RATING: this chapter: PG
WORD COUNT: this chapter: 1,290
WARNINGS: none, Justin implied other, mixed POVs
DISCLAIMER: Nothing I can say that hasn’t been said already? Not mine.
Originally Beta’ed by herefordroad, all subsequent mistakes are mine
Story throughout contains excerpts from The Brian Kinney Operating Manual including commentary from the Editors
SUMMARY FROM THE EDITORS; ‘He let out a breath that he then realized he’d been holding in all week. He was back.‘
Justin with Jamey, Mychael & Tristan discuss relevant things about Kansas but mostly about Pittsburgh
AUTHOR‘S NOTES: This story projects 59 years into the future and reflects all that that entails, many of the loose ends are tied-up. I dance with POV, I dance with time, in essence, I just dance to the song Brian & Justin sang to me.
Contains: Brian_others, Justin_others. They grow old, they are always together for just as long as time allows, but, ultimately, they will die.
As someone wise once said, ‘In the end, it’s all about Brian and Justin’ and I can only agree
A Time From Now
One Week Later - Four Months - New York
They were becoming less Kansas and more New York with each passing day and with Eden Skye as their favorite classroom. They danced some but they also watched just in case Justin should show up. Jamey reminded himself that it was no big deal that Justin hadn’t been there last Friday night. He’d been reminding himself of that all week, but he was still nervous and when finally tired of just watching, Jamey accepted an offer to dance. So it was actually Mychael, dance-floor fucking with Tristan who noticed Justin first, saying, “Jameson, look. He’s here.” But before Jamey even had a chance to turn around, Justin was behind him, his hands first on his shoulders, next stroking up along his neck before finally clutching into his hair and Jamey let out the breath that he now realized he’d been holding in all week. He’d come back.
Pulling back his head, his mouth hovering over his ear, Justin whispered, “Sorry about last week, had to go home for a couple of days. Come, dance with me.” And Justin cut-in, smiling to the guy he was taking Jamey away from and they danced, swaying easy with each other, shaped by each other’s hands, washed in warm light and gold glitter. When the dance ended, they headed for the bar both needing a drink. Once served, they joined Mychael and Tristan leaning on their wall and the conversation picked up as though it hadn’t actually ended, like two weeks hadn’t really gone by.
“You never did tell me where you’re from, just that you came to New York together, right?” Justin asked, “But where you from originally?”
“Kansas,” they replied in unison. “Near Topeka,” Tristan clarified.
“Really?” Isn’t Topeka like the capital or…something?”
“It really is,” Tristan said. “And not much more. I can see that you’re skeptical but really, that’s it. Sooo…now you.”
“Pittsburgh. Born and raised, I’ve been here maybe three months, give or take.”
Mychael remembered having read something about Pittsburgh, something bad, something about a bombing. “Can I ask you something?” And he could tell that it was like Justin knew what he was going to ask, just from the way he ducked his head.
“I remember reading something about Pittsburgh; I think it was Pittsburgh anyway, about a bombing at --?”
“Yeah, you’re right, there was a bombing, at a dance club --”
“Fuck, no way, I remember reading about that too,” Tristan said excitedly until he remembered what he‘d read. “But people…died, didn’t they? You didn’t know any of them, did you? You…you weren‘t there, were you?”
“Yeah, I was there and yeah, I knew people who died.” Pausing, taking a deep breath, he continued, “The club was…actually is…called Babylon. They’ve rebuilt. The neighborhood’s Liberty Avenue, our neighborhood, where I lived. One of the guys who died was a one night hook-up…Jeremy and the woman who…died…Dusty, she was the best friend of this lesbian couple I used to always baby-sit for. A friend, Michael, ended up in the hospital, we didn’t know if he was going to make it, but he’s okay now, he’s tough. We were all there that night. Well, everyone except Brian.” And Justin paused again before continuing, “You know, I haven’t talked about this very much away from Pittsburgh, it‘s good to…I guess.” Realizing maybe he’d said too much, he glanced around the dance floor…uneasy.
Jameson said, “You must be needing to talk about it, must be ready to, so the time must be right, yeah? Can I ask --?”“
He remembered seeing a scar in Justin‘s hair. “Were…you hurt?” He thought to touch him but didn‘t.
“Nah, not really. I was knocked out for a little while, was buried under some building stuff, but when I heard Brian yelling for me I was out of there. Know what I do remember? Seeing this really bright flash of white, just this fucking brilliant white and then feeling this intense force knocking me down. Shit just slammed me to the floor.”
“Thank god you weren’t bad hurt. But shit, I am so sorry about the people who…who…” And Tristan faltered, glancing first to Mychael who was staring into the mirror behind the bar, then to Jamey who was staring at the dance floor and finally back to Justin, realizing that he now somehow saw him differently. “I’m so sorry. I cannot believe how people can be, I don‘t get it, I really don‘t. Do they know who did it? I haven’t read anything about them finding the assholes who did it.”
“No, they don’t know anything yet, but I know they’re doing their best. The friend who was hospitalized? Well, his mom’s fiancé is a detective with the Pittsburgh P.D. I understand he’s putting all his time on it. They’ll catch the murders, they will. They have to. I mean they do have to…right?” They agreed that catching the murderers could be the only possible outcome.
Jameson skimmed his palm down Justin’s arm, joining their hands, lacing their fingers together. He’d noticed that Justin had mentioned some guy twice. He felt shitty that after all they had been talking about, his main emotion was jealousy but it was what it was. He was who he was. Life was what it was. Fuck it. “Justin? Who’s Brian?”
Justin’s hold tightened on his hand. “I need to explain about him. I’m not about to lie, but I also don’t know if this is the right time. Look, I came back because I really want to get to know all of you. But it’s…complicated. I was thinking maybe we could go somewhere, get some coffee, maybe talk?”
That same nervousness he’d felt two weeks ago rose a little closer to Mychael’s surface, became a little clearer, but he agreed with Tristan nonetheless that they should go. Better now than later.
But Jameson hesitated realizing that this sounded way more important than he wanted it to be. This guy mattered, but since he’d been the idiot who’d brought it up, might as well get it over with. So, he agreed, “Sure, sure, there’s a café open late a couple of blocks east. We can go there.”
Once there, once finally settled and served and relatively safe, Justin explained as best he could by telling enough without telling too much. He let them lead by only answering what he was asked and not even all of that. Jamey ultimately declared himself just fine with it and Justin chose to believe him. Mychael, at least in his own mind, reserved the right to declare himself ‘just-fine-with-it’ at some later date when more evidence was available to him. Tristan, well, he was like Jamey. For now, anyway, everyone seemed to be’ just fine with it’.
The Brian Kinney Operating Manual - A Life Examined
the chapter titled - ‘Justin Actually Does Have a Life of His Own. No…Really’
For a while Mychael will continue to distrust Justin and well he should, but in the end he will learn to trust him the same way Tristan does right from the start, which is to say, completely. But maybe Tristan shouldn‘t have trusted Justin so completely, at least not right from the start, but then who are we to criticize. Tristan sees the world as a beautiful place and life as an adventure, anything and everything is open to him and, oddly, that’s just how the world and life treat him, with open arms. They work well together, Mychael and Tristan. It’s that whole balance… ying-yang thing and for them, it‘s written in the stars. Eventually both Mychael and Tristan will consider Justin to be one of their best friends ever. In the end they will grow to love him almost as much as Jamey does and that, dear readers, is saying a lot.
Next Chapter: How Brian’s damaged coping methods continue to fail him, which is not good
for original post & additional chapters, please see here