IT'S ONLY LOVE

"A Queer As Folk USA FanFic"

by Gaedhal

This is Chapter 43 of the "Queer Realities" series.

The narrator is Justin Taylor, and features Brian Kinney, Lindsay Peterson, Melanie Marcus, Gus Peterson-Marcus, Others.
Rated R and contains no warnings or spoilers.
Summary: Lindsay has a little girl. Pittsburgh, March 2003.
Disclaimer: This is for fun, not profit. Watch Queer As Folk on Showtime, buy the DVDs, videos, and CDs. Read the stories and enjoy.

"It's only love
And that is all,
Why do I feel the way I do?
It's only love
And that is all,
But it's so hard loving you...."

(Lennon/McCartney)

***

"Brian!" I breathe. "I'm so fucking sorry!"

And he holds me. Really holds me like he means it. "Forget it. Everything will be fine now. I know it will. Fuck anything else!"

I nod against his chest. I can see the heart necklace that I gave him dangling inside his shirt. He's still wearing it. I rub my face against his leather jacket. The smell of Brian. Safety. Home. Everything I've been missing.

"Let's go upstairs, Brian. We can wait on the Third Floor. I already asked. It won't be long before Lindsay has a little girl." I look up at Brian and try to smile. "And you have daughter!"

"And then I'll have everything, Justin," Brian says. "Everything in the world that I could ever want."

"Everything we both could want," I add, meaning it more than I've ever meant anything in my life.

"Why did Michael leave?" Brian asks. He takes my hand and for a moment I think he's going to lead me outside to find Michael.

"I... I don't know, Brian," I say hesitantly. "He and I... we've had a slight... disagreement. Did he talk to you about... about that?"

"While he was driving me down here Michael said that you weren't working on the comic book anymore." Brian frowns. "What's that about?"

"Creative differences." Which is sort of correct.

"Maybe he'll change his mind," says Brian. "Michael seems all mixed up because of this thing with Ben and David. I think he's feeling confused. He almost tried to pick a fight with me in the car."

"It was... was good that Michael was able to go up and get you, Brian." Because I was the one who should have gone up there and gotten him. I'm his partner and I should have been there for him. So why the fuck wasn't I there? I can't think about it! Not now.

I take Brian's arm and pull him in the opposite direction. The more he talks about Michael, the more questions he's going to ask. And I'd rather those questions wait for a while. Or forever. "Let's go upstairs now, Brian. There might be some news about Lindsay."

We take the elevator up to the Third Floor and check at the nurses' station. But Lindsay is still in surgery. "We'll call your name when Ms. Peterson's in the recovery room, Mr. Kinney. You're the father?"

"Yes," says Brian, nervously. "I'm the birth father. But I don't have any papers for anything...." I know he's remembering the horrible bitch of a nurse that wouldn't let Melanie back into the examining room when Gus was sick that one time.

But the nurse at the desk smiles and cuts him off. "There's no need for that, Mr. Kinney. Please take a seat."

Brian and I sit down next to each other. He's still holding tightly to my hand. "Hospitals make me fucking nervous," he admits. "Especially this one."

I understand what he means. This was the hospital where Gus was born, but it's also the hospital where I was taken after I was bashed. I know now that he sat for three nights in the hallway without eating or sleeping, almost without moving, until the doctors said that I would live. This is also where he came to watch over me every night while I was in the Rehab Unit for all those weeks. I still think about that when... when I can't sleep. How no one told me, especially not my mother. How Brian never told me until... until I saw it in Fiona's Vision. Brian standing there, night after night, looking at me through a window. There, but apart. Unable to touch me. Like a stoned guardian angel in a black wifebeater. That sums up Brian in a single sentence.

I squeeze Brian's hand. What the fuck is the matter with me? How could I have ever doubted how Brian feels about me? Yes, sometimes he can be an asshole, but he can also be so wonderful. So caring. So tender to me. I think about the first time we really made love after I was bashed. It was the night of Gus' first birthday party, after I had that flashback of being hit with the bat. After I remembered hearing him calling out to me. Crying my name. And I remember the scarf he was still wearing. That bloody scarf. I feel a pain in my head and it throbs around my scar.

I lean over and put my arms around Brian, hugging him. It's the only thing that makes the fucking pain go away. "I'm here now," I whisper. "I'm okay. Everything is okay. Isn't it, Brian? Tell me that it's okay!"

Brian swallows. I know that he has a million questions, but he doesn't ask them. I thank God that he doesn't ask them. If he's going to hate me, I don't want it to be at this moment.

"It's okay," he confirms. But he isn't looking at me. He's staring into the empty distance.

Two women are sitting across from us. They exchange looks and then talk in low voices. About us, I know. I glare back at them, daring them to say something.

But Brian ignores them. Brian ignores everything except the two of us. He starts telling me about the plans for us to go to Los Angeles. About the Academy Awards on Sunday and the after-parties and how we'll have to go on Saturday for a final fitting for our Oscar tuxes.

"To Armani, of course," Brian states. "I picked out a midnight blue tux for you and a black one for me. I hope it's all right, Justin. Leslie faxed them your measurements. They already have mine."

"Whatever you choose will be great, Brian."

"So... that means you're coming with me?" he asks uncertainly.

"Yes, of course I'm coming with you!" Brian's hand feels so warm. "You promised me that we'd walk down the Red Carpet together, remember?"

"We've already done that," he smiles. "For the 'Olympian' premieres."

"But this is the Academy Awards, Brian. This is the real thing!"

"None of these awards are for real, Justin," says Brian. "It's all a popularity contest. That's why I got that BAFTA award for 'Hammersmith' for Best Supporting Actor and Dorian got Best Director. It was a huge hit in England. And that's why Jimmy will probably win the Oscar for Best Actor. No one is more popular in Hollywood than Jimmy Hardy. But it would be nice if Ron got something. The film would never have been made if Ron hadn't been a constant thorn in the studio's side. They owe him at least that much."

Brian mentioning Ron's name should bother me, but it doesn't. Brian's relationship with Ron was always so painful for me. And for Brian, too. But things are different now. Brian seems so dispassionate when he talks about Ron. Maybe that's part of his therapy. Or maybe because Ron definitely is a part of the past. He's really gone from our lives.

"Sorry that you couldn't go to England to get your award, Brian." The BAFTA ceremony was a couple of weeks ago in London. It was that first weekend I didn't go up to Springhurst. The same weekend that Dylan and I... I wince. "Next year we'll go together, right, Brian? Say that we'll go together!"

Brian looks at me closely. Like he hears something in my voice. "Of course, we'll go together, Justin. If that's what you want. They'll probably ask me to be a presenter. We'll have a great time. It'll be a little too cold to go riding down at Harry's house in the middle of winter, but I'm sure we'll find other things to keep us entertained."

"Can we stay at the Chatterton?" I ask. It suddenly seems very important that we stay there. That we make love there. In the very same room we had last summer. "Please?"

"Sure, Justin. If you want to." Brian seems pleased. "We can do anything you'd like. I promise. You can set the whole agenda."

"Thanks," I murmur. "I'd like that."

"Excuse me, Mr. Kinney?"

We both look up. A man in a plain business suit and a uniformed security guard are standing in front of us.

"Yes?" Brian replies, springing up immediately.

"We'd like you to come with us to a private waiting room." The suited man shows us his Hospital Security badge.

"Is there something wrong?" Brian asks. "Is Lindsay okay?"

"As far as I know, Mr. Kinney," the security man replies. "But some photographers got into the hospital. Two of the guards stopped them on the First Floor. They were looking to get a picture of you and your friend here. We also think they want a picture of the baby, so we're upping security. If you'll both come with us, please?"

Brian and I follow the two men out of the main waiting room.

"Shit," says Brian as we're walking. "This is the last thing I expected. Who'd break into a hospital with a fucking camera?"

"Lots of people, Brian," I answer uneasily. "Like the creeps who would take pictures of us on the boat. Or anywhere else we thought was private."

"I fucking hate this!" Brian exclaims.

The security men take us to a smaller waiting room with no windows. The uniformed guard stays at the door while we sit on an old couch in this claustrophobic room.

Brian nudges at the worn carpeting with the toe of his boot. "I should be worrying about Lindsay and now all I can think of is kicking the asses of some fuckers from 'The National Enquirer'!"

"They won't get a picture," I tell him, hoping that I'm right.

"More proof that I was a lousy choice for a father," Brian sighs. "The poor kid isn't born yet and the paparazzi are already on her ass!

"Mr. Kinney?" There's a nurse standing in the doorway.

We both jump up. "Yes?" Brian says.

"Come with me, please." The nurse gestures for him to follow.

"And my partner, too," Brian insists.

"Of course," she nods.

We follow the nurse down the corridor and then around a corner. She leads us to a room. I see Melanie standing in the doorway. She's wearing a blue scrub suit and grinning.

"How is Lindsay?" Brian almost shouts at Mel.

Mel shakes her head. "Lindsay's fine. She came through the C-section great and so did the baby. She's in here." And we follow her into the room.

Lindsay is lying in the narrow bed, looking a little dazed. But she smiles when she sees Brian. "Bri!" She winces in pain. "I knew you'd come!"

"I promised that I'd be here," says Brian, taking her hand. "You know that I always come when I say I will."

"And Justin, too," Lindsay says. "You'll have double-duty babysitting two kids from now on!"

"I don't mind," I tell her. "You know that I love Gus. And I'll love...." I realize that I don't know the new baby's name. If she has one yet. "I'll love the baby just as much."

That's when the nurse comes in, wheeling a crib with the baby in it right up to Lindsay's bed. The baby looks tiny, but also perfect. She's not as wrinkled and red as Gus was when he was born. One little tuft of pale hair is sticking up right on top of her head. And her eyes are wide open, staring around at this crazy world that she's now in.

"You can't call this one Abraham," Brian cracks, raising his eyebrow quizzically. "So, Justin -- what'll it be? Madonna? Or Bette? Good thing Emmett isn't here. He'd insist on Barbra!"

"Actually, Mel and I both agree on this one, Brian," says Lindsay. "You're the one who named her, although you probably don't remember."

"I named her?" Brian grimaces. "Please, Lindsay! Anything but Brianna! God, no!"

Lindsay tries to laugh, but you can tell she's in pain from the C-section. "Remember when we talked about this a year ago? When you finally agreed to be the father, what did you say to me?"

"Jesus, Lindz," Brian shakes his head. "I can't remember last week, let alone last year!"

"Think, Bri," Lindsay coaxes. I know it's important to her for Brian to remember. Because she's obviously still so fucking in love with him. You can see it on her face as she smiles at Brian. And at the baby. Their baby. Hers and Brian's.

"I said that... that I'd decided to make the donation because I'd seen how well Gus turned out. So it would be for a good cause. As long as you called her...." Brian looks stunned. "Christ, Lindz! I was fucking kidding! It was a joke!"

"But I loved the name, Bri," Lindsay insists. "And Mel agreed. So that's her name. Charity. Charity Kinney Peterson-Marcus."

"I like it!" I say. "And it's much better than Brianna. Or Abraham!"

The nurse is watching all of this in amusement. "Would you like to hold the baby, Mr. Kinney?" she asks.

"Sure," says Brian. The nurse picks up the baby and puts her into Brian's arms. "Charity," he repeats as if deciding how it sounds. I think Brian likes the name after all. "I guess I'm a father again."

"I guess you are," I whisper as I watch Brian kiss his new daughter.

***

"Jesus! What a fucking day!" Brian sits down on the white sofa in the loft, totally exhausted.

"What did Sylvia say when you called her?" I ask.

"Oh, the usual," Brian says dismissively. "That I'm a lucky man to have two beautiful kids and so many good friends who'll put up with me." Brian pauses. "Especially a partner who puts up with my bullshit. And that I'd better behave or she'sgoing to take a stick to me."

"Sylvia is a good counselor, Brian," I remind him. "She really cares about you."

"I guess so," Brian admits. "She would have made a great nun. All she needs is a ruler to whack me across the knuckles when I'm bad."

I laugh. "That'll keep you in line!"

"I hope so." Brian stares into space. He's thinking. He's been very quiet since we left the hospital. Finally he sighs. "But the baby is beautiful. Really beautiful."

"She is, Brian," I agree. "Wait until she grows up! The men will be all over her like wolves."

"Fuck," he says. "I'll have to put her in a convent to keep her away from creeps like me!"

"She'll be fine, Brian," I reassure him. "Let me make you some herbal tea. It'll help you relax."

"Herbal tea," Brian huffs. "Now I really know that Gorowitz is turning me into a fucking lesbian! Because I'm starting to like herbal tea. What have you got?"

I go into the kitchen and put the kettle on to boil. Then I check the teabag box. "We have Sweet Dreams and Mint Medley."

"I'll take the Sweet Dreams," says Brian. "Because that's what I need tonight more than anything else. An entire night of sweet dreams."

"I could use that, too," I murmur. I haven't had a full night's sleep in weeks, but I can't tell Brian that. I don't want him to know that the nightmares are back with a vengeance. Some nights I wake up alone in Brian's big bed, sweating and shaking so badly that I go into the bathroom and throw up my guts. But tonight will be different. Tonight will be a new beginning. I know it will be.

"What's this?" Brian asks as I bring out the cups of hot tea.

"What's what?" I set the steaming cups down, making sure that the coasters are underneath to protect Brian's Italian marble coffee table.

Brian is holding a magazine in his hand. "'Sports Illustrated'?" he laughs. "Sunshine is certainly broadening his interests!"

I stare at the magazine. "I... I bought it for my Graphics class. To find images that I could use in... in a project." I grab the magazine away from Brian. "I meant to throw it out."

"Jesus, Justin," Brian smirks. "I won't take away any of your fag points for looking at some hot athletes in a fucking sports magazine! Although if you want to see some hairy legs and nice hard asses, watch the Premiere League Soccer matches on the cable. I'll watch those with you. Some of those guys are hot."

"Right, Brian," I reply. I take Dylan's 'Sports Illustrated' back to the kitchen and shove it into the trash.

My skin feels cold. It amazes me how easily the lies fall right out of my mouth. How simple it is to deceive Brian. Or is it so simple? And am I really deceiving him? Or just deceiving myself?

And what's the fucking cost in the end? To me? To him? To us?

Only everything.

And I know it.

***

"Even if it WAS ridiculously romantic," says Brian. And he kisses me.

I've never been so happy. The greatest night of my life. Brian loves me. I have no doubt at all.

"Later," he whispers.

I turn and walk away. Thinking about later. Thinking that this is the beginning of a new life for both of us. A new Brian. And a new me.

"Justin!"

I hear Brian shout the warning to me.

I turn and see the guy. He's coming at me, his face shadowed. He raises the bat.

As he swings it toward my head, his face is revealed. It's as clear as broad daylight. As strong as sunshine.

It's me.

It's my own face.

That's the last thing I see. I don't even have time to scream.

Except....

"Justin! Justin!"

Brian is holding me while I thrash around in the bed. I'm crying. I can't breathe!

"Justin! Stop!" he soothes. "I have you. I'm here. It's all right." Brian is stroking me gently. He kisses my head, right over my scar.

"Oh, Brian," I sob. "It's not all right!"

And he holds me until I stop trembling. Until I can begin to breathe again. To think again.

"When did they start back up?" Brian asks gently. "The nightmares?"

"A... a few weeks ago."

"Did you... did you see something that triggered them, Justin? Did you see Hobbs... or something that reminded you?"

"No," I insist. "I mean, I don't know! They just... started."

"How often?" Brian caresses my face.

"Almost every night," I admit.

"And you're here alone when it happens?" Brian sighs. "Why didn't you fucking tell me? Is that why you didn't want to come up to Springhurst? Were you afraid that I'd find out? What did you think I'd do, Justin? Blame you for having nightmares again?"

"I don't know," I mumble. I'm shaking.

"I know that you don't want to hear this, Justin," says Brian. "But I think you should talk to someone about these nightmares. I know that I've always said that therapy is bullshit, but... but it's helped me. I really think it has. There must be a reason that you're having them again."

"No!" I insist. "There's nothing!" I try to breathe normally. "Nothing."

"Is it me?" Brian prods. "Is it because I'm away and it's all too much for you to deal with? Tell me the truth, Justin."

The truth. The last thing I can ever tell Brian.

"It has nothing to do with you, Brian. Really."

No, it's all about me. Lying, cheating me. I can feel the tears beginning to run down my cheeks again. Brian leans down and stops them with the tip of his tongue. Tasting my tears.

"If you're having nightmares again, it does have to do with me," he says. "Because it's affecting you. I can't stand the thought of you here alone, waking up in fear."

"I can handle it," I say. Although I can't.

I'm afraid to go to sleep. And I'm afraid to wake up and face the reality of the day. Sometimes I wish I were dead. Michael told me that he wished that Brian had left me there on the cement to die. Sometimes I wish that myself.

Brian rolls me over and spoons against me, his chin on my shoulder, his hands smoothing my chest.

"I've made a decision," he says.

"What... what do you mean?" I hold my breath. "What decision?"

"I'm not going back to Springhurst," Brian states. "I'm finished there. You need me here. And Gus is going to need me now that he's got a sister to be jealous of. I can stay here until right before production starts on 'Red River' in May. You should be finished with the semester at PIFA by then. And then we can go back out to L.A. together. And then on location, too. I'll need you to be there with me, Justin. That is... if you want to be there?"

"Yes, I want to be there!" I exclaim. "I know things can be different from now on. It'll be the two of us -- with no regrets. Right, Brian?"

"No," he murmurs. "No regrets at all. Because I finally know what it is that I want."

"What's that, Brian?" I ask, almost afraid.

"I think you already know," he says in satisfaction.

Then he hugs me tighter. Caresses my face. My neck. Begins to kiss me. To make love to me.

Yes, I know. I know, Brian. I know!

I fucking know!

Please, don't let everything be fucked up! Don't let me fuck it all up.

Please? Oh, God!

Continue on to "Don't Dream It's Over".

©Gaedhal, April 2005.

Posted April 23, 2005.