Be Careful What You Wish For
* * *
Justin awoke with a little start. He could feel eyes staring at him. "How long have you been awake?"
"What time is it?"
"Were you waiting for me to wake up so you could see what Santa brought you?" Justin asked with twinkling eyes.
"I don't believe in Santa. Never have," Brian stated.
"Never?" Justin asked. "You should have."
"Why's that?" Brian asked, not at all amused.
"Every child should believe in Santa."
"So he can get his heart broken when he finds out there's no such thing?" Brian said with a sadness that he couldn't hide.
"Did you get your heart broken?"
"I don't have a heart, haven't you heard? … And I never believed in Santa."
"I can't believe that…"
"Believe! You have no idea what it was like at the Kinney compound. It was a battlefield most of the time. You saw what my parents did with the gifts John sent. They did that to a fucking four year old."
"I'm sorry," Justin whispered softly. "We won't let that happen to Gus."
"No, we won't," Brian said as he pulled Justin into an embrace so that Justin wouldn't see the tears that had welled up in his eyes. "Gus deserves … everything."
"And you'll see that he gets it."
"I'm going to do my best."
"Brian," Justin said softly as he pushed Brian back so that he could kiss him. He felt Brian flip them over, and knew that Brian would claim him once again. And that was fine. Justin wanted to be claimed, and he wanted to take away Brian's pain. There always seemed to be more pain as he learned more and more of the pieces of the Brian puzzle. It was a puzzle that was a lot larger and more difficult to solve than he had ever imagined.
Some time later they lay together in the big bed in the loft. Justin looked through the shutters and out through the gauzy drapes. "I think it's snowing," he said.
"Good, maybe we'll be snowed in and we won't have to go anywhere."
"Don't you want to see Gus open his presents?"
"Yeah, I do," Brian admitted with a little smile. "I guess we should get ready so we can be there when he wakes up."
"If I know anything about kids, Gus is already awake."
"You think so?"
"He'll be so excited about Christmas that he probably had trouble falling asleep, but something will have got him up at the crack of dawn."
"We'll have two pissed off lesbians to deal with then," Brian chuckled.
"Let's take a shower and hit the road," Justin said starting to get up.
Brian grabbed Justin's hand and kept him on the bed. "Thank you," he said, "for coming to Pittsburgh and making this holiday special for Gus … and me."
"You're very welcome. Now get your ass out of bed."
"Bossy bottom," Brian smirked, but he hustled into the bathroom after Justin.
When they arrived at the Munchers, Gus grabbed his father's hand and dragged him into the living room. He had found his stocking loaded with gifts from Santa and wanted to show all his treasures to his father. Brian sat down on the floor while Gus brought him each item, showed him how it worked and got him to play with it or taste it, because there were candies too. Brian did it all for his son, including the candy tasting. Justin had to smile knowing that Brian was calculating every calorie as he sucked or chewed the treats that Gus handed him. It only made Justin love Brian more that he would do that for Gus.
Justin was carrying the bags of gifts and he set them under the tree while Lindsay and Melanie brought out coffee and juice and croissants to munch on while they opened their presents.
Brian moved up into the armchair and gratefully accepted a cup of coffee. He stood up and went over to the presents that Justin had laid out. He selected a gift for Gus to open first. It was one that Justin didn't recognize. It was nicely wrapped but not professionally done as were all the others that they had bought. Brian handed it to Gus and then sat down in the armchair with Justin resting on the arm beside him. Justin gave Brian's shoulder a gentle squeeze and Brian smiled up at him. The touch and the look were not lost on Lindsay.
Gus, meanwhile, was ripping off the paper and pulling out what Justin recognized as the stuffed Mickey Mouse that John had tried to give to Brian when he was about the same age as Gus. He felt the overwhelming need to kiss Brian when he realized what the gift was. He leaned down and gently kissed Brian's lips.
When Brian looked up, Melanie and Lindsay were staring at him. "What?" he demanded.
"I've never seen you act like this before," Lindsay said.
"He's my partner," Brian stated, and Justin could almost believe that Brian meant it.
Gus loved Mickey, cradling him in his arms and giving Brian a kiss to thank him. Brian could almost see himself at the same age receiving his Mickey from his Uncle John. He would have reacted just like Gus did. It was almost his own Christmas memory.
The rest of the presents got opened and Gus enjoyed all the attention and gifts. He began to tire as the morning went on and finally Lindsay managed to put him down for a nap. Brian and Justin said their goodbyes, until they would all meet for dinner at Debbie's later. Justin got a kiss from both women who seemed genuinely happy to have him in Brian's life. If only Brian felt the same way, Justin thought, as they trudged through the newly fallen snow to the Jeep.
By the time they reached the loft, the snow had stopped and although the roads were covered, there wasn't nearly enough to make it an excuse for skipping Debbie's dinner. In the meantime Brian had some definite ideas of how best to use their time. He had Justin naked and in bed within seconds of locking the door behind them.
* * *
The Jeep pulled up in front of Debbie's house. Brian heard Justin let out a sigh and knew that his pretend partner didn't really want to be there. He thought Justin had enjoyed himself so far on their trip to Pittsburgh. Brian knew that he himself had never had a better Christmas. Watching Gus open his presents and then fucking Justin for hours was just about the ultimate in Christmas joy that he could have wished for. He had never wanted anything for Christmas, believing it was all a crass, commercialization of a religious event of dubious origins. But if he had dreamt of a perfect, happy Christmas, what they had done today would be pretty close to that dream. Now he was afraid everything was going to be ruined by his so-called family and friends and especially by his best friend.
"Ready?" he asked.
Justin turned his head and looked into Brian's eyes. "No," he said.
"Justin, we can go back to the loft if you want," Brian offered.
"No, we'll go in. You have gifts to give out."
"We have gifts," Brian corrected. He had made sure they were all labeled as coming from the both of them.
"Then we should go in."
"Okay," Brian said as he pulled one bag of presents out of the back of the Jeep and Justin grabbed the other. They made their way up to the door.
Brian pushed the door open without knocking and they stepped inside. The chatter and laughter stopped as everyone turned to look at them. Justin felt his cheeks burn at the scrutiny. They probably thought that it was just a fluke when Brian had brought him there before, and now here he was again. Well, fuck them, and all the turnip trucks they fell off of.
"Daddy," Gus cried as he ran up to Brian. He sounded like he hadn't seen his father in ages, although it was just a few short hours.
"At least one person is glad to see us," Brian said dropping his bag of gifts and picking up his son.
"Justin," Gus said leaning out so Justin could kiss him.
Justin smiled and kissed the little boy. It was nice that Gus did that when everyone else seemed too surprised to say anything. "Hello, everyone," Justin finally said.
They all got settled with their Christmas dinner. Small talk was the order of the day. Brian and Justin stayed pretty quiet unless someone asked them a specific question. Gus sat between them and they helped him with his dinner.
When dinner was over and before coffee and dessert, Debbie wanted the presents to be opened. That way Gus would get his gifts before he got too sleepy. Justin had brought one of Brian's cameras hoping to get some pictures of Gus opening some more presents. They had forgotten to take one to the Munchers in the morning. Justin clicked a few shots as Gus tore open his first present.
Brian got up and handed a package to Michael. It was wrapped the same way Gus' present had been wrapped at the Munchers. Justin watched Brian make the presentation wondering what it meant. Michael tore off the paper and pulled out the little computer that John had tried to send him. It was called Alfie.
Michael's eyes lit up immediately. "Where did you get this? It has to be thirty years old, and it's still in its original box."
"Let's just say that I came upon it unexpectedly. I know how much you like retro toys. It's not sci-fi exactly, but I thought you might like it," Brian explained.
"Like it? I love it!" Michael leapt up and hugged Brian tightly. They exchanged a kiss and then Michael hugged his best friend again. He looked over Brian's shoulder with what could only be described as a triumphant look on his face. That look was directed right at Justin. Justin lifted up the camera and caught that look on film. He couldn't help but gloat a bit as a look of semi-horror passed across Michael's face. Justin smirked back at him.
The rest of the presents were opened and dessert and coffee were enjoyed. Justin actually began to relax. Michael was sulking in a corner, and as a result, he wasn't shooting his big mouth off about how Justin wasn't good enough for Brian and they couldn't possibly be a couple.
Brian pulled Ted aside at one point and they had a private conversation in the laundry room. Everyone was wondering what the two men could be conferring about. When Ted came back in he refused to explain what was going on. He merely said it was a private matter between himself and Brian, and that's all he would say.
Brian did not reappear and everyone assumed that he had gone outside for a smoke. Justin was about to go join him when he saw Michael slip on his jacket and head out the back door. Justin was tempted to follow, but he didn't really want to make trouble for Brian so he sat back down and played with Gus who had a new game to entertain himself with.
Outside Brian was staring up at the stars as he took a puff of his cigarette. The skies had cleared from the earlier snow. The stars twinkled like diamonds as Brian felt the cold start to seep into his leather jacket.
"Thanks for Alfie. What a great gift!"
"Um … how come he's here with you?"
"He? You mean Justin? I told you he's my partner."
"Come on, Brian. Tell me the truth. I know you better than that. You would never have a partner, and certainly not a kid like him."
"He's not a kid. He's more of a man than anybody I know."
"More than me."
"Brian, this is bullshit. I know you don't believe in relationships. I know this is all some kind of sick joke."
"Why would I do that?"
"I … I don't know, but it has to be."
"Michael, I want you to listen to me. Are you listening?"
"Justin and I are together. We're partners. Get that fact through your head."
Michael shook his head. "You can't be."
"Fucking shit, Michael! How many times do I have to say it?"
"You can say it as many times as you want, but I'll never believe it."
"Then I guess our friendship is over," Brian said sadly.
"You heard me. I can't keep refereeing between you and Justin. He comes first."
"How can you say that? I'm your best friend."
"Can it, Mikey! That line is getting old." Brian turned abruptly and brushed past Michael. He made his way into the living room. "We're leaving, Justin," he said softly.
Justin kissed Gus and got up immediately. He didn't know what had happened outside, but Brian wanted him to go home with him and that was all that Justin needed to hear.
Brian picked up Gus and gave him a kiss. "Merry Christmas, Sonny Boy," he whispered in Gus' ear. Gus hugged Brian's neck before Brian handed him to his mother.
Justin gathered up their gifts and the camera. They quickly exited Debbie's house and walked down the street to the Jeep.
"What happened?" Justin asked as they got into the car.
Justin had learned what that tone of voice meant, so he said no more. They drove in silence to the loft. When Brian had the car parked, Justin tried to get the gifts and the camera out of the back of the car.
"Leave them," Brian ordered.
"Just fucking leave them," Brian repeated as he headed for the door to the loft building.
Justin slammed the door of the Jeep shut and followed. They rode up in the elevator neither speaking. Brian unlocked the loft door and they went inside. Brian headed immediately for the liquor cart. He poured a tall one and downed it quickly.
"But I want to help."
"Then get undressed."
Justin stared at Brian for a moment, but then he started taking off his clothes. He had also learned that sex was Brian's way of dealing with just about everything. Brian finished his drink and then walked up to the bedroom and began taking off his own clothes.
"Bed," he said when the naked Justin climbed the steps to the bedroom level.
Justin sat down on the edge of the bed knowing that what was to come would be animalistic and powerful. When Brian got like this, he became remote, using the sex to release all his pent up frustrations and anger. Justin would be the receptacle, but he would do it for Brian. He would do just about anything for Brian.
"Justin," Brian said from behind him. Justin turned and saw a naked Brian kneeling on the bed behind him.
Brian nodded as Justin shifted around and Brian pushed him back onto the bed. There was little foreplay or preparation as Brian quickly sheathed his cock and pounded into him. He didn't hurt Justin, but no one would ever call this making love. Brian ensured that Justin got off too, and then he rolled over pretending to be tired. Brian closed his eyes and breathed evenly so Justin would think he was asleep. Justin did the same, but it was a very long time before either of them actually slept.
* * *
The day after Christmas dawned cold and clear. Justin had awakened before Brian so he went down to the kitchen and started the coffee. He looked in the fridge and decided they had enough eggs and things to make an omelet. He'd do that when Brian got up.
He wandered over to the large windows that lined one wall of the loft. He pushed the curtains aside and looked out. The streets had been plowed but the snow was mostly pristine because there wasn't much traffic in the neighborhood over Christmas. With a sigh he thought about the dinner at Debbie's, and Michael's predictable interference. Why couldn't the man keep his big mouth shut and mind his own business? Justin knew that Michael would never do that though, because he considered Brian to be his business.
Justin wondered how long Brian would want to stay in Pittsburgh now that Christmas was over. He hoped it wouldn't be until New Year's. Justin would like to go back to Denver as soon as possible. Maybe he should just pack up and go … without Brian, without worrying about what Brian's friends thought.
"Contemplating the universe?" Brian said from behind him.
Justin jumped. "I didn't hear you get up."
Brian snorted. "I've been compared to a big cat."
"A big, dangerous cat."
Brian frowned. "What does that mean?"
"I was just thinking," Justin said ignoring Brian's question. "I think I'm going to go back to Denver tomorrow."
"You are?" Brian asked surprised.
"Well, we did the Christmas thing with Gus. There's no other reason I need to be here."
"But…" Brian knew he wanted Justin to stay, but he had no idea how to tell him that without tipping the scales of this relationship thing into a realm that he was sure he could never handle.
"I don't think it will make any difference to your friends. You can stay and tell them that I had to go home to get ready for a show … or something."
"Yeah, I guess I could. But … maybe I should go with you."
"You should? Why?"
"I … I don't know. I just should."
Justin smiled at Brian's halting admission. "Would you miss me?"
Brian looked thoughtful, staring out into the winter sunshine. Justin started to doubt that he would get an answer to his question at all. Typical Brian! He let out a soft sigh.
"Yeah, I would."
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