Santa Claus Is Cumming To Town
11:22 am, December 25th, 2007 - Happy Holidays!
For me, season five does not exist. I don't want to hear how much you liked it and how it was the perfect ending or reopen any of the season five wars. For me, it did not exist. So this takes place sometime around when season five WOULD have been going on if they hadn't screwed it up. Babylon did not blow up, Brian didn't buy Babylon and Justin never left Brian. Oh, and Brian still has both his balls. That is the premise leading into this.
Dedicated to a true Skywalker who is celebrating her first Christmas among the stars! Love and hugs!
Brian was dying.
At least that's what he kept telling anyone who would listen.
"I'm dying," he told his office when they called with a question related to business.
"I'm dying," he told Lindsay when she asked if he was coming to Gus's school play to celebrate the holidays.
"I'm dying," he told Debbie when she asked if he was coming over for the traditional Christmas Eve lasagna at her place.
"I'm dying," he told Michael when he invited him over for Christmas brunch.
"I'm dying," he told Justin when he paused at the foot of their bed to zip up his down coat and pull a stocking cap over his blond hair.
"You have the flu, Brian. You're not dying." Justin tried for infinite patience as he tested their new video recorder by aiming it at Brian who was propped up by all of the pillows. Brian wore sweats over winter silks, and was either too hot or too cold at all times. His third box of Puffs, white only, unscented only, Puffs only, not Kleenex was tucked beside his prone form. A bottle of water and a box of wintergreen Altoids was on the bedside table along with three prescriptions and a container of Advil gel caps. A humidifier hummed in one corner. The remote to the television was nearby in case he got bored. Justin tried to think of every contingency before he left.
"Tell Jim Henson that," Brian grumped before another round of coughing racked his lungs and competed with the blowing storm outside their windows.
Justin rolled his eyes. "This film of you is priceless. Your hair is sticking up in ten directions, your nose is redder than Rudolph's, you're skin is pasty, and your eyes are almost as red as your nose. The next guy who tells me how lucky I am to be your partner is going to be shown a still of this particular day."
"I'm so glad you find my terminal illness amusing, you bastard."
"Drama queen, drama queen, where for art thou drama queen?"
"A little sympathy wouldn't kill you."
"I drove you to the doctor in a snowstorm, brought you home, went to the drug store, went to the grocery store, picked up your laptop at your agency, made you chicken soup and lemon tea, set up the humidifier, went back to the store to get you an electric blanket, gave you a Vicks rubdown, and now I am going to go video your kid playing a camel in the school play so you can see him, since you can't go yourself. That beats sympathy."
"What's wrong with both?" Brian says and then groans as those aches in his long muscles began to throb again. "Why didn't you make me get a flu shot?"
"I tried. You said you didn't trust them and that you never got sick anyway. Remember?"
"Well, if I do get sick, it's always at Christmas. You think there's a message hidden in that fact?"
"Yes. The message is, Scrooge pays."
Brian narrowed his aching eyes at his partner and tried to sneer, but another coughing spell brought up more green gunk. "I thought the size of those booger creatures in the Mucinex ads were exaggerated," he tossed a soggy Puffs in the waste basket beside the bed. "In fact their extended family is alive in my lungs."
Justin grimaced. He'd slather on more antibacterial gel if he hadn't already slipped into his gloves. "I better go if I want to make curtain."
"Make curtain?" Brian threw back at him. "This is a pre-school play, Justin, not the long awaited Broadway revival of Gypsy."
Justin chuckled. "I want a good seat so I have clear aim."
"Why is he a camel anyway? Last I looked he has no hump on his back. And he's a cute kid. He should be the star."
"The older kids have the speaking parts around the manger, the younger ones are the animals."
"Isn't that a church and state issue regarding religion?"
"Private school. Remember those tuition checks you write every month?"
Brian spread an arm over his eyes. "Don't remind me. Tell Gus I'm sorry but..."
"I know. You're dying."
"You won't be so fucking glib about it when you come home and I have joined the father of Big Bird in the Sesame Street of the sky. My fever must be 110 by now."
"It was 102 last check, Brian. You really think you and the father of Big Bird will end up in the same place?" Justin said with a laugh.
"You may have a point."
"I'd kiss your forehead but I don't want to contaminate my lips."
"Why? Taking them somewhere later?"
"Bye Brian. I'll have my cell phone but it will be off during the play."
"Then what good are you?"
"Give the boy a turkey."
"Christmas Story, your favorite holiday movie, is on in ten."
"I don't have a favorite holiday movie. I hate them all equally."
"You love Ralphie and his Red Ryder BB gun." Justin knew better.
"I'll shoot your eye out and it won't be with a gun," Brian scowled as Justin waved and left him there on his deathbed to contemplate the brief but less than boring span of his life. He had ten mintues to do so. He wasn't about to miss The Christmas Story. That was one movie that still made him laugh. If anything could make him laugh while he was slowly dying.
When he told Justin that if he got sick, it was always on Christmas, he wasn't lying, or even exaggerating. Several years of his childhood were marked by a Christmas spent in bed, and not in a positive, life affirming way. He was generally a healthy kid, but the Christmas season seemed to have a damning effect on his immune system. Maybe it was just his way of avoiding the family crisis that Christmas always became in the Kinney household. There wasn't a grumpy but loving dad like in the Christmas Story, instead there was a drunk and abusive dad. There wasn't a caring and protective mom like in the movie, there was Jesus Joanie who hid her misery in a pew. There was no annoying little sibling like the one Ralphie had to contend with, there was only his older and eternally resentful sister. Just thinking about it made Christmas days spent with measles, colds, upset stomachs and one instance of mumps seem mild compared to how he felt right now.
As much as Ralphie longed for his Red Ryder BB gun, Brian wanted one thing he never got: the head of Darth Vader that was fashioned into a surprisingly gruesome storage unit for Star Wars action figures. Star Wars was the first movie he could remember seeing in a theater. He was six at the time and he had been transfixed. While he would never admit it now, at the time he wanted nothing more than to be Harrison Ford as Han Solo, the rugged, handsome, rules breaking hero. Well, he missed that starship.
As a boy, he accumulated a small collection of the Star Wars action figures, but what he wanted was the slick black plastic life sized mask of Darth Vader that was hinged and that opened up to reveal slotted storage compartments fitted to the dimensions of his action figures. His mother found the Darth Vader character demonic, so she never made an effort to locate the toy, and his father never really knew anything going on in Brian's life. Of course the concept of Santa Claus, that always filled Brian with skepticism, was a constant disappointment. As he grew up, the head of Darth Vader lost importance, but every time he saw the latest iteration of Star Wars, either at the theater or on cable, he felt a small twinge of loss.
Alone in his sick bed while Christmas and the storm carried on around him, he switched to TBS for Ralphie, and made himself as comfortable as he could be while he waited out those last few minutes before the show started. His eyes closed and when they opened again, he was no longer alone. A young man dressed like a hot Santa stood there, smiling. His chest was bare, his red suit half on half off. His abs were flat, not flabby, and he was clean-shaven and sexy, not a jolly old elf. He came over and sat on the edge of Brian's bed, leaving a bag of gifts on the floor.
"Man, am I tired, and I've barely started," Hot Santa complained.
Brian shook his head. What was Justin up to now? "Sorry but Santa Hooker doesn't work for me when I'm dying. How did you get in here anyway?"
"How does Santa always get in?"
"There's no chimney here. The fireplace is fake wood. Electric. Flip a switch and it's blazing,"
"Santa always finds a way."
"Well, Santa, it's called breaking and entering. Who sent you, anyway? Seems like something Emmett would do, but he can't afford your rates. You dress up like the Easter Bunny in the spring? That may be worth seeing."
"Brian, you were always such a skeptic."
"Since I am somewhat older than you, I doubt you would know that."
"Santa has no age."
"Must make it hard to buy booze. Will you let yourself out now? My movie is about to start."
"Why do you find it so hard to believe in things?"
"Oh maybe because my life experience has been if you expect the worst, you're never disappointed."
"Maybe," Santa Hooker stretched out on the bed, leaning his weight on an elbow. "But then you go through life expecting the worst."
"It's not happening here, Santa, so why don't you go? I'm sick as a dog. I couldn't get it up for Brad Pitt."
"I don't want anything from you, Brian."
"That's a first."
"You know, there are plenty who have it worse than you."
"Yeah, yeah, I've heard all about the starving children of the world who would be thrilled to have my uneaten lima beans. Save it. I give to charities, my work is done."
"You give, but you don't even believe those who deserve it get the benefit of your money. You give for the tax deduction and guilt appeasement."
"Because most charities are a racket. Can you go now?"
"Brian, you have someone who loves you very much. How much of a blessing is that?"
"Did the one who paid you really pay you to come over here and lecture me on my good luck?"
"No one paid me. Those years without a Darth Vader storage compartment made you strong, independent, and driven to succeed and forge your own way. How much is that worth?"
Brian felt a headache begin, just to round out his symptoms. "Thanks, I'll be forever grateful for being a neglected and abused child."
"You have a beautiful son. No gold is worth that."
"If you don't leave on your own, I'm calling 911."
Hot Santa stood and began rearranging his outfit, covering exposed flesh. He pulled a curly white beard out of his bag and slipped it on. A pillow followed, tucked in his waist band to make him look rotund. "In case I'm spotted," he said with a merry twinkle in his blue eyes.
"You and the elves must give all new meaning to the words North POLE."
Hot Santa, now looking like the more traditional Santa, laughed. Brian could swear it sounded like "Ho, ho, ho." He picked up his bag and said, "You've been a good boy, Brian. A good dad, a good partner, a hard working man. Maybe I'll leave a little something under your tree."
"For the first time in thirty plus years? Gee, thanks. Make sure it's the Darth Vader head, and not some blood dripping literal stump."
"Ho, ho, ho!" Not-so-hot Santa declared as he ducked out of sight. Brian settled down to watch the movie but instead, he awoke to Justin shaking him gently.
"You decided not to go?" Brian asked, feeling disoriented. On the television screen, the closing credits to his movie were rolling by. He missed the whole thing.
"I just walked in. You are out of it, aren't you?" His cold hand on Brian's forehead caused Brian to wince. "You feel cooler and your shirt is clammy. I think your fever broke."
"I had the weirdest dream."
"Was it hot?" Justin teased. Brian shrugged.
Over egg nog, spiced, while Brian wrapped up in a cashmere throw, they opened their gifts to each other, deciding to take advantage of the quiet and of Brian's small improvement. Tomorrow was Christmas Eve, which meant between Deb and Justin's family plans, they wouldn't find many peaceful moments together.
Brian was particularly fond of the painting Justin did for him, deciding to hang it over the fireplace. Justin was equally pleased with the impossible to get this season's hottest game system that Brian managed to find. Brian always seemed to understand that, beneath all the college hours and life experience, they were both, in many ways, just overgrown kids.
As Justin worked at hooking the game to the flat screen, Brian spied a box half hidden behind the tree, wrapped in garish red and green paper rather than the tasteful wraps they used that Brian described as ho-ho-homosexual gift wrap. "What's that?" he asked. Justin followed his pointing finger and shrugged.
"Beats me. I thought it was something you bought Gus. I haven't noticed it before this evening. There's no tag on it."
"Would I wrap something in that lousy paper? Bring it over here."
"Get it yourself, Wheelchair Willie. I'm up to my neck in wires."
"I'll show you wired when I feel better," Brian grumbled, making his way to the tree and dragging out the box. It was large but not heavy. Justin was right, it bore no tag. It looked like paper Michael might choose, since he was unable to picture Christmas unless it was tomato red and grass green. He sat back down, covered up, and ripped off a large swath of paper. The box was white, gave away nothing. "You have to re-wrap that if it's not for you," Justin warned. "What is it? A Red Ryder BB gun?"
"A square one? You need to brush up on firepower, sissy boy."
Justin laughed at that and then watched Brian remove the lid and lift out a shiny black... decapitated head. Or what seemed to be head shaped. But flat. "What the hell is that?"
Brian glared at him after he ran his hands over the smooth plastic surface of the mask of Darth Vader. It opened with the snug snap of a new toy and smelled like fresh plastic. The individual storage compartments were still unmarred by small hands forcing action figures in and out of the slots. "Where did you get this?" Brian didn't remember telling him about his missed opportunity. He didn't think he told anyone, except maybe Michael, and why would Michael remember it now? Where did he find one so mint?
"I didn't buy it, Brian. I don't even know what it is."
Brian held it up and Justin shrugged. "It looks like that guy in the Star Wars movies."
"That's Darth Vader to you. I guess Michael got it. Snuck it in over here, he has a key."
"I don't think so. I know what he got you and that's not it."
"Santa maybe?" Justin said with a grin and returned to his task. Brian got up and went to his closet, digging around on the top shelf among the neatly placed boxes of stored shoes and selected a particular D and G box and took it down. Inside were a half dozen or so small, somewhat bedraggled Star Wars action figures he had held onto since his youth. He sat on his bed and carefully placed Luke Skywalker in the orange flight suit from the second movie and in the white jedi warrior judo outfit from the first movie, and Chewbacca with his tubular brown body, and Princess Leia with her honeybun hairstyle and of course Darth Vader and his favorite, Han Solo, in tan vest and brown pants and black boots. He had C3PO but R2D2 had been long lost. The figures looked a little overwhelmed in the spacious container, but seeing them there gave him a strong sense of satisfaction, and he couldn't help but smile.
Justin wandered in, standing in the doorway to stare at him. "That's all it is? A storage chest?"
"What did you expect?" Brian snarled at him. "Artificial Intelligence?"
"Well, yeah," Justin said with a laugh and then sneezed, sneezed again and sneezed once more. "Oh shit, you gave it to me."
Brian smiled. "Merry Christmas, Sunshine. You can thank me for it later."
"You dirtball," Justin said with a shudder as his body began to tingle with a rising fever. He climbed under the covers as Brian closed the storage chest and placed it on the top shelf with a satisfied sigh. "If Santa comes around, tell him all I want is to not get the flu as bad as you have it," Justin pleaded.
"Too late," Brian slid in beside him. "He's already cum and gone."
Justin looked up at him and frowned. "You can't be looking at me that way, Brian. Not now. Not like this. Not when we're both sick."
"Why not? The worst is over, we're both infected."
Brian leaned down to kiss him, remembering what Hot Santa said to him about being lucky. He would pin down his secret gift later, but right now all he wanted to do was get snug with his lover and use each other to feel a little better. If only he could get the strength to do so; if his body would cooperate with his desire.
"They're looping The Christmas Story all night," Justin said, hoping to get Brian off of his scheme since every muscle in his body was beginning to ache.
Brian saw the escape and took it, feeling suddenly as run down and exhausted as before he had this momentary surge. "What the fuck, may as well watch it. You won't be worth fucking as this thing creeps up on you."
Justin let him have that one, as the movie began to play. He moved closer to Brian's warmth and closed his eyes, mumbling, "Merry Christmas, Brian."
"Shut up or I'll shoot your eye out," Brian warned, draping an arm across him. He settled in to enjoy Christmas as it once was, while holding onto Christmas as it had become. Not so bad, he thought to himself, hearing the vague chuckle of his uninvited visitor echo in his head, allowing a smile to brighten his temporary pallor.
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July 25, 2004