BLACK

"A Queer As Folk USA FanFic"

by Gaedhal

This is Chapter 59 of the "Queer Realities" series.

The narrators are Dylan Burke and Brian Kinney, and features Justin Taylor, Dr. Julius Gorowitz, Sylvia Schacter, Others.
Rated R and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: Brian and Dylan are both feeling restless. Pittsburgh/Springhurst. April, 2003.
Disclaimer: This is for fun, not profit.

"As the walls are closing in,
And the colors fade to black,
And my eyes are falling fast and deep into me,
And I follow the tracks that lead me down,
And I never follow what's right,
And they wonder sometimes when they see all the
Sadness and pain that truth brings to light.

'Cause I can't see no reason,
What is blind cannot see,
'Cause I want what is pleasing,
All I take should be free,
What I rob from the innocent ones,
What I'd steal from the womb...."

***

This isn't working.

Not fucking working at all.

That goddamn Nate and his asshole buddies! They did a number on me. Okay, I know it's partly my fault. I told Nate that I wouldn't fuck guys in the room, so I shouldn't have been drilling Marshall there. The problem is that Nate sees no reason not to fuck his ugly girlfriend in the bed right next to me while I'm trying to sleep. But if I want to have a guy in there -- that's when he totally freaks! I know that's the way the game is played -- I've lived it my whole life -- but it's still bullshit! Nate and the guys in this dorm are a bunch of homophobic goddamn fucking assholes! This whole university is filled with homophobic pricks, just like my last school.

When Nate and his pals walked into our room I thought Marshall would jump out the window, he was that scared. He knew what they were going to do and he bailed out of there without even bothering to get dressed. Not that I blame him. Marshall's a little bitch and a wimp and can't stand up to a beating. So he ran. Unlike me. I wasn't about to back down. Not to fucking Nate and his posse of halfwit frat boys!

So I got knocked around a little. Big deal! I also got some good licks in. I gave Nate a punch in the gut he won't forget. Yeah, the faggot laid him out on the ground and made him puke. That's when the R.A. showed up. I understand why he told me to leave. Everyone needed to calm down. But Nate didn't have to leave the dorm. Only me. The fucking fag!

Luckily, I knew exactly where to go. Not over to little Marshall's dorm at PIFA. And not to Alan's place off campus. Or to Ethan's dump -- like I'd spend any time in his rathole of an apartment!

But to that big loft. That huge, sweet loft. Lots of room there.

And Justin's there, too. That's the sweetest thing of all.

I knew Justin would never turn me down. Never. He's still freaked out from his own bashing two years ago. He'd never turn me away. Never send me back to the room where a homophobic asshole attacked me. And he didn't. He let me in.

Sweet -- so far. So what's the fucking problem?

Yeah, I'm staying in the Sacred Loft. Everything a man could ask for. Lots of food and drink. Tons of Kinney's porn, state-of-the-art DVD player, and top-of-the-line plasma screen television. A sexy blond roommate who's a great fuck. Anything a boy could want for comfort.

Except that I'm sleeping on the fucking sofa. What's wrong with this picture?

"You can stay here, but keep out of my way, Dylan," Justin told me when he let me in on Monday morning. "I'm too busy to deal with your shit right now!"

Since then I've seen him for about ten fucking minutes altogether. He's got classes at PIFA. He's got that fucking video that he's trying to edit in time for some festival they're having at the Institute. He's got to do this! He's got to do that! He's run-run-running from morning until he collapses into that big bed late at night -- alone. Shit!

"Slow down, Just," I say to him when he comes back from class late on Thursday afternoon. I've just come home from baseball practice, I've taken a hot shower, and I'm ready to kick back for the evening. "Sit down and have a beer with me. Let's order some pizza and watch a flick."

"I have to go, Dylan," he says, dropping his portfolio on the floor. He runs his fingers through his messy blond hair. Then he pulls a twenty out of his pocket. "Order a pizza and I'll have some when I get home. But I'm already late meeting Richard at the Film School. It's taking a lot longer to edit my video than I thought it would." He looks exhausted and exasperated. "I need to get it done before this weekend. I'm supposed to go up and...." Justin pauses. "I have to go away. It's important."

"I know where you're going, Just," I say, rolling my eyes. "Up to visit the Famous Mr. Kinney in rehab. It's no fucking secret to me. You know that."

"Listen, Dylan," Justin says in a really pissy tone. "Brian is coming home next week and I want everything to be perfect! And that means YOU need to find another place to stay -- soon! Have you talked to your R.A.? Or anyone at Housing about what happened between you and your roommate? What are they doing about it?"

"Yeah," I lie. Then I give him a sad face. Who can resist that sad face, huh? "They said it was his word against mine."

Which is sort of true. I did discuss the situation with my R.A., but he told me that if I wanted to press charges then I'd have to make a formal complaint to the Judicial Committee, accusing Nate and his friends of harassment because of sexual orientation. I have no problem doing that, but it's almost the end of the school year and I don't want to spend the whole fucking summer pursuing this and turning it into a bigger fucking deal than it is. My coach will be pissed and so will the rest of my team. They all know I'm gay, but they don't want me to make a federal case about it. And this could easily turn into a fucking federal case. The last thing I want to do is risk losing my place in the starting line-up or even my athletic scholarship.

"Come on, Just," I coax, holding up a porn video, 'Twinks Gone Wild.' "This one's hot! We could... you know... be having a little fun while I'm here. Instead, you're always on the run! Or getting ready to high-tail it up to see Kinney. And waiting for him to fuck up again!"

"Dylan, you need to find somewhere else to stay," Justin states -- and he's not smiling. "And try to clean up around here so I won't have to do it all myself before Brian comes home. Because he IS coming home. And you're leaving!" Then he gathers up his shit to go out again to work on his fucking video.

But I don't want to find another place to live. I'm here and I'd rather stay here. Or -- if Kinney really is coming back -- get a place outside of the dorm. But I can't do that without Justin. I can't afford to do it and I don't want to do it alone. I'm not planning to leave here without Justin. Because I know we're good together. And Kinney is the worst possible thing for him.

Except it's fucked up right now. This isn't working. Justin isn't biting.

And I'm still sleeping on the fucking sofa!

Not good. Not sweet. Total shit.

***

"I'm so tired, Brian," Justin says. "I feel like I'm ready to drop."

"Then hang up and get some sleep," I urge. It's just after 11:00 on Wednesday night and he's ready to drop. I can hear it in his voice -- and it's been like this every night since he left Springhurst on Monday morning. He's fucking wearing himself out!

"I will," he yawns. "I only want to get this video over with. And I have projects to finish for all my other classes. The end of the semester is coming too quickly and I don't know where the hell I'm going to find the time to do everything."

"Well, don't fucking wear yourself out!" I order -- and I hear him sigh. "Are you sure that you're going to be okay to drive up here on Friday?"

"I have to be okay," Justin says bleakly. "I don't have a choice. Or else your doctor is going to skin me alive for missing another session."

Justin sounds not only exhausted, but depressed. After the chewing out Gorowitz gave him last weekend, he's been acting jumpy and distracted even though I told him not to worry about it. Gorowitz was looking for a scapegoat -- and that's MY role around here! Justin has too much fucking responsibility on his shoulders as it is. He doesn't need my therapist to lay a guilt trip on him for my fuck-ups -- and I tell Gorowitz as much.

"I want you to back off Justin when he comes up here tomorrow, Doc," I say in our session the next day. "He's already on edge. He's tired and upset and he's had enough shit in his life without anyone -- even you -- adding to the stress he's under right now."

But Gorowitz doesn't even blink. "He made a commitment, Brian. He wants to be your partner and that means he must do his share in your recovery. He must also be honest with you. And I don't believe Justin is being honest about his feelings."

I stare at the Doc. What the fuck is he talking about? I jump out of my chair and begin pacing around the room. "Justin is the most honest person I know! He's a thousand times more honest than I am! So don't sit there behind your big, expensive, mahogany desk and feed me some total shit about Justin not being honest! That makes me think that YOU, Doc, are the fucked-up one, not me!"

"Please sit down and calm yourself, Brian," says Gorowitz, leveling his eyes at me like a gun. "I've had many years of dealing with people -- especially people who did not want me to know the entire truth about themselves. I think you know a little something about that, since you yourself have not always been candid about your emotions or about the reasons for many of your actions. I sense that Justin is not being completely truthful with me -- or with you. I'm only interested in Justin to the extent that his actions directly impact your recovery. And I believe that he would benefit from individual therapy. He seems to be a rather troubled and confused young man."

"That's fucking bullshit!" I explode. "You don't know a fucking thing about Justin, Doc! You don't know him -- and you don't know our relationship. You THINK you know -- but you don't know shit! All you do is toss off a bunch of psycho-babble and bullshit observations that are supposed to make you sound like some fucking Font of All Wisdom! Forget that! It's one thing to point the finger at me and force me to see what a fucking asshole I am and make me admit it out loud. But when you attack my partner? THAT is fucked up!"

"I'm not attacking your partner, Brian," Gorowitz interrupts.

But I won't let him stop me when I'm on a roll. "What are you trying to do, really? Drive a wedge between us? Break us up for my own good? Or for Justin's own good? That's what they tried to do at Haven of Hope! I thought you were smarter than that, Doc! I thought you actually understood what I want and what I need!"

"I'm not trying to break you up, Brian," Gorowitz returns. "I'm trying to caution you that you are not ready to leave Springhurst until you and your partner are able to discuss some of the issues that you both have been avoiding since you entered this facility! You need to face these issues or else I fear you will slip back into your old patterns of addiction and pain management."

I sit down back in the chair. I'm fucking exhausted myself. I only want to get out of this fucking place. Get back to my loft. Back to Justin. It feels like every day I'm away things get worse. My anxiety level has been rising every hour since Justin left on Monday morning. It's now Thursday and I don't know how I'm going to make it another fucking day until he gets here. My whole body is buzzing like a hive of bees. I recognize that anxious feeling and I don't like it.

"What issues?" I ask wearily. "Justin and I don't have issues."

Gorowitz makes a noise through his nose halfway between a snort and a sigh. "Wake up, Brian. I thought one thing you might have learned in Springhurst is not to lie to yourself. How can you deal with the reality of your addictions if you can't even face the basic problems within your relationship with your partner? When have you two ever discussed what you each want from this partnership? What are your expectations? What are his? Have you discussed monogamy? You've told me that Justin values it, while you think it's unnecessary, perhaps even impossible, for two men to have a monogamous relationship. Don't you think that is a barrier between you? And what about the future? Have you discussed anything about that at all? About where you two will live? Or about Justin's continued education? Or your acting career?"

"Jesus!" I say. "That's all details! Fucking, stupid details! What does all that shit matter as long as we want to be together? We can work all those things out as they come!"

"And what if the two of you want different things from your relationship? What if Justin wants you to change your behavior in regards to tricking? What if he wants an exclusive relationship -- and you are not willing to give him that?"

"Our relationship IS exclusive, Doc!" I insist. "I love HIM -- and nobody else. He knows that. That's what exclusive means in my book. Even when I was living with Ron, I was still thinking about Justin. He knows that, too. I've slipped up here and there, I know I have. Yes, I fucked up with Jimmy when we were in L.A. for the Oscars, but that was because I was stoned! That won't happen again. Justin knows that for me sex in itself is meaningless. A trick is just that -- a trick. It doesn't have anything to do with what I feel about Justin or what he feels about me. And that's not going to change!"

But Gorowitz doesn't answer. He only shakes his head.

"Fuck you, Doc! I want to go home," I tell him. "I need to get the fuck out of here! I was feeling great over the weekend, but now I'm starting to get paranoid. I want to see Justin. And I want to see my kids, too. I only have a short time before I have to go back out to L.A. and get ready for my next film. And every day I'm sitting here is another day that I'm not at home with my partner. We can work things out, but we have to be in the same fucking room! In my loft -- in OUR loft! Not sitting here, like we're in prison surrounded by fucking wardens at every turn. I'm ready, Doc! I'm ready to go!"

"If you want to leave..." Gorowitz says slowly. "That is your decision, Brian. But...." He pauses. "You know the consequences of not being truly ready. You know what happened when you were released to attend the Academy Awards."

"That won't happen again." I stand up. "I have to make my own decisions, Doc, or I'll never be able to trust myself to do anything. Do you understand that? Do you know what I mean?"

"Yes, Brian," says Gorowitz. But he won't meet my eyes. "I know what you mean. But do you really know? Do you?"

"That's what I have to find out," I tell him. "And that's why I need to leave."

***

I order the pizza and pop open a Heineken. While I'm waiting for the pizza to come, I wander around the loft, poking here and there.

Kinney's loft fascinates me. He's such a fucking label queen! Not only his clothes, but everything he owns. The sheets and pillowcases. The towels. The drapes. The fucking coffee table is by some fancy designer. Miles Van Gogh or something foreign like that. The juicer and the can opener, too. Even the spoons and forks and fucking knives have designer labels!

I'm going to have all that some day. When I'm a famous ball player. I'll make more than Kinney ever dreamed of as a fucking second-rate bullshit actor!

Then Justin will see what I can do. He won't be blinded by Kinney's money and toys. I'll get him someplace better than this stupid loft! We'll live in a fucking mansion bigger than this whole block! That'll show Justin. And I'll show my old man what a faggot can do, too! I'll show my whole fucking family! I'll show everybody!

I'm restless. Fucking restless and bored. I pull down Kinney's Stairmaster and work myself into a good lather while I wait for the food. It feels good to sweat. I need to be in shape for the summer league I'm going to be playing in. I'm just about finished when the door buzzes with the pizza. I carry it upstairs, shoving a slice into my mouth.

I hate eating alone. Justin should be here, sitting next to me, eating the fucking pizza. I open another Heineken and drink it down. I stink from my workout, but what the fuck? There's nobody here to smell me. I can take a shower later. Jerk off in that big, fancy shower stall. I know that Kinney fucks Justin in there. It was made to fuck in. I close my eyes and picture it.

But I'm still restless. I can't sit still. I stand up and walk around. I've already watched a bunch of Kinney's porn videos. He has stacks of DVDs and older video cassettes all over the loft. He's got all sorts of other interesting shit in this place. I found a big drawer full of sex toys under the bed. Handcuffs. A riding whip. Some leather gizmos and contraptions. I never saw so many double-headed dildos in one place outside of Slings & Eros, that sex shop on Liberty Avenue! There was one big rubber one that had to be 16 fucking inches long! It must be for show, because nobody can take something like that up their ass! No fucking way! I don't even know what some of the things are for, they look so weird. Kinney is a freak, that's for sure. A sick, fucking freak.

But there's one place I've never explored. Justin warned me about it when he saw me looking for some towels the other night. The bottom drawer of the tall dresser. He said that was 'personal.' Of course that makes me more curious. All the porn and sex toys and even Kinney's stupid photo albums of his fucking son are pretty much where anyone can find them, so what could be so personal that Justin doesn't want me to look at it?

So I go up into the bedroom and open the drawer. But... it's just more junk. Odds and ends. A stuffed toy of some Disney character. Justin's old sketchpads. I flip through and see drawings of Kinney, a lot of them naked. So what? He's nothing special. I'm younger and therefore my body's better! Old family photographs in an envelope. Some plane ticket stubs for England, Los Angeles, and New York. A sleeveless black shirt with metal snaps up the front. I hold it up to myself. This would look hot on me, so I put it aside to try on later.

I dig a little deeper. Some video tapes. A bunch of them. Most have no labels. These could be interesting. Kinney seems like the kind of guy who would make his own personal porn -- and I bet Justin helped him! I have to watch these. One that has a label says 'R & J -- June 2002.' 'J' could be Justin, but who the fuck is 'R'? Another looks older and a bit battered and is labeled 'Jack 1988 -- NYC.' But I don't know who the hell 'Jack' is either. Fuck. It would take hours to go through the unlabeled videos to find something good -- and I don't have hours. Justin should be home by midnight because he has a studio class tomorrow morning that he can't miss it because it's too close to the end of the semester.

Underneath all the junk in the drawer is a plastic bag. I open it up and take a look. A dark suit. It feels stiff and has an odd smell. Then a black dress shirt, carefully folded. But it's dirty -- caked with a reddish brown mess. Who the fuck would put away dirty clothes like this? And then there's something else -- a white silk scarf that's also stained and stuck together.

I get a creepy feeling. The stains look like dried blood. Yeah, that's what they look like. I've bled on my clothes enough during baseball games to know what that looks like. But why someone would keep these bloody clothes is beyond me.

Unless... I think about Justin getting bashed. I don't know all of the details, but I know it was at his senior prom. Maybe these were the clothes he was wearing. Kinney must have saved this shit, but why the fuck? Like I say, he's a fucking freak! I shove the scarf and the clothes back into the plastic bag and push it to the bottom of the drawer. Then I put the videotapes and the sketchpads and everything else back. It's all too spooky. I don't want Justin to walk in and catch me looking at this stuff.

I go to the kitchen and eat another slice of pizza. Then walk back up and flop down on Kinney's big bed. I turn on the neon lights. I like the blue lights all over the room and all over my body. I'm really horny now, so I jack off. I'm tired and it feels good. Really good. I close my eyes. And the next thing I know Justin is standing over me, shaking me. "Hey! Wake up!"

"What?" I say, stretching and checking the clock. It's just after 1:00 a.m.

"Get the fuck out of my bed!" Justin bitches. "I've told you before, Dylan!"

"All right," I say, getting up. "Chill out, Just! I was only waiting for you."

"What's this?" Justin bends over and picks something up from the floor next to the dresser. Fuck! It's that stuffed toy that was in the drawer with the videos and those bloody clothes. "This is my Beast doll that Brian gave me. How did it get here on the floor? Dylan?"

I shrug. "How the hell should I know?" Then I look away.

Justin stares at me long and hard. "You were going through my drawers, weren't you? Snooping through my private things! Fuck you, Dylan! I want you out of here! Get your shit and leave! Now!"

"Come on, Just! It's the middle of the fucking night! Have a heart!" I'm busted and I know it. Shit! "Where am I supposed to go?"

"You can stay tonight, but tomorrow I want you out of here!" he says, steaming. "Take all your crap and leave! I have class in the morning and then I have to meet with Richard in the afternoon and try to finish my fucking video. But I want you gone when I get back!"

"I thought you were going up to visit Lover Boy this weekend?" I sneer. "I thought I could stay at least until Sunday."

"I don't know if I can go," says Justin, his face strained. "The video isn't ready and none of my other projects are anywhere near being done! I'm about to go out of my mind trying to get everything finished, so I don't need YOU here, adding to my problems. You can sleep on the sofa one more night, but then you have to go! I don't care where you go or what you do, Dylan. I only want you out -- and I don't want you coming around here again!"

"You're such a fucking bitch, Just," I spit at him. "You deserve Kinney! He's a freak and you're a whining little cocksucker! I hope the two of you are very happy!"

He stands up straight and looks up at me. "I hope we are too, Dylan," he says. "We will be happy, I know we will. And that's why I want you out of here!"

Yeah, that's the way it is! Well, he'll see! Kinney will fuck him over again and he'll come running back to me! I know he will!

Wait and see, Just. Wait and see.

***

"Brian -- I know you're going to be mad at me."

"No I won't, Justin. I mean it."

My cell went off when I was in Group right after lunch on Friday and I immediately got up and walked out of the room. Sylvia followed me like a fucking bird dog and is now standing next to me, giving me her best expression of disapproval, but so the fuck what? "What's wrong?"

"I... I can't drive up tonight," he says, his voice hoarse. "I'm still at the Film School, trying to finish the video. I know we'll be here for a couple more hours at least. And I can't face that long drive to Springhurst. I know that Gorowitz is going kill me, but I can't help it! I'm... I'm... ready to fall over, Brian."

"Don't worry about it, Justin," I tell him. "I'll handle things here. Finish up what you have to do, get some rest, and I'll take care of everything with the Doc, okay?"

"Okay," he whispers. "I love you, you know that, Brian?"

"I know. I love you, too. Now go and finish your video." I snap my cellphone closed and begin to walk back to my room.

"Brian, your Group session isn't over," Sylvia badgers as she trails me down the hall.

"It's over for me, Sylvia -- for good!" I inform her. I open the door of my room and go to the closet to get my suitcases. Then I call the guy who runs the little local cab company and ask if he can drive me into Erie where I can rent a car. When he says yes, I begin to pack.

"You can't leave now, Brian!" Sylvia insists. "What about this weekend? What about you and Justin meeting with Dr. Gorowitz? What about that?" She moves in front of me, blocking me from the dresser.

"Sorry." I gently push by her and open the drawers, emptying them into my suitcases. I don't even bother to fold things too carefully. I only want to get out of here.

Sylvia stomps out of the room and I finish packing in peace. All my photos. My books. My CDs and CD player. Everything. Because I'm not planning to return. My cell purrs and it's the cab guy, waiting outside. "I'll be there in a minute," I tell him. I put on my suede jacket and walk out with all my stuff. Sylvia and Gorowitz, along with all of my Group and a bunch of other bystanders, including Walker Talmadge III, are waiting to see what happens. This will be the highlight of everyone's week, no doubt about it.

"Brian, I ask you to reconsider," says Gorowitz, his face as dark as a storm. "I think you're making a grave error in leaving before we've made closure in your treatment."

"As far as I'm concerned, my treatment IS closed. So adieu, Doc," I say, holding out my hand. But he doesn't move. "What? No handshake? How about a kiss, then?" I offer him my cheek.

"I'll kiss you, My Dark Prince!" offers Walker, giggling.

"Maybe next time, Sport!" I tell him. Then I salute the masses. "I'll see you around, Doc. Take care, Sylvia. So, until the next total freak-out!" And I'm out of there.

The second I set foot out the door I stop feeling that buzz of anxiety. I take a deep breath. I feel free for the first time in months. I know this is the right thing to do -- the only thing.

Mike, the local guy, drives me out of McKinley and into Erie. At the rental place I'm able to get a late model Toyota. It's not plush, but it'll get me to Pittsburgh. I immediately hit the road to the Pitts, putting the pedal to the metal the whole way. And I make pretty decent time. It's just after 6:30 when I turn down Fuller and pull up in front of my building.

I leave most of my stuff in the car. I can get the rest of it later. I'm not sure if Justin will be back from doing his video stuff yet, but he'll definitely be surprised to see me. That's half the fun -- the element of surprise. I think about when I came back from L.A. that first time after filming 'The Olympian.' Justin walked into the loft and I was waiting there in bed. Or when I showed up at his gallery opening last fall -- the look on his face when he saw me come in was priceless! And so was the fucking afterwards!

I unlock the door and pull it back. Justin's here. There are candles lit in the living room and up in the bedroom. And a bouquet of spring flowers in a vase on the coffee table. Almost as if he'd known that I was coming home.

"Hey!" calls a voice. "You're early! I thought you weren't coming home until later?" He walks down the steps and stops, staring at me. But it's not Justin. It's some young guy I've never seen before in my life. Not Wade or Marshall or any of Justin's other pals. Someone else. "Shit," he breathes when he sees me standing there.

"Where the hell is Justin?" I demand. "And who the fuck are you?"

He's tall. Dark hair. He's wearing a pair of loose jeans and a dark blue tee shirt. In any other circumstance I'd say that he was hot. But not today. Not now.

His eyes dart around, like he's looking for a way to escape. But then he tosses his head defiantly and glares at me. "I'm Dylan Burke, that's who! What are YOU doing here now? You aren't supposed to be here until next week!"

"I'm Brian Kinney and this is my loft! I fucking live here!" I tell this punk. "That's what I'm doing here! So what are YOU doing here?"

"I know who you are, Kinney," he says, making a disgusted face. "That's so funny, because I live here, too."

"You... live here?" I say slowly.

The kid snorts. "Haven't you figured it out yet? After all this time? I never thought you were stupid, MISTER Kinney, but maybe you don't want to see what's right in front of your face! Who am I? I'm Justin's boyfriend, that's who I am! His REAL boyfriend! What do you have to say to that?" he says bluntly.

"Jesus," I whisper to myself. "What the fuck?"

***

"If I cried me a river of all my confessions,
Would I drown in my shallow regret?
As the walls are closing in,
And the colors fade to black,
And the night is falling fast and deep into the sea,
And in the darkness all that I can see,
The frightened and the weak,
Are forced to cling to mistakes they know nothing of
At mercy are the meek...."

(Sarah McLachlan)

Continue on to "Locked Out".

©Gaedhal, October 2005.

Posted October 6, 2005.