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Forever

FOREVER
A Scarrrrrrrrryy little story by the Phantom of QAF

So, you were expecting a bonus episode of Transitions? Ha! Here's a spooky little fairytale in honor of Halloween. Suspend your curiosity about what is happening with our boys in Pittsburgh. Pretend that there is no canon. Instead, transport yourself to a place where vampires roam the darkened streets in search of virgin blood. That the howling in the woods could be your best friend, cursed by the werewolf to kill during the full moon, and that not all fairies are at Babylon. Like all good scary stories, it begins in this way....

It was a dark and stormy night.

Halloween.

Justin was lost. He had been driving for what seemed like forever, far from the city center of Pittsburgh, deep into the countryside. He was becoming increasingly frustrated, his mobile phone was almost out of the range of any signal. His conversation with Daphne was a nonstop interruption of crackle and static.

"You can't be lost! I told you to drive out with us and spend last night. But no, you had to go clubbing," she complained. "You'll miss the best part of the party and we were SO going to win the best costume award!"

"Is it my fault your fucking friend decided to have a party at someone's farm in Butt Fuck, Egypt? Your directions suck!" He was uncomfortable in his tuxedo and starchy dress shirt. He knew Daphne was dressed as the dead Marie Antoinette. She told him she painted her face to look gray and cadaverous, and that she would do the same to him when he arrived. She wore a powdered wig and brocade gown. A black wig awaited him, for he was supposed to be Rock Hudson. They were going as two dead queens. He had to admit, it was a pretty funny idea.

"Where are you?" she asked as a spear of lightning lit the area. He pulled over to the side of the road, reading the directions she gave him by the light of the glove box. His overhead interior light had burned out long ago, and he had yet to replace it.

The tenuous mobile connection buzzed with even more static as he tried to pinpoint his location. The car died, and when he tried to restart it, it wouldn't crank. "FUCK!"

"What now?" Daphne wondered and Justin sighed.

"Now my fucking car won't start! I have plenty of gas, not sure....shit! It won't crank!"

"Justin!"

"It's not my fault!"

"Look under the hood."

"In this rain? And what for? I don't know anything about car engines."

"You are such a faggot!"

"Well, duh! Now what?"

"Call someone to come fix it. Roadside service."

"Sure, if I knew where the hell I am, Daph!" He smoothed the condensation off the window and peered through the gloom and storm. Lightning illuminated the outline of a large mansion, throwing it in sharp contrast against the stark relief on the horizon. Only a few of the hundred plus mullioned windows emitted a dull glow, suggesting habitation. "There's a big ol' house up on the hill. Maybe someone there could help me."

Daphne giggled. "Classic horror movie. Big, dark house, rainy night, car trouble, sounds like Rocky Horror!"

"I'm glad this is funny to you. I'm the one who has to walk through this monsoon to get up there..."

"Justin, maybe you shouldn't..." the faulty connection was cutting off their sentences prematurely.

"I have no choice, this car is not..."

"Justin? I can't hear you..."

"Call you from the house on a regular phone..."

Suddenly there was silence as the call dropped. When he tried to re-initiate, the phone showed no signal. Cursing his luck, he slipped the dead phone in his pocket together with his car keys and began the wet, miserable trek up a private road to the house. It was a classic haunted mansion, with stone gargoyles serving as gutters and rain spouts, while the formal gardens were overgrown with weeds. The light from inside was low and variant, and no outside lights were burning. Justin was shivering from the cold, his wet clothes plastered to his body, by the time he reached the double front doors. No doorbell, only a large brass doorknocker shaped as a lion's head clenching a ring in its mouth. He knocked. The reverberation against the wood was surprisingly loud. He knocked again. Nothing. He was about to give up, when the door swung open with a shuddering creak.

"Yes?" A man's voice, in the shadows. The hint of an Irish lilt.

"H-hi," Justin said through chattering teeth, trying to focus on the man's face. "M-my c-car broke down and..."

The man stepped forward. He was holding a silver candlestick that supported a chunky black candle. He was tall, slim, dressed all in black. The candlelight illuminated his handsome face, a face so perfect, Justin could only stare. His bottomless hazel eyes were rimmed in lashes as thick and lustrous as mink. His silky, dark chestnut hair was cut in a shaggy style, favoring his fine features. His skin was as pale as ash, but his lips were so full and so red he looked as if he might have been wearing lipstick, even though Justin just knew that he wasn't. He raised one peaked brow as the disheveled boy stared at him with unabashed admiration.

"You're chilled. Step inside."

Justin walked past him into the foyer, dripping onto the Greek key marble floor. It wasn't much warmer inside, but at least it was dry. Far above his head, a cupola was decorated in Italian frescoes of cherubs and ribbons. The paintings were in need of restoration.

"Follow me," the tall man invited, and Justin focused on his slim hips, broad shoulders and long, lean legs as he walked into the interior of the house. "We lost power," the man explained the sporadic lighting provided by candles. "The storm, I suppose." He stopped in a drawing room where two candelabra were fully lit, and a fire blazed in the hearth. Above it was a portrait of the man, or rather a relative of the man, for it was an eighteenth century painting, and the subject of the portrait was dressed as if to accompany Daphne in her masquerade garb, right down to the powdered wig. But the subject's features were eerily similar to the man in black. Justin stared at it as he warmed himself before the fire. The artist had created an odd illumination around his model, a glow that seemed to be coming from the model himself rather than from some outside light source. He wasn't sure how long he had been standing there when the man in black said,

"Here. I brought you a couple of towels. Take off those wet things and slip into this robe. We'll hang your clothes on the screen to dry before the fire."

Justin turned and took them from him, glancing around the room. The furnishings were sparse, but elegant. A book was open on the brocade divan, the parchment pages old and fragile. The writing was in Latin. Had he been reading that when Justin interrupted? "Uh..." Justin said, suddenly shy about stripping in front of this man.

"I'll fetch you something to drink and to eat. That should help restore your vigor." His Irish accent was almost as mesmerizing as the man himself.

He left before Justin could protest that he wasn't hungry. He had a way of moving, silently, quickly, as if transported in puffs of smoke. Justin quickly stripped down and dried off, tying on the heavy, quilted silk robe before arranging his wet clothes on the fireplace screen. The sleeves of the robe were too long, and the monogram was a crest, a family coat of arms. Obviously, it belonged to this man. He sat down on the divan, pulling a cashmere afghan over his legs. His host returned with a tray that he placed between them on the couch. Fine porcelain dishes contained sliced fresh fruit, a variety of cheeses and an assortment of crackers. A tall crystal stem shimmered with dark burgundy wine.

"You aren't joining me?" Justin asked, sipping the wine. The man smiled at the way the handsome blond boy was reflected in the crystal. The host reached over and stole a slice of green-skinned apple from the plate, eating it in one bite.

"I've had my supper. And I never drink...wine."

Justin was mesmerized by the man's lips. His lower lip was so full and sensuous, the upper, perfectly shaped and smooth. The color was deep coral, providing the only hint of blood beneath that fine white skin. "My name is Justin, by the way." He wondered how old this man was. He looked oddly timeless, but he guessed somewhere in his twenties. Awfully young to have this big house.

"I'm called Brian, Justin By-the-Way."

Justin giggled, the wine having made him a bit giddy. "Brian what?"

"In the Leabhar Mor Na H' Eireann, it is listed, Brian Kinney."

"The Leabore...the what?"

"The Great Book of Ireland. Where all Irish families are listed, from very long ago."

"You're from Ireland. I thought so."

"I've lived...abroad for a long time."

"How did you end up here?"

Brian smiled, and passed his long, supple fingers through his hair in a languid gesture. "Everyone has to be somewhere."

"But why here? In the middle of nowhere?"

"Why do you say it's in the middle of nowhere? According to the latitude and longitude, this house is in a very favorable location."

"For what?"

Brian smiled slightly. His teeth were white, even, perfect. "For my purposes."

"Uh, may I use your phone?"

"Beside you on the table."

It was an old fashioned phone, with a heavy black bakelite receiver. When he picked it up, he found there was no dial tone. "Nothing," he said with a sigh and Brian nodded.

"Must be the storm."

"Damn!"

"You were dressed for an event, true?"

"A party, yeah. Halloween party."

"Ah, the ancient Druid celebration of Samhain." He pronounced it "sow-in". Justin looked confused.

"Is that what they call it in Ireland?"

"Not just Ireland. Samhain is celebrated by Druids and wiccans and others worldwide. It's the new year, you see. A time when the veil between life and death is at its most sheer."

"What does that mean?" Justin asked, mesmerized by the way this man spoke, not only his lilting cadence, but by what he was saying as well.

"It means it is easier for the dead to cross over and once again wander among the living, if only for tonight. We are then obligated to greet them warmly, and make them comfortable in our presence." He stood and offered his hand to Justin. "Come with me." When they touched, Justin felt a strange vibration tingle up the length of his arm and flood his bloodstream with endorphins. Brian's hand was strong, and warm. What Justin noticed most was that his perfectly manicured nails had no half moon at the cuticle.

He was led like a child through dark corridors. Only the flickering light of the candelabra Brian held penetrated the velvety darkness. Brian paused before tall, oaken doors, then flung them open, revealing a vast dining hall. A long table was dressed for a banquet. The fire blazing in a man-sized hearth illuminated the stems of fine crystal, gleaming sterling cutlery and glossy porcelain. Gold-leafed candelabra supporting ivory tapers provided additional light, bathing the feast in a warm glow. Fresh flowers tumbled from tall vases. Their scent competed with that of the still steaming food that was displayed on platters and in large serving bowls.

Roasted pheasants were presented in baskets woven from their own feathers. A beef hind was sliced thin and rare. Side dishes of fresh vegetables and yeasty baked breads flanked the meats. A variety of elegant desserts and crystal bowls of fresh fruit graced a sideboard. Decanted wines awaited serving, and champagne chilled in silver buckets.

"You're having a party?" Justin asked, wondering where was the staff who prepared this feast? Brian smiled slightly and unexpectedly tossed him a green apple. Justin fumbled, but caught it. While steadying the apple, he stared in horror as Brian took a sharp knife from a placesetting and suddenly threw it at Justin, so quickly that he didn't have time to react. The knife landed with a thud in the center of the apple he held.

"Are you crazy?" Justin demanded, prying the knife out of the apple.

"Take the apple and knife to the mirror over the hearth," Brian instructed him gently. Justin found himself obeying, even though his heart was still pounding. He stared at his own reflection in the glass as the other man remained on the far side of the table. "Now cut the apple in half, lengthwise, to reveal the star at its core. The legend holds that if you do so by candlelight in front of a mirror and take a bite from the apple, behind your shoulder will appear the image of the one you will always love the most." Justin did as instructed, biting into the tart fruit and watching as Brian's handsome face glowed behind his shoulder, then faded away. He turned to see that Brian hadn't moved from across the room. Justin smiled.

"How did you do that?"

"Do what?"

"Make your image appear over my shoulder. Is it a projection or something?"

Brian smiled. "Aye, so it was my image you saw in the mirror, then."

"As if you didn't know." He watched Brian approach, feeling a little nervous, and more than a little excited.

"I did know, Justin By-the-Way. But I wasn't certain if you would know." He pulled him close to his body, and the knife and the apple fell to the floor as Justin closed his eyes and let himself be kissed. He had never felt anything close to this sensation. It filled him with heat and need and a clawing passion. Sucking Brian's tongue into his mouth, he spread his hands over Brian's hard, unyielding body. Brian lifted him up in his arms, off his feet, kissing him back with equal desire. Justin felt as if he now understood the word "swoon", for he was dizzy with emotion and physical needs. He wasn't sure how they ended up in a large bed with carved pillars and gauzy privacy curtains. Nearby, another fireplace provided heat and light, but he didn't care about that, as Brian slowly, deliciously opened Justin's robe.

Justin watched Brian's impossibly handsome face register delight with each smooth expanse of skin that he revealed, and when he touched those rosy lips to Justin's flesh, the sensation caused him to moan and writhe under Brian's caress. Suddenly, Brian pulled back, and Justin watched him undress. His tall, lean frame was haloed by the light from the hearth and he revealed a body that was strong and muscular, but not overbuilt and a parody. He was enormously endowed, and the sight of it frightened Justin a little, but excited him even more.

"Virgin boy, no pain," Brian whispered as he moved above him, covering him with the shroud of his body. "No pain ever again."

Justin moaned, feeling Brian's teeth graze his nipples, and his tongue track the centerline of his torso, down to his pubic hair. Brian smoothed Justin's erection across the silky expanse of his cheek and then into his mouth. Within seconds, it was over for the boy. Brian smiled up at him as his tongue slipped over his full lower lip as if to ensure he sucked down every drop of Justin's essence. Even now, Brian's skin remained as white as marble, but his lips were even more deeply colored, matching the inflamed glans of his cock.

"Now," he whispered softly. "Now you can relax and be one with me."

Brian gently urged Justin over on his stomach, and began tracing random patterns in his flesh with the tip of his tongue. Down his spine. Over his hip, up his thigh, in the valley behind his knee, nibbling his ankle. Justin became erect again against the soft comfort of a velvet duvet. Brian pried his thighs apart and let his tongue trace the tight crease of his ass, pausing at the sphincter. Justin looked over his shoulder, curious, and Brian smiled before he glided into place. His tongue slipped and probed, pushing, thrusting, his lips forming a seal, sucking, his teeth gently gnawing. Justin felt the sensation engulf him in such heat it was almost unbearable. His cock strained for release, and then, just as suddenly, Brian withdrew. He slid an arm under Justin's abdomen, and lifted him slightly. Justin's head was still on the bed, but his butt was in the air.

"Safe sex," Justin said dreamily, but Brian only laughed.

"I am incapable of being inflicted with the diseases suffered by the Race of Adam."

Before Justin could inquire, Brian began his penetration, raw, lubed with a honied balm produced by his own body as a precursor to sex. He hovered over Justin, leaning down to whisper in his ear, "No pain, Virgin Boy, no pain at all!"

As if following that mandate, Justin felt only pleasure, despite the relative size of Brian's engorged cock and his own virginal rectum. He felt as if his body expanded to permit the penetration. Brian's sex had an independent will, seeking out the pleasure points in Justin's body and administering to them with such expertise that, when Justin reached orgasm, the howling sounds of pleasure emanating from his own throat sounded foreign and bizarre. Brian was muttering in a language that had no meaning to Justin as he drove and drove inside of him. Suddenly, he filled him with a blast so strong and so hot, it was freakishly exciting. Justin swore he saw flash bulbs go off at the moment of Brian's orgasm, a burst of white light that was almost blinding.

Spent, Brian moved beside him on the bed, turning on his side to face him, his skin still unflushed, but shiny beneath a glaze of sweat. "I've waited so long for that."

Justin smiled. "Me too. My whole life."

Brian let his fingertips trace Justin's forehead. His touch was cool and refreshing. "So beautiful."

"No, you are," Justin insisted.

"Can't we both be?"

Justin laughed. "I guess we can."

"Praise be that you answered my call."

"What call?" Justin looked confused.

"The call to my home, to my heart, to my bed."

"You called me?"

"Why else would you be here?"

"My car broke down. This is the only house."

"There are no coincidences, no accidents. I willed it."

"How?"

"Tis a matter of little importance," Brian turned on his back, staring up at the canopy above them. "Magick of the most minor breed."

Justin leaned a forearm across Brian's chest and rested his chin on his hand as he gazed at his face. "Are you a witch or, I guess, a warlock?"

"A crone, you mean?" Brian laughed. "You insult me."

"What did you mean by 'Race of Adam'? How come I feel absolutely no pain from what we just did? Your dick is huge. It should have been excruciating. All I feel up there is a kind of numb, pleasant tingling."

"Would you prefer pain? I can make it real for you, if you would."

"No, but...tell me about that Adam remark."

Brian sighed, as if being patient with a child. "You are from the Race of Adam. You know your bible stories, do you not?"

"I know who Adam is. But so are you."

"No, Justin By-the-Way. I am descended from a race far older than yours. A people of the old gods. I am Tuatha de Danann."

"What is that?"

"People of the Goddess Danu. The symbol of beauty and fertility. In Eire, Ireland, your people refer to my kind as the 'quiet ones'. We lived for centuries alongside your race, out of sight, for the most part, not interfering. Now, we live in our own world, between earth and heaven, rarely visiting the Race of Adam, letting you drive yourselves into inevitable oblivion with your wars and your illnesses and your cruelties to one another. Then, Tuatha de Danann will reclaim this earth as our own and restore harmony with nature."

"I don't understand."

"Let me make it simple for you, Justin. I'm a faery."

Justin laughed. "Duh! So am I!"

"No, fay folk, of the elven race, to be precise."

"You mean....a fairy? Like Tinkerbell?"

"I know no such faery...

"She's little and flies around on gossamer wings? Fairies are tiny creatures, Brian. Not some big, strong cocksucking sex god like you."

"Aye, there are fay folk who fly, and are small enough to fit in my hand. Just as there are trolls and leprechauns, and others too numerous to classify. But I am Sidhe."

Justin wrinkled his nose. It sounded as if Brian was saying, "she". "You are anything but a 'she'. You are more 'he' than anyone I've ever known."

Brian laughed. "Are you deliberately vague or have you been touched in the brain?" He tapped Justin's temple. "The Sidhe, that's s-i-d-h-e spelled out, but pronounced 'shee' is the aristocracy of the fey folk. The highest of the elven race, and the elves are the most beautiful and powerful of the faeries. We are also known as the Shining Ones, as our beauty glows like moonlight through a dark night. You don't see it now, for I have placed faery dust in your eyes to protect you from the shock. To see me as I really am, you would have run away into the night. All must be by your own volition to be valid."

"Show me," Justin said with a smile, enjoying his Irish fable. Brian sighed and left the bed, standing beside it, naked, arms outstretched, eyes focusing hard on Justin.

"Prepare yourself."

Justin giggled and sat cross legged on the bed, watching. "Ready when you are."

Brian kissed his own fingertips and blew the kiss in Justin's direction. Justin swore he felt it land on his face, a cooling mist that cleared his vision and soothed his skin. And then he saw the change begin. Brian's fine, pale skin began to emanate a slight glow, like the sun rising on the dark pre-dawn horizon. The glow grew steadily stronger, until it was an aureole of white light and Justin had to squint until his eyes adjusted. "What the FUCK?" he said in wonder and Brian smiled and sat beside him on the bed.

"Do you fear me?"

Justin touched his skin. The light made no difference to either the temperature or the texture. It was neither cold nor warm. It was just impossible. "There's no such thing as fairies," Justin said softly. "Not that kind, at least."

"And it is your disbelief that permits us to exist unmolested so near to your kind."

"So you have like super powers?"

Brian laughed. "I'm a master of enchantment, Justin By-the-Way. I use sex magick to seduce and obsess a mortal being. I can feed my clan with a never ending feast, that renews itself once devoured. If you eat from this feast, you can never eat mortal food again, so you would waste away without my intervention."

Justin thought of the apple and cringed. Brian read his thoughts and smiled. "No magick was deployed on the food you've eaten thus far. No fears."

"What else can you do?"

"No mortal can survive a cut from my sword or dagger. I can cloak myself and my surrounds in invisibility, and I can alter my shape to become the wolf, the owl or the white stag."

"A shapeshifter," Justin said softly and Brian nodded.

"Aye. Gravity has a hold on me only if I will it, and as you have seen, I can illuminate the dark with my skin, or not, if I so choose."

Justin felt dizzy. He wasn't sure if it was the sex or the fable. He knew it couldn't be true. Shit like this just didn't happen anymore. "Are there more of you?"

"Each of the Sidhe is unique. But as a race, we dwindle in number, for the men of our clan have become more entranced with the other men, rather than the women. Men lying with men begat no bairn, so the number shrinks."

Justin smiled mischeviously. "So the term fairy has a double meaning in your clan."

Brian shrugged at his modern joke. "Touch me, Justin," he said with a quiet smile. Justin obeyed. He ran his hands up and down Brian's luminous skin, enthralled by the play of his fingers against the sheen of Brian's body. He straddled Brian's narrow hips, looking down into his handsome face. Freed of the faery dust, he saw things he hadn't noticed before. Brian's eyes were slightly off kilter, one more golden amber in color, the other more mossy green. Tiny flecks of gold danced in his irises like fireflies trying to escape a jar. The illumination of his skin extended to his hair. Golden strands ran through the mass of chestnut as if they were lit glass fibers, installed by some demonic hair stylist. When Justin leaned down to kiss him, he found himself giving in to the allure of sex magick. He allowed it to sweep him into another dimension of pleasure, one only Brian could provide.

Justin was drifting into a satiated sleep. Suddenly, Brian sat bolt upright, upsetting Justin's doze. Brian stood and stepped into his black suede trousers, then threw the robe at Justin.

"Move! It's near midnight, no time for sleep!"

"Where are we going?" Justin asked as he tied the robe's sash. Brian took his hand and led him to the top of the stairs where his arm encircled Justin's waist and then lifted them both off the floor and over the banister. Justin buried his face into Brian's shoulder as they floated weightlessly through a fifty foot drop to the marble floor below. Once there, they raced to the dining hall.

Justin froze in the doorway, unable to move. He was too stunned to believe what he was seeing. Brian walked inside, greeting his guests with a smiling, "Failte." Creatures as tiny as mice but with perfectly formed human features and limbs along with the double gossamer wings of the dragonfly hovered over the feast. They filled pouches and thimble sized golden buckets with bits of food. Zipping around above the table, their voices so fast and so high pitched that to Justin's ear, they emitted only a hum.

They gathered around Brian, resting on his bare shoulders, his outstretched arms, even his head. A few were brave enough to buzz Justin, and he found himself staring into tiny, curious faces with starshot irises and peaked ears. Their hair was of all colors, like flowers in a garden. The whisper of their fragile wings against his skin tickled and enchanted him. Some of them dropped items into the pocket of his robe. He pulled out their gifts, finding an old brass button from a military uniform, a tiny porcelain butterfly, a drop of amber encasing a firefly and a stick pin with a single pearl at the end. He held these items out towards Brian, who smiled.

"They honor you with their tribute."

"Why?"

"Because you're my lover."

Something tugged at the hem of Justin's robe and he looked down at two strange and hideous little creatures. About two feet in height, they had bulbous noses and shaggy red brows. Clothes were roughly hewn from animal skins, and they projected a menace, demonstrated by their sharply pointed teeth. Justin reached for Brian who smiled.

"Trolls, Justin By-the-Way. No harm will come to you. Accept their treasure graciously."

Justin leaned down to take a snow white rabbit pelt from one troll, a talisman formed from a moonstone from the other. He thanked them and they grumbled, wandering off to join in the gluttony at the table.

The creatures grew quiet when the heady scent of fresh flowers suddenly pervaded the atmosphere. A procession of tall, gleaming people, men and women, entered the room. They were all beautiful, like Brian, but no two looked alike. Some were blond, some dark, some redheaded. Some had mahogany skin, while others were fair. The women wore transparent gowns embroidered with gold, while the men wore heraldic tunics bearing the crest of their families over gold chain mail. They all greeted Brian and stared at Justin, murmuring among themselves in a language Justin couldn't decipher.

One woman placed a circlet of gold laurel leaves on Brian's head while a man covered his bare shoulders with a velvet cape bearing the same crest that Justin had on his robe. The Sidhe sat at the table while the tiny faeries, the trolls, the leprechauns and others withdrew to the perimeters, sitting on the fireplace hearth, or perched on the chandelier. Brian waved his hand over the surface of the table and the food regenerated to appear exactly as it had before the little ones had descended upon it. Even the temperature was perfect. Still, no one reached for an item of food, nor did they lift a fork.

The clock struck midnight. Brian stood and raised a gold goblet set with jewels. It was empty, but the other Sidhe raised full wine glasses in salute. Justin did the same, although confused. They watched as a waft of gray smoke filtered from the hearth and slowly took the shape of a man. He was dressed like the others, only he was transparent, a shadow being. His features were young and handsome. He was animated, and his head was capped by a cascade of blond curls. He was a ghost, of that Justin felt certain.

"Failte, Ariel," Brian said fondly. "Join the feast with your clan."

Ariel walked up to Brian and kissed his lips, although there was no substance to him to lend pressure to that cold caress. He then turned to Justin, who was unable to move. He had never been approached by a ghost. "This is the one?" Ariel asked, and Brian nodded.

"He is."

"Bit small, isn't he?"

"Big enough, Ariel."

"Does he sing? Is he a warrior? Has he any talents?"

"I can draw," Justin interjected, and Brian glanced at him, silently warning him to keep quiet.

"Is he virgin?" Ariel continued.

"No more," Brian said wryly, and Justin blushed as the other Sidhe giggled appreciatively.

"You wasted no time, my love," Ariel said to Brian, who sighed.

"Two centuries have passed in the calendar of the Race of Adam since you made the choice to depart. Only now have I found your successor."

"Has he consented?"

"Not yet."

"Will he?"

"I cannot divine," Brian said firmly.

"Then test his courage."

Justin looked from Brian to the ghost. "Am I being bargained for?"

Brian walked over to him and took Justin's hand between his own. "Justin By-the-Way, will you stay with me and be my lover?"

"Do I have to have that ghost's permission?"

"No. Ariel was my love for age following age. He grew weary of this plane and went on to the next. Love him always? I will. Value his opinion? I do. But no, boy, no one tells Brian who can be his love. Only you can decide for yourself."

"Would I be like you?"

The other Sidhe laughed, and Brian silenced them with a glare. "No, boy, not just like me. You weren't born of Sidhe blood. Never would you possess my powers of enchantment. But I would keep you safe from harm and free from the illnesses that plague your people, and you will be forever as you are now, young and beautiful. For as long as you choose to be with me."

"How does that happen?"

Brian held up the golden chalice. He motioned for one of his clan to hand him a dagger. "No!" the ghost intervened. "Why this one over all the others?"

"He has no fear," Brian responded. "He has the fire of life in his eyes and a craving for knowledge. He has the hands of an artist and the heart of a faithful wife. He believes, but questions. He is innocent yet sensual. He will outlast me, this one will. I shall go over in the swan boat before he leaves this plane. Never will I be left alone again. Lost, abandoned, as I was after you left, Ariel."

Brian plunged the dagger into his wrist, opening a gaping wound. He caught the flow of blood into the chalice and closed the wound by smoothing it over with his finger. The open skin immediately closed. He offered the chalice to Justin.

"Drink it, boy. While it's warm. Fear not, the taste will do you well."

Justin noted his blood smelled of honey and spices, a rich fruity aroma was added to the scent. The flavor on his tongue was compelling. Brian covered the top of the chalice with his hand. "Forever, boy. You pledge yourself to me forever."

Justin met Brian's eyes and then drank it in several gulps. He felt the effect immediately. His limbs seemed to strengthen and solidify. His blood coursed through his veins with smooth rapidity. His senses became more acute, more attuned to his surroundings. When he looked at Brian, the aureole of light that haloed him flickered like a rainbow and then faded. He was no longer distracted by the glow.

The ghost pointed a finger at Justin and proclaimed, "You are cursed by enchantment!" He then disappeared into the wisp of smoke to leave through the chimney after traveling up the flue. Justin went into Brian's arms and kissed him, met with thunderous applause from the others.

They feasted as if at a wedding banquet, and danced together in faery circles and as a simple couple. Justin found himself able to understand the little faeries, and even decipher their ancient languages. Finally, the others receded as quickly as they appeared and Justin and Brian were alone. Justin laughed as Brian waltzed him down the corridor towards the bedroom at the top of the stairs. A sudden pounding on the front door stopped them.

"Who could that be?" Justin wondered, and Brian sighed.

"Matters not."

"I'll look."

"If you feel you must."

Justin glanced out the glass panel and smiled. "It's Daphne! She's my best friend. Wait until she sees you!" Justin threw open the door and grinned at her. But she was still facing a closed door, parallel to his own. He felt the pre-dawn breeze ruffle his hair, so he knew he was outside, but she hadn't seen him.

"I told you no one was here, Daph," her friend insisted. "This place has been vacant for decades."

"But his car is down the road from here!"

"So?"

"He said he was walking up to the house to ask for help."

"Maybe he got a ride."

"He would have called me."

"Daph, I'm right here, you spaz!" Justin interjected.

"She can't hear you," Brian said as he walked up to him and put an arm around his waist. "Nor can she see you."

"What are you saying?"

"We live behind a veil that separates the world of the Race of Adam from the Tutatha de Danann. They cannot penetrate our veil and we can penetrate theirs only on the rare occasion, like Samhain. I told you. Forever."

"But my parents...my sister...my friends..."

"You made your choice, there is no returning. You ate from an enchanted table, you share my Sidhe blood. You would perish in their midst. "

"Come on, Daphne," her friend urged her. "He probably went home to Mommy."

"I hope so. I feel very scared for him."

"Daphne wait!" Justin pleaded with her to stop.

She heard nothing, continuing to walk.

"Come boy," Brian urged him gently. "We travel today."

"Travel where?" Justin asked numbly, still trying to figure out his fate.

"From here to there, behind the veil. The fey folk travel in procession. We create our mischief and we exist."

"That's it? That's all you do?"

"It's an adventure. You love me, do you not?"

"Yes, but..."

"Then you shall have me. Forever."

The word "forever" echoed in Justin's head, bringing with it a terror he never thought he could feel for a man he wanted so badly. No getting older. No getting sick. No going back. Forever. "Nooo," Justin cried out as he flailed helplessly at the invisible veil separating the world he knew from this world of mystery and intrigue.

"NO!"

Brian sat up in bed, disentangling Justin from the sheets he was fighting. "What the fuck?" Brian demanded as he freed him. Justin pushed away from him. Brian reached out and shook him roughly. "Wake the hell up!"

Justin flinched at the unnatural whiteness of Brian's skin, then sighed when he realized it was the glow from the blue neon lights above the bed. "Where are we?" Justin demanded groggily as Brian sighed.

"Where do you think? Las Vegas? We're on Tremont Street, you little twat. I told you not to take that pixie dust tonight at Babylon. It's strange shit."

"It isn't that."

"Too many scary movies on the Halloween marathon?"

"It's not funny! I had this nightmare where it was you, but not really you. He was a big faery!"

Brian smiled. "A sexual orientation slur?"

"Not that kind of faery. Oh, Brian..." Justin threw himself at him. "I've been way too possessive, I'm sorry."

"What the fuck are you babbling about?"

"You were right. We can't act like our parents, we aren't straight, we aren't bound by their conventions. We deserve new experiences. I'm sorry that I've been so grabby."

Brian ruffled his hair then turned over on his side, his back to Justin. "Whatever you say. Now I have a client meeting in five hours and I need to get to sleep."

Justin threw an arm over him, snuggling his face between his shoulder blades. "What are we doing when you come home? Are we going out?"

"It's Halloween. I'm going to the demonic ball at Babylon."

"Oh yeah. That'll be fun."

Brian raised himself to look down at him. "Yeah. For me. You aren't going. You have that party with your little friend Daphne. You know that one on some farm in East Fuck, Idaho or wherever?"

Justin pressed close to Brian's body. "I'm not going. I'm going with you."

"What happened to that speech I just heard? Something about new experiences?"

"Some experiences are better left alone," Justin said mysteriously, burrowing under Brian's shoulder to rest against his chest. Brian sighed and closed his eyes. Justin held tightly to his elusive lover as they both fell asleep, secure in their imperfect but mortal embrace.

END

Disclaimer: The television show Queer As Folk and its characters are the property of Showtime and CowLip Productions. No money is being made. Stories and discussion are intended purely for the entertainment of fans of Queer as Folk, the Brian and Justin characters, and Randall's writings.
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Beginning
July 25, 2004