Brian slung his arm easily around Justin's shoulder as the two of them led Aiden toward Babylon, bodyguards following behind.
Justin smiled up at Aiden, "I called Michael, Ted and Emmett. They're all coming tonight along with dates and significant others."
"Who's Emmett bringing?" Brian asked.
"Gareth." At Brian's mildly irritated look, Justin defended Emmett. "It makes sense since they'll both be moving to New York."
"Honeycutt always notices a well-hung top," Brian grinned at the thought of the two dancing. "This should be entertaining, Gareth's a little formal compared to Emmett."
"Everyone's a little formal compared to Emmett," Aiden commented. He glanced down at the borrowed black leather jacket and black jeans he was wearing. "Are you sure you want me looking this much like you, Bri? No one will be able to tell us apart."
"That's the whole point," Brian said, smirking. "I want to see their faces when two of me walk into Babylon together."
The line of men that circled around the front of the club gave the publican in Brian a strong sense of satisfaction as the three men started strolling to the front of the line. Silence fell as the men waiting caught their first clear vision of Aiden and Brian walking together. As the trio moved by, whispered comments could be heard. As Brian and his party neared the door, a particularly brave bear yelled out, "Hey, Kinney. Since when do you have a twin?"
Brian whirled around with a condescending smirk to face the man as he stood near the front of the line. "Good evening, Tony. He's not my twin. See you inside."
Justin elbowed Brian lightly in the ribs as the bouncer opened the door. "Why didn't you just tell them he's your cousin?"
Brian gave Aiden a conspiratorial grin, "Speculation is half the fun. I can't wait to hear the heights the rumors take this to. I bet we hear at least one clone theory before the night's out."
Aiden burst out laughing. "I'll take that bet and raise you an elfin changeling rumor."
Justin shook his head at the two men, enjoying Brian's pleasure in his new family member. "All right, I'll go with the wannabe who had cosmetic surgery to turn into Brian."
Aiden paused in the door as his first sight of Babylon hit, the thumpa thumpa surrounding him with a wall of sound that knocked him back on his heels slightly. "Nice place you have here, cousin. It's a bit more lively than the pub."
"It's home," Brian responded.
Justin bounced up on his toes slightly. "Come on, let's dance." He reached out a hand per Kinney and pulled them out on the dance floor. As the three of them started moving together, Justin pulled Brian in and Aiden hugged the pair tightly from behind Justin. Axe moved to the wall near the bar and kept an eagle eye on surrounding crowd while Tank went up to the end of the catwalk for a better vantage point. Both men had on headsets linked in to club security.
All around them, the murmuring started. A circle grew around the trio as men stopped dancing to watch the sight of Justin Taylor in the middle of a Kinney sandwich.
Part way through the dance, Justin couldn't help but notice Aiden's very physical response. Before he could comment, Aiden pulled back slightly with an apologetic smile for his cousin. "Brian, I wouldn't mind a drink to cool off."
Brian raised a knowing eyebrow and with a quick glance down Aiden's front, grinned. "Let's head up to the catwalk and check out who's hot."
Moments later, the threesome stood looking down over the crowd, followed closely by Axe. Aiden kept pointing out men he found interesting and listening to Brian and Justin's description of how good they were. Noting Brandon on the dance floor, he asked. "What about that one? He looks hot."
"Uh, never had him," Justin answered, glancing at Brian out of the corner of his eye.
"Not my type," Brian responded.
Aiden, catching an undertone in his cousin's voice he couldn't explain away, gave Justin a quick glance. At Justin's negative shake of the head, he sighed. "Well, if you both know him and didn't want him, what about that one?" He pointed out a tall brunette near the side of the floor.
After both Brian and Justin acknowledged that they hadn't had or rejected the trick, he grinned. "That'll be the one for tonight then."
Brian leaned in to say, "He's a top. I can tell."
Aiden looked puzzled at the comment for a moment before realization dawned. "Don't tell me you limit yourself, Bri. I'm a bit disappointed. A true Kinney likes sex no matter the form. Top, bottom, male, female. It doesn't matter, now does it?" At Brian's eye roll, Aiden patted him on the shoulder. "Well, you've made up for that lack with your strong showing with the men. I guess you can you call yourself a Kinney, but still… You should consider broadening your sexual horizons."
As Justin laughed, Brian watched his cousin go down and with an easy move, insert himself in front of the man he wanted. Heads throughout the club swiveled between Brian and his lookalike as Aiden moved in. Breaks in the dancing could be seen moving around the club as people pointed out both Aiden and Brian to those next to them.
Brian pulled Justin in close to speak, "At least he's not a loser."
Brian watched as Brandon's gaze followed the pointing fingers to both himself and Aiden. As Brandon moved in Aiden's direction, Brian straightened from the rail where he was leaning, torn. He didn't want Brandon to fuck his cousin, but couldn't think of a good reason to stop it. As he observed the meeting between the two men, his face broke into a rare smile as Aiden shook his head slightly and moved back to his original choice.
A few moments later, Michael walked into the club with Ben. Spotting Aiden, he walked over and tapped him on the shoulder. Speaking to be heard over the music, Michael said, "Come join us upstairs when you're done." He pulled Aiden's head down for a quick kiss in greeting. Aiden was only caught off guard for a moment. He pulled his head back, looked at the stranger with surprise. Then, with a light shrug of his shoulders, he pulled Michael back in for another kiss. That kiss instantly hit incendiary. Ben, moving deliberately, reached out and pulled Michael away, a look of severe irritation replacing his typically calm demeanor.
Aiden's bright green eyes sparkled as he took in the pair. He pointed up to the catwalk where Brian and Justin stood watching them. Ben and Michael's heads turned in unison as they took in Brian's form before swiveling back to Aiden.
"Who are you?" Ben demanded.
"Aiden Kinney," Aiden then continued with a suggestive little grin in Michael's direction, "at your service… anytime."
Michael shook his head in amazement, reached out one hand to pull slightly on Aiden's cheek, checking to see if it was real. He then turned to Ben, mouth agape.
Ben chuckled, having figured out what was happening and put a gentle arm around Michael's shoulders. "Let's go talk to Brian." He then led Michael away from Aiden, who happily turned to continue dancing.
"So, Mikey," Brian quipped as the pair approached him, "is he as hot as me?"
"Who the hell is that, Brian?" Michael demanded.
"My cousin, Aiden," Brian responded, "and you didn't answer my question."
"Why didn't I know you had a cousin?"
"I just found him," Brian retorted, grinning at his friend's irritation.
Michael's mouth opened and closed a few times as he tried to think of a response. Ben leaned forward towards Brian, "How are you feeling? I'm surprised to see you out already."
"According to the doctor, I've made a miraculous recovery." Brian shrugged easily, "I feel great."
"Check it out," Justin called out pointing to the right side of the dance floor.
Brian turned to see Gareth and Emmett dancing, noting Gareth's black shirt and tight jeans as he moved easily with Emmett. "Gareth's hotter than I thought."
"Emmett certainly outdid himself tonight," Ben commented. All four men took in Emmett's see through shirt, tight indigo pants and eye makeup. "He looks great."
"If you like spandex and sparkles," Brian said derisively as his eyes continued to pan the crowd below. "Damn!" Brian stood suddenly upright as he stared at the dance floor in shock.
"What is it?" Justin asked. "Brian!"
"I'll be back in a minute." Brian abruptly left his friends and moved down the staircase to the dance floor, moving easily through the crowd until he stood next to a young man in his late teens. "Hello, Jim. Does your daddy know you're here?"
Jim spun away from his dance partner to look at the tall man standing behind him. "Mr. Kinney…" Jim stuttered, terror in his eyes. "No, he doesn't know I'm here."
"Don't worry," Brian said with a conspiratorial smirk. "I'm not about to tell Jim Stockwell his oldest son likes to take it up the ass."
Jim looked around in panic. "Be quiet. Nobody down here knows who I am. My father isn't popular on Liberty Avenue."
Brian nodded understandingly. "Your father's a homophobic asshole." He pulled Jim Jr. in and started dancing. He thought for a moment, wondering about the timing, "How long have you been coming down to Liberty?"
"About six months," Jim Junior tilted his head slightly to the side. "It's my first time at Babylon. Why?"
Brian heaved a deep sigh. "Nothing. Just wondering what your father's reaction would be if he knew."
"He loves me, but still - not good," the younger man replied.
"That would be an understatement," Brian agreed. "If you ever need help, go to the diner on Liberty Avenue and ask for Deb. If she can't help, she knows how to get hold of me."
Jim nodded, obviously not believing that the help would ever be needed. "Thanks, Mr. Kinney."
"Call me Brian, kid." Brian moved away and returned to Justin's side.
"Who is that?" Justin queried.
"Jim Stockwell, Jr." At Justin's look of horrified comprehension, Brian nodded. "He started coming down to our little homo part of town about six months ago. He doesn't think his dad knows anything."
"That explains everything." Justin looked down at the younger man. "Poor kid. His father knows. Pretty soon he'll know how bad it can get." Justin's eyes clouded over with memory. "Sometimes I …"
Justin's eyes filled with emotion, "Sometimes I wish I still had that kind of innocence."
Brian turned for a moment to stare at the young man on the dance floor whose world was about to be shattered. Turning back to Justin, he reached out and gently touched his cheek, smiling sadly. "For what it's worth, sometimes I wish you could too."
Justin shook off his introspective mood and moved in to embrace Brian with a smile. "Then I come to my senses and realize that I wouldn't want to be anywhere else." Brian closed his eyes and pulled Justin in close – feeling the exact same way, but didn't say anything so it wouldn't turn into a lesbionic moment? Or something like that.
On the dance floor, Emmett had his arm up and was happily dancing when he felt an arm come around his waist and spin him around. A slightly inebriated Drew Boyd stood there, grinning. Emmett smiled in response, but gave a small negative shake of his head and turned back to dancing with Gareth.
Drew's grin faded and he reached out and turned Emmett back around by the shoulders. Emmett frowned and leaned in to say as quietly as the Babylon music would allow, "I'm with someone else, Drew." He then turned back to dancing with Gareth.
Drew frowned at Gareth and wrapped his arms around Emmett's waist and pulled him back into an embrace. "It's my birthday. I've grown up."
Emmett's look of surprise was enough for Gareth to move in. Gareth moved Drew roughly out of the way and positioned himself between Drew and Emmett protectively. "He's dancing with me."
Drew looked at Emmett and raised a brow, "Are you?"
Emmett glanced at the two men, thinking about Drew's statement, his plans to move and the building danger in Gareth's eyes. He shifted so that he stood between the two men and said firmly. "I am."
Drew's stormy glance raked over Gareth's slighter frame contemptuously. "Emmett, you can't be serious. You're choosing him?"
Emmett reached out to hold Gareth, noting the tension in every muscle, the fisted hands and the weight shifting so that Gareth stood balanced for attack. Emmett swallowed at the look in Gareth's eyes and moved so that he was staring into them, his back to Drew and his right hand on Gareth's chest. "Let's head out." With a quick look in Drew's direction he said simply. "Goodbye Drew."
Leaving Drew standing on the floor, Emmett took Gareth's hand and quickly pulled him out of Babylon to the street outside.
On the walkway, Tank moved to where Axe was standing. "Did you notice?"
"You saw it too?" Axe looked grim as Tank nodded. "Emmett was more worried about the football player than the office boy - which he wouldn't be if he didn't know something he shouldn't."
"We need to find out what Emmett knows." Tank glanced around the club, taking in the security details. "This place is pretty safe, barring another bomb. I'll stay with the Kinney's and Taylor. Go."
Axe nodded and followed Gareth and Emmett out to the street. Seeing the two men talking at the corner of Babylon, he moved toward them, speaking loudly. "Hey, Kid."
Gareth looked up, frowning. "What?"
"We might have a problem."
Axe's grim expression caused Emmett to give a little shudder and move in closer to Gareth. "What's wrong? Are Brian and Justin okay?"
Axe relaxed his frown a bit. "They're fine. You looked a bit worried about the football player in there."
Emmett gave a little shrug. "We may not be lovers anymore, but I didn't want him hurt."
"I understand." Axe raised a brow at Gareth.
Gareth saw the direction Axe was going and moved away from Emmett. "I would have thought you'd be more worried about me, he's a big guy."
"I know you can take care of yourself," Emmett grinned.
"How?" Gareth's flat voice, full of dark overtones caused the hair on Emmett's arms to stand up.
"What do you mean?"
"How did you know I'd win the fight? You've never seen me fight."
"I know some things," Emmett commented teasingly. "I know you can take care of yourself and about Rashid..."
A split second after the name Rashid left Emmett's mouth; Gareth's right arm came up, slamming Emmett back against the building with a switchblade pointing at his neck. "How do you know Rashid?"
"I don't," Emmett burst out in a terror filled voice. "I've never met the man, only heard you talking about him."
Axe's hand came up and applied a gentle downward pressure on Gareth's arms. "Easy. Let's hear what he has to say."
"What did you overhear?" Gareth demanded, stepping back with the blade held ready at his side.
"I heard you talking about not wanting Rashid to find you, your sister and taking care of Stockwell. I didn't mean any harm, honest!" Emmett put his two hands out, palms up in a calming gesture.
"You need to forget you ever heard it," Gareth said stonily. He waited for Emmett's agreement before turning to leave. "I'll walk you to your car."
"No need." Emmett almost babbled as he danced nervously away from Gareth. "I'll be fine alone. As a matter of fact, I'd prefer it. And I don't have a car anyway."
Axe looked at Gareth as he watched Emmett leave. Gareth said tersely, "Take care of him," before turning and walking away.
"Shit," Axe muttered and ran to catch up to Emmett. "Wait a second." Emmett kept moving and Axe reached out a hand and pulled him to a stop.
"He's a good man," Axe said simply.
"He had a knife to my throat! A knife!"
"With reason. Rashid…" Axe paused, considering what to say. "I can't tell you what happened, it's his story to tell, but let me just say that he has every reason to react like that when Rashid is mentioned."
"He could have slit my throat by accident," Emmett continued in full queen mode.
"Not a chance," Axe retorted. At Emmett's raised brow, he amended slightly, "Not by accident, anyway."
"You mean he's killed before. As in at all?" At the silence received in response, Emmett threw up his hands, paced and muttered. "He's dangerous. I need to tell Brian he's hired a psychopath."
"No!" Axe tried again. "Keep in mind that you only know what you do because Gareth is trying to save two of your friends' lives." As Emmett shook his head, indicating that that wasn't enough, Axe came to a decision. "You cannot blow his cover. You're going to have to get the rest from Gareth, but you need to understand something. Before he found Rashid, Gareth had two sisters." At Emmett's questioning look, Axe continued intensely. "Now he only has one. You don't have to date him, but you can't tell anyone about him. Understand?"
Emmett stopped pacing abruptly and stared thoughtfully in the direction Gareth had gone. With a single nod to Axe he turned and headed off into the night.
Inside the club, Justin was watching Aiden pull his trick into the backroom when the room suddenly felt too loud, too uncontrolled, too bright. Starting to breathe heavily, he grabbed Brian's hand and pulled him into the manager's office. Brian looked into blue eyes darkening with lust and something darker, more elemental. "You okay?"
Justin shook his head, almost frantic, "No, I'm not. I need…"
Brian reached out and pulled him in close, trying to soothe him. After a moment, Justin pulled free and said again, "I need …"
Staring into the blue eyes, Brian knew something had gone very wrong. "What do you need, Justin? What can I do?"
Justin stared into hazel eyes for a moment before realizing he was still feeling the aftereffects of the shooting. "Nothing, just let me…"
"Okay," Brian continued cautiously. "What do you need to do?"
Justin let out his breath with a shuddering gasp. "Prove to myself that you're here." Reaching up to start frantically unbuttoning Brian's shirt, he kissed the exposed skin, muttering, "That you're still alive."
Ripping the shirt free, Justin pushed Brian back onto the chaise. As Brian lay down, Justin reached down and quickly pulled Brian's pants down, stripping him. The sight of Brian naked lying on the couch stopped Justin in his tracks as he stared at the beautiful body displayed before him. The frantic movements vanished, the sight of Brian calming Justin's nerves.
Reaching out a gentle hand, Justin touched the bullet hole, the new mark on Brian's body, learning its texture, letting it sink in through his fingers that Brian had been permanently harmed saving his life. Taking another deep breath, Justin leaned down and kissed the scar, learning the feel of it with his lips.
Brian reached down to pull Justin up for a kiss, only to find that his arms had been grabbed and held. Justin's face came up and stared down into Brian's half-shut eyes, "Shhh. Leave it to me. Lay still." Letting go of Brian's hands, Justin cupped his lovers' face in his hands and reached down for that kiss, drowning in the sensations.
Justin moved down and lightly touched Brian's side – along the rib cage under the arm. Brian jerked slightly; his skin was so sensitive there. Justin smiled at his lover and continued to caress, moving hands, lips, fingertips, slowly up and down Brian's body.
Brian watched wonderingly as he felt Justin's emotions spill out of the soft, sensual touches. "Justin, what are you doing?"
Justin smiled with a slight laugh as he slid up Brian's body, touching every inch that he could with his own. "Loving you."