Below you will find Chapter 25 and the Epilogue.
I would like to give a BIG THANK YOU to shadownyc for her beta work on this chapter and the epilogue.
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!
Anywho and without further adieu, I give you the last of my WIP!!!
******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
Chapter: 25 and Epilogue
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.
banner by the wonderful skywalkersdream
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
Chapter 21 Brian talks to Mikey<
Chapter 22 Brian shoots the shit with Joe
Chapter 23 Brian and the boys go see Jo
Chapter 24 Brian meets the Guardian
Justin and Brian stumbled into the loft after having not been able to keep their hands off each other in the elevator all the way up.
"Mmm...shower now...I stink," Brian murmured between kisses to Justin.
"Don't care," Justin moaned back.
Brian laughed while pulling away from Justin and then touched foreheads with his earnest lover. "Believe me, you will. The last time I showered was before I got on a plane in Chicago."
Justin dove in for another kiss, "Okay, you win." Justin smiled as he turned around and Brian grabbed Justin's hand, turning him to face him once more.
"I didn't say I wanted to shower alone. After all, who'll wash my back?"
Justin laughed and broke away, running into the bathroom, Brian hot in pursuit. They both stood in the bedroom, facing each other, Justin starting by stripping first, and then he stood there, completely naked.
Brian did not make a move to take off any of his clothing. He just stood and stared at his young lover in all his beautiful, unadorned glory.
He was right.
Justin did glow.
Brian took the moment to bask in it.
He had almost not been able to come home to this.
"Brian?" Justin asked, his head tilted to the side.
"I...I missed you," Brian choked out. "And now you're here. I thought I would never..."
Justin ran up to Brian and held on to the man, "I am here though," Justin said while showering kisses all over Brian's face. "See? Real," Justin said again as he took hold of one of Brian's hands and put it to his own bare chest.
Brian looked down into the face he thought he would never see again. Justin looked up at him, those guileless blue eyes shimmering with unshed tears. "Hey," Brian said as he cleared his throat, "Help an old man get out of these clothes. I've been wearing them so long, I think they've attached themselves to my skin," Brian chuckled, wanting to lighten the mood.
Justin started to remove Brian's clothes from him, until the man was standing before him naked also.
Without saying a word, they both entered the bathroom and started the shower. Justin climbed in first and wet himself under the spray, Brian watching on avidly.
"Coming?" Justin asked as he turned around.
"Hopefully, four or fives times," Brian smirked. Brian entered the shower and took the bar of soap down from the shelf, just in time for Justin to snatch it away from him.
"You were saying something about someone doing your back?" Justin asked slyly. Brian turned around and put his forehead against the shower wall, delighting in the movement of Justin's hands over his back.
Justin's touches, light and heavy, all combined to relax and soothe him. He could feel as the soap roamed lower and between his cleft. There was a breeze against his upper half as he realized that Justin had just squatted down behind him and was now running the soap up and down his legs, leaving no spot unwashed.
Brian chose that moment to turn around and looked down at his lover, kneeling before him. Justin smiled up at Brian and proceeded to take Brian's cock into one hand and stroke it. Justin dove for the cock before him, halting his progress when he felt a hand on his shoulder.
"No, not now," Brian said.
Justin looked up in confusion. "Since when does Brian Kinney refuse to get his dick sucked?"
"Since he has plans for something better," Brian smiled down. Brian took Justin by the hands and pulled him up. Justin was about to say something when Brian stopped him with a kiss. "Just the shower right now, just the shower."
Justin continued to run the soap all over Brian's chest and up around his neck, stopping every now and then to lick parts of his skin.
"Mmmmm...feels so good," Brian moaned. Brian let the water from the spray cascade down over him, washing him of the past few days, taking all the filth and grime that had been associated with that other place and letting it escape down the drain.
The shower had never felt so good. As he opened his eyes and looked at his lover who was staring back at him, Brian reached over for a condom that was on one of the inlaid shelves. Justin saw the condom and knew he needed to address something.
"Brian?" Justin started and then stopped.
He didn't know how to approach this with Brian.
Brian, deciding not to be so flippant anymore with Justin when it was obvious he had something on his mind, along with the image of Joe standing there nodding his head back and forth asking if he didn't fucking learn anything, asked simply, "What's on your mind?"
"The other Brian," Justin started.
Brian groaned. He was almost afraid to hear what Justin had to say about him. Good old Brian Kinney, the man who didn't do jealous, was doing jealous big time now.
Somewhere, he could almost hear Joe laughing.
"Go on," Brian said with trepidation.
Justin sighed. "He wanted to fuck me...bareback," Justin started. "Actually, he did fuck me bareback," Justin winced.
Brian stopped all thought processes and grabbed hold of Justin around the top of his arms. "Did he force you?"
"No," Justin said as he shook his head back and forth, "No. Of course not! After all, he is you! You would never do that!" Justin pointed out, "But, then why would he do that?"
"First off, how did he...how did it happen?" Brian asked.
"He just did it," Justin said.
"I see," Brian quipped back calmly. Visions of him gleefully running a huge skewering rod through his doppelganger sprung to mind. "So what was his excuse? It just slipped?"
"Actually," Justin laughed, "It was."
Well, of course it was. It was him. "You didn't let him...finish?' Brian inquired. The mantra running through Brian's head was 'Please say no.'
"You kidding me?" Justin scoffed. "The minute I felt what was going on I was so outta there. I mean, I was so pissed."
Brian watched as his lover recounted that last bit and smiled.
He bet he was pissed.
So the other him got a little taste of his Sunshine's wrath.
Life was good after all.
"I just don't get it though Brian," Justin asked, "You would never do something like that. Michael gave some bullshit line about how the Brian before I came along, might have. But no," Justin said and shook his head, "He's wrong."
Brian sighed and looked away. He grabbed for the shampoo and poured a generous amount in his palm and started to lather his hair.
"Let me," Justin said and reached up and began massaging Brian's hair.
"You don't know how good that feels," Brian moaned in pleasure.
"You're stalling," Justin sing-songed.
"No, actually I'm not. I'm just trying to figure out how best to answer it. Look," Brian said as he opened his eyes and looked down at Justin, "You don't know how many times I was tempted to...that is to say, I wanted to...I really, really wanted to. That time you suggested it though, I was so scared for you. It was no longer about my pleasure; it was about your safety. But before that," Brian winced as he turned from Justin.
"Brian?" Justin said and turned Brian back around.
"Don't you get it? I don't know how many times before the bashing, before you even started living with Debbie, and I knew you were clear, and I knew I was clear...God!" Brian groaned in frustration. "Shit! I got soap in my eyes!"
Justin gently moved Brian under the spray and made sure to get all the shampoo out of his hair. As soon as he was done, he pulled the conditioner down and spread it throughout Brian's hair.
"You can open your eyes now," Justin said as soon as he was done massaging Brian's scalp with the conditioner.
Brian opened his eyes. He grabbed hold of Justin once again and looked directly into his eyes. "I don't know if I would have done it in the same way as he had, but I do know I had thought about it numerous times before. As time wore on, and I became closer," Brian sighed, "As I got closer to you, the thought seemed more and more dangerous. I didn't want to put you in danger. Before, I didn't do it because I didn't want to put me in danger."
"So, do you want to," Justin started.
"Oh fuck yeah," Brian laughed. "But not until we've both taken all the necessary steps. We have to be clear for at least six months and...and you know," Brian shrugged.
"Monogamous?" Justin laughed.
"Yeah, that word," Brian said and chuckled.
"Well, then, I see us doing something like that way into the future," Justin said and laughed, kissing Brian on the lips. He turned around and turned off the water which started to go past lukewarm and into cold.
"Not that long," Brian muttered.
Brian hadn't been sure if Justin had heard that last little bit. He knew though that Joe had a point. Why go elsewhere when he had Justin at home?
Justin could always be and would always be enough for him.
More than enough.
It was still a part of him that he couldn't let go of. And what about Justin? Could he let go of that kind of lifestyle.
Justin was right. Some things needed to be addressed.
But farther down the line.
Today, new things would be brought up and dealt with.
Justin rubbed Brian down vigorously with the large fluffy white towel and ended by drying his hair with a smaller towel.
"I should shave," Brian commented.
"No!" Justin exclaimed. "I like it. Keep it...just for a little bit, okay?"
"Can I brush my teeth?" Brian asked, a smirk firmly in place.
Justin scrunched his nose, "By all means."
"Twat!" Brian said and snapped a towel at him. Justin ran into the bedroom and made himself comfortable on the bed.
Brian looked up and into the mirror above the wash basin. He tentatively touched the glass.
Yep, just a mirror. Nothing more.
He looked long and hard at the face staring back at him.
The face of a man who was no longer confining himself to the dark, to living behind walls and to locking emotions that he couldn't confront in file cabinets, encased in concrete.
He had confronted the monster that lives between the walls, under the bed and in the closet. He had confronted him head on and had crossed over, back into a world that he very much wanted to be in.
A world with Justin.
Brian brushed his teeth. He then brushed them again.
And then one more time and gargled with mouthwash.
"Brian, are you coming soon?" Justin called from the bedroom.
He could floss tomorrow.
Justin was languishing on the bed, turned on one side, facing Brian as he walked out of the bathroom. "Feel all clean now?" Justin asked.
"Yeah, ready to get dirty again?"
Justin rolled his eyes and snorted. He raised himself slightly off the bed and watched as Brian made his way over to him. Brian grabbed hold of Justin and set to kissing him all over. He rubbed his head all along Justin's chest, eliciting a "That tickles," from Justin.
They rolled around on the bed, laughing and whispering, until Justin was above Brian. Looking down at Brian, Justin stroked the man's cheek. Brian made a move to flip Justin, when Justin put his hand over Brian's chest. "No."
Justin moved over toward the nightstand and grabbed a condom and lube. Brian raised an eyebrow at Justin. "Trust me," Justin said.
Brian smiled, "Always."
Justin prepared himself with the lube, Brian watching in fascination as Justin spread the lube over his fingers and then proceeded to finger himself. He then tore open the condom wrapper with his teeth, his eyes never leaving Brian's, and sheathed Brian's cock.
Justin positioned himself over Brian's turgid member and impaled himself, crying out as he buried himself to the hilt on the man below him.
"Oh...God," Brian moaned out. He felt as Justin encased him, the walls constricting around his penis.
This was it. This was coming home.
He was home.
And it wasn't just about the fucking.
It was about the warmth of the body above him. The way his skin felt when it touched his, the chemical reaction as they came into contact with each other making both their bodies vibrate.
It was about the way Justin looked at him when they were joined together. He didn't look at him with only lust in his eyes, about what pleasure only he could derive from their union. His eyes shone with love, adoration and trust.
It was about the way Justin touched him all over, as if this were the only place he wanted to be and he could do it till the end of time.
And it was about the way they were joined. Usually fucking was just fucking; no thought was put into it except for the mechanics.
This was different. It wasn't about a dick up someone's ass until one or the other reached climax.
It was about being joined so perfectly, so closely, that nothing, no matter what, could come between the two of them because it was at that precise moment, that they were one.
And Brian didn't care one wit how lesbian that sounded.
Justin moved up and down on Brian, moans and gasps escaping both men as Justin sped up his ministrations.
Brian reached out to touch Justin, and Justin opened his eyes. Justin continued to move up and down while locking eyes with Brian, neither willing to close their eyes, so wrapped up in only each other.
The friction between the two caused Justin to orgasm, spilling between their sweaty bodies, Brian moaning loudly and shaking as his orgasm took him.
Justin collapsed on Brian, panting heavily, Brian putting his arm around Justin's back. "Always so warm," Brian moaned. Justin moved to the side of Brian, and placed his head on Brian's chest, idly making circles on his lover's skin. Justin's tiny ministrations stopped but Brian needed to talk to Justin.
"Justin?" Brian said. "You asleep?"
"No, I don't want to sleep right now."
"Me neither," Brian sighed. "I need to talk to you."
Justin jumped up from his spot. "Brian Kinney wants to talk about something?"
"Yeah, well," Brian laughed, "I know, it's unheard of, but hey, Brian Kinney would never have said 'I love you' either."
"Point taken. What is it?" Justin asked as he took up his spot on Brian's chest again.
Brian idly played with the hair on top of Justin's head while staring up at the ceiling. "You know what I saw over there, right?"
Justin stopped tracing patterns on Brian's chest and moved onto his back and to take up his vantage focal point on the ceiling. "I'll go with something to do with me, with what happened to me."
Brian swallowed. "Yeah. Look," Brian said as he rolled over so he could look directly at Justin. "No look at me," Brian said and turned Justin's head to face him. "We don't need to talk about what happened with the other you. We don't need to go into any of that. I just need to tell you what happened before your prom...and later."
Justin looked at Brian and furrowed his brows. "What do you mean?"
Brian bit his lip and continued. "The night before your prom. Right after Mikey's going away party. I didn't come because I was doing something stupid."
"What were you doing that night Brian?" Justin asked, genuinely curious. He always wondered what had happened that night but then the prom happened and all thoughts of it were put out of mind.
"It's called scarfing and it was dumb and I didn't really mean to kill myself, I was just trying to reach...it doesn't really matter," Brian said frustrated. He didn't want to get into that night, just what happened afterwards.
"Brian, that does sound important," Justin started and was stopped by Brian putting his fingers to his lips to shush him.
"No, it wasn't. Michael came over, to whine about David and how he was taking control of everything. Well anyway, he says he saved me...I don't know...whatever...it was just what he said when he realized how despondent I had become, and must have been to have had to try and 'kill myself,' after not getting the job in New York and turning thirty."
"What did he say?" Justin asked.
"He said, 'I'll always be young and I'll always be beautiful,'" Brian said.
"He said he would always be young and beautiful, that doesn't make sense," Justin said as he furrowed his brows.
Brian put his tongue in his cheek. "He meant me," Brian said and smiled.
"Oh," Justin said. "Oh. I still don't get it," Justin said, shaking his head.
"Exactly!" Brian said and jumped up, sitting straighter on the bed. "I had never heard such a load of crap in all my fucking life! I mean, fuck! Did he get it from a fortune cookie? The point is I was upset because I had to grow up. I was upset because things were going to change and I needed to change with them. We were deluding ourselves about everything!" Brian ranted.
"Okay, so Mikey's words of non wisdom turned your life around?" Justin asked and laughed.
"Yes! That's why I showed up at your prom the next night. It was time to change. It was time to stop running and get out and live. So I decided I would do something that I knew would make you happy and...and yes, that would make me happy."
"I always wondered why you showed up," Justin said and smiled. "Then I just tried to remember that night period."
Brian winced when Justin reminded him of the fact that he hadn't even remembered the happiest night of his life.
Well, they would just have to make new memories.
"I reached a turning point. I let my walls down for a little bit. And after you left me at my Jeep," Brian started.
"You mean when I was hit by Chris..."
"No, right before that, I was so fucked," Brian said and laughed. "I knew it. Then you were hit by that bat and...well, the walls came back up."
"Why?" Justin asked.
"Because it just proved a point. That you show someone anything remotely like love or caring or any of that other happy horse shit and Wham! Someone comes along and takes it all away from you. Once I knew you were okay, I knew I needed to stay away from you. I was bad for you," Brian finished and looked away.
Justin grabbed hold of Brian's chin and turned him towards him. "But, it wasn't your fault. I told you. You mean all this time, this is what it was about? I thought it was me!"
"No," Brian said and shook his head. "It was me. And...no matter what anyone said, I thought it was my fault. People actually said it was my fault for showing up at your prom. The people who said it wasn't, I just thought they were trying to make me feel better. But I get it now," Brian said as he looked up at Justin. "I get it. It wasn't my fault. In fact, had I not shown up," Brian said and swallowed. He couldn't finish.
"But you did," Justin said and smiled. "You did." Justin leaned in and kissed Brian squarely on the lips.
"All this time, I've been an idiot," Brian said as he touched foreheads with Justin. "It stops here. You know, I was so worried when I found out there was another me here."
"Didn't you trust me?" Justin asked.
"Yeah I did, but I also knew the way I'd been acting, that maybe you wouldn't notice."
"I noticed...it was just," Justin started.
"Just what?" Brian prompted.
"He was so, so into it our first time..."
"First time?" Brian roared.
Justin rolled his eyes. "Yeah, our second time was kinda disastrous. Anyway, our first time, he was so into it, I thought it was great."
Brian looked hurt.
"You don't get it. It was great because he made me feel like he was having sex with me for the first time, period. Do you get tired of me, sometimes, because it's not like our first time anymore, Brian?"
"Oh Justin. It always feels like the first time with you," Brian said and kissed Justin again on the lips. "Only better."
And with that the two men rolled around together again before starting on round two.
It had been a quiet couple of days since Brian had come back from the other side. Michael had asked millions of questions regarding the guardians but all Brian seemed to be interested in was Justin.
Eating with Justin.
Sleeping with Justin.
Making love to Justin.
And of course making love in and on every available surface in the loft. They must have christened every spot they could think of.
And it was with those thoughts in mind that Brian made his way down Liberty Avenue, a smile firmly planted on his face and Justin securely ensconced at his side. Brian rubbed his cheek against the side of Justin's face, happy that he had decided to finally shave that morning. Despite how much Justin protested and how 'rugged' it made him look, he noticed Justin starting to develop a rash wherever Brian rubbed against him.
Which was just about everywhere and made Justin look like he had a sunburn.
So the stubble, now fully turned beard, had to go.
As they were laughing and horsing around, they were joined by Michael and Ben.
"Where you two headed?" Michael asked.
"To the market. We seem to be out of supplies," Brian said as he leered down at Justin.
"No more condoms, huh?" Michael smirked.
"All gone," Justin shrugged.
"You know, this is terribly domestic of you Brian," Michael said while laughing.
"I would normally allow the lad to go on his own," Brian quipped, "But after everything I've been through, I've decided to stay close." At that moment, if it was at all possible, Brian pulled Justin in tighter to his side.
"Close?" Justin scoffed. "I'm pretty sure we're super-glued at the hip." Brian hit Justin's hip with his own hip after the comment.
"You know," Ben started in lecture-mode, "In cases such as what Brian has experienced, when such a fierce trauma has been inflicted, it's quite a natural reaction for one to behave in an over-protective fashion, such as his laughter when his Jeep was towed. It was a release of tension caused by the confrontation..."
Brian stopped and put his hand on Ben's shoulder, "I so missed this guy." He then reached up and planted a kiss on Ben's lips.
"He was mocking me, wasn't he?" Ben asked.
"Yeah," Michael said, shaking his head. Justin was nodding too.
Ben laughed and continued on to the store, all four men talking and laughing about nothing in particular.
As they entered, Ben and Michael went their separate ways. Justin and Brian made their way to the most important aisle first.
The condom aisle.
Just as they entered the aisle, Brian took in the scene of the three people arguing.
"Why does everything have to have wings?" the man said.
"Wings are supposed to be better for coverage," the woman said.
"I don't understand the purpose of wings either, Sabah," the little old woman said.
"Patricia, just pick something out so we can leave this aisle," Sabah whispered urgently.
Brian watched with an amused grin and approached the trio. He then looked at the younger of the two women and picked up her hand. "I must say Sabah, you were right, Patricia is beautiful. I could very well see you doing anything for her," Brian said as he kissed Patricia's hand.
"Why thank you," the woman named Patricia gushed. "Have you and my husband met?"
Sabah looked over at the man who was currently smirking at the three of them. "I know we haven't met before. You are...?"
"Brian, Brian Kinney. And no we haven't met," Brian laughed.
"But you know us?" Patricia asked.
Just then the small woman walked up to Brian and peered closely at him.
Brian looked down at the woman. "So, do I belong here?" he asked.
The woman looked taken aback. "Here? In the feminine sanitary napkin aisle?" she chuckled.
"We were getting condoms," Justin said as he held up a large box of condoms and then tilted his head so it was resting against Brian's, "Because he loves me."
"Yes, so he does," the woman laughed.
"So...do I Nina?" Brian asked again.
Nina looked at Brian and smiled. "You don't seem to not belong here."
"Good," Brian said and nodded.
"Um, we're sorry, my partner doesn't usually accost random people in the market," Justin apologized.
Brian watched as the trio turned and walked away from them, Nina occasionally glancing back at Brian.
"It's always the good looking ones who are crazy," Patricia was saying.
"I don't know, he seemed okay," Sabah said. "And he liked you so he wasn't completely crazy!"
"You make me crazy Sabah," Patricia exclaimed.
Brian laughed as the trio turned a corner and then were gone from sight.
"Taken to scaring breeders now," Justin asked with a lift of his eyebrow.
"Those breeders," Brian said, "were the ones who helped me get back to you. Well...the ones over there were in any case," Brian said as he kissed Justin on his forehead.
Justin looked up and smiled. "Public displays of affection again, Mr. Kinney?"
"You know it," and just as Brian was about to dive in for another kiss, a tall man with a rough crew cut walked by them.
"You're back," the man said, a far away look in his eyes.
Both Justin and Brian looked at the man in confusion, his voice sounding somewhat familiar. Just then Michael and Ben approached them.
"Hey we're done. Oh, hey Bob!" Michael said, patting the man on his back.
"He's back," he said.
"I know...isn't it great?" Michael said as he was bouncing. Ben, Justin and Brian looked at each other in turn, daring the other to ask Michael who this 'Bob' guy was.
None of them did.
All four men made their way to the cashiers and then the outside as soon as their purchases had been taken care of.
"So, see you at Babylon tonight?" Ben asked Brian and Justin.
"Wouldn't miss it. We'll see you there," Brian said as he watched his best friend and his lover walk away.
"So, you're really okay with those two now?" Justin asked.
"Not only am I okay, I'll fucking plan their wedding when the time comes," Brian said.
"You should travel to a parallel dimension more often," Justin said in all seriousness.
The two made their way down the street; Brian's arm slung over Justin, Justin snuggled in close to Brian's side as they approached the violinist who was currently playing on the corner.
"Hi Ethan!" Justin said.
"Hi Justin," Ethan smiled. He then looked over and caught sight of the man who was currently clutching Justin for dear life to his side. "This the boyfriend?" Ethan asked and plastered a large, fake smile over his face.
"Hey Ethan," Brian said and smiled. Ethan and Justin were both taken aback by the familiar tone the man took with him.
"You know Ethan?" Justin asked with one raised eyebrow.
"Oh we go way back. We shot the shit, you know," Brian said nodding his head.
"I've never met you," Ethan said as he shook his head.
Brian smiled and took a one hundred dollar bill out of his wallet and threw it into the violin case.
"Keep it up Paganini, after all, you'll always have your music," Brian smirked and walked away with Justin.
"Freak," Ethan muttered to himself and then looked down and saw the bill. "Hey! Thanks!"
"You just gave Ethan a hundred?!" Justin asked incredulously.
"Yeah, well, think of it as a consolation prize."
Justin laughed and snuggled, if it was at all possible, closer to Brian as they continued to walk down the street.
And in the other place...
Brian leaned over the railing of the catwalk at Babylon, surveying the lot tonight. Ever since he had returned home (and to his upturned loft), he had not had time for this as he had started to put into action his plans to set things right with his extended family.
No longer would he sit by and let things occur. That's what he had done, and look what had happened to Michael and Lindsay.
He had already taken steps to finding Mel and in finding a way to soon rid themselves of Gui.
Gus needed a set of parents to love him for him, not a woman who had completely given up and had become the shrew she never wanted to be nor a man who was using Gus as a bargaining chip to gain citizenship.
It also seemed that his 'Kip problem' had been handled. Kip was currently the most looked after resident at the State Mental Health Facility. He kept babbling on about monsters and walls.
He now sports a new white jacket and has a three hundred pound nurse by the name of Doris who caters to his every whim.
When he's not drooling all over himself or banging his head against the wall, that is.
As for Michael? Well, it seems he, his counterpart, had already taken steps in that direction as it were.
Michael and Ben had been seeing each other every chance they got since he had been back.
And Brian had to admit, it was kind of nice.
He had looked long and hard in the mirror when he had come home and realized that, yes, he was not the same man. He was more confident in who he was, not just in business because he was never lacking there, but as a human.
Never again would he look at himself as the son of parents who were sadly disappointed in him, a person who would never count.
He did count and he was responsible for other people's lives.
He had changed and no longer would he be afraid of what he didn't know was to come.
Brian took the picture out of his wallet. It had been the only thing to survive the other Brian's wrath in his loft.
And now it was his.
He looked at the boy, wearing an orange shirt and a radiant smile, Brian snuggling in close to him.
Whenever he needed to remind himself that he was worth it, that there was more to life than the usual grind, he would take the picture out and look at the man looking back at him with that winning smile.
He could almost believe the smile was truly meant for him.
Almost, but not quite.
Justin wasn't his and he had learned to accept that. Luckily he hadn't gotten too attached to the kid, not like his counterpart.
Brian was given a short glimpse of the life he could have led, the man that could have loved him, and the fact of the matter was, he wouldn't trade that experience in for anything, not for all the most amazing tricks and perfect clients in the world.
No matter what happened to him later in life, no matter who he met, who he did, he would always have that.
And that was surprisingly, enough for him.
Brian sighed and put the picture back in his wallet.
Now, now was the time for what he liked best.
This was where he belonged as he surveyed the dance floor once more.
He was a lover to every man and a lover of no one.
Brian saw a man walk through the crowd, a man he had seen earlier who had been checking him out. He was a good looking enough man, his type, with dark hair and those smouldering bedroom eyes.
He was definitely a prospect for the night's activities.
Brian put all other thoughts from his mind. This was his kingdom and he was its King, and the King wanted to play.
Brian made his way down the catwalk and to his prey.
"Hail to the fucking King," a voice said coming out of the shadows.
"Oh, don't be so cynical," said another voice.
"You believe his shit?" Joe said as he turned to the other voice.
"Actually, I do," Jo said and smiled. "I actually do. Mr. Kinney will be fine. You know, Rome wasn't built in a day."
"And who should know better than you," Joe smirked.
"Or you," Jo shot back. "Mr. Kinney has come a long way since he first step foot on the other world. He's come a long, long way, but there are things that will still take time."
"He doesn't have his own little Sunshine though," Joe mocked.
"No he doesn't. Only the other Mr. Kinney does. No matter where this Mr. Kinney goes, he won't find his own Justin. But he found someone just as important."
"Oh don't say it," Joe said shaking his head.
"He found himself," Jo said, ignoring Joe.
"Man you just had to fucking say it, didn't you? How fucking corny and cliché can you get?" Joe said. "Why don't you just take up writing fucking Hallmark cards?"
"Oh, that's rich coming from you. I know about everything you made Mr. Kinney confront when he was here...about his feelings towards Mr. Taylor," Jo said and pointed her finger at Joe. "You accused him of being a romantic. I think it goes both ways here."
"That was different," Joe scoffed. "I needed to know he could confront the guardian before he crossed over. And call me a romantic, and I'll...well, I don't know what I'll do, but it won't be pretty."
Jo nodded her head. "Really, you can fool some of the people some of the time and most of the people most of the time but you can never fool me."
"Yeah, yeah whatever. Shut up. It's kinda funny though, you know?" Joe said.
"What?" Jo asked.
"The only person someone like Kinney could love is someone who was never even meant to live. Fucking ironic, huh?" Joe said.
"It is rather ironic. You know, he actually once said something like that too...to Michael. He said, 'the man didn't exist who he could fall in love with,'" Jo finished while reflecting.
"Self-fulfilling prophecy, huh?" Joe quipped.
"Has the guardian who let this travesty happen been dealt with accordingly?" Jo asked, more seriously.
"Yeah, well you know after we summoned Heckel and Jekyll?" Joe said.
Jo rolled her eyes heavenward at Joe's cartoon references. "Yes."
"They were pretty pissed off afterwards. They fucking cleaned that guardian's clock," Joe nodded.
"Imagine," Jo said as she crossed her arms over her chest, "Setting that human, who was barely coherent, to watching the doorway while it slowly feasted on the emotions of the club goers."
"Yeah, well, the guardians have free will too, just like the talking monkeys. You know? You can't control what they do. We can only come in when we're needed and clean up their mess. I mean, what are you gonna do?" Joe shrugged.
"Exactly what we did and exactly what we have always done," Jo said, "To guard the guardians."
Jo kept on walking, Joe at her side. "Can we fucking merge now? This monkey suit I'm wearing is really fucking with me. I swear humans aren't worth the flesh they're printed on."
"Are you quoting an ancient philosopher?" Jo asked, genuinely curious.
"Naw, Billy fucking Zane said it in Tales from the Crypt: Demon Night. And you know," Joe said as he pointed a finger at Jo, "We really should have just eliminated both Kinneys. If they hadn't been able to confront the guardians, they would've been history and there would have been a lot of explaining to do."
"I had faith in them," Jo laughed.
"I know you did," Joe said. "Now, please, can we fucking merge?" Joe pleaded.
Jo laughed. "I really was hoping to make it to Bingo Night tonight. I'd like to keep this form for just a while longer, if you don't mind. We can always merge later."
Joe sighed, "Yeah, sure, okay, no skin off me back, right? Oh wait a sec, yeah it is! Hey!" Joe said and perked up his head. "Maybe I can get lucky tonight and get some use out of this pecker while I still have it."
"I'm sure I'll have better luck at Bingo," Jo said and started to walk away.
Joe started yelling after Jo. "Fuck you! You know, you're looking at the better half here!" Just then, two women walked by, hand in hand. "Well, well, two for one night here on Liberty Avenue," Joe leered at the women.
The two women looked at Joe and scoffed, "Back off little man! You're not our type."
Joe watched as they walked away and yelled after them, "You can do all the work! I'll just watch. Maybe I can lend a hand!!!"
Joe slumped down in defeat as the women rounded a corner.
Really, what good was a twelve-inch cock if you didn't even get to use it?
And back at Babylon, in the other place...
Justin and Brian were dancing close together, swaying on the floor, arms and hands and lips touching each other, both sets of eyes locked on the other's.
They were both lost in their own little world.
And as the tempo changed as the mix changed and the dancers around them danced with the music playing, Brian and Justin continued to stay in the same place, swaying to the music, regardless of what was playing.
Justin put his arms around Brian's neck and reached up to plant his already kiss-swollen lips on that of his lover's.
They kissed just like that, and so it was that they were completely and totally lost in each other and when Brian pulled back, he realized that yes, he indeed was lost in Justin.
And that was exactly as it should be. Lost in Justin, never to be lost from his Justin ever again.
With that Brian continued to sway to the music, holding Justin close, and checking to make sure his cell phone was off.
After all, there was no one that needed to reach him as the most important person in the whole wide world, both of them, was there with him at that moment.
Thank you guys! I've loved each and every piece of feedback I've received! It really kept me going. Seriously.
Thank you again! *smooches and hugs you all*