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too long till i drown in your hands

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"the best colour in the world is the one that looks good on you" - coco chanel

-

(michael's black and white life wasn't as much of a bother as it was a wait. he had been waiting forever to see colour, because then he would have finally found true love. looking for that special someone wasn't necessary anymore, he was already there. being a dreamer and believing in love as much as he did, not having it felt like he was still waiting in line for something, that he was missing out. and not seeing colour when looking at brian was the worst. he would have given up ever seeing colour, staying inside their little bubble forever, but michael wanted that great, big love that everyone in the colour-world was talking about. and brian wanted a colourful life for michael, not that he'd ever tell anyone)

(colourless life for emmett could have been much worse. he hadn't been looking for colour since he was a teenager, hadn't been looking for love. he loved surprises and suddenly seeing colour would definitely be the surprise of a lifetime. so he was fine with waiting and having fun in the meantime (much like brian himself). his time of color would come soon enough. in a lot of ways emmett was a lot like brian, although brian was sure him and emmett would have completely different reactions if it ever actually happened to them)

(for ted it was nothing short of hell. it was dark, gloomy and everything bad. taken straight out of a personal nightmare. not only did it mean he was alone, but also that he had nothing pretty to look forward to when he opened his eyes in the morning. brian knew it dragged him down most of the time and it was kinda pathetic really)

brian was into the whole colourless life. colour was definitely not for him. he thrived on not being distracted by something as small and trivial as colour in his everyday life. seeing in blacks, grays, whites meant he could focus on the real things; things like hot bodies in the back room of babylon, the taste of whiskey going down way too fast, the beat of the newest track, the flying feeling E gave him. he didn't need colours to make it in the world.

love wasn't real anyway.

-

brian hadn't been planning on checking the street for any possible last minutes tricks to bring home, truth was he had actually been bored and just wanted to fall into his bed alone for once. but when he had reached his jeep there had been a flicker of colour in front of his eyes and he stopped in his tracks. there was a slight hum in his ears, obviously different from the pounding in his head left over from the high volume of music on babylon's dance floor, and a feeling of being watched from afar. the outline of his vision was vibrating.

slowly turning towards his jeep in hope of it just being a case of really shitty drugs, the flicker disappeared and died out. the gray shadows were familiar and he smiled to himself when he heard ted complain somewhere behind him.

and then he made the mistake of turning to face liberty avenue. he had been ready to give ted shit for being annoying, but then colour coated his vision. it was kinda grainy, not clear at all, but it was colour nonetheless. nothing his imagination could or ever would have come up with. it was sort of diluted and dark in the corners, and all air left his lungs.

his eyes searched frantically for a face in the crowd (brian couldn't even stop himself, couldn't control his body), for someone new, someone who he hadn't met before, and before he knew it they landed on a young boy standing underneath a street light further down the street.

the dark corners and gray areas cleared, and everything was bright and all up in his face. he wasn't ready at all, had been dreading this day since he was 10 years old and had learned that romantic love was a lie, but now the fucking day had arrived anyway. his feet carried him forward without him wanting to. he wasn't even able to look around and see the new colours, could only look at the boy standing in front of him. control yourself kinney, don't let him know.

the boy didn't try and hide the stars in his eyes, the stars and love that told brian that he was seeing in colour for the first time as well, so he panicked. better not let him get the wrong idea, lie, lie, lie!.

so brian treated him like he would any other trick, invited him back home, made a big show of telling michael how much he would enjoy this new trick and drove off with him in the passenger seat. he still didn't know his name. he would figure out how to save himself in the morning.

-

when brian got the call from melanie in the middle of the night, his head was already pounding. he was so focused on the boy in his bed, completely blown away by the amount of colour around him, the colour difference between his skin and that on the boy's chest, the white of his teeth, the pink colour of his lips when he smiled, the blue eyes looking back up at him. he could feel a headache coming, but tried to keep it at bay just for a little while longer. and that was when the call came.

brian figured god was playing some kind of sick joke on him. you are gonna become a dad at the same time you meet your soulmate. i know you wanted neither, but here you go man. brian made a mental note to never pray or go to church ever again.

(the look on michael's face when they picked him up would have made brian laugh out loud had it not been for the fact that his fucking soulmate was sitting next to him on the front seat with hearts spilling out of his eye sockets)

he spend a lot of energy on the trip to the hospital on not letting it slip that his colours had come through. michael would have a fit if he knew brian found his soulmate before him. so he kept it inside, not showing michael, definitely not showing justin, but he almost crumbled when he met the baby. everything was confusing, his head pounding and he soon found himself on the roof, a smoke in his shaking hands, trying to breathe properly before having to go face everybody again. michael found him way too quickly, he wasn't ready to go back.

if brian was honest his biggest problem wasn't the baby, it was that fucking kid with hair the colour of sunshine, a wide smile and heart eyes to match. but talking about the baby was so much easier than talking about justin.

"why didn't someone try and stop me?"

michael had some kind of annoying and accusatory reply so brian tuned him out while trying to subtly eye the colourful world lying beneath his feet.

"oh brian, you're so good looking. oh, oh brian, y-you're so smart, oh you got such great genes, and i don't mean your 501's. and now you're stuck with a kid", it was almost too horrible to listen to so brian shut it out, tried not to notice how michael was leaning in to look into his eyes. he kept his eyes on the skyline with all the bright lights. but michael kept going, "for life".

and yeah, okay, brian might have been a little drunk still, the drugs still in his system somewhere, so jumping up onto the edge of the roof didn't seem like a big deal, screaming about jumping off said building didn't seem like a big deal, pulling michael up beside him didn't seem like a big deal. but when michael threw his arms around his neck and leaned in, brian couldn't help but look down on the road below them and admire the colours. he didn't have to take care of the baby, that was lindsay and melanie's job. and he didn't have to ever see justin again after tonight. but from now on life would be full of colour.

back inside he had kicked justin out of the room full of lesbians, then immediately regretted not following him, now having to face lindsay and her all-knowing eyes. lying to her would be harder than anything he'd faced today. michael only heard what he wanted to hear, and justin was in way over his head, they both trusted him too much (of course justin trusted him already, nothing like finding your soulmate to make you put your trust in total strangers).

but lindsay took no shit.

"you're quite jumpy", her smile was soft, her face the picture of complete exhaustion. he gave her a small smile back before sitting down next to her.

"yeah, long night", she only nodded and closed her eyes, leaning her head against his shoulder. "so, still no colours?".

she sighed and looked up at him, "little explosions of colour are normal during child birth you know, although it didn't feel anything like love. i'm sure they were from pain instead." she chuckled and folded her fingers around his wrist, her thumb tracing soft patterns on his skin. her hair matched justin's. turns out he might have a type then.

(not even 15 minutes later he himself saw colours explode, but they were neither from love nor pain. the pill he had popped up on the roof finally kicked in and he had to throw an arm around justin's shoulders to make sure he stayed upright in the car)

-

(when melanie met lindsay the dark shadows lifted and colours bled together before her very eyes. suddenly the world was much more interesting and beautiful to live in and she knew that lindsay was the one she was suppose to spend the rest of her life with. except when they talked about it, lindsay's world was still gray and dull. michael had been very vocal about her decision to try out a relationship with someone who didn't brighten up her world too, but brian had been secretly proud of her. she had once again proven how alike they were, by deciding to stay with someone because she wanted to, and not because society told her to.

getting a baby together was a risk, but brian was sure she could get through anything life threw at her, even having a baby in a variegated relationship. that's why he was okay donating to help them along with the process)

-

brian's head was still pounding the next morning when his alarm went off, it felt like any other morning except he collided with a warm body when he fumbled with turning the alarm off. pulling back quickly and opening his eyes brian was reminded of exactly who was lying next to him without even having to look anywhere near his face. the amount of colour that assaulted his eyes was too much of an indication. so adding a headache to the burn in his eyes along with way too little sleep he was already in a very bad mood. and he had to be at work in about an hour. he couldn't help the "who the fuck are you?" rolling off his tongue. he knew who the boy was, his mind wouldn't let him forget, but sticking to his own rules was important.

justin looked tired, his eyes small and puffy like he hadn't been sleeping at all, his breathing shaky. confusion and hurt was easy to trace in his eyes, "justin". he was still kinda cute even the morning after, even while feeling like his head would split open and his eyes would fall from their sockets due to overexposure. stick to the rules kinney, you don't need him.

brian huffed out a sign and rolled out of bed, while justin stayed put and watched him move around, "y-you don't see it?". he sounded unsure, voice incredibly small, almost scared what brian's answer would be. fucking justin probably never even thought one-way-soulmates existed. well he was gonna have to believe now.

"well, i see you still lying in my bed when you should be leaving. get up, go home". he didn't look back at justin, just kept walking around, trying to get ready to leave for work. it was quiet for a while. going through the process of getting dressed was actually a lot harder now that there was colours involved, fuck he didn't have time for this.

"you see it too".

he was so scared of saying the word, colours, brian could hear it in his voice. christ he was probably no more than 18. 18 and fucking tied for life. he seemed like the sort of guy to stay with his soulmate. brian just needed to shake him off.

"get up, i'll drive you".

-

(justin dragged daphne along to the art supply store the next day, bought his first coloured pencils ever, with the feeling of his life finally leading towards something. brian was obviously the right subject to use when he started working on his first colourful drawings)

-

getting rid of justin proved to be much harder than brian had originally thought. he was persistent, nothing like any other trick he had brought home, didn't take no for an answer. he was a little unsure, definitely new to the scene, but he was willing to learn, which just made brian want to teach him about the unfairness of the world even more.

lying to him about his colours was easier than he had expected it to be though. having spent a good amount of his teenage years scared out of his mind of finding that one person that would complicate his life, completely fuck it up, actually having it in his hand wasn't that big of a deal. turns out he had blown the thing all out of proportion in his head when he was younger. this was easy. it wasn't much different from melanie and lindsay's situation he told himself.

but justin had a smile in his eyes most times, like he could see straight through brian's lies. other times he was back to being the unsure little virgin brian had brought home on that first night. but the smile always returned. and he accepted brian's lifestyle without too much complaining. so brian kept him around (at arms length mind you - until he got drunk or high or wasn't up for a hunt. justin was easier to throw his arm around and convince that blow jobs back at his place was the best way to end the night).

it wasn't like brian was getting picky with his tricks, it was just that seeing them in colour didn't exactly help. seeing their clothes with weird colour combinations, red splotches high on their cheeks from dancing too close on the dance floor and ginger hair (he didn't even want to go there). so yeah, justin seemed like the best choice at this point. he looked good underneath the blinking lights in babylon and still looked at the world with optimism, looked at brian with love and adoration. which was fine when brian wanted a fuck, a kiss, a blow job, but in a sober state it wasn't good.

some days it was easy to pretend everything was still black and white, that he didn't see the nuances of blond going through justin's hair, or the paleness of his shoulders and flat stomach, or the specks of paint on justin's hands from time to time.

other days hiding it seemed almost impossible. cynthia got suspicious very quickly, working together in advertisement didn't leave much room for secrets in your line of vision. sometimes when he looked too long at the lights while dancing michael would give him a weird look. lindsay didn't say much, didn't really do much besides cuddle the baby, gus. which is why it should have been a surprise when she was the first to bring it up.

-

"you seem different"

brian took a draw from his cigarette, making a low sound in the back of his throat. lindsay could make as many suggestions she wanted, he wouldn't give anything away.

"you've changed", he blew out the smoke, subtly trying not to blow it in the direction of the baby carriage. no point in getting gus sick if he was the one having to pay for the hospital visits. he didn't need to look at lindsay to know she was smiling, looking at his face, calculating and inspecting his reactions, so he gave her nothing.

she learned in, whispering, "i'm on to you, peter".

-

(trying to forget the fact that he was seeing in colours was hard as fuck most days. it followed him around and just opening his eyes would mean him seeing the reality of the situation. if fucking justin would just stop showing up at his door at odd times. if just brian could ignore the colours (justin) that attacked him everywhere he went.

suddenly liberty avenue seemed wilder, brighter, more open. getting drunk on vodka, shots, beer, rum, whatever and seeing the colours dancing in front of him gave a new high. getting high was even better; the colours seemed to latch onto him and push him in all directions. everything was confusing but oh so fucking good. it wasn't long before he could see the flickering red, blue, green lights from babylon's dance floor behind his eyelids when he had an orgasm (mostly whenever justin was involved, but that was besides the point))

-

"why do you keep him around?"

"he's a good fuck"

"you don't fuck anyone more than once, what has this kid got on you? he's not your responsibility"

"just fucking leave it michael, he gives good head okay?"

-

over time it seemed like justin was everywhere he went. he was at the diner, he was at woody's, at babylon, at the gym, at fucking lindsay and melanie's. and then brian had michael on the phone, complaining that debbie had offered him michael's old room. so yeah, justin was everywhere.

breaking habits as ingrained as brian's wasn't easy, and he wasn't planning on breaking anymore rules for the kid. he would still have as much sex as possible with as many men as possible.

he couldn't seem to shake justin off though. he kept coming back, kept fighting for his place in brian's life, but brian saw straight through him. could see the anger bubbling underneath the surface, see the hurt in his eyes whenever brian walked towards the back room in babylon. the downcast of his eyes said more than his mouth did.

brian should have expected him to turn up out of the blue with all the hard questions. questions that he had no intention of ever giving true answers too. he hadn't chosen life of colours, hadn't chosen to get this decease.

"i know you're seeing colours, you know", justin's face had the signature sunshine smile stretched across it, brian was gonna puke. the alcohol in his body was making everything quiver, the weather was getting colder every day. the difference between the packed babylon and the street outside was very noticeable.

"now, why would i be seeing colours?" he stuffed his cold hands in his pockets. michael was walking further ahead, emmett's arm thrown over his shoulder, ted was keeping an eye on some guys on the other side of the road. they were probably talking about michael's new crush (he wanted to see colour so badly when he looked at the new doctor, but they never came. not even a fucking flicker apparently. brian thought him lucky).

justin stepped in front of him, hand coming out to touch brian's neck. "i just know. you look at me like you're seeing colours."

brian forced out a laugh, he fucking did not look at the kid with colours, "i don't believe in colours". the confusion in justin's face was enough to make him laugh for real. "i'm not seeing colours you idiot".

"colours are not a matter of belief. it's happening, it's real. i'm seeing colours", justin's words made everything stop. there was no shouting, the cars on the street gave off no sound. there was only justin. the outer perimeter of his vision was fuzzy, his hands stilled on their way to finding the pack of smokes deep inside his pocket. the look on justin's face was of steely determination, daring brian to disagree, and brian had trouble breathing properly. he snorted.

"you're not seeing colour sunshine, you just think you are. it's the drugs talking", he pushed past justin and turned right down the next street, suddenly he didn't feel much like going to the diner. he had a bottle of vodka hidden somewhere in his closet for emergencies. this sure felt like one.

(justin caught up with the rest of the guys just before entering the diner. no one mentioned brian's absence.

"are any of you seeing colours?" emmett's fork dropped onto the plate with a loud clink, ted's sandwich stopped on the way to his mouth and michael forgot to watch how much sugar he was pouring into his coffee. debbie had just left the table.

"why are you asking?" michael narrowed his eyes. emmett picked up his fork and cleared his throat. ted put down his sandwich and wiped his hands on his shirt discreetly.

"brian told me he doesn't believe in colours", justin continued eating, stuffing his mouth with fries. "just seems weird". he tried not to make eye contact with anyone, not to look around too obviously like he was studying colours all of a sudden.

"brian doesn't believe in colours, because he doesn't need them. he doesn't want colours". michael voice was hard, like he was accusing justin of something. did he know?

"honey, i don't think brian is even capable of getting his colours", emmett took a bite of his pancake.

so justin dropped the conversation, he didn't feel the need to talk about this topic with brian's best friends, people who saw brian every single day, and couldn't see how colourful he was.)

-

brian was getting used to seeing all the different colours around him. yellow didn't make him want to claw his eyes out anymore, green didn't always make him think of the ally behind babylon anymore (realizing puke was a mix of greens, browns, whites hadn't a good discovery), purple didn't make him dizzy anymore. colours were definitely getting easier, justin wasn't.

having him around all the time was growing on him. when he wasn't around for a day or two brian would quietly admit to himself that he looked forward to him showing up at woody's again, then promptly get drunk enough to have trouble seeing straight.

on his nights alone in the loft he sometimes tried to think everything through, how justin was always what he needed. sure, he was a right pain in the ass, nothing about him was easily worked out. but the sex was good, really good. and that had to count for something right?

-

the first time brian heard the rumblings of justin on liberty avenue he pecked right up. justin had been going to babylon more and more, had danced with a lot of hot guys, had been making himself a regular face in the crowd. and though brian knew that people recognized him, he didn't think people were talking about him. he wasn't anything special, most of these guys couldn't even see him in colours for christ sake. they had only seen his sunshine smile in black and white (how tragic).

"he definitely knows how to work his body, i had his ass pressed up my dick for ten minutes before he slipped out of my hands the other night", brian could almost feel the lust surrounding the three men sitting in the booth behind him. they were trying to gossip quietly about justin who was cleaning the coffee machine. brian's hands tightened around his cup of coffee without intending to.

justin finished cleaning, turned around to smile at brian, "i'm ready to go in a minute. i just need to fix the back room". brian wasn't waiting for him to finish. he was trying to finish his cup of coffee so that he could go home, alone (or not, but whatever). he nodded, keeping his head down.

he had lost track of the conversation a bit, "… seeing colours though."

the other two gasped quietly, "are you sure?" one of them asked.

"just something i heard. could be a rumor for all i know".

"do you know who made it happen?" they had trouble keeping their voices down. two very loud men had entered the diner, shouting at kenny about burgers, extra cheese, hold the tomatoes.

"well, i heard it was kinney, but i have seen him in the baths at least three times this week, so i highly doubt it", brian felt the hair on his arms stand up. what the fuck? the men at the table gasped again.

"shut up, kinney seeing colours? i never thought i'd live to see the day. do you really think so?" brian could see justin making his way over. he drowned the rest of his coffee.

"i have been seeing them together a lot lately.. who knows? kinney might have to settle down now". they laughed and brian stood up, left arm catching justin around the shoulders, his legs carrying him out through the front door as quickly as possible. he turned left down the street, the bright lights of babylon looming in the distance. they passed a couple of drag queens stumbling along in their high heels.

"i thought you wanted to go home", justin's hand came up to wrap around his wrist.

"and now i want to dance".

-

justin's sketches started showing up all over the loft. they peeked out from under the morning paper, they had been carelessly thrown onto the table by the sofa, they had been pushed together in a small pile on the kitchen counter. he even found one in his fridge once. and they were good, really fucking good.

but the first coloured one he saw made him taste bile at the back of his throat. of course he knew justin was seeing colours, he had told him himself, but actually seeing what justin could do with those colours was crazy. seeing himself in colour, on paper, something justin had made with his own two hands.

he grabbed the picture before he could think better of it and stuffed it in his bottom drawer, underneath sheets and pillowcases. he figured justin wouldn't miss it, it had been lying in a small pile on the sofa table for a while.

(when justin asked about it, he lied and told him he hadn't seen it).

-

getting blow jobs in the back room of babylon wasn't a big deal, it happened every time brian set foot in the place. but holding justin's hand through the crowd, his eyes set on the back door, it all felt new. justin hadn't done any of this before, justin wasn't feeling confident at all.

but brian knew what justin could do, knew of all this talents and secrets, knew he would do good (and he also kinda wanted to show him off, wanted to see the glow of justin's skin in the dark, the pale blue lights reflecting in his shiny hair, the barely there pink colour of his stretched lips afterwards when he came up for a kiss).

standing in the back room with his back against the wall and justin between his legs brian noticed a guy watching them intently from the other side of the room. he had seen him before somewhere, had probably fucked him at one point. the guy smiled when they got eye contact, his feet moving him towards where brian and justin were standing.

when he reached them his hand extended, fingers reaching out to run through justin's soft hair. brian's hand moved quicker than ever, fingers clamping down around the man's wrist. the fucking nerve of some people. here he was, getting a blow job (definitely the best he'd had in a while) and people thought they could just come up and interrupt. the heat from justin's mouth drew him in and he narrowed his eyes at the guy who yanked his hand free, turning to walk away. brian closed his eyes and let justin make colours blend together behind his eyelids.

(he didn't see the man whisper secrets to the guys standing on the outskirts of the dance floor)

-

soon enough everybody on liberty avenue were talking about brian's possible colours. the news of justin's colours seemed to spread quicker than a nasty case of syphilis, and with the way brian had reacted in the back room a lot of people made the connection.

("you better not get near him, his colours match kinney's")

justin was quite blind to the whole drama, not really noticing a difference except for the fact that he would have literally no dance partners if brian was spotted in babylon as well.

it reached michael quickly, but it reached debbie even quicker. he lied, told her not to worry, that his colours hadn't shown, the rumor was bullshit and that she would be the first to know if they ever started showing. michael on the other hand didn't seem to believe him, only when ted pointed out that brian still fucked people in the baths did he calm down and accept that brian wasn't seeing any colours yet.

(michael was quick to corner justin the next time he visited the diner.

"do you have your colours?", he watched justin's face for a big reaction. there was none.

he shrugged his right shoulder, "yeah, i do". there was a loud ding on the bell, justin walking over to grab the plates before michael could reply. when justin returned to his place behind the counter michael's heart rate still hadn't slowed down.

"was it brian?" he looked justin straight in the eyes, scared of hearing the answer.

"yeah", justin's voice didn't give anything away, he was calm and collected. above water while michael felt like he was drowning far, far below him.

"he's not seeing colours, you know". the words came out harsher than he had intended, but there was no going back. justin huffed out a short laugh.

"i know, he told me". justin smiled, his face turned towards the floor, michael could breathe a little easier).

the only good thing about people speculating meant that no one was touching justin more than necessary.

-

(justin wore a lot of light blue t-shirts and flannels which matched his eye colour perfectly. the blue light from brian's bedroom wall cast a soft glow onto his chest when he fell asleep in the middle of the bed. there was a pencil case in justin's bag pack with coloured pencils (green for grass and trees, yellow for the sun and flowers, pink for lips, for the tip of brian's dick and love hearts, red for blood and black for memories), spots of green on his white trainers left by the front door.

justin was colourful and brian had started to appreciate it. had almost forgotten what the black and white world had looked like. still didn't plan on ever telling justin how his colours had come through though)

-

brian hadn't really planned on attending justin's prom, hadn't wanted to show up at all, even though justin had been really persistent. he had asked him to come with him three times, the words tumbling out his mouth quickly the first time, the second time like he knew what the answer was gonna be, the third time with desperate hope latched onto his voice. the fourth time he tried asking brian cut him off with a kiss and a rough fuck against the shower wall. he wasn't gonna go, there was no point in justin's ongoing invitation.

but lindsay didn't give in to his lame excuse of not wanting to be stuck in a room full of 18 years olds. and getting on lindsay's bad side just didn't seem worth it. so yeah, he had to go.

-

looking back brian should have hit himself over the back of the head for ever getting used to having his colours, for liking his colours. for getting used to justin, (for liking justin).

because when the bat connected with justin's head, the sound ringing loud and clear in his ears, his eyesight disappeared for a short moment. and when he was finally able to see again everything was in black and white.

the bat, a light gray against a darker gray background, spots of white hanging from the ceiling, justin's dark gray body, black seeping slowly from his still form on the ground, and brian was out the car before the bat could go for another swing.

blink

spots of red on hobbs' white shirt, his skin an ashy gray.

blink

justin's blond hair, the bloody smears in black and in red, the colours blending sickly in front of his eyes.

blink

his own hands covered in red, the lights shining white, the green colour of the car next to them making him gag.

blink

justin's cold, gray hand in his, the doctor's blue eyes.

blink

blink

blink

the colours wouldn't settle.

-

he hadn't decided on visiting lindsay in the middle of the night, but he was drunk and when the taxi driver asked for his address he had just mumbled out lindsay's instead of his own. when she finally opened the door, he drew her close, eyes locked on her hair. it wasn't quite right, but he was drunk and it just had to do for now.

"they keep flickering", he mumbled, his voice low and scratchy. he had definitely had one too many cigarettes.

she sighed, wiggled out of his embrace and pulled him into the living room where she pushed him down onto the sofa. his head rolled back, his eyes closed. she leaned her face on his shoulder; "they'll come back, he'll make it".

he smiled before drifting off to sleep.

-

(his dreams were still in colour, his subconsciousness still not caught up with reality)

-

his colours returned, slowly and nothing like when he first got them. they were burned out, pale and muted. sometimes there was a glitch of complete black and white, but they always returned to the soft colours after a short time. they hadn't changed for better or for worse but brian knew it could happen at any point. so getting drunk was the best option. he really didn't like thinking about the other possibilities.

(one night when he had been lying awake, they had disappeared. from one blink to another there was nothing, only shadows, no pale pink's or blue's or purple's or orange's in his line of vision, only the black ceiling, the white lights coming from behind him. he hadn't panicked (except he had). he ended up with a bottle of jägerbombs in his left hand, a hasty rolled up joint in his right, waiting for the colours to return)

he tried to focus on the burned out colours coming at him from all angles, the gold confetti coming down on him from above. but no matter how hard he concentrated, how drunk he got, how high he was, the colours were still only a pale version of themselves.

he was leaning against the wall in the back room of babylon, eyes closed, mouth open, when it happened. the guy on his knees in front of him was definitely one of the worst he'd ever had, but suddenly bright colours exploded and he pushed the guy off of him in shock. he stumbled out of the back room, his eyes tightly squeezed together, not daring to open them yet.

when he got to the edge of the dance floor he finally opened his eyes, the colours bright and alive and very much there. he tore out of the club, hailed the first taxi on the street and rattled off the address to the hospital before he could change his mind.

-

(justin was finally awake and brian's colours gave it everything they had. he could barely go a few hours without a headache, his eyes burning in his skull. when he once again puked in the bathroom in woody's (michael's "are you alright?" ringing loud in his ears) he knew it wasn't the alcohol or the drugs or something he ate. and justin wasn't even out the hospital yet.

brian didn't go see him after he woke up, knew he wouldn't be able to not make his legs crumble beneath him once they got eye contact and all his colours would settle. he could handle the dizziness, the headaches, the squinting eyes, but actually feeling everything settle just because he was looking at fucking justin would be too much.

and then justin found him at the bar. he found him and he didn't look away, and brian could only watch at he drew in a deep breath, his eyes opening fully (he had definitely been squinting as well). he looked like a drowning man finally coming up for air and brian couldn't even say he didn't know the feeling. because his colours had settled too. now he just had to convince justin they hadn't)

-

michael had tried to talk brian out of letting justin move in, he had used every trick in the book, said everything he could possibly dream of, but still justin had moved in. brian hadn't given it much thought, just that justin needed a place to stay, somewhere that wouldn't give him too much stress and since brian was never really home anyway, the loft seemed like a good idea.

having justin around all the time wasn't as bad as he had thought. the boy sang in the shower (closing his eyes brian could see tiny swirls of orange, even though his singing was absolutely horrendous), made a mess of the kitchen while trying to make dinner (soft patches of brown and beige behind his eyelids), kissed him when he needed to finish the work he had brought home with him (bright and fiery red) and listened to music on his disc man, loud enough for brian to hear on the other side of the room, when he started to draw again (purple, black, purple, pink, black, purple).

but when they fell together after a rough session in the sheets, brian could feel justin's questions bubbling underneath the surface. the questions, the hopes and dreams, the theories, the colours (the love). so he turned away, didn't acknowledge him, tried to drown out the colours being thrown at him from all sides. justin; lying on the other side of the bed, unable to sleep, watching the ceiling.

-

brian hadn't seen it coming. he had been too busy trying to forget his colours, trying not to make anyone suspicious, trying to make sure justin got to school on time, trying to get michael to stop harassing justin a little too often. he had been sure justin had forgotten about colours for a while too, but no such luck.

brian had justin flat on his back, pale legs wrapped around his waist, his hips pressed up against his ass when it happened.

"my eyes are blue", brian's rhythm faltered for a second. he knew justin's eyes were blue, he tried not to look at them. he gave a hard thrust and justin's head flew backwards unto the pillow.

"the shirt i wore today is red", he groaned low in his throat. brian squeezed his eyes together and fucked into him harder.

"shut up."

"my, ah, my hair is blond", justin's mouth latched onto his neck for a short second. he mumbled against brian's skin; "my backpack is brown".

brian pushing himself up, away from justin's mouth, away from his words.

"the grass is green. the fucking sky is blue. the apples in the kitchen, ah, are red", he pushed out words, trying to get his breathing under control but brian didn't let up. he was doing anything in his power for make justin forget about words. his hand wrapped around him and everything got quiet except for the sounds of skin on skin and justin's wild breathing.

when brian was finally pushed over the edge it was with justin's whimpers in his ears along with a quiet: "your eyes are brown, and they see colours too".

(justin would bring up random colours pretty much every day after that)

-

(his saving came from reality hitting justin square in the face during a conversation with lindsay. they had had their weekly coffee date at the diner, justin serving them from behind the counter when lindsay had rambled about one of melanie's cases at work. a variegated couple getting a divorce, kids caught in the middle, the whole lot.

"just imagine if that was mel and me", lindsay took a sip of her coffee and brian grimaced. they did have a lot of problems at the moment.

"you're not married", he pointed out.

"yeah i know, but we still have a child", brian felt justin's hand brush his back when he walked past.

"you pushed him out", brian looked up to see justin cleaning behind the counter next to them. lindsay sighed.

"if mel wanted to take gus, she could and you know it. all she'd have to do is tell the judge that i lied about getting my colours and she's get custody", justin's head whipped up.

"what?"

lindsay looked up, surprised at justin's outburst. she recovered quickly; "well, i don't have my colours sweetie, it happens all the time."

"y-you don't have your colours? but how? you're with melanie and she talks about her colours all the time!", brian kept his head down, trying to not draw attention to himself. he did not want to talk about colours with justin, not at all.

"mel got her's when she looked at me, but mine didn't show. it doesn't mean anything though, we're very happy regardless of my colours showing or not".

justin just narrowed his eyes, looked at brian who had accidentally lifted his head to check out the situation and then walked into the back room)

-

later that night brian was rudely awakened by justin's elbow in his ribs. he grunted and rolled over, his hand catching on justin's t-shirt. he held on tightly.

"are you sure you're not seeing colours?" he whispered, like he was afraid of waking him (although that was what he had just done). brian groaned and let go of his t-shirt. "are you absolutely sure brian?"

brian pushed himself up so he was looking down at him. he could see justin's eyes shining in the dark, they were flickering and his fucking mind supplied they are blue like a clear sky on a summer day. he could only lean down and kiss him before telling him to go back to sleep.

-

over time justin stopped asking about his colours, he stopped mentioning them, stopped talking about his own, stopped drawing in colours. brian watched from the sidelines as his work got more and more shadowed, darker, harder to understand.

(brian wasn't proud of himself when he googled "can colours disappear over time" and spent the afternoon at work going through several webpages looking for an answer. he made sure to delete the search history before leaving the office that day)

(turns out they couldn't. the colours would be there as long as your soulmate was still alive. brian tried not too think too much about how his colours had flickered, disappeared and then returned while justin was in the hospital)

(they could dim from time to time, but didn't disappear. brian's hadn't dimmed ever since justin moved in)

when justin's drawings stopped piling up on the dining table, and michael had called yet again about a missing deadline on their new comic book, brian noticed that he hadn't fucked justin in a little over a week.

(they had barely seen each other all week. brian had a big account he needed to land, which gave the urge to visit woody's or babylon more often than not. and when he came home (too) late, justin had already fallen asleep, too exhausted to stay up and wait for him)

brian tested out his theory the next day by almost eating justin's face off when dropping him off at the diner in the morning before going to work. when he came in later for lunch, justin was sitting in the end booth, clearly on his own lunch break, pen in hand, an over-doodled piece of paper on the table.

but when he came home the doodling had definitely been a short lived joy. justin was frustrated with his hand, his face full of determination. brian really couldn't see anything wrong with the drawing on the table but it was clear that justin was far from happy. so brian ran his fingers through justin's hair, tugged on his hand and led him to the bed. he couldn't even remember how they lost all their clothes, too caught up in the colour of justin against him, the red of his lips, the light brown hair leading down his stomach, down, down, down, the blond strands of hair always catching his eye.

the next day there was an entire new scene for the comic book lying on the table and justin was humming to himself, coloured pencils held tight in his hand.

-

colours weren't that hard to figure from there. justin wasn't hard to figure out from there.

brian quickly caught on to how justin would be happy, creative, satisfied, colourful when they acted like a coloured couple. so brian gave in more and more, just to see the colours flash and blind him whenever justin smiled or laughed or looked at him with trust, hope, love, colour.

(he never even stood a chance)

-

it wasn't that brian liked the reason behind his colours, it was that he was getting used to them, was getting used to justin.

(justin who hadn't tried to stop brian from picking up tricks even when he thought they both had colours. justin who picked up tricks himself. justin who didn't take any of brian's bullshit (brian had learned long ago that justin was stubborn). justin who stayed even when brian wanted him to leave)

he was used to seeing two bowls in the sink in the morning, to seeing two toothbrushes in his bathroom, to the stacks of cd's next to the radio, to the infinite amount of colourful drawings everywhere he went in the loft, the smell of food when he came home from a long day at work, the warm body next to his when he woke up.

(justin still looked at him with colour, but brian could see him struggling. it wasn't hard to notice the little differences, the slight change in his drawings, the colours on the paper growing darker and darker by the day)

brian figured a colourful life wasn't too bad.

-

"what do you think?"

"hmm, it's nice. i like this colour."

(brian's heart was hammering, his eyes narrowed)

justin's smile split his face and brian had to look away to not get blinded by the sun.