Life As We Remember by starlight


Sorry this took so long, I actually got stumped on how to get where I wanted it to be.



Brian didn't say anything on the drive to the loft. He only looked at me like he didn't understand anything about why he couldn't leave me alone. I hated not being able to tell him anything, because it felt like Lindsay had the upperhand. Only I knew Brian in a way no one else did, and in the end I had to trust in the man I knew he was. Brian sat on the sofa staring out the windows, and seemed annoyed that I sat on the chair, not next to him. Emmett told me that my Brian said to do what it took, and I understood both of them were the same person. One of the things that caused some of our problems in this life was that we used sex instead of talking to each other.


"I tried to tell myself I'm just imaging it, but I'm not." He says after a few minutes.


"What?" I ask.


"The split personalities that you have. The first night we met you were different. More mature, sure of yourself, something the kid I took to bed wasn't. I can't explain it, but you're not the Justin I know." He tells me.


"Then who am I? I really don't think you've bothered to learn anything about me other than that you like fucking me." I tell him.


"You really believe the reason you're around is because I can't resist your ass?" He asks.


"What do you expect, when the minute you had an excuse to dump my ass, you did? You've never let Lindsay or anyone else tell you what to think before." I tell him.


"You would know that how, because you spent a few nights in my bed?" He asks, before shaking his head. "You do that well." He tells me.


"What?" I ask.


"Change the topic, only normally you do it by using sex, the way you accuse me of doing." He tells me, getting up and leaning over me. I looked into the hazel eyes I knew better than my own. It wasn't easy to resist him, but I did.


"See, even that's different, normally I don't have to come to you." He tells me, running his nose down my neck.


"Am I supposed to do what you want after you dumped me?" I ask him, which had him pause and stare into my eyes.


"Dumping implies we were together, which we weren't." He tells me.


"Then why am I still here?" I ask, not looking away from him.


"I don't know. There's just something about you. Something I can't seem to resist, and I hate you for it." He tells me, before he slams his lips over mine. Everything felt the same, the way he poured himself into the kiss. Brian didn't just kiss, but used it to give the person what he could of himself, which made him agreeing to only kiss me mean more than I understood at that time.


I managed to stop myself only because we heard the door sliding open. Brian didn't seem to care, but stopped when I pulled back. Michael stood there holding pizza and beer, looking to me. Brian looked between us, then got up and went to get a drink.


"Hey, just figured you guys might be hungry." Michael says, looking at me.


"Everything good?" I ask.


"Not really sure, after the lights went out Liberty Avenue became a ghost town. I thought you and I could go look in on Ma." He tells me.


"Let me get a shower." Brian tells him, thinking Michael meant him.


"Justin and I can go." Michael tells him, cringing at the look Brian gave him.


Brian scowled at Michael, but I knew I needed to find out what was going on. Only I was afraid to leave Brian alone, with Lindsay still running around. Which made me glad I hadn't just followed Michael out the door, when Mel came through with Gus, looking around as if Lindsay was here.


"Just what I need." Brian growled.


"Look asshole, I only came to ask if you've seen Lindsay. She took off, after saying you called, once again." Mel tells him.


"I haven't seen her since she told me she wanted to leave you. Before you throw shit in my face about how I live my life and how it will affect MY son, remember you're not exactly fucking mother Teresa yourself." Brian spoke softly, likely because Gus was sleeping.


"What the hell are you talking about?" Mel asked, seeming to get why Brian wasn't yelling. That was a change, that she clued into what Brian was doing.


It took me a second to see that neither of them was really fighting with the other, but almost acting some part they were supposed to play. I looked at Michael, because we both knew any change large or small wasn't something to overlook. Brian didn't like that Michael and I seemed to look to each other, and once again I was pulled behind him and when he sat down he yanked me down until I landed on him. I tried to move to sit next to him, but he held me still when Mel handed me Gus. It was normal in this life that everyone had no problem with me holding Gus while they talked, but it wasn't normal that Brian held me like I was just as special as Gus was to him. She sat down, looking lost for a second, then looked to Brian, as if waiting for something from him. Which was his nod, and she then proceeded to knock me and Michael on our asses.


"Brian, I can barely stand to be in the same room with her. I know you said something was different about her, and now I can feel it. It makes me want to run as far as I can get from her. I hate letting her near Gus, but until we can do what you suggested I stayed to keep him safe." She tells him.


"What?" I asked, because this was way off script.


Brian ignored me, and reached over to hand me a bottle from the diaper bag next to him. Which I held, trying to figure out why he gave it to me. Only to look down to one of the people who I could say I loved as much if not a little more than Brian, for being the person who showed Brian he could love in a way he never believed he could. Gus was staring at me, which really was his way of saying get on with the feeding.


"He's waiting, let's get ahead of the wailing." Brian tells me.


"What's going on with Lindsay?" Michael asks, sitting next to Mel. Mel's reaction to Michael trying to comfort her wasn't her usual. She let Michael put his arm around her as if she needed someone to keep her from coming apart.


"Mel and I started noticing how Gus is almost an afterthought with Lindsay. After she showed up the other morning, I didn't like the way she almost threatened me for letting Justin be anywhere near me or Gus. Mel and I don't always agree with each other, but I trust her with Gus's welfare. We talked about what Lindsay told me, which wasn't anything that I could see Mel saying behind my back, since she has no problem saying it to my face. So yes Michael, I knew Justin didn't say what Lindsay told me, but until Mel and I can do what we need to do for Gus, we don't want Lindsay to know. I did what I did to you because Lindsay went from singing your praises to wanting you gone, and we weren't sure what she would do." Brian tells us.


"You want me gone, well most of the time." I tell him.


"If that's what you think, then pay better attention to what I'm doing, not what you're hearing." He whispered to me. When I tried to look at Michael, he turned my head and stared straight into my eyes. "I'm still waiting for you to explain why I'm dealing with two different people, which apparently applies to not just Lindsay, but Michael too." He tells me.


"I feel like we're in the movie where they replace people with pod people. Only you and Michael don't make my skin crawl." Mel tells me.


"When did you both start thinking something was wrong with Lindsay?" I ask.


"After Gus was born. Until then I didn't notice anything different. Well, except that she seemed to want to have another baby, hoping for a girl with Brian. It's been her obsession since the minute we found out Gus was a boy. I kept it to myself, thinking it was the fact that we both wanted more than one child. Only, watching her with Gus, I couldn't get rid of the feeling something was wrong with the way she looked at him." She tells me.


"In what way?" Michael asks.


"Like he would ruin her plans in some way." Mel tells us.


I sat there running through my head what Lindsay would see in Gus. What would Gus do that would stop what Lindsay wanted? I kissed Gus's head when I figured it out, which took me longer than usual because I couldn't get past that he was just a powerless baby right now, only he wasn't. There were very few people who had the kind of power that Gus did, and in a way it was poetic justice that Lindsay's downfall was of her own doing.


The only problem was, even though Brian saw through her, we still couldn't tell him anything, because he had to be the one to do it. I put Gus in Brian's arms and managed to sit next to him when he let me go to hold his son.


"Why did you break... tell me you didn't want me around?" I asked him.


"To keep Lindsay from figuring out that I didn't believe everything she tells me. I also want you safe, not being hurt by the shit that my life brings. I need you to stay away until Mel and I have Gus safely away from her." He tells me.


"Has she said anything about me?" Michael asks, because well, he's Michael, no matter how new and improved he is.


"She said I should see the kind of friend you really are." Brian tells him.


"What does that mean?" Michael asks.


"It's what she said when you were all over Justin at the park. She said it should bother me that not only do you expect me to take care of you, but apparently I'm expected to give up anything I want to you because you want it. Implying that Justin was one of the things I was expected to give up, because I owe it to you and Deb to make sure you get everything you want." Brian tells him.


"I wouldn't do that to you. It's something you and I never talked about, but it's also something we didn't need to talk about. If one of us loved someone, they were off limits." Michael tells him.


Which was a rule Brian and I never talked about either, only it was so ingrained in me that even when I didn't know anything, my brain put a big warning label over the people who were our friends.


"What are you and Mel planning?" I ask.


"I'm hoping Lindsay will be too distracted by Brian catering to her ass to read the paperwork that Brian and I got prepared. If she doesn't read it, she'll sign away her rights to me, instead of Brian. We want to make it so Brian and I are the custodial parents." Mel tells me.


"What happens if she signs?" Michael asks.


"I plan to make sure to adopt Gus, which will terminate her rights to anything having to do with Gus. The only issue we have for now is that Lindsay will still have a waiting period to change her mind." Mel tells us.


"You really think she'll agree once she finds out she's giving up her rights? I doubt the judge is going to lie for you." I tell her.


"No, but I think she won't want to bother with anything beyond signing. She's always left everything up to me when it came to legal matters, and if we play it right, she'll just think it's me taking Brian's rights not hers. She won't bother to come to the hearing, which isn't going to be a huge court case, but something done in the judge's chambers. Brian and I decided to use Lindsay's game against her, she seems to like pitting us against each other, so we play until we get what we need for Gus." Mel tells me.


"I need you to do something for me." Brian asks.


"What?" I ask.


"Prove to me that you really love me, and walk away until this is done." He tells me.


"I can't." I tell him.


"You won't." He counters.


"That too, but I can agree to help let Lindsay believe she's gotten me out of your life." I tell him.


"He can stay with Emmett and me... Seriously. I get that Justin is irresistible to you, but well, I'm into older guys. I'm seeing freaking David, so can you chill out." Michael tells him, ignoring the threat to his life in Brian's eyes.


"Why would he need to stay with you? He can go home and let Mommy and Daddy live in their delusions that it's just a phase." Brian tells him.


"I can't do it. I won't be what makes my dad comfortable. Lindsay can kiss my ass, because I won't hide who I am for anyone." I tell Brian, and once again seeming to awe him with my convictions.


"Then stay with Michael. But do me a favor and make Lindsay think you don't give a shit about me." Brian tells me.


"That I can do, you taught me well." I tell him.


Brian got up and handed Gus to Mel, then grabbed my hand and took me to the bedroom. We stood close and he leaned his head into mine. He kept looking directly into my eyes, and I got what my Brian once told me. You can see when the person you love isn't there, not that I didn't love Brian, but right now he wasn't willing to love me.


"I can love." He tells me.


"But will you?" I ask.


"Figure it out, since you know me so well." He tells me, covering my lips.


It felt like he was kissing me so he could keep it with him. I hated this shit, that once again our lives were constantly fighting for what we wanted.


"I'm going to marry you one day." I told him.


"Yeah?" He asks, rolling his eyes.


"Just stay out of Hell, I kind of like you less singed." I said, walking off when he looked confused.


Michael and I left, since for now I didn't worry about Brian. We stopped by and checked on Deb, who fed us, since the food Michael brought got left behind. Deb left us to go to bed, before reminding Michael that he needed to call David.


"You know why Lindsay isn't playing mommy like before?" Michael asked.


"I think it's that Gus is one of the people who changed everything for Brian the minute he was born. Brian still partied and tricked, but when Gus was born he started changing in small ways, to give Gus the father Jack never could be to him. In essence, Gus made Brian want to be a better man." I tell him.


"I always thought it was you." He tells me.


"Gus was the reason I got the chance to be more than the trick who wouldn't leave." I tell him.


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