s t a g e

Brian Kinney does not fall in love. He stumbles and staggers, veering drunk and wild into excruciating lust and desperate affection, tumbling angrily into respect and tenderness. He falls into a lot of things, but he refuses to believe that love is one of them.

Justin thinks Brian is full of shit.

--

“Get me some juice.”

“No.”

“I want it, though.”

“So get up. The fridge is right there.”

“It’s too far away!”

“Christ. You are such a princess. Here.”

--

They live in a kind of daze that lends itself to bliss, but they’re both so fucking crazy that most of the time it’s chaos. The kind of chaos that involves brutal fucks against the big metal door, dazed snuggling against the back of the couch, mornings punctuated with cigarettes and stains that line the curve of Justin’s flesh. Paint stains, finger stains. Bruises. Smudges of charcoal along his arm and clouds of chocolate on his mouth.

Brian thinks he’s beautiful.

--

He watches Justin in the shower, the stretch and pull of muscles beneath fine white skin. Leans against the wall in his suit and tie and thinks about the way Justin’s skin tastes in the morning and the moisture of his lips at night.

He’s been back at work three weeks and it’s like he never left.

“You’re not going to scrub my back?” Justin calls out, grin luminous and heels bouncing against the tile. “I could drop the soap, if you want. Pretend to be your bitch.”

“ ‘Pretend’?” Brian snarks, and he’s moving towards the shower now, shedding his clothes like a forgotten skin. Under the warm spray and against Justin’s back, and no matter how much he does this Justin feels new every single time.

“I’m not your bitch,” Justin teases. “I’m your love muffin.”

“Shut up.”

“Your sweetheart. Love of your life, apple of your eye, reason for living. Pookie, schmoopy, honey bear.”

“I didn’t know delusional was in this summer.”

“I so am. You so know it.”

“If you’re anything to me,” Brian says gruffly, “it’s a pain in my ass.”

“I’m happy to be that too, if you’re asking.”

“Hardly. Turn the fuck around.”

“Only ‘cause you asked so nicely, schnookums.”

“Christ. You’ve been hanging out with Emmett again, haven’t you?”

Justin grins but shakes his head, droplets of water liberating themselves from his messy hair.

“There were newlyweds at the diner. It was almost obscene.”

“Did you kill them?” Quiet, lazy voice, murmured against Justin’s cheek. The water is going lukewarm, now. By the time they get around to fucking it’ll probably be ice cold, so Brian shuts off the water and hustles them into the warmth of one giant black towel.

“I tried, but Deb wouldn’t let me poison the chocolate sauce. Said I could go to prison.”

“It’s a sacrifice you’d make for the good of fags everywhere.”

“For the good of mankind, really. I’m so selfless.”

Brian chuckles and kisses Justin’s temple. “That’s my little good Samaritan.”

“Oh, Brian.” Justin’s sigh is dramatic, his eyes wide and mocking. “I love it when you call me pet names.”

“Okay, Cupcake. Get on the fucking bed.”

--

They go to Babylon and the lights make Justin’s hair look strawberry red then ocean blue, and Brian’s so high that he wonders if Justin knows he has a technicolour head. He has technicolour eyes, certainly, always has, and they flash and sparkle at Brian through the crowd. Michael is talking somewhere to his left, his voice incessant and rhythmic and indecipherable. It blends with the Chemical Brothers and floats into the roar of the crowd.

The guy Justin is dancing with is hot, all caramel skin gliding and throbbing to the beat. Brian watches in fascination as this guy - this hot, tall, older guy - melts and sways to Justin’s every whim. Justin will take the guy back and fuck him, drawing all eyes and all cocks in their direction.

Brian knows Justin really likes to put on a show. It’s a show now, in the grinding of Justin’s hips, the scrape of his teeth against his conquest’s jugular, and Brian thinks that Justin is almost as good at this as he himself is. Justin’s loping walk as he moves away, the smirk he tosses over his shoulder. It’s all this illusion of absolute perfection, and only Brian knows the truth.

Justin has a scar buried in his hair and a broken tooth at the back of his mouth. Justin dreams of talking sheep and sharp-nailed bubbles, and wakes up whining and panting into Brian’s skin. Justin talks too much, cares too hard, and refuses to exercise to save himself.

Justin is sometimes an absolute mess, but Brian doesn’t care. He just enjoys the show.

“Does that ever bother you at all?” Ted asks when Justin disappears from sight. Ted’s got those eyes gone hollow and dark from sleep deprivation, and Brian thinks he looks as if he has cancer.

“Mm. No, Theodore.” Brian feels floppy and boneless and he sinks against Ted’s shoulder. He watches the bare space where Justin was and thinks about the kid‘s broken tooth and fucked up dreams. “S’not really him at all.”

--

Brian falls asleep watching TV with his head on Justin’s thigh, and dreams the dreams of the truly stoned.

Michael is talking to him wearing one of Justin’s sweatshirts, and Justin sits silent on the kitchen bench, wearing a cowboy hat and a drooping cigarette.

“Emmett joined the circus,” Michael says. “He said he always wanted to be just like you.”

Brian stares at himself in the mirror and sees his face, his white clown face, stark and depressing above the collar of his black leather jacket. He sees the black eyeliner dripping from his eyes, his lips beautiful and red, blood stained, bee stung, a thousand other romance novel cliches. His hair is messy and sticking up all over like he just fucked somebody.

“You look hot,” Justin says. His voice is low and drawling and southern. “He isn’t as good at it as you.”

“You are, though,” Brian replies. Justin’s lips twitch and smirk and the light of his cigarette burns Brian‘s eyes.

“I’m better,” Justin says. “No-one even knows I’m doing it.”

Brian wakes up to the feel of Justin’s lips on his hair.

--

The people in the new art department are for shit. Brian is tempted to take some work home to Justin, but somehow he thinks that’s probably above and beyond the call, so he fires a couple of them and lures Mark from Vanguard back to his side.

He’s been back at work six weeks, and it’s just the same as it was before.

--

They eat dinner together and Justin bitches about the new cook at the diner, who keeps grabbing his ass when he passes through the kitchen to get more ketchup.

“He’s like, totally old and gross,” Justin says. “Kind of like you.”

Brian flashes his gaze over Justin’s face and kicks his feet under the table. “Brat.”

Justin giggles and chomps through his chicken.

--

They fuck before Brian leaves for work at some god awful hour of the morning. Their mutual silence is punctuated by the grunts and grinds of the traffic outside. Brian thinks Justin is too tired to make a noise, but when they come Justin flops against the bed laughing.

“What?” Brian asks, running his fingers over Justin’s shoulders, feeling the shudder and quake of the afterburn in his lover’s body.

“Nothing,” Justin says. “I’m just feeling stupid.”

Brian wishes he didn’t have to go to work.

--

Brian Kinney does not fall in love. Love is just a fantasy - a show straight people put on in bedrooms and wedding chapels.

Brian prefers to put on a whole different show.

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