(Pittsburgh, May 2013 - past)
Justin let out a soft moan in his sleep when he felt Brian's fingers gently brushing the bare skin of his back. The brunett always knew how to wake him up and give him a good morning. He slowly opened his eyes and turned to look at him, a smile instantly forming on his lips. Was it even legal how much he loved Brian?
"Hey," his smile even widened.
"You're finally awake," Brian licked his lips. "It's actually amazing how long you can sleep," he chuckled in amusement.
"Well, it's called beauty sleep."
"I'm pretty sure you don't need that," he tenderly kissed him. "You still look young as fuck and your're already... beautiful," he breathed out.
Justin bit his lip, enjoying hearing such words. "If you don't want a zombie walking around here, then trust me that I do need it," he yawned.
"You would be a really hot zombie," he looked at him with his horny face.
Justin giggled and pulled him in for a hungry kiss. "How about you stay home today? We could fuck all day," he looked at him hopefully.
Brian sighed. "You know I can't... I have a lot of work to do, but... I can fuck you now," he smirked.
"Uhhh, let me think about it."
"Oh really?" Brian arched his brows and began to tickle him.
"Okay, okay... you can fuck me... you can fuck me all you want," he said through laughing.
Brian flipped him onto his back and lay on top of him, their cocks immediately began to harden as they rubbed against each other. He slowly licked around his lips with the tip of his tongue and the blond parted them so Brian could slide his tongue deep inside. After the kiss, Brian gently bit Justin's lower lip and nuzzled his face.
"I'm really glad marriage didn't kill our sex drive," Brian chuckled.
"Trust me, that will never happen to us," Justin assured him. "Forty years from now we'll still be fucking like crazy."
"Can't wait," Brian winked and leaned down for another kiss. "Now roll over," he commanded, his voice husky.
(Pittsburgh, May 2016 - present)
Justin looked at Emmett in confusion after his voice brought him back to reality. "Um, sorry, what did you say?"
"I was just wondering how long are you planning to stay?" Emmett replied with a smile.
And Justin felt really terrible, he was reunited with his friends after three years and he wasn't even able to listen to what they were saying because he just couldn't stop thinking about the last moments he spent with Brian.
"Uhhh, two days… at most."
"Oh. Really? I thought we'd catch up a bit… you know, since we haven't seen each other in so long."
"I was hoping for that too," Ted added. "But we understand you have your responsibilities at home."
It was really strange for Justin to hear Ted call New York his home because he had never felt at home there. He had already spent a total of 7 years there, but he never considered it his home.
And truth was that no responsibilities awaited him there. He didn't really have a single reason to go back there so soon... except one - he wanted to get out of Pittsburgh as quickly as possible, because otherwise he was sure he would go completely insane soon. Everything was just getting to be too much for him and he hadn't even done the most important (scariest) part yet.
"But we could go out tomorrow like old times. What do you say, Justin?" Michael asked hopefully.
That right now I'm absolutely unable to think about anything but the fact that the guy I love with all my heart is buried in the fucking ground and I'm still not ready to face it.
"Yeah, that sounds good," he replied, though he didn't really know what he was answering to. He was too numb.
"Great," Michael smiled.
And Emmett and Ted were instantly excited as well, but Justin couldn't share their excitement as he was dying inside right now.
"Do you need help with something?" Justin peeked into the kitchen where Ben was doing the dishes.
"No need, but thanks," Ben smiled at him.
And Justin sighed softly, he just really needed to distract himself with something. And fortunately for him, Ben noticed his expression…
"Or you know what, can you help me put the dishes back where they belong?"
"Gladly," Justin immediately lit up and went to help him. "Thank you," he smiled at him.
"You're welcome. I get it. You need something to do and not think about what's happening."
"Yeah," he sighed. "I just need my brain to stop thinking for a moment and doing something at least calms me down a little so..." he paused for a moment. "I just didn't even realize what I've been avoiding all this time... until today. And it's really hard."
"I know. But it's good you're here. You need it."
"Yeah, that's what everyone keeps telling me. But despite that, I'd rather run away."
"I don't blame you, Justin. You still haven't accepted what happened and in your world, you're still hoping that Brian will show up somewhere, that you'll just wake up from this nightmare and he'll be here..."
"But he won't be," Justin tried his best to hold back his tears, but he couldn't stop them.
"Shit. Sorry. Here..." Ben immediately handed him a tissue.
"The crying is getting really annoying," Justin chuckled but still couldn't control the tears.
Ben put a hand on his shoulder and looked at him sympathetically. He couldn't even begin to understand how Justin must have felt. When Michael was in the hospital after the Babylon bombing and he didn't know if he was going to survive, it was literally the hardest thing he's ever been through. But luckily, Michael made it through so Ben never had to feel what Justin felt right now and as selfish as it might sound, he was really grateful for it… he really wouldn't want to be in Justin's shoes. But on the other hand - who would?
"Is there anything I can do for you, Justin?"
"It's okay. I just need to pull myself together. I'm gonna get some fresh air."
"Uhm, yeah," Justin smiled at him and quickly headed to the front porch.
He sat down on the porch steps and buried his face in his hands, trying to calm down. The hardest part was yet to come and he was already on the verge of a mental breakdown, so he really did need to pull himself together.
"You know I hate seeing you like this," Brian's caring voice suddenly said next to him.
"Maybe if you hadn't died, you wouldn't have to see me like this," Justin barked.
"Sunshine," Brian sighed. "If I could prevent it, believe me... I would. I would do anything to be with you again."
"You shouldn't have come back for me!"
Justin's crying was overcome by uncontrollable rage... but only for a moment, as he then realized how pathetic this whole thing was. He was yelling at someone who wasn't even there... Brian will never know how angry and broken Justin really was... how much he missed him... because he was gone and nothing could ever change that.
"Oh god, Gus," Justin quickly wiped away his tears and smiled at him nervously.
But then he noticed the way Gus was looking at him. "Who were you talking to?" the boy asked, his face worried.
"Um, nobody… or I mean, I was just talking to myself. But don't worry, I'm not crazy," Justin shrugged and laughed at the same time, not that there was anything funny about it, but he just didn't know what else to do. He really didn't feel up to explaining to a 16-year-old boy that he was talking to his dead dad.
But then he realized something. Gus was talking to him. Gus. Was. Talking. To. Him.
"Gus, do you have a minute? Please?"
"I just wanna talk."
"About what?" Gus suddenly put back on his mask of a teenager who doesn't feel anything and who is annoyed by everything.
He really was Brian's son.
"Um, well, about everything... about what happened... about why I didn't call..."
"I don't want to talk about it," Gus just turned around and quickly disappeared into the house.
"That went well," Justin muttered under his breath and sighed.
And suddenly he could hear Brian's laugh behind him. "Teenagers."
"Shut up," Justin rolled his eyes and walked back into the house as well.
But to his surprise, everyone suddenly fell silent and their gazes were directed straight at him. Great, now they're talking about me, he thought.
"Let me guess, you're considering whether I need a shrink..." Justin arched his brows.
"No honey," Debbie walked over to him. "We're just worried about you," she stroked his cheek.
"Well, it may seem like I'm on my way to going crazy, but trust me there's no reason for family intervention just yet," as he finished the sentence, he could see Brian standing behind them with that knowing look on his face. He just wanted to yell at him to go away, but that probably wouldn't help him much at the moment, so he decided to ignore him.
"But if you need anything, just say the word," Melanie said kindly.
"For now, I just need this day to finally be over," he sighed.
And they all nodded in agreement, realizing that it was probably time to go. He may have been the one who dreaded it so much, but the others were also putting it off. After all, they might have come to terms with Brian's death, but that didn't mean it was easy for them.
"I almost forgot, Cynthia's coming too," Ted said.
Oh great, another person who probably hates me, Justin thought. But he really hoped it wasn't the case because he really wanted to see her. And everyone immediately nodded enthusiastically. Before Brian died, Cynthia was a big part of his life for a really long time, not just as his assistant, but as his close friend who helped him a lot in his career, so of course it wasn't a surprise that she was coming too.
Then they all got up and finally went to face the inevitable. The moment Justin got into Ben and Michael's car, he could feel his chest tighten.
"You okay?" Michael looked at Justin the moment Ben started the car.
"Uh-hm," Justin replied, but he really wasn't okay at all. And to be honest, he was considering jumping out of the moving car at the earliest opportunity.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you," Brian said, suddenly sitting next to him.
Justin immediately wanted to yell at him to leave him alone, but he was aware that it might not turn out well for him.
"You'll just break a few bones, end up in the hospital, and then these two clowns will have to take care of you."
"How much longer?" Justin asked, trying to ignore Brian.
"Uh, about 20 more minutes," Michael replied, surprised that Justin was suddenly in a hurry.
"What's the rush, Sunshine? I thought you liked spending time with me," Brian looked at him, smiling.
"Not like this," he said through gritted teeth.
"What'd you say?" Michael asked, confused.
"You know I'm not doing anything, it's you… you're the one who wants to see me and talk to me, that's the only reason why I'm here," Brian pointed out.
Justin was fully aware of that, but suddenly he had absolutely no control over it. It was almost as if his brain was doing whatever it wanted.
"God, you don't even know how much I want to touch you," Brian sighed.
"Please, just stop," Justin whispered with a lump in his throat.
Then he closed his eyes and held his breath, holding it as long as he could and he was even willing to pass out if it meant Brian would leave him alone... and by some miracle it worked, even without passing out.
Imagining Brian was what kept him alive, but right now it was the worst thing that could happen to him… being on the way to his grave but talking to him at the same time? Yeah, he probably really needed a shrink.
"We're here," Ben announced as he pulled up.
And at that moment, Justin's heart just stopped.
"Already?" he asked in a shaky voice.
"Yeah," Michael replied with a sigh. "Already," he himself was having a hard time looking at the cemetery in front of him, fully realizing what was going on. "Shit," he muttered under his breath.
"Are you okay?" Ben asked immediately.
"Yeah, I just… this part is always the worst. Getting out of the car and going there… I hate it..."
"I know," Ben stroked his hair, obviously taking Michael and himself by surprise… they hadn't been touching each other much lately.
Meanwhile, Justin was really trying to pull himself together, internally encouraging himself and trying to stop himself from running away, although he was ready to do exactly that.
But he just couldn't do that to Brian... not again.
And so, taking a deep breath, he finally got out of the car and dared to look at the most terrifying place for him. Meanwhile, the others started to arrive as well, including Cynthia, who immediately greeted everyone.
"Hi, Justin," she smiled at him, placing a hand on his shoulder.
And Justin immediately flinched because he didn't even realize she was there... that's how much numb he was right now. "Oh, Cyn… sorry… It's so good to see you," Justin accepted her hug, feeling kind of weird. They had never been close friends, but they shared a devotion to Brian, and right now the guilt was eating him up even more.
"You look nice," she said.
"Thanks, but you look nicer."
They both chuckled but suddenly neither of them knew what to say and luckily they were saved by Ted. "So you're finally reunited," he smiled at them. "Cynthia is really great, you don't even know how much she helps with Kinnetik, I couldn't do it without her..."
"Come on, boss…" she laughed. "I'm just doing my job..."
"And you're amazing at it."
Justin smiled, glad that the two of them were taking care of Kinnetik that meant so much to Brian... but it was still really hard knowing that he would never see Brian there again.
"I know she's amazing," Justin said. "You always helped Brian even when he was acting like a jerk, so… and he really cared about you, Cynthia," Justin smiled, then looked down sadly.
"And that he acted like a jerk most of the time," she laughed to lighten the mood and Justin and Ted joined her.
Suddenly Justin caught a glimpse of Gus out of the corner of his eye - he was standing alone, probably ignoring everyone, and even though unreal pain was written all over his face, he was trying his best to hide it behind the mask of a tough guy who didn't feel anything. But Justin could see how much he missed his dad.
Justin couldn't help but go to him.
"Are... are you okay, Gus?" God, what kind of stupid question is that?
"Yeah, I'm great," he replied sarcastically.
"I know this must be hard for you… so if you want to talk I'm here for you…."
"Hard for me? As far as I know, you're the one who's been avoiding this for years, so..."
Justin knew he deserved it, but it still hurt... though the truth always hurts.
"But I'm here now, ready to face it… ready to face you…."
"I really can't do this right now," Gus turned around and walked over to his mothers and sister.
Justin wasn't at all surprised by Gus's attitude towards him, in fact he expected even worse because he was sure Gus wouldn't even want to see him... so the fact that he was talking to him, kind of, even if not in a friendly way, Justin took really positively. Small steps Justin, small steps...
"I come here almost every week to bring him and Carl and Vic some flowers and candles... but I still haven't gotten used to that feeling... it still gives me chills," Debbie summed up how she and the others felt.
"We should go there," Lindsay said. "Knowing Brian, he's probably laughing at us right now..."
And they all laughed in agreement, happy for her comment.
Even Justin relaxed a bit, almost wishing Brian would appear next to him and tell him exactly that... but right now he needed him to stay away.
"If he could, he'd probably tell us to leave him the fuck alone and just go live our damn lives," Emmett added with a chuckle.
Again, something everyone had to agree on. But even if Brian could really say that, Justin still wouldn't be able to live his damn life... not without him.
"Let's go?" Michael looked at them to see if they agreed. And as soon as they nodded, they walked through the gate together and made their way to Brian's grave.
But as they were passing other graves, Justin became more and more anxious, his heart was beating so hard and fast that he was sure it was going to jump out of his chest at any moment. But before he knew it, they were suddenly standing in front of his headstone...
Brian A. Kinney
1971 - 2013
Loving husband, father, son and friend
God, Brian would hate that stone, Justin thought bitterly. He'd rather have "Brian Kinney - the hottest fuck of Liberty Avenue" written on it. This stone just wasn't him. And who knows if he even wanted to be buried in the ground, maybe that wasn't his wish... but Justin will never know that because they never talked about it because they just thought they had more time...
"Hey Brian," Michael spoke first, placing a red rose on his grave.
They all had one in their hand and like Michael they also started placing them on Brian's grave while saying a few nice words to him. Only Justin clutched his rose tightly in his hand and tried to hold back his tears. He was completely paralyzed.
And suddenly a memory of that night flashed before his eyes... the night that changed his life completely, the night he lost everything... the night he lost Brian.
He remembered the scream, his scream, he remembered Brian trying his best to save him, he remembered Gus crying...
He will never forget the horror.
"Justin? Justin what's going on?" Lindsay rushed to him when she saw how pale he was.
"Honey?" Debbie said, her voice worried.
But Justin was unable to say anything, he was completely paralyzed with fear, it was almost like he was there again, like he was reliving it, like he was losing Brian all over again and the sight of that stone in front of him broke him completely.
"I can't… I just can't…" was all he got out.
And the next moment all he knew was that he was walking away really fast while the others called after him, but he didn't stop, he just ran, far… as far as he could.
Justin found himself at Woody's, he didn't even realize he was going there, but suddenly he was sitting on a bar stool ordering a Jim Beam. Brian's favorite drink. He couldn't explain it, but drinking it made him feel closer to him, even if just a tiny bit. And as soon as the glass landed in front of him, he dranked the whole thing and ordered another. It wasn't until the fourth glass that he decided to slow down. Though not only did the alcohol make him feel better, but it was really good for the pain too... his leg was killing him now, running probably wasn't the best idea, the doctor had warned him about it... but whatever.
"Can I sit with you?" he suddenly heard behind him.
He immediately looked up and was taken aback by who he saw. "Cynthia? How did you… how did you know I was here?"
"Well, it wasn't that hard to figure it out… Brian's favorite bar and you definitely need a drink today. I'll have what he has," Cynthia waved at the bartender. "Everyone is worried about you."
"They don't have to."
"I know. You're strong. That's what Brian always said. No matter what came your way, you didn't let it break you."
Justin had to smile, knowing that Brian was talking about him like that to someone meant a lot to him.
"I'm pretty sure I'm on the verge of insanity so… I don't know if that's the case."
"You're not going crazy, Justin. You're just fighting with the pain any way you can."
"Why are you here with me?" Justin asked looking at her.
"Well… I'd say you need company."
"I just… you have every right to hate me so…"
"And why on earth would I do that?"
"I think you know the answer to that question."
"God, Justin," she sighed. "Brian was my boss and my friend and yes, I miss him a lot… but you lost the love of your life and the pain must be awful. You shouldn't make it worse by blaming yourself because, Justin, it wasn't your fault."
"That's what everyone tells me, but none of them were there... Gus on the other hand, who was there, really hates me."
"He's a teenager… he probably hates his teacher because he got homework."
Justin had to chuckle.
"Yeah, but this is different. I can see it in his eyes… he can't even look at me."
"Give him time. Don't forget that you disappeared from his life… that must have been hard for him too."
Justin acknowledged that there was some truth to that, but still… Gus had lost his dad because of him, and that was reason enough for him to hate him.
As Justin and Cynthia drank, it became easier for them to talk about Brian and reminisce about everything they had experienced with him. It was really liberating for Justin, he couldn't even remember the last time he had talked to someone about him like that.
"Oh god, he was a prick, but a really great prick," Cynthia lifted her glass still laughing, "To Brian," she dranked the rest of her drink.
Justin immediately joined her, "To Brian. I love you," he said looking up.
And soon the tears of laughter were replaced by real tears.
"Here," Cynthia handed him a tissue.
"Thanks. I feel like a crying queen. I fucking hate it."
"You have every right to cry today Justin. But tomorrow you have to pull yourself together and get on with your life because we both know Brian wouldn't want you to live like this."
"Yeah, I know," Justin sighed. "I just miss him so much and I wish we had more time. Even before he died, we had so little of it... he was always at Kinnetik and I was traveling for shows... I can't even count how many times we fought about it. It was so stupid. I'd give anything to take it back and just be with him..."
"Brian wanted Ted to take over Kinnetik for some time," Cynthia blurted out suddenly.
"What?" Justin breathed out in surprise, his eyes widened.
"Yeah… maybe even permanently. He knew he was missing out on so much time with you and he wanted to change that. He just wanted to be with you more. He knew that working 12 hours a day meant losing precious time with you… so he wanted to make Ted the boss so he could work regular hours and be with you."
Justin's lower lip began to quiver, he was completely taken aback, "I… I didn't know that. He didn't tell me."
"He wanted it to be a surprise. And he needed to talk to Ted first, he knew he had his life with Blake, but he also knew he didn't want anyone else in his place... and he was willing to beg."
"Brian Kinney doesn't beg..."
"Yeah, he does. For you he does."
Justin didn't even know what to say, but he knew that right now he needed to see Brian more than anything...
"Will you excuse me for a moment? I need to go to the bathroom."
"Yeah, of course," Cynthia smiled.
The moment Justin walked into the restroom he made sure no one else was there. He then looked in the mirror and in a few seconds Brian appeared in the reflection...
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"It was supposed to be a surprise, Sunshine. I know how much it was killing you that we weren't together much… it was killing me too and I wanted to change that."
Justin immediately burst into tears. "I'm so sorry. This is all my fault. You're the one who should be here, not me... but you. I'm so sorry, Brian..."
"Shh, Justin… don't do this to yourself," Brian pressed against his back and wrapped his strong arms around him.
"I wish you were real..." Justin whispered, resting his head on Brian's chest.