Disclaimer: I own nothing to do with QaF. It's not my toy box, I'm merely playing.

Note: This piece was written for cuethepulse challenge on livejournal. The challenge was that it would be Brian/Ted and "I'll like anything as long as it doesn't involve Justin, Ben or Debbie. I'd prefer if it wasn't sap. I'm not a fan of mushy romance. Something semi-angsty or kind of sexy would be fantastic." Hopefully I lived up to that.

Warning: There is some mild Michael/Brian in here and Michael does die.

As always reviews and flames are welcome.

Learned:

Love sells. It's the subject of novels, most movies and some ads, which tend to re-enforce that 'preferred' nuclear family. I could have been an active member of what remained of the nuclear family I'd grown up in if I'd cashed in my life for a wife, two point five kids, a dog and started going to church. My mother and I could've had a 'loving relationship.'

Too bad, I'm an atheist, prefer cats to dogs and Gus is more than enough kid for me. If that's too much for Joan than she should've aborted me when she had the chance, I don't have any regrets when it comes to the way I live my life and as for love I was determined not to get caught up in the farce.

I figured I'd eventually move from fucking to non-monogamous relationships. I never counted on falling for Theodore. Who would?

Working together eventually led to occasionally going out for drinks after. This led him to ask me if I believe in love as I was newly single and still getting use to it. I answered automatically, "I don't believe in love, I believe in…"

"Fucking, yeah," he finished for me with a frown, "Save your spiel Brian, what do you really believe in?"

I stared at my drink, frowned, looked up at him and tried to form an answer, "I suppose for some people love works, but mostly it's a lie. If it turns out not to be a lie then what do you have to look forward to? You grow old with someone, become dependent on them, and then they eventually die, leaving you alone. You can move on, get with someone else and maybe they die or you die or one of you leaves the other. It's a cycle, one I don't want to get caught up in."

"Jesus Bri."

I know, pessimist that I was I didn't have any other truth. I don't have any other truth.

He and I worked together, lived out lives as friends and I was there for him when he broke down after Emmett left our little group to move back south because one of his Aunt's had actually seen fit to leave him everything she owned. He promised to write and visit, but any hope that Ted had of eventually winning back his trust and them becoming a couple again was suddenly crushed.

"What did you think was going to happen? That you'd become nauseating again?"

I was there for him, I didn't say I was kind.

"I-I don't know," he sighed as he sank into an office chair, "I guess I just hoped for something. That we'd eventually have the success we had…"

"The success you had," I corrected.

"What?"

"When you had your little website and he was still struggling to make ends meet you bought him a house, tried to be his white knight or whatever the hell that cliché is. It was when you stopped being a success and he tried to do the same for you that everything for you two fell apart."

"Fuck you Brian!"

"Face it Ted, society tells you that as a man you can't be taken care of so when your partner tried to you had to push him away. You ruined that on your own."

We argued and he ended up consenting that I was right He started dating again, I didn't. I stuck to my fucking rule. Michael ended up single so Ted and I had to be there to pick up what was left of him. It worked out, our little group whittled down to three. Ted ended up with an old college friend and Michael and I added fucking to our relationship. It worked for several months until Michael was hit by a drunk driver riding home from work on his bike.

I was stunned and Ted was there for me. Old flame and boyfriend that I'd only met once or twice didn't like how much time he was spending with me and left him. Neither one of us considered drinking given how Michael had died, and he wouldn't let me use drugs, so in my mind that only left one form of escape from reality.

We were working, I'd attempted to bury myself in work and it hadn't helped. He'd come in to check on me, to confirm that we were going to go out and get something to eat before he dumped me off at the loft alone and lost in my own thoughts. Cynthia had left for the day. I watched him babble a moment, trying to work my mind around if I could convince him to go to Babylon or if I should just fuck him.

He placed a comforting hand on my shoulder and I glanced up at him. Sure that he wouldn't reject I wrapped my hand around his tie and used it to pull his face down to mine. I took the confusion on his face for only a moment before I answered what I was doing by kissing him.

Both of us could be considered clichés of any media group of gays, he being the 'average Joe' me being a 'slut who everyone wants and has no problem moving freely in a straight world', and trust me when I say no medium would let those two clichés hook up, but there I was kissing him. I didn't expect much. I thought of Ted as smart, but too caught up in his self pity to be any good at fucking, or kissing for that matter. I was wrong.

He responded wantonly, and pushed his tongue into my mouth. I sucked slowly wrapping my arms around him, but he pulled me back, sitting on my desk and let me push him onto his back. He didn't question, didn't speak, just let me fuck him. It left me satisfied, but wanting more. We ended up at his place that night.

Three months after we started fucking he told me he loved me. I told him what he wanted to hear, not as a lie, but because I had started to feel for him as well. Five months later we moved in together. It lasted a month, the happiest month of my whole shitty life, and then he left me.

When I asked him why he said that he might be self-deprecating, but he was also self aware and that there was no way he could keep me interested so he was leaving before either of us got hurt. He'd found some similar to him and they moved out of state together. Last I heard they had two kids and a white picket fence, things Ted had told me he didn't want. Guess he decided he did. I found my own place, similar to my old loft, and stopped talking to him all together. He let what society told him to want take over his life, and I don't need a reminder of what I already knew before thirty. I don't need it rubbed in my face that I was right all along. Fuck love.