Sorry this chapter is late. No one would let me write! *pouts*
Anywho, the interview had gone well. Hubby did the interview. Apparently the reporter said that they don't normally do large food spreads in their paper. They're not into critiquing restaurants, they only choose the restaurants that really grab them.
So the article will come out June 1st.
Of course, it'll be in Japanese, since it's for their community, but hey! I think it's cool!
So here you go, another update for your enjoyment!
******SPOILER WARNING*******This is about two parallel worlds. One which we know about and another that our Brian has found himself in. There will be a major character death in the other world - actually - there already has been. There is nothing squicky, per se. It's just a dark story. Our boys will still be together in the end and no, they won't be dead but very much alive - this is the best way I can think of to show once and for fucking all how much Brian Kinney wants to be with Justin Taylor. Just trust me but yes, this will get angsty. *******SPOILER WARNING*********
Title: Through a Mirror Darkly
Pairing: Brian/Justin - duh!
Warnings: Character Death but not what you think.
Summary: Takes a strange turn at the end of Episode 217, when Brian goes to tell Justin about his new partnership.
Disclaimers: I don't own Cowlip or the boys but I own a restaurant campy and outrageous enough for the Japanese tourists!!!
Author's Note: For the purpose of this story - Justin never went on the trip to Vermont since Mikey was a good friend to BOTH Brian and Justin and convinced Justin to stay and wait for Brian.
Chapter 1 Brian comes home from Chicago
Chapter 2 Brian tries to get some answers
Chapter 3 Brian confronts the blond in his loft
Chapter 4 Brian runs into Kip
Chapter 5 Brian learns who Justin is
Chapter 6 Brian and Michael learn more
Chapter 7 Brian gets some answers from Justin
Chapter 8 Brian goes back to the loft
Chapter 9 Brian talks to Lindsay
Chapter 10 Brian goes to the diner
"Brian, what's up?" Emmett asked, scrunching his eyebrows in confusion.
"Since when," Brian asked incredulously, "have you been dating Ben Bruckner?"
The table became very quiet as everyone stared back at Brian.
"What the fuck do you mean," Michael started and then stopped. "Brian, am I not together with Ben in the other...um...the..."
Ted and Emmett watched on as Michael stumbled over his words, while Brian raised his eyebrows and then bit his lips.
"I don't know what's up with you two but why the fuck would you say that?" Ted asked.
"I'll tell you why," Debbie cut in directing her words at Michael, "because, Michael Charles Novotny..."
"Oh great, my whole name," Michael said in defeat.
Debbie continued, "Brian is just as concerned about your health as I am. He knows you shouldn't be be with Ben."
"Ma! Not now! This is really fucking important!" Michael screamed at his mother.
"Don't you give me 'not now' you little shit," Debbie pointed her finger at Michael. "I swear on..."
"What? What Ma...what do you swear on, huh? This is none of your fucking business!" and with that, the entire diner became deathly quiet. Debbie, her lips set in a pout turned away.
"I'll just go now, my opinion is not very important it seems," Debbie said then stopped and pointed her finger at Brian, "but maybe your best friend's will be."
"Well," Emmet said, "that was pleasant." Emmett and Ted gave Brian reproachful looks. "Really Brian, you know how Debbie feels about Michael dating Ben, why did you provoke her like that?"
"I...I...um," Brian said while shaking his head. How was he supposed to get out of this one? So little Mikey was dating the professor. He thought they would never have gotten back with each other after that disastrous date when Michael left after getting scared about having sex with Ben. But they did. Here. It looked like Ben was never going to give Michael a second chance. So what happened to change Ben's mind?
Though it was obvious Debbie still had a problem with him dating Ben.
"Oh my God, the great Brian Kinney has no excuse or witty comeback or anything," Emmett said.
"Someone should check for frogs dropping out of the sky or a plague of locusts," Ted quipped.
"Brian?" Michael said coming out of his daze, created by his guilt that he was feeling over his mother. "We need to go now."
"To do that thing?" Brian asked in all seriousness.
"Yeah," Michael nodded absently.
"So, maybe we'll get together after you guys do your thing?" Ted asked.
"I don't know Teddy," Michael said. "Come on Brian."
Brian started to walk out of the diner but then stopped. He walked over to Justin behind the counter. "1:00, right?"
"Yeah," Justin smiled.
"I'll be here," Brian said with a smirk and then walked out.
After all, he had to keep up pretenses didn't he?
And it was so very obvious to Brian, the kid had something to do with Ben and Mikey getting back together. And as before with Gui, he hoped that hadn't meant Justin slept with Ben.
Though he had a feeling that he hadn't.
Brian wondered for the umpteenth time in the past twelve hours, and really, that was truly the small amount of time that had passed, how this kid fit in with everyone. He didn't really want to dwell on what that meant, about how solidly Justin fit into his and their lives but he found that he didn't mind all that much.
Yes, he thought, the great Brian Kinney, who never did anyone twice (well, he did a few times and all of them disastrous), was actually liking the situation he was in. He had an image to maintain, yet here, he could be with Justin. No one seemed to care. No one called him on it. Well, Ted and Emmett did, sort of.
But it wasn't really a big deal and he still managed to keep his standing. And of course he had to play along, keeping up the pretenses. Apparently it was for Justin's sake, because he had gone through some great trauma not too long ago.
It was the least he could do.
And that brought up another thing; what was this great trauma? Brian reminded himself he would have to ask Mikey again as this could come up again and he didn't want to be left with his pants down.
Unless Justin was going down on him.
Thoughts like that of course reminded him of this morning in the shower and he couldn't go there right now. Because right now, they, as in he and Michael were going somewhere else.
The drag queen's lair apparently.
As the two drove in the Jeep, Brian finally spoke, breaking the tense silence.
"I saw Mel and Linds this morning."
"Yeah, did you say anything?" Michael asked apprehensively. Actually Michael had thought that maybe telling Lindsay about what they knew so far would have been a good idea.
"Not really. Um...seeing them together," Brian said, "was really strange."
"Oh fuck," Michael whined. "Please don't tell me Ben and me aren't the only ones not together where you are..."
"Remember Gui?" Brian smirked.
"Oh God," Michael said while putting his hands over his face, "I don't want to know anymore. So...I'm not with Ben in the," Michael said and swallowed, "other place?"
Michael had to shake his head clear. Because first, the other Michael wasn't him so if he wasn't dating Ben, then it was not really his problem (even though it made him quite sad and filled him with a great sense of loss) and secondly, he was talking to this Brian as if he was his Brian, but he knew he wasn't.
"No, you're not," Brian replied wondering how far Michael would probe.
"It was after that time, right? When I chickened out about having sex with Ben because I looked in the medicine cabinet?"
"Yeah, that was pretty much it. You tried to see other people...your mother tried to set you up with someone, you tried an on-line dating service."
"Yeah, I remember," Michael chuckled, "you made me look hot. God, that guy was an asshole...the one from the computer dating service. He went on and on about how I wasn't perfect. You know," Michael said as he turned to Brian, "I think that was when I realized that no one was perfect and that I wanted Ben back."
"Yeah, I know," Brian said.
"Oh...so I did want him back...the other me?" Michael asked, laughing at the sheer ridiculousness of what he just said.
"Yeah, but Ben didn't really want to get involved with you at that point. He was worried you would freak out again. Well you know the score Michael...you were there...sounds like the same shit," Brian said. Brian remembered how hurt Michael was after that, having lost a chance with the good professor.
"Yeah," Michael said. "But the other me didn't pursue Ben?"
"Nope, you just accepted it and left it at that," Brian said.
Michael looked out the passenger side window and started thinking about that time and how he had to really work at getting Ben back after losing his trust like that. He remembered how he decided he would do whatever was necessary because he knew, he just knew, he could have something great with the man. Michael smiled and then laughed to himself when he recalled all the stupid things he had done to be near him and to remind Ben that he wasn't going away so easily.
Brian heard Michael laugh to himself. "What's so funny?"
"I was just remembering all the things I did to get close to Ben again...to show him how serious I was. I practically stalked the man. No," Michael laughed, "I did stalk him."
Brian scoffed. "What idiot would something like that work on?"
Michael bit his lip and then started laughing. "Well...you."
Brian whipped his head around. "What the fuck is that supposed to mean?"
"How do you think Justin got to you...I mean, Brian," Michael said. God this was so confusing.
"I am Brian."
"You know what I mean," Michael said and then continued. "Justin just always made sure to be there. He was such a persistent little fuck." Michael stopped and looked out the windshield, lost in thought. "I think that's where I got the idea from...from Justin. To just be persistent. Because I knew something was there for Ben and me and I didn't want to give up. Just like Justin."
"So the reason that you, in this world, is with Ben is because you got the idea of stalking from the kid? That's a bit of a long shot, don't you think?" Brian asked incredulously.
"Long shot or not, it's the truth," Michael said as he turned to address Brian. "And its not just the idea of stalking itself, but of not giving in. Not caring how much of a fool you make of yourself, if you can have this wonderful thing at the end."
Brian tried to imagine how he would have reacted to Justin pursing him where he came from. He tried to imagine if he would give in eventually to the kid's persuasions.
He then remembered last night and this morning and thought, maybe, possibly, he probably would have.
The kid had a way with persuasion.
"We're here," Brian said and parked the Jeep in front of a stylish apartment house and with Michael, walked up the path that took them to the lobby and up the stairs to Mysterious Marilyn's apartment.
Michael knocked on the door. "I know she's in...I've heard she never gets up before 2:00 in the afternoon."
Michael knocked again and then banged heavily on the door. "Marilyn," he shouted. When Michael went to touch the doorknob, he found that it gave and the door opened, allowing him inside.
"Um Mikey, I don't think we should just walk in," Brian warned.
"Listen," Michael turned on him, "we need to get answers and she seems to be the only one who can give them to us right now." Michael wanted to get his friend back to where he belonged. He knew how Brian was probably freaked out right about now, with all the changes that seemed to be on the other side.
And it was with that, that chill that ran down Michael's spine at the thought of Brian in a world without his Justin, that Michael plunged himself into the apartment.
Brian followed Michael inside but then stopped as abruptly as Michael had right before him.
The first thing they noticed were the walls, covered in some strange, ancient language, at least that's what they thought, since they couldn't understand any of the characters. Brian walked up along one wall while Michael examined another.
As Brian ran his hand along some of the lettering he said, "this isn't Latin...I don't now what it is. I've never seen it before," Brian said with furrowed brows.
"I can't understand what any of this says," Michael said, looking at the writing in awe.
"Fuck Mikey, you can barely read English...who could expect you to know how to read this!"
"Fuck you Brian!" Michael said defensively. Well, Michael thought, Brian hadn't changed appreciably from one world to the other.
They both turned to explore the apartment further when a tall man appeared. His hair was buzz-cut and graying at the sides. He was wearing a baggy t-shirt and jeans. The thing that was most notable on the man was his pale face and the haunted look in his eyes. He had a thick black marker in his hand, probably the one used to write the strange words on the walls.
"Excuse me," Michael said, hoping the man could answer his question, "we're looking for Mysterious Marilyn. Do you know where she is?"
"Marilyn isn't here right now," the man said and with that Brian and Michael jumped back in shock.
Despite the lower octave, the voice was unmistakable.
"Marilyn?" Michael asked while swallowing, "is that you?"
Meanwhile, at the diner, in the other dimension
"Not now ma! Brian, I don't know what you're talking about but except for one date, that went horribly by the way, Ben and me are not together."
The table became very quiet as everyone stared back at Brian.
Of course, they weren't.
Brian wished the wall would move again so it could swallow him whole.
Brian stared back at Michael while everyone at the table stared at him.
"So, you're not dating Ben?"
"No Brian," Michael said while nodding his head back and forth.
"Was it after," Brian cleared his throat, "after the time you wouldn't have sex with him because you got scared?"
"Yes," Michael said while nodding. He was truly getting scared for his best friend.
Brian shot up off his seat. "I have to go now. This place...it's all just...so wrong." Brian turned with unseeing eyes toward the exit. Michael put his hand on Brian's arm.
"No Brian. We need to go see Marilyn. Something's not right and this just proves it," Michael pleaded. "I want...I want to find out what's going on," but as Michael was about to say more, Debbie chimed in.
"Yeah, well I think this is the only right thing," Debbie said. "The best thing you could have done was dump Ben and don't you forget it baby," Debbie said as she took hold of Michael's chin and pinched it.
"But it's not Debbie...Michael's happy with Ben," Brian said, looking at the woman, snapping out of his daze.
"Are you seeing Ben behind my back?" Debbie shrieked at Michael.
"Ma!" Michael screeched back. "First off, what I do is my business and second off, it doesn't matter, I'm not seeing Ben behind anyone's back. Fuck! Brian's fucked up right now. Can't any of you see that?!"
"Let's go, Michael," Brian said and with that, the two men exited the diner and headed for the Jeep, ignoring the shocked faces they left behind at the table.
They drove over to Marilyn's in silence, neither one saying a word, both too wrapped in their own thoughts.
Michael thinking about what he had lost with Ben, too scared to pursue the man who he thought he could have very easily fallen in love with, someone who unlike David before, would have allowed him to grow with him.
While Michael was thinking about his loss, Brian's thoughts were about the Michael and Ben that he remembered together. He thought about how Michael had pursued the professor, and these thoughts just brought him back to another person who had done the same thing.
The kid had persisted and persisted and what was it Debbie had said? Somehow that persistent kid had gotten in under the wire and had gotten to him.
And she was right.
But what most people don't know and he never admitted, even to himself, was that he had been happy that the kid had been able to get in under that stupid wire and scale the walls. He had always very easily pushed the kid away, and had on numerous occasions, but he knew he would come back because Justin was like that.
Justin was brave enough to go after what he wanted, despite how it made him look. He wasn't worried about what other people thought. He could do anything that he put his mind to, no matter what it cost him.
This was what made Justin so different from all the rest and worth the trouble.
Brian knew that Michael had taken a page out of Justin's book when pursuing Ben. Not just the tactics, but the sheer unwillingness to give up.
And then it hit Brian like that ton of proverbial bricks.
All the things that had changed since Justin wasn't in his life, the things he was seeing now in the past few hours since his life changed for the worse; it all made sense.
Their little extended family, for as much as they cared and loved each other needed something more. It needed that extra little push in the right direction. Someone to come along and call them on their shit.
Justin was the shot in the arm to their little world, the world they had become entirely too cozy in.
And without him, this, all this was the horrific result.
Brian needed to find Justin now more than ever and if it took him talking to a mystical, possibly bonkers, drag queen, than so be it.
"Brian, why did you think I was dating Ben?" Michael asked.
"Because you do," Brian said while shaking his head in confusion, "or you did, and I'm going to make sure that you do again," Brian said matter-of factly. "But first, we need to find Justin."
"Justin...he's real, isn't he?" Michael asked in a quiet voice, not quite believing what was coming out of his mouth.
"Yes, he is," Brian said out loud for the first time since this all began, most of the time it being said as a silent mantra running though his head on 'repeat.'
"I don't know why, but I believe you. This is it," Michael said as they arrived at the apartment building.
Brian parked the Jeep and they both made their way into the lobby, up the stairs and to the apartment door.
Michael knocked but nobody answered.
"Oh, I've had enough of this fucking front door shit to last me a fucking life time," Brian muttered as he banged on the door loudly. "Marilyn! Open the fucking door!"
"Brian," Michael whined, "not so fucking loud...most people are probably still asleep here." And then, just as if someone had heard Michael's quite plea, a head popped out of another apartment door, two doors down.
"You can knock as loud as you want, she won't answer the door," said the apartment dweller.
"Darren!" Michael exclaimed as he ran over to the man standing in his bathrobe, "is she sick or something?"
"Marilyn packed her bags late last night. She's gone sweetie."
"Of course she is," Brian said dejectedly.
I am so so so loving all the wonderful feedback you guys have been giving me!
Thank you so much - keep it up!!!!!