Touch me now, don't bother
if every second it makes me weaker

Nick remembers when Brian used to lay hands on him.

They used to touch all the time--wrestling, napping against each other on planes from America to Brazil to everywhere else, even holding hands, if AJ wasn't around to give them shit about it. Kevin never cared. Howie never cared. AJ never cared, except in a brotherly teasing way. And Nick grew up attached to Brian by the skin, so it never seemed strange to him. In fact, it seemed strange to be without Brian. Sometimes when he woke up in the morning, his hands would be reaching out for Brian already, expecting him to just be there, so close to Nick that they almost seemed to share a body.

Brian didn't seem to think it was strange either. And they were smart enough not to touch too much around Lou, so he couldn't call them queer or fags or whatever words he always had on hand to make them feel like what they were doing was wrong, whatever they were doing.

Nick can still remember long afternoons stretched out on Brian's couch watching TV, his hand on Brian's chest, feeling that big heart pulsing beneath his fingers. Everytime he shifted his fingers, it would speed up a little, skip a beat and scare the fuck out of Nick. Sometimes when they wrestled, after Nick released Brian's wrists and crawled off of him, Brian would be red and breathless, clutching his chest a little as he laughed.

He didn't ever want to be the cause of Brian's heart hurting.

And he never was. When Leighanne came into their lives, Nick stood back and watched it happen, even prying Brian's fingers off his bare arm one day and pretending not to see the flicker of confusion in his friend's eyes. He detached Brian from his skin as though they had never been sharing it, Brian's hands on Nick's neck, Nick's fingers spread over Brian's heart.

Now Brian is married, and when he touches Nick its always with his left hand, his ring gleaming in the light. Those few short instants when Nick places his hand over Brian's heart, its beating slow and even and steady.



Lyrics from the BSB’s “Shape of My Heart.” Thanks to Brodes for posting the picture that inspired this.

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