AU after Season 4. The year Justin turns 23, he and Brian get the news that over the next year he's going to gradually lose all of his hearing. The series tracks the next years of their life as they manage their new reality, after-effects of the bashing, their eventual move to New York, and their ever-evolving relationship. Told in first-person chapters from their points of view and some outsiders, with some angst, a lot of hurt/comfort, and loads of humor. Never any big relationship drama, always disability-positive, and no one ever takes themselves too seriously.
A few years down the line, but AU after Season 4, for reasons that will become clear. NOT Michael-bashing! Additional Tags: Deaf Character/Disability, First-Person POV, Outsider POV
What was Brian up to during TOWJLHH, and what happens after? You asked, I answer.
Since there's more sign language in this one, a quick note about it: ASL grammar is completely different from English grammar, so no attempts to represent it in English are going to be perfectly successful. I went ahead and kept the signing parts (in bold) in English grammar just for ease of reading. I'm not Deaf but I'm in school to be an interpreter, so let me know if you have sign language questions!
I think everyone, even Brian, thought I understood a lot more than I did for a long time.
I saw Brian first, standing at baggage claim, that smarmy half-smile on his face, holding a sign over his head like that guy in Say Anything: “The Inimitable Daphne Chanders.”
Simcom--simultaneous communication. Signing and speaking at the same time. Very, very hard to do well.
Not Justin POV, despite the title; we're hearing from his friend Gregory today. To refresh your memory, he's the first Deaf person Justin met back in TOW Brian Learns Sign Language, and he introduced Justin to Deaf culture.
You can't call Brian Kinney sweet, but sometimes you want to anyway. Ted POV, but you guys give me more views when I put Justin or Brian's names in the title instead of the POV character. I'm onto you.
Now, Craig Taylor turned around from the hostess and there we fucking were, two foreign superpowers in the middle of a packed restaurant lobby. Negotiating Justin like a treaty, I thought vaguely to myself, though the metaphor didn't really fit, since I was always trying to pass Justin off to the highest bidder anyway and Craig, of course, didn't want him.
"Brian says I'm crying all the time," I said.
Technically, what Brian said was more along the lines of, "I really should have gone with my gut your last allergy season and bought stock in tissues, because for God's sake, Justin, pull yourself together," but Brian's way of expressing concern is an acquired taste.
"Why does everyone think they deserve their own personal fucking confession about how I feel about Justin? Who the fuck are we saying needs that in this equation? I don't need it. Justin doesn't need it. It's for you. You need it. And just fucking spare me. You want security, reassurance, sappy little platitudes? Get them from your own relationship, not mine."
I won't pretend there wasn't a part of me that thought Brian was still gonna bail. That he'd stand alone in that empty loft and panic and sneak out the back way and run for the hills or some shit, or that at the very least I'd wait in the car for half an hour and finally go up and have to drag him, kicking and screaming, off the bed platform.
"You always said rings were a meaningless heterosexual ritual," the blond one said.
"I know, but then I thought about it and realized how fucking gay it is for men to wear jewelry."
"So," I said. "You know how you were thinking about asking your shrink to up your antidepressant?"
He looked at me warily. “Yeah.”
"Any further thoughts on that? Because I just looked at that painting you finished and now I’m thinking about killing myself, too."
I really needed just some pure, naked h/c, so here we are.
Takes place immediately after "The One Where Brian Isn't There."
"I hate hockey," Justin said.
I almost called this "The One Where Literally Nothing Happens."
So, in case you have the same high-brow tastes as my son, here's a story about that...
Part one of...four? I think?
Part 2 of 4. Next one's Brian's POV.
So this is heavy, and after some comments on the last one I feel the need to point out that if you don't like what I write, no one's making you read it *shrug*
Honestly, when Justin got pneumonia, it was sort of a relief. (Part 3 of 4, and not really living up to the title so much anymore...)
Brian kept his eyes on his paper. Stay away from the edge, okay? He got to be a little overprotective right now. I could be patient. (Part 4 of 4!)
So, okay. Here's where we're gonna end this, with a list of shit Brian Kinney never, ever would have said if he had to voice it out loud. Things his hands said that he definitely didn't mean them to say. Maybe that seems like kind of a flippant place to finish, but... I don't know. You'll see.
Once, years before Justin lost his hearing, Brian dropped a shelf on his head. Set between seasons 3 and 4, fleshing out a reference from "The One Where Brian Isn't There." Requires absolutely no knowledge of the series, since it takes place before anything starts, and works as a canon gapfiller.
Gus comes to visit and sparks a conversation Justin and Brian had thus far managed to avoid. Set in late winter or early spring, shortly before Justin's 27th birthday, a couple months after the last scene in TOW Justin Finishes His Work.
An innocent question from one of Justin's friends leads to him revealing something he's been keeping for a while. Also, Brian finds out about Grindr.
Brian's in Australia, and Justin isn't answering his phone.
Justin has an important decision to make, and Brian won't help.
After a brush with danger, Brian and Justin discuss their relationship dynamic.
Brian walks us through a brief history of times people have gotten themselves all twisted up over Justin Taylor.
Everybody makes mistakes
A closer look at the ten minute courthouse ceremony Brian would later call "the greatest wedding the world has ever seen" From TOW Justin Gets Better
Takes place shortly after the "The One Where Everybody's Scared" burn saga.
Everything is fine, and Brian has concerns about that.
Justin's sick on an important day, but Brian has it under control.
Worlds collide when Brian and Justin come home for a funeral.
Eighty-eight percent of Deaf/hearing marriages fail in the first five years.
Let's check in on Brian and Justin's.
Brian and Justin interfere in Daphne's love life.
Some of Ben's correspondence with Justin, from 2003 to 2010, as Justin's life changes.
(Helps to be very familiar with at least the first 26 fics, but you'll be fine, don't worry.)
The Michael/Justin tension reaches a breaking point. (Takes place shortly after "All Together.")
Justin runs into someone he'd rather forget.
Brian, Justin, and Daphne tell their New York friends about the bashing, and Brian has some realizations about his new relationships here. Takes place shortly after "Absolution."
Brian's out of town when Justin gets a phone call.
Brian gets some new perspective in Italy.
Brian and Justin reevaluate their old rules.
Brian gets a little possessive when Justin's hospitalized.
Justin's biggest show ever is opening on Christmas Eve, but he's not exactly feeling in the spirit of things. Brian helps.
A problem at Kinnetik has ramifications for Brian and Justin, and neither of them handles it all that well.
Justin's short two senses for a few days, and it's a nightmare.
Brian's perspective on the events of "A Laying on of Hands," and what happened afterwards.
“Look,” I said. “You don't run in and play hearing savior to the Deaf kids. Trust me. Trust me. I have screwed this up more times than I can count. No matter how much you think this time is different, no matter how much it feels like an exception, you do not rescue the Deaf kids.”
“Do not rescue the Deaf kids.”
She stared at me.
“Do not,” I said, “rescue the Deaf kids.”
Justin gets an opportunity he can't pass up, but it's a little too familiar for Brian.
Justin hasn't been on his own in a long time.
Justin's been in LA for four months, but will he make it home for Christmas?
What's fair and what's not isn't as straightforward as it used to be.
Eleven years later, the same group is at the same hospital, waiting for Justin to wake up.
Justin's got a long road back to where he was before the accident, Brian's being unprecedentedly amazing, and there is something, something in the back of Justin's mind that he just can't quite recall...
Justin's trying to make a big decision, and Brian doesn't understand his hesitation. Things get heated.
Sometimes bodies don't do what they're supposed to.
Justin is not the outdoorsy type.
Brian still gives good advice, even when he and Justin both have the flu.
A complete history of Justin vs. Tamiflu, expanding on a reference from "House Call."
Brian showed Justin the world. It just wasn't the same world for both of them.
Justin doesn't know what's going on.
Brian has some shit to work through. His perspective during "Miranda," and what happens after.
Brian and Justin come home for Christmas in the aftermath of "Miranda," with news.
What a normal, non-crisis day looks like for the Taylor/Kinney household nowadays.
Justin's started seeing someone, and Brian's not having the easiest time with it...but not for the reason either of them thinks.
Justin's working on his bad habits.
Justin turns 30, Brian takes him on a day trip, nothing happens. Ohhhh it's so little and pointless...
Justin's daughter is born.
Justin has bronchitis. Brian's in his wheelhouse.
S3. Justin has an asthma attack from Ethan's cat, and Brian's getting sick of waiting. Requires no knowledge of the series.
Justin's breakup with Ethan and reunification with Brian... How I think it should have gone. Requires no knowledge of the series. (Has small references to some series stuff and Hiatus, but you're fine if you haven't read them.)
Claire needs to talk to Brian, but she finds someone else instead.
Justin can't sleep.
Brian really only knows how to take care of Justin.
Justin's daughter has a medical emergency, and not everyone feels the same way about it.
Molly needs a brother, and Brian fills in for Justin.
There's a baby in the office, and Cynthia is not amused.
Something is very wrong.
Something is very, VERY wrong. (Starts immediately where "Pause" let off.)
Set two weeks or so after "Stop." A follow-up of sorts to "Typical," this time from Brian's perspective. What a day looks like right now.
Molly's having a hard time going back to normal after the events of "Pause" and "Stop."
“I have just been informed,” Brian said, with an edge in his voice that told me not to ask questions. “That we are having Thanksgiving.”
Quarantine isn't all it's cracked up to be.
Evan takes over with Justin when Brian catches a cold.
Brian keeps looking at real estate listings.
Brian searches for a new place for him and Justin to live, but nothing feels quite right...
Our boys face some demons.
Justin's working on his self-advocacy, and Brian has a lot of feelings about it.
Justin gets some news, and Brian makes some decisions.
Brian plans a bachelor party for a heterosexual.
Brian and Justin spend a whole day in bed.
Brian and Justin prepare for their next big move.
Justin has a seizure, but it's Brian who ends up in the ER. They're okay.
Brian and Justin move to their new house.
Justin can't breathe so well.
Michael comes to stay at the house for a weekend while Brian's out of town.
Justin gets some test results, Brian gets a new account, and they end up saying a lot of things out loud.
Bad days come in different forms.
Brian gives a driving lesson.
Thirteen-year-old Gus joins a branch of his untraditional family tree on a trip to Disney World.
The Taylor-Kinney household has some role-shifting when something goes wrong with Evan. It's not easy.
Justin might not be the best at multitasking.
Brian makes an unpopular decision for reasons nobody quite understands.
If Justin wanted Brian to know he was having a hard time, he could tell him, and if Brian wanted to know how Justin was doing, he could ask, and if knowing Justin needed him was enough to keep him here, he never would have left.
Brian explains why he went to London.
The gang comes to check out Brian and Justin's beach house and have a lovely weekend, but not without a few hiccups.
Brian can't always fix everything.
Justin has a nightmare at the beach house.
Brian and Justin have a bad night. Evan's there.
An interpreter comes into the ER for our heroes.
This all hits different for sick people.
This story references the current COVID-19 pandemic. Please skip it if you’re not in a place to read about it.
Evan's past resurfaces, and Brian caves to the pressure.
Everyone gets locked in at Kinnetik.
Justin has a problem, and a solution.
Evan's feeling drawn to something, and Brian and Justin have feelings about that.
Justin doesn't make new friends very often. Especially not hearing ones.
Two major life events intersect for Evan and Gus. Justin manages both.
Brian has his hands full, but doesn't really mind.
Someone's interested in Evan. Brian and Justin react...differently.
Brian says it all the time: "Justin pulls his weight."
Justin's art opening doesn't go as planned, and there's not much Brian can do about it.
Justin finally gets his service dog, but there's trouble afoot.
A long time ago, someone called Justin a princess locked in a tower.
Brian has very little to complain about. But very little isn't nothing.
Our boys go shopping, at a familiar furniture store.
More letters between Ben and Justin, spanning from Pause to Unsaid.
Brian's not one for acknowledging his trauma, but Justin doesn't have much of a choice.
Brian and Justin spend an evening in Manhattan.
Sometimes Justin feels like screaming.
Brian and Evan run into a familiar face at the club.
Our interpreter from "Compound" works three medical appointments for Justin.
More letters between Ben and Justin, starting right after "Three Acts."
April reflects on what Justin, and others, have given her.
It's a big day for Evan, but it's not easy for Justin.
Evan goes under anesthesia.
A new hire gets some tips from Justin at Kinnetik.
Brian wakes up in the middle of the night to an empty bed.
Brian tries to keep his promises.
Justin and company go to Chicago for a major art event, and Justin reconsiders his goals.
It's time for some conversations we've been avoiding.
A week at the beach, where everyone takes a breather....so to speak.