” Justin teased and then leaned in so he could whisper in Brian’s ear. “I missed you too. And I’m ready for more ‘lessons’, Sir.”

 

Brian felt the younger man’s hand sneaking onto his thigh and giving it a quick squeeze. Brian heard himself growling in anticipation. Damn this boy; he made it impossible for Brian to stay angry at him.

 

Before Brian could suggest that they get the hell out of the White Lion and head back to The Palace as quickly as as possible, however, their little tête-à-tête was interrupted. “That’s it? You’re not even going to kiss and make up? Darn! I was hoping for a real show,” Fancy joked as he leaned forward from the far side of the table, looking like he’d been enjoying the private conversation between the two other men.

 

“Didn’t I already tell you to fuck off, Fancy?” Brian questioned, giving their eavesdropper a Kinney death glare.

 

“You did at that, Handsome, but I’ve never been good at following directions. Besides, with entertainment like this, where else would I want to be?” Fancy replied with a girly giggle added in.

 

Brian rolled his eyes but didn’t comment.

 

“I’m glad we’re amusing to you, Fancy,” Justin answered for the both of them. “But Brian and I were just about to leave; we’ve got some serious catching up to do. Besides, I’m sure you’ve probably got someone else to annoy this evening?”

 

“Fine. If you think I’m annoying, I’ll leave, and I’ll take all of my very interesting and highly pertinent news with me . . .” Fancy tantalized and made a motion as if to reluctantly rise from the table.

 

Justin sighed, but as expected, he relented. “What news?”

 

Fancy immediately plopped back down in his chair with a confiding grin on his face. “Well, if you insist.” Then the man leaned in towards them and lowered his voice so that no one around could overhear. “I heard you two went to the party at the Polaris Club with Lucky and Curly last weekend?” Both Brian and Justin nodded. “You’re fortunate you got out of there in one piece. It turns out the cops made several arrests that night. Including, I’m afraid to say, your pal, Lucky.”

 

“What?” Both Brian and Justin hissed at the same time.

 

“I’m afraid so,” Fancy confirmed sympathetically. “If you hadn’t taken off to Croydon the next day, Sunshine, you would have heard by now. Curly has been absolutely despondent over the whole thing. He was in here the other night complaining that they wouldn’t even let him see Lucky.”

 

“How did they get Lucky and not Curly?” Justin asked.

 

“The story I heard was that Lucky sacrificed himself so that Curly could escape. He practically threw himself into the bobbie’s path while Curly was running up the stairs. I take it that Curly was dressed up rather . . . shall we say, provocatively . . . and Lucky rightfully assumed Curly would get a much harsher sentence if he was caught dressed like THAT than Lucky would. Although, now, I’m not so sure about that. I have a . . . friend . . . who works in the Magistrate's office and they’re talking about making an example of ALL the suspects arrested. Something about how the perverts are undermining the war effort and the club being cover for subversive elements.”

 

“How is us being queer undermining the war effort?” Justin scoffed. “I happen to know for a fact that at least half the guys there are in one branch of the military or another.”

 

“True, but that only makes it worse that they found German propaganda materials there,” Fancy confided with a knowing look. “My . . . friend . . . told me they found Nazi leaflets at the club.” The skeptical looks he got from his audience only encouraged Fancy to tell more. “It’s true. They found what the Magistrate suspected was a German Officer’s overcoat and, in the pocket, there was some kind of prototype propaganda materials designed to try and get us Brits to buy black market, German-made, goods. My . . . friend . . . got a glimpse of it even. He said it looked like a bunch of ads for Nazi-made cars and banks and stuff.”

 

“That doesn’t make any sense,” Justin interjected. “There’s an import embargo with Germany. How are we supposed to buy their cars?”

 

“I don’t understand it myself,” Fancy agreed. “But from what I heard, the papers my . . . friend . . . saw, talked about Deutsche Bank, Fanta and even some newfangled, crazy-looking Mercedes-Benz cars . . .”

 

That last tidbit caught Brian’s attention. He remembered picking up an advertising flyer when he was at the shops the day before the party - it had shown an ad for the new Mercedes SLK convertible sedan he’d been thinking about buying when he got back to the states with his bonus from the Britcom deal in hand. It was a beautiful automobile and Brian knew he’d look hot in that cherry red model. He wasn’t sure what other ads had been on the flyer, but he vaguely recalled a soft drink ad on the reverse side and Deutsche Bank was a huge presence in 2016 London, so . . . Damn, he must have put that flyer in the pocket of his brand new Karl Lagerfeld jacket - the one that got left behind at the party that night.

 

“. . . But anyway, it sounds like your pal, Lucky, was particularly UN-Lucky that night,” Fancy continued with his story. “He got pinched like a Scottish penny.”

 

“Shit! I just assumed they got away along with all the rest of us,” Brian cursed, now feeling a little guilty for inadvertently making things worse for Justin’s friend. “Is there anything we can do? Does he have a good lawyer?”

 

“It won’t do any good,” Justin interrupted, sounding dejected. “Even if he gets off with a light sentence, he’ll still be kicked out of the Army. The British might be less picky about homosexuals than the Americans are these days, but there’s no way they’ll let a convicted sodomite stay in the service. He’ll be dishonorably discharged and labeled a pervert for life. Nobody will hire him, even with the labor shortage around here. His life is pretty much over.”

 

“That’s fucked!” Brian complained, his voice rising to the point that he was shushed for his language by several of the pub’s other patrons. “Lucky didn’t DO anything wrong. None of us did. Hell, except for dressing up and a little fairly tame kissing, nobody at that damn party was even doing anything overtly homosexual. This is fucking ridiculous. It’s not like it was a fucking orgy or anything.”

 

“Just being there - in the company of known reprobates - is enough, Brian. You should know that,” Justin grumbled. “It’s not that much different back in the States. Although, back home, you’re more likely to get taken out back and beaten to a pulp than arrested by the police, I’ll give you that.”

 

Brian had to concede that point. Even in his own time, the police were not known to be overly kind where gays were concerned. It didn’t make him feel better about Lucky’s situation though. This century’s approach to homosexuality was just so aggravating. It was ignorant and irrational and inhumane . . . And there was nothing that Brian could do about it.

 

“. . . Yeah, Curly was beating himself up about it right wickedly,” Fancy was saying as he and Justin discussed the matter further. “But there’s really no help for it. At least they probably don’t have grounds to get anything more than jail time for Lucky.” Fancy looked over his shoulder as if to ensure nobody was listening in before he continued. “I had a friend a few years back that got himself pinched in a VERY compromising situation and the court actually handed down a sentence of chemical castration against him. Poor fellow couldn’t bear it and he . . . Well, he only lasted about six months after that.”

 

Brian heard himself gasp loudly. “They can do that?” he asked, completely aghast - he’d never heard of that type of barbarity before.

 

“They can and do, on a regular basis, Darling,” Fancy assured with authority.

 

“You don’t think that’ll happen to Lucky, do you?” Justin asked, his expression gloomy and his face going pale with a combination of anger and fear.

 

“No. Probably not. He’ll likely just get a month or two of jail time and then be allowed to go,” Fancy offered. “They only do the OTHER to the worst of us. If they catch us, that is.”

 

Brian reflexively reached under the table and grabbed hold of his balls, just to make sure they were still there and safe. The very thought of someone being physically maimed just for being gay was so repulsive to him that it was almost incomprehensible. How the fuck did they get away with shit like that? That type of response to homosexuality literally made no sense at all to Brian’s 21st century mind. To be punished so egregiously - castrated - just for the biological fact of finding someone of the same sex attractive, couldn’t seriously be allowed. Could it?

 

Then the possibility that such actions could be taken against HIM, struck home.

 

“Shit! What the fuck am I doing here? This can’t be real,” Brian exclaimed before he realized he was speaking aloud.

 

“Welcome to London, Dear,” Fancy responded with a consoling pat to the back of Brian‘s wrist.

 

After that, they all fell silent for a long time. What was there to say? They were all in the same boat. None of them had any right to question or challenge the actions being taken against Lucky. And they all knew they would be in exactly the same situation if they’d been the one arrested.

 

Eventually, Justin took a deep breath, picked up Brian‘s pint glass and drained it, then nodded towards the door. “Come on, Handsome. I’m not in the mood for another drink. Let’s get out of here.”

 

Brian was forced to agree; if anything, his mood was even darker now than it had been before Justin arrived. With a shrug and a goodbye nod to Fancy, Brian got up from the table and followed Justin. On the way to the exit, though, Brian veered off towards the bar. When he got there, he pulled out his wallet and peeled several large bills off the stack he kept there, sliding them across the counter towards Daphne.

 

“Daph, can you find a way to get this to Lucky? If he doesn’t need it for a lawyer, he can just keep it for later. And if he needs more, you know where to find me,” Brian offered quietly.

 

“Sure thin’, Andsome,” Daphne said as she stuffed the bills into the front of her dress. “‘At’ll be right helpful, I expect. ‘An I’ll thank yer on ‘is behalf now, seein’ as we won’t likely see ‘im ‘round here fer awhile yet.”

 

Brian gave her a wistful smile and then turned back to Justin, who’d been waiting just a few steps away. They exited the pub together without saying more. In fact, they were halfway down the block before Justin finally spoke up.

 

“Thank you, Brian. That was awfully nice of you,” Justin commented, but then added with a bit of a worried frown. “£200 is a lot of money, though. Are you sure about that?”

 

“It’s just money, Blue Eyes. I wish I could do more.” Then Brian chuckled inexplicably. “Besides, I can always make more.”

 

Justin shoved his hands into his pockets and bumped their shoulders together as they walked the rest of the way back to the Strand Palace hotel in a comfortable, yet subdued, silence.

 

Neither Brian nor Justin said anything in response to the cheerful greeting they received from the doorman at The Palace. They took the elevator up to the top floor and made their way to Brian’s room without a word. Even once they were inside the room -  the door locked to keep out the world - there still didn’t seem to be anything worth saying. Justin moved over to sit on the bed while Brian remained standing in the middle of the room, both of them still lost in their individual thoughts.

 

Finally, Justin seemed to shake himself a little and looked up at his lover. “Brian, I . . . Can you just hold me, please? I need . . . I need to feel you here next to me.”

 

Brian nodded and took the three steps needed to reach the bed himself. Then he sat down next to his blond and stretched one arm around the younger man’s back. Justin turned towards him, leaning his head against Brian’s big, solid chest, and let out a deep sigh as his body noticeably relaxed. Brian also felt himself relaxing as soon as they’d touched. There was something eminently reassuring in just knowing that there was another person there, with him, that understood what he was feeling and felt the same. Even when the entire outside world was ranged against them, they at least had each other.

 

“Take your shirt off,” Justin ordered quietly, his cheeks flushed as he spoke. “I want . . . I just really need to feel your skin.”

 

Brian grinned as he sat up, throwing his shirt onto the chair next to the bed and laying back down, enveloping the blond in his arms.

 

“I really missed you, Brian. I missed this,” Justin whispered into Brian’s bare chest. “Every day I was gone, every mission I flew, I spent all my time thinking about you. And sometimes I felt like I could almost feel your arms around me . . . I needed that, Brian.”

 

The way Justin was clutching so desperately at his arms, his breathing coming in short gasps, belied the quietude of his voice. Brian realized that he felt the same. That he’d missed Justin. Missed touching him and holding him and even just looking at him. And right then he simply needed to feel Justin. Every part of him. To reassure himself that, despite whatever the law and the times said about them, this wasn’t wrong. How could THIS be wrong? How could feeling fulfilled by another person - regardless of who that person was or what gender the person happened to be - be wrong?

 

Releasing his hold on the boy’s slender frame, Brian helped Justin lie back. The blond looked up at him with hungry blue eyes filled with the ultimate trust. Brian felt himself falling into those pools of blue, wanting whatever it was he saw there even though he didn’t completely understand it. It was something outside of his scope of understanding. Something Brian didn’t think he’d ever experienced before. But deep down, he knew he wanted whatever it was. He wanted Justin to always look at him with those eyes.

 

Brian didn’t know what to say to those eyes, but he knew what to do. He immediately began to undress the reclining blond, working quickly from button to button until the rough cotton shirt of the man’s uniform was laying wide open and he could easily push it off the ivory shoulders. The twill trousers only took a minute more. And then Justin was lying there, bare as the day he was born, looking so delicious and open that Brian wanted to eat him up from head to toe. He wanted to devour him. He wanted to make this beautiful man his and thereby prove to a world that would dare to try and prevent them from feeling these feelings, that the world was wrong, not them.

 

“I have a little something for you,” Brian breathed, when he finally remembered that he was supposed to be doing something other than just sitting there admiring the boy’s body from afar.

 

Shifting onto his knees so he was perched next to Justin’s side, Brian reached over to the bedside table where he’d left his little toiletries bag and pulled out a small purple bottle.



“Oooh, what is it?” Justin asked, as he lifted his head off of the pillow and tried to look at what was in Brian’s hand.

 

Brian leaned down for a kiss as he gently nudged the blond’s shoulder. “Roll over onto your stomach.”

 

Justin complied but still asked once more, “what is that stuff, Brian?” and tried to look over his shoulder while he rolled, only to have his head pushed back down by Brian as the older man quickly slipped off his own pants and straddled the kid’s lower back.

 

“You’ll see, Blue Eyes. Now hush,” Brian directed.

 

Brian poured some of the aloe-scented gel into his hands and rubbed them together. This stuff was stickier than the typical massage oil he was used to, but since it also doubled as lube, he wasn’t going to complain. When he was ready, he started in on the boy’s tense shoulders, enjoying the way Justin melted beneath him as his warm hands began to work on the knots he found there. Damn, his boy was tight . . . And not in the way Brian usually liked. Brian added more gel to his hands and ran them up into the blond’s hairline and then back down his neck, rubbing away every smidgen of tension as he went.

 

“Don’t fall asleep on me, ‘kay?” Brian whispered, as his thumb and forefinger rubbed firm circles along the base of Justin’s skull and back down his neck, his blond boy moaning happily as the stress from the last few months was massaged out of him with strong fingers.

 

Brian shifted a little lower, so he was sitting on that delicious bubble butt, and began to rub his hands up and down Justin’s back. The muscles felt tense beneath him. He rubbed his flattened hands up and down Justin’s back on either side of his spine right up into his neck. He then returned to the lower back by rubbing his hands down the sides in small circles, increasing the pressure and size of the circles each time he moved up and down the strong back.

 

“Mmmmm,” Justin hummed happily as Brian used his knuckles on the pilot’s lower back, avoiding the spine and concentrating on those particularly tight lumbar muscles.

 

“Feel good?” Brian asked, as he ran his knuckles back up the length of Justin’s back and worked on the rigid muscles between his lover’s neck and shoulders, kneading away the knots that built up from sitting hunched over in a plane night after night.

 

“So good,” Justin mumbled.

 

Brian wanted his boy relaxed, but he didn’t want him to fall asleep, so he sat back up onto his knees and ordered Justin over onto his back. “Roll over.”

 

Justin did as he was told and rolled sleepily onto his back. Brian sat down, straddling Justin’s crotch, and wriggled around until he was comfortable, causing Justin to groan loudly, his hips involuntarily bucking upwards as he tried to make contact with the parts of him that wanted to reach Brian so badly. Brian only chuckled and used one hand to hold the boy’s hips still while he squirted a cold dollop of the massage gel onto the boy’s stomach.

 

“Ahhh! Applesauce, Brian! That’s cold,” the young man complained loudly.

 

“It’ll heat up, Blue Eyes. I promise,” Brian advised, and then leaned forward so he could use both hands to spread the gel all over the lean, pale abs.

 

Brian didn’t spend as long massaging this side of the blond boy, since, rather than relaxing Justin, he now seemed to get more excited as the rubbing went on. The bucking hips would have been pistoning into him if Brian hadn’t been using his weight along with one hand to hold Justin down. And the moaning was becoming quite insistent. Plus, Brian was starting to feel just as needy as his boy.

 

Carefully scooting backwards, Brian filled his hand with a generous helping of the gel and commenced massaging the funner bits of the boy, including the perfectly pink prick, the small, firm rounds of the younger man’s balls, and then further down, trailing small circles over the tender raphe and perineum, until his fingers found the tight little knot of the boy’s pucker. The happy whimper as Brian’s digits found their way inside, was music to his ears. His sexy student was coming along nicely, Brian thought. Very nicely, indeed.

 

“Oh, Brian . . . I . . . I love feeling you . . . inside me. . . yeah . . . just like that . . . Oh, Brian, please . . . I need . . . I need you. I need you,” Justin was practically chanting, his eyes heavy and unfocused.

 

“I’m coming, Blue Eyes,” Brian promised, tearing open a condom with his teeth and using his free hand to roll it on as quickly as he could.

 

With that, he plunged in, sinking all the way to the root with a satisfying skin-against-skin *swack*. Damn, that felt so good. And judging by the groan of ecstasy he received from his Blue Eyes, it must have been just as good for the boy. The hands scrabbling at his back and hips, trying desperately to pull him in deeper, urging him to move faster, directing him and encouraging him, made the experience all the more gratifying.

 

Brian had never before bothered to spend enough time with any one trick to learn what each of their little moans or grunts meant. He’d never cared enough to consider what his partners wanted or needed or liked. His only goal had been to get himself off, and while he generally spent sufficient time on a trick to get the other guy off as well, that was only to ensure his reputation remained intact, not because he was actually concerned with their half of the experience. So, it struck Brian as a bit odd that with Justin he seemed to intrinsically know what each of those moans and grunts and whimpers meant. He knew exactly how to angle himself to bring his Blue Eyes the most pleasure. He knew when to speed up and when to slow down to keep the boy perfectly on the edge. He knew - and even more remarkably, he cared - how to please the younger man in every single facet of their fucking.

 

And Brian found that it all of a sudden mattered to him that Justin didn’t just get off, but that his partner was satisfied. That Justin was pleased. That Justin found the experience to be not just good, but the best he’d ever had - and not just because the quality of the fuck would reflect on Brian, but for Justin’s sake.

 

Which would have scared the piss out of him, if he’d had the time to stop and think about it. But, since Brian was too busy revelling in the ultimate pleasure of the moment, he merely let these slightly disturbing thoughts flitter through his mind as he happily plowed the boy into the mattress over and over and over again until they both erupted with matching cries of repletion and then collapsed together in a heap of happy man-flesh.

 

Brian lay there trying to catch his breath for several minutes before he realized he was probably suffocating the smaller man underneath him. He started to roll to the side, reaching down to hold the edge of the condom as he pulled out, but was stopped when the thighs still wrapped around him squeezed more tightly and a hand reached out to grab his wrist. He lifted up on one elbow, putting just enough distance between their bodies that he could look Justin in the eye. What he expected to see there was simple post-coital repletion - the kind of sated, fucked-out, great-orgasm-time-to-go look he saw with his average tricks. But what he actually saw was genuine need and sincere affection bordering on more . . . Something Brian didn’t want to acknowledge. Something he didn’t think he was ready for.

 

“Please . . . not yet,” Justin pleaded and crossed his ankles behind Brian’s back, locking him in place. “Don’t go. I hate when you pull out. I feel so . . . so empty . . . when you’re no longer inside me,” he blushed deeply. “So . . . so disconnected. I . . . I need to feel you inside me, Brian. Stay inside me, please . . .”

 

“Sorry, Blue Eyes, but I can’t stay in much longer,” Brian responded, feeling instant regret when he saw the crestfallen look in the blue eyes. “I’ve got one more surprise for you though. This should help.”

 

Brian fumbled around in the toiletries kit he’d left on the nightstand, eventually pulling out what looked like a small, blue, glass egg on a stem. Justin was clearly confused by this latest gift, as evidenced by the blank look on his face as Brian handed it to him. Which only made Brian smile more, convinced that his boy was going to love this particular lesson.



Justin turned the object in his hands and scrunched up his nose. “What in heaven's name is this, Brian? It looks sorta like a chess piece but it’s way too big. Is it some kind of statue? It’s very pretty but I’ve never been big on art pieces or anything. I don’t know where I’d put it, or how it’s going to help me not feel empty when you’re gone.”

 

“Justin, Justin, Justin. Let me introduce you to something wonderful. Your new best friend, if you will.”

 

“I still don’t understand.”

 

“This little beauty, my dear Blue Eyes, is what we call a ‘butt plug’,” Brian explained, as he took the bright blue object out of Justin’s hands.

 

Justin looked shocked. “A . . . a what?”

 

“A butt plug,” Brian smiled evilly, as he covered the shiny object generously with lube, before reaching down, clasping the base of the condom tightly, and pulling out - probably quicker than he should have.

 

Justin groaned loudly at the loss, his ass painfully empty.

 

Brian couldn’t take his eyes off of Justin’s twitching hole, the way it pulsated, so desperate to be filled once more.

 

“With this, it’ll feel like I’m with you even when we’re not together,” Brian breathed heavily as he shoved the lubed plug roughly into Justin’s ass. The blond hissed as he adjusted to the sudden intrusion, but once he’d relaxed, his eyes rolled back into his head, his back arched off the bed and he keened happily at being filled to the brim once more.

 

“You like that, huh?” Brian asked throatily.

 

“Yesssss,” Justin sighed as if that butt plug was all he needed to be completely happy for the rest of eternity.

 

Brian patted the plump posterior familiarly and then moved away to grab a towel so they could begin cleaning themselves up. He sat on the edge of the mattress and carefully wiped up the copious amounts of cum that coated the boy’s stomach. Justin was simply lolling there, looking so fucked out and happy that Brian couldn’t help but chuckle.

 

“I love this butt plug thing, Brian,” Justin said, doing a little wiggle thing which, judging by the groan, undoubtedly made the plug twist around and bump into his sweet spot. “I love being filled by you, but this is a nice substitute. And now I can go around all day imagining you’re still inside me. My lover will always be with me,” Justin mumbled around a yawn as the fatigue of his day and the reaction to their lovemaking overtook him. “. . . never leave me, Brian . . . LOVE you . . .” Justin’s eyelids fluttered closed and ten seconds later he was sound asleep, snoring soundly.

 

Which left Brian sitting there, looking down at the sleeping blond, the echo of THAT word still ringing in his ears, and wondering what the hell he’d gotten himself into.

 

********

 

Chapter Music Selection - That's The Way It Is by Ella Fitzgerald .

 

Research: Boy a lot has changed in seventy-five years. There are a lot of modern German companies which either had their start in pre-war Germany or which were coopted by the Nazis for their nefarious purposes during the war. We don’t even think about the origins of these companies these days - until we go writing a story about WWII that is! Lol. Fanta & The Nazis , Mercedes-Benz in WWII , History of Deutsche Bank .

 

Slang: Pinched - to be arrested. (Apologies to anyone offended for the Scottish Penny dig - but it was said frequently back then).

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 24 - I’ll Get By.



Brian was exhausted by the time he made it back to The Strand Palace of 2016 the next morning. He had barely slept at all after Justin’s semi-conscious declaration the night before. Instead of sleeping he lay there the whole night and mulled over all the disturbing images in his mind, hearing the conversations of the evening over and over, and then fighting against the emotions that seemed to be overwhelming him. It had been a very long and very restless night, and at the end of it he still didn’t have any answers.

 

As soon as it had been light out, Brian had left a still slumbering Justin in his bed and fled back to the future. The second he’d stepped through the time hole into the modern Duckett’s Passage, his phone had started beeping with the special chime that indicated he had several voicemail messages waiting. He pulled the device out of his pocket and tapped at the icons that would allow him to listen to the messages as he walked the rest of the way to his hotel. The first two were from Cynthia; mostly run of the mill stuff that he could take care of as soon as he met up with her in the hotel’s office center. There were a few others that were just random stuff, all of which he deleted right off. Then he came upon a message from his Pittsburgh friend, Mikey, which annoyed him enough that he almost hung up before listening to the entire message.

 

“Hey Bri . . . you there?” Mikey’s voice called out from the speaker on his phone. Michael sighed loudly, “Bri? . . . I guess you’re busy,” Brian could practically hear the pout in his friend’s voice. “Are you in a meeting? . . . Nah, you’re probably out fucking your way through London Town as I speak. I bet everyone there already knows who Brian Kinney is by this point, huh?” His friend laughed at his own joke and Brian thought to himself how much he fucking hated it when Mikey called and left him messages like this - his friend was unable to leave one like a normal person, and he’d prattle on for ages as though they were having a full on conversation.

 

“Do you have an official title there yet? What do they call you? The Stud of Piccadilly?” More laughter from his pathetic friend who seemed way too invested in Brian’s sex life. “The Yankee Shag Monster?” Brian cringed at the way Mikey tried to take on an English accent as he spoke. “How many asses are you getting through a night over there? I bet the change of scenery and all that fresh meat has you at the top of your game, huh?” Michael chomped loudly on his chewing gum as he spoke. “Anyway, I hit up Babylon the other night with Ted and Emmett . . . it’s definitely not the same without you, but get this, some fucking young ass kid there thinks he’s a big shot and that he can take over your rep on the Avenue. Like that could ever happen, right? Don’t worry, I told the loser off for you. I told him nobody fucks like my best friend, Brian Kinney.”

 

Brian was rolling his eyes and shaking his head at every other sentence Mikey said. It was so bad that he almost couldn’t see where he was walking. Fucking, pathetic, Mikey.

 

“. . . Then the guy had the nerve to say you were old and past your prime and that, by the time you did get back, he’d have permanently replaced you,” the blather went on, making Brian wonder if Michael ever even stopped for a breath in between sentences. “I told him he was full of shit. I said you were just busy fucking your way through England since you’d already had all the best tricks here in Pittsburgh. That little shit doesn’t know who he’s messing with. This kid, though, he’ll never match you, Bri. He’s terrible at tricking. He doesn’t just fuck these guys, he becomes their friends. I heard he even DATED a couple of his tricks for a while - and let’s be real, that isn’t the way to become Top Stud. Look at you - you've never dated anyone in your life and would never risk getting snared in a relationship like this idiot. It would only slow you down, right? And we can’t have that. Like you always say, ‘so many asses, so little time!’ I mean, why go back for a repeat when you’ve already had a guy once? You would never bother with that shit. You wouldn’t tie yourself to someone . . . unless, of course, we’re talking the kind of tying up that involves bondage ropes or something kinky like that,” Mikey snorted at his own joke.

 

At that point in the message, Brian could hear noises in the background of the recording and there was the unmistakable sound of Michael’s mother, Debbie, hollering at him to get his ass to the table before dinner got cold. Shit, some things never changed; Michael was still the same annoying brat he’d been when he was fourteen.

 

“Well, anyway, I gotta go, Bri. Miss you. Call me back sometime, will ya?”

 

Finally the long rambling message came to an end and Brian was able to hit the button that deleted it. He often wondered why he was still friends with Michael - especially after he got hit with calls like that one. If it weren’t for the fact that the guy was Brian’s oldest friend . . .

 

Brian sighed loudly when he realised he still had one more message to get through. The first thirty seconds of the call were silent and he wasn’t sure who it was, but the recording at the start of the message said it lasted five minutes, so he hung on to see if anything came of it. It was only then that he heard Lindsay’s voice in the background.

 

“Gus, did Daddy not answer?”

 

There was lots of rustling on the line as Gus moved the handset around.

 

“No, but his voice did and it tolded me to leave a message.”

 

Lindz laughed, “has it beeped yet?”

 

“Yeah, it wented beeeeeeeeeeeeeeep, like that.”

 

“Then start talking. Daddy can hear you.”

 

“HI DADDY!” Brian had to pull the phone away from his ear as Gus was squealing so loudly. “Guess what, guess what, guess whatttttt?” Unlike his best friend, his five year old son knew he was leaving a message and didn’t wait as though he was expecting an answer. “I come and see you in FIFTEEN DAYS. That sounds like a long time, Daddy, but Mommy says it isn’t, okay? But I’m so ‘cited, Daddy! Are you ‘cited too? Mommy was showing me that they has big red busses and big black taxis over dere and I want to ride on a bus with you. Can we ride the busses, Daddy? Can we? And can we go visit the castle where the Queen lives? They has big horses there, but you can’t touch them, Daddy, okay? But mostest of all, I want to has a sleepover with you and watch Paw Patrol and eat ice cream for dinner . . . do they has ice cream over dere, Daddy? If not, we can has cookies. But . . . the sleepover has to be boys only, ‘kay, Daddy?”

 

Brian chuckled as he heard Lindsay, in the background, teasing their son about leaving her out. Fifteen days couldn’t come soon enough. Hearing his kid’s voice made Brian realize how much he was looking forward to having his little boy with him in London. Fucking hell, since when had he become so domesticated? Oh well, it was Gus, right?

 

“I has to go now, Daddy. Mommy is making me has a bath, but it’s okay, I get to play with my boats. Don’t worry, I will bring dem with me in case you wanna play too. Love you up to the clouds and down to a rabbit hole. Byeeeeeeee.”

 

Brian smiled against his will at the endearment from his son. The kid was fucking adorable. He was really looking forward to seeing the tyke. He had so many ideas of things they could do together. He wanted to show the kid all over, take him to all the big attractions, really make this time together special. He’d already scoped out several venues: The London Eye, London Zoo, even a couple of museums he thought might be interesting to a child, including the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the Imperial War Museum, which reportedly had WWII planes you could explore.

 

Unfortunately, thinking of the Imperial War Museum inevitably brought to mind Brian’s own World War II adventures. That led to an intrusive thought about how it would’ve been fun to have Justin with him when he took Gus to see the planes. Justin would be able to tell the boy all sorts of amazing stories about the battles he’d seen and the missions he’d flown, as well as explaining the planes’ mechanics better. He knew Justin and Gus would get along great; the young pilot had been so taken with the picture of his son.

 

For the rest of the short walk back to the hotel, Brian indulged in daydreams about all the fun the three of them might have together. Visions of them together at the museum, the park, the zoo. Gus and Justin laughing. His own little family . . .

 

Until it suddenly hit Brian just how whipped that line of thinking made him seem and renewed all the troubling thoughts he’d been unable to escape the night before.

 

What the hell was he doing? Had he really just spent the last month chasing after some pretty little blond boy? Seriously? Brian Kinney, the undisputed Stud of Liberty Avenue had seriously just spent several weeks of his life devoting himself to one single man? And, somehow, he’d become so distracted by that pursuit, that he’d taken to fucking daydreaming about the guy? This was insane. It was so out of character he didn’t even recognize that person. This was not him. It was not the Brian Kinney he’d always striven to be.

 

Brian Kinney was unapologetic. He refused to give in to societal norms. He didn’t do excuses or regrets or apologies. He also didn’t do relationships and had long determined that he never wanted to be tied down to one person, because that was too conventional, too heteronormative, too much of a surrender. Brian had never wanted to be tied down like that. He had never wanted to be constrained by the norms imposed upon him by others. That wasn't how he saw HIS life to be.

 

Yet, somehow, he had fallen into that exact trap. A trap where he’d spent the last several weeks focused entirely on only one young blond boy. On Justin. With the result that he’d become someone he almost didn’t recognize. He’d become the kind of guy who spent all his time thinking about one sexual partner, chasing after him, worrying about his safety, and even, amazingly, being voluntarily exclusive. He’d gone on fucking dates with the man. What the hell was up with that?

 

Thinking about how far he’d fallen down the rabbit hole of relationshipness in such a short time left Brian stunned. He literally did not recognize the person that he’d come to be. Thinking back on the phone message from Mikey that he’d just listened to, Brian was brought up short by the contrast between the man he’d become and the man his friend had described. Clearly, his friends wouldn’t recognize this Brian either.

 

So, Okay, Justin WAS a pretty amazing guy. Brian admitted that freely. Justin was smart and sexy and hot and a tiger in bed. There was nothing about the man Brian didn’t like. But even assuming he wanted some kind of relationship with the young pilot, Brian knew it was impossible. In the first place, Justin lived in another time. Literally. And, whatever this weird time travel thing was, Brian didn’t know if it would last. The time portal he’d stumbled across might disappear at any moment, the same way it appeared. There was never any guarantee that he could continue going back to World War II the way he had been.

 

And even if Brian did find a way to continue his time travels, he wasn’t convinced he should. He definitely didn’t belong in that time. His very presence there had caused problems for everyone he met. Look at what had happened with Lucky. Brian’s inadvertent mistake - leaving that 2016 flyer in his coat pocket - had probably been instrumental in increasing the sanctions Lucky was going to face pursuant to his arrest. And even when Brian tried to do things to help, like ensuring Daphne and Fancy were safe from that raid, it had ended in questions and problems. Who knew, maybe his meddling in the past would result in even bigger problems - maybe even some major shift in history like in all those science-fiction novels he’d read as a child. It just wasn’t safe for him to be there.

 

Perhaps more importantly, it wasn’t safe for him personally either. Brian wasn’t meant for that time period. He had lived his whole life being an out and proud gay man. He wasn’t prepared to go back in the closet. He wasn’t ready to live in a time where merely being gay was grounds for arrest. He certainly wasn’t ready to face the consequences of that eventuality, up to and including something as barbaric as a sentence of chemical castration. And that’s not even counting the dangers he faced just walking around the streets in the middle of a fucking war zone. What the hell had he been thinking? He could have been killed while wandering around in the past and no one here in 2016 would even know what had happened to him.

 

Which was even more crazy when you considered that there was no justifiable reason behind what he’d been doing. As interesting as it was to see a fascinating historical time period up close and personal like that, it didn’t warrant him putting his life at risk. For one thing, he had Gus to think about, and after hearing his kid’s voice, he knew he shouldn’t be fucking around with this shit. His life was worth more than that.

 

And, frankly, even his fascination with the engaging little RAF pilot he’d met there wasn’t enough to justify the potential danger. Because it was undisputed that there was no future for him with Justin Taylor. Brian knew that Justin had only weeks left, for fuck’s sake. He knew the exact date and circumstances of Justin‘s death - assuming the history books could be believed - so even if he wanted something real with his blond fantasy lover from the past, it was quite literally impossible. And dragging this thing out, would only lead to Brian getting hurt in the end. There was NO other outcome. It was the definition of insanity to think otherwise.

 

Clearly, it was better to just break things off now. Brian owed it to Justin not to make the kid think there was something there that wasn’t going to happen. He owed it to himself not to get involved in something he hadn’t wanted in the first place and which would never go anywhere anyways. It was just plain stupid to keep playing with fire like that. To keep deluding himself it had been more than just a bit of fun. An interesting adventure. A time out from Brian’s real life.

 

It was time to get back to reality, though. Brian had a life here in the present. He had a job, friends, his son. Those were the things he should be concentrating on. Not some fantasy life in the heroic past. And definitely NOT some delusional little blond boy that wanted him to become some strange monogamous version of himself that he didn’t recognize. It was long past time to get back to the real world, his real life, and get on with things.

 

Brian came to this conclusion just as he was approaching the entrance to his hotel. He nodded to the familiar doorman who held the gilt-framed glass door open for him. He walked through the lobby, stepping aside to let a same-sex couple - who were holding hands and smiling at each other - go past, before he stepped up to the front desk to collect his room key. The guy manning the post this morning was a newbie. And a very attractive newbie at that. The guy had close-cropped, curly, light auburn hair and a well-trimmed beard that was a slightly brighter shade of red. His green eyes twinkled with a friendly gleam. That, along with his ruddy complexion, made the lad seem almost jolly. Brian approved of what he saw.

 

He also approved of the fact that the clerk wasn’t at all ashamed to openly flirt with him, smiling, joking about Brian being out all night, and asking if he’d been to a particular gay club that the man recommended. It felt so natural and freeing after the secrecy and constraint he always felt when he was with Justin back in 1941. This was definitely where Brian belonged. This was his proper time. He didn’t need that closeted shit from the past.

 

And, just to prove it to himself, Brian pointedly asked the handsome ginger what time his next break was going to be. Red chuckled and answered right back that he could take his break anytime he wanted. Brian smiled his most seductive Kinney smile and simply tilted his head to towards the elevators.

 

“Ella, I’m taking my break now,” Red announced forthwith, winking at Brian as he handed off a set of keys to the the woman who came out of the back room at his call, and then trotting through the door to come up next to Brian. “After you, Mr. Kinney,” Red purred.

 

Twenty fast and furious minutes later, Brian was sprawled out across his bed, while Red was busying himself by putting his uniform back on. The fucking had been good. It was the usual hot, sweaty rush of lust he was used to. Red had been enthusiastic and quite athletic. They had barely got in the room before Brian threw him roughly down on the bed, stripped the man’s pants off and proceeded to use him in the typical rough and ready way he normally handled all tricks. And it had been good. They’d both gotten off. They both got what they’d wanted and needed from the experience. No mess, no bother, no hassles. Just good, old, single-minded fucking.

 

Brian wasn’t going to let himself dwell on the fact that it was the first time he’d been with someone other than Justin in nearly a month. He wasn’t going to let it bother him that he’d been a little thrown when he’d grabbed hold of the trick’s short, curly head of hair and been momentarily surprised not to feel the familiar golden floss he was expecting. He refused to compare the roughness of the trick’s skin to the pale ivory softness he had become used to. And when they were done, he resisted the sense of loss he felt at the fleeting thought that he wouldn’t be nestling up in bed next to a nice warm body while they both came down from their climaxes together. He wasn’t going to let himself even think about those things. All of that was just silly sentimentality. It wasn’t necessary. That wasn’t what a Stud like Brian wanted, right?

 

And as Brian rolled over and finally drifted off to sleep, he didn’t let himself think even once about how nice it would have been to have his Blue Eyes there curled up in bed next to him. He didn’t. Really. He was done with that. All of that.

 

That part of his life was over and Brian wasn’t going to even think the name ‘Justin’ ever again.  



Chapter Music Selection - I'll Get By by Dick Haymes

 

Chapter Text



Chapter 25 - Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered.

 

“Okay. That’s it. I’m out of here!” Cynthia complained, slamming the file she’d been about to hand Brian down on the desktop and shooting a death glare her boss’ way. “I don’t know what the fuck kind of bug has crawled up your ass lately, Brian, but you need a serious attitude adjustment.”

 

She started to gather her personal stuff together, leaving all the work stuff where it was. Brian just sat there and stewed. He knew he shouldn’t have yelled at her - for the third time that day - but he’d lost the reins on his temper. Again. Needless to say it had NOT been a good week for either of them.

 

“It’s bad enough that you insisted I give up my weekend to come in and help you sort out this pile of crap, but since you obviously don’t appreciate my sacrifice, you can finish cleaning up this mess yourself,” Cynthia insisted, shoving the most recent Art Department fuck up at Brian with such vigor that the whole sheaf of papers flew right off the desk and landed in a sprawl all over the floor. “And, since you ruined my weekend, Mr. Kinney, I’ll be taking the next two days off - PAID. I’ll be back on Wednesday, but I’m warning you now, if you’re not in a substantially better mood by then, I’ll be on the next plane back to the States and you can find somebody else to be your designated Whipping Girl.”

 

With that dire prediction, Cynthia spun around on the heel of her sparkly new Zanotti pump and flounced out of the hotel office center.

 

“Damn . . .” Brian sighed, leaning back in his chair and pinching the bridge of his nose.

 

If it weren’t for the fact that this latest hangover was making it difficult for Brian to think straight, he might actually have found a choice word or two to throw back at his Assistant. It was probably better, though, that he was too hungover to fight back. He’d only say something ELSE that would get him in trouble with her and he needed Cynthia too much to permanently alienate the woman. It didn’t help matters that she was well aware of that fact and milked the situation for all it was worth.

 

It was just that nothing seemed to be going right this week. Every single thing the Art Department had sent over had been wrong. And Britcom’s CEO was being more finicky than usual, changing his mind every other day about what he wanted to see in the new campaigns. Brian now regretted that he’d ever suggested adding in a World War II theme - it was only complicating things and making everyone crazy.

 

Well, fuck it! He certainly wasn’t going to get anything more done that afternoon without Cynthia to help mediate with the fuckers in the Art Department. He might as well take off for the rest of the day as well. Maybe he should go up to his room and sleep off this headache. Fuck knows he hadn’t gotten much sleep the night before. Or the prior night. Or the night before that either. No wonder he felt so exhausted.

 

In fact, Brian had spent pretty much every night for the past week out at one club or another, carousing till the early morning hours, drinking like a fish, doing as many mind altering substances as he could get his hands on, and fucking his way through too many guys to count. It had been a wild week, to say the least. Brian hadn’t been on a bender like this one in a long time. But, then again, he had almost a month of near celibacy to make up for.

 

Without bothering to pick up the rest of the stuff strewn all over the hotel office area - the hotel could just deal since he was paying them good money for the use of the damn space - Brian got up, made his way to the elevators and stumbled off to his room. But, even though he was exhausted, the damn throbbing headache wasn’t going to let him rest. So he took another handful of aspirin, flopped down on the bed and picked up the remote control for the television, hoping that watching some mindless drivel on the tube would keep him entertained until his head felt better.

 

Unfortunately for Brian’s peace of mind, the Universe seemed to be forcefully trying to tell him something that afternoon. As usual he sped past the boring news and infomercial channels until he arrived at the block of channels that usually had decent movies. But the first movie he came across was ‘Saving Private Ryan’, complete with its iconic D-Day scene showing hordes of British and American boys being bombed to smithereens on the beaches of Normandy. Brian quickly hit the remote button to move on to the next channel. He hoped he’d be safer with the channel that typically showed old classics; only to discover that channel showing the Gregory Peck epic, ‘The Guns of Navarone’. Damn it. Fine. If all the movie channels seemed to be airing WWII movies, Brian figured he’d go watch something mundane on the History Channel instead . . . Not surprisingly, though, The History Channel was re-running the entire ‘Band of Brothers’ documentary series that afternoon.

 

“What the hell is with this obsession with World War II all of a sudden?” Brian grumbled as he gave up on finding actual entertainment and switched the television to the BBC, expecting to find the news or something.

 

Alas, even the BBC seemed against him today; it was airing another old classic, ‘Battle of Britain’, all about the brave young pilots of WWII.



Brian growled, turned the television off and threw the damned remote at the wall in a fit of anger.

 

“Fucking, damn, stupid British television, sucks beyond belief . . .” The furiously irate stud grumbled as he climbed back off the bed. “Whatever. I didn’t want to watch fucking television anyway. And since this headache seems immune to pain killers, I suppose that leaves only the old hair-of-the-dog-that-bit-you cure.”

 

With that in mind, Brian pulled on his brand new leather bomber jacket that he’d purchased just that week, gave himself a once over in the mirror, and decided he looked passable for someone whose head felt like it was about to explode. He pocketed his wallet, cell phone and room key, along with the necessary clubbing supplies like a tube of lube and a ribbon of condoms, and then headed back out of the room again. It wasn’t until he was all the way out the front door of the hotel and on his way down the street, that Brian realized none of his usual clubbing spots would be open this early in the day. He didn't want to have to fall back on a regular old pub, though; he wanted someplace where he could at least get a good blow job, hoping that being sucked off might work where the aspirin had not. But the only place he could think of nearby, that was open this time of day and that also catered to a gay clientele, was the little pub at the near end of Duckett’s Passage. The same pub he’d been assiduously avoiding all week long.

 

“Fuck it,” he grumbled - something he seemed to be doing a hella lot these days - and made a u-turn in the direction of the Royal Oak.

 

The little pub on the corner seemed to be pretty busy even this early on a Sunday afternoon. Even from halfway down the block, Brian could see the crowd spilling out the front doors onto the pavement. It was one of those rare, sunny spring days in London and everyone and their brother seemed to be out, trying to soak up as much Vitamin D as they could. It looked like there would be prime pickings for Brian’s purposes there today.

 

To get to the pub’s entrance, though, Brian had to pass the entrance to Duckett’s Passage. He felt almost spooked walking past the alley, which was nuts. It wasn’t like the past was going to jump out at him and drag him kicking and screaming into the time portal or anything. But, even so, he felt so strange walking past the alley - almost like there was a pull there that was tugging at his psyche. He couldn’t help looking down the narrow, brickwork lane as he neared, even though he didn’t know what he expected to see.

 

Of course there wasn’t anything out of the ordinary down the alley. There were a few guys standing next to the pub’s side door, most of them smoking, but that was it. No boogiemen. No specters from the past. Just a mostly empty alley.

 

Brian sighed and shook his head. He was disgusted with himself for acting so jumpy over nothing. Maybe it was just his exhaustion, or the hangover, causing him to act so skittish. He almost laughed with relief at the lack of anything startling happening.

 

Of course, just when he’d convinced himself there was nothing to see, his eye caught on the front window of the little resale shop situated a couple meters down the alleyway on the left hand side. And, because his life was a cosmic joke, the display in the front window today just HAD to be all about WWII. Even more coincidental, a large part of the display seemed dedicated to the boys of the RAF, including a vintage uniform on a mannequin and a period flight helmet complete with oxygen mask displayed on a hatstand. What the hell?

 

Brian couldn’t stop himself. He simply HAD to walk over to that damn display window. He felt like a moth being drawn against his will towards the danger of an open flame. But he simply could NOT look away.

 

It took him only a half dozen steps till he was standing there looking in through the large plate glass window. The display area contained quite an assortment of WWII memorabilia. Besides the uniform and helmet, there were knick knacks, various military insignia, vintage toys from the era, even a good-sized model of a Spitfire dangling from the ceiling by a string. The thing that drew his attention most strongly, though, was the almost pristine example of an Eagle Squadron Insignia patch, sitting in a place of honor right at the front of the grouping.

 

He’d seen that same patch on his Blue Eyes’ uniform so many times. The insignia alone seemed to bring the young pilot’s image to the forefront of Brian’s mind, despite the fact that he’d been trying his damnedest all week to forget about Justin. But it was hopeless. Now that he’d seen that damned patch, it was almost like seeing Justin himself. In fact, Brian could almost swear he saw that adorable turned up nose and big wide smile . . .

 

Eagle Insignia

Just as Brian was thinking that, he noticed the book displayed on a small stand right behind the gift box holding the Eagle patch - it was titled, ‘The Few: The American Knights of the Air Who Risked Everything’. But the title wasn’t what had grabbed his attention. It was the photo on the cover. The photo of a smiling, blond-haired aviator, his goggles pushed up onto the top of his head, appearing happy-as-could-be, thrilled to be risking his life for the cause. A photo of a VERY familiar RAF pilot. Brian’s very own, personal, American RAF pilot - one Justin Taylor - to be precise.


The Few

 

“Oh, fuck me,” he whimpered quietly.

 

After that, Brian caved. He didn’t really have a choice did he? The Universe seemed determined to force him to deal with the one issue he’d been trying his best all week to avoid. But the shock of seeing Justin’s face on the cover of that book made the urge to see his Blue Eyes absolutely impossible to resist. He needed to touch him again. Kiss him. He needed to know that Justin was okay; that nothing unexpected had happened to him during their time apart. Fuck! Brian could feel his reluctant body being compelled down that damned alley and, before he’d even consciously made a decision to move, he found himself halfway down Duckett’s Passage.

 

As soon as he’d stepped through the portal, he felt himself being pulled towards the White Lion. There was a small part of him that hated himself for giving in, but he couldn’t argue against that magnetic pull. His body knew where it wanted to be; it was in control and he didn’t think any attempts to fight it would be successful.

 

His traitorous body pulled him along till he reached the familiar front entrance under the sign of the Lion. Somehow he knew that the blond he was looking for was inside; it was like he had a sixth sense, or something, dedicated solely to locating his wayward flyboy. And sure enough, as soon as he pushed through the doors of the pub he heard his name being called. Two seconds later his arms were suddenly full of yummy blond boy and a pair of slightly calloused hands were desperately clasping at his cheeks while those haunting blue eyes he’d been trying not to think about all week were looking so intensely into his own brown ones that Brian found himself temporarily speechless.

 

“Brian! Oh, applesauce, Brian. It’s you! It's really you,” Justin’s hands moved quickly from his cheeks, down his body, as though he was scanning Brian for injuries. “I was so worried about you. You just disappeared; I woke up and you were gone and nobody has seen you since. The hotel said you haven’t even checked in at all this week. What the heck happened to you? Are you okay? Where have you been?”

 

Justin threw out his questions a mile a minute. He was being so fucking adorable again. Brian wanted nothing more than to bend his sexy little pilot over the bar and fuck him silly by way of proving to his concerned blond that he really was fine. But, bowing to propriety, he opted for simply leading Justin over to one of the only empty tables at the back of the room instead. Once they were seated together, Brian grabbed Justin’s wandering hands and clasped them tightly in his own as he tried to calm his panicking boy.

 

“I’m fine, Blue Eyes,” Brian tried to smile reassuringly. “I’ve just been busy with work.”

 

Justin pulled away from Brian’s grasp and exhaled loudly. “You’ve been busy . . . with work?” he repeated slowly. “That’s your excuse for disappearing for a week without word? You were busy? Seriously?”

 

“Yeah, I . . .”

 

“Applesauce, Brian!” The stool Justin was sitting on fell back as he stood abruptly. Luckily only a few people seemed to notice as the noise of the chair hitting the floor got lost amongst the loud chatter of the people around them, but they all looked around when they heard Justin’s now raised voice. “I can’t believe you have the nerve to just waltz back in here with some dad-blamed excuse like you were ‘busy’. That’s just . . . It’s unacceptable. You have ten seconds to do better.”

 

Brian couldn’t stop himself from getting defensive. “I don’t know what you want me to say, Blue Eyes. Work’s been really busy and . . .”

 

“So busy you couldn’t even find the time to write me a dang note to let me know you’re okay?” The indignant little blond raged on, standing there, leaning over Brian’s chair so he could more effectively yell down at the cringing brunet. “I was going bonkers here all week, Brian! You do realize there's a war going on, don’t you? Or had you forgotten? I mean, anything could have happened to you. You could have been dead in a ditch and I wouldn’t have had a clue. I don’t even know who to call to check on you; you haven’t actually told me who you work for, you know. I was so worried, I was about ready to go report you missing at the US Consulate - that’s how upset I was. And all you can say is that you were BUSY? You’re such a . . . a . . . a jerk!”

 

By that point his blond was heaving with anger. Justin’s face was bright red and his fists were balled at his sides. His normally bright blue eyes had shrunk to tiny, angry slits and instead of glints of gemstone blue they were shooting enraged daggers of blackness Brian’s way.

 

That’s when the guilt hit him. Brian hadn’t thought about how his abrupt absence would have affected Justin. That, with all the other things going on around him, all the things Justin experienced on a day to day basis, he’d likely have thought the worst. And it really wasn’t a stretch, in the middle of a war, to assume a lover who disappeared might have been killed. Brian really had been an ass to leave like that without word of some kind.

 

“So, go on,” Justin pressed, intent on getting a real explanation. “I already gave you ten seconds to try and come up with something better and you’re running out of time . . .”

 

“Justin . . . I . . . I just . . . I can’t . . . I . . .” Brian started to explain and then realized he had no idea what to say and his words died on his lips.

 

“Yeah . . . that’s what I thought,” Justin scoffed, as he snatched up his uniform cap from the table and stormed out of the pub, without even so much as a wave goodbye to Daphne.

 

Brian sat motionless for about thirty seconds, wondering what the hell had just happened, before jumping out of his seat and chasing after his incensed blond.

 

“Blue Eyes . . . Justin . . . Justin, will you just slow the fuck down,” Brian pleaded as he trotted after his retreating blond, trying to slow the boy down by taking hold of his elbow. “I just . . .” He cleared his throat nervously. “Can you please just stop for a minute and fucking talk to me already?”

 

“That’s what I tried to do inside, but you didn’t seem to have much to say. Your opportunity to talk is over. Now, let go of me. I’ve got better things to do with my time than listen to your pitiful lies.”

 

“You . . . You caught me off guard, okay?” Brian admitted.

 

Justin shook his arm as he tried desperately to escape Brian’s grasp. “I caught YOU off guard? I don’t think so Brian.”

 

“I can explain, Blue Eyes. Please. Give me ten minutes. I just want to talk to you.”

 

“Fine. Then talk already,” Justin barked, standing there in the middle of the sidewalk, his arms crossed, looking as implacable as a marble statue.

 

Brian knew this wasn’t going to be easy; Justin was a stubborn little shit. “Somewhere . . . more private?”

 

Justin huffed and turned on his heels. “Fine. You can walk me home. But I’d better have a much more believable excuse from you when we get there or, I promise you, you’re going to regret wasting my time.”

 

They walked in silence back to Justin’s boarding house. Brian could feel the waves of icy cold resentment wafting off the usually affable blond boy. He was afraid to reach out and touch him for fear he’d get freezer burn. It was okay though, since the long, silent walk gave him time to scramble for something to say - something that might actually justify his unthinking actions - although nothing much was coming to him as yet.

 

As soon as they reached the front door of Mrs. McCready’s boarding house, Justin turned to face Brian and crossed his arms tightly over his chest once more. “We’re here. But I’m not inviting you in until you explain yourself. So, talk.”

 

“I . . .” Brian tried again but couldn’t for the life of him think of a single thing to say.

 

“This is going really well,” Justin muttered bitterly.

 

“Fuck! Will you just give me a damned second?”

 

The blond looked a little bashful as he apologized. “Sorry.”

 

“Listen . . . Are you listening, Blue Eyes?”

 

Justin nodded.

 

“I just screwed up, okay? I started feeling all comfortable with you and shit and it scared the piss out of me . . .”

 

“So this is all my fault?” Justin snapped.

 

“Will you just shut up and listen to me, please?”

 

Huffing loudly through his nose, Justin indicated for Brian to continue.

 

“I got scared . . . this thing between us . . . it’s new for me . . . and it scared me shittless,” Brian stumbled slightly over his words but carried on as he knew, if he stopped now, he’d never get the confession out at all.

 

“How was THIS new to you?” Justin laughed angrily. “You’ve been with other men before me. I haven’t. So if one of us has any right to be scared, Brian, then it sure as heck ain’t you.”

 

“I’m not talking about that . . . Fucking guys is definitely not new to me, Blue Eyes. I meant . . .” Brian’s hand moved furiously between the two of them. “This thing that’s happening between us . . . this . . .” Brian’s words failed him again, venturing as he was into an unfamiliar topic where he didn’t seem to even have the proper vocabulary for the sentiments he was experiencing.

 

“Relationship?” Justin offered apprehensively.

 

“Shit. I guess that’s what this is, huh? A fucking ‘relationship’,” Brian spit the word out as if it had caused a bad taste in his mouth. “But, I’ve never . . . I mean, you know . . . I’ve never done this part of it before. I’ve never spent this much time with just one guy, or gone on a date, or . . . Or ANY of this . . .” Brian gestured towards Justin, his hand motions encompassing all that Justin was from head to foot, like the pilot himself was something alien that Brian simply didn’t comprehend.

 

“You’ve never courted anyone before?” Justin tried to distill Brian’s nebulous worries into a single concept.

 

Brian snorted out a laugh at that phrasing. “Definitely not! I don’t DO relationships. Or dates. Or ‘courting’. Or any of the other shit I’ve been doing since I fucking met you,” Brian insisted before he noticed the way his protestations were angering his blond all over again. “But then I met you and I fucking forgot all those rules the minute you batted those damned big blue eyes at me, Justin. And I was actually enjoying myself, but then, after I heard about Lucky getting arrested and all, well . . . I . . . I guess I realized how deep I’d fallen and I just, sort of, panicked. I’m sorry.”

 

“Oh, Brian. You big chucklehead!” From his tone, Brian could tell the boy had started to relent a bit and it gave him hope even though there was still an angry edge underlying Justin’s words. “You think I’m not scared too? Huh? This is all just as new to me, Handsome. And I’m risking a lot more than you in this, you know. It’s one thing to be quietly queer, but by being together with you like this, daring to have an actual relationship and being repeatedly seen together, I’m risking everything I’ve ever worked for. If we’re caught . . . Well, we both know the consequences. But you don’t see me running away and hiding for a week, do you? Especially not without at least providing my lover the courtesy of a note to let you know where I went.”

 

“Yeah. That was pretty shitty of me, Blue Eyes. I didn’t even think about that, I’m afraid. I’m really not good at this fucking relationship thing, am I?”

 

“No. You’re REALLY not, Brian,” Justin replied, shaking his head at the idiot standing there pleadingly before him. “You made me really worried and I’m still really angry, you know?” Brian nodded, looking at Justin through lowered eyelids, totally chagrined by his own horrible behavior. Justin sighed. “But I suppose that I can forgive you . . . Just this once. Do NOT ever do anything like that again, though, or I can promise you I won’t be so understanding the next time.”

 

“I . . . I'm afraid there’s more, Blue Eyes,” Brian confessed, even more anxious than he had been before, which was saying a lot. “I really, REALLY fucked up . . . I . . . Well, I . . .” He took a deep breath, trying to ignore the intensely accusing look Justin was aiming his way as the boy prepared for whatever this new revelation might be. “Fuck it! I slipped up. I know we sorta agreed to be exclusive and all but I . . . Damn it! I spent the week tricking. Hard.”

 

Justin looked thoroughly confused. “Tricking?” He repeated the strange word once before the meaning of Brian’s disclosure finally became clear. “You mean you were with another guy? You . . . You made love to someone else?”

 

Damn it! The young man sounded so fucking hurt, it made Brian’s gut clench in knots, and he rushed to try and explain. “No. I mean, yes, I fucked some other guys. But I didn’t ‘make love’ to them. It was just fucking. It didn’t mean anything. I don’t even remember any of them. The whole week was just . . . Just a blur.” Brian could see from the pained, betrayed expression on Justin’s face that his Blue Eyes was definitely NOT taking this well. “I know you don’t understand, but you have to believe me. My tricking doesn’t mean anything. It was all . . . It’s was all a huge mistake. Just me running away from ‘us’ because I was fucking piss-my-pants scared. Those guys meant nothing to me, Justin. What we have - this fucking relationship thing - this means everything. You . . . You mean everything to me. You’re all that matters and I couldn’t stay away from you.”

 

Brian heard himself blurting out the words, unable to stop himself from the uncharacteristic declaration. It was all true, anyways. And he could tell from the looks he was getting that Justin was even more angry now than before so, in his panic, he simply blabbed out his whole fucking heart without thinking.

 

It didn’t look like his honesty was working though. If he’d thought Justin was angry before, over the missing for a week thing, it was NOTHING compared to the overwhelming rage his confession of tricking had earned him. The seething, impassioned, outraged, ball of blond fury that was now glaring at him was truly a sight that could make even a strong man like Brian quail. The irate little pilot was magnificent in his righteous wrath. He seemed to tower over Brian, made larger by his rage and sense of betrayal. Even the 6’2” Brian was startled enough to take a few steps back from the snarling image of compact fury.

 

“How DARE you!” Justin raged, hissing his words out like a rattlesnake on steroids and slapping Brian’s cheek at the same time. “How dare you claim that you being with other men is because you were scared of your feelings for me and then, in the next breath, profess how much you care! I’ve never in my life heard such a bunch of bunk! And, if you were under the mistaken impression that I’m some sort of cowed little shrinking violet, who will put up with you stepping out on me behind my back, well, you are gravely mistaken about that, Mr. Kinney. You damned whore you! Get the hell away from me, Brian. You disgust me.”

 

Justin began to turn away from Brian, the look of loathing on his countenance so clear it caused a visceral impact on the big man. Brian was fucking scared. He didn’t think this could be fixed. He’d never seen anyone as angry as Justin - not even Jack back in the days of Brian’s childhood when his father would lose it and beat him in anger - not even then. This was so far beyond Brian’s experience that he didn’t know how to react.

 

But he couldn’t stand there and do nothing. He knew in his gut he couldn’t lose Justin. Not like this. He HAD to do something. He couldn’t let Justin go. He just couldn’t.

 

“Justin. Stop, Justin! Please. Don’t do this to me. You can’t just walk away from me like this, Justin. Please, don’t go!” Brian caught up to the retreating blond with two large strides, grabbing hold of the smaller man’s shoulder and spinning Justin around before pushing him backwards and pinning him to the wall. “I know you’re fucking pissed off at me, Justin, but I don’t care. I’m not letting you go. Not like this. Not now that I’ve found you. I won’t let you leave me!”

 

“Let go of me, Brian! I don’t want you anywhere near me! Let GO!” Justin screamed, struggling to free himself.

 

And while Justin was still fuming at him, clearly not even close to forgiving what he saw as a blatant indiscretion, Brian decided to give up on words. He’d never be able to make this right with words alone. He didn’t know how to say everything he was feeling. All these emotions washing through him were too new, too incomprehensible, he just didn’t know how to explain any of it. He felt it though. He felt it so strongly it was like the emotions were taking over. So strongly that he knew he had to SHOW his Blue Eyes the things he couldn’t say.

 

With Justin pinned to the wall where the younger man couldn’t escape, Brian fell on him in a vicious, angry, passion-filled kiss that mashed their lips together so hard he knew they’d both be bruised. Their teeth clattered together. And for half a heartbeat Justin fought him, refusing to give in or kiss back. But then, something inside the blond gave and Brian could feel the previously struggling body melt into his own. Justin’s lips parted and accepted him in. Then, for thirty seconds of bliss, they were kissing like lovers again. Lust-filled, frantic, hungry kisses that evidenced all the pain and longing they were both feeling right then. And it was good. For that moment in time it was actually wonderful.

 

It all came screeching to a horrible end, though, when they were forcefully pulled apart by a pair of strong hands.

 

“Get your filthy, disgusting hands off him, you damned pervert!” Chris Hobbs yelled as he slugged Brian hard in the gut, causing the blindsided brunet to topple over onto his ass. “You heard him tell you he didn’t want you anywhere near him. So just get the hell out of here already before I call the cops and have you arrested. Go on! Scram!”

 

Brian didn’t know what to do or say. He was still reeling over the argument with Justin, panting through the pain of the gut punch that had taken him by surprise and knocked the breath out of him, and mentally scrambling to find a way to fix this whole mess. He was also scared for Justin, thinking that they’d been caught by the young pilot’s colleague, which most likely meant Justin was about to be outed. It was probably the worst thing that could possibly happen. And it was ALL Brian’s fault.

 

“You okay, Taylor?” Hobbs had turned his attention back to his fellow flyboy. “I heard you yelling from around the corner. I’m glad I got here when I did - before that damned pervert had time to do anything more serious than force a kiss on you. You want me to call the police? I’d be happy to testify against the creep if you need me to. I knew there was something off the first time I saw that guy. I can smell a queer from a mile away. He didn’t try anything else on you, did he?”

 

Huh? . . . Brian wasn’t sure at first what to make of this development. It seemed that Chris had somehow got a skewed impression about what had just gone down. Lucky for Justin, Hobbs had apparently not come in until the very tail end of their argument and thought Brian was making unwanted advances on the poor unsuspecting pilot. Which gave Justin an out and hopefully meant he wouldn’t be automatically thrown out of the RAF. Of course, now Brian looked like some kind of monster who’d force himself on poor, unsuspecting straight boys against their will. But at least Justin wasn’t going to get in trouble for Brian’s stupidly kissing him out in the open like that. He’d better get the fuck out of there though, before Hobbs changed his mind and opted to call the police on him after all.

 

“I’m fine, Hobbs. It’s not what you’re thinking. Brian wouldn’t have . . .” Justin answered, seemingly about to jump in and sacrifice himself to save Brian’s honor - the brave little twat.

 

Brian rushed to interrupt before Justin said something stupid. “Fuck this! As pretty as you are, you're not worth all this shit, Taylor. You don’t have to call the fucking cops though. I won’t bother you again. I know where I’m not wanted. I can get tail a lot easier, and without risking being arrested, over in SoHo. I’m out of here!”

Brian climbed awkwardly to his feet, wincing at the twinge of pain in his gut from where the ham-handed Hobbs had slugged him. Today just really wasn’t his day, was it? He was still fighting the damned hangover headache, plus he’d been screamed at, slapped and now punched. Fuck this shit! It was definitely time to throw in the fucking towell already. He’d limp on back to the damned twenty-first century, have a large analgesic scotch, lick his wounds in peace, and try to think up some way to fix the steaming pile of shit his life had become. He certainly wasn’t getting anywhere here, tonight, in the morass of the early twentieth century. He turned towards the high street and slowly started to limp away, his metaphorical tail between his legs.

 

“Brian, wait!” Justin hollered at his retreating back.

 

“Let him go. Good riddance,” Hobbs interjected with a disdainful tone. “You don’t want his kind around you, Taylor. If I hadn’t got here in time, who knows what he mighta tried on you. Am I right?”

 

Brian didn’t stop or even bother slowing down. Justin needed to shut the fuck up already and take the out Hobbs’ misimpression was offering. The alternative was admitting that he wasn’t just a straight boy fending off the unwanted advances of a reprobate queer like Brian, but a willing participant in that kiss. And that admission would only lead to trouble. Brian figured if he hung around any longer, it would only make things worse for his Blue Eyes. So, despite how tired and sore he was, he picked up the pace as he hobbled away, hoping that somehow Justin would be able to handle Hobbs on his own and save his place in the RAF in the process.



Justin had felt sick to his stomach ever since the argument with Brian had started. What an idiot his lover was. He couldn’t believe the man was THAT clueless. Justin was so angry with Brian he was fit to be tied. And when Brian had admitted he’d fooled around with other men - ‘men’ being plural - well, that had felt like the last straw. But then there was that kiss and . . . How could he deny that kiss?

 

And then the whole world had shifted on its axis again when Hobbs had arrived and pulled Brian away from him. Justin had thought the jig was up for good. Hobbs had caught them KISSING. Hobbs was going to tell Justin’s CO. He was going to be kicked out of the RAF. It was pretty much Justin’s worst nightmare come to life.

 

He was so shaken that it took him a while to catch on to what Hobbs was actually saying. And then he was too amazed by his sheer dumb luck to know how to react.

 

Hobbs seemed to think that Brian had been forcing himself on Justin. Hobbs was blaming the kiss on Brian alone. Hobbs was actually thinking he was helping Justin escape from Brian’s advances. The ludicrousness of that scenario almost made Justin laugh out loud. He only just barely stopped himself.

 

Justin wasn’t going to let Brian take the heat for this though. He might be angry at the man, but he wasn’t going to let his lover be arrested on trumped up grounds. He would never let Brian alone take the fall for something of which they were both equally guilty.

 

However, right as Justin was about to speak up, Brian shocked him by playing along with Hobbs’ misinterpretation. Justin didn’t know what to do. He wasn’t one to let others take the blame for something he’d done, but it seemed like this one time, maybe, he should keep his trap shut. And when it seemed like Brian was going to be allowed to simply leave without Hobbs calling the cops or taking any other negative action, he figured it was probably best for all that he say nothing.

 

“Let him go. Good riddance,” Hobbs sneered at Brian’s retreating back. “You don’t want his kind around you, Taylor. If I hadn’t got here in time, who knows what he mighta tried on you. Am I right?”

 

It hurt Justin to have to listen to that crap from Hobbs, but he bit his tongue. Calling Hobbs out wasn’t going to help anyone. Even if he hated being lumped in with bigots like Hobbs while Brian was basically being chased off. And it seemed like Brian had been hurt too - he was still clutching at his stomach where Hobbs had walloped him. Justin hoped his lover wasn’t too badly injured. Gall darn it! Why did Hobbs have to show up right then and ruin everything?

 

Justin turned on the big bully who thought he’d just saved his fellow aviator, redirecting his still overflowing anger at the unsuspecting Hobbs. “I don’t need you to fight my battles for me, Hobbs!” he screeched. “I’m perfectly capable of taking care of myself, you know. So just back off already, okay?”

 

“Sheesh! I was just trying to help, Taylor. See if I ever stick my neck out to save your tail again,” Hobbs capitulated, raising his hands in a gesture of surrender as he backed up a couple of steps. “But, if you want my advice . . .”

 

“Which I don’t,” Justin snapped.

 

Hobbs continued on as though Justin hadn’t just interrupted him. “You better keep your distance from that one. You never know if that queer stuff will rub off on you. I’ve seen it happen before, and it’s not pretty. One day a guy’s perfectly normal and then the next thing you know, they’re a flaming Nancy Boy.”

 

“You know what I think, Hobbs?” Justin growled at the bigger man, completely undaunted by his size at that exact moment in time. “I think you sure know an awful lot about queer guys for somebody who claims to prefer girls.”

 

Justin knew he’d get a rise out of the ruffian with that and was gratified to see the stocky Hobb’s face turn a deep, angry red. But Justin knew when he’d poked the beast enough for one day. Besides, he didn’t want to stick around and chew the fat with Hobbs. What he wanted to do was find Brian and make sure his lover wasn’t too badly hurt. And then he’d finish yelling at him for the - what had Brian called it? Oh yeah - the ‘tricking’. And then, after he’d yelled at him for a good long stretch and had finally exhausted his pent up store of anger and fear over Brian’s week-long disappearance, maybe then they could go to Brian’s hotel and make up.

 

With that in mind, Justin took off, jogging along in the same direction Brian had taken, completely ignoring Hobbs who was still blustering and complaining behind him. It didn’t take him long to catch sight of the tall lanky man, who was still heading south along the high street. It looked to Justin like Brian was heading back to the White Lion. That was good because it gave him several blocks in which to prepare what he was going to say to the man when he did catch him up.

 

Justin followed along, about half a block behind his lover. He could see Brian marching angrily ahead of him, his hand still clutching his winded stomach, his shoulders hunched over in pain and defeat. Justin had purposefully remained at a distance though. He was still so dad blamed angry at the infuriating man. While he kept Brian in sight, he worked to calm himself down, letting the adrenaline that was still raging through his veins from everything that had happened already that afternoon, slowly dissipate. Justin wanted to have a clear head before he tried confronting Brian again.

 

As they neared the pub, Justin began to gather himself together, ready to take another stab at working things out with his lover. But, instead of heading into the White Lion itself, Justin watched as Brian took a sharp left down the darkened alleyway next to the pub. Where on earth was he going? Duckett’s Passage didn’t lead anywhere, not that Justin knew of anyway. He quickly trotted over to the entrance of the passage and watched as Brian made his way down the narrow lane. What in the world was the man doing down this dark, empty alley?

 

Justin was about to call Brian’s name when he saw the man pause about fifty meters down the walkway. As far as Justin could see from where he was standing just inside the entrance to the long, cramped passageway, there was nothing of any importance at that particular spot - at least not that he could see. The alley was mostly straight with only a small ledge of brickwork poking out into the path right in front of where Brian was standing. There wasn’t even a doorway or a window there that Brian might have been looking into. It didn’t make any sense why the man was standing there in the middle of an empty alley.

 

That’s when Justin observed something that made even less sense. Because just as he was about to head into the passage himself, something truly astounding happened. Something that he couldn’t actually have seen, to be honest. Something impossible.

 

That’s when his lover, Brian Kinney, the man whom he’d been sleeping with for almost a month, simply disappeared from in front of Justin’s very eyes.

 

********

 

Chapter Music Selection - Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered by Ella Fitzgerald

Chapter Text



Chapter 26 - Frenesi.

 

That’s when Justin observed something that made even less sense. Because just as he was about to head into the passage himself, something truly astounding happened. Something that he couldn’t actually have seen, to be honest. Something impossible.

That’s when his lover, Brian Kinney, the man whom he’d been sleeping with for almost a month, simply disappeared from in front of Justin’s very eyes.



“Holy Applesauce!” Justin exclaimed when he finally remembered how to speak again.

 

Had what he’d just seen actually happened? Brian couldn’t have just disappeared like that. Could he? Justin did a double and then triple take, scanning the alleyway to make sure that his boyfriend really wasn’t there and he’d simply overlooked him somehow. But, nope; Brian was definitely gone. How, though? Where could he possibly have gone, and how, when there didn’t appear to be any exit near the spot where Brian had been standing?

 

As far as Justin could tell, there wasn’t anything special about Duckett’s Passage. It was your typical London alleyway. It was narrow, lined on both sides by tall brick buildings, paved with cobbles just like any other street or walkway, and at this time of the evening was only occupied by a few random crates, some rubbish, the occasional rain barrel, and way down at the far end, a stray house cat. There wasn’t anything about this place that stood out as unique in any way. If anything, it was a little boring, especially as there didn’t appear to be any interesting nooks or other openings off the long, mostly straight passageway.

 

Just to make sure, though, Justin cautiously made his own way into the dark, mysterious alley. He walked along, step by cautious step, expecting at every second to come across something extraordinary. He passed by only one set of double doors on the left-hand side of the passage, about ten meters in, and that was it for possible exits as far as he could see. Beyond that, the rest of the wall seemed blank for quite a ways. The only other feature he could see that stood out at all was a small irregularity in the brickwork between two buildings resulting in a crooked little ledge of sorts that stood out by not more than six inches. Other than that the alley seemed unremarkable.

 

Maybe there was a hidden door he hadn’t noticed from where he’d been standing out in the high street? Maybe there was a carefully camouflaged exit leading off the alley somewhere? A trapdoor leading down into the underground? Anything that would rationally explain what Justin thought he’d seen? But, no. There was nothing. Nothing at all out of the ordinary.

 

Proceeding down the middle of the space, Justin walked at least fifty meters down the alley, finding nothing near the section of alley where Brian had last been seen. No door, no exit, nothing. He was sure he’d gone beyond the spot where he’d seen Brian standing when the man had disappeared. So Justin turned around and walked back. Still nothing. He was too stubborn and intrigued to give up just yet, though. There HAD to be some explanation. There just had to be. People didn’t just disappear like that.

 

He stopped when he got back to the entrance of the alley and tried to think about exactly what he’d seen. Brian had been about there - just in front of where that little ledge was - when he popped out of existence. And from what Justin remembered, he’d also seemed to be standing closer to the left-hand wall. There had to be something special about that one little section of the alley. Justin carefully made his way back to that area, moving over so he was only a foot or so from the wall, and then slowing his steps so he could carefully scan every inch of the brickwork. But he still didn’t see anything out of the ordinary.

 

When he was only about a foot or so away from the little ledge, he reached out with one hand to feel along the bricks. Maybe there was a hidden door? Maybe it only looked like a brick wall? It certainly felt like solid brick, though.

 

But, as his hand inched slowly along the brickwork, that’s when the most extraordinary thing that Justin had ever experienced happened.

 

Justin’s hand disappeared.

 

In a total panic, he quickly snatched his hand back and the missing limb miraculously reappeared.

 

“What the . . . hurricane!” Justin was so shocked he’d almost cursed.

 

With his other hand, Justin probed the hand that had temporarily disappeared from sight. It didn’t feel any different than normal. It felt solid. He could move the fingers around without any difficulty. And he could now see the hand perfectly. It clearly wasn’t his hand that was the problem; it was something to do with that wall.

 

Once again Justin slid his hand along the bricks until the tips of his fingers dematerialized in front of his very face. He gulped but continued the forward motion, resulting in even more of his hand disappearing from view. Even though he could no longer see the appendage, he could still feel the bricks beneath his fingers. He could feel his fingers wiggling. He pulled the hand back again, and once more it seem perfectly normal. So he stuck even more of his hand through the invisible plane where things seemed to disappear, pressing forward until his whole arm clear past his elbow was gone, before pulling it back to make sure it wasn’t damaged in any way. It seemed fine.

 

“This is impossible!” Justin announced to nobody in particular. “This can NOT be happening. Arms don’t just disappear. Boyfriends don’t just disappear.”

 

However, when Justin stuck his hand out in front of him one more time, and it disappeared again, he had to admit that it was, seemingly, possible. It was also clear that the only explanation for his disappearing boyfriend must be that Brian had somehow gone through this . . . whatever it was . . . This place of disappearances. This invisible door to somewhere else.

 

And even though Justin was still angry at Brian, he couldn’t help but be worried that the man he loved had somehow been sucked into this Hole of Oblivion. He couldn’t let Brian go through that alone. What if Brian was hurt somewhere on the other side of this nothingness? What if he was trapped there and couldn’t get back? Brian didn’t seem to be much of a fighter and he was always getting hurt, so it followed that, if there was anything dangerous on the other side of that - whatever it was - his placid boyfriend might be in serious trouble. Justin simply had to go through as well and try to save Brian from whatever this anomaly was.

 

So, mentally gathering all his courage about him, Justin took a deep breath and dived headfirst through the Hole of Nothingness into the unknown beyond . . .

 

. . . Only to land face first on the very same cobbles in the very same alleyway he’d been before.

 

Or at least that’s what it seemed like at first glance. But as Justin picked himself up off the ground and began to dust off his trousers, he started to notice subtle differences between this alley and the one he’d just been standing in. Differences that convinced him something sinister was going on here.

 

For one thing, this alley was brightly lit up by several light fixtures along both sides all down its length. Which wasn’t at all proper when London was under strict blackout rules. Didn’t these folks know that any lights might lead the Gerries’ bombs right to their doors? Looking up at the narrow strip of sky above the alley, he noted how bright the entire area seemed; there had to be a lot of lights around to make that kind of glow. What was going on with that?

 

And there were other equally subtle differences here. The alleyway itself seemed somehow cleaner - the cobbles looked like they’d been washed off and even the bricks of the walls seemed less grungy. The stacks of crates and small piles of rubbish he’d noted before we’re all gone. And even the lights themselves looked different - brighter perhaps?

 

While he spun slowly in place, looking around him and trying to determine exactly what was going on, Justin eventually turned far enough so that he was facing the entrance to Duckett’s Passage. And there, right at the entrance, framed against the brighter backdrop of the high street by the tall walls on either side, stood a familiar figure. It was Brian! Thank goodness; Justin had found him!

 

“Brian!” he hollered, breaking into a sprint down the passageway towards his man.

 

Brian looked up when he heard his name being called. He seemed a bit dazed by Justin’s appearance and maybe a little disoriented too. Applesauce! Justin had been right to worry about Brian getting hurt. He just hoped his boyfriend wasn’t too badly injured.

 

“Brian! I’m so glad I found you! Are you okay? How badly are you hurt?” Justin questioned as he ran up to the clearly confused man.

 

“Justin? What . . . What’s going on? How . . . How did you get here?” Brian stuttered, obviously even more confounded than Justin was himself.

 

“I was following you, thinking you were headed back to the pub; I wanted to finish our discussion, and then I saw you turn in to this alley,” Justin started to explain. “But before I could catch up to you, you got sucked into that Hole of Oblivion back there. I was so scared for you, Brian. It took me a few minutes to figure it out, but I came after you as soon as I could.”

 

Brian still seemed befuddled, poor man. Justin couldn’t see any obvious injuries, but judging by the ongoing confusion, Brian might have hit his head or something. He seemed to be standing on his own alright, though, so at least he was mobile. Justin thought perhaps a trip to see a doctor might not be out of line.

 

“It’s gonna be okay, Brian. I’m here with you and we're in this together,” Justin tried to reassure his man, wrapping his arms around Brian’s waist and hugging him tightly. “Now, I’m not sure exactly what’s going on here - I suspect that . . . thing . . . back there might be some kind of new Gerry technology or something - but whatever it is, we both seem to be in one piece. Let me just get you somewhere safe and then I’ll find a phone and report in to my CO and they’ll send someone to come figure this whole thing out. Okay?”

 

“Justin . . .” Brian was struggling to get loose from Justin’s arms, but Justin wasn’t going to let him go - not when the man still seemed so off kilter.

 

“Hush now, Brian. It’s going to be okay. Just let me handle things, alright?”

 

Justin gave his boyfriend one last squeeze and then stepped back, turning to venture out of the alley towards the street.

 

“Justin, wait. You can’t . . .”

 

Brian grabbed for him but Justin was already too far away. He had stepped out of the relative darkness of the alley into the almost blinding lights of the high street before he realized that, wherever he was, this was certainly NOT the London he’d been in just a few minutes earlier, before he’d stepped into that alley to follow Brian. Whatever this place was, it was . . . it was crazy!

 

From where Justin was standing on the sidewalk right in front of Duckett’s Passage, he could see quite a ways up and down the high street. But the street he was looking at held very little resemblance to the street Justin knew. The buildings were all there still and, for the most part, they looked the same as he remembered, but the rest was completely transformed.

 

London at Night

The first thing Justin noticed was that there was so much light. Everything was lit up - the buildings, the street lights, the windows, the signs on the shops, even the vehicles moving along the road in front of him. Everything was so bright. After living for the past six months or so in the relative darkness of a wartime blackout, this much light at night seemed frightening. It was like a kaleidoscope of lights and colors and bright flashes of every sort. It was overwhelming.

 

But even beyond the mere light, the things he saw on the street itself were surprising. There were so many people out and about. He wasn’t used to seeing that many people on the streets at night. Most folks these days tended to get indoors early - with the blackout, the streets were dark and not really safe - plus most folks were either at home with their families eating dinner or working for the war effort or otherwise too busy to be strolling around the streets, aimlessly, like this.

 

Beyond the busyness of all the people, there also seemed to be an inordinate number of vehicles driving through the streets. Justin was used to most vehicles these days being commandeered for military or government use. And even the delivery vans and other cars he was used to seeing wouldn’t be out this late in the evening. But here, now, there were what looked like dozens of cars just zooming along every which way. And they were such odd looking cars too. Justin had never seen such strange vehicles - brightly painted in stunning colors like red and yellow and bright white, with too many, intricately shaped lights on them, and their chassis all rounded and curved in ways he’d never seen on a vehicle before.

 

And along with the vehicles came all the noise. These kinds of cars seemed very loud. There was a general hubbub of motors rumbling along pretty much all around him, emphasized by the honking of car horns, the squeaking of brakes, and the metallic slamming of car doors. The people seemed to be adding to the ruckus; all talking and shouting and laughing loudly. There was more noise - some kind of loud music - coming out of the bar on the corner behind him. There was even music coming out of the cars that were driving past him. Everywhere around him there was noise. It was almost as deafening as those times he’d been caught up in an air raid; that’s how loud it seemed to Justin.

 

Even the smells around him seemed wrong. The air didn’t have the same coal and wood smoke taste to it as he was used to. It had a chemical odor - probably from all these strange vehicles - that reminded him of the stench that pervaded the airfields he flew out of. On top of that there were enticing and foreign aromas wafting out from the pub behind him, as well as other shops along the street; smells that made him think of good things to eat and caused his mouth to water.

 

Everything, the smells, the sights, the sounds - it was all so alien here.

 

“What . . . What is this place?” he muttered as he stared, wide eyed and mouth hanging open, at all the strangeness around him.

 

“You shouldn’t be here, Justin,” Brian’s voice piped up from behind him. “I need to get you back. Come on. Let’s go.”

 

Brian had grabbed hold of Justin’s elbow and started to tug him back into the alley. Justin didn’t budge. He felt transfixed in place; held in limbo by the bizarre and wonderful scene enfolding him. This place - whatever it was - seemed almost magical. It was like the Walt Disney movie he’d seen a few months back - Fantasia. Like someone had taken the London he’d been living in for months, sprinkled it with magic and made it come to life with sound and light and color and music that didn’t normally belong there. What he was seeing here, now, almost made Justin believe in magic himself.

 

“No, Brian. Stop. We have to . . . We have to find out what’s going on here. We have to tell military command about . . . about whatever THIS is. I can’t go back until I  . . . until I . . .” Justin shrugged off Brian’s hand and took another step forward towards the magical chaos in the street. “This has to be a German plot. Maybe they’ve hit the city with mind altering drugs or something. I don’t know. It can’t be real, though . . .”

 

“Justin. Justin, please come on. Justin . . . It’s not a fucking German plot, damn it! Let’s just get the hell out of here already. You shouldn’t be here. Please, Justin,” Brian was pleading, still trying to pull him away into the alley.

 

But Justin wasn’t buying it. There was something seriously wrong here and he was going to figure it out. If it wasn’t the Germans doing this, then there must be some other serious anomaly at work and he needed to get a handle on it so he could report back to his commander. Whatever it was, it could be dangerous, and the government would need to be told so they could counteract it. He wasn’t going anywhere till he’d figured this out . . . whatever THIS was.

 

With one vicious tug, he freed his arm from Brian’s grasp. Unfortunately that effort unbalanced Justin enough that he stumbled several steps backwards and, after teetering on the curb for a moment, fell into the street right in the path of one of the outlandishly shaped vehicles. There was the sound of a car horn blaring and brakes screeching and then Justin felt a large weight slamming into his side. And then the world of too-bright lights and too-loud sounds and odd smells whirled around and around his head before it all went black.

 

“It looks like he’s starting to come around,” the A&E doctor announced to a hovering Brian Kinney. “He’s been unconscious for more than fifteen minutes now, which would normally have me worried, but the rest of the indications I’m seeing make me hopeful that there won’t be any serious, permanent damage. He’s responding well to stimuli.” The doctor poked a sharp instrument into Justin‘s forearm causing the muscle to twitch. “And his pupils appear to be reacting within normal parameters,” he added while holding one eyelid open and flashing a small penlight at the blue orb inside. “Of course, we’ll still need to assess him further once he’s fully conscious but, barring unforeseen complications, I think your boyfriend will come out of this with only a mild concussion. He’s a lucky man.”

 

“Thanks, doc,” Brian answered, more than happy to hear such great news.

 

“I’ll be back in a few minutes. If you need anything in the meantime, just call one of the nurses,” the doctor said, offering a professional nod to Brian as he slipped out through the curtain that enclosed Justin’s bed.

 

Brian sighed with relief. He had been so fucking scared when he’d seen Justin go down under the bumper of the car that hit him. Thank fuck it was only one of those ridiculously small, electric go-cart cars instead of a bus or lorry. Still, it had been bad enough to knock the young man out and necessitate a trip to the hospital.

 

Brian noticed that the blond was beginning to stir a little and he raised the hand he hadn’t let go of since they got out of the ambulance to his lips for a kiss. “Hey there, Blue Eyes. You with us again? Come on. Open up those pretty blue peepers of yours so I know you’re going to be okay.”

 

“Brian?” The voice was a little raspy but the fact Justin had recognized Brian’s voice was a good sign.

 

“Yeah. It’s me, kiddo. How are you feeling?”

 

Justin started to open his eyes and then moaned. “Headache,” he complained, lifting his arm to cover his face, blocking the light.

 

“Well, you’re lucky that’s all you’ve got after walking out into the street in front of a fucking car, you twat,” Brian groused, unable to hold back the tinge of annoyance from his tone.

 

“Knock, knock,” one of the overly cheerful A&E nurses interrupted. The woman, who was dressed in colorful, floral-print scrubs, bustled officiously into the tiny cubicle. “How are we doing in here?”

 

“He’s awake but he says his head hurts,” Brian answered for the patient.

 

“That’s pretty common for concussions,” the nurse stated as she proceeded to wrap a blood pressure cuff around Justin’s arm. After taking that reading, swiping a digital thermometer across the boy’s forehead and taking a quick listen to his chest with her stethoscope, she added, “unfortunately, we can’t administer any pain meds until we’re done assessing you for the TBI. And the doctor is probably going to want an MRI, too. So I’m afraid you’ll just have to bear with us for a bit longer, Mr. Taylor. Sorry.”

 

“S’okay,” Justin mumbled.

 

“I need to ask you a few questions to determine your cognitive state, Mr. Taylor. You think you can do that for me?” the nurse asked next.

 

“Yeah.”

 

“Can you tell me your full name, please.”

 

“Justin Randolph Taylor.”

 

“Good. And do you know today’s date?”

 

“Um. I think it’s still May 8th, right?”

 

“That’s correct. How about the name of the President of your United States?”

 

“Roosevelt.”

 

“This isn’t a good time to joke around, Justin,” Brian intervened before the nurse could get suspicious. “He thinks he’s being funny. He voted for Obama just like me, of course.”

 

“Okay, well . . . Then, how about, what’s your job?”

 

“I’m a pilot.”

 

Brian nodded to the nurse to let her know that was correct and it seemed to satisfy her.

 

“Alright. That seems to check out and all your vitals are strong. Other than the headache, how are you feeling? Any dizziness or nausea?”

 

“No. That’s all fine,” Justin answered.

 

“Blurry vision?” She asked next.

 

Justin moved his hand away from his face and once more peeled open his eyelids, blinking until his vision cleared.

 

“No, my vision seems fine . . .” Justin started to answer, but his words faltered as he continued to look around the hospital room, lines of confusion emerging on his face as he scanned the unfamiliar objects around him. “W-W-What . . .”

 

Brian had expected this reaction and quickly leaned forward, pretending to leave a kiss on the younger man’s cheek, while whispering a warning in his ear. “Don’t freak out. It’s okay. I’ll explain everything later. But, please, don’t freak out on me in front of the hospital people. Okay?”

 

“Is there something wrong, Mr. Taylor? Are you feeling any other pain besides the headache?” the concerned nurse asked.

 

“I . . . I don’t know . . . M-M-My arm hurts,” he finally added, indicating his right arm.

 

“Hmm. Can you move it for me?” The nurse proceeded to run Justin through a short exam of the sore limb, concluding that it was probably just badly bruised and nothing more serious. “Well, everything looks as good as can be expected under the circumstances. I’ll let the doctor know you’re awake and get that MRI scheduled for you. You just sit tight here for now.”

 

As soon as the woman had left them, pulling the curtain closed behind her, Justin turned to Brian with a demanding glare. “I thought maybe it had all been just a bad dream or something, but no . . . What the heck is going on here, Brian? Where are we? What is this place? This does NOT look like any hospital I’ve ever seen before. You said you could explain, so . . . Answer me, Brian!”

 

Brian sighed, tried to think of a good way to ease Justin into the situation, and then gave up. There was no good way to break this to someone. This was one of those times where you just had to yank the bandaid off as fast as possible.

 

“You haven’t seen anything like this because this hospital isn’t in 1941,” he responded. “You're not in 1941 anymore either, Justin. Back in that alley - that thing that happened to you, that you thought was some kind of German plot - that was just you coming forward in time. We’re now in the year 2016.”

 

Brian put the words out there and then simply waited for the inevitable fallout, knowing instinctively it was going to be bad.

 

“Ha ha, Brian. Stop kidding around. Tell me the truth, please,” Justin ordered, his arms crossed over his chest and his stare unrelenting.

 

“I’m afraid I’m not joking, Blue Eyes. This is 2016,” Brian reasserted.

 

Before he could say more though, the curtain was shoved aside once again and the doctor shouldered his way back into the little cubicle.

 

Brian only had time to lean down and add one more whispered warning. “I promise to explain everything later, Justin, but please, just play along for now. You don’t want the hospital staff thinking that concussion shook your brain up too much or they’ll keep you here all night. Okay?”

 

“Welcome back, Mr. Taylor,” the doctor greeted his patient jovially. “You certainly had a close call, didn’t you?”

 

“Apparently,” Justin answered, turning his glare away from Brian and towards the doctor.

 

“I’m Dr. Dewitt,” the doctor offered as he scanned through the chart notes the nurse had made earlier. “Everything here looks good. Except for the headache and bruising to your arm, anything else I should know about? Any disorientation, confusion or memory loss?”

 

“Maybe a little confusion,” Justin replied with a sideways look at Brian. “But I’m hoping it will go away eventually.”

 

“That’s a pretty common side effect, I’m afraid. It does usually resolve itself with time. But if you’re still having any issues on that front after two or three days, you should definitely return to the hospital. In the meantime, I’m going to send you down for an MRI, just to make sure there’s nothing else we need to be concerned about. Provided that comes back clear, though, I see no reason we can’t discharge you tonight. I’ll have the nurse give you a printout with some home care instructions and a list of warning signs to look out for. I assume you’ll be providing your boyfriend’s home care, Mr. Kinney?” The doctor looked to Brian, who nodded readily, ignoring the shocked response from Justin at hearing this stranger referring to them as ‘boyfriends’. “Good. Good. Okay, that’s all for now, then. We’ll have your discharge papers ready by the time you’re done in imaging. No alcohol and no driving or operating heavy machinery for at least seventy-two hours, but other than that, you should be fine.”

 

“But, I’m a pilot,” Justin interrupted, looking worriedly at the doctor. “I’m scheduled to fly tomorrow night.”

 

“Sorry, but that’s impossible. Aviation regulations are pretty strict on this topic, I’m afraid. The altitude and pressurization changes on top of the concussion are a really bad combination. You’ll be grounded for at least a week and will probably have to pass a second medical evaluation before you can go back up. I’ll make sure to give the nurse the correct paperwork for you to take to your employer so you can get the time off,” the doc offered. “And may I suggest you stay away from moving cars in the future, Mr. Taylor.”

 

“Thanks, Doctor,” Brian replied on his fuming boyfriend’s behalf, offering his hand to the doctor before the man departed.



It was another hour before they were done at the hospital and they didn’t have any real opportunity to talk in the interim. Justin was poked and prodded by a series of hospital personnel, each one then handing him off to the next in a steady stream of bureaucratic efficiency. Brian tagged along behind, refusing to be separated from his Blue Eyes, and helping to smooth over any moments of difficulty caused by the patient’s unfamiliarity with modern medical practices. For the most part, Justin simply padded along in a semi-disoriented daze, seemingly too overwhelmed by everything he was seeing to even comment on the experience.

 

The only really bad moment came when they finally reached the Imaging Department and the technician explained that they were going to do a magnetic scan of Justin’s brain. Justin apparently didn’t much care for that idea. The huge cylindrical machine they were going to shove him in probably didn’t help matters, even if he hadn’t been concerned about somebody messing with his brain. Brian only barely managed to talk his reluctant boyfriend into going along with the test, explaining that he’d had an MRI before himself and it was perfectly safe. The technician chimed in, stating that, if he declined the MRI scan, the doctor would definitely not let him leave the hospital that evening. That seemed to be the deciding factor; Justin submitted docility after that.

 

They were eventually given Justin’s discharge papers, along with a prescription bottle full of pain relievers, and told they were free to go. Brian led his charge out the front doors of the hospital and over to the taxi stand at the end of the block. Justin spent the five minutes or so while they stood there waiting for a cab staring at a pair of scantily dressed young women - one of whom had huge, dangling ear gauges, multiple piercings, and was covered with gaudy tattoos over much of her body, all of which were on display since she was wearing only an exercise bra-top, a mini-skirt that barely covered her ass, and huge, platform Doc Martins - who were so busy making out that they didn’t seem to notice anyone else around them. Brian let him stare, figuring the sight was educational as well as entertaining. After that experience, the Sikh cab driver with his bright orange turban didn’t seem to even faze the boy. Justin sat silently for the entire ride back to the hotel.

 

Brian grabbed hold of Justin’s hand again as they walked into the Strand Palace Hotel of 2016.

 

“It’s different,” was all Justin said as he looked up at the building.

 

“Yeah, they’ve added a couple of extra floors and changed around the facade on the front. But it’s mostly the same inside,” Brian explained, nodding to the doorman who looked just like the 1941 doorman except for a slightly more modern uniform.

 

At the reception desk, Brian nodded to the grinning, red-headed clerk, asked for his messages and then added as an afterthought, “do you have today’s newspaper?”

 

“Of course, Sir. We have the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph or, if you’d prefer, the Sunday Times. Which would you like?” the man responded with a flirty smile aimed Brian’s way.

 

“I don’t care. The Guardian, I guess,” Brian answered, trying not to make eye contact with the man and internally cringing at the way this former trick was coming onto him so blatantly.

 

No doubt Justin had probably already reached the correct conclusion about Red. Brian’s blond was sharp enough - and possessive enough - to have figured out that this was one of the men whose attentions Brian had enjoyed over the week of his ‘disappearance’. As soon as Red had handed over the newspaper, along with a stack of phone message slips, Brian fled from the desk, not even offering a cursory thank you. He hoped that, what with all the other shit going on, Justin had missed the little wink the clerk had given him. Brian had enough to deal with already without adding in that complication to their evening. Thankfully, Justin didn’t comment.

 

To further distract from the Red encounter, Brian handed the newspaper to his silent boyfriend while they were waiting for the elevator. “Here. Look at the date,” he ordered tersely.

 

Justin took the paper from Brian, unfolded it so he could see all of the front page, and focused on the date in the upper right hand corner of the header.

 

‘8th May 2016’, it read.

 

Justin continued to silently stare at that header all the way up in the elevator and all the way down the hall to Brian’s suite.

 

As soon as they were in the room and the door was closed behind them, though, Justin tossed the newspaper down on the bed, turned on Brian and, with an angry frown, demanded, “explain. Everything. NOW!”



********

 

Chapter Music Selection - Frenesi by Artie Shaw

 

Research - In case you were wondering, Disney's Fantasia , was first released in the United States on November 13, 1940. It technically didn’t make it to London until July, 1941, but we’re allowed to fudge a little on that factoid, aren’t we? At the very least, Justin would have been aware of the animation classic in May of 1941, right?

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 27 - Blues In The Night.



Brian rubbed the back of his neck as he thought over Justin’s demand for an explanation. Where to start? This was bound to be a rather long discussion and it was already getting pretty late. Perhaps some dinner along with their talk would make what he had to tell the irate blond a little more palatable?

 

“I will do my best to explain everything, Justin, I promise. But how about we order some dinner first?” Brian proposed, getting no response at first from his blond. “I know you’re impatient to get into this, Blue Eyes, but it’s late and neither of us have eaten yet. Plus, you’re going to need something in your stomach before you can take your pain meds. Is that okay with you?”

 

Justin reluctantly nodded and took a seat on the end of the bed while Brian walked across the room to the desk where the house phone was waiting. Picking up the receiver, Brian made quick work of ordering dinner for the both of them. Filet mignon steaks, avocado side salads, and in an attempt to placate the annoyed boy who was still glaring at him, he decided to add an order of steak fries, just in case. He also requested, not one, but two bottles of the house red and a large piece of the hotel’s sinfully delicious Triple Chocolate Torte. Hopefully his mother’s trite old saying about how the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach also applied to gay WWII pilots.

 

Once the food was ordered, though, Brian couldn’t think of any other way to delay the inevitable and he unenthusiastically made his way over to join Justin on the bed.

 

“I need you to let me finish before you say anything, okay?” Brian started off, waiting for Justin’s silent nod before he continued. “So, it all started that first night I met you. I was here, in that alley, just walking around and looking at the architecture when this electrical storm blew up. Before I could get in out of the rain, there was this bolt of lightning that hit the building next to where I was standing and I got knocked out. When I came to . . . everything just seemed different. And the next thing I knew, I was in the middle of a fucking air raid and you were there dragging me off to the underground shelter.”

 

“Brian . . .”

 

“Listen, Blue Eyes, I know this makes no sense . . . I know that, okay? Just give me a chance to tell it my way, please,” Brian pleaded, earning himself another sharp-eyed look from his otherwise silent blond. “Anyways . . . I didn’t know what to think at first. I kind of thought it was a joke or maybe some elaborate costume party or something. It wasn’t until the next morning, when we came out of the shelter and I saw all the destruction from the raid with my own eyes, that I realized it was all real. And then I sorta freaked out a bit. As soon as you left, though, I hobbled back to Duckett’s Passage, figured out the damn time portal and that was that.”

 

“Why’d you come back then,” Justin asked point blank. “Once you’d made it back to your own time, why didn’t you just stay put?”

 

“I don’t know . . . Maybe it had something to do with this fucking adorable little blue-eyed pilot I met or something?” Brian teased, leaning sideways so that he could bump his shoulder playfully against the younger man’s. But when he didn’t get the response he had been hoping for, only a frown, he hurried on. “I . . . I just couldn’t stay away, I guess. On top of the fact that I was hoping to get to know you better, there was also the thrill of it all. It was exciting, you know? Going back in time, getting to see things in person that I’d only read about in books, and getting to actually experience it all first hand. It was an adventure. And I was curious . . .”

 

“But you lied to me, Brian!” Justin turned so he was facing Brian directly, the anger that had been simmering below the surface finally bubbling up and erupting. “You lied to me the whole time we were together. You told me you were a War Correspondent. I saw your ID. And you let me think you were some kind of spy or something with all your gadgets. Meanwhile, all the time you were probably just laughing at me - the poor, clueless oaf who you were just toying with. Some kind of history experiment. You let me think you were actually falling in love with me, Brian!”

 

“Fuck, Justin! It wasn’t like that . . . It ISN’T like that, not at all,” Brian erupted right back at his accuser. “What did you expect me to do, huh? I couldn’t tell you the truth. You wouldn’t have believed me. Hell, you don’t even completely believe me even after seeing all this with your own eyes. What, exactly, did you expect me to do? Announce to you and all your friends I was a time traveler from the future? How soon after that would I have ended up in the nuthouse under a psychiatrist’s observation, huh? Fuck that!”

 

They both fell silent at that point, each stewing over their own private thoughts for several, long, anguished minutes.

 

Finally, Justin broke the stillness that had settled on the room. “But . . . it can’t be real. None of this. It makes no sense. How . . . ?”

 

“I still don’t know ‘how’, Justin,” Brian confessed, sounding almost as defeated as Justin apparently felt. “But I’m pretty sure it’s real. After spending a month with you in the past, almost getting blown up in more than one air raid, and everything else that’s happened to me back there, I’m pretty sure it’s one hundred percent real.” Brian turned his body so he was facing Justin directly to complete his next thought. “And whatever the fuck this is between us, that’s real too, Blue Eyes.”

 

That got him the first hint of a smile he’d seen on the younger man’s face all night.

 

“It does feel pretty real,” Justin agreed as he reached out to grab Brian’s hand with his own and squeezed it tightly. “But, what do we do now?”

 

“I’ve got no fucking idea,” Brian replied with a huge sigh.

 

They were both glad when their discussion was interrupted right then by a polite knock on the door. Brian got up and let the room service delivery in, telling the waiter to set everything up over on the table. Justin hovered nearby, looking hungrily at all the plates being set out. Brian couldn’t help but chuckle over the way Justin’s eyes bulged at the amount of food in front of him.

 

“Is this all for us?” the blond gasped.

 

“Yep. Have at it, Blue Eyes,” Brian smiled at him before turning to sign the room charge slip and tip the waiter.

 

By the time he was done, Justin was already seated at the table and eagerly uncovering all the plates.

 

“Oh my, goodness! This is so delicious! I’ve never tasted meat like this. It’s so tender and savory and . . . and . . .” Justin moaned as the first bite of his steak melted in his mouth. He quickly swallowed before moving on to the next dish. “What are these green things on the salad?” He speared a slice of avocado with his fork and then lifted it up to sniff suspiciously at the strange substance.

 

“That’s an avocado. They’re from California. It’s good for you - full of Vitamin C and shit. Stop sniffing it and eat already,” Brian ordered and assumed his seat next to Justin at the table.

 

Justin shoved the fork in his mouth, making a face at first because of the unfamiliar flavor and texture of the strange food. But, after a few more nibbles, he apparently decided the avocado was edible and happily speared another slice.

 

“Kinda creamy and green tasting. Not bad,” he pronounced.

 

“Green tasting?” Brian laughed as he started on his own steak at a more sedate pace. “Damn, Justin. The way you’re drooling over that steak, you’d think it was the best thing you’d ever had in your mouth . . . which we know isn’t true, since you’ve had my dick in there.”

 

Justin tried desperately to smirk and play along, even though his blushing cheeks undermined the effect he’d been going for. “Both are delicious . . . But one is definitely a little more so than the other,” the boy admitted shyly.

 

“I hope for your sake you meant my cock,” Brian teased, kicking Justin’s leg gently under the table so the blond would look up at him. “If you need a reminder . . .” the older man winked playfully.

 

Justin’s eyes glazed over at the thought. “Not that that doesn’t sound appealing, Handsome, But we still have lots to talk about.” Brian growled a little but didn’t try to argue the point. “So, of all the stuff you did tell me about yourself, what, if anything, was true?”

 

“Except for the fake ID and the War Correspondent thing,” Brian responded, “I didn’t lie about anything. At most, I just let you think what you wanted. But anything I did tell you about me was the truth.”

 

“So, you’re really from Pittsburgh?” Brian nodded. “Do you really have a son named Gus?”

 

“Of course. I would never lie about something like that,” Brian asserted adamantly. “Gus is real and so are his mothers, Lindsey and Melanie, and they really do live in Pittsburgh. And, even better, Gus is coming out to visit me in a couple weeks, so if you don’t believe me now, all you have to do is wait around and see for yourself when I introduce you two,” Brian offered hopefully. “That is, provided you're still speaking to me then . . .”

 

“Gus is coming here? But, isn’t that dangerous? What about the war?”

 

“You don’t think the war is still going on seventy-five years later, do you?” Brian asked mockingly, and then quickly changed his tone to placate the returning anger he saw in the glinting blue eyes. “ I promise you, it's perfectly safe for Gus to be here nowadays.”

 

Of course, that brought up a whole different topic of discourse for the intelligent little World War II fighter pilot. “So that’s how you knew about all the raids. Where they would happen and when? You’ve read about them in a history book or something?” Justin paused then as all the implications this line of thought brought up swamped his brain. “Applesauce! You know how it all ends, don’t you, Brian?”

 

“Yes. I know everything. Well, I know enough, and what I don’t know I can find out anytime I want,” Brian answered candidly, but then paused and thought a few seconds before continuing. “I promised you before, Justin, that I wouldn’t tell you anything more about what I knew in advance. That still stands. You . . . You might not want to know everything I know . . . But, if you DO want me to tell you, I will.”

 

Justin let his fork fall to the plate with a loud clattering sound as he leaned back in his chair and thought hard. The tired-looking blond scrubbed at his face with both hands; the way he rubbed his temples, along with the scrunched up face he made, let Brian know his boy was still suffering from the headache that had come along with the concussion. But even beyond that, you could tell how hard the young man was thinking at that moment, and how much the effort pained him. Brian did not envy Justin the decision he was about to have to make.

 

“Does England win in the end?” Justin finally queried, obviously asking what he thought was the most important question first.

 

“Yes. England and its allies win . . . But it’s a long and nasty war and the victory comes with some horrendous costs,” Brian qualified his answer while at the same time trying not to give more details than Justin had asked for.

 

“Well, that’s good, I guess,” Justin replied carefully.

 

After that, Justin fell silent again. He returned to his dinner, although he wasn’t digging in with quite the same amount of gusto as previously. Brian could almost see the gears and cogs in that little blond brain churning along at full speed as Justin thought through all the permutations of what Brian’s foreknowledge might mean. Brian quietly resumed his own meal while he waited to see what Justin would decide.

 

It wasn’t till his plate was almost bare, that Brian‘s personal RAF pilot finally spoke up again. “I don’t think I want to know anything more. At least not for the time being. I mean, I couldn’t do anything with the information, even if I had it, so it would probably only make me crazy. Does that make sense?”

 

“Perfectly,” Brian agreed. “And for what it’s worth, I think I would make the same call, if I were in your shoes. But, when you’re ready to know more . . . well, I just . . .” Brian gave a little frustrated grunt. “Damn it. This is all so fucked, isn’t it, Blue Eyes?”

 

“Pretty much,” Justin acceded. Then the youth pushed aside all the angst of that topic, picked up and drained his glass of wine, and apparently decided to move on. “So, your lightbox thing, and all the other gizmos you had, those were all from here? From the future? Like the hospital stuff - the MRI machine and all the rest of it?”

 

“Yep. You’d be amazed at how far technology has advanced from what you’re used to,” Brian responded, as happy to talk about something less dire as Justin seemed to be. He pulled his cell phone out of his pocket, tapped out the PIN to unlock the screen, and handed it over to Justin. “It’s actually called a cell phone or a mobile, though, not a lightbox.”

 

“This is a telephone too? How does it work though? There’s no cord or anything.” Justin asked, looking at the phone with new appreciation.

 

“It doesn’t need a cord. It works on a sort of radio wave type thing. Your voice is turned into little packets of data that are transmitted via microwave signals to a tower and then bounced up to a satellite in space and then transmitted back down to wherever the person is that you’re calling. Using that little box there,” Brian pointed to his phone, “I can call just about anywhere on the planet.”

 

“Applesauce . . . That’s . . . unbelievable, Brian,” Justin turned the slim little black casing of the cell phone over in his hands, shaking his head the whole time. Then he looked up at Brian with a childlike amazement and demanded, “show me.”

 

Brian chuckled, but at the same time reached over to grab the phone so he could comply. He laid the phone down on the tabletop between them and, going slowly so that Justin could see exactly what he was doing, touched first the little green icon for the ‘phone’ application and then, on the list of his ‘favorites’, he tapped the icon with the small round picture of Gus’ smiling face. Then Brian quickly put the call on speaker so Justin would be able to hear the conversation.

 

The call was picked up after only three rings. “Hey, Brian,” Lindsey’s melodious voice answered. “Thanks for calling back. Your son has been driving me crazy with questions about London all morning. Can you please talk him down for me, dad?”

 

“Sure thing, Lindz. Put him on,” Brian answered, smiling all the while at the look of wonder that had suffused Justin’s face from the second the call had gone through.

 

“Hi, Daddy!” Gus piped up a few seconds later.

 

“Hey, Sonny Boy. How’s my favorite son doing today?” Brian teased.

 

“Oh, Daddy! You’re soooo silly. I’m your only son!” Gus corrected with a giggle.

 

“Oh, that’s right. I guess I forgot,” Brian chuckled along. “Hey, Gus, I’ve got you on speaker and a friend of mine is here - can you say hi to my friend, Justin?”

 

“Hi, Jussin!” Gus yelled genially into the phone. “Are you a London person? You’re there with my Daddy in London, right? Can you talk London to me?”

 

Justin’s face almost split apart from the jumbo-sized smile this greeting evinced. “Hello there, Gus. Yes, I am here in London with your father, but I’m afraid I’m American, just like you, so I can’t talk like a Londoner for you.”

 

“Oh, well. That’s okay. I jes really want to talk London wiv someone. Did my Daddy telled you I was gonna come visit him in London? And we’re gonna go see the Queen’s horses and everything. Do you know the Queen, Jussin? Did you know she gets ta live in a real live castle an everything? Innat cool? I can’t wait to come visit. How much more days till I get to come visit, Daddy?”

 

Brian was as amazed as always that Gus could talk for so long without appearing to need to stop and breath. “Only fourteen more days, Sonny Boy.”

 

“Hmmm. That’s still a lotta days, huh? I wished it was only one day more, Daddy. I miss you so much.”

 

“I miss you too, Gus,” Brian admitted. “But it’s not that long. It’s only two weeks. And then we’ll get to do all the fun things you and I have planned, right?”

 

“Right! Well, I gotta go now, Daddy. Mommy is making Cheese ‘n Macroni for me for lunch an it’s my fav’rite so I gotsa go eat it now. ‘Kay, Daddy?”

 

“Okay, Sonny Boy,” Brian replied. “You be good for your moms and I’ll talk to you again soon.”

 

“Love you up to Jupiter and back down to a Polar Bear, Daddy!”

 

“You too, Gus,” Brian grinned happily. He couldn’t fucking wait for his kid to get there.

 

“Daddddddy,” the little boy whined. “You didn't say it back. You hasta say it back.”

 

Brian laughed as he rubbed at the stubble on his lightly pinkening cheeks. “I love you up to the International Space Station and all the way down to a hungry crocodile that is going to gobble you up if you don’t listen to your mommies.”

 

Gus giggled happily. “Wow. You loves me a lots, Daddy.”

 

“I do, Sonny Boy. Now, go eat your lunch, okay?”

 

“Okay, Daddy. And, bye bye, Mister Jussin. You were very nice even though you didn’t talk London to me. Byeeee.”

 

And with that, the kid hung up.

 

“He’s totally adorable, Brian,” Justin said, still looking at the miraculous phone/lightbox. “I still can hardly believe it, though. This thing just called Pittsburgh? Just like that? With no wires or operator or anything?” Brian shrugged and nodded. “Wow. You said before it did a lot of things and I guess you weren’t lying. You told me it’s a flashlight and a camera and it plays music. Now I see it’s also a telephone. So, what else does it do?”

 

“What doesn’t it do, would be a better question,” Brian responded with another laugh. “Come on. Bring your cake and your wine over to the couch and I’ll show you,” he suggested as he refilled both their wine glasses and then ushered the boy over to the couch.

 

Brian spent the next twenty minutes explaining to his wide-eyed neophyte all about cell phones. Justin had to tap on every single app and then demand Brian explain each one as they went. The boy was rightfully amazed at all the clever and useful things Brian’s cell phone could do. He was like a little kid, trying everything out and marveling loudly at it all.



Brian himself had never really thought about it much - he’d just accepted all the technology that came along with his smartphone - but looking at the device through Justin’s eyes, he saw the thing in a whole new light. This one little box that fit in the palm of his hand represented at least twenty different machines in Justin’s world. It was not only a telephone, it was a clock, a camera, and a flashlight. It was also a stereo, an alarm, a stopwatch, a timer, a calendar, an address book, a calculator, a video camera, a tape recorder, a typewriter, a dictation machine, a pedometer, a barometer, a compass, a global atlas, a television, a movie projector, a game console and a computer. And that wasn’t even counting the fact that, with this one small device, Brian could access the entirety of the internet and all of the wealth of information that permitted. With that added connection, his phone became a bank, a school, a newspaper, a movie theater, a laboratory, a research tool, a cultural center, a transportation facilitator, and even a library, the breadth and extent of which was unparalleled in history. It truly was a remarkable and frightening piece of technology when you thought about it.

 

And that was just one little part of all the incredible things the future held for someone like Justin.

 

Eventually Brian got up and left his boy there on the couch, nibbling at his cake and playing with the cell phone, while he used the hotel phone to call Cynthia and apologize again for his behavior earlier in the day. She accepted with grudging grace. Then Brian begged her to reschedule all his Monday meetings for him so they could both take the day off. Brian figured he’d need that time to figure out what he was going to do about his time traveling stowaway boy.

 

“What does this mean, Brian?” Justin asked as soon as he’d hung up with his assistant - who’d agreed to clear his calendar for him after much pleading. “It says ‘low power warning’. I didn’t break it, did I?”

 

“No. The battery just needs charging,” Brian explained, taking the phone out of the younger man’s hands and using the cable next to his bed to plug it in. “But that reminds me that you should be recharging too, not sitting up all night playing on my cell phone. I was supposed to be taking care of you and that concussion . . . Oh, damn - I wasn’t supposed to let you drink alcohol either, was I?” Brian looked at the empty wine glass sitting on the table next to the couch. “Fuck. I totally forgot about that. You don’t feel sick or dizzy or anything do you?”

 

“Nah. I’m fine,” Justin reassured. “Even the headache is pretty much gone since you made me take that pill. But I guess I am a bit tired.” The admission triggered a yawn that cinched the matter in Brian’s mind. “Sorry, but I only got a short nap this morning after I finished my mission, and it’s been a pretty eventful day.”

 

“Then it’s definitely bedtime for all exhausted little blue-eyed boys,” Brian announced as he bent to pull the bedspread off the bed. “Do you want to shower now, or are you too tired?”

 

Justin didn’t answer immediately. He seemed to be looking around the room undecidedly. Brian was feeling pretty damned tired himself by that point so it was probably excusable that he didn’t pick up on the kid’s confusion. When Justin did speak up, though, Brian wasn’t sure whether to laugh or feel rejected.

 

“Um, so . . . Shouldn’t we, um, go back?” Justin asked.

 

“Go back?” Brian asked dumbly.

 

“Yeah. You know . . . Back to the right time . . . MY time . . .” Brian must have still looked confused because Justin blushed and then stuttered on through his explanation. “It’s just that I figured we’d go back to . . . to 1941 . . .”

 

“Why?” Brian questioned, completely flummoxed by this turn of events. “There’s a bed right here and we’re both tired. There’s no need to go trudging around outside, only to go back in time to the very same hotel, seventy-five years in the past. Is there?”

 

“I don’t know. It’s just . . . Well, it feels funny being here and all. I feel out of place. Like I don’t belong or something . . .” Justin looked around himself at everything he still didn’t understand in the room and seemed to shrink in on himself. “It just doesn’t feel right here.”

 

“Oh, Blue Eyes,” Brian chuckled, walking around the bed so he could wrap his arms around the boy’s slender waist. “You have to stop being so fucking adorable all the time. It’s far too distracting, you know.”

 

Justin blushed one of his signature pink blushes and tried to squirm out of Brian’s hold. “Don’t make fun of me, Brian. I’m serious.”

 

“I know you are. That’s what makes it so adorable,” Brian answered and then got serious himself. “There’s a lot of reasons, though, to stay put here, Justin. One, you’re still recovering from being hit by a fucking car and are under a doctor’s care - a doctor that just happens to be here, in this time period. And I’d feel a lot better if we stayed here in case anything happened, especially since I already fucked up and gave you alcohol. If I do need to call the doctor or get help, I can do it a lot faster here than back in 1941.” Justin seemed to be thinking that point over while Brian carried on with his list. “Two, it just doesn’t make any logical sense to go running around through time when we’re both this exhausted. This bed is perfectly good; I promise you. And even if you feel a little out of place, I’ll still be here with you, no matter what.” Justin smiled at that assurance. “And three, there’s a lot more stuff here that I’d like to share with you, Justin, but we’re both too tired for all that now. Couldn’t you stick around for one more night, if I promise to take you back later tomorrow morning . . . After we’ve have some fun?”

 

“You realize, you’re a very hard man to argue with,” Justin stated with a resigned sigh.

 

“I’m a very hard man, period, Blue Eyes,” Brian joked, pulling their lower bodies together in demonstration and earning himself a little giggle from his audience of one. “But we’re both way too pooped for that right now. So, how about we just get some sleep and save that for the morning too? Okay?”

 

“Fine,” Justin capitulated. “I guess you’ve talked me into it, Handsome.



It wasn’t long before both men had stripped off and Justin was happily situated in Brian’s arms in the luxurious king size bed. The fluffy white duvet molded perfectly to their bodies as they both snuggled down into the comforting warmth. Justin had to concede that twenty-first century beds certainly were comfortable.

 

“Try and get some sleep, Blue Eyes,” Brian mumbled sleepily as he kissed the back of Justin’s head and closed his eyes, the long day having apparently caught up with him the moment his head touched the pillow.

 

The blond yawned loudly and wiggled back into Brian’s embrace. “‘Kay. Sleep well, Brian.”

 

There was no denying how tired Justin was. He felt both physically and mentally exhausted after the last few days. He closed his eyes tightly and tried to fall asleep, but there was something stopping him. This had never been a problem for Justin before; he was usually out like a light within a couple of minutes of climbing into bed - no matter where he was - and he’d slept in some fairly uncomfortable places thanks to his time in the RAF. He was beyond shattered, and he wanted nothing more than to give in to the exhaustion, but it didn’t seem like it was going to happen that night.

 

He tossed and turned in Brian’s arms for several minutes, eventually causing the older man to tighten his grip around the blond’s waist. “What’s up, Blue Eyes?”

 

That’s when it hit Justin. “It’s . . . It’s so loud in here. I’m not used to all this noise. I think it’s preventing me from going to sleep,” he whispered quietly.

 

“Loud?” Brian mumbled. “What noise? I don’t hear anything . . .”

 

“You can’t . . . you can’t hear that?”

 

Brian lifted himself up onto his elbow and listened carefully. “Oh, you mean the cars outside?” He asked, laying himself back down and running his fingers through the spiky blond hair. “I guess I just don’t notice it anymore.”

 

Justin turned in Brian’s arms and pressed his nose into the older man’s chest. “They’re really loud. And it’s just so . . . so bright outside. Even though it’s nighttime . . . it’s really strange.”

 

Brian untangled himself from Justin, climbed out of bed and padded over to the large plate glass window to the left of them,  pulling the drapes shut. “There, does that help?”

 

The curtains not only blocked out the light, but helped muffle the outside noises a little too. Once Brian was back in bed and had gathered Justin to him again, it did seem better. And, with his head now resting on Brian’s chest, the primal lub-dub, lub-dub of his lover’s heartbeat seemed to block out the other, more disturbing noises.

 

“That helps a lot, Brian. Night,” he replied, and finally let himself drift off to sleep.

 

Chapter Music Selection - Blues in the Night by Woody Herman

Chapter Text

 

Chapter 28 - Sometimes I’m Happy.

 

*Nee-noor, Nee-noor, Nee-noor*

 

Justin was pulled out of the happiest of dreams - all about sleeping on a big, lazy, purring lion - by the jarring noise of a blaring siren going off outside the hotel. He bolted up into a sitting position, blinking around him in the semi-dark while he tried to orient himself. For about fifteen seconds he thought it was an air raid siren going off and then, when he looked at his surroundings, was totally confused and couldn’t remember where he was. It wasn’t until Brian reached up, long arms twinning around Justin’s waist and tugging him back down into the warmth of the bed, that he recalled where, and when, he was.

 

“You okay, Blue Eyes?” the big, warm, purring lion asked.

 

“Yeah. I guess. I don’t know how you sleep with all this racket going on though. And I thought wartime London was noisy.”

 

“You get used to it,” Brian yawned, trying to get Justin to settle down and get comfortable in the crook of his arm again.

 

Justin shook his head, squirming around, restless and no longer sleepy at all. “I don’t think I could ever get used to how noisy everything is here.”

 

“Well, then,” Brian rolled over and pinned Justin beneath his body so he couldn’t squirm any more, “how about we make some noises of our own.” Brian bent his head down far enough that his luscious, cherry-red lips brushed against Justin’s and kissed him till Justin was moaning. “See, now. Those are the kinds of noises I LIKE to hear first thing in the morning.”

 

Brian spent the next five minutes pulling a chorus of moans and groans and other pleasurable noises out of him, before Justin began to struggle against his captor and push Brian away. “While I thoroughly approve of your kinds of noises, Brian, I’m afraid I have to use your facilities before much longer or there will be seriously negative consequences. So, can you let me up, please.”

 

“Actually, that’s an even better idea than what I was already planning, Blue Eyes,” Brian readily agreed, rolling off the bed and pulling Justin after him. “Just imagine all the fun noises we can make while I introduce you to the joys of morning shower sex.”

 

“You’re incorrigible! You know that, right?” Justin snorted with laughter as Brian almost pulled his arm out of the socket in the rush to get them both to the bathroom.

 

“I know. It’s part of my charm,” Brian agreed, tugging even harder on Justin’s arm, to the point that the pilot almost fell over as he was trying to free himself from the sheets. “Come on. Hurry up. This is gonna be fun!”

 

Justin picked up his pace, following behind the overly energetic man who now seemed quite eager to be up and around.

 

In the light of day, the bathroom Brian led him to seemed even bigger than it had when he’d taken a quick piss in there the night before. Sheesh! It was probably bigger than the room he shared with Hobbs back at Mrs. McCready’s boarding house. Justin had never seen anything like it before in his life. He’d never even dreamed something as mundane as a bathroom could be this elegant.



The first thing he noticed when he walked in the room was that the tile floor itself was warm. How the heck did you heat a tile floor? It had to be some fancy modern technology, though, since his feet could feel warmth radiating up from below. He wiggled his toes against the surface as he padded over to the small, self-contained toilet cubicle on the right-hand side of the space and took his time emptying his bladder. It was a far cry from the frigid, musty, little hole in the wall toilet at Ms. McCready’s, which was so nasty that he tried not to have to use it at all and only reluctantly scurried in and out of there if he had to pee in the middle of the night. It was almost a pleasure to take a piss in a place like this, though.

 

While Justin had been pissing, Brian had started the water running in the huge walk in shower located on the other side of the room directly across from the toilet cubicle. You had to pass by the large, free-standing, bowl-shaped tub to get to the shower. Justin briefly regretted that he wouldn’t get to luxuriate in that beautiful tub - it looked so large and elegant and comfortable - you couldn’t imagine anything more different from the tiny metal tub the boarders were forced to use at Mrs. MCready’s.

 

“I’ve got the temperature set nice and warm for you,” Brian announced, giving Justin’s naked tush a friendly little squeeze as he passed by on his way to the toilet for his own morning piss. “Hop in. I’ll be right there.”

 

Justin pulled open the glass door, wondering a little at the way it was made because he’d never seen anything like this kind of glass - it was thick and solid feeling and was smooth to the touch but was also slightly opaque so you could only just barely see through it to the inside. It didn’t feel like the typical, fragile, breakable glass he was used to. It was also much lighter than he expected it to be. Maybe it was something like the special kind of glass they used in the canopy of an airplane. He’d have to remember to ask Brian about that later. There was so much he needed to ask about later, though, that he’d probably forget.

 

As soon as he was actually inside the shower, the composition of the glass door seemed irrelevant. The shower itself was absolutely magnificent. It was huge; more than large enough for several people to bathe in it together. It was tiled in the same large brown tiles as the floors and the walls, except on the floor, which was covered with smaller white and grey tiles. There were three - imagine that, THREE - shower heads, one on each side of the enclosure and a really, really large shower head on the ceiling above his head. When Justin stood in the middle of the space, water pelted at him from both sides and above. And the streams of water were so strong, too. This wasn’t just the dribbling of tepid water he was used to from the showers at the air base. This was glorious! There was even a large bench built into the back of the shower so you could sit down and be showered at the same time. That was absolutely brilliant, as far as Justin was concerned.



With a happy sigh, Justin moved further into the space so that he was fully doused by the delightfully warm water coming down on him from all sides. This was heavenly. He loved it here. He wanted to live here and never leave.

 

His reverie was interrupted a second later when the metallic click of the latch on the door told him Brian must be coming in as well. He didn’t bother to open his eyes though. He was too happy just standing there in the warm, steamy rain. Not that he minded the addition of Brian’s tall, lanky body pressed up against his back or the fact that Brian had filled his hand with some fragrant, slippery, gel stuff which he was rubbing all over Justin’s chest and stomach. That was nice too.

 

“Damn, Blue Eyes. You’re one big bruise all over your right side,” Brian commiserated, his fingers trailing more lightly over those portions of Justin’s skin. “This has got to hurt like a bitch. How are you holding up? Do you need another pain pill?”

 

“I am a tad bit sore,” Justin admitted. “But the hot water is helping. I think I’ll be okay, at least until we’re done showering.”

 

“I’m really sorry about this,” Brian murmured, apparently unable to let it go. “I didn’t mean to cause you to fall in front of that damned car, Blue Eyes. I know ‘sorry’ is bullshit, but this is all my fault . . .”

 

“Stop, Brian,” Justin ordered, turning around so he could look his lover in the eye. “It was an accident. It’s not your fault. I’ll be fine. I’ve had worse than this from some of the missions I’ve flown. Give it a few days and I’ll be good as new.”

 

“I know, but I still feel like a shit . . .”

 

Brian’s hand once again glided over the pale skin stained with purple and blue smudges, almost as if he were trying to wipe them away.

 

Justin grabbed the wandering fingers and pulled Brian‘s hand down, away from the bruised shoulder.

 

“I’m fine, Brian. Really.” Then Justin let his own fingers wander towards the slight purple marks evident on Brian‘s abdomen - the remnants of Hobbs slugging him in the gut the day before. “At least we match now.”

 

Brian gave a half amused grunt and shook his head, but didn’t bother to respond further. Instead, he filled his hand with more of the slippery goo and started applying it to the yet unwashed portions of Justin‘s body. He even washed Justin’s hair, turning the youth’s body around so the blond head was leaning back against Brian’s solid shoulder. It was a strangely gentle and intimate experience. And, while there were definite sexual overtones to what they were doing, Justin couldn’t help but feel that there was a lot more being implied in the gesture than even Brian realized.

 

“Mmmmm. That feels so nice,” Justin commented as the last of the suds rinsed out of his hair. “I’ve got to say, modern showers are at the top of my list of things I like about this place.”

 

Brian laughed quietly, the deep, masculine vibrations of the sound rumbling through his chest and vibrating against the skin along Justin’s shoulders.

 

“Yeah, that’s got to be the one thing about 1941 I liked the least. Your bathrooms back then really sucked,” Brian agreed. “But the worst part about it all was that we couldn’t do THIS in those public washrooms back in your time.”

 

Brian proceeded to demonstrate what THIS was, by flexing his knees enough that his funner, manly bits were able to make direct contact with the plumper parts of Justin’s posterior. And while he continued rutting away down there, Brian also started nibbling along the column of Justin’s neck, evoking little electrical chills all down his spine. Applesauce, that felt good! Morning communal showers back home had never been this pleasant.

 

When he and Brian had been together back in the Strand Palace of 1941 they’d often washed up together, but never been brave enough to actually shower together in the tiny bathroom that was shared by everyone on the floor. And even if they had tried, that shower was so small it would have been virtually impossible for them to both be in it together. What they were doing now was completely different.

 

Yes, they were still showering to get clean, but it was also as though they were showering just for the pleasure of it; something Justin had never really done before, either back home or at the base. There was definitely nothing pleasant about getting into a lukewarm shower and certainly nothing pleasurable about getting out of the shower into a freezing cold changing room. Even getting out of the shower at Brian’s hotel back in 1941, although it was better than anything else he’d used while living in London, was still a painfully cold experience. Showering for fun was an entirely new concept for him.

 

“What are you thinking about?” Brian asked as he continued to suck ever so gently on the pulse points in Justin’s neck.

 

Without thinking, Justin tilted his head so Brian had more skin to tease and tantalize. “Just how nice and warm this feels,” Justin explained. It sounded so silly when he said it out loud, but he knew Brian understood.

 

Brian smiled softly at him as he pulled his lips away and walked them both backwards towards the bench. When Brian’s calves touched the tiled shelf, he sat down, pulling Justin till the younger man was standing in the vee of his knees. Then Brian’s right hand reached up to the soap dish above him, retrieving a familiar, small, square packet. Justin craned his neck around so he could see what was going on, and watched as Brian made a show of tearing open the condom and rolling it on himself. Justin had to admit, he liked where this seemed to be heading.

 

“Come here.” Brian patted his legs and held out his arms, indicating Justin should sit on his lap.

 

Even through the heat of the water, Justin could feel his cheeks burning. He wasn’t sure why; it’s not like they’d never done it before. But there was something so intimate about being together like that in the shower and . . . Oh, Applesauce . . . The intensity in Brian’s eyes made his heart flutter and his legs feel weak.

 

Justin took the half step needed to close the distance between them, biting his bottom lip and smiling shyly down on the seated man. In order to feel less like he was on display - and also just because he liked touching him - Justin reached out and ran his hands through Brian’s hair, causing it to stick up in all directions. It was only after he’d been standing still in front of Brian for a couple of seconds, unsure of what to do next, that the older man took charge.

 

“Have a seat,” Brian invited, his voice deep and gravelly with need as he reached his arms out and tried to pull Justin onto his lap.

 

Justin wrapped an arm around the older man’s neck and lowered himself down, sitting sideways with both his legs draped over Brian’s right thigh.

 

Brian grinned up at him. “Not like that . . . Here, like this,’ Brian smiled and deftly maneuvered Justin in his arms so that the smaller man was resituated, straddling Brian, their morning erections bumping together deliciously as Justin wriggled around to get comfortable.

 

“Now what?” Justin asked, still feeling a little bashful and unsure of himself in this new arrangement.

 

“Now, you ride me, little boy,” Brian explained succinctly, even as he used his hands to help lift Justin’s hips up higher to ensure they were properly aligned.

 

Justin took a deep breath and tried to compose himself. Why did he feel so unsettled? It’s not like he and Brian hadn’t done this before. Of course, the other times they’d been in bed together, which seemed like the proper place to do things like this, right? Justin knew he was a bit naive about all things involving sex, but still, he’d never even imagined doing it in a shower together. Heck, even the few dirty pictures he’d seen before never showed anything like this. It all felt so . . . naughty. Exciting too, but also vaguely forbidden. However, Brian seemed to know what he was doing, so it had to be alright. Justin trusted his wild lover, no matter how unpredictable Brian sometimes seemed to be. He told himself he could do this. He COULD.

 

While he was giving himself this internal pep talk, Brian had been busy with the slippery shower gel stuff, getting Justin prepared. By the time he thought he was mentally ready, Brian must have determined he was physically ready too, because he’d started to guide Justin’s hips forward and down until he was hovering right above Brian’s straining cock. Justin gave himself one last psychic shove and then lowered his ass down, down, down, until he was completely impaled.

 

And it was glorious!

 

It was, dare Justin admit it, even better than all the other times he’d been with Brian. Physically, the sex was just as satisfying as always - Brian was a maestro with his dick, always knowing exactly how to wield his instrument to make Justin feel like singing. But on top of that, it was just so thrilling, so taboo, to be doing THIS in such an open and unusual place. And all the while the warm streams of water were pounding down on them from above, keeping him toasty warm and adding the extra fun of making their bodies slippery and wet so that they squished along in new and different ways.

 

When the built up ball of pleasurable tension that always started as a small seed somewhere deep in his gut began to grow, it caused delicious chills to erupt along his skin, each of which was immediately washed away by the warm water. The dichotomy of warm water and cool tingling all over was driving Justin wild, even more quickly than he was usually driven by Brian’s touches. He was so overcome that all he could do was hold on tight, his fingers tangled in the wet tresses of Brian’s hair, as he pumped his thighs, rising and falling at a crescendoing pace. And when his climax hit him, the resulting cool rush of pleasure that washed through his body was so overpowering it took even the hot water pelting down on him from the shower a couple minutes to bring him around to room temp again.

 

Brian seemed to have enjoyed their wild shower ride too, if the way he was clutching at Justin’s body and panting was any indication.

 

“That was . . .” Justin tried to find a word that would describe what he was feeling and came up blank. “There’s no words for what that was, Brian. No words.”

 

“Welcome to the joys of shower sex, Blue Eyes,” Brian provided with a throaty chuckle.

 

“I love showers in the future,” Justin proclaimed again, causing even more laughter.



They were still laughing even after they’d finished their shower, shaved and dressed. Everything seemed fun and companionable that morning. Brian had never before experienced that same level of intimacy with anyone - definitely not with any of his tricks - and even though it scared him at times, he liked it. He liked teasing Justin about his naivety. He liked introducing him to new things, like the cordless, waterproof, electric shaver they took turns using in the shower, or the heated towel rack or even just the plush terry-cloth robes that the hotel provided its guests. The almost childlike wonder with which the little blond approached everything was refreshing and amusing at the same time. And Brian found he was truly enjoying himself that morning.

 

When they’d finally made it out of the apparently fascinating bathroom, Brian directed Justin over to the bed, asking him to wait just a couple minutes while the AdExec checked his messages. With Cynthia taking the day off, he really did need to make sure there was nothing imperative that needed to be handled that morning. So, while the adorable blond in his fluffy white robe lounged on the bed, Brian thought to keep him amused by switching on the television. That ought to keep the lad busy for at least a few minutes.

 

Brian picked up the remote off the bedside table and hit the power button. Justin gasped audibly at this newest wonder the minute the screen illuminated. Brian loved the little squeal of fun the boy gave before he grabbed at the remote. Brian figured he’d let the kid have at it. He quickly explained how to change channels and then took his cell phone over to the desk to listen to his voicemail and make notes undisturbed, while the boy flipped through channel after channel and ooh’ed and ahhh’ed along the way.

 

Unfortunately, Brian had forgotten all about the ‘Adult’ channels, which is what he found his little tyro watching when he finished going through his messages and turned around to see what had caused Justin to go so quiet. The scene the youth was now examining happened to be from one of the premium gay porn channels that Brian had asked the hotel to unlock for him. It was quite explicit. Very, very explicit, actually. And the scene that was playing now was definitely beyond what even the average gay porn watcher might find acceptable, seeing as it involved a threesome and some rather intense bondage action.

 

“Whoa! I don’t think you’re ready for THAT, Blue Eyes,” Brian said as he deftly plucked the remote out of the mesmerized blond’s hand and quickly switched to the Disney Channel.

 

“What WAS that, Brian?” Justin asked with a worried frown. “You don’t . . . you don’t plan to do that to me, do you?”

 

“No, Blue Eyes. You are definitely not ready for bondage,” Brian reassured him, leaning down to leave a kiss on the freshly shaved cheek to emphasize his point. “The stuff you see on there . . . well, let’s just say that’s for Advanced Placement Students only. And even if you wanted to try something a little more extreme, I would always make sure you not only knew what was coming but also that you were one hundred percent okay with it.”

 

“Well, good, because . . . It’s just that . . . I don’t think . . .”

 

Justin didn’t seem immediately convinced of Brian’s sincerity, though, so Brian was forced to come around to the other side of the bed and pull his boy up to stand in front of him.

 

“Hey, you. Don’t let it bother you, Blue Eyes. I promise you will ALWAYS be in charge of whatever we do together,” Brian repeated. “I haven’t led you wrong so far, have I?”

 

Justin smiled and shook his head, ‘no’.

 

“Good. Now, no more porn for you. Especially not before breakfast. You have a long way to go before you’re up to that level of debauchery.” Brian used the remote to shut off the television. “How about we get dressed and head downstairs to the restaurant for something to eat; you must be pretty hungry after such a strenuous morning working,” the older man teased.

 

Justin’s stomach took that opportunity to indicate it’s approval of Brian’s proposal by growling loudly. They both laughed, and the fun mood seemed instantly restored. They enjoyed even more laughter as they tried to find a clean shirt for Justin to put on instead of his uniform shirt - which was a little the worse for wear after his run in with the car the previous evening. The first three shirts they tried left the small-statured Justin looking like he was playing dress up in his father’s clothing. Eventually, they found a t-shirt of Brian’s that wasn’t too huge, and Justin agreed to wear it, even though he commented that he felt silly walking around in just an undershirt like that and he couldn’t believe a nice restaurant would let him in being so underdressed. Brian only chuckled, figuring he’d leave the explanations about modern casual clothing for another time.

 

As soon as they were both adequately dressed, Brian led his guest downstairs to the hotel’s main restaurant. Justin struggled a bit when Brian insisted on holding his hand the whole way, even in the elevator where they had to squeeze in with four other people. Brian refused to let him go, though.

 

“I’m not letting you get away from me this time, Blue Eyes. I don’t want you running off and getting hit by any other cars,” Brian whispered, adding a blatant kiss to his boy’s cheek just to be perverse.

 

“Brian, stop. They’re looking at us,” Justin hissed back with obvious embarrassment.

 

“So what? It’s perfectly acceptable here to hold hands and even kiss,” Brian explained quietly. “Nobody cares.” And he kissed Justin one more time in full view of the other elevator passengers to demonstrate. “Except for the occasional, random, homophobe, nobody is going to give us a hard time. And thankfully, in a large, cosmopolitan city like London, we don’t have to be too worried about that sort. Especially not when we’re so close to SoHo.”  

Justin had turned such a deep, embarrassed red, though, that Brian didn’t think it wise to press his point with any more kissing. Obviously Justin wasn’t quite ready for Gay PDA yet. Brian would have to be satisfied with a little harmless hand holding for the time being and work up to the kissing.

 

The hostess at the restaurant seated them right away, which seemed to make Justin happy because he was finally able to retrieve his hand from Brian’s grip. Brian just chuckled at his boy even more, amused that the young man who didn’t blink an eye at flying into the face of enemy aircraft with guns blazing, was nevertheless afraid of holding hands in public. He might have made a point of mentioning it, too, if Justin hadn’t taken that opportunity to dive into the breakfast menu, exclaiming in quiet wonder over all the diverse offerings.

 

“How do you decide what to order when there’s so much here?” Justin blurted out. “Why is there so much? Is this some kind of special holiday or something? This is even more amazing than the time you took me to dinner here in my time.”

 

“Didn’t I tell you to stop being so damn adorable?” Brian teased him. “Stop worrying about how much food there is on the menu and just order already, twat.”

 

“Fine. But I really don’t know how you pick with all this . . .”

 

It took the silly little blond a good fifteen minutes to read through everything on the menu and then finally settle on the Harvest Breakfast. Brian just shook his head and let the kid have his fun. The waiter seemed amused by Justin as well, having a hard time not laughing each time he had to ask which option Justin wanted - hash browns or toast, white or wheat, fruit and whipped cream on that? - as the boy’s eyes got bigger and bigger. But, eventually they managed to get their breakfast ordered and the waiter took away the overly-fascinating menus.

 

Brian was just starting to relax, sipping at his coffee while Justin enjoyed his extra-large glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice - with appropriate gleeful exclamations at the amazing fact that there were fresh oranges in MAY - when their happy breakfasting was interrupted by the arrival of another hotel employee. This one, however, was much less welcome than the waiter had been. Brian scowled at the smarmy, red-headed, front desk clerk, but the man either didn’t get the message or was intentionally defying him. Instead of leaving, he planted himself right next to Brian’s chair and started talking as if he had been invited or something.

 

“Good morning, Mr. Kinney,” Red simpered at the man with a knowing smirk. “I hope you . . . slept . . . well last night?”

 

“Fuck off, Red,” Brian snarled back at him, not in the mood to deal with a former trick. “Can’t you see I’m having breakfast with my PARTNER?” He emphasized the word so Red would get the hint and hopefully get lost.

 

Before the man could move away, though, Justin himself spoke up. “You know, it always amuses me when people comment on how young and innocent I look,” he said, ostensibly speaking to Brian, but all the while transfixing Red with a steely glare. “And then how shocked they get when I tell them that I’ve already killed at least three men . . . and those are just the CONFIRMED kills.” He finished with one of his best, blindingly bright smiles.

 

Red’s smirk melted off his face and the man turned in place, marching off without another word.

 

Brian broke out in a full belly laugh of mirth. “Damn. You’re evil, Blue Eyes!”

 

“You’re just now discovering that?” Justin shot back with a little giggle of his own. “Can’t have that sort messing with my man, now, can I?” Then he turned his glare back on Brian. “And, just so we’re clear, you are NOT going to slip up again - not with Mr. Red or anyone else - got it? You’re mine until I say otherwise, Mr. Kinney.”

 

Brian held his hands up in a gesture of surrender, not wanting to piss off the deadly little blond any more than he already was. Of course, neither of them could stay serious for long, and they were both chuckling together again ten seconds later. Which is how Cynthia found them when she came sauntering in a few moments later.

 

“Good morning, Boss. So, I take it this means you’re not hungover and pissed off today - nice change,” the snarky blonde commented.

 

“Morning, Cynthia.” Turning to his breakfast companion, Brian added, “Justin, this is my Assistant, Cynthia. Cyn, THIS is Justin.”

 

“Nice to finally meet you in person,” Cynthia offered her hand in greeting. “Please tell me that whatever you two were fighting about last week is all made up. I seriously can’t take another week of Brian pouting and moping around and being a total asshole.”

 

“Pouting?” Justin asked with a sideways smile at Brian.

 

“Oh, yeah - serious pouting. And temper tantrums. All week long. He was a real bitch to deal with,” Cynthia confirmed with another death glare aimed at Brian’s head.

 

Brian shoved his tongue in his cheek as he spoke. “I am never a ‘bitch’. I think, if you reflect on the situation further, you’ll find I was nothing but pleasant to you last week, Cynthia.”

 

The blonde raised her eyebrows and scoffed loudly. “You were horrible, Brian. Admit it.”

 

“Fine, I may not have been the easiest employer to have worked for,” Brian folded his arms in front of him and tutted loudly, “but I don’t pout.”

 

“Yeah, you looked just like that,” Cynthia nodded her head towards her again-pouting boss. “Thanks for the demonstration, Brian.” Then the woman turned to address the other man at the table. “Now, Justin, can I ask one thing, please. If you’re going to argue again, would you just call me first and give me a head’s up in advance so I can take the week off? I do NOT want to go through another week like that ever again.” Cynthia got a smile and a nod from Justin, and then finally relented where her boss was concerned . . . a little. “Anyway, I managed to get all your appointments for today and tomorrow moved, Brian. I will be back in the office on Wednesday. Until then, have fun you two.”

 

As the Implacable Assistant strutted off to find her own breakfast, Justin ventured, “she seems . . . nice.” And then both he and Brian broke out in another spat of laughter. “You never did tell me what it was you really did for a living, though.”

 

“I’m in advertising,” Brian replied.

 

“Hmmm. That sounds very . . . unadventurous.”

 

“Exactly. Hence my trips into the dangerous past of War-torn Britain,” Brian agreed with a rakish waggle of his brows. “So, what time do you need to head back today?” Brian continued, reaching over to break off a piece of cream cheese bagel from Justin’s plate and popping it into his mouth.

 

Justin swallowed what he was eating before answering. “I need to report to my CO by five, if I’m not flying tonight.”

 

“If? I don’t think so, Blue Eyes. You heard what the doctor said, no flying for a week.”

 

Justin pushed Brian’s hand away from his food and took another bite of his breakfast. “I know, but what am I supposed to tell my commander, ‘oh, funny story, but I accidentally found myself in the future and while arguing with my boyfriend I got hit by a car’ . . . that will go down well,” Justin muttered sarcastically. “‘Oh, and by the way, here’s the doctor’s note - notice the date and the stuff about the magnetic scan they did of my brain’.”

 

“Well, I maybe wouldn’t put it like that,” Brian laughed as his fingers once again found themselves running over the mottled skin of Justin’s temple. “But it’s pretty obvious from the bruise on your head that you’ve hurt yourself.”

 

Justin nodded. “I guess . . .  I just hate letting people down.”

 

“Listen to me, Justin. Are you listening?” He paused till he got a nod from his flyboy. “You’re not letting anyone down. You had an accident; there’s nothing you can do about it.”

 

“I know that . . .”

 

“Good, now,” Brian lifted his arm and looked at his watch, “we have about five hours before we need to get you back. What do you wanna do? We could do something incredibly touristy . . . a museum or something . . . although, I’ll be doing all that with Gus when he visits, so I’d rather not suffer through it twice, if that’s okay with you,” he grinned cheekily.

 

“Actually, if it’s alright with you, I think I’d rather enjoy just walking around - seeing what’s changed in the neighborhood and all,” Justin proposed.

 

“That sounds good to me. I was thinking about taking you to The White Lion for a drink before you head back anyhow, how’s that sound?”

 

Justin’s mouth fell open in shock. “That’s still there?”

 

“Yup. London hasn’t changed that much over the years. I think you’ll be surprised at just how much you’ll recognize.”




Chapter Music Selection - Sometimes I’m Happy by Lester Young

Chapter Text



Chapter 29 - Over The Rainbow.

 

After Justin had eaten his way through half the breakfast menu, the two men headed out to explore the London of 2016. Justin was still a bit leery of the hand holding thing, so he shrugged off Brian’s advances at first, but within a few blocks, what with all the strangeness of the unknown coming at him from all sides, he slowly drifted closer and closer to Brian’s side. When Brian grabbed for his hand a second time, he didn’t resist. In fact, he rather liked this possessive side of the big guy. And so their adventure proceeded with the two of them walking along, hand-in-hand, through the teeming streets of the busy Covent Garden area.

 

It was a wet day out, so Justin was glad Brian had borrowed one of the hotel’s umbrellas as they’d left. It was a good sized one and easily covered the both of them once Justin had decided it was okay to walk a little closer. Even so, they were both happy to turn off The Strand onto the smaller side streets, since the wind seemed to blow less intensely as soon as they headed north on Southampton Street towards Covent Garden Market.



Justin was slightly reassured to note that most of the buildings he was used to seeing along the familiar route were there. Other than that, though, things were markedly different. First of all, the lower end of Southampton Street had been blocked off to cars, creating what Brian informed him was called a ‘Pedestrian Walkway’. So, while The Strand was a busy street, bustling with cars, busses and lorries, Southampton seemed a lot less crowded. Being a Monday, though, there were still plenty of business types hurrying about, intent on whatever their workdays required of them. But even on the pedestrian street, there were a LOT more people than Justin was used to seeing.

 

Besides all the offices and banks and other professional venues, this part of the street was also lined with trendy bistros, upscale shops and other places for folks to congregate in large numbers. Brian was constantly having to fend off passersby who threatened to bumped into a Justin walking around with his head in the clouds as he looked about himself in amazement. Justin didn’t think he’d ever in his life seen so many people. And such an assortment of people too; there were so many strange looking people, all sorts of races and colors and wearing such odd looking clothing. Both men and women - who, by the way, were dressed so promiscuously it made Justin blush - were wandering around, going in and out of all the stores, sitting at tables in the restaurants and just rambling about. Where in the world were they all going? Didn’t any of them have real jobs?

 

Justin hadn’t realized he’d voiced his questions aloud until Brian answered him. “Work schedules are a lot more flexible for people these days. And I expect that there are just, generally speaking, a lot more people in the city of London than back in your day.” Then Brian fished his incredible little lightbox thing out of his pocket and, holding it up in front of his face, pressed the big button on the front and said, “Siri, what’s the current population of London.”

 

And, wonder of all wonders, the lightbox SPOKE BACK TO HIM!

 

“As of January 1, 2016, the population of greater London was . . .” the oddly metallic voice paused and then continued, “approximately eight million, seven hundred eighty-eight million.”

 

“How did you do that?” Justin asked, looking at the lightbox warily. “How does your lightbox . . . phone . . . know the population of a city?”

 

“Remember when I showed you the button for the ‘Internet’ last night? Well, the phone can access that information pretty much all the time. And it’s programmed with this intelligent assistant that can talk to you in a normal voice,” Brian explained. “You just ask her questions and she answers you, using the information from the internet.”

 

Justin looked askance at the lightbox. He had enjoyed playing with it the night before. Some of the games on it were amusing. And the amount of information you could access using it was phenomenal. But he didn’t care for an inanimate object that seemed smarter than him and could talk back at you. He would let Brian have his lightbox but Justin didn’t plan to mess around with it too much.

 

The information on how many people lived in London was staggering. That was a heck of a lot of people. No wonder the streets seemed so busy. But even more than the sheer numbers of people, it was the types of people and what they were doing that seemed most alien. There were so many foreigners. Justin had spent a little bit of time in the East End and down by the docks since he’d arrived in London, and was therefore used to seeing the Chinamen and Indians that populated the area. But this wasn’t the East End and there were a lot more different kinds of people here than that. There were people with every different color of skin he could imagine, dressed in outlandish costumes that he didn’t think he could even describe if asked. And lots of mixed race couples to boot. It all made the city Justin had begun to think of as home feel like an alien place that he barely recognized. He was glad that Brian was there next to his side, being the only comforting thing within his grasp.



Brian must have sensed Justin’s growing anxiety because about that point he pulled the nervous newcomer into one of the stores along the way. Justin felt himself almost immediately relax. It was substantially quieter inside than it had been out on the street and there were far fewer people. Unfortunately, the shop happened to be a men’s clothing store, which meant that Justin had to put up with Brian getting all excited about shopping. Justin had never really been a dandy, himself. He was just a regular guy and, to him, clothing was just something to cover his body and keep him warm. Not that he didn’t enjoy looking attractive, but he’d never really had the money to dress like a posh. And, for the past several months, he’d spent the majority of his time dressed in his uniform, so it hadn’t been an issue. Brian, on the other hand, seemed to be quite the clothes horse. And right then he seemed determined to turn Justin into his very own dress up doll. After twenty minutes of this, Justin wasn’t sure if he wouldn’t have been safer out on the street with the hordes of people.

 

Two shirts, a jacket and a pair of something Brian called ‘jeans’ later, Justin was finally allowed to escape from that store. He had no idea where or when he’d wear all these things - especially the ‘jeans’ which looked to him like something low-level factory workers or convicts might wear - but it seemed to have made Brian happy to buy all these things, so Justin supposed he could at least be polite and not say derogatory things about about the purchases.

 

Shopping appeared to be thirsty work though, since the first thing Brian wanted to do after leaving the clothing store was to stop for a cup of coffee. Justin could do that, he thought. Not that he was really a big coffee drinker - it was more that a pot of coffee always seemed to be brewing at the air base and it was hot and helped keep the pilots awake for their missions - but at least he knew what coffee was, right?

 

Or, at least, he’d thought he knew what coffee was until they entered the coffee shop Brian pulled him into. Looking over the menu of offerings posted on the wall behind the counter, Justin wasn’t so sure. What the devil was up with these prices; did people really pay almost four pounds for a cup of coffee? Also, there didn’t actually seem to be anything on there called ‘coffee’ per se. What the hamhocks was ‘Macchiato’ or ‘Chai’ or ‘Matcha’ or even a ‘Smoothie’? And who, in their right mind, drank spinach, broccoli and cucumber juice? The only thing that looked at all familiar on that list was the Earl Grey Tea. But when he tried to order a tea, Brian shh’ed him, saying he didn’t want THAT, and instead ordered him something called a Venti Caramel Mocha. Justin was relieved when they sat down at a pleasant little table in an out of the way corner and he tasted his whatever-it-was drink, to find it tasted a little like a hot chocolate. Okay, he could do this weird modern coffee thing, he supposed, as long as Brian ordered for him. And as long as nobody made him drink broccoli juice and tried to charge him more than four pounds for the privilege.



When Brian had finished his coffee drink too - something called a ‘Latte’ that looked to Justin like plain coffee with lots of milk and about a half a pound of sugar added - they took off again. By that point Justin felt like he had his sea legs, so to speak, and was getting a little more used to the crowds of strange people. He probably didn’t need the hand holding any longer, but Brian seemed to like it so he let his Handsome have his way. Justin would probably never get used to the idea that they didn’t need to hide the fact they were queer. It made him feel so exposed. The idea that loving another man was somehow wrong or bad was simply so deeply ingrained in him, that even seeing other men kissing didn’t completely set him at ease. But, so far, holding hands hadn’t brought about any negative consequences, so he supposed that at least this much open affection was okay.

 

The two of them strolled along the rest of Southampton Street, stopping in at a few shops along the way. There were lots of clothing stores, including a store that specialized in leather goods, which Brian spent a long time in. Brian ended up buying himself a very nice new wallet, but Justin refused to allow the spendthrift man to buy him the pale brown leather jacket Brian thought suited his blond hair. Justin did enjoy the half hour or so they spent in the store with the big black apple picture over the door. It was full of hundreds of different lightbox things as well as larger machines that Brian called ‘computers’. It was fascinating. Justin loved all the gadgets and had fun playing with the different lightboxes while Brian talked with the sales clerk about buying something called a ‘tablet’ for his son, Gus. They left that store with a very large bag full of stuff.

 

At the end of Southampton Street they turned east and made their way towards Covent Garden Market. Or, at least where the market used to be. The area looked nothing at all like Justin remembered it from when he’d walked through the market just the day before. The streets which had formerly been dirty, crowded and filled with lorries or carts full of goods being brought in from the countryside for sale, were now clean and clear of all clutter. There were still a lot of people here, but it was a much more orderly environment than he was used to. Brian led them through the big main doors, into a space that was neat and tidy and lined by small individual shops rather than the large barrows and bins and stacks of crates full of goods that the market of 1941 was made up of. It was so overwhelming, Justin had no idea what to think of it.



Brian seemed to not notice anything out of the ordinary as he made his way down the aisles pointing out various things to Justin. They eventually ended up at the far end of the market in front of a series of food vendors. And if Justin had been amazed by the amount of food on offer at the hotel that morning, he was utterly aghast by what was available here. There were at least seven different ‘restaurants’ here, each with its own food selection, and all of which offered more food than Justin had ever imagined in one place. Even more disquieting, the food itself was so strange. He was used to seeing the familiar chippie shops throughout the city - offering their newspaper wrapped fish and chips - which was a perpetual favorite of his. And then there were also the usual sit-down restaurants, offering more substantial fare for a more substantial price, of course. But that was the extent of the food options in Justin’s London. He had never even heard of some of these kinds of food. There was Indian food, Chinese food, Mexican food, and something called ‘Thai’ food. There was one place that seemed to offer only pastas and other Italian meals. There was another that said it offered ‘Sushi’ - whatever THAT was. There was one that claimed to offer ‘Vegan’ options and looked like it was all vegetables with no meat at all.

 

And there was even one place, ‘Bierschenke’, that advertised all GERMAN food, claiming it ‘Brought Munich to London’, with all sorts of sausages and stuff on its menu. Justin was offended just looking at that place. How could anyone in London eat stinking Gerry food, for crying out loud? It was akin to treason just having this place here, the RAF pilot thought to himself.

 

“You hungry, Blue Eyes?” Brian asked, looking at the food displayed in the glass-fronted serving counter with obvious interest. “This place has an absolutely delicious Chicken Schnitzel Salad that I love. I come here far more often than is good for my waistline, I’m afraid. You’d probably like the Sausage Feast platters - Cynthia swears by the Weisswurst. And they have great German beer too, which is always a plus.”

 

Justin couldn’t believe his ears, was Brian really suggesting that they eat . . . there? The pilot didn’t care how good the food smelled or how much his mouth watered as the delicious aromas hit his nose, there was no way in h-e-double-toothpicks he was putting anything German into his body. He didn’t understand how Brian was even considering it. And from what the brunet just said, he seemed to visit this . . . establishment . . . fairly often.

 

“I am rather hungry, but I really don’t think we should be eating THERE, Brian.” Justin exclaimed. “And if I’m being honest, I don’t know why you would even want to.”

 

Brian looked taken aback at the tone with which Justin had spoken.

 

“Blue Eyes . . .” Brian started in, his tone just that little bit condescending enough to grate on Justin’s nerves.

 

“If we ate there, Brian, we would be giving money to the enemy. That is a serious offence; something I could very well get discharged or even arrested for, if it ever became known.”

 

Brian rubbed at Justin’s shoulder with this annoyingly patient look on his face. “It’s not like that anymore . . .”

 

“But I thought you said Germany lost the war?” Justin asked, not only confused but getting a little ticked off.

 

“They did. But the war ended over seventy years ago, Justin. The world has moved on since then. Germany apologized for the atrocities they were responsible for and people now happily drive German cars, vacation there, everything. England and Germany are now close allies. Hell, this restaurant is probably owned and operated by British citizens . . .”

 

Justin couldn’t help but be shocked by Brian’s words. Everything was SO different now and it was hard to imagine how the world had changed and moved on so much in those intervening years. In his reality, Germany was the ENEMY. England and Germany were busy attacking each other on a daily basis and had been for almost a year now. Germany had been responsible for killing thousands of British citizens, and from what Brian had said so far, it sounded like they’d be killing even more before this terrible war was over. Justin simply couldn’t fathom the fact that the two countries were now friends. And regardless of what Brian was telling him, he didn’t think he could stomach German food. Not when he’d have to go back to his own time in just a few hours and maybe have to fly a mission where his aim would be to shoot and kill Germans.

 

Brian must have seen his reaction in his face and known that Justin wasn’t going to give in on this point, because he quickly relented. “Fine. Whatever, Blue Eyes. If you don’t want to eat German food, there are plenty of other options here - pick something else.”

 

In the end, Justin opted to try some Indian food, since India was part of the British Empire, and therefore he felt like he would be helping his comrades in arms by eating there. He’d never actually tried Indian food before, but it smelled delicious. Brian warned him that it would be rather spicy, but that was okay with Justin. He liked well peppered meat; how spicy could it be? So, despite the warning, Justin insisted on the Indian food.

 

With a chuckle that sounded suspiciously dastardly, Brian went ahead and ordered them both something called Curry Chicken and Naan. Justin thought it was a strange name for what looked to him like a bowl full of rice with cut up chicken on top, all covered in a yellowish sauce. When he asked Brian, ‘non what?’, the infuriating man just laughed at him even harder. Justin was a bit tired of getting laughed at all morning - it wasn’t his fault that all this was new to him. But he chose not to say anything for the time being just to keep the peace. Brian also ordered them three beers and a water even though Justin reminded him about the no-alcohol-for-concussions thing. Brian replied to trust him; that Justin was gonna need the beer.

 

They took their food over to an empty table in the middle of the hall and settled in with all the bags full of Brian’s morning shopping piled up on the floor next to them. There were two large bowls full of the main dish, each with a large piece of some sort of flattened, doughy, biscuit sitting on top. Then Brian opened two of the IPAs and the water bottle and arranged them all in front of Justin, keeping the third beer for himself.

 

Justin picked up the fork that the server had given him - following Brian’s example as the modern man took off the see-through film the utensil was wrapped in - before examining it more carefully. Justin had no idea what substance the fork was made out of. It was hard and black but a little bendable at the same time. It definitely wasn’t metal or wooden, but what else could you make forks out of? He’d never seen anything like it before. Then he noticed the bowl his food came in was made out of the same hard, black, flexible material. Justin sighed. Another mystery he’d have to ask Brian about later. Preferably when Brian wasn’t already laughing at him.



Ignoring the unsolved mystery of the utensils, Justin dug into his ‘Curry’, thinking all the while that in his world a ‘curry’ was a type of brush you used on horses, not food. Where the dickens did they come up with these odd names for things? But the first bite of chicken was quite good. The sauce it was cooked in tasted earthy and savory. He rather liked it, despite how unfamiliar it was. And the rice was a nice addition to the meat, even though he was more used to having mashed potatoes with his meals. The flat biscuit was a little plain but he followed Brian’s example and used it to help scoop up a larger second bite.

 

But that was when Justin began to notice that the deceptively simple food really was as spicy as Brian had warned him. It was a slow spiciness, though; it built up when you weren’t thinking about it. Justin had never experienced anything like it. The food itself didn’t TASTE spicy, but by the time he’d eaten half a dozen forkfuls, he could FEEL the spiciness swamping his mouth and his lips. What the heck was in this stuff? It felt like his lips were actually on fire, they were burning so badly.

 

“Ah! Oh, oh, oh . . .” He couldn’t think clearly enough to form words to ask for the help he needed as his mouth blazed.

 

Justin fumbled around, grabbing for the large container of water that Brian had providentially opened up for him. He swallowed about half the bottle, but it didn’t really do anything to put out the fire burning his lips. If anything, the water seemed to spread the fiery feelings around to more areas. Brian was being no help at all, sitting there smirking at him - if Justin wasn’t so busy trying to keep his lips from burning off, he’d have slugged the big idiot. Right as Justin was about to chug down the rest of the water, Brian intervened, plucking the container of water out of his hand and replacing it with a beer.

 

“Water doesn’t do anything to counter the spices in curry. The beer is better,” Brian explained as Justin gulped at the beer. “The natural sugars in the beer, as well as the alcohol itself, chemically interact to counter the capsaicin in the chili powder that’s added to the cumin and other curry spices. It neutralizes the alkaloid oils in the capsaicin. If it’s really bad, we can even get you some milk - that’ll kill the spice completely.”

 

Justin gratefully sipped at the cold beer, so glad it seemed to be working that he forgot to be annoyed at Brian for his superior, gloating looks. It didn’t take long before the fire in his mouth and on his tongue seemed to be pretty much contained. His lips were still burning a little though, making Justin wish he could just stick his whole face in a vat of beer instead of drinking it out of the bottle. The only thing that seemed to help was to hold the cold glass bottle itself up against his prickling lips, sort of mouthing the side of the thing in what was probably a ridiculous looking manner.

 

“Damn it, Blue Eyes,” Brian cursed at him, shaking his head and making Justin wonder what it was he was doing wrong NOW? Before he could respond, though, Brian had pulled the chair Justin was sitting in around so that he was facing sideways to the table, allowing Brian to lean in closer. “What have I told you about looking adorable all the time? You’re turning me into a damned lesbian, making me even THINK the word ‘adorable’ this much. Now I’m just going to have to kiss those fucking adorable, bright pink lips of yours until they’re all better.”

 

Before Justin could caution his lover about the fact they were in a public place, or even turn his head away, Brian had snatched away the cold beer bottle and mashed his lips against Justin’s own. Justin was so shocked and self-conscious at first that he didn’t react; he was too busy looking around him out of the corners of his eyes, trying to see if anyone was about to come after them for this unheard of display of queerness. But, after a few seconds, when nobody seemed at all surprised by the sight of two men kissing - a couple of women sitting at a nearby table were even pointing and smiling approvingly at them, imagine that - Justin finally relented and started to kiss back. The kissing didn’t seem to do anything to quench the fire in his lips, but at least now all the rest of his body had heated up to match, so he supposed it was all relative.

 

“There. Now that I’ve got that out of my system, I feel much better,” Brian teased once he’d finally pulled his lips away. “How about you, Sunshine?”

 

Justin could feel himself blushing so strongly that his face was probably even redder than his lips at that point. He looked away from Brian, trying to mentally pull himself together and will down the erection that had inconveniently popped up as a result of that heated kiss. But at least he was no longer thinking about his burning lips any more.

 

All the happy feelings disappeared, though, when Brian started quietly laughing at him again. Justin huffed a sigh and decided he needed to confront the problem head on. So, pushing aside the remains of his dangerous meal, he looked over at the chuckling wonder.

 

“I do not appreciate you laughing at me all the time, Brian,” Justin stated brusquely. “I know I’m probably doing all sorts of inappropriate things, but I can’t help it. All of this is new to me. Instead of laughing, you could be helping me figure it all out so I don’t keep making a fool out of myself.”

 

“Oh, Blue Eyes,” Brian started out with yet another condescending chuckle that almost earned him a punch in the puss. Luckily for him, Brian must have recognized the warning signs and he instantly changed his approach.