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Stay By Me

This is the sequel to Return To Me.

Rated PG-13 for sexah-tiemz (but hey, if you're anti-slash you're probably not reading Brugo fics. xD) and swearing and fluff, fluff everywhere.

- - -

Brian supposed that, as a guest, he should have been polite and offered to let Hugo get back to whatever he'd been doing before he barged in. Perhaps the proper thing to do would have been to offer to take him to dinner later and depart in a dignified fashion.

Screw that. Dignity was for people who hadn't been apart thirteen years.

He was laying on the couch now, his chin resting upon Hugo's chest as he told him about his adventures in the FBI. It gave him a guiltily wonderful feeling when, during the stories where his life really had been in danger – during a shoot out, when a meth lab exploded, when a death threat had been left in his mailbox – Hugo would clutch him a little tighter and murmur how glad he was that he was okay. And he could see in Hugo's eyes the same thoughts going through his mind.

I might have lost you and would never have known what happened, said Hugo's expression, and Brian would snuggle closer and promise to be more careful from here on out. He knew how lucky they were. Thirteen years was a long time, and people died every day. Had he returned to Forks only to discover that Hugo was gone, he didn't know how he would have reacted.

The words came in waves. One moment all Brian wanted to do was talk and hear every detail of Hugo's life in return, and it felt like there would never be enough hours to talk about everything he wanted to say and hear. Then the next his voice was dead again and words seemed cheap and mundane. Those silent moments were not wasted, however.

He let out a long sigh as he pressed his cheek to Hugo's half-bare chest, having undone the buttons of his shirt enough to snuggle skin-to-skin. He rumbled with approval when Hugo stroked his hair.

"You always reminded me of a cat," Hugo said, amusement in his tone. "The way you purr like that."

"I do not purr," he retorted.

"Okay, fine, I won't pet your hair then."

"No, no, I didn't mean stop," Brian said, catching his hand as he moved it away, and Hugo laughed, but the laugh died away too quickly, and Brian lifted his head to see him glancing at the clock. It was already evening; he'd never noticed the time passing.

"Is something wrong?" he asked.

"No. It's just…Joan will be home soon."

"Oh, right. She's born-again."

"Yeah."

Brian met his eyes. "So should I leave?"

"You don't have to. Just hide in the bedroom until I decide what to tell her. If I tell her…I haven't decided."

"The bedroom, huh?" he said with a grin, and saw Hugo going red as he realized his accidental insinuation.

"Brian!"

"What?" He inched forward, pressing his lips to his neck, traveling up the slope of it. "I've no problem with that suggestion."

"Would you be serious?" Hugo said. Brian nibbled at his earlobe and something very much like a giggle escaped Hugo's mouth, rather ruining his attempt at looking stern.

The sound of a car outside interrupted the moment and made them both freeze.

"That'll be her. Get up, get up!" Hugo jumped to his feet, pulling Brian with him and aiming him down the hall. "Just stay out of sight."

Taking the hint, Brian hurried to the bedroom and closed the door most of the way, unable to resist peering out to see Joan walk in.

He had never actually met Joan, but he had seen pictures. In his memory, he recalled her as a little brown-haired girl, gifted with the same feather-soft locks as Hugo, but with the green eyes of her mother. She hadn't been much more than a baby back then.

The girl standing in the entryway now was a teenager, and bore little resemblance to the innocent girl from the pictures. She was tall and skeletal, her brown hair grown to her waist and her face painted in make-up that did not suit her. Her eyes were narrowed with disdain. He heard Hugo – who by now had straightened his clothing and fixed his buttons – ask how her day was, and was surprised to see her glare at him wordlessly. Brian saw his expression crumple and when he asked if she would like dinner, she rolled her eyes.

"Ward took me out to dinner," she said loudly, and clicked toward the stairs in tall heels. Brian edged away from the door and took refuge further into the room when she turned his way.

Bitch, he couldn't help thinking. How could anyone glare at Hugo and wipe his smile from his face that way?

Well, I did before, he thought then, deflating.

Turning away from the door, he distracted himself by studying the room. Everything about it made him think of Hugo, from the practical furniture to the fishing pictures to the rifle mounted in a gun rack on the wall. He drifted to the shelves to peruse the pictures there, and was surprised to see himself looking back at him from one. Carefully he lifted it out and brushed dust off.

It was an old picture. In it, they pressed close together and smiled and Brian was startled by how well the camera had captured the soft expression of love in both their eyes.

How could I have left him for so long? It was obvious even back then where I belonged.

"Hey." The door behind him swung open and he nearly dropped the picture. Awkwardly, he turned around.

"Hey." Then, as if babbling would hide the fact that he was gripping the picture frame, he said, "So you didn't tell her?"

"No. Right now…isn't a good time." He pointed to the picture. "I see you found that."

"I was just about to put it back."

Hugo smiled a little. "Don't be worried, I'm not mad that you saw it. It was sitting on a shelf, kind of hard not to see."

Brian held it out. "Why did you keep this?"

Hugo shrugged as he took it from him and gazed down at it. "I don't know. I guess…because I liked to look at it and believe that you didn't mean the things you said when you left. If you could love me so much back then, I wanted to think you might come back someday. It gave me hope." He looked back up, and his eyes shone a little brighter. "For this."

"Hugo…" Swallowing hard, Brian threw himself into his arms, clutching him. "You didn't have to wait."

He embraced him back. "I wanted to."

It was a long time before they pulled apart. When they did, each had to wipe at his eyes, but for once Brian wasn't ashamed of someone seeing tear tracks on his face. He had cried in front of Hugo earlier, after all.

"Do you want some dinner?" Hugo asked. "Once Joan's in her room she tends to stay there for the night."

"Sure, I'd love some, if you think it's safe."

"I'm sure it will be. But stay quiet just in case," he whispered as they reached the kitchen, and Brian nodded.

There was something funny about trying to put together dinner and being as silent as possible doing so. Brian found himself laughing lightly.

"Just like when we were kids, huh?" he said, smiling across the table at Hugo as they ate.

"Sneaking into each other's houses at night," Hugo said with a grin.

"Staying up until five to play video games and then sneaking back out."

"I remember when your parents blamed your brothers for the food that was going missing. They said you slept like a rock so obviously you weren't up late stealing it."

Brian laughed. "I remember that! It was very funny at the time."

"It's a wonder we never got caught."

"We did get caught, once," Brian pointed out.

"You mean when we accidentally fell asleep at my house?" Hugo said.

"I'll never forget the looks on your parents' faces when they found us both crashed out in your bed. I swear for a moment I thought they were going to kick both our asses and forbid you from seeing me."

"Yeah, and then they just shook their heads and told us that we needed to remember to relock the front door next time," Hugo said.

"I think they invited me to stay for breakfast after that, too," Brian mused.

"Well if we were going to be up half the night canoodling, we were going to need some nutrition," Hugo said, in a perfect imitation of his father's own words from that morning, and they both dissolved into boyish titters, reliving the memory.

Catching his breath, Brian gazed across the table. The light was off, bathing them both in the low light from the porch lamp outside. Hugo's eyes looked almost liquid in the soft glow.

"I think I missed you every single day I was gone," he said.

"I think I missed you every single day, too," Hugo murmured.

Slowly, Brian rose to his feet, and rather than walk around the table, found it easier to just lean over it to meet his lips. As the kisses deepened, he forgot propriety entirely and simply clambered up on top of the table and slid over to the other side. He shoved the dishes aside as he knelt on the smooth varnished wood and cupped Hugo's head in his hands as he kissed him. His heart raced from the thrill of being taller for once, of being the one who Hugo strained against to reach and pull down to his mouth. It had been so long since he felt this; the tautness of his body, the rush of heat that made his blood pound and made a low moan escape his throat.

And he kissed him hard, now, so that Brian was nearly dizzy from emotion as Hugo's hands slid up under his shirt. Passion and desire both colored the whispered "Brian–" that his partner managed to utter. Yet there was still something gentle in his insistence; Hugo had never been the sort to demand anything. He only ever opened his heart and asked.

Brian's answer was a definite yes.

- - -

He awoke to the sound of an alarm clock, and instinctively curled in upon himself, trying to escape the annoying sound. His entire body felt heavy with exhaustion, but of the best kind.

The alarm clock was still going off.

"Too early, Hugo," he mumbled into the chest of the man in his arms, then winced at his mistake. It wouldn't be the first time he had accidentally called a lover Hugo, but that never made the situation any less uncomfortable.

The alarm stopped. "I know, you hate mornings, but I need to see Joan off to school," returned a voice as someone kissed his ear, and Brian's heart lurched. He sat up, shaking his bangs out of his eyes, and saw Hugo stretching, yawning as he did.

He hadn't accidentally used the wrong name. The day before hadn't been a dream. This was real.

His heart swelled until he was sure he was so happy that he would explode, or scream, or do something else dramatic and embarrassing, but instead he just grinned and wondered if he was physically glowing at all, because it felt like he had an entire sun inside his chest.

"Go back to sleep if you want, I'll be right back," Hugo said as he pulled on a shirt and sweatpants.

"Sounds good." Brian watched him leave, then bunched up the covers to his chest and fell back against the pillows giddily. The bed, the sheets, even himself, they all smelled deliciously like Hugo. He hugged the fabric to himself, muffling the squeak of joy that he couldn't quite contain, and went red when Hugo poked his head back in.

"By the way, I think this belongs to you," he said, throwing his T-shirt at him. "Try not to leave it in the hall next time."

"I'm not the one who took it off me," Brian retorted, his cheeks still flushed. Hugo just grinned and nudged the door shut behind him.

From the hallway he heard footsteps on the stairs; more clicking, it must be Joan. Hugo's voice wished her good morning; there was no greeting in return, but she did say, "What are the dishes for?"

Brian gulped. The dinner dishes, they had completely forgotten about those, too, hadn't they? Hugo's answer came a few seconds later than it should have, but it was a good one: "Oh, I got up to have a midnight snack and forgot to clean up." It must have satisfied her, because not long after he heard Hugo calling, "Have a good day at school!" The sardonic silence that followed told him Joan didn't particularly care for the send-off.

Without voices to listen to, Brian felt his eyelids drooping. He was nearly half asleep when Hugo walked back in.

"Is the coast clear?" he asked vaguely.

"All clear, she won't be home 'til the afternoon." Hugo slid back under the covers and took him in his arms. Brian turned until he fit into the groove of his body and sighed softly when he felt Hugo's lips on his nape.

"Do you need to go to work?"

"No, I've called in sick today." He rested his cheek, slightly rough from a few days non-shaving, against his shoulder. "You going back to sleep there?"

"Being awake before noon is a crime," he grumbled.

"If you say it's a crime I'll believe you, Agent Hahnel," Hugo breathed into his ear, making him nuzzle closer pleasurably. Many people had called him that, but it had never sounded so tantalizing.

He fell asleep to the steady thump of Hugo's heart.

- - -

The second time he woke up was much more pleasant. The room was bright with sunlight, and he felt far more rested than he had in years. Slowly he rolled onto his back and saw Hugo laying beside him, holding a book in one hand, his other arm draped around Brian and stroking his shoulder absently.

"Have you been up very long?" Brian asked, kissing his cheek. "You could have gotten up if you were bored."

"I wasn't bored." He set the book aside, smiling. "Did you sleep well?"

"Better than ever."

"Good. Do you want some coffee?"

"I'd love some."

"All right." Hugo stood up, opened a dresser drawer and pulled out another pair of sweatpants and threw them over to him. "Here you go. It's kind of chilly out. I noticed you didn't have any luggage."

"Oh, yeah. All my stuff is back at the hotel," he said.

"How long will you be in town?"

"Just another day. My plane leaves tomorrow night."

Hugo was visibly disappointed. "Oh…"

"But I don't think I'll be gone long," Brian said, rolling up the legs of the pants so they were short enough to walk in and getting out of bed. "I've got enough seniority and I've never once asked for a specific location. I'm pretty sure it won't take me long to request a move to Forks."

"You want to move back here?"

"To be honest I'd kind of like to move back in," Brian said, and although Hugo looked thrilled at the thought, he didn't rush across the room to hug him, as Brian had rather hoped he would do. "If…that's okay?" he added, remembering belatedly Joan's prejudice. "Because I don't want to cause you any trouble."

"No more trouble than would be caused if you stayed someplace else," Hugo said, moving forward that time and taking him in his arms. "I want you here."

"Even if Joan hates it?"

"Well, she hates pretty much everything I do, so I assume this will be no worse." He released him and took his hands instead, leading him to the kitchen. "Do you still take yours the same way?" he asked, letting him go to fill up the coffee machine.

"Yes, thanks." Something about the fact that Hugo remembered the way he liked his coffee – of all the mundane things to remember! – made his heart flutter. "Mm, perfect," he said, taking a drink from the mug Hugo handed to him a few minutes later.

"I wasn't sure if you preferred it stronger now, I know you FBI types are always drinking coffee to stay awake."

"Nah, that's what caffeine pills are for," he said. "You can't stake a place out if you have to leave to pee every half hour.'

"A wise point," Hugo said with a laugh, and both sipped at their mugs for a few quiet, contented moments. Brian could see Hugo constantly glancing at him; then again, he was constantly glancing back.

"Something wrong?" he finally asked.

"No. I just…I swear you look like you could still be a teenager."

"I believe I was one when you first corrupted me. Maybe you're having flashbacks," he replied, and chuckled as Hugo's cheeks went red.

"You were already on the path to corruption when we met," Hugo returned. "And you did plenty of corrupting of your own; I never touched a motorcycle before I met you. Speaking of which, do you still have yours? I didn't see it outside."

"Oh, I walked here. I still have the bike, though. It's back at my apartment; I got a rental car for this trip."

"I hope I'll get another ride on it someday."

"I have a feeling you'll get more than one." Brian drained his mug and set it down, and padded over to put his arms around Hugo's neck. Hugo smiled and lifted his own arms, running his hands up Brian's arms and down his bare back.

The years that had passed had added more lines to Hugo's face. But when he smiled, they only made it seem softer. Inches apart, Brian's eyes swept the new lines and part of him mourned the lost years. He could have been there to see each one form, and he hadn't been.

I will never make that mistake again, he vowed. It was a miracle that somewhere along the way they hadn't both changed inside too much to make this work again. He would never take this for granted as long as he lived.

"What's wrong?" Hugo asked.

"Huh?"

"For a moment, you looked sad."

Brian shook his head. "I was sad for a long time, not anymore," he said.

Hugo lowered his head to kiss him, and as his deft fingers stroked his back, Brian could somehow feel what his partner was trying to tell him wordlessly.

"It's okay."

Damned if Hugo hadn't always been the better communicator. Wondering if he hadn't managed to master that silent message system yet, he kissed him back, as deeply as last night, but not as desperately.

And he was really quite at ease to just keep standing there for awhile, exploring slow, tender kisses, taking his time to let his fingers remember of the feeling of each strand of Hugo's hair running through them. They probably could have made a pleasant afternoon of it, except that not even fifteen minutes later, the door banged open.

It had only been a half-day at Forks High School today.

Brian had been in a lot of dangerous situations in his life (even a shoot-out, for God's sake! He hadn't even known those happened outside of movies.), but none had ever been quite so discomforting as this. Half-naked and making out with the father of the born-again Christian girl who had just walked in.

"What are you doing?!" screeched the newcomer, and they instantly pulled away from each other, although once Hugo recovered, Brian felt him pulling him a little closer again.

"Joan–"

"I can't believe this!" she screamed, glaring at them both. He had been glared at by some hardcore criminals in his day, but the scowl Joan gave Brian now would give some of those felons a run for their money.

"Joan, this is Brian," Hugo said, with civility that Brian thought the man ought to get sainthood for.

"I don't care who he is, he's obviously a mean homo sinner!"

Mean homo sinner? Now that was a new one.

"You are going to apologize to Brian and we are going to discuss this maturely," Hugo said sternly, but Joan just took a step back and shouted,

"I don't want to discuss anything with you! You're a disgusting pervert and you're both going to Hell!"

Brian twitched irritably.

"Joan–"

"I don't want to talk to you, you drunken old man!"

He had heard enough. "Hey bitch, haven't you heard of respecting your father?" he snapped, and saw Hugo turn to stare at him in shock.

"How dare you!" she demanded, but Brian talked over her.

"I don't care what the hell you say about me, but your dad has done nothing but care about you and love you and all you do is act like he's dirt. Hugo is the kindest, most caring person in the world and you are fucking lucky to have a father like him. I think treating him this way qualifies you as a bitch."

"You fucking sinner!"

Had she been anyone besides Hugo's daughter, Brian would have punched her by now. "Maybe I'm a sinner, but you're an obnoxious bigot. That's nothing to brag about."

"You're just jealous that God loves me and He hates you for being a gross fag," she returned acidly.

"Well if God loves you so much, you might ask Him why He hasn't removed that giant stick from your ass yet," Brian snarled, and felt Hugo grab him by the shoulder.

"Brian, it's okay."

"It's not okay, she called you a pervert and a drunk."

"She doesn't know any better."

"She breaks your heart every single day. I saw it. You've tried so hard and she just throws it in your face–"

Hugo relaxed his grip and put his hand on his face to make him look at him. "My heart isn't broken anymore," he said.

Brian breathed out heavily. "Sorry," he said, to Hugo, not to Joan. He would never be sorry for what he said to her.

"Joan, I love Brian, and he's going to be here a lot," Hugo said, turning to face her while she fumed, scowling at them both. Brian gently put his hand on his arm for support. "If you won't be civil, your mother and I will work something else out. I'll call her today and make arrangements."

"You're so mean, you just hate me because I'm a good Christian and–" Joan began to berate him, but Hugo interrupted.

"I don't hate you. You are my daughter and I would take a bullet for you, Joan. Regardless of what you think of me, I would, because I love you. But I love Brian, too. He's my partner and he makes me happy, and neither of us deserves to be put down for that. If you can't accept or respect that, I don't want you in my house."

Brian stared at him in shock. Joan finally seemed stunned into silence. After a moment, she snarled out, "I'm staying with Ward from now on!" and stormed out of the house. The front door slamming seemed appropriate.

"Wow," Brian said after a moment.

He chose me. He chose me over her…

It was a powerful feeling. It also made him feel so guilty that it ached.

"I forgot how protective you get when someone insults me," Hugo said quietly.

"Hugo?"

"Thank you for what you said. I've always done my best, but sometimes…I don't always feel like a very good father."

"Trust me," Brian said. "To have a dad like you, someone would have to be incredibly lucky. I know how important your family is to you."

"Thanks." Hugo smiled, but it faded when Brian pulled away. "Where are you going?"

"To get dressed."

"Why?"

Brian squared his shoulders. "I should get back to the hotel."

"But…why not stay?"

"Because if I leave, she'll come back. She probably won't be polite, but she might be willing to stay." Hugo opened his mouth to speak, and Brian spoke over him. "I won't ask you to choose me over your family. I know I wanted you to, before, but that wasn't right of me. I never should have asked that of you, and I promise I won't do it now."

"It's a little too late," he said. "I've already made my choice. It's you. I can't change her mind. To her beliefs, I will always be a sinner unworthy of her respect. And that used to hurt. It still does, but…I know I did my best. It isn't your fault or anyone's fault. It just is what it is."

"Hugo–"

"Moping about the past won't make any difference. What will make a difference is what's happening right now. And right now, you're here," Hugo held out his hand, and something in his voice shook, but his eyes held nothing but warmth, "and I love you, and I'm so happy you're here."

Brian felt his throat close up as he took Hugo's hand. "I don't know how you do it," he murmured, "but you can make any situation sound like it'll be okay somehow."

"Will you stay? At least until your plane leaves, and then will you come back home as fast as possible, because I'll miss you? Because there are still so many things I want to tell you, and ask you about, and show you…"

Brian pressed himself to his chest and felt Hugo embrace him as he trailed off. Being wanted, being safe, being loved…he doubted he would ever get tired of this feeling.

"I will, because I'll miss you, too," he said.

Hugo kissed him then, kissed him like he never had before, and he was saying not just one thing, but a million things with his lips and hands and breath. Somehow, Brian understood every single word of it.

Communication had never been his strong point, especially trying to communicate all those million things back, but Brian tried. He placed his hands on Hugo's face and looked into his eyes, soft hazel meeting pale green, and whispered simply, "I really, really love you."

Hugo smiled and pressed his lips against his again, and Brian's eyes fluttered shut.

Ah, good. He'd understood.

-- End --

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