Note: A huge “Thank You” to ++spin++ for the wonderful transcripts upon which this story is based. As such, this story is subject to revisions upon the airing of Episodes 20 and 21 in the U.S., because different people see different things in the same scenes.

The image of Justin fucking Sean persisted long after he had gone home in a rage. As he lay in bed waiting for sleep to hammer him into unconsciousness, he was forced to replay the scene over and over in his head until he felt like shouting. Smooth, young skin sliding against smooth, young skin. Justin’s full lips pressed against Sean’s neck, the tip of his tongue inscribing a spell that kept Sean enthralled. The two of them jerking against one another, the rest of the world forgotten. He knew, however, that he had only gotten as good as he had given. On more than one occasion. And he knew that Justin had taken a lot more and a lot worse from him. He knew that. Only… Justin wasn’t him. Even at his weakest and worst moments with Cam he had never been as gloriously naďve as Justin, as trusting, as hopeful. As sweet. Sweet was not a word anyone would associate with Brian. Having Justin fling his own words back at him, “He’s just my stalker,” hearing them from the other side, he wondered how Justin could ever have fallen for him. It amazed him. Finally, it was the knowledge that Justin did love him and would have given anything to have been with him— and not Sean— that gave Brian the peace of mind he needed to drift off to sleep.

Still, he awoke alone and angry the next morning. He almost skipped breakfast with the guys but he knew that if he did, they’d assume it was because of Justin and would never let him forget it. So, he swallowed his pride and put in an appearance, sulking, he knew. As much as he wanted to behave as if it hadn’t affected him, the guys kept goading and teasing him until he was almost to the point of grabbing a steak knife and doing serious damage to someone’s vital organs. He could have kissed that guy, Brent, for showing up when he did and momentarily diverting attention away from him. And then Justin arrived and his torment began again as the guys urged the teenager to divulge all of the sordid details of his night with Sean, which he did gleefully.

Listening to Justin tell how he had fucked Sean, Brian felt the first stirrings of a mild panic. Gripping his paper even tighter, he tried to clamp down on his feelings but could tell it would be only a matter of time before he surrendered to them. Desperately, he attempted to block out the sound of Justin’s voice, and was partially successfully until Justin said, “He wanted to know when he was gonna see me again.”

At that, Brian raised his head slowly and looked into Justin’s eyes. Against his will, he asked, “So what’d you tell him?” pulse rate increasing as he waited for Justin’s answer. He watched the teen’s blue eyes brighten as a prelude to a smile, having correctly interpreted Brian’s question as a not-so-subtle query concerning the status of their non-existent relationship.

”I told him he could see me in his dreams,” Justin replied still smiling.

Brian’s grim expression shifted to a slight grin. Not just at the choice of words, which had been his own, but because Justin had been tempted and had resisted, had returned to claim what he wanted most in the world: Brian.

They continued to stare at one another, oblivious to the rest of the gang, both aware, if no one else was, that something was changing between them. Only, neither of them was really sure if it would be for the better or the worse.

Despite all that had happened at breakfast, Brian wasn’t ready to face Justin alone. So, using errands as an excuse, he left without making further plans to meet. Somehow, they would connect and finish this.

Glancing around the grocery store, he caught sight of Justin approaching from the rear. Raised an eyebrow. Set his basket down and waited.

Justin caught up to him and hesitated at the last moment, a little afraid of a confrontation now that their meeting was inevitable. But he managed a small, “Hey,” anyway.

Brian picked up his basket and started walking, trusting that Justin would follow. All the while he tried to think of what to say without sounding peevish or bothered or hurt. As they reached the produce section, he asked, “What do you know about cantaloupes?”

And Justin laughed, all was right between them again. Then, calling Brian’s bluff, the teen selected a melon, smelled and pressed the indentation where the stem had been. Rejected that one and tried another.

A woman approached them, eyeing the cantaloupes and observing Justin’s technique. “Is that how you do it? I’ve always wondered. I can never pick a good one. And I really love melon balls.”

”Well, he knows all about melons and other assorted balls,” Brian drawled.

Justin glanced at him and gave him a look that said, ‘Behave,’ and continued assaying the cantaloupes until he settled on two, giving one to the woman.

”Thanks,” she said smiling; then leaned in and whispered loud enough for Brian to hear, ”You’d better feed him pretty soon. I don’t think he can wait much longer for your balls. He’s practically salivating.”

Justin nearly choked with laughter as she winked and rolled her cart forward to continue shopping. Brian’s mouth hung open. Still laughing, Justin tugged on his arm. “Come on, I’m hungry too.”

”How’d you know I’d be at the grocery store?” asked Brian before taking a big bite out of a roasted chicken sandwich, prepared by the master of the manse himself.

Lying naked on his belly and picking at his half of the sandwich, Justin snorted. “I lived with you for almost a month. You hate change. You always go to the same supermarket, at the same time of day every weekend, and buy the same things: bottled water, raisin bran, milk—”

” I get it. And I don’t hate change,” Brian argued, “I hate needless change.”

Justin declined to accept that challenge. ”So who’d you end up doing?” he asked.


”Last night?”

Chewing reflectively for a few moments, Brian replied, “Why do you care?”

”I don’t,” Justin answered. “I was just making conversation.” Brian popped his bare buns. “Ow!” he yelped. Then grinned. “So you didn’t do anybody, did you?” pressed Justin, despite his reddened cheeks.

”If I tell you, will you drop it?” Justin nodded. “Fine. I didn’t do anybody. I came home and went to bed. I was tired. I’m not as young as I used to be. Or so I’ve been told,” he explained.

”Bri—“ began Justin but Brian had rolled over and off the bed. “I didn’t say it!” he exclaimed in his defense to an empty room. Brian had gone into the bathroom. Soon Justin heard the shower. Fuck. So things weren’t all right between them. He really had hurt Brian. Well, hurt his pride. Brian would never admit to anything else. He wanted to say, ‘Fuck it,’ after all Brian had said and done his share of shitty things to him. He had only given him a taste of his own medicine. But, of course, there was more to it than that. He had also wanted to make Brian jealous. Make him realize that he was desirable too. Now, he understood how Michael must have felt, how desperate he must have been to find one person who liked him best so that he could say to Brian, ‘See?’ Still, the very fact that they needed to prove something to Brian only proved that what they really wanted was Brian. Certainly, that was what Justin wanted, more than anything else in the world. Yet, as foolish as he felt now, he knew Brian had been affected by his actions. Why hadn’t he found someone else? The Brian he had met all those months ago would have picked up another trick and taken him home. But last night he had returned to the loft alone. Why?

Justin climbed out of bed and entered the bathroom where Brian was still showering. Opened the door to the stall and closed it behind him. Brian said nothing, just passed him the shower gel. Instead of soaping himself up, Justin squeezed a palm full of the gel, worked up a good lather, and began to run his hands over Brian’s body. “You’re still the hottest guy I know,” he said with his hands on Brian’s chest and abdomen. He felt Brian stiffen in his arms.

”You don’t know anybody,” countered Brian, pulling away.

Justin neared him again and began soaping him once more. “I can’t imagine anyone hotter than you.”

Brian pushed past him. “Obviously, you’ve got a limited imagination.”

However, he didn’t leave the shower so Justin understood that he was being given another chance. “I’m sorry.”

It was the wrong thing to say. “I don’t need your fucking pity,” growled Brian and he yanked open the shower door and snatched a towel from the rack.

Justin washed, then turned off the water and waited until Brian finished and had stomped off to the bedroom before exiting the stall to dry off too. By the time he returned to the bedroom, Brian had run out of steam and was sitting naked amidst the disarray that was the bed. His head moved almost imperceptibly as Justin entered. The teen watched the man sulk for a few moments and then he decided to speak despite the consequences. “I don’t want to be one of your back-up plans.” Brian gave no indication that he had heard Justin. “I always put you first.” At that Brian turned, but before he could protest, Justin added, “I’m not asking you to do that. Just— if you don’t want me, then say it. And I’ll go. Either you want me or you don’t,” he explained.

”I’ve told you before, I don’t do ultimatums,” Brian reminded him softly.

”It’s not an ultimatum. I’m just telling you what I won’t do,” Justin said in a much calmer voice than he had expected from the way his heart was racing. He stuck to his guns. “I won’t wait around anymore for you to decide if you can do better than me. That’s not fair, and I won’t do it.”

Brian refused to look at Justin as he spoke. “Fine. From now on, if I don’t intend to come home with you, I’ll just say it. Up front,” he clarified. “And you can do whatever and whomever you want.”

He hadn’t expected a declaration of love. But for Brian to agree to ground rules was something. This was as close to a commitment as he would get right now and he took it. Crawling onto the bed, he knelt behind Brian and wrapped his arms around him, content. Only he kept hearing inside his head the one question he hadn’t asked, ‘Why can’t you want me and only me all of the time?’

Over the next few weeks they spent a great deal of time together, although Brian did manage to do two guys on the side, much to Justin’s disappointment. To his surprise, though, Brian didn’t flaunt them, seemed almost furtive in his arrangements. He set up his assignations online, scheduled them during Justin’s shifts at the diner, and showed his guests the door as soon as they had finished servicing him. After they were gone, he showered and laid in bed, dissatisfied, angry, and unfulfilled.

Both times Justin had called and asked to come over and both times Brian had refused, knowing he was in no mood to be gentle, and needing time to decipher the meaning behind his actions.

And both times, the day after, Justin managed to maneuver his way into Brian’s bed where they fucked for hours, taking the bitter taste of sterile couplings from the man’s mouth.

What did it all mean?

He was surprised that Justin hadn’t asked to go to the Atlas Award dinner with him, not that he would have said yes in a million years. There were some things that even he wouldn’t do, and taking an eighteen year old teenager to an awards banquet was one of them. So he went with Cynthia and hoped there’d be somebody hot there to do. And there was. The presenter for this year’s award. Which he won. Not that anyone else had had a chance. He’d had a fantastic year despite failing to secure one important account and in spite of the Kip Thomas debacle.

As he accepted the award from Adam he definitely detected more than a flickering interest on Lyon’s part. So he hadn’t lost it completely.

Expecting nothing more than a quick fuck upstairs, he hadn’t been prepared for Adam to suggest that he leave Pittsburgh for Madison Avenue. “You’re too good for Pittsburgh, you should be in New York.”

That night he slept alone, having put Justin off with a lame excuse (and pun) about not feeling up to it. As if that would ever happen. In truth, he wanted time alone to think about Adam’s proposal. Moving to New York would mean a lot of changes and, as he had told Justin, he hated needless change. Would things be that much better in New York? He’d be giving up the security of Pittsburgh and his job for the uncertainty of Manhattan. In exchange for what? New environment, new job, new guys.


The name and person forced its way to the forefront of his thoughts. Moving to New York would mean leaving Justin behind. Angrily, he told himself, ‘So?’ Justin would start college in the fall, would meet new people, have new experiences— Hell, he was already having new experiences— all of which meant that things would change between them, despite what the teen thought. And if Justin’s stunt with Sean was any indication, things wouldn’t necessarily change to Brian’s advantage. Maybe it was time for him to go.

The next morning, his mind made up, he faxed his resume to Kennedy & Collins before heading out to breakfast with the guys.

They were busy assessing the merits of the new waiter when Brian told them about the job offer and his decision to go for it. Justin’s face darkened upon hearing the news. “So, if you get this job, you’re leaving?” he asked.

”Not if,” replied Brian. “When.”

Justin looked as if someone had hit him in the head with a sledgehammer. After everything that had happened between them, Brian was thinking about moving to New York? Wanting to run and hide, he forced a smile and then walked away, hoping no one realized how truly shaken he really was.

Courtesy of meg:o)He had expected Justin to take it hard, to protest, to argue, and even to cry. What he hadn’t anticipated was how Justin’s reaction would affect him. As Brian held him, he felt his own throat constrict. Without a trace of carnal desire or intent, he kissed Justin’s cheek softly and felt the teen’s arms tighten around him. It frightened him, how much Justin seemed to need him, and it scared him, that he even cared enough to notice. ”What about me?” Justin had asked. And he had replied, “I’m sure you’ll get along just fine on your own.” But Justin had shaken his head saying, “No. I won’t.”

For a split second he wished he could travel back in time to the night they had met, to the moment he had decided to walk out of Babylon. If he could, he would have told himself to stay inside just a little longer or leave a little sooner, anything to prevent his meeting Justin. And he wondered if anything or anyone could have made a difference. Maybe they had been fated to meet. He trembled at the thought and Justin stirred.

Tenderly, Brian eased Justin away from his chest and gently wiped the teenager’s face clean of tears with his fingers. As he started to turn away, Justin laid a hand upon his arm. “I need you,” he said and Brian understood that he meant right now, that he needed to be with Brian, needed to feel him inside of his body, to feel connected to him somehow, any way that he could.

Holding onto Brian’s muscular shoulders, feeling him move between his thighs, Justin gave himself over to the flood of sensations sweeping through his body. He tightened his thighs around Brian’s waist and shouted, caught in the grip of his climax. Fingers slipping from sweaty skin, he grabbed the duvet cover as Brian continued to plow into him, racing towards his own orgasm.

Afterwards, skin wet with sweat and semen, they held onto one another, shivering as body temperatures and pulse rates returned to normal. Justin curled against Brian’s chest and, despite his silent resolve not to, he cried, mourning the nights they would never have. For his part, Brian just laid still, eyes closed tightly, unwilling to witness the teen’s tears for fear of what he might do or say. They lay like this for a while until sleep, at last and mercifully, took them.

He returned from New York confident that he had landed the job. The people at Kennedy & Collins were impressed by his resume, with his work, with him in person. He could see it in their eyes. Could see the hunger in a couple of the men’s eyes in the guise of professional interest. Like Adam, if given the opportunity, they would have gladly expanded the interview process to include more erotic lines of inquiry. As is, he had gotten the definite impression that his talents would be well appreciated at the firm. Only one thing marred the day— the fact that he continually compared each guy he met to Justin.

Having spent the night together, he had dropped the teenager off at Deb’s before driving to the airport to catch his early morning flight. As Justin had climbed out of the jeep, he had turned and fixed Brian with a sad smile and said softly, “Good luck.” Those two words had echoed in Brian’s mind all during the flight to New York and on the taxi ride to Midtown. It was only as he entered the building where Kennedy & Collins had their offices that he had been able to put Justin out of his mind.

Now, home again, he resigned himself to waiting for word of the firm’s decision. Meanwhile, he had to deal not only with Justin, but with Lindz too.

She stormed into the loft, pissed that he hadn’t told her about the interview and his plans to leave Pittsburgh. Even his attempt to put a positive spin on events by emphasizing all the things he could do for Gus in New York backfired. Finally, he came clean.

”Lindsay, if I stay here, I’m gonna go out of my mind. Who knows what I’ll become?” he told her and the truth of it terrified him. But she misinterpreted his fears, thought he was talking about growing old and maybe part of his fear had to do with that, but it also had to do with a feeling that had begun to grow inside him, that he was stagnating. “I wanna become something different, something new,” he said and he did, but that was only part of it.

This time she nailed him, honed in on his fears and without mercy exposed the root of those fears. “When are you gonna figure out that Justin really loves you?” The rest of her words were lost to him as he fought to control his reaction. He knew that Justin loved him; how could he not know? And he knew that the love Justin felt for him was real, was more than a boyish crush, he knew that. She was the one who seemed to have needed convincing. That Justin loved him was only part of the problem.

He walked away so that she wouldn’t see his face. The other part of the problem was that he was afraid he might actually love Justin. He was afraid that if he stayed in Pittsburgh he’d change into someone he didn’t recognize, someone with a lover, and a kid, and responsibilities— and it frightened him. He shuddered as he recalled her answer to his question: ”Who knows what I’ll become?” “Probably the same thing you are now, only older.” Christ, he didn’t want that, didn’t want to end up like Jack Kinney, still living in the past, unwilling to accept change— unable to accept the fact that he was no longer the hottest guy around. And yet, the thought of becoming something else, of maybe building a future with Justin, wasn’t exactly comforting either.

”Yeah. Sure.” With two words Brian concluded his business with Kennedy & Collins. There was no job offer, no job. No decision to make about going or staying. He’d be stuck in Pittsburgh forever. Dropping the cell phone to the bed, he tried to regroup. Sat waiting for Justin to grow curious and come in to investigate.

In a few moments Justin appeared. “Something wrong?”

He shook his head. Nothing. And everything.

He had done the right thing, telling Mikey to go to Portland with Dr. Dave. Even though his own plans had fallen through, he hadn’t fucked it up for Michael. He had put Mikey first, for once, and given him the best advice he could, ”Go with David. Get the hell out of here.”

Even now, sitting at the bar, eavesdropping on their conversation, hearing Mikey tell David that he’d go to Portland, feeling his heart break, he still held to the belief that he had done good, that he had finally let Mikey go. And as long as one of them made it, he could go on, even though he felt as if everything had suddenly gone dark and he had lost his way.

Justin reached for the vial of coke and Brian let him take it. He placed it on top of the chest of drawers and slid his arm around Brian’s bare waist. “What’s wrong?” he asked.

Brian pulled away. “Nothing.”

”Then why do you need the coke?”

”I don’t need anything.” He paused. “Or anyone.”

Stung by Brian’s words, Justin said shakily, “Sometimes, it does hurt,” and he turned away as if to go but Brian caught hold of him.

”I didn’t get the job,” he confessed, releasing Justin. “And I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to talk about anything.” He sat on the bed and cradled his head. An unshed tear gathered at the corner of his eye. “The guy who beat me out was twenty-five.” He gave a bitter, little laugh. “Almost five years younger than me.” He looked up at Justin. “And seven years older than you.” Then looked away as he said, “I’m losing tricks to twinks and jobs to twenty-five year old hot shots.” He stood and went to the kitchen, got out the bottle of Jim Beam.

Justin followed. “Don’t. Please.”

He paused with his fingers around the cap.

Without saying anything else, Justin returned to the bedroom, dropped off the remainder of his clothes, and waited.

He was sorely tempted to knock back a couple of shots despite Justin’s plea. He felt as if his entire world had fallen apart in less than a month. He would turn thirty soon and, instead of having a new lease on life, he would, as he had feared, be facing decline. Stumbling through the rest of his life knowing that he was no longer the best. And who would he turn to once Mikey had gone? No one knew him the way Mikey did, no one else understood him, understood what drove him to do the things he did, no one except Michael. Feeling more alone than he had in years, on the verge of opening the bottle and drinking away his sorrows, he heard a sound. Looked over to see Justin standing naked in the doorway of his bedroom. In the blue glow of the neon light over his bed, Justin looked almost angelic. He didn’t say anything, just waited for Brian to make a decision: the whiskey or him, the past or the future. Both choices unsettled him, so that he stood frozen in his indecision, trapped between the glory of days gone by and the unpredictability of days to come.

Then, finally, he set aside the bottle of Jim Beam and crossed to where the teen stood. Climbed the steps wearily and drew Justin to him, gleaning life from his youth, his goodness, his strength, and his love. As unfathomable as the future seemed, he was certain of one thing: he wasn’t alone.

Heels Over Head | Stories