THINGS HAVE CHANGED

"A Queer As Folk USA FanFic"

by Gaedhal

This is Part 4 of Chapter 108 in the "Queer Theories" series.

Go back to "Things Have Changed -- Part 3", the previous "Queer Theories" section.

The narrator is Brian Kinney, with Justin Taylor, Fiona Stewart, Others.
Rated R and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: Brian and Justin both see Fiona's vision. England, October 2002.
Disclaimer: This is for fun, not profit. Watch Queer As Folk on Showtime, buy the DVDs, videos, and CDs. Read the stories and enjoy.

"Oh my God," I gasp. "My God."

Justin is gripping my arm so tightly that I'm losing feeling in it. And my ribs, my wrist -- my whole body is screaming out. Aching.

"Brian!" I hear Justin whisper.

"What does it mean?" I ask. The flame of the candle flickers in my mind's eye.

"Don't open your eyes, Brian. Not yet." Fiona's voice sounds far away.

I walk up to this boy, his golden hair reflecting the light of the streetlight. He's an innocent. And he's in the middle of this... place.

The two of us stare at each other.

"What does it mean?" I repeat. "Tell me."

"You tell me, Brian," Fiona says.

"That whole life... that different life I led. All of that," I reply, shaking my head in wonder. "Only to end up in the same place. The same fucking spot!"

"Yes," says Fiona. "And?"

"Because...." I pause. My head is pounding. "That's the place I had to be. The place I was meant to be. The only place?"

"Perhaps not the only place, Brian. There are many, many possible streams in one life. Some may never even reach this moment, this place. Your life may not last in some streams. Or you might go astray in other ways. But you reached it then, in this current stream. And you have reached it again, in your alternate stream. What does that tell you?"

"That... I'm supposed to be there. I mean, here. I... I don't fucking know!" I try to catch my breath. "I'm afraid."

"Why? There's nothing to fear!" she soothes. "Don't open your eyes. Not yet."

And I see Justin and I in the motel. Making love. Then doing it again. And again. I want to do it forever.

The two of us, in a well fucked haze, going to breakfast at the diner. The boys staring at Justin. Michael glaring at him. And Debbie taking his face between her hands, drinking in his wide smile. Falling under his spell. Justin kissing me, his mouth all covered with sticky maple syrup from his pancakes. Tasting the sweetness.

Buying Justin a blue shirt at a mall. A love gift. Justin, sitting on the bed in the motel, unwrapping the box and hugging me. And then Justin giving me his cowrie shell bracelet. Tying it on my right wrist.

Watching Justin dancing at Babylon for the first time. Surrounded by a crowd of young boys, but outshining them all. But I hear Emmett's voice echoing in my ear. "Twinks are horrible long term bets... In a week little Justin won't even remember your name... A twink's head and heart are like his dick -- they shoot off in all directions every ten minutes!"

But it isn't true! I know it isn't! Not with Justin. The others are just jealous. They don't understand. They can't see the way it really is! But the seeds of doubt are there. The fear....

And I'm still afraid. Always afraid. But not of Justin. It's Ron. He is calling me constantly. He wants me to come back! He reminds me of what he's done for me. Of what I owe him. He's still hanging over my life. He still owns my fucking life!

I teach Justin how to fuck me. I don't want him to fall into the same trap I did. Playing a role. The role I've played with Ron for so long. Too long. And it's different with Justin. He only gives and gives. And he makes me want to give back everything. It isn't just about what each of us can take. Or what we owe each other. There's no division. It's all part of the same thing. Us.

And then Ron is there. Standing outside the motel. He takes my arm and pulls me, barking orders. Justin is there, too. He is holding on to me. His arms wrapped around me, not about to let me go! And I'm being torn apart, right there! My body. My mind. My heart! Ripped right down the middle!

And then the flame flickers again.

The scene is gone.

"Where did it go? What happened? Fiona?"

"It's over, Brian. That's the end," she says, kindly.

"It can't be! It isn't over! What happened?"

"It doesn't matter, Brian," she says. "Their lives are of no concern to you. Their stream is out of your reach."

"But... that's ME!" I cry out. "And Justin! What... will happen to us? To them?"

But Fiona doesn't answer.

"Brian." Justin pulls gently at my arm.

"Open your eyes, Brian," Fiona says.

But I can't. They won't open. Instead, I see a whirl of images. Going by too fast. Like a video all sped up. But I can't tell if it's rewinding or fast forwarding. Maybe both.

I see myself at home. My old man kicking me in the side. An explosion of pain. But instead of running out into the snow, I crawl back into my bed. I cry for my mother, but she never comes near me. Something inside me breaks that night. And hardens. Like a diamond. Beautiful and rigid. Nothing can ever touch me. Nothing.

I see myself in New York again. I'm tired. And high. Very high. And hurt. I fall down in the dirty slush in an alley. And I never get up again. The snow covers me slowly, my eyes staring up at nothing.

I see myself in that other alley, behind The Black Door, on the ground. But this time Keef, the guy with the knife, finishes the job.

I see myself in California. I'm sitting by the pool, snorting some cocaine. I have nothing else to do with myself but shop and fuck around and drug. Ron is on location. I think he's screwing some kid that's in his film. What the fuck? I don't care. I make a note to call my dealer.

I see myself on a beach. It's the one on Maui. I turn and Justin is walking towards me. The sun is just beginning to go down. I turn away.

I see myself at Babylon. I'm surrounded by people wearing black masks. The music is loud. I come out of the backroom and look around. I'm looking for someone. I see Justin, staring at me, his face like someone who's just been slapped. I take off my mask and show him myself. My real self. It isn't a pretty sight. He takes the hand of... that musician from the Art Festival. Even I can recognize him now. They leave. I put my head down and scream on the inside.

I see myself sitting in the Jeep. I look away for one second. And then I hear the sound. The crack of the bat. I look in the rearview mirror. I see Justin fall. I run towards him. One fraction of an inch, either way. One second earlier. No time to even say one word of warning. And he's stone dead on the cement. The bat is rolling away, covered with blood.

I see myself in the loft. Now is the moment for the biggest fucking orgasm of my life. A pristine white scarf, selected especially. My present to myself. This may be my thirtieth birthday, but I'll never see thirty-one. And that's the way I want it to be.

I see myself at the house in Los Angeles. Ron is standing in front of me, a foot away. He takes out a gun and points it at me. I laugh at him. He's so ridiculous with this shit! He got the gun from Jerry Baxter. To shoot at the coyotes that are coming down from the canyon and into the yard. At least, that's what he told Jerry. He shows me a box of bullets. He's been target shooting. Jerry taught him how to load it and how to point it and how to squeeze the trigger. But he doesn't need to even aim at this range. Point blank. Yes. Ron is too ridiculous for words.

"I have all these bullets, Brian," he says. "But I only need two. One for you. And one for me."

"You're insane," I say, even as he pulls the trigger.

"Brian!" Justin screams.

I open my eyes and the candle goes out.

"Brian!" Justin is shaking me. "Did you see... that? All of that?"

Fiona leans over. "Are you all right?"

"Yes," I say. "That last part was just another dream, Justin. A bunch of dreams."

"But Brian...."

"It's okay," I tell Justin, putting my arm around him. "It's over. Those things don't matter to us. Not anymore. Not now. They are part of something else. We can forget them."

But Fiona stares at me. "Brian -- don't forget what you have seen! Not ANY of it! Do you understand? Do you know what I mean?"

"Yes," I answer. "I know. Now I know what I have to do. What's the right thing. What is meant to be. Justin was right. I had to... see it for myself to believe it." I stand up. I'm still shaky -- a little. Justin holds on to me. I don't know who is supporting who.

Fiona touches my arm. It's like an electric shock. "Don't ignore the warning, Brian. Do NOT! I have tried to tell you before, but you wouldn't listen."

"It's okay, Fiona. I won't make the same mistake again. I believe you."

"Brian," she says, sternly. "Don't be alone with that man. Ever! You know why, Brian. It's beyond his power to go back, now. He's already made his choice. Do you understand? Do you?"

"I won't go back with Ron," I tell her. "Don't worry. I know that. I knew it before, but I didn't know why. Now I do." I pull Justin against me. He can't look up. He just buries his face deeply against my side. "Good night, Fiona."

And we walk out of the drawing room.

***

"Brian -- I'm sorry," Justin says as he closes the door to the bedroom.

"There's nothing to be sorry about." I walk into the room and stand there for a moment, like I'm not certain where to go. Where I belong. But then Justin speaks. And I know I'm in the right place. Finally.

"I was the one who called Fiona," he says, locking the door behind him. "I wanted you to see what I'd seen last time. To really believe. We all discussed it this afternoon while you were resting. Harry gave me the number to call and Kenroy brought her down here. He's taking her back home now."

"Poor old Kenroy!" I say. My head still feels so heavy. Like I'm drunk. "He's always ferrying people around for me!"

"He didn't mind at all, Brian. He feels guilty about not... watching out for you better. I told him that no one can do the impossible! Which is to watch out for you." Justin puts his hand on my arm. "Except me, of course. Dorian thought this was a bad idea, but... he said it was my call. That he wouldn't stop me because I was your... partner. That's what he said. So he and Harry went out to dinner. They drove into Rye for the evening. They probably won't be back until really late."

"It's getting late now, Justin. But not too late. Not for us," I say. And I believe it. Finally.

"Never too late, Brian," he answers.

The fire is fading and I go over and try to put another log on it, but it's difficult with one hand.

"Here -- let me help you," he says, moving the firescreen and taking the other end of the log. We set it on top of the embers and then we sit down on the Oriental carpet and watch the flames catch the log. "I... didn't know what you would see, Brian. But I... didn't think you would see... all that."

"That's what it's about, I guess," I say. And I feel a little shudder go through me. "You never know what you might see."

"But that whole LIFE, Brian! YOUR whole life! With Ron! He... looked so young. Like in that...." he hesitates.

"Like in that video. Of me and him," I fill in.

"Yes," he says. "So, you've seen it? Finally?"

"Yes. I've seen it. Finally." Another fucking thing that I can't talk about! Can't think about! Yet....

"And you looked so... beautiful."

I have to laugh. "I was a clueless little punk!"

"No, Brian. You were like a wild animal that someone takes home and tries to tame. But that never works out."

"Well, the animal part is definitely right. And the wild part, too," I admit. "But I looked pretty tamed. Wimped out is more like it. Ron really did a good job with me. I can't believe I was wearing Dockers! And that shirt!"

"Is that all you can think about, Brian? Your clothes?" Justin pinches me gently.

"Ouch! No! My hair looked awful, too. Ron ought to be horse-whipped just for making me dress like that in my 'Alternate Stream'!" Yes, if I can make a dumb joke about it, then it won't seem so... so....

"That whole thing was... I don't know," says Justin. "I didn't expect it to be so... real."

Yes, he's said it. So real. I look at him. "Wasn't it real, then, Justin? You're the one who believes in it all. You tell me."

"It felt real to me, Brian. But... when I saw... us! Saw ME, leaning against that lamppost! And then you came! But you were so... different, Brian! And I don't just mean the way you were dressed."

"Was I? Was I that different?"

"I... don't know. You seemed so... gentle. Not cocky or full of all that suppressed rage. Not at all. Not driven. But I... I still wanted you. That was the same. Just as much as I did when it happened... before. I could FEEL it! I wasn't just seeing myself -- I could feel what I was feeling there! And what YOU were feeling, too!"

"So could I. That was strange."

"Maybe not so strange. We are connected in that way, Brian. If we can dream each other's dreams." He puts his arms around me and leans against me. "But all of... that other stuff. That scared me, Brian. Seeing all those other streams -- all those ways that...." He pauses, swallowing. "That was horrible. Not just seeing myself... on the ground like that. I've never thought about what it must have looked like to you. All that blood." He stops and another shudder goes through me. "But all those other... things. I know how close you've come, so many times, to... to...." But he can't say it.

"To fucking killing myself? Either intentionally or unintentionally?" I laugh shortly. "'Life without risk not worth living'!" I quote.

He hugs me tighter. My side begins to ache again, but I don't stop him. "Yes, but if you were happy with your life, if you were satisfied with yourself, then you wouldn't court that risk so avidly, Brian. You might WANT to live, instead. If not for yourself, then maybe for Gus. Or for... me," he says, seriously.

"But I DO want to live, Justin. I really do. I want to live and I want to be with you. The thrill isn't worth it anymore. If it was ever really worth it." And, for once, I truly believe what I'm saying out loud. It isn't fucking worth it. I DO want to live! To see Gus grow up. To see what Justin makes of his life. To see... myself, even. What happens to me. In this stream of life.

Justin reaches over and strokes my strained wrist. The wrapping is coming undone a bit and he rewraps it and tucks the end in. "I should pin that or tape it, Brian. It'll just come unraveled again."

"I could probably take it off pretty soon. It doesn't hurt -- too much."

"Don't be a martyr, Brian!"

"I'm not."

"Just a second." Justin gets up and then comes back and sits down next to me. He has my cowrie shell bracelet in his hand.

"Where did you find that?"

"Where else? Going through your pockets," he grins. "I was hanging up your jacket. I always check your pockets, Brian. Force of habit."

"Little snoop."

"I'm just being a thorough Personal Assistant," Justin says, with a business-like air. "Here, let me do this." He takes my wrist gently and starts to tie the bracelet back on.

"Justin, what are you doing?"

"I'm putting you back together, Brian. This is only a small part of it," he responds. "I'm not used to seeing you without your bracelet. I'll feel like I'm making love to an imposter."

"Oh? Is that what we are going to do? You seem pretty certain of my abilities -- I mean, considering that I'm a fucking invalid!"

"I have a lot of prior knowledge of this particular subject. And I would say that the odds are in my favor."

"Humph," I snort. But I don't stop him when he pulls my wool sweater over my head. The thing IS kind of itchy, but it makes me feel warm in this drafty old house. And in front of the fireplace it's warm enough to sit without it on. Or much of anything.

Justin gets up and pulls the pillows off the bed, tossing them on the carpet. Then he starts to tug off my jeans. "Justin, I don't think this is very good idea."

He rolls his eyes. "Let me get my tape recorder and save those words to play back for everyone we know. Because no one would believe it otherwise!"

"You know what I mean! With my... wrist and everything."

"I'll try not to injure your delicate body, Brian!"

I glance at him to see if he's being sarcastic. But he means it. He gets undressed and turns off the big light and then the smaller lamp on the table by the bed, leaving only the light of the fireplace to illuminate the room. I usually don't need any kind of 'romantic' trappings to fuck, but this isn't too bad. And if it's what Justin wants, then I can go with along with it.

"I think you are trying to kill me, Justin," I retort.

"With kindness only," he answers, dropping down and leaning back on the pillow.

"Sure," I sniff. "You twinks are only interested in one thing."

"I know," he says. "Getting our needs met." His looks almost unearthly in the firelight. So pale and slender. With my scratches and bruises, with my side taped up and my hand wrapped, I feel big and clumsy and mangled next to his perfection.

"You don't seem to care that I've been fucking traumatized tonight!" I pout.

"But I do. And this is part of your pain management, Brian. Don't you recognize it?" He strokes his cock, which is already almost completely hard. You could hang a fucking leather coat on his cock when it's fully erect!

"Maybe," I say. I don't really want to give in too easily. I wouldn't want it said that Brian Kinney was an easy lay! Jesus!

Because my right wrist is the injured one, he takes my left hand and puts it against his dick. It feels awkward. He's ambidextrous to some extent, so he can jerk off quite easily with either hand, but I'm not so nimble.

Fuck that. It's easier to move my mouth down there and use that. Easier and better. Much better. A perfect fit. Always a perfect fit between us.

I can't seem to get that glimpse of one of my streams out of my head. Justin walking out of Babylon... with someone else. Seeing myself in all those other streams hit me hard -- but that one moment. And it was so simple. Justin walking away. With another guy. Away from me. I feel my gut all twisted up. That was Justin's vision last summer -- or part of it. The two of us screwing up completely. And him leaving me.

And I understand now why he was so upset back then. Seeing it myself brings it home so clearly. How easy it would be for me to lose everything I care about. Dying is easier. Yes, I'm not afraid of that. Those scenes don't frighten me at all. Because when you're dead, it's over. You don't feel a thing. The pain is gone. But when you're left alone -- truly alone -- and still have to keep on living. That's Hell. That's torture.

"Stop," he whispers, pulling his dick away.

"Why?" I ask. He's almost there. But he pushes me back on the pillow slowly. Yes, my own cock has definitely risen to the occasion, but that doesn't mean that what he's thinking of is workable! But Justin won't be denied. He really IS going to kill me! And not with kindness!

He has the condom and the lube all ready and he goes to work on my cock very carefully and gently. "That didn't get bent out of shape, actually," I mention.

"I know, but I don't want to take any chances of hurting you."

"I thought that was part of it? The pain, I mean."

"Sometimes," he says, grinning. He pulls the other pillow around and puts it under my right arm. "Rest your wrist on that. For support."

"I don't know about this...."

"Just shut up and do what comes naturally!" he commands. And he lowers himself on top of me. Between my aching side and my wrist and all my cuts that feel like they are on fire, I'm in serious pain -- but I'm also not about to stop now! If I can hold myself fairly still and let Justin do everything -- which he is determined to do anyway! -- then it might work. It might.

He works his way onto my cock slowly and precisely. He knows my cock as well as he knows his own and he also knows what he wants. Who could deny a combination like that? I have to clench my teeth and try not to collapse backward. Even if my left arm is taking all the pressure because my right wrist is so wobbly. Even if my ribs are screaming for mercy. But I don't let Justin know that. I guess my look of pain and my look of pleasure are basically identical! That figures, since they are often the same fucking thing!

Justin has built into an intense rhythm on top of me when I hear someone coming down the hallway. Voices. Harry and Dorian are back. I hear them stop outside our door. Justin pauses. "It's a good thing I locked the door!" he whispers.

"They wouldn't come in anyway, Justin," I whisper back. "Now Travers -- HE would walk right in and ask if we needed any clean towels! But since he's already seen us fucking once -- I don't think it would matter if he saw us again."

The voices die away and I hear the door across the hall open and close. Dorian's room. Then the house is quiet again. Quiet until another minute goes by and Justin's dick lets go. That kid has more liquid in him than a juicy ripe peach! And he's sweeter, too. Seeing him shoot sets me off, too. It isn't the most earth-shattering orgasm I've ever had, but it's good enough. It feels like I'm releasing weeks and weeks of built up tension. "I love you," I say. Not loudly. But I don't have to say it too loudly. Not when I truly mean it.

Justin gasps and shivers again. "I love YOU, Brian!" he breathes. His eyes are wide open, not shut, like they usually are when he comes. But he wants to see me, to see everything. Something is happening deeper inside of him. Much deeper. He starts to fall forward on top of me, but then he remembers and rolls off, away from my bad right side, laughing softly. I push my pillow over and he leans back on it, next to me.

"See? I told you I could do it!" he says, keeping his voice low. But I don't think anyone can hear us. And if they could, so damn what?

"Is that the only reason you did it?" I smile. "To prove a point? That you could do an old man a favor?"

He sighs. He reaches over to where he has a small towel from the bathroom and wipes his come off of me. And off of himself, too. He also wraps up the condom in a tissue and puts it out of the way. He's a very tidy boy. "I'm practicing for when I'll REALLY have my work cut out for me. When you actually ARE a grouchy old queer, complaining about all your aches and pains. This is a good rehearsal for then. For the future. OUR future, Brian!"

"If I live that long I certainly will NOT still be fucking!" I insist. "I have my pride you know."

"Oh, you'll still be doing it, Brian." He thinks this is SO amusing. "They'll probably have all kind of portable hydraulic lifts and things by then. To help me get you up. That and all the new wonder drugs."

"The wonder drugs sound good -- but the other thing is completely disgusting, Justin!"

"Maybe, but if it works...." He's stroking my chest softly.

"Right now I'm going to need that fucking hydraulic lift to get me back in that bed, Justin. Because I can't sleep on the floor all night. You'll have to take me back to the hospital if I do!"

"Oh! Sorry!" he says, helping me sit up. Yes, lying in front of the fire is nice -- to a point. But I have to get into that bed. Now! I really do feel like an invalid as Justin guides me back to the bed. He puts down the pillows and turns down the blankets and I'm very happy to get in. Justin cleans up our little mess, rinsing out the towel in the bathroom and hanging it on the rack. And then he hops in next to me. Pushes his back up against me. Carefully. Always careful not to hurt me.

The bed and the room and Justin all feel warm. And safe. Funny, but I never think too much about being safe. Not consciously, at least. But I realize how much feeling safe has been what I've been looking for all along. Searching for so desperately. And what I'm finding. Safety. And love. In a place where it's been all along. In Justin.

Continue on to "Something So Strong -- Part 1", the next chapter.

©Gaedhal, February 2003.

Updated February 13, 2003.