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Test Your Hypothesis; Analyze Your Results; Draw a Conclusion

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Brian needs a very stiff drink after the first day of Hannibal Lecter's trial. Preferably one to knock him on his ass and make him forget everything that's happened today. And for the last three months. Maybe just erase the last two years of his life. Yeah, that sounds good. Back before this crazy, fucked up job turned into a crazy, fucked up nightmare.

He sat in the back row of the courtroom with Jimmy the whole day. Jimmy, who kept a hand on his shoulder the entire time, as if he knew that if he let go, Brian would charge the bench and beat his fists bloody into that goddamn cannibalistic fuck's face.

Honestly, if it could bring Beverly back, Brian wouldn't have hesitated for a second to do it. But it wouldn't, and so what's the point? The man is either going to fry or be locked in a cell for the rest of his life. A nice, dark, tiny cell, with no fancy kitchen or opera music or tailored suits or respected career or killing and eating people to occupy himself with.

Brian wishes that hell exists, just so Hannibal Lecter can burn there for all eternity.

When they get out of the courtroom, he and Jimmy mull around in the atrium of the building, waiting for Jack to join them. He'll probably have some sort of job for them, some new piece of evidence for them to prepare for the trial or a witness to interview. Since Will Graham captured Hannibal Lecter some three months ago, they've been working at a dogged pace to help the prosecution assemble their evidence. Hannibal Lecter will not be acquitted, Brian and Jimmy will make sure of that. And if, in some terrible nightmare scenario, Hannibal is freed, he won't make it five steps out the door as a free man before Brian shoots him right through his people-chewing face.

He doesn't tell Jimmy or Jack that. That one's for Beverly.

As for Will Graham, well, Brian's got some conflicting emotions about that particular guy. On the one hand, Will had a part in Beverly's death, even if only tangentially, so Brian's never going to really be able to call him a friend. But on the other hand... all of them feel a bit guilty about thinking Will was the real killer and locking him up for six months. Jack especially - the guy put a bullet in Will's shoulder, for god's sake. Probably wishes now that he'd let Will shoot Hannibal in the head. Beverly would be here if he had.

So when Jack meets Brian and Jimmy with Will and Alana Bloom in tow, Brian acquiesces to his boss, knowing that Jack is just trying to make amends to his friend. After Bella finally passed on, Jack had no one; one friend a murderous psychopath on the run from his own team, and the other friend still hurting from the betrayal of trust.

Will Graham and Alana Bloom undoubtedly have their own demons as well. Maybe all five of them working together on this will help them set their minds at ease.

Instead, Jack says, "No work tonight. Everybody here needs a break, or we'll stutter out before the end of this thing."

"Let's get a drink," Brian says, surprised to find that he's not just addressing Jimmy and Jack, but Will and Alana too. "We could all use one."

Will looks like he's going to say something, but Alana touches his arm and nods to Brian. "That sounds like a good idea," she says. "Actually, that sounds like a great idea."

Brian feels the weight of Jimmy's hand settle on his shoulder as they leave the courthouse, warming him against the cold winter air. Lately, Jimmy has been doing this, finding ways to touch him, if only for a few seconds at a time. Brian thinks it's a stabilizing thing, like Jimmy needs to know that Brian's not going to disappear and wind up dead too. Whatever it's for, Brian finds that he's started needing the touch, the security, just as badly as Jimmy seems to. Maybe they'll talk about it sometime, but for now, it's a little thing that reminds Brian that somebody cares; somebody is there to trust. After the last year, it's a needed comfort.

They pile into a mini-van cab and head to the local haunt for cops and BSU employees. There's a respectful lowering of voices as they enter the bar. Everybody damn well knows what they went through to take Hannibal Lecter down. Will's still limping on his right leg, and Jack's got a mean scar on the side of his throat, a bitter, angry line that rises like a mountain range when he swallows. They've all got hidden scars, buried deep inside, that scab over and break to bleed anew whenever certain names and places are mentioned. Abigail. Beverly. The Observatory. Hannibal.

There's a circular booth at the back, just wide enough for them to squeeze into. Brian finds himself bunched between Jimmy on his right and Jack on his left. They all order hard liquor, except for Jimmy - he's been trying to be better about his booze lately, so he just gets a beer. Brian feels a wave of guilt when he sees the frothing pint set on the table; he's been trying to support Jimmy, but Jimmy picks up the glass and gives him a look that says don't you even dare feel sorry about this you prick, and tips it back with a satisfying gulp.

Brian swirls his scotch around before downing half of it in one go, enjoying the fierce burning sensation that slides down the back of his throat, and the warmth that settles in his belly like a curled snake. Jack's saying something, but Brian's not really paying attention, just enjoying the sound of Springsteen blasting out of the scratchy overhead speakers. He finds himself with an empty glass far too soon, and orders a second drink, starting a tab he knows he's going to regret later. Fuck it, he thinks. Later isn't now, and right now I need this.

They talk about anything but the case, any other subject that has absolutely no chance of leading back to Hannibal fucking Lecter. Will's apparently an Orioles fan, and he and Brian start an argument over Brian's love of the Phillies, who, seeing as they've won a World Series in the last decade, are obviously the better team. But of course Will has to be a disagreeable pisser and try to argue shit like statistics and RBIs, and they go on this for a good 15 minutes until Jimmy slaps a hand over Brian's mouth and says, "If we have to listen to one more word about baseball I'm going to find a bat to beat you with."

"Pshhh, hockey fan," Brian grumbles, downing his third scotch after Jimmy removes his hand. "Take your flimsy plywood sticks and go back to Canada, moose man."

Alana snorts into her Manhattan, startling all of them. "Moose man?" she says, giggling madly. "That's the best you can come up with?"

"She has a point, Zeller," Jack says. "You're letting the scotch dull your edge." He's got a little pile of used shot glasses sitting in front of him and doesn't even look tipsy, the bastard.

"No, nononono, you're the one always telling me to tone down the sarcasm," Brian says, pointing an accusing (j'acuse!) finger at Jack's face. "What gives?"

"I tell you to tone it down at work," Jack says, motioning to the waitress for another shot. "This is most definitely not work."

Jimmy pats Brian on the shoulder. "It's okay, buddy. At this rate, you're not even going to remember how sub-par your insults are right now."

"I'm not that bad off," Brian says. "How long have we been here?"

"An hour," Will says. "That's your fourth scotch."

"Shit." Brian really thought that was his third. His vision is swishing pretty hard, and if he stands up now, he may pull an epic face plant. Probably just best then to rest his head on Jimmy's shoulder and let the room stop spinning.

"Hmmm," Jimmy says, glancing down at him but making no move to pull away. Brian watches the way Jimmy's Adam's apple bobs up and down as he drinks his beer. Everyone else is suddenly very interested in their own glasses.

An hour later, Brian finds himself with a hand on Jimmy's back and Jimmy's arm slung over his shoulder as the five of them leave the bar. It's a cold winter night but Brian is warm; warm from the booze, warm from Jimmy's presence. "I expect you two in my office at noon tomorrow," Jack says, hailing a cab for himself. "And I don't want to hear about hangovers, got it, Zeller?"

"Gotcha, boss man," Brian says, giving Jack a thumbs up and giggling into Jimmy's side.

"Don't worry Jack, he'll be properly mortified by the morning," Jimmy says, waving at Will and Alana as they catch their own cab. "I'll make sure to take pictures for you."

"Make sure you both get home okay," Jack says, a bit softer than he should, and Brian knows that look he's wearing - he's thinking of Beverly. Brian's good mood comes screeching to a halt as Jimmy loads them both into a cab and directs the driver to head to Brian's place first.

They ride in silence for a few minutes. Brian's got his head tipped back against the seat, eyes closed and tongue working to wet his alcohol-dried lips. Jimmy's humming something softly under his breath, and his arm is pressed into Brian's side, firm and grounding Brian in the moment. Brian thinks of the look Jack gave them, those open wounds of his wife and his team member that make him gentler than he should be lately with Brian and Jimmy.

Brian's heart hurts; not just for Jack but for all of them, all of them who got fucked over and fucked up by a man they all thought could be trusted.

He thinks of his apartment, empty and silent, echoing and amplifying the lonely thoughts that rattle around in his brain. There's nobody for him to go home to there, to hold him and exorcise the demons clawing into his chest. There never has been, not at that place, anyway.

But...

Brian lifts his head to look over at Jimmy. He's got his gaze fixed out the window, still humming that damned tune that Brian knows but can't place. The driver's being thankfully quiet; Brian's got an earful of stories that he doesn't particularly want to share tonight.

One of the clouds above parts for a moment, letting the clear white moonlight cast itself down, washing over Jimmy's face and making him glow with an ethereal aura. Brian's breath catches in his throat, and his hand finds its way to Jimmy's leg, squeezing gently to alert his companion. Jimmy turns to look at him as the light vanishes, opens his mouth to ask him what's wrong. But Brian is already moving, sliding forward in a surprisingly smooth motion for a drunk man and planting himself flush against Jimmy's side, finding Jimmy's mouth in the darkness of the cab and covering it with his own.

Jimmy makes a surprised noise, not displeased, just confused. Brian slides his hands under Jimmy's coat, gripping into the fabric underneath and holding on tight. His mouth presses pleadingly against Jimmy's, his tongue slipping out to pry at his lips for entrance. Jimmy acquiesces, opens his mouth and lets Brian inside, curling his tongue around Brian's searching one and letting him taste the hoppy tones of pale ale that cling to Jimmy's breath. His hands settle on Brian's shoulders, rubbing circles into Brian's clavicle in a soothing motion.

Brian moans quietly, trying not to alert their driver but likely failing miserably. That's okay, they're going to need to get his attention soon enough.

"Take me home with you," Brian mumbles against Jimmy's lips. This - not the kissing, but this - makes Jimmy startle and pull back, eyes searching Brian's own for answers to the questions he's thinking. "It's lonely at my place," Brian says, planting a kiss at the tip of Jimmy's chin, and then against the crook of his neck, enjoying the tiny gasp Jimmy makes when he does so. "I don't want to be lonely tonight."

"You're drunk," Jimmy says, pointing out the oh-so-obvious. "If I take you home, you might regret it in the morning." He looks serious, as if guarding Brian's chastity is now somehow an important priority for him.

"I'm not that drunk, I told you," Brian says, sliding a hand down and finding with satisfaction that Jimmy's prick is firm under his touch. Jimmy lets out a frustrated grunt as he presses his hand down. "And you're definitely interested."

"Brian-"

"Please," Brian says, giving Jimmy his best doe-eyed expression, or whatever he imagines doe-eyes look like. "I want to be with you tonight."

Apparently it works, because Jimmy nods and knocks on the glass between them and the front of the cab. "Sorry, we're actually just going to need one drop off tonight," he says. He gives the address, and it's on same route they're taking to Brian's place, so they're only in the car for another five minutes.

Jimmy pays the driver hurriedly, and Brian practically drags him up the steps, getting some sort of weird alcohol-induced super strength. The new-found strength doesn't help with his coordination, however, and he stumbles half-way up, giggling as Jimmy pulls him to his feet. "You're so warm," Brian mumbles against Jimmy's neck as Jimmy fumbles with his keys and tries to unlock the door. "You should get a job as a space heater, you'd make thousands."

"You are so drunk," Jimmy says as they stumble into the house. Jimmy shuts the door and Brian's on him instantly, kissing him like a drowning man gasping for air.

They fumble through the foyer and into the living room, Jimmy's hands on Brian's hips and guiding him to the couch so they can fall back onto it, never letting go of each other. Brian's vision is still blurry around the edges, and he laughs when he tries and fails to meet Jimmy's lips, planting a sliding, sloppy kiss against his cheek instead. "Sorry, 'm so bad at this right now," Brian says, dropping his head back to the couch and continuing to giggle.

Jimmy looms above him, watching him like a big cat stalking his prey. Or at least, that's what Brian thinks he's doing - waiting for the right moment to pounce and devour Brian whole. But then Jimmy smiles and shakes his head, and Brian lolls his own sideways to look at him better. "You're drunk, Brian," Jimmy says, sighing, with a wistful smile on his face. "We can't do this tonight, no matter how badly I want to."

"Nooooo," Brian moans, trying to jerk his hips up and suddenly feeling very tired. That's what booze does to him, after he's gone through the other stages of silly, giggly, horny, and then giggly again. "Jimmy, I want you."

"I know, honey," Jimmy says, cupping his cheek and pressing a kiss to his forehead. "But I want you sober, at least enough to make me feel like I'm not taking advantage of you. Believe me, I am kicking myself right now for being so chivalrous." He smiles at the way Brian laughs at that. "You're gonna crash here on the couch tonight, and in the morning we'll talk, okay?"

"Mhhhmmm," Brian says, closing his eyes and sinking back into the couch cushions. Sleepiness has rushed up on him all of a sudden, and he can't move his limbs, boneless and numb from the alcohol.

He feels Jimmy tug his shoes off, and then Brian's head is being lifted up and placed back down on an actual pillow. A thick warm weight drapes over him, one of Jimmy's spare comforters. The living room light clicks off. "I'll see you in the morning," he hears Jimmy whisper.

"Wait," Brian says, reaching out blindly into the darkness, eyes not adjusted to the blackness. After a moment, he feels Jimmy's calloused palm slide against his own. "Thank you for taking me home with you," Brian says, and his voice sounds so small, even when it's echoing from his own mouth. "Thank you for still being alive. Thank you for not leaving me alone."

Jimmy's hand squeezes his own. They're both thinking of the same person right now. "Get some sleep," he mutters. "I'll see you in the morning."

Brian's out like a light before Jimmy makes it out of the room.

 

~

 

It's still dark when Brian wakes up, and he knows it can't be morning yet, because he's still not completely sober, and he's only feeling the first pings of the oncoming hangover. Still, he wakes with a need, groping blindly down the hall to the bathroom and somehow managing not to piss on the floor.

He's a bit steadier when he leaves the bathroom, and he sheds his button-down and slacks into a pile near the door; they're much too hot to be sleeping in. That means he's now in a t-shirt and boxers.

He looks left, towards the living room, and then right, towards Jimmy's bedroom. Courtesy would take him left. Neediness takes him right.

Jimmy's snoring quietly when he enters the room, body still and unmoving under the blankets he's snuggled up under. There's plenty of room for Brian, and he slips in unnoticed, lying himself down as quietly as he can.

"You're terribly loud when you get up to pee," Jimmy says in a sleepy voice, startling him. "I've been hearing you stumble around like newborn giraffe for the last five minutes."

"Sorry," Brian mutters. "If you mind, I'll go."

"That's not what I said," Jimmy says, turning over to face him. Brian can see his eyes half-lidded through the darkness. "C'mere." He reaches out and drags Brian across the space he's left between them, tucking Brian's head to his chest and wrapping an arm around his waist.

"Knew you were a cuddler," Brian grumbles, pressing his smile into Jimmy's pectoral muscle.

"Shut up and enjoy it, you lush," Jimmy says, flicking his ear. "We've got seven hours till work and I plan on sleeping for at least four of them."

They stop talking, and Brian lets the sound of Jimmy's heartbeat, smooth and steady, lull him to sleep.

 

~

 

When Brian wakes up in the morning, for real this time, there's a glass of water and two pills sitting on the nightstand next to him. Jimmy's side of the bed is empty, although still warm, so Brian assumes that he hasn't been gone long. The ibuprofen and water are a thankful gift. He chugs them down as tiny little gremlins dance in his skull and remind him, once again, why he doesn't drink scotch and only scotch.

He notices a note, next to where the water glass was. Went out for a run, it reads in Jimmy's loopy handwriting. Shouldn't be gone more than half an hour. Coffee's warming if you want some. DON'T LEAVE UNTIL I GET BACK. Brian grins, he can practically hear Jimmy screaming the words in his brain.

Brian lies back, checking the clock. It's only about seven thirty, so he won't need to be into work for hours, and honestly, he's too comfortable to move right now. Jimmy's bed is expansive and the heat of their sleeping bodies clings to the sheets, so he relaxes his head onto Jimmy's pillow, breathing deeply in, smelling the earthy tones that make up his friend's scent.

I can't believe I tried to drunk fuck my best friend, he thinks at first. Then he shakes his head. Yes I can. I can totally believe I tried to do that.

Jimmy is handsome and kind and funny and cares about him and trusts him and has been through damn near every hardship with him in the last decade. Why wouldn't that be attractive? It's not like I've never had sex with other men, Brian thinks. Maybe never tried to while not sober, but still, not about to have a gay panic crisis here.

Jimmy had said, I don't want you to regret this in the morning. Brian can definitely check the box next to 'do not regret' on his little mental tally for this one. He's only sad that he really was too drunk to give consent. And thankful that Jimmy's not the type to take advantage of it.

He hears the front door creak open about fifteen minutes later, and then Jimmy walks into the bedroom in a long-sleeved shirt and grey sweatpants. "I thought I was going to have to get out the ice-water to get you out of bed," Jimmy says, smiling and keeping his distance.

Brian shakes his head. "I'm back in the land of the living. Thanks for the pills, and remind me to dump the bottle of scotch I have at home down the drain."

Jimmy laughs and kicks off his sneakers. "Look, I'm going to get in the shower, but after that we'll get breakfast and we can talk, okay?"

Brian nods. "I can't talk to you when you're sweaty anyway, it's unbecoming."

Jimmy grins. "There's the Zeller I know and love."

He disappears into his bathroom, letting Brian hang on that last sentence. Snap out of it, Brian thinks, slipping out from under the covers. You're reading into things.

He finds his shirt and pants hanging over the towel rack in the second bathroom, and decides he might as well have a quick shower himself. He knows where Jimmy keeps the towels, and gives himself a few minutes under the water, washing the reek of booze from his skin. His button-down smells something fierce, but his pants are alright, so he wears them with his grey t-shirt. He's gonna have to go home and change anyway. No sense worrying about whether he looks nice enough to pad around Jimmy's house.

The water glass he left on the dresser in Jimmy's room, and he should probably go grab it so it doesn't leave a watermark on the wood - Jimmy's notoriously pedantic about that sort of thing. Brian can hear the shower head running as he trudges down the hall, so he assumes that Jimmy's still in the bathroom. He doesn't bother to knock, pushing open the door and freezing when he sees Jimmy standing by the bed in nothing but a towel, looking as surprised as Brian feels.

They both stand there, staring at each other like frightened deer staring into equally scared headlights.

"Sorry," Brian breathes out, trying not to watch the rivulets of water slipping their way down through the hairs on Jimmy's chest. He's seen Jimmy shirtless once or twice, but never... never like this, like a damned dripping Adonis out of one of Brian's own wet dreams. “I- I'll just-" He tries to step back, but his feet are frozen stubbornly in place, as if they're teaming up with his dick to bring about his downfall.

"Brian." Jimmy's voice brings him back out of his thoughts. Brian thinks he's going to yell at him to get out.

But then Jimmy he does something so surprising, so unexpected, that if Brian had read it in some half-assed romance novel, he would've thrown the book across the room and rated it one star on GoodReads.

Jimmy drops the towel. Purposefully.

Now Brian really is paralyzed, trying to look anywhere but where he really wants to get a good look at.

Then Jimmy says his name again.

Brian doesn't hesitate, just moves, fast as a cheetah bolting for its next meal, colliding into Jimmy and sprawling them both over the top of the rumpled bedsheets.

Jimmy is giving him a look. Brian can read exactly what it means. It means I want to fuck you silly and you'd better be okay with that.

Brian dives down, capturing Jimmy's mouth with a passionate kiss, feeling his own dick swell achingly hard within seconds. Jimmy seems to feel it too - he slides a hand between them, pressing the heel of his palm against Brian's crotch. Brian groans softly, grinding back against Jimmy's hand eagerly.

"I thought you weren't going to fuck me," Brian pants.

"You're sober now," Jimmy says, looking up at him with his baby blues glimmering in the morning sunlight. "Also, you jumped me."

"You dropped the towel, how else was I supposed to react to that?" Brian says, sliding his tongue down the tip of Jimmy's ear and enjoying the sounds the other man makes when he does so.

"If I had known you would react like this-" Jimmy says, shuffling back up the bed and tugging at the buttons on Brian's pants, "-I would've found an excuse to drop my towel in front of you a long time ago."

"I wish you had." Brian tears his own shirt off, practically ripping the neck in two, as Jimmy slides Brian's zipper down and pushes his slacks down onto his hipbones.

"Fuck, Brian," Jimmy gasps as Brian's cock springs free from his boxers. "Pierced? Seriously? How have you never mentioned this ever?"

Brian feels the blush creeping red up the sides of his neck like a spilling liquid. "I had a really, really interesting girlfriend in college," he says, rubbing his curls manically and offering a half-shrug. "I just never got rid of it. Also, at what opportunity in the past would this have come up in a conversation? 'Oh yeah, Jimmy, by the way, I have a ball bearing through the head of my dick, just thought you should know, now hand me the bone cutters.'"

Jimmy lets his head drop back, laughing hysterically at the image it must've put in his mind. Brian shakes his head and smirks, waiting until Jimmy's been laughing a little too long at him, and then cuts him off with another open-mouthed kiss. Brian shimmies his legs, disentangling himself from the cling of his pants and kicking himself free with one last big flail. Thank god he's not wearing socks. Being naked while wearing socks is, like, the least sexy thing ever, and he'd have to take the time to remove them, and that would mean focusing on anything other than Jimmy.

"How should we do this," Jimmy asks him, chest rising and falling with a gasping breath, his hands gripping into the bare flesh of Brian's thighs, nails leaving indents in their wake. "How far should we-"

"I want you inside me," Brian moans, sounding so cliche, except Jimmy's eyes practically roll into the back of his head when he says it. Brian slides his tongue down the inlet of Jimmy's neck, swirling up to trace his clavicle bone. He continues speaking. "I want to ride you until I'm too sore to walk straight, I want to feel empty and missing you inside me every step I take today."

"Jesus fucking Christ, Brian," Jimmy whines, tangling his fingers into Brian's hair and holding on tight. His breath stutters as Brian moves farther down, encircling a nipple and flicking with his tongue. "Who- who knew what a dirty mouth you've got there; I guess snark isn't the only thing your tongue gets up to."

"I have a few oral talents," Brian says, padding down the duvet on his knees until he's hovering over Jimmy's prick, watching it bob heavy and thick in his lap. Jimmy tugs a bit at his hair, and Brian glances up to see his questioning expression. "Relax, I don't bite," Brian says, winking and watching as Jimmy smiles and softens his grip. That's when Brian swoops down, wrapping his lips around Jimmy's cock with a tight seal and sucking hard.

Jimmy practically howls, spine stiffening as his hands grab Brian's shoulders for support. Brian wraps his fingers around Jimmy's waist to keep him in place and slides his mouth farther down, gliding his tongue down the back of Jimmy's prick. He tastes the tangy bitterness of pre-come and swirls a circle around the head, making Jimmy whimper and keen like an overeager puppy. It's music to Brian's ears.

"Wait," Jimmy stutters, tugging Brian off of him. "As utterly amazing as this is, and we are going to be revisiting your blow job skills at some point, you're going to end this before it begins if you keep using your tongue like that. Sit on your heels." Brian obeys, and Jimmy yanks the bedside table drawer open, reaching in and spilling condoms and a bottle of lube onto the bed. Brian reaches for the lube, but Jimmy swats his hand away, picking it up himself and tugging Brian closer until Brian's sitting in his lap. "I want to prepare you myself," Jimmy says, and Brian shivers as Jimmy rubs a hand up and down his side. Jimmy wraps a hand around the back of Brian's neck and tugs him down into a kiss. Brian hears the pop of the cap on the lube, and shudders in anticipation.

The first finger that Jimmy slips inside him is slow and curious, pressing in at a frustratingly slow pace. Brian whimpers against Jimmy's mouth, muttering, "I'm not going to break, you don't have to be so gentle."

"You never told me if you've done this before," Jimmy says, sliding a second finger in and crooking them together. "I don't want to hurt you."

"Well I have done this," Brian pants, mouthing a line of kisses down Jimmy's neck and pressing his face into the curve. "And I know you're not going to hurt me."

"You trust me that much?" Jimmy mutters, pressing his mouth to Brian's forehead.

"F-fucking always, you idiot," Brian says, sucking a breath through his teeth as Jimmy presses the tip of his third finger against his entrance. "I thought I made that pretty plain last night." Jimmy swirls his fingers in a tight circle, and then slowly spreads them and twists, opening Brian up. Brian digs his heels into the mattress and works himself against Jimmy's hand, mumbling a pretty little stream of obscenities into Jimmy's neck and wishing that he'd hurry up.

After what seems like forever, and Brian is just about to tell him to get on with it, Jimmy slides his fingers free, leaving an aching emptiness in Brian that needs to be filled. Brian grinds down against Jimmy's lap, and Jimmy curses, nudging him backwards. "Let me get the condom on, you impatient little minx," he says. Brian whines and sits back, watching Jimmy fix him with a teasing smile as he tears the condom wrapper and rolls the latex down over his gorgeous, thick cock, the one that's about to be inside of Brian, and god damn Jimmy needs to hurry up or Brian's going to scream.

Finally, finally, Jimmy's pulling Brian back into his lap and nudging his legs apart, positioning him over Jimmy's prick. Brian has a fleeting thought, a very tiny moment of panic, where he remembers how long it's been since he's done this - maybe he won't remember how this goes, or maybe Jimmy won't fit (god he is a pretty hefty package), or what if he no longer enjoys it?

But then he can't think anymore because Jimmy is sliding inside him, filling his hollowness with warm firmness. Jimmy seats Brian fully onto the hilt of his cock, and Brian is trembling, trembling so deeply that Jimmy has to hold his shoulders for support while Brian calms himself.

Jimmy stays still until Brian can't stand it, and finally gasps "Move." Then he bucks his hips down and up in such a smooth motion that it pulls a stuttering cry from the back of Brian's throat. Jimmy's got his arms wrapped tightly around Brian, shushing him softly and keeping their mouths pressed together, so that every thrust makes Brian draw a breath from Jimmy's own lips.

They settle into a rhythm, Jimmy thrusting upwards as Brian grinds down to hit that sweet spot, the growing pleasurable warmth inside of him reawakening after years of neglect. The only intelligible words Brian can make at the moment are curses, so he opts to focus on the enjoyable noises Jimmy makes every time he thrusts into Brian. Their tongues are curling and twisting, sparking like spit-fire, as Brian feels the warmth curl upwards into his belly, and his prick leaks pre-come onto Jimmy's belly.

Then Jimmy reaches down and takes Brian's cock in hand, and Brian almost loses it. "I c-can't, y-you're going to-"

But Jimmy hushes him again and goes slow, working the shaft of Brian's cock like clay on a pottery wheel, smooth gentle strokes and a touch that starts soft and gradually firms, until Brian's leaking tears of bliss at the edges of his eyes and trying to remember how to breathe.

Jimmy rubs his thumb over the piercing on Brian's cock at one point. There's a stinging pain, with a blooming sensation of pleasure underneath, and it makes Brian keen pathetically. "Please keep doing that," Brian moans. "I like it when you do that."

"Must've hurt like the devil to get," Jimmy pants, twisting the ball bearing slightly between his thumb and index finger, watching Brian's expression as it twists and melts under his touch. "But you like a bit of pain, don't you?"

Brian blushes, too embarrassed to admit the truth of Jimmy's words, and says nothing, burying his face in Jimmy's neck. Jimmy keeps playing with the piercing, and Brian doesn't tell him to stop.

Before long, Brian feels his orgasm coming on like a freight train. He tries to warn Jimmy, tries to pull away slightly to allow himself a chance to calm down, but Jimmy refuses to let him move away. In fact, he speeds up his thrusting, kissing him deeply and moaning Brian's own name against Brian's mouth, and that's what does it, that's what tips him over the edge. Brian wails Jimmy's name to the sky as he comes, hard and hot, spurting against Jimmy's stomach, and then Jimmy's coming too, burying himself to the hilt and gasping into Brian's mouth. Brian can feel Jimmy's cock pulse inside of him as his orgasm cools to a pleasant aftershock.

Brian goes boneless almost instantly, sliding himself off of Jimmy and stretching out lengthwise across the bed. Jimmy gets up to toss the condom, bringing a towel back to clean them both off. He wipes the cloth gently against Brian's wilting cock, and Brian smiles up at him, star-specked vision gazing admiringly over Jimmy's form. Jimmy chuckles at him, tossing the towel to the laundry basket in the corner and laying down beside him, tugging Brian into a bodily embrace.

"We have work in three hours," Jimmy mumbles.

Brian groans, burying his face deeper into Jimmy's chest. "Don't wanna."

"Jack's not going to listen to our excuses," Jimmy says. "We're supposed to be hung over, not fucked senseless. He's going to be suspicious if we both call out."

"Let him be," Brian says. "He can imagine us diddling each other and that'll serve him right."

"Brian."

"I know, I know. I just don't want to move yet. You're really good at sex stuff, by the way. I mean- why are you laughing?"

"Sex stuff," Jimmy says, giggling into Brian's curly locks. "Oh my god, you're a thirteen-year-old boy."

"Brain not work so good right now," Brian says, swatting his ass in a playful manner. "Give me a break."

"Fine, fine. I'll take your compliment and return it, you're pretty good at sex stuff yourself."

"Thanks. And thank you for last night," Brian says, meeting Jimmy's gaze. "For not taking advantage of that when you could've."

"Oh, I never planned on it," Jimmy says, kissing the tip of his nose. "You sounded so lonely, I figured that you'd be a little less so sleeping on my couch instead of your apartment. I'm just glad you gave up pretty easy after the first time I told you it wasn't happening. You had those damn puppy dog eyes and I hated saying no to them."

"Jeez, way to make a guy feel embarrassed," Brian says, hiding his face against Jimmy's chest and biting back a smile. "If I had some sort of overly macho ego, I might object to being referred to as a 'puppy dog' in any capacity."

"I just ravished your ass with my dick," Jimmy says matter-of-factly. "No overly macho ego can survive something like that."

Brian laughs. "Who uses ravish as a real life word?"

"Old farts like me," Jimmy says.

"Hey, you're not that old."

"I'm a decade and a half older than you."

"There is not nearly a large enough gap to justify the use of the word ravish in your vocabulary."

"Respect your elders, young man," Jimmy says, poking him in the ribs. Brian spasms and jerks, apparently much more than Jimmy was expecting. "Oh I see," Jimmy says. He rolls over, and Brian finds himself pinned to the bed by his friend's weight. Jimmy bears down, tickling Brian mercilessly.

"Stop it, stop it, I can't, I can't!" Brian shrieks, flailing wildly. Jimmy's found his weakness - the one deep, dark secret he's kept hidden for years - and Jimmy looks keen to exploit it.

Brian manages to pin Jimmy's wrists down to the mattress, bringing them to a stalemate.

"You're dead meat, Zeller," Jimmy says. His eyes are shining like he's a five-year-old on Christmas morning. "I'm going to make you shriek like that at least once a day for the rest of your life."

"Please don't do it while I'm holding something important," Brian says. "Jack might not be too happy if my organ tissue samples end up on the floor because you decided you had to get your daily tickle session in."

"You make me sound like the bad guy in that situation." Jimmy does let him up eventually. Brian thanks him for this by immediately pushing Jimmy down and draping himself across the other man, resting his chin on Jimmy's sternum.

"I really do feel like a teenager right now," Brian says. He props his chin up onto his hands, staring Jimmy dead in the eye. "We both needed this, didn't we?"

Jimmy nods, bringing a hand up to slip into Brian's hair, tousling it gently. "Too much stress," he says. "We've had nothing but heavy thoughts for far too long. You can't keep all that sadness in and not expect it to bleed out sometimes."

"...I miss her," Brian says, softly, quietly, and they both know who he's talking about. "But god am I glad you're still here." He slides up to meet Jimmy's waiting mouth, wrapping his arms under Jimmy's body and holding him tightly, letting the taste of Jimmy's lips drive away the black fog that's been stagnating in Brian's mind for the last six months.

"Breakfast," Jimmy says when Brian lets him up for air. "We'll go back to your place so you can change, and then we're getting breakfast." He slips from the bed, and Brian lets him go, reaching down and fumbling on the floor for his pants.

"Not going to cook for me?" Brian asks, only half seriously. His hand finds his boxers, and he tugs them on, wishing they didn't have to leave the comfortable bubble they'd built around this room.

"Maybe another time," Jimmy says. "My fridge is pretty empty, and I don't think I have two pieces of bacon to rub together."

"I thought we were going vegetarian after working this case?"

"I can't give up bacon, Brian." Jimmy looks serious about this, face flat and set in a half-scowl. "I'm not a heathen."

Brian manages to find all of his clothes again, although the neck hole of his t-shirt is little more stretched than he last remembers it. He waits in the living room while Jimmy gets dressed. All he can think about is the next ten hours of witness testimony and autopsy files they'll be grinding through, and how having one of those jobs where you could just take days off at a whim would be a wonderful thing, but that isn't his chosen career. Besides, he'll be spending those depressing, demoralizing hours with Jimmy, so it can't be all bad in the end.

Jimmy walks out of the bedroom fifteen minutes later, fresh-faced and peppy as usual. Brian can't let them get out the door without spending a few minutes making out in the foyer. He won't get to do this again for a while, so why the hell shouldn't he savor it?

They take Jimmy's car to Brian's apartment. Brian throws a fresh outfit on, happy to finally be out of clothes that reek of last night's bar. He stands in his bedroom as he brushes his teeth, and the place still feels lonely, even if Jimmy's in the next room flipping through his Netflix queue. He wonders if Jimmy will let him stay the night again. The toothbrush, fresh boxers, and a clean T-shirt get tucked into his work bag, just in case.

Around 10:30, they walk into The Greasy Spork, another familiar BSU haunt that serves the best waffles this side of the Mason-Dixon line. Jack is sitting in a corner booth by the door when they arrive, sipping his coffee and perusing a newspaper.

"Bright and early this morning, aren't we," Jack says as they wait for a table. "I didn't think you'd be out of bed in time, Zeller, but apparently Price works wonders on your disposition." Brian tries not to blush. It's like Jack knows - but he can't, it's not like he's installed cameras in their living quarters and secretly watches them while they sleep. Right?

Brian squints at Jack suspiciously. "I am perfectly capable of waking up for work like an adult, sir."

Jack smirks and shakes his head, turning his eyes back to the paper. "Go eat your waffles, Brian. I'll see you two at noon."

They get their favorite booth and their favorite waiter, Marty, who has a carafe of coffee on the table and Brian's usual waffle order placed in the kitchen before his butt hits the seat.

"I'll go with eggs and bacon this morning," Jimmy says, handing Marty the menu without looking at it. "So," he says as the waiter walks away, "am I the best lay you've ever had?"

Brian snorts into his coffee. "Jesus, you could warn a guy before you say something like that," he says, yanking a bunch of napkins out of the holder to wipe up the splattered droplets. "Would it matter if you were?"

"Eh, I'd hope I make at least the top ten list," Jimmy says, blowing air on his steaming drink.

"Top five, easily," Brian says. "That score could also improve based on subsequent trials." He tries not to sound desperate, as he's essentially popping the 'are we continuing this?' question.

"How scientific of you," Jimmy says. "We should investigate this more thoroughly. How about we run a secondary analysis later on this evening? We can process the test results all night."

"Did you just propose that we keep having sex by likening it to the scientific method?"

"Oh, Brian, you act like none of the boys have ever talked nerdy to you. My hypothesis is that you've been sleeping with the wrong sorts of people. I'm eager to gather more evidence for my working theory."

Brian breaks out into a wide grin, nudging Jimmy under the table with his leg. "You are a freaking dork," he says, resisting the urge to catch Jimmy's hand across the table. There's a knot of warmth working its way into Brian's chest, wrapping around his insides and nestling there, hopefully permanently. "Never change."

Surprisingly, Jimmy's the one who reaches out for him, grasping his wrist and bringing Brian's hand up to kiss his knuckles. "Only you could get me to." Brian feels his heart skip a beat.

"Damn it, Price, you could've at least waited until I was in the bathroom." Jack sweeps past them. "I want the inter-office relationship HR form on my desk by Monday. And stop feeling each other up in front of your colleagues; this is a place of business."

Brian buries his face in his hands as Jimmy cackles.