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17 May 2006 @ 07:23 am

I didn’t think it was possible to hurt more than I did yesterday, but it is. I do. I wake up to find I turned into the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz overnight. Every joint is seized up and locked, and my oil-can is nowhere in sight. My one uninjured limb is asleep under his blond head. When I try to move, the ribs come to life and I groan. He wakes up and struggles out of the chair with a minimum of jostling to keep from hurting me. No such luck.

“It’s worse,” I say through gritted teeth. He nods.

“Second day usually is.”

Together, we manage to get me to my feet and I limp into the bathroom. He brushes his teeth at the sink while I take a piss. I tell him, “Will you fill up the bathtub? I’m not going another day without a bath and I think the needles of a shower will hurt too much.”

He obliges and then starts to undress me. It’s harder than it sounds when none of your joints want to bend. Unwrapping the elastic bandages from my ribs is like unraveling a mummy. When the last layer comes off we both wince at the skin underneath. A long diagonal slash, looking like the rip in Rage’s costume, extends from my right shoulder to the left side of my waist. It’s set in a large, deep purple bruise that meanders over my torso. The tape helped the pain, because now it hurts even more to breathe.

“Holy shit, Brian. You could’ve been killed.”

“If it was a little higher, if the branch hit me in the head, I probably wouldn’t be talking to you now.”

He spreads a hand on my cheek and sighs. “Thank God it wasn’t any higher, then.”

Getting into the tub isn’t easy. Sitting down in the water is almost impossible. I’m not even going to think about what it will be like to get up again. The hard porcelain is unforgiving against my bruised tailbone. But the warm water feels good. While I feared the motion of the Jacuzzi jets, after an adjustment, the pulsation is comforting. He leaves me soaking to go order breakfast, after warning me not to try to stand up without calling him. As if I could.

My eyes close. I remember last night. We had “the talk”. Once you have “the talk” everything is different, no matter what the resolution may be. You can never go back. I laid myself open like I never believed I would or could. More than a whispered, “I love you” or a determined proposal of marriage, this time I told him exactly how I feel. It scares me to think of being that open with anyone, even him, but it also makes me feel relieved. I did it. I expressed my feelings to him. For better or worse, he knows the whole ugly truth. I have needs, too. I have wants, too. And it may make me appear weak or vulnerable, but I hope he just thinks it makes me human.

Because I am.

And I’m lonely.

And I love him.

He comes into the room. “Thirty minutes on breakfast. You okay?”

I nod. He undresses and gets in the shower. I watch him through the glass door. My cock stirs. I wonder if…but no. Not now. No matter what sexual variation I come up with, having an orgasm involves muscles tightening, breathing getting heavy and fast, and right now the thought of that is excruciating. I elevate my thoughts. The soap smells like lemons and vanilla as I move the bar over my skin. He gets out of the shower, wraps in a towel and walks over to me with a small bottle of shampoo. His hair is sticking up in wet spikes, freshly washed.

“Let me do your hair. You’ll never be able to get your hands up there.”

I give in and close my eyes, letting him scrub it in. He rinses it out with a cloth, running it over my head and back from my face so the suds don’t burn my eyes. He is incredibly gentle and caring as he performs this little ritual. It is intensely erotic for me. When I open my eyes, he’s smiling that Sunshine smile of his. “What?” I ask and he nods towards my cock, which is standing at full mast. I sigh.

“I can’t help it. Mind of its own.”

“Want me to…?”

“Not sure I can take it.”

“My money’s on you.” He soaps up his hand and begins to stroke me. Yeah, I feel the muscles tense. And yeah, it hurts, but…

“Don’t stop,” I tell him and he laughs.

“Thought so.”

When I hit my orgasm, I try to control the clenching and convulsive shudders, but the body has other ideas and once the extreme relief and pleasure passes, the rest of me returns to the punishment. Getting out of the tub is the nightmare I feared it would be. Despite the pain, and ludicrous aspects of it, we both end up laughing as we try several different ways to accomplish it.

Finally I’m free of the torture chamber, and dry. I sit on the closed toilet as he rewraps my bandages. I tell him to pull it tighter, because the pressure does help. Finally I’m mummified again. Wearing a fluffy terrycloth robe, I return to “The Chair”. The bath was a good idea for more than one reason.

By now, breakfast has arrived. Wearing a robe that matches mine, he signs the ticket and has the table pushed over by me so I don’t have to get up. The room service waiter gives us that look that says “I know you’re queer and you disgust me”. I know that look very well. I hope Justin sees it too and doesn’t overtip him. Excuse me if I don’t pay you for your contempt.

When we’re alone, he sets everything up, and I stare at the oatmeal I thought I wanted, rethinking it now. He’s digging into pancakes and crisp bacon. “You want to trade?” he asks and I glare at him.

“You want me fat as well as helpless? No thanks.” I sprinkle some brown sugar on the tan gruel and dig in. It tastes better than it looks. The coffee is even better and I wash down my Advil with orange juice. I guess I was hungry after all, because once the food is in me, I do feel better. The bath, the food, the company, I’m slowly feeling human again. I appreciate the fact he hasn’t said a word about “The Talk”. The bracelet gleams silently from his wrist.

“I want you to hit the slopes today,” I tell him. “You came here to ski.”

“Forget it, Brian. I’m not leaving you.”

“I don’t want you hovering over me all day. Just leave me with the phone and the remote and I’ll be fine. The danger of the head injury is past, I’m not dying on you. I can get up to piss, which is all that really matters.”

“Did you ever consider the possibility that maybe I’d rather spend my time with you than on the slopes?”

I guess I really didn’t. I stare at him. “Okay, you can do both. Go ski for awhile, and then come back and spend the rest of the day with me. How’s that for a compromise? See how compromise works?”

He laughs. “You are such a dick.”

“And you’re surprised by that how, exactly?”

He leans over to kiss me. “Okay, I’ll take a couple runs and then I’m back by lunch. How’s that for a compromise?”

“Check the snow conditions first. It was icy yesterday. But it looks like a nice powder fell overnight.”

“You envy me, right?”

“Yes, you little prick, I do. I came here to ski, too. And if you fall, you’re on your own. Two cripples do not a whole person make.”

“There’s a handicap slur in there somewhere.”

I watch him leave the room to change into his ski clothes and I sigh. Bullet dodged. I know we’ll have to pick up that painful conversation again, but at least for now, I’m home free. Once he’s gone, I pick up the phone and dial a number from memory. My only regret is that it’s too late to be waking her up.

“You are so fired,” I say as she answers her home phone. She feigns innocence.

“What are you talking about, Brian?”

“Don’t even try, Cynthia. You and Mama Taylor must think you’re so clever. Well, I don’t need two fucking women interfering in my love life. And you don’t have the right to share my private travel plans with anyone.”

“Are you through?”

“No, I’m not through. Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t fire you?” It feels good to be back in bitchy form. She doesn’t hesitate.

“I’m the only one who truly understands the billing system.”

I ponder that. Damn it, she’s right. “I’m not kidding about your breach of my confidence.”

“You’re right, Brian. Sorry. But it was Jennifer, your partner’s mother, not some skank trying to track you down to sleep with you.”

“If it was someone trying to fuck me, I might be more forgiving. I don’t know what you two thought would happen.”

“I guess we hoped you two stubborn, prideful, miserable men would sit down together and talk about your lives and your needs.”

I frown since that’s exactly what did happen. Damn it. “Well, nothing got settled. Happy?”

“Did you talk?”

“Of course we talked, what option did we have?”

“Then I’m happy. That’s a start.”

“Don’t interfere in my personal life again.”

“Point taken, Brian. And thanks for the gift certificate to the spa. A whole day of pampering is a wonderful gift. Thanks.”

“I’d cancel it if I could.”

“You would not. Quit being ridiculous. Why aren’t you out on the slopes?”

“I…had a fall. Nothing major.”

“Break anything?”

“Some ribs.”

“Brian! You need me to do something for you?”

“Besides stay out of my personal life?”

“I get it. Let it go. Seriously, do you need some help?”

“I got all the help I need. I didn’t open your gift, by the way. It’s waiting for me in Pittsburgh.”

“No rush. Did Justin like the bracelet?”

“What’s not to like? It’s Cartier.”

“Yeah, I’m sure that’s what appealed to him about it.” She saw the bill come through on my Amex card. There’s no hiding shit from Cynthia. “Where is he now?”

“Skiing. Duh.”

“Who’s taking care of you?”

“I’m not a fucking invalid!” Well, close enough.

“Brian, don’t waste this time with Justin. Tell him how you feel. You’re breaking my heart. You put up an excellent front but I’ve known you long enough to recognize how unhappy you are.”

“Shut up. I am not and the rest is none of your business.”

“I care about you.”

I can’t stay mad at her. I know she does. And she believes in me. If I were straight, I’d marry her. “Are we clear on the concepts?”

“Yes, boss.”

“Good. When are you going back in the office?”



“Brian, good luck.”

“About what?”

“You know what.”

“I’m hanging up now. You’re tromping on my last raw nerve.”

I hear her laugh as we say goodbye. Am I really that transparent? Are other people thinking I’m some fragile little flower underneath it all? That possibility annoys me. I hit the remote and I surf until I find a game, any game, and settle on that. I watch and I wait. Wait for him to come home. Who am I kidding? Even now, I miss him. Time passes slowly when you’re alone. I hope he’s having great runs, but I also hope he comes back soon. Such is the strange dichotomy of love.
Current Mood: listlesslistless
Bow ties are cool.: Brian's neckmi_nion on May 17th, 2006 11:54 am (UTC)
Give it up Brian, everyone is on to you.
film102film102 on May 17th, 2006 10:32 pm (UTC)
Does that icon come from a larger pic. Oh, I want that shot and to draw it this summer in my class. It's incredible.

Brian had so many facets to his personality, child, sultry, seductive, confused, they go on and on.

Adore this icon.
Re: Minon - mi_nion on May 17th, 2006 10:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Minon - film102 on May 17th, 2006 10:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Minon - mi_nion on May 17th, 2006 11:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Minon - film102 on May 18th, 2006 04:23 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Minon - mi_nion on May 18th, 2006 10:42 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rand_alt on May 17th, 2006 10:40 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Big LOL - film102 on May 18th, 2006 04:45 am (UTC) (Expand)
har2har2 on May 17th, 2006 12:03 pm (UTC)
Ah! The truth is revealed! It was Cynthia that Jen called. Justin playing nursemaid to Brian is great. Love that Justin slept with Brian in the chair and that Brian is not beating himself up over the talk they had the night before. Cynthia is definitely Brian's fag hag.
rand_altrand_alt on May 17th, 2006 10:41 pm (UTC)
cynthia aint no hag, karla! BWAHAAAAAAAA
zoshazosha2003 on May 17th, 2006 01:01 pm (UTC)
I know I don't comment as often as I should; in this case it's an especially grevious error on my part - because this is the best new story (without exception) that has come out in a while. You (and this) are absolutely amazing. Between this, Burn, Gaedhal, and Vamp - I feel like - as a QAF fic addict - I'm set.

So - even though I don't comment enough to deserve it - I'm craving more.
rand_altrand_alt on May 17th, 2006 10:42 pm (UTC)
i know burn, I know gael, but what is vamp?
(no subject) - zosha2003 on May 17th, 2006 11:14 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - spiritgirl316 on May 17th, 2006 11:36 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Where to find Vamp? - film102 on May 18th, 2006 04:48 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Where to find Vamp? - spiritgirl316 on May 18th, 2006 03:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Dreambee3: beautiful together - paddiesdreambee3 on May 17th, 2006 01:12 pm (UTC)
I missed commenting on your previous chapter but I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed it and was moved by it - it was a very beautiful piece of writing. It held love and care and respect and admiration and absolute fearlessness in speaking the truth. But the most beautiful thing of all is that they gave each other the gift of reliving the many significant moments of their relationship – each said in their own words “this is why I love you” – and as they spoke, everything was like a play-back of those loving moments. Thank you Ran, Chapter 12 Silence and Tears will remain a favourite forever and ever.

I also believe there should be a copy of that chapter in the office of all therapists/marriage counselors. Its honesty is a great blueprint for how to succeed in a loving relationship!

This was special: “I never want to change you. If you change as the result of experience or age or whatever, fine, I’ll love that version of you, too. But don’t do it for me. Don’t force it because you don’t want to lose me.”

So, that was the previous chapter. As for this one, Brian’s right, they can’t go back now - they would both be feeling the relief of having had "the talk", it's out there now and they can build on it when the time is right. Great conversation with Cynthia too, she's so lovely and so good to Brian, and for Brian (there's a reason why we refer to the two blondes in his life).

You have such a way with summarizing a situation: “….I watch and I wait. Wait for him to come home. Who am I kidding? Even now, I miss him. Time passes slowly when you’re alone. I hope he’s having great runs, but I also hope he comes back soon. Such is the strange dichotomy of love.”

Wonderful development of the story, looking forward to "the compromise/s". Thankyou. ♥
rand_altrand_alt on May 17th, 2006 10:43 pm (UTC)
thanks and I thought of those scenes in my head as I wrote it, it was great to remember them all.
Totallyfrelledtotallyfrelled on May 17th, 2006 02:12 pm (UTC)
Poor, dear Brian. He really is way more transparent than he thinks, to those who care about him. It's so nice to see people understand his vulnerability.
I really like Cynthia. She's always played well off of Brian's snarks and she was definitely underused in the show.
I was so glad to find this chapter waiting, this morning, as a little beacon of light in the bleak, dismal, rainy day!
Totally Frelled.
rand_altrand_alt on May 17th, 2006 10:44 pm (UTC)
I've always liked cynthia too! She's sharp and pretty and doesnt get intimidated by brian
Thymeoasis6028 on May 17th, 2006 03:50 pm (UTC)
Care giving
"Such is the strange dichotomy of love."
Your Brian is so perceptive. If only he'd act on it, and trust his good instincts not the bad.

rand_altrand_alt on May 17th, 2006 10:44 pm (UTC)
Re: Care giving
let's hope he's learning.
thumpathumpa on May 17th, 2006 04:28 pm (UTC)
but I hope he just thinks it makes me human.

Because I am.

He is indeed!!

And I’m lonely.

Of course he is!!

And I love him.

I never doubted he didn't love Justin,
although his actions were reprehensible at times.

Did Justin like the bracelet

I'm still all warm and fuzzy over the bracelet!

I'm very relieved Brian isn't fighting Justin on caring for him while he's mending. Does this mean he's evovled??
I sure hope so!!

rand_altrand_alt on May 17th, 2006 10:45 pm (UTC)
definitely evolving.
(no subject) - sweetmadamblue on May 18th, 2006 08:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
see my little Randy!Pants this weekend - armandyouidiot on May 18th, 2006 10:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rand_alt on May 18th, 2006 11:12 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sweetmadamblue on May 19th, 2006 12:13 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rand_alt on May 19th, 2006 08:10 am (UTC) (Expand)
qafaddiction: teapot is lifeqafaddiction on May 17th, 2006 04:46 pm (UTC)
I'm really enjoying the focus on Brian and Justin right now, without the distraction of too many extraneous characters. I think it helps that they're in a different environment, away from prying eyes, giving them a chance to just be together and not go running at the first uncomfortable moment (not that Brian could run anywhere in his condition, mind you). It may feel like they're still at an impasse, since Brian doesn't want to live alone, and Justin needs his independence right now, but the realization of that for each of them, and the understanding they have of each other's needs, is huge. That alone should make what comes next easier to deal with, no matter how painful. Brian joked about compromise in this chapter... who says they can't find some of that for their future as well. Maybe knowing that Justin loves him completely and isn't planning to hook up with anyone else while he's in NY will help Brian feel like he isn't really "living alone." Or maybe they can find a way to live together without Justin feeling like he's getting a free ride or having a safety net. They're smart, they'll find the answers they need. I have faith -- in them, and in your writing! ;)
rand_altrand_alt on May 17th, 2006 10:47 pm (UTC)
thanks, h. I agree, sometimes being "away" is the best way to really connect. big b and I like to take little trips frequently just to have the benefit of that connection since being home is often heaped with hassles.
(no subject) - mi_nion on May 17th, 2006 10:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rand_alt on May 17th, 2006 10:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
this is the magic - film102 on May 18th, 2006 04:30 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: this is the magic - rand_alt on May 19th, 2006 08:10 am (UTC) (Expand)
Audrargrandixie on May 17th, 2006 05:21 pm (UTC)
I'm really pressed for time, but just wanted to let you know how wonderful, amazing, and brilliant this is. I'm really enjoying it Randall. I'll try to leave more detailed and coherent feedback next time.
rand_altrand_alt on May 17th, 2006 10:47 pm (UTC)
no problem, audra, thanks for the drive by comment, its all good.
claudj28claudj28 on May 17th, 2006 05:46 pm (UTC)
I don't have much time so this will be short (finally!).

I really like the 'place' in which they are at the moment, and I don't mean that literally. The whole atmosphere sounds nice and pleasant, even if Brian is hurting so bad. And Brian is right with his "You can never go back" (I'm reminded of one of my favorite scenes of QAF - the end of 1x18, "There's no turning back"!). I don't know what you have in store for us, but this FEELS like they WILL make it work!!!

rand_altrand_alt on May 17th, 2006 10:49 pm (UTC)
you must be running around with audra! BWAHAAA! I read a quote from gale once about how once you finally have the talk, everything changes and I thought then he is so right.
connorblondconnorblond on May 17th, 2006 06:18 pm (UTC)
Yes, Brian is human all right. And we all knew it from the very start. Sigh. This is just so good.
Bow ties are cool.: Brian's neckmi_nion on May 17th, 2006 08:43 pm (UTC)
Your icon makes me smile everytime I see it.
(no subject) - rand_alt on May 17th, 2006 10:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Viv: BJ kissvivrbn on May 17th, 2006 08:07 pm (UTC)
Ouchie! I feel for Brian. Hope he's a quick healer.

Very nice. I would almost call it comfy with the lack of tension for the time being - minus the pain, and asshole waiter. There's a nice feel good quality going on here.

Love Brian getting after Cynthia for butting in. And her taking him down a couple because he knows the only reason she did it is because she cares about them and wants them to be happy. Very nice indeed.
rand_altrand_alt on May 17th, 2006 10:50 pm (UTC)
thanks. I've always loved the brian/cyn dynamic!
germansoulmate on May 17th, 2006 08:42 pm (UTC)
Great chapter, Ran...as always.

I like how you make your devoted readers make feel comfortable about this chapter...even with all this real pain. I feel really good now.

And I like that you were bonding Jen and Cyn together...that gives a touch of reality, because I can´t think of anyone (besides Daphne ,too)who cares enough to see and feel through all the walls the men built up. The women are not able to do something about it, but they were and are able to kick their asses in the right direction. I´m sure Cyn and Jen really care about Justin and ESPECIALLY about Brian.
germansoulmate on May 17th, 2006 08:51 pm (UTC)
I believe I made some mistakes grammar-like. I will not change it...hope you understand what I did want to say.
(no subject) - rand_alt on May 17th, 2006 10:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
You did just fine, Germansoulmate - film102 on May 17th, 2006 10:38 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rand_alt on May 17th, 2006 10:51 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - germansoulmate on May 18th, 2006 05:53 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rand_alt on May 18th, 2006 09:04 am (UTC) (Expand)
(Anonymous) on May 17th, 2006 09:34 pm (UTC)
"My eyes close. I remember last night. We had “the talk”. Once you have “the talk” everything is different, no matter what the resolution may be. You can never go back."
Even though Brian is in uncharted territory, I hope eventually he might feel somewhat liberated. It's all on the table...
Ran, you're doing an excellent job! It feels right!
rand_altrand_alt on May 17th, 2006 10:53 pm (UTC)
Thanks, glad to hear that!!!! I think he is equal measures relieved and scared
Notincin: (paddies) New creditsreader1 on May 17th, 2006 10:00 pm (UTC)
The Tin Man and the Oil Can
Why do I love this concept so much? Justin as the lube! It just works on so many levels! LOL!

I loved this paragraph Randall:

"I give in and close my eyes, letting him scrub it in. He rinses it out with a cloth, running it over my head and back from my face so the suds don’t burn my eyes. He is incredibly gentle and caring as he performs this little ritual. It is intensely erotic for me. When I open my eyes, he’s smiling that Sunshine smile of his. “What?” I ask and he nods towards my cock, which is standing at full mast. I sigh."

This is love to me. Justin taking care of Brian in this tender, considerate way, and loving that it is erotic to Brian. Of course Brian is such a sexual creature and after seeing Justin in the shower, his response was completely understandable. And I loved that even in his pain, Brian let Justin take care of him.

And if any words really show how much Justin understands Brian, it's these:

“Want me to…?”

“Not sure I can take it.”

“My money’s on you.”

LOL! In that department, my money's always on Brian!

I found it really interesting and so Brianesque that he is trying to get rid of Justin (of course, not really) by urging him out on the slopes when just the night before he was talking about how much they needed to be together. Brian just can't help himself. He's so used to not wanting to have anyone he loves makes sacrifices for him that he contradicts himself all the time. He tells himself it is because he doesn't want to revisit "the talk" so soon, but we can all see through him. Fortunately, I think at least in this universe, you seem to have written Justin so that he can see through him too, and he won't stay away very long. But somehow, it seems like this is all too easy, and I fear that the little ski interlude won't just come and go without its effect. Anxiously awaiting the outcome of this in your next post.

And Cynthia; boy do I love her! She cares about Brian so much, and she is really such a good friend. She seriously needs to eject Lindsey from the female "friend" slot and assert her fag-hagdom! Thank God that the two strong women in B/J's lives, Cynthia and Jennifer, are on the same wavelength.

This post was like a little reprieve in the angst-fest that is this beautiful story. Thanks for posting.

rand_altrand_alt on May 17th, 2006 10:56 pm (UTC)
Re: The Tin Man and the Oil Can
thanks sherrie, I think it needed a breather that neither of them could or would want to keep up the intensity of the emotions they were sharing without a break. glad you like cyn. I've always thought she was great with him