Title: Don't Dream It's Over
Summary: Sequel to When You Call My Name. When Andy comes home from college for winter break, Brian finds that a lot can change in three months. He has doubts about where they really stand, even as his own feelings grow beyond his control.
Overall Rating: R (future chapters may go up to NC-17 on livejournal)
Chapter Rating: PG
Chapter Warnings: none
A/N: Feedback and concrit are always welcome and appreciated. Thank you.
Previous chapters: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8
“Use the gun!”
Brian glanced over at Andy, who was sitting next to him on the couch, eyes glued to the television screen in front of them. Brian’s parents had left two hours ago to go to his grandfather’s house, and Andy had offered to stay and keep him company. They’d kept themselves busy by watching a marathon of Magnum P.I., one of Andy’s favorite shows. In the current episode, Magnum was involved with a poker-playing Texan heiress, who actually turned out to be a Russian spy that was using Magnum to steal a roll of microfilm. The two of them had barely escaped the yacht - though Brian was still wondering how their five armed opponents had managed to miss every shot they took from only ten feet away - but they ended up stranded on a desert island with no food or water. Luckily, Magnum’s friends found them and picked them up in a helicopter, with the bad guys right on their heels.
“The gun!” Andy’s hand curled tightly around the arm of the couch. “The gun!”
Brian had watched enough television with Andy to know what he was like when he got excited about something onscreen, but it was still funny to watch. Andy tried really hard to keep his emotions under wraps, but every once in a while it would burst out of him, like he just couldn’t take it anymore.
“Yes!” Andy exclaimed, slamming his fist into the couch cushion next to him. Onscreen, the helicopter tailing Magnum and his crew crashed into a grove of trees, exploding on impact.
Brian started laughing. “That was really cool.”
Andy nodded enthusiastically. “Cool,” he agreed.
The episode ended with Magnum and the heiress-spy lady sharing a romantic moment before she left to go back to Russia or wherever she was from. Andy drummed his fingers impatiently on his thigh as he waited for the next episode, where hopefully something else would explode.
“I wish I could go Hawaii,” said Brian, just to fill the silence.
Andy nodded. “Hawaii’s pretty cool. Great surfing.”
Brian lifted his eyebrows. “You surf?”
Andy shrugged. “A little. My uncle lives in Honolulu, and I used to go visit him during the summer and Spring Break.”
For some reason, Brian was finding it difficult get over his surprise. “So, are you, like, really good or…”
Andy laughed. “I don’t know. I guess I got pretty good. My uncle owns a surf shop, so I spend all my time on the beach when I go.”
“Wow,” said Brian. “You never told me about that.”
Andy shrugged and glanced back at the screen. “I haven’t been since Spring Break last year. But I might go again in March…if my parents let me.” As he said this, he pursed his lips together so firmly that the skin went white and his eyes flickered with anger. Then he looked up at the television, where they were showing a preview of the upcoming episode, and said, “This is a good one.”
And it was. Magnum had a really cool red sports car - a Ferrari 308 GTS, according to Andy - and he spent half the episode cruising the island for clues. Andy was unabashedly jealous of Magnum’s luck at landing a car like that, and every time there was a shot of the car, Andy would lean forward a little bit in his seat to get a better look. At one point he took off down the highway, tires squealing, and Brian saw Andy’s mouth drop open at the sheer beauty of the moment.
“What would you give for a car like that?” asked Andy, not even bothering to tear his eyes away from the screen.
Brian paused thoughtfully. “I don’t know,” he replied. “I mean, it’s cool, but…I don’t know, what about you? What would you give?”
“Anything,” Andy replied, without missing a beat.
Brian nodded. “Oh. That’s…that’s a lot.”
“Are we going to eat lunch?”
Brian looked up to see Morgan standing in the doorway a few feet away, clutching her Winter Princess Barbie in one hand. Her hair was sticking up in the back, probably from static cling. Barbie’s hair was arranged in a similar fashion, though Brian had to presume that it wasn’t intentional.
“Sure,” he replied quickly, jumping up from the couch. “Do you want a sandwich?”
Morgan nodded and looked back at Andy, who had also stood from the couch. Brian turned to see him standing there with his hands folded awkwardly at his sides. “Well, I should go,” he said, nodding in Brian’s direction.
“No, stay,” said Brian. When he heard the strain of desperation in his voice, he swallowed it down. “I mean, we have plenty of food. I could make you a sandwich. Or two.”
Andy smiled faintly. “Yeah, okay.”
Brian made one sandwich for Morgan, two for himself, and three for Andy, who had apparently missed breakfast and hadn’t even told him, though he must have been starving the entire time. The three of them sat down at the dining room table, and Morgan immediately started in on her cookies.
“So, how long will your parents be gone for?” asked Andy, through a mouthful of ham and cheese sandwich.
Brian shrugged. “I don’t know. Until this afternoon sometime, I guess.”
Andy nodded and swallowed his sandwich. For a moment, neither of them said anything, just chewed in silence. Morgan was still watching them, especially Andy, with eyes that revealed very little about what she was thinking. She also kept sticking her inside of her mouth while she was eating, wiggling her loose tooth around.
“Stop doing that, and eat your sandwich first,” Brian told Morgan, thinking that his mother would have said the same thing if she was there. He’d done everything the way he thought she would have, even cut the crusts off of Morgan’s sandwich the way she liked. The least she could do was eat it.
“I want to eat my cookies first,” she protested, picking up another from her plate. She shoved it into her mouth, biting down roughly.
Brian rolled his eyes and looked away. “Fine.” He half-expected her to say something else, maybe about him minding his own business, but she didn’t. He didn’t even hear her chewing. After a few seconds, he looked back up at her.
Morgan was staring at him with her eyes wide as saucers, mouth hanging open to reveal chocolate-covered teeth and a tongue smothered in cream filling. There was also blood, enough of it to send his own blood screeching to a sudden halt. “Morgan?” he said stupidly.
Morgan shook her head once, and then her eyes welled up with tears and she burst out in a single sob, mouth still hanging open. Brian was frozen to his seat, trying to figure out what his mother would do, but Andy was much faster. He grabbed his napkin and stood up from his seat, squatting down next to Morgan’s chair. Without even the slightest hesitation, he reached forward and put one hand on Morgan’s jaw to keep her mouth open.
“It’s okay,” he told her, in a voice that Brian had never even heard before. “Just keep your mouth open for a minute while I find it, okay?” She nodded mutely, and he reached into her mouth, fishing around amongst the cookies debris until he pulled out a single, bloody tooth. His fingers were covered in spit and chocolate.
“There,” he said, setting the tooth down on her napkin. “You didn’t swallow it.”
Another tear escaped, but Morgan hiccupped in relief. “My mouth is gross,” she told him, the words coming out kind of jumbled since she still couldn’t close her mouth.
Andy laughed. “You should rinse it out with water, maybe even with some salt.”
Brian, who hadn’t moved the entire time, suddenly realized that he was still sitting there, dumbstruck. “Come on,” he told Morgan, trying to keep his voice steady, “I’ll get you some.”
“No, I want Andy to get it,” she said, shrinking back from his outstretched hand.
Brian felt his heart sink, and he glanced over at Andy, who looked uncomfortable and slightly apologetic. Morgan was also looking at Andy, mouth still hanging open as she waited. A line of clear brown drool dribbled over her bottom lip and started down her chin.
“The cups are in the cabinet above the dishwasher,” Brian said quietly.
Andy hesitated for a moment, then helped Morgan out of her chair. When they were out of sight, Brian let out a deep sigh and tipped his head forward so that his chin could rest against his palm. Why did he always do that? It always seemed like right when he needed to take action – and fast – he panicked and froze up. Every single time. How could anyone hope to depend on him for anything if he couldn’t even help his younger sister with her first loose tooth?
“Look!” Morgan announced, bounding back into the dining room. She was holding her tooth out in front of her for Brian’s inspection, smiling brightly to show off the new gap in her teeth. “Look,” she said again, sticking her palm under Brian’s nose. “It’s so big.”
“That’s because of the root,” Brian explained. “You don’t see it when it’s in your mouth.”
Morgan considered this piece of information for a moment as she stared at the tooth in her hand. “I’m going to put it under my pillow right now,” she said finally. “Just so I don’t forget and the tooth fairy doesn’t bring me anything.”
Brian nodded, and Morgan skipped off to her room, clutching her tooth in her hand so that she wouldn’t drop it. When she was gone, Andy returned to his seat and looked over at Brian.
“You okay?” he asked.
Brian glanced up. “Oh, yeah. Of course.” He paused thoughtfully, looking down at his sandwiches. “You were really good at that. I mean, at helping her.”
Andy picked up one of his sandwiches, but didn’t take a bite. “I was there when my cousin’s daughter lost her first tooth. She kind of freaked out, and I had to help her…” He motioned vaguely towards his teeth, grimacing slightly. “…clean it up and wash it. It kind of freaked me out that she was so upset, because I was really excited when I lost my first tooth.” He paused. “Well, the one that Brett didn’t punch out,” he clarified.
“Me, too!” Brian exclaimed, smiling for the first time since all the commotion started. “I mean, I was really excited about mine. I couldn’t stop playing with it.”
Andy grinned. “Yeah, me, too. Except I had to be careful because Brett kept threatening to come in while I was sleeping and tie the loose tooth to a doorknob and slam it shut.”
Brian’s eyes widened. “Would he seriously do that?”
Andy shrugged and took a bite of his sandwich. “I don’t know, maybe,” he said through a mouthful of ham and cheese. “He didn’t do it, but I’m sure he considered it.”
“He sounds like a total asshole,” said Brian, shaking his head in disbelief.
Andy burst out laughing. “Yeah, he is. I guess older brothers are supposed to be that way.”
Brian considered that for a moment. “But Todd wasn’t like that, was he?” he asked, referring to Andy’s oldest brother.
Andy shook his head. “No, he was so much older than me. I mean, Brett’s three years older, but I was only six when Todd graduated from high school. Besides, he was always the responsible one.”
Like me, thought Brian. At least I’m supposed to be. “Oh.”
Andy took another bite of his sandwich, and a drop of mayonnaise spilled over the side and landed on his sweatshirt. Brian waited for him to look down and wipe it off, but Andy was apparently oblivious, because continued eating without pausing to clean up.
“You’ve got, um…”
Andy glanced up. “Huh?”
Brian bit his lip to keep from laughing. “Nothing, you’ve just got some mayonnaise on your shirt.” He pointed to the center of Andy’s sweatshirt, where the mayonnaise blended with the white ‘H’ in Ohio.
Andy glanced down. “Oh.” He used his finger to wipe off the smear, but instead of wiping it on his napkin like Brian expected, he lifted it to his mouth and licked it off. Surprised, Brian burst out laughing.
Andy looked up, eyes wide. “What?” he asked, bewildered.
Brian’s laughter dissolved into a soft chuckle. “Nothing,” he said, shaking his head. “I’m just…” He couldn’t think of anything to say that didn’t sound dumb, so he just sighed. “Nothing.”
Andy nodded and took another bite of his sandwich. Brian watched him for a minute before he picked up one of his own and took a big bite.
…I’m just glad you’re here.
Andy’s mom was expecting him to help her take down Christmas decorations, so he left soon after they’d finished eating lunch. Morgan was sad to see him go, but Andy promised that he would be back to see how much money the tooth fairy left her, and that must have been enough, because she finally let him leave, however reluctantly.
When he was gone, Morgan went back into her bedroom and Brian settled back into his chair in the living room. He watched a couple episodes of Magnum, but he had to admit that it wasn’t nearly as much fun to watch it alone. About halfway into the second episode, he was asleep, head tucked up against the couch cushions.
He woke to the sound of the back door opening, and a few seconds later his mother appeared in the doorway to the living room. “Hi,” he said groggily, reaching up to wipe the sleep from his eyes.
“Where’s Morgan?” she asked, setting her purse down on the recliner.
“In her room.”
The door slammed shut, and Mr. Johnson walked into the living room carrying his scarf in one hand. He tossed it onto the recliner next to his wife’s purse, then did the same with his coat. Mrs. Johnson was looking at the television screen, where Magnum was walking along the beach interviewing a surfer.
“Did everything go alright?” Brian asked, looking from one to the other.
His father nodded. “We just had to do a bunch of paperwork at the hospital. Your mom has an appointment with the director of the funeral home tomorrow morning.”
“Oh.” He looked over at his mom, who was busying herself with unbuttoning her overcoat. He tried to think of something to say, but everything sounded kind of useless in his head. Morgan chose that moment to walk into the room, holding her hand in a fist in front of her.
“Daddy, look!” she said loudly, running up to him and baring her teeth to show the gap. “It came out.”
“Well, look at that,” said her father approvingly. He reached up and gently pushed back her upper lip with his thumb to get a better look. “You could stick a straw through that hole!”
Morgan’s eyes widened. “Really?” she asked hopefully. “Can I try?”
Mr. Johnson chuckled. “We’ll try it later,” he promised.
Morgan turned to her mother, who was sitting on the edge of the couch next to her son, taking off her earrings. “Look, Mommy,” she said, holding out her hand so that she could get a better look at her tooth. “It came out while I was eating a cookie.”
Mrs. Johnson blinked and looked up. “I see,” she said quietly, cupping her daughter’s open hand with her own. “Did you rinse your mouth out with salt water?”
Morgan nodded. “Andy helped me.”
Even though he had no reason to be embarrassed about this, Brian immediately remembered the awkward position that his mother had found them in earlier, and he felt himself blushing at Morgan’s piece of news. His mother glanced over at him, eyebrow arched expectantly but her expression otherwise neutral. “Did he?” she replied mildly.
Morgan nodded seriously. “He also helped me get the tooth out of my mouth. It was stuck--” She paused to stick her finger into her mouth, pointing at the back of her tongue with sticky fingers. “—ite ear, an wen unner by tun an I aloast swahowed it.”
“You almost swallowed it?” her mother translated.
Morgan nodded and removed her finger from her mouth. “But Andy took it out before I did.”
Mrs. Johnson glanced over at Brian, then back at Morgan. “Well, it’s a good thing he was here then.”
Morgan smiled awkwardly, still not used to the gap in her teeth. “He’s my hero.”
“That’s wonderful,” said Mrs. Johnson, but Brian could hear the edge in her voice and he didn’t know what it meant. Did she suspect what was happening between him and Andy? Was she angry at him? Maybe she was angry that Brian had to get his friend to help Morgan with the tooth instead of doing it himself, or maybe she was just tired after an understandably horrible day. With his mother, it was so hard to tell.
“Well, I need to make some phone calls,” Mrs. Johnson announced, breaking into his thoughts. She stood from the couch and grabbed her purse. “I’ll be in the kitchen.”
Brian nodded, but she wasn’t even looking at him, so she didn’t see it. “Okay.”
When their mother was out of sight, Morgan looked up at her father. “I’m going to go put my tooth back under my pillow,” she told him. “For the tooth fairy.”
Mr. Johnson, who had been watching his wife leave the room, glanced up at his daughter. “That sounds good, sweetheart,” he said distractedly.
Morgan grinned and ran back down the hallway towards her room.
For a moment, neither Brian nor his father said anything. Mr. Johnson was gathering their coats and scarves from the recliner, and he hardly seemed to remember that anyone was left in the room. Brian cleared his throat. “Uh, dad?”
Mr. Johnson glanced up. “Yes, Brian?”
Brian paused awkwardly. “Is, um…is mom okay?”
His father didn’t answer right away, but when he did, it seemed to require a great deal of effort. “She’s doing fine,” he said slowly. “She’s a strong person.”
Brian nodded. “Is there anything I need to…anything I should do, you know, to help?”
Mr. Johnson released a deep breath. “Just look after your sister, and help Mom with whatever she needs. We need to support her however we can.”
Brian nodded again. “Yeah, okay. I’ll, I’ll do that.”
His father nodded and tucked his coat under one arm. “I know you will.” Without saying anything else, he walked out of the room and into the hallway to hang their coats up in the closet.
When he was gone, Brian settled back on the couch and glanced up at the television screen, where Magnum was talking to a little boy in swim trunks. He swiped his hand behind the boy’s ear and pulled it back to reveal a quarter. The boy grinned and reached for it, eyes bright with excitement.
“Quarters,” Brian murmured thoughtfully.
That night, sometime after his parents had gone to bed, Brian crept into the bathroom dividing his room from Morgan’s and pushed open the door leading to her bedroom. She had the closet door cracked open, and there was a thin shaft of light spilling out onto carpet. Her Care Bears nightlight was plugged into the wall right next to her bed, just in case she had to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.
Morgan was snuggled under her comforter, sheets tucked all the way up to her chin to protect her from the cold. Her tangled light brown hair was splayed out across the pillow, except for a couple of strands that were pasted to her cheeks with sweat. He could hear her soft, measured breathing, could see her chest rise and fall in the semi-darkness.
Carefully, he lifted the corner of her pillow up away from the mattress, slid two quarters under the pillow and stepped back. Morgan let out a little sigh and turned over on her side, but she didn’t wake up. Her fingers curled around the edge of her pillowcase, and Brian smiled fondly.
Before she could wake up and find him there, Brian slipped back into the bathroom and shut the door behind him.