after.midnight // v.naked
Title: Lover Alone Without
Summary: Awkward encounter #5. Set after 507.
Disclaimer: Brian and Justin aren't mine.


It's almost two in the morning when Justin steps inside Babylon for the first time in weeks.

Brian's standing alone at the bar, leaning back with a beer in his hands, eyes searching the crowd. Ted had gone home a half hour ago, tugging some stud behind him, and as happy as he was that Ted was finally getting to have sex on a regular basis (and he was, though he'd admit it to no one), talking business was pointless without him. So, he'd gone to the bar, got himself a drink, and was prepared to dedicate whatever was left of his mind to fucking.

He hadn't counted on Justin. He thinks it's funny that even after all this time, he's still doing that.

Brian knows the moment Justin steps inside the club that he's been painting. The act of creation makes Justin glow, his smile blinding in its brightness, his eyes alight with some inner flame. It had only ever taken one look in those eyes to spark an answering flame in Brian. Sex had always been at its best after Justin put paint to canvas, adreneline flowing unchecked through his veins making every touch electric and amplifying every sound. Brian had always thought Justin beautiful, but he was absolutely stunning standing half naked in fading light, paint brush in hand, milky white flesh streaked in hues of red, yellow, and blue.

Just the thought of it was making him hard, something he didn't need. Especially now, when the possibilities of him and Justin ending up naked and sweaty, tangled in the sheets of his bed, using that creative energy for something equally artistic, were slim to none.

He tore his eyes away from Justin and tried to concentrate on something else. He ordered another beer, made a mental note to ask Ted to calculate how much much money they spent on the alcohol he alone consumed during a typical week, and briefly pondered the chances that he might be an alcoholic. It all took less than thirty seconds and, try as he might to stop it, his gaze settled back on Justin. And considering watching was all he had left, since Justin seemed to have forgotten he even existed, he figured he was entitled to indulge.

So, he watched as Justin stopped to hug and chat up Emmett, flash a flirty smile at some hot guy in tight jeans and cowboy boots and pull him onto the dance floor. Watched him close his eyes and sway instinctively to the beat, pressing closer and closer to the body moving in time with his. Watched as the hot guy whispered in Justin's ear and slipped his number into the back pocket of Justin's tight black jeans. Watched as Justin gave him a shy smile, the one Brian knew Justin only used to reel in the unsuspecting ones, the ones who thought they were going home with some docile, pliable blonde and ended up on hands and knees, ass in the air, begging to be fucked.

It was part of Justin's charm; you start out thinking you want one thing from him and then, before you know it, he makes you want something entirely different.

Cowboy's number isn't the first one slipped into Justin's pockets. By the time he steps off the dance floor forty-five minutes later, hot and sweaty and with a dozen men watching him move through the crowd, there are slips of paper stuck in every available place imaginable. That, if nothing else, tells you that word has definitely gotten around and every gay man on Liberty Avenue knows that Justin is, once again, fair game.

Justin steps up to the bar just as Giovanni, the bartender, places his drink in front of him. It annoys him, just a bit, because none of the bartenders ever have his drinks waiting for him when he steps up to the bar, and he owns the damn place, but he'd always stressed to the staff that Justin was special and was to be treated as such. He can't really blame them for following orders.

Justin chats with Giovanni for a minute, laughing at something he says as if it's the funniest thing he's ever heard, before the bartender moves on to serve drinks to people who actually pay for them. Brian briefly debates making Justin pay for his own drinks, but then Justin looks in his direction and flashes him a smile, and he decides being that petty is beneath him. Besides, he's been paying for Justin for so long now, even when Justin isn't aware of it, that it's become habit. A few drinks at the bar is probably the least expensive thing Brian's ever gotten him.


Brian smiles slightly. "Hey."

Justin finishes off his drink and is immediately supplied with a new one. "Good night?"

"Better now," he replies.

If he was expecting a reaction, and he had to admit he was, he didn't get one. Justin just nodded his head and stared out at the crowd. "Business booming?" Justin questioned, waving at some muscled blonde that walks past.

It's small talk, which Brian hates, but it seems to be the only way he and Justin can communicate these days, so he tamps down his frustration and replies, "You saw the line out front, Sunshine. Business has never been better."

There doesn't seem to be anything else they have to say to each other, but it's been seven days since the last time he saw Justin and he misses the sound of his voice. He searches his mind for something they can talk about that will not end with Justin looking up at him with disappointed eyes just before he walks away and settles on his son.

"Gus asked about you the other day," he says, trying to keep the conversation going. "We were at the park and some guy was drawing caricatures. Gus told him you could draw better. He wanted me to call you up and ask you to come to the park and show the guy you were the better artist. The guy looked like he wanted to kill him."

Justin laughs, as he expected, and he realizes he misses the sound of Justin's laugh, as well. It makes him think of all the other things about Justin he misses. Things like waking up next to him in the morning and falling asleep with him at night. Coming home to him after a long day, watching him make a mess in the kitchen as he cooked dinner. He missed him sketching on the couch in lamplight, stretched out on the floor watching Nick At Nite. He missed arguing with him, yelling and shouting that always, always led to hot sex wherever they happened to be standing at that moment, missed wrapping himself around Justin as he stood in front of the fridge at three in the morning, drinking orange juice out of the carton and letting all the cold air out. He missed his smile and his laugh, the ever-changing color of his eyes depending on his mood, the different wattages of his smile, the way he looked both adorably sweet and incredibly hot when he woke up in the morning, the way Justin's very existance made him want to hold him close and fuck him senseless, no matter where they were or what they were doing.

There wasn't one thing he didn't miss about Justin, he even missed the way he left his clothes on the bathroom floor and never put the cap back on the toothpaste. And every day that passed only made him miss him more.

It also became apparent that this was it, that this time it really was over. He hates to think he'll wake up one morning ten years from now, still reaching for a sleep warm body that left long ago, that he'll still be missing Justin twenty years later.

But Justin looks, not happy exactly, but a little lighter now, standing at the bar in Babylon making small talk with his ex and flirting with every hot guy that passes, then he's looked in a long time, and if being without him is what Justin needs right now, then he's willing to give him that, even if it kills him.

He and Justin exchange a few more words, and after two more drinks Justin flashes him one more smile and tells him goodbye, he walks back out to the dance floor and immediately disappears into the crowd. It's pointless and stupid and will only make him hurt just a little bit more, but Brian tosses back the rest of his drink and follows Justin's path to the door.

He stands on the sidewalk outside Babyon and watches as Justin saunters down the street, Emmett's protective presence by his side. He keeps on watching until the two of them disappear into the night.

He hates to think that after all they've shared, laughter and tears and mindblowing sex, and everything they've been through together, bashings and cancer and long distance seperations, all they'll have to show for it is idiotic small talk when they happen to run into each other in some bar.

He wishes he could change things, make things the way they used to be, but he knows that's not the answer either. He wishes he could be different, less of some things and more of others.

But most of all he just wished Justin would come home and stay there and never leave again.