Britin – Next Morning

Justin's eyes slowly fluttered open as he became aware of the sun's rays pouring into the master bedroom. As he lay on his back, he smiled, relieved that he could easily recall the astounding events of the day before; his urgent search for Brian, his successful trip here to Britin to be reunited with him, and his partner's reaction to the discovery that he had finally remembered everything about their past, including their love for each other. Justin turned his head slowly to gaze at his beautiful partner, who was still sleeping. Brian was lying on his back, one hand by his side with his other one lying lightly on Justin's chest. It was almost as if, even while asleep, Brian was reassuring himself that Justin was indeed by his side, alive and well.

After he and Brian had made love last night – over and over again – Brian had fallen asleep almost immediately, sated and happy; Justin, however, found that he could not go to sleep, no matter how much he willed himself to obey. Brian's slow, sweet, and tender worshipping of his body had made Justin feel so cherished and loved; he normally would have readily fallen asleep, deliriously happy in his partner's arms. But while his body had been exhausted and ready to surrender to slumber, his mind had not – it continued to swirl with a kaleidoscope of visions and sensations. It was as if he had been afraid to close his eyes and sleep for fear that when he awoke this morning, he would forget everything all over again and he would be thrown once more into an abyss of misery and frustration. So he had just lain there, listening to his lover's soft, regular breathing until his overactive mind had finally surrendered to sleep near dawn. To his consternation, however, he had only been able to sleep for a few hours before he inexplicably awoke yet again when the glaring flood of sunlight rushed unheeded through the bare, floor-to-ceiling windows.

But perhaps in the end it didn't really matter; he could sleep later. Right now the only important thing was the wonderful, incredibly strong man lying next to him and the fact that he could recall everything that had happened between them – every day, every hour, every second. He let out a long, shaky breath of gratitude – gratitude that he could still remember all of it. He bit his lower lip as his breath caught at the sight next to him. God, I love you so, Brian Kinney, he declared silently as he reached over to softly brush back some auburn hair that had fallen over his lover's closed eyes. His fingers strayed lower to lightly trace the well-known lips – those lips that not only knew exactly how to drive him insane with desire but also speak words of wisdom, strength and encouragement to him when he needed them the most.

He started a little and laughed softly when he watched as Brian's hand begin to travel down the length of his chest toward his navel and below, even though Brian hadn't opened his eyes or moved any other part of his body. He did notice, however, that a certain part of his lover's anatomy had begun a march toward revival as his partner's hand continued ITS march toward his own quickly awakening cock. "Brian….." he murmured softly. The only response he received was a rising of one expertly-manicured eyebrow. "Forget it, Brian," Justin chided him, a little louder now. "I know you don't sleepwalk….."

Brian curled his lips under tightly, but he was unable to keep the smile from appearing on his face. He was just too damned happy to care at the moment. He opened his eyes and turned his head to stare lovingly into the well-known eyes of his sweet partner. His gentle, sweet partner. He was so relieved to still see that look in his face – the same one he had been given last night that said I love you, I adore you, and I REMEMBER you. So little was still known about Justin's injury and how it had affected him; in some paranoid way, he had been worried that he would wake up and see that terrible empty look on his partner's face again, devoid of emotion, but thankfully he did not. The eyes sparkling back at him were the ones he had fallen in love with and had woken up to every day before Justin had went away to New York. He was so happy to realize that from now on, he could once more count on gazing into those eyes each morning when he arose. He made a silent vow that he would make waking up with him every day one of the most important daily events in his life going forward, because he knew all too well now that without Justin, his life wouldn't be worth living anyway.

"Who said anything about sleepwalking?" Brian huskily growled, as he turned to face Justin, his head propped up on his elbow as he studied him intently. "I thought I'd let my fingers do the walking," he said, as he resumed his languid trek toward his ultimate goal. Justin smiled at him and rolled his eyes as Brian finally latched onto his cock and started firmly stroking it. The blond moaned as a wave of pleasure hit him and his body shuddered at the incredible, skilled ministrations of his lover; after all this time, Brian could play his body like a consummate musician, taking him to heights of staggering euphoria in no time. This morning was no exception as Justin's body arched in response to his partner's loving, feathering touch.

"Bri-an," Justin pleaded breathlessly. He gasped as Brian raked the fingernail of his thumb along the underside of his cock before he rubbed the sensitive end back and forth against the pad of his finger. "Before you finish your little trek through the…."

"Eighth wonder of the world?" Brian finished for him cheekily, receiving a light slap on his head in return as he chuckled against Justin's stomach; the vibration tickled the blond's skin and caused him to laugh softly.

He reached to grab Brian's hand to still it, producing a groan of protest from the brunet. "Can't you wait at least a little while for breakfast?" he asked the man, shaking his head. "You're insatiable, Mr. Kinney." An insatiable, sleek and sexy cat, Justin decided.

The look that Brian was giving him made his heart jump; it happened every time. Thank God he knew that now; he could remember it. "Only when it comes to you, Sunshine," was the heartfelt whisper.

Justin smiled as the tears sprang to his eyes at the look of love he was receiving and Brian's unexpectedly sincere reply. Brian began to stroke his hand tenderly, causing goose pimples to break out on his skin. Justin brought Brian's hand up to his heart and curled his fingers around it, both an overt action and a symbolic gesture of his love for this man.

"What could be more important than fucking?" Brian asked him as he smiled over at him innocently. "After all, I'd estimate that we have at least 500 sessions to make up for."

"Five hundred? How do you get that?"

Brian nodded. "Well….I figured out there's been approximately four months from the last time we fucked until now. That's 120 days."

Justin looked over at him, eyebrows raised in question. "Okay…..but you said five hundred times, not 120." Justin already figured he knew what Brian was going to say but he decided he'd make him work for it anyway.

"You did tell me you've remembered everything, right?" Brian asked.

Justin nodded firmly as he continued to softly caress Brian's hand against his chest. Yeah…everything."

"Whew… had me worried for a minute there. Well, then, what's the problem with my calculation? 120 times at four times a day comes up to 480. Add in 20 more for times when we're feeling particularly frisky and that comes up to 500." He rattled off the numbers as if they were a no-brainer; after all, it was simple math, wasn't it?

Justin snorted, curling his lips under in profound amusement. "I beg your pardon, Mr. Kinney. My bad." His eyes twinkled mischievously as he continued. "With that many times to make up for, we'd better get started then. Allow me to begin with the appetizer first," he suggested helpfully. He raised Brian's hand to his mouth to begin suckling each long finger individually. He heard Brian's intake of breath as he continued to leisurely lavish his wet tongue and lips all over each succulent digit of his lover's hand. "Mmmm," he murmured, smacking his lips dramatically as he pulled Brian's last finger out of his mouth with a resounding pop. "Delicious," he declared, smiling impishly.

Brian's heartbeat was racing and his patience was quickly wearing thin the longer his partner took to torment him as he enjoyed his pre-breakfast snack. "Enough of the appetizer, Sunshine," he growled; Justin giggled as Brian suddenly pushed him down onto the mattress to tower over him. "Time for the morning turnover," he demanded, as he nudged his partner to comply. Two hours later, Brian was able to tick off a couple more fucks, bringing their deficit down to a mere 498 times.

One Week Later – Britin – Evening


"Back here, Lindsey," Brian promptly responded from the living room. Lindsey found him sitting in a window seat overlooking the backyard as he sipped from his coffee mug. She smiled when she found him. She was still so startled to notice the change in Brian's appearance now. His relaxed pose and animated face were so dramatically opposite the haggard, grief-stricken and haunted shell of a man she had seen a few weeks ago when he thought Justin had died.

The two of them exchanged tender smiles as she walked over to join him by the window. She sat down and gently squeezed his arm. "It's so good to see you smile again," she told him as she followed his gaze outside. In the countryside away from the lights of the city, the multitude of stars were incredible, affording their own spectacular show as thousands of them sparkled against the moonless, inky night sky.

"I've got a reason to now," Brian replied truthfully. He turned to look at her a little guiltily. "I mean….you know I love Gus," he hastily explained. "It's just…different with Justin. You know what I mean," he said softly, shrugging a little.

Lindsey smiled. "Yeah….I know," she answered. "You've always loved your son - that's not in question," she assured him. "But Justin's always been your heart." He turned to look at her; his lips twisted in a sort of self-deprecating expression. "Please…" he murmured, rolling his eyes. "Don't go all lesbian on me," he told her, but she could see a twinkle in his eyes.

"Don't worry…..your secret's safe with me, Stud," she teased him as she patted him on the arm.

He took a sip of his drink before he murmured, "Sometimes it still seems like a dream, like I'm going to wake up and find out this was all in my imagination. To think it was just a few weeks ago that I thought that Justin was never coming back; the whole thing is just so surreal." His face scrunched up a little at the still painful thought of that horrible time. He never wanted to experience what he had gone through then. "You know, in a way the worst part was the thought that I would have to tell Gus what had happened. I'm so glad I didn't have to do that."

Their conversation was interrupted by Mel rushing into the room. Overhearing their conservation, she asked, "Speaking of which, has anyone seen our son?" she said, concerned. "I haven't seen him in over an hour - not since dinner; with Gus that's more than enough time for him to get into a lot of trouble." She looked around the living room before sighing. "I was hoping he was with one of you."

Brian frowned; Mel was right – he hadn't seen him in quite some time and with Gus that was unusual; that and the fact that he could be quiet enough to hide his whereabouts. He looked over at Lindsey, who shook her head to verify she hadn't seen him, either.

Brian placed his coffee mug down on a nearby window ledge and stood up. "This house is so fucking huge that he could be anywhere. Let's hope he's not playing hide and go seek or we'll never find him; at least, not until he's reincarnated later and he starts rattling some chains somewhere."

"Brian!" Lindsey scolded him as she stood up to join him; she was beginning to get a little worried herself. "This is NOT funny!"

Brian rolled his eyes at her. "I'm just kidding, Wendy, don't go getting your panties in a knot. Here's got to be here somewhere. We'll just split up and look for him."

They were about to do just that when the beginning refrain of a familiar, silly and inane tune began to reverberate through the house. Brian let out a relieved laugh and snorted. "I think we've found him," he said. "And someone else, too." When he had come down to make some coffee about an hour ago, Justin had told him he was going to do a little painting upstairs in the newly-refurbished library-turned-studio. Apparently his partner had been diverted from that plan.

The three of them exchanged relieved grins and walked over to the large, ornate mahogany staircase to descend up to the upper floor's rear corner room, where Justin's spacious new artist's studio was located. When Brian had first spied this room on his initial tour, his first thought was how perfect it would be for Justin; the corner location received not only plentiful sunlight but provided him with several variously-sized shelves to handle his numerous art supplies. And its location at the far end of the floor also gave his partner the privacy he sometimes craved when he was deep in thought over his latest creation.

As they neared the room, the sounds of the tune became louder and they could distinctly hear giggling and a high pitched squealing coming from the open doorway.

In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight…In the jungle, the quiet jungle, the lion sleeps tonight…Wheeeee, oh, oh, oh, aweena, way, aweena, way...

Brian smirked. "That's either Justin with Gus, or there's two cats fighting in there…." He placed his finger across his lips to signal to the two women to be quiet as they stealthily crept toward the open door.

As they craned their heads around the door frame to peek in, they observed Gus swaying in time to the music in front of Justin, who was holding his arms up as he danced with him. Gus' face was vividly painted in shades of brown, white, and yellow, complete with whiskers and a black nose, and he was wearing some type of hairy wig containing light brown fake fur that spiked out from all directions in a semblance of some unkempt lion's mane.

"Looks like Justin's finished his latest masterpiece," he quipped quietly as the two women laughed softly. He found his voice catching as he spoke; he swallowed an unexpected lump in his throat at a sight he never thought he would ever seen again – his partner and his son together again, looking totally goofy and deliriously happy.

"Daddy!" he heard his son cry excitedly as he spied the three watching their performance. "Look what Poppa did! He made me into a lion!" He growled ferociously (at least to his ears) as Justin smiled affectionately before releasing him so he could run over to his other father and into his outstretched arms.

As Brian scooped him up and cradled the little body in his arms, he gave his son a brief kiss on the cheek as he replied, "I see that, Sonny Boy. You look just like Simba." Gus beamed at the compliment as a tender look passed between the two men – one that spoke volumes of their commitment and love for each other. "I think Sunshine's outdone himself on this masterpiece."

Lindsey shook her head in amusement as Justin reached to turn the CD down to a more respectable level. "We were wondering where Gus had run off to," she told Justin. "I should have known he would be up here with you." Since they had arrived this morning as a result of Brian's invitation that they spend a few days with him and Justin at Britin, the chance to see Gus' Poppa and his Daddy again was the only thing the little boy had talked about.

Mel added, "I thought somebody would be worn out after riding his pony all afternoon. I think I forgot how much energy somebody has." She smiled as she looked in wonder at the young man standing in front of her; like everyone else, she was having a hard time convincing herself that his presence here with them wasn't some figment of her imagination. But she was so glad it wasn't; despite her differences with Brian in the past, she had to grudgingly admit that the man had softened and even matured in the past few years, largely due in part to his sweet, compassionate partner standing in front of her. I guess love can change ANYONE…..even Brian.

Gus squirmed excitedly in his father's arms, anxious to get back to his dancing with his Poppa. "Down, Daddy," he instructed his father, who smiled and gently lowered his feet to the floor. As soon as he hit the ground, the little boy rushed back to Justin to continue their dancing. "Turn it up, Poppa," Gus urged him, pulling on his arm toward the CD player. Justin laughed at his impatience. "Okay, Buddy," he agreed as he allowed himself to be dragged back to a corner table where he had set up his portable stereo, mainly as a means of listening to music that might inspire him to paint. Right now, however, it was being used for a more important purpose – reintroducing himself to his and Brian's son.

"You realize, Sunshine, that you will be responsible for taking that artistic creation off Sonny Boy's face and getting Simba into bed, don't you?" Brian pointed out. If his partner was going to get their son all wound up just before bedtime, the least he could do was also get him settled back down enough so that he would go to sleep. He really didn't envy him that assignment, however; he knew how stubborn one little boy could be when he didn't want to do something, and something told him that he wasn't going to be too happy about having to stop what he was doing and go to sleep. If anyone could do it, though, he knew it would be Justin.

"Oh…..I hadn't thought of that," he told Brian, scrunching up his face in mock horror as he acknowledged the challenge he was going to be facing. But as he looked down at Gus' beaming face, he decided it was worth it. The adoring, radiant look he was getting was priceless to him. Squaring his shoulders, he turned up the CD before telling Gus, "Okay, Simba, let me hear you ROAR," he urged the little boy, who happily obliged as he began to snarl and stick his hands up in a curved shape as if they were claws of a ferocious beast.

"Well, then, we will leave this wild man in your capable hands," Brian cracked as he smiled. "Good luck," he said, chuckling, as the three turned to leave. Before they did, however, Mel and Lindsey watched Brian lingering just a little longer in the doorway, watching his lover and his son wistfully. They pretended not to notice that there were tears in Brian's eyes as he finally turned to look at them, smiling softly, as they walked together back down the steps, knowing now that their son was in good hands.

One Hour Later

Mel and Lindsey, tired from being up since dawn that morning in preparation for their trip, had bade Brian goodnight a short while ago; since Michael was watching JR, they had decided to take advantage of that and retire fairly early; now, he sat in one of the living room's leather chairs, enjoying the solitude of staying in the country, far away from the hustle and bustle of the city life. He had never thought in a million years he would enjoy living in a place where there were more cows than people, and the most exciting event to happen in the area was the annual county fair. But as he sat there, relishing the quiet whispers outside of crickets, whippoorwill calls, and owls, interspersed periodically with the crackling sound of the fireplace, he closed his eyes in contentment. He had material richness beyond compare now, but the most precious richness he possessed was upstairs together – a special little boy and a wonderful man that made him so incredibly happy; happier than he had ever thought possible.

As a particularly loud crackle burst from the fire, he opened his eyes and decided it was time for him to retire, too. Turning off the dimly-lit table light and bathing the room in a flickering dance of shadows from the flames, he quietly walked up the steps and turned left toward the master bedroom. Before he reached the room, however, he slowed in front of the spare bedroom Justin had specially designed for Gus shortly after Brian had purchased Britin. As he looked through the doorway, he realized he wouldn't find his partner in their bed, because he was sitting up in Gus' double-sized bed, holding his son's favorite story in his hands, Ghost Town at Sundown. Gus' favorite cowboy hat was lying beside him and the boy, face now freshly scrubbed, was lying halfway across Justin, his brown head on his Poppa's lap, fast asleep, as was Justin, whose blond head was tilted at a rather odd angle against the headboard. His lips were slightly parted as he breathed softly in and out in slumber, his left arm placed protectively on the little boy's shoulder.

Brian stood there, drinking in the sight of his son and the man he loved so deeply; this time, he didn't even try to staunch the flow of tears that sprouted in his eyes. He pursed his lips to prevent a sniffle from being audible as he wiped the tears from his face and slowly walked toward them.

Reaching down to retrieve the lightweight cover that had fallen to the end of the bed, he quietly placed it over his son's small body before leaning over to place a soft kiss on his lover's forehead. "I love you, Sunshine," he whispered to Justin, who seemed to smile in his sleep in response. Brian stared at the two of them for a few seconds before turning to go. As he headed toward his and Justin's bedroom, he decided this was one time he didn't mind sleeping alone. After all, the Kinney-Taylor Team would have the rest of their lives for that now - together.

Thank you to everyone for reading and reviewing - I have enjoyed writing it! I'm off to Stir up Some More Trouble now - have to have a new story up soon! :)