Title:  "Cured"
Author:  Mala
E-mail:  malisita@yahoo.com
Fandom:  "QAF"-US
Rating/Classification:  'R' for language, Justin POV, Ted/Blake-ish, B/J-ish, slash, language, angst.
Disclaimer:  CowLip!!! 
Summary:  Takes place after episode 210.  Presumably the next morning.  Also an answer to QAFImprov #6. obsequious - partake - cult - slime

      The plate rattles as you set it down, white-knuckled, and Ted pretends not to notice. You're not relapsing.  You're cured.  At least that's what you tell yourself.  It's just a twinge.  You get them off and on.

  "Thanks, Justin," he says...always so polite.  So damn nice as he unfolds his napkin and arranges his silverware.

  They're just EGGS, for fuck's sake.

  But he always goes through these little rituals. Every morning.  As if he must partake of steps 1-4 before  he's allowed to taste the omelet or sip the coffee.

  You wonder if the process, the whole drama, makes it all taste better.  Or if it makes no difference...and it's all slime and sawdust anyway...no matter how good Deb is in the kitchen.

  "Are you going to sit?" he wonders, quirking his eyebrows.

  You shrug, noncommittal, but slide into the booth, leaning your elbows on the table and slouching.  If he thinks your behavior is odd, out of character, decidedly un-Sunshine-like, he doesn't say so.  And you're thankful for that.

  There have been mornings before, much like this, where you'll just sit, quietly, with whoever happens to be in the earliest.  Emmett always talks.  High, hyper chatter that involves being a boy back in Hazelhurst or the hideous shoes someone was wearing at Babylon.  Michael sometimes just stares at you...but then grins, bravely, and starts talking, awkwardly, about comics or the weather or anything that doesn't have the word "Brian" in it.  But it's there anyway.

  They all have to fill up the gap.  Terrified that not doing so means they might have to really think about who you are, what you're still doing in their lives, and why you're still a member of the Cult of Brian Kinney.

  Ted is the only one who lets you sit in silence.

  And wait.

  He never asks what time you got in.  If you slept alone because a certain someone was out screwing till the break of dawn.  He never stares at you with pity or wonder or thinly-veiled contempt or tries to reassure you with stupid, obsequious, comments like "you're so brave, you're a survivor" or "some day he'll appreciate what he has!"  He leaves those things to your own mind.  And you think that's because he understands.

  Did he stare at Blake's ass...watch it move..swaying in tight jeans... away, down a dark alley...wondering if it was the last time he'd ever see him?  Probably. Did he ever wake up, gasping for air, in the darkness, because the reality of loving someone so fucked up, so lost, was worse than any number of falling dreams? Probably.  Did he ever think to himself "if I just...if I just keep loving him as hard as I can, he'll change"?  Probably.     

  Did he love him anyway after the change didn't come?

  You know he did.

  You know you do.

  When the bells jingle at the door and Brian finally walks in--slow motion, like a gorgeous poster boy for a lazy morning after--you release the breath you didn't even know you were holding in.

  He's alive.  Fine.  Unmarked.  As usual.

  A firm hand reaches across the table, squeezes your fingers. 

  You smile, shakily, and raise your lips for a 'good morning' kiss that tastes like mouthwash and satisfaction, greet "Hi, Honey!  Fuck well?" in your most teasing of tones.

  And you squeeze Ted's fingers back, knowing he can feel you shuddering.

  It's just a twinge.  You get them off and on.

  At least that's what you tell yourself.     

          

--end--

March 18, 2002.



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