I am responding to feedback from the last chapter right now, but here's the next chapter!
Hope you like.
Oh, and Mr Blik and Waffle say 'hey!'
And yes, this icon has nothing whatsoever to do with the story but come on! I just had to throw in a Grindhouse icon and what better one than Cherry's machine gun leg!
******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.
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.
Author's Note #2: You can pronounce Cthulhu ka-too-la.
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
Chapter 11 Brian reflects on the situation with Ben
Chapter 12 Brian keeps looking for answers
Chapter 13 Brian learns some hard truths
Chapter 14 Brian remembers something
Chapter 15 Brian fucks up
Chapter 16 Brian talks to Daphne
Chapter 17 Brian finds out about Justin
Chapter 18 Brian gets help
It worked and he started to fall into a peaceful sleep, trying to not think about tomorrow and the set of challenges that he would have to face.
For now, he would rest.
Justin lay facing the other way, Brian's arms trapping him against the chest behind him, and try as he might, he just couldn't get warm enough.
Justin was the first to wake up in the quiet loft, daylight breaking in through the blinds covering the window. He arose and squinted into the light, making his way quietly toward the bathroom for his morning shower.
Maybe if he was really quiet and managed to close the door without slamming it, he wouldn't wake up.
He was due to wake up in about twenty minutes, so this might give him enough time. Justin crept into the bathroom, closed the door ever so gently and listened for any movement outside the door. Breathing in a sigh of relief, Justin started the shower and stepped in. He started soaping himself, thinking about everything that had happened since yesterday.
Ever since after Brian had tried to do him bareback, Justin had been looking more closely at his older lover.
He looked the same.
He smiled the same.
He sounded the same.
He even fucked the same.
It was just everything else. When he touched Brian, he didn't feel the same warmth. When he kissed Brian, he didn't feel the same connection.
But most importantly, when he looked into Brian's eyes, and as lesbian as it sounded (and didn't people say that when you live with someone for a certain period of time, you start thinking like them?), when he looked into those deep, expressive hazel-colored eyes, he didn't see the same intensity.
The intensity was gone.
That connection that they had, the one where Brian could look at Justin and know if he did something stupid. The look he gave him when he didn't approve of something Justin did.
The look Brian had given him when he had said to 'never fuck without a condom.'
It was gone.
So that meant only one thing.
It wasn't his Brian.
And Justin was as sure that it was his own fault as he was sure the sun rose in the East and set in the West.
Because he had changed Brian, and not for the better. The man who he had first fallen in love with had started to make concessions for Justin, probably to keep him happy, because after all, wasn't that what Brian was doing? Making him happy?
His mother had given him to Brian, as a way to 'fix' little Justin's problems. And it had worked, but now it was done.
He was fixed.
And if he wasn't and he went away from Brian, so Brian could get on with his life...what then?
Would his mother pick the next available guy and say 'here, fix my son and you can fuck him?'
Isn't that what happened the first time, despite half-assed reassurances from Brian?
Justin needed to leave. He loved Brian too much to see him pretend that he was happy. He wanted the man to have his life back. Despite what it would mean to Justin himself.
Besides, and this was always the justification he would use when thinking about these things, Justin needed to be with someone who would look at Justin as a prize, that they wanted to be with, and only with, not as a burden and the constant reminder of the guilt they had felt.
Justin couldn't count how many times he had tried to reassure Brian in the beginning that it wasn't his fault; all to no avail. Justin knew Brian would never understand that Hobbs had had his own agenda, and it had nothing to do with his older lover showing up at his prom.
And so now, this was the result. He had gotten what he wanted, at the price of Brian, the man he had fallen in love with.
As Justin was contemplating what he wanted to do as opposed to what he needed to do, because he knew Brian would never forcefully throw him out of the loft, he heard the shower door open and Brian walk in.
"You scared me," Justin said, looking away from Brian.
"Relax," Brian said as he snuggled into Justin's hair from behind. "Here, let me have the soap." And with that, Justin passed the soap over, looking anywhere else but at Brian.
Brian took the soap and started to spread the lather across Justin's back. He knew the moment he had woken up that he was alone in bed. The bed seemed bigger somehow. He then got up and headed for the bathroom, where he heard the shower going. Once again, he found himself in awe of the vision behind the glass doors. Brian didn't think he could ever get tired of that in the morning.
He understood why his counterpart was so taken with the lad. He had just been trying to figure out how he had let Justin slip in, allowed him to make himself at home.
He was beginning to get an inkling how the other Brian had let him in where no one else dare tread.
Brian knew it couldn't have been only the kid's persistence.
He could never get tired of Justin.
After all, why wouldn't he want the kid around. It must have started off slowly and then snowballed from there.
Brian continued to wash Justin's back and then told him to turn around. Brian looked down into the face of the man who had managed to turn his (no, not his, he had to once again remind himself) life around so completely. But Brian couldn't look into the face since it was currently staring down at the shower floor.
"Justin?" Justin looked up and Brian was struck with what he saw there.
It was that look of hurt and something else. Something he had seen in the mirror so many times before.
"Hey, you okay?"
"Brian?" Justin started and stopped. He just couldn't talk to Brian about anything as important as what he wanted to say, in the shower. "I just need to hurry. The early shift at the diner..."
Brian continued to wash Justin while contemplating what was really going on in that pretty head of his. Brian knew that Justin could sense something was not right. He knew Justin was starting to feel disconnected. He needed to do something to make Justin come around; to relax him.
To reassure him.
He made up his mind.
It was for Justin.
Brian turned off the shower and stepped out, watching as Justin was combing his hair through, a towel wrapped securely around his hips. Brian wrapped his own towel around himself.
The older man knew that what he was about to do was out of character, well, for him at least. He knew he would never say something like it, but his counterpart must have.
After all this time.
For surely, the way Michael and Lindsay had gone on and on about how Brian cared for Justin...
No, Brian knew without a doubt, that he could never say the words, those words, but this other Brian, he was different from himself. And Justin needed to hear something to comfort him.
He didn't want the boy to slip any further.
Because if they ever traded places (no, when, when they traded places for the other Brian would probably do everything in his power to get back), he didn't want to be the one that had caused their relationship to implode on itself.
He'd let his counterpart do that one all on his own.
Brian grabbed hold of Justin after he had just finished combing his hair and swung him around to face him.
"Justin?" Brian said and looked directly at the blond.
Justin looked at Brian questioningly. "Brian? What is it?"
"You know I love you, right?" Brian said.
Justin stopped dead in his tracks.
There they were, the words.
The words started jumping around in his head, tumbling over each. They then started flashing in his mind, like one of those neon signs you find in a diner along the highway, flashing so that those were the only words you could see in the darkest of nights.
I love you.
Justin peered up into Brian's eyes.
The thing that he knew was missing, that intensity, was still not there.
It was still gone.
They had just been words coming out of his mouth.
Pathetic little words.
No love, no joy, no heart felt pleas.
Words that the old Brian would never have said to placate him.
Justin felt dizzy. It was over.
He then felt sick to his stomach as the bathroom started to spin around him.
Justin jerked out of Brian's grasp and ran to the toilet, retching into the bowl, just as Brian had spewed those stupid words at him only seconds before. Justin turned around and wiped his mouth clean, taking in the shocked form of the man he used to know before him.
"Justin?" Brian croaked out.
'Oh shit,' were the only thoughts that were running around in Brian's head at the moment. What had he done?
Justin backed away into the bedroom and then started throwing clothes on as fast as he could, slipping on his sneakers over his bare feet, one heel still not quite on. Grabbing his messenger bag, he ran to the loft door and pulled it open, looking back only once.
Brian stood at the bedroom entrance, clutching at the towel still wrapped around his hips. "Justin? I...what?"
"I need to...to go," Justin stuttered, turned and walked out of the loft, leaving Brian yelling after him.
Justin took to the stairs and did the only thing he could think of to do.
And in the other place...
The only vision Brian had before he finally closed his eyes for the last time that night was that of his mother, telling him he would be damned for all eternity for the sole transgression of loving Justin.
He realized as he drifted off to sleep, that Saint Joan was right for once in her life.
Because this was his hell.
Brian awoke, rolling over to the side of the bed Justin usually claimed for his own and felt...
It was bare.
Brian stumbled out of the large bed, wondering where that smell was coming from only to realize that it was himself. After scratching his belly, he stretched his long arms above his head as he walked into the living area.
The place was in shambles. Nothing had escaped his wrath the night before.
"Welcome to the first day of the rest of your life," he muttered. He looked out the window at the sunny day before him, the brightness taunting him with its cheery overtones.
Brian made his way to the kitchen to put some coffee on. He then looked around the loft when he didn't spot the pot in its usual spot and found it lying where a desk should have been.
Brian went to pick up the pot when he heard his cell phone ring. "Probably Mikey," Brian said to no one in particular.
He could ignore it, but what was the point. He needed to talk to Michael, or his best friend would come over and ask him why he wouldn't answer his phone and then he'd see the loft and ask why he had trashed his loft. Then of course he would have to explain the large elephant in the room.
Better to just answer the phone.
He looked at the caller ID and realized he didn't recognize the number displayed.
"Yeah?" Brian snarled into the phone.
"Mr Kinney?" a man asked shyly. The voice sounded vaguely familiar.
"Yes, this is Mr Kinney. Who the fuck is this?" Brian asked. He didn't need this right now. If it was a tele-marketer, he would tell them to take their product and its special offer and shove it up their ass.
"You...you met me the other night. I'm sorry Mr Kinney," the man said, "but it's very..."
"Its Brian," Brian said into the phone, "you're that guy, the one that lives in the Taylor home."
"Yes, Sabah, that's my name...you remember me. Mr Kin...I mean Brian," Sabah said as he started to talk excitedly into the phone, "I need to talk to you. It's very important."
"Look," Brian said while running a hand through his hair, which was feeling very unkempt and oily at the moment, "I know about what happened to the previous occupants, so you don't have..."
"Brian, my mother's been talking. She feels really guilty about sending you away that night. She says she needs to speak with you or she can never be at peace with herself," Sabah said quickly.
"What? Look, I said I know all about Justin Taylor and what happened to him, okay?" Brian spat back. It was very nice of them to want to tell him what he needed to know, but it was already too late and he didn't need to hear about it again.
"No, you don't understand. She says this is very important. Please Mr KInney...Brian...we need to meet," the man pleaded.
Brian smirked into the phone, even though he knew Sabah couldn't see it. The guy, and his mother apparently, seemed to have some 'jones' about wanting to talk to him. Maybe they could shed some more light on what happened to Justin's family after the...and then Brian stopped. He didn't want to think about it, but his curiosity still got the better of him. "Fine...whatever...sure. Where?"
"She said the Baths...Liberty Baths," the man said, unsure of exactly what he was saying.
"The baths," Brian repeated. "That little woman I met the other night...wants to meet me at the Baths?"
"She says they won't expect her to go there," Sabah said.
"When?" Brian asked curtly, not even bothering to ask what he meant by 'they.'
"Now...she says, now. It can't wait another minute."
"Sure," Brian said as he hung up.
Brian looked at the phone that he was still holding in his hand.
For some strange reason, somewhere in the back of his mind, the part that still cared about what was going on in his life, he couldn't help but think that this was important.
Really, really important.
He grabbed his keys, which he found strewn in a corner and exited the loft, not really caring about the fact that the wall that had been directly in front of him had been expanding and contracting the whole time he had been on the phone.
Let me know what you think so far!