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THE QUIET MEN
by Randall Morgan

Sorry its a day late, for those who noticed. Ran

Chapter 17: Brian's POV

Before us is this bizarre court of twelve truly terrifying men and behind us is the door leading out of this insanity. When Ariel takes my arm, I pull free. I don't appreciate the intrusion between Justin and me. I go over to Justin and encircle him in my arms, pressing my forehead to his. "We'll do whatever you want to do, blondie. You tell me."

He sighs, his phenomenal brain processing options. Finally he shrugs. "We've gone this far. Let's do it."

"You sure?"

"No."

We both laugh. Holding his hand tightly, I ignore Ariel's miffed expression and proceed towards the Quiet Men. "Who presents mortals to this body?" the man in the middle says, and Ariel steps forward.

"I do."

"Explain, wind spinner."

Glad these guys stay quiet most of the time, because when they speak, their voices are pretty dreadful, like creaking hinges left unlubricated for too long. Ariel gives them some spin about who I am, and pretty much dismisses Justin as my mate. "Brian, son of Fiachna. You've come home, then," the not so quiet member of the Quiet Men says and I shrug.

"Brian, son of Jack, just here on a holiday."

Justin giggles beside me, once again proving that there is no circumstance too bizarre for us to share a laugh. The Quiet Men appear unamused. Sense of humor is as lacking in these guys as body fat. "You mock me, Brian?"

I'm somehow reminded of the late Fred Gwynne playing the judge in one of my favorite movies, "My Cousin Vinny". Or is it Fred Gwynne playing Herman Munster? "Are you mocking me?" I hear Justin whisper, quoting the line from "Vinny" and we both dissolve in nervous laughter. That really seems to piss off this group, who murmur like a bunch of squeaky wheels. Ariel intervenes again. He speaks to the leader in Gaelic and the leader responds in the same language, nodding at us in dismissal. We move on to allow the next ghoul an audience.

"Are you bent on your own destruction?" Ariel demands of me when we're away from the Court, and I shrug.

"Can't help it. It just struck me as funny."

"Your pathetic mortal mind can't even imagine what the Quiet Man can do, should they choose to harm you. They control the Unseelie Court. All of these monsters are at their command. Who do you think enchanted your bairn? You risk him as well as your own foolish neck!"

I stare at him. "Wait. What are you saying? These are the...things... responsible for what is happening with Gus?" I see Justin wince. He knows me too well, and he closes his hand on my arm, but I shake it off. Ariel glares.

"And who else? They have the most powerful bindings when it comes to doing the dark deeds."

"I see. Excuse me."

"No! Brian, wait!" I hear Justin call out to me, but I ignore him and head straight for the Supreme Court of Weird. I push in front of some servile fucking fairy and address the corpse in the middle.

"Whatever you did to my son, undo it."

He lowers those fish eyes to me and says in that rusty voice, "Be gone, Brian. Save yourself while ye may."

"You undo it or I will come up there and break your skinny fucking neck, you molding cadaver!"

I hear the collective gasp, but I don't care. My "Irish" is up, as my grandma used to say, so there's no stopping me now. The centaurs are suddenly on alert, but the Supremes obviously don't think they need any assistance against a mere mortal. The leader of their pack gives me a sick smile. "Are you threatening me, Brian?"

"I'm telling you to release my son or I will return you to that grave you crawled out of to attend this gig."

"Useful you may be to us, Brian, but not so much that you can insult this tribunal or threaten the one of us. Foolish, foolish man. Stop there, Ariel. This isn't your battle. You can't overcome the lot of us, or even one of us, truth be told, with your wind spinning nonsense. And you know it."

"Leave him alone!" Justin runs up to me, grabbing my arm and I glare at him. The last thing I need is for him to be in harm's way.

"Get out of here," I tell him. "Go back to the hotel."

"Fuck you, Brian! Come with me."

"I will not! Not until this bag of bones assures me..."

The corpse stands and stretches a bony finger in my direction. I can feel the crowd shrink away as if fearing crossfire. I push Justin into Ariel, who restrains him. I'm ready for it. If I go down, it will be defending my kid, and it's worth it. I feel something cold and probing push against my chest, as if I'm being pressed between two chilled steel plates. The vise is tightening and I can barely draw a breath. Whatever is keeping me on my feet is something beyond my control, because I lose all strength in my legs. The pain is intense, and while cold, I break out in a heavy sweat. I'm suffocating! I glance at Justin who can't break out of Ariel's iron grip. I mouth the words, our mantra, but no sound escapes my lips. He looks like he's going to cry as he mimes the words back, and then shouts obscenities at the corpse.

My nose is bleeding, hell, my ears are bleeding and blood is running out of the corner of my mouth. Is this it for Brian Kinney? Squeezed to death by invisible hands at a fucking monster party? Oh well, kind of a cool way to go...but wait, I'm not ready to leave Justin. I struggle, pointlessly. And then....

"Enough." A man stands between the corpse and me, absorbing whatever death ray he's sending my way. Freed of its hold, I collapse. Justin runs over to me as I pull in breath in huge gasps of oxygen. The pain is still there, but fading. I look up at the man as Justin mops the blood from my face with his sleeve. He's crying, scared, but I can't say anything to comfort him. I can't speak. The man between us is tall, slim, with long auburn hair. He wears black, like everyone else, but he projects a golden aura and around his head is a circlet of apple blossoms.

"You dare to intervene, Fiachna?" The corpse squeaks and the man responds,

"I not only dare, I warn you, Killian. I won't let it happen. At any cost to you. Do you dare to challenge me?"

The corpse seems to think that would be wrong. His colleagues are squeaking at him to sit down. Fiachna, my elfin relative, must be powerful voodoo. He glances over his shoulder at me and I see my own face in profile, with subtle eerie differences, and that's all she wrote. The rest is blackness.

I awake in a dream. Well, in a nine year old girl's dream, maybe. No man dreams of lying in a bed with gauzy curtains around it while a dozen or more little pixies buzz around me. They scatter more gold glitter over my bedclothes than Rip Taylor at a gay pride parade. I start to sit up, but the pain hits me like a wall, and I drop back as the pixies take off, with their usual high-pitched communal hum.

"Rest," a strange lady, as pale as snow, touches my chest with her long, thin fingers and her face contorts in a grimace as my pain passes from me to her. She inhales sharply and walks away. Justin appears in her place and I have never been happier to see him. I reach out and he grabs my hand and kisses it. He's been crying, his eyes can never hide that fact. I know it's out of fear for me and I sigh. I feel guilty for scaring him.

"I'm okay," I say in a voice almost as creaky as the tribunal's. I notice my bare chest is eggplant-purple from the biggest bruise in recorded history. The pixie charm Ariel gave me was crushed into my skin, leaving a perfect imprint of the charm's shape. So much for this fucker protecting me.

"You could have been killed," he whispers and I sigh. Probably so. Thought I was. Saved by...myself?

"Where are we?" I ask.

"Bedroom in Ariel's house. That woman or whatever she is acts as their healer. She's an empath. She absorbs your pain and illness and then her body can metabolize it away."

"Hey, I saw that on Star Trek."

He smiles, finally. "I love you, Brian."

I wince. Mush. "I know, I know. I love you, too. Did you see that guy who looks like me?"

"Fiachna? Yes, he looks like you because you're descended from him. You're the descendent of the fairy child he had with a mortal woman, your great great whatever grandmother."

"How do you know?"

"I listen."

"Where is he?"

"I don't know, Brian. Ariel brought you here. I didn't notice where he went. I was too busy wondering if you were going to die."

I smirk at him, but weakly. "Surprise."

He leans over and kisses me. "We're going home."

"Not yet."

"Now. You promised."

"I have to know about Gus."

"Brian, you're in danger."

"Gus is in danger. You go home. I'd feel better if you were safe."

He cuts me an acid glare. "And leave you here alone? Guess again."

"I'm fine. I have this to protect me," I say with a sarcastic flip of the pixie charm.

"If you didn't have it, you could be dead."

"Justin, let's not queen out over this."

"If we can't queen over this, what can we queen out over?"

"The high price of latte? The sad state of gay cinema? The virtual dearth of original musical comedies?"

I see that I made him smile again, and I insist he help me up. He does so and I wince at the soreness of that bruise. I'm naked under the sheets and as I sit on the side of the bed, getting my equilibrium in balance, Ariel enters the room like a thundercloud at a picnic. Uh-oh, I think I'm about to be told that Brian's been a very bad boy.

Go to Chapter 18

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