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Par-Rumpa-Pum-Pum

This story is dedicated to all the 500+ readers on my list, as well as the quiet ones who hit the web site, but don't subscribe. A special dedication to Lucky and Crickett, both of whom have dealt with some difficult times this year, to my evil twin Cael, and to Pfyre, Roz, Jen and Alan who have dedicated so much time and talent to getting the word out there in readable format. To all of you, may the holidays be kind, your wishes come true, and the new year be better than the last. May Brian and Justin get together once and for all early in Season 3 and may we never see Fab again, at least not on this show. BIG HOLIDAY HUG AND KISS! Love to you all, Randall.

PAR-RUMPA-PUM-PUM
A Brian & Justin Christmas Story

December 23, The Loft.

"Pa-rumpa-pum-pum," Justin sang along with a recording of Bing Crosby as the old crooner celebrated the season with his rendition of "The Little Drummer Boy". Justin was staring out the windows at the gentle snowfall while Daphne slid sugar cookies cut out in Christmas shapes onto cooling racks in the sleek kitchen.

"Justin, if you play that song one more time, you are SO going to get this spatula up your ass!" She threatened and he turned to her and smiled.

"Sorry. It's my fave. I think it's sweet."

"Come away from that window. Watching the weather here won't improve what's happening in New York. Brian's still stuck in New York, no planes are flying in or out of La Guardia, and you just have to get over it. It's no one's fault. He had to take that business trip, and the weather moved in while he was there. He didn't plan it, you didn't plan it, it just happened that way."

He came into the kitchen, watching her frost the cooled cookies with tubes of colored icing while a new batch baked. "He'll make it back before Christmas. I know he will."

"If he doesn't, it's not because he doesn't want to be here."

"You don't understand, Daph. Christmas is hard for Brian."

She slapped his hand as he reached for a cookie. "You can only eat the broken ones. And you can start putting the good ones in the gift bags, but be careful not to mess them up. Why is Christmas so hard for Brian?" She asked as he began to slide the finished cookies into bags printed with silver bells and snow flakes.

"Think about it, Daph. Why is Christmas so much fun for us? Because we had normal parents who made it special. We looked forward to decorating the tree, watching as more and more wrapped gifts showed up under it, trying to guess what was in the boxes, and even waking up to a whole new spread of gifts from Santa Claus! We had great family meals, fond memories of church events, and almost everything we asked for! What did Brian have?"

She shrugged. "I don't know. He didn't grow up in the ghetto or anything like that. He was from a middle class family, wasn't he? Didn't they celebrate the day? I thought they were pretty religious."

"From what he's said, and from what I've heard from Michael, the tree was always a hassle. They put it up at the last minute because his father thought it was a waste of money to pay full price for a bunch of dead branches, as he put it. So he waited until the day before Christmas when all the trees left were scraggly and marked way down. Then his Dad got drunk and either went out and left the family to decorate, or he cursed and criticized whatever they did to the tree. Brian said it always ended up in a big fight."

Daphne wrinkled her nose. "Yech. What about gifts?"

"His Mom is very devout. She believes Christmas is over-commercialized, and his father didn't want to spend a lot on presents for the two kids. So Brian said he usually got something practical like clothing, never more than two gifts and no toys. His favorite gift was a pair of soccer cleats he needed for school. His mother cooked and cooked, but all her food went to the church. She spent Christmas day and evening at the social center for the Church, feeding the homeless."

"I guess that's nice, though," Daphne said and Justin shrugged.

"Brian said it was more to get away from his Dad, who always got drunk on Christmas. They were left to fend for themselves and he and his sister had to do the cooking, which meant something easy like macaroni and cheese and hot dogs."

"Doesn't he have an extended family?"

"He never talks about them if he does."

"That is so sad."

"I know. He said after he met Michael, he would always go over to the Novotny house as soon as he could escape from his home. Debbie always had a house full of people, lots of food and loud fun. She had gifts for Brian, and he felt like he was part of something with the Novotny family. Until he had to go home. The night usually ended with a fight between his parents, and his father insisted they take the tree down the day after Christmas, claiming it was a fire hazard."

"Okay, you have thoroughly depressed me."

"Now you understand his annual depression. I wanted this year to be different for Brian. We had fun picking out a tree and he even helped me decorate it. Well, he put the lights up, I did the rest. We're supposed to have the gang over on Christmas evening for champagne and dessert, and he was looking forward to it, I think. We had some laughs shopping for Gus and the others, and he's so curious about what's in those packages with his name on them. The stuff I'm giving him."

"That's sweet, honey."

"Yeah, but now he's stuck in New York City and I'm here. What fun is there in that? Another Christmas ruined for him."

"It's not over yet. Maybe there will be a break in the weather."

"That's not what they're saying on the television."

The phone rang, and Justin picked up the portable in the kitchen.

"What's the weather like in the Pitts?" Brian's voice sounded flat, signifying his depression.

Justin smiled, pleased to hear Brian speak, depressed or not. "Cold, a little snow, but nothing too harsh. There?"

"Nuclear winter. The penguins have migrated to New York. It's a fucking blizzard."

"Shit."

"Yeah, shit. Not only are the planes grounded, but just try getting a cab. Forget it. Snow over ice, if you take two steps, you'll fall on your ass. Oh happy day."

"I'm sorry, Brian. Really sorry."

"Why are you sorry? It's not your fault."

"I feel bad for you, stranded like that. Alone."

"You don't control the weather, oh great Oz. Look, I'm in a five-star hotel in Manhattan with 24-hour room service and pay for porn. And the agency is paying for me to stay here. I've had a lot worse Christmases than this." He hesitated, then added, "Too bad you're not trapped with me."

"I know," Justin said with a sigh. Being trapped in a fancy hotel with Brian was a fantasy of his. The hotel sex they had in New York when Justin ran away and Brian followed was still memorable. "I could drive to the city."

"Are you on crack? It's a blizzard, Mr. Donner. You couldn't get out of Pennsylvania. You'd be stranded along some highway, eating your own leg to keep from starving."

Justin giggled at that image. "Your Jeep has four wheel drive. We could test it."

"It doesn't have a snow plow and skis. You take the Jeep out and I'll kill you before hypothermia does the job."

"You said I could drive it while you were gone."

"I said if you NEEDED to get somewhere and had no other way, you could drive it. I didn't say you could drive it to Antarctica."

Justin sighed. "I get it."

"Look, whatever else happens, make sure Gus gets those presents I bought him. Wrap them up for me, will you? And try to make him understand they're from me."

"Daph and I finished wrapping everything today. I'll see that he gets them if you're not back, Brian."

Brian sighed. "This sucks."

"I know. I miss you too."

"Yeah," it was as much of an admission as Brian could handle.

"What about taking a train?"

"I checked. Nothing's running."

Justin suddenly remembered something. "What about your Mom?"

"My mom? I tried to convince her to come and pick me up, but she resisted," Brian said with a chuckle. "What do you mean, what about my mom?"

"We have that present for her. Should I take it over there if you're not home?"

Brian laughed. "It would be worth it to see the look on her face when she opens the door to see you there in my place! Ha! And I didn't think I could laugh..."

"What? I'm so unacceptable?"

"You're my male lover, Justin. We are going to hell together, spawn of Satan. Don't worry about Joanie. I'll call and tell her my situation and give her that gift later. She'll tell herself I'm shacked up with someone and everyone will feel validated. Same goes for the gifts for Claire and my gargoyle nephews. They can wait for their presents."

"Okay," Justin replied. His own family was far from perfect, but he really didn't understand Brian's family's dynamics. He was glad he hadn't grown up in that house.

"In fact, everyone else can wait. Only Gus needs his stuff on time, because he's too little to understand. You can wait too, Snoop Doggy Dogg."

Brian was referring to Justin's fascination with the small, professionally giftwrapped box under the tree bearing a tag that said simply, "To J, From B." It rattled when Justin shook it, and he had no clue what was beneath the pretty paper. "Okay, okay, but that's cruel and unusual punishment. We'll open ours together when the thaw sets in." He had two gifts for Brian under the tree, one he bought and one he painted.

"Yeah, I guess that's the thing to do. Well, I'll call you later with another update."

"Okay. I wish...you know what I wish."

"Me too, kid."

"Bye, Brian."

"Later."

II. Woody's, later that night.

Michael rolled his eyes, sick of Justin's whining about Brian's isolation. "For fuck's sake, he's at the Waldorf, not some fucking cabin in the woods, Justin!"

"Actually, he's at 60 Thompson, in Soho," Justin countered.

"Whatever. It's a great hotel, or he wouldn't be there, he's such a label queen. Brian was never big on Christmas anyway. He'd just be grumbling and getting drunk and complaining about how the holiday was just an excuse to boost the retail economy. Bla bla bla. Now he can get quietly drunk in his fancy hotel room and not bring down the rest of us."

Ted laughed. "My favorite Brian Christmas rant was the one where he told us all how it was a false holiday created during pagan times by the Christians, who wanted to displace some pagan celebration with a Christian theme. He went into all this detail about how Jesus Christ wasn't even born in December, and how it was just a political ploy to boost membership in the church."

Emmett nodded. "I remember that one. He sounded like a conspiracy theory monger on some tacky talk show."

They all laughed, except for Justin, who glared at them. "I don't think it's funny. You should be ashamed, Michael. You more than anyone knows how horrible Christmas was for Brian when he was a kid. Of course he has problems with the holiday. But this year was going to be good. He was even looking forward to it, in his way. Then this had to happen and now he's stranded in New York on a day when he most needs emotional support and the company of people who care about him. So laugh it up. Excuse me if I don't join you."

Ben offered Justin an encouraging wink as Justin walked away and started talking to some men who were shooting pool. Michael sighed. "The official fan club of Brian Kinney has just left the area."

"Aren't you the charter member of that club?" Ben chided him gently and Michael glared at his boyfriend as Ted and Emmett signified a score in Ben's favor.

Same night, 2:00 a.m.

Ben answered the phone, leaning across Michael's sleeping body to reach it. "Yeah?"

"Hey, Ben, it's Brian."

"Brian?" Ben squinted at the clock. "Uh, do you know the time?"

"Sorry. I really need to talk to Mikey."

"Hold on." He awoke his lover, told him it was Brian, then turned over to try and recapture his sleep.

"Brian? What's wrong? Are you back?"

"No, I'm not back. Have you seen Justin?"

"Earlier tonight at Woody's.Why?"

"I've tried calling him and there's no answer at the loft or on his mobile. It's late, I'm worried."

"You've gotta be kidding me. That's why you called?"

"Yeah, Mikey. Where is he?"

"Maybe he's tricking."

Brian was silent. Then he said, "Fuck you."

"It's possible, isn't it?"

Brian didn't share with Michael that neither he nor Justin had tricked in months. Nothing was said between them to declare tricking off limits, no rules were established, but slowly and quietly neither of them found it necessary. "He's not tricking."

"The last time I saw him, he was walking out of Woody's with this big bear of a guy in red flannel. He had a skanky gray ponytail. I thought at the time, he doesn't look like a pickup for Justin, but they weren't all over each other or anything like that. I figured they were just talking as they both happened to leave at the same time. I suppose I could be wrong and he's shacked up somewhere with the guy. Shit, he had to be fifty, Brian. Why would Justin go with him?"

"You have a real mean streak," Brian said softly and hung up the phone.

"What did I say?" Michael pondered as he stared at the dead receiver. Ben, who had been unable to sleep, turned over to glare at him.

"From what I heard, you said quite a lot, and none of it was what Brian needed to hear."

"It was all true."

"It was factual, but you put a spin on it that may not be fair to Justin and that is certain to increase Brian's anxiety. Congratulations."

"Ben..."

Ben waved him off and turned over, this time determined to sleep.

III. 60 Thompson, New York City

Brian smoked the last of his cigarettes as he stared out his window at the rooftops of the low slung buildings along this quiet street in Soho. Caked in snow, with more falling throughout the night, everything looked clean and sparkling as dawn began to break. Christmas Eve. Ho, ho, ho.

He had been unable to sleep. The luxurious Frette linens on his rumpled bed were unwelcoming, and nothing on the television appealed to his troubled mind. He was feeling waves of cabin fever combined with fear for Justin and a heavy dose of jealousy and insecurity. Dressed in sweats and a pair of socks to fend off the slight chill of the old, refurbished building, he considered going out, just to walk around, but the snow was so thick on the sidewalks, and the patches of ice so treacherous, he decided to stay put.

He couldn't, wouldn't, believe Justin was tricking. Given the choices between Justin's being hurt, or missing, or his being unfaithful, Brian would choose the lesser pain of infidelity. But a bear? Justin had never been drawn to bears, even though bears were drawn to his juvenile appeal. In two hours Brian would allow himself to call Daphne. It was possible Justin had crashed over there. He didn't call earlier, because he didn't want her to sense his desperation. He also didn't want to be told she had no idea where Justin was, thus ending his last hope that the solution to the mystery was innocent.

God, how he hated Christmas! Just this once he'd believed he could feel differently about the holiday that always reminded him of the important things he hadn't had. His son was now old enough to enjoy the festivities, which would be fun for Brian too, and Brian was with someone who loved him and whom he...okay...admit it. Someone he loved as well. Christmas night, lying snuggled in Justin's arms, rather than burying his face in a pillow as he did when he was a kid to drown out his parents' inevitable brawl, or burying his face in some trick as an adult to stave off his loneliness, gave him something to anticipate with joy and a sense of peace.

Or so he thought.

Now he was plagued with a loneliness more acute than anything he felt before, the loneliness of being away from someone he loved, combined with the fear that his lover was either in trouble or cheating. Typical fucking Brian Kinney Christmas. The clock rolled over to five, and then six and Brian picked up the phone and dialed Daphne's number. She finally answered, sounding groggy.

"Hi, Daph, it's Brian. Sorry to wake you."

"S'ok Brian. Still stranded?"

"Yeah. Have you seen Justin?"

"Yeah."

Brian felt a wave of relief. "Can I talk to him?"

"He's not here."

"Where is he?"

"Home, I guess, Brian."

Brian's relief quickly dissipated. "Oh. No, he isn't. I thought maybe he was with you when you said you'd seen him."

"I did. Yesterday. We spent most of the day together. What's up? Why isn't he home? Did you try his mobile?"

"Yeah, nothing."

"Maybe he spent the night at Deb's or with his mom. He thinks the loft is really lonely when you're away."

Brian perked up slightly. That made sense! It was the holiday season, after all. Something was always going on at the Novotny home and Jennifer Taylor would love to see more of her son. "I'll bet you're right. Sorry to wake you, Daph."

"Tell him to call me when you talk to him so I know he's okay."

"I will."

"Merry Christmas, Brian."

"You too."

Brian hung up and ordered breakfast, suddenly hungry. By the time the food arrived and he finished eating, it would be late enough to call Deb and Jennifer. He was sure that's where Justin was. He had renewed hope.

Deb sounded entirely too chipper as she answered the telephone. "Merry Christmas, whoever you are!"

"Thanks, Deb, it's Brian."

"Baby! You made it home and just in time! I'll set another place at the table for our usual Christmas Eve feast. Your favorites are on the menu, roast turkey and my special cornbread dressing."

"Deb, I'm still snowed in."

"Oh no! You won't be able to get out today?"

"Doubt it. Hey, is Justin there?"

"Sunshine? No, honey. Is he supposed to be?"

"No, I uh, just thought maybe... must be at Jennifer's."

"She's right here, helping me cook. I'll ask her. Hold on." Deb finally came back on the line. "She said she hasn't seen him in a couple days although she talked to him yesterday on the phone. Is anything wrong?"

"No," Brian said softly. "Nothing's wrong." Everything was wrong. Justin was cheating on him. Merry Fucking Christmas.

Brian drank steadily for the rest of the day. What else was there to do? By evening, he was drunk, angry and exhausted. When the phone rang, he answered with a snarl. "What?"

"Jesus, Brian, Merry Christmas to you too," Michael said with a laugh.

"How did you find me?"

"Justin told us where you were staying."

"Oh." Justin. Brian had not tried to call Justin since his conversation with Deb. He could do the math. "What do you want?"

"Are you drunk?"

"What if I am? I'm not driving. Hell, I'm not going anywhere."

"Okaaaaay. Did you ever find Justin?"

"No."

"I thought maybe you talked to him on the phone."

"No, Mikey. Why?"

"He's supposed to be here for dinner. His mom and Molly are here. My Mom's ready to serve. We have a house full of people, but no Justin. No one's heard from him since he left Woody's."

Brian frowned. His hurt little boy instinct was to blow it off and tell Mikey to find someone who cared. He sighed. "I'm sure he's just shacked up with someone."

Michael sensed how much pain was behind that deceptively innocent response. "Even if that's true, he'd call someone if he were going to be delayed by fucking."

Brian sighed. "I don't know, Mikey. Could he be hurt? Was he driving my Jeep?"

"Is he allowed?"

"I told him he could if he really needed to be somewhere. Go to the loft and see if the Jeep is there. Call me back."

"We're getting ready to eat, Bri."

"Eat fast and then go over there." Brian hung up, beginning to fear for Justin's safety.

Time passed slowly for Brian until Michael called back. Brian ordered dinner but ate very little of it, even as his alcohol saturation passed. He was restless. He tried the loft, Justin's mobile. Voice mail. He tried not to think of Dumpster Boy who, like Justin, had been fair and young and vulnerable. Another crime against gays left unresolved. Finally, Michael called.

"The Jeep is parked in your place and doesn't look as if it's been driven in awhile."

Brian frowned, not sure if that was good news. "Go up to the loft. Look around. Have your key?"

"Yeah, hold on."

Michael and Ben rode the elevator up to Brian's floor and Michael let them into the loft and reset the alarm. "Okay, we're inside. No one is here. You have a Christmas tree? Since when do you put up a tree?"

"Shut up, Mikey."

"And who are all these presents for?"

"Quit snooping around, Nancy Drew, and look for signs that he's been there recently."

"Who knows? The bed's unmade. There's some dishes in the kitchen sink and a towel on the bathroom floor, but that doesn't tell me the time."

"You see a blue parka on the back of a dining room chair? He always hangs it there."

"No, but he was wearing a blue parka at Woody's."

"Swell."

"His Mom is really worried now. She wants to call the police."

"Hold on, that's my other line," Brian picked up the second line to hear the desk clerk announce, "Mr. Kinney, there's a package here for you. Shall I send the courier to your room?"

"Yeah, thanks." He picked up the first line. "Mikey, a courier is on his way up. I ordered a carton of smokes from a convenience store. With the tip and delivery charge, this carton will cost more than a lid of Turkish hash."

"What do I tell Jennifer? I have to get back over there."

"There's the courier at my door. Let me think. Call me from the car." Brian hung up and hunted up his money clip. He was peeling off bills as he opened the door without looking up. "I'm tipping you twenty for having to brave this weather in order to feed my addiction," he was saying.

"Very generous of you, sir. Merry Christmas!"

Brian stopped fiddling with his money and looked into the courier's eyes. Blue parka, face flushed with cold, leather gloves, a stretch cap pulled low over his fair hair. He was holding a bulging backpack. Brian shook his head, as if to clear away an hallucination. But Justin was still there. Grinning.

"Aren't you going to ask me in?"

"You twat!" Brian smacked his padded chest with the back of his hand. "Do you know how worried your mother is? How the hell did you get here? Why....hi, baby!" Brian grabbed him and pulled him hard against his body, kissing him with such force, Justin could scarcely breathe.

"Air!" Justin pleaded when the kiss ended. He had been lifted to his toes by the powerful embrace of the stronger man. Brian released him, pulled him into the room, closed the door, then pressed Justin's back to the wood, kissing him again with eager anticipation. Justin kissed him back, tightening his arms around Brian's neck. Within minutes, clothes were shed and two sleek male bodies were stretched out naked on the fine white shadow striped sheets. All of Brian's anger, jealousy and fears were extinguished in the heat of his lust and longing. He plunged his tongue between Justin's full lips and his hands roamed his body as if he were blind and this was the only way he could know Justin's form.

Justin moaned, his exhaustion dissipating as his system picked up Brian's heat. Within minutes, they were joined as lovers, with Brian's stiff cock pumping them both into the sweet oblivion of a shared orgasm.

The phone rang. Brian picked it up. Michael, calling from the car as he promised. "Mikey," he said with a smile, running his hand over Justin's fine rump. "It's cool."

"Are you ripped?" Michael demanded. "How can it be cool? We still don't know..."

"I know," Brian interrupted. "He's right here."

"How did he get there? What about the blizzard?"

"He hired a dog sled to bring his fine little pa-rumpa-rump-rump to New York, so tell his mommy he'll call her soon...but not TOO soon, we still have some catching up to do."

Michael groaned. "You two aren't newlyweds anymore, give it a rest!"

"Eat your heart out. Oh, Mikey, one last Christmas favor..."

"What NOW?"

"Make sure Gus gets those presents under the tree with his name on them. And help him understand why I can't be there and that they're from me."

"So now I'm Santa Claus?"

"You have the belly for it."

"Shut UP! I just left your loft! I'm supposed to go back and pick up these gifts?"

Brian smiled. "He's just a little kid, Mikey. You know you want him to enjoy his Christmas."

Michael sighed. "Emotional blackmail. Okay, okay we're heading back, but tell Justin he'd better call Jennifer, or I'll be waking you boys up several times tonight just to remind you."

"You got it, thanks, Mikey. Oh, and hey...Merry Christmas."

"Merry Christmas to you, too, Brian."

They hung up and Brian turned to Justin, pulling him into his arms. This time they were tender and leisurely as they made love. They let the fire build slowly, increasing the tension between them. Brian placed Justin above him, straddling his hips, watching his youthful beauty as he perfected Brian's penetration.

"Slow, baby," Brian directed him, spreading his hands on Justin's torso, calming him and slowing his natural tendency to stroke himself with Brian's cock. Justin pushed Brian's hand down his belly to rub Justin's erection in the tight confines of his fist. He moaned with pleasure, leaning back to ensure the maximum pressure on his prostate. The rolling, milking motion of Brian's hard cock against that gland sent spears of sensation traveling to the head of Justin's dick.

"I want you to shoot it all over me, baby," Brian said hoarsely as the intensity of their arousal built to a peak. "Come all over my belly, baby. Hit my chin with it."

Justin moaned, leaning his palms on Brian's knees to increase the depth of the fucking. Brian stroked Justin faster, his gaze fixed on his lover's face, judging his readiness by his expression. When Justin shot, Brian laughed, feeling the jism hit his stomach, pecs, and even his chin like a blow from a warm, soggy rope. He played his long fingers through it, stringing it up to make a sticky web. Brian cried out as he released his own load within the restrictive enclosure of a condom.

"Call your Mom, and then join me in the shower," Brian invited, kissing him gently as he left the bed and led the way into the bathroom that was behind a glass paneled door. Brian had barely worked up a lather when Justin stepped in with him. "Talk to Jennifer?" Brian asked.

"Yeah. She's learned a whole new vocabulary from hanging out with Debbie."

Brian laughed, soaping up Justin's smooth back. "She loves you. She's your mom. She was worried. Care to tell me how you got here?"

Justin grinned and turned around to soap his own cum from Brian's torso. "I was at Woody's. Hanging out with the guys," he began in that ending-with-a-question tone of voice generic to his age group. "So I met this trucker who was shooting pool."

"A trucker."

"Yeah. John."

"Of course. John."

"Anyway, he was hitting on me like crazy but I had no interest in that, of course."

"Naturally. This trucker, was he a bear?"

"You know him?"

"No, just his type. Go on."

"Anyway, he says he's delivering a shipment to Queens. I asked if I could hitch a ride with him."

"Brilliant Poindexter! Hitch a ride in a truck which will travel nearly deserted highways with a driver who wants to fuck you."

"He had kind eyes. I knew he wouldn't hurt me or try to force anything."

"I'm sure those were Dumpster's Boys famous last words, too."

"ANYWAY..." Justin got out, followed by Brian. They both dried off and slipped into thick terry robes provided by the hotel. "He told me he knew who you were."

"How does he know me?" Brian asked, going back to the bed and perusing the room service menu. Suddenly he was famished.

"Everyone knows Brian Kinney. He thinks you are so hot."

"Trust me, he has no clue. Bears are not my type."

"He never said he fucked you, just that he'd LIKE to fuck you."

Brian faked a prolonged shudder. "No way. Keep going. You want some food?"

Justin kept talking as he reviewed the menu. "He said if I was good enough to snare Brian Kinney..."

"Snare?" Brian interrupted.

"I know, I know."

"SNARE?"

"Anyway, if I was that good, what with it being Christmas and all, he would ignore his company's rules on riders and give me a lift. He warned me we could get stranded but he said if worse came to worst, he had a little home in the cab complete with beds and a toilet."

"How cozy," Brian said cynically. They placed their order, then Justin went on.

"It wasn't like that. The storm knocked out cellular towers, so I couldn't call anyone and I wanted to surprise you, which is why I used the courier story at the desk. There was little traffic, but the roads got progressively worse as we neared New York. It was very slow going."

"Did he grab you?"

"Nothing I couldn't handle. We had to stop a few times to rescue stranded motorists. One family had four kids with them! We made sure they reached a safe place where they could get assistance, and then we went on. It's Christmas. People are capable of great goodness at Christmas."

"Not in my experience," Brian said softly.

"Brian, this IS your experience! This is all about you. You were the one who motivated him to help me out."

"Finish your story."

"When we got to New York we had to try all kinds of routes to find open streets. I was going to jump out and take a cab, but there were no cabs to be seen."

"Duh."

"So I rode to Queens with him and helped him unload, and then he drove me here. He has relatives uptown, so he has a place to stay."

"You risked your sweet ass, hell, your LIFE, to come here in a blizzard with some highway cowboy who wanted to jump your bones? Why Justin? Why do something so ridiculous?"

"Ridiculously romantic," Justin corrected him with a smile, leaning the back of his head against Brian's shoulder, feeling Brian wrap an arm around him. "I wanted to be with you."

Brian sighed. "No one's ever done anything like that for me."

"You've never let anyone close enough to think of you as their partner until now, Brian."

Brian smiled slightly. "You think you got me, don't you?"

Justin turned his head to grin at him. "I know I got you. You SO love me!"

"I do, huh?"

"Yeah, you do."

"If you say so."

"And I SO love you."

Brian leaned down to kiss his forehead. "Poor thing."

"I know," Justin said with a laugh. He then glanced at the clock and sprang up. He dug in his backpack, tossing out clean underwear and clothes, and brought out the gift Brian had put under the tree for him. "It's after midnight, officially Christmas, so I can open this, right?"

"Hold on, Quick Draw. Where's mine? From you?"

"Too big to bring!"

"Don't you think we should wait until we can BOTH open our gifts to each other?"

Justin's crestfallen expression caused Brian to bite his lip to keep from laughing. "Go ahead, greed monster. Open it. I can wait."

Justin picked at the bow, but didn't tear it open. "I can't. You're right. It's not fair. I don't have anything for you."

Brian reached out and lifted Justin's chin on his fingertips. "Sunshine, you've given me the one present I've wanted my whole life and never had. Someone who loves me so much, they will brave any adversity just to be able to spend Christmas with me. That kind of courage and devotion and love is so much more valuable to me than anything you can put in a box and cover with pretty paper. So don't you worry about a thing. I couldn't be happier with my Christmas gift. Open yours."

Justin felt the tears spring up in his eyes, not wanting to shorten this rare moment of emotional intimacy with Brian by even one second. He kissed him deeply, sweetly, whispering that he loved him. Brian spread his fingers on Justin's smooth cheek and responded. "I know, baby. Me too. Now open it."

Justin smiled and tore off the paper and grosgrain ribbon, finding a silver box inside. He opened the box and lifted a layer of cotton, removing a key with an electronic door opener attached. "What is it?"

"What does it look like?"

"Car keys." Brian shrugged as Justin's eyes grew wide. "You bought me a CAR?"

"Yep," Brian responded, embarrassed by his own extravagance.

"But what, where...what?" Justin tried to discern the logo embossed on the head of the key. "A Volkswagen?"

"It's the new bug. I thought you'd look cute in it and I know you like them."

"You bought me a BUG? Oh baby!" He hugged him tightly until Brian laughed and peeled him away. "What color?"

"What color do you always say you crave?"

"Lemon yellow?"

"That's the one. Merry Christmas. You'll have a parking place next to mine in the building, but I hid it in Deb's garage for now."

"Oh shit, I feel so cheap about what I got you now! One of them is even homemade."

"What did I just tell you? If I know you for fifty years, you can never top the gift you gave me tonight."

"Merry Christmas, baby," Justin said, moving into his arms and pushing Brian back against the mattress as he kissed him hotly. Brian responded by flattening his hands on Justin's butt under the warm cover of his robe. A knock at their door announced their late supper, delaying further celebration till dinner was over. They needed fuel to keep their private party going, and neither of them were in a mood to see it end.

B/J snowing ani

FINIS...Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Disclaimer: The television show Queer As Folk and its characters are the property of Showtime and CowLip Productions. No money is being made. Stories and discussion are intended purely for the entertainment of fans of Queer as Folk, the Brian and Justin characters, and Randall's writings.
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July 25, 2004