Birth and Rebirth
He stood outside the door for a long time before he put out his hand to slide it open.
This had been his home for so long; the place where he'd learned what it was to be a man; the place where, after the violence in his past, he'd finally learned to feel safe.
Now it was his home no longer. He felt awkward about being here. Felt he'd no right to use the key he'd been told to keep.
He had a new life now. He'd finally been able to move on; had learned to let go of the past at last and let the future, with all its beckoning blessings, carry him forward. He just needed to get through this, say a final goodbye, bid farewell to what he'd once thought would be his forever and get some sense of closure. Suddenly the enormity of the changes he'd made, was making, swept over him, threatening to derail his purpose in being here.
Sucking in his lips to keep them from trembling, he abruptly pulled the door open.
It moved more smoothly than he remembered, gliding back before he was ready, and he stood exposed to the confrontation with his past that he'd been dreading.
"No! No! It needs to go higher!"
His partner's voice sounded as agitated as he'd been feeling only moments before and for some perverse reason this calmed and centered him. His nose stinging from the lingering smell of fresh paint and varnish, he moved to open one of the windows. Then he turned and lazily surveyed what had once been his elegant and pristine domain.
The floor was still half-covered in tarps left behind after the painters had finished last week. Packing crates stood empty of all but discarded bubble wrap, their precious contents leaning propped against various walls. At either end of the loft stood ungainly dust sheet covered mounds of furniture and beneath the large windows lay an untidy roll of matting.
At least the walls were no longer draped in apparently random streams of wiring. These had been replaced by discreet and carefully designed lighting fixtures that had cost more than all of the rest of the redecoration put together.
Beneath one, Justin stood haranguing the workman who'd been detailed to help him hang his artwork. Brian grinned as he listened. People thought he was the picky bitch in their relationship.
Eventually, the painting was hung in just the right place for the lighting to display it to most advantage. Satisfied at least, Justin turned to him.
"I don't know what you're smirking about, there are at least six more we have to do yet."
Brian grinned at him. "Don't look at me, Sunshine. I'm just a guest here now. You can't ask your guest to ..."
"Asshole!" Just snapped, turning back to the workman and indicating the next painting. "That one needs to go there."
Brian watched for a moment, then shrugged out of his leather jacket, leaving it draped over one of the dust sheets. Underneath, he wore a white tee, and his muscles rippled beneath it as he picked up another piece.
"Remind me where this one goes," he said.
Three hours later it was done.
The works were all hung and the workman paid and dismissed. The tarps and dust sheets had been removed, the crates put into the storage area, the matting rolled out and secured and the furniture placed in position.
They were both tired, and by habit they found their footsteps wandering towards the bedroom. But at the foot of the steps, Brian stopped. He put his hands on Justin's shoulders and turned him to face the space that had once been Brian's loft.
Gone was the severely restricted color palette he'd introduced. In the corner near the kitchen, the walls around to the window were painted a deep mahogany. Opposite them, past what had been his dining area, the outer wall of the bathroom was a dark slate grey. The strong wooden privacy panels which had replaced the glass ones along the front of the bedroom were covered in silk that exactly matched that shade. Getting the right paint color blend had been a nightmare and had almost cost the painting contractors their job (his partner showing once again that he could be even more critical than Brian himself). Ironically, the blue steel columns which once had been the only touch of whimsy, were now glossy black.
Under the smaller set of windows, in what was now the "hospitality area", the dining setting had been replaced by several small armchairs - deliberately unmatched - in a range of fabrics from soft cream leather to a deep, mossy green brocade, and a severely plain mahogany coffee table. Flat against the wall in the "red" corner stood a small drop-sided table in dark stained oak that could open out to seat four for dinner. Chairs in the same wood sat near the windows. The area in front of the slate grey wall was blessedly uncluttered, although the cabinets beneath the privacy panels had been retained and would soon be filled with all the accoutrements of the artist's profession.
At the other end of the loft, in the areas around the large windows, the color scheme was entirely different. Here, a pale eggshell blue, just this side of white, reflected all the available light into what had once been his lounge area and was now designated as Justin's workspace.
At the end, in the back corner, was a desk, one arm of which held the computer which was as much a tool of his trade as his more traditional paints and brushes. Nearby, under the original glass privacy panels on this side of the bedroom, the light table juggled for space with a drafting table. Beyond those. in front of the large window nearest the door, a state of the art new easel stood, angled to the light, on the special rubber backed matting they'd selected to protect the refinished hardwood floor. In the corner behind the door stood racks for fresh canvases as well as finished, or drying works.
Once this place had been his playground. No longer.
Now it was Justin's space: the working studio of a passionate and gifted artist.
From one end of the loft to the other, the new light fixtures illuminated proof of his talent. Even the dark silk-covered privacy panels held a carefully selected range of sketches. When Justin needed to meet with agents, or clients, one glance at this space would make sure they recognized his gifts.
In silence they stood for a moment looking at it together, taking in all that it meant.
Then Justin turned to face him.
Lips sucked firmly together to stop anything stupid spilling from them, Brian stared down into his partner's eyes. One beat. Two. Vows, promises, sorrows, joys, past regrets and future hopes all pulsed silently in the air between them.
Then he felt fingers tangle in the belt loop of his jeans.
"You stink," Justin said provocatively. "We both need a shower."
In an inevitable Pavlov's dog reaction, Brian felt his cock stir. He pounced suddenly and swept a laughing Justin into his arms and up the steps, heading for the bathroom.
The past died. Things were born and reborn.
But none of that mattered very much right now. The shower was still big enough for two.
This is a tiny vignette from the Homecoming universe. A glimpse a little futurewards of where the fic is currently at.
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