Dedicated to _alicesprings, happier_bunny and xie_xie_xie
I could not and would not have done any of this without my wives and all of you who have read and commented. THAN YOU ALL hope you like it.
Banner by silent_seas
Justin woke with a start. He pulled away from Brian. Brian’s arm moved as Justin sat up until his hand found Justin’s. He gave it a little squeeze. “You okay?”
Justin nodded. “Yeah, I was supposed to call Billy.”
“Good thing the nightmare woke you up so you could call him.”
“Who said anything about a nightmare?”
Brian was lying on his side, he looked up at Justin, “you didn’t have to.”
“Whatever.” Justin was digging through the pile of clothes beside the bed. He found his phone and Billy’s number.
“Justin, I need to talk to you.”
Justin tried not to roll his eyes. “So talk”
“We need to meet.”
“Not over the phone.”
“Christ, what’s with all the cloak and dagger shit?”
“Just meet me at Babylon.”
“Justin, it’s important.”
“Then give me something.”
“It’s about Daniel.”
“What about Daniel?”
“I can’t say more.”
Justin sighed. “Fine, I’ll be there in an hour.”
He hung up and knew Brian was waiting for an explanation. “Billy claims he has information about Daniel. I’m meeting him at Babylon in an hour.”
“Babylon’s not open at nine in the morning.”
“I’m meeting him behind Babylon.”
“Okay, let's shower and then…”
Justin cut him off. “I’m meeting him, me, alone, not you, not us, me.”
“Fuck, Brian, I am so very very tired of this argument.”
Brian was sitting up now; Justin’s legs were dangling of the edge of the bed. He ran his finger lightly over the “scratch” Morrison’s henchman had left with his knife. Justin turned to look at him… “It’s nothing.”
“I know.” Brian’s hand ran over Justin’s fingers. “You have ten of these.”
“So lots of spares if I lose one.”
Brian sat back. “Go, do this alone, talk to your little playmate from Pitcairn. You know this is dangerous and you won’t protect yourself? Fine. What if Billy’s working for Morrison, or Daniel, or The Sap, or just still hates the idea of a gay man on the force. You bulletproof?”
“You think he’s going to shoot me, in broad daylight?”
“I think if he does, you might feel a little silly, you know, bleeding all over the asphalt without having a chance to tell me you were wrong.”
“Yes, I’d hate to miss out on an opportunity for you to say ‘I told you so.’”
“That could ruin our work dynamic. So would you being dead.”
“You need to stop assuming the worst.”
“You need to stop ignoring the possibility that you could get hurt.”
“Fine, so under my red half shirt, I’ll wear a Kevlar vest.”
Brian seemed to consider it for a moment, then shook his head, “it would completely destroy the line of the shirt. Wear it under your jacket instead.”
“I’ll tell you what, I promise I’ll call you as soon as I’m free to do so.”
“Not good enough.”
“You want me to wear a wire?”
“I was kidding.”
“I’m not. Wear a wire.”
Justin fell backwards on the bed. “Fine, I’ll wear a wire so you can hear the mind numbingly boring lack of information Billy has.”
Brian rolled over and Justin wrapped his legs around his waist. Brian kissed his neck.
“Where do you suggest I wear the wire?”
Brian’s hands ran down Justin’s body, circling his nipples. “Taped to your chest?”
Justin shook his head. My shirts are too tight for that.
Brian's hands skimmed Justin’s waist and settled where the waistband of his jeans would be, if he weren’t naked. “Here?” Justin shook his again, wrinkling his nose. Brian laughed and moved his hands over Justin’s hips, curling his fingers around the curve of Justin’s ass. He gave him a questioning look. They both laughed when Justin shook his head.
His hands moved between them, encircling Justin’s cock. He arched an eyebrow and Justin laughed. “Well, if we put it there, and they find it, I’ll already be in deep shit trouble.”
Brian’s fingers wrapped around Justin’s erection, he stroked slowly. “You’re already in deep shit trouble”
Justin tilted his head away from Brian’s kiss. “We have to stop now if we’re going to have time to get me wired before I go meet Billy.”
He watched as Brian stretched over him and reached for the phone. He tried to listen but Brian continued to stroke him while he talked and Justin’s ability to concentrate was severely compromised.
“I’ve got my tech wonk coming over in twenty minutes.”
“So we’ve got fifteen minutes to fuck and five minutes to shower.”
“We’ll save time if we fuck in the shower.”
Brian stood up. Justin brushed past him and started adjusting the water temperature. Less than a minute later they were both inside the shower. Less than a minute after that, Brian was inside Justin.
Justin got dressed while Brian consulted with O’Malley, his personal technical guru. When Justin emerged O’Malley shook his head. “He’s twelve.”
Brian and Justin both laughed. “He’s on the force, trust me.”
O’Malley stood up and circled Justin. Brian glared at him and Justin smirked at Brian. Finally he turned to Brian, “I’ve got just the thing.” He rummaged through a bag of wires and cables until he pulled out a black cord interlaced with cowry shells and adjusted it around Justin’s neck. He tapped one of the shells. “The microphone’s in this one.”
“Where’s the camera?”
O’Malley tapped a shell in the middle. “But it’s broken, that’s why I have it. Supposed to be replacing it.”
Justin laughed. “I was kidding. There’s really a camera?”
“Not a functioning one, no, but the audio works.”
Brian took the speaker to the other side of the room. “Turn it on. Justin, walk away, I want to make sure this works.”
Brian watched Justin walk to the other side of the loft and disappear into the bathroom. “Good, now say something.”
The speaker hissed and then he clearly heard Justin’s voice. “Overprotective asshole”
Brian nodded. “I’ll have it back to you by this afternoon.”
“So I take it I’m not filling out paperwork or requisition forms on this.”
“I’ll see you later.” Brian ushered him out the door and closed it. He turned around. Justin was leaning against him. “Can O’Malley hear us?”
Brian shook his head and held up the speaker. “Just me.”
He kissed Brian, pushing him against the door. Brian wrapped his arms around him. “Just be careful.”
“I always am.”
He kissed the top of Justin’s head and Justin felt Brian’s hand slide under his shirt. He wiggled away. “My back is fine. Would you cut that out?”
“I’m just reminding you why you need to be careful.”
“It’s almost nine. I’ll be ho… back here by eleven, scouts honor.”
“You were a scout?”
Justin left and Brian waited almost five minutes before leaving to follow him. He was at the elevator when he saw Justin come up the last of the stairs, taking them two at a time.
“Where did you come from?”
“Second floor landing, I knew you didn’t trust me. You’re going to get me hurt.”
“I thought you said Billy wasn’t a threat.”
“He’s probably not. But if you antagonize him, or make him think I don’t trust him…”
“No. I’ve never trusted him. Now I’ve got to go. You stay here, O’Malley swears you’ll be able to hear me as long as I’m in a three mile radius.”
Justin walked down Liberty Avenue, he ignored the men who were cruising him, and ducked down the alley to the back of Babylon. Billy was skulking near a dumpster but doing a lousy job of it. He was in uniform. Justin almost walked away.
“You’re in uniform.”
“I’m undercover. I can’t be seen here talking to you.”
“Undercover for who?”
“Who are you working for?”
Justin was confused and then he heard footsteps behind him. Fuck. He turned and tried to scream but a hand came over his mouth and nose. He saw Billy nod at whomever was holding him before he turned and walked away. He tried to kick but “Tiny” caught his feet. He assumed the man behind him; the one with his hand effectively blocking his airflow was one of the others he’d seen at Morrison's that night. He struggled again, hoping Brian heard something. He tried to twist his head and as he did, the choker caught on the button of a leather blazer. It fell and Justin saw it as if in slow motion. It disappeared into the bottom of a puddle, and then the world went black.
Brian heard Justin talk to Billy. The idiot was in his uniform. He listened as he unlocked the drawer where he kept his gun. There was silence. He waited. He heard a muffled sound. He couldn’t identify it. No more words. He took his shoulder holster off the hook in the closet and put it on. Dead silence, no sound at all. He loaded his gun quickly, shoved it into his holster, pulled a leather jacket over his black t-shirt made sure he had his badge and wallet and slammed the door behind him.
He drove quickly down the access street behind Liberty Avenue. When he got to the back door of Babylon he stopped. Deserted. He stood, his hands limp at his sides, looking for something, anything that would tell him what had happened, where Justin was. There were no signs of a struggle, but sneakers on asphalt wouldn’t really leave any. He kicked randomly at some loose gravel and tried to get his brain to stop buzzing. He knew he was panicking, he just couldn’t think of anything else to do.
Justin blinked a couple of times but the room was too dark. He felt nauseas and bit back the bile he could taste in his throat. He tried to remember anything after the necklace falling but he couldn’t. He moved his head and moaned. His neck hurt. He was sitting. He wanted to lie down. He moved his hand to assess the damage. He couldn’t. For a moment he thought he was paralyzed but as he calmed his breathing he realized he was restrained. He tried to free his arm but it was tied, or…he moved it again experimentally, taped to the chair. His vision got a little better in the dim light. He could just see the outline of a door. There was no furniture that he could see other than the chair to which he was currently tied. He tried to move the chair. It didn’t budge. He rocked back and forth to no avail. His legs were strapped down as well.
The panic increased exponentially with each moment. His arms and legs immobile, his neck hurting, his head throbbing. He began to breathe rapidly, images of Pitcairn flashing. He heard voices muffled, far away, he did the only thing he could think of. He screamed.
Brian called Horvath and gave him the information needed to put out an APB. Carl passed the information along quickly and demanded, in no uncertain terms, Brian’s presence at the station, immediately.
He drove there, distracted, going over everything they knew and looking for any sign of Justin. There was none. He knew every cop would be looking for him, but that didn’t help. Billy was working for Morrison, or Daniel, clearly, and one of them had Justin. His heart lurched. He parked in front of the station and took a deep breath. He carefully arranged his expression to one of bland disinterest and walked into Carl’s office ready to diffuse his wrath and move on to the important business of finding his partner.
The light blinded Justin when the door opened. The figure in front of him was backlit and he couldn’t make out his features. The door shut before his eyes could adjust. He started to say something, hoping to reason with his captor but instead his mouth was covered. He began to struggle with more intensity. He felt the skin on his wrists and ankles become raw, and he didn’t care. He tried to move his mouth but the duct tape was wrapped all the way around his head now. He took deep breaths through his nose and willed himself not pass out. Now was not a time to show weakness.
His heart was jack hammering in his chest and he felt the cold sweat run down his back. A drop slid between his shoulder blades, the salt stinging the cut he’d been trying to get Brian to ignore. He knew he’d never hear the end of this if he got out of it alive… he tried to focus on what the man, who was now behind him, was saying, but all he knew was he’d give anything to hear Brian say “I told you so” right now.
Horvath glared as Brian told him what he knew of the situation. “You wired the kid without my knowledge or permission?”
Brian nodded glumly.
“And now he’s missing.”
“Yes, Justin’s missing, so reading me the riot act is not going to help the situation. We’ve got to fucking find him!”
Horvath picked up the phone. Brian was pacing. Horvath was talking to Billy’s sergeant. Brian looked towards Carl hopefully. He shook his head as he hung up the phone. “He didn’t show up for work last night. No one’s been able to find him.”
“Maybe they got him too.”
“We’ve got to find them.”
Horvath glared. “Really? And here I was going home to take a nap.”
Brian threw the paperweight he’d been tossing back and forth against the wall. “They know he’s a cop! They’re going to kill him.”
“I don’t fucking know.”
“So do we just break down every door in the city?”
Brian sat, defeated and tired and Horvath seemed to take pity on him. “I know, he’s your partner, and you care, but we can’t just run around like the keystone cops, looking under rocks. We have to think.”
Brian nodded and tried to reason the cold fear away. “Thinking is probably called for.”
Horvath almost smiled. “I’ve seen you do it before. I know you’re capable of it.”
Brian stood up and went to his desk. He spread every piece of information he and Justin had gathered out on his desk and stared at it, trying to find some rhyme or reason to it all. He wanted something to jump out and declare Justin’s whereabouts. Nothing did. He shuffled the papers, rearranging them. Still nothing.
He couldn’t sit and stare any longer. He left, heading back the scene of the abduction.
Justin tried to get his breathing under control. He inhaled deeply through his nose. He knew he was panicking, and he knew in the long run that it was against his best interest to do so. Didn’t matter, he couldn’t help it.
He bent his head forward, trying to feel the choker around his neck, wondering if maybe the vision of it falling had been a dream, a nightmare. He couldn’t feel it and he just knew that it was gone. He tried to determine where he was.
No windows, a single door. The man with the duct tape had put it down behind him. Justin turned his head as far as he could. The pain in his neck made it more difficult but he could just make out the corner of a table, or desk. He thought there might be some shelving behind that, he couldn’t be sure. Something looked familiar. He tried to focus. It was dark, and even with his eyes adjusting to the light it was still almost impossible to make out any details.
The light filtering through the edges of the door confused him. It didn’t seem like daylight, the color was too blue. He rocked in the chair again and it began to move. He looked down, but couldn’t see the legs of the chair from this angle. He struggled against the restraints on his arms and legs, trying to free even one hand. He twisted his wrist and felt some give. He did it again, it hurt, the skin was rubbed raw but it felt easier to move, he pulled hard.
Stupid little twat. I told him he was going to get hurt. Fuck! I’m wandering around the area behind Babylon, so are two uniformed officers. They’re not going to find anything, there’s nothing to find. But they do. They hold it up and I move closer, it’s that choker, the one O’Malley gave him, the one I told him to wear. It’s broken… I think I’m going to heave. I nod, confirming it’s his. I hear us talking in my jacket pocket and realize I still have the receiver. I hand it over to them and they look at me like I’m an idiot. I am. He told me I was going to get him hurt…what if they found it? I shake my head. They couldn’t have, I heard… I heard nothing. I want to find Billy.
I leave, driving towards his reported address. It’s not even a residence. I curse. It’s one of those places where you can rent a postal box that lets you have a real street address, great. Another dead end. I try to think, I can’t. Justin’s gone. I try to ignore the thought and figure out how to find him. Instead I keep flashing on images of his mother’s face when I have to tell her.
There’s no good way to tell a cop’s family that their loved one is gone but this…this is my fault. I should have pulled him out of this sooner. I never should have let him get involved in the first place. Debbie’s going to kill me. Horvath's going to kill me. I may just save them the trouble and kill myself. I can’t…
Gary's. I call Horvath, he’s distracted, and assures me that they’re checking Gary's home, the address I gave him earlier where Justin ran his little errand. They’re checking inside Babylon, and at the known addresses of Daniel and Morrison. They won’t find him there… he’s long gone, I can feel it. I go to the diner. I need coffee.
I’m sitting in a booth, mentally going over everything we know for the hundredth time when Debbie sits across from me.
”They’ll find him.”
I nod. No they won’t.
She takes my hand. “Listen to me kiddo, I know you think this is all your fault but he was a tough kid, and he didn’t put up with any bullshit. If he wouldn’t even listen to Carl, what makes you think he’d listen to you?”
There’s nothing to say, so I say nothing.
“He’ll be okay. He only looks like a kid. He’s strong, I know.” I look up, and I guess she sees my confusion. “His mother told me what happened, in Pitcairn, if he could keep going, keep working there, move to a bigger tougher city, after that, then nothing’s gonna hold him back.”
They didn’t have guns. They didn’t cut people’s fingers off just for fun. I want to tell her all of this but there’s no reason to make her worry more, or doubt what she’s saying. I let her hold on to the fantasy that Justin is bulletproof. Only one of us needs to have the image of him bleeding to death alone, abandoned by his murderers and me. I drop a five on the table and walk out. She calls after me but I ignore her. She means well, but she’s not helping.
I go back to the loft, pacing and thinking and trying to retrace the steps, all of them, that led us here. How the fuck did this happen and why am I this rattled? This is what’s wrong with getting involved with your partner, something happens and you get rattled. If I’m shaken, I’ll make mistakes. I can’t afford to make a mistake. Justin can’t afford for me to make a mistake.
I call Horvath. “Gary has a wine cellar.”
“We checked. He’s not in there. He’s not in the storage room behind it.”
“Where else have you checked?”
“The delivery Justin made last night? It was to Daniel’s father. He doesn’t have Justin. Neither does Morrison's father.”
“Which one of them is actually Vinny?”
“They both are, well, they used to co-own Vinny’s pizza. Now…”
Brian interrupted, “I don’t care. Carl, where the fuck is Justin?”
“We’re trying to find that out.”
Brian hung up and went back down to his car. He headed towards Justin’s apartment hoping to find something there. Maybe Justin was hiding something. Maybe Justin was home, and didn’t know he was scaring the shit out of everyone. Maybe he knew Billy’s address.
I’m actually getting somewhere with the tape on my wrists. I can wriggle them around. I try to pull my hands out but they won’t fit. I move my thumb a little and it slides but not enough. It hurts and I realize that one of the reasons it’s gotten easier is that I’ve rubbed my wrists raw. They’re bleeding. I can feel it dripping off of my hand. I try to use the reduced friction to ease my arms out, but it’s not working. I pull harder, I feel more than hear the pop as my thumb dislocates but it’s enough and my hand is free. I’m about to start working the tape on my other hand when the door opens again.
Brian found Billy pacing in front of Justin’s apartment door. His reaction was swift and violent. He slammed Billy against the door, his hand around his throat. “Where is he?”
Billy seemed to be trying to answer but his face was turning deep purple. Brian lowered him to the ground and took a tiny step backwards, blocking Billy’s escape, but allowing him enough oxygen to answer the question. “Where is he?” He repeated slowly, carefully, menacingly.
“I don’t know.”
“Who has him?”
“I don’t know.”
“What are you doing here?”
“I… I wanted to make sure he was okay.”
“You know he’s not okay. Who asked you to arrange the meeting?”
“Morrison, but he said he just wanted to scare him.”
“And did he?”
“Morrison didn’t show up. It was two other guys. They told me to get lost once they had him.”
“Where’d they take him?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t see a car but…”
“So these guys, did you know them, would you recognize them if you saw them?”
“I…I… I think so. What do they want with Justin?”
“Well, you confirmed he’s a cop, so I’m guessing they’re going to kill him.”
Billy turned white and Brian couldn’t help feeling similarly. "Did you hear them drive away or do you think they took him someplace close?” Billy shook his head and Brian pushed him to the side.
“What are you doing?”
“Breaking into Justin’s apartment. You have a moral issue with this suddenly?”
Billy shook his head and Brian kicked the knob twice. The wood of the doorjamb splintered after the second kick. He pushed with his shoulder and the door opened. Brian pushed it again. He was inside. He considered not letting Billy inside, but then considered the very real possibility of his only lead taking off. He dragged Billy in as well. “Stay there and don’t touch anything.”
He didn’t wait for Billy to respond as he sorted through the papers sitting on top of the entertainment center. Bills, a couple of cards, nothing helpful. He moved to the coffee table and booted up Justin’s laptop. He searched the files, but still couldn’t find anything that would lead him to Justin. He stood in the middle of the living room and scanned the apartment. On a whim he kicked the area rug back. A few condoms. Nothing that would help. He moved to the bedroom, checking under the bed, between the mattress and the box spring, in the drawers. Toys. He almost smiled until he realized Justin might never have a chance to use them again. He may never have a chance to use them on Justin.
He moved to the kitchen… nothing. He turned; Billy was cowering in a corner, not far from the door. “Tell me everything you know.”
The man crouched down in front of Justin. “Got your arm free?”
Justin didn’t respond.
“If I take the tape off, will you talk?”
Justin nodded. He didn’t promise to tell the truth, or get anyone in trouble but he needed the tape off his mouth.
He felt it pull his skin and hair as it was removed. “You’re a cop.”
Justin didn’t respond. “Who’s coming after Morrison?”
Justin shook his head. In truth, as far as he knew, at the moment, no one.
“Everyone if you don’t release me.”
“They know where you are?”
“Of course.” Justin hoped Tiny’s buddy bought his bluff.
“So they should be here soon.”
“Then why are you so scared?”
“I like to be able to use my hands.”
The man glanced down at Justin’s free hand. He picked it up and put pressure on the pad of his dislocated thumb. Justin winced. “Seems to me you don’t have full use now.”
Justin tried harder to loosen his leg. He pulled his hand back. “Let me go, I’ll tell you whatever you need to know, but not like this. What’s gonna keep you from killing me if I’m still immobilized?”
“What do you think would keep me from killing you even if you weren’t?”
Justin’s blood ran cold. He clenched his fingers and although he couldn’t use his thumb tried for an uppercut into the man's jaw. Strong thick stubby fingers wrapped around his bleeding wrist, pressing into the raw flesh, causing Justin to wince. The man laughed. “If Morrison didn’t want to talk to you, you’d already be dead. And don’t try to hit me again, it’s embarrassing to watch.”
Justin struggled but it didn’t stop the man from re-taping his hand, this time behind his back where struggling out of the bonds would be even more difficult. He renewed the restraints on his legs and other arm as well, ensuring that Justin’s forearms were unable to move. He had no leverage. He was trapped.
“They will find you.”
“No, but they’ll find you. Well, they’ll find your body, bits of it, all over. Think your partner likes puzzle games?”
“I think he’s probably going to kill you.”
“I don’t think some fucking fag is going to be able to take me.”
“I think you’ll be surprised.”
“You talk to much.” And with that, he put a length of tape over Justin’s mouth and walked away, leaving him in the dark.
Brian was searching under the bathroom sink, having checked every other place he could think of when his phone rang.
“We got a call. They want to work something out.”
“Work what out?”
“They’re willing to give us Justin back, if we drop the charges.”
“That’s bullshit. They’re playing us. They know we can’t do that.”
“We’ve got a team on it but I think they’re trying to get us out of the way. They say they’ve got him in West Virginia.”
“So they’re adding kidnapping a police officer and taking him over state lines to their list of charges? Do they want the FBI involved?”
“I’m not sure. We’re checking before we report it to them.”
“How much trouble is that going to make for you?”
“Don’t worry about me.”
“How much time does it buy us?”
“A couple of hours.”
“They want us gone. Why?”
“I don’t know.”
“I think he’s still close. Have we checked all business and residential locations registered under Manicini, or their dummy company?”
“We’re working on it. There are thirty of them, including, as it turns out, the building next to Babylon.”
“Have we checked that?”
“Yeah, it’s an old warehouse, full of crap they apparently import and export.”
“Did you bring the dogs in?”
“We’ve got them heading in now.”
“Carl, he’s not in West Virginia. They have no reason to take him there.”
Brian left Justin’s apartment. He turned to Billy, “get them to fix the lock and then leave.”
Billy nodded mutely and Brian wasn’t concerned he wouldn’t obey. The kid was scared. Brian wondered if he was hiding his fear any better. He hoped so but he doubted it. He headed back towards Babylon, a sock clutched in his fist.
Justin felt himself fading. He was having difficulty getting enough air. He couldn’t move. He wondered what time it was, how long he’d been here. He had a feeling he’d been slipping in and out of consciousness. He couldn’t be sure. The door opened again but this time it didn’t close behind the man in the doorway.
“Shut the door. He’ll be able to identify us.”
“He’s gonna be in a million little pieces along with everything in this building. Dead men make lousy witnesses.”
Justin panicked as the door slammed. There were two men in the room with him. He tried to see what they were doing but when he turned his head, the world seemed to lurch and then spin. He thought he might vomit.
“Run that over there, around the room. Make sure the whole thing goes up.
“This won’t work, it’s got to be in the main area to…”
“It’ll work, I’ve got it rigged right. The kid’ll pass out from the smoke when the fire starts. He won’t feel a thing when it goes off.”
“Yeah, now set it.”
Justin smelled smoke. He closed his eyes and ducked his head, trying not to lose it. The flames were low, but the walls were beginning to catch fire.
Brian got to the building just as they were breaking down the door. He smelled the smoke and moved quickly. Wires were running around the building and across the floor. They all came from under wooden door. Smoke was beginning to spill out of that room.
Brian thought he heard a cough. He moved towards the door, shoulder first. Carl pulled him back. “You open that the whole place goes up.”
“Justin’s in there.”
Four firemen were standing in full gear, yelling to one another. They battered down the door. The flames blazed and blew Brian backwards.
Brian blacked out.
When he sat back up the fire was gone. Smoke hung heavy in the air and they were removing tape from Justin’s arms. Brian was a full ten feet from where he’d been standing and saw them carrying a lifeless form from the room. A lifeless form with blond hair. He moved quickly, pulling Justin away from the firefighter, cradling him in his arms.
A tear slid slowly, taking a layer of soot and ash with him. He walked out of the building. He couldn’t think, couldn’t breathe, just needed to get Justin to an ambulance. He couldn’t be dead.
He put Justin’s limp body onto a stretcher. Taking his cold hand into his own, wanting to give him his warmth, his breath, his heartbeat. He saw the red raw marks on Justin’s wrists and let another tear fall unheeded. Justin’s lips were blue. His face was covered in soot. Brian just wanted to see his eyes.
He closed his own knowing he’d never see them again. “I love you.” He murmured to Justin’s lifeless form.
Justin coughed. Brian’s head shot up. “Justin?”
Justin laughed, “You love me? You’ve known me for less than a month. " He shook his head, "drama queen.”
Brian laughed. He leaned in and kissed Justin.
Justin tried to kiss him back but it turned into a coughing fit. The EMTs put a mask over Justin’s nose and mouth. Brian kissed his cheek. “I think you got a reprieve from your mother’s candlelight vigil.”
Justin nodded, never loosening his grip on Brian’s fingers.
They strapped Justin on to the gurney and loaded it into the back of the ambulance.
Carl approached Brian. “You were right. Everything we need to convict Daniel and Morrison is in there.”
Brian nodded, getting into the ambulance.
“I’m going to need your help with this stuff.” Carl called after him.
“Monday.” Brian replied. And the ambulance doors closed, leaving the two of them alone… except for the EMTs.
Brian did his level best not to lose contact with Justin throughout the day. The only time Justin was out of his sight was during the CAT scan and X-rays and those times were under protest. Michael brought Brian’s jeep to him, Carl driving him back to the comic store.
Five hours later Justin was released with a clean bill of health. They wheeled him to the door while he groused about being able to walk on his own. Brian had the jeep ready and waiting. He attempted to help Justin in but his hands were slapped away. Brian didn’t respond. The glaringly white bandages on his wrists were enough to remind Brian that a strong, independent, snarky Justin was better than the alternative.
They were driving down the road, Justin playing with the wind resistance his head back, his eyes closed. “Thanks.”
“It’s my job.”
Justin let out a long breath and then coughed again. “Are we going back to my place?”
Brian looked over at him. “Your place?”
“I need to sleep.”
“You sleep fine at the loft.”
“Oh Christ, is this going to make you more protective?”
Brian shook his head. “I have to assume you learned something from all of this.”
Justin didn’t say another word, but Brian took his not arguing too adamantly about the loft issue as a good sign.
When they got there Justin looked around out of habit.
“No one’s following. There’s no one to hide from anymore.”
Justin nodded quietly and then winced.
“Let’s go upstairs and you can take something for that.”
Justin leaned heavily against Brian. When the got inside the loft Brian half walked half carried him to bed. “Rest, I’ll get you something to drink.”
“With vicoprofen? I don’t think so.”
“Make sure they gave me the right pills. I don’t have the energy to be sick all night."
Brian brought Justin a glass of guava juice, a bottle of water and the pills. Justin took them and then moved to stand up.
“Where are you going?”
“Shower. I’m covered in grime and…
Brian nodded. “We have to cover the cast on your hand and all those bandages first.”
Justin sat back down on the bed heavily. “I really wish you had a tub.”
“To tired to stand?”
“I’ve got a cleaning service. Don’t worry about the sheets, just sleep.”
Justin seemed too tired to argue anything. He pulled his shirt over his head and Brian saw the bruises, some from the firemen pulling him free, some from his fight with whoever took him in the first place. He didn’t say anything. Justin’s pants, grimy and dark were off next. When he was naked he slid under the sheets and closed his eyes. Brian thought he might already be asleep. He took the juice glass back to the kitchen.
Brian moved closer. “Can you just… stay… next to me? Just for a little bit?”
He’d been afraid to try, afraid Justin wasn’t ready, or was scared off by his proclamation, made in the heat of a moment of cold terror. He stripped off his own clothes and curled behind Justin. Justin turned around in his arms, burying his face into Brian’s chest. He kissed it lightly. “I know you don’t love me…yet, but it was still nice to hear.”
Brian nodded, his chin resting on Justin’s head. “I’m glad you don’t mind hearing it.”
“I don’t love you yet either, but I might someday.”
“You’ll let me know when that happens?’
“Good. Now sleep.” Brian kissed the top of Justin’s head and waited 'til he was sure Justin was asleep before he let himself drift.
I wake up to the soft sound of Brian’s heartbeat against my ear. I’m still feeling fuzzy, and grimy. I’m trying to remember what the hell happened. I know I was fading. I saw Brian but he was blown backwards and then there were flames everywhere. Then… he said he loved me. I push away from him a little. He’s still asleep and I study the lines of his face. He said he loved me because he thought I was dead. He didn’t think I’d call him on it.
He doesn’t believe in love… unless the person is dead? This is one fucked up man I’m involved with. And yes, we are involved. I don’t think we can deny it anymore. His eyes flutter open and he pulls me back against him. His body, warm and hard. He rolls on top of me… Christ, is that all he can think about?
His lips are soft as they touch mine. His tongue presses against my lips, asking for entrance. I let him in and can’t hold back the soft moan as he presses his cock to mine while he plunders my mouth. Now it’s all I can think about. I want him.
I spread my legs under him; he sinks further into me, resting his hips between my thighs. We’re both still a little grimy and I know we should shower but I don’t think that’ll make me feel half as clean as I will once he’s inside me. I wrap my legs around his waist. I can’t cross my ankles. One of them is still bandaged and sore. He moves, reaching for a condom and lube and then pulls back.
I’m lying on the bed watching him watch me. He’s studying my face. I know what he’s looking for. He wants to see if I’m scared. I am, but not of him. Maybe a little scared of what I feel for him, but that’s okay, you should have seen his face when I woke up and he realized I’d heard him. Terror. It’s the only word to describe it.
Ramp up the emotions and the adrenaline this much and anyone is going to think it’s love…or hate. But it’s neither. It’s caring, it’s something, and it could be love. I’d be willing to call it love, but not yet. I tried that once, loving too much, too soon just to make a point. We’ll take this slow.
Speaking of slow… his hands are stroking my thighs, light touches. Then they span them and his thumb presses, just a little, spreading me. I move with him, letting my legs fall open, letting him look, and he looks…hungry. His mouth is on me, everywhere. His hands moving over my ass while his tongue laves my balls and then moves up to my cock. He’s not sucking, just licking, tasting. I watch as a thread of pre come reaches from his tongue to the head of my cock when he pulls away. I moan. I can’t help it. He’s pulling my cheeks apart and I want to impale myself on the hot sharp tip of his tongue but he teases me instead. His hands slide up my chest. They stop when they can’t find my nipple ring. They took it off in the hospital. I probably won’t put it back on, except he’s almost pouting, like someone took away his favorite toy… someone almost did.
Maybe I will put it back on. His hands continue to move over me, as if he’s trying to memorize the lines of my body. I think he’s scared this will be the last time we fuck. He thinks he scared me away. I thought he knew me better than that.
His tongue is back to licking my ass. I can feel myself opening and stretching for his persistent fingers. I’m wet and open and I want him to fuck me. I pull at his arm, which is stroking my hip. He holds my hand for a moment but when his thumb runs over my cast he pulls away. Repulsed or afraid he’s going to hurt me? I’m not sure which. I’d rather he be afraid.
He looks up.
“Brian, kiss me.”
He’s draped over my body again and I can tell he’s balancing his weight on the parts of him that aren’t on me. He’s treating me like a china doll… except his kiss is not gentle at all, it’s demanding and insistent and I can’t resist.
My hands move to the back of his head, holding him to me. I nibble his bottom lip as he pulls back a little. “Fuck me.”
He looks a little hesitant and I lift my chin, exposing my neck and pulling him against it. I say it again, demanding. “Fuck. Me.”
His teeth scrape my Adam’s apple and I know we’re back to the same page. He rolls the condom on. I feel him press against my hole and I know that the only thing that will make this all okay is if he does fuck me. I don’t want him to make love to me. I want him to fuck the shit out of me. I want to feel whole, and strong and right and that’s what I feel when we’re fucking. If he doesn’t do it soon I’m going to roll us over and take control of this whole thing.
He slides in, trying to go slow but I curl my body under his, wrap my legs around his waist and let him impale me.
He grunts and I smile. He smoothes the hair off my face and I repeat the command, “fuck. Me.”
He’s moving hard and fast now. His hands on the pillow on either side of my head. His kisses claiming and satisfying. His hips slamming against my ass as he pounds into me. And when I come, I know I was right. I feel renewed, cleansed, and whole. He comes a moment later and collapses on top of me. He laughs and I kiss him. “I love it when you laugh in bed.”
“You’re fucking amazing.”
“You’re not so bad yourself.”
I nod. “I need to shower too. Let’s go.”
He laughs again and we head for the shower. He kisses me between each bandage he has to cover and when we’re inside the shower, and the water is no longer gray but clear. When we’ve both cleaned every inch of one another I pull him down for another kiss. “I’ll definitely let you know.”
He nods and he makes me sit and take it easy while he changes the sheets on the bed. It may not take as long as I thought before I love him.