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Gang, here it is. Hope you enjoy it! Thanks to my team, Roz, Alan, Jen and certainly to Pfyre who is sort of left with all the unglamorous posting since everyone is on vacation! Hugs, Pfyre! Ran

Reconstructing Brian

Chapter 17

Doctor's Notes: At my request, I suggested a meeting with both BK and his life-partner, JT. Both appeared tense and body language suggested a rift.

Excerpt from transcript:

Doctor: Let me begin. I know you're both under a great deal of stress. How are you coping with it?

JT: (Shrugs, looks out window)

BK: (Glimpses at JT, stares at folded hands)

Doctor: Someone needs to respond, or this will be a very expensive silence.

JT: Brian is determined to protect me at whatever cost to our relationship and to himself.

BK: Brian can speak for himself.

Doctor: So speak, Brian. Protect him from what?

BK: We were mugged the other day. If you can call it that. Two men threatened to throw acid in Justin's face unless I agreed not to testify against Jeffrey.

Doctor: Did you inform the police or the DA or both?

BK: No.

Doctor: Why not?

BK: I have no trust in the system, Lydia. I've been rolled over by it before, and I expect the same now. Who would believe that a man like Jeffrey's father would orchestrate a couple of thugs? I have no proof.

Doctor: Then what are your options?

BK: I don't know. I can't get Goldilocks, here, to take it seriously.

JT: Because you're overreacting, just like they hoped you would.

BK: You don't know if it's an overreaction or not.

JT: It's a bullshit threat.

BK: That was real acid they had in the alley with us, Justin. It burned into the cement, and that surface is a hell of a lot harder than your skin.

JT: I'm not afraid of them.

BK: Because you're young...invincible.

JT: I'm not invincible. Chris Hobbs proved that point with a baseball bat.

BK: (Winces) Exactly. I lived through that too, you know. Every night, prowling the hospital corridors, avoiding your family, not knowing if you were ever going to come out of that coma. I'm not going through that shit again. I won't endanger you or Gus or anyone I care about.

JT: Then tell the police, Brian! I'm a witness too!

BK: My boyfriend is hardly unbiased. And nothing links them to Walker.

JT: At least try.

BK: Will you still say that when your face looks like the Phantom of the fucking opera?

JT: Would it matter so much if I did look like that? Is my face all you love about me?

BK: No, I'm fairly fond of your ass, too, but being an artist, you may just need those baby blues.

JT: Stop being a drama queen! You're doing exactly what they hoped.

Doctor: Okay, guys, go to your respective corners. Brian, is it possible that this threat is a convenient excuse for you to avoid testifying against Jeffrey and still save face and appear altruistic?

BK: Why the fuck would I want to do that?

Doctor: You tell me.

BK: I wouldn't.

Doctor: Not overtly, perhaps. But think about it. You have financial and other considerations at risk. You'll be exposed, publicly humiliated, forced to discuss intimate details of your personal life. Who would want that?

BK: No one, but I'm not a coward. Is it so strange that a man wants to protect his privacy?

Doctor: Not strange at all.

BK: Well then...

Doctor: But do you see that refusal to testify as the end of the Jeffrey saga? If so, you're very wrong. He'll be freed to resume his life and that includes his obsession with you. You think he'll forgive you for your part in this just because you didn't testify? It will only signal to him that he won again.

BK: So I'm fucked either way.

Doctor: That's one way of looking at it.

JT: There's another way. You testify, they convict him and you can live with yourself for the next twenty years, free of guilt.

BK: And you'll be maimed or blinded or both.

JT: There you go again. It was an empty threat.

Doctor: Brian, talk to your lawyer. Let her guide you on your next move. I'm sure there are ways to protect you and those whom you love.

BK: I'm not the trusting type and I don't like handing over control, although it appears that's all I can do, lately.

Doctor: So regain control. Your partner is telling you that he's willing to share whatever risk there may be.

BK: What if I don't want him to assume that risk? What about that? He doesn't even remember his fucking headbashing! You may have been the one in a coma, Justin, but I had to deal with the fear and uncertainty and guilt. I won't go through that torture again. I can't.

JT: (Reaches over to hold BK's hand.) It wasn't your fault the first time, and if something happened to me now, it still wouldn't be your fault.

BK: Sorry, Sunshine. I don't read it that way. Neither would your Mom or Deb or Molly.

JT: You can do no wrong where Molly is concerned. Debbie adores you, and so does my mom, at least she does now. Nice try.

Doctor: Brian, let's cut deeper than your superficial fears. Are you sure of your motivation? I don't question the depth of your feelings for Justin. Nor do I doubt your sincerity. But how much of this reluctance is just plain, old-fashioned fear of revelation?

BK: I'm afraid, I admit it. I'm afraid for him, for Gus, for all of us. And yes, the thought of opening up my life to the world is very hard for me. I have to swear an oath to tell what a dumb shit I was. How weak I was. It's hard. I can hear my old man cackling in his grave.

Doctor: What would you respond to your father's ridicule were you able to do so, Brian?

BK: If my father would think that testifying is wrong, that putting my dirty laundry out on the lawn is a mistake, then it must be the right thing to do.

End of excerpt.

Doctor's Notes: BK is importing his residual guilt and fear over his partner's gay- bashing incident to his present situation. Because I believe the threat to be real, I will continue to encourage him to involve the authorities. I believe he will testify against Walker, but at great cost to his emotional well-being. I continue to be concerned that BK's challenged emotional state will be subjected to more stress than he can assimilate. I'm uncertain in which direction the escape valve will be pointed, but I expect that fallout is inevitable.

Justin nudged his foot against Brian's under the cover of the table in the small café where they stopped for dinner after meeting with Lydia. Brian looked up as if emerging from a dream.

"What?" he asked, throwing back the rest of his neat scotch in one gulp. Justin reached over and threaded his fingers through the hand that Brian rested on the table. The café was not in a gay area, and the other diners appeared straight. The male couple drew a few looks, maybe even a snicker, but this was still Manhattan, and most people didn't care. Brian tightened his grip on Justin's hand. "Sorry. Lost in space."

"Danger Will Robinson," Justin quipped. "Want to order?"

"I'm not very hungry. You go ahead. I'll have another one of these."

"I'll order something for us to share, okay?"

"Whatever."

Justin gave an order to the waiter while Brian asked for another drink.

"Is there something on your mind, other than the Jeffrey situation, Brian? You've been so preoccupied."

Brian met his eyes and sighed. Why not tell him? Not telling him wouldn't change a thing. "Lindsay's pregnant."

"Pregnant?" Justin's eyes grew wide, then quickly narrowed. "No hope it's Mick's, I take it," he joked bitterly as Brian winced.

"We all wish."

"You guys weren't safe?"

"Justin, other than nuns and virgins, dykes are the least likely carriers of AIDS in the entire population. It wasn't planned, it just happened."

"There's still a bowl of condoms beside our bed, Brian."

"I'm aware of that fact."

"Then why didn't you reach over and grab one?"

"Because it didn't occur to me, frankly."

"You could have infected her! What about that?"

"With what? We both tested before we started barebacking, Justin, and I haven't been exposed since then, unless you're lying to me about your fidelity."

"Don't even try to turn this around on me. You're the one with the fidelity problem or you wouldn't be in this situation."

"Point conceded, Justin. Whether I should have played it safe or not, it's a moot issue. The fact is, she's knocked up."

"Is she going to have it?"

"We haven't had that discussion yet, but knowing Linds, my guess is yes."

"Wait until Melanie hears about this one."

The two men shared a glance and then Justin began to giggle and Brian winced. Soon, both were laughing at the sheer absurdity of their situation.

The movie was being shown in a small old theater in Soho that specialized in art films and revivals. A film noir classic from the fifties, the movie onscreen was full of fog, atmosphere and platinum blondes who led men astray. Since it was mid-week, the crowd was scarce. Brian and Justin were alone on the back row, seated side by side in threadbare maroon velvet seats. Their lips were locked in a hot kiss while their hands groped inside the opened flies of their jeans.

"Suck me," Brian whispered against his lover's ear, and Justin smiled and dropped down in a crouch between Brian's legs, partially shielded by the empty row in front of them. Brian leaned back, letting it happen for a few seconds. He then covered himself up and pulled Justin after him, into the men's room. There was only one stall, and three urinals, none of which were in use. Brian led Justin into the stall and slammed his lover against the metal door. He kissed Justin eagerly as he rolled up his own shirt, as well as Justin's, anxious to feel skin against skin.

Justin slipped Brian's jeans down his slim hips and masturbated him with increasing urgency as his own needs built.

"Slow down, Seabiscuit," Brian whispered. "Spit in your hand, make my cock slick."

Justin did so, distributing his saliva as Brian turned him to face the door. He held Justin's wrists over his head with one hand after sliding Justin's jeans down to his ankles. He penetrated with such force that he lifted Justin off his feet and Justin groaned, pressing his forehead against the cold metal of the door, as Brian's stiff cock pounded into him. After Brian came, he sat back on the toilet and pulled Justin towards him, impaling his face on Justin's rigid dick. Justin exploded down Brian's throat with little urging, and then lowered himself onto his lap, their detumescing cocks brushing as the two men kissed, languidly returning to normalcy.

"Hot," Justin whispered as Brian ran his hands through the shaggy blond mop and nibbled at Justin's ear.

"Always hot," he replied.

Before they separated, the stall door crashed in, banging against the wall and a man filled the open portal with his muscular frame. He flashed a badge at them and said, "You're under arrest. Public indecency and lewd conduct."

"Public?" Brian demanded as they both repaired their clothing. "The door was closed until you fucking kicked it in!"

"Come on, Nancy, don't give me any shit or I'll add resisting to the charge. Be a good boy and go quietly and I'll let the kid go."

"I'm not going without him," Justin insisted and Brian grimaced as the cop cuffed his wrists at the small of his back.

"Go home, Justin. Call Mick. Tell her what happened."

"But Brian..." Justin followed as the cop herded him out.

"Just do it!"

Justin watched helplessly as the cop shoved Brian into the back of an idling cruiser, driven by another cop, this one in uniform. Justin was terrified, but more than that, he worried about the look of seething rage on Brian's stony countenance. The proverbial final straw was reached by Brian Kinney. Justin was unsure of what the repercussions would be.

Brian was deathly quiet as he sat between Mick and Justin in the backseat of the cab as dawn broke over Manhattan. A night spent in a holding cell had done very little for his mood. Mick was talking about police harassment, an obvious set-up, an incident to be used to attack Brian's credibility as a witness, but he tuned her out. He stared straight ahead, his jaw set in a firm line. Justin just held Brian's hand firmly and kept quiet, knowing how to read his lover's needs.

Mick left them at the loft, where Brian took a long, hot shower, alone. Afterwards, he crawled naked into their bed. Justin slipped in with him after leaving a note for Cynthia explaining they should not be disturbed when she arrived at the loft to work. Brian spooned Justin's body against his, making no sexual move, as he quickly fell into a deep, and dreamless, sleep.

When Justin finally awoke, he was alone in the bed. He called Brian's name as he sat up, suddenly anxious. No response. He felt a raw sense of panic. Given Brian's current state of mind, he could be anywhere. Justin pulled on some clothes and walked headlong into Cynthia as he entered the main room of the loft. She was working on a pitch and she glanced up at him and smiled.

"I tried not to make any noise. You guys have a rough night? I saw your note."

"Where's Brian?" he cut to the chase.

"I don't know. I thought he was with you."

"Fuck!"

"Is something wrong?"

Just then, the front door opened and Brian walked in. Dressed casually in jeans, he removed his sunglasses and handed Justin a paper bag. "I bought some bagels. Eat up, then pack. We're leaving town."

"Uh, I have a job, Brian."

"So do you and we have a bunch of projects..." Cynthia began, but Brian cut her off with a glare.

"You're going to have to handle this on your own for a few days, partner. As for you, Justin, call Leo and tell him you're taking off. I need you to come with me."

Justin felt an unreasonable thrill over Brian's admission of his need for him. "Where are we going?"

"We can talk about that on the way. Just pack some comfortable clothes in a bag, enough for a few days. Cyn, you have my mobile number, but please don't call me unless it's an absolute barnburner. You dig?"

She nodded, and Brian offered her a bagel as Justin left the room to pack.

Once they had left Manhattan, Brian lowered the top of his vintage Corvette so they could enjoy the mild day despite the fumes from other cars on the highway. Justin stared at his lover's handsome profile and finally spoke.

"I feel like I'm being kidnapped."

Brian smiled slightly. "Yeah? Scared?"

Justin laughed. "Terrified. What the fuck are we doing?"

"Driving. Leaving town."

"I see that. To go where? The Pitts? To see Gus?"

"Nope. Well, we just happen to be passing through Pittsburgh on our way, so we'll probably stop for the night and visit Gus, if Melanie will allow it. We can see our friends, and say hi to Molly and your Mom. But then we hit the road again."

"To go where?"

"Do you mind if I don't say?"

Justin laughed. "Hell, yes, I mind."

"Noted, but will you drop it anyway?"

Justin smiled and nodded. He was relieved to have Brian talking again, no matter what nonsense he was speaking. He didn't really care where they went so long as they were together. At least they weren't headed for Boston if Pittsburgh was on their way. "What about Shea?"

Brian glanced at the blond. "What do you mean?"

"I feel bad just dropping out for days. He's feeling so low anyway."

"Good point. Call the Center and if he's available, tell him we had some business out of town and we'll be back by the end of the week. If he's not available, leave that message for him."

Justin did so, having to leave a message since Shea was at the clinic. When he ended the call, he glanced at Brian, dying to ask him about his night in jail. But he had become an expert in Kinney-to-English and he knew not to inquire. Brian would let him know in his own sweet time.

The dinner crowd at Liberty Diner looked towards the maven of the diner when she shrieked like a banshee as Brian and Justin walked in the door. Debbie flung a plate of food she was delivering on a nearby table, and ran to greet them, throwing an arm around each.

"Steady, girl," Brian said wryly, wriggling out of her embrace. "I keep telling you to give it up, I'm gay."

"Smart ass," she said, reaching up to pat his face. "How you doing, honey? Holding up?"

"Starving," he deflected her question. "What overcooked, deep fried poison can you offer me tonight?"

"Our special is your favorite, chicken and dumplings."

"When will you ever stop telling me what my favorite food is? You never get it right." He slipped into a booth with Justin as Debbie sat across from them, motioning to a transvestite waitress to pick up the slack.

"What are you boys doing here? Michael never said a word."

"He doesn't know," Justin explained. "It's a surprise."

Brian glanced at him and smirked. "To everyone."

"A wonderful surprise! Are you going to see Gus?"

Brian looked at his watch. "In an hour. Melanie granted me thirty minutes with him under her watchful gaze."

"She's had it tough, honey. She hasn't been the principal caretaker of the baby before now and Gus is giving her a hard time."

"Cry me a river. You think this has been easy on Lindsay? Or me?"

"I know, I know, but the last thing you need to do is to go over there and fight with her. This is the time for that smarmy Kinney charm."

He laughed. "Charm would roll off Melanie Marcus like water off a duck. But I promise to be good, okay, Mom?"

"You'd better be. How is Linds?"

Debbie saw Justin and Brian exchange a silent look and she zeroed in on it. "What's wrong with her?"

"Nothing," Brian insisted. "She's fine."

"Sunshine?" Debbie prompted, but Justin took his cue from Brian.

"Yeah, fine, Deb."

"Why do I think you boys are keeping a secret from me?"

"Okay, you got us, Deb," Brian said with a dramatic sigh. "Lindsay, against my advice, but acting out of a mother's devotion, has hired a gang of kidnappers to snatch Gus out from under the wicked stepmother's nose and if they happen to make Melanie disappear in the process, well, who's watching? You didn't hear this from me, I don't want to have to testify in yet another criminal proceeding."

She glared at him. "I see your bad luck hasn't improved your personality. So what'll you guys have? It's on the house."

"I can afford to buy dinner at the diner, Deb."

"It's not about money, Brian, it's about being glad to see you. Don't make me smack you."

"Being smacked by a parent figure? There's a novel experience for me."

They ordered, knowing the menu by heart, and after Debbie left, Brian took a long look around the diner. "It seems smaller," he concluded. "Pittsburgh seems smaller, like everything shrank. Well, everything but Deb's keister."

Justin giggled. "It's just that everything in Manhattan is so huge and crowded. Do you ever miss the pace here?"

"No, never. Do you?"

Justin shrugged. "Sometimes. I'm still a little intimidated by New York."

Brian looked uneasy. "You wish you hadn't left?"

Justin reached over and placed a hand on his lover's face. "So long as you're in New York, that's the only place I want to be." He kissed him and Deb beamed at them as she delivered their drinks.

"Now this is what I like to see. You boys are so cute together. Who woulda thunk the great Brian Kinney would be so schmaltzy over a little blond doll?"

Brian turned red as he glowered at her. "I'm warning you, old lady..."

"Yeah, big talk. Go back to kissing, I'm leaving you alone."

They watched her walk away and Brian sighed. "She's right. Who woulda thunk it indeed?"

Justin shoved an elbow into Brian's side. "I'm no fucking ‘doll'."

"That's for sure. You're a demon. But I love you anyway."

"I love you too."

They kissed again, separating when a high pitched squeal of pleasure intervened. Emmett had arrived. He slid into their booth, a vision in lime green over jeans and wearing a hot pink scarf for effect. He reached out to grab each of their hands, but Brian quickly disengaged. "I cannot BELIEVE I not only see you two in here like old times, but I actually heard Brian Kinney say he loves someone. Take me out of the oven, I'm done!"

Brian glared at him. "Eavesdropping is so unattractive, Em."

"Oh yeah, I'm really worried about that. What are you guys doing here? Does Mikey know?"

They went through their routine again, and Emmett ordered the special when their food arrived. "Who are you fucking now?" Brian asked him, slathering his hamburger with mustard.

Emmett shrugged. "Since Ted and I split, it's been a little bit of this and a lot of that, you know, Brian, your old scene. But I'm still hopeful to find EXACTLY what you two share!"

Brian winced as Justin beamed at Emmett. "What's that? Half a loft and a dwindling bank account?" Brian demanded.

"No, silly. True love."

"Oh. That."

Justin laughed. "Don't act so cynical, Brian. You know you love me. You want to KEEEESS me."

Brian avoided his puckered lips and smeared a fingertip of mustard over Justin's mouth instead of kissing him. "You aren't too big to spank."

"Oh yeah? I so deserve a spanking. When? Where? Let's go now."

Brian smirked at him. "Eat your hamburger, kinko. You'll have Em believing we're pervs."

"Wouldn't want that," Justin teased.

"How long are you here?" Emmett inquired, enjoying their easy banter.

"Just tonight," Justin responded. "We're on our way tomorrow."

"To where?"

"You don't need to know everything," Brian responded. "I'm going to see Gus while Justin visits his Mom, then I'll pick him up over there and say hello to Molly. After that, Babylon. Can you round up the gang?"

"Wouldn't miss it, honey!"

Debbie came back over, asking if they wanted dessert and the two ordered lemon bars without bothering to think.

Melanie sat upright and rigid as she watched Brian interact with his son. Her new lover, a dramatically beautiful Chinese woman, discreetly left them alone after being introduced.

"I suppose you're surprised to see that Gus is well and happy," Melanie said dourly.

"Frankly, yes," Brian said from the floor where he was seated, building a fort with Gus, using the toddler's colorful plastic blocks. "I thought I'd find him chained to a wall and starved to bone," sarcasm dripped from his words as she narrowed her eyes at him. "But then, some of the greatest inflictions of pain don't leave visible scars. I know that for a fact."

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?" She snapped at him.

"Don't f-u-c-k with me, Melanie," Brian spelled the word and kept his tone of voice modulated to avoid alarming Gus. "I have nothing to lose and I mean NOTHING to lose. You don't want to try me when I'm desperate."

"Where's Mommy?" Gus suddenly demanded, accustomed to seeing Lindsay when Brian was around. "I want Mommy!"

"Mommy's right here, sweetie," Melanie responded nervously and Gus rapidly turned into a thundercloud.

"No! Other Mommy! I want my other Mommy!"

"Gus..." Brian picked up his son as the baby began to cry and carried him over to the sofa. He spoke to him in soothing, low tones. Melanie strained to overhear, but she couldn't make out what he said. She watched as Gus stopped crying and sniffled then began sucking his thumb, his head resting on Brian's chest. Their physical similarity was striking. Suddenly, Melanie felt superfluous to the child. She wasn't related to him by blood and wasn't favored by him, emotionally. She bit her lip to keep from crying.

"Daddy take Gus home," she heard the baby say and Brian sighed and kissed the top of his head. Melanie saw an expression she had never seen before on Brian's face cross his handsome features, softening them as it went. She could only describe it as vulnerability.

"You are home, Gus," he replied in a tight voice. "This is your home."

"I want my Mommy!" The toddler said miserably and Brian patted his back gently, finally meeting Melanie's gaze as he answered his son's plea.

"I know you do, Gus. And your Mommy misses you too."

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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July 25, 2004