Greg smiled as he saw Brian sitting on the floor. He brushed back his hair. “That wasn’t very cool. Spells shouldn’t be used for that.” He laid curled on his side, thinking about everything. “I think we should look some more tomorrow. It can’t be this cut and dry. I need more.” He thought about his parents. He smiled at Brian. “You know I took my first steps in this room? This was the room I was walking in in the picture.” He also didn’t want to think about how that was probably the last time he really saw his dad. He shivered and pulled Brian up on the couch with him, trying his best to make it work. “I can’t wait until we have our baby.” His hand rested on the bottom of the man’s belly. “I want to try as soon as we get back.” He licked the man’s neck before he looked up and saw Ronnie watching them. “Don’t mind me guys. I was just asking where I could wash up?”
Brian rolled his eyes, smiling at the other man. “Hey, it was Ronnie, not me,” he interjected. Watching the expressions flicker across Greg’s face, Brian nodded, humming in agreement. “We will. But after we go to the beach. We’re having a picnic.” Quieting after hearing his fiance, he turned to look around the room, trying to imagine it. “I think it was,” he murmured, eyes widening as he felt himself pulled up. Something fluttered in his stomach when he felt Greg’s hand, moving to rest his on top of it. “Me too,” he managed to whisper back, unable to hide the crooked grin on his face. Hearing Ronnie’s voice jolted him back, and he looked up to see him. Blushing, Brian nodded. “I think there’s one down the hall, that way.” He pointed, watching the other man nod as well, and move out of sight. Turning back to Greg, he kissed his nose, a small smile on his lips. “Well, looks like we’ve got another guest.”
Ronnie pulled away from Greg before moving to Brian, pulling him in a tight hug. “You’re going to have to tell me his problem when I can get you alone.” He muttered the words in Brian’s ear before letting go, moving back to Greg. “Greg, baby, you know you don’t need me. You have Brian to help you out.” Greg nodded, not stopping crying. “I know- I- I didn’t mean for you to come. I was just- I was just trying to text you.” Ronnie pulled Greg over to the couch, sitting him down. the man’s tears weren’t stopping so he did what he needed to. He cast a quick spell, causing Greg’s eyes to roll back and him fall unconciously in the floor. Ronnie made a noise. “I thought he would have done something like- fell to the side.” He picked up the man, laying him on the couch. He smiled at Brian. “Sorry about coming. You know how it is though. He makes a noise and I come running. What’s going on with him anyway. Did he find something he didn’t want or did he not find anything?”
Greg woke up later, alone on the couch. He looked around and noticed it was night time outside. He didn’t want to wake up Charlie, so he pulled out his phone, calling Brian.
Brian squirmed slightly in the hug, before nodding and relaxing. “Okay,” he muttered in return, shifting when Ronnie let go. He cringed when he heard the two men talking, moving into the kitchen once more, and making two cups of coffee. If they were going to handle it, they were going to handle it with caffeine. While it brewed, he walked back to the living room. Shaking his head with a soft smile as Greg fell to the floor, Brian glanced up at Ronnie, the look fading. Perching himself on the edge of the couch, he shrugged, looking down at his hands. “Well, we were up in his dad’s old room, and…he found a box of pictures. And a letter, from his mother. Combined with the pictures, well…it didn’t end pretty well, if you haven’t noticed.” Ronnie smiled slightly, nodding and looking fondly at the sleeping man on the couch. After a few moments of silence, Brian spoke again, softer. “Can you help? I mean, you’ve always been pretty good at that.” Unlike me. Brian sighed, relief flooding through him when he saw Ronnie nod. “I can try.”
The two moved into the kitchen, Brian pouring coffee for both of them while Ronnie sat. For a while, they chatted, mostly about other summer plans and anything but the actual situation. And for that, Brian was grateful. When he saw the light fading outside, he stood up, telling Ronnie he was just going to set up a bed for him, and check on Charlie. On his way up the stairs, his phone rang, chiming softly. Glancing at the name, he hurried back to the living room, smiling before moving to sit next to Greg on the floor. “Hey, Sleeping Beauty.”
Greg was sitting out on the high balcony, one long lean back from falling. He puffed on his cigarette, taking long gulps. It hurt. All of this hurt too much. His family was gone and part of him knew he should have stayed home. He should have ignored the urge to know and just went through life unknowing. He was shaking, the tears falling freely. He was about to call Ronnie when Brian came out. He looked down ashamed. “Please? If there is one time I should be allowed to do this, It’s now.” He sighed. He didn’t know what to do, so he put his smoke in the bottle and handed it over to Brian, knowing he was giving his boyfriend what he wanted. He heard a faint cry in the house. “Will- will you go check on her? I need a few minutes.” He hopped off the ledge and sat on the swing on the deck.
The day was nice. THe sky clear but not too bright, the air crisp and clean. Most of the time he would love these days, living in cloudy rainy england.Today though, he felt like his parents just died. In moments he had made a connection with the pair, only to watch them wither away in minutes. He didn’t know how to react. He pulled his knees to his chest as he cried. He pulled out his phone, sending a text to Ronnie ‘this was a bad idea.’ He put his phone away, taking a few deep breaths. He could do this. He just had to decide what was worth keeping and make the cleaning ladies get rid of the rest. He sighed. There was a buzz at the door, Greg getting up to get it. As soon as the door opened, he was hit with a forceful hug from his blue eyed friend. He sighed harshly as he pulled away, Ronnie frowning before pulling him back in, pressing kisses to his neck and face. Greg just started crying again.
“But…” Brian sighed heavily, shaking his head. “Greg, it’s not going to help.” Watching Greg give in, he gave him a soft smile, taking the bottle. He heard Charlie crying out, and nodded at Greg, leaning in to peck his cheek before moving back inside. Pouring the drink down the drain, he tossed the bottle into the trash, hurrying to pick up Charlie. Brian grinned down at her, scooping her into his arms and kissing her forehead. “Hey, Char. What’s wrong?” A few moments later, he felt her relax slightly, a smile tracing her lips. “Just a bit lonely, I see,” he murmured, starting to hum softly, losing himself for a moments, until the little girl’s breathing evened out again, and was sound asleep. Setting her gently back to bed, Brian padded upstairs quietly, feeling a foggy headache straining at the corners of his mind.
Closing the door behind him, he moved into the kitchen, searching for a glass for some water. Drink in hand, Brian heard the muffled sound of Greg crying again, and something else. Something that sounded…something that sounded more like a someone. “Greg?” He called out softly, walking towards the source of the noise, only to find Greg and Ronnie. “Hey,” he mumbled, face paling slightly, eyes dropping.
Greg began sobbing hard. He didn’t know what to feel. He was shocked, completely. He was also pissed, heartbroken, surprised and really sad. He tried to smile at Brian, but he didn’t have it in him. He thought it would feel better knowing this, that he would be soaring on high, but he wasn’t. He was mourning all the things that he missed out on, now knowing that they existed. He never would be able to recall what she smelled like, or anything like that. He shook his head. “He never knew. She just died and he never knew.” He hurt for his own father, going obliviously through life never knowing he was slowly losing his wife. He could only imagine how it felt. He cried for a few more minutes, making himself stop when his chest began hurting.
He began going through things again. There was a VHS. Of course Greg didn’t know what it was, so he set it to the side. He would inspect the plastic square later. He found more images, a wedding ring, and then he saw it, it was there. At the bottom of the box, as if someone had went through it already and decided to put it there, there was a picture of him. On the back it said “Gregory, 2 weeks old.” He noticed that it was taken in this very room. The man holding him, he guessed was his father, was looking down at the sleeping baby. The man looked so sad, heart broken. He knew this was after his mother had passed, Greg the only thing left. The picture behind it, the baby was a little bigger it said “6 months” Greg was sitting on his father’s lap, grinning at the man. He had one small tooth. His father looked alot skinnier than the previous picture, alot skinnier in that one than the first one with his mother. He sighed. He could tell his father was wasting away. He flipped to another image, it stated that he was 12 months. His father no longer looked sad, he looked dead at his sons small birthday event. Greg sat there in the image, cake all over his face and hands while is father looked on, empty. It hurt Greg so hard. The last image was of him and his father. The man had hollows under his cheeks, a sad expression on his face behind the smile as he watched his only son walk. Greg looked at the date. “Brian, he killed himself that day. That exact day.” He dropped the photo and stood up. “I need to stop.” He quickly walked down to the kitchen, getting his cigarette out of the trash, a beer out of the fridge and went outside, fuck what Brian thought right then.
Brian nodded slightly, giving Greg an attempt at a soft smile. It hurt to see Greg breaking down right in front of him, and he wanted to help him so badly, to tell him that he didn’t have to get upset about them being gone, but glad that they’d been there, and that no matter what, they still loved him. Sighing softly, Brian pulled his arms back, instead taking Greg’s hand gently. “But at least he had her while she was alive. Right? I doubt there’s anything he’d want to change about the time they had together. And I bet that right now, they wouldn’t want you to be so upset about them not being here, because…well, they aren’t really gone, are they? They’re right here.” He tapped the photograph of them, before pointing to Greg’s heart. “And right here. So be glad that, even though you missed out on some great times, you now have something to remember them by.” Ending on a soft note, Brian felt the hope rise up in him, wishing that somehow, he’d managed to help. When he noticed Greg continuing to go through the box, he realized that he should probably stay quiet, and just be there for him, instead of saying anything. “I’m sorry,” he murmured, eyes watching as the pictures of Greg’s father grew steadily more pitiful.
His breath hitched in his throat when he heard Greg, biting his lip. Gaze flicking up to watch Greg stand, Brian nodded, letting out a quiet sigh. “Okay.” Once Greg had gone, he pushed up off the bed, collecting each photograph slowly, feeling the solemness of the situation weighing down on him. Yes, they weren’t his parents, but seeing Greg like this…it hurt that he didn’t know how to help. “Just be patient,” he muttered to himself, closing the box, and setting it back where it was previously. Walking out of the room, Brian stepped down the stairs quickly, nervous to see the state of Greg. One glance out of the window told him. “Greg,” he sighed to himself, moving outside. “Greg, please. Just…stop. That’s not helping anyone. If anything, it’s hurting you.”
Greg smiled at Brian. He continued to go through the box until he stumbled on another picture. The woman was smiling, heavily pregnant and looking tired and sick. But she looked so happy. The man wasn’t in the picture. Greg flipped it over. On the back it was written “Char. 7 months.” Greg stared at the date on the back of it. “Brian this was taken two months before I was born.” He looked at the woman again. Her soft brown eyes, her sickly smile with full lips. Her soft jawline. Greg found it. He found her. He wouldn’t believe it took him thirty years to find her, when he knew where she was all this time. He looked further into the collections, finding a note. He stopped in his tracks. It had his name on it. He looked to Brian, staring at it. Part of him wanted to not read it, but they didn’t come all the way out here to continue with not knowing. He sighed as he opened it, leaning on Brian for support. He saw the dainty handwriting. He began reading. “
I’m sorry I ever had to write this letter. I’m sorry I couldn’t talk to you in person. You have to know if I could change the future I would. I’m sick my darling. As you sleep inside me, by the way you are a little tap dancer, I know I have to put this to paper. I don’t know how long I have left. Your dad doesn’t know. I know it seems wrong not to tell him, but he has always wanted children. I have to, but I know my fate and I want us to enjoy our time left. He worries too much, you see. I remember meeting your dad. He was working with my older brother, he passed long before I ever learned we were having you, on charms. He was everything I never knew I wanted. He changed my life, brought light into my world. WHen I thought it couldn’t get any brighter, I discovered you were on your way. These past past few months have been amazing and although I found out I was sick during that time, I would never trade you for the world. I want you to know the world-” Greg had to stop, wiping the tears from his eyes. “I want you to know that the world is cruel. It breaks your heart sometime on a daily basis. There isn’t anything you can do about that. But there is something you can do about the way you handle it. You’re strong. I know you are and we haven’t even properly met. I know how life is going to kick your ass, excuse my language, and you are going to want to give up, but I’m telling you not to. Please, don’t. You should fight for yourself, for love, for hope, for a future. Don’t let anyone tell you that it cannot be done. I know that we might not have a future together. You might not be able to remember the way I smell or how my voice sounds. You may not even get a chance to experience either. But you are my son. My only son and the only one I will ever need. Your father is the love of my life and I hope you find the same. Now, my son, I’m sitting at the desk writing you this when I’m supposed to be in bed, resting. I’m stubborn, and I hope you don’t get that from me. But I have to get going, or else your over protective father, who you will probably spend YEARS fighting with, will go crazy. But remember, I love you, you’re strong, and there is nothing I would love more right now than to be able to hold your hand and tell you this to your face.
Greg handed over the letter to Brian before bringing hisknees in, crying softly.
Brian felt himself relax slightly when Greg smiled back, returning the picture to the box before slipping an arm around his waist, giving a gentle squeeze of reassurance. His eyes widened when he saw the photograph of the woman, unconsciously stiffening, before nodding at Greg’s words, and forcing himself to relax once more. “It’s her. It’s really her,” he murmured, trying to imagine just how Greg was feeling. Shocked? Definitely. Confused? Maybe. Awe-struck? That was a given. Eyes focusing on the letter, he pulled Greg closer, turning to place a chaste kiss on his shoulder, closing his eyes. “Go ahead.” Brian could almost feel Greg reacting to whatever the letter contained, and there wasn’t any denying that it was amazing even for Brian. Thirty years not seeing your parents, and in one trip, so much revealed.
Feeling Greg shift beside him, Brian drew away, carefully taking the letter in his free hand, not letting his hand on Greg’s waist move an inch. It didn’t take long for him to read through the letter, leaving him completely stunned. Okay. Just relax. Think. Smiling, he set the letter to the side, wrapping both arms around his fiance and chuckling softly. “You know, she sounds just like you. Especially that little bit on stubbornness. But she’s right, you know.”
Greg picked up the first piece of parchment. It was a letter to his grandmother from his dad’s lawyer. “I guess this was a letter about custody of me.” It stated everything he already knew. He moved on to the next pieces, nothing really interesting. He kept going through the drawer until he got to a box. It a wooden box with his father’s initials carved in it. He looked at Brian before moving back to sit on the bed. He slowly opened the box to see it was full of pictures. Of a young man and woman. A wedding ring was in the box. A few pictures of a baby. Never one of either parent with the baby. He wasn’t sure what to think, so he handed them over to Brian. They had no date on them.
Brian peeked over Greg’s shoulder, a frown on the corners of his mouth as his eyes skimmed the letter. Shifting to the side, he watched as Greg went through the drawer, unsure if he should help, or let Greg find whatever he needed to find for consolation. His fingers reached out, flipping through another stack of parchment, only to find them to just be old records, a few notes here and there. Feeling Greg’s gaze on him, Brian glanced up, before noticing the box in the man’s hands. “Go on,” he murmured, sitting quietly beside him on the bed. He smiled slightly at the sight of the photographs, taking them carefully. “That’s you, I bet.” His voice was just a whisper, but he couldn’t help but look up at Greg, then back to the picture of the man and woman. “Well, you’ve got her eyes. And his jaw.” Clearing his throat, his voice softened even more. “Do you…do you think this is them? Because, well, I think it’s probable. Actually, I completely think they are.” He ended on a gentle note, smile widening.
Greg groaned at Brian. “Can you not act like the cat that got the creme? I’m suffering over here.” He started feeling the effect of his smoke. He stopped at the top of the steps. “Let’s go to the spare bedroom. It apparently used to be dad’s.” He moved to the door, taking a deep breath. He looked at Brian for support. He was terrified of never finding anything. He put his hand on the back of Brian’s head, pulling him in for probably the roughest kiss he had ever given. He pulled away softly. “I love you.” He turned, opening the door. The room was barren, just a bed and drawers. the closet door was closed. He moved to the dresser, opening the top one. It was filled with trinkets and papers. “Maybe this is his?”
Brian smirked slightly at Greg, shrugging. “Hey. I kinda, sorta, won, if you think about it.” He didn’t notice that Greg had stopped, following Greg to the door. Moving closer, he nodded to the other man. “It’s okay. It’ll be okay.” Brian smiled softly. His eyes widened when he felt Greg pull him forward, causing his heartbeat to spike before Greg pulled away, Brian’s face burning. “I love you too,” he mumbled. Stepping quietly into the room, he looked around, shifting on his feet by the doorway. “Well, there must be something in there that was his, if it was his room. Are there any pictures there?” Brian moved over beside Greg, looking down at the papers curiously.
Greg watched as Brian walked away. He knew this would be worse than any fight. he took a pill out of his pocket, swallowing it. He moved back to Brian, wrapping his arms around him. He pulled the man’s back to his chest as he whispered, almost growling in his ear. “I almost die, we get engaged, now we’re in fucking Spain and you’re going to give me the silent treatment?” He leaned down, licking, sucking, and biting on Brian’s neck rather hard. The need to not fight taking over. He growled in the man’s ears. “Just let it go. this fight is nothing that can’t wait until later. Just let us enjoy this.” He moaned softly as he pulled completely away. He took the pack, the super expensive pack considering the drugs in them and threw them in the trash. He moved to the stairs. “I’m gonna go start looking through stuff.”
Brian felt Greg’s arms wrap around him, and he stiffened, wanting to turn around. Remaining silent, he tried to pull away from Greg, sighing when he felt Greg bite his neck. He had to swallow hard to keep from speaking, from leaning into Greg. Finally, he felt Greg draw away, and Brian hadn’t spoken a word. Watching him throw the pack away, he smiled only slightly, turning to see Greg at the foot of the stairs. “Okay.” Brian grinned, moving to catch up with him, a sense of pride inside him because, hey, he won. “Where should we start?”
Greg laughed almost bitterly. “Never planned on you figuring out. But come on, it’s been like 2 since my surgery.” He sighs as he looked at Brian. “Listen, it’s just a little smoke every once in awhile. Not a drink, not a pill, just a little smoke. It’s completely fine.” He smiled softly, knowing the fight that was coming. Greg was going to get told 19 ways how hardful this was to his getting better. Good thing he didn’t mention the special ingredients that where in his cigarette.
Brian shook his head, sighing heavily. “Still. Greg, I don’t care if it’s just once in a while. I just…” Closing his eyes, he pinched the bridge of his nose, feeling the tension building inside him. When he looked at Greg again, he could see that he was expecting a fight. You know what? Screw it. “Well, okay then. Fine.” Pushing away from the wall, Brian walked slowly back into the house, not looking back at Greg, a blank expression on his face. Silent warfare was easier than screaming, in his mind, and he planned on playing on that advantage.
Greg grinned around his Cigarette at the environment. It was grassy, but obviously it wasn’t how it naturally was. They were so close to the beach he could smell it, feel the breeze from the waves not even a mile away. He moaned as the amazing and freeing feeling of it. He didn’t notice Brian walk up until he was speaking. He jumped, pulling the cigarette from his mouth, debating on whether or not to throw it in the grass, deciding against it. He put it out with his fingers before looking at Brian. He slid the partially smoked stick in his shirt pocket before smiling at his fiance. “Did she go out pretty well?”
Crossing his arms, Brian shrugged, still frowning. “Yeah, she’s asleep now.” He pursed his lips, watching Greg closely before speaking again. “So…” The sentence trailed off, and he remained silent for a few moments, sighing heavily. “Were you even going to tell me, or just wait until I found out? Because I’m pretty sure I would’ve been able to smell the smoke eventually.” Brian leaned against the wall, staring at Greg with a disregarding look in his eyes. “You know, I don’t think this is going to help the whole ‘recovery’ thing. And you were supposed to give up habits like this a long time ago.”
Greg looked at Brian, cocking his head to the side. “No, no, I was just thinking. Unless you want to go ‘lay down’, the I’m all for that.” He winked, recovering himself. He leaned in, placing a kissto Brian’s cheek. “I’ll go take my medicine and then after you get the nugget to sleep we’ll get to work.” He grinned and left the room. He picked up his backpack from the couch. He got out his pills and his cigarette pack, putting both in his pocket. He walked back in the kitchen, getting a small bottle of juice and walking it outside. He knew Brian would freak so he had to be quick about it. He swallowed the pills, chugged the juice and lit up, laying against the house and enjoying the taste
Brian rolled his eyes, smiling slightly. “Work it is.” Pecking Greg’s cheek, he walked out of the room and back to Charlie’s crib, grinning down at her. She giggled, and squirmed in his arms. “Come on, Char. Nap time?” All hope was lost from his voice once he realized it would take more than a please, and with a sigh, he moved to sit in the rocking chair, thinking for a moment. Quietly, he started humming, then singing softly, the chair rocking slowly. “All those days watching from the windows, all those years outside looking in. All that time never even knowing just how blind I’ve been. Now I’m here, blinking in the starlight. Now I’m here, suddenly I see, standing here, it’s oh so clear I’m where I’m meant to be. And at last I see the light, and it’s like the fog has lifted. And at last I see the light, and it’s like the sky is new. And it’s warm and real and bright, and the world has somehow shifted. All at once everything looks different now that I see you.” By the time he’d finished, Charlie’s breathing had slowed, and she’d relaxed in his arms. Smiling, he stood up, gently tucking her into bed before moving back upstairs, and into the kitchen. “Greg?” Brian looked around, frowning. He checked the living room and bathroom before glancing at the door, and stepping outside. Relief flooded him when he saw the man. “Hey, I was just-” Seeing the cigarette, he froze. “Uh.”
Greg laughed slightly and he lifted Brian’s sandwich to his mouth. “I’ll help you. What would be the point of making them hot if you’re just going to let it get cold.” he smiled softly before taking a bite of his own. He assisted Brian in eating and he stopped when they were both done, Charlie almost finished herself. He stared blankly to the wall, not talking. He wasn’t blanked out, although Brian would probably think he was. He was just deep in thought. Doubts plaguing him again. What if nothing was here? What if they came out here only to find that his parents left nothing. That without Greg, they would have never existed. He sighed, pulling himself back to his family.
Brian smiled, taking a bite before glancing down at Charlie. As they both finished the sandwiches, he felt the little girl relax in his arms. “Nap time?” His voice was soft, and he looked up at Greg with a grin. It faded quickly as he watched him. “Greg? You okay?” Brow furrowed, he shifted Charlie so he could reach out, slipping his hand inside the other man’s. “Do you-Do you want to go lay down or something? I mean, we can always just wait until tomorrow to start. Or now. It’s all up to you.”
Greg quickly moved through the kitchen, making hot sandwiches and juice, not wanting to drink any of the beer in the fridge yet. He was about to flip the sandwich when his mind went blank, forcing him to still.The next thing he knew there was a burning smell in his nose, forcing him out. “Oh fuck.” He quickly moved the sandwich to the counter, letting it cool while he opened a window. He started on another sandwich when he noticed Brian. He smiled softly, not saying anything as he took a deep breath. He finished the meal before setting it on the island and looking at Brian. “Here you go.”
Brian stood in the doorway, letting Charlie have her bottle as he watched, eyebrow raised. “You alright?” Shifting Charlie, he glanced down at her, grinning. “I, uh, I’ve got my hands full. So how about you start, and I’ll catch up.” He moved to lean against the counter, eyes remaining on Greg. He couldn’t tell if Greg had just forgotten, or if he’d blanked again. Sighing heavily, Brian dropped his gaze to look at the sandwiches, smile forming quickly. “Looks delicious.”
Greg smiled softly. “Yes, because my aunt would love to have us living in her vacation home.” He winked before picking up the bags. “Get her, I requested for the staff to-” he walked into the downstairs bedroom, all clean and ready, crib set up. “I asked them to put a crib in. So, if you want to feed and change her, I’ll get us some lunch and then we can get to work on this place.”
Brian rolled his eyes, shaking his head. “I’m sure we could convince her.” Taking Charlie, he nodded, carrying her quietly as he followed Greg to the bedroom. “Mmkay. Meet you upstairs then.” Before Greg left, Brian kissed him gently, a small smile on his face. “I’m starving.” Turning on his heel, he changed Charlie, the action now habitual over time. Leaning in to kiss her forehead, his voice was soft. “You excited to go to the beach? See the waves?” She gurgled happily at him, hitting his cheek lightly. “I’ll take that as a yes,” he laughed. Digging through her bag, he found her bottle, and made it quickly, hoping she wouldn’t start crying. Once set, he picked her up, grinning at her as he made his way back upstairs, bottle in hand.