Brian hadn’t meant to say anything. He was content in staying the course and knowing that his bandmates are in his life. One he might be able to get away with telling them, and the polite rejection. Queen could live on. Except that it was all three of them. The choice there was easy, all they had to do was kick him out of the band.
Then they all get a little too much into the champagne or wine at the release party for their first album and it just slipped out.
“I can’t believe we’ve done it,” Freddie yells, wine sloshing over Roger’s white shirt.
“You guys are the best!” Roger agrees, ignoring the wine.
“I love you all,” Brian says a touch too soft.
And maybe he could explain it as the wine causing him to be softer than usual, except for the sloppy kiss he then planted on Freddie’s cheek. While they’re all affectionate with each other, it’s rarely paired with such gentle words. The only thing that he can hope for is that they were all too drunk to remember it.
His luck has never been the greatest, but maybe this one time the universe will take pity on him.
Brian is the first to arrive at the studio, they’re going to be talking tours and shows. It should feel very exciting, instead, it feels like he has eaten a boulder.
When its fifteen minutes until the meeting starts, he grabs a magazine to look like he wasn’t sitting alone in a room panicking. He isn’t sure which one it is, but he doesn’t have the time to figure it out because the door opens.
The three of them walk in together and Brian blinks the urge to cry away.
“You know your book is upside down right?”
Brian glances down to check. Sure enough, Roger is right. Well, shit.
John watches him with a heavy gaze before leaning against the back of one of the chairs, while Freddie struts across the room to sit in the plush chair next to Brian. Roger remains leaning against the doorway.
Effectively he’s cornered. Brian makes eye contact with all of them before flipping the magazine over and reading the first sentence of 10 Ways to Tell He Loves You.
Hilarious. Brian tightens his jaw inside of sighing.
Freddie opens his mouth, but their manager walks in, pushing past Roger, already rambling off numbers and cities. Brian leans in, acting much too intent on the meeting that is mostly John’s business anyway. Roger eventually makes his way over to where Brian is sitting and laying his legs across Brian’s lap.
It is too casual to not be deliberate. Roger is telling him that he can’t run away after the meeting and all of it translates into them knowing. Which can’t be good. They’re taking him on the tour at least, which is more than he hoped for at least. Maybe he can find a place to stay quickly when he gets back to the flat and all his stuff is in boxes.
“All of that sounds lovely,” Freddie cuts in thirty minutes later, “but all hypothetical, considering you’ve used the word if so frequently.”
Brian doesn’t mind hearing the hypothetical details. He doesn’t hear what is said after that, all he knows is that too soon he’s left in the room with only his three bandmates. Roger’s heels dig into his thighs, almost in a warning. John shifts just enough to alert Brian to the fact that he’s in front of the door.
“So,” he says because he’s never been good at shutting up when he needs to.
“So,” John repeats.
Brian wishes that the magazine wasn’t pinned underneath Roger’s feet, so he could have something to do with his hands. One drifts up and starts tapping on his lip as he waits for someone else to start the conversation. He’s only so brave.
“How long have you been in love with us?” Roger asks.
It’s hard hearing the question. Roger hasn’t added any inflection that makes him seem like he’s happy about this. The fact that Freddie hasn’t said anything is telling enough. John is unreadable except he’s letting Brian know that this conversation isn’t one he can weasel out of.
“Are you asking how long I’ve known or the actual time?”
There’s no point in denying it. He feels a sharp twist in his stomach and closes his eyes. What a waste, to have everything he wants but to throw it away because of an accidental slip. Roger moves away from him – he can’t even stand to touch – but then something warm is wrapping around his shoulders and on his head and pulling him down.
It’s not hard to figure out that it’s Roger. He smells like cinnamon and mint and radiates warmth like Brian’s never felt. The hand starts to stroke his hair. He doesn’t open his eyes; he can’t see their faces.
“Brian?” Freddie’s voice.
It feels like warm honey on an aching throat. He closes his eyes tighter. So long as he doesn’t open them, he can pretend that he’s dreaming.
“Right, well,” John says, “I think we’re going to have to throw the speeches out.
Oh god.Oh god. Ohgod.Ohgodohgod-
Roger’s hand settles heavily on his head, tangling fingers in the thick curls. Brian doesn’t have the heart to tell him to stop. Wait – if this was a rejection, at least one that results in kicking him out of the band, would Roger really –
“You aren’t kicking me out?”
The sharp laugh comes from Freddie, almost like he had been punched in the stomach. Roger moves the hand, not in his hair and smacks him lightly on the cheek.
“Where’d you get a stupid idea like that?”
Oh. He knows that intonation, Roger thinks he’s being an idiot and he finds that endlessly amusing.
Instead, Brian unpins one of his hands and gestures vaguely. He hadn’t been given anything else to work with, and really, it’s the only conclusion that made sense –
“And you aren’t going to reject me?”
Because when had Queen ever made sense?
“Oh good, he figured it out,” John drawls dryly.
“Wonderful,” Freddie sounds closer, “now if you’ll open those pretty eyes of yours, there’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while.”
“Hey! How come you get to go first?” Roger’s squawks.
“Because you’re the pillow, currently,” Freddie responds.
Brian slowly opens his eyes, all too wary that this could be a dream. Freddie is crouched in front of him, grinning hesitantly but so full of adoration.
“If this is a dream, I’m going to be very cross,” Brian says a little watery.
“You’re far too soft to be so cruel to,” Freddie whispers and their lips are meeting.
It’s soft but insistent, but not demanding.
John had crossed the room at some point because his long hair is tickling Brian’s cheek in ghost-like touches as he kisses Roger over him. When he and Freddie break apart, John bends down.
He’s quickly overwhelmed by the quiet demand in John’s kiss, but he doesn’t deepen it. John pulls away and cocks an eyebrow as if saying see, you were being a silly guitarist.
Brian has to readjust in order to be able to kiss Roger. If Roger looks dazed and kiss-drunk he can’t imagine the face he’s making. He leans up, but Roger stops him a beat before their lips meet.
It’s an answer to a question he hadn’t known he had.
Roger’s kisses are sweet but far too energetic for the emotional turmoil of the day. Brian pulls away, he knows it was a shorter time than the others (apparently his brain had been counting seconds), but Roger doesn’t seem to mind.
“Just so there’s no more confusion,” Roger says with a smug smile curling on his lips, “we love you too.”
“Oh good,” Brian says returning the smile, “this would be rather embarrassing otherwise.”