by >>Jae

"You wanna?"


"All right, you don't have to --"

"I'm sorry." Justin curled closer and put his head on Lance's chest. "It's just -- I'm not gonna be able to walk right for two days, my jaw hurts, my dick hurts, my hand's all cramped. You finally did it. You fucked me out."

Lance laughed. "Wait, say that again. I want to remember this moment."

"Fuck you," Justin said, and winced. "Not literally."

"So do I get a commemorative T-shirt or something?"

"You get something," Justin said. "Just not tonight."

"Just as well, I guess. We should go to sleep. I've got an early start tomorrow."

"No," Justin said. He draped a leg carefully over Lance's and moved in closer. "Don't sleep."

"We've got to be up at five --"

"Stay awake a little while," Justin said. "Who knows when we'll get to do this again?"

Lance sat up, letting Justin fall onto the bed next to him. "You know when we'll get to do this again. You've got my schedule, you know --"

"I know, I know," Justin said contritely, tugging at Lance's arm until he slid down and pulled Justin back on top of him. "I'm sorry, I just. I'm sorry."

"I know," Lance said. "I know you don't want me to go."

"It's not -- I want you to go," Justin said. "I just don't want you to go."

"It'll be okay," Lance said. "It's very safe. I showed you all those studies."

"I know," Justin said. "I just don't. Look, it's nothing. I'm being stupid."

"They wouldn't let me if they didn't --"

"I know," Justin said. "Just. Don't talk about it, okay?"

"Okay," Lance said.

Justin ran a hand lazily over Lance's chest and closed his hand around the small silver pendant nestled against his collarbone. "Who gave you this? Your other boyfriend?"

Lance laughed. "Joey's grandma sent it for me. For luck. Or not luck exactly -- a blessing, she called it."

"What is it?"

"It's a St. Christopher medal. He's the patron saint of travelers. Or he was, I guess."

"What do you mean, he was?"

"Well, he's not anymore, I don't think."

"They kicked him out? What did he do?" Justin pulled the medal closer, studying it, and Lance followed, drawn by the chain.

"Nothing. That was the problem."


"They think now, church people and whoever, the people who research that stuff, that old Christopher was really just a legend. So they kicked him out. They did a whole bunch of people at the same time --"

"That's not fair," Justin said. "If he didn't do anything." He rolled the pendant between his palms and then let it fall back onto Lance's chest. Lance felt the heat from Justin's hands radiate out over his skin. "I don't see why they couldn't just leave him alone, if he didn't do anything."

"I guess they just wanted to make things more rational, I guess. Cause people aren't as -- they know more, these days. I guess they just figured it would make it easier for people to believe, if they got rid of some of the things that didn't really make a lot of sense. I guess."

"That's stupid," Justin said. "People don't believe in things because they make sense."


"No. Nobody ever had faith because somebody argued them into it, or showed them a bunch of studies. People believe in things because they have to. Because they don't have any other choice."

"Justin," Lance said. Justin turned onto his side. Lance followed, sliding his arm around Justin's waist. "Justin."

"I know," Justin said.

"I'll be fine," Lance said, low, mouth against Justin's back.

"I know," Justin said. "I believe you." But he didn't turn around. Lance sighed and laid his forehead against Justin's back. He could feel Justin breathing. After a moment he pulled the necklace over his head and pressed it into Justin's hand.

"What?" Justin said. He shifted onto his back and looked at Lance. "Don't you want it?"

"I thought you might ... I thought you might want it," Lance said. Justin looked down at the silver disc, lip caught between his teeth, holding it in his hand as if he were weighing it. "Besides," Lance said as lightly as he could, "if he's been kicked out and all, maybe he's not my best bet for a patron saint."

"No," Justin said. He clenched his fist around the medal. "No, he's probably still good at it. I mean, I bet it's hard. I bet you can't just stop patroning after you do it for a million years."

"It wasn't a million --"

"Besides, I bet he's even better at it than it was before. He's probably mad at them for kicking them out, and so he's all, I'll show them, and works even harder. That's what I'd do."

"But he didn't really," Lance said, and then looked at Justin's bent head and shut his mouth.

"And maybe once they kicked him out of heaven, maybe he landed in Russia. You never know. Maybe there's this guy, in the command center there, and nobody knows exactly where he came from but they're all like, man, he's good, that Kristoferski. Kristof. What's Russian for Christopher?"

"I don't know," Lance said softly.

"Like, all the other guys, they have bad days or they get tired, but he's always there. Just watching out for people. I bet he's the best at his job."

"I bet you're right," Lance said.

Justin looked up at him and smiled weakly. "Okay, I'm done being stupid now. You can stop humoring me."

"No," Lance said. "No, I believe you." Justin's smile stretched and brightened. Lance put his hand over Justin's fist. "Can I have it back?"

Justin leaned in and Lance bent his head. Justin pressed his open palm over Lance's chest as the medal fell into place. Lance put his hand over Justin's.

Justin kissed him.

"I thought you said I wore you out," Lance said when Justin pressed closer.

"Maybe," Justin said, "maybe just one more for the road."

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