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Episode 316
by Phantom of QAF

The Phantom speaks:

Randy was nibbling on his cold pizza as he said, "First thing you have to do is realize Gale is a real person, Brian is not, and the two are completely different." "I know," I assure him, leaving out the word, "Unfortunately." "Just like I am not Justin." "Yeah, I know. I'm not crazy." "Are you sure?" he taunted me. "I mean, you're living in a cellar under the studios, writing fan fiction, a virtual QAF season. That's wack." I have to give him that. "Maybe I'm just dedicated." "No, that's wack. Plus you're digging tunnels into everyone's trailer, looking for Gale." "Uh, yeah, so what's your point?" "My point is, you're a wack job. You need to get out in the sun and quit obsessing." "It's Toronto. There is no sun." Randy paused. "Okay, that's a point. Go play in the snow...something!" "Maybe you're right." "I am right! Give this up, it's..." We are interrupted by a knock, followed by the door opening. "Hey, dude, have you..." Gale stops mid-sentence and looks from Randy to me. Silence descends. (to be continued...)

Last week on Transitions:

Brian and Trevor have been on vacation in England, and as they travel together, they grow closer. Finally, while visiting Tintagel, Trevor admits to Brian that he loves him. Brian tries to tell him he doesn't, but Trevor insists he does and they kiss. In their hotel room, both are awkward about initiating sex. Before anything happens, Brian gets a call from Justin. Justin tells him he's leaving Pittsburgh, using his tuition money to fund his travel. He also tells Brian he's sorry and that he loves him. Before Brian can properly react, Justin hangs up and Michael calls Brian almost immediately. He tells Brian that Justin is in trouble. He slammed Ethan's hands with a hammer while Ethan slept. The police are looking for him. Brian tells Michael to keep quiet and then finds Trevor in the bar and explains he has to go back. Trevor agrees to drive him, believing this is the proof that Brian has never stopped loving Justin.

Scene 1: Pittsburgh International Airport

By the time Brian crossed the X-shaped terminal in Pittsburgh and cleared customs, he was exhausted. He hadn't slept well on the plane. He was tortured with thoughts of Justin. Where was he? How terrified must he be? How low had he been driven to react the way he did? Why didn't someone intervene? Why didn't HE intervene himself? He spotted her on the other side of the barriers beyond security. She was bundled up, reminding him that the relatively mild weather of England was just another memory, now. She waved, he waved back, and she took his smaller duffel as he rolled his larger bag towards the parking lot.

"Your plane was late," Cynthia said, and Brian shrugged, lighting a cigarette.

"I told you to check the arrival time so you wouldn't have to wait too long. Planes are never on time."

"I did. I haven't been here long. You look exhausted, Brian." They loaded the luggage into her sensible Ford sedan. Brian sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose as Cynthia eased the car into traffic. He felt as if he had been gone for months. Suddenly, even Pittsburgh seemed strange to him. He was that tired.

"I am."

"Trevor didn't come back with you?"

"No, he was going to visit his mother and then return later this week."

She glanced at his handsome profile. "Is everything okay with that relationship?"

"How should I know? I've never met his mother."

She smiled. "I meant your relationship with Trevor, silly."

"Oh. I don't want to talk about him. How about you and Josh?"

Cynthia winced. "Ditto."

Silence, then Brian said, "Did you do what I asked?"

"Yes. As far as I know, they should be waiting for you."

"Good. Thanks."

"Sure you don't want to get some rest first? You look ragged out."

"No time for that. Any news?"

"There was a blurb in the paper about it. They made it sound like some horrific unprovoked attack on a musical genius. They made an ironic reference to the fact Justin had been the victim of a bashing himself. And that he was on the run."

"Swell," Brian said grimly.

"I saved it for you."

"Okay. You didn't tell Gardner you were picking me up, did you?"

"No, as far as the agency knows, you're still on vacation."

"Perfect." They were silent until they reached the loft. She rode up with him, helping with his luggage. When the elevator stopped on his floor, Brian unlocked the door and ushered her inside, steeling himself for the full house he knew he would be facing.

Scene 2: Brian's Loft.

All the people Brian asked that Cynthia call were gathered in his loft: Michael, Ben, Emmett, Ted, Melanie, Lindsay, and by default, Gus. Also, Debbie, Jennifer, Daphne and Vic. Thankfully, Molly wasn't there, as Brian requested. Molly was old enough to understand what was being said, so he didn't want her there to hear them discuss her brother's plight. They all looked up at him as he entered the room.

"Da!" Gus toddled over to him, arms outstretched. Brian smiled for the first time in twenty-four hours, scooping up his son and kissing him on the cheek.

"Hi ya, Snuffleupagus. Miss me?"

"Da!" The baby said again, hugging Brian's neck tightly. Michael helped Cynthia maneuver Brian's luggage into the bedroom area, and then sat down again as Brian shrugged off his coat and retrieved a bottle of water from the fridge, still holding his son. Cynthia sat on a stool at the kitchen counter, turning to face the others. Brian had requested that she stay.

"You look like shit," Debbie said bluntly as he sat on a chair at the table, glaring out at the group. Lindsay took Gus from him and returned their son to a pile of toys gathered on the quilt that was his defined play space.

"Whatever. The first thing I have to say is this," he glanced at all of them, but let his gaze linger longest on Melanie. "Anyone who feels that for moral or ethical or other grounds they can't do anything about Justin without telling the police or that they can't lie to the police if asked, leave now. If you choose to stay, you're agreeing to help, even if it means you break some archaic law about aiding someone on the run."

"I, for one, believe we are better off working WITH the police," Melanie asserted. "Deb has a connection with Horvath, maybe he could..."

Brian held up his hand. "Stop. There is no way that working with the police to find and bust Justin is a good thing. Working with Justin to convince him to come back voluntarily, and then working with the police to ensure they treat him compassionately is the only way to proceed."

"Who the fuck are you to decide how to handle anything with Justin, Kinney?" Melanie exploded. "You aren't anything to him anymore! You aren't even his so-called boyfriend! I think Jennifer is the one who should be making these decisions, not you. You're out of his life."

A tense silence descended, punctuated by Gus's oblivious, playful noises as he blissfully banged his toys around. Brian lit a cigarette and stared coldly at her. "I'm the one Justin called. I'm the one he trusts the most. And I'm the one he loves."

"Past tense. You blew that one, Kinney."

"Present tense," he said firmly. "He told me so when he called me."

Cynthia suppressed a delighted "Yay!", exchanging a look with Daphne who seemed to feel exactly the same way. Jennifer winced.

Melanie looked surprised. "And your feelings for him?"

"Are none of your business. All you need to know, all that any of you need to know, is that we each failed Justin in a very real way, and we owe it to him to get him out of this horrible experience and to prevent it from ruining his life."

Jennifer began to weep, comforted by Debbie, who put an arm around her shoulders. "Yes," Deb said softly. "Brian's right. We have to help Sunshine."

He glanced at her and then at Michael, who obviously disliked this whole conversation. "What's your problem?" Brian asked his old friend, who shrugged.

"I don't see why it's our fault that Justin blew his cool and went medieval on his lover. I'm not saying we don't help him, but how is this our fault?"

Brian stood, pacing from sheer nervous energy as he responded. Gus watched his father walk back and forth past his pallet with infantile fascination. "First of all, none of us insisted he get psychiatric help after the bashing, even though we all suspected he needed it. As a result, all of the issues raised by that attack festered in him, and allowed him to become part of an abusive relationship. Second of all, many, if not most of us, myself included, saw bruises on Justin and saw him go into the hospital twice with suspicious problems, and none of us poked around behind his easy explanations to see what was really happening. We found it more comfortable to accept the fact that he fell or that he accidentally ate some bad meat, or that he had a migraine, than it was to call him on his shit. Why did we do that? How could we do that? How could I do that?"

"Because it's too heinous to believe that someone would poison my son!" Jennifer blurted. "Someone who said he loved him, and who was a guest in my home! At my table! What kind of a monster would do that?" Her own guilt over welcoming Ethan into her home and encouraging her son in that relationship was overwhelming.

Brian glared at her. "The same kind of monster who would beat him up, apparently. Who would send me hate mail under Justin's name. Who used intimidation, threats of harm and actual violence to control him. And we all let it happen. All of us."

Michael frowned. Emmett nodded, wiping away a tear. Debbie just appeared to be in shock, while Vic looked guilty. "I'm not taking delivery on this guilt, Brian," Michael continued to argue. "I specifically asked Justin what happened to cause that bruise and he lied about it. He had his chance to get help from us, and he turned it down and kept going back to the guy. How could we control that?"

Brian shook his head. "I did the same thing myself, Mikey. But looking back, it was the easy thing to do, wasn't it? You can't expect someone who's being threatened and attacked and who is already suffering from PTSD because of an earlier bashing to react normally. It was up to us, as the ones who weren't living under those conditions, to intervene. And we didn't."

"I let you down, Brian," Vic said softly. "You asked me to look after him while you were gone, and I failed to do so."

"No more than anyone else, Vic. No more than I let myself down," Brian reassured him.

"If you're right and Sunshine was getting beat up by Ethan, then he has a perfect excuse for what he did," Debbie volunteered. "Why shouldn't we cooperate with the police under these circumstances?"

Brian shook his head. "We failed to document the previous beatings. Hospital records will show that he went in with a migraine, no known cause, no apparent marks. He had food poisoning the second time he went in, but no evidence of foul play. By then, his bruises from prior attacks were gone. All we have left is whatever bruises he may have now, and our own testimony, which will look convenient. That's one reason why time is of the essence. We need to document those bruises. Ethan's bullshit that he was hit during an unprovoked assault won't hold up if Justin can prove Ethan beat him up first. Ethan can't even say the wounds to Justin were defensive if, when he awoke, one hand was already broken, and before he could react, the other hand got smashed."

Daphne sighed. "You know, when he stayed with me when he had that migraine attack, he asked me not to call Ethan, but I did, anyway. I feel so bad about that now."

Brian frowned. "Let's not each testify to our failures. It would take all night. There's plenty of blame to be shared."

"How do you know that Justin was beaten up?" Michael asked and Brian shrugged.

"Because I know him. Something provoked this extreme outburst. Ethan did something to him to cause him to snap."

"If only he hadn't run away," Jennifer insisted. "He can't get far. He has very little money."

"He has his tuition money, Jennifer," Brian corrected her. "Several thousand dollars."

She looked stricken, and Brian nodded. "Anyway, this is how I see it. Who wants out? Speak now and leave before I say anything else."

They all glanced at Melanie, who crossed her arms over her chest, but said nothing. Lindsay gave her an encouraging hug. She had never forgotten that it was she and Melanie who introduced Justin to Ethan by insisting he accompany them to Ethan's concert, on Justin's birthday.

"Okay," Brian said softly. "Then we're all in this together, and our only goal is to find him as quickly as possible and bring him back in order to get this cleared up."

"You really have no doubt that he's justified in what he did, do you, Brian?" Jennifer asked softly and Brian sighed.

"Justified? I don't think violence is the right answer, Jennifer. So, no, he wasn't justified. But is it understandable? Hell yes! Who am I to judge a kid who went through the bashing, the debilitation, the lingering physical and emotional issues, an emotionally remote, sexually predatory first lover, a lying, physically abusive and maniacal follow up lover, and no one there to catch him when he fell? I don't know if he made the right choice, but I do know he would never do something like that without a shitload of provocation and pain. He's a sweet, talented, wonderful kid who has had to bear far more than he should, and I plan to do everything I can, and spend every penny I have, to help him salvage his life."

Justin's mother walked over to Brian and threw her arms around his neck, hugging him tightly. He drew up, his arms stiffly at his sides, unsure of how to react. "I've been so unfair to you," she said through tears but he disengaged from her embrace, uninterested in appeasement. "That's not important now," he responded. "Justin is all that matters."

Scene 3: New Orleans, Louisiana; the French Quarter

Rain. Unrelenting, driving, miserable rain. Justin had never seen so much rain as he had since his arrival in New Orleans. He chose this destination because he thought it would be warm, gay friendly, artistic and a place no one would think to look for him. He got rooms in a guest house on Decatur Street, a bedsitter with a closet-sized kitchen. He had a view of the French Market and non-stop noise, twenty-four by seven.

A few blocks up was the Moonwalk overlooking the Mississippi river. Directly across from the Moonwalk was Jackson Square flanked by the ancient Pontalba Buildings. Sidewalk artists, musicians and tarot card readers peddled their trade on the broad walks surrounding the Square. If Justin had been in a better frame of mind, he might have been swept into the sultry magic of his surroundings, but right now, he could only think of survival and preserving his freedom.

He paid a month in advance in cash for his rooms, and followed a lead provided by his landlord to secure a job as waiter in the chic Café Sbisa, a mere two blocks from where he was living. "You a troublemaker?" The manager of the restaurant asked him, staring at the bruises on his face as he interviewed Justin during a time when the place was closed. A mural showing costumed people circulating around a red devil stretched the length of the bar. The place was small, but elegant, encompassing two levels.

"No sir," Justin assured him, "I got mugged."

"I see," he drawled. "I won't abide troublemakers here. This is a classy establishment. You buy some makeup to cover up those bruises, and stay out of the wrong parts of the Quarter until you know your way around here. You understand, boy?"

Justin nodded his understanding.

"Good. The uniform is dark trousers, no jeans, a white dress shirt and a tie. I provide the tie and the white apron, you provide the rest. No tennis shoes, dark dress shoes."


"You can start tomorrow, with the lunch shift. It's not as crowded and the tips are smaller, but you need to train before you attempt the dinner rush."

Just like that, Justin was gainfully employed. When he returned to his guest house with a bag of groceries from the venerable Central Grocers, his landlord called him into his office before he could escape upstairs. He was a tall, heavyset effeminate man with the broad New Orleans accent that sounded like a cross between Rhett Butler and the Bronx. Before Justin could protest, he snapped a Polaroid of him.

"Why did you do that?"

"Oh honey, I take pictures of all my guests. I've had so many go on to become well-known that I regretted not having a little memorial of their stay. You may be the next Picasso or Tennessee Williams or Rock Hudson."

"I'm just a waiter," Justin responded, and his landlord smiled.

"Sure you are, honey. Sit down for a minute. I was just making myself a café au lait. You want one?"

Justin sighed, wanting to be alone, but he sensed he needed to remain on this guy's good side. "Sure."

Like so many buildings in the quarter, front doors to the street opened onto a breezeway that led to a central courtyard overlooked by two flanks of the building. On one side, the landlord maintained his office and spacious living quarters. On the other were the small suites he rented to guests by the day, week or month. Banana plants, wisteria and elephant ears grew lush in the courtyard, overhanging iron tables and chairs. Justin presumed it was a nice, peaceful place to hang out when it wasn't pouring rain. For now, he sat in an old horsehair stuffed chair in the office, sipping coffee despite the wet warmth of the day.

Winter could be icy in New Orleans, where heat generally ruled the weather. A cold, bitter wind often blew in from the surface of the river, but for now, the rains were as mild as April. "You're gay, right?" His landlord inquired.

Justin shrugged. "Look, Mr. La Font..."

"Tony, and don't get your silkies in a knot, blondie, I'm not hitting on you. My days of believing I could score a twink like you are years, along with fifty pounds or so, in the past. This is a gay guest house, I make no pretenses about it."

Justin nodded, having noted the few of his neighbors he had seen were definitely "in the club" as Brian used to say. "Why are you telling me this?"

"New Orleans is a great town, but I see boys like you and my alarms go off. I don't want to see you get devoured. Stay out of the clubs on Bourbon Street. They're tourist traps and straight trade. A lot of the gay venues are on Rampart but talk to me before you go clubbing. You need to know the ropes. And be smart. You're like fresh meat tossed into the lion's den, honey boy."

Justin sighed. He wanted to tell this man not to worry. He didn't want to club, to pick up men, to do anything other than hide. The only arms he wanted around him were Brian's and since that would never happen again, he had no interest in taking a chance on someone new. Tony watched the handsome young man's eyes tear up and he sighed.

"Bad love affair?"

Justin looked surprised. "Why do you say that?"

"That expression is a sure sign of a broken heart. You're running from something. Bad love affair is often what it is."

"I'm not running from anything."

"Okay, sweet thing, but if it gets to be too much, I have a friend who is a shrink. He'd be glad to talk to you."

"I'm fine. Tony, I have to put these groceries up."

"Sure, babe, you run on," he followed Justin out with his eyes. Once upon a time, he would have given Justin a reason to smile. Now all he could do was play mother hen. Whatever he did, it had to be better than what the son of a bitch who beat him up like that had done to him. He thumb-tacked the Polaroid to the bulletin board filled with photographs of other young men who came through these doors, haunted by the bruises that darkened one so otherwise fair of face.

Scene 4: Brian's Loft

The time change combined with the tension stripped Brian of his ability to sleep, despite his exhaustion. He finally took some prescription medication he had been hoarding since having his wisdom teeth removed and washed it down with a shot of scotch. He slipped into a coma-like pit of darkness, barely rousing when his phone began to ring incessantly.

"Huh?" he mumbled, unsure where he was or what time it was or even how this implement in his hand was supposed to work.

"I woke you up," Justin's voice. Brian felt as if someone threw a bucket of cold water in his face as clarity returned with a vengeance. "Of course I woke you up. Where are you?"

"You first," Brian insisted, sitting up and lighting a cigarette.

Justin sighed. "Can't."

"Justin, I'm home, at the loft. But I'm about to come looking for you. Why put me through all that? Why not tell me where you are and I'll fly there and we can talk? Doesn't that make more sense? I don't want to fly to a bunch of cities and spend a lot of time and money only to discover that wasn't your destination."

"Don't look for me, Brian. Don't get involved."

Brian laughed. "I am involved, you silly twat," he tried to lighten the conversation and keep Justin on an even keel. "As you knew I would be when you called me."

"No, I...why are you involved?"

Brian sighed. "Don't be coy. We have more important things to discuss. Like where are you?"

Justin was silent. Brian sifted through the ambient noise in the background, picking up jazzy music, not the kind of thing Justin would play. He noted that sound, recalling the list he and Cyn compiled of possible destinations, based on published flights leaving Pittsburgh at the hour that Brian got the call. He was dismayed by how many choices there were and by the airlines' universal refusal to give out any information on their passengers. Even whether a certain person was on a particular flight was not information they would share. Not knowing what airline he traveled, or where to, made Brian's task daunting.

"Brian, I did a terrible thing. Stay out of it, don't get in trouble."

"Why did you do it, Justin?"

"I don't know why!"

"What do you mean?"

"I hardly remember doing it, Brian! It was as if I was watching someone else do it, I was completely detached from the whole thing. And now, it's just a blur, the details won't come to me."

"That's called shock, baby."

"It's called fucking crazy!" His voice broke. "I swear to god, I'm crazy, Brian!"

"You're not crazy. Stop that. You may have been temporarily insane, and acted while in that state, but if so, you were driven to it. Tell me something, Justin. Are you bruised?"

Justin sniffled. "Uhh, why?" He asked, pulling up his shirt to look at his bruised abdomen and gently fingering the marks on his face.

"Are you?"

"Why does it matter, Brian?"

"Because it's your alibi, dumb shit."

"How is it an alibi?"

"Justin, like the Wicked Witch, I had to have a house drop on me before certain truths became self-evident. I now know he was beating you up regularly. He poisoned you with tainted meat like you were a junkyard dog. And my guess is, he beat you one time too many and you snapped."

Justin sighed. "Why deny it now? That still doesn't give me the right to do what I did."

"I don't want to talk about rights, Justin. But those bruises are important. Ethan is pitching it as if you attacked him with no provocation. That looks bad for you. You have to show you were being abused, and this is your best evidence. But it has a short shelf life."

"I can't go through that, Brian! Even if they were sympathetic, I couldn't testify in open court about what happened to me. Don't you see? It's humiliating! I'm tired of being a victim!" He began to cry softly and Brian frowned, torn by his lover's pain.

"Just tell me where you are, baby. Let me come there and we'll talk. I won't make you do anything you don't want to do. If you decide you want to disappear after we talk, I can make that happen. Please Justin."

"Goodnight, Brian. I love you."

He ended the call. Brian cursed and flung his mobile across the room, hearing it clatter on the hardwoods. He then retrieved it, knowing it was his lifeline to Justin.

Scene 5: Bank of America, Pittsburgh

Brian wore a dark Prada suit. A hand-tailored shirt. An Hermes tie. Black Italian leather dress shoes. A Cartier tank watch. He looked like what he was: a very important customer. He made himself comfortable in the president's spacious office. Not only did he have a load of his money here, but so did his agency.

"Mr. Kinney, you must understand, I would if I could, but with the delays in posting..."

Brian held up his hand. "Please, no excuses. I want to see all the activity on that account, up to yesterday. It's important."

"If you suspect fraud..."

"It's my money. I don't have to suspect anything to keep up with my money, do I?"

"Well, it was established as a joint account, which means each of you have equal access to the funds. You and a Mr. Justin Taylor. If you want to remove Mr. Taylor from the account, there are certain legalities..."

"I'm not saying I want to make any changes at all. I just want to see the fucking statement. Can you make that happen or not?" Brian's exhaustion was making him testy. The manager sighed. He rang someone, asked for what Brian wanted, and then offered him a Danish and/or coffee while he was waiting. Brian said yes to the coffee, no to the Danish. He lit up, ignoring the manager's disapproving stare. Finally, the statement appeared, fresh from the printer. A series of ATM withdrawals had reduced the total balance from ten thousand dollars to forty-five hundred in a compressed time frame. Brian glanced over them, noting they were all from Pittsburgh, until...he smiled. He folded the statement over and put it in his pocket.

"Mr. Kinney," the president said tensely. "Should I put a notifier on the account? It's linked to one of your other accounts for overdraft protection. The person could have access to far more money than what is in that one account."

"Don't worry about it," Brian said as he left the office. He knew Justin wasn't a thief. He was just desperate. He would never dip into Brian's separate money. He even felt obligated to tell Brian that he was spending his tuition. And thank god he did. At least now, Brian had a place to start.

Scene 6: Pittsburgh General Hospital

Ethan awoke from a fitful sleep to focus on a tall, handsome man seated calmly beside his bed. At first he was pleased to have a handsome visitor, until he realized who the visitor was. Ethan sat upright with a gasp, mindful of his hands that were set in plaster extending up both forearms. His eyes roamed wildly, searching for the call button to summon a nurse. Brian held it up, out of his reach.

"Looking for this?"

"I'll scream..."

"Don't do that, Ethan. Don't be a drama queen. Plenty of people saw me come in here. It's not as if I could smother you with a pillow and get away with it," Brian's voice was deadly calm. Ethan relaxed slightly.

"Real brave. Threaten a man who's defenseless. Justin must have learned the sneak attack from you!"

"I'm not threatening you, Ethan. Threatening a man who's defenseless is your gig, not mine. And Justin never learned anything about combat from me. I'm a lover, not a fighter," he said with deliberate sarcasm. "What he learned about fighting, he learned in order to survive against creeps like Hobbs and like you."

"What do you want?"

"I'm here to talk sense to you, Ethan."


"That's right. There's nothing to be gained from prolonging this charade. You know, I know, and several other witnesses know you've been abusing Justin for awhile, now. Don't bother denying it," Brian insisted when Ethan tried to protest. "I know what you've done. And now you've paid for it. The smart thing to do is just walk away and avoid a situation where you both end up paying with lurid publicity and the destruction of your futures."

"What future?" Ethan exploded. "I don't know if I'll ever be able to play again, especially not with my former skill! He stole my future from me!"

"You never know. Justin thought his future as an artist was behind him after the bashing, because of his motor control problems. But he persevered and he's better than he ever was. Still, you make a point. You'll need to see specialists as you heal, have top physical therapists work with you to return your flexibility and while all that is going on, you have to live."

Ethan narrowed his eyes at him. "Yeah, and who's gonna pay for all that? I'm fucked! My family doesn't have any money!"

"Let's talk about that. What'll it take to make this whole thing go away, Ethan? You drop the charges, the police are told something to make them back off, and in trade, you get the financial help you need to recover fully."

Ethan laughed. "Are you BRIBING me?"

"Of course not," Brian reassured him. "I'm just trying to make sense out of a senseless situation. In one scenario, everyone loses. Justin may get a criminal record out of it, but what do you get other than the satisfaction of punishing him? You're still a cripple. He has no assets for you to go after in a civil action. With his future impaired, he may never have a dime. What happens to you?"

"You think I'm an idiot? I know what would happen. As soon as I signed a statement or whatever, letting Justin off the hook, you and your fucking money would disappear. It's not like you'd give me a contract for me to do an illegal action like perjury or dropping a legit criminal complaint or whatever it is I would have to do."

"No contract would be needed. I happen to be an honorable man who keeps his word," Brian calmly replied.

Ethan glared at him, and then offered a cynical laugh. "Fuck you and your honor, you asshole. Get out of my room. I intend to burn your little buttboy. Burn him bad. I don't care about your money. I can always find a daddy to look after me, but I want the satisfaction of seeing his life go down the shitter. You dig? There is nothing you can offer me to deprive me of that pleasure."

Brian nodded and stood, resting the nurse's call button within Ethan's reach. He gave away none of the rage he was experiencing as he forced a tense smile and said in a soft, melodic tone, "Fillean meal ar an meallaire."

"What the fuck is that?" Ethan insisted and Brian paused at the door and answered his question before he left.

"It's Irish," Brian told him, his smile as sharp and mirthless as a shard of ice. "It means 'Evil returns to the evildoer.'"

Ethan shuddered involuntarily as Brian closed the door quietly behind him.

Next week on Transitions:

Brian closes in on Justin. An old friend of Jack Kinney's is visited by Brian.


Episode 317

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