Summary: Michael meets someone new on Liberty Avenue. (x-over from UK QAF and US QAF)
Rating: R (A bit of naughty language)
Disclaimer: Not mine. But they’re not yours either so nanner nanner nanner.
Warning: Spoilers for Season 4. Take a sharp twist after the thing with Ben and Anthony.
Red Cape Comics:
Michael enjoyed the quiet of his store. It was soothing and comforting
in a way no place else in his life was. He always liked small dark
places even as a child. There was safety in knowing no one could find
him, see him, so long as he was secreted away no one could hurt him.
Growing up he'd always wanted a tree house like kids on T.V or in
books always had. But there weren't any trees in the Novotny backyard,
there was hardly any yard in the Novotny backyard. So instead of going
up to the sky Michael had burrowed down, clearing a space for himself
under the front porch with the help of some sheets his Ma had bought
at summer yard sales, a few flashlights a stack of Captain Astros and
a super secret stash of Oreos.
David had once said, in the midst of the Cold War before he left
Portland, that Michael lived in a small world. He'd meant it as an
insult of course. Just about everything either of them said in the
weeks before their split was meant as an insult. But now with a few
years and a few hundred miles between them Michael could admit that
David had been right about a lot of things. He did live in a small
world. Liberty Avenue was his home not just in the sense of location
but in his state of mind. Whenever things got to be too much Michael
always turned inward - inside himself and now inside his store.
With Vic's death and Brian's illness Michael needed the sanctuary of
his store more than ever. Not to mention the problems with Ben that
seemed to have come from out of nowhere. Sitting on the ragged
overstuffed couch in the back room Michael continued to sort out the
most recent shipment of comics, finally reaching the newest issues of
Rage. Slipping one out of its wrapper Michael traced his fingers over
the brightly colored cover. Even though he thought Justin's work was
getting angrier with every issue he couldn't deny that stark, raw
power of Justin's artwork. Every line, every shade every expression was flawless and Michael felt the same surge of pride when he read the
stories between the pages as well.
Pride wasn't normally a big factor in his life. A kid who'd barely
squeaked out of high school, dropped out of college. Spent ten years
working at the Big Q and failed spectacularly with his one serious
adult relationship he didn't think there was much to be proud of. At
least until he'd taken the biggest chance of his life and bought the
store. And then created Rage. The superhero he wished he'd had as a
kid. Which was why he couldn't understand Ben's recent attitude.
Jealousy, jealousy Michael understood probably better than anyone. But
it wasn't like Ben was a failure at anything. He had a degree and a
teaching position where he was respected. He'd been published and had
gotten nothing but rave reviews for his first book. All in all he was
no one's idea of a failure. What Michael really didn't understand was
how Ben could begrudge him a little success of his own.
And to add insult to injury how Ben could go out and fuck one of his students.
As much as the betrayal hurt what hurt Michael even more was the fact
that he found himself in a no-win situation. He and Ben had temporary
custody of Hunter so it wasn't like Michael could kick Ben out of
their apartment or like he could move out. They were trapped together
and with every day that went by Michael found himself growing even
Michael frowned at the sound of the bells over the front door. It was
too late for most of his regular customers and Liberty Avenue wasn't
the place for casual shoppers after dark. He set aside the inventory
list and walked out to the front. "Hi. Can I help you?"
The man was standing in front of the Rage cut out. He was lean, well
dressed with jet black curls. He turned around acknowledging Michael's
"Well I sure as fuck hope so." He replied in a clipped accent. "More
than a little over my head here."
After years of friendship with Brian Michael was barely phased by the
other man's blunt manner. "What are you looking for?"
"This." He made a vague gesture at Rage. "I need a couple copies of
all the issues but I don't see them here in the racks."
"I don't keep them in reach of the kids." Michael explained feeling
the same pride he felt anytime someone bought an issue of Rage.
"Why not? Afraid the kiddies'll catch a terminal case of fagdom?"
The man's words seemed to be aimed for maximum effect and Michael knew
he was surprised to only receive a laugh instead of indignation.
"More afraid of having to pick up someone's 93 year old grandmother
who doesn't appreciate the full color graphics of fellatio."
For the first time since entering the store the customer smiled a
wicked little smile.
"But a decent blowjob is a work of art." He followed Michael closely
to the counter and leaned against the glass case casually.
Michael reached into the racked behind the register for requested comics.
"Wouldn't you say?"
When Michael turned back he found the other man blatantly checking him
out. His expression was feral and hungry and sent small shockwaves
through Michael's nervous system. For a brief moment his mind flashed
with the idea of throwing him against the wall and sucking him off
right in the middle of the store. When he came back to himself Michael
knew he was blushing. "Uh, yeah. Now. You wanted two of every issue?"
"Better make it three. Do you ship?"
"I can. Where to?"
"Manchester. England." Grabbing a pencil and paper he scrawled an address. "Send two of each issue here and I'll take the rest with me now."
"Do you want to put a note in the package?"
"Yeah." The man pulled a business card out of his pocket and flipped
it over, writing a few words. "That'll do." He pulled several bills
out of his wallet and laid them out on the counter. "This should cover
Michael packaged everything into a padded envelope and bagged the
rest. "Here you go. I'll get these out first thing Monday."
"Thanks." The man's eyes raked over Michael intently. "So – where's a
good place for some drinks and dancing?" He leaned further over the
counter closing the gap between them. "Boys only mind. I'm not
interested in catching anything from the heteros."
"Wha-" Michael stumbled slightly over his words. "How would I know?"
The naughty grin was back and this time he brought a hand up and
cupped Michael's face before running a rough thumb over his lips. When
he spoke his voice was husky and seductive. "Because these –" He
stroked Michael's lips once again. "are meant to suck sock." He put
emphasis on the last two words. "And the idea that you don't suck cock
is out of the question. So the only real question is – where do you
Caught by something he couldn't identify, Michael drew in one shaky
breath after another while waiting for his brain to try and catch up
with his racing libido. "Babylon." He blurted out.
"Sounds good. I'll be there." He leaned forward and pressed a harsh
kiss filled with tongue and teeth against Michael's lips before
gathering up his package and moving towards the door.
"I really can't stay long. I'm meeting someone for dinner and he's
liable to have a go at me if I'm late."
"I don't mean- you wanted to know about places to dance. There are a
lot of them on Liberty Avenue but Babylon's the best. I didn't mean
that I suck cock there…"
"Well, we'll have to do something about that then won't we?" Was the
only reply before the bells over the door sounded and he disappeared
around the corner.
Michael's body sagged against the counter as his fingers played over
his now swollen mouth. Things like that just didn't happen to him.
Gorgeous strangers never came into the shop and kissed him blind.
"Jesus." He whispered.
"Oh?" Came an amused voice. "Is that his name?" Justin walked into the
store from the back door an amused little smirk on his face.
Michael does his best to concentrate on new ideas for Rage, but his mind keep wandering back to curly dark hair and plum lips.