He was lost.
He'd tried to put this off for so long, getting involved in getting rid of Foxy. But the inevitable happened again, and he found himself approaching Steven in the club.
"You were late today." Brendan said, unable to keep his voice normal, sounding husky.
"Sorry." Ste mumbled.
"Why?" Brendan asked.
"I just... I had to take a phone call."
"Unless the queen called, that's not an excuse."
"Drop it!" Ste said firmly, "I's the end of my shift." turning around and beginning to walk down the steps.
Brendan was surprised at the hostility in his voice. He'd never wanted it to be like this.
"If your going to say anything about us, you can save your breath." Ste said, not turning around.
"I wasn't going to." Brendan lied.
"Good." Ste continued to walk down the stairs.
He stepped outside, the cold air a shock on his hot face. He couldn't stand it, being so mean to Brendan. He'd been through hell in prison, but he had to keep him away. He could let himself go through anymore hurt or disappointment.
Before he knew what was going on, a pair of hands had grabbed him, pulling him into and alleyway, and pushing him roughly against a wall.
"Let me go, please!" Ste said instantly, pain shooting through his head.
"Who the hell is Brendan, eh? Who the fuck is Noah?!" The man yelled, spit hitting Ste in the face.
Ste peered at his attacker, and with a start realised it was Terry, his step-dad.
"Terry... What are you doing?"
"Making a fool out of us! You little fag!" Terry spat, punching Ste suddenly in the stomach.
Ste tried to cry out, but failed, only wheezing in pain.
"I don't... What..." Ste couldn't speak, he was sure Terry was gone for good, but here he was again.
"Answer me! People are saying your a poof, is that true?"
"So..what?" Ste managed to say.
Terry replied by chucking him on the ground, Ste banging his head in the process.
"You left two kids, and a women, for a bloke?! What the FUCK is wrong with you?!" Terry kicked him in the ribs, and Ste found himself crying out a name. He wasn't sure why, but everything inside him told him to call on him.
"BRENDAN!" He screamed with every last bit of strength in him.
Brendan was slumped over the bar, wiskey in hand, when he heard the cry. He didn't know what whas happening, all he knew was Ste was calling on him and he needed him.
He was out in a flash, looking left and right. He saw Ste's head sticking out an alleyway, someone kicking him and yelling at him. Instantly, he ran towards them, and threw the man 10 feet back.
"I don't know who the fuck you are, but you stay the hell away from him!" Brendan yelled at Terry, who was sprawled on the ground in shock.
"Get out of here!!" Brendan shrieked and Terry scrambled up and ran out the other side of the alleyway.
"Steven..." He whispered, and helped Ste up. He. whimpered in pain as he stood up straight.
"Are you okay?" Brendan asked.
"No..." Ste choked out, attempting to wipe away tears.
"Shh." Brendan took the sleeve of his top and wiped his tears, "Who was that?"
"Terry. My... Step-dad." Ste said.
Brendan stared, wide-eyed.
"Let's get you back to the club, check your injures."
Ste didn't have the strength to argue.
Ste struggled up the last step, even with Brendan's arm around him.
"Right, where did he hurt you?" Brendan asked.
Ste described to him what he'd done, letting him check the injures on his head, but cowered back when Brendan suggested checking the ones on his ribs.
"Steven, I've seen more than that." Brendan raised his eyebrows.
"Yeah, but... That was different..." Ste said, pulling away when Brendan tried to lift up his work t-shirt.
"I have to see if you're cut," Brendan said, "I might need to clean up the wound."
Ste hesitated, his hands on his clothing.
Brendan sighed, "I'm just trying to help you, Steven... I know what its like... When your parent..." Brendan trailed off.
Ste looked at him, and for a second their eyes locked.
"Okay." Ste said, moving toward him.
Brendan nodded and gently lifted up the top, Ste closing his eyes. He winced as he saw the bruise. It hadn't cut the skin, but there was a dark bruise, way bigger than his hand. Brendan couldn't help thinking that he'd gave him a similar bruise all those months ago.
He took his free hand and trailed the tip of his finger around the edge of the bruise, breathing deeply. He moved his hand up, trailing it up his neck and stoking his cheek. He wasn't thinking, it was instinct. He wanted to protect him.
"Don't," Ste whispered, "Please."
Brendan let go of his top and used his other hand to gently push their foreheads together.
"Brendan..." Ste whispered again, "Don't do that..."
Brendan sniffed, and Ste realised he was crying.
"I never wanted to hurt you." He said quietly, "I wanted to be open, I really did."
"Then why didn't you?"
"I... Eileen was so angry... She has the power to take away my kids." Brendan let out a sob, "But, I want to protect you. I want to be with you"
"I won't fall for that again." Ste said, a tear rolling down his cheek, and he pulled away, walking slightly backwards.
"Steven... Please. I love you, please."
Ste felt himself freeze at those words.
"You'll never stop hiding."
"I can... I need to. Living a lie is killing me."
Ste began to cry properly then, and Brendan went up to him instantly, holding him in his arms.
"He's going to get me. He'll go to the kids, he'll hurt Amy..." Ste rambled, sobbing into Brendan's chest.
"I won't let him," Brendan said into Ste's hair, "No-one is going to hurt you."
Ste pulled his head back slightly and looked into his eyes.
"Can I trust you, Bren?" He asked.
"Forever." Brendan said.
Ste hesitated, and then kissed him quickly. The stared into eachother's eyes, and Brendan kissed Ste softly, gently and barely stopping for air.
They finally pulled apart when they heard someone crashing up the steps. They turned around and to Ste's horror it was Terry, his face one of thunder.
"What are you doing?!" Terry screamed, noticing the tears on both men's face, and the arm Brendan still had around Ste's shoulder.
Brendan looked at this ugly, scrawny man in disgust.
"Well, we WERE kissing, but then you turned up," He said, walking close to him, "Problem?"
Terry took his fist and punched Brendan square in the face.
"Brendan!!" Ste shrieked.
Brendan simply pulled his face back, laughed and grabbed Terry by the collar, pushing him so he was nearly over the balcony.
"I want this clear, you do one right now, if I see you around this village again I will fucking kill you," Brendan snarled, "Do you understand?!"
Terry nodded quickly, whimpering slightly.
Brendan let go, satisfied.
"I hope you die, you little queer!" Terry said, spitting in Ste's face.
Brendan saw red, chasing him until he was out the club, running for the hills.
"Ew." Brendan commented, wiping the spit from Ste's face.
Ste sobbed in shock, and Brendan wrapped his arms around him.
He knew right then that he would do anything to make him happy, kiss him in public, tell his wife about them, protect him from anything and anyone.
Suddenly, he realised something.
"You never told me about your stepdad." Brendan said, pulling away slightly.
"I... Well, I guess it didn't matter to me."
"It does matter! That man has hurt you before, hasn't he?"
"Well... Sort of. Yeah."
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"I don't... Because I wanted to forget about it..."
"From now on, you tell me these things... I need to know you trust me." Brendan said.
"I do trust you." Ste said, pulling him in for a kiss.