Be Careful What You Wish For
* * *
The next two weeks seemed to fly by in Justin's mind while he spent his days following Brian around, making sure he wasn't overdoing it. Replacing Matt wasn't as hard as Brian had thought it would be, and as luck would have it, the replacement had just relocated to the Denver area so he was able to start immediately. It only took a few days of Brian dragging himself to the office before he felt confident that David would fit in nicely. Even Amanda liked him, and she was almost as protective of Kinnetik as Brian.
The only downfall in everything was the constant reminder that Brian would eventually be going back to Pittsburgh. As much time as they were spending together, Brian showed no signs of resuming their former relationship, causing Justin to spend many nights alone, jacking off to memories of happier times. After those first few days, Justin was confident enough to allow Brian to sleep alone in the guest room, but he secretly hoped he would get an invitation to share the older man's bed. That invitation never came, much to Justin's dismay, and he'd been wracking his brain trying to find a way to prolong Brian's return. Aside from wanting to spend more time with the man, Justin also wanted to keep an eye on him for a little longer. Although Brian was feeling a little bit better, he was still rather weak and his appetite hadn't returned to normal yet. For someone who rarely ate much to begin with, a decreased appetite was not a good thing. The decision about Brian's return was taken out of both their hands two days before he was scheduled to fly home.
Brian and Justin had been sitting at the dining room table, having just finished eating, when Brian suddenly suffered a severe dizzy spell. He tried to hide it at first, but Justin immediately knew something was wrong.
"Brian, what is it?"
"It's nothing, Justin," Brian insisted. "I'm fine."
"No you're not. You're white as a ghost and you're visibly shaking. Now tell me what's wrong," Justin demanded.
Brian was about to reply when the whole room started spinning and forced him to push aside his plate and put his head down. Justin was on his feet and by Brian's side in seconds.
"That's it. You're going back to see the doctor whether you like it or not." Justin stayed by Brian's side until he seemed to regain his composure and then helped him upstairs, stripped him down to his underwear, and then got him into bed. It was obvious that the episode zapped the little bit of strength that Brian had and Justin waited until the man fell asleep before going downstairs and right to the phone. He was glad he had Dr. Robinski's number etched in his brain from when John was sick.
"Hi Roger, it's Justin."
"Justin, it's been a long time since you've called me at home. Is everything all right?" Roger asked in concern.
"I'm not sure. Brian's been doing a little better lately, but tonight he nearly passed out at the dinner table. I had to help him upstairs and into bed. Is that normal?"
"Well, it's not abnormal, if that makes you feel any better," Roger replied.
"It doesn't. What exactly does that mean?"
"Justin, everyone is different. Some people bounce right back after radiation, others take a longer time to recover. Brian was one of those people who maintained their exact suggested weight, which means that everything he lost was weight he couldn't afford to spare. Add that to the fact that he didn't take care of himself through the four weeks of treatment, it's no wonder he's having a hard time. He just needs food, rest, and time and he'll be back on track in no time," Roger explained. "But since I know you don't believe me, bring him to my office and I'll run some blood work and check him out again."
"It's not that I don't believe you," Justin said, feeling slightly guilty for his doubts.
"I know. You love him and you just want to be sure. Don't worry about it. I'm not going to hold it against you. My first appointment is at eight-thirty. Be there by eight and I'll look him over."
"Thanks Roger. I really appreciate this," Justin replied.
"No problem. I'll see you in the morning."
Justin felt much better after hanging up the phone. He went to the kitchen and cleaned up their dinner dishes before locking up the house and going back in to check on Brian. He was still sleeping soundly. After that he went down to the studio and put in a couple of hours of painting before retiring for the night. Just as he did when Brian first arrived, Justin spent the night in the guest room, keeping an eye on his patient. He eventually drifted off to sleep, once again sitting up in the chair.
Brian woke up feeling a little groggy and glanced at the clock. It was six in the morning. The last thing he remembered was not feeling good during dinner and having Justin help him up the stairs. That had been almost twelve hours ago. He must've been really tired. As he stretched, he caught a glimpse of Justin, sound asleep in the chair. It had been over a week since Justin felt the need to play guardian angel and watch over him. He must have been really worried the night before. Instead of waking the sleeping blond, Brian took his time to watch him sleep, wishing he wasn't the cause of the worry lines that were evident on his face. He had caused Justin enough problems since they met the year before. Justin didn't deserve any of it.
Almost an hour passed until Justin finally stirred and opened his eyes to find Brian watching him.
"Hey, how're you feeling?"
"Better," Brian told him. "Sorry about that. I don't know what happened. Everything just got so fuzzy."
"It's because you're trying to do too much. You've barely relaxed since you've been here. Brian, cancer and radiation is not a joke. You can't keep pushing yourself so hard."
"Pushing myself so hard? Justin, I haven't taken it this easy since I was five," Brian replied.
"Well, it's not enough. Now, why don't you get up and get in the shower? We have to be at Roger's office by eight," Justin said as he rose from the chair. "I'll meet you back here in twenty minutes."
"I don't have to go see Roger. I'm fine."
"You're not fine! Why do you keep saying that?" Justin exclaimed, his anger getting the better of him. "Look, I'm going to go get ready and when I get back here you better be showered, dressed, and ready to leave. End of discussion."
Brian stared at Justin's retreating form with amusement. It had been a long time since he'd seen Justin that worked up. He missed feisty Justin, but he didn't dwell on it. He only had twenty minutes to get ready or there'd be hell to pay. He got up and got into the shower with a smile on his face.
"I'm not the kind of person to say I told you so," Brian began as they left Dr. Robinski's office.
"The hell you aren't," Justin replied. "And don't look so smug. Roger said that you were definitely recovering, but he's still concerned by your weakness and dizzy spells, which is why he doesn't want you traveling back to Pittsburgh just yet."
"Justin, I don't have a choice. I need to get back. I never planned on being here this long," Brian reminded him.
"What's the rush? You've got Cynthia and Ted keeping an eye on things back there," Justin pointed out.
"I know, but I need to be there, too. The doors haven't been opened that long. If you remember, I spent a lot of time at the office here when we first opened. I know I can't work fourteen hours a day yet, but I still need to be there."
"What happens if you have another spell like last night while you're on the plane? Or at the airport? What then?" Justin asked angrily.
"I won't. I'm fine," Brian insisted.
"Brian Kinney, if you say you're fine one more time, I swear to God I'll rip your balls off," Justin spat before realizing his poor choice of words.
"Ball, remember?" Brian mumbled.
"Sorry, I wasn't thinking," Justin said softly.
Brian just shrugged.
"Look, I give up. If you insist on catching a flight out tomorrow, there's nothing I can do to stop you," Justin said.
"You're right. There's not," Brian agreed.
"But I'm going with you."
"I'm going with you. I'm not comfortable leaving you alone just yet. I'll fly to Pittsburgh with you, spend a week or so there to make sure you're all right, and then I'll come home. It's no big deal. This way you can get back to the office and I can still keep an eye on you and make sure you're eating enough and not overdoing it," Justin explained calmly.
"I don't need a babysitter."
"Don't think of me as a babysitter. Think of me as a houseboy, hired free of charge to take care of your every need," Justin suggested with a smile.
"You know, if I had a houseboy, I'd keep him naked at all times," Brian teased.
Justin laughed at that. "If that's what you want, I think it could probably be arranged."
Brian looked down at his crotch in defeat. Even the thought of Justin serving his every need naked wasn't enough to cause the slightest bit of hardening. "That's okay; I think I'll keep you clothed. I wouldn't want people to talk."
Justin noticed the change in Brian's demeanor, but didn't acknowledge it. Instead he pushed it to the back of his mind to dissect later. As soon as they got back to the house, Justin called the airlines and arranged for a ticket on Brian's flight. They wouldn't be sitting next to each other, but at least he'd be there to keep an eye on things. Then he called Arthur and let him know of his plans. The older man seemed relieved to hear Justin was going back with Brian. Especially after he heard about what happened the night before. He promised to keep an eye on things until Justin came back.
The rest of the day passed by in relative silence. Justin noticed that Brian seemed rather subdued since the ride home from Roger's office, but he decided to let him have his space. He'd gotten his wish. Brian agreed to be accompanied home. He wasn't going to push his luck. Since they had an early morning flight, Brian went to bed early, leaving Justin to sit up half the night worrying about their impending trip. He hadn't given it much thought when he suggested traveling with Brian, but now the thought of going back to Pittsburgh and facing Brian's family again worried him. The last thing he wanted was to run into Michael. He'd had enough of the man to last a lifetime. Unfortunately he didn't have a choice. Especially since no one knew about the cancer except for Ted, and he was too busy trying to help run Kinnetik to check in on Brian and make sure he was eating right. He sighed at his fate and eventually drifted off into a fitful sleep.
The flight was uneventful. Justin was sitting two rows behind Brian, but he was still able to keep an eye on him, much to Brian's chagrin. He felt like a child, needing someone to watch out for him as Justin's eyes burned a hole in the back of his head through most of the trip. He was happy when they finally landed. They made their way to baggage claim and got their luggage, and then took a shuttle to long term parking. After a brief argument, Brian relented and handed his keys over to Justin and they headed to the loft. When they got inside, Brian hit the play button on his answering machine and listened to endless calls from the family, everyone wondering where he was and why his cell phone was shut off.
"It sounds like you were missed," Justin commented as he looked around, remembering happier times.
"Yeah, with me gone they have no one to blame anything on," Brian replied dryly. "I think I'm going to go to the office for a little while."
"Brian, don't you think…" Justin stopped at the glare Brian sent him. "Fine, go ahead."
"I'm okay. I just want to go check on things. Ted will be there if I need anything and I'll be back in a little while," Brian assured him. "In fact, how about if you drop me off and then you can take the Jeep and go pick up a few things at the supermarket? I doubt there's anything in the fridge."
Justin walked over and opened the door to the refrigerator, gasping at its contents. "Since you didn't plan on staying in Denver for more than a couple of days, I'm going to assume that you haven't been shopping in awhile. No wonder you've been so weak. You need to eat."
"Yeah well, I was too sick to go shopping," Brian admitted softly.
Justin sighed. "Brian, I know you're a private person, but you should've told someone you were sick. What about Michael?"
"Right, and have him over here a hundred times a day? I don't think so."
"You could've called me, you know. No matter how things were left between us, I would've been here for you," Justin told him.
"I'll remember that the next time I get struck by cancer."
"Brian! Don't even think about that!" Justin exclaimed, horrified by the mere thought of the cancer coming back.
"Relax, it was a joke." He saw the shocked look on Justin's face and couldn't help but chuckle. "A bad one, obviously. Give me a few minutes to change and then we'll go."
"Whenever you're ready," Justin replied, still annoyed by Brian's very lame sense of humor.
Justin knew that once Brian got to the office he'd be gone all day, so he took his time at the supermarket, filling up his cart with lots of healthy foods that would help Brian regain his strength and his weight. He got it all back to the loft, and after several trips up the rickety elevator, managed to get it all put away. Then he went to his suitcase and took out the recipes that Maggie had given him and started making a big batch of the vegetable soup that Brian loved so much. Once he started that, he began working on other, more substantial meals, putting them in the Rubbermaid containers he bought and throwing them in the freezer. He knew once he went back to Denver, Brian wouldn't cook for himself. He wanted to make sure there was enough on hand so that the stubborn man continued to eat after he was gone. Then he went to work on that night's dinner, a concoction of chicken and vegetables that would satisfy Brian's low carbs rule and still be a good source of vitamins. He was surprised when he finally looked at the clock and saw that it was after six. Brian had promised to call when he was ready to come home and Justin hadn't heard a thing. He reached for the phone and called Ted's cell phone.
"Hey Justin," Ted answered, recognizing the loft's number. "He's still here."
"You know, if I didn't love him so much, I'd kill him," Justin replied.
"I know what you mean. Well, not about the love part, but definitely about the killing him part. I was supposed to meet Blake for dinner over an hour ago, but I had to cancel. Please get him out of here," Ted pleaded.
"Give me a few minutes and I'll come get him," Justin said.
"You're my hero," Ted teased before disconnecting.
Justin turned off the oven, leaving their dinner inside to keep warm, and then set off to retrieve Brian from the office. As soon as he walked into Kinnetik, Cynthia shot him a pleading look, obviously as ready as Ted to end her day.
"Don't you people know how to tell him no?" he teased.
"Have you ever tried telling him no?" she replied with a pointed look.
"Okay, I get the point. Why don't you go tell Ted it's time to go and then get out of here? I'll handle your boss."
"Thanks Justin," she smiled. "Good luck."
Justin just laughed and headed towards Brian's office. He knocked lightly and then entered to find Brian lost in whatever was on his computer screen oblivious to the interruption.
Brian jumped, startled by the voice that invaded his thoughts, and looked up to find Justin standing on the other side of his desk. "What are you doing here?"
"Saving your employees. Brian, it's almost seven o'clock. You may not believe this, but Ted and Cynthia have lives that they'd like to live. Now you've got two minutes to save whatever it is you're working on and then I'm dragging you out of here."
"But," Brian said, but the look on Justin's face told him he better not argue. Besides, he was starting to feel a little weak after skipping lunch. "Fine, you win. I'm too tired to fight with you."
"Are you all right?" Justin asked in concern.
"I'm fine. Just a little tired. And hungry. I might have skipped lunch today," Brian admitted.
"What am I going to do with you?"
"Take me home and feed me, I hope," Brian teased.
"That's not a compliment. I'll be outside. Don't make me come back in here," Justin said, fighting to hold back his smile. Brian was so cute when he was in a joking mood.
Brian chuckled as he watched Justin walk away. He was secretly glad that he drove down. Brian hadn't realized how late it was and now that his mind was off of work, he realized how tired and hungry he actually was. He shut down his computer and turned off the light, deciding to leave his briefcase behind. He knew that Justin wouldn't let him do any work once they got home anyway.
He wasn't surprised to find Cynthia and Ted gone when he left his office. Justin, no doubt, dismissed them when he first arrived. When did he start letting an aging twink make his decisions for him? Probably around the time he started feeling something for that aging twink. Something that still didn't sit right in his head, but he didn't have time to dwell on it. Justin was waiting for him.
As Brian walked into the loft, his senses were alerted to the smells of home cooked food. "You made dinner?"
"Among other things. Why don't you go jump in the shower while I throw together a salad and set the table?"
"Justin, you don't have to wait on me, you know."
"Yes I do. I'm your houseboy, remember?" Justin could see the strained look on Brian's face and laughed. "Relax and go shower."
Brian obeyed, wondering what had possessed him to make the comment in the first place. There had been a time when having Justin at his mercy would've been a huge turn on, but those days were gone, along with one of his balls. He went into the bathroom and started the water before stripping down and climbing in. He wasn't sure how he was going to survive having Justin around all the time in such close quarters. The mansion had been big enough to give them both space and privacy, but in the loft they'd be practically on top of each other, and not in a good way.
He washed his hair and then began soaping his body, paying particular attention to his cock and balls. The thought of Justin still turned him on mentally and he was hoping that physically his body would catch up. After about five minutes of no response, he quickly rinsed and turned the water off, using more force than he intended. His failed attempt at a hard on pissed him off and reiterated what he'd been saying all along. He wasn't the same person he was before the surgery, and he'd never be again.
Justin had just finished making the salad when he heard the shower stop. He quickly placed the bowl on the table and then set out a place setting for each of them. He poured Brian a glass of Perrier, his favorite non-alcoholic drink, and took their dinner out of the oven. He waited for another ten minutes, sure that Brian would be joining him, but when that didn't happen he began to get worried. He walked into the bedroom, ready to knock on the bathroom door, when he saw Brian sprawled out on the bed, staring at the ceiling.
"There you are. I was beginning to get worried. Dinner's on the table."
"I'm not hungry," Brian mumbled, sounding to his own ears like a petulant child.
"What do you mean, you're not hungry? You were hungry at the office," Justin pointed out, confused by Brian's change in demeanor.
"Yeah, well now I'm not. Go eat and leave me alone," he barked, causing Justin to jump at his tone.
"Brian, is everything all right? Are you sick?"
"No Justin, I'm not sick. I'm not hungry. I just want to be left alone," Brian replied calmly, fighting the urge to scream and yell over his totally fucked up life.
Justin wanted to try and talk to him, to figure out what happened to cause Brian to shut down, but he held his tongue. He knew by the determined look that he wouldn't get through to Brian when he was in one of his moods.
"Okay, I'll just wrap everything up and put it away. It'll be there later if you get hungry."
Brian waited until Justin was gone and then let out the breath he'd been holding. He was sure Justin was going to argue and give him a hard time. He hadn't expected a quiet retreat. It made him feel a little guilty, but he just wasn't ready to sit down and eat dinner like nothing was wrong, when in fact everything was wrong. He never should've had the fucking surgery. He would've rather gone to his grave completely able to function till the end, than to live out his days as a semi-eunuch, unable to give and receive pleasure.
Justin was lying on the couch staring at the TV, but his brain was miles away. Brian had eventually drifted off to sleep, never coming out of the bedroom for something to eat, leaving Justin to wonder what happened. Brian had said himself that he was hungry because he skipped lunch. What had happened during his shower that caused him to change his mind? Was he still sick and didn't want to tell anyone? He seemed fine, if a little tired, when they'd gotten home. How does someone change gears that fast? He got up once again and checked on Brian before grabbing his phone and going out into the landing. He had to talk to someone who might have the answers he was looking for. It was just after eleven, but with the time difference, it wasn't too late to call.
"Hi Roger, it's Justin. I'm so sorry to be such a pain in the ass," Justin chuckled.
"That's okay, Justin; I know you're going through a rough time right now with Brian. Is everything okay? How was your trip to Pittsburgh?"
"Well, the trip was good. Brian made it through without incident. When we got to his loft, he even insisted on going into the office. He really seemed to be okay. It wasn't until I got him home tonight that there was a problem," Justin said, glancing over his shoulder foolishly, as if Brian could've snuck up behind him without the noise of the metal door alerting anyone. "I think there's something he's not telling me."
"What makes you say that?"
"At the office he admitted that he was hungry. He said he skipped lunch. After we got home I told him to go take a shower while I got everything ready. When he told me I didn't have to wait on him, I made another joke about being his naked houseboy. He got this weird look on his face and then went into the bathroom. By the time he came out, he was completely different. Something must have happened in the shower, but I don't know what. He wasn't in there that long," Justin explained.
"Another joke about being his houseboy?" Roger asked as he thought back to the conversation he had with Brian at the hospital, and then listened to Justin's explanation. "You know, you're putting me in a bad position here."
"What? How am I doing that? I'm just really worried and want your advice."
"Yes, but as Brian's doctor, I'm sworn to secrecy by doctor/patient confidentiality. There are things I know that I'm not allowed to share with you," Roger replied.
"So you know what's wrong? Is he going to be okay? Is there anything I can do for him? Is this a reaction from the radiation?"
"Slow down, Justin," Roger laughed. "I do think his problem is just a reaction to the radiation, but there's nothing to worry about. I told him that myself, but he obviously wasn't listening."
"Could you at least give me a hint? So I know what to expect? I wouldn't ask if it wasn't important, but it is. How am I supposed to help him if I don't know what's going on?"
"Justin, I could lose my license if anyone found out," Roger sighed. He used to tease John about how affected he was by Justin's charms. Now he found himself in the same boat, unable to refuse him anything.
"You don't have to tell me everything. Just give me something to work with. I promise that no one will ever find out. I'll go to my grave with it," Justin pleaded.
"I'm going to ask you a few questions, and then I'm going to hang up. You're on your own to figure things out for yourself."
"Okay," Justin agreed.
"When you and Brian were together, how were things in the bedroom?"
"The bedroom?" Justin giggled. "You mean the bedroom, the living room, the study, the kitchen, the garden, hell even the car. Things were great. Brian's sexual appetite surpasses anyone I've ever met. What does that have to do with anything?"
"What about now?"
"Well, since we're not together anymore things are different," Justin admitted.
"And he didn't want you to be his naked houseboy? Do you think the fact that you're not together anymore has any bearing on that? Or what other people might say?"
"Normally I wouldn't, but if that's not the reason, why would it matter…" Justin stopped mid-sentence as a thought popped into his mind. "You mean he's…that he can't…"
Justin stood there in shock as the line went dead. It couldn't be. There had to be some other explanation. It wasn't possible that Brian Kinney…he couldn't even finish the thought. Instead he went back inside and booted up the computer, waiting impatiently for everything to finish loading. As soon as the search engine came up, he typed in testicular cancer and clicked on the first link on the page. For the next two hours he read everything there was to know about the cancer itself, along with the treatment. He didn't even notice the tears that kept appearing as he read about all Brian had gone through. When he was done, there was one thought that kept repeating over and over again in his mind. Brian Kinney was impotent.
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