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More Than Friends

Chapter Text

Justin didn’t notice his father standing in the open doorway of his bedroom. His attention was rapt on the various boxes that were stacked and ready for his departure. He hoped he hadn’t forgotten to pack anything. As he surveyed it all, he couldn’t imagine that being the case. If anything, he was probably taking too much. Justin knew some of it was probably unnecessary, but it was all a part of who he was; he couldn’t let all sit untouched in his room while he was at college during the next four years. Pittsburgh University. He could scarcely take it all in. It wasn’t that far from home, and yet it was. Out of all the schools he could have selected, this one was the one that had the variety that both he and his parents could agree on. That his best friend, Daphne had selected the same school had been even more of an inducement.

Craig smiled and shook his head as he took in all the boxes. Ruefully he spoke, “I knew I should have rented a U-Haul. Hopefully Daphne isn’t bringing as much.”

His nose scrunching up, Justin looked over his shoulder to ask his dad, “It’s not really that much, is it?”

Stepping inside, Craig sat down on the chair behind Justin’s desk, shaking his head in denial. “It’s a lot... but I’m sure not too much. You’ve gone over your checklist? You haven’t forgotten anything?”

“I don’t think so. Mom said my appliances would be delivered there tomorrow.” Justin looked around again, sudden panic setting in that he could have missed something. “God, I hope I didn’t forget anything.”

“If you did, that’s easily fixed, Justin. You’ll have your credit card. It is enough to cover any monthly expenses. I don’t want you to worry about anything... nor do I want you finding work on or off campus.” Craig gave his son a stern look. “I want you completely focused on your education... and having the time of your life in the process. You only live this experience once... and with how much I’m paying for it – I expect you to do it in style!”

Justin laughed. Trust his father to rationalize it like that. “I could have chosen a smaller tech school. I hate that you’re paying so much for this---"

“Nonsense. If we have to buckle down a bit at home – that’s what we’ll do. You need a good education if you are ever to aspire in business.” Craig smiled proudly at his son. “And... with your SAT scores, you should only have the best.”

“Buckle down...” Justin scoffed. “I know Taylor Industries is doing very well.”

Craig laughed, yet his expression became serious almost as quickly. “That’s why I need my son ready to take over when it’s time.”

A shadowed look fell over Justin’s face. “Uhhh, Dad... you know I’m not sure about that.”

“I know that you are torn between various options. That’s the great thing about Pitt University; you will have so many opportunities. The first year I want you to explore. After that, you need to start thinking about what you really want to do with your life.”

“I will, Dad.” Justin wasn’t certain what direction he wanted to take with his life, his only fear was that it wouldn’t live up to his father’s expectations. “I guess I’d better start getting these boxes down to the car.” He shuddered as he thought of the long car ride ahead of him. “I can’t believe Mom is driving me there. It’s only a two-hour drive. At the speed she drives, it will be closer to four.”

Craig couldn’t hold back the loud roar of laughter. “Precisely why I’m saying my goodbyes here! I know it will be a long trip, but this is important to your mom. She has to see everything there... in particular – know that her baby will be in a good place.” A suggestive wink followed. “Don’t forget – Daphne will be riding with you. That should make the ride much more tolerable.”

Justin groaned. His parents really needed to get the idea of him hooking up with Daphne out of their mind – his father especially. That wasn’t going to happen – not by any stretch of the imagination. “Dad... Daph and I are just friends. That’s all it will ever be.”

A knowing look entered Craig’s eyes. “Justin, I was your age once. I know how these things happen. I’m just saying if something does happen – for God’s sake be careful! You don’t need those sort of surprises just starting out.”

“Oh my God, Dad! I don’t believe this.” Justin flushed in embarrassment as he began gathering up boxes to carry out, at this moment unable to believe what his father was suggesting. Knowing he had to respond, Justin told him, “If anything like that comes up, I’ll be careful, Dad... but trust me when I say – that’s the last thing I’m looking for right now.”

“Well, that’s good to know, Justin. You need to concentrate on your goals for the future first... marriage and children will come much later.” Craig’s eyes drilled into his son, as he attempted to make his point.

Justin shuddered, hoping his father wouldn’t question the reason behind it. There wasn’t a doubt in his mind that his father still didn’t know he was gay. He wasn’t going to have that talk with him now. His mom had told him she would ease him into it, but it was more than apparent her ‘easing’ process was very slow – perhaps even bordering on non-existent. “Yeah. Much later...” Justin mumbled as he started carrying his boxes down to the car; hearing his father moving slower behind him carrying more of his boxes, Justin realized their goodbye probably wasn’t over yet.


Brian was laying on his back, his eyes staring intently at the playbook that he had already committed to memory... but when it came to football – he took nothing to chance. He scowled when he heard the light knock on his door, realizing his solitude was about to be intruded upon. Brian knew he wouldn’t have much more of that left. His new roommate was rumored to be arriving later today; his privacy was about to be over. “Come in,” he called out, not bothering to move from his relaxed position. If he was about to be interrupted, he hoped it was some hot new student he could fuck. Last night all he’d received was a mediocre blow job... he was definitely in the mood for so much more.

Chris walked through the door, his brow arching as he took in Brian lounging on his bed. “You’re studying? I don’t believe it... and yet I see it.”

His eyes rolling, Brian wondered what Hobbs wanted now. “What’s up, Chris?”

“I – I was, well kind of wondering about you and Lindsay.” His face reddened slightly under Brian’s blank stare. “What I mean is – well, she’s with you a lot. And... uhmmmm what I’m trying to ask---"

What the fuck was it with jocks and cheerleaders? Fucking breeders... although, Lindsay was one that played on both teams – Chris obviously didn’t know that. “What you’re trying to ask is if I’m fucking her? Shit, Hobbs! You are a mother-fucking junior in college... yet, you can’t even ask me that??”

“Sorry, man. Fuck!” Chris grumbled, unable to meet Brian’s eyes. “I just don’t want to step on your toes. I – I mean, you’re like the star of the team; and I’m just barely keeping up my GPA well enough to play.”

“Maybe that’s because you’re far too worried about pussy than about your grades.” Brian gave Chris an assessing once-over. “You’re not a bad looking guy, Chris. You don’t need to act so damned desperate all the time. From what I’ve seen – chicks don’t really like that.”

Chris snorted. “What would you know about either desperate of a girl not liking you? Brian Kinney – celebrated captain of the football team – undoubtedly you’ll be picked up in the first round after your senior year. Why would you ever have to worry about anything? They line up for a chance to go out with you.”

“Don’t delude yourself Chris. It has more to do with the size of my dick than what I do on the field. Hell. Most of them don’t know which team has the ball half of the time.” Brian didn't elaborate that he didn't give a damn what girls liked him or not. As it was, his sexual preference was resigned exclusively for men. That was something that would never change - no matter how much the circles he traveled in attempted to dictate otherwise.

Laughing, Chris agreed. “That’s true... but not Lindsay.”

Brian groaned at the dreamy eyed expression on Chris’ face. How the fuck can a man call himself a man and act like that? No thank you, was his first and last thought. “I don’t have any claims on Lindsay. We hang out because she doesn’t expect things from me. I’m about my future... and you should be too.” Brian looked Chris directly in the eye, hoping he made his point – once and for all. “Fucking is what it’s all about, Chris. Don’t do something stupid and mess up the rest of your life. It’s not worth it! Now, do me a favor and let me get back to my own studying... and you can go agonize over how to ask your dream girl out.”

“You know what, Brian? You’re an ass!” Chris stormed from the room, neither a thank you or a goodbye coming from his lips.

“That I am.” Brian couldn’t agree more, nor could he resist watching the departing ass that left his room. He shook his head. It was a shame that Hobbs was such a homophobe – his classmate/teammate definitely had a fuckable ass. There really hadn’t been a man he hadn’t been able to lure into bed – if he really applied the effort; yet he had drawn the line with Chris Hobbs. Sometimes he had the feeling he teetered on the edge of uncertainty regarding his sexual orientation... but it was a line Brian didn’t intend to cross. As it was, he had to be careful. His ambition was to be a professional quarterback in the National Football League; the time hadn’t arrived where he felt safe enough to be out. He hoped that one day it felt more comfortable. Brian Kinney wasn’t the kind of man to live in denial of any kind – the pretense he often felt forced to endure - just to fit into the standard stereotype made him want to gag. Brian wasn’t certain he could keep that up much longer.


Justin was at the top of the stairs, his eyes searching the room numbers, hoping his would soon be in sight. To his disappointment, he found his steps carrying him all the way down the hall. He dropped the boxes that were in his hand, his head turning in search of his mom – not surprised in the least that she continued to lag behind. She was paranoid about his move on campus – there hadn’t been one detail she hadn’t checked, double-checked, and even done so again in triplicate. It amused him most of the time... but not here and now. He didn’t want his mother’s coddling following him into the beginning of his college life.

Rolling his eyes in disbelief that she still lingered downstairs, Justin knocked once, before pushing the door open without a word spoken. He shrugged indifferently. Why should he knock on his own room? As soon as he stepped inside, Justin soon determined why he should not only knock... but wait for an invitation to enter. His eyes were immediately caught and held immobile by the thrusting hips of a man pounding into another man in a bed that he hoped wasn’t to be his own. He gasped in shock, and despite the impropriety of the entire situation – the hard-on that immediately presented itself to him.

A curse shot freely from the man’s lips as he obviously shot his load into the man beneath him. Justin watched in bewilderment as he brusquely told the man to get out. So this was his new roommate. Tactful wasn’t his middle name – that was for certain. Justin peered out into the hallway, breathing a deep sigh of relief that his mother was still nowhere in sight. That was enough to quell the hardness in his dick. What if she’d walking in with him? Fuck, he thought to himself. She would have freaked – twenty times over. “Nice, real nice.” Justin hadn’t realized he’d spoken aloud when the man stood naked from the bed, discarding the condom quickly into the trash.

“Excuse me...” the man that had been given his walking papers mumbled as he slid through the door.

Justin shook his head in disbelief at the entire scene. “Can you get some clothes on? My mom is on her way up.”

“Your mom?” Brian laughed. Son-of-a-bitch. Not a fucking momma’s boy. Just what he needed. Lazily he slid into his jeans, not bothering to snap them; he never saw the point. He generally shed them as quick as he put them on... and the truth of the matter – he looked damned good like this. Turning around, his hazel eyes pierced the blond that stood in the doorway. A mocking smile settled on his lips. “Don’t be shy, roomie. Come on in.”

His eyes widened in shock at the face that greeted him. It wasn’t a surprise regarding the incredible beauty of the man; although, that went without saying – it was the shock of instant recognition. Justin couldn’t believe his luck. Right now, he considered it to be of the worse kind. As he heard his mom’s footsteps hurriedly tapping along the hallway, Justin prayed his mom left soon. This was already awkward and tense enough. He wasn’t sure how much of that he could take.

Not only was he rooming with this beautiful, God-like creature; he was also now living with his teenage idol. Justin had no idea how to adjust to that realization. He was to be the roommate of the man he had dreamt about since high school – the man he had referred to in his dreams, awake and asleep, as the Face of God. His jaw dropped as his new reality completely assailed him. He would be sharing space with Brian Kinney... and he was undoubtedly queer just as he’d always suspected. How would he refrain from revealing his secret crush? Despite what had been revealed before his eyes today, he knew Brian didn’t display his sexuality to the world. He didn’t either.

Brian moved closer, his lips twitching as he viewed the blond’s unease. There was something familiar about him... but he wasn’t sure what – yet. He was hot, there was no question of that... but it was more. He could swear there had been recognition of some kind in the kid’s eyes. What did it mean? What worried him most, whether he gave the impression of being concerned or not was if his new roommate would keep his secret? And if not – what the fuck was he going to do now?


Chapter Text

Brian walked around the hot little blond, his eyes moving up and down as he scrutinized every detail. From his vantage point there was much to admire. Now this was a fine package, everything proportioned in exactly the right places, Brian couldn't help thinking to himself. As a connoisseur of the male body – preferably the young ones – there was much to appeal to his always discerning eye. His new roommate was without a doubt the hottest piece of blond boy ass he’d ever come across. He had already encountered a good many in his young life. Sadly, he had to sneak off campus to find the prime candidates; his career aspirations, in addition to maintaining his tenure at Pitt University, required that he maintained a sense of decorum. The incident his new roommate had just walked in on hadn’t fallen in line with that philosophy. On all counts – he had fucked up. He had taken a chance that his new roommate wouldn’t be here until much later. That had been a risk he’d been a fool to take. After the new kid’s mommy was dispensed of... they would need to have a little chat. Brian only hoped it ended in his favor.

“Were you looking for anything in particular... or do you plan on assessing me the entire day?” Justin snapped, his equilibrium still unbalanced from the sight (as pleasant as it had obviously been) from his mind, and thoughts every time he looked at the beautiful Brian Kinney.

“Cocky for Freshman meat... aren’t we?” Brian stilled his circling to stand eye-to-eye with the hot blond that already knew far too much about him. He leaned in close to whisper into his ear. “We have some things to get straight... once Mommy leaves.”

Justin sneered, uncertain of why he was pushing Brian’s buttons. In part, he thought he could be doing so out of self-preservation. The last thing he needed for Brian Kinney to know was of his high school crush on him. Without a doubt, that was a humiliation he most definitely didn’t want to face. “Straight? Is that some kind of joke?”

Brian’s eyes became ice in an instant. His voice dropped to a barely audible pitch, even though they were practically standing toe-to-toe. “Shut the fuck up, Blondie. You don’t know shit about me to judge my life!”

“I’m not trying to judge your life.” Justin had to bite his tongue to keep from calling him by name. So far, Brian hadn’t recognized him. That wasn’t really surprising to him. They hadn’t moved in the same circle of friends... and they certainly hadn’t been in the same classes. He had accidently brushed against Brian in the halls a few times, even bumped into him on occasion. When that had happened, Justin couldn’t get away fast enough. Once he had thought he’d glimpsed appreciation in Brian’s eyes, but he’d been rendered speechless. When he’d looked back up again, his idol had walked away; his head shaking as he moved down the hallway. At the time, Justin had feared that Brian pitied him... or even worse, would make fun of him to his jock friends. Thankfully he hadn’t. Yet, the fear had always been in place.

“As I said – we have things to talk about.” A knock abruptly sounded at the door; Brian stepped back as he raised a mocking brow to his new roommate. “That must be Mommy. Better not keep her waiting.”

“God... you are such an ass.” Justin grumbled as he moved toward the door. “I can’t believe my fucking luck to be rooming with you.”

Brian couldn’t help from admiring Justin’s ass as he moved to the door. His eyes honed in on the most delicious looking bubble butt he’d ever saw. Brian knew he’d be lying to himself if he didn’t admit to wanting to fuck that ass. Tilting his head to the side as he continued to admire it, Brian tried to envision scenarios of how he could bring that want to fruition. They were definitely off to a very bad start... but who knew what could happen after they had their little talk? Brian knew one thing for certain; he would be far from adverse to sampling this kid from head to toe. He was exquisite. The only problem that worried him was in them being roommates. That could get awkward. As he watched him opening the door, Brian wasn’t certain the downfalls would be enough to make him resist temptation.

“Well... that was nice of your roommate to give us some time alone.” Jennifer sat down on the edge of Justin’s twin-size bed, her eyes looking around the room, unable to keep the displeasure of the close confines from the tightness in her expression.

“Hmmm...” Justin murmured. That’s Brian Kinney. Mr. Nice Guy. Justin didn’t spout his words of sarcasm. He didn’t want to delay his mother’s departure, or alarm her even further. “I guess so.” Justin busied himself with putting his clothes away, hoping to get this visit done in the quickest amount of time possible. Perhaps the sight of him comfortably settling in would be exactly how to best achieve that.

Jennifer frowned at her son. “You didn’t like him?”

“Mom, I had like five minutes with him before you got up here. There hasn’t been time to form a lasting impression...” He turned to look at his mom, hoping to convey there wasn’t any problem with his new living arrangements... despite the fact that might not be very far from the truth. But, he was here now. He would make the best of it. “I’m just tired, and anxious to get started. That’s all, Mom.”

“Well... if you’re sure.” Jennifer still felt dubious. She didn’t like leaving Justin here if he wasn’t at ease with his situation. It was only a couple of hours from home... but it was still away from home, and it was for the first time. Letting go wasn’t easy to do, no matter if she knew it was the right time to do so.

Justin sighed, before closing his now filled dresser drawer and sitting next to her on the bed. He reached out for her hand, squeezing it lightly in his hand. “I’m very sure.”

He wasn’t sure why he wasn’t telling his mom that his new roommate wasn’t exactly a stranger; he only knew that he didn’t want to open up that topic for any in-depth discussion. As far as he knew, he had kept his crush on the celebrated quarterback of his high school football team a secret. Justin had done a few sketches of him during Brian’s Senior year... but he’d also doodled the entire team as well. He could remember his embarrassment when his art teacher had noticed the collage he’d made of the team; she had wanted to suggest it for placement in the Yearbook. Justin had declined the offer. After that, he had kept his sketches of Brian and the team off of school property. In fact, he knew he still had those drawings with him; despite the fact that his mom knew he was queer... he didn’t want to answer any awkward questions about Brian Kinney. Right now, co-existing with the exasperating man, and figuring out what he wanted to do with his life would be his primary objective. Unrequited crushes were now a thing of the past.

Jennifer glanced around the room, her eyes once more touching on everything. She didn’t expect to get many glimpses in here. As much as she knew she could visit, she also knew her son well. He wouldn’t want her to hover... and she knew that wasn’t what was best for Justin. “Well, I guess I should start the drive back home.”

Nodding, Justin stood to his feet; he reached his hand down to assist her up. Entwining his arms around her waist, Justin gave her a tight yet brief hug. He didn’t want to do anything to cause her to linger. It wasn’t simply that he wanted her to leave... he also knew how she struggled with letting go. She really needed to do that now. Pulling back, Justin could see the beginning tears forming in her eyes. “I’m going to be fine, Mom. And... I have my cell phone, credit card, and everything else I could possibly need. You and Dad made sure of that. So, I want you to relax...”

“Relax..." Jennifer rolled her eyes. “Easier said than done.” She gave him a stern look, before needlessly reminding, “I expect phone calls... and visits on holidays. I will pick you up anytime you want to come home.”

“I know you will, Mom.” Justin linked his arm through hers, gently urging her to the door. “Come on... I’ll walk you down.”

Jennifer sighed as they passed through the door, barely able to fight back the tears. She knew once she was alone in her car they would become unavoidable... but for now, she wanted to be strong for Justin. “I’m going to miss you, Justin... but I know this is the start of a wonderful experience for you. I can’t wait to hear all about it.”

Justin gave his mom a beaming smile, unbeknownst to him, a smile that was noticed by a man at the end of the hallway... one that found it both intriguing and hauntingly familiar. “You will hear it all, Mom. I promise.” As Justin walked his mom down the hallway, and further down the stairs, his eyes briefly connected with Brian’s standing in the doorway of another student’s room. A brief inspection told him it was another jock. That was fine with him if Brian hung out with the rest of his teammates. In his opinion, the more distance between them the better. Unable to resist, Justin cast one last look over his shoulder, to his dismay he found Brian staring at him with a narrow-eyed gaze... giving the impression he was trying to figure something out.

He groaned to himself. It was probably inevitable that Brian put the pieces together... at least in regards to them coming from the same town and school. All that mattered was that the arrogant football star didn’t realize the secret crush he’d had on him through high school; a crush that he intended to stay forever buried in the halls of their shared school. As he felt Brian’s eyes drilling into his back... and God only knew where else, Justin forced away the hammering of his heart. His crush was a thing of the past. Those silly dreams had no place in his future. He would be damned if Brian Kinney continued to affect him.


Chapter Text

Brian pretended to be reading his playbook when Justin stepped back into the room. Concentrating on football was presently the last thing on his mind. For the past fifteen minutes as he'd waited for the blond, Brian's mind had been fully on him. He told himself it was merely because they needed to pound out some ground rules; Brian refused to admit to himself exactly how appealing he found the new Freshman, and how much he would love getting to know him much better. He quirked a mocking brow, before taunting, "Finally say goodbye to Mommy?"

Justin scowled at the beautiful brunet lounging on the bed. Why did he have to look so damned hot while he was being so utterly annoying? "Do you have to be sarcastic about everything... and everyone?"

"It's not sarcasm." Brian placed the book aside, but maintained his semi-prone position; his eyes ran hotly over the front side of his gorgeous new roommate, knowing he had to be failing miserably at masking his appreciation. "I am realistic, Roomie. Now... why don't you come over here and we'll have a friendly little chat."

Stopping once he was in the middle of the room, Justin stared at Brian with a clearly dubious look on his face. "I think we can talk just fine from this distance."

Brian laughed. What the fuck, he thought. Did this kid think he was that fucking desperate that he would jump him the minute he sat down on his bed. Fuck! He did have some self-control... even if he did think his new roommate was the hottest thing to walk on campus for a long time. "Listen, we're going to be living together. We really need to co-exist." Brian propped himself up so that his back was resting straight up against the back of his bed. He looked at the blond expectantly. "I promise I won't bite." Pulling his lips under, Brian thought to himself - that is, not unless you ask me to. Brian didn't have a doubt in his mind that he'd like to hear the beautiful blond asking him that. He wanted that a lot.

Justin moved closer, standing next to Brian, but not taking that final step to sit down. He forced himself to effect a pose of impartiality. "Have you forgotten that I just saw you in uhhhh - action?"

"I don't forget anything." Brian's eyes were cold as he surveyed him from his position on the bed. This blond aggravated him in a number of ways. For certain, he didn't like how much the kid had already learned about him; and just as irritating was the fact that he couldn't quite figure him out. He had always felt the need to control his surroundings; his future aspirations as well as his chosen lifestyle neccessitated that. There was no way this hot little blond would come here and upset everything. 

"Listen. I get that you like guys. Fuck. It's not a big deal." Justin nearly flinched at the ice that appeared in Brian's eyes, but he didn't back down either. "If that is what your big discussion is all about - I don't fucking care."

Slightly relieved, yet not wanting to display that yet, Brian went on, "It is a big deal. I am a fucking quarterback for the Pittsburgh Panthers; I have aspirations to be a professional football player. Openly queer athletes still aren't welcomed into the locker rooms; although, there are more of us than anyone would suspect."

For the first time, Justin really could see where Brian was coming from; it had to be daunting to be an aspiring professional athlete, only to fear his sexuality could cost him the future of his dreams. Brian Kinney might be an ass, but suddenly he began to wonder if there were many layers to the beautiful brunet. Feeling a bit more at ease, Justin sat down on the edge, as far away from Brian as possible, before he told him, "Things change fast. Some states are passing gay marriage laws now. Who knows what might change when you get drafted."

Brian snorted derisively. "If  I get drafted. I haven't been the model of discretion. Despite knowing I need to keep certain things under wraps, there are times that I lose control."

"You lose control??" He couldn't resist his own sarcastic retort. Justin simply shook his head, unable to believe that Brian could doubt himself. "I'm not an expert, but all these trophies and plaques you have on your side of the room indicates a good amount of skill. I'm sure you'll be drafted."

"Maybe," he conceded. Brian's eyes became warmer as they moved over his new roommate. "Unless the wrong person walks in on me fucking the shit out of a Freshman."

"I hope you're not talking about me... because that's the last thing I'm looking for right now." Justin blushed when he saw the smug look on Brian's face. He had acknowledged his own sexuality without coming right out with it. There wasn't a doubt in his mind that Brian would instantly pick up on it. 

Brian moved over closer to him, his leg nearly brushing the blond's backside. As his eyes fell to what he could see encased in the tight jeans, it was an ass to be admired. "What's your name?" Brian asked, his voice dropping to a mere whisper. 

"J-Justin. Justin Taylor." Justin felt his eyes pulling to Brian's, the heat he viewed in them taking his breath away. He hadn't wanted to give him his name; althouth, he realized that was an unrealistic hope. They were roommates now. Of course, he would want to know that much about his roommate. The fact that Brian hadn't seemed to recognize him yet, filled him with mixed feelings. A part of him was glad he wouldn't have to face that part of his life, in particular, his intense crush on Brian; yet another side of him felt saddened that Brian hadn't found him memorable - even if only from afar. 

"I'm Brian Kinney." Tugging on Justin's sleeve until they were laying side-by-side in the bed, Brian laughed at Justin's gasp of surprise. His eyes drilled into the blond's slightly parted lips. He wanted to take them. Fuck, they looked so delicious. "You know..." Brian murmured huskily. "I think we can depart from the standard handshake." Brian's voice roughened. "After all, this wasn't a typical meeting..."

Justin swallowed, unable to think as he felt possessed under Brian's smoldering gaze. "W-what did you have in mind?"

A lusty chuckle followed. "Many things come to mind, Justin Taylor; however, for now, a kiss would be a nice way to start over."

Start over. Fuck, how could they do that? He hadn't even been honest with Brian yet. They weren't strangers; at least not from his own point of view. He knew Brian very well. As he watched Brian's lips coming closer, apparently intent on taking his without him giving him verbal assent, Justin realized he needed to stop this right now. In what was probably the hardest thing he'd ever done, Justin rolled away from Brian, and onto his feet in one awkward motion. Hell, he thought to himself. After years of dreaming of being the recipient of a Brian Kinney kiss, he was rejecting what he'd always viewed as impossible. How fucking ironic was that!?

"Problems, Taylor?" Brian taunted him, as he watched Justin vaulting quickly to the other side of the room. Justin had wanted to kiss him. There wasn't a doubt of that in his mind. He'd play his game - for now. The end result would be the same. He, and his hot little Freshman roommate would be getting very closely acquainted. 

"No, Brian." Justin sat down on his own bed, his eyes staring glumly ahead; he was cautious not to look at Brian. The last thing he wanted right now was to see the knowing look in those hazel eyes, not to mention the desire. Resisting his kiss once had been difficult enough; Justin wasn't certain how a repeat occurrence would go. "We're roommates. I think it's best we keep it at that."

Brian stood to his feet; he walked bare-footed, and shirtless to his closet to grab a T-shirt that clung to his skin. He smirked when he turned to see Justin's eyes following his every motion. Not a doubt lingered in his mind that he had this boy... and that he would have him. It was just a matter of time, and patience. Close proximity would be in his favor, and when the time was right he would capitalize on it. "I know you don't delude yourself to that degree, Roomie."

"I realize you think you're God's gift and all, and well, maybe you are... but I think I can manage to stay on my side of the room. My education is what matters now. I c-can't be distracted by anything else..." Justin had to look away from the mockery in his roommate's eyes. Justin knew he could have held Brian's gaze if he had really believed the words he had spoken, but he didn't, not really. He had always been attracted to this man, and now, it seemed more than ever. This would be a daily, not to mention nightly struggle. Somehow he would survive it. 

Moving over to Justin's side of the room, Brian surveyed him silently for a moment; he admired the boy's resistance, but he knew it wouldn't last. He hadn't even exerted the full level of his charm yet. When he did that, Justin would be on his knees begging for the fucking of his lifetime. Brian couldn't wait to give that to him. Something still nagged at him, though, when he looked at Justin closely. There was something vaguely familiar, but he couldn't place it. Brian knew he would in time. 

Justin cast a beaming smile at the man that was hovering too close; he knew he had to get control of their exchange here quickly. A show of confidence was the only way to maintain control with this man. "Can't we just be friends, Brian?"

Brian's thoughts were immediately confused by that statement. Friends? Did the blond beauty just say friends? He tilted his head to the side as he attempted to process that request. Brian answered how he would anyone who asked that, not thinking that maybe Justin was different on many levels. "One thing to keep in mind, Taylor. I never fuck my friends. If we ever became friends, and I'm not saying that we would... that would be where we stay. I don't do emotional attachments. And, once I fuck you, it's done. I don't do repeats."

"Well, that was blunt." Justin eyed him sharply, unbeknownst to himself, almost achingly for a moment. He didn't have a choice. As much as he'd like to think his former crush was over and gone, it was anything but that. The boy in him still yearned for this man... but he could never truly have him. Justin more fully realized that now. If they became friends, he'd have a better chance keeping him in his life. Whether he liked what that meant or not, he knew he wanted the arrogant Junior in his life. "Sorry, Brian. That's not how I'm built. I can't fuck you today, then tomorrow have you look through me like nothing happened. I think friends is all we can ever be."

"If that's what you want." Brian shrugged in apparent disinterest. He returned to his side of the room and slipped into his socks and shoes. Hanging around in here the rest of the afternoon and evening wasn't high on his list of things to do. He pocketed his wallet, keys, and most importantly lube and condoms. Brian made certain Justin saw him doing that. "Later..." he told him, slamming out the door and down the hallway without giving Justin a chance to respond again.

Justin felt his chest constricting as he realized what Brian was about to do. He ran a hand through his hair, grimacing as he realized how his encounter with Brian had him slightly shaking. As much as he knew watching Brian hooking up with random men would pain him to watch, he knew being one of those men cast uncaringly to the side would break his heart. Brian Kinney would not break his heart. If friendship was all they could have, he would take it. Justin's only fear was how much Brian still obviously affected him on an emotional level. He began to wonder if his path to heartbreak had already begun... and if escaping that reality was even a possibility.



I am writing on tablet most of the time, so my chapters will be a bit shorter; as I'm growing more comfortable with the system, I hope my updates can become more regulated. Please forgive any mistakes. I am working on perfecting this system. It is undoubtedly an adjustment. Thanks for reading. Comments are appreciated!! :)


Chapter Text

"You mind repeating that?" Daphne demanded into the phone. "Obviously our close proximity has affected my hearing."

Justin did an eye roll that he knew his friend couldn't see. "I said - my roommate is Brian Kinney."

Her jaw dropping open, she smiled at the student that held the door open for her... Justin's words causing her to pick up the pace. "I don't get it. You got the letter that gave you information about your roommate. It wasn't Brian Kinney."

"I think I know that, Daph; after all, the letter did come to me." Justin glared into the direction of Brian's side of the room - his bed that hadn't been slept in gnawing at him fiercely. He knew he had to stop letting that get to him. From what he had already learned about his new roommate - that was going to be a regular occurrence. "I thought you were on the way?"

"Patience much?" she grumbled. "I'm on the way up the stairs now. You can tell me all about your hot roomie."

"Right. I'll pass on that." Justin walked to the door; opening it, he looked down the hallway to see her moving up the stairs. He laughed as she rolled her eyes at the whistles that came her way. That was her fault for wanting to meet him in his room. What else would these guys do when a girl entered the male dorms? Justin realized that could add to his popularity with the male members of the campus... but with Brian, he doubted that would be deemed as anything impressive. He gritted his teeth when he realized that once more he had placed Brian at the forefront of his thoughts. All night long he had told himself - Let it go, Justin. Let it go. It was time to make that a reality... no matter how he had to go about it.

He flipped his phone closed when she reached his floor, his hand waving her down to his room. "Damn, you're slow. My mom walked up those stairs faster than you."

"Whatever," she mumbled. "I didn't see a reason to rush."

"Get in here, brat." Justin grinned at her ever present pigtails, shaking his head in disbelief. "You need to upgrade your look, Daph. We're not little kids anymore."

"What the hell crawled up your ass this morning? Damn, you're a grumpy little shit." She stepped into the room, walking into the center and looking around, arms crossing against her chest as she took everything in. "Well, this isn't fair. Your room is a lot bigger than mine."

"Now who's grumpy?" Justin taunted her. Shrugging he answered, "I thought they were all the same size, but maybe Freshman dorms are smaller."

Daphne grunted. "Nice. Rub it in that you obviously got an upgrade."

"If you want to call it that..." Justin flopped down on his bed, completely at ease when Daphne did the same next to him.

She looked at him curiously. "What's he like?" Her face lit up enthusiastically. "Is he all jock-like, you know, like how he was at school? Or is he moody and serious? No! Don't tell me! I bet he goes out with a different girl every night." She scrunched up her nose. "Cheerleader types, I bet."

Wow, Justin thought to himself. His best friend also appeared to have a crush on Brian Kinney. He looked over to Brian's side of the room; it was so easy to visualize that moment he'd been on his bed. Nothing had happened, but it could have. Then, he thought back to the incident he had walked in on when he'd first arrived. Justin almost laughed aloud as he thought of how wrong Daphne had it regarding Brian's sexuality. He felt a bit guilty that he couldn't tell her the truth... but he'd promised Brian it was their secret, and he would hold to it. Bottom line, it wasn't his secret to tell. If and when the truth came out - it wouldn't be from him. "I haven't talked to him that much really."

"Really?" she responded in disappointment. "You arrived yesterday afternoon."

"Yeah. We met and talked yesterday. Then, he went out last night. I haven't seen him since."

"Hmmm. Well, he's probably spending as much time with his friends, or girlfriend until he has to buckle down with school on Monday, not to mention football practice." Daphne was certain that had to be the answer. Nothing else made sense with a young, and healthy stud like Brian Kinney.

Justin knew exactly what Brian had 'buckled' down with for the night. In fact, he wouldn't be surprised if it had been multiple partners - all of the male sex. "I couldn't tell you," Justin grumbled. Sitting up on the bed, he looked back at her inquiringly. "What are you doing today? You want to go out and do something?" Justin knew he not only wanted to divert the subject away from Brian Kinney, but he wanted to get out of here too. With or without her, he planned on doing that.

"Uhhhh, I can't. I need to look for a part-time job." She elbowed Justin in the ribs. "Not all of us has a free ride for everything. I'm trying to help my mom out."

"You got a good scholarship, though---"

"Duh. I wouldn't be here if not. Scholarship won't pay for it all... and I'll be here more years than you will." Daphne shuddered, thinking of how long it would take to complete her specialized education. "I know it will be worth it, but it costs so much."

Nodding, Justin clearly understood that. "Yeah. I tried to tell Dad that I would go to a smaller school, but he insisted I come to Pitt."

"He loves you a lot, Justin. You're really lucky to have him."

"I know." Justin sighed. "I just hope I don't disappoint him. I know he wants me to go into business... but I don't think that's what I want."

"Justin, we've talked about this before. I know that's what he wants, but bottom line is this - he loves you. He only wants what's best for you." Daphne nearly shrieked when the door closed loudly behind them. She hadn't even heard it open.

A mocking smile was on Brian's face. "Awwww, how sweet. Spoken like a fucking Hallmark card."

Glaring at his dickhead of a roommate, no matter how beautiful he was in the process, Justin blandly spoke, "Introductions aren't really in order... but, I'll be polite. Daphne, this abrupt asshole is my roommate Brian Kinney."

"Of course. I'd recognize him anywhere." Daphne smiled at him brightly, her eyes quickly taking in his disheveled appearance. "Rough night?"

Brian shrugged, running a hand through his ruffled hair. "It filled the void." Looking at their comfortable positions seated on the side of the bed, Brian arched a brow, before asking, "I didn't interrupt anything... did I?"

Justin rolled his eyes. Brian was just being facetious now. He knew nothing would be going on between him and a girl. "We were just catching up."

"Oh? You know each other?" Brian crossed his arms across his chest as he looked back and forth between them. He had no idea why he felt the need to rattle Justin so much, he just knew that he did. Perhaps it was the fact that every man he had fucked last night hadn't been the one that had made his need so great in the first place. "Don't tell me... high school sweethearts?"

Daphne began to giggle. "You're funny, Brian. Not even close." She wasn't about to be the one to tell Brian that his new roommate was gay; she figured when Justin was ready, he would tell him that himself.

Brian frowned as he looked at the two of them, his eyes narrowing on the girl. "I've seen you somewhere... but where?" As he looked at the two of them together, he felt it even more strongly - he had seen the two of them somewhere, but he had no idea of when or where. It was driving him out of his mind how he knew Justin. He had to figure it out. "Where are you from?"

Justin's eyes widened as he quickly determined that Daphne would soon solve Brian's mystery. He had no idea why he was trying to keep it secret, there was no way he could indefinitely... but he just didn't want Brian to know just yet. If he did, he might somehow realize the truth about Justin's former crush on him. He didn't want that... not now. Standing to his feet, he all but pulled Daphne to the door. "Uhhhh, remember your errands and stuff, Daph. Better get them done. We can catch up later."

So surprised by Justin's sudden movement, she just looked at him in bewilderment. "Ohhh, right. Well, I guess so." She smiled at Brian, as Justin pushed her out the door. "Nice to meet you, Brian."

"You too, Daphne." He cast a pointed look at his roommate. "I'm sure we'll be seeing you around."

As she made the way down the stairs, Justin shouted out, "I'll call you later." Not waiting for her response, he stepped back inside the room, closing the door, all but ignoring his curious roommate.

"Okay, Blondie. What the fuck was that all about?" Brian demanded; there wasn't a doubt in his mind the boy was hiding something. He didn't like mysteries. This one would get resolved now.

"I don't have a clue what you're talking about." Justin moved about his room, leisurely unpacking more of his boxes that he hadn't touched when he'd arrived yesterday... doing all he could to keep his mind, and attention off of the man that was getting too close to the truth.

"Right. I just asked your little friend where she's from, and you hustled her out of here like the place was on fire. What gives? And... don't tell me nothing. I know a cover-up when I see one."

Justin turned to face him. "Cover-up? That's a bit dramatic. I just knew she had things to do. She wasn't getting them done here."

"Uh huh." Shaking his head, Brian moved toward the bathroom. "I'm taking a shower. This little chat is obviously going nowhere."

Glaring at the back of his agitating roommate, Justin snapped, "That's because it was a pointless one!" Justin's temper grew even hotter when Brian ignored his outburst. Damn, the man was so aggravating. Stomping over to his bedside table, Justin reached for his wallet and keys. He didn't plan on being Brian's little whipping boy when he came back out. Opening the door, he nearly barreled into a man that had his hand poised to knock. Gasping, he murmured, "Uhhhh... sorry."

The blond on the other side of the door smiled at him. It was warm, inviting, and extremely appreciative. "No problem at all. You must be Brian's new roommate."

"Yeah. Lucky me," Justin grumbled.

"Off to a bad start already?" Uncertain of how much the new, and undeniably hot new Freshman knew about Brian, he chose his words carefully. "It takes awhile for him to, uhhhh, get to know new people. Just give it time."

"Right, well, looks like I have plenty of that..." Justin already thought the next two years would be endless. There was nothing he'd like more than to be wrong about that. "I guess you're a friend of Brian's; well, he's in the shower now. He should be out in a few minutes."

Eyes moving up and down the blond, he answered, "Actually, Brian is my half-brother. Same father, different mother, you know? I was going to see if he wanted to get some lunch... but well, if you're not busy, I'd much rather take you."

Justin flushed as he met the interest in the blue eyes that held his own. This guy was hot. As different as they were, he could see how Brian could be his brother. They must not have lived together, though. He would have known about that in high school. "I guess I need to eat, right?" Justin laughed nervously. "Okay, let's do it."

"What's your name, handsome?" he asked, unable to believe how the day had suddenly gotten so much brighter.

"Justin. Justin Taylor." He stepped out into the hallway, closing the door behind him. "And, you?"

His eyes moved up and down the beautiful blond. "I'm Brandon. And, I am so pleased to meet you. In fact, I think I'll just have to visit my brother much more often now." Brandon followed Justin down the stairs. Oh yeah, he thought to himself. His dorm was only a few buildings away. There wasn't a doubt in his mind, he would be stopping by much more in the future. A whole lot more.


A/N: Before you berate me for the surprising twist, keep in mind this - at least it isn't Ethan! Haha. Thanks for reading. Comments are greatly appreciated!! :)



Chapter Text

Brandon idly popped a couple of fries into his mouth as he looked at the beautiful blond seated across from him; his eyes wandered away from him briefly to take in their surroundings. "I would have taken us somewhere nicer than McDonald's." He winked teasingly at his lunch companion. "After all, it is our first date."

Justin about choked on his own fries, his eyes widening at the implication of Brandon's words. Oh my God, he thought to himself, was Brandon - the man he'd just met, not to mention, Brian's half-brother, actually viewing this as an actual date. "Uhhhhh, d-date?"

A soft laugh fell freely from Brandon's throat. They had barely talked yet, but still, he found himself completely charmed. He wanted to know much more about Brian's Freshman roommate. To his surprise he wanted to know it all. "Relax, Justin. I was only teasing." His smirk fell away almost instantly to display a more serious expression. "Of course, I'd be more than willing to take you on a real date - if that is something you want too."

"Hmmm." Justin dipped his chicken nuggets into the sweet-n-sour sauce, before taking a large bite, his eyes on Brandon's intent expression the entire time. "I'll bear that in mind. We'll have to see how our lunch goes first---"

"Ahhhh." Brandon whispered theatrically, as if playing up to his watchful and amused audience. "The pressure is on now, Brandon. Better watch out. The boy is putting you through the ropes." He pursed his lips, as he continued to say, "Sink or swim baby."

Justin burst out laughing. One thing was clear - Brandon was very different from his half-brother. They each might be hot in their own right... but that seemed to be where the similarity ended. "You know what, Brandon? I like you."

"I'm very glad to hear that." Brandon placed a hand over his heart, effecting a pose of a broken-hearted man, should the case be different. Brandon leaned across the table, before he whispered in conspiratorial fashion - "How about I go visit the Dean of Students, and request you be switched with my roommate?"

"As tempting as that may be... and trust me when I say it is; I am settled in now, so, I think I should stay." Justin knew such a transfer wouldn't be easy or commonplace, nor was he certain he wanted to do that.

Brandon effected a fake pout. "You don't want to live with me... I'm crushed, Justin. Completely, and beyond consoling."

Justin finished off his lunch, and took a long drink, before he responded, "I really doubt that. In fact, if you're anything like Brian, I'm sure you'll be fixing that tonight."

"I love my brother, and I understand him... but no, Justin, we aren't that much alike."

Easily detecting the affection in Brandon's voice, Justin was quick to surmise, "The two of you are close, then."

Brandon shrugged. "I like to think so... but one never knows with Brian."

"Now that I can believe." Justin finished the last of his drink, before placing his empty cup on the tray, an understanding look in his eyes. "I'm sure he's a great brother, but to the rest of the world, well, let's say he's a bit... uhmmmm, difficult."

Laughter erupted from Brandon, a smile quickly brightening his face. "I'd say you've gotten to know baby brother quickly."

"Baby brother? He's a Junior... so, I'm assuming you're a Senior?" Justin asked, finding this new dynamic of Brian having a brother extremely interesting.

"That's right." Brandon's eyes became flirtatious, his hand reaching across the table to cover Justin's suggestively. He winked lewdly, before he told him, "A good reason for us to take advantage of our limited time together..."

Justin rolled his eyes; he stood to his feet, and pushed back his chair to throw out his trash and replace the tray. He smiled at Brandon who was at his side doing the same. "In some respects you are just like your brother."

Brandon mentally groaned. That meant one thing alone. Justin knew Brian was gay. That was surprising in itself. Brian was very careful who knew about his sexual orientation. He had so much to lose; Brian hadn't found that someone that would make him risk his dreams. Knowing the talent Brian possessed on the football field, he wasn't sure he blamed him. As they walked the short distance to his car, Brandon couldn't help but wonder how Justin found out about Brian. Had he just known... or had something happened between them already? "So... I guess you got to know Brian very well... and, so quickly---"

"Uhhh yeah, a bit too well." Justin flushed when he remembered his instant view of Brian in action.

"How disappointing," Brandon murmured as he placed the car in drive. "There goes my chances..."

Justin grunted. "You're kidding, right?"

"Are you telling me that Brian didn't try anything?" Brandon glanced at Justin dubiously, as he turned the corner that would lead them directly back onto campus.

"Well no, I'm not telling you that... but, it's not going to happen. Brian knows that too." When Brandon cast a skeptical look his way Justin further explained, "I can't play his games, Brandon. Maybe it works for him, but I can't be with him one night; then, the next be treated like I'm either invisible or unimportant. I'm just not built that way."

A few minutes later, Brandon parked his car, he half-turned in his seat to look at Justin. He could see the beautiful blond meant exactly what he said. "I can't believe it..." Brandon whispered in what was clear shock. "My brother has actually been rejected--"

Justin laughed. "You say it like it's never happened."

"You laugh... but as far as I know - it hasn't." Brandon shook his head as he stepped from the car, unable to believe what Justin was telling him, and yet, there was nothing hesitant in Justin's voice. He had turned Brian down. The only thing he had to determine was how Brian took that. "So, uhhh, did he get mad?"

"Who knows with him?" Justin responded as they walked towards his dorm. "I told him I thought it best we stick to being friends. I'd like to be his friend... most especially since we're roommates."

Brandon's head arched back as laughter erupted. "Brian was trying to score, and you asked him to be friends. That had to have been something!"

Justin remembered it well. "It was awkward at first... but I think he handled it."

"Don't tell me. I bet I can guess." Brandon led him up the stairs; he made certain they weren't in hearing distance of any of the other guys moving about. "He probably went out to find a trick... making certain to tell you what he'd be doing."

"More or less..." Justin didn't look at Brandon. He didn't want him to know how that had hurt him... how much he knew Brian's meaningless encounters would continue to hurt him. The more he thought about it, the more he felt he had to let go of any romantic thoughts of Brian Kinney. They wanted completely opposite things out of a relationship; that was, if you could call what Brian did being in a relationship. He smiled stiffly at Brandon when they reached the landing to his room. "That's just not for me."

Brandon nodded. He could see much in those beautiful blue eyes. Justin did want Brian, but he wasn't going to act on it. He respected the blond even more. That made his decision very clear. He needed to talk to Brian before he pursued anything with Justin. Knowing Brian as he did, he knew he wouldn't try to stop him over someone he'd just met... but, he wouldn't compete for Justin with his brother. Justin deserved better than those sort of games... and his relationship with Brian was solid. He wouldn't tamper with that.

Once they reached the door, Justin smiled at Brandon warmly, and with a questioning light in his eyes. "Uhhh, thank you for lunch, Brandon. It was nice having someone to talk to. Did you want to come in?"

"Yeah. I'd like to talk to Brian... if he's around." Brandon followed Justin inside the room, his eyes immediately pulling to find Brian reclining on his bed, playbook in hand. He moved closer as Justin closed the door, and went to his side of the room. "Hard at it again, baby brother?"

Brian smiled, flipping the book shut; Brandon was one of the few interruptions he didn't scowl at. "Hey, Brandon." His eyes slid to his hot, blond roommate that was attempting to make himself as unobtrusive as possible, an eyebrow arching curiously. "I see you met my roommate."

"Yes. He answered the door when you were in the shower." Brandon met Brian's blank stare. "Do you think we could take a walk or something, Brian? I'd like to talk to you."

"Is everything alright?" Brian sat, and stood quickly, his footsteps moving closer to his half-brother, concern clearly displayed on his face.

Brandon scowled at Brian's reaction. "I'm fine..." he snapped. "I just need to talk to you."

Justin looked over at them in slight surprise. He hadn't heard Brandon's voice carry any sort of sharpness since they'd met... he was clearly perturbed now. "Hey, you don't need to go out. I wanted to talk a walk around the grounds a bit. I need to pick up some books and supplies yet... so, you can have all the privacy you need."

"Thanks..." Brian answered, his eyes never leaving his brother's tense face.

Brandon relaxed, seeing that Brian wasn't going to say more than he wanted spoken. He smiled, and winked at Justin. "Yeah, thank you, Gorgeous. This won't take very long."

Justin flushed at the open admiration in Brandon's eyes, his footsteps quickly carrying him to the door. "See you later."

"Later..." they both replied, both sets of eyes watching the blond boy's retreat, appreciation for the sight equal in each man.

"So, what's up?" Brian asked, his eyes narrowed on his brother, his knowing gaze taking in every expression on Brandon's face. "Nothing is wrong - seriously?"

Brandon took in a deep breath. Damn. Why did Brian always have to worry so much? "I'm fine, Brian. Never felt better..."

"Okay. What's on your mind?"

"Uhhhh, it's Justin." Brandon watched Brian's face closely for a response; it was of no surprise to him when he got that familiar blank stare.

"What about him?" Brian grumbled, retreating to sit on his bed... relieved that everything was fine with his brother. Although, he wasn't sure he liked the direction this conversation was going.

Brandon moved to sit next to him, his words tumbling out freely - "I wanted to ask him out... and, well - I want to make sure you would be okay with that."

"Why the fuck wouldn't I be? I just met the little twat. He doesn't mean anything to me..." Brian shrugged off the annoyance that hit him the minute the words came from Brandon's mouth. They had never fought over a trick. He wasn't about to start now. True, he had seen Justin first... but it was obvious Justin wasn't on board with the way he lived his life. He didn't intend to change his 'safe' philosophy for anyone - not even the hottest piece of blond boy ass he had ever saw.

"That's a bit harsh, Bri. He doesn't deserve that," Brandon answered defensively. A dreamy expression came over his face. "He's hot, and unbelievably sensitive. I'd really like to get to know him better."

Brian snorted. "You got all that from one meeting?"

Brandon nodded. "Some things a man just knows. So, you mean it, then - if I ask Justin out, you truly won't mind?"

He stood up from the bed, his feet taking him over to the closet to pull on a shirt. Suddenly, he felt the need to keep himself busy, and moving. "No, I don't mind." He smiled at his brother tightly, before he told him, "Go for it. Fuck the shit out of him."

"We'll have to see about that. For now, I'd just like to get to know him." Brandon eyed his brother sharply for a minute. "I want you to promise me something, Brian."

Brian looked at him, he knew exactly what he was about to say. "Have I ever told anyone, Brandon? That's your business to share with whoever."

"Thank you, Brian." He moved to the door, an excited glint in his eyes. "I'm going to see if I can find Justin. If I'm lucky I might have plans tonight."

"Lucky?" Brian scoffed. "We're brothers. You can score any man you want."

Brandon smiled. "Well, only if you don't beat me to the punch. I guess this time you didn't."

Brian wasn't going to lie and say he hadn't wanted to fuck Justin. That wouldn't be happening now; at least, not as long as Brandon was interested in him. In more ordinary circumstances Brian might have engaged in some sibling rivalry and competitive spirit. However, his circumstances were far from ordinary. Brian wouldn't fight his brother for Justin. Brandon deserved to be happy. Life hadn't been kind to his brother. Recently, things had been going better for him; Brian only hoped that continued. "I guess not," Brian agreed.

"Talk to you later, bro. Good luck with the playbook." Brandon slipped from the room, his steps taking him down the stairs and off in the direction of where he hoped to find Justin. He had mixed feelings about his talk with Brian. There was an underlying tone in his brother. Brian had said all the right words, but had he really meant them? He really hoped so. Justin was special. It was his hope to find out exactly how much so.



Chapter Text

Justin couldn't believe how fast his first week at college had passed. Other than a few calls from Daphne, and one from his parents yesterday, his life had centered around his textbooks, and getting comfortable with the lay of the land. It was a huge adjustment. Nothing in his mind could have prepared him for the halls, grounds, and the classrooms of Pittsburgh University. His schedule was full, and his time limited, but still, he remembered his father's advice. He had told him that this should be the time of his life. Justin hoped so. Beginning to settle into his routine, he began to think it could be; however, on the day of his arrival he wouldn't have thought it to be remotely possible.

His initial meeting with Brian was impossible to forget. He doubted many incoming Freshmen were greeted to such a sight. After coming to terms with his living situation, Justin was actually glad at times that his roommate was none other than his high school idol. It was good to put that all into perspective; seeing face-to-face how flawed the man truly was, he was finally beginning to look impartially at Brian - at least, as much as any gay man could towards a man like Brian Kinney.

He looked up from his small desk when Brian appeared in the bathroom doorway; his eyes widened as he took in his roommate's dressy attire. This afternoon was the first game of the season, and it happened to be a home game as well; Justin knew the players changed in the locker rooms, but he hadn't expected him to look like this. "Uhhh, nice suit," he couldn't help but to mumble. One thing was for certain, he doubted that suit came from off the rack. The material flowed against Brian's body, yet clung in all the right places as well. There wasn't a doubt every available female, and many of the males would be eyeing Brian today. Justin wasn't so sure even the unavailable ones wouldn't give Brian more than a passing glance.

"Thanks, Blondie." He surveyed himself in the mirror, before he smugly told him, "What's beneath the suit is even better..."

Justin snorted. "I'll take your word for it."

Brian laughed. They both knew that Justin had already viewed the entire package. "I could always show you - if your memory is that faulty."

"I think I'll pass. Thanks all the same, though." Justin looked back down at the textbook in front of him, determined not to allow Brian to be as much of a distraction as he normally was... and one that he knew the arrogant brunet hoped to be.

"Anytime..." Brian replied in boredom. "Such a studious boy you are, Justin Taylor. School work on a Saturday afternoon. Doesn't Justin ever get to go out and play?"

Justin closed his book. It was obvious he wouldn't get anything accomplished until Brian was gone. "As a matter of fact - Justin does have fun. I have a date this afternoon... for the game."

"How exciting." A mocking smile followed. "Don't tell me - your little school friend?"

"Not even close." Justin watched Brian closely for his reaction, still uncertain about his decision, and even more curious about Brian's reaction to it. "I'm going with your brother."

Brian's face became even more impassive. He didn't intend to reveal to the bodacious little blond if his announcement affected him in any way. "How sweet. Well, I must go now. I hope you enjoy the game." Brian's voice lowered to a hushed whisper. "A little word of advice - don't pretend to know anything about football if you don't. Brandon really hates that."

"Thanks for the info, Brian. However, you'll be glad to know that my dad took me to numerous games as I was growing up. I am very familiar with the process." Justin smiled sweetly, for some reason always enjoying getting the last word with Brian. Although, he rarely ended their exchanges doing so. "Good luck today."

Pocketing his keys, and slinging his duffel bag over his shoulder, he gave Justin a condescending smile. "No, little Justin, it's all about skill. Very little luck involved." Before opening the door, Brian gave him a flirtatious wink. "You could always give me a kiss for luck - that is, if you are so eager on extending it."

Justin slid a cold, disinterested glance over Brian. "No, that's quite alright. I wouldn't worry, though. I'm sure you will find plenty of your other admirers that will gladly give you one."

"Yes, you're right." Brian affixed a stormy glance on his roommate. "That and so much more." Before stepping from the room, Brian issued a curt - "Later."

He watched as the door closed behind Brian; Justin doubted he'd see Brian again today, at least, other than on the football field. As much as he didn't want to care about that, a part of him couldn't help it, even if just a little. One thing was more than clear - being the roommate of your high school idol was never easy, and in the case of it being Brian Kinney, Justin knew it would be even less so. Justin only hoped that time, the responsibility of University life, new friends, and the constant reminder of how Brian strives to live his life, would soon make his crush non-existent.

Justin whistled with appreciation as Brandon escorted him to their designated seats. "I'm impressed, Brandon. Seats on the fifty-yard line aren't easy to come by."

"Tell me about it. Especially for the season opener - not to mention it being against Florida State." Brandon grinned impishly. "Of course, it doesn't hurt being related to the star quarterback."

"Right. I can see where that might have some benefits." Justin was silent as the introductions were made and the teams made their way onto the field. He stood with the rest of the fans to cheer on the arrival of this years Pittsburgh Panthers. Justin alternated from looking at the field, then around him at the exuberance of the students, and other fans here to support the Panthers. It was an awe inspiring sight knowing he was a part of this University; that unmistakable college fever was swelling within him. Until this very moment, it hadn't really hit him. Now it was in full force.

Brandon watched intently as the Panther offense took the field. A smile spread across his lips as he watched Brian taking the shotgun formation. "It looks like they are trying to strike hard and fast." He glanced at Justin only briefly before returning to watch the play unfolding. Quickly, Brandon jumped to his feet when Brian's pass was complete, and the receiver gained 30 yards before finally being brought down. He shouted out hoots and hollers, resonant of the rest of the fans, his face beaming with unconcealed pride. "What an opening play. It looks like Brian is focused on his goals today."

Justin couldn't argue that. "It looks like Brian intends to give it his all."

Nodding energetically, Brandon agreed, "He always does." Brandon glanced over at Justin when a running play was in progress, a slightly apologetic look in his eyes. "This isn't much of a first date. I - I was hoping maybe we could spend some time together afterwards. Maybe dinner, and a club?"

"I'd like that." Justin realized he really meant it. There was something warm, and genuine about Brandon. The more he got to know him, the more he liked him. "I realize that your brother is the starting quarterback, and that you're much more interested in the game than me... well, I just want you to know that I'm fine with that. I think it's great that the two of you are so close."

"To be very clear, I am extremely interested in you, Justin. But yes, right now, it's about the game. Hopefully we can talk and get to know each other later." Brandon was clearly distracted by the game, but he wanted Justin to fully understand his interest. That wasn't about to change. Justin was special, and he was looking forward to going through all the stages of getting to know him. He only hoped Justin was as interested in doing the same. His eyes scanning the snapping play, Brandon's eyes bulged wide in excitement as Brian broke free from a defender and threw what equated to a 20-yard pass; the crowd went wild as the receiver artfully sprinted down the sideline and into the end zone.

Justin jumped to his feet with the rest of the crowd as the team followed the scoring receiver down the field, each of them administering congratulatory pats on the back. "Wow. I don't believe it. They scored so quickly."

"It's great, Justin. Looks like the entire team came to play today. This could be the start to a great season..." Brandon's eyes singled out his brother trotting off the field, his eyes filled with love and pride. Brian had accomplished so much. Between this year and the next, Brian would be in the scouting spotlight. As long as he didn't get distracted, Brian could have the career he'd always dreamt about. He only hoped nothing got in his way of that. Knowing his brother as he did, Brandon realized that everything else paled in significance to a professional football career. Brian would be repelled by anything or anyone that cost him that dream. He hoped nothing ever did.

Brandon walked along Liberty Avenue next to Justin; he had to resist the compulsion to grab Justin's hand in his and hold it tight. He wanted to shout out to all the interested fags that this hot blond not only was with him... but belonged to him as well. He knew that was a gigantic leap in the short time they had known each other, and it actually went against his character. Brandon had the feeling Justin would bring much change to his life. As hesitant as he generally was to change, this time he felt himself welcoming it.

Justin smiled shyly at his companion. "Thank you for dinner, and the game. It was wonderful - all of it." He laughed as he remembered the come from behind victory. "I bet Brian is partying it up with his teammates tonight."

"Yeah. It was a great game. I'm so glad we beat Florida State. Brian is probably well on his way to being drunk by now..." Brandon shook his head; there wasn't a doubt how Brian would end his victorious day celebrating. "No ass will be safe tonight."

Clutching his chest as laughter overtook him, Justin almost lost his balance when another couple passing by nudged him as they moved past. "That's probably true," Justin answered, when he had regained his breath. "And, it's fucking hilarious!"

"I'm glad you enjoyed dinner. Would you like to go into a club? There's no reason why the night has to end so soon..." Brandon's tone displayed the hopefulness in his request, although, he would go along with Justin's decision either way.

"Not tonight - if it's okay with you. I'd rather walk with you... and talk some more." Justin glanced down at the his watch, then back at Brandon, only now realizing just how late it was. "Uhhhh, will we have problems getting back into our dorms?"

Brandon shrugged. "They don't take role call, but they do frown if we make enough noise to disturb everyone else. When I'm going to be out late I usually stay in town."

"Stay in town? I thought you lived on campus." Justin was clearly confused now. In fact, he didn't think a student was allowed to have living accommodations both on and off campus.

"I do live on campus... but I have a small apartment too. In fact, it's just around the corner." Brandon looked at Justin uncertainly. He was worried what Justin would think if he asked him over. The last thing he wanted was to make Justin uncomfortable. This blond wasn't a trick. He wasn't sure how he knew, but he could already easily discern that he would never walk away from Justin after a night of unbridled lustful abandonment. Justin triggered something in him he didn't either understand or have any former familiarity with, he just knew he wanted to know more. A whole lot more.

"Wow. I guess that would make things convenient." Justin didn't finish his thought, although, he realized the implication was probably more than clear.

Brandon sighed. He had walked head first into that one. "I know how it looks... but it's not like that, Justin. Forget for a moment - if you can - that I am Brian's brother. I'll try to explain as best as I can."

Justin grinned impishly. "I know you're not Brian; that has been more than clear. From what I've gathered so far, the two of you only have a couple of things in common - clearly, both of you are hot; but more importantly, you have a closeness that only two brothers can share."

"True... but we have another thing in common too." Brandon smirked and lowered his voice in a conspiratorial fashion. "We're both queer as well."

"Clearly..." Justin muttered dryly. "Yet, Brian insists on hiding it from the world. Between you and me, I don't know how long he can do that. From what I've noticed so far - Brian isn't exactly discreet."

"I can't argue that. Brian's various lusts encompass all aspects of his life. He needs to get that under control, or as you said, he will be found out. I don't want to see his football career end just as it's starting. If it were me, I wouldn't give a damn; but, Brian wants that life. I don't know what it would do to him if he suddenly lost it."

Justin swallowed. He knew that was a risk. No matter how much times had progressed, there was always a chance Brian could be judged harshly and condemned just as fiercely. "I hope that doesn't happen. His talent is more than evident. It would be a shame if he lost it due to some bigoted assholes."

"He won't." Brandon smiled fondly as he thought of many of Brian's close calls; and yet, afterwards discovering they hadn't really been that close. "Brian is very smart. Don't let the flippant manner fool you. He has heart too. There is so much more to Brian than what people see."

"I'll take your word for it," Justin grumbled. For numerous reasons, he wanted to get off the subject of Brian Kinney. Justin knew one way to do that. "So, uhhhh, did you mention your apartment being around the corner for any particular reason... or were you merely making conversation?"

It was Brandon's turn to be embarrassed. "I was going to ask you if you wanted to end the night there. We could have a few drinks, watch a movie... talk some more."

"Talk?" Justin prodded, arching a brow suggestively.

"Yeah, talk - at least for now." Brandon stilled his steps, his hands closing over Justin's arms to urge him into doing the same. He looked into his endless blue eyes for a long moment, before he admitted, "I'm very attracted to you, Justin. I won't deny that. But, do I want you to come home with me to pounce on you? No. Not tonight. It's your call. I'll take you back to your dorm now, or you can stay at my apartment."

Justin gave it some thought. He didn't need to think for long. One thing was for sure - he didn't want to walk in on Brian with another of his tricks. This was a night he wouldn't be surprised if Brian brought one back home. But... more than that, he wanted to get to know Brandon too. "I do like you, Brandon. In some ways you are similar to Brian, but in others, so incredibly different. I'd really like to know more."

Brandon did what he'd wanted to do all evening. He slid his hand down Justin's arm and clasped their hands together. "Let's go, then."

As they walked away, neither of them noticed the hazel-eyed man watching them from a distance making his own realizations. Brian knew he had the power to stop this budding little romance - if he wanted. He was Brian Kinney; undoubtedly, he could have any man he wanted. There wasn't a doubt that he'd wanted - and if he was honest with himself, still wanted Justin Taylor. But... the more he thought about it, the more he decided Justin might be right. They were better off only to be friends.

There was no mistaking the lightness in Brandon's steps. It had been so long since he'd seen his brother so content. He might be an asshole much of the time, but he loved his brother. Brandon deserved to be happy. He turned and walked in the opposite direction, deciding that booze and the men of Babylon would heal what ailed him tonight. Brian didn't intend on interfering in Brandon's pursuit of Justin.

For the first time, Brian realized he had to settle friendship with a man he wanted to fuck. He wasn't holding back because he wanted to, he was doing it because it was the right thing to do.


Chapter Text

Brandon sat next to Justin on the couch, a bottle of a chilled Chablis and two finely stemmed wine glasses in front of them. "Are you sure wine is okay? I've got beer in the refrigerator too."

"No, this is fine." Justin took a sip of the glass of wine that Brandon offered, a nod of approval quickly following. "I haven't tasted wine in a long time. This is very good."

Snickering, Brandon observed, "Could that be due to the fact that you aren't quite of legal drinking age yet?"

"Good point... but no, I've always been able to gain access - if I wanted. My parents would even let me have wine at dinner the past couple of years. So... I'm not an ingénue regarding the more minor alcoholic beverages."

"Tell me about them - your parents, I mean. Do you have a close family?" Brandon waggled his eyebrows suggestively. "Are there more like you at home?"

"I'm very close to both of my parents. I've been fortunate really. They have always been supportive of everything I do." Justin took another long sip of his wine, before answering, "And no... there are no other versions of me at home. I guess, when my parents had me - they decided enough was enough."

Brandon directed a warm gaze on Justin; his voice lowered to a husky purr, when he told him, "I doubt that. My thought is that they decided such perfection couldn't be replicated."

Justin continued to be affected by this man's charm. In so many ways, it simply made sense that he was Brian's half-brother. "You are too much. And... an incorrigible flirt. I can see Brian in you... and yet, you are so different."

"Yeah, I guess we are." Brandon smiled as he thought of his brother... and what he must be doing right now. "I can only imagine the celebrating Brian is carrying out as we speak."

"Hopefully he does so discreetly... and behind closed doors." Once again, he remembered his first meeting of Brian - at least the one here on campus; discretion was not Brian Kinney's greatest strength.

Brandon nodded his agreement. "I am torn about how Brian lives his life - to be completely honest. As much as I know Brian yearns for a professional football career; I'd like to see him achieve it by being more open about who he is. This is the twenty-first century. Gay athletes have already emerged publicly. I think Brian could still be successful. Until he is open, I don't think he will truly be happy."

"Perhaps not... but, it's Brian's decision to make." Justin hated how they continued to get back on the subject of Brian... but, he figured with Brian being Brandon's brother, it was most likely unavoidable. "So... did you spend a lot of time together when you were growing up?"

"During the summer, Saint Joan, as Brian mockingly calls his mother, would send him to spend a month with me. Other than that, it was only phone calls, and cards." A pained look entered Brandon's eyes. "I wish we could have spent more time together."

"It's clear that the two of you love each other a lot. I'm sure Brian wished that too."

Brandon shrugged. "It's hard to tell with Brian. He keeps so much to himself... but with the asshole of a father we share, it hasn't been easy for him."

"I take it that Brian isn't close to either of his parents?" Justin asked, uncertain of how Brian would feel about his personal, and most private life being discussed so openly, but it did help in understanding so much more about him.

"Not at all. He hates both of them... and with the unhealthy childhood he endured, I completely understand." Brandon's tone was bitter when he remembered the bruises he'd seen on Brian's skin when he had come to visit. They had often appeared faded, and Brian hadn't wanted to talk about it in his younger years; but knowing Jack Kinney as he did - Brandon knew how they had been administered. He had been the lucky one not living in the Kinney home. His mother was very protective of him. She had always insisted that Brian stay with them, and never he with them. Undoubtedly, she had known as well.

Justin didn't want to prod any further. He had the unshakable feeling that a dark story could exist here. Justin didn't feel right about listening to it... unless it came from Brian himself. He couldn't imagine that candor coming from his aloof roommate anytime soon. In fact, he wondered if Brian would resent how much he had already learned about his private life. "I'm sorry Brian had such a rough upbringing... but, I'm glad that you were shielded from some of it."

Brandon's eyes became bleak for a moment. "We all have our own tragedies in life. It's just a question of how you manage them."

A heaviness suddenly permeated all around him. What had started out as light-hearted, and fun... now had become serious, even depressing. He wanted to escape from this and move back into more pleasant times. Placing his now empty wine glass on the table, Justin turned to face Brandon, a smile of mock reproof on his face. "So... did you bring me to your apartment only to talk about your brother?"

"Not at all." Brandon's expression remained serious... but in an entirely different way now. "I just wanted to spend more time with you." A sheepish grin followed. "I'll be honest, though. I probably would have used any excuse available to get you here."

"Cunning and hot..." Justin smiled at Brandon flirtatiously, unable to resist the kindness and energy that emanated from Brian's brother. "Definitely a lethal combination.

Brandon's eyes moved over Justin's face, desperately attempting to analyze every detail. He reached up to trace his fingers along the side of Justin's face. "Can I ask you one thing... well, maybe two---"

Swallowing nervously, Justin asked, "Uhhhh, I guess that depends..."

"Nothing too difficult. I know it's getting late, and you probably want to get some rest. I'm actually tired myself." His eyes became shadowed for a moment before he added, "Probably the excitement of the game."

"Probably..." Justin agreed. "Your questions?"

"Well, I was hoping I could kiss you goodnight. That is - if it isn't too soon." Brandon's eyes were filled with hope, and yet, they held an acceptance to abide by any decision Justin made.

Justin's voice was husky, when he answered, "I think that can be arranged."

"Thank you, Justin." Brandon moved closer on the couch; his hand fully cupped Justin's chin in his hand. He did that for two reasons. One, it would make it so he couldn't crush their bodies together - pushing too hard and fast wasn't something he wanted to do with him. In addition, he just wanted to touch that pale, soft skin. As he touched it, he continued to be amazed. He knew Justin would be hard in all the right places... and yet, that softness was there too. It astounded him how quickly this man had affected him. Without a doubt, he wanted Justin Taylor. Brandon only hoped Justin felt the same... or would return his feelings with the same fervor very soon.

Sliding his hand up Brandon's arm, Justin leaned in for the kiss that seemed so important to Brandon. He wasn't sure what he had expected, but all that was forgotten when their lips touched. The kiss was searching, yet sweet; it lacked the fire that one felt when engaged in a mind-altering kiss... but it was nice. As the kiss slowly deepened, Justin learned another thing - Brandon knew how to kiss. Despite how innocent the kiss had began, Justin knew they would end it with both of them curious about more.

Brandon pulled back after a brief foray into Justin's mouth. He knew it was necessary if he was to manage any kind of restraint. Much like his brother, it wasn't in his nature to hold back from what he wanted. Justin Taylor most definitely fell into that category. "I guess we should say goodnight..."

"Yeah... I guess." Justin moved back, his eyes searching Brandon's face intently. Something was troubling him... but he wasn't sure what. He remembered that Brandon had said something about two questions. Justin wondered if that what still had Brandon distracted. "Uhhhh, didn't you say something about two questions?"

"I did, but that kiss more than answered everything - at least for me. We have plenty of time to talk and explore things." Brandon bit his lip uncertainly. "That is - if I'm not taking it for granted that you want to do the same."

Justin smiled brightly at Brandon. He didn't have a clue where this new relationship could be heading, but he definitely wanted to know more. "I don't want to rush into anything... but, I would love to spend time with you Brandon. Perhaps it will turn into something special."

Unable to resist, Brandon pulled him forward into a close embrace; squeezing him tightly and affectionately. "I think it already has..." he murmured into Justin's ear. "But... I'm willing to take it slow." He only hoped that time, and circumstances made his greatest hopes come true.

Brian wasn't the least bit surprised that Justin had stayed out the entire night. He knew how persuasive Brandon could be; and after all, he was his brother. Still, the thought unsettled him. That he liked least of all. He should have fucked Justin that first day. Then, this wouldn't be gnawing at him. He would have had him, and he could have genuinely turned his back on the blond's obvious attractions and wish his brother well with him. Brian refused to acknowledge that it could have led to more. He never approached more than one-night with a man. That wouldn't change no matter who the lucky man in his bed turned out to be.

What disturbed him the most was the fact that he kept seeing Justin's face in his head - but not this Justin. It was a younger version. Naïve and shy. As he looked over at Justin's side of the room, Brian was tempted to do a bit of snooping; he shuddered as he realized that would signify that he gave a fuck one way or another. He was Brian Kinney. He didn't give a fuck about tricks - prospective ones or those already acquired. That wasn't how he lived his life.

Brian thought back to every moment he'd spent with the young blond. Slowly it began to become more clear. It was in seeing Justin - in his mind - with his friend Daphne; but, not here in this room, but at another place. School. Yes, that was it. High school to be exact. They had attended the same high school. Unbelievable, he thought. And yet... he knew it was true. Why had they never spoken? Fuck! He could have nailed his virgin ass - then and there. He had only been coming into his own sexuality then, but there wasn't a doubt he would have fucked Justin. Clearly, they hadn't moved in the same circles. Justin was obviously more studious... and he was a jock. The cliques they formed would be vastly different, as was their classmate status. Still... Justin was one hot little shit. Why hadn't he approached him?

He sat up on the bed when he heard the key slipping into the lock. The doorknob turned, silence prevailed on the other end. At least he had come home alone. That was good. He had much to discuss with his hot little roomie... things his brother didn't need to be included in. "Well, well... little Justin returns."

"It appears so," Justin drolly replied. He sighed wearily. Already he could tell it would be one of those sort of chats with Brian.

"Did you have fun with my brother?" Brian asked, the ice in his eyes, warring with his casual tone.

Justin smiled when he thought of Brandon. "Actually, we did." He cast a challenging stare at Brian. "In fact, so much so that I plan to see him again tonight."

"Tonight? Are you fucking kidding me?" Brian exploded. He didn't like this one fucking bit. At first, he was fine with it. He figured Brandon would do what he generally did - fuck a guy and get him out of his system. Much as he operated himself. There was something else going on here... and it disturbed him.

Flopping down onto his own bed, Justin groused, "What's the big deal? You act like you're jealous." Turning his head to meet Brian's angry gaze, Justin taunted him, "Are you?"

Brian jumped up from his bed, his steps carrying him quickly over to Justin's side of the room. "You self-absorbed little shit. Of course, I'm not jealous. Why the fuck would I care who fucks your little Freshman ass?"

Justin forced himself not to display any reaction to Brian's hurtful words. Yeah, it was time to move past this pointless crush. Nothing would ever come of it - that only became more blatantly obvious. Standing to his feet to glare unforgivably at the heartless asshole, Justin snapped, "Then, what's your fucking problem?"

"I don't have a problem. But, let me tell you this, little boy, if you hurt my brother - I will fuck your world up!" Brian's nostrils were flaring in anger, protective rage swelling within him. Jealous! The nerve of the fucker. As if he would ever care enough to be jealous over any man! However... his brother was a different matter. He cared about him more than anything.

Wow. Someone was over-protective, Justin thought. Fuck his world up? Yeah. He'd done that once - whether cognizant of it or not. No way would he allow Brian Kinney to do that again. No fucking way. "Yeah well, I believe you're the baby brother. Time to let your brother live and make his own decisions."

"You don't know shit, Taylor!"

Justin didn't get it... and as always, Brian wasn't flowing with an abundance of information. "Perhaps not. This isn't your business, Brian. It's Brandon's life... and if we want to see each other - then, we will. Stay the fuck out of it!"

Brian knew he had to compose himself now. If he lingered any longer, he would end up saying too much. And... it wasn't his story to tell. It was Brandon's decision. "I've said all I need to say about it. If you aren't truly into him - end it now. He doesn't need any more disappointment." Brian slammed into the bathroom; he paused only to lock the door, as silent tears slipped down his cheeks. He'd almost fucked up in the worst possible way. Had he told Justin the truth, his brother would never forgive him. And, even more to the point, Brian couldn't face the reality that stared Brandon in the face every day of his life.

His brother was terminally ill. In remission currently, but every day that could change. Brian's heart broke at the thought of that devastating reality. It was a horror he shared with his brother - each and every day. A nightmare that was his most haunting reality.


Chapter Text

Three Weeks Later...

"Justin, I realize you are still getting settled in... but, I really think this would be significant for your mother..." Craig really hated speaking the words, far more than he revealed to his son; college should be the time of his life. He shouldn't be worrying about relieving his mother's clinging anxieties. Not that he didn't understand Jennifer, he merely kept his more hidden. Craig surmised that was the difference between mother's and father's. Whatever it meant - he needed his wife to stop moping around and accept the reality of life. Justin was in all likelihood gone from their home now. Outside of summer visits, and holidays - if Justin came home even then - the odds were in the favor that he would find his own place after he graduated. In essence - make his own life. Jennifer still hadn't come to terms with that reality that every parent faced.

"I'm sorry Mom isn't adapting well. I don't know what else to do. I call home every weekend..." Justin glared at Brian's condescending smirk from across the room. Of course, Mr. Sensitivity would mock his mother's inability to let go. He wouldn't expect anything different from him.

Craig sighed. "I was hoping we could spend part of the day with you next week - either Saturday or Sunday. I wouldn't want to do it at a time that would conflict with your studies."

Justin gnawed at his bottom lip thoughtfully, completely oblivious to Brian's eyes following the movement. "Uhhhh, well, Sunday is better for me... unless we just had dinner Saturday evening. I'm kind of tied up on Saturday during the day." At that, Justin spared a glance at Brian, the ice he found in the gaze directed at him was chilling at best. He knew the source of that malicious look. Brian knew he would be going to the game with Brandon. They got around fine when Brandon wasn't introduced into the subject. But... when he was - the battle lines were drawn.

"I knew it!" Craig exclaimed in a boasting manner. "I told Jennifer that you probably had a girlfriend already. Just forget it, Justin. I'll explain to your mother. All I ask is that you call her more often." As an afterthought, Craig added, "I hope Daphne isn't too upset---"

"Dad!" Justin exclaimed. He turned his back not wanting to see the look of amusement on Brian's face. He knew he should have taken this call outside, but he had been in the middle of studying, and more important than that - he didn't want Brian to realize he had driven him away. "I've told you there's nothing between me and Daphne. She's my best friend. That's all!"

Brian chuckled from across the room, his ire at his blond roommate momentarily dissipating in the face of his father and son chat. Thankfully, that wasn't something he had to endure. But... it was clear that in Justin's case, a chat with Dad was much different than one with his not-so dearly departed father would have been. He knew he shouldn't be listening... but for some reason, he just couldn't help it. Outside of leaving the room, there wasn't much he could do to avoid it... and he wasn't about to cater to the little Princess to that degree.

"Does Daphne realize that? And... does she know you have a date on Saturday?" Craig demanded to know, determined in his insistence that something was going on between him and Daphne - whether Justin was aware of it or not.

"Yes, Dad. Daphne knows I have a date... and it's nothing like what you're thinking, either. It's just a date to Saturday's game." Justin knew he could rock his father's world by telling him it was a date with a guy... and one that he found extremely attractive. However, he didn't plan on having that talk today, and most definitely - not on the phone. "Dad... I really need to get back to studying. I have a test tomorrow, and---"

Craig immediately cut him off. "Say no more, Justin. Your studies are the most important thing in your life. I will tell your mom that you will try to call more often. That's all I can ask."

"Talk to you later, Dad. Give Mom a hug for me and tell her I'll talk to her soon." Justin felt a slight lump settling in his throat. He did miss his parents... but this process was all part of life, and growing up. They all had to adjust to the changes, knowing in the end, it would all be worth it. Justin ended the call, knowing without a doubt by the snickering behind him that the mocking would commence. There was no way around it. Not with Brian Kinney as a roommate. Justin turned to glare at him, snapping angrily, "Don't start it, Brian!"

Brian slightly sneered. "Poor little Princess. Mommy misses you... and Daddy doesn't know you like cock." Padding lightly across the room, Brian stopped when only a few feet separated them. "Tell me, Blondie - does Mommy know you like to take it up the ass?"

"God... you're crude. I don't get how Brandon can be your brother. Even a half-brother!" Justin knew that mentioning Brandon would escalate their interaction even further... but Justin couldn't resist. Brian pissed him off with his cold manner and insulting remarks. Brian's only saving grace - in his opinion - was in knowing how much he loved his brother. His roommate worked hard at perfecting his asshole demeanor. Justin didn't believe the validity of it for a minute. There wasn't a doubt that a long story existed that explained why Brian was the way he was now... but, he knew the story wouldn't be forthcoming from Brian anytime soon. And... hearing it from Brandon wasn't something he wanted to do. Any disclosures about his past, and the many intricacies that made Brian who he was should only come from Brian himself.

"Leave my brother out of it!" Brian hissed, moving even closer, his nostrils flaring as his protective instincts roared to life.

Justin didn't intend to back down, even though, when Brian got into this 'protect Brandon' mode, he was more than formidable. "Leave him out of it? How can I when you bring my relationship with him into the conversation at every opportunity!?"

"I am not the one who brought him up!" Brian stormed back.

"This time!" Justin countered, his eyes blazing, and his pale skin becoming flushed; unbeknownst to him, quickly becoming the most beautiful sight Brian had ever seen.

Brian couldn't take his eyes off of Justin. He was unbelievably hot. There was no doubt - if not for his brother's deep attraction to Justin - he would be using every trick he possessed to have this blond underneath him. It was a shame really. One fuck and his fixation with Justin would be over. That was the duration his lust always lasted for any man. Then, they could do this 'friends' thing that Justin seemed so keen on. Brian surveyed the younger man intently. Perhaps that was the answer. Fuck the shit out of his hot little blond boy ass. Then, he could move on. In fact, they both could.

Justin warily watched as a mixture of emotions played upon Brian's face. He had no way of knowing exactly what Brian was thinking; all he did know was that he doubted it boded well for him. When Brian began to move closer, almost in a seemingly aggressive manner, Justin knew he needed to regain control. The only way he could effectively do that would be by achieving distance. Viewing the glint of lust in Brian's eyes that he hadn't seen recently, Justin knew a tactical retreat was more than necessary. "Listen, Brian. I don't want to fight with you. I need to get back to my studying. I - uhmmmm - I think I'll just go to the library---"

His hand shot out to intercept Justin before he could scurry away from him and out of their room, Brian pulled Justin into his arms, his breathing quickening as he pulled the blond closer. He knew this was wrong for a number of reasons... but, he also wanted him. And, no matter what the obstacles, Brian Kinney always got what he wanted. Brian realized this wasn't fair to Brandon, but he figured Brandon would rather it happen now before he got any closer to Justin. In his mind he refused to see it as betrayal. Brian conveniently filed it away to doing what was necessary to end this lust that was eating away at him. Once that was done, he could cheerfully give him to Brandon, and not interfere further. That was, as long as Justin didn't prove himself unworthy of his brother's attentions.

"Brian, stop it..." Justin protested, unsuccessfully tugging at the arm Brian now restrained. "This isn't going to get us anywhere!"

"On the contrary." Brian's eyes drilled into the succulent raspberry lips. "I think this could get us to many places---"

Justin glared at Brian, doing all he could to keep his body from responding to the sudden proximity they shared. He forced himself to remember two very important facts - one, he was 'sort of' dating Brian's brother; and two, Brian still viewed him as just another piece of ass. That wasn't the relationship he wanted - not now or ever. Nothing good could come of prolonging this embrace. No matter how good Brian felt pressed up against him - this wasn't what was best for him. Now, to keep his body convinced of that fact. "Let me go, Brian. I don't want this."

Brian arched a brow, his hands sliding to capture Justin's hips; as he pulled him even closer, Brian could feel Justin's cock beginning to harden against his own. "Is that a fact?" Brian's voice became heavy with desire. "I think your dick answers differently."

"Don't be so fucking obtuse, Brian!" Justin shoved with all his might, and finally gained enough separation to squirm free. "I'm fucking queer. Of course my cock will get hard being rubbed against yours. It doesn't mean I'm going to fuck you."

"Uhhh, correction, Princess. It would be more of a case of you getting fucked. I am no one's bottom boy." Brian's tone was derisive, the unsatisfied lust still burning in him. He had to get control of this... right now, he just didn't know of any other way how. His eyes narrowed on Justin thoughtfully. "Let me share a common trait I have with my brother. We're both tops. Brandon will never let you fuck him. So... I'd just become accustomed to that - if I were you."

Justin pulled the door open, not even bothering to notice the man on the other side of the door, his hand all poised to knock. "Yeah, well, another mistake there, Stud. You are NOT me." Turning to walk out the door, for once managing to have the last word with this beautiful, and aggravating man, Justin gasped when Brandon's surprised expression took in both his words, and the tension between the two roommates. "Hey, Brandon. We didn't have plans, did we?"

Brandon looked away from Justin's surprise, to catch the familiar look of unquenched desire on his brother's face. Pain and accusation shot from his eyes into his brother's. He was further disheartened when Brian looked away in an obvious acknowledgment of his guilt. Looking back at Justin, he was only slightly relieved by the anger he saw in his beautiful blue eyes. Whatever had happened between them, it was apparent that Justin had been the one to stop it. He was curious about what had happened... but first, a talk with his brother was obviously his most pressing matter of business. "No, Justin. We didn't. I was just hoping we could grab a quick bite to eat."

Smiling, Justin nodded his head in quick agreement. He would love to spend some time with Brandon, and forget about his disaster of a relationship with his brother. "I'd like that... only, I was heading to the library. I need to get a couple of books before they close--"

"That's fine." Brandon ignored his brother's presence and grasped Justin's hand lightly in his own. "I need to talk to Brian for a bit. How about if I meet you there?"

"Sure..." Justin looked back and forth between the two brothers, hating his obvious part in their upcoming discussion. There wasn't a doubt that Brandon was angry, and perhaps rightly so. They weren't in a committed relationship, but Brian was clearly crossing lines. Justin knew he wasn't blameless, but Brian's behavior was unacceptable. What was worse - he didn't understand it. One moment, Brian was all protective over Brandon, and the next, he was trying to steal him away from him. Something was off here. He just didn't know what. He squeezed Brandon's hand, before he leaned up and kissed him lightly on the cheek. "I'll see you soon, then."

Brandon watched as Justin walked down the hallway. He called out in total agreement. "You can count on it."

Brian watched as Brandon stepped into the room, not even bothering to close the door. That was good, he thought. It was to be a brief lecture. Brian was more than fine with that. He had gone too far today... and they both knew it. There was just something about that little fucker that provoked him. It didn't always come out in the best possible of ways. "Okay. Let's have it. Then, I can get back to my exhilarating evening..."

"Only you could be a smartass fresh after being caught in the act!" Brandon's face darkened in anger, pain still reflecting in his eyes. "I don't get it, Brian. Weeks ago when I asked if there was any reason I shouldn't pursue something with Justin - you told me no. Yet, clearly, you are more than casually interested in him!"

"It's not a big deal. Certainly not enough for you to get so upset about." Brian chewed on his bottom lip thoughtfully. "That can't be good for you."

Brandon swore under his breath. "Not a big deal? Yeah, well, here's a news flash, Brian. Justin is a big deal to me! And, don't fucking worry about what's good for me. I can take care of myself!"

Brian looked at his brother incredulously, unable to fathom how much Brandon had changed in such a short span of time. "I can't believe I'm hearing this - from you! Where is the guy that used to have my back when we went clubbing... making certain I didn't take off with the wrong trick? We used to point out our tricks, and bet which one of us would score first." Brian smiled in recollection. "You even beat me a time or two."

"I remember... but, things change Brian. People change." Brandon shrugged, almost uncertain how to explain how the change evolved; he only knew that he was different now. "Perhaps it has something to do with realizing the fragility of life, and not wanting to waste any of it... or maybe it just took a special man to make me see things more clearly. I really don't know. I just know the club-hopping days are over for me, Brian."

"All because of one blond-headed little twink..." Brian sneered, instantly forcing away the revulsion he felt at Brandon and Justin in a relationship that lasted beyond one night of frenzied fucking. Initially, that was all he thought it would be. Brandon was his brother, after all. Clearly - that wasn't what his brother wanted. That cast an entirely new meaning on this - whatever it turned out to be. "What exactly are you saying, Brandon?"

"I'm saying that Justin is important to me... and if you love me, you will stay the fuck out of it." Brandon narrowed his eyes on his glowering brother. "Justin has told me that you don't approve of our relationship. It needs to stop. Unless..."

Brian warily asked, "Unless?"

"Unless you have feelings for Justin too. If you do, well, I think we should let him decide, and no matter what his answer is, accept it and not let it affect our relationship as brothers."

"Feelings?" Brian was quick to deny that ludicrous allegation. "He's hot. That's the end of it. Would I fuck him? Well, obviously you know I would. But... that's where it would end."

"Then, your attempts need to stop. It isn't fair to me... and it certainly isn't what Justin wants..." Brandon persisted, his eyes wide and intent on his brother, his determination to make a point never stronger.

Brian nodded. There wasn't a doubt that Justin didn't want what he had to offer. Justin was too sensitive for casual. That had been clear from the first time they met... at least, when they had met here at college. "I'll back off, Brandon. Hurting you is the last thing I want to do. But... I will do it on one condition."

Brandon watched his brother suspiciously. Although, it wasn't something they spoke of often, Brandon knew what it would be about. "Go on..."

"You need to tell Justin everything about you. Not only for your sake, but his as well. If you are considering a relationship with him - it is the right thing to do."

"I know it is," Brandon answered almost forlornly. "I'll tell him when the time is right."

"No!" Brian insisted. "You need to tell him now. If you don't - I will!"

Brandon's eyes glittered in rage. They didn't fight often... but when they did - it was usually felt by many. "Why so insistent, Bro? Do you think Justin will turn from me, and run straight into your waiting arms?"

"Fuck! You two deserve each other! Equally stubborn - the both of you!"

"I'm sorry, Brian. I guess you didn't deserve that." Brandon gave his brother an apologetic look, before he further conceded, "I promise - I'll tell him soon."

Both men turned to face the man that suddenly filled the doorway, each of them looking anxiously at the other.

"Tell me what?" Justin asked, his eyes darting back and forth between them. At once, Justin realized it was serious as he watched the color draining from Brandon's face, and the anxiety clearly marking Brian's. He had known from the start that something wasn't quite right between the two of them. Now he hoped he would find out exactly what. By the bleak look on each of their faces, Justin didn't think it would be good news. In fact, he was more than certain of that.



Chapter Text

A/N: All I can say about this part is - angst beware.

Brian looked anxiously between his brother and Justin. Guilt almost overwhelmed him at the look of dismay on Brandon's face. Despite knowing that Justin needed to hear the truth, he felt consumed by guilt that he had brought it about in the form of an ultimatum. It should have always been Brandon's decision... not his.

Not only that... he had betrayed his brother today. He had been too blinded by lust at the time to see it. But, now, he saw it for what it was. He wanted Justin. Living in this room with him, listening to the sound of his breathing, the laughter and smiles that he extended to everyone but him, had quickly driven him over the edge. He had to find a way out of this rapidly growing obsession... or face losing his brother forever. No matter how much he wanted Justin, he had never allowed a man to come between them. It wouldn't start now. Right or wrong, or the risks involved, Brian knew what his method of pain management would be. He would leave them in peace, and see to that now.

"I'll just leave the two of you alone..." Brian spoke, his eyes briefly touching on both of them, quickly grabbing his keys and wallet. He didn't bother to go to the bathroom to fill his wallet with more condoms; he would see to that when he left. Right now, all he wanted was away from both of them. As it was, he could barely look either of them in the eye; most especially his clearly devastated brother.

Brandon nodded, his voice breaking when he spoke, "I'll try to make it quick."

Brian shook his head, quickly moving through the doorway. "Take your time." He looked back at them both, his eyes hunted as he looked at Justin, then when he looked into the disappointment in Brandon's eyes, the deepest regret he had ever felt swelled within him. "I won't be back tonight."

Won't be back? Fuck. This was really bad. Justin looked back and forth between them. He was really scared now. This was much worse than he'd even imagined. "Uhhhh, Brandon, if it's something you don't want to talk about, or you don't want me to know, it's fine. Really, it is."

Brandon waited until Justin closed the door, before he moved over to Brian's side of the room, wearily sitting down on his brother's bed, tears brimming in his eyes. "No. I have to tell you this... and I need it to be now."

Justin rushed to sit next to Brandon, his eyes moving back and forth as he searched Brandon's tortured gaze. "Is it Brian? That was nothing, really. Just Brian being Brian. You know?"

Laughing regretfully, Brandon answered, "No, Justin. God. I wish it were that."

Biting at his lower lip, Justin said, "I know that upset you. The tension between the two of you was bad, Brandon. Really bad."

"I know it was. And... I was probably wrong too. I have no claim on you." Brandon's entire expression was intense as he looked into Justin's beautiful blue eyes. "I wish I did, though."

Justin flushed. It was funny how both brothers made him feel wanted in different ways. Brian was so primitive in his desire... but Brandon, somehow, it was open and pure. He didn't doubt that Brandon wanted him in a physical way, just as his brother did; Brandon just displayed it differently. "How about we table that discussion... and get back on topic."

"Can't slip anything past you." Brandon tried to effect a playful tone, but his voice cracked at the end.

Trying to lighten the mood a bit, in hopes it would give Brandon the strength to just say whatever he had to say, Justin teasingly said, "Is this where you tell me you have a wife... or even a husband?"

"God, how I wish it was something like that…" Brandon looked away from Justin, uncertain of exactly how much he could reveal. He knew Brian was right. Justin deserved to know the truth – all of it. He had already developed deep feelings for Justin; they only grew stronger each day. Not telling him was unfair… and realistically, Brandon knew the day could come where secrecy would no longer be possible. He turned his head to meet Justin’s gaze once more, his lower lip quivering as he tried to speak the works without either chickening out or breaking down. "I have an illness, Justin."

"Uhhh... okay," Justin answered. He didn't know quite how to respond. Should he ask questions or just wait for Brandon to tell him more? Seeing that Brandon was in no hurry to elaborate quickly, Justin bluntly asked, "Is it serious?"

Brandon nodded his head. "I was diagnosed with Leukemia about six years ago. I've been through all the tests, chemotherapy... everything---"

"Leukemia?" Tears began to slide down Justin's cheeks. Justin began to shake his head, back and forth; this wasn't real... it couldn't be. He was dreaming. Yeah. That was it. Dreaming. No. A nightmare. Silent tears continued to fall. He looked around at everything other than Brandon, his mind and eyes taking in everything. This wasn't a dream. It was real... and he was starting to fall apart. Stiffening his back, he looked back at Brandon, quickly realizing Brandon was taking in his every expression. The last thing Brandon needed was his torment on top of his own. "I-I'm sorry. I knew something was wrong... but, I n-never expected this."

"Shhhhh. It's okay." Immediately, Brandon was all about comforting his boyfriend... well, at least, he was that in his mind. Upon seeing Justin's response, Brandon thought that might be a fair assessment. "I don't want to upset you. There's no denying how much you have started to mean to me, Justin. Before we move further, I knew I had to tell you." Brandon inclined his head, as if remembering he was only telling part of a story. "Brian pushed me into it. He told he I had to do it. I didn't want to... but I knew he was right."

"Brian..." Justin whispered. It all made so much sense now. That was why Brian was so over-protective of Brandon. God. So many of their Brandon related arguments made sense now. "He has to be going through hell. I can't imagine--"

Brandon sighed, his shoulders shaking as the sobs he had tried to hold back erupted. Within moments he felt himself clutching onto Justin as the younger man pulled him into his arms for comfort. "He's been through so much. His life with his father was so fucked up... then, we finally got to spend time together, and this happened. It's just not fair!"

"No. It's not." Justin cried with Brandon for several minutes; he wasn't even sure how long they clung tightly together, each crying on each other's shoulders. When Brandon's sobs finally settled, Justin pulled back to look at him. "How bad is it? I-I mean, I get that Leukemia is a terminal disease, but I know they have been making progress."

This was the hardest part of all... and in what he had to say, he would need Justin's trust. He only hoped he wasn't asking too much. "They have been... but sometimes it's just borrowed time."

"So... you have an actual time frame?" Justin bit at his lip to stop the incessant quivering. "How long?"

"I've been in remission for the past ten months." A guilty look fell across his face. "I was supposed to go back for a checkup at six months... but I was scared. I've had so many treatments that I knew there couldn't be many more."

Justin's eyes closed briefly, before they opened, pain yet strength in his eyes as he looked at Brandon, willing him to reveal everything. "You're not really in remission, are you?"

"My oncologist called me yesterday. I've been escalated to the Blastic stage." Brandon laughed shakily. "I guess it's my fault for delaying my checkup. Maybe he would have caught it sooner... but, as it is---"

Swallowing tremulously, Justin didn't know what to say. Terminal. This beautiful man was dying, and apparently there wasn't a damned thing anyone could do about it. Fuck! It was so unfair. He wanted to scream, cry, anything and everything; all the while knowing it wouldn't change anything. "What exactly does Blastic mean?"

"Along with all the details of my deteriorated blood count, it also means that for the first time, they can estimate the end." He looked solemnly at Justin, before he told him, "In most cases - three to six months."

Three to six months? Justin launched himself back into Brandon's arms, holding onto him as if his determination, and solid grip would keep him here forever. "It c-can't be true..." Justin sobbed into Brandon's neck. "It's too soon. You're so strong. It has to b-be a mistake..."

Brandon rubbed circles on Justin's back, a sad smile curving his lips. What an incredible man Justin was; during his confession, and through Justin's every response, Brandon felt so much closer to him. He had never thought such would be possible - but, he had fallen in love with Justin. It was a bittersweet realization... and yet, it was one that he held to his heart. "Please, don't cry any more, Justin. Now isn't the time for tears... now is the time for living. This is why I didn't want you to know. I didn't want it to change anything."

Justin pulled free of Brandon's arms, jumping up from the bed as if scalded. "But, it does. I-I mean, how couldn't it?"

"The only thing that matters is the choice you have to make. And... with this new knowledge, you do have a decision to make." Brandon remained where he sat, watching Justin carefully, yet not intending to do anything to influence his decision - one way or the other.

"Decision?" Justin asked blankly, tears still shimmering in his eyes. "Oh, I get it. You think I would dump you... now that I know the truth." He shook his head incredulously, unable to fathom that Brandon could think that. "I could never do that, Brandon. I care about you... a lot. This doesn't change that. In fact, I might care even more now."

Brandon stood to his feet, walking until he stood in front of Justin, his hands reaching out to clasp Justin's in his own. "I don't think that, you beautiful, and sensitive boy. You are just starting out in college, a new life for you; this baggage that I represent is a lot to carry. I just want you to be sure. Right now it isn't bad. I'm still having treatments, but the success rate isn't favorable at this stage. But... down the road, things will get bad. The doctor says I could live past the maximum expectancy - if I continue the treatments. My age is a positive factor. I just don't want to drag you down."

Fire and determination blazing in his eyes, Justin pulled his hands free from Brandon's and reached up to clasp each side of his face. He stretched up to meet Brandon's lips with his own, kissing him with all the passion, and intensity that was within him to express. When Brandon emitted a gasp of surprise, Justin deepened the kiss, his hands moving to run through his short, wavy hair. After a long, thorough kiss, that left each man breathless, Justin pulled back to whisper, "Does that answer your question?"

"I think it does..." He frowned for a moment; Brandon had enough presence of mind to know he needed to finish the 'serious' part of their talk, before they could move onto more pleasant matters. "Uhhhh, there's just one more thing I'd like to ask of you."

"Anything..." Justin murmured, his hands falling to rest on Brandon's shoulders.

"Brian doesn't know about the end of my remission. I'm going to tell him; I just want to wait a little bit longer." Quickly intercepting Justin's look of disapproval, he continued, "Brian's at the top of the world right now. The Panthers are 3-1, and they have a real chance this season. I don't want to be what messes him up."

Justin sighed, his hand reaching out to stroke along Brandon's cheek. "Are you even real?" he pondered. "You care so much about everyone else, and not yourself." Justin stepped back, and thought about what Brandon was asking. He knew it was wrong... but he also knew it wasn't his place to tell Brian. However, he would do all he could to urge Brandon into doing the right thing. "Brian needs to know. He loves you more than anything. You have to know that!"

"I love him too." Brandon immediately forgot about their earlier disagreement when he spoke the words. "He's the best brother anyone could ever have. I just need a little time, Justin. Time to spend with him that isn't about knowing that end is looming. We'll have enough of that later."

"I'll respect your wishes. I just hope it isn't for long. The two of you need each other now..."

Brandon nodded. "Thank you, Justin." He looked deeply into Justin's eyes, hoping the words he was about to speak wouldn't be too much. Yet, after what he had just told him, he couldn't imagine anything doing that now. "I'm going to be brave and say this, because I never thought I'd say this to anyone. I think I'm falling in love with you, Justin. That is, if I haven't already."

Justin moved closer again, his hands linking around Brandon's waist. "Well, just to be fair, I'll tell you a little secret - I think I'm falling in love with you, too."



Chapter Text

Two weeks later found Brian realizing that Justin's relationship with his half-brother was about to reach a new level. It was Saturday morning, and Brian had returned to his room in order to make his own preparations for his game this afternoon. The sight that had greeted his eyes was Justin slightly bent over the bed, hurriedly placing items into a duffel bag. There wasn't a doubt it made for a beautiful sight - that perfectly shaped ass pulling against the tight denim. Momentarily, Brian found himself envying that rough material, before reminding himself that Brian Kinney didn't envy anything - or anyone. Not to mention, this piece of blond boy ass was off limits.

"Hey, Brian." Justin only looked up briefly to greet his roommate that had been away far more than he'd been present the past couple of weeks. "I guess you're about to get ready for your game."

"Yep. Just about." Brian strode over to his closet, focusing just enough to retrieve the clothes he wanted to wear, determined not to let Justin affect him in any way whatsoever. Unable to resist baiting him, Brian tauntingly spoke, "Don't tell me... Mommy can't survive another day without you---"

"Cute... but no. Mom seems to be coming to terms with my new life." Justin went into the bathroom, stuffing all the necessary toiletries inside his bag, returning to find Brian watching him with a mocking look on his face, and yet, when looking into the hazel eyes, Justin almost thought he discerned sadness within them. "Actually, I'm spending the weekend with Brandon at his place in town."

Brian nodded. He hadn't doubted it for a moment. The two of them had been virtually inseparable since Brandon told Justin about his illness. His concern regarding their relationship had greatly lessened. In the beginning, he had been afraid Justin would hurt his brother when he found out the truth. Dealing with the unpredictability of such an illness wasn't for everyone, and certainly not ideal for a young Freshman just starting out his college life. He gave Justin credit for that. Clearly, Justin was standing by Brandon; whether it was out of pity or genuine emotion, he wasn't sure about. However, all that mattered to him was that Brandon appeared happier than he had ever been. Despite how attracted he was to Justin, Brandon's happiness was what mattered the most.

"I see." Brian didn't intend to give away any kind of emotion; the fact that he felt any pissed him off enough. "So... you're finally going to give up that ass."

"Who's to say I haven't already?" Justin snapped in aggravation. Damn. Brian could be so maddening. The fact that Brandon was his brother was still so unbelievable to him at times. "Anyway... it's none of your business."

Brian arched a knowing brow. "Perhaps not... however, we both know that your hot little ass hasn't been plowed yet. I'm sure that's a lacking my more than capable brother will fulfill tonight. Don't forget what I told you - much like me, my brother isn't a bottom."

"You know, has it even occurred to you that I could be staying with Brandon this weekend out of friendship... and not because of a sexual encounter?" Justin shook his head at Brian's answering snort. "No, of course, you haven't. Brandon has been the perfect gentleman with me." Justin's gaze slid over Brian. "Another thing the two of you obviously don't have in common."

Shrugging, Brian blandly replied, "Brandon was given more heart than me. It seems life has changed him from the player he used to be. That's fine, though, if it is what makes him happy."

"You don't fool me, Brian." Justin stared at Brian shrewdly. "It doesn't matter how many caustic comments you make, I know how much you care about Brandon. And, that being the case, you have much more heart than you want to admit."

"He's my brother. Of course, I care about him!" Brian's gaze iced over, every self-preservation instinct kicking in. "It doesn't mean I give a damn about anyone else!"

Justin pocketed his wallet and keys, before slinging his bag over his shoulder. He turned to look back at his glowering roommate before passing through the door. "Good luck today against Virginia Tech."

"Thanks." Brian walked away before he said more, although he wasn't sure what more would entail... he only knew there was much more he wanted to say. He silently watched as Justin left without another word, confusion etching lines onto his face. What was it about Justin that provoked him so intensely? He was happy that his brother found what he was looking for... but if he were to be honest, he would be more content if Brandon had found that happiness with another man - and not his roommate. Brian figured that familiarity would fizzle out his attraction to Justin in time, along with Justin's continuing progressing relationship with Brandon. He only wished it would happen now. The pointless bickering that he couldn't seem to resist provoking between them was largely contingent on his attraction to Justin. If nothing else, he was honest with himself. For all of their sakes, Brian knew that needed to stop.

Busying himself with his own before game preparations, Brian frowned when the knock came to his door. Everyone knew not to bother him before a game. Brian opened the door, to see Chris staring at him expectantly. "Am I late or something?"

"No. I just thought we could go over together. I called you several times last night. Didn't your roommate tell you?" Chris asked in irritation.

"I guess it slipped his mind..." Brian didn't elaborate on the many things there were probably pre-dominant on Justin's mind. Relaying a phone message from Chris Hobbs wouldn't be high on his list of priorities. Brian adjusted his tie, his brow arching as he caught Chris watching him from behind, an almost inquisitive look on his face. "What did you want?"

Chris shrugged indifferently. "Nothing important. I just thought we could hang out. Go pick up some chicks."

Chicks? Brian held back the shudder. Did straight men even refer to it as 'chicks' still? He wasn't even sure. In either event, it wasn't something he sought to do. He turned to look at Chris, finally satisfied with his own perfected appearance. "I thought you were saving yourself for Lindsay. That isn't going well?"

"No. I gave up on that. She wants to be friends." Chris' lips twisted into a semi-snarl. "That's not what I'm looking for..."

"Right." Brian didn't fill Chris in on what he didn't know, or what wasn't his story to tell. Lindsay rarely hooked up with men. Occasionally, yes... but, that wasn't where her preferences resided. "Yeah well, sorry I missed your call." In truth, he was anything but that. Chris Hobbs wouldn't fit in at his choice of clubbing. He could only imagine Chris' reaction were he to ever step inside of Babylon. That was almost tempting to put to the test. Although, he knew he couldn't, and result in having his own secret revealed, it was still an entertaining thought.

"I guess the little faggot was too busy looking for dick to suck to pass on my messages." Chris snickered at the end of his statement, obviously thinking he had said something remarkably funny.

Brian moved closer to his teammate, his eyes quickly filling with shards of ice, as he spat out, "Excuse me?"

"What?" Chris asked dumbfounded. "You had to know your roommate was queer. Hell, he probably jacks off in the shower thinking about you as his roommate."

"Is that so?" Brian drawled deliberately. "You say that as if you think I am someone to inspire such lust. Tell me, Chris, do you think I'm that hot?"

Chris flushed, before he began to sputter indignantly. "O-of course not! I'm not a fucking faggot! I-I'm just saying to your roommate, you probably are---"

"Are you sure that's all it is, Chris?" Brian moved closer, his eyes sweeping over him in contempt.

"Of course it is! What the fuck is your problem, Brian? You act as if you like the freak." Chris looked at Brian accusingly. "Do you like him?"

Brian shrugged, his bag now over his shoulder as he walked to the door. "He's alright."

"Alright?" Chris squawked. "He's a Freshman... and more than that - he's a disgusting faggot. I hear he's been seen around campus with another guy - clearly, one as sick as him."

In an instant Brian lost the tenuous grip he held on his control. He dropped his bag to the floor, before yanking Chris forward by grasping his tightly cinched tie. Pulling him closer, Brian's eyes venomously moved over him, his nostrils flaring in and out in anger. "I'm going to tell you this once, Chris. Forget about my roommate. He's got nothing to do with you."

"Shit, Brian! Lighten up! I'm just fucking around." Chris swatted Brian's hands away from his pressed suit, glaring resentfully at the teammate he had always idolized. What the fuck was wrong with him? He just didn't get it. "Damn! What's the big deal? Since when do you give a fuck about anyone?"

"I don't care about Taylor." Brian's denial was adamant, at least to his own ears; Brian wasn't certain he believed his words for a single moment. "Here's my problem, Chris, and I don't want to discuss it again. Two issues, in fact. One, the man that Justin is seeing happens to be my brother... and two, your archaic view towards queers sickens me."

Chris flushed in embarrassment. It was the look of having been caught red-handed, and wanting to do anything to talk your way out of the punishment. "Fuck, Brian. I'm sorry. I didn't realize. I - I mean, I knew your brother was queer... but I had no idea he was seeing your roommate. Don't worry, though, bud. I won't say a word to anyone."

Walking through the door, waiting for Chris to follow before closing it, Brian shrugged his shoulders indifferently. "Brandon doesn't give a damn who knows about him and Justin. Now... can you just concentrate on getting ready for this game, and forget about personal shit that isn't any of your business?"

Nodding, Chris was quick to answer, "Already forgotten. Let's go kick some ass."

As they walked, Brian watched Chris with more than a bit of skepticism. Small-minded bigots really pissed him off. How he wished he could come out to all of the Chris Hobbs' of the world. Someday, he promised himself. When the time was right and it wouldn't jeopardize his aspirations, the hiding would be over. Brian wanted Chris to be the first to know. It was almost ironic how much Chris idolized him. If only he could tell him the truth now. Chris Hobbs would be horrified. As they moved towards the stadium, Brian methodically thought of all the ways his secret could be revealed... all at a time and place of his choosing. Waiting would be the hardest part of all.

Justin swallowed nervously as Brandon closed the apartment door behind them. He cleared his throat, before speaking, "It was a good game. I was on the edge of my seat."

"Yeah." Brandon was quick to agree. "I was worried there at the end, but Brian pulled off an impressive final two-minute drill."

"He did. I have to give him that." The game had been a defensive struggle from start to finish. It was a miracle that Brian succeeded in that end of the game drive that gave them the victory. "Brian has much to be proud of today."

Brandon nodded, his eyes knowing on Justin's obvious anxiety. "Listen, Justin... this doesn't have to be awkward, or anything that you don't want. We can just hang out for the weekend. Nothing has to happen."

Justin flushed, instantly realizing how apparent he had been. "No... it's not that, Brandon. I'm just a little nervous. B-but, I want to be with you. I really do."

Locking the door behind him, Brandon removed his jacket, his eyes heavy and yearning on the younger man. He began to walk toward Justin. His voice was husky when he spoke, "Justin, I don't intend to either deny or attempt to disguise how much I want you. We both know that I do." He stopped when he was within touching distance, his hand reaching out to cup the back of Justin's neck. "However, I want you to want me just as much. Can you look at me and tell me you do? If you can, well, nothing will keep me off of you."

He didn't have to think about it; Justin knew he wanted this. "I want you, Brandon. I've been thinking of nothing else this past week. If you think we're moving too fast, well, I understand... but, I don't want to wait. I want to enjoy every moment with you that I can."

"Then... what are we waiting for?" Brandon's eyes began to smolder as they moved over the perfect contours of Justin's face. He was so damned beautiful. Brandon knew he would never tire of looking at him - not for one moment, until he took his last breath. He stepped back, his hand reaching out for Justin's. "Take my hand, Justin. Let's go to bed."

Brandon felt a slight moment of guilt at the subterfuge that had pushed them to this point... but, he couldn't think about that now. He could fix that later. He loved Justin, and he knew Justin was falling for him too. Right now, all that mattered was that they were together. Nothing or no one would come in between them now.


A/N: Haha! A few questions now I'll bet. Are we questioning if all is on the 'up and up' with Brandon? We'll have to see. His secret could be little, or it could be huge. And... what about Chris Hobbs? Stay tuned to find out! :)


Chapter Text

A/N: *Sigh* The holiday season, mixed in with work has really slowed down my writing pace, but FINALLY, here is an update. I hope you enjoy it. This story is an odd one for me as a writer. Usually, my comments and private messages generally have readers on the same page regarding what they hope will happen. This one has the responses all over the place. Sadly, I doubt I'll be able to please everyone. That being said, I will keep going with my vision for this story. Thank you for reading and your support - always! :)

Justin lay back on the bed, fully clothed still, watching as Brandon slowly slid from his shirt; Brandon's eyes all but devoured him, even before he had lost any of his own clothing. In this instance, Brandon appeared much the hunter as his brother. Perhaps that attracted him to Brandon. Whereas Brian wasn't in touch with his more tender emotions, Brandon was comfortable with his own, and yet, he could be this passionate man as well. It was the perfect mix; one if he was to be honest with himself, exactly what he'd always dreamt to exist in Brian. A reality that he had found falling far short of the mark.

Almost instantly, Justin berated himself. Why was he thinking about Brian now? It was wrong, and so unfair to Brandon. He had decided to stick by Brandon no matter what turmoil faced them down the road. These constant comparisons between Brandon and his brother had to stop. Smiling in welcome, Justin outstretched his hand to his boyfriend, and soon-to-be lover. "I know we've got all weekend... but come to bed, Brandon. Please."

Brandon unsnapped his jeans, yet didn't push them down yet. Mixed in with his incredible desire for Justin, he was feeling indecisive as well. He had been trying to read Justin's responses since they came in here, all in an attempt to ascertain if Justin was doing this because he truly wanted him, or if it was more out of pity. What scared him the most was that Justin didn't want him as much as he wanted him. He wasn't certain how he would handle that. There wasn't a doubt in his mind that Justin was attracted to Brian. That in itself was enough to cause his doubts to linger. The question that continued to plague him was very simple. Was Justin here because he felt he couldn't have Brian... or did he truly want him?

As he slid into the bed next to Justin, Brandon reached a finger out to trace along the luscious raspberry lips. This was a man worth fighting for. Brandon fully recognized that regardless of the fact that he had never fought with Brian over a man. He was fully prepared to do so in the case of Justin. In fact, he had done precisely that after Brian had tried to seduce Justin. He had known that deceiving Justin had been the wrong thing to do. At the time, he was filled with panic over losing Justin to Brian. Despite knowing that Brian couldn't give Justin the things he needed emotionally, he still feared the outcome. Brian always got any man that he wanted. Brandon didn't doubt that Brian could have Justin too.

Brian's ultimatum had led him into confessing his illness to Justin, but the fear of losing him had made him say so much more. His doctor appointment had been filled with the most positive of outlooks, far opposite of what he had told Justin. His remission hadn't been eradicated. In fact, the doctor relayed to him that the more months that passed where he had healthy, and fully operational blood cells, the better his chances were for a permanent remission. Brandon knew he had never felt better. There wasn't a doubt in his own mind that he was healing. That in itself gave him more of a reason to fight for what he wanted.

Justin reached out, his hand stroking along the side of Brandon's face. A tremulous smile curved his lips. "Brandon? Are you sure this is what you want? You seem kind of, hmmmm, I don't know... pensive?" Justin wasn't certain if he was merely seeing what he wanted to see or not. He only knew nerves were quickly afflicting him; at this point, he wondered if Brandon felt the same.

Brandon rolled over until he was semi-straddling the younger man, the fire in his eyes, along with the pulsing in his cock answering Justin's question in the most obvious of ways. "This is exactly what I want," Brandon responded in a throaty growl. "You are just so unbelievably beautiful it gave me pause." Brandon's hand reached for the snap on Justin's jeans, deliberately thrusting his hips forward to force a collision of their hardened cocks through the rough denim. He was more than ready for this night. Frowning when he viewed what he hoped wasn't the appearance of uncertainty in Justin's eyes, Brandon ran his hands up Justin's still clothed chest, determined to touch every inch of him, in doing so, keeping Justin firmly focused on him - and him alone.

Rational thought soon fled from Justin's mind when Brandon began to skillfully tug at his nipples through the fabric. Suddenly, he was having the strangest feeling; it was one that he wouldn't have thought possible a few moments ago. A moment of panic had overtaken him, and now, he felt like he was being artfully seduced. It wasn't the Brandon he knew, the thought of that perplexing reality was giving him pause for thought. "B-Brandon... I - I."

"Shhhh," Brandon whispered, his mouth moving to capture Justin's beneath his. He didn't like how Justin seemed to be pulling away, even if only mentally. Despite all the logical reasons that could be attributed to it, his most pressing fear was that it had to do with Brian. Brandon realized that wasn't likely, and yet, he couldn't shake the unsettling feeling. He had stalled too long, but he hadn't wanted to rush at him like a wild animal the moment they hit the bedroom. In the past that might have been his technique with other men... but they hadn't been Justin.

Justin began to give himself over to the kiss, quickly deciding that his nagging doubts had to be the case of first-time nerves. Brandon was special to him. There wasn't a doubt in his mind that he wanted this to happen. He had always imagined his first time being while he was away at college. The time was right, as was the man. He couldn't find one reason why this shouldn't happen tonight. As his hands slid up Brandon's back to pull him even closer, Justin could barely comprehend the pounding noise he heard in the back of his head; he only knew that something was beginning to intrude upon the fog that had been surrounding them.

Brandon became aware of the sound at almost the same time as Justin. He was prepared to ignore it. After a moment, he realized it was someone pounding at his door. Whoever it was could wait until tomorrow. Right now, nothing was more important to him than having Justin. Pulling his lips free, his eyes were angry, when he snapped, "It's the door. I'll just ignore it. Whoever it is will go away."

"The door?" Justin repeated, blinking several times to fully comprehend what Brandon was telling him. "Uhhhh, maybe you should check. It could be important." He reached out to cup the side of Brandon's face. "I'm not going anywhere while you find out---"

Briefly, Brandon smashed his lips against Justin's, devouring his sumptuous lips in one thorough caress. He groaned as he felt his cock throbbing in his pants, fully aware that they wouldn't be moving on until he disposed of his much unwanted visitor. "Okay," he growled impatiently. "I'll get rid of them. Why don't you use the time to make yourself more comfortable - namely, losing your tight little jeans."

"I can probably do that." Justin smiled impishly, yet, the smile far from reaching his eyes. He watched as Brandon began re-fastening his pants and moving towards the bedroom door. He gave Brandon a tremulous, but warm smile when he looked back at him. Justin frowned as the door closed behind Brandon, conflict continuing to swell within him. He knew he wanted to be here. That decision had been easy to make... and yet, something kept giving him doubts. He just didn't know what was causing it. Justin realized the knowledge of Brandon's accelerated illness probably affected his decision, but they had been moving to this before he even knew about that. There wasn't a doubt in his mind that he cared about Brandon... but was it enough to proceed with this step? And, was it the actual sentiment one should have when going into their first time? Those questions only continued to trouble him, more and more.

Brandon's eyes were filled with anger when he opened the door and saw who stood glowering on the other side. His jaw dropped in shock at the audacity and continued interference of his brother. There wasn't a doubt that Brian knew how important this weekend was to him. Justin was already confused enough... now Brian was here. If he didn't think quickly, and rid himself of his brother before Justin became aware, his plans could be completed thwarted.

"I know you are busy... but, I need to speak with Justin." Brian looked everywhere other than his brother's accusing eyes. He knew how this looked to him, and Brandon was wrong - this time. He wasn't trying to come between them. As much as he didn't enjoy the fact of knowing that Justin was going to become Brandon's lover tonight - if he hadn't already - he had promised not to interfere. He planned on sticking to that.

"What the fuck, Brian? I thought you were done with playing these games. You know how important Justin is to me!" Brandon's nostrils flared angrily. "You know you can't give Justin what he needs; I can give him that. Leave him the fuck alone!"

Brian pushed past his brother, and into the apartment. "Get a grip, Brandon. This isn't about my lust for the kid. I gave up on satisfying that. He needs to come home. There's a problem---"

"Problem?" Brandon stared bitterly at his brother. They had never fought over a man, and for the first time, it appeared they were about to do that. "The only problem I see is you standing here when I should be in my bed with Justin." Brandon smiled when Brian visibly flinched. He felt a slight flicker of guilt. They had never bickered like this. Justin's arrival into their lives had changed everything. "Admit that the only problem you have is in knowing I was about to be fucking Justin. I was, you know..." Brandon continued on, uncaring of the harshness of his words. "And, I will be as soon as you get the fuck out!"

"B-Brandon?" Justin stepped through the door. "Is there a problem?" Justin stood bare-chested, his jeans zipped, yet unsnapped as he looked at the two brothers.

"Nothing I can't handle. Just get back in bed and wait for me." Brandon glared at his brother, his greatest fear being that Brian had totally fucked everything up now. "Brian was just leaving."

Brian could barely take his eyes off of the pale, smooth chest, not to mention - the unsnapped clinging jeans. His mouth watered as he thought of moving his lips all over that perfect, young body. Fuck, he wanted him. It was unfathomable. He wanted him with a desire unlike any he had ever known... and yet, he belonged to Brandon - his brother. God! If it were anyone other than Brandon, and if his brother wasn't one of questionable health, he would use every skill and trick he possessed to make Justin realize that what he could offer him would be enough. As he looked at him now, it was difficult to remember precisely why he was holding back.

Justin moved closer, oblivious to how both men openly admired him. One man was openly admiring him, while the other looked back and forth between them, his eyes filled with worry, and a jealous rage. "Brian? What's wrong?"

"Your parents are at our dorm. I had just brought a trick back, thinking you would be out for the weekend. There was no warning. A knock on the door was all." Brian smirked as he remembered the trick hustling back into his clothes. At the time he had been angry that his pleasure had been disrupted, but thinking back, it had been rather amusing.

"Oh my God! In my room now?" Justin's eyes were wide in dismay. "Did they see the two of you - uhhhh, well, you know---"

Brian rolled his lips under, his eyes moving briefly to Brandon looking at him in disbelief. "No, they didn't catch me in the act as you did when you arrived here. I got rid of my trick, and made your parents comfortable inside. I tried to call you... but, of course, no answer." His eyes looked accusingly at the both of them. "Perhaps you should leave your cell phones on in the case of emergencies."

"They were off because we didn't want any interruptions!" Brandon hissed. "Why didn't you just tell his parents that you didn't know where Justin went? They would have went back home!"

Justin rolled his eyes. "That wouldn't work with my parents, Brandon. My mom would only worry if no one knew where I could be found... and, I wouldn't want them to come all this way to see me, and go home without doing that." Justin sighed, uncertain if it was relief or acceptance of a spoiled weekend he was feeling. "I'm afraid I have to go, Brandon. We'll have to do this another time."

"I'll drive you back," Brian offered. When he glanced at his brother, he knew an argument was sure to follow.

"I brought him here, I can take him back..." Brandon protested, having no doubt Justin's more logical side would more than likely shut him down.

"That's ridiculous, Brandon. Brian is heading back to campus anyways. It makes sense for me to go with him."

Brandon scowled at his brother. "By all means - let's be practical!"

"Get your things, Justin. I'm sure your parents are getting impatient."

Justin nodded at Brian, before turning to Brandon, reaching out to squeeze his hand warmly. "I'm sorry, Brandon. This isn't how I wanted our weekend to go... but, I really have to go."

"I know you do." Brandon did realize that, he just wished it hadn't been Brian to bring it about... or Brian who was driving Justin back. He knew he was being insecure, but he couldn't shake the feeling that Justin had welcomed this interruption. And, if that was the case, what exactly did it mean for them?

They had just driven away from Brandon's apartment, when Justin glanced to look at Brian's blank expression. "Thank you, Brian. I - I mean, for coming to get me."

"I don't think Brandon is very appreciative. He had high hopes for this weekend..." Brian drolly answered, seeing no need to elaborate on those hopes.

Justin looked out the window, certain a flush was settling in his face. "I'm sure he understands. And.... there will always be another time."

"Of course..." Brian drawled, mockery ever present in his voice. "You know, I couldn't help but to think that you welcomed the interruption. First time not measuring up to your expectations?"

"I really don't intend to discuss that with you, Brian." Justin could admit to himself that he was glad to be out of that situation... but not because he didn't have feelings or desires for Brandon. He knew both were present. His turmoil was in the timing, and in the basis of those feelings. Exactly what did he feel for Brandon... and was this the right time? Regardless of Brandon's physical condition, Justin had to do what was right for him too. He hoped some distance would make his choices more clear.

Brian didn't intend to push for information. Whether he liked his bitter truth or not - the thought of Brandon intimate with Justin was disturbing to him. He didn't really understand it, nor did he intend to analyze it. Brian knew how much damage over thinking could do. In the case of Justin, he knew it would be wise to push the thoughts to the back of his mind. It was only a matter of successfully doing that. Brian decided to divert the subject to another matter entirely. "You know, Justin - this might be the time to have a candid talk with your parents."

"About me being queer?" Justin eyed Brian morosely as he pulled onto the campus grounds. "That's rich coming from the man so heavy in denial!"

"My situation is different from yours!" Brian snapped. Brian pulled into his parking spot before he turned to face the obstinate blond. "Listen, I'm not judging you, or telling you what to do. You have to make that choice."

Grimly, Justin nodded. "Yeah, you're right, Brian. I need to tell them." Justin bit at his lip uncertainly. "Uhhhh, can I have some time alone in the room with them? If it's a problem I can take them out."

Brian shook his head. "Take as long as you need."

As Brian moved to slide from the car, Justin reached out to place a forestalling hand on his arm. "Brian, I know you might have plans... but, I was wondering, well, will you come home later? I - I mean, after my parents are gone. It would be nice to have someone to talk to - especially someone who understands."

Uncertain if this was a good idea, or how Brandon would feel about it, Brian nodded his head in agreement. "I'll be around. If you need me sooner, just call my cell."

"Thanks, Brian." Justin slid from the car, a smile curving his lips as he approached a still Brian on the other side. "I know you don't always like me that much, but, whether you realize it or not, you do make a good friend, Brian Kinney."

Brian watched as Justin walked towards their dorm, his thoughts conflicted, but regarding one in particular, clarity immediately assailing him. Friends, he thought to himself. He would have never thought himself capable, most especially, not with a man he wanted to fuck as much as he did Justin. Brian knew it wouldn't be easy, but he wanted to try and be Justin's friend. One thing was for certain... he knew it would be a challenge.



Chapter Text

Justin stepped into his dorm room with a mixture of concern and anxiety. Why had his parents unexpectedly appeared tonight... and could he really have that talk with them, his dad especially - one that was so long overdue? Justin knew he must. He was just uncertain of how his dad would respond. He smiled when he caught a look of relief passing over his mother's face. Jennifer Taylor always stayed so true to form. She worried over the little things, yet always tried to keep it in. Most of the time she failed miserably.

Moving across the room and into her arms, Justin hugged her tightly, his words muffled against her thick, woolen coat. "Mom... I've missed you."

"Justin..." she sighed, her arms clutching even more tightly around him. "We've missed you too. So very much."

Craig came up behind them, his hand patting his son gently on the back. "Your mom speaks the truth," his father agreed, a smile on his face when he watched mother and son separate, and a much happier look transforming his wife's face. He looked at his son apologetically, before he told him, "I'm sorry if we disrupted your evening, son. Our plans didn't have us far from the campus, so we decided to take a chance to catch you."

"We should have called first. I do hope your date wasn't too upset..."

Justin remembered Brandon's reaction. Upset wasn't the right word to describe it at all. Brandon's response had troubled him all the way home. He didn't understand it. What was understandable was the frustration of the interruption, but blaming Brian for it had seemed unreasonable. In fact, it had left him with the feeling that something else was going on; as if he had been missing some vital information that would make everything make sense. What troubled him even more was that he had almost welcomed the interruption. Justin didn't question his physical attraction to Brandon, but it did make him wonder if he had been moving too fast. "No, my date was fine." Justin urged them over to the small dining table that made up one corner of the room. "Have a seat. I'm afraid there aren't many choices in here."

Craig laughed boisterously. "I remember very well about dorm life, Justin." He sat down at the small table, watching as his wife and son joined him, his eyes flickering briefly to the far side of the room. "I see your roommate is on the football team."

Glancing over to the trophies, and plaques adorning the shelf next to Brian's bed, Justin instantly nodded. "Yes, Brian Kinney. He's the starting quarterback."

Frowning thoughtfully, Craig voiced his thoughts aloud - "Brian Kinney. Doesn't he come from our town? I could have sworn he was on your high school football team."

Jennifer cast a knowing look at her son. Now the tension made sense when he had arrived at school. Justin was rooming with his high school crush, Brian Kinney. She knew the name only too well, although, she'd never shared that with her husband. One day she had been putting Justin's laundry away when she'd stumbled onto his sketchpad. It had been filled with drawings of Brian, in uniform, casual, and dress clothes... even a few bare-chested ones. At the time, she had been thankful that her son hadn't explored with a full array of nude drawings extending beyond Brian's chest. She had closed the sketchpad and left it where she'd found it. Broaching that subject hadn't been something she felt comfortable to do at that time, so she had ignored it. In retrospect, she wasn't sure that had been the right thing to do... at least, not for Justin.

"Yeah, that's him. He is a couple years ahead of me, though. We didn't travel in the same circles." Justin cleared his throat, realizing if he didn't get into this quickly, he would lose his nerve... and despite the advice coming from Brian, he knew it was the right thing to do. "Uhhhh, Mom... Dad, there's something I've been wanting to tell you. Something I should have told you a long time ago."

"What is it, son?" Craig asked, his face suddenly concerned upon seeing the anxiety in Justin. He looked sharply at his wife when he heard her groan; it was a sound that signaled that his wife knew something. "Jennifer, do you know what this is all about?"

"I might." Jennifer shook her head at Justin, uncertain if his father was ready to hear this yet. She had cautioned him about this when she had become fully aware of Justin's sexual preference, and had convinced him to remain silent; now it appeared that Justin meant to make a full revelation. "It's Justin's story to tell."

Justin looked nervously at his father. He had no way of guessing how he would respond; Justin only hoped it wouldn't be as horrific as in some of his nightmares, or similar to stories he had heard of from others when they had proceeded to come out. "Let's start with my date tonight. I've been seeing someone for several weeks now. Exclusively."

"I figured as much." Craig's voice was booming with pride that his son had found a steady girlfriend so quickly. "Tell us about her."

"Well... it's not a her. His name is Brandon." Justin looked back and forth between his parents, incredulous shock was on his father's face, while his mother's showed deep concern.

"Justin... perhaps now isn't the time," Jennifer interjected, her eyes focusing on the paleness of her husband's face.

Craig looked at her in astonishment. "You knew about this, and you didn't tell me? What the fuck, Jennifer? Our son is queer, and you didn't see fit to tell me!?"

"As I said, Craig - this story was Justin's to tell..." Jennifer realized the excuse was weak, but it was all she had at the moment. The subject had been awkward to say the very least, and she did believe that it should come from Justin. "It's not a big deal, Craig. Justin is young yet. He could change with time."

"Change with time?" Justin whispered in a robotic fashion, his eyes wide on his mother as he processed the ludicrous remark. "It doesn't work that way, Mom."

Jennifer visibly flinched at Justin's response. Despite the fact that she hadn't intended it as such, she had insulted Justin; and, at a time when he obviously needed her support and acceptance. She only hoped Justin would receive it from both of his parents. Craig's stunned silence wasn't a good sign in that. "Justin, I didn't mean to be offensive. All I was saying was that you are very young still. As time goes by, things can and will change in your life."

"Not that, Mom. I can assure you of that!" Justin warily watched as his father stood to his feet, his arms slipping into his coat. He wanted to go to him... but right now, he wasn't sure what to do. His father was often so difficult to read; now was only an exaggeration of that. "D-Dad?"

Craig's back tensed as he walked to the door. "I need time to think, Justin. You've thrown us for a loop here; well, me at least." He looked back to cast an accusing look at his wife that wasn't receiving this news for the first time, his anger more centered on her than his son. "Are you coming, Jennifer?"

When his mom uncertainly looked back and forth between him and his father, Justin nodded and urged her along. "I'm fine, Mom. There's no need to keep Dad waiting."

Jennifer hugged Justin to her tightly for several minutes, pulling away after whispering in his ear, "I'll speak to your father... and we'll talk soon."

Justin watched as his mother met his silent father at the door, his voice breaking, when he spoke, "I'm sorry if I disappointed you, Dad. I wouldn't have intentionally done that for anything."

Craig turned and faced his son, sadness clearly defined in his eyes. "I love you, son. That will never change. It's just going to take me some time to accept this; in particular, this new reality that tells me that you won't ever have the life and family I've always imagined you would have one day." Watching as tears slid down Justin's face, Craig repeated, "It's just going to take some time, Justin."

Returning the softly murmured goodbyes issued by his parents, Justin followed them to the door, locking it behind them. He walked back to his bed, sinking down onto it as if the weight of the world had suddenly been wrenched from his shoulders. This long dreaded talk had went much better than he had expected, and yet, he still felt devastated by the disappointment in his father's eyes. He loved his parents so much; his father had sacrificed so much in order to give him a better life... enrolling him at Pittsburgh University had been part of that. Now, his father was disillusioned by him. In his heart he had to believe they would come back even stronger... but, right now, he just wasn't so sure.

"You summoned?" Brian affixed his most bored glance as he stared at the brother he was still more than a little angry at.

Nodding, Brandon motioned Brian inside. "Come in, Brian." He looked over his shoulder, making certain his brother had arrived alone. "I assume Justin is still with his parents."

"You assume correctly," Brian responded drolly.

"I wanted to apologize." Brandon closed the door before he turned to face his brother, instantly realizing Brian wasn't going to make this easy. "I was out of line earlier. You had more than given me the green light with Justin; I had no right to accuse you of trying to come between us."

Brian shrugged, his aloof mask well in place. "A man gets frustrated when he's that close to acquiring such prime blond boy ass. I would have probably acted the same."

"I doubt it." Brandon didn't respond to Brian's disrespectful assessment of Justin. It was something he didn't want to debate for one reason only. He knew that Brian wasn't that cold and callous toward his roommate. How he wished Brian was true to form when it came to Justin. However, he wasn't; Brian might not be willing to see it, but he could. Pushing that discussion could only lead to disaster for his relationship with Justin. "I wanted to talk to you about something else..."

"Are you ill again?" Brian asked, his eyes suddenly transforming from cold to worried.

Brandon chuckled. "Not physically. My last checkup was the best one to date. I guess I forgot to tell you about it."

"I guess you did..." Brian's eyes were speculative as he looked at his brother. Something was off with him; if he wasn't sick, then what was it? "So, everything looks clear?"

"Yeah. Blood cells are better than ever. In fact, the doctor feels it's about safe to say a full remission."

Brian moved forward, his arms reaching out to pull his brother tightly to him. He wasn't a man for such emotional displays, but this was the best news he'd had in a long time. In fact, news he hadn't ever hoped to hear. Tears were misting his eyes when he took a step back. "That's great, Brandon. Best possible news ever!"

"I feel great, Brian. I haven't felt this good in a long time... that's probably why I fucked up and did something really stupid. I'm just not used to things going good. Now I need to try and fix it." Brandon knew he probably shouldn't be confiding in Brian regarding his deception... but, he hoped Brian would be on his side, and help him figure out what to do. There wasn't a doubt this could backfire on him badly. He only hoped Brian's loyalty to him was as strong as it always had been.

"Fix what?" Brian asked, uncertain what could be a problem after the amazing news he had just delivered.

"After you pushed me to tell Justin everything, well, I kind of took it a step further. I did tell him about my leukemia... but I added a bit more." Brandon felt even worse about his deception as he spoke the words. It had been wrong. He had known that at the time... but holding onto Justin had been then only thing that mattered.

Brian nodded, his eyes lowering, before lifting again. For some reason he knew this was going to be bad. What worried him the most was the feeling that it was about to change everything between him and his brother. Brian wasn't sure he wanted to hear what Brandon had to tell him. "Brandon, what happens between you and Justin is your business. You don't have to tell me."

"Yes, I do. I - I don't know what to do about it. I was just so scared that you and Justin were getting closer; I used my illness to make sure Justin stayed with me---"

"Used it how?" Brian snapped. Now that Brandon had gone this far, he decided he wanted to know it all.

"I told him my condition had deteriorated to the final phase." Brandon didn't look away from the ice that immediately appeared in Brian's eyes. "Specifically, I told him I had mere months to live."

Brian shook his head in disbelief. His brother was that scared of competition? Fuck. This was some shit! "I don't get you, brother. You profess to be falling in love with this kid, and yet you could do this to him? You are sick, Brandon. Sick in the head!"

"You aren't entirely blameless here, Brian! Despite your words to the contrary, you have actively been hitting on Justin since he arrived here - even after you knew how I felt about him!" Brandon's eyes glittered in rage; he was determined to force Brian into admitting that he wasn't without part of the blame. "Try to deny it, Brian. If you can!"

"You are pathetic, Brandon. Justin didn't deserve that shit dumped on him... and you need to fix it!"

"And, if I don't?" Brandon goaded, foolish in his confidence that Brian would remain loyal to him.

Brian looked at him incredulously. He didn't know his brother like this. If this was what love caused, he was damned sure he wanted no part of it. "Forget it, Brandon. I don't give a fuck what you do. It's all going to blow up in your face, though. Justin isn't the type to play these kind of games. In the end, you'll lose him."

"That almost sounds like a threat... or a hope." Brandon stepped closer, his eyes stabbing into Brian's. "My illness doesn't matter, Brian. You promised to back off. I intend to hold you to that."

Mockingly, Brian laughed. "That's your misfortune, dear brother. If you want to play games, I see no reason why I shouldn't either. I think it's time I joined this little competition."

"Brian, I'm asking you to stay out of this! I needed some support; hell, some advice would have been nice."

"I have supported you all along... and you know that! You went too far this time. Tell Justin or don't, your choice, but hear me well - if Justin decides he wants me, I won't back off this time."

Brian slammed out of Brandon's apartment, his destination never in doubt. He was going back to the dorm. One, he wanted to check on Justin following his meeting with his parents... and two, he was tired of denying what he wanted. It was time Brian did what he did best. Self-denial wasn't something that was easy for him; and now, thanks to his brother's stupidity the reason no longer existed.

Justin had gradually been doing the impossible and becoming his friend. Now, Brian had a different relationship in mind. As he drove away he laughed as that ridiculous phrase came to mind - friends with benefits. Yes, he thought. That just might be how this all worked out. Moving closer to the campus, and toward his unsuspecting prey, Brian thought of all the benefits that could be enjoyed from a closer relationship with Justin.

Never once did it occur to him how much Justin had long dreamt of such a reality, and how much each of their lives would change as a direct result.



Chapter Text

Brandon had finished his third bottle of beer in the short time since Brian had stormed out of his apartment. He had tried calling Justin, but each time, Voicemail picked up. He didn't know what to say to the young man that had nearly been his lover. Would Brian tell Justin what he'd foolishly admitted in a moment of weak desperation? And, if not, was he already putting the Brian Kinney well-proven seduction moves in action? That thought tormented him most of all. As much as he loved his brother, and he did, he couldn't bear to imagine them together. What troubled him even more was the fact that Brian could view Justin as more than a convenient fuck. If that ever happened, he would have truly lost him.

Padding barefoot over to the refrigerator, Brandon pulled out a couple more beers. Returning to the living room, he grabbed for the remote control, idly turning on the TV. He was bored, restless, frustrated... but most of all - he just wanted Justin here. He had made a mess of their entire relationship. The worse part was that it was his agony now; Justin didn't even know the truth. At least, not yet. What hurt the most was in knowing Brian had been right. Justin deserved to know the truth. He just wasn't sure he could bring himself to confessing all to Justin.

When he wasn't agonizing over Justin, he was guilt-ridden about Brian. He had wrongly accused his brother, and when it hadn't gone his way, he had lashed out at him yet again. All over a man. The one thing that they both had agreed long ago would never happen seemed to be their reality now. They were fighting over a man. There wasn't a doubt in his mind that he was losing the war. He had to talk to Justin tonight. If only he could get him back over here. Surely his parents had to be gone by now. Turning the TV off that he never really glanced at to start with, Brandon once more pressed the speed dial that would connect him to Justin's phone.

During his previous attempts to reach Justin, he hadn't left a message. He hadn't wanted to appear pushy after the way Justin had left. As he thought about it now, Brandon realized that had been foolish of him. Justin would recognize the caller ID as soon as he viewed his missed calls. When Justin's Voicemail picked up, Brandon decided to leave a message this time. Not doing so probably appeared strange, and it could unduly worry Justin as well. That was really the last thing he wanted to do.

"Hey, Hot Stuff," Brandon greeted, trying to sound more upbeat than he truly felt. "I don't mean to interrupt your time with your parents... so, if you're still with them, just call me in the morning. Uhmmm, but, if they are gone, I'd really like to talk to you tonight. So, give me a call."

Brandon threw the phone down on the couch. He found his message pathetic and desperate even as he spoke it. All he could do was hope Justin didn't feel the same. What a mess, he morosely thought to himself. He needed to fix this... and he needed to do it tonight. As he chugged yet another beer, Brandon debated on whether he should go back to the campus and seek him out. What worried him the most was finding Justin with his brother. Not only finding him, but viewing firsthand his boyfriend succumbing to Brian's innumerable charms. If that turned out being the case, Brandon wasn't certain how he would adapt... or how it would further damage his already strained relationship with Brian.

He refused to sit around and do nothing. For all he knew, Brian was making good on his threats to go after Justin. He couldn't let that happen. Staggering over to the door, Brandon pocketed his keys, never once considering the level of alcohol in his system. All that mattered was making things right with Justin. Somehow he would make him understand. Once he did that, Brian would never come between them again.

Brian leaned against the door jam, his eyes drinking in the sight of Justin laying on his bed, his eyes closed, yet a frown roughening his expression. He couldn't help smiling. Not even that frown could detract from Justin's beauty. Of course, he would never admit that to the blond. Doing so would be admitting he had a genuine, beating heart. He wasn't certain he wanted Justin to be privy to that. As intuitive as he knew Justin to be, Brian wasn't sure he hid that very well from the always inquisitive boy.

He closed the door lightly, making sure not to awaken him. As much as he had returned with the hopes of spending some time with his roommate, Brian was almost relieved that choice had been taken away. Despite his anger at his brother, he still felt uneasy about the declaration he'd made at the end. They had both gotten carried away in that heated exchange; however, he still held by what he had told Brandon. Justin deserved to know everything... and it needed to come from his brother. In addition to that, Justin was the only one who could decide if he wanted to pursue a relationship with Brandon, or if he could be content with what he had to offer.

Brian wasn't about to risk his future, and his way of life for some hot little blue-eyed blond. If Justin wanted to have some fun, perhaps even be occasional fuck buddies, he was definitely on board with that; however, he wasn't about to let Justin change his life. He couldn't allow anyone to do that. Brian slipped his shoes off, placing them neatly by the bed, before going into the bathroom to toss his shirt into the clothes hamper; when he came out, he was surprised to find Justin sitting on the bed, staring at him with a watchful expression. "I didn't mean to wake you; I was actually trying to be quiet."

"I wasn't sleeping; I was just laying here thinking." So many thoughts had been drifting in and out of his mind as he lay here resting. His parents, his future, coming out to his father, Brandon, and most definitely Brian. His life was filled with confusion. Every day something new seemed to factor in; Justin couldn't help wondering if that would ever end. Mockingly, Justin told him, "I know you were trying to be quiet. I've heard how you bang around when you don't give a damn who you disturb."

"Right. I deserve that." Brian bit at his lower lip; despite it being against his better judgment, he walked over to Justin's side of the room, and sat next to him on the bed before working through all the reasons that wasn't the best of ideas. "So, how did the visit with your parents go? Did you, uhhhh, tell them?"

Justin nodded, his eyes staring straight ahead. "I told them alright. Well, my mom already knew... but, my dad wasn't expecting to hear that."

"Okay." Brian remembered the beating he'd taken when he came out to his father. He was thankful the asshole was gone now, but he remembered those moments only too well. Even after so many years, he still had recurring nightmares of his childhood. He hoped Justin wouldn't have the same ordeal as he'd endured. "How did that go?"

"Oh, just wonderful. My father couldn't get out of here fast enough." Justin's eyes clouded with pain as he thought about how chilled the room had felt when his father just looked through him. "He told me no matter what, he would always love me... but that he needed to time to work through it."

Brian frowned, his confusion only growing. That sounded like the most healthy coming out talk he'd ever heard. He didn't get why Justin appeared so lost. "Well, that sounds good. I think you should just go with that... maybe call him in a few days."

Justin nodded. "Maybe."

"What aren't you saying, Justin? Something seems to be missing here---"

"Oh, nothing much. He just told me that he wasn't angry, but merely disappointed." Justin laughed bitterly. "He had all these hopes for the future. My career, marriage, kids. You know, the whole picket fence life. Well, now that I admitted to loving cock - he knows that won't happen. I've shattered his illusions."

Brian nodded, his eyes staring straight ahead in the same direction Justin had been looking. He didn't know what to say to that. It was much different than his own coming out confession to his father; but, it didn't make it any less intense - at least for Justin. It was clear that Justin had a very good relationship with his parents, his father especially. That was another factor he couldn't relate to himself. "Parents can hold high ideals for their kids. I wouldn't give up, though. Hell. Never give up on anything!" Brian turned to look at Justin when he spoke the words, unable to deny, at least to himself, he was now referring to more than Justin's meeting with his parents.

Justin turned to look at Brian. There was something in his voice. When he saw the intense heat in Brian's eyes, Justin's heart slightly fluttered. His mouth became dry as he felt the smoldering heat in Brian's eyes. "Uhhhh, B-Brian? What's going on here?"

A knowing, self-assured smile curved Brian's lips. His hand reached out to trace the side of Justin's face. Such soft, perfect skin. This kid wasn't just hot... he was fucking beautiful. "Perhaps it's the day for confessions..." Brian told him, his voice deep and husky. Brian clearly recognized if he didn't talk now, it wouldn't be happening anytime soon. He was on the verge of kissing the breath out of the blond. Realizing how much he wanted Justin, he knew he wouldn't stop with a mere kiss.

"Confession?" Justin asked, shaking his head as if trying to clear the fog that suddenly permeated around him. "I don't understand."

"It's not a big deal really. I just thought I should tell you." Brian bit at his lower lip, his eyes uncertain as he prepared to say words he'd never said to another man. "This doesn't come easy for me, Justin. It goes against my code." Brian laughed at how ridiculous that sounded, and yet, that was how he lived his life. "I guess I'll just come out and say it."

Perplexed, Justin asked, "Say what?"

"I'm sorry." Brian looked away from the confusion in Justin's eyes, laughing at himself as he spoke the words. It hadn't been nearly as difficult as he'd always thought it to be. He remembered his well-practiced comeback whenever anyone apologized to him - 'Sorry is Bullshit'. All of those times he'd thought it to be true; however, now he wasn't so sure. "Okay, let me clarify that a bit. I've been a real dick to you from day one. It wasn't your fault... and, well, I'm sorry for that."

"Hold on there." Justin's mouth was gaping open in amazement. "You are actually apologizing to me!? B-but... you hate me."

Brian snorted. "Hate you? Not even close, Blondie. That's been the problem."

"I don't get it, Brian. Exactly what are you saying?"

"I'm saying that I am used to getting what I want... in particular, hot little blond twinks that make my dick hard. I am not used to resisting that, or being rejected. It really has nothing to do with you going out with my brother. It's all about me, and dealing with walking around with a hard cock every time I see you." Brian's eyes were full of lust as he looked at the stunned look on Justin's face. "I've been a jerk to take that out on you... that's all I'm saying."

Justin nodded, his eyes downcast, when he nervously admitted, "I've been keeping my own secret... and for a lot longer time than you."

"What's that?" Brian asked, doing all he could to restrain from touching the boy that he was already viewing as a friend, yet one that he wanted with a ferocity he had never known.

"I had the biggest crush on you in high school." Justin laughed in remembrance, his face flushing as just how pathetic he had been came flooding back. "I couldn't keep my eyes off of you; I just can't believe you never noticed it."

"I guess I didn't." Brian did remember seeing Justin around, but they didn't run into each other often. The only vivid memory he had was of seeing Justin bent over in the hallway picking up some books. A thought had come unbidden to his mind. Brian laughed. "I remember seeing you in the hallway; although, it's just now occurring to me that it was you. You had dropped your books and were bending over to pick them up. At the time, I thought to myself, what a nice ass. Of course, I had barely come to terms with myself, and my love for cock; I wouldn't risk approaching you then."

Justin sighed. "Imagine if you had."

"Look at me, Justin." Brian's eyes were stormy when he studied the flushed face looking expectantly up at him. "There would have been no restraint if I had. My inexperience, and lust for the forbidden would have made that impossible." Brian felt his cock twitch as he thought of the possibilities. "I would have fucked the living shit out of you."

"I would have let you." Justin knew this entire conversation was dangerous, but he felt compelled to see it through. "I - I guess we'll never know what might have happened."

Brian moved closer. There wasn't a doubt he was going to taste those lips. Regardless if he did anything else... he was going to kiss Justin tonight. "How about we forget about the past, and move into the future... Right now I want to kiss you. Fuck. I want that badly." Brian's mouth moved closer, yet he did so slowly. He was giving Justin the chance to move away if he was so inclined. Brian couldn't be more pleased that didn't seem to be the case. "Lay down," Brian rasped. "I want to feel your body against mine when I finally take your mouth. I will stop at any time you say the word."

Justin blinked, his body lost in a haze that surrounded him. One that could only be attributed to the sensations that only Brian evoked in him. He thought about Brandon. This was so unfair to him... and yet, even knowing that, he still moved to follow Brian's urgings. "B-Brian? What about Brandon?"

A muscle ticked in Brian's jaw. He didn't even want to hear another man's name on Justin's lips right now - not even his brother's. "Shhhh," Brian answered, his body following Justin's down to cover him. "It's just a kiss. We can figure it all out later."

"Just a kiss..." he repeated. He watched as Brian's mouth came down to cover his; Justin's response far from immobile. His hand cupped the back of Brian's neck, his fingers moving through the strands of brunet hair. After what felt like a lifetime of waiting for this precise moment, Justin sighed when their lips finally connected. He couldn't think about anything. All he could do was feel. As his lips moved beneath Brian's, Justin willingly allowed his to part beneath Brian's. If they were to succumb to this kiss, he was determined it would be a real one.

Brian took his time as his mouth became acquainted with this boy he felt as if he'd wanted for a lifetime. There was no rush now. He framed Justin's face in his hands as his mouth devoured the luscious lips beneath his own. Fuck. He tasted so good. The complications of pursuing Justin no longer mattered. Right now, in this moment, all that mattered was how much he wanted Justin. It was time he got back to being who he was. In Brian's mind, that meant one thing alone - it was time he finally got what he most wanted. Without a doubt - that was simply Justin.

Justin moaned as Brian's tongue mapped out the inside of his mouth; nothing was untouched or unclaimed by the older boy. He could barely breathe through the ferocity of Brian's kiss. Justin clutched tightly onto Brian as their mouths ravenously ate the other. There wasn't a doubt that neither of them wanted this kiss to end.

"I want to fuck you, Justin." Brian's mouth released Justin's to slide down the side of his neck, his evocative words whispered into the side of his neck. "I want that so fucking much." Brian ignored his phone that began vibrating in his pocket, his hand reaching to toss it to the side. Nothing would interrupt them tonight. They would be friends, but so much more.

Pulling Brian's mouth down for another mind-altering kiss, Justin knew he had made his choice; in fact, one that he had made a long time ago. He had deluded himself into believing he had gotten over Brian. Justin was tired of fighting it. He didn't intend to fight it any longer.


Chapter Text

A/N: WARNING --- This is where the angst level really picks up. Please trust me that I will make things right for our special boys. This will be a growing process for them.

Justin moaned under the onslaught of Brian's mouth. It was strange how they were relatively so close in age, and yet, Brian's lips moved with such total finesse over his own. He worried that he would come up lacking in the kissing category. However, the hardness he felt straining in Brian's pants, and the enthusiasm he was putting into their kisses, Justin was somewhat confident that Brian was enjoying himself just as much as he was. "Brian..." Justin whimpered once Brian removed his mouth long enough to allow words to pass. Justin soon found that it wasn't to engage him in conversation, but merely to slide his mouth down the column of his neck, his hands tugging at the snaps on both of their jeans as his mouth continued to go to work.

"I could kiss you all fucking night... but, I have this not-so little problem that needs taken care of too," Brian rasped, his tongue scorching the skin of Justin's neck. Brian had always enjoyed kissing; but, nothing compared to kissing Justin. The boy tasted like addiction. At this point, Brian was uncertain if he would have his fill. "Let's lose these clothes. I really don't think we need them anymore."

Biting at his lip uncertainly, yet feeling his body quivering under Brian's touch, Justin knew this wasn't right. No matter how much he wanted Brian; in fact, he couldn't deny that he'd always wanted this moment with Brian, there was another factor in the mix now. Brandon. This wasn't fair to the man he had come to think of as his boyfriend. His feelings were so complicated regarding these two brothers. Despite the fact that he had probably rushed into a relationship with Brandon, much due to how hopeless he felt regarding anything developing between him and Brian, and Brian's callous treatment of him on a regular basis - Brandon didn't deserve this betrayal. Brian was Brandon's brother. This could never be relegated to a casual fuck. "I'm not sure we should be doing this, Brian."

Pulling his lips away from Justin's heated skin with a needful moan, Brian pierced him sharply with burning, intense eyes. "Are you saying you don't want me, Justin? If that's the case, I'll stop right now."

"No, I'm not saying that." Justin sighed. This was just all so awkward. "You know I want you, Brian."

"Good," Brian growled, his hands moving to push his pants down, his eyes expectantly lifting as he waited for Justin to do the same. "We've been fighting this since day one, Justin. It needs to stop now. The rest will fall into place... but for now, we both need this."

"What about your brother? You do remember him, right?" Justin challenged him, while realizing he was just as much to blame. He could barely keep in his thoughts the reason why he shouldn't be doing this. His desire for Brian completely overruled that glaring reality.

Brian swore as he rolled from the bed. As much as he had thought they were getting somewhere, obviously they were not. At least - not where he had been trying to go. "Fuck..." he grumbled, pulling his pants up. "I don't get you, Justin. You were with me all the way. Don't tell me you were thinking about my brother when my tongue was halfway down your throat... or when our hard dicks were pushing against the other."

Shakily, Justin stood to his feet, careful to keep his distance from the wild-eyed man than gave the appearance of a caged tiger ready to pounce. "Of course, I wasn't... and there's no need to be vulgar about it."

"Perhaps not... but, that happens when my dick gets this hard, and no relief is in sight!" Brian glared at Justin for a long, silent moment, his eyes moving over his perfect body. "You need to make up your mind what you want, Justin; in particular - which brother. I'm not going to have you throwing his name at me every time we get close to this happening."

"I'm not trying to do that, Brian. But... just think about it. I am still seeing your brother. Until I tell him otherwise, this just isn't right. And... I think you know it too!"

"I don't know a damned thing. All I know is that my dick should be fucking you right now." Brian's eyes hungrily ate Justin up, his tongue sliding along his lips, mentally savoring the taste of Justin that still clung to his lips. "You want that too. Tell me different - if you can."

A wistful smile curved Justin's lips. "I can't tell you different. You know that, Brian. But... I have to do what's right, at least what's right for me. I can't let you fuck me until I clear the air with Brandon. I owe him that much."

Brian snorted, his frustration, and anger at his brother spurring him on. "You don't owe him a damned thing."

"Did something happen between you and Brandon? You are usually so protective of him..." Brian's attitude toward his brother confused him the most of all.

"I just had a wake-up call. Thankfully, it finally arrived." Brian shook his head, more than anything, he'd wanted to stay out of the middle of this... but, it was wrong that Justin felt so guilty about what had nearly happened here tonight. In his mind - what should still be happening. He had seen Justin first... not Brandon. Fuck, he sounded like a teenager - even if only to himself. And yet, despite his anger at his brother, he didn't feel it was his place to tell Justin of his morbid deception. He wasn't so sure he could prevent from doing that now.

"What are you talking about, Brian?" Justin stared attentively at Brian, waiting for an answer that for some reason he was sure he wouldn't like. Just as Brian was about to answer, harsh pounding began to reverberate on the door. They looked at each other in surprise as the knocking sounded again, this time even louder. It was the knock of someone that was desperate to be heard.

Brian strode to the door, flinging it open with an irritated look on his face; his eyes became wide and his face pale as he looked at the two officers standing at his door. There was no disguising that look on their faces. This was bad. He felt the beginning of painful tinges striking like darts into his chest. "Officers? What's this about?"

They looked pointedly at each other, before the older of the two, demanded, "Are you Brian Kinney?"

Justin came to stand behind Brian, fear in his own eyes as he took in the despair in Brian's, along with the officers that were here to clearly do their duty - professionally, yet impersonally.

"I am." Brian's chest pounded even more painfully in his chest. This was the knock on the door he had always feared... but, he hadn't expected it now. Brandon was fine. In fact, he was better than he'd ever been. What the fuck was happening? "Is it my brother?"

The younger, and more compassionate of the two officers stepped closer. "I'm sorry, son. There was an accident on I-376. Your brother seemed to have been drinking." The officers sighed remorsefully at the pained gasp that escaped the brunet. "He was in a head-on collision with a semi."

Sobs jerked from Justin's throat. "He's in the hospital, then. Right? Can you take us to him? P-please?"

Brian closed his eyes as the horror began to manifest fully in him. There wouldn't be a hospital visit. He was certain of it. In fact, he could feel it. "I don't think they are here to take us to my brother's bedside, Justin..."

The older office continued on, "I'm sorry, Mr. Kinney. Your brother was killed on impact. It was so instantaneous we don't believe he ever saw it coming, or even suffered as a result."

"Oh my God!" Justin gasped. "It can't be true. It just can't." Justin looked at the cold, emptiness on Brian's face. "Tell them, Brian. It's not possible. Brandon doesn't drink and drive. We were just with him hours ago!"

Ignoring Justin's outburst, the officers looked at Brian inquiringly. "I'm sorry for your loss, Mr. Kinney, but we need you to make a positive ID on the body. You don't have to come with us immediately, but we would like to get this done within the hour."

"How can you ask that of him?" Justin wailed. "You just told him his brother is dead... and you want him to identify the body? It's too much!!"

"Justin!" Brian snapped, his eyes sliding to where Justin stood quivering behind him. He was doing all he could do to hold it together... but, he wasn't holding on by much. Brian was certain this shocking reality hadn't sunk in yet. He wasn't sure how long it took for news like this to not only be heard, but felt as well. At the moment, this all felt like a horrific dream. He had to finish it before he could either wake up or face the inevitable. "I'll come with you now."

"Thank you, Sir." The officers stood and waited while Brian slipped into his shoes and coat, their eyes collectively on Justin moving to do the same. "We only need one of you for positive identification."

"I'm doing this alone..." Brian slid an agitated looked toward the man that had almost become his lover. That could never happen now. As he looked at Justin now, all he felt was bitter contempt - mostly directed at himself. He should have been more understanding of Brandon's feelings. Now it was too late. He had been in the act of seducing his brother's boyfriend at the precise time he had lost his life. Brian doubted no other realization would ever make him feel this low again.

Justin's lower lip quivered, as he brokenly asked, "Y-you don't want me with you? Not even for moral support?"

Brian laughed coldly. "Moral support? No, Justin. I don't need that. Most especially, I don't need that from you."

Eyes wide with disbelief, Justin watched Brian leaving with the officers, his heart breaking in more ways than one. He hadn't only lost Brandon tonight; Justin realized he had also lost the one man that he had always loved. Justin slid to the floor, and onto his knees, sobs overtaking him as the full loss, and guilt of his actions here tonight completely overwhelmed him. Unbeknownst to him, his uncontrollable sobs reaching the man's ears that was just leaving to carry out the hardest task any brother ever had to do.

Justin wasn't thinking about all he had lost tonight. He was sure in future days that would come more to the forefront, but for now, it was about Brian and the torment he now endured. Not only had he lost his terminally ill brother prematurely, he had also done so during actions he viewed as the ultimate betrayal. What even compounded it, he hadn't had the chance to say goodbye. Justin wasn't certain where they would go from here; however, one thing was for certain - it wouldn't be in the same direction they had been heading a short time ago.

His future days at Pitt University seemed bleak, and positively unbearable. Justin didn't see any circumstances that would ever change that reality.


A/N: You do still trust me, right? Time will start to move a bit more quickly; at least, once they get through the events of Brandon's death. If not - this story would take forever! Again, this story is about friends, them growing both together and separately. However, together is always the end game. It just might take a bit of time getting them there. I hope you hang in there with me; I am thinking once they get there it should be special.


Chapter Text

A/N: This one is updating a bit out of order; however, I wanted to continue on from where we left off. Time is going to start to move a bit more quickly now. I've been battling with my muse over precisely how I want this story to progress. This chapter should answer that question. I hope you enjoy it. Please keep in mind - this is still a Brian/Justin story, one with an established friendship first. Everything will come together in time.

Justin opened the door, tears streaming down his face. He couldn't think, let alone speak right now. All he could do was step away to let his best friend step into the room. He locked the door, before looking at her with bloodshot eyes. Brian had only been gone for twenty minutes; the tears hadn't stopped since tragedy ripped both of their worlds apart, and evoked realizations that Justin hadn't wanted to face. He had been torn between two brothers, one had been about to decidedly win that war. In the face of it all, he had lost both of them.

Daphne's eyes were swimming with her own tears as she watched Justin taking a seat on his bed, her footsteps slowly following behind. She couldn't fathom what he had so brokenly whispered on the phone. Breaking rules and coming into the boys dorm after hours wasn't even a consideration. Justin needed her. Therefore, she was here. "Jus..." Daphne sat down next to him, her hand lightly reached out to rest on his knee. "Are you sure? I mean, is there any room for doubt?"

"No, Daph. The police were here. Brian went with them for physical confirmation... but that's just a formality." Justin's lip quivered, when he brokenly added, "He's gone. Brandon's really gone..."

Laying her head down on Justin's shoulder, Daphne couldn't stop from crying with him. She wasn't sure what her friend needed most, but she grieved with him. There wasn't anything to stop her in doing that. On the few occasions she had met Brandon, she had genuinely liked him. More than that, his affection for Justin was blatantly apparent to her. That endeared him to her even more. That this horrible tragedy could happen was beyond her comprehension. She just couldn't understand it. "I - I know you probably don't want to talk about it, Justin... but, I don't get it. Brandon just didn't seem like the type to drink and drive. He really didn't!"

Justin reached for the box of tissues that had a deep dent in it since the gruesome news had arrived. He dabbed at his eyes, before looking at Daphne. "That's it exactly. I don't get it, Daph. Sure we've had some beers together, but he never drove when we were drinking. He was always safe." Justin smiled in reminiscence. "He always said life was too precious to throw it away." He found that ironic in keeping with Brandon's medical condition; however, that was Brandon - always so upbeat and ready to take on any challenge.

Reaching over, she grasped Justin's hand in her own, squeezing it gently. "I know you hadn't been going out for that long yet, Jus... but, it was obvious how much he cared about you."

"I cared about him too, Daph." Justin knew he had loved Brandon; however, it wasn't the same mind-numbing passion he felt for Brian. He loved them both; it was just in very different ways. Now he would never be able to work out that confusion in a normal fashion. Fate had decided for him. Now, he had most likely lost both of them. "I wish I could have said goodbye to him... and that Brian could have too. I think that's the hardest part of all. So many things left unsaid..."

Daphne could understand that. "No closure for either of you. I think Brandon knew how much Brian loved him, though. It was so obvious every time he looked at him. He always seemed so proud of him."

"Yeah, he was." Justin didn't mention that he thought Brian had fought with Brandon recently. Something had been off between them. He was certain it had a lot to do with him... but, there would be no fixing that now. "He was always very protective of Brandon; and Brian was Brandon's hero in so many ways. They had a special relationship." Justin had to bite his tongue from not adding how it had been before he came along. Another level of his own guilt was in knowing how he had come between them. More than anything, he wished he could go back and do things differently. In what way, he wasn't sure... but, he knew he would have tried.

Relieved that Justin's tears seemed to be lessening, she pulled her hand free, a perplexing thought coming to mind. "I thought you were spending the weekend in town with Brandon. What happened?"

"Brian showed up at Brandon's apartment and told me that my parents were here. He brought me back." Justin wished he could call them now. They were probably home by now, but he was afraid to reach out to them after just coming out to them. Justin laughed morosely. "It's ironic really. Finally, I come out to my dad, and my boyfriend dies the same night. How fucked up is that?"

Eyes widening, Daphne asked, "How did that go?"

Justin shrugged. That was the last thing he wanted to think about right now. "Not as bad as I thought... but, it could have went better."

"I get that you don't want to talk much right now. I'll stay here with you as long as you need me, Jus." Tears lingered in her eyes as she reached out to grasp his hand again, this time squeezing it much tighter. "I wish I could do something for you. I hate to see you like this." Daphne's voice uncharacteristically broke as her emotions completely overtook her.

"I wish that too..." Justin whispered, his eyes staring unseeing ahead. If only he could change the events of the past night. He didn't know how long he sat there immobile when the knocking at his door permeated his senses. "Can you answer that, Daph? Just get rid of them, please. Whoever they are..."

Nodding, Daphne released Justin's hand and stood to her feet. "Of course, I will. Be right back..."

Opening the door, Daphne's eyes grew wide as saucers, the color completely draining from her face. "Uhhh, uhhh..." she began to stammer incoherently, words totally escaping her.

Justin sighed wearily from his bed. "Daph, who is it?" A gasp shot sharply from Justin's throat when he heard the voice that answered.

"You look like you just saw a ghost. Can I come in, Daphne?"

Running to the door with a look of incredulous disbelief, Justin looked into dazzling blue eyes. Urgently, Justin reached for the other man's hand, pulling him inside in rapid motion. He couldn't believe it. Did touching him make it more real? He wasn't sure... but he knew one thing - he wasn't letting go. Unceremoniously, Justin flung himself into Brandon's arms, his words coming out in quick, breathless pants of air. His chest was expanding in his efforts. Justin felt his heart about to jump free from him. "Everyone thinks you're dead. Brian just went to identify a body. I - I don't understand it... but, I've never been happier to see anyone in my life."

Brandon frowned at that revelation. Dead? He shook his head, wincing in pain at the slight movement. "I was mugged when I was leaving my apartment. I'd had a few too many beers, and my reflexes weren't great. Speaking of... I took a cab to get back here, and no wallet. Could you possibly pay the cab driver? I'll get it back to you tomorrow."

Daphne grinned from ear to ear. "I'll take care of that for you, and give you two some time alone." She shook her head in a look of happy disbelief. "I'm so glad you're okay, Brandon."

His arms wrapping tightly around Justin, he shivered when he realized how fate could have played a hand in his life tonight. He didn't want to make the same mistakes again. "Thanks, Daphne. I'm glad it all worked out too."

Justin pulled back, his eyes wide with alarm. "Oh my God! Brian! He's at the morgue to identify your body. We need to call him and let you know you're here... and okay."

Both of them thanking Daphne once more, Brandon reluctantly pulled himself from Justin's warm and welcoming arms to make the call to his brother. No matter how much they had been fighting recently, Brandon knew how distraught Brian would be. When Brian picked up with a terse greeting, Brandon teasingly, asked him, "Resorted to picking up men at the morgue?"

Brian felt his heart lurch in his throat. Moving away from the officers that he had just informed had the wrong man's name attached to their dead body, he snidely replied, "You fucking son-of-a-bitch! You'll do anything for attention."

"I am at your dorm now with Justin; I just found out that I am supposed to be deceased..." Brandon couldn't tear his eyes away from the beaming smile that lit up Justin's face. There was nothing more perfect than that smile. Brandon knew he could spend a lifetime searching for something to compare; he knew he would come up lacking every time.

"Justin knows... that's good." Brian could only imagine the reunion the two of them would be having. It would be one that excluded him, and right now, Brian thought that was the best thing for all of them. "What the fuck happened to you? Why was some other guy driving your car... and with your identification?"

"I was coming here to see Justin. I'd had a few too many beers and shouldn't have been going out. I was mugged from behind. The asshole took everything."

Brian snorted. "Well, the asshole is dead now." Frowning in concern, Brian asked, "Are you okay? Did you get checked out? And... what did the police say?"

"My God, Bri. Twenty fucking questions much!? It's just a bump on the head." Brandon looked away from Justin for a moment to whisper, "I guess I was just that anxious to get to Justin."

His eyes clouding over for a moment, Brian felt fully to blame for that. It ended tonight. Brandon loved Justin; and whether Justin understood his feelings or not, he believed he loved Brandon too. Perhaps it wasn't an out of this world mindless lust that they could have shared together, but it was real for them. It was time he took a step back and let them make their decisions without any outside influence. If it was meant to be, they would be together. "I'm glad you're okay, Brandon... and, I'm sorry about the things I said. I know you'll do the right thing, but I'm going to stay out of it. I promise."

"Thanks, Brian. That means everything to me." Brandon reached for Justin's hand, gently pulling him closer. He said goodbye to his brother, promising him they could have lunch the following day, his eyes absorbing the beautiful blond in front of him. "Poor Brian," he whispered. "I can't imagine what he's gone through tonight."

"I doubt that it matters to him now. He has you back now... we both do. As far as I'm concerned, that's all that matters." Justin wrapped his arms around Brandon's waist, his head lowering to his chest, a sigh of contentment slipping from him. He knew he needed to tell Brandon about the mistake he'd almost made with Brian tonight, but, now wasn't the time. Now was for cherishing this special moment, and the gift of life. Nothing else was more important than that.



Chapter Text

Justin snuggled back against Brandon's chest; a sigh of contentment slipping past his lips when Brandon tightened his hold. "I just can't believe you're here... and that it was all a nightmare. We were so scared, Brandon."

Brandon frowned as he felt the quiver in the man he held against him. The full magnitude of what Justin and Brian had endured hadn't really fazed him - at least, not until now. They had really believed him to be dead. The victim of a tragic auto accident. He couldn't imagine how frantic they had been... Brian in particular. He really wanted to talk to Brian now. Hopefully Brian would be home soon. Stroking his hands, up and down Justin's arms, Brandon whispered, "I'm sorry you were scared, Justin. I had no idea any of this was happening. I guess I didn't realize just how serious this was."

"Oh it was." Justin shivered in remembrance. "The police were here, and insisted on Brian identifying your body. God. I can't imagine how hard that was for him."

Pushing aside that slight spark of jealousy that ignited at Justin's concern for his brother's state of mind, Brandon put himself in his brother's position. He couldn't imagine being the one to do the same for Brian. Fuck. That would have been both frightening and devastating. "I was a bit flippant with him on the phone; I was too shocked to take it all in. I owe him an apology." Brandon's eyes shuttered for a moment. He owed Brian more than one. After this horrific night, he hoped Brian would accept them.

Justin pulled up into a sitting position, his eyes seeking out Brandon as he sat perched up against the back of his bed. "Why were you in such a rush to get here? I - I mean, it isn't like you to drink and drive. You must have felt rushed to get here."

"I was stupid..." Brandon ashamedly admitted. Despite how jealous and panic stricken he had been, rushing out to confront them, most especially when drinking had been wrong. "Brian and I had a disagreement; I was rushing to stop him from acting on what he threatened to do."

"What kind of disagreement?" Justin asked, innately feeling he had a very good idea what it had been about.

"It doesn't matter now. That's done. I'd rather enjoy being with you... especially after our weekend was cut so short." Brandon smiled at Justin reassuringly; he had no intention of discussing his jealous behavior with Justin now. They seemed to be getting back on track now. He didn't plan on risking that for anything.

Momentarily distracted, Justin agreed, "It did get cut short. I'm sorry for that."

"Not your fault," Brandon told him, his eyes watchful on the young man that had been so close to becoming his lover. He wasn't quite sure that Justin hadn't welcomed that interruption - that was a large part of the reason that had sent him out. It had been the wrong response, but as unfamiliar as he was with the unpleasant feeling of jealousy, it had been all he could do at the time. "So, uhmm, how did you spend your evening after your parents left?"

Justin flushed guiltily, his eyes connecting with Brandon's, before he lowered them again quickly. He hadn't looked away soon enough. Before he had, he could discern pain in Brandon's eyes. It was as if Brandon knew exactly what happened, but wasn't going to speak of it. "I had a long talk with Brian." Justin laughed nervously. "It was actually good for once."

"Surprising..." Brandon murmured dejectedly. "Brian isn't big on talking to guys, especially ones he finds to be hot."

Shrugging, Justin didn't respond to that obvious statement. It was something he knew very well. Brian Kinney was a man of action - to Brian, talk was a complete waste of time. "He showed up not long after my parents left. I needed someone to talk to, and, well, he listened to me."

Brandon pursed his lips together. It wasn't in jealousy this time. Now, it was more in anger directed at himself. He should have been here for Justin during such a defining moment. Instead, his gut had been torn apart with jealousy, knowing his brother wanted his boyfriend, and the deep fear that Brian would win the battle if he decided to engage in it. Deciphering the guilty look on Justin's face, Brandon wondered how far things had progressed in that 'talk' between the roommates. Something had happened, of that he was sure, it was just a question of what, and if it would happen again. "I should have been here for you," Brandon whispered remorsefully. "I wish I had of been."

Shaking his head, Justin reached back and grabbed Brandon's hand. He squeezed it reassuringly, before he told him, "It wasn't a big deal - really. My mom already knew the truth... it was just telling my dad that was so hard. He wasn't really mean to me, just very distant. I hope he comes around in time. Whether he does or not, I know it's my life. I'm going to live it as I see fit."

"That's the right attitude." Brandon smiled back at Justin as he returned the squeezing pressure on Justin's hand. "I - I was thinking... well, wondering if you wanted to come back to my place for the rest of the weekend." When Justin looked hesitant, Brandon added, "I don't mean we have to pick up where we left off; I know a lot has happened in these past few hours. I just wanted to spend some uninterrupted time with you... and hopefully we could talk some more."

Justin wasn't sure about being alone with Brandon in his apartment again. He was attracted to him, there wasn't any doubt of that... but, he felt the same about Brian too. Clearly, anything beyond friendship wasn't likely to develop between him and Brian. When Brian went to the morgue with the officers, Brian had been more than clear about his feelings - or lack thereof. But... it wasn't fair to use Brandon as a second choice, either - if that was truly what he was. He was so confused with the events of this night, not to mention the conflicting emotions for each brother. Justin knew he had to figure it out... doing that was the true task. However, they did need to talk. He wouldn't be able to figure anything out if dishonesty still hung between them. "Uhhh, you forgot one little detail, Brandon."

"What's that?"

"You don't have a car." Justin laughed as the irritation spread across Brandon's face. "I guess we could take a cab there..."

The door slammed behind them, both pairs of eyes turning to look at a glowering, yet clearly relieved Brian. "Where the fuck are you going now?" Brian's eyes were fully focused on his very much alive brother. "Haven't you found enough trouble tonight with all your traveling?"

Brandon stood to his feet, a playful light in his eyes as he advanced to his brother. In a sing-song tone, Brandon cooed, "Yes, I'm fine, Brian; other than the slight bump on my head. Nothing to worry about."

Brian's lips quirked into a brief smile, tension slowly beginning to leave him. Uncaring of his roommate watching on in amusement, Brian pulled Brandon to him, hugging him tightly against him. The embrace was over as quick as it had began, but it was a revealing expression of his feelings. "I'm glad it was a false alarm, Brandon. I was fucking scared!" Brian's voice cracked a bit on the last part, his eyes lowering before the pain was on open display for all to see.

"I'm sorry my actions caused all of this worry. I never intended any of it to happen..." Brandon began, his eyes seeking out his brother's, both of them knowing precisely what had caused him to rush out into the night.

Oblivious to any possible undercurrents between the two brothers, Justin came up behind Brandon, his arms wrapping around his waist. "Of course you didn't." Justin leveled a challenging stare on his roommate. "I'm sure Brian knows that too."

Brandon covered Justin's hands with one of his own, his eyes on his brother in the process. He wasn't sure if they were still embroiled in this little war, but circumstances made him the winner - at least for tonight. Building on that was all he could do now. Brandon didn't miss how Brian's gaze moved to look away from the intimate pose they effected, not a bit remorseful regarding this part of the night. There wasn't a doubt in his mind that he was the brother that was best for Justin. Brian would never offer him what he wanted to give him. In time, Justin would love him as much as he loved him. He just had to be patient. "Could you do us a favor, Bri?"

Brian forced himself to look at the sight of the two of them together, in his mind reinforcing precisely why Brandon was better for Justin. There wasn't a doubt it was true, and they all knew it. Justin was incredibly sensitive, and wouldn't respond well to a brief fling, or a one-time encounter. At this point in his life, that was all he had to offer. Not to mention that he couldn't openly be with any man. If that aspect changed, he would probably reconsider his decision, and non-relationship with Justin; however, that wasn't something likely to change in the foreseeable future. Then, there was the fact of how happy Brandon was with Justin. In fact, the happiest he had ever known him to be. And... with the life he had had so far, Brandon deserved that happiness. No matter how much he wanted Justin, this was the time to step back. Somehow he would make himself stick to it this time. "What do you want?" Brian asked, thinking he had a slight idea where this was heading.

"Well, my car was stolen, and I guess, totaled - so, I was wondering if you could take the two of us back to my apartment." He looked over his shoulder to catch Justin's slightly hesitant look, quickly forging on ahead before Justin could change his mind. "We have a lot to talk about... and, we were planning on spending the weekend together."

Nodding, Brian looked to Justin for confirmation. Yeah, they had a lot to talk about. He just wondered if his brother would tell Justin the truth... or if he would claim the ultimate prize first. "Is that what you want, Justin?"

Justin searched Brian's face for some indication that Brian wanted him to say no. He wasn't sure what his response would be. There was no denying that he had feelings for Brian, ones that had been with him for a long time; however, he had feelings for Brandon too. Nothing could be decided while he remained so confused. He needed to talk to Brandon. Hopefully, then, he could put it all into a better perspective. Noting that distance that had once again returned to Brian's eyes, Justin gave the only answer he thought he could. "We were supposed to spend the weekend together, and, yes, we have things to talk about. Yeah, I want to go home with Brandon."

A reflexive muscle ticked in Brian's jaw. He would have been fine if Justin would have stopped before saying - I want to go home with Brandon. That made it all too real. As he discerned the relief in Brandon's eyes, Brian was pleased he didn't see any form of smug mockery. He wasn't sure he could remain aloof in that case. "Okay, I'll take you." Not wanting to be perceived as the loser, or the odd man out, Brian callously continued, "I was going into town myself. It's early yet... and there's plenty of prime ass to be conquered.."

"Yeah. It would be a shame if you didn't get your dick sucked tonight," Justin muttered sarcastically. He shook his head, as he pulled away from Brandon to begin re-packing his duffel bag that he had just unpacked earlier. Typical Brian Kinney. A moment of caring washed away to inconsideration. Brian would never change. Perhaps it was time he realized that.

Brandon laughed. As much as he really didn't want to see Justin hurt, he was glad to see that Brian was backing off from Justin. It was for the best for all of them. In time, Brian would more fully see that. "Don't judge him too harshly, Justin. It's the life he knows, not to mention, the one he wants."

Brian's eyes narrowed on his brother. As much as he loved him - and that was the primary reason he was backing down from Justin; still, he could see his faults. Brandon was enjoying his retreat a bit too much. "Perhaps it is," Brian agreed blandly. "It's more than that, though. I am living the life society has forced me to live if I want to achieve my goals." His eyes touched on each of them in turn. "Should that aspect ever change, I will change how I live my life." Brian leveled a challenging stare at his brother. "Something to remember..."



Chapter Text

A/N: We pick up where we left off; although, there is no Brian in this chapter. Things are moving along, though. I foresee maybe two more chapters before I start moving things ahead time-wise. I apologize for the delay in between updates. RL has been a killer recently.





Chapter 17




"So... here we are," Justin needlessly observed, his eyes touching on all of the empty beer bottles on Brandon's coffee table. "I - I guess you did have more than a few."





Grimacing at the mess, and the reminder of what his drinking and driving could have resulted in, Brandon rushed forward and grabbed the offending bottles, tossing them quickly into the trash. "Sorry. I forgot I hadn't disposed of them." He smiled warmly at the blond, his hand gesturing him forward. "Come sit down, Justin. Let's try to forget about all that happened tonight."





Justin bit at his lip uncertainly, yet, his footsteps carried him next to Brandon on the couch. This had been a long, and crazy night. More than anything he just wanted to sleep, perhaps in doing so he could work it out in his mind. He wasn't convinced of that likelihood at all. Forgetting about it wasn't exactly what he wanted, though. There had been some very unpleasant moments tonight, even devastating ones; however, there had been good ones too. Justin didn't want to think about some of the more pleasurable ones. That was something he needed to let go of... in doing so, concentrate on things that made more sense. "So, uhhhh, you wanted to talk?'





Brandon moved a bit closer to Justin. "Yeah. I guess I did. But... I'm just as happy to sit here looking at you."





Blushing, Justin stammered, "Y-you are always so flattering, Brandon. I-I never know what to expect from you."





"That's a good thing. Surprise should heighten your interest... and, I don't think there's any question that I want to keep you very interested." Brandon's eyes swept over the face of the beautiful blond, inwardly tormented on how to proceed with what he eventually must tell him; yet, still playing out the possible ways to do it in a way that wouldn't alienate Justin from him. He reached out and caught Justin's hand in his own. Squeezing it gently, Brandon asked, "Is there?"





Shaking his head, Justin looked away... his own guilt consuming him. "No, there isn't. That's why I need to be honest with you, Brandon." When he felt Brandon's hand tensing in his own, he looked at him to say, "I care about you... a lot. I need to tell you about tonight - all of it."





Brandon knew exactly where this was heading... the very words that he had feared hearing could be coming his way. Something had happened between Justin and Brian. He had known that it had, or at the very least, had nearly happened; Brandon just wasn't sure he wanted to have the confirmation. It appeared that Justin wasn't giving him any choice. "Justin..." he began hesitantly. "You don't have to tell me anything. There isn't a doubt that I'd like us to have an exclusive relationship, but I get that you're not there - at least, not yet."





Releasing Brandon's hand, Justin vaulted up from the couch, pacing in front of it in agitation. Running a hand through his hair, he grumbled, "I don't know where I am. That's precisely the problem! I care about you, Brandon; I really do. There's only one other problem---"





"Brian..." Brandon spat out, the jealousy he had never felt toward his brother coiling up inside of him like the most venomous of snakes. At least, never felt until Justin had come into their lives. Everything had changed between him and Brian. At this point, he wasn't even sure they could go back. Even amidst his jealousy and anger, that did sadden him. He loved Brian. There wasn't a doubt of that; however, right now, having a commitment with Justin seemed to matter more. Looking up, he briefly encountered the stunned look on Justin's face. Justin wasn't accustomed to him speaking Brian's name with such harshness. He wasn't used to that either. Looking away out of guilt amassing from several places, Brandon forced himself to ask the question he hadn't wanted to ask. "Something happened between the two of you tonight?"





"Yes..." Justin admitted, his head downcast, guilt causing his heart to beat faster in his chest. "It was after my parents had left, and we were talking. I told you about all of that." He glanced up to meet the accusation in Brandon's eyes, before he looked away once more. "We connected like never before; I can't explain it, just for that moment things were different between us. I couldn't think about anything else."





"Obviously..." Brandon muttered, rage once more renewing within him. He didn't move from the couch, yet his eyes stayed accusatory on the man he was determined to keep, no matter how much had progressed between Justin and his brother. "Why did you come home with me, Justin? It couldn't have been because you actually wanted to be with me. Be honest about it - I am nothing but a stand-in for my brother---"





Justin gasped, at once turning hurt eyes onto his sort-of boyfriend. "Brandon, that's not at all fair. And... you know it's not true."





"Do I, Justin?" Brandon stood to his feet, slowly walking over to Justin. "Do I really? Brian is my brother, and I love him... but, let's face it - he's always in between us! Always!"





"I don't mean for him to be..." Justin sighed wearily; he couldn't possibly deny Brandon's allegations. He hated this so much - the confusion regarding these two gorgeous, yet very different brothers... but more than that, he hated what he'd done to their relationship. It didn't matter that he hadn't purposely caused the rift; all that really mattered now was that it existed. Walking away from both of them might be the fairest thing he could do. As he read the anger, and obvious pain in Brandon's eyes, Justin realized it was probably too late to mend any rifts now. "This goes back for longer than you know; I just admitted that to Brian tonight."





Shaking his head in confusion, Brandon asked, "What are you talking about? Are you saying you are one of Brian's one-time encounters before you arrived at Pitt? Your innocence is another lie?"





"No! Of course not!" Justin glared at Brandon, his patience quickly evaporating. "You know, maybe I should just go back to campus. I can take a cab. It's clear that all we're doing here is fighting; I really don't want to do that... especially on the same night we thought we had lost you."





"I'm sorry, Justin. I guess I'm being an insensitive jerk; I'm just trying to understand what's happening here." Brandon was fairly certain what was happening, he just needed to know how much damage Justin's little moment with Brian tonight had caused. "Please just finish explaining what you were trying to tell me."





Justin eyed him warily. "Okay... but, only if you can be calm, and have a clear head about it."





Brandon mentally groaned. He didn't like the sound of that at all. "Okay. I realize that lashing out isn't going to solve anything. I'll be quiet and listen." He tried to deliver a reassuring smile, realizing it was probably far from convincing. "At least, I'll try..."





"I guess that's all I can ask." Justin took a deep breath, before he admitted, "Brian was in the same high school as me. Obviously he was a couple of years ahead. We definitely didn't travel in the same circles, and essentially he didn't even know I was alive."





Snorting in disbelief, Brandon interjected, "Hmmmph. I doubt that."





A look of reproof quickly followed. "That is your definition of being quiet and listening??"





"Sorry..." Brandon sheepishly returned. "I guess I know my brother too well; and, back in those days when he was just really beginning to explore his sexuality - well, you had to be unbelievably hot to him. Perhaps even more than you are now."





"Well, as I said... our paths didn't cross much. Only at a distance on those rare occurrences. My point being this - I had a bit of a crush on him back then. " Justin bit his lip as he watched the color draining from Brandon's face. "I'm not telling you this to hurt you; I would never do that. Brain didn't even know - that is, not until tonight. I told him, as I'm telling you now too. I want complete honesty between us. This is all messed up enough without lies complicating matters more."





Brandon's eyes became glazed, his breathing slightly accelerating. This brought them back to his own lie... and one just as threatening to the progress of their relationship - perhaps even more of one. He didn't know how he could tell Justin now, or even in the near future... however, how much choice did he have? Brian could tell Justin at any moment; not to mention, it would become increasingly difficult to hide his much improved health. His mind raced as he tried to think of another way to reveal the truth without making it appear as a deception. Right now, that felt like his only hope in keeping Justin.





"Are you okay? Brandon??" Justin asked, concern deepening his voice. Brandon had become so quiet, pale, and his breathing clearly wasn't right. When Brandon's eyes began to flutter in his trancelike state, Justin rushed forward, guilt once again consuming him. "Fuck. I'm so sorry, Brandon. Never once did I consider your condition when we started to argue. This can't be good for you."





"No, it's okay, Justin. I don't want to be treated like some kind of invalid." Brandon shuddered. "Anything but that..."





Justin wasn't about to be dissuaded. Now wasn't the time for this. "You know, I'm kind of tired. Maybe we should both get some sleep, and look at it again in the morning."





"Maybe you're right," Brandon agreed, in fact, he thought that was the best idea of all. Time was what he needed. Time to figure out exactly how to repair the damage he had caused. "Uhhh, Justin? Could you do something for me?"





"Of course. What is it?" Justin asked, worry and guilt continuing to plague him.





Brandon lowered his eyes to the floor, then back again. He knew what he was about to say was all kinds of wrong... but, he couldn't help himself. Building on their connection was all he had right now. He wasn't going to waste the opportunity. "Don't sleep on the couch. Stay with me in my room."





"Brandon... I'm not sure that's a good idea." Justin chewed on his lip thoughtfully. "I - I mean, after all we've discussed, now just isn't the time to complicate things more. You know?"





"I didn't mean like that, Justin. I get that you're not ready for that." A shaky smile curved his lips, one that he knew would appear vulnerable, and slightly hesitant. Unless he missed his mark, he was sure Justin would succumb to it. "I - I just don't want to be alone tonight. I guess I'm not feeling quite right. I promise I won't touch you; I'd just really like to have someone I care about close to me. If I'm asking too much, don't worry about it; I understand completely."





Justin moved even closer, his arms wrapping around Brandon's waist, and snuggling into him. His voice was soft and trusting as he answered, "You're not asking too much. I want to be there for you, Brandon."





Brandon smiled as he closed his arms around the beautiful blond. An idea suddenly coming to mind in how this lie could be thing of the past, and yet, he wouldn't have to divulge his dishonesty. Doctors made mistakes every day; Justin would be relieved that he was no longer terminal, and that deception would be ended. In his mind, despite knowing it was wrong, this solution was a win/win for the both of them. Brian probably wouldn't see it the same way, but he couldn't care about that. This was about holding on to what he loved; Brandon was desperately determined to do that. There wasn't a doubt in his mind that he was the best brother for Justin. The one that could give the sensitive young man what he needed - physically and emotionally. In time, they would all understand that.






A/N: *Sigh* Obviously Brandon hasn't learned his lesson yet. Manipulative, yet clearly feeling he is making the right choices. I'm sure quite a few of you will be a bit irritated with him, but, who knows what the future might bring? Perhaps there will come a time that he does what is right. We'll see. Thank you for reading. Comments are greatly appreciated!

Chapter Text

"Brian? What's wrong?" Lindsay Peterson laid her hand on her good friend's arm, her eyes concerned as they flickered over him. "Is it about the game today? I know it's important..."



"The game?" Brian looked at her blankly. "Of course not. I'm ready for this. The team is too."



Eyes widening at the sharpness in Brian's tone, she calmly replied, "Okay, so it's not about the big game today. Is it something to do with Brandon?" Biting her lip, Lindsay bravely prodded, "Or perhaps your roommate?"



"That twat?" Brian exploded. "Why would I be bothered about him?"



"Why indeed." Lindsay smirked knowingly. "Okay, then what is it, Brian? You're usually not like this right before a game, and I know this one is huge."



"It is big. If we beat North Carolina we will lead the ACC. Scouts will start to pay attention." Brian tried to convince himself that was what stressed him out this morning, and not the fact that his brother had Justin at his apartment. Fuck that! He wasn't about to let thoughts of the hot little blond Freshman affect his time in the spotlight today. This was his chance. He needed to do well today. If he did, the scouts would take notice. That was what he wanted more than anything.



Lindsay considered that, a frown marring her brow. "I get that it would be nice, but, Brian, you have your Senior year yet. You aren't really rushed for exposure yet."



"It's never too soon, Linds. This is my dream, and if I can reach my goals early... then, I'll do it."



"Early? You wouldn't leave the University now if you were offered a position?" Lindsay couldn't fathom the thought. As talented as she knew Brian was on the football field, she really thought a backup career was in order. She hoped it would never be the case, but injuries were always possible.



"I don't know how to answer that; I won't unless it happens." Brian didn't rule out that possibility; although, he knew he would do much better if he waited to be selected in the draft.



Lindsay plopped down on Brian's bed, as she watched him fastening his tie, before checking, and re-checking his reflection in the mirror. Rolling her eyes, she told him, "Fuck, Brian! You primp more than I do. You look beautiful. Stop worrying about it!"



"Stop worrying about it?" Brian mimicked. "I always look hot; I don't need the mirror to tell me that." A muscle jerked in his cheek when he walked past Justin's bed - completely made and unused from the previous night. He wondered what Justin was doing now. Had Brandon done the right thing and confided in him? And, if he had, how had Justin respond to it? He had so many questions, all of which he knew had nothing to do with him. And still, he wanted to know the answers.



"Uh huh." Lindsay hadn't missed how Brian kept looking toward Justin's side of the room. She didn't know Justin very well, but she had seen him on campus. There wasn't a doubt in her mind that Brian wanted him. It was almost amusing that he was dating Brian's brother. Lindsay assumed that was because Brian hadn't done anything to stop it. She was quite certain that if Brian wanted his roommate - he would have him. Brian always got his man. "So, uhmmmm, is Brandon bringing Justin to the game?"



"How the fuck should I know?" Brian barked. Fuck! Why wouldn't she stop bringing up the little fucker? He didn't want to think about Justin right now.



Lindsay clapped her hands in delight, laughter tinkling up from her throat. "Poor Brian. You've got it so bad, only you don't see it."



Brian's back stiffened as he picked up his bag in preparation to leave for the stadium. "You've got it all wrong, Linds... but I'm not going to argue the point right now. Are you riding over with me, or are you walking?"



She looked down at herself in her cheerleading gear, before obligingly answering, "I'm coming with you." Before they stepped through the door, and where anyone passing by could hear, she whispered, "You don't fool me for a minute, Brian Kinney. You've got the major hots for your roommate."



"Not now, Lindsay..." Brian snapped. He never allowed anything or anyone to distract him in his game time preparation. Justin wouldn't be doing that today.



"You know, maybe if you told Justin how you feel, he might be arriving with you, and not your brother---"



Brian gave Lindsay his most cutting stare. His friends usually knew to back down long before his anger reached that point, but, Lindsay was generally more tenacious than most - today more than others. "I thought you knew me better than most," Brian bit out angrily. "Justin clearly likes what Brandon has to offer, and vice versa. Leave it alone!"



"Okay, Brian. But... think about how angry you're getting over someone you don't 'care' about. Something to think about, isn't it?" Lindsay queried cattily. "Oh, and one more thing."



Sighing, Brian asked, "What?"



"I've seen the two of them together, Brian. Your Justin isn't nearly as much into Brandon as Brandon is with him."



"You forget one other thing..." Brian retorted, unable to resist feeding into this pointless conversation. "He is seeing my brother. You know how I feel about Brandon, and about his past. Do you really think I'm that desperate for a fuck that I will destroy everything for him!?"



Lindsay smiled at Brian affectionately. She knew him so well. As much as she wished she was wrong, she really didn't think so. "Of course I don't think that, Brian. If you looked at Justin as a mere fuck you would have either done it on his first night here, or forgotten about him completely once Brandon stepped into the picture. The fact that you still look at Justin with that naked yearning in your eyes means something else entirely."



"Please, don't stop there, Dr. Freud. This is just getting interesting..." Brian grumbled with an irritated eye roll.



"You can blow me off, Brian. I expected that really. However, I will finish what I have to say." Lindsay looked directly into his eyes, displaying confidence in her assertions, never doubting for one minute that she was calling this one spot-on. "I think Brandon would rather lose Justin now than when they are fully committed. And, what's even more important - you care about Justin. My advice is very simple, Brian, deal with it soon. If you wait much longer you might just lose him forever."



"I'll take my chances," Brian replied indifferently. "Now, can we go?"



Shaking her head sadly, Lindsay preceded Brian from his room, an ominous feeling of dread nearly overwhelming her. She worried about Brian. They had grown up together, and she knew better than anyone the horrors of his childhood - his father in particular. Brian hadn't known the love of a family member until he began spending time with his half-brother. If his actions caused all of that to unravel, she wasn't sure how he would handle it. Brian could deny it all he wanted, but she had seen how Brian looked at Justin. Sooner or later, Brian would give in and pursue what he viewed as forbidden. She could only hope that in such a reality, the lives of all three men wouldn't be devastated.





Brandon applauded himself for his ingenuity. Things were going perfectly now. His deception would soon be brushed under the carpet, and things would be back on an equal footing again. He thought about how he would tell Justin his doctor had given him a confirmed clean bill of health. Justin would be excited, relieved, and ready to celebrate the gift of life. There was only one risk to his plan. Brian. Always Brian. He could out him to Justin, but he didn't think Brian would go that far. If he did, he would handle it. He would tell Justin it had been a simple misunderstanding. Surely, he would believe that. Justin had never been given a reason to doubt him. He had to believe him. Brandon vowed to himself that this would be the end of the deceptions. From that point on, they would move forward.



He watched as Justin turned onto his back, the beautiful blond boy still peacefully asleep. Right or wrong meant very little to him at the moment. All that mattered was how much he wanted this man, and how determined he was to have him. He would show him this morning precisely why he was just as good as his brother. Brandon pulled the sheet down Justin's body, his eyes drinking in the beautiful, pale skin revealed to his hungry eyes.



"So beautiful... " he rasped, as his fingers trailed along the soft, flat stomach, his eyes drifting further down to the tight briefs that hid very little of Justin's immense offerings from his view. He reached his hand inside to push the offending fabric away, more than encouraged when he heard Justin's moans signaling he was not only awakening, but welcoming his touch as well. His lips lowered to nibble on the skin of Justin's pale stomach, slowly venturing lower, his voice barely audible as he whispered, "I want to taste you so fucking much."



Slowly coming into wakefulness, Justin's eyes flickered open, unable to believe what Brandon was doing. He didn't really construe it as taking advantage, although, he knew some might argue that. "B-Brandon... I'm not sure we should be doing this. I - I mean, don't we need to get ready for the game?"



"We've got plenty of time." Brandon didn't mention that he hadn't planned on going today. For one, he didn't have his car, and two, he wanted to stay here with Justin. They had been making progress; he only wanted to expand on that. He smiled when Justin's cock began to jerk under his hand, Justin's instinctive responses telling him all he needed to know. "Just relax and let me suck you, Justin. Nothing more needs to happen if you don't... please just let me have this, Justin. Please..."



Justin swallowed as he looked at Brandon's flushed and needful expression. How could he deny him that much? After everything, how could he refuse him this? In an instant, Justin realized the time for protests had ended when he felt Brandon's tongue licking a long stripe along the underside of his dick. A moan slid from his lips when Brandon's tongue slithered all around his expanding length, at this moment unable to voice a reason why this shouldn't happen.



"That's it..." Brandon purred, his mouth moving to suck just the tip of Justin's dick into his mouth. "Let it happen. It's what we both need." Instantly noticing the frown piercing Justin's brow as he spoke, Brandon realized the time for talk had ended. He needed to up the ante, and he knew precisely how to do that. In one purposeful lunge, Brandon swallowed Justin's cock to the hilt, his tongue still sliding along it as he began to perform a blow job that he intended for Justin to always remember.



Brandon knew this was partly manipulative, but in his mind, it was fair play. Being the brother of Brian Kinney made it so a man had to sometimes fight outside of the box. And, all of that aside, he just wanted him too fucking much. He stood by his word, though. This was all that would happen if that was what Justin wanted. However, if he could have more - he would take it all.



In the end, he would tie Justin more securely to him - exactly as he knew they were meant to be.





A/N: *Sigh* I know all those that were teetering back and forth regarding Brandon have probably chosen a side now. I guess it remains to be seen if he will ever do the right thing. Right now, it doesn't look so promising. Please continue to trust me. Everything will work out given a bit more time. Thanks so much for reading. Comments are greatly appreciated! :)

Chapter Text

A/N: Some dynamics are beginning to shift, and the revelation of the true heart of one brother more clearly defined. I hope you enjoy this part. Thank you all for reading. Comments are greatly appreciated!! :)

Justin's eyes were wide in excitement as he watched what he knew would be Brian leading the team to victory in the final minutes of the game. He glanced briefly at Brandon's blank expression, his hand clutching tightly onto Brandon's arm as he fervently prayed for Brian to make this critical fourth down conversion. He released Brandon's arm to cover his eyes. "I can't look. Tell me when the play is over."

Brandon snorted derisively. "I'm sure you'll know from the crowd - one way or the other."

Immediately discerning the sarcasm in Brandon's voice, Justin turned to face him, the important play forgotten. "I don't get you, Brandon. This is Brian's big moment. A win here is huge for him."

Clicking his teeth, Brandon sputtered, "I wouldn't want to spoil Brian's big moment. Let's just watch the game, okay?"

Shaking his head in disbelief, Justin turned his attention back to the game, unable to understand how cold Brandon was being regarding something that was so important to his brother. "Oh my God!" Justin screamed with the rest of the Pittsburgh Panthers fans. He jumped to his feet, shouting out in excitement, his eyes glued to the field as Brian threw a pass that covered twenty-five yards, with the receiver bursting unheeded into the end zone.

The sound in the stadium was nearly deafening as the time ran out, the team and fans celebrating alike, in a victory that had been a near defeat. Justin spun around to see Brandon still seated, his eyes staring stonily ahead. He gasped upon seeing the anger in Brandon's eyes, the coldness that seemed to cling to his entire being. "Brandon? What's wrong? We won. It's a fabulous victory."

Standing to his feet, Brandon began to walk down the steps, his intention being to depart the stadium, and be back to his dorm room in the quickest amount of time possible. He needed to think... and he needed it to be away from Justin, and the ambiance of all that was connected to Brian. He didn't slow his steps as he heard Justin calling out from behind him. As far as he was concerned, the weekend was over.

"Brandon - wait!" Justin called out, quickly noticing them being separated by all the bodies moving in between them. Rushing ahead, and squeezing in between other students, Justin reached for his arm to still his movement. "Damn! What's the rush, Brandon? I thought you wanted to have dinner after the game."

"I seemed to have lost my appetite." Brandon eyed him accusingly for a long moment, before he removed Justin's hand from his arm... his footsteps immediately picking up. Realizing that Justin was determined to not only keep up with him, but gain answers as well, Brandon turned to wearily tell him, "Listen, it's been a rough couple of days. I think I'll just go back to my dorm and rest for awhile. You don't mind, do you?"

Justin shook his head, his eyes searching Brandon's evasive ones intently. "No, of course not. Uhhhh, you're not feeling ill, are you?"

"No! Why does it always have to come back to my fucking illness! Fuck! I'm just tired, Justin. Let me be for now. Okay?" Brandon pushed himself away and off into the direction of his dorm, at this moment uncaring if Justin followed him or not. He was so tired of this fucking drama. It was always Brian. Nothing ever changed. He had set them up for a day of intimacy, but Justin had insisted on being at the game. It had become a rush against time to secure a cab to get them to the stadium on time. After the beautiful and hot start to the morning - an interlude that had ended far sooner than he would have liked, it now had to end like this. He wasn't giving up. There was no way he would do that. However, he needed to think this out.

Brandon didn't need to look over his shoulder to know that Justin had stopped following him. Why would he? His attitude had given Justin the excuse to run back to his dorm and wait for the brother that was truly on his mind. He was sick of it. Until he figured out a way to effectively fight his brother, there was no reason to continue on. Every effort he made - in the end - left him with the feeling of banging his head against the wall. He turned to look back at a stunned Justin, his words cutting when he spoke, "Be sure to congratulate my brother for me."

Justin answered with a nod. He didn't know what to say now. Brandon's behavior was confusing, and the complete antithesis of the man he had come to know. None of it made sense. "I will." Swallowing with difficulty, Justin asked, "You'll let me know how your checkup goes on Monday?"

Deciding this was his last chance to score on some of 'those' points, Brandon responded, "Do you really care, Justin? I mean... really?"

Gasping, Justin's mouth dropped open, hurt and confusion clearly transforming his face. "I can't believe you'd ask that, Brandon. Even think it! You know how worried I've been since you first told me about your illness. I'm going back to my dorm now. I think it best if we don't talk for awhile; at least, not until you snap out of whatever has you so irritable."

Brandon snorted. "I don't think that will be changing overnight. Later, Justin."

"Later..." Justin returned, tears slipping down his face as he watched Brandon walking away. He picked up his pace, quickly moving himself in the direction of his dorm, hoping solitude and separation would make things better. Thinking back to how coldly Brandon had treated him from the time he had insisted they go to the game, Justin wondered if his attitude stemmed from mere sexual frustration at having his obvious plans thwarted... or could it be even more? At the moment, he really didn't care which. Brandon had been out of line completely, and right now, he didn't want to spend one single moment with him.

Justin slammed the door, uncaring of the sound reverberating down the entire hall. During the walk back, his hurt feelings had quickly morphed into burning anger. How dare Brandon treat him that way? He hadn't done anything wrong. "Fucking asshole!" Justin muttered to no one in particular, only to glare when mocking laughter greeted him.

"Temper, temper. My sedate brother won't know how to handle that..." Brian assured himself he wasn't making that remark in order to fish for information. Despite what Lindsay believed - he didn't give a damn what happened between Brandon and this little twat. He refused to accept anything else.

"Fuck him!" Justin exploded. "I don't care if I ever see him again!"

This was serious, Brian thought. A lovers spat? Or something more? Brian finished admiring himself in the mirror, satisfied with the final result, before turning to look at the glowering, yet entirely too beautiful blond. He wondered if Brandon had finally done the right thing and admitted his deception. That would explain Justin's anger. It had been the right thing to do, no matter if it ended their relationship; Brian was glad Brandon had finally realized that. "Do you want to talk about it?"

"Talk?" Justin asked. "I remember the last time you tried to console me; I'm not having you attack me again afterwards when you can't keep your hands to yourself!"

"Someone certainly has quite the inflated opinion of himself," Brian drawled, neither admitting or denying how attractive and nearly irresistible he found his Freshman roommate.

"Right," Justin mumbled in a disbelieving tone. "I know we've kind of become friends... but, we both know you still want to fuck me."

Brian moved closer, his eyes honing in on the pouting, and entirely too pliable lips. "Is that so?"

Justin nodded, while defiantly staring the beautiful brunet down. "You know it's true; of course, I don't expect you to admit it."

"There's plenty of hot blond-boy ass all over this campus - not to mention throughout the city. I think I'll survive not fucking yours..." Brian countered, cursing to himself at how his dick responded by just speaking of Justin's hot little ass. Hell yeah, he wanted to fuck him. He had from day one. Refraining from doing so wasn't easy; most especially, knowing that he could accomplish that much desired task so effortlessly - whether the mouthy blond admitted it or not. It wasn't even about Brandon, his brother's behavior lately had greatly diminished his loyalty there - but, the emotional attachment Justin would develop in such an intimacy was cause to hold him back. He didn't want or need that right now. Resisting the forbidden fruit had never been more difficult... or as necessary.

His eyes flickering over Brian's mode of dress, Justin observed, "Going out clubbing... and not celebrating with the team? Doesn't that get hard to explain?"

Brian shrugged. "They know I'm different, it's usually not questioned. Generally, I give a token appearance at where they are hanging out. After a reasonable, but short amount of time, I move on to my own celebration. It works for me."

"Just be careful, okay? I wouldn't want the wrong person to find out."

Moving closer, Brian reached up and ran a finger along the side of Justin's cheek, his eyes following his own movement against the pale, perfect skin. His voice becoming husky, he asked, "That isn't concern I hear, is it, Taylor?"

Justin felt like his skin was burning where Brian had briefly touched it. Swallowing with difficulty, he answered, "I guess. I know how important your football career is to you; I'd just hate to see some bigoted asshole cost you."

Rolling his lips under, Brian nodded before backing away. He knew it was a now or never kind of thing. If he stayed this close to the attractive, and oh-so sensitive blond, he knew he would smash his lips under his own, and distribute the most devouring kiss Justin had ever known. Fuck, he wanted to do that. It was alarming how much he wanted to kiss Justin with all the intensity and lust he felt for him. "Thanks, but don't worry about it. Someday the truth will come out; I can't live like this indefinitely. For now, I'm being careful."

Smiling brightly, thrilled more than words could say that Brian had actually been nice to him, Justin told him, "Have fun with your celebration. After that amazing win today - you really deserve it."

Brian's hand was poised on the door, the words in his head that he knew he probably shouldn't voice, slipping out before he could stop them. "Do you want to come with me?"

Eyes wide in disbelief, Justin squawked, "You want me to go clubbing with you?"

"Sure." Brian's eyes met and held Justin's. "We're friends, right?" When Justin nodded his response, Brian quirked a slow smile. "I'll look out for you, Justin. Nothing will happen there that you don't want to happen."

"Okay. Just give me ten minutes to get ready." Justin scurried to grab his clothes and rush into the bathroom to change. A night out clubbing with Brian. Fuck! Was he ready for this? One thing was for certain - he would learn a lot on this night. With Brian at his side, he knew he would be safe, as well as having a front row seat of the master at work. He couldn't wait to see what this night had in store for him.

Brandon watched from a distance Justin getting into Brian's car with him; his eyes were filled with jealousy as he watched them driving away. There wasn't a doubt in his mind where Brian was taking him. Justin was slipping away from him, and there didn't seem to be a damned thing he could do about it. He had to do something quickly... but, what? Should he appear at Babylon, and make amends with Justin? Was it even possible now that Justin was going there with his hero in tow?

He was so distracted he didn't immediately detect the presence behind him. All he cared about was finding a way to undo the damage he had done... and get Justin away from Brian permanently. Brian always won. Always the hottest guys. He'd never challenged him in that; however, this time was different. Justin was special. Brian wouldn't be the winner. He racked his mind for a solution, only to come back to the same one. It wasn't one that he embraced. As much as he wanted Brian distracted and distant from Justin, he also loved his brother. Right now, though, his desire to come out on top superseded that devotion.

Could he go through with the one sure method that would distract Brian? Dare he go that far? Brian would never forgive him... but right now - did he really care about that?

"Brandon! Where the fuck did Brian just go?"

Rolling his eyes, he turned to face a clearly pissed Chris Hobbs. "I'm not his keeper. He's probably out celebrating."

"Not with the team, he isn't. We're getting sick of him always ditching us to do his own thing. We should be together after a game." His eyes narrowed on Brandon suspiciously. "You don't have any idea where he went? And... wasn't that his roommate with him?"

At the mention of Justin being with Brian - the rage and need for revenge immediately erupted. "Yeah. Justin was with him."

"Well? Where could he be going with him?"

Sorry, Bri... he thought to himself. He really had no choice. All was fair in war. And, this had undoubtedly escalated into a war. He was losing it now, but the scales would soon balance out. "Try Liberty Avenue." When Hobbs' face transposed into one of utter confusion, Brandon continued on, "In particular, try a little club by the name of Babylon. I'm sure you'll find Brian and Justin both there."

"That's a fucking queer club. I'm not going there!" Chris exploded, knowing this had to be some sort of a sick joke... one derived to place him as a source of embarrassment.

Shrugging indifferently, Brandon told him, "That's your choice. You wanted to know where my brother was going... and, I just told you."

"Are you telling me that Brian is a faggot?" Chris demanded. "That's not possible. He's the captain of the team. He can't be a fucking queer!"

As much as he hated Chris Hobbs and all that he stood for, he also knew Hobbs would make Brian's life a living hell now. It was his hope that Brian handled it so his dreams wouldn't be affected, but in the process distracting him away from Justin long enough for him to get him back. That was all he wanted. He smiled as his best plan yet came together. Justin would be his - exactly as he should be, and Brian would be forced to watch, unable to lift a finger to stop it with his own life so much in the spotlight. Yes, this was perfect. "Only one way to find out for sure, Hobbs. Isn't there?"

Brandon walked away from Chris Hobbs and back to his dorm. He felt a confidence in his step that he hadn't felt for some time. Brian might have fun tonight, but that was all about to change. Soon, his brother would be forced into an existence of self-denial; that was, if he planned on keeping his career intact. Brandon knew that mattered to Brian more than anything. Once again, Brian would disappoint Justin, and he would be there to pick up the pieces. Oh yes. He would more than pick up the pieces. Once he did, he would have everything he wanted.



Chapter Text

Lindsay approached Brandon from the side, a frown marring her brow at the intense look of despair on his face. She laid a hand on his arm, speaking softly to him, "Brandon? Are you okay?"

"I'm fine," he muttered. "Except... I think I've made the biggest mistake of my life. I'll lose everything---"

Eyes widening in alarm, ashamedly she admitted - if only to herself - her worry wasn't for Brandon, but for some reason his brother. A nervous laugh escaping, Lindsay spoke, "It can't be that bad, Brandon."

"You have no idea!" he snarled, his footsteps moving back and forth in the spacious park inside the university. "I went too far this time; I couldn't help myself. I had to stop him somehow... but, it was wrong. I knew that at the time, and still I persisted. What the fuck is wrong with me!?"

"Brandon, honey, you need to calm down. It can't be that bad. Let's sit down on the bench and talk about it." Lindsay's eyes closed briefly at Brandon's statement. I had to stop him somehow. It didn't take much thought to realize what that meant... and who the him referred to. Grasping his hand, she pulled him toward the bench, more than a bit surprised when he followed without any resistance. "Tell me what happened."

His eyes staring blindly ahead, Brandon began to babble - "I had a fight with Justin; I figured we'd just cool off for awhile, then, set things right. But no. The conquering hero has to interfere." Brandon's eyes glittered in renewed rage. His mood was all over the place. First he would be filled with remorse, then he would see Justin with Brian and the rage would swell within him anew. It was driving him crazy. More to the point - they were driving him crazy.

So... Brian and Justin were together. Lindsay forced herself not to smile. She knew it was devastating for Brandon, but she couldn't help but to think that it was for the best if it all came out now. If any further time passed for this obvious attachment to deepen, she doubted any of them would easily recover. In Brandon's case, she wasn't sure they hadn't already reached that point. "I assume you're referring to Brian."

Brandon sneered. "Who the fuck else? Brian has the whole fucking world at his feet, and he has to go after the only man that I've ever cared about. How am I supposed to feel!?"

Taking in a deep breath, realizing this was very serious, Lindsay glanced around, thankful that the late hour made it so very few students were passing by; there wasn't a doubt that she wanted to keep this conversation quiet. She had a feeling it would become even more revealing than it was already. "I think you know how much Brian loves you. Sometimes things happen; I'm not saying that something has - I'm just saying that Brian would never intentionally hurt you."

Snorting, Brandon rebelliously added, "Ever the supporter. I hope you know that Brian will never look at you as more than a friend. At the end of the day, Brian cares about one person... and that's Brian." Brandon knew there were many reasons why he now spoke out so vehemently about his brother. It wasn't only his jealousy driving him; in fact, that wasn't even what tormented him the most. The most troubling factor was in knowing that his actions tonight might not only cost him Justin, but what remained between him and Brian as well.

"If you're trying to divert my attention from what is happening between you and Brian, well, you can forget that. It's not going to happen. My relationship has always been purely friendship with your brother; you know that. Now, tell me what you did that has you so distressed. Maybe we can find a solution..."

"A solution?" Brandon scoffed. "Can you turn back time? That's about the only thing that will change what I've done."

"Brandon... it can't be that bad. Whatever it is, just talk to Brian. The two of you can work through it."

"Work through it." Brandon murmured dejectedly. "I think it will be difficult to work through the fact that I just 'outed' my brother to worse person possible."

Lindsay gasped in shock, and total dismay. "O-Outed? What exactly do you mean?"

Staring her straight in the eye, Brandon told her, "I was pissed when I watched Justin leaving with him; I knew exactly where he was taking him. Tonight is one of celebration for Brian. Not only does he score the greatest victory of his college career, but he takes the prize he's been denying himself as well. When Chris Hobbs approached me and asked for Brian's whereabouts - I told him."

Instantly, Lindsay stood to her feet, her eyes stabbing angrily into Brandon's seemingly conflicted ones. "You did what? Do you realize the consequences of your actions, Brandon? You need to fix it now!"

"I can't fix it. Hobbs is probably already at Babylon... or at the very least, Liberty Avenue. There's no time to stop this." Brandon dragged a weary hand through his hair, his eyes looking away from the censure in Lindsay's gaze. "I know I fucked up; I just lost it."

"Yeah, you fucked up... and in a big way! However, as long as Chris hasn't spotted Brian at Babylon, there's time to fix this. You need to remember one thing above everything else - Brian is still your brother. Your actions will not only cost you this man you profess to love, but your brother as well. If his football career is ended by your actions - he will never forgive you. Never!" Lindsay hissed. She began to shake as fear and rage overwhelmed her. "Call Brian now. If you don't do it, then, I will. It would be better if the call came from you. It might be the only thing to save your relationship."

Brandon shook his head. "It won't be enough. Brian will never forgive me... and, Justin, fuck... he'll hate me for sure now."

"He will forgive you a lot quicker if you're honest, and give him the chance to decide if he wants to be exposed or not. As far as Justin goes, only time will tell. But... if you truly love him, you will want him to be happy. Do what's right, and let Justin decide." Lindsay watched the struggle playing out on Brandon's face for long moments, before he pulled his phone from his pocket to make the call. She smiled at him encouragingly. "I know it won't be easy... but, it's the right thing to do."

His hand trembling, as he pressed the buttons that would direct dial to his brother, Brandon realized this could be the end for him. Not only could he lose the man he loved, but his brother as well. In this moment, he was more than aware of the destructiveness of jealousy. It was what had brought him to this point. Whether his call was received in time or not, he wasn't sure either of these relationships could be salvaged. If that became his reality, he really wasn't sure how he would cope.

Chris shuddered as he stepped onto the infamous Liberty Avenue. Why the fuck was he here? Brandon was probably setting him up for humiliation of the most demented kind. There was no way Brian Kinney could possibly be queer. He was the star quarterback - a man that was clearly destined for greatness in a professional career. Brian couldn't have that kind of talent, and be a worthless fag. It was unthinkable!

He winced as bodies brushed against his as he traversed the busy streets. That it was so widely populated astounded him most of all. There were actually that many queers in Pittsburgh? That instantly gave him pause for thought. Did that mean he was surrounded by queer classmates? Teammates even? Could Brian be one of them?

His face reddened in anger as he walked down the crowded streets, his eyes full of hostility at the men that openly ogled him and tried to address him. Mindful that he was out of his element here, not to mention vastly outnumbered, Chris held his tongue and brushed past them all without a work spoken. The last thing he needed was to be party to an incident on Liberty Avenue. His father would disown him, and he would become a total outcast. There wasn't a doubt that he needed to proceed with caution here. However, he would find his answer.

Chris scanned every business entrance, and parking lot in search of the club named 'Babylon'. If either Brian or his car were visible, he would find them. Genuinely, he hoped for Brandon's words to be lies. As much as it might benefit him with more quality playing time, as well as for his own professional career, the bottom line was that he had always admired Brian. He was the symbol of excellence that most young athletes dreamed they could be. Brian had it all, and if it turned out it was based on a lie, one that revolved around the repulsive lifestyle associated with the gay community, Chris knew he would feel betrayed, and ready to wreak total havoc on all that Brian cared about.

Yes, if Brian was indeed queer, he would make certain he lost everything. First, his promising career, and then, everything else that mattered. His teeth grinding together in anger, Chris spat out, "For your sake Mr. All-American, you had better not be at Babylon. If you are - I will destroy you."

Justin looked at the lights of Babylon, a small degree of disappointment afflicting him at his first sight of the club. He wasn't sure what he'd been expecting... but, this wasn't quite it. "Uhhhh. So this is Babylon?"

Smiling Brian answered, "It looks better on the inside. Trust me, Justin, you'll enjoy it." Brian quirked a brow at his hesitant passenger, unable to miss how Justin's apprehension had grown as they neared Liberty Avenue. How he proceeded depended on one thing - was Justin hesitant because of his fallout with Brandon, or could it mean he wasn't ready for this step yet? Either case was a problem, but pushing the blond Freshman into a setting not only foreign but uncomfortable to him was the last thing he wanted to do. "Are you ready to go in?"

"Can we sit here for a couple of minutes?" Justin beseeched of the gorgeous brunet, his eyes pleading with him for some time and understanding. When Brian appeared slightly annoyed, Justin apologetically told him, "I'm sorry, Brian. This is your night of celebration. I shouldn't have come along."

Brian started up his car, his hand moving to put it in gear. "Sorry is bullshit. Forget about it. Babylon isn't going anywhere. I asked you to come because I thought you would enjoy it; I still think that." He smiled briefly at his passenger, before he drove away from the beckoning club, and away from Liberty Avenue. "If you don't want to go, I'm fine with that."

"Thank you, Brian. I know it wasn't what you wanted tonight, but, I'd really just like to hang out with you. If that's okay..."

Tossing him a lopsided grin as he maneuvered through traffic, Brian told him, "It's fine. We're friends, right?"

Nodding emphatically, Justin agreed, "Yes, I think we are."

"Do you want to talk about it?" Brian asked, a scowl creasing his brow when his cell phone began to vibrate in his pocket. He didn't pull it out to see who was calling. "I know Brandon threw you a curve. I've been on his ass constantly to come clean; I'm glad he finally did."

Justin turned to look at Brian, his head shaking in confusion. "Curve? We had a fight. And no, I don't want to talk about him."

Brian glanced briefly at Justin, before turning guiltily away. Fuck, he hated this! He wasn't a liar or deceiver of any kind. Brandon needed to tell him the truth. Justin deserved that. "Okay," Brian replied nonchalantly.

"Anyway, come clean about what?" Justin asked, a part of him thinking he should let the matter rest... but another unable to follow that advice.

"It doesn't matter, and, it's Brandon's story to tell." Brian swore when his phone began to vibrate again. "Hang on," he told Justin, before he pulled the car off the road and into the parking lot of a 7-Eleven station. He pulled his phone out, and glared at the missed calls. "Brandon keeps calling. I'm going to call him back real quick. Then, we can either go back to campus, or wherever you want to go."

Justin nodded, his lip twisting bitterly. "He's probably asking you where I am."

Brian punched in the number, instantly expecting annoyance to follow. Here of late, every encounter with Brandon ended up with them fighting. He had no reason to expect this to go any differently. "What is it, Brandon?" he grumbled, when his call was answered.

"I have something to tell you, Brian. I just hope it's not too late---"

"Get to the point." He looked at a clearly uncomfortable Justin, before he mouthed to him an unspoken, 'be right back', more to put Justin at ease than anything else. Stepping from the car, Brian snapped, "Okay, you have my undivided attention. Let's hear it."

Brian walked away from the car, his demeanor swiftly transforming from irritated to incensed as he listened to his brother's speedy confession. "You did what??"

"I-I'm sorry, Bri. I lost it when I saw you drive away with Justin. I was already hurting from our fight, and then, I see him leaving with you. I guess I just wanted to hurt you as much as I felt the two of you was about to hurt me. Tell me that I reached you in time. You're not at Babylon, are you?"

"No, we're not. I do apologize if that unsettles your plans!" Brian hissed. "I can't believe my own brother would betray me like this! You know more than anyone how much football means to me. Realistically, I know I have to come out at some point... but not like this. It will be at a time of my own choosing!"

A lump settling in his throat, the full magnitude of his actions hitting him much more forcefully, Brandon answered, "I know that. I'm sorry, Brian. I swear I'll make amends somehow. I'll tell Hobbs I had a fight with Justin. Hell, that's even the truth."

His eyes filling with bitter contempt, and the need for a combination of revenge and justice overwhelming him, Brian spat out, "I don't give a fuck what else you tell Chris Hobbs. However, I will tell you this - I think a secret for a secret is a fair exchange." His eyes glanced back to see Justin still sitting in the car, his voice cutting when he added, "It's time Justin knows of your deception. In fact, it's past time. Once that's out in the open, Justin can make a more informed decision..."

"No! You can't do that, Brian---"

"Oh, but I can, dear brother. I will tell Justin of your reprehensible lies... and then, if he is so inclined, I am going to do what I should have done the first night." Brian forced the bitter taste of Brandon's betrayal from his mouth, before he twisted the knife further. "I'm going to fuck the shit out of him. You are dead to me now, Brandon... as you will be to him too. Now, do have a wonderful evening." A mocking laugh followed. "I know I will."


A/N: Oh my! Will they or won't they? Stay tuned to find out more. Thank you for reading, and your patience with my updates. RL hasn't given me any free time for writing, and I can't tell you how much I hate that. As with my other WIP's, I will update as quickly as I can. As always, comments are greatly appreciated, and more motivating that I can express!


Chapter Text

A/N: This is a much shorter chapter than normal, but I think the ending point will explain that. As I forewarned, true angst would be coming. Hopefully, this is the final level of heartbreak in their journey. After this point, time will begin to advance more quickly. If not - this would go on forever! Thank you all for reading. Your support is truly appreciated! :)

Justin looked at Brian uncertainly as the dorm room door closed behind them, and Brian locked it for the night. "Is something wrong, Brian? I didn't get the feeling you wanted to come back here so soon."

Brian shrugged. "I need to talk to you, and I figured we would have the solitude here."

"Okay..." Justin answered hesitantly. Clearly something was wrong. The tension in the ride back had been palpable. They hadn't spoken a word. Justin had thought to reach out to Brian during the drive... but the angry lines on Brian's face had stopped him quickly. Something was very wrong, and apparently he was about to find out what. He sat down on his bed, his eyes looking at Brian expectantly. "Well, let's hear it, then. Maybe you'll feel better once you talk about it."

"I doubt that," Brian mumbled. "We'll probably both be more miserable."

"Is it about the phone call? Was it Brandon?" Justin asked, going for what he thought to be the obvious conclusion.

Brian snorted. "Isn't it always?"

"Okay, have a seat and tell me what he's done this time." Justin inhaled and exhaled deeply. He had the feeling this wasn't going to be good.

He sat next to Justin on the bed, slowly wringing his hands in front of him. This was difficult in so many ways. He was devastated, angry, and bursting with the need for revenge. His eyes looked in Justin's direction. Right now he couldn't think of one good reason why he shouldn't have what he wanted. Loyalty to his brother was a joke now. Everything about Brandon filled him with contempt. There was no longer anything left to protect. "I don't know where to start."

"Uhmmm, how about with the phone call. What was that about?"

Brian laughed coldly, his heart and gut twisting into impenetrable knots. "The phone call. Yeah, that's a good place to start. Well, that's simple to answer. He called to warn me that he'd just outed me to Chris Hobbs."

"Outed you?" Justin gasped. He couldn't believe it. Why would Brandon do that? He knew what Brian's football career meant to him. It just didn't make sense.

"Apparently he went into a jealous rage when I drove off with you. I don't give a fuck why he did it. If Chris had busted me at Babylon, my career would have been over!" Brian's eyes were wild in anger as he spoke the words. He had been reasonably calm when the thoughts had merely been running though his head; however, once speaking of Brandon's betrayal, it all seemed much more diabolical.

"Fuck... I'm sorry, Brian. That's majorly fucked up. I can't believe he'd do that to you!" Justin shook his head in disbelief. "It's like he loses his mind sometimes. I know he loves you. I've seen it." He bit at his lip uncertainly, wishing there was a kinder way to ask, yet unable to find one. "Could it be a condition of his illness? That's the only thing that makes sense."

Brian sneered. "Illness! There is no fucking illness. That's another lie. One that I told him to tell you - over and over again. He's just a jealous, manipulative freak! I'm done with him and all the drama that surrounds him. As far as I'm concerned - he's dead to me. I told him that tonight!"

"What do you mean there's no illness? You mean the both of you have been lying to me from day one?" Justin stood to his feet, tears sliding freely from his eyes. He had been betrayed by both brothers? This was even more fucked up than he'd ever imagined.

"Calm you little blond head down!" Brian snapped. "It's not like that. Brandon was sick. He told me he was in remission - maybe a couple of weeks ago. At the time, me and you were barely on speaking terms. I told him to tell you on numerous occasions. It wasn't my story to tell."

"Well it appears that you decided it is now!" Justin countered. He began pacing back and forth; he couldn't believe what Brian was hitting him with now. "Is there anything else you've failed to tell me? You might as well get it all out now if there is..."

Brian glared at the feisty blond, his eyes sweeping fervently over him. Despite his anger, and the coldness of how he had displayed his intentions to Brandon, one thing was blatantly obvious - he wanted to fuck him badly. In light of all that had happened, he couldn't see one reason why he shouldn't. However, it wouldn't be like he had boasted to Brandon. If it happened - it would be honest, something his brother knew nothing about. It would be what Justin wanted. If not, then it wouldn't happen. "I told him I was going to take what I wanted. My loyalty to him had become a joke."

"Go on..." Justin told him, not a doubt in his mind where this part of their discussion was heading.

"I told him that I was going to tell you everything - which I have done; then, I was going to fuck the shit out of you." Brian looked Justin straight in his beautiful blue eyes; he forced himself not to flinch at the pain he saw reflected in them. "You can call me an ass, a dick - what-the-fuck ever you want, but I am being honest with you. That's something he has never done! What happens now is in your hands."

Justin laughed sardonically. "Well, that's blunt. I actually respect that. Okay, I have a question for you."

"There's a surprise..." Brian muttered derisively.

"Cute," Justin groused. "It's simple really. If we had sex, either tonight or some other, what happens the morning after?"

Brian looked away from the hot blond, at once uncertain of what to say... for one reason alone. He didn't know the answer. "Justin, I can't answer that. My brother just ripped both of our lives apart tonight; I don't fucking know anything beyond that!"

Justin nodded, but it wasn't in agreement with Brian's words... it was more of an acceptance of what they couldn't - wouldn't ever be. There came a time for dreams to end. This was the time to lay this one forever to rest. "Yeah, just as I thought. I - I can't do this anymore, Brian. I'm going to see about changing it first thing tomorrow."

"What are you talking about? Change what?" Brian curtly demanded.

"I'm calling my parents in the morning. I want out of here. This university hasn't ever been for me; I knew it when I came here, but my Dad wanted it for me." Justin looked Brian directly in the eye, in a last ditch effort to give him some hope... a reason to think he could be the man to make the elusive Brian Kinney commit. He saw nothing but emptiness and denial. It was time to end it. "If my parents don't agree to a simple art school, I'll stay... but I will only do so if they move me into another dorm."

Pain immediately piercing his heart, Brian looked away, his throat was rough when he rasped, "Do you really hate me that much?"

A bittersweet smile crossed Justin's lips. "Hate you? No, never. You're my friend. Actually, so much more than that. Doing this gives me a chance to preserve this friendship. I just can't let you break my heart." Justin walked away without a backward glance, slipping into the bathroom, and locking the door without giving Brian a chance for any form of rebuttal.

Brian stared at the closed door, hating the tears that now shimmered in his eyes. He hated his inability to express himself to another man, more than that, he hated the fact that he had just lost Justin. He wouldn't attempt to stop him. Until he got his shit together, he knew it wasn't fair to the sensitive blond. He only hoped that by the time he did get both himself and his life in perspective, Justin would want to hear from him. After seeing the devastation in Justin's beautiful blue eyes, he wasn't so sure he would be so fortunate.

Behind the closed door, Justin flinched when he heard the outer door slamming shut. There wasn't a doubt in his mind where his roommate was now heading. Pain management in the style of Brian Kinney led to only one place. As silent sobs ripped through him, Justin accepted it was already too late.

His heart had already been broken. Now came the arduous task of mending it.



Chapter Text

Brian stepped out of the bathroom, his eyes immediately drawn to the sight of Daphne hugging Justin goodbye. She glanced at him only briefly, disapproval clearly in her eyes before she exited the dorm room they shared. His eyes pulled to the luggage, and boxes perched close to the door. He shook his head in sudden acceptance. Justin was really leaving Pittsburgh University; more importantly - Justin was leaving him. Clearing his throat, Brian needlessly observed, "So... you're really leaving---"

Justin closed the door behind Daphne, the goodbye with his oldest friend far more emotional than he had ever expected. Not looking at the boy that effected him on so many levels, Justin sat down on his bed, his eyes staring at his belongings that would soon be making the return trip home. "Yep. That's the plan."

Hesitantly, Brian took a few steps forward. He didn't want to crowd Justin, and yet, he didn't want what was obviously their goodbye to be filled with such tension as they had been living the past week. There wasn't a doubt that he didn't want a goodbye at all... but, it seemed that was what Justin intended to happen. He couldn't stop it now. "Listen, Justin... can we talk for a minute?"

Shrugging, Justin glanced up at Brian. He didn't need to look to see that his roommate had moved closer, and was no longer leaning against the bathroom door. He always knew when Brian was near. That awareness of his proximity was often an annoyance to him; still, one that was irrefutable. When Brian was close, he just instinctively felt him. He wondered if he would miss that in his life. "I thought we said it all, but I guess I'm stuck here until my mom gets here."

Rolling his lips under, Brian asked, "Just your mom? Your dad isn't coming too?"

A hint of sadness entered Justin's eyes, this time, one of another sort altogether. "Dad is too busy with work. At least, that's what my mom told me on the phone. I'm sure I'll be seeing him tonight, though."

"I'm sure you will." Unable to maintain the distance, Brian moved closer. Without asking, he sat down next to his soon-to-be ex-roommate, hoping he wasn't crowding his space too much. But... if this was to be the end, he wanted to clear the air completely. "Give it time, Justin. I have a feeling that's all your dad needs. He didn't seem to flip out like some fathers do. You could just be one of the lucky ones when it all comes together."

Justin snorted derisively. "One of the lucky ones..." He shook his head sadly. "I sure don't feel very lucky."

"I wish you would stay and work this out, Justin. It feels too much like you're running away. How can you know if we could be more than friends if you won't stick around to find out?" Brian couldn't believe he was speaking those revealing words. In his own way, he was admitting that Justin meant a bit more to him than the other people in his life. He didn't do that with anyone.

"Don't do this, Brian. I don't need this now." Justin was barely holding it together as it was... he didn't need Brian filling his head with doubts, or regrets. He had plenty of those on his own. "This isn't just about what happened between us... or, I guess I should say - what nearly happened. It's not about Brandon, either. Pitt was never the right fit for me. This was more of my father's dream. I want something completely different."

"Art school..." Brian mused. "I've heard you talking to Daphne about it, and I've seen some of your drawings. You will be fucking amazing someday. Fuck. You already are..."

Justin flushed. He hadn't been aware of Brian even noticing his art. Knowing that he had, and that he thought him talented, had his heart pounding in his chest. "Thanks..." Justin mumbled almost shyly. "My parents got me into PIFA. It's really what I wanted all along. Now seems the time to make that change."

"I get that sometimes parents can push you into things you don't want. I guess it's good that you won't be. What time are you leaving?"

"My mom should be here in about an hour." Justin forced himself to remain still on the bed, and not obviously move away from Brian's nearness. As much as he felt uncomfortable by Brian being close... he exhilarated in the feeling too. He was going to miss Brian... in fact, so much more than he wanted to admit. However, this was how it needed to be. At least for now...

Brian found himself asking the question he didn't want to ask... but, for some reason he had to ask it. "Did you say goodbye to Brandon?"

"Briefly," Justin answered. "I didn't want to prolong it, nor give him any reason for hope." Justin's mouth was tight-lipped when he spoke, "There is none at all. My relationship with him was a mistake, and too much happened - as you know very well. I simply ended it with telling him that maybe someday we could be friends."

"I hope he didn't give you a rough time about it. I know how he's been lately..." Brian had such mixed feelings about his brother. He wasn't sure if they could ever come back from Brandon's betrayal; right now, he wasn't certain he wanted to even try. However, in time, he hoped they could - although, he knew things would probably never be the same again.

"He wasn't too bad... especially when thinking of how he's been recently. Obviously, he was disappointed; I just hope he doesn't cling to hopes that we can go back." Justin knew time wouldn't change that for him. If he did get involved with another man, and he knew that could happen, at least it wouldn't be Brian's brother. He was realistic enough to admit that Brian would always be compared to every other man he ever met. He wished it wasn't that way... but, he had given up on denying what his mind and heart knew to be true. Perhaps time could write them a different ending. He really didn't want this to be it.

Brian didn't want to waste what little time they had left talking about Brandon. He had to know where they stood with each other... He wasn't certain why he felt so compelled to learn that answer - it was just one of those things that would have driven him crazy if he hadn't known. "You have my number right?"

Justin laughed, more in an attempt to keep things light between them. "In more ways than one..."

"Cute..." he muttered. "So, is it okay if I call you sometime? I - I mean, if you want this to be a permanent end, well, I'll respect that. But..."

His head turned sharply to look at Brian. He was amazed by what he heard in his voice. Not only was there hesitancy, there was a hint of vulnerability as well. At this point in time, Justin realized maintaining contact with the boy that essentially owned his heart was not in his best interest... but, could he refuse what Brian so obviously wanted? Knowing that he didn't want to lose complete touch with him, Justin answered in the only way his heart would allow him to. "Well, we're friends, right? I see no reason we can't keep in touch."

Brian turned his head to look at Justin, he did nothing to hide the want from his eyes. Yeah, they were friends, but it was so much more. Perhaps someday he would be able to label it more appropriately. "No reason at all," Brian repeated, his eyes fastening hungrily on the full lips that he knew only too well how perfect they felt and tasted beneath his own. He wanted Justin so fucking much; however, right now, all he wanted was that kiss. There wasn't a doubt it would lead him into wanting much more. He was realistic if nothing else. A kiss always led him into wanting more when a hot guy was involved. With Justin it reached an entirely new level. Re-opening this door probably wasn't best for anyone.

"I'm going to miss you, Brian." Justin couldn't stop from making the confession. There wasn't a doubt of the validity of his words. He just wasn't sure it wise to speak them. The gleam in Brian's eyes warned him of his desire for him. It was one that was fully returned. Justin knew he couldn't give into those feelings, though. Doing that would make his leaving here... and more importantly, Brian himself, all the more devastating. That wasn't something he thought he could endure.

"I've gotten used to having your little Freshman ass around too." Brian smiled at the young blond, so much in his mind that he wanted to say, yet for the first time, uncertain of exactly how to convey his thoughts. "This doesn't have to be goodbye, Justin." Brian looked down and away from the probing, inquisitive beautiful blue eyes. "I don't think either of us wants that."

Regardless of the answer, Justin had to ask the question - he knew he would go insane if he didn't. "Exactly what do you want?"

Brian's head snapped up, his eyes were smoldering as they looked at the hot blond - a man that was far more to him than a sweet piece of ass... if he was to be completely honest with himself. "I've never disguised what I want. Even when you were dating my brother, and I was trying to keep my distance, what I really wanted was still out there to clearly see."

"Right. You wanted to fuck me. I wish I could be one of those guys that could be in your bed, and cast aside the next day. I - I just can't be that man." Justin bit at his lower lip that was suddenly trembling. "I just care too much."

His eyes sweeping over Justin's expressive, and hauntingly beautiful face, Brian whispered raggedly, "I can't imagine a time that I won't want to fuck you. And, to be perfectly honest, I'm not sure I could kick you out of my bed as I do all the others. There's something different about you. There always has been..."

Justin closed his eyes for a short moment. Brian's words moved him more than he could say. Despite Brian's typical behavior, at least to this point, one thing was clear - Brian did care. If only Brian could ever care about him enough to make him the only one. He could live with Brian needing to keep his sexuality private from the world. What he couldn't handle was being with Brian and accepting his constant tricking. Each occurrence would break his heart even more. He only hoped that distance would lessen how much Brian's lifestyle affected him. "Maybe someday," Justin whispered. About to say more, he about jumped from his bed when he heard the knocking at the door. It was time to leave. "Just a minute," he called out. There wasn't a doubt in his mind it was his mom.

She called through the door. "Take your time, Justin. I need to go to the Dean's office and sign some forms. Come on down when you're ready."

Standing to his feet, Justin glanced around the room, looking for anything he could have missed. More than that - trying to distance himself from Brian before he launched himself straight into his arms. "I guess it's that time."

Brian swallowed, intentionally clearing his throat to keep it from cracking when he spoke. "It seems so."

"I'll still come to your home games." Justin smiled at him, unaware of how they shined as he looked at the older boy. "I wouldn't miss them for anything."

"Maybe we can hang out afterwards... or something." Brian knew he didn't need to elaborate on precisely what he hoped they could do after his game. It wasn't something he was going to push - at least, not right now. What mattered most was that Justin wasn't shutting him completely out of his life. Perhaps it was something that could be built on in time.

"Anything is possible." Justin emitted a weak laugh. "Just think of our beginning. Who would have ever thought we could become friends?"

Brian nodded, slowly he stood and made his way over to where Justin stood. "This isn't a question I usually ask a man... but, the circumstances are different." When Justin met his gaze with a questioning look, Brian continued, "May I kiss you goodbye?"

Justin could think of so many reasons why he should refuse... but at the moment, his desire to say yes far overwhelmed that of common sense. "I - I don't suppose it could hurt."

Uncertain if he agreed with that or not, Brian moved in closer. A kiss might make their separation more difficult... but right now, all that mattered was tasting those lips again. Tomorrow, and all the days after would take care of itself. In this moment, all he cared about was the present. Not giving the blond a chance to change his mind, Brian reached out and cupped his hand behind Justin's neck, pulling him closer he gently lowered his lips onto the beautiful ones that were so always so beseeching to him. Justin's lips were like no other. They were full, soft, sweet... and infinitely pliable. He could spend hours learning them, before fully devouring them; although, he knew now wasn't that time. He would have to be content with the kiss they shared now.

Sliding his arms around Brian's waist, Justin began moving them and down Brian's back, his mouth instantly opening in response to the thrust of Brian's tongue. It was the single most beautiful kiss he had ever enjoyed. Initially, it had started as a tender, searching caress. Quickly, it evolved into one of deep passion. A desire that neither man could fulfill now, yet one that would linger in their memories... only making them want more each time they looked back on it. Justin didn't want to let go of Brian; even though he knew it was for the best... at least for now.

Pulling back, Brian looked into the star-eyed gaze of the beautiful blond. He swept his thumb over Justin's lips, knowing he would never forget this glowing look on Justin's face. No matter how much time passed - he would always remember this moment. All at once, Brian felt more hope than he had ever felt before. They needed this time apart - Justin did especially. It would work out. His voice slightly rough, Brian told him, "Our story isn't over, Justin Taylor. It's only time. We just need some of that time to pass." Brian kissed Justin once more, deeper, and with a desire that he knew wouldn't be satisfied for some time. He knew it would someday... at least he hoped it would. For now, they just had to live this part of their lives.

Justin wrapped his arms tightly around Brian's waist, his head moving to rest on his chest when their lips finally separated. It's only time, Brian had said. Yes, that was true, he thought. Only time. All things were possible in time. For now, he had a beautiful friendship, one that held the possibility of much more someday.

Right now, that would be enough.


A/N: This is the point where the story will begin to progress a bit more. The next chapter should show them settling into life apart, then we can have some time passage... hopefully, leading to our boys finding a way to make things work. Thank you all that have been reading and supporting this story. I do appreciate that so much! :)


Chapter Text

***3 Weeks Later***

Brian opened the door to his room, his eyes spitting fire when he saw who stood on the other side. His brother had a hell of a lot of nerve... and he wasn't in the mood to deal with any of his many issues. "What the fuck do you want, Brandon?"

"Can I come in?" he asked with a bit of hesitation, his eyes uncertain on his brother. It was most likely far too soon for any sort of making up attempt. But... Brian was his brother; he had to at least try.

"I think we've said all that needs to be said; I'd prefer things not get any worse than they already are." Brian stood in the doorway, unmoving from his blocking of any entrance inside.

Brandon nodded, knowing he didn't deserve any consideration... he had just hoped that Brian would give him another chance. Realistically, he realized it was probably much too soon. "Bri, I never meant to hurt you. As soon as I said what I did to Hobbs, I wanted to take it back. It was wrong... and stupid. And... most of all, it could have been devastating for you. Believe it or not, I'm proud of all you've accomplished - I don't want your ride to fame to end."

Brian snorted. "You could have fooled me." He opened the door just wide enough to let Brandon pass through. He wasn't certain this was in his best interest, but he would hear him out. Despite the deep betrayal he still felt, they were brothers. Shutting the door on him forever was something he didn't really want to do. "You've got five minutes to convince me why I should listen to a damned word you have to say."

Nodding, Brandon stepped inside, his eyes sweeping around the room, forcing himself not to look too intently at the empty side of the room that had formerly been Justin's. At this point, he wasn't sure it still being empty to be a good thing. That emptiness was only a reminder of what was now missing. "Thank you, Brian. It's probably more than I deserve."

"Probably?" Brian cut in, his voice was curt and uncompromising. He didn't intend to deviate from his position... that was, not until he was given a good reason for it. "So, what do you want?"

Shrugging, Brandon told him, "Just to clear the air. Hell, I don't know what to call it. I - I just don't want things to stay the way they have been between us."

Brian looked long and hard at his brother, as he did, the pain of his betrayal boiled angrily to the surface. "I'm not sure we can go back, Brandon. I have always loved you... but what you did could have had irreversible effects. I could have lost everything... and you did it because of jealousy. You could have destroyed your own brother's dreams just so you could maintain some sort of sick power over Justin. It's fucked up. Totally fucked up!"

Shifting on his feet anxiously, Brandon lowered his eyes from the intense sadness in Brian's eyes. He couldn't bear to look at him now. "I know it was, Brian." His voice cracked, when he pleaded, "You've got to believe me when I tell you that it wasn't planned out. It was an impulse thing. I was twisted in jealousy when I saw you drive off with Justin; I was still keeping secrets from him, and I knew he was attracted to you. Hobbs came up on me and it just all happened before I could stop it."

"Before you could stop it..." Brian parroted. "How about this? You could have walked away and not said a fucking word to Hobbs!"

Brandon's face reddened in anger. He got that he deserved it... but still, he didn't find himself to be the only one at fault. Brian hadn't ever given him a real chance with Justin. He had always been there, flirting with him, while insisting that he was giving him a clear field. He never had been, because, whether Brian wanted to admit it or not - he had wanted Justin too. In fact, perhaps more than he'd wanted any other man. Until Brian accepted that, he would never understand the stumbling blocks thrown in his way. "Brian, I know all of that. Can you try for one minute to put yourself in my place? How do you think I felt knowing that the guy I started dating, not to mention, the man I cared about more than any man ever, was living with you - the man that nails every hot guy he meets. I felt I was fighting a losing battle; in the end, I guess I was just trying to even the score."

"I know exactly what you were doing! You thought Justin was with me, so you figured you'd take from me what mattered more to me than anything. If not for Lindsay - you would have never come forward!" Brian exploded. Fuck! Why had he let him in here to rehash this ugly mess? There was no hope for the two of them. The damage was irreparable. Brandon possessed no genuine remorse. He was only sorry he had lost the prize his actions had hoped to win. At least for now, there was nothing for them. In the future, he hoped they could both look back on this unfortunate experience differently... but, for now, it was still the ultimate betrayal. It was time to sever the ties. "Go home, Brandon. We have nothing more to discuss."

"Nothing to discuss? How can you say that, Brian? We're brothers. How can you just push all of that aside!?" Brandon looked at his half-brother incredulously, unable to believe that he refused to either forgive him or understand. He had been so sure his pleas would work. But, if anything, Brian was even more cold to him. He had to wonder if more was going on.

Brian walked to the door in sure, determined steps. He flung it open, his eyes stabbing accusingly into his brother's astounded eyes. "Very easily. We're not ready for this talk, Brandon. I'm not sure we'll ever be there again... however, now isn't the time. The hurt is still too deep."

Nodding, Brandon moved to the door. Unable to stop himself, yet realizing it was the worse thing he could ask, he cast a questioning look at his brother, before asking, "Have you talked to him?"

A coldness of another nature came over him at the unbelievable question. He never seemed to learn. The last thing he wanted to discuss with Brandon was Justin. That always ended in a blow-out fight. In this case, even more so. If not for all of his jealous mistakes, Justin might still be here now. He hated that he wasn't. Whether he wanted to admit it or not, he missed the sweet blond. Perhaps it was time to reach out and make a phone call. It was ironic that Brandon's question would spur on that decision; however, maybe it was time. "That's none of your business."

"I shouldn't have asked." Brandon didn't need to be told that his question had been grossly out of place. "I have accepted that I lost any chance I had with Justin... but, all is not lost for you, Brian. Justin really liked you... a lot. He is far too hot to be alone for long." A knowing look entered his eyes at the tensing Brian couldn't quite hide from his statement. "It's definitely something to keep in mind."

Brian scowled at Brandon's retreating back, hating that he couldn't dispel visions of Justin in another man's arms. Brandon was right. A beautiful and caring young man like Justin wouldn't be alone for long... not to mention one that was hotter than hell. Although, he knew he had no right to begrudge Justin that special happiness that could only be found in another man's arms, Brian knew he hoped he hadn't. Even though he knew he couldn't offer the blond what he obviously needed, he still wanted him more than any other man ever. It was his hope that someday they could make a compromise and explore this passion that seemed to bind them together; however, the last thing he wanted to do was hurt Justin.

As he stepped over to his bed, Brian stretched out on it, his cell phone feeling heavy in his pocket. Should he make that call, he wondered? That communication could open up doors he wasn't ready to open yet. Closing his eyes, Brian could see the warmth of Justin's smile, and taste the softness and perfection of his kiss. Resisting temptation when it came to hot men had never come easy for him. In Justin's case, it was even more difficult. As he looked at the clock, Brian realized he should be home for the day. Every day, it became more difficult not to contact him. Brian began to wonder if this was the day he succumbed to that temptation.

What worried him the most was that Justin might have moved on, and wouldn't want to hear from him. If that turned out being the case, he wasn't sure how he would respond. All he knew was that would be a most unsettling reality... and one that he hoped would not be his.

"Justin? Could you come in here for a minute?" Craig asked from his study, a frown marring his brow at Justin's distracted expression. "Is everything okay, son?"

Shaking his head, Justin walked toward his father, his brow furrowed in confusion as he approached. This was the first time his father had sought him out since his return. He couldn't help wondering, as well as worrying about what this could mean. "Uhhh, I'm fine, Dad."

"Come on in and have a seat. I think it's time we caught up." Craig motioned Justin inside, closing the door once Justin was completely inside. He returned to his seat behind his desk, watching as Justin hesitantly took the one across from him. "How are you adjusting at art school? Is it all that you wanted?"

All that he'd wanted, Justin thought to himself. That was a good question. It was his dream. All that was missing was seeing Brian on a daily basis. He wondered how long it would take until he stopped missing his former roommate so much. Feeling as he did about Brian, Justin figured it wouldn't be very soon at all. "It's more than I could have hoped for, Dad. Thank you for letting it happen."

"Pitt was obviously my dream for you. It was wrong of me to push you into it. Your mother warned me of that - over and over again... but, it appears I can have a stubborn streak at times." Craig grinned good-natured, his eyes warm on his son... there was so much he wanted to say to him; it was his hope that he would be able to speak freely about all of it.

"At times?" Justin instantly felt at ease to tease his father; a sigh of relief escaping that this was the manner of the Craig Taylor of old. Perhaps everything would be okay now. There was only one way to put that to the test. "Before I got here, I wasn't even sure you wanted me to come home. When Mom showed up alone to pick me up, I worried even more."

Craig nodded, a guilty look on his face. "I'm sorry you felt that way, Justin. No matter what, I never wanted you to feel unwanted. It took me some time to come to terms with what you told me back at your dorm room. I know I handled it all wrong... right then, I just didn't know how else to act."

Justin bit at his bottom lip uncertainly. "And... how do you feel now?"

Standing up, and moving around his desk, Craig leaned against it, his eyes filled with a mixture of remorse and love in his eyes. "I was so wrong, Justin. I know my reaction hurt you... and that's not what I meant to do. When you came to us with your news, me running away was the last thing you needed." Craig's voice thickened, when he finished - "I - I'm so sorry for that, son."

A tremulous swallow slid past Justin's throat. "It's okay, Dad. It was a shock. I know that."

"It was a shock, but more than that, I guess I was just angry that all of my hopes and dreams for you were over. When you left Pitt, I think I realized even more that I had been building every aspect of your life around my own dreams - never once considering that we didn't have the same ones." Craig smiled at Justin reassuringly, his eyes displaying all the sincerity he felt. "I just want you to live a full, and happy life... and hopefully a successful one as well. Whatever makes you happy is what I want for you."

Justin jumped to his feet, tears streaming down his face as he reached out to clasp his father in a tight, embrace. "Thank you, Dad. Y-you have no idea what this means to me. I thought that you h-hated me. Knowing that you still love me despite everything, means the world to me."

Craig patted Justin affectionately on the back. His voice was rough, when he told him, "Of course I still love you, Justin. The fact that you doubted that fills me with sadness." He pulled back to look intently into Justin's eyes, determination to do better swelling within him. "I intend to do better in the future. I want to know everything about your life, no matter what it might be. No matter my views on some things, or choices you make, you are still my son... and I love you very much. I don't want you to ever forget that..."

A beaming smile came over Justin's face; he felt as if a load had been lifted from both his shoulders and his heart. "I won't forget, Dad. I'm so glad we had this talk; I can't even tell you how much."

Nodding, Craig moved to his place behind the desk, grimly accepting that he needed to return to his work. "I am too, Justin." Craig looked down at his desk, a slight frown piercing his brow at the envelope laying on it. Justin had received it in the mail yesterday, but he had forgotten to give it to him. Picking it up, he extended it to Justin, his voice slightly curious when he spoke, "This came for you. I forgot to give it to you last night."

Justin nodded; he looked at the plain, white envelope, his own curiosity rising when he noticed the return address was absent. He opened it, a bright smile on his face when two tickets for Saturday's game fell into his hand, and a small note came out with it. His eyes scanned it quickly... there wasn't a doubt he would re-read this note over and over again. Hey Twat. Here are two tickets for Saturday's game. It's the final home game of the season, and I figured you might like to watch me in all my glory. I hope you can be there. Brian.

"Is everything okay?"

"It's more than okay. Brian sent me two tickets to the game on Saturday. Very good tickets too..." Justin showed them to his father, not surprised when he whistled his agreement at seeing they were seats on the 50-yard line. Looking at his father expectantly, Justin asked, "Uhhhh, there are two tickets here. Would you like to come with me?"

"I'd really enjoy that, Justin." Craig smiled at Justin warmly, unable to help from observing how much the gesture from Brian, who he knew to be the star quarterback on the Panthers team, and Justin's former roommate seemed to be for his son. "It appears that you have a very good friend in Brian."

Justin's heart leapt in his chest, his smile widening even more. "Yeah, he is. In fact, he's my best friend."


A/N: There will just be a couple more chapters before time moves ahead on this one. Of course, we have to cover the game next, and see what happens there. Perhaps a phone call can be thrown in before then too. We'll have to see if either of them break down to do that. Thanks for reading... comments are always greatly appreciated!! :)

Chapter Text

Justin was sprawled out on the middle of his bed, his hand moving almost feverishly on the sketchpad that he had angled on a small tray. He was oblivious to everything around him, even his music began to fade in the background, his mind one with the image he now tried to capture on paper. This particular subject really wasn't difficult for him to compose; it was the face he saw in his dreams at night, and without a doubt, the first one he thought of in the morning. Brian Kinney. Always, and forever Brian. He couldn't help wondering if his fascination, and his absorption with Brian would ever end.

A smile of anticipation curved his lips when his attention pulled to the tickets laying on his bedside table. Two tickets to tomorrow night's last home game. It would be packed, and without a doubt - a moment where Brian could shine. Being the last home game, and with the season the Panthers had enjoyed, Justin didn't doubt that scouts would be present. He was excited for a couple of reasons. Tomorrow, Brian could be one step closer to reaching his career aspirations, and in addition to that - he would get to watch it all unfold. He could hardly wait for tomorrow. The fact that his father intended to share it with him made it mean even more.

Casting his sketchpad aside, Justin placed the tray on the floor, flopping unceremoniously onto his back, his eyes stared bleakly at the digital alarm clock on his dresser. It was just past ten o'clock. He wondered what Brian was doing right now. A slight grimace passed over his face. The night before a big game, and as far as he knew, Brian possessed sole ownership of their previously shared room - it wasn't much of a jump to think what Brian would be doing right now. What wasn't in question - it was more of a matter of who. His chest ached when he thought of how much he cared about the older boy; it was a bittersweet feeling. He yearned to be the one in Brian's arms; the man that gave him incomparable pleasure. It broke his heart to know that it might never happen, and that one day, Brian could give his heart to another.

So lost in his thoughts, dreams, and fears of what could be happening not only now, but in the future, Justin didn't immediately hear his cell phone ringing. He blinked when a sound began permeating his senses, awareness of the sound suddenly dawning on him. When his eyes fell to see the name associated with the incoming call, Justin shrieked in delight, his hand moving clumsily to answer the call. "B-Brian? Is that you?"

"That it is, Picasso. I hope I haven't disturbed you at an inopportune moment..." Brian drawled, unwilling to admit to himself or Justin how much that would unsettle him.

"No!" Justin answered quickly, his answer coming before realizing what Brian had been implying. "Hardly, Brian. I am at my parents house."

"Right. Well... for an innovative young man - that should only be a minor deterrent." Brian laughed, as he lay down, unable to believe how much lighter he felt now that he had heard Justin's voice. There wasn't a doubt at all - he missed the little fucker. Of course, he wouldn't tell him that... but, the truth was more than clear to him. "So, have you met any hot art students?"

Justin grinned. It always came down to that with Brian. "Perhaps a few."

"Interesting..." Brian drawled suggestively. "Tell me this, then. Would I fuck them?"

Justin snorted. "What a question! You'd fuck anyone that made your dick hard."

"Not anyone..." Brian adamantly denied. "My standards and expectations are extremely high."

"If you say so," Justin retorted, unwilling to admit how much he hated those boys he'd seen with his former roommate. "I remember a few that I wouldn't touch with your dick!"

"Cute, Taylor. Really cute. That phrase is older than your parents..." Brian muttered derisively.

Justin giggled, knowing Brian's words were the absolute truth. That statement was so cliché. A bit more seriously, Justin told him, "Uhhhh, I got the tickets, Brian. Thank you."

"Your welcome, twat. I thought you might like to witness my big moment."

"Big moment?" Justin asked, certain there was a story in that admission.

"Yeah. Coach told us earlier in the week that rumor has it some very high up scouts will be at the game. This is my chance to make another good impression." Brian didn't have to tell Justin how important this game was for his future. Success and an unblemished game were the only things that mattered. Well... perhaps one other thing mattered, even if he could only admit it to himself. Justin being there to witness his victory was important to him. In fact, that was much more important than he could even begin to feel comfortable about.

"That's great, Brian!" Justin answered excitedly. This was exactly what Brian needed to encourage him. He couldn't begin to express how thrilled he was to be taking a part in it. "I know you will impress them, Brian."

Rolling his lips under, his chest bursting with emotion from the pride in Justin's voice, he forced himself to stay true to form, and cockily murmur, "Of course I will. How could I not?"

"Right..." Justin said amidst laughter, his cheeks almost hurting from the continuous smiling, after such a long time of not having so much to smile about. "My dad is coming with me to watch the game. We'll be getting there early to have dinner before the game."

Brian smiled. As much as he wished he could celebrate with Justin after the game, he realized Justin's plans with his father were much more important. Once the football season ended, there would be time... he would make sure of that. This distance wouldn't matter. In fact, for some strange reason he felt more connected to the blond than when they were roommates. It was a daunting feeling with his own views in mind, despite that - it was how he felt. "So... I guess things worked out between you and your father."

"Yeah - couldn't be better. We had a long talk; I know he'll always want something different for my life, but, he's supporting me and my choices. I can't ask for more than that."

"No, you can't." Brian silently reflected on his past relationship with his own father. He would have never had such an outcome - whether the fucking bastard had lived or not. "You are lucky, Justin. It doesn't often work out like that."

Justin frowned; he wished he knew more about Brian's family, and his past... but intuitively felt it was something he didn't want to talk about. "I know," he agreed. "Uhhh, what about Brandon? Are you talking to him?"

"He stopped by. It didn't go so well." Brian thought about that visit... one that he knew had been way premature. "I don't think we are ready to bridge the gap yet."

Sadness filled Justin's eyes. "I know he hurt you, Brian. He hurt both of us. But... I remember what it was like when I first arrived. The two of you were so close. I'd hate to be the cause of you losing that."

"You wouldn't be. Brandon did this to himself due to his own choices. Your involvement in that is incidental." Brian couldn't deny that he hated the distance that now existed between him and his half-brother; however, until he saw genuine remorse in him - they couldn't move on. Determined not to waste their time talking about Brandon, he veered the subject back to a more Brian Kinney type subject matter. "Now, about these hot art students..."

"Running out of fresh meat at Pitt already?" Justin groused.

"Hardly..." Brian scoffed. "However, a man does need to broaden his horizons at times. And... I was thinking about you, actually. All work and no play makes Justin a dull boy."

Justin listened closely to Brian's words. One thing he had learned from living with Brian, was that everything wasn't always in Brian's words, but, more in how he spoke them. Reading between the lines was a fine art when dealing with Brian Kinney. "Don't worry, Mr. Future All-Star, if I decide I want companionship - I'm sure I will find it."

"I don't doubt it. You're a mouthy little twat... but you have two other advantages---"

His interested immediately peaked. "Really? What might those be?"

"You're blond, and even more important than that - you are hot as fuck." Brian didn't feel the need to elaborate on that. Justin wasn't blind to his own appeal. The boy knew he was hot, and he knew how much he wanted to fuck him. The strangest part was in knowing he could have fucked him on several occasions, yet proceeding more gently with him had seemed to take precedent. He had never walked on eggshells when dealing with a man he wanted to fuck. Justin was different on every level. Attempting to deny that to himself was impossible, merely on the basis of his own responses.

Justin beamed inside and out. "I'm glad you noticed."

"I notice everything, Taylor. You should know that." Brian's voice dropped lower, the lateness of the hour, and the sound of Justin's voice beginning to affect him in other more enjoyable ways. "I was thinking, Picasso, how about you put down your paintbrush for the night, and use those skilled hands in another way..."

His cock twitched at that sound in Brian's voice. There was nothing like the sound, nor the look, of Brian Kinney turned on and ready to pounce. That it was directed at him made him ache all over. "What did you have in mind, Stud?"

"Well... I was thinking some hot phone sex would be a perfect way to send me off before my big game."

Justin couldn't think of anything he'd enjoy more, excluding being in Brian's arms. He wished he could be... but, there were still many unresolved issues between them. In time, he hoped a resolution could be found... but, for now, maybe they could have this. He wasn't about to make it so easy for Brian, though. Teasing Brian excited him in so many ways, and he had the feeling it kept him interested too. That was definitely not a bad thing. "I have a better idea."

"I'm listening..." Brian growled. He refused to hope it meant Justin would let him come to him and do what they both itched to do. Justin clearly wasn't ready for the full meal, and he had accepted that. A taste would do him for now. Something told him the full experience would be more than worth the wait. "Why do I have the feeling this idea isn't going to result in our cumulative orgasms?"

Laughing, Justin told him, "Perhaps not tonight. I was hoping to give you even more incentive on the playing field. Lead the Panthers to a conference championship tomorrow... and the next time you call, I will be eager and more than willing to participate in the hottest phone sex you can handle."

"I can handle a hell of a lot, Taylor... but, you know that." Brian swore profusely, Justin's words doing nothing to ease the throbbing of his dick. "Fine. You've got yourself a deal. When I win tomorrow - I will be calling you; I expect you to be ready."

"I'll be ready, Mr. Quarterback." Justin hated the fact that the call needed to end, but, they both needed rest tonight... and for the first time in weeks, he had something to look forward to. There would be a smile on his lips when he found sleep tonight. "Good luck tomorrow, Brian. I know you don't need it... but, good luck all the same."

"Thanks, Taylor." Brian felt secure in the fact that no one could read his softer expression, one that only seemed derived from his connection with this unique blond boy. "I'm glad you'll be there tomorrow... and, that you get to share the day with your father."

Justin smiled. He might not know much about Brian's childhood, but, he knew displaying such sentiment wasn't common for him. It gave him so much hope for the future. The distance that separated them didn't even dampen his outlook for what their future could bring. "Goodnight, Brian. I hope we talk again soon."

Brian ended the call, his hand tightening around the phone, almost as if keeping the contact alive longer. Yeah, we'll talk again soon, he thought to himself. With any luck - that, and so much more.


A/N: There will only be one more chapter before time begins to move a few years down the road, and we reach the ending parts of this journey. Thank you for reading. Comments are greatly appreciated!


Chapter Text

Justin's eyes were attached to the field with a rapt attention - one that he hadn't ever experienced before - at least, not for a sporting event. This game had been dramatic, and up and down throughout. Both teams were giving their all, each side hoping for a celebrated victory. The Panthers currently held a 27-23 lead over the Blue Devils. With only five minutes left in the game, and Duke driving towards the end zone, everyone in attendance was focused on each critical play.

Craig was just as attentive as Justin; his heart thrilling at being part of this monumental game. He couldn't remember the last time he'd seen such a solid Panthers team. Sharing this one with Justin meant even more to him. "Well, looks like your former roommate could need to pull out a big finish, if the Blue Devils score."

Nodding his agreement, yet not removing his eyes from the game, Justin told him, "Yeah. It's been a great game, no matter what happens." He didn't want to think of the option of a Blue Devils victory. Brian would be crushed, and with scouts undoubtedly being at this game, it would be a set back Brian didn't need. There wasn't a doubt that Brian would still succeed; however, securing a conference title in his Junior year - that would set him apart from the rest. More than anything, he hoped Brian achieved that.

"It won't be much longer now." Craig couldn't keep the excitement from his own voice. The exuberance flowing in the stadium, not to mention, within his own son, was highly contagious. He couldn't remember a time that he had rooted for this team more. Suddenly, a gasp of dismay was heard from the Panthers fans. Just as it looked as if the defense would hold, the premier running back from Duke burst forward for a 28-yard gain. The Blue Devils were now strategically placed in the red zone, but, more importantly, they had the chance to both run out a large portion of the game clock, as they went for the score that would place them in the lead.

"Oh my God!" Justin gasped, his eyes widening as he stood to his feet along with the rest of the Panthers fans as a botched snap led to the ball rolling around under a pile of mixed jerseys. Everyone was desperate to know who secured the ball. It wasn't until the whistles started blowing, and the referees began pulling each player from atop of the pile, that the ball holder was identified. Justin screamed with glee, along with thousands of other fans. He looked to see the jubilation on his father's face, both of them making the same realization. "Pitt has the ball, Dad. They can run the clock out now!"

Craig turned to look at his son, marveling at how invested in the game Justin seemed to be. He had no understanding of that. Justin had never shown a great interest in sports of any kind. At times, when he had taken him to a Steelers game, he had felt like Justin had been going through the motions, going just to please his old man. But, this game clearly mattered to him. His time at Pittsburgh University had been far too brief for him to feel that loyalty a man felt for his university; he had to think it meant much more. Watching as the Panthers offense once again took the field, clearly in the hopes of closing out the game, Craig began to think Justin's excitement could be toward a particular player, and not so much the game itself. He doubted Justin would confide in him about that. It was fine that he didn't know everything. Even though he had decided to accept the choices Justin had made recently, he wasn't sure he wanted too much knowledge of all the specifics those decisions involved. In time, he hoped he would want to know more. For now, how they were relating again was good enough.

"That they can, son." Craig sat back down, not the least bit surprised that Justin didn't immediately do the same. He was very interested in what was happening on the field. He was as well; although, he had a feeling their interest was vastly different. "Hopefully, they just run the ball, and don't put it in the air. Any mistake at this juncture would be critical."

Justin beamed as he looked onto the field, only sitting down when he noticed disgruntled fans from behind him. "Brian will know what to do. He's been waiting for this moment for so long. He has to win this game!"

Craig looked at his son in surprise. Was it Brian? No. It wasn't possible. They were just friends; he couldn't imagine it being anything more than that. They had been roommates. There was no way that Justin had formed a romantic attachment to Brian Kinney. He was the quarterback of the Pittsburgh Panthers. Even before today, he had known that Brian had a bright future in the NFL. Brian Kinney couldn't be involved with Justin - could he? Watching Justin's rapt expression as the game clock expired, his attention completely on the playing field, and seemingly, one man in particular, Craig felt compelled to talk to Justin about it once they were alone. Despite how perfect Brian Kinney may be on paper - caring about him in that manner would only break his son's heart. He didn't want to see that happen.

It had taken nearly an hour for them to exit the stadium, and pull out into traffic, Craig smiled at the exuberant look still on Justin's face. "It was a good game, Justin. A great victory for the team. I'm really glad we could watch it together."

"Me too, Dad." Justin was beaming - inside and out. Brian had done it. He had known he would... but, seeing it all play out, had been amazing. It was a moment that he knew would always live in his memories. "This game assures Brian's success." When he noticed his father staring at him quizzically, Justin told him, "Brian called me last night, he told me that scouts would be at that game. A victory, and a good showing would benefit him immensely."

Nodding, Craig returned his eyes to the slow moving traffic ahead. "I don't think Brian's football career was ever in doubt, regardless of their presence at the game today... but, this victory today will have more franchises bidding for him. He has a bright future for sure." Craig looked at Justin briefly, casually asking, "Does he have any preference on what team drafts him?"

Justin frowned at that. They had never discussed it. Some athletes had to accept whoever offered for them, but, Brian would probably have more options. He wondered about that answer himself. "He never really said. I don't think he wants to stay in Pittsburgh, though." Laughing, Justin clarified, "Pittsburgh just isn't big enough for Brian Kinney."

Despite the laughter, Craig could clearly detect sadness in Justin's voice. After Brian finished his college career, and moving on with the NFL team that selected him, Justin would be devastated if it took Brian far away. There wasn't a doubt in his mind that Justin had a crush - if not more - on his former roommate. Approaching this subject seemed even more important now. "Justin... I don't want to intrude into your personal life, but, your heart is displayed brightly on your sleeve. I don't want to see you get hurt... and, in this instance, I think you're setting yourself up for heartache."

Turning to look at his father, his eyes wide, and completely understanding of the point his father was trying to make, Justin answered, "I don't know what you're talking about, Dad. There's nothing going on between me and Brian. We're good friends - that's all."

"I wish that were true, son... and maybe it is from Brian's point of view." Craig sighed, as he switched lanes, his eyes straight ahead when he added, "It's obvious how you feel about him, Justin. I'm just saying, be careful with your heart. He is obviously following a much different path than you are. Guard yourself that you don't get hurt."

Justin flushed, unable to deny one word his father spoke. It was too late to guard his heart, or protect himself in any way from being hurt. He loved Brian; in fact, he had always loved him. Getting to know him while they had been roommates had only intensified his feelings for Brian - whether it was healthy for him or not. There was no going back from that. Perhaps in time he would meet someone else... but, in his heart, he knew it would always be about Brian. "I'm fine, Dad. Really. I know what I'm doing... and I'd really rather not talk about it."

"Okay, son." Craig gave his son a tense, yet understanding smile. "I feel awkward discussing it too; I just felt I had to place my fatherly warnings." He maneuvered through traffic until he had them into a lane that moved at a much quicker pace, knowing his next words would surprise his son even more. "I booked us into a hotel for the night - instead of driving straight back." When Justin looked at him in sudden amazement, Craig continued, "I thought maybe you would want to hook up with your former friends after the big game."

"Really, Dad?" Justin was quickly speechless; although, all the possibilities began swimming in his head. He didn't have a doubt where and how Brian would be celebrating. The knowledge gave him a painful twinge in his chest, but, he knew that was par with forming an attachment to Brian Kinney. It was how things would probably always be. Winning the older boy's heart, and complete devotion was a dream he wasn't certain could ever come true... but, one that he would hold onto until all hope had been extinguished.

"I thought you might like that." Craig smiled as he pulled off the exit that would lead them directly to the hotel. "I'm kind of tired myself. I'll give you money for cab fare, then, I think I'll make a night of it."

Justin felt his heart expanding in his chest. If he was right about Brian's locale after the game, he could possibly see him tonight. He grinned when he remembered his deal with Brian regarding a victory tonight. In person, he could do much better than the phone sex Brian had suggested. His insides quivering in excitement, yet with extreme anticipation, he hoped he had that opportunity. More than anything, he wanted to see Brian tonight. Perhaps fate would be kind to him. If so, he knew exactly how he wanted to celebrate Brian's amazing victory...

Hours later, Brian had finally extricated himself from the rest of his teammates, fans, and general well wishers that traditionally fell in with the after game party. He accepted their congratulations, moving through the group as quickly as possible. It wasn't the celebration he ever had in mind. Brian's thoughts strayed to Justin, a frown on his face when he recognized how much he had thought of the blond after his victory tonight. Calling him came immediately to mind. He smiled when he thought of their little wager. There wasn't a doubt he intended on collecting on that. Hearing Justin's breathy little moans as he rubbed one out to the sound of his voice was something he was determined to have. A face to face moment would be much more preferable... but, in Justin's case, he would take this.

As he walked along Liberty Avenue, his destination never in doubt, Brian opened his phone, his fingers pausing on the keypad. He couldn't call Justin tonight. He had been at the game with his father. They could still be together. As much as it didn't overly disturb him to call and embarrass the beguiling blond, he didn't want to intrude on their time together, either. Despite how much he generally shrugged off the importance of familial relationships, he was pleased that Justin had a more normal relationship with his parents. Being accepted, and not shunned by his parents was obviously important to Justin. He was really glad he had that.

Turning the corner, Babylon now clearly in sight, Brian's eyes flickered around to see the action outside of the club when his eyes discerned a presence in the distance that he thought must be a mere distortion. He couldn't be seeing who he thought he did. His interest in Babylon completely waning for the moment, Brian moved closer to the street lamp that illuminated the face of the young man that hadn't been out of his thoughts much since he had left Pittsburgh University.

Justin bit at his lip as he watched Brian's approach. He was here... really truly here, and he was coming toward him and not entering the club that he knew was always an attraction for the brunet. His breath lodged in his throat as Brian's steps didn't falter, not until they were standing virtually toe-to-toe. More breathlessly than he would like, Justin told him, "Congratulations on your win, Brian. It was incredible."

Brian's lips rolled under as he surveyed the beautiful, and compact body. Damn, he thought to himself. This boy was so fucking hot. Each time he saw him, that recognition hit him more forcefully. "So, are you here to be my victory prize?" Brian licked his lips as he watched Justin squirming nervously. He had never wanted a man more than he did Justin right now. Even knowing that Justin wasn't quite ready for that - and him - it still didn't slow him down. He would take whatever he could have from the blond... enjoying every single moment.

"Well, I was thinking..." Justin looked around uncertainly, not quite sure of how obvious and open he should be. They were out in public, despite it being at the heart of Liberty Avenue, he wasn't sure how comfortable Brian would be with any form of public intimacy. When he noticed Brian looking down at him in amusement, Justin continued, "I remembered our bet, and well, clearly you won that." Chuckling nervously, Justin added, "Not that there was ever any doubt---"

"Clearly there wasn't..." Brian cockily agreed, his hand reaching out to stroke along the side of Justin's face, unable to fully believe the blond that had been so dominant in his thoughts was actually here now. "So, phone sex isn't necessary in this instance." His eyes fastened hungrily on the reflexive action of Justin licking at his own lips, in this moment, wanting nothing more than to smash them beneath his own. "Did you have another idea, perhaps one more life affirming?"

Boldly, and unable to believe he was doing it, Justin reached in between them, brushing his hand against the bulge he easily found in Brian's jeans. He smiled suggestively when Brian responded with a sudden hiss. "I think I can give you something much more memorable than a hand job, Mr. Kinney."

Brian scraped his thumb along Justin's lips. His voice was a mere rasp, when he spoke, "If it has anything to do with your mouth... I am 'up' and ready for the experience."

Justin moaned as he thought about sucking Brian off. It was exactly what he had in mind. As innocent as he was in some areas, he did know how to give a blow job. He had a feeling Brian would be both surprised and pleased by the experience. His hand squeezed Brian's cock through his tight jeans, a smile of lustful appreciation on his face. "Yeah. I can see that you're up for it. How about we find ourselves a private little corner..." Deliberately, Justin ran his tongue along his lips, smiling at the darkening in Brian's eyes, when his tongue met the eager brunet's thumb. "I would love for my mouth to congratulate you with much more than words."

His eyes flashing with all the need and desire he felt for the blond, Brian hooked his finger in Justin's belt loop, urgently pulling him behind him, his eyes ignoring everyone that looked appreciatively his way. No other man mattered right now. Finally, he had the man he really wanted, even if it wouldn't be the full experience. This was part of it... and fucking another nameless trick meant nothing in comparison to a blow job from Justin. In this moment, Brian realized just how much he had missed the blond. He knew this encounter would only make him miss him all the more; however, he didn't intend to focus on that right now. All that mattered was - here and now.

Justin groaned as Brian pressed him against the wall in the dimly lit alley, his senses quickly becoming overwhelmed when Brian lowered his lips to capture his own. Devouring was the thought that came to mind. Brian wasn't playing any preliminary games... and why should he? They both knew where this interlude was heading. Justin parted his lips and kissed Brian back with equal fervor, his hands moving to clutch at Brian's hips, a moan escaping as he felt Brian's cock prodding through his pants to poke at his own. Fuck. He wanted him so much. But... he wasn't going to lose himself to that degree. He wanted something special for both of them to remember from this special night, though; however, he wasn't going that far yet, most especially, not in an alley filled with other men seeking the same pleasure. He would have more from his first time. More and more, he was starting to think that first time could be with Brian - at least, someday.

Brian licked at Justin's lips, and deep inside of his mouth. He couldn't get enough of him. The only thing that caused him to pull back was in knowing he wanted something even more. He had laid in bed so many nights dreaming of Justin's mouth on his dick; that wasn't an experience he intended to miss out on. "Go on," Brian whispered roughly. "Suck me, Justin. I want to see how good that hot little mouth can be..."

Justin smiled; his lips turned up into a sexy, self-assured smirk. He would make certain that Brian remembered this moment. Every man that sucked him off in the days to come would pale in comparison. He intended to see to that. Lowering himself to his knees, Justin's hungry, and lust-filled eyes fell into Brian's that were a reflection of his own, while his hands made quick work of unsnapping his jeans and lowering his zipper. Justin licked his lips as he viewed the bead of moisture pearling at the tip of Brian's dick, unable to deny himself any longer, his tongue sliding under it to fully capture it. "So nice. I've thought of this for so long---"

"Not for as long as I have, twat." Brian's head arched back against the wall, uncaring of the beautiful sight he made to the other horny men passing by, all enraptured by the sight of Brian in such a state of near bliss, and of the hot blond fortunate enough to be the giver of that pleasure. His breath sharpened as he felt Justin's tongue sliding along the underside of his cock, the swirling motion he soon began, before the incomparable feeling of his perfect lips slowly pulling his cock inside. The boy was amazing on every level. That realization only continued to increase.

As he began to pull Brian's tremendous length into his mouth, Justin relaxed his throat, determined there would be no gagging in this encounter. He didn't want to lose any of the experience by wasting it on that. His hand reached in to gently knead each ball sac in turn, his mouth opening up to fully receive the cock that he wanted to endlessly worship. He felt so good in him. Full, warm, and bursting with life. He didn't want it to ever end.

Brian began to pant as Justin's mouth began to move on his cock in full appreciation of the meal he was being given, his hand skillfully playing with his balls, causing his legs to tighten, with him barely able to hold back from thrusting frantically into the mouth that was giving him the most tremendous pleasure he'd ever known. "Fuck..." Brian hissed, his hand reaching out to cup the back of Justin's neck, doing all he could not to ram him mercilessly into the wall. Really, there was no need. Justin was voraciously feeding on his cock. Increasing his speed and angle would have very little effect. "Such a good little cocksucker..."

Justin's own cock began to leak through his pants, Brian's praise, not to mention the feel of him stretching his throat, making him focus on both his concentration to the pleasurable task at hand, and not coming prematurely in his own pants. He began to hum as he felt Brian's hips gently tilting forward, the added pressure bringing him inescapably deeper. He felt, and tasted so fucking good. What pained him the most was in knowing Brian was almost there. This beautiful experience would soon be over. As he felt his own dick twitching and beginning to convulse, Justin knew it was time to push the gorgeous brunet over the edge. "Come for me, Brian... come knowing that I'm about to explode in my pants while your dick is plowing my mouth..."

The deepest growl yet crawled up from Brian's throat. His hands clasped Justin's cheeks as he began to rock into Justin's mouth, his fingers threading through Justin's hair as he rode out his tumultuous release. Nothing had ever felt like this... it was all about Justin. He'd be a fool to think he'd ever find a man to complete him so perfectly. They were a match in every way. Beauty, brains, and a desire that would never diminish. "Ahhhh, fuck, Justin! Fuck!" Brian pumped his load into the depths of Justin's throat, his eyes warm and admiring on how skillfully the blond took it all in. This boy was so fucking amazing. It was scary how much he continued to make that startling realization.

Once Brian had rode out his extended, and not very quiet orgasm, Justin stood to his feet, cringing slightly at the feel of his come-filled pants, knowing the discomfort was insignificant to the pleasure they'd both enjoyed. He looked deeply into Brian's eyes, his own filled with the glint of self-satisfaction. "Well, Mr. Kinney? Was that to your liking?"

"Cocky little fucker..." Brian murmured, his eyes warm and reflective as he took in every expression on Justin's face. He wanted to remember everything about this night, uncertain of how much they would see each other in the days/months to come. "Thank you, Justin. I needed this; in particular, I needed it to be from you."

Biting at his lip, Justin hesitantly asked, "Was it so different that one of them?" Justin's eyes looked around at the bodies moving along the pavement, readily acknowledging that many of them were hot, and worthy of Brian's attention... while secretly wishing Brian would only want this from him. Perhaps someday, he told himself. Nothing would be more perfect to him than that.

Had any other man asked him that question, he would have come back with the most caustic, and cutting of replies. However, with Justin, it simply wouldn't be true. Nothing was the same with him. He stood out from the rest. Brian had a feeling no matter how many tricks came and went, that would prove to be even more true. "More than you'll ever know, Taylor."

"I should probably get back." When Brian looked at him in confusion, Justin explained, "My dad got us a hotel in town for the night. He told me to go out and celebrate with my friends." Blushing, as he completely revealed who he wanted to see, he told him, "Well, I did that."

His eyes downcast, Brian's voice became low, realizations continuing to overwhelm him, ones he had never experienced in the past. "I miss you, Justin."

Justin's eyes lit up, a smile that resonated from the purest joy spreading within him. "I miss you too, Brian."

He looked at the beautiful blond uncertainly, in this moment unsure of what to do or say next. "Uhhh, do you want me to call you again? Or does it make it more difficult?"

"I want you in my life, Brian. I miss you even more when we're not in touch." Justin cast a soulful look in Brian's direction. "I can't say that I won't be broken-hearted every time I think of you tricking, or perhaps someday meeting and falling in love with someone. Even so, I want you around."

Brian shook his head. There was no way he would be falling in love with another man. Tricking was a given. After all, he was Brian Kinney. These years were supposed to be the time of his life; however, he could feel the tide changing. Where he ended up, he wasn't certain... but, at the end of his journey, it was his hope that Justin would be there with him. "Let's give it some time, Justin. Live your life for now, and while you do that, I will try to get mine sorted out."

Justin's lip began to tremble. "So, it's goodbye, then?"

"Never that." Brian shook his head adamantly. "It's only time, Justin. A lot can happen in a short amount of time. We'll see what happens."

"I know that you are going to be an amazing success. And, with the recent news of gay athletes emerging, the NFL included, your future is even more promising." Suddenly, Justin made a realization. He no longer cared if Brian had to remain in the closet for an indefinite amount of time. Someday, if Brian wanted to be with him - and him alone - the secrecy wouldn't bother him as much. Being loved by Brian, and monogamous with him would mean even more.

Looking into the beautiful hazel eyes that he knew would be in his dreams nightly until they were truly together, Justin told him, "I don't care if you can ever come out publicly. I used to think I did, but that isn't what matters." He tapped his chest, before telling him, "As much as I hope we could be open - if we were to be together - love is what means the most." Justin looked fervently at Brian, knowing this could be his last face-to-face glimpse of him for a long time to come. "Call me when you are emotionally ready to commit to us. I think we both know it's what you want. I am hoping time will only make that more so. In the meantime, I plan on waiting for you - waiting until there is no hope left."

Brian frowned, his own voice slightly tremulous when he answered, "Justin, you don't know if it will happen. I can't ask you to put your life on hold like that. I can't deny that I don't like the thought of you moving on with another man... but, I can't ask you to wait for me."

Justin smiled, hope and love burning from within. "You didn't ask. That's what love is all about. I will wait for you, Brian Kinney. There isn't a doubt in my mind that you're worth it. Until then, I have a beautiful memory of tonight to remember."

He watched as Justin walked away, unknowing at the time it would be the last time he saw him for several years. Fate could be cruel or kind. It was now in the hands of destiny regarding which it would be.


A/N: As foretold in the previous chapter, we have a time jump after this chapter. Thank you all that have been reading, and a special thanks to those have been encouraging me by leaving comments. That feedback means so much to me. I am hoping to wrap this up in about 2-3 more chapters. *Hugss*


Chapter Text

A/N: As previously foretold, our story moves ahead now. We start the chapter two years into the future; a flashback will cover most of the update. I advise that now to avoid any confusion. Subsequent chapters will be in present time; however, the events of the flashback will have great impact on the present. Those that were on the fence regarding their opinion of a certain character, I think that question will FINALLY be laid firmly to rest. It goes without really saying - ANGST! I hope you enjoy the chapter. More to follow as soon as I can...

*** Two Years Later ***

"Great game, Brian..." the assistant coach boisterously praised him, his hand enthusiastically patting him on the back.

"Thanks, Coach." Brian stripped and headed into the showers, rolling his eyes as the other players averted both their eyes and bodies from the process. It had been this way since he had come out about six months ago. On the field they trusted him to do the right thing to secure the win; in the locker room, they kept their distance. He didn't judge them for their actions. People were victims of society. That just transcended here. It was progress that he could be an openly gay athlete. Not only an athlete, but the starting quarterback for the New York Jets. In time, maybe it would amass into more.

Brian didn't look at anyone as he took his shower, his mind simply relived the glory of today's game. It was only his second year on the team... his first full year as the starting quarterback. They had taken great strides in their progress. A couple more seasons would bring a championship - he was certain of that. They just needed more time together as a unit, and a few more solid players. This season was nearly over, and a run for the playoffs was still within reach. They had to win out the rest of the season with only three games to go. If they did that, they would be in the post season. It was a dream come true if it could be reached. As he finished his shower, and wrapped the towel around his waist, Brian realized it was one of two dreams. The other was much more unlikely, yet, still one he desired more than any other.

As he made his way to the locker that held his street clothes, his eyes closed briefly when he thought of the man that dominated so many of his thoughts. Justin. Always Justin. They hadn't spoken since that night years ago; a night that forever lived in his memories... however, one that he knew to be lost to Justin. It had only been a few weeks later when tragedy struck his beautiful blond; although, he hadn't known about it immediately. He had discovered the news report about a week after the incident. Justin had gone to a party, when things had started getting out of control, he had elected to walk home, only to be accosted as he walked through the park - beaten, robbed, and left for dead. His assailant had never been found.

Now, Justin had no memory of his former life. It wasn't due to not remembering, it was all because he hadn't awakened. Justin was laying in a coma, unresponsive to all that was around him. He knew it to be true from seeing it firsthand. Initially, he had been a constant by Justin's bedside; then, Justin's father had stepped in. As he finished dressing, and heading out of the locker room, completely ignoring the press and the other players, his memories took him to another time - one where he still had hope of a future with Justin. One that had since diminished each day Justin lay in a comatose state.

Had Justin came back to the land of the living yet? And, if he had, did he remember anything about him... or them? He called Justin's mother on a weekly basis. The answer was always the same. "I'm sorry, Brian. There's been no change." After how his visits had come to an end, he couldn't help wondering if she told him the truth.

Perhaps it was time to find out for himself. He had promised to stay away, but, maybe it was time to try again. He would wait until the end of the season. If nothing had changed by then, he would return to Pittsburgh and see firsthand. He could tell himself he did so merely for a resolution; however, he knew it went far deeper than that. He missed Justin; even those hours sitting by his bedside, watching and waiting for a response, he even missed those tense, yet precious moments.

Bottom line was simple. He wanted Justin back. No matter how much work that entailed, Brian wanted his little spitfire blond back in his life... and back in his arms. His life wouldn't be complete until he had that.


He had just ditched another practice, and in his all important Senior year, his thoughts wrapped around one thing and one thing alone - Justin. His beautiful blond boy needed him. In actuality, he knew that wasn't the case. All Justin needed was the medical staff that attended to him, and the life sustaining fluids and monitors that kept him in the land of the living. He had become powerless, each time he left his room, his spirits became even more deflated. It was good that Justin couldn't see him. His outlook couldn't be good for his recovery.

On this day, he had been about to enter Justin's room, when a hand on his shoulder forestalled him. He looked in irritation at the man creating the contact, instantly to realize it was Justin's father. "I'm just going in to see him. You're welcome to join me - if you like."

"No. I'll let you visit in private. However, I'd like to talk to you first, Brian."

Brian nodded, following Justin's father into the direction of the waiting room lounge, he waited apprehensively for the other man to speak, for some reason instantly filling with apprehension. "Has something changed? Justin's condition has worsened?"

Craig sat close to Brian, uncertain if he and Jennifer had made the right decision... but, for now, agreeing to follow it through. "Nothing has changed, Brian... that's why we have come to a decision."

"What kind of decision?" he demanded curtly, having no doubt he wasn't going to like it.

"This has been going on for months now, Brian. Jennifer and I both appreciate your concern for our son, but, we feel it's time for that to come to an end." Craig had to look away from the pain that appeared in Brian's eyes. Brian clearly cared deeply for Justin; what he had assumed to have only been a one-sided crush on Justin's part, could really be so much more. That didn't matter now.

"Why?" he questioned, realizing his voice elevated to a much higher level than was appropriate in his current environment. "I can't be doing any harm. I talk to him during every visit; I do everything I can to bring him back. Why would you want that to end!?"

Craig took in a deep breath. "Justin's doctor feels your visits could be hindering Justin's progress. If you are not here, perhaps Justin's sub-conscious will work harder at finding a way back - in order to find you again. As it is now, he is unchanged after your visits. We are hoping with your absence, something will trigger in him."

"Are you trying to say I am hurting the process?"

"It's possible." Craig ran a hand through his hair. "I don't know what to say, or think here. All I know is that my son isn't waking up! Every day he falls deeper into this sleep, or whatever the hell they call it. I will try anything to get him back." Craig affixed a stern look on the man that he knew his son had formerly been crazy about. "If you really care about him, you will step aside and let us try this. If he regresses, I will tell you. But, for now, you need to keep your distance."

Brian stood to his feet. "No, Mr. Taylor. I see what this is. You want your son back, but, you want him to come back as a different man - one that has no personal interest in a member of the same sex."

Craig flushed; he refused to have this discussion with Brian... in particular, in such a public place where anyone could hear their discussion. "Think what you like of me, I don't care. I am just asking you to stay away. Go live your life. Justin wouldn't want you to sacrifice your future for him. If he comes back, he will expect you to be on track."

"If?" Brian hissed. "I think as his father you should be saying when he comes back!"

A nurse approached them from the far corner of the lounge. "Mr. Taylor? Is there a problem?"

"None at all. I have just informed Mr. Kinney that his visits have become detrimental to my son's recovery. I have asked him not to return." He gave Brian a firm, an unyielding stare. "I doubt he'll make me resort to calling security."

"Can he do this?" Brian demanded to know. "Justin isn't a minor."

The nurse raised her chin, her eyes stabbing aggressively into Brian's. "I cannot discuss Justin's case with you. I realize you have been a frequent visitor in the past; however, you are not a family member. As Justin is in a coma and cannot speak for himself, his parents are in charge of his care. I do hope that answers your question..."

"Oh yeah. Crystal clear, actually." Brian's tone was cutting when he addressed Craig Taylor, in this instant unsure if he was right or wrong... for Justin's sake he hoped he was wrong. Justin loved his father so much. In fact, probably more than anyone else in the world. "You win for now, Mr. Taylor. I'll stay away... but, you haven't seen the last of me. One day, Justin will awaken, and he will ask for me. Then, you will truly have to accept the choices he has made."

Brian walked out of the lounge and away from the man that seemed determined to be rid of him; as he neared Justin's room, his heart urging him inside, Brian trailed his fingertips along the closed door. His voice was hollow when he whispered, "You'll come back to me, Justin. I swear it. When you do, I will be out and proud. I will be the man you deserve."

Had he stayed longer, he would have noticed his brother coming around the corner, Craig Taylor appearing almost immediately behind him. Craig looked at Brandon intensely, uncertainty lining his face. "I'm not sure I made the right decision, Brandon. Your brother seems to have deep feelings for Justin."

"It's all an act, Mr. Taylor; I told you that already. Brian is a player, a user. He cares nothing more for Justin than any other guy he picks up at the clubs he frequents. Brian never scored with Justin, so, that makes him special to him. Either way, it doesn't matter. Brian has his precious career to look forward to, and I'll be here to guide Justin back to us. When Justin wakes up, he can make his own decision." Brandon smiled reassuringly at Justin's gullible, yet at times, astute father. He had never given up on getting Justin back - nor would he ever. More important than that - Brian would never have him now. As Brian continued to live his life, Brandon would be here every day, talking to Justin, telling him what he wanted him to know. In the end, it would bring Justin to him... and forge a impenetrable barrier between him and Brian.

The years of being second best to his much sought after half-brother was now over. At least, it would be in regards to the one Brian wanted the most. Brian would be broken when Justin not only awoke, but gave himself to him. Revenge would be sweet... but, claiming Justin as his prize would be even sweeter.


A/N: Please, don't despair, dear friends and readers. Trust that I will make this right for them. It won't be too much longer now. I am trying to hold this to about three more chapters. I'm not sure I can with what I want to do in them - but, that is the goal. As always, thank you for reading. Comments are greatly appreciated!! :)


Chapter Text

A/N: I think you might like this chapter a bit better; at least, I hope so! The end is getting closer now - probably two more chapters remaining.

Daphne stood over Justin's normally still body, her eyes narrowing into a frown as she watched the slight twitching on his face. She looked at Brandon who always seemed to be hovering nearby, her eyes alive with sudden hope. "Brandon - look. He's moving. Maybe we should call the doctor..."

Brandon looked away from the football game playing on the television, masking his contempt at another celebrated victory at his brother's far too capable hands. Fuck, how he hated Brian sometimes. He was a complete success; all that he lacked was the man that he knew Brian loved by his side. It wouldn't happen; he had sworn that to himself a long time ago. Effortlessly, Brian took everything he wanted - he would stop that reprehensible history from repeating.

His only hope was that Justin didn't wake up with a full memory of past events. He had spoken in great length with the doctors; he knew it was possible. However, he had listened to them attentively. The odds were heavy that Justin would regain what was lost before the accident. If that was the case, he really had his work cut out for him. He wished he had more information on precisely how much their relationship had deepened - before Justin was savagely attacked. There was only supposition - and too much of it. Until he could answer that question, nothing else mattered. His only advantage was that he had been here with Justin throughout; in Justin's mind, it would appear that Brian had abandoned him in his most desperate hour. He would play on that to the fullest. The thought that he would still be second best in Justin's eyes, filled him with revulsion... but, he would take that for now. In time, Justin would love him again. He knew Justin had once - or, at least, been close to falling for him. Once Justin fully accepted the futility in waiting for his brother - the All-American fucking hero - then, he would move in and take what always should have been his.

That was without a doubt, Justin, unequivocally belonging completely and exclusively to him...

Daphne's eyes widened even further when a start of a smile came to Justin's lips. "Oh my God! Did you see that? He's smiling. He must be dreaming! I bet it's about something that really makes him happy..."

Brandon began to grind his teeth together. Dreaming. Despite how he had been the one to be here for him nearly every day, Justin clearly still sought out his undeserving brother in his dreams. He needed to find a way to destroy those dreams - once and for all. Now, he wanted Justin to awaken for another reason. He would destroy Brian in Justin's eyes. It was the only way. He wouldn't lose Justin, not after everything he'd gone through to keep him. More important than that - Brian would not win.

"It's nothing, Daphne... merely a reflex action," Brandon looked away from Justin's hint of a smile, and back at the television that displayed a shot of Brian on the sideline, watching attentively as the defense tried to stop the Colts sustain a winning drive. He smiled maliciously as he watched them moving down the field; for the first time in this game, the defense coming up totally inadequate. This was what he wanted to see. A Jets loss knocked them out of playoff contention. Brian wouldn't be the all conquering hero then.

"I really don't get you, Brandon. I thought you cared about him - wanted what's best for him." Daphne eyed him sharply, her suspicions about him continuing to grow. She'd never liked how Brandon had ingratiated himself with Justin's father, and how Brian seemed to be the outcast. It made no sense. Justin loved Brian - not Brandon. If only Brian could be here. She watched Justin's smile beginning to fade away, transforming into sadness. He was hearing them... she just knew it. She would contact the doctor whether Brandon approved or not. Justin needed to wake up. Not only did she miss him terribly, but, his life had been on hold far too long. It was time that changed.

Brandon snickered. The Jets lost the game in the final seconds with a successful field goal attempt by the Colts. Poor Brian. His season was now over. He was no longer the hero. That would pass on to some other more deserving player that continued in the post season. "Awww. The Jets lost. How sad..."

Daphne gasped. "It sounds like you're happy about that. What the hell is your problem, Brandon? And... why would you gloat about that in front of Justin? You know how Justin feels about Brian!"

"That's enough!" Brandon hissed, uncaring of how his voice raised. It was always about fucking Brian! He couldn't seem to escape it. Even now, as he devoted his life to bringing Justin back - still, she had to push his brother down his throat. "I don't give a damn about Brian's success on the fucking football field. This is about Justin, and what's best for him!"

Standing to her feet, Daphne gave Brandon a withering glance. "Yes. That's why I'm going to speak to the doctor - now! I want what's best for Justin... and, we both know that isn't you."

"Don't you even think about bringing Brian here..." Brandon's eyes were filled with immediate rage. "He isn't wanted here, not now or ever."

Daphne's eyes swept over Brandon, shrewdly she made the only observation that made sense. "I get what you're doing... but, if Justin wakes up, it's all for nothing. He'll dump you just like he did before. He wanted Brian then; being asleep for all of this time won't change that. Once again - you lose."

"Is there a problem here?" Craig came into the room, his eyes darting back and forth between Brandon and Daphne. "I could hear you both as I came down the hallway."

"Mr. Taylor, I'm so glad you're here..." Daphne exclaimed in excitement. "I think you should contact the doctor - Justin is showing signs of responding."

Instantly, Craig forgot the strange things he had overheard, his motion propelling him quickly to his son's bedside. "Why didn't you call me?" He looked at Brandon accusingly, his eyes returning to watch Justin's every slight movement.

"I think it's a false alarm, Mr. Taylor. We've had a few of those; I didn't want to get your hopes up again..." Brandon hedged, this time uncertain if that was truly the case.

"He doesn't want him to wake up. Brandon's entire charade will be over then!" Daphne snapped back, flushing slightly at the censure that appeared on Craig Taylor's face.

"That's not true!" Brandon's eyes briefly touched on Justin, suddenly realizing Daphne's words were accurate. Justin was showing signs of a response - a sign he hadn't shown before today. That it came on the heels of Brian's loss was almost poetic... and utterly maddening. Even now, gripped in his unconscious state, Brian still reached out to him. It was all fucking pointless; he was about to give up. If Justin came back with a full memory, it would be over regardless. Should that happen, he would make sure he placed as many doubts in Justin's mind regarding Brian as he could possibly manage. The fact that Brian had been forced to stay away, he figured that wouldn't be too difficult.

Craig looked suspiciously at Brandon. Every moment of doubt came crashing down on him as he intercepted Daphne's malevolent stare. Daphne had always been a true friend to Justin; she was from a wonderful family, and he had never been given cause to doubt her. He had doubted Brandon from the beginning, but, such vehement words spoken about his own brother, he had to believe him. And, with Justin's best interest taken into consideration, he had to protect him above all else. Right now, he began to wonder, though - had he been protecting his son from the wrong man? "I don't know what is going on between the two of you... but, keep in mind - you are here for my son's benefit. If you have a problem with each other - it needs to be resolved outside of this room." He looked back and forth between them. "Are we clear on that?"

"Of course, Mr. Taylor. I shouldn't have spoken up in Justin's room. I only want Justin back." She continued to glare at Brandon. "Anything that makes that happen is what I want to do..."

"Brandon?" Craig asked, his voice emphasizing that he was demanding compliance.

Before Brandon could answer, a sound was heard from the bed, each of them rushed to greet it, eyes and mouths dropping open at the moans that emitted from the comatose blond on the bed... or who had previously appeared to be. Brandon held back the longest, fear flickering in his eyes. He began to stammer his words, "Uhhhhh, maybe I should call the nurse, the doctor, something..." Brandon watched as Justin's eyelids gave the appearance of throbbing, the tissue obviously wanting to open. He caught Craig's eyes only briefly, thankful when Justin's father motioned him away to alert the medical staff. Brandon didn't need to be told twice. He needed to think, most of all, he needed out of this room to do that.

Craig moved in closer, his hand grasping Justin's in his own, gently he squeezed it, uncaring of the tears that began to stream down his face. "Justin... son? Can you hear me? God, please tell me that you can, and that you're coming back to us."

Daphne smiled tremulously as Justin's eyelids continued to flicker, still unable to fully make them open; she looked at the anxious, and expectant look on Craig Taylor's face - it was an awe inspiring sight. She had never saw Justin's father so open like this. It was amazing. He loved Justin so much; never was it more apparent than now. She frowned when Craig gasped, her eyes pulling to where Craig looked down at their joined hands. In an instant she knew what it had meant. Justin was working hard at responding. He was coming back to them at long last.

Blue eyes were slowly revealed, a mouth that tried to form words, but, still was unable to fully function. "T-thirsty..." Justin croaked, confusion filling in his eyes as he took in his father's tear-stained face. "W-water... p-please."

Giggling in what was the most profound joy she had ever experienced, Daphne clapped her hands in delight. "Water... he wants water."

"Can you get some for him, Daphne? Please?" Craig requested, knowing in this instant he didn't want to release his son's hand, nor reach for the call light. Nothing would take him from Justin's side right now. He had his son back, at least in one form, he didn't want him out of sight for one single moment.

"Of course - I'll be right back." Daphne rushed to the door, turning to look back to ask, "Uhhhm, should I call anyone?"

Craig turned from the sight of Justin painfully swallowing through what had to be an extremely dry throat, before he answered, "Get the water, then, if you don't mind, you can call my wife." Before she walked through the door, he whispered a shaky, "Thank you."

"My pleasure, Mr. Taylor. Definitely my pleasure." Daphne stepped out into the hallway, summoning the first nurse she could find. She smiled as the nurse rushed to Justin's aid, soon after, she saw another nurse, and who she assumed to be Justin's doctor immediately behind her. She looked around, surprised that Brandon wasn't rushing in behind them, ready to take Justin's hand and urge him in his direction. The look of fear in Brandon's eyes hadn't been lost on her; Brandon had used this to make inroads with Justin - or at least he had attempted it. She was certain Justin wouldn't fall for any more of his tricks. Brandon wasn't the brother Justin loved.

Stepping outside, Daphne powered on her phone, quickly making the call to Justin's mother. They didn't speak for long; Jennifer's focus was very clear - getting to Justin in the quickest time possible. Biting at her bottom lip, she viewed the list of contacts on her cell phone. She had Brian's number; it was odd how she had forgotten about that. Once when she was visiting Justin, she had discovered his cell phone, unable to resist she looked at the recent calls. There had been one from Brian. Instinctively, she had put the number in her own phone. After speaking with Justin's parents, she had respected their wishes and not called Brian; although, she had never felt right about that decision. Now, things were different. So much more so.

Moments later, Daphne spoke into the phone. She hoped she was right about Brian feeling as strongly for Justin as she knew her friend felt for him. "Hi, Brian. I hope this isn't a bad time, but, I had to call you. I - I uhhhh, have news about Justin."

Brian had answered the phone in irritation. First, fresh after losing the game that would have placed the Jets into the playoffs; then, having it be a caller that he didn't identify. One he still couldn't place. "Who is this?" he demanded.

"Oh, right. Sorry. This is Daphne Chanders; I'm Justin's friend. We met various times at Pitt."

"Yes, of course." Brian frowned, his hands pausing as he packed his suitcase, all in preparation for his return trip home. "Has something happened?" Brian could barely conceive of the words, let alone speak of them. "I-is he worse?"

Daphne smiled; she had made the right decision. Brian Kinney was as gone over Justin as her friend had always been for him. Finally, things could be set right. "He's waking up, Brian. I don't know your plans, or anything like that, but, could you possibly come to see him? I know his father asked you not to - but, I think things are different now."

Brian's heart pounded in his chest. It was a dream, an impossible one that he feared would never come true. Rolling his lips under, Brian asked, "Has he asked for me?"

"He hasn't spoken much yet. He asked for water, and I just summoned a nurse to get it for him." She frowned as she thought of Brandon's smug behavior before today, and his constant attention to Justin. "Everything happened today when your game was on; I think he started to hear it; of course, I was talking about you to him too. Let me tell you, Brandon didn't like that at all..."

"Hold on just a minute. Did you say Brandon?" Brian's eyes became suddenly wild - jealousy and rage smoldered in him.

"Yes. I don't know much about that; I only know he shuts his mouth when I come to visit. I get the feeling that isn't the case when he's alone with him. Who knows what he's been filling Justin's head with while unconscious." Daphne paused for a moment, uncertain how much she should say. "I know he's your brother; I just don't trust him. I think you should come here... that is - if you want to see him."

Brian wanted that - more than anything. Now, he had to wonder if Justin wanted that too. It wasn't clear to him how much effect words could have on the unconscious mind, but, he knew that Brandon probably had tried to use that time to his advantage. This was the moment he'd been waiting for... and Brandon wasn't going to stop that from happening. It was time Brandon found out that his deceptive behavior wouldn't gain him the ultimate prize.

"I'll catch the next flight out... but, please keep this between us." Brian smiled as he thought of looking into those beautiful blue eyes again. Fuck how he had missed them. "I want my arrival to be a surprise." Brian ended the call, resuming his packing with much more enthusiasm. Oh yes, he wanted it to be a surprise - not only for Justin, but for his dear brother as well.


A/N: I diverted briefly from the final part of 'The Offer' to get the next chapter of this one posted. I will return to finish that one now. I intend to update my other two stories once more; then, I am going to focus on writing this out to completion. Probably only two more chapters yet. Thanks for reading. I appreciate your support so much!! :)


Chapter Text

Several hours later...

"Sleeping!? Are you kidding me?" Daphne looked at Jennifer Taylor in what was nothing short of incredulous disbelief. Justin was in a coma for nearly two years... and he needs to sleep? Now?

For the first time in two years time, Jennifer actually laughed. At least, a laugh that was genuine and not forced. "I'm sure it's just a short nap. His sleep rhythm is normal. The doctor just told us so. I'm sure working his way back into the world is a strain on his body - a body that has had no sustenance other than a feeding tube."

Daphne grunted. "I can see that. And... if there was ever someone who likes to eat - it would be Justin. He'll want a steak dinner with all the trimmings when he gets out of here."

"He can have anything he wants..." Craig Taylor stated as he came up behind his wife, warmly placing an arm around her waist.

Looking up at her husband inquiringly, Jennifer asked, "Is he still sleeping?"

Craig smiled. "Yes, and dreaming. He keeps saying the same name over and over."

Brandon looked up from his nearby position, hope flaring in his eyes. "I can go sit with him. He shouldn't wake up alone."

Daphne looked at Brandon in distaste. "I'm sure it wasn't your name Justin was speaking..."

"How would you know?" he snapped. "Were you in there??"

"Enough!" Craig hissed, being careful not to let his voice carry over to the nurses station. "We won't go through this again. If the two of you can't be civil to each other, and remember we're here for Justin and for no other reason, then, neither of you should be here."

Jennifer looked between Daphne and Brandon curiously. "I'm missing something, but, that doesn't matter right now. Craig is right. Justin needs tranquility after his long ordeal. He can't hear the two of you fighting."

"I won't say another word, Mrs. Taylor." She cast another pointed look in Brandon's direction. "Justin will say enough for all of us when he really speaks to us."

Brandon glared at Daphne for a few moments longer, before turning to face Justin's father, not liking the assessing look he was leveling on him. More to change the subject than anything else, he asked a question that he felt he already knew the answer to. "So, who was he asking for?"

All eyes were on Craig, when he spoke the name... uncertainty in his voice as he did so. "Brian. He keeps calling for Brian."

His face draining of all color, Brandon spat out, "Well, fortunately for Justin, you made the right decision about what was best for him."

Craig's eyes narrowed on Brandon, suspicion and doubt only increasing. "I'm not so sure about that anymore. In fact, I'm hoping Justin will be able to clear that up when he wakes up."

Jennifer Taylor smiled, her eyes meeting Daphne's only briefly. Thank God, she thought to herself. She had never agreed with her husband's decision to keep Brian away from Justin. There wasn't a doubt in her mind that Brian cared deeply for their son; however, at the time, she was so desolate she had went with whatever Craig wanted. The hopelessness of Justin not awakening had become her entire reality. Justin needed Brian now. There wasn't a doubt in her mind that Justin would make a full recovery if he had his hero back in his life. At the time, she hadn't realized how much Justin adored Brian Kinney; this information had come to her after she had finally raised the nerve to go into Justin's room, all with the intentions of restoring it to order, only to find drawings, notes, even pictures telling her one thing clearly - Justin loved Brian. "Maybe we should call Brian."

All eyes turned to her in shock, Brandon's in particular bulged in angry despair. "Call him! What the hell for!" he exploded, only to lower his voice when several nurses gave him a reprimanding glare. "That won't help him. Justin obviously cares about Brian - that's never been the issue. What has been is Brian's lack of interest in what is best for Justin. You need to do what you've been doing - my brother can't go near him and inflict his poison on him further!"

"Poison? Isn't that a bit inverted there... dear brother?" Brian advanced forward, hatred and disappointment evoking a painful ache in his chest. There wasn't a doubt that any chance of a relationship with his brother was now gone. Brandon's continued betrayals had written that ending. "I do hate to air your dirty laundry in front of all of these good people; however, they need to know you like I do - in fact, like Justin does..."

Jennifer looked between the two brothers, knowing in her heart they had sided with the wrong brother. For some reason, Brandon had deceived them... there wasn't a doubt in her mind. Why - she wasn't sure. But, his goal had been to keep Brian from Justin, and, at a most vulnerable time, Craig had been gullible and had fallen into a trap. Thankfully, Brian was here now. She hoped that would set everything right. "Okay. I'm just going to go check if Justin's awake yet." She looked toward Daphne, a welcoming smile on her face. "Would you like to come with me?"

Bobbing her head enthusiastically, not only to get away from an apparent confrontation, but, the desire to see Justin awake again, she emphatically declared, "Yes! Would I ever!!"

Craig stepped in between the two brothers that simultaneously gave the appearance of wanting to rip the other's throat out. "I get there is a problem between the two of you; however, this is not the place to air it. This is about Justin... and what's best for him."

A muscle ticked in Brian's jaw, his eyes accusingly stabbing into Justin's father. "We've long been at a disagreement as to what is best for Justin..."

Brandon snorted from behind them. "Clearly, it's not you---"

A knowing look entered Brian's eyes, an expression of disgust suddenly transforming his face. "I know what you're trying to do. It's not going to work - at least, not this time." He cast a weary look at Craig Taylor, before he took a step back, "You don't need to worry, Mr. Taylor. I'm not going to start a fight with my brother. That's what he wants. He's desperate for me to do anything that will delay me in seeing Justin. And... understand me well - both of you - I am NOT leaving here until I do exactly that."

"Nice little speech, brother. But... your status here hasn't changed." Oblivious to how Justin's father had turned to watch Brandon's expression, the jealousy and hatred clearly visible in his every action, Brandon continued on, "You aren't welcome here, Brian. Go back to your life. I am all that Justin needs!"

Craig shook his head, unable to believe what a fool he had been. It all stared him in the face now, whether he had full confirmation or not. "I think you got that all wrong, Brandon. It's time for you to leave... not Brian."

Brandon's jaw dropped down, his eyes wide as he stared at the man he thought he had so flawlessly duped. "I've told you all about my brother, and his so-called concern for Justin. He's just a player. Justin means nothing to him. If Justin can't make the right decision for himself - as his father - you need to make it for him!"

Brian felt an ache in his chest unlike any other. It had really come to this. His own brother despised him; there wasn't a doubt, Brandon's game was merely to crush him. As he watched the anger turn into pity in Craig Taylor's eyes, he was thankful that Brandon's charade seemed to be over. "I don't know what has gone wrong between the two of you as brothers, nor do I really care. All I care about now is Justin getting better. Brian is the man he calls out for in his sleep. I've never heard him call your name. That tells me all I need to know."

"Get the fuck out, Brandon!" Brian hissed underneath his breath. "There's nothing here for you. In fact, there never has been!"

Brandon looked at the two of them contemptuously. He should have known it would all fall apart. It always did; at least, once Brian got involved. He always won. Always! He was sick of it. "Fine, Brian. You win." He looked to Craig, his voice almost hollow when he spoke, "I'll leave without any incident. Someday, you'll be sorry. When my brother has taken everything Justin has to give - he will dump him and leave him only with a broken heart. Remember that you did this to him."

His hands clenching into fists at his sides, barely able to restrain himself, Brian's voice was a mere rasp, "I told you these words once, but then, I had hoped there would be a chance to go back. We've gone past that now. You are dead to me, Brandon. I don't want to see you, hear from you, or even think about you from this day forward. Make sure that I don't... or I swear you won't like the consequences..."

Craig looked between the two brothers, unable to believe he'd made such a bad decision. "I'd suggest you leave, Brandon. I won't have Justin upset... and, we know if you are bickering so intensely with Brian - that is what will happen. If Justin asks for you, I will pass the message on."

Brandon moved away from the two men, his eyes scathing on each of them. "Don't bother... and, I'm sure he won't. He has his flawed hero back now. What more could he possibly want!?"

They stood silent as Brandon made his way down the corridor, and out the exit doors, each of them reflective on how Brandon's behavior most effected them. Brian tensed when he felt what he soon realized to be a comforting hand on his shoulder. "Brian, I'm sorry. I made a horrible mistake. I feel like the biggest fool..."

Shaking his head, Brian smiled at Justin's father reassuringly. "It appears that my brother has become a cunning master of deception. He was determined that you see things his way."

"I shouldn't have, though. You were here for Justin - as much as your schedule allowed; I could see the despair in your eyes at the end of every visit... and yet, I still fell for Brandon's lies."

"It's in the past now, Mr. Taylor. Let's just move toward bringing Justin all the way back. That's what we both want." Brian rolled his lips under, his eyes staring yearningly in the direction of Justin's room. "When he wakes up again, I'd like to spend some time alone with him. If that's okay with you..."

Craig smiled. "Of course. And... please drop the formality. Call me Craig."

Brian shifted almost nervously on his feet, his eyes glued to the door that beckoned him. "Thank you, Craig. I've waited for this for so long."

"I have a feeling you both have. Don't you worry, though. As soon as he wakes up, I'll pave the way clear for your visit. I'm sure Jennifer will understand." Craig shook his head as he watched Brian's entire demeanor relax, the attentive look in his eyes as he watched Justin's door almost protective. His brother called him a player. No, he didn't think so. He had the feeling Justin was going to wake up and find the man of his dreams ready to commit to him exclusively. Despite his own personal views of that in the past - he couldn't approve more now.


A/N: I am hoping to wrap this up in one more installment; although, most likely, a long one. Presently, I am still working on this one, so it will be updated/finished before I post anything else. Thank you for reading, and your support of this story. I can't tell you how much I appreciate that!! :) 


Chapter Text

A/N: As much as I tried - this will not be the last chapter. Once I began writing it out, I realized it would be too much for one chapter. This chapter will be all about their much needed/anticipated reunion. The final chapter will be about providing closure for all of them. Thanks for reading and your support. It is much appreciated! :)

Two Hours Later...

Craig grinned at the sight of Brian pacing nervously in the hallway next to Justin's room. The poor man's patience was evidently wearing very thin. Nearly an hour ago, Daphne and Jennifer had left the room, anxiously shouting for the doctor - that Justin was not only awake, but more alert than could be expected. Brian's visit had been waiting in the interim. The doctor had rushed in to check on Justin's current condition. His initial examination had been far too brief due to Justin falling back asleep so quickly, the bulk of the testing and questions had just been finished.

Brian's eyes immediately noticed Craig walking in his direction, his eyes worried as he watched his approach. He ran a hand through already disheveled hair, unable to remember a time he had been this anxious. The exam shouldn't take so long, he thought to himself. All of the things that could possibly be wrong continued to fill him with worry. He couldn't take much more of this. "Well... what's going on? Is Justin awake? Is he okay? Speaking?"

"Calm down, Brian." Craig continued to laugh at the state the normally composed Brian Kinney now made. Seeing Brian like this made him feel even the bigger fool. How could he have been so damned blind? He had explained his actions to Justin. Instantly, Justin had sputtered about in fury, righteous indignation released at how his father could have been so callous... not to mention oblivious to his own wants and needs. Had Justin been physically capable, he wasn't sure he wouldn't have pitched him headfirst from his room. "Justin won't want to see you like this---"

"See me like this." Brian immediately understood what that meant. "Okay, that means he is awake. Can I see him now?"

"If you don't, he'll probably manage to burst through his door."

Brian breathed a sigh of relief, for the first time in two years hope flared inside of him. "Thank you, Craig."

"No, Brian. Thank you." He patted Brian warmly on the back. "I don't know how, since you weren't here at the time, but, somehow I know you brought Justin back to us. That is a debt I can never repay."

"Having him back is all that I want." Brian pursed his lips before moving to the door... his hand slightly shaking as he reached to push it open. "Now, I just have to convince him of that."

Craig nodded, having no doubt Brian would succeed in that. "I wouldn't worry much about that. Justin knows how you feel; I'm sure of it. Now... quit wasting time, and tell him, not me."

That was all the encouragement he needed before pushing the door open and stepping inside the room, his eyes searching out the sight of the beautiful blond resting in the bed, blue eyes open and looking straight at him. Unable to help himself, he gasped at the sight of those eyes. It was one he had feared never to see again. "So... Sleeping Beauty has finally awoken."

Justin smiled tremulously. "Yeah. And... it didn't even require it to be from 'true love's kiss'."

"Well then, I guess I won't need to kiss you then..." Brian teased, knowing that was something he wanted very much to do; however, not quite yet. It was amazing, much due to the fact of who he was, but, right now, he just wanted to look at him. In fact, he thought he could look at him for a very long time. In any other circumstances he would be kissing the hell out of him right now. But... these were extraordinary circumstances.

"I guess if you don't want to kiss me..." Justin whispered back, his tone equally as playful, his eyes becoming brighter as he visually drank in who he perceived to be the most beautiful man in all of existence. His hand outstretching, Justin motioned to the chair next to his bed. "Sit down. I know it isn't the first time you've sat in that chair..."

Brian moved closer, his eyes hungry on every visible feature, a part of him having a difficult time grasping this was real. He had dreamt of this so many times... the reality of it was almost too good to be true. Taking the offered seat, Brian huskily answered, "I think we both know I want to kiss you; however, maybe we should talk first. I would imagine you have some questions..."

Justin nodded. He looked down, a frown marring his brow. "Dad told me about what Brandon told him to keep you away. I - I'm sorry that happened. I - I guess you were worried."

"More than you know, Sunshine." Brian's eyes were filled with the warmth that only profound relief could elicit. "I guess it was Brandon's last ditch effort to get you back. I'm sure he talked to you incessantly while you were in the coma."

"I don't remember any of that. Most of what I remember - if you can call it memories - are dreams, mostly voices. They all merge together and none of it makes any sense..."

"I see." Brian rolled his lips under, his eyes drawn to the monitors and devices still attached to his precious blond. "How long will you be attached to these machines?"

Justin crinkled his nose as he stared at the offending mechanical devices. "The feeding tubes come out in the morning. The doctor wants to make sure I can eat solid food, and keep it down. He doesn't foresee a problem; it's just a precaution. The monitors will probably come off yet tonight."

"That's great." Brian couldn't hold back the sigh of relief, his hand reaching out to capture Justin's hand in his own. He squeezed it gently, exhilarated at the feeling of the warmth he felt, as opposed to the last time he had held his hand. "It had to be unsettling to wake up attached to these machines."

"Yeah, it was." Justin shook his head, back and forth for a minute, still trying to piece together what he remembered, with all he had been told he had missed. "So much has happened since I've been out. My dad said it's been two years---"

Brian nodded. "A very long two years." Looking intently at the man that meant so much to him, Brian told him, "I want you to know that I was here every possible chance I could be - at least, up until the time I was asked to stay away. I didn't want to... but, I knew the time would come when I would be back for you. That time is finally here."

"Back for me?" Justin didn't dare hope the words meant what he most hoped for... he may have lost memory of most of the past two years, but, he did know of Brian's commitment issues previously. Surely, he hadn't changed that much.

"Yes, I never wanted to leave you here. If your father would have allowed it - I would have had you transferred to a facility in New York once I was drafted." At Justin's look of confusion, Brian continued, "I play for the Jets now. My season just ended. And... I am out as well. There's nothing holding us back now."

"Out? Seriously?" Justin was flabbergasted. He had thought it could happen one day... but, so soon? He couldn't believe it. "What made you come out?"

Brian laughed. "It wasn't for any normal reasons. My agent was pushing me to start dating, in the hopes I would find some pretty little trophy wife and settle into this picturesque life. I knew I had to come out; I couldn't focus with that constantly thrown at my head."

Justin's jaw dropped down, before incredulous laughter erupted from him. "That's funny. Actually really funny. I would have loved to have seen your face when your agent tried to push that. So, uhhh, is he still your agent?"

"Surprisingly, yes. He's damned good at what he does. I think he decided that I'm good press for all of the gay athletes that are now coming out. His personal poster child - so to speak. It's all a load of bullshit... but, this is the life I chose."

"I'm glad it's all working out for you, Brian. You have everything you always wanted. A professional football career... and no longer hiding who you are." Justin smiled at him brightly, he didn't have the words to express how happy he was for Brian - his hero, in actuality - his everything.

This was the hard part. The admission of feelings that he had never been good at; in fact, it had never been necessary. He'd never felt like this about anyone else. "Well... I don't have quite everything I want, but, I'm hoping I will soon."

"W-what more do you want?" Justin asked, unable to look away from the fervent yearning in Brian's eyes. Could it be true, he asked himself? Had Brian really came back because he wanted him?

"You, Justin. I want you... just as always."

Justin had to push for more. He knew it was there... finally, he could really feel it like never before. "J-just want me?"

"It stopped being just that a long time ago." Brian reached his other hand upward to stroke along Justin's head... even in this bed as he was, still having the softest and most beautiful hair he had ever touched. "You've been on my mind every day for the past two years - perhaps even longer than that if I were to be perfectly honest." Brian pulled back, standing to his feet, he ran a nervous hand through his hair, uncertain of how to speak these words that Justin so desperately needed to hear... and ones that were completely foreign in nature for him. "I had no idea this would be so fucking difficult..."

A soft sigh passed through Justin's lips. It was really happening. He knew it. At once, the memories of that last night they had together flooded over him. Brian had cared even then. It was only more pronounced now... perhaps even deeper. "How about if I go first... maybe that will help."

Brian turned to look at Justin, a quick nod his only answer. He watched him intently, not wanting to ruin what should be a special moment by saying something stupid. Thankfully, Justin began to rush on ahead.

"Being asleep for two years didn't lessen how I feel, or confuse me in any way. I'm told I was calling out for you in my sleep." Justin laughed ironically. "I don't doubt it. You were in so many of my dreams that I can't remember now." An intense, thoughtful look came over him, slowly he chose his words as to convey exactly how he felt. "It's so hard to explain how I know you were in them - it's just something I can feel. However, more than that, I know how I feel right now."

Swallowing with difficulty, Brian asked, "And... how do you feel?"

"I love you, Brian. I've loved you since high school. What started out as a crush turned into so much more as I got to know you better." Justin smiled dreamily at the man that would always be the definition of beauty, and perfection to him. Even though, he knew Brian was flawed, and was far from perfect - in his eyes, he was perfect for him. That was all that mattered. Shyly, he glanced down, then back up again. "I-I'm hoping that's what you wanted to hear..."

Moving next to Justin's side, Brian's hand reached out and brushed along his pale cheek, his eyes speaking the words he hoped he would be capable of effortlessly conveying. "Yes... exactly what I wanted to hear. I don't know how to say it, other than this - I don't want to go back to a life without you in it. I'll stay until you are fully convalesced. Then, I was hoping you would return with me to New York... and make a life with me there."

Justin felt his heart jumping in his chest. His dream was coming true... however, he wasn't going to let Brian get off quite that easily. "Sounds intriguing, Mr. Kinney. But... how about telling me why you want me with you?"

Brian shook his head, laughter escaping that reached directly into his heart. It was a sense of happiness he hadn't felt in years. "Still the tenacious little fucker. That hasn't, and probably won't ever change."

"Probably not." Justin pursed his lips. "Well... I'm waiting."

"Yes, we've both been waiting. It's time for that to end." Brian became serious in an instant, in the aftermath, he realized just how easy speaking the words had been. "I love you, Justin. I want us to have a life together. My only question is this - do you want that, too?"

Justin reached for Brian's hand, tugging him so he sat next to him on the bed, careful to keep the wires attached to him from tangling between them. "I want that more than anything. There's only one thing I want almost as much..."

Brian's eyes fell to Justin's lips, wondering if their minds were thinking alike. Huskily, he asked, "What might that be, Mr. Taylor?"

"Kiss me..." Justin whimpered in an almost pleading voice. Now that the most important matter had been resolved, all he wanted... needed, was to be in Brian's arms once again. "It's been so long---"

"Yeah..." Brian agreed raggedly. "Too fucking long." He moved in closer, careful not to place any of his weight on Justin's body, at this moment, only wanting that first exquisite kiss. The one that was the first taste after a long draught. That was exactly what this had been. Lightly, Brian laid his forehead against Justin's; he turned it side to side, his eyes remaining open as he looked into the ones that had haunted his dreams. "So fucking beautiful---" he rasped, lifting his head to just look at his revived blond, slowly brushing his lips over Justin's, a moan quickly escaping both of them.

Slowly, their mouths moved together. It was more than a kiss, it was a rediscovery... one that had been a long time in coming, and one that neither of them wanted to end. Justin growled his frustration at being unable to reach out to Brian, the attachments holding him back... but, each of them knowing that time was so close. Softly, their lips moved together, eyes slowly beginning to close as they each relished this kiss that one of them had formerly feared to be unattainable. Now, the future was ahead of them. It was a future that had never held more promise.


A/N: Again - there will be one more chapter. I am determined in holding myself to just one!! I am going to update my other stories first; and then, I will be back with the conclusion to this story. Once more, thank you for reading! :)


Chapter Text

***Three Months Later***

Justin stepped through the door that Brian held open, his eyes instantly searching the large hallway, immediately trying to commit his new surroundings... and his home, to memory. "Home sweet home," Justin whispered, his footsteps carrying him into what he assumed to be Brian's study.

"Yeah." Brian was momentarily speechless. Even though, he'd spent the last few months in Pittsburgh, attentively at his side as Justin was given a clean bill of health, and assisting him in preparing for this move to New York, Brian still found himself amazed they were here now. It had been a dream for the two years prior to Justin awakening. There had been times he'd given up all hope. For the first time in his life, he had been a believer in miracles. "So, what do you think? Do you like it?"

Turning to Brian with a beaming smile on his face, Justin rushed to tell him - "I love it. Actually, I loved it from the time you first told me about it. But... the reality of it is so much more. I can definitely see us living here."

Brian moved closer, his steps not stopping until he was toe-to-toe with the blond beauty he wanted so much. "That's good..." Brian murmured huskily. "It took two years to get you back; I don't intend to go without you again."

Justin linked his arms around Brian's neck, his eyes filled with love and promise. "I'm not going anywhere, Mr. All-American."

Lowering his head, Brian's lips brushed over Justin's, a sigh of contentment, and all around feeling of rightness making this moment all the more special and one he knew he'd always remember. The last few months had been torturous at times. As he'd watched Justin in his visits with the doctor, he had endured the constant reminders of the time they had lost, and the reality of how much worse that could have been. Keeping his hands off of him during their visits, and after he had been released, had been agony. He hoped that wait was about over. Never had he wanted a man so badly... and for certain, never for such a long amount of time. It was his hope that Justin would be ready for him soon. Unable to disguise either his desire, or his vulnerability at the thoughts of what might have been, Brian whispered in a raw, almost broken voice, "I can't believe you're here... that we're here."

Clutching onto Brian tightly, Justin pulled back, laying his head on Brian's shoulder, a soft sigh escaping him. "I can't begin to imagine what you went through these last two years. I hate that it took so long for me to come back. I'm just hoping that pain goes away in time. Speaking of... what about Brandon? Will you ever talk to him again? I mean, now that you know he wasn't always in his right mind."

Shaking his head, Brian placed his finger flat against Justin's lips. "I told you. That's over, Sunshine. The future is all that matters, and, I have a feeling it's going to be a good one. I don't want to spoil this first night home talking about Brandon. I get that his untreated bipolar disorder caused him to make some bad decisions... but, it can't all be so simply excused away. It will take time before I can even consider talking to him. Time is the best solution for me and my brother."

"Okay. I won't push you. That will always be your decision." Justin found himself in complete agreement regarding their future, he realized he didn't really want to dwell on any negativity. Life had given them far too much of that already. "We're together now - really together. That is all that really matters."

"I couldn't agree more." Quirking a brow, Brian asked him, "So, Sunshine... would you like the grand tour now?"

Justin gave the appearance of thinking about that for a moment, before his smile transformed into one that promised the most sensual of delights. He began to run his finger up and down the front of Brian's shirt, his eyes heating as he watched the flames beginning to smolder in the beautiful hazel eyes that had been in his every waking thought since he'd been freed from the coma that had kept them apart. "I'd like that - later. For now, there's one room I'd really like to see."

Brian growled. The boy had better be on the verge of putting him out of his misery, and not playing a wicked, teasing game. "Which room did you have in mind?"

"Well, the master bedroom sounds very promising." Justin began to separate Brian's shirt from the buttonholes, getting to the skin beneath all that presently mattered. "Unless you have a better starting point..."

His eyes glittering, Brian looked off in the direction of the blazing fireplace. "We're all alone in the house; I gave the staff the night off. It's your choice... but, I can lay out a blanket in front of the fire... or we can go upstairs."

"I don't need a blanket." Justin's voice was almost petulant. "I just need you---"

"You have me, Justin." Brian rolled his lips under. "However, I'd prefer not to give your hot little ass a case of rug burn for our first time."

First time... How he had waited for this moment. He couldn't believe the time had finally come. Justin blushed, he couldn't help but to visualize Brian moving in and out of him. He had seen Brian in action on countless occasions, but, being both the recipient, and the man Brian loved, the images of what was to come danced unceasingly before his eyes. "I'd rather not have that, either. And, being my first time, I'd rather it be in your bed. There's plenty of time for making love in front of the fire."

Brian was amazed that he didn't flinch or rebel in some way about the 'making love' reference. In truth, that was exactly what it would be - whether he verbally acknowledged that or not. "Let's go, then." Brian's throat was hoarse, a passion too long denied consuming him. "All that matters is that I have you. I've never wanted a man this fucking badly..."

"Take me to your room, Brian. Our room... Feeling you inside of me will be like a celebration of life - one that neither of us thought would ever happen."

Placing his arm protectively around Justin's waist, he led him in the direction of the staircase. Now that the decision had been made, he didn't want any further delays. "A celebration of life. Yes, that's exactly what this is."

Justin slowly, yet steadily ascended the staircase, his eyes constantly drifting to the sight of the man he loved - the one that he had always loved. He didn't have one doubt about this step he was about to take. His happiness centered around this amazing man. Tonight was just another step in their journey together. Justin didn't have a doubt in his mind or heart. This was where he was meant to be - where they were destined to be. His dreams were finally close to being realized.

His attention rapt on the intense expression on Brian's face, Justin eagerly allowed Brian to push him down onto the mattress. Body straining and pushing against the naked body that was more than any gay man could dream of, Justin whimpered as Brian's mouth moved down his chest, an audible moan escaping as Brian's lips closed over one nipple, his teeth and tongue equally engaged in torture and effecting a relentless arousal. "B-Brian... please," Justin gasped, barely able to speak, breathing already becoming fast and unsteady.

"Oh, I intend to, Justin." His eyes were darkened as he looked up at his hot little blond, his mouth continuing his determined descent. "I believe it's my turn to return this favor; I can say it's a pleasure I've been fantasizing about for the past two years."

"Fuck!" Justin groaned, as Brian's mouth moved to slowly engage his pulsing cock. He wouldn't be able to withstand much of this torture - of that, he was more than certain. "God, Brian... Now isn't the time for this prolonged torture!"

Brian opened up wider, his throat swallowing up the entire girth, instantly reflecting that was saying a lot. He was delighted to observe just how well endowed his beautiful blond had turned out to be. In every aspect, Justin was a surprise and perfect package. Each discovery he made only made him want to know more - without a doubt, each one only made him want more. His mouth feeding voraciously on the cock he had long ached to explore, Brian sunk his fingers into the flesh of Justin's ass, the only thing spurring him along being the fact that his cock had craved that special place for far too long. It had been much longer than the two years Justin had been unconscious; in truth, it had been from the moment the spirited blond walked through their shared dorm room. This night had been a long time in coming - he wasn't going to rush, or waste any much anticipated moment.

Justin's fingers dug into the mattress beneath him, his head arched back as ecstasy began to assail him. The combination of Brian's suckling, licking, and slight nibbling, was sure to send him over the edge. It was a release that was a long time in coming, and one that he wanted more than any other. Justin's hips began to tilt slightly forward, breathless little moans slipping effortlessly through his lips, the pleasure that was beginning to overtake him causing his mind to be numb, and barely coherent. "I-I can't last, Brian."

Having no intention of letting his precious blond deny this particular pleasure, nor missing out on the delicious taste of Justin's full release, Brian increased his suckling motion, his tongue sinuously sliding around Justin's dick... making certain they both enjoyed the full experience. Once he began to hum, he not only felt the vibration of his own throaty growls, but, the ones caused by Justin's contracting dick as well. Brian lapped him up like a starving man over the most bountiful of banquets, never doubting - this was a feast of the mind, body, and soul... and one he would want to repeat on a daily basis.

Pumping his orgasm out into the welcoming, and intensely hungry mouth, Justin released his tenuous grip on the sheets, and instead, reached out to clasp around the slick skin of Brian's back, his body stretching to feed Brian the meal he was so determined to have. "So g-good, Brian."

A growl was Brian's answer, his tongue lapping up every last drop like a starving jungle beast. He felt exactly that with this delicacy in his arms. He would never have enough. Reaching under the pillow, he grabbed for a condom. "Put it on me." When Justin stared at him uncertainly, Brian urged him, "Go on. Slip it on my dick."

Brian smiled lustfully as he felt Justin awkwardly sliding the condom on. He celebrated in the knowledge of Justin's inexperience. Knowing he would be the first - and, if he had anything to say about it - the last, to fuck his beautiful and perfect ass, he would be the happiest of men. Reaching for Justin's legs, he lifted them over his shoulders, almost instantly, squirting the lube into Justin's hole, mindful to slather some on his sheathed cock as well. He smiled when Justin slightly recoiled from the feeling, the most carnal of smiles curving his lips. "Don't worry. It'll heat up."

Biting at his lip, Justin queried, "It's going to hurt... isn't it?"

Working his fingers into the tight opening, Brian grimly nodded, before smashing his lips onto unsuspecting ones, devouring Justin's mouth as his fingers began to prepare the way for his cock, more than anything, hoping this part of the process didn't take very long. As renowned as he was for his fortitude, he didn't feel it right now. All he wanted to do was fuck the living hell out of his blond, making the boy know in no uncertain terms how much he was both loved and desired. Releasing the lips that were now swollen from his intense possession, Brian answered his question. "Yeah. It's all part of it."

Justin nodded, his body slightly tensing when Brian removed his fingers and started slowly siding inside, unable to keep from tightening up at that first full push. "It hurts, Brian. It really hurts..."

Brian leaned forward, gently lowering his lips onto Justin's. Going slow and easy was driving him crazy... but, causing this man unnecessary pain and suffering was even more abhorrent to him. "Just relax," Brian breathed into Justin's mouth. "Push back out against me. Once I'm all the way there, you'll feel a moment or two more of discomfort... and then, the pleasure is yours for the taking. Let me get us there..."

Forcing himself to relax, and listen to what Brian told him, Justin grasped onto his lover, adoration shining in his eyes. "I trust you, Brian. Always and forever - I trust you."

In that instant, Brian found the means to slow his pace. His heart expanded at the look of unconditional love on Justin's face. If he were to really think about it, the look had always been there. Justin had always loved him. If anything could make this moment more special, knowing that did. "I love you, Taylor..." Brian blurted out roughly, knowing it was much more than being in the heat of the moment. On all counts - it was true. He loved this little fucker almost beyond bearing. He intended to spend the rest of his life proving that to him.

"Fuck me, Brian. I want to feel it all - nowwww." Justin's voice was almost pleading, his need and love for Brian making the discomfort less prevalent, his impatience to explore it all driving him towards the full experience now.

Brian smiled. He could feel the readiness in Justin, both emotionally and physically. As much as he had resented it at the time, he was glad they had waited until now. Justin deserved a man that was capable of committing to him on all levels. He might not have seen that at the time, but now, it was a blinding reality. Brian made that final push forward, his lips lowering once again to fully capture the panting lips beneath him. Kissing Justin was euphoric. He wanted their lips joined when he came. As he rocked his hips into Justin's, Brian quickly realized his desire would be realized.

Unable to believe it to be possible, Justin felt himself continuing to push against Brian's measured thrusts, astounded when he found yet another release. As he slowly came back down to earth, he wondered if it would always be like this... and if it would be, had he been missing out on this all of these years. He hadn't realized he had spoken his words aloud, when Brian chuckled as he tossed his condom into the trash can. "What's so funny?"

"Not funny really. No, it's not typically this intense. I won't lie to you, though. It's usually good, but, this was amazing. There isn't anything comparable from my past with what happened here tonight."

Justin beamed. That pleased him all the more. "I'm glad... and even more than that, I'm so glad I waited for you, Brian."

Brian kissed Justin deeply, his arms reaching out to gently pull his precious cargo on top of him, his hand sliding up and down Justin's back, his other hand tangling in the soft and silky blond strands. Huskily, he whispered, "I'm glad you waited too. Perhaps fate played a hand in making me grow up more quickly than I might have done... not that I'm sure I believe in things such as destiny."

Shrugging his shoulders, Justin laid his head back down on the pillow, his eyes searching out the beautiful hazel ones that would always symbolize beauty to him. "It just wasn't our time yet. We started out unsure if we could survive under the same roof, to a point where we became the best of friends. I think it gave us a good foundation."

Arching a brow, Brian teased, "Are you sure you don't aspire to be a philosopher instead of an artist extraordinaire?"

Playfully, Justin elbowed him, his tone only slightly reprimanding him. "Hardly. You know I'm right."

"Yes, you are, Sunshine. There were times when our friendship drove me crazy, but, I don't regret a single moment of it. It strengthened our connection... and, with all we went through - we needed that." Brian closed his eyes, as his mind and body relaxed. This would probably be the best night's sleep he had enjoyed in the past two years. Not only did he have his best friend back, but, he had the man that would be his partner for life.

In the end, one simple realization was apparent to both men. Their lives had briefly crossed paths as young adults, but, as fate would have it, they were brought together again later. When life failed them, they were given yet another chance. Now, they truly had it all. In the simplest of terms - they were so much more than friends.


A/N: I do hope you enjoyed the end of the story. I wanted to stress the friendship, and all they had endured to reach this special place. Thank you for reading and your support of this story. It has meant so much to me. I will definitely miss my time spent with them here. *Hugss*