Close to Home II

+ Nine +

Justin lay in Brian's bed looking at the man sleeping beside him. They had finally come home from the hospital after waiting for what seemed like hours and hours for the results of the ultrasound and blood tests. The results had not been good, but they could have been a lot worse.

Dr. Johansen had finally returned to tell them that Brian had cystitis, an inflammation of the bladder, and he had two small bladder stones, one of which was lodged in the top of the urethra and that was what was causing the pain and Brian's inability to void completely. Brian was on an antibiotic to reduce the inflammation and prevent more bacteria from invading the bladder. There was a possibility that Brian could pass the stone, which was small and might be reduced in size by another drug they had injected. Passing the stone would be painful, but also the most non-invasive way of dealing with the problem.

Justin still felt like he had majorly let Brian down. He should have been more careful about what they did and ate. He shouldn't have been so grumpy in the morning. He now understood Brian's need to do his exercises. They were a large part of keeping his body functioning properly, and Justin had given him a hard time about it.

When they had finally returned from the hospital, Brian was exhausted. He was feeling a little strange from the drugs he had been given and he immediately went to lie down. He was asleep within five minutes. Justin had lain down with him to make sure he was okay and to help if he was needed.

Justin sat up. He should go get a few things from his loft. He was going to stay the night with Brian. He wouldn't let the man down again. He slid off the bed and watched Brian to make sure that he was sleeping peacefully. He went down to the kitchen and looked to see what was in the refrigerator. He knew he had some pork chops and fresh vegetables in his fridge. He decided to go get them and a change of clothes that he could have for the next morning.

When Justin returned not ten minutes later, he glanced into the bedroom and saw an empty bed. "No!" he yelled as he raced up the ramp. "Brian?" he called looking around panic starting to set in.

"In here," Brian croaked from the bathroom.

Justin raced into the bathroom. Brian was slumped in his chair sweat covering his forehead and looking pale and sick.

"What the fuck happened?" Justin asked kneeling down beside him. "I was only gone for a minute." He felt tears well up. He was such a fuck-up. He couldn't do anything right. He had been AWOL once again when Brian needed him.

"I think I passed the fucking stone," Brian groaned. "It hurt like a motherfucker."

"Are you okay? Should I call the doctor?"

"No, no," Brian groaned. "I think the worst is over. The doctor said it would hurt. Fuck, it hurt! Did I tell you that it hurt like a motherfucker?" Brian asked.

"Yes, I heard you," Justin said standing up and wetting a facecloth under the tap. He used it to wipe Brian's brow. He ran it under the cool water again and applied it to Brian's forehead. Brian was starting to look a little more like himself. "I bet it hurt like a motherfucker," Justin added with a chuckle.

"You fucking think this is funny?" Brian demanded.

"No, no, I just thought that you were feeling a little better. I'm sorry I wasn't here when you needed me."

"Me too."

"Are you sure you're all right?"

"For now. Don't forget there's another fucking stone still in there," Brian said starting to regain some of his color and a more normal voice.

"And I bet it'll hurt like a motherfucker when it decides to come out."

"When I feel better I'm going to spank that little ass of yours," Brian threatened.

"Hey, it's not so little."

Brian chuckled. "Get me out of here. I hate that fucking urinal."

Brian seemed to be regaining his control. Justin wheeled him down to the living room. "Are you hungry?" Justin asked. It was almost eight o'clock, a long time since lunch.

"Not really, but I should eat something. It helps to keep me on schedule," Brian said with a rueful grin.

"I brought up a couple of pork chops and some carrots. Does that sound all right?"

"Sounds fine," Brian agreed.

"Brian, from now if I'm doing something that's bad for you, fucking tell me."


"I mean it. Today was one of the worst days of my life. I don't want to go through that ever again. And I'm sure you don't either."

Brian smiled slightly. "Is there any of that cranberry juice left from the cosmos you and Emmett made?"

"Yeah, why? You want a cosmo?"

"Hell no! But cranberry juice is good in helping prevent calculi."

"Calculi? Like calculus?"

Brian snorted. "No, grasshopper, calculi are the bladder or kidney stones caused by too much calcium and other minerals."

"Oh, shit! I have so much to learn."

"I'm amazed that you want to," Brian said sadly.

"Brian, I'm here because I want to be. Understand?"

"Yeah." But somehow Brian found it hard to believe that Justin could really want to be anywhere with a cripple and all the fucking shit that went along with that.


A couple of hours later Brian had decided to go back to bed. He had had no further abdominal pain, and he wasn't sure whether that was a good thing or not. He kept telling Justin that it could be the calm before the storm. When the next bladder stone decided to move, it could be excruciating. However, he was actually hoping that the medicine would do its thing and help dissolve the stone or at least reduce it in size.

Brian lay in his bed trying to sleep but not finding any success in that attempt. He could just make out Justin's shape on the couch through the glass partition. He seemed to be reading or sketching or something. Brian wasn't sure, as his image was distorted by the frosted glass through which Brian observed him.

A sigh escaped Brian's mouth. Justin's distorted shape made him think about distortions in other things, like his fucking life. The human brain was funny in the way that it made connections between things. Ever since that life shattering car accident everything in Brian's world was thrown off kilter. Nothing was right and true anymore. It was all filtered through the distorted lens of his fucking wheelchair.

Brian glanced down towards Justin. He knew the young man was very upset about what had happened. Justin felt responsible for feeding Brian the wrong food and not letting him keep to his schedules of exercise and eating. But it hadn't been Justin's fault. Brian had wanted to do what Justin suggested. For once in the last three years he had been able to be normal … almost. He ate what normal people ate, and he did what normal people wanted to do … most of the time. And now he was paying the consequences. But it had been worth it, even though that bladder stone had hurt like a motherfucker. It had been nice to pretend that he was normal and not distorted. Even if it had only lasted for a little while.

He let out another sigh, this one loud enough to be heard by anyone in the loft, and, of course, there was only one other person there.

"Brian?" Justin asked. "Are you all right?"

"Can't sleep."

"Want some company?"

"Um…" Brian hesitated. He did want company but he didn't want to sound needy. "Yeah," he finally said giving in to his need to have contact with Justin.

"Want a massage?" Justin asked coming up and sitting on the side of the bed. "It might relax you."

"That would be nice," Brian said.

"Roll onto your stomach," Justin said.

Brian turned over and Justin started to knead his shoulders. "There's some oil in the medicine chest in the bathroom," Brian said.

"That will feel good," Justin said as he stood up to go get it. He returned with the bottle and squirted some into his hand. He rubbed his hands together warming the liquid. Slowly he began smoothing the warm oil across Brian's shoulders and down his back. He climbed onto the bed and knelt astride Brian. His hands worked at the tense muscles in the shoulders and down the spine.

"How low should I go?" Justin asked.

"Just play it by ear," Brian whispered already starting to feel drowsy from the sensation of Justin's warm hands all over him.

"I won't hurt you … will I?" Justin felt compelled to ask.

"I'm not made of porcelain or lace. You won't hurt me."

Justin continued his slow methodical kneading and rubbing. He felt Brian relax and very soon the steady breathing beneath him told Justin that Brian had fallen asleep. Gently he stood up and climbed over Brian to lie down beside the man. Justin brushed the hair away from Brian's eyes and studied the sleeping face.

"I won't let you down again," Justin said as he leaned in to kiss Brian's cheek.

Hours later Justin stood up from the computer and stretched. He glanced at the time on the screen. It was 3:52. "Shit," he mumbled. He had spent hours researching paraplegia on the web. He had read everything about it that he could find, concentrating on medical conditions resulting from paraplegia, and on how to care for paraplegics and about foods good and bad for paraplegics. He had found all kinds of other stuff that he wanted to ask Brian about too, but that would have to wait for a bit.

Justin made his way up to the bedroom. He stared at the sleeping Brian before shucking off his clothes and climbing in beside him. He leaned in to kiss Brian's cheek again and to renew his promise to stick by Brian at all times and be there when he was needed.


The next day went by without incident. Justin roused himself when Brian got up about seven a.m. He had barely got to sleep, or so it seemed, but he was determined to get up and not be grumpy. He made coffee and consumed several mugs of it while Brian did his exercises. He made breakfast for them, encouraging Brian to drink his cranberry juice and keeping a cheerful face on everything he did.

When Brian started working on the computer, Justin cleaned up the kitchen and watched Brian every chance he got. He would always manage to look away before Brian caught him, but he wanted to make sure that Brian was not having any further pain or discomfort.

"You could go down to your loft and paint," Brian suggested when Justin finished in the kitchen.

"Oh, no, I'm going to sketch and I can do that here," Justin declared.

"Suit yourself," Brian said with a shrug. He went back to work on the campaign he was designing. Whenever he looked up, Justin would look away. He wondered if Justin intended to keep him under twenty-four hour scrutiny. It was kind of endearing. Brian gave a shudder at that thought. He had been hanging around the munchers too much lately.

Justin made lunch and then dinner. He changed the sheets and made the bed. He ran the dishwasher. He swept the kitchen floor. Anything that could possibly need to be done, he did it.

By bedtime Brian was ready for some time alone. He suggested that Justin might want to go to his loft and paint for a bit or check his messages. Justin said there was nothing down there that he needed to do. He thought he'd go to bed early too.

They each followed their nightly rituals of getting ready for bed. Brian had a shower and then Justin had one. They brushed their teeth and climbed into bed. Justin wondered about initiating sex, but he didn't know if Brian was up to it. The bladder problems had taken a lot out of him, and Justin didn't want to push anything and cause more problems. They stared at the ceiling.

After a bit Justin turned on his side and studied Brian's profile. "Are you feeling okay?" he asked.

"I'm fine. You don't have to ask me all the time."

"I'm just concerned."

"I know."

Facing Brian, Justin slid his hand down Brian's arm that lay on top of the duvet. When his fingers reached Brian's he linked them between Brian's so that they were locked together. Brian turned his head to take in the look on Justin's beautiful face. They lay staring at each other in silence. After a bit when Brian showed no signs of going to sleep, Justin decided they might as well talk.

"Brian, can I ask you something?" he began.

"Like I could stop you."

"If you want to sleep, just say so," Justin said defensively.

"I'm teasing. What do you want to know?"

"Are there any other things I should know about you being in a wheelchair? I don't want to be responsible for causing more problems."

"There's tons of stuff, but most of it you don't want to hear about, believe me!"

"What … what do you mean exactly?"

"I mean that I spent the first year after the accident learning about my body, relearning so many things that everybody takes for granted. Things that I could no longer assume would happen," Brian added not sure how specific he wanted to get about this.

"Like what?" Justin had to ask.

"You've just lived through one example," Brian said with a grimace.


"Urinating," Brian said like that explained everything.

"I … um … I was reading on the net last night about problems people have…"

"People, as in paraplegics?" Brian asked.

Justin nodded not wanting to say the word. "How come you don't have catheters?"

"I see you did your research," Brian said with a bit of a grimace. "A lot of paraplegics do have to be catheterized. I guess you'd say I'm lucky in that the spinal damage was very low in the back and it's only a partial lesion. That's why I have some sensation down there."

"So you don't need a catheter? You can do it by yourself."

"I suppose you could call it that, but it doesn't fucking happen automatically anymore. I basically had to learn to piss and shit all over again."


"I've done it through training my body to follow a routine, and by eating and drinking the right things every fucking day."

"And I screwed that up for you," Justin said shaking his head.

"Stop blaming yourself. I wanted to do those things. I could have told you that I wouldn't eat the pizza or that cheese sauces weren't good for me. But I didn't do that because for once it was nice to be like everyone else. I thought I could handle it."

"I should have read more about paraplegia when I first met you. Then I would have known."

"Don't you get it? I didn't want you to know about para-fucking-plegia. I wanted to forget all about it. And you were the first person in a hell of a long time who saw me, and not the chair. It was like this fucking contraption didn't exist for you, and I loved that you felt that way. You know, the fucking bladder stone was a small price to pay for the enjoyment I've had over the last weeks."

"Even though it hurt like a motherfucker?" Justin teased.

"Even though…" Brian smiled.

"But …"

"But what?" Brian sighed.

"I still want to know what other things I should or shouldn't do," Justin persisted.

"Don't get testy when I clang around doing my exercises … every day … without fail."

"Okay, even if I have to get up at the crack of dawn, I'll do that."

"I've been meaning to talk to you about our living arrangements," Brian said.

"Can we do it later? I want to find out what else I need to do to help you."

"Don't try to help me too much, would be the first thing," Brian stated. "I'm not an invalid. Well, I am an invalid, but I don't want to be treated like an invalid."

"Okay, so I'm getting the don'ts. How about some do's?"

"You have the pamphlets on foods I should and shouldn't have."

"Yeah," Justin said. He had read them thoroughly several times. "What about sex? Have I been doing that right?"


"Shit! What have I done wrong there?"

"Nothing, you do everything very masterfully."

"Briiiaaan," Justin said with a warning in his voice. "Tell me the truth."

"I … I shouldn't have anal sex," Brian finally said closing his eyes to block out Justin's reaction.

"Fuck! Why didn't you tell me?"

"I wanted to do it for you," Brian said simply.

"Well, no more!" Justin declared. He couldn't believe that Brian had let him do that and not said anything. Jesus, he could have really put Brian in jeopardy.

"I don't think every now and then should be a problem."

"Isn't that what you thought about the food?" Justin challenged him.

"Yeah, I guess it was. I could discuss it with Dr. Johansen," Brian suggested.

"All right, but make sure you do. I'm not going to cause any more problems. Have I been doing anything else wrong?"

"Justin, it's fine," Brian replied. He didn't want to be discussing this at all. He didn't want to hurt Justin's feelings and make him feel even worse.

"It's not fine. Tell me."

Brian groaned. "I … I have little sensation in my penis. When you work with me and I get an erection, I can usually get off, but..."

"But what?" Justin asked frowning.

"The most sensation I have is along the line where the feeling to my lower extremities ends. When you touch me there, it drives me wild."

"It does?" Justin asked with a grin. "Show me where."

Brian threw back the duvet and ran his finger along a line at his groin. "That's the area."

"I see," Justin said letting his fingers trace the same line. He watched Brian's face. The man sucked in a breath and started to almost pant. "Feel good?"

"Fuck, yes."

Justin grinned. He leaned down over Brian's groin and used his talented tongue to follow the same path his fingers had taken before. Brian groaned. Warming to his task, Justin nipped along the same area. Brian arched his back and moaned. His breath came in short gasps. Justin's hands found Brian's cock and he pulled gently. As the cock began to fill he stroked up and down the shaft, still nipping and licking at Brian's groin. Brian's moans grew louder and he grabbed a fistful of Justin's hair. Justin squeezed Brian's balls rolling them around and tugging gently. His mouth continued to work along the line that Brian had shown him. Brian gasped and arched and moaned and mewled. The sound was driving Justin crazy. He wanted to ride Brian's now full cock, but he wanted to pleasure this man even more.

"Oh, fuck, Justin," Brian panted feeling things he hadn't felt for so long.

"Am I doing it right?" Justin asked as he looked up into Brian's face with a wicked grin playing about his lips.

"Just about fucking perfect," Brian groaned as Justin continued to flick his tongue and nibble on the now super-sensitized area.

"Can I ride it?" Justin asked indicating Brian's now fully engorged cock.

"You have to ask?"

Justin quickly rolled on a condom and positioned himself above Brian. As he slowly sat down Brian held his dick to the ready. When Justin was fully impaled, he stroked along that sensitive line on Brian's groin that he now knew by heart. Brian moaned.

"Oh God, Justin."

"We can make this really good for both of us," Justin smiled as he began to move up and down slowly. His hands caressed and squeezed along the sensitive area on Brian.

Brian reached for Justin's cock as it bounced in front of him. He began his own rhythm, stroking in tandem with Justin's movements. As Justin rode him and continued to stroke and massage the area Brian had shown him, Brian thought he would explode or incinerate. He had felt nothing like this in so long. As good as sex had been with Justin since they met, this was far beyond that. Justin moaned and whispered Brian's name as he bounced above him. Suddenly Justin cried out and shot his load all over Brian. Brian felt, actually felt, something constrict his cock. It had to be Justin's hole contracting around his dick. He rose up slightly off the bed and cried out as the orgasm overcame him.

When Justin slid off him, Brian looked down at his softening penis. Maybe the world was all right after all. Maybe everything wasn't quite as distorted as he had thought. He pulled Justin close as they dozed, wrapped around each other all sticky and gooey. And it felt so right.

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