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Title: Prank Calls V
Pairing: Brian Kinney/Michael Novotny
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Some things usually considered to be funny can be disturbing.
Disclaimer: …I wish.
“I don’t know any more than you do, but nonetheless, I do think you got some things wrong,” Emmett said slowly.
Michael wanted to scream. Why could no one ever stay focused? He wanted to figure out the identity of that idiot-who-lived-to-annoy-him and Emmett, bless him, obviously planned to grace them with useless wisdom.
“Fine! Fine. Do enlighten me, then.”
Brian took his hands away when Michael sat down again but he stayed where he was, hovering close by, obviously not trusting Michael to stay put.
“Okay, well, I know for a fact that the weekend Justin visited nothing happened between him and Brian, because – What’s wrong now?” Emmett batted Brian’s hands away. “Stop waving around like a maniac! You almost hit me!”
“You’re talking too much,” Brian snapped.
“And you’re not talking nearly enough!” Emmett returned, throwing a glance at Michael. “You and Michael claim to be best friends but have you guys communicated lately? My guess is: not much. Am I right or am I right? Huh? – See, I don’t know if the two of you had a fight then, but I do know that Ted told me not that long ago that you, Brian, were bitchy for days because you hurt your back while sleeping on a camping mat. I believe it was the weekend Justin was there. So that leaves me wondering why Michael’s picturing all kinds of dirty sex scenes between you and that kid when I know for certain that you did your best to keep things strictly platonic.”
Emmett smacked his lips, crossed his arms and clearly expected someone to react to what he’d said.
Michael did him the favor.
“Do you expect to get paid for this therapy session, Dr. Honeycutt?”
Throwing his hands in the air, Ted asked incredulously, “Did you listen to anything he said? He just told you, at risk of losing his nose, that, apparently, Brian and Justin never fucked.”
“That weekend…”
“Okay, that weekend. But the point is that they didn’t! So you accused Brian of something that he didn’t do. And so, while he let him into your house, he…didn’t do it for that,” Ted finished lamely.
Michael groaned. How was it that instead of trying to figure out who was his stalker they were now dissecting his relationship with Brian? He wasn’t ready for that; he didn’t have his answers ready. Why couldn’t they leave things as they were? He wasn’t exactly deliriously happy but he was coping better than he had done a year ago.
Thankfully he wasn’t the only one feeling uncomfortable with the direction their conversation was taking.
“Right, I was a jerk for inviting him; Michael was being a bit stupid by jumping to conclusions. But seriously, do you really think Justin is behind it all?”
Brian looked at them, one after the other, supposedly trying to find out what they were thinking.
Ted shrugged helplessly while Emmett and Michael both said that they didn’t know.
“I’m sorry; probably I shouldn’t have accused him.”
Brian shook his head. “Hmm no, we just agreed that we don’t know. And while I don’t want to think of him this way, I can’t really vouch for him either.”
“Boys, is there something wrong with the food?”
Everybody looked up at Debbie. Since when was she standing beside their table? She was looking curious enough.
“It’s fine, Ma, thank you,” Michael said, hoping to be able to send her away without any trouble.
Instead of nodding and walking away like she was supposed to do, the woman harrumphed. “You lot have been here longer than usual and I couldn’t help but notice that there’s no eating and much talking going on.”
“Yes, I want to buy a new dildo and we were discussing the possibilities,” Brian told her, smiling sweetly.
“Awesome! Let me know if you find a good one,” Debbie shot back.
Michael wondered if that meant he was forgiven and as he looked at her, he caught her smiling at him. Briefly, but it was there. Did it make him pathetic that he was happy to see it?
“Ma, did anyone ask you for our new phone number?” Michael asked; everything to interrupt his own thoughts.
She shook her head. “Who should ask me for your number? One of your exes perhaps?” She laughed and went to wait on people who actually wanted to consume something.
Ted’s eyebrows had shot up. “Remembering David, anyone?”
They hadn’t come to a conclusion despite their best efforts. The only outcome was that Emmett and Ted overran their lunch breaks – though at least Ted’s boss showed some understanding. Michael forgave himself for reopening the store slightly late that afternoon, figuring he’d convince Brian to help him unpack the shipment that got delivered that morning.
A few hours later he thought he should really start looking for an assistant. Having someone besides his customers in the store with him was nice, not only for the entertainment value but also for safety reasons. He still felt weary when he thought of Unknown.
As long as he didn’t know who it was he wouldn’t be able to feel safe anywhere besides his own home. And even there he had to expect phone calls every moment of the day. It was frustrating and Michael was tempted to throw a tantrum like some bratty child. He didn’t want to play this game anymore!
When Ted had brought up David at first everyone thought it was a joke. Then everyone had thought it was a possibility. And then they had agreed that, while he was something of an egotistical idiot also known as control freak, they didn’t really believe he’d stalk someone.
Sadly they had no proof either way.
“Earth to Mikey…”
Michael dropped the stack of comic books he was about to put away.
“Damn it!”
Brian chuckled. “Someone’s awake again. Good morning!”
“Go fuck yourself,” Michael muttered and crouched down to pick the comics back up, seconds later wondering for a brief moment why there was no witty comeback.
Brian knelt down beside him. “Here.” He handed him a few books.
“Hmm... Mikey, listen, I understand that you’re still thinking about this shit, but you can’t let it take over your life. I don’t know what that fucker wants, but he can’t win. No matter what, yes?”
Michael shrugged. Thinking about it obviously didn’t help but he also couldn’t stop thinking about it. It was a recipe for disaster and he was bound to go crazy either way. Just great.
“Ugh. Okay, leave that. I’m going to sort them later.”
Brian pulled Michael to his feet, put the comics on the counter and gently kicked those still scattered on the floor under the nearest shelf. He looked around and when he was sure no customers where hidden somewhere he locked the door, turning the sign on the door to closed.
Michael tried to protest but Brian didn’t let him get more than two words in before he cut him off.
“No. You can’t function properly like this and honestly, you shouldn’t have to. What we did over lunch was sort of entertaining, but it didn’t lead to anything. In other words, it was a waste of time.”
Brian tugged on Michael’s shirt and, when he had his attention, motioned for him to take a seat on the couch in the storage room.
“Just let me get a pen and some paper. – Right, okay. So there’s Justin who supposedly is still head over heals in love with me and therefore decided to stalk you. Hmm. Well, at least we know for certain that he could have done it – he’s got the phone number.” Brian jotted his name down. “David. Now David’s green with envy because you’re back in Pittsburgh with me and he’s all alone in Portland. So he’s stalking you. – Hey, why is everything somehow connected to me? Certainly you pissed people off without my help?”
Michael didn’t have an answer (for him everything – good or bad – did come down to Brian but somehow he figured that was not what his friend had been talking about) and David’s name was written down on another sheet of paper.
“I put him here because with him we don’t know if he’s got the number or not,” Brian explained.
“Who else do you think should be on the list?” Michael asked, feeling a surge of interest light up.
“Phew, probably everyone you ever had sex with. Everyone I ever had sex with. Together we should be able to cover most of gay Pittsburgh…” he drawled.
Michael’s face fell. “And come Christmas we’ll be still here, making lists…”
“Nope. Three months, Mikey? Show some optimism! – No, I think that’s the wrong way to go about it. We can still put everyone we come up with spontaneously down there, but what I want to do is start making a list of people who got the number from us and then ask them who they gave it to and so on.” Brian’s face showed a mixture of determination and happiness.
“I don’t know. Who remembers things like that?” Michael was doubtful.
“Let’s recruit Theodore and Emmett,” was all Brian told him before he did just that.
By Sunday night each of the four men had a small list that summarized their findings. They met at Michael’s house to compare notes and were now seated around the kitchen table.
“Okay, I know everyone who’s on my list and, well, I don’t suspect anyone,” Michael opened the discussion.
“Same with me,” said Ted. “But here you go; maybe someone looks suspicious to you?”
“Thanks.” Michael took his list. “Em?”
“The same, I guess. Sorry.” Emmett sounded dejected.
Brian voiced his regret as well but Michael had already known that. He looked at that crestfallen faces of his friends and sighed deeply.
“Alcohol, anyone? I know I could use something to lift up my spirits…”
Not expecting any denials, Michael got up and went to fetch four glasses and a bottle of Jim Beam. Stepping back to the table, he put them down and asked Brian to hand them out while he fought with the seal of the bottle.
Ted gathered the papers and was about to put them away when he suddenly froze. He nudged Emmett and together they bent over one of the lists before Emmett spoke up.
“Sweetie, why is Ben’s name on here? I thought you guys agreed to forego any kind of contact for the time being? Did you give him the number?”
Michael finished pouring out the amber liquid into the glasses and sat down. He frowned.
“Nope. No, I didn’t. Huh, funny. I didn’t even notice he’s up there. That’s mine, right?”
Ted nodded. “It is. Well, I understand that you’re still sort of used to reading his name…”
“…but I should have wondered. Is that what you’re trying to say?” Michael asked testily, drumming his fingers on the table. Damn it. If he missed that name who knew what else he missed?
Brian leant across the table and snatched the paper out of Ted’s hand, ignoring his protests. He studied it for a moment and then he cleared his throat. “Mikey, is your list structured in any way? I mean, can you still see who passed the number along to Ben?”
“Yeah. Let’s see… Ma. But…wait a sec! You suspect Ben? No, sorry, but that’s utter bullshit! I would have recognized him for sure! Believe me, there’s no way he would have been that close to me without me knowing,” Michael stated.
“Why else should he have asked her for it?”
“I don’t know! Perhaps he tried to call Hunter and couldn’t reach him? Perhaps he wanted to have it for old time’s sake, sentimental reasons, whatever. But Ben would never ever do something idiotic like that!”
Michael took a drink and banged his glass back down on the table, Jim Beam sloshing over the side. He licked his hand clean and went on, “I know he behaved like a lunatic those months before he left, but you can’t accuse him of being a stalker, Brian. Please.”
“Now look who’s jumping to someone’s defense…” Brian sang.
Rolling his eyes, Michael murmured, “Fuck off!”
“I think Brian’s right and he should be on the list right along with Justin. We don’t know he did it but we can’t rule it out, either.”
“I’m with Ted, sorry, Michael. – But you can take David down. No one told him. And he doesn’t possess enough criminal energy to get the number some other way, right?” Emmett asked.
“Who knows?” Brian mused but quickly relented. “Okay, the Good Doc is out.”
Hours later, an inebriated Brian Kinney admitted that maybe his brilliant plan hadn’t been so brilliant after all. Of course he couldn’t announce it in front of everyone or as long as he thought someone would be able to hear him, but Michael, wrapped around his lean body, heard him just fine.
It took him a bit longer to process the information and by the time he did, it was too late to fall into another bout of depression because the alcohol was already pulling him into dreamland.
When he woke up sometime later, it was pitch dark in his room and he had one hell of a headache. His tongue was sticking to the top of his mouth and some evil being must have poured a considerable amount of sand in his eyes before it got comfortable on his chest.
Crawling out from under the weight pinning him down had taken up the last bit of energy he had left and Michael staggered toward the bathroom. He threw in what he hoped were two Aspirin and washed them down with some water straight from the tap. Then he went over to the toilet.
Afterwards things got a little foggy and it was two hours later when he awoke for the second time of the day, thankfully with a clearer head. And that’s when he appreciated it immensely that no one had caught him sleeping while sitting on the throne. Hopefully.
Taking a quick shower and dressing in some clean clothes, Michael went from room to room to wake his companions. Brian turned out to be the dead weight he’d been struggling with earlier; he was roused and sent to take a shower. Not that he was showing much gratitude for it.
Poking his head into Brian’s room, Michael found the reason why its rightful owner had stayed with him instead of sleeping in his own bed – Ted. He went in and shook his shoulder. Michael deemed him awake when his initial groans turned into coherent curses.
The last in line was Emmett, curled on the couch in the living room. He was the only one who greeted Michael with something akin to a smile and therefore earned himself the first cup of coffee.
It had been a very subdued group that left the house later. All of them agreeing that they were too old for drinking on a Sunday night, all of them knowing they’d do it again, maybe not the next weekend, but probably the one after that.
Ted had offered to take Emmett to work and the two of them were headed toward his car, already halfway there, when Emmett had turned around.
“Brian, did Lindsay say that exhibition, art thingy, whatever was tonight? Or was that next week?”
“Oh God, no…” Brian had groaned. “Thanks for the reminder. Unfortunately you’re right, it’s today. – Mikey, please say you’ll come.”
Grudgingly, Michael had agreed. But only after Ted and Emmett had said they’d be there. He figured he’d be safe enough amidst his friends.
And so, instead of lying comfortably on his couch, Michael found himself in a spacious, brightly lit room that served as a gallery for the private view of one of Lindsay’s young, aspiring artists. The man was still rather unknown which was why she had asked Brian to bring along whoever he could. Even Hunter and Constance were somewhere among the guests.
Right now he was juggling his and Brian’s jackets as well as two glasses with sparkling wine. Michael was facing a huge canvas, colorful to the point where it was blinding, and trying to shield Brian who was busy rubbing at a stain on his pants. During dinner, a lettuce leaf, soaked with dressing, had landed in his lap and left said stain. Unfortunately it was located too close to his crotch and therefore making it looking suspiciously like something else.
Michael nudged Brian with his elbow. “Are you done yet? I’m starting to get a headache.”
Instead of replying Brian turned away some more from him and resumed rubbing furiously. Michael briefly considered pouring one or both glasses over his head and on his crisp white shirt but held back in the last moment. He didn’t feel up to the drama that would cause.
And so he stood and waited and stood and waited. He looked around for a bit but found the more often he caught people’s gazes the more he risked someone actually coming over and noticing Brian. So he concentrated on the piece of art in front of him, following individual strokes of the brush and trying not to get dizzy.
He was bored. Until…
“Still alive and kicking, huh? Shame…” a voice snarled in his ear.
Michael froze. Well, at least his ability to move or talk was gone. His heart, after standing still for a little eternity, started beating a mile a minute.
“It should be you instead, y’know?” the voice hissed.
No, Michael didn’t know! He was terrified, unable to regain control over his treacherous body and remove himself from this awful situation. He felt trapped without being actually restrained in any way and was too panicked to shake himself out of it.
Afterwards Michael wondered why he never alerted people to what was happening, why he didn’t turn around but remained rooted to the spot. Hell, there was no knife pointed at him, no gun, nothing and he was in a room full of people.
But no matter how much he wished himself away, Michael couldn’t move, not even to check if that freak was still near him.
“Rot in hell!” it whispered.
Yes, still there.
Coincidentally that must have been the moment when Brian finished removing the stain or he had picked up on Michael’s uneasiness, Michael never asked him. But whatever it was, it made him look up and see some stranger talking in Michael’s ear. And, unlike Michael, he didn’t have any problem reacting.
He looked at Michael who unfroze and dropped the jackets and glasses he was holding. Brian didn’t take the time to think; he just grabbed the man’s arm and yanked him aside, away from Michael.
Still unable to speak, Michael just wanted to increase the distance between himself and that man. He backed away as far as he could, until his back hit the wall. He kept his head down, trying to keep himself invisible, but watched Brian and the stranger closely. Curiously enough, no one else paid attention to them.
He couldn’t decipher the words they were exchanging, but he could see the hate in the dark haired man’s eyes. He was about Brian’s size, more of the muscled type, and should match him easily in strength. But Brian was pissed and there was nothing as dangerous as Brian Kinney on the warpath and so Michael watched them staring at each other, trading insults, the stranger still trying to free himself from Brian’s grip.
The volume increased until first bits and pieces, and then whole sentences could be heard.
“Tell me what you said to him!”
“Trying to protect him, are you? Huh, just wait until it’s his time and then there’ll be nothing you can do for him anymore. God, I wish I could be there to see him then,” the stranger spat maliciously.
“What are you talking about??” Brian growled.
Slowly but steadily they were gathering an audience. Michael saw Ted and Emmett pushing through the crowd, their eyes wide as saucers when they noticed the face-off between the two men. Emmett rushed to Michael’s side, wrapping him in a protective embrace, while Ted yelled for someone to call the police before he approached the men cautiously.
Hearing Ted’s voice, the stranger started to fight Brian more determinately. He tried to shove Brian against a small table that held more glasses and sparkling wine but Brian resisted. Not wanting to give up without a fight, Unknown then crashed his elbow into Brian’s stomach, forcing him to loosen his grip.
Michael winced in sympathy.
Brian grunted but due to the short distance between them he wasn’t hit as bad as it could have been and immediately gathered himself to return the blows.
“Is that him, Michael?” Emmett asked, sounding breathless.
“I th-think so. He said…s-stuff again and then… I-I’m not sure how, but suddenly B-Brian pulled him away and then they started f-fighting,” Michael stuttered.
He peered at them over Emmett’s shoulder, trying to drown out the shouting that ensued when the stranger fell/was pushed into the table, glass flying everywhere.
What is going on here??” Lindsay, back from the bathroom, screeched. To her obvious dismay no one was able to give her a satisfying answer.
She turned to her two friends who stood over the stranger. Both of them were panting hard, rubbing their knuckles and in Brian’s case, his belly. Unknown didn’t say anything; he lay in a sea of sparkling wine dashed with glass, looking dazed.
“What’s wrong with you? Brian? Ted? This is…mayhem! What were you thinking?” she yelled.
Before they were able to launch into a lengthy explanation the police arrived and took over.
What seemed like an eternity later Michael and Brian entered their kitchen. Brian immediately headed toward the fridge to get something to drink but Michael stopped him.
“Can we try tea tonight? Plain tea? I don’t think I can stomach anything else right now…” he begged.
“Yes, of course.”
Shoving Michael in the nearest seat, Brian started to prepare the tea. Michael watched him filling the kettle, and then he was puttering about with the mugs and tea bags. He didn’t buy the fancy teas he used to get any longer, had stopped the moment Ben left.
“Can you imagine Ted, harmless, peaceful little Ted helping me fight this piece of shit? Jeez!” Brian asked, clearly still impressed.
He could. He’d seen it only a few hours ago, after all. It was an image he’d never forget as long as he lived.
Brian waited by the counter for the water to boil but turned toward Michael now.
“How are you?”
There was concern lacing his voice. Concern and something else, something Michael didn’t quite get.
Michael shrugged. He was relieved it was over, of course. But he was also shocked to learn how far some people took their hate. And trying to wrap his head around the fact that he got punished for something he didn’t even do was not an easy thing to handle, either.
“You know that you didn’t abandon Ben, right? That freak was just spouting nonsense,” Brian told him, trying his best to make it sound reassuringly.
“Well, he’s almost dead and I don’t see myself caring for him at the moment. So he’s not that far off, huh?”
“Aw, bullshit, Mikey! He confused you with another ex of Ben’s, thinking you were the one who infected him and making your life utter hell because of that. Don’t tell me anything that idiot said is remotely reasonable!”
“But,” Michael protested, “It’s not his fault for confusing us. I was his husband, for fuck’s sake, it was only logical.”
“From his point of view, maybe. But that was only because someone, and please note that I’m not naming names, failed to provide him with information like how long he’s been sick. – Look, I get that it’s got to be a terrifying time for him, watching his lover die. But that doesn’t excuse anything he did.”
Brian poured the water over the tea bags and carried the mugs to the table. He went to get a saucer for the teabags for later on, two teaspoons and sugar. Apparently satisfied then, he sat down finally.
“What a shame that I can’t even hate anyone for handing over the new phone number. Linds couldn’t have known that the friend her client brought along one day would listen in when she gave it to Gus’ school. Fuck!”
Michael’s right eyebrow twitched. Obviously Brian was still in full protector mode which was exactly what he had dreaded would happen.
Brian continued, “Thank God the police could get a detailed bill from his phone provider and seeing that the only other inhabitant of the apartment is certainly not in the position to make an endless amount of calls, it’ll be proof enough to get him locked away for the time being. Forever would be nice!”
What about Ben, though? Surely someone had to look after him if he was as weak as his lover proclaimed.
Michael voiced his worries.
“We’re not going to help him ourselves, but we’ll help him get help,” Brian decided. “Okay?”
That sounded actually reasonable and Michael nodded. He wanted to know Ben was well cared for, but he was not the person to provide that care. Not anymore. But he’d feel awful if he didn’t make sure he was going to be all right. And despite his reluctance in letting Brian help, in this case it was more than welcome.
“Here, drink your tea before it gets cold.”
Brian had fixed one cup, down to stirring in the sugar and focused his concentration on the other one.
Michael muttered his thanks but winced inwardly. Wrong. Everything was oh so wrong!
“I could open the store for you tomorrow, if you want,” Brian offered.
“I think I can manage,” Michael responded more harshly than he intended.
“Okay, just don’t overdo it…”
“God! I already have a mother, thank you very much!”
“What the heck is wrong with you? I’m trying to help!”
“Yes. I know that! But I don’t need someone else to mother-hen me!”
Brian exploded. “Fine! Then what am I supposed to do? Just tell me and I’ll try to behave accordingly!”
Michael frowned.
What did he want?
He took his time to think for a moment before he spoke, “Don’t be my mom, don’t complicate things between us. I’ve had enough unpleasant surprises over the last year to last me for a lifetime, so I’d say I’m looking for familiarity and not for a knight in shining armor.”
Only when he finished did Michael realize what he had just said. Had he just described what he wanted of a lover as a response to Brian’s question what he expected of him?
The first reaction he got was a raised eyebrow.
Then, “I won’t, though I could get convinced to let you suck on my nipples.”
It was just like Brian, trying to make a joke in a situation like this, Michael thought.
“Oh, no, straight forward is all right with me. I…” Brian trailed off and Michael wanted to nudge him to continue but didn’t dare to utter one word lest he distracted him.
“I’m not… Ugh, all right. It’s like this: We’ve been circling each other for all our lives, right? I was an idiot for years, always being jealous whenever you met someone new. It was bad enough watching you with your flings, it was worse with David and Ben. Don’t get me wrong, you did nothing wrong. It wasn’t your obligation to wait for me to come to my senses.”
Michael sat, stirred his tea and waited, reminding himself to take a breath from time to time.
“For the sake of our sanity don’t make me analyze whatever I thought I was doing with Justin, okay? There must have been something about him as I don’t tend to surround myself with people I can’t stand.
“Anyways, I think you confused me with you. You’re my savior, not the other way around. Just because I’m trying to help you once in a while doesn’t change anything.”
Brian looked up at him. “Do you understand what I’m saying?”
“The words, yes. As for the rest…I’m not so sure,” Michael admitted. Everything was so confusing and after the day he had it was a bit much to process.
“That’s okay. I’m almost finished, I promise. – The familiarity between us is a given. I’m certain you’ve looked more often into my face than your own in the mirror. You know me better than yourself.” Brian paused again. “And one more thing: I love you more than myself. So I need you to balance it out.” He smiled over the table.
Michael’s eyelids drooped. Part of him wanted to jump with joy. As far as he understood everything Brian had told him was good, great, even. But he was tired and part of him wanted to panic. What if he got it wrong?
“Will you tell me all of this again tomorrow?”
Brian’s smile widened. He stood up and took the mugs, spoons and the saucer to the sink, throwing the teabags away. Then he stepped behind Michael and pulled him to his feet.
“Come on. We’re going to go to bed.”
Together? Once more feeling insecure Michael followed him readily upstairs but dug his feet in when Brian wanted to lead him into his own room without a word.
“Um, that’s the wrong room…”
“Eh, no. Last night it was your room, tonight it’s going to be mine.”
Michael’s brain tried his best to keep up with what Brian was alluding to.
“And tomorrow it’s going to be my turn to be the host?”
Brian studied him carefully before he nodded.
“Whatever you want, Mikey, whatever you want.”
Brian didn’t say that he’d be delighted but Michael suddenly understood him perfectly well and he embraced the warm feeling that was spreading through him at that knowledge.
Five minutes later Michael was kissed goodnight and fell asleep in Brian’s arms. For the first time in a long time he slept through the night and woke up feeling completely rested.
Oh, he was looking forward to the next night.
And the one after that.
And the one after that.



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(Deleted comment)
Oct. 24th, 2010 05:42 pm (UTC)
Glad you liked! Thank you so much. :D
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