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13 January 2007 @ 11:24 pm
QaF Standalone "Pictures in Color"  
_alicesprings had asked people over at qaf_bunnies (I think it was there) about Craig and if he still loved his son. I think she wanted something regarding their future. I'm not so sure.

But this was something that came to me. What was going through Craig's head when he first learned about Justin and Brian. I'm looking at it from the point of view of a mother or a father of a 17 year old daughter when she/he discovers for the first time that their daughter is having sex. There is a huge loss and I think that the first time Craig learned about his son and his preferences, he might have felt like this.

I think at first it didn't really have anything to do with him being gay but how he first perceived of what Justin was actually doing.

I don't know. You can tell me if I'm full of shit or not...

Title: Pictures in color
Pairing: Brian/Justin
POV: Craig
Timeline: Just after the 'revelation scene' in 107 but before all the 'madness' in that same episode.
Warnings: none
Rating: R
Summary: What exactly made Craig mad enough to accost Brian?
Genre: Angst

Note: No - this is not crack!

Disclaimers: I don't own Cowlip or the boys.

As Craig fingered the t-shirt he had purchased at the local discount store, a shirt that was one size too small for him, the utter starkness of the white shirt recalled a time to him.

A hospital room.

The hospital room that Justin was born in to be exact. If he thought about it long enough, he could almost recall the way it had been impossible to keep the goofy smile from forming on his lips as the nurse had handed him his baby boy.

He remembered how crisp and clean and white his christening gown had been as he had been baptized. That combined with the gown, the lighting of the church as it came in through the stained glass window and the pale skin of his son, had made it seem to appear that the child was glowing.

He burned the memory into his brain as he could never in a million years capture that same effect on camera, no matter how many filters he would or could use.

Craig made his way through the line, pushing past all the other men hoping to get into the club, stepping on someone's foot.

"Hey! Watch it!" The man turned to Craig while giving him an appraising look. The man winked at Craig and turned around.

He felt so wrong here. But he had to know. He had to see.

That was the whole reason he was in this ridiculous shirt, in a pair of jeans that had fit him fine last year but were one size too small now. He didn't want to stick out when he went in.

When he went in to find his son. He didn't want to make a scene. He didn't want to do anything. He just wanted to see.

One part of him hoped Justin was there so that this whole charade was not in vain.

Another part of him hoped he wasn't.

He waited his turn in line like everyone else and as everyone else chatted around him about actually pretty mundane things, he stared at the green shirt of the man in front of him.

He remembered that Justin's first bike, given to him at the tender age of six, was the same shade of green. Things had been a bit tight for them back then, but he had saved for quite a while so he could get that particular bike for his son.

He remembered how he had held the back of the bike for Justin after he had taken the training wheels off and Justin rode off, exclaiming to 'let go daddy!' Craig had let go and Justin had teetered for awhile before he rode in a circle for his dad's benefit.

Justin had stopped the bike, looked at his dad, smiled his almost toothless smile (how many teeth had he lost that year anyway?) and said, 'see daddy, I can do it all by myself! You can let go now!'

Let go

Those words would echo in his head all night, just as surely as the beat of the music playing would echo in his head until the morning.

Craig took a look around, looking for him. He knew if he found him, then Justin wouldn't be too far behind. Craig walked to the bar and leaned against it, trying hard to fit in. There was a group of men talking to each other next to him. It reminded him of the lunchroom at his business.

"Hey Craig! How's that son of yours? Justin, isn't it?" Kyle asked.

"Great. Last year at St James," Craig replied, not wanting to expound any further.

"Bet he's got the girls going after him. Probably have to turn the phone off at night just to stop them callin', huh?" Kyle said and winked.

Craig laughed while turning away, "yeah."

"My Mandy, I gotta keep an eye on her all the time. She's an easy mark for any guy who knows just how to say the right thing, ya know? Aw, whaddya know about it anyway...you've got a son. I envy you. You'll never have to worry about anyone nailin' him."

Craig shuddered as he recalled the conversation in the lunchroom a scant eight hours ago.

Kyle's words and that insufferable wink remained in his head all day, making him want to come here.

Here of all places just to see.

"Oooh, sweety, I just love that color on you. It's perfect," someone said behind Craig.

"Do ya think so? What do you think Dave would say?" asked the other man.

"Sweetie," the man replied as he put his arm around his friend, "Doctor Dreamboat would love the color, right after he tore that shirt off you and devoured you whole."

Both men laughed.

Craig decided now was the time to see if he could find who he was looking for so he could get out of this place, go home and forget this night ever happened.

Maybe he would fire Kyle tomorrow morning. It would make him feel better.

"Um...excuse me," he asked, interrupting their conversation.

The tallest of the trio looked at Craig and smiled at him. "Well aren't you a sweetheart!" the man cooed.

"You really think so?" Craig asked uncertainly and then shook his head clear. "I'm looking for someone."

"Aren't we all," the dark haired man deadpanned while sipping his drink.

Craig continued, "his name's Kinney."

The trio became very quiet. The tall one then leaned over and put his arm around Craig while the dark haired man snickered.

"Oh honey, trust me, you don't want that one. I'll help you find someone more in your league...," the tall man continued as he looked around the club, no doubt looking for someone in Craig's 'league.'

"Yeah, besides," the man said who was asking about his shirt earlier, "he's with his boy-toy in the backroom right now and I don't think you want to disturb him."

"His boy...boy-toy?" Craig asked worriedly.

"Yeah," the man with dark hair said as he came up to Craig. "You know, young, too young if you ask me, tight, innocent. Would you like me to go on?"

"No, actually I don't...," Craig broke in while trying not to get sick.

"Brian's the only one who's fucked him. What guy could turn that down? Ya know," the man with the shirt said. "If you ask me, once he gets tired of the kid, he'll get rid of him."

"Now Michael, I think our little Sunshine isn't like that..." the tall man started.

"Sunshine?" Craig asked.

"An endearment," the dark haired man said. "Actually, how could Kinney pass that up? Here's to tight, virgin asses," the man said as he lifted his glass.

"Fuck it, I'll drink to that," the tall man said as he lifted his glass.

The man named Michael laughed and shook his head. "Yeah, alright. To tight asses!"

All three men laughed and clinked glasses. "Honey are you okay?" the tall man asked. "You don't look so good."

"Where...where's the backroom?" Craig asked.

"Um...maybe you should use the bathroom," Michael said, looking a bit concerned for the man.

"Please...the backroom?" Craig asked again.

"Straight through there. You'll know it when you hearing the groaning and the grunting," said the dark haired man.

Craig pushed himself away from the bar and headed in the direction the man had pointed. As he looked around, he noticed all the blue.

So much blue.

The same blue as Justin's eyes when he first opened them in the hospital. The same blue of his eyes when he first walked toward him on that night when Jennifer was at the market shopping.

He never told Jen that that was the first time Justin had walked. His son had walked again when she came home that night and Craig acted dutifully surprised as Jen screamed about their son's first step.

He remembered how blue his son's eyes were when he cried that time he had fell on the pavement when trying to learn how to skateboard. How blue they were when he laughed as they watched cartoons together on some of the rare Saturday mornings he was home.

Craig stopped when he came to the section the man had indicated with a hallway leading to another room. He heard the sounds of the men reaching sexual gratification.

This must be the place, Craig thought.

Craig walked through the maze of men in various positions, twisted around each other. Normally he would have been repulsed, but he was here for one thing only.

To find Justin.

But looking at the men in their various states of pleasure, he just hoped he wouldn't find him. Maybe he really was at Daphne's tonight. Maybe those men were wrong.

He stopped as he came upon two figures against a wall.

Yeah and maybes are for chumps.

Against the wall, a figure with a shock of blond hair (hair that shone in the sun that day on the bike) was splayed out, moaning and making sounds, sounds Craig had never heard coming from Justin's mouth, as the man behind him continued to move against him.

Craig took in the face plastered against the wall, with his eyes closed (when his eyes were closed in sleep, people always said he looked like an angel), that look on his face. He looked at the man behind him, possessively trapping the body beneath him, the look, that look, on his face mirroring his son's.

You'll never have to worry about anyone nailin' him

As he watched both the men (men, Craig told himself, Justin was no longer a boy), he had seen what he had come to see.

His little boy was gone. Lost to him, never to come back.

Let go daddy!

Craig couldn't see the pictures anymore of Justin's childhood. All the colors were gone now, gone like his son's innocence.

The only color he could see was red.


Feedback is welcome - as I said before - if you don't agree, or if you do, or whatever, let me know. I won't be offended.

Current Mood: indescribableindescribable
Eileen: Rebellion-Justin with Craigeileen_donovan on January 14th, 2007 07:54 am (UTC)
Even though I have one fic going (Rebellion) where Craig is a monster, it echoes my earlier and now outdated feelings about the man. I totally agree with the point of view that says he was the shocked father of a teenager who reacted inappropriately when the realization hit him (as you have here) that his child had become a man. Not an easy transition to make as most parents know--very painful even in good circumstances, which obvious Craig and Justin didn't have. I always thought it was more fanon that Justin ended up hating Craig because at least until S5 (when almost everyone was OOC), Justin seemed open to some kind of relationship with the man. Which is what I'm trying to give him in my other fic!

I love the line, btw, about being nailed. How hard that has to be for any straight father! Yes, what Craig did was wrong and he was clearly out of control, but, if I recall correctly, Brian gave him a little motivation when he inadvertently spoke with him on the phone!

Great fic, sweetie!
Maria: B/J ILUslave_o_spike on January 14th, 2007 08:09 am (UTC)
Thank you! Yes, I was pissed off at the way Craig had acted in 108 - it just wasn't okay to attack Brian like that.

But I understood where the anger came from. The loss. I am the mother of an 18 year old girl and even though I know she hasn't yet, it will be soon in coming and it's a real loss.

I just think I know how Craig felt. You don't really think about it with your son because they're usually the nailer, not the nailee. If that made sense. Still, no matter what, I think straight or gay, it's every parent's nightmare.

What's Rebellion about? (I confess, I haven't been able to read anything new lately).

(no subject) - eileen_donovan on January 14th, 2007 08:19 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - slave_o_spike on January 14th, 2007 08:32 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - eileen_donovan on January 14th, 2007 08:41 am (UTC) (Expand)
Still want him in your pack?_alicesprings on January 14th, 2007 11:05 am (UTC)
Interesting take on things. I'm not quite sure I buy Craig checking out Babylon incognito, but I did like the way you juxtaposed his thoughts of Justin growing up with what he was seeing. Nicely done.
Maria: BJ cuddleslave_o_spike on January 14th, 2007 03:48 pm (UTC)
Like I said, I wasn't sure if everyone would agree with the way I set things up here. I'm trying to imagine how far an incensed Craig from S1 would react if he did see them together and the only way I could imagine him seeing was for him to go to the club.

I would like to think he would be smart enough to try to fit into the club being that he might not be able to get in looking like a middle-aged husband and father of two.

Then again, whoever said Craig was smart. Or that he could think clearly.

Anywho, psychosis aside, this is sometimes what goes through my head when I see my oldest daughter go out on a date. It's really hard to come to grips with it sometimes and you still love your child never-the-less, it's just hard letting go and accepting the inevitable.

I know I didn't answer your question over at the qaf_bunnies, it was just something to think about - another view if you will.


Lisabrianswalk on January 14th, 2007 12:29 pm (UTC)
When we found a mostly empty condom box in my 16 year old son's room, I actually hoped he was selling them at school because he couldn't possibly need them for anything else. Yeah, my baby was gone.
When my son dated an older woman, of course I was mad at her, not him. There had to be something wrong with her for dating some one so young. Something sick and perverted.
I didn't approve, but always understood Craig's reaction. I think given time Craig would have come to accept (not necessarily approve of) Justin's sexuality. I doubt he ever would have accepted Brian.
Although I don't see Craig going to the backroom (I couldn't), I really enjoyed your story.
Maria: BJ cuddleslave_o_spike on January 14th, 2007 04:07 pm (UTC)
It's funny you should bring up the condom box. It's almost as if you wish they were doing something illegal rather than finding out they're having sex. Like finding pills in their drawers (not that I have - *phew*) and saying, 'Thank God - it's only drugs!'

And my daughter has been approached by this 33 year old MicroSoft exec and he's been trying to 'woo' her for the past couple of years (started when she was 16 if you can believe it)! He's extremely good looking and I think she encourages it, but I wonder when he'll try to cross that line. Thankfully she has a steady boyfriend right now who is 18 also. He doesn't pressure her into anything (*phew* again).

Although I would never want to go to the place where I saw my baby 'doing it,' I had to wonder what an incensed Craig would do. I needed to put him in the situation (and also come across the guys so that they could further dispel the illusion of his son's innocence).

As I said to someone else, I don't condone what Craig did either but I do understand where the anger and the hurt comes from. That's all I wanted to show.

Thank you for your input - I do want to hear from other parents about this too.
shadownyc: rebeccama - Justin - Sighshadownyc on January 14th, 2007 12:39 pm (UTC)
While I'm not sure I agree with you entirely, I could see this progression happening had it started before he slapped Justin and smashed Brian's jeep at the end of 107.

Once the agression began, that's where I lost the ability to see Craig as the father mourning his child's loss of innocence.

Having a daughter (almost 21) I can relate to the earlier feelings, but a line was crossed during the second half of 107 that IMO would be hard to come back from.

I do believe that Justin could mend his relationship with his father if his father appropriately returned and apologized for earlier behavior and demonstrated a change in attitude, but as far as canon showed us in S5, that didn't happen.
Maria: BJ cuddleslave_o_spike on January 14th, 2007 03:59 pm (UTC)
You know, I think you're actually right about that. I was really thinking about the time after he found the picture in Justin's room. That scene...just...wow. I can't believe Cowlip was able to bring that about like that (and mixed with the hot sex too!). Even my husband was moved by that scene.

Thanks for that and I'm changing my timeline warning above because that was what I was striving for and I was careless in that. (This is why I need a beta, I think).

And although I would never stoop to the level of agression Craig undertook, and I don't condone it, I understood the feelings of helplessness behind it. That's all I was trying to show.

Someone above said that S5 was OOC for most of the charcaters. I think up unitl that point, there could have been a savageable relationship. I just don't like to think of broken families like that. I almost saw it happening when Craig seemed to accept Ethan (alright, almost accepted Ethan). I was at that point wondering if it really was a gay thing with Craig or if he just hated Brian because he felt that the older man had corrupted his younger son - if any of that made sense.

Unlike all my other writing, which is for fun and quite silly and meant strictly as entertainment, I like it when my writing inspires some thought and reaction. It means I've done my job.

Thank you for the great fb!
(no subject) - shadownyc on January 14th, 2007 06:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - justinlovesart on January 14th, 2007 08:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - slave_o_spike on January 14th, 2007 09:26 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(Deleted comment)
Maria: BJ cuddleslave_o_spike on January 14th, 2007 03:52 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I guess it felt believable and real because I'm sort of going through it right now. Sometimes we, as writers, are able not only to show the characters we write about how they feel, but also write what we might be feeling at the times ourselves - a sort of way to deal with our RL.

Just my opinion of course.


(And I gotta change my lj name...)
His Minniemaxmygothangel on January 14th, 2007 01:48 pm (UTC)
one word: beautiful.
Maria: B/J ILUslave_o_spike on January 14th, 2007 03:48 pm (UTC)
That's quite a word! Thank you! *smooch*
LadyoftheLightmarilla_pm67 on January 14th, 2007 06:05 pm (UTC)
I really love it.
I wasn't planning on read something, but when i saw it's you and dealing with Craig, I couldn't resist :)
Maria: B/J ILUslave_o_spike on January 14th, 2007 09:15 pm (UTC)
Well I'm glad you came and read and loved. I wasn't too sure about this one.

Thank you!!
Chaos..panic..disorder...my work here is done.: Justin-drama queenjillapet on January 14th, 2007 07:53 pm (UTC)
Wow-that was heartbreaking.

I guess it is a double standard-I made sure Chance has condoms, but the thought of my girls doing anything like that is inconceivable.

I really, really like this.
Maria: B/J ILUslave_o_spike on January 14th, 2007 09:16 pm (UTC)
That's exactly how I feel!!!

It is a double standard - isn't it?!

Something about the whole nailer and nailee thing.

I just had to put it down into words.

Thank you and I'm glad I hit the right nerve with you too.
critic75critic75 on January 14th, 2007 08:50 pm (UTC)
Very well written, as usual, but leaving no happy thoughts. IMO Craig is still out of control, secretly stalking his son in order to satisfy his own need for *the truth* of Justin's behavior. A disturbing image. A real father would have entered as a father, not a voyeur.
Most sons have to create a break with their fathers in order to become their own man. It's almost a rite of passage. They also need to challenge their father's rights and rules in order to establish their own title to 'manhood', and in this instance, it does seem that Craig is not protecting his son, he is instead trying to turn back time and imagine his son dependent once again.
Classic case of 'unable to let go'.
I believe Cowlip had it right when Craig was started out as someone protecting his child from the big bad wolf with the ten inch dildo, of course later he stepped way too far over the line, but still, it is a rite of passage.
Maria: BJ Stayslave_o_spike on January 14th, 2007 09:23 pm (UTC)
A real father would have entered as a father, not a voyeur.

True - very true. I try to imagine how Joe would enter a place like that - I think he might not give a shit and just go in, everyone clearing a path for him but I always got the idea, even though I felt empathy for Craig at the beginning of 107, that he was a bit of a coward.

I believe that the whole purpose of the Justin charcater was to show us the rite of passage. Very good spotting that. We got to see him lose his innocense, develope as a man (overcoming the things that happened to him at the prom, being able to ask and receive help from Brian re tuition, coming to terms with his anger at Hobbs). Craig did go too far - I agree. I just wanted to put down his raw emotions.

And yeah, as the mother of an 18 year old daughter - we all sometimes want to turn the clock back, just a little.

I was just hoping to show that Craig had to come to terms with his son growing up and facing his decisions.

Thanks for the insightful fb!! I love it like cannibal!Brian loves his twinkie!Justin.
starspiderstarspider on January 15th, 2007 12:15 am (UTC)
Great job. Well written.
Maria: BJ cuddleslave_o_spike on January 15th, 2007 03:54 am (UTC)
Well thank you! I haven't seen you for quite a while - how ya been?
(no subject) - starspider on January 16th, 2007 02:10 am (UTC) (Expand)
midnight: b/j  one more chanceinkingwords on January 15th, 2007 05:15 am (UTC)
Amazing fic!! And I see your point, but if that was true I should hope to think that he would have tried to be accepting in the future. Just my thoughts.
Maria: B/J cha cha chaslave_o_spike on January 15th, 2007 05:24 am (UTC)
Thank you! (Did you get the chapter back that I beta'd?)

And I would like to think that Craig remembering that even though Justin wasn't his little boy anymore and that he might not be everything Craig wanted him to be, that he still was his son and he loved him and that they could put their differences aside and be a family again.

I think there was too much water under the bridge at that point and there was no hope of turning back.

(no subject) - inkingwords on January 15th, 2007 05:31 am (UTC) (Expand)
revlisacatrevlisacat on January 15th, 2007 10:10 pm (UTC)
I really liked this story and have found many of the comments here very insightful. I think Craig entering the backroom as a voyeur is actually pretty realistic in that "I'm in an alien place and am scared of what I will find" kind of way. Kind of a terrified/horrified feeling, I think--like at the horror movie where you REALLY don't want to look but can't make yourself look away. I hope that all makes sense.

I did feel sorry for Craig in 107, and he portrayed that sadness very well as he looked at the picture of Brian & Justin together. I could see him going to Babylon, too. What a scary thing for a parent--and the comments from his co-workers only make it worse. Yikes! Not only is your son becoming a man--he's becoming a stranger and has feelings you will never understand.

The other line I liked was when they were all in the back room and Craig saw that the look on Justin's face was mirrored by the one on Brian's face. Talk about seeing your world shift before your eyes!

Good job!
Maria: BJ cuddleslave_o_spike on January 15th, 2007 10:35 pm (UTC)
You know, I always think about what I've posted a few days afterwards and I thought, 'oh shit - did I get my point across really or did I fail?'

Judging by people's comments (your included), I thinked I succeeded. I wanted to show Craig's world suddenly unraveling and why. Not only does he have to deal with Justin growing up but having different orientations than himself.

It's a bit much to take in and I just wanted to show that. I really wished that Cowlip hadn't made Craig out to be the monster as they had - it would have been more fascinating to watch as he slowly learned to accept his son as he was - because he would always love him.

My Flame Burns Bright: Justin - In Bluesuch_a_steph on January 16th, 2007 11:20 am (UTC)
Wow! Excellent work.
I actually felt some empathy toward Craig, which is quite a feat given that I despise the man. I think you captured perfectly the range of emotions a man might go through when first finding out his son is gay. And in a way I think it mirrors Jennifer's anger that an older man stole her son's innocence.

Thanks xx
Maria: B/J ILUslave_o_spike on January 16th, 2007 04:06 pm (UTC)
Well thank you! This was what I was shooting for - the show people why it might be hard for him to accept. Yes, he was a dick later. Yes, I don't condone what he did.

But I needed to show what might have been going through his head.

And yeah, we all love Jen, but look at her first interpretation! LOL!

Thanks! *smooches*
thumpathumpa on January 17th, 2007 08:26 pm (UTC)
This was good.
The only thing I'm having trouble with is Craig actually being able to make it inside Babylon and into the backroom. I don't see it happening, but it is an interesting perspective.
Maria: BJ Stayslave_o_spike on January 18th, 2007 10:43 am (UTC)
I was trying to think of a way for Craig to see it happening and this is what I came up with. I wonder what the state of his mind was during episode 107 and I wonder if he was manic enough to do it. Also, at the beginning of 108, he must have followed Brian and Justin in order to accost Brian the way he did (and he must have followed Brian in the middle of 107).

Seriously? I don't see it either - but what if he did?

Thanks for the fb and glad you liked the story!
(Deleted comment)
Maria: BJ cuddleslave_o_spike on January 23rd, 2007 06:41 pm (UTC)
Thank you!!!!

I had to show that no matter how much of an asshole Craig could be, he was still his father and no doubt would still see his little boy.

Yeah, I don't think Craig could have made it to the backroom but if he did...WHAM!

I know how I'd feel.