This is Chapter 82 in the "Queer Theories" series.
Go back to "The Kindness of Strangers", the previous chapter.
The narrator is Justin Taylor and features Brian Kinney.
Rated R and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: Justin has another vision. July 2002.
Author's Note: Susan wants to keep this one for herself -- but she'll share if you ask nicely!
Disclaimer: This is for fun, not profit. Watch Queer As Folk on Showtime, buy the DVDs, videos, and CDs. Read the stories and enjoy.
Suddenly, it's so cold.
Because I'm standing in the snow. My feet are freezing and I look down and see that I'm only wearing a pair of battered high-top sneakers. My hands are cold, too, because I don't have any gloves. And my stomach is grinding, so empty that I can't think about it.
I'm on a street, but it isn't London. The buildings are old, but not picturesque old. Just old and dirty and run-down. I go into a shabby storefront. A foreign woman curses at me.
"You! Get out! We don't want you here!" She gestures to a large, silent man, who stands up, threateningly. "I call police!"
"I'm just trying to get warm."
The man comes towards me. He grabs my arm with one hand and opens the door with the other. He frog marches me outside, back into the snow. Marches me around the corner, into an alley. Then he presses me up against the side of the building, hard against the wall.
"Stop!" I try to say, but the words are lost as he pushes my face flat against the cold brick. I feel him dragging my loose jeans down, his big cock shoving against me, into me. "Wait..." I cry, but it's useless. He thrusts into me without hesitation, without even thinking. Each movement slams me against the wall, my cheek scraping until it's bleeding. And then he's done. It only took minutes. He doesn't even turn around to look back as he walks away, zipping up his pants.
I sit in the alley a long time, trying to make my legs strong enough to hold me. Finally, I drag myself up, using a dumpster to balance against. I make my way down the street, slowly. It's snowing again. My ass aches and feels wet and raw.
"What happened to you?" A skinny man with a long dirty ponytail seizes my arm. He shakes me.
"Looks like something to me." He holds my face in his hand. "Don't let them bang up the merchandise. You know better than that!"
"What? Better than what?"
"Don't play dumb, you little asshole."
"Who are you? Let me go!"
"Who am I? I'm your worst nightmare, that's who I am, if you don't do what I say!" He spins me around and pushes me along the street violently. I almost fall down on the slick sidewalk. "Where's the cash?"
"Don't hold out. You know what I do to people who cheat me, right? Food for the fishes!"
"I don't have any cash." If I did, I think, I'd buy some food. I'd get away from YOU!
"You mean you let someone bang you up like that and didn't get any fuckin' money! That's not like you, Jack!"
"I'm not Jack! I don't know what you are talking about! I'm Justin -- and I don't know you!"
He shakes me again. "Don't fuckin' play dumb with me, kid! Now, gimme the money! Or I'll bang you up in a way that makes you look a hundred times worse! I'll rearrange that face so NOBODY will want to even LOOK at it, let along kiss it or stick their dick into it! Now, give!"
"I can't!" I cry. "I can't! I can't!"
"Hey," someone breaks in. "Quit that. Stop it right now."
It's Brian. He's standing on the sidewalk, wearing a long, black winter coat and a scarf. And glasses. He looks so odd with regular glasses on, not his usual sunglasses.
"What's up with you?" the scummy guy says to Brian. He releases my arm.
"Is there a problem, Stan?"
"The kid and me were having a little disagreement. He owes me some money."
"Is that so?" Brian points to my face with a gloved finger. "Did you do this to him?"
"Hell, no! Somebody else did. That's why we were disagreeing. When somebody does THAT then I want something in return. Reduces the value, see?"
"How much?" Brian reaches into his pocket and takes out a wallet. "Here's twenty bucks. Now get lost." And the guy snatches the bill and takes off. Then Brian takes a handkerchief out of his pocket. It's folded and pressed into a perfect square. "My mother has me so well trained that I still never leave my apartment without a clean handkerchief. Funny how that is." He holds the cloth up to my cheek and wipes away a tiny trail of blood.
"Your mother?" I say, dubiously. I'm trying to picture Brian's cold-assed mother ironing handkerchiefs for him.
"They're like that, aren't they." He dabs gently at the scrape. "You hungry?"
"I don't have any money." I look into his eyes through the glasses. They search my face intently.
"I've got enough for a couple of burgers. Come on. Let's go to the diner down on Delancey Street." He walks on in the snow, taking my arm.
"But I already owe you the twenty...."
"Forget it. You don't owe me anything. Think of it as an investment in your future...."
"My future? WHAT future? What do you mean? What FUTURE?! What! What!" I'm yelling at him now, my feet cold. My hands cold. My heart cold.... "WHAT? WHAT!"
I open my eyes. It's dark, but there's some light coming in through the tall windows that overlook the back garden of the Chatterton. There's also the glow of the end of Brian's cigarette. He's sitting up in bed next to me. There's no snow, no street, just the bed -- and Brian in the darkness.
"Another bad dream?"
I sit up. "I think so. A bad dream." I take the cigarette out of his mouth and take a puff on it.
He takes it away. "Stop that. Another bad habit you don't need."
"Bad habits," I say. "I don't have any bad habits. Except you." My eyes are becoming accustomed to the dark, so I can see the outline of his face against the propped up pillows.
"That's a very bad one. The worst possible." He stubs the cigarette out in the ashtray next to the bed. "My little escapade will probably set off a whole new round of nightmares for you."
"They haven't been bad at all since we got to England."
"Sure. What about after your little psychic adventure? This wasn't one of those, was it? About your 'vision'?" His voice takes on an edge. Something about my vision disturbs Brian. Frightens him almost more than it frightens me.
"No, it wasn't like that at all. But you were in it."
"It figures. Probably getting arrested," he barks out a small, bitter laugh.
"No, Brian. Saving me," I say.
"Shit. Another prom dream." He shakes his head.
"No, it wasn't. I was in the snow. In a city. I was trying to get warm."
"Maybe it's too hot in here and you were dreaming of air conditioning."
"Brian, please listen. This is serious. I didn't have on any boots or gloves. Just sneakers. And an old leather jacket. It was freezing. And I went into a store and the woman inside screamed at me. She told me she'd call the cops."
"Sounds like you have an over-active imagination. Well, you're not there now." Brian tries to turn me on my side. "Go to sleep."
"But there was more. This big man, in the store, he grabbed me, like to throw me out of the store. But then he took me to an alley. He... he...."
I can feel Brian's arms go rigid. "That's enough of that shit," he whispers.
"He pulled down my jeans and... raped me and left me in the alley. He shoved my face against the wall and I was bleeding. Then another guy came and wanted money from me. He threatened me. Told me that he'd feed me to the fish. He said I was holding out on him."
"Will you SHUT UP! Dreams like that are... bullshit."
"And then you came, Brian. You were wearing a long coat and a blue plaid scarf. You wiped my face with a handkerchief. I've never seen you carry a handkerchief before."
"That's why it's called a nightmare -- because it's NOT TRUE! You just imagined it out of a lot of bad thoughts. Will you go to sleep now?" He spoons against me and rests his head on my shoulder.
"And you had glasses. Regular ones, with black frames. It looked so weird. You gave the guy $20 to leave me alone. And then you took me to get something to eat."
"There you go. It must have been whatever you had for dinner that brought on this nightmare. See? It ended with bad diner food."
"How do you know it was diner food, Brian?"
"What do you mean?"
"That in my dream you took me for food at a diner?"
"Because you said so."
"I didn't, Brian. I didn't say that. But you knew."
"I fucking GUESSED! What difference does it make?"
"It doesn't." But it does make a difference. Because I may have been dreaming, but it was more than that. It was like a scene out of Ron's documentary. But there was no scene like that at all in his movie. It was something else. "I think it was seeing Ron here tonight that did it."
I feel Brian flinch behind me. "Why do you say that?"
"I don't know. Just seeing him. I guess it... bothered me."
"He can't do anything to you, Justin. He just wants to harass me. He thought he could come over here and be a big hero -- and it's all for nothing. Dorian and Sir Ken's lawyer bailed me out and that will be the end of it."
"But what about the... vial with the dope? That was in your pocket? The remnants of the stuff I... took."
"There was nothing in there. It spilled on the table, on the floor, on your clothes -- there was nothing in it." He sighs. "The worst they could do would be to make me get treatment. I could live with that. As long as it's over here. Because I won't go back to that fucking Spencer Pavilion again! They'd have to put me in a fucking straightjacket first!" His voice rises and he wraps his arms around me, compulsively.
"It's okay, Brian! You won't have to! You won't."
"Sometimes I wonder how long I have to fucking pay? When do you finally STOP owing someone? Does it ever fucking END?"
"Do you mean Ron?"
"Who else? It will never end, Justin. Never." His voice cracks, like it's just changing.
"Eventually Ron will understand. He'll get the message, Brian. He'll leave you alone. Leave US alone."
"I doubt it. Ron's whole thing is that he NEVER gives up on anything. That's how he got 'The Olympian' made. That's how he fucking SURVIVED in Hollywood all those years. Because he's tenacious. He never gives up -- and he never forgets."
I turn over to face Brian. He's frowning and shaking his head. "He's obsessed, Brian. That's really sick! Taping... us in the poolhouse... taping you -- that's so wrong! You can't keep letting him come back into your life and screw around with you! He walked in here like he had the right to do it! He STILL believes that!"
"I... What the fuck can I do, Justin?"
"Tell him! Tell him to fuck off! Do it -- and end it right here!"
"But -- he still has those fucking tapes. I don't give a shit about the ones of me. But the others -- he HAS the things. And that drives me crazy."
My mind is racing. "But what can he do with them?" I whisper. "He can't hurt me with them, Brian. I'm nobody. Nobody cares about videos of me. I'm nothing. It's... nothing...." Nothing -- except it's everything if Ron shows Brian the video of me... with him.
"It's NOT nothing, Justin! It means something to ME that he has them! That he's sitting on the things. So fucking smugly. So confidently." He says it so vehemently that I tremble. But he misunderstands and pulls the duvet up to cover me.
"It doesn't matter, Brian," I assert with a bravado I don't feel. "It doesn't. Just tell Ron to fuck off. Let him... let him do his... worst."
Brian swallows. "I've tried. I've tried doing it. But... I can't fucking cut him off. I... I just can't do it."
"Because you love him? Because what he's doing to YOU isn't anything like love, Brian. You know that!" I squeeze his upper arm to make certain he's listening.
"I never said anything about 'love.' That's one of YOUR things, Justin. One of YOUR words."
"I know. You don't have to say it. But I KNOW it. You love him -- or used to love him and still can remember what it feels like. Because I've felt it in you. I've even dreamed it. My dream tonight. That was part of it. It may have been me and you that I saw in my dream, but it wasn't only that. It was really you and Ron."
"You and your crazy dreams. You should get your own fucking Psychic Hotline."
"I'm not kidding, Brian. I HAVE felt it. And I understand. But it's still bad for you. It's hurting you. RON is hurting you."
"So what else is new?" he mutters. "Now you know why I don't believe in love -- just in fucking."
"Right. I used to buy that line, Brian. But I know better now. You DO love people. And that's why you're afraid of the whole concept. Because once it happens, you CAN'T take it back. Ever. It really means something. It's for good. That's why it's MORE than just a word to you. That's why it's so hard for you to say."
"Yes, it IS more than just a word -- it's a fucking anchor around my neck! It's something the person can USE against you -- forever! Always know that they've GOT you. They fucking OWN you! And you are sunk. You can't let it go. I can't let it go. I can count on ONE fucking hand the number of people I've EVER really loved in my life." He holds up his left hand in the dark and spreads his long fingers. "And every one of them wants something, needs something from me -- and I HAVE to give it to them! I have to. I can't NOT give it to them!"
"But you love Gus and it's not like that with him."
"First of all, Gus is a baby. He hasn't learned the ins and outs yet. But he can get to me already. Manipulate me. And he's not even two years old! Just wait until he's five. Or ten. Or twenty years old! He'll fucking play me like a harp. Just like his mother does. Lindsay can get me to do things I never would have imagined I'd do in a million fucking years! Cup of sperm? Sure, let me jack off right now! Another kid...." He trips over the word. "And it'll always be like that! Always!"
"But Lindsay isn't like Ron, Brian. And Gus isn't like that, either."
"It's just a matter of degree, Justin. Ron wants to make me do stuff. Lindsay wants to make me do stuff. Gus WILL want to make me do stuff. And I can't fucking say 'NO' to him! Or to any of them."
"Even if it's for your son's own good?"
"I tried that with Michael, remember? You yourself warned me about tossing people over the fucking cliff. THAT was for his own good, supposedly. Debbie BEGGED me to get him and Dr. Dave back together. She said that I owed Mikey. To get out and STAY out of his life. And she was right. Because I've loved HIM since I was fourteen years old and that was fucking him up. I was fucking him up! The ultimate Bad Influence. So, I understood. I TRIED to cut him loose. The Big Party. The Cliff. Bang. That's the end! You see how long THAT lasted."
"But it did work, in a way. Maybe David wasn't the right guy for Michael, but he has Ben now, and he's grown up. He's changed. He's not dependent on you to scare away the bullies and do his homework for him. Michael can stand on his own feet now."
"Sort of." Brian licks his lips. "Hey, how do you know about the homework?"
"Remember -- I lived in his room. There was a stack of his school papers in that old trunk. I was bored one night and snooped in there and read some of them. Your writing style is unmistakable, Brian. And using words that Michael wouldn't KNOW, let alone write in an essay."
"Well, what difference did it make?" he shrugs. "I couldn't NOT write them! He would have failed. I couldn't let him fail."
"Maybe he would have. Maybe not."
"See? It's always been the same fucking thing. Somebody needs something. And I can't rest until I give it to them."
I put my right hand up to meet his left hand in the dark, palm to palm. He curls his fingers around mine.
"That's only four, Brian" I remind him.
"Four fingers. On your hand. Michael. Ron. Lindsay. Gus. You said you could count them on one hand."
"You fucking little twat." He sits up and pulls me up, too, lacing my other hand up into his. "You want to cut off one? To make it four?"
"No, you big goof. I know it was just a metaphor." I try to unwrap my fingers, but he's holding them tightly.
"It wasn't just a metaphor, Justin. You know that."
"Do I? Do I really know that?"
"If you don't, then what has this all been about?"
"I don't know, Brian? You tell me." I can hear my heart pounding loudly. He must be able to hear it, too.
"I've already said it. Doesn't every fucking thing I DO say it?" He pushes me on my back and puts his knees on either side of my hips, stretching my arms up over my head until they touch the mahogany headboard. Then he leans down close to me face. "I said it that first night. Right before I came."
I stare up at him, astonished. "You CAN'T remember that! You didn't remember ANY of that, Brian! You didn't even remember my name!"
"Of course I did. I remember everything. I told you I never say THAT without meaning it. The minute I said it I knew it was true -- and I spent the next two years running away from that single truth. Running like the fucking Fiend from Hell was chasing me! Except when I couldn't help myself and I had to stop and fuck the Fiend's brains out!"
"I think that's the most romantic thing I've ever heard you say, Brian!"
"I know. Pitiful, isn't it?"
"I thought YOU were the Queer Fiend from the Abyss, Brian?"
"Oh, your mom's nickname for me? No -- it's YOU, Justin. It's always been you. You're the dangerous one. The deadly one. The one who leads me to break all of my fucking rules. To go out of my mind with jealousy. And to come back again. And again. And again."
He slowly begins to rub his cock up and down against mine. Very slowly. Until I'm quivering. "Brian... ah... I...."
"Quiet." He pauses and puts his lips against my neck. "I was so fucking scared when they arrested me. Even in New York, I never got busted. I was always one step ahead of the cops. And when they found the vial, I thought -- that's IT! That's Fate putting it all together and telling me that my fucking time was up. The free ride was finally over. And all I could think of was...." He dips his head down.
"What? What were you thinking of?" He begins to trail his tongue from the hollow of my neck all the way up to my chin. I can feel his long, black lashes brushing my skin, blinking.
"YOU, you fucking little Fiend. Never kissing you again. Never fucking you again. Never... loving you again. That's when I knew that I'd ruined everything. If I'd been wearing a belt I probably would have used it to hang myself."
I have to catch my breath for a moment as all the air goes out of me. "I doubt that," I finally say. "You have an awfully strong will to live, Brian. You've survived so much already."
"I know. It's my curse. It may be almost as strong as YOUR will to live. Which is a good thing, since we are now fucking STUCK with each other."
"Are we?" I try to breathe.
"What do you think? I might as well admit it and give in. Throwing myself off cliffs doesn't work -- and YOU refuse to be thrown over. We might as well admit it and get used to it."
"I'm already used to it, Brian. You're the one who will need to adjust."
"Whatever. Can't we just shut up and fuck?" He's already impatient with all this 'romance.'
"Sounds good to me," I whisper.
And he closes my mouth with his. Covers me over with his lips and tongue. Even though we fucked earlier, after Ron and Dorian left, fucked rough and fast because Brian wanted to lose himself and forgot what had happened, now he fucks me like he wants to remember. Like he wants ME to remember that he loves me -- always. And I WANT to remember it -- always. Even though I've always known. Since that first time. I've never doubted it. But HE had to know it, too. Brian had to come to a place where he couldn't doubt it any longer.
And he plunges into me slowly with his long, beautiful cock. And then again, slow and hard. And then again, harder still. But so slowly. He leans down and kisses me, then kisses me again. Takes my cock in his hand and strokes it. Jerks me off while he's delving into me, searching inside me so thoroughly. Looking for the proof. And it's there. It's always been there. And it always will be there. I finally shoot in his firm hand, all over my stomach and all over his chest.
And then he leans down and I can see by the look on his face that he's ready. He shudders and comes, deep inside me. And he opens his eyes, meeting mine directly, profoundly.
"I love you, Justin," he says. And kisses me.
Continue on to "Beast and Beauty", the next chapter.
©Gaedhal, September 2002
Updated September 8, 2002