Author: StrongatHeart PM
Maybe Michael and Justin don't have to be enemies. Michael/Justin friendship.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Hurt/Comfort/Friendship - Words: 1,566 - Reviews: 9 - Favs: 6 - Follows: 1 - Published: 06-11-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4316815
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I don't own Queer as Folk, Showtime and Cowlip do.
All was quiet in the Novotney-Bruckner household. Ben was asleep upstairs, Hunter had long since retired to bed, and two other occupants lay sprawled over the living room floor, sound asleep, their faces sticking to the sheets of paper they'd left strewn over the couches and carpet. Their carefully ordered-by-sequence piles were scattered about now, disturbed by the two men's movements in their sleep.
The smaller of the two gave a small whimper, which went entirely unnoticed by his heavily snoring companion. He was calm for another minute at the least, then it happened again, louder this time. His chest began to heave as his breath came in painful gasps. He was moaning and whimpering in his sleep now, to the point where the other man finally awoke beside him.
Realizing at once what was going on, he sat upright and began to attempt to wake the dreaming man. He shook his shoulder gently, trying to speak loud enough for his friend to hear, but not so loud as to wake his husband and son upstairs.
Finally, the smaller man awoke with a start. His eyes were a frantic blur as he took in his surroundings. "Brian?" he croaked.
"Shh. Not Brian. It's me, Michael," said the other man softly, maintaining a firm grip on the blond's shoulder.
"Where's Brian?" he demanded, trying unsuccessfully to blink back his tears. They spilled over, leaving glistening salty tracks on his cheeks.
"Shh, Justin, it's okay. Brian's at the loft. You're at my house," Michael attempted to console him.
"I want him." Justin was apparently deaf to everything his friend was telling him. His breathing still hadn't returned to normal. He sat up, too, facing the older man, and more tears splashed down his cheeks.
Michael immediately took pity on him. However, he really didn't know what to do in these sort of situations. He had never really had to comfort anyone like this before. He couldn't remember Ben ever having a nightmare. Hunter was older; Michael had never known him as a small child, seeking comfort after such things as disturbing dreams. The only experience with comfort after nightmares he could remember was when he was a child himself. His mother would hold him and whisper to him him that he was safe, that none of it was real, and then stay with him until he fell back asleep.
So, awkwardly, and with much hesitation, Michael moved to wrap the trembling blond in a hug. Justin hugged him back fiercely, squeezing the air out of the Italian's lungs.
"It's all right," Michael whispered soothingly, patting Justin's back uncomfortably. "It's okay, you're safe. You're all right."
Justin nodded into Michael's shoulder, his small frame convulsing with sobs.
As he continued to soothe the smaller man, Michael couldn't help reflecting that if anyone had ever told him that he'd be here, holding Justin Taylor while the boy sobbed into his shoulder, he would have deemed them as insane as...well, Brian.
But here he sat, consoling him the only way he knew how, as Justin continued just to cry as if he'd lost everything. After about five minutes, the blond began to calm down, his breathing abating to a normal rate, and his sobs becoming fewer and further between.
"So..." said Michael softly, wondering if he was entitled to ask this question. "Do you want to talk about it?"
Justin pulled away from him slightly, dropping his arms back to his sides, and Michael, taking the hint, did the same.
Justin shrugged. "It was the prom," he said simply. It was all he really needed to say. Michael understood what it meant with just the mention of that last word. Prom.
The older man nodded. "You still have dreams about it, then?" he asked uneasily. This was new territory for him; he was just feeling his way along in the dark.
Fortunately, Justin spared him the response that obviously he did, and answered anyway. "Sometimes. It hasn't happened in months. But occasionally..." his voice trailed off.
"You remember it? Does it happen the same way in the dream?" Michael pressed. He wasn't sure what was with all the questions that seemed to burst forth from him. He was curious, perhaps, in a morbid sort of way. Or maybe it was all he could think of to say to keep things from becoming awkward. Well, more awkward.
"Sometimes," Justin said again. "Sometimes I'm walking away, and I hear Brian call my name. And then I turn around, and... yeah. But sometimes it's different. Like sometimes, it'll be Brian who's getting hit. Or my mom or Debbie, or someone else I know. Those are even worse." He visibly shuddered. "Brian always has to talk me out of calling them afterwards, to make sure they're all right."
"Who was it this time?" Michael couldn't help it now.
"Me," Justin admitted quietly. "And I could see Brian, for just a second. And then everything went all fuzzy and dark and I could hear him. He was yelling something. It think he said 'no.' He kept saying it over and over."
"Was that what...was that what happened?"
Justin shrugged again, trying to appear casual. "I don't know. The last thing I remember is Brian calling my name, me turning around, and getting hit... The next thing I knew, I was in the hospital."
"You remember what happened before it? That night?" Michael asked curiously. He recalled hearing from Brian that Justin couldn't remember anything from the last few days before it happened.
"Bits and pieces. Like, I still don't remember the dance everyone says we had," Justin said, a hint of frustration in his voice. It went without saying that 'we' meant him and Brian. "But I remember Brian kissing me out in the parking garage. It doesn't make any sense. There's no reason why I remember some things and not other stuff. It's just little bits here and there. I asked Daphne about it," Justin chuckled lightly. "After I started remembering more. I wanted to know everything I could, and I was never sure that Brian was telling me everything. He never told me he tried to save me."
Michael smiled somewhat fondly. "You know Brian, he wouldn't want to ruin his reputation as the local villain by doing something heroic."
Justin laughed in agreement. "Speaking of heroes and villains... I think we'll have to re-order these tomorrow," he sighed, looking around at all of the sheets of paper on which were the drawings that would eventually become the next edition of Rage.
Michael held up the nearest sketch of Rage with his arms around JT, Zephyr standing off to the side, as though guarding them both from anything that could threaten them.
"He can't fool us," he said quietly.
Justin smiled. "Brian? Nah, we all see through his disguise. He just still thinks his mask hides his true identity."
Michael laughed softly. "He's not going to let us keep working on this together if you start talking in comic-book-speak like that. He'll say I'm rubbing off on you."
The blond laughed, too. "Well, you're a better influence on me than him."
"Somehow, I doubt he'll see it that way."
Justin's finger absently traced around Rage's jaw. "He's still my hero," he admitted.
Michael nodded. "He's Rage. He's everyone's hero."
"You know what, though?" Justin asked, frowning. "I think I might have something I want to add in this issue. Something we haven't really had before."
"What is it?"
Justin pressed his lips together, fingering the corner of a drawing of the three superheroes. "A scene between JT and Zephyr."
"What kind of scene?" Michael's interest was caught.
"One that shows their friendship. That they really have each others' backs when they need to."
Michael shook his head slowly. "Yeah. That Rage isn't the only thing connecting them. I get it."
"Yeah. Exactly. So, what do you think?"
"I think we should do it," said Michael. "Fans will eat it up. We'll probably end up with a bunch of JT/Zephyr fans," he laughed.
"So how should it be done?" asked Justin, his fingers curling instinctively around the pencil he'd left on the floor.
"Maybe...JT could be trapped in the Mind Warp machine...and Rage could be stuck in Gayopolis defeating Dr. Mailo's army...so Zephyr steps up and saves JT from the machine," suggested Michael.
"And while Rage is fighting Dr. Mailo's army, JT and Zephyr have to go after Dr. Mailo himself," added Justin.
"And they have to work together, without Rage there in the middle," finished Michael. "I like it."
And so, with Rage busy defending the streets of Gayopolis, JT and Zephyr were forced to work together to stop Dr. Mailo's evil scheme alone...and find more in each other than they ever before imagined they would.
A/N: Hope that wasn't too lame, lol.