Brian's POV

You are the first one to waken in the morning and you lie there beside him for a very long time as you watch him sleep. The soft morning light is forgiving but he's still more beautiful than anyone should be. You didn't sleep for more than a couple of hours, tossing and turning, wringing the sheets in your hands, unable to accept the reality that he was okay, that he was alive, that he wasn't going to slip through your fingers like air. His body is still and you know that there is more than sheer exhaustion responsible. There was never any other possibility of him going anywhere but here and you feel that karma is pleased with the fact that you are together and he is where he is supposed to be once again. Things are always different in the morning and for once you don't resist the urge to curl around his sleeping form. He is warm and solid and the slow rise and fall of his chest reassures you that he is real, that this isn't a dream. He could be anywhere, could be with anyone, but through some stroke of—and you shudder to say it, if only to yourself—divine blessing he is with you. He loves you. You realise now that because he is who he is—as good, as pure, and as whole—there must be a reason why he loves you. He is far too everything to deserve the bad things, the sinful, damned things that you've been doing your whole life, ever since your mother told you that you were doing them.

You love him. It's the first time that you've freely admitted it to yourself. It's not as big of a deal, in the clarity of a new day, as you would think, as anyone who knows you would think. The ground didn't open up and it mostly certainly hasn't freed you from your inner pain. You have loved him almost since you met him, will always love him, and it shames you a little that you almost had to lose him—again—before you'd say the words that he's been wordlessly asking you for for years. You never have been very good at denying him the things that he wants.

A beeping fills your ears and for one horrible second you think that you're back in the crumbling mess of Babylon, that he has died and you have lost your mind, that the last few hours have been nothing more than a sick hallucination fed by your indeterminable grief. If that is the case, you think to yourself, you don't want it to stop. Your heart thuds painfully in your chest and you start to panic until you realise that the beeping is not coming from nowhere and everywhere at once, it's coming from behind you, and it is just your alarm clock—you had known that you wouldn't be going into work long ago, as soon as you found out, but had forgotten to turn it off. The horrible screeching noise—you'd turned it to full volume years ago when he'd started sleeping through it and had become accustomed until you no longer noticed that it was almost three times the volume that it had been before you'd met him—wakes him, too, and you tell him you're sorry when you are finally able to make it stop.

He tells you that he wants you and you smile because his hands are at the hem of his t-shirt and you are hovering over him, helping him push it higher, skimming the palms of your hands, the pads of your fingers, ever-so-carefully over the colourful bruises that mar his perfect skin. He doesn't wince when you work it over his surely stiff arms, wouldn't even if you were hurting him, but you know that you are not. He is okay. You kiss the side of his mouth gently and know that this is as much for him, maybe more, than it is for you. He wants to feel alive right now and you are perfectly willing to help him.

His hands cup your face, they stroke your neck and, like you always can, you feel just how much he loves you. It is unconditional in every meaning of the word, his love for you, because you've done many things to him, things that he hates, things that you are not proud of. It's one thing to hurt him—and you know that you have —but the thing that you have never been able to do is leave him and that is the reason why you've been cruel to him, you've pushed him and pushed him and done horrible, hateful things until he's had no choice but to do the leaving himself.

You do not want him to leave right now. You know that you're staring but he doesn't seem to notice, maybe he's used to it, and the fact that you are gazing at him with your heart in your eyes doesn't really bother you like it used to. It's nothing new, really. You've done it forever.

He twines his arm around your neck and pulls you into him until you are so close that you can smell the wonderful scent of his skin. He kisses you this time and you can tell that the languid pace you've set is not enough for him when you feel his soft hands touching you, exploiting each and every one of the places that he knows drive you crazy. It's not really what you want but right now you'll do anything for him. So you let yourself arch into his touch against the cooling skin of his chest and your hand drops to the pair of your too-big boxers that are sitting deliciously low on his hips; you fondle him through the thin cotton, you taste his moan in your mouth.

Justin's POV

You thought that you'd won when he started rubbing your cock with the flat of his hand. You started to shimmy out of his boxers, lifting your ass and pushing them down your legs but he's not helping you and he's moving much too slowly, not touching you enough. It's amazing the difference that a few hours sleep can make and you suspect from the way that he is acting that he is running on fumes, has probably been up for hours if he has even slept at all.

His eyes are open and focussed, but they're a little empty. They are dark in the shadows that fall across his face, a little flat and a little glassy. He hardly looks like himself and you remember another time when his face was gaunt and the bruises beneath his eyes made him look like he hadn't slept in weeks. His lies were the worst they'd ever been, then, and he'd broken your heart more than any time he'd ever done so before. A chill runs across your body and you feel like you should knock on wood or throw some salt because his check-ups have been clear and there is no reason for you to assume that his long-term prognosis will continue to be anything except good.

His hand has migrated, it's rubbing circles into your stomach—lifting your legs a little higher, touching you where you want to touch him—and you sigh a silent sigh because you know that he is going to need a little direction. You squirm against him and are frankly shocked when you go to rub him with your knee and he pulls back. He obviously requires much more than a little direction.

"Please," you rasp into the stubble on the underside of his chin, taking the condom that he has—finally— taken from the bowl on the nightstand into your own hand. "Please."

His widened eyes, along with the tensing of his body above you, tell you that he now understands. You can't read him, and when he takes the condom from your hand and tears it open with his teeth—it drives you crazy that, for someone who places as much importance on safe sex, he still does that—and you are sure that it is his way of telling you, no, dear, not tonight, I've got a headache. You're disappointed, you think as he flings the empty wrapper away, but you know that he'll make it up to you. And so you're shocked to the point of not understanding when you feel the coolness of the plastic against you and feel him roll it down.

Your brows knit in confusion but you don't say anything when he stops you from moving behind him and grips your hips with his knees instead. He pulls you into him when you make love—there isn't any point in calling it fucking, because it's not fucking at all when he says your name like it's the only one he knows, when he strokes your hair and watches you all the while with a steady, patient gaze. He says it again when he comes in your stroking hand and another time, yet, after you come inside him and drop onto his damp chest, giving the words back to him for the first time since he's said them.

I love you, too. I love you so fucking much.

Brian's POV

You have never felt more aware of the fact that nothing is certain and nothing is forever than you are right now.

You are not going to fuck it up again.

You now know the importance that you have it all with him—everything that he has ever wanted—because you will not allow yourself to wake up one day and realise that you have lost him again.

A/N: Not mine.

So, this was actually unexpected. I never planned to do anything more with this story but in the midst of my writer's block this came to me and I worked on it off and on for about a week before I just gave up and finished it. Apparently, it needed to be said.

I really like this story because I feel like there just wasn't enough of a focus on what happens after the bomb and how much it really affects Brian. It doesn't take a lot to see that the things that he realises that night resonate in what other people refer to as his unexplained out of character actions pretty much for the rest of the season.

So, yeah. I hope that you enjoyed and that you'll drop me a line and let me know what you think :) en n'importe pas quelle langue. Je les adore tous.