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THE QUIET MEN
by Randall Morgan

I haven't forgotten you guys, I've just been really busy....sorry

Chapter 33: Brian's POV

This grandmother of mine is younger than I am, or at least no older. She's a beauty, too, with thick auburn hair worn wavy and glossy to her shoulders and hazel eyes flecked with gold. Her skin is pale and translucently fine, and she has a nifty little body well displayed in a pair of tight faded jeans and a forest green sweater. Her feet are bare, her toenails painted gold. She wears a gold band just like the one her husband gave my lover, and no other jewelry except for dangling gold earrings that are tiny ravens.

"You were expecting perhaps an old crone?" She asks with a smile and I shrug.

"You do expect your grandmother to be older than you," I agreed and she nods and sits down on the settee, tucking one long leg under her and dangling the other like a young girl.

"Rest assured I am far older than you will ever be, Brian. Leave us, Ariel."

"But..."

She nods towards the door and my guide reluctantly leaves the room. I sit across from her, unable to stop staring and she smiles. "Of all my progeny, you are so like Fiachna that it's remarkable, really. How interesting to see his face in mortal cast. How pleased I am to meet my kin at last."

"You abandoned your own children to follow Fiachna?"

She nods. "Dinna think it was an easy decision to make. My husband was a good man, a good father to them. Even to the one he thought was his own, but wasn't. My choice was to bring them here where they would have to live as children, forever, which turns people bitter and angry, or to let them grow and live a normal lifespan among humans."

"Even your child who was Fiachna's couldn't change here?"

"Even so. At least we believe that to be true. It's against all rules to test it since the very earliest times when these lessons were first learned."

"Why did you do it? To stay young and beautiful?"

She laughs. "What a shallow grave that would be, Brian. I did it out of love for the one man who moved me, who delighted me, who made me his own. I had no reason to exist without Fiachna. He couldn't live in my world, so I live in his."

"And now? You still feel that way after so many hundreds of years? With one man?"

"Time passes imperceptibly here. It doesn't feel like hundreds of years to us. It feels like a fortnight, and yes, we still share the passion. But I have my regrets, the loss of my bairn, the isolation from my own kind. Great love brings great sacrifice, Brian, but then this is a truth you already know."

I meet her eyes. What does a woman from another century know about men who love other men? I suppose they didn't even believe such things happened when she was born. She smiles.

"In our world, such distinctions are without meaning. The fey move smoothly and without compunction between genders, even species. Love and making love is the goal, and where it is found, it is good, so long as there is no predation."

"How did you know what I was thinking?"

"You are not skilled at shielding your thoughts yet, Brian, but you'll learn. And over time I have developed the skills that were dormant in me, just as you can."

"I have a son."

"Aye, Gus. I know of this bairn. A beautiful boy."

"They've done something to him. He's in danger."

"Aye."

"You have to fix it. They said you could fix it."

She smiles. "You can fix it yourself, Brian."

"Tell me how?"

"Do as they bid."

"Fine. I'll do it. Whatever they say. But they have to stop doing what they're doing to him, first. I'll stay, I'll go, whatever they want."

She looks up as one of those beautiful women brings in a crystal decanter decorated with large semi-precious stones set in gold filigree and a pair of delicate crystal glasses. My grandmother pours some amber liquid for me and for herself and passes it over as the woman leaves. It has the faint scent of apples, but it doesn't taste like cider. It doesn't taste like anything I've ever drank before and as I swallow it, I feel a sense of well being and contentment that is overwhelming in its intensity.

She sips her drink and smiles. "It's ambrosia, not available in your world. Enjoy the sensation, it's transient."

The feeling is almost post-coital, it's so intense. My gorgeous grandmother says, "Your lover, the man you call Justin, was wounded in battle."

I look confused. "Battle?"

"A head wound from a mace or a blow to the skull."

The bashing. I nod. The good feeling fades.

"It's proving fatal to him."

"No, he's okay. He was in a bad way for awhile, but he's healed now. There are some side effects, but he deals."

"The wound is not healed, Brian, nor will it ever be. It will open and bleed inside his skull and he'll perish. Soon."

The glass slips out of my fingers and shatters on the parquet floor. I don't even notice it. I feel as if my heart just stopped. I can't force a breath and my face burns with pain. "How can you say something like that?" I finally manage to blurt and she sighs.

"I say it not to hurt you, but to impress upon you the urgency of the situation. Your lover is dying and there is nothing your medical men can do to preserve his life."

It's hard to describe the feeling I got when those words settled in. Devastation doesn't really cover it. Desolation comes closer. I feel as if she attached a psychic vacuum to me and sucked out all of my life force. I'm a shell of a man sitting here and staring at this woman who begat my ancestors. She sits beside me on the settee, careful to avoid the broken glass with her bare feet and wraps an arm across my shoulders.

"Don't despair, Brian. All is not lost."

"Without Justin it is," I whisper hoarsely and she sighs.

"We can help him where your kind cannot."

A glimmer of hope warms me, returns some blood to my veins. "What do you mean? You can heal him?'

She nods.

"Then bring him here and do it!"

Her fingers drift through my hair. It's sort of creepy, the intimacy of that gesture, since we're related the way that we are. She sees him when she looks at me, that's clear, but I'm not him and her warm sexuality makes me uncomfortable.

"Open the door, beautiful Brian," she says, letting a knuckle trace the slope of my cheekbone. "Open the door and your lover shall be cured and your bairn shall thrive."

I reach up and remove her hand from my face, disconcerted by her touch. Or maybe by my own reaction to her touch. "Take me to the fucking door and I'll open it right now!" I declare and she laughs.

"If only it were that easy."

"Why isn't it?"

Her hand moves up my thigh and I tense and cross my legs to dislodge it. What the fuck? Where are we? Appalachia? Incest is best? "What the hell do you want from me?" I insist and she smiles and responds,

"Your life."

Swell. That doesn't leave us much room to negotiate, now does it?

To be continued. Maybe.

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