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******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
Chapter 19 Brian reaches out to Justin
Chapter 20 Brian goes to the Baths
There wasn't anything for him there. It was obvious from what Justin said that there was more going on in their relationship than what Justin was saying.
Ethan sighed and leaned against the bench, smoothing his hand over his violin case. He wished he could have someone who would love him enough like that and that he could love in return.
At least he knew he always had his music.
Brian entered the comic book shop trepidly, seeking out his best friend who was currently taking inventory behind the massive counter.
"Hey," Brian said as he approached Michael.
Michael looked up. "Hey. Everything okay?" Michael asked warily. It didn't seem to matter that this Brian was not his Brian, he still had that look about him when he felt guilty about something. "Is everything okay?"
Brian looked away and started to play with a comic book that was displayed on the counter.
"Fuck! No matter how things change, they always stay the same!" Michael exclaimed. "What did you do?"
"I," Brian started and then bit his lip. "I think I said something to Justin that made him react badly and he...he..."
"He?" Michael prompted, not liking where this was going.
"He ran away," Brian said and winced, ready for the famous Novotny shrieking to commence.
"What do you mean, he ran away," Michael shrieked.
"Calm down Michael," he soothed trying to calm the upset man, "I think he may have gone to the diner. He said something about an early shift."
"Calm down? You lost Justin," Michael yelled. Michael then narrowed his eyes, "what did you do to him?"
Brian sighed. "I said...I said I loved him and he went really wiggy on me."
"You what?! Why the fuck did you do something like that?" Michael shrieked again. Michael came around the counter and stood in front of Brian, his hands on his hips, looking for all the world as if he was channeling Debbie herself.
"Because I thought that was what he needed...because he was being so despondent and," Brian tried to explain.
"So why was he like that in the first place?" Michael asked as he crossed his arms over his chest, staring accusingly at Brian. "What else did you do?"
"Last night, before I came to see you about the prom, I sort of...I didn't mean to...I just thought that..."
"Brian?" Michael asked warily.
"I tried to fuck him raw," Brian said, glad it was out in the open. Really, it didn't sound like such a horrible thing once he said it out loud.
"You...he...," Michael spluttered as his face turned a few shades of red before he completely exploded. "Are you fucking insane? Why would you do that?!?!" Michael stormed into the store room. "Why don't I give you a can of gasoline? You can throw it on the fire you started!!! Completely finish them off!" Michael continued ranting. "What were you fucking thinking? I mean, seriously, what were you fucking thinking?!"
"I thought the kid...Justin...might like it," Brian said sheepishly.
Michael looked at Brian with an 'I don't believe you' look.
"Fine, so I wanted it. I was scared about what that Jo woman said and I knew Justin was negative and I was negative..."
"And how did you know that?" Michael asked.
"The letters from the clinic arrived and showed both of us negative," Brian reasoned.
"No," Michael said and got into Brian's face, "the letters showed Justin and our Brian negative."
"I received my letter before I left for Chicago," Brian said. "Please, give me more credit than that Mikey."
"Well," Michael said, "at least there is that. But you know that just because it says you're negative..."
"Look I know all that. I wasn't thinking," Brian said, knowing all too well what Michael was going to say about HIV testing and it's net of false safety.
"Obviously, you were only thinking of getting your dick wet. You weren't thinking about what it could do to you or...or Justin," Michael said sadly.
No, Brian hadn't been thinking about that. It was true, he had only been thinking about himself. What could have happened to Justin hadn't even entered into the picture.
He had put his counterpart's lover at risk for his own temporary pleasure.
If he were the other Brian, he would probably want to kick his ass right about now.
"I just didn't think he would have reacted so violently about it," Brian said, remembering how Justin looked, standing in front of him.
"You mean...to you suggesting to do it raw," Michael said.
"Um," Brian said and bit his lip.
"What?! Oh no...you didn't. You actually fucked him without asking him first?!" Michael shrieked yet again.
"You make it sound like a bad thing," Brian tried to justify. "It was the heat of the moment."
"Oh fuck. What happened?" Michael asked resignedly.
"As soon as I entered him, he..." Brian said waving his arm around, "disengaged and stormed away. He was so...so...God! The look on his face..."
"Hurt? Crushed?" Michael prompted.
"Yeah," Brian said guiltily.
"Soon after I started dating Ben, Justin had brought up the subject with Brian about fucking bareback. Brian and I were at Woody's that night when he told me about it. He made Justin promise to never fuck anyone without a condom," Michael said as he remembered the story. "Brian was so drunk that night...I don't even think he knew he was talking about it...he said he made sure that Justin never did something stupid like. He said he wanted Justin around for a long time. Of course, after admitting all that, he went into typical Kinney-denial mode and fucked three different guys in the bathroom. Fuck! Brian...do you know what you did!"
"Oh Fuck," Brian said, as he ran his hand through his hair.
"So that's why you told him you love him? To placate him...to make up for what you did?" Michael asked.
"Well...I thought that he needed it," Brian said and then became defensive. "Look, I figured the other one..."
"You mean our Brian," Michael said.
"Yeah, right. I figured that he already would have said it to Justin and..."
"Would you have?" Michael countered.
"Well of course, knowing how Brian feels about him," Brian said.
Michael continued to stare down Brian.
"Well maybe not," Brian said in defeat, "I mean..."
"Brian, you would never say that. Not unless, I don't know, it would have to be something major for you to say it," Michael started.
"So, he never said it," Brian stated. "But it's obvious he does love the kid."
"Oh course he loves Justin," Michael said as he raised his arms in exasperation. "Everyone fucking knows it. Everyone, except for Justin!"
Brian looked at Michael and things started making sense.
The look of hurt when he suggested doing it raw.
The look of utter disbelief when he casually said he loved him.
"Look, before the whole Chicago thing, Brian was doing some crazy stuff...stupid shit...to prove he was still in control. But we all knew better. It's still his way of denying what's going on. In the beginning, after the bashing," Michael said and winced, "he was more open to showing how he felt, because he almost lost Justin, but then he got comfy and well, you know..."
"Yeah and who better to know than myself. Justin doesn't really see it?" Brian asked. Despite everything, the kid was smart, and from what Michael has said, Justin should know how Brian feels.
"Of course not," Michael said resignedly. "He might have, but Brian's been giving off mixed signals, and after everything that happened with Hobbs and his hand, how can he? I keep trying to reassure him, but it doesn't work," Michael finished and sighed. "How did he react when you told him...you know...the words?" Michael said and winced again.
"He well," Brian said as he remembered Justin's violent reaction, "he sort of threw up...got dressed in record time and took off."
Michael blew the breath he was holding in, out. "Justin's not dumb, he knew you didn't mean it." Michael shook his head. "So now he's convinced you don't love him. Great! Just fucking great!" Michael screamed. He started to pace back and forth. "My best friend is stuck in another dimension, not knowing where he is, Justin dead in his world, and Justin in this world wishing he was dead...because of you, I might add," Michael said as he turned on Brian. "Oh this is good."
"Michael," Brian warned.
"Shut up!!!! What were you thinking? First trying to fuck him without a condom and then...then telling him 'I love you,'" Michael said doing a poor imitation of Brian. "What next? Maybe the girls can get him a puppy and you can run it over with your Jeep!" Michael finished while yelling.
"Jesus Michael, calm down. I'll fix this," Brian said lamely.
"No, you won't...you're not going near him again. We're going to do what we should have done before. We need to tell him the truth about who you are and where our Brian is!" Michael stated, his arms across his chest.
"Well, do you really think that's wise," Brian started.
Michael stopped in his ranting long enough to look closely at Brian. "You don't want him to know, do you?"
"That's so ridiculous," Brian scoffed. "I'm not even gonna comment on that."
"Mikey, of course I don't," Brian reasoned, "but you said before..."
"Look...if we don't, my best friend isn't going to have Justin to come home to." Michael looked down at a storyboard Justin had created only a few days ago. He picked it up and showed it to Brian. "And if that happens, this is what we'll be facing when he comes back."
Brian didn't know what that meant, except for the fact that his image was once again looking back at him, only in cartoon form. It was an angry face, the first word coming to mind 'rage.' "If he comes back Michael...if..."
"When!" Michael yelled. "Jo said she could do it. It just isn't the time yet."
"And when will it be time Michael? Tomorrow, next week, next month, next year?" Brian yelled back.
"She said she could do it," Michael reiterated quietly.
"We need to be practical here," Brian said.
"You don't want to go back," Michael said. "Jo said that. You don't want to go back," he repeated, looking once again accusingly at Brian.
"Did you only hear what you wanted to hear?" Brian asked in frustration.
"You...you can't have Justin. Justin belongs to Brian," Michael said while shaking his head.
"I am Brian."
"No, the other Brian. Our Brian. His Brian! You can't just step in and claim him!" Michael complained.
"You don't understand, he's so," Brian sighed.
"It was as if he was made for you?" Michael asked.
"Well, yeah," Brian said and ran his hand through his hair.
"Well, that's because he was. But not you! You have some kind of feelings for him, obviously..."
"Yes," Brian said, wondering where that admission came from.
"Great. But do you love him?" Michael asked.
"Well no, of course not, I don't know him well enough..."
"That's it! Brian does. And Justin loves him. They have a history together. They've been there for each other. You weren't there. You've been here a couple of days. They went through everything that made them who they are together. They belong together. Not you and Justin," Michael finished, hoping this was sinking into the other man's conscience.
"So you're saying you'd be okay if they stayed together." Brian continued on, sarcasm lacing his voice, "you could sit back and watch the best friend you've been secretly in love with all these years, be with someone else."
Michael sighed. "I could because I have. I didn't like Justin coming into our lives in the beginning because I knew what a potential threat he would be. But since he's come into Brian's life, Brian's been different. You remind me of him before Justin...selfish, wanting to get his dick sucked, not really caring about anyone but himself. He's not like that anymore since Justin...he's had to rethink a lot of things. I wish," Michael said and sighed again, "I wish I could have been the one to have brought out the best in Brian, but I couldn't. Justin could."
"I thought I'd never hear anything like that come out of your mouth," Brian said, new respect for his best friend showing on his face.
"Well Brian isn't the only one who has grown up. Brian and I might still be those fourteen year old boys if Justin hadn't come along. Instead of being the ever-pining pathetic boyfriend, I've learned how to be the best friend he always needed. Anyways, Brian loves him...we all love him and we can't lie to Justin anymore," Michael finished by shaking his head.
"David," Brian prompted. "The Michael I know, glompped onto David even though he was completely wrong for him because he knew he could never have me. Why did you?"
"Same reason," Michael shrugged.
"So it wasn't because Brian was getting close to Justin?" Brian asked skeptically.
"You kidding me?" Michael laughed. "I thought Justin would be outta there soon enough, or at least I believed it. No it was because of the same reason."
"Ben was and is, for me. All me. With Ben I'm happy," Michael said with a smile. "There's still some rough patches we need to get through. And yeah, Brian has something to do with it but Ben makes me feel ten feet tall."
Brian smiled. "I always told you you were worth it. I'm glad you finally realized it."
Michael smiled and looked at the clock . "We need to go find Justin. We need to tell him everything about you, the other Brian, the other world. Oh God," Michael said and ran his hand through his hair nervously, "when he finds out we've been lying to him..."
"You don't have to go looking for me," an ice-cold voice said stepping into the store room.
"Justin!" Michael yelled. "How long..."
"Long enough," Justin droned. Justin looked directly at Brian with narrowed eyes. "Now who the fuck are you and where's Brian?"
Brian took in the form of the boy standing in front of him, his entire body vibrating in anger. Brian had only two words running through his head.
And in the other place, in a shoe store
"Oh well, well, aren't we the high and mighty one. So Alice," the man said as he smiled lazily at Brian, peering up at the man, "did you come to join the tea party?"
Brian looked at the man and smirked. "Who are you? The Mad Hatter?"
"I like that. That's fucking funny, you're a real fucking funny guy," the man chuckled and came around the counter. "I'm Joe and I'd say you'd be wanting my services right about fucking now."
"You know why I'm here?" Brian asked, sounding no doubt stupid. What was it Nina had said. 'If Joe can't, no one could.' It was obvious this man could just as easily see what Nina saw.
"I can see it written all fucking over you, Mr. Kinney," Joe said.
"You know my name..."
"Look, can we get this shit outta the way?" Joe snarked. "I know everything about you, okay? I can just see it. It's all fucking there. Your aura, your name, what you do, what you've done, even your own fucking sexual preferences," Joe said with a lift of his eyebrow. "Oh yeah, don't be gettin any ideas now though, the only fucking dick I like is my own, if you get my drift."
"Is this going to be a problem?" Brian asked warily and then became angry. "Is that it. Are you going to give me shit because I fuck men?"
"I don't give a two-bit fuck what you fuck, you know. You can fuck men, women, cats, chickens, dogs...you know, I almost wished you fucked dogs cause I gotta tell you I have this next door neighbor who has this dog that yaps all fucking night. Turn off the tv to go to bed and the dog's yapping. Go to have a wank in the bathroom before bed, dog's still yapping. Try to get to sleep, dog's still fucking yapping. Now if fucking dogs is your thing, go fuck that dog, with all my blessings. Maybe the fucking thing would finally go to fucking sleep."
"I don't fuck dogs," Brian said in exasperation, shaking his head back and worth, wondering what he had gotten himself into.
"You don't? Then what fucking good are you?" Joe asked back, brows furrowed.
"If I said I fuck dogs would you shut up and help me?" Brian sighed. "Sure, I fuck dogs."
"What are you? Some kind of sicko?" the man shot back.
Brian lunged across the counter and grabbed hold of Joe by the collar of his dirty shirt.
"I don't have time for this," Brian growled.
"Hey, hey, hey. It was a joke, man," Joe said as he pried Brian's hands off of him. "Settle down...settle down," Joe soothed. "Lay off the double tall lattes, okay? Besides," Joe said as he brushed his shirt down and saw Brian settle back down behind the counter, "I can see some of the tricks you've screwed in your past and I gotta tell, you weren't lying when you said you fuck dogs."
Brian groaned and put his hand on his forehead. "Joe..."
"I mean, why anyone would want to fuck some of those fucking contenders for wearing a fucking bag over their head when you got a perfectly good piece of little blond boy ass sitting right at home," Joe finished while laughing and shaking his head.
Brian looked up quickly shaking his head in confusion. "Who are you?"
Joe became solemn and walked around the counter to stand directly in front of Brian, putting his hands on his hips. He then leaned over and whispered, "I'm Batman."
Brian looked on in confusion again.
Joe started laughing hysterically. "Oh you should so see your fucking face. 'I'm Batman,'" Joe said in mock seriousness. "Quick! Which Batman movie is that from?" Joe asked.
"I don't know..."
"The one with Michael Keaton!" Joe exclaimed. "Not the ones that came after. Val and George were for shit in the other Batman movies."
"Seriously, you can see so much by looking at me, who are you?" Brian asked again.
"You know Bob?" Joe asked, getting serious again.
"Bob?" Brian asked.
"Oh yeah, that's right," Joe scoffed. "Mysterious Marilyn?"
"Yeah," Brian exclaimed. Finally, something he knew.
"I'm her, only more like Pi," Joe said, casually waving his hand in the air.
"That doesn't make sense," Brian said.
"It does if you're hungry and I can sure go for some fucking pie right about now," Joe said.
"Fine, you help me and I'll get you all the pie you want," Brian said back.
"I help you, you go across, and then who buys my pie?" Joe asked.
"We'll go now, I'll get your damn pie at the Liberty Diner and..."
"No, no no," Joe said shaking his head, "that red headed waitress gives me the creeps."
"Can we drop the pie for a minute here?" Brian asked in defeat.
"You brought it up," Joe said defensively, "trying to get me to fucking help you through pie."
Brian took a deep breath in, "will you help me?"
"You know," Joe started to speak conversationally, as he went to stand behind the counter again, "I think you guys have the right idea...fucking each other instead of women. I mean, I'll never do it but do you know how fucking hard it is to get some fucking action, and I do mean fucking action? You guys see other guy who is so inclined, in a bathroom and wham! No lights, no music, no fucking flowers or Hallmark cards and you got a fuck buddy for the next five minutes. You take a lady out and you gotta dine her, make with the small talk about stupid shit, watch her eat a salad and say, 'I'm watching my weight' blah blah blah, and you still might not get any. I'm a nice guy, how come I can't get any?" Joe asked in confusion.
"It's a mystery," Brian said in mock sincerity.
"See?" Joe jumped while pointing at Brian. "Right there, you just don't speak my fucking language. Always looking down your nose at someone like me."
"I'm not looking down anything. Of course," Brian smirked, "it would help you to know that the word fuck and all its derivations is not a requirement in every sentence. Now, can you please fucking help me?"
"Oh yeah, now you're talking my language. Yeah, I can fucking help. You need to know some things first," Joe said.
"What?" asked a completely defeated Brian.
"It's not gonna be easy...to get back. First, it has to be the right time. And even it is, there's still no guarantee. The guardians," Joe said and stopped.
"There, there's that word again. What are the guardians? Can they be reasoned with? Why are they so bad?" Brian asked his questions in rapid fire.
"Whoa! Whoa! One at a fucking time!" Joe said. "The guardians reasoned with? Are you fucking insane?"
Just then a man walked into the shop. "Hey Joe! What fucking time is it?"
"It's fucking 11:45, asswipe!" Joe yelled back.
The man waved and walked out.
"See? He speaks my language," Joe said.
Brian, not being the type to be deterred for too long continued, "the guardians Joe?"
"Oh yeah, I'd have to summon them."
"So you can summon them, right?" Brian asked.
"What do I look like? Do I look like a fucking moron? Do I have the word 'moron' tattooed across my forehead?" Joe exclaimed.
"Well," Brian stuttered, "no but..."
"Of course I fucking don't! What moron would do that?! These guardians aren't from some fucking 'Lord of the Rings' movie. Orlando fucking Bloom isn't going to come out of the walls and say, 'I shall take you back whence you came' and then all the fucking fairies in fucking fairy land clap."
"Well, it seems like a 'Lord of the Rings' movie, with the trees moving and all," Brian muttered.
"Trees moving, huh? You're being followed," Joe said as he pointed his finger at Brian. "How 'bout the walls?"
"Yeah," Brian said as he ran his hand through his hair feeling uneasy about admitting what he'd been seeing, "they move and...stuff too."
"Yeah, well, they know you're here, and the word is they're not very happy. Now you wanna make sure they don't get to you first before you cross over all official like," Joe said.
"Why?" Brian asked.
"It would be bad," Joe said in all seriousness.
Brian looked at Joe warily. "You're going to make me quote that movie line, aren't you?"
"You got it," Joe said.
"Ghostbusters," Brian droned.
"Hey, you're all right," Joe said. "See? We've got a good rapport thing going on here," Joe said as he indicated both of them.
"How bad?" Brian asked again.
Joe looked directly at Brian. "Imagine completely losing your mind - it's gone, its outta there, it's packed its bags and gone to fucking Fiji and it's never coming back. You, a shell, gibbering on and on about monsters in the wall, comprende?"
"Okay, got it, the guardians are not nice beings," Brian said resignedly.
"They're fucking nightmares. You've never seen anything like 'em. It's not that they can rip you apart in one easy swipe, which they could do by the way, it's that they leave you alive. You almost wish for death."
"So once you summon them...and you will...right?" Brian asked, confirming that Joe indeed would.
Joe sighed. "When the time is right, I'll summon them, but I won't take responsibility after that. Besides, there's the other one to think about too," Joe finished off-handedly.
"The other one?" Brian asked.
Joe smiled and laughed. "Yeah, you know, the other one."
"The other one as in," Brian prompted and then gave up, "I'm lost Joe. Please just explain it to me and leave out fucking dogs, pie and movie quotes!"
"Look," Joe started and stopped as the door opened and a young woman walked in. "Well hello," Joe said as he straightened out his shirt. "Can I help you?" Joe asked, leering at the woman.
"I was told you can fix any shoe," the woman said, holding out a shoe box.
"Yeah, but I'm with someone right now. Can you come back in like fifteen minutes?" Joe said suggestively.
"Oh yeah, sure," she said shyly as she looked at Brian and smiled.
"Great and maybe when you come back and we're all alone, you could show me if your other lips are as pink as that shirt you're wearing," Joe said licking his chops.
"Why...I...oh my! You're a pig," the girl yelled and stormed out of the store.
"She so wants me," Joe said.
"It's a wonder how you never get laid," Brian droned.
"You think?" Joe asked innocently. "So, about the other one," Joe said as he lifted his eyebrow. "I can see how you got here...the doorway."
"Nina said something about a doorway. I don't remember. though..."
"It was the nightclub, after you fucked that piece of slime, who you shouldn't have gone with by the way. Really Mr. Kinney, you should be more careful who you fuck," Joe started and then took one look at Brian's face and continued. "There was a mirror, right?"
"Yeah, but it seems so dreamlike," Brian said, trying to remember the strange feeling he got from the mirror.
"Yeah, well, you were pretty fucked up at the time. The mirror wasn't a mirror, it was a doorway and you stepped through," Joe finished.
"And the other that you were talking about?" Brian prompted, suddenly getting a sinking feeling.
"You can't just step through unless the other person steps through too," Joe said.
Brian started recalling his dream.
It wasn't a mirror, but a doorway. Which meant that he wasn't looking at his reflection but at...
In order for one to go through, the other has to go through too.
The words had finally sunk in.
"You can't have two of you in the same world. Chaos would reign, blood would pour down from the skies," Joe droned.
"Really?" Brian asked worriedly.
Joe smiled, "naw, I'm fucking with you. But you can't upset the balance too much so the fact that you both went through at the same time just meant that it took longer for them to catch up with you. Had you been the only one to go through, wham! Instant death. The balance would have been too off."
"So the other one, right now, the other me, is where I would normally be," Brian said.
"Ding! Ding! Ding! Nothing slips past you Einstein," Joe said, his hands on his hips.
"Yep," Joe said.
"I'm here and he's there," Brian said again, starting to feel slightly sick.
"We've established that already. Weren't you listening?" Joe asked.
Brian stopped to look at Joe. He was trying to take in what he just learned; something he hadn't stopped to think about since he heard about parallel worlds existing.
About the fact that there were two of everyone.
And then everything really started to click into place.
The other Brian, someone just like him, the same wants and desires.
Was there, in the other world.
With his Justin.
His beautiful, strong, devoted, adoring, 'I'll do anything you ask, Brian' Justin.
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