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08 June 2006 @ 06:49 pm
SILENCE AND TEARS, Chapter 21, The Conclusion. Brian's POV  
This was a story about how the last season of QAF might have ended. It's an alternative to what was filmed. I've been through all the stages of grief over the way the show was written, and now this is my reconciliation, for Brian and Justin, for Randall and his love for the show. Some of you wanted more, detailed rendering of their relationship. That's not how I viewed this particular story. This was exactly what I wanted to say, how I wanted it to end. It's my view, plain and simple, neither right nor wrong. I'm leaving my LJ open in case I want to post any thing else outside of my P/CP work, even fiction unrelated to QAF. Maybe the first Vanished gap filler? (JOKE!) I hope you enjoyed this little love story, it was very therapeutic for me. Love, Randall

Chapter 21: The Conclusion. Brian’s POV

Six months later, Christmas Day

I have such a headache. If Gus shoots me with that fucking laser whatever the fuck it is that makes that huge popping noise with each pull of the trigger, I may have to pitch his favorite gift in the dumpster. He’ll go to bed before I do, I’ll get my chance. The loft looks like a tsunami swept in, disarranged everything, and then pulled out, leaving behind all the debris it could carry. Tinsel, ribbon, paper, boxes, plates of food, glasses of wine, maybe too much wine, and in the middle of it all, there’s that fucking Christmas tree.

“Have you noticed how that tree isn’t even straight?” I point out to Justin as I prop my feet up on the table and watch Gus dig into another, hopefully quieter, stash of toys.

“Why should anything in this house be straight?” he says with a laugh as he plops down beside me on the sofa and offers me a pick from a plate of frosted Christmas cookies. Jennifer made them and sent a tin home with us. At this rate, between Justin and Gus, they’ll be history by tomorrow.

“Do you know how much sugar is in one of those things?” I challenge him and he grins at me.

“If you hum a few bars…”

“Shut up,” I massage my temples. Not only is the tree less than straight, it looks like it might go up like a torch if exposed to any source of heat. Such as the lights that blink and twinkle and bubble and whatever the fuck those frosted ones do. I’ve never seen so many different kinds of lights on one tree. It looks like an electricity experiment. “Tomorrow, we take that thing down before it torches the building.”

“NO!” Gus rings in from the floor, reaching for his laser of justice and vengeance.

“Ok, ok,” I mollify him. “If you leave that damned gun alone, I’ll let it stay up another day.”

He goes back to his hand held baseball whatever it is game. The annoying little blips and beeps that emanate from it are far more tolerable than that gun.

“You shouldn’t let him be the boss of you,” Justin teases me and I shrug.

“Sometimes surrender is the best course. Will you go get me some Advil? My head is killing me.”

“Did you break a leg? Get your own Advil.”

“This is what happens when you let the little woman have her own career,” I complain as I struggle to my feet. “They forget their place.”

I feel the pillow hit me squarely in the back as I go into the bathroom and swallow a couple gel caps. It’s been a long day, beginning while it was still dark. Gus woke us up with a demand to see what Sandy Claws brought him. After being up late putting his toys together and wrapping even more loot, we were both exhausted. But we complied, and drank coffee and feigned excitement as he tore through his haul like a Texas tornado.

Then it was brunch with Jennifer and Molly, dinner at Deb’s, a tasteful little cocktail whatever at Em’s and back here for Chinese from cartons and more Gus activity. He held up well, the poor kid, running on adrenalin and greed. The only time he conked out was at Em’s, sprawled over everyone’s discarded coats on Em’s bed. Now he’s wired again, and I’m feeling my age. Cringe.

Justin is kind enough to take him to the bathroom for a bath. One nice thing about being in the bigger loft, we have a tub. Gus loves the Jacuzzi jets and for once, he doesn’t complain when he has to be bathed. He also has his own room and so do we. With a door. For privacy. The sudden quiet lulls me into an unplanned nap, and I’m rudely awakened when Justin sits down next to me and pats my leg.

“I was going to tell you to kiss him goodnight, but he fell asleep two paragraphs into the story I was reading him.”

“I told you he isn’t into gay s&m.”

He laughs. “Yet.”

We both chuckle at that. “We could restore order to the disaster zone, or we could go to bed. What’s your preference?”

“It’s still Christmas and you have another present to open.”

I glance at his profile. I don’t need another present. The last six months have been enough of a present to last me through several Christmases. He’s here or I’m there with regular frequency and it’s going well. I miss him when we’re apart, but I cope. And now I have Gus here, according to a strictly enforced schedule. I have a nanny to stay with him when I have to work, but I don’t want her around when I’m home. The whole point of this custody battle was to give me more time with my son, not to introduce him to a nice nanny.

I can’t say things are good between the lesbians and me. But for Gus’s sake, we’re working it. That’s all I can ask. I’m, dare I say it, happy. I’m happy. I like my life. I’d like them both to be around more, but gluttony is a mortal sin and I’m a good Catholic boy. Yeah, right. Some things will never change.

“What’s this?” I ask as he pulls a familiar red box out from sequestration beneath a sofa cushion. Cartier? He already gave me those leather gloves lined in cashmere that I wanted.

“Open it.” His bracelet gleams from his wrist. I hope to hell he didn’t buy me one to match, with all his income from his art sales. It looks good on my femmy partner, but on me, it would be ridiculous. I’d wear it just so I wouldn’t hurt his feelings, but I wouldn’t like it. My idea of a bracelet is shells on leather.

I prepare myself to look happy and touched, but when I push the button and the box flops open, he says, “I want the box back.”

Inside, there’s no bracelet, just a key. I look at him and dangle it between us. “Is there a treasure chest this fits? Only I have to find it first?”

He laughs. “It’s a key to my studio.”

Oh God, how I hate that awful place above the poster shop. It’s musty, dusty, smells of turpentine and you have to piss in the rusty sink. “Uh, okay,” this must mean something to him. Not sure what. “Thanks. But I don’t think I’ll be going to your studio unless you’re either in it or with me. Is this in case you lose your key? Because having a spare in Pittsburgh may not be the brightest idea.”

“You really are dense, to be so smart, Mr. Kinney.”

“Illuminate me.”

“It’s to my studio on Tremont Street. About a block and a half from here. Top floor of the old Adams Hat Factory. Cheap as shit, lots of room, lots of light and get this, it has working plumbing. They’re converting it into living lofts, but for now, I can get this space for a song.”

“Are you moving out?” I ask with a little apprehension, still not quite grasping the concept. He rolls his eyes. Taps me on the head with his knuckles. I grab his hand to stop him. “Head hurts. Remember?”

“It’s to work in, Brian. I need room to work, solitude, the ability to slop paint around and not care what I hit with it.”

“So it’s your Pittsburgh studio?”

“It’s my only studio. I’m moving back.”

I stare at him. No way. No fucking way! “Why?”

“Is that your reaction?”

“It’s one of my reactions.”

“Because I can. Because I have collectors who hound me now, galleries who want to show my work, not just in New York, but in other major cities, an agent who knows how to promote me, and money in the bank. I did it. I proved to myself that I can do this for a living, on my own, and I am. I may not be rolling in it, but if I had to do everything on my own dime, I could. And I miss you and I miss being here with you and with Gus and I’m ready.” He pauses, narrows those blues at me. “That is, if you want me to move back full time.”

I refuse to do the happy dance that’s playing in the back of my mind. My headache has suddenly vanished. I refuse to let him see how much this announcement has thrilled me. I’m proud of him and I’m happy for myself, for us. I manage a shrug. “I don’t mind, either way. You decide.”

“Okay, in that case I’ll stay in New York. We can keep commuting.”

I glance at him. “Is that what you want?”

He hits me in the face with a pillow. “No, you asshat, that’s not what I want! I want to be here, as I’ve said, with you and with Gus. But I’d like to read a little enthusiasm from you, if you don’t mind.”

I bite my smile, but reach over to kiss him. “How’s that?”

“You call that enthusiasm?”

“I call that a start.”

I take his hand and lead him into our bedroom and shut the door. Gone are the days when we can fuck on any surface in the loft, at least not while Gus is in residence. It’s a small sacrifice, since we can always close the door, and he’s only here half the time, with his moms the rest. We crawl onto the bed, snatching off clothes as we go.

“I was so afraid you were going to give me that damned bracelet,” I whisper as my hands travel across the map of his body.

“Are you crazy? That’s two and a half months studio rent!”

I laugh at that. Good decision on his part. I feel him grab a handful of me, and I don’t flinch, not even when he fondles my false nut. I used to be so self-conscious about it, I never wanted anyone to touch it, but with him I’m completely at ease. I trust him. “I want to pay part of the expenses here, too, Brian.”

“Can we talk about that stuff later? It makes my dick soft.”

“Nothing makes your dick soft.”

He’s wrong, but that’s okay, let him think that. “When are you moving back?” I reach for the lube and condoms before we go into overdrive.

“I want to be permanent by New Year’s Eve.”

“That’s not so far from now.”

“I don’t have that much to do. It’ll work. Especially if you fly up and help me.”

“Sure. Gus can see New York all dressed up for the holidays. It will be fun for him.”

“Now can we stop talking and start fucking?”

Sounds like a deal, I think to myself. I fill up his mouth with my tongue and prepare to fill up the opposite end with another part of my anatomy.

The next morning, I’m the first one up. The key is still on the sofa, where we left it. I fetch my key ring and slip it on the loop to hang with the others. I smile as I run my finger over the jagged edge of it. Home, he’s coming home. I start filling a black trash sack with the debris from yesterday, making sure the goods are out of each box before it gets crushed in the sack. I consider tossing Gus’s noisy fucking laser gun, but even I can’t be that cruel.

The drapes are open to the terrace. It’s more of a wide deck overlooking the city. Right now the benches and railings are covered in a shimmer of snow. The sky is gray, threatening more severe weather. I don’t mind. It’s the most beautiful day after Christmas I’ve ever seen.

“I peed in my bed, Daddy,” Gus suddenly announces. He’s standing there in pajama top, but no bottom. I blink. He seems almost proud of this accomplishment.


He shrugs. “I dunno. I guess I didn’t get waked up.” So much for the secret shame of bed-wetting.

Another nice feature about the bigger loft, I have my own washer and dryer on premise. “Let’s go get in the tub,” I tell him, unwilling to whiff piss every time I’m near him today. I slap Justin’s beautiful exposed rump on our way to the bathroom.

“Get up. You need to watch the Gusmeister while I strip his bed.”

“Another wet dream?” he teases and I glare at him.

“Yeah. Very wet.”

He steps into his sweats as he stumbles towards the bathroom. At least we all have the same equipment, so we don’t have to pretend modesty.
In Gus’s room, I clear off his bed and put everything, including his slightly damp teddy bear, into the washing machine. I pause as I measure fabric softener into the cup.

What the fuck am I doing?

Where is my hangover?

Where is my post-tweak dry mouth?

Where is my curiosity about who and what I did last night?

When did I turn into Martha Stewart?

Moment of panic.

It passes.

Okay, so this isn’t as glamorous as banging boys in the backroom of Babylon. But I spent one too many Christmases in the company of lonely and desperate men who had nowhere to go, no one to spend a holiday with, no reason to treat the day any differently than say last Thursday. I was one of those men. I even liked it. At least for a while.

Some future Christmas, I may be back there, no one knows how their life will play out. We may lose the fire along the way, as so many couples do. We may decide we’re better off moving on. What was that old Lord Byron poem I liked so much when I went through my poetic faggot phase, or some approximation of it? The line goes, “Pale grew thy cheek, and cold, colder thy kiss…”

It could happen to us. It could happen to anyone. No matter how much you don’t want it to fall apart, it can. But for now, our silence and tears are in the past and we’re making our own history, in our own way. Whether it’s someone else’s way really doesn’t matter.

I add water to the fabric softener. I close the lid, and then close the louvered doors. I go to the kitchen and start the coffee. The loft is quiet. I hear the hum of the washer and a vague echo of their splashing and playing in the bathroom. I’m not alone.

No silence.

No tears.

No regrets.
Current Mood: fullfull
Bow ties are cool.: Love Storymi_nion on June 8th, 2006 11:16 pm (UTC)
I am satisfied. This was like season 5 therapy for me. I doubt I'll ever re-watch season 5 again, but this I will re-read many times I'm sure.

Thanks for sharing this journey.
rand_altrand_alt on June 9th, 2006 08:14 am (UTC)
For me too. I'll not watch it again, either. Thanks for reading.
zoshazosha2003 on June 8th, 2006 11:19 pm (UTC)
Perfect ending (or is that a beginning?) to a great story that needed to be told. Good to know CowLip's stupidity can be evicerated by real talent like yours. Thanks for sharing.
rand_altrand_alt on June 9th, 2006 08:14 am (UTC)
It's just the way I saw it, my gift to the boiz after all they gave to me.
(Anonymous) on June 8th, 2006 11:25 pm (UTC)
So Nice. Great ending even tho I'm sorry to know it's the end of this particular story.. Great job and I'll stay tuned for more stories.
vickif on June 9th, 2006 03:49 am (UTC)
I didn't realize we had to sign in again. I'm the anonymous. When did it change? I even forgot my password since I haven't had to sign in for a very long time.
(no subject) - rand_alt on June 10th, 2006 10:42 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rand_alt on June 9th, 2006 08:15 am (UTC) (Expand)
wirthwoman: Gorgeouswirthwoman on June 8th, 2006 11:35 pm (UTC)
Well, Ran, I have tears. It was a beautiful ending and, as with the show, I hate to see it be over so soon. We always want more of a good thing.

Your writing is a very good thing. Thanks for bringing Brian and Justin to this point in their life that we all hoped for.

Like every good book, we want to know the outcome but are sorry when it's over but we will always have it to read again.

You're the best.
rand_altrand_alt on June 9th, 2006 08:16 am (UTC)
Knowing when to end is sometimes difficult. I'm glad you liked it. Thanks
Jo Esther: bj familytext paddiesjoesther on June 8th, 2006 11:41 pm (UTC)
You gave me goosebumps. A chapter that ended with laundry gave me goosebumps. I'm not kidding.

This is a beautiful, normal ending to a lovely, sometimes dramatic, sometimes exasperating, always heartwrenching love story. Thank you for caring enough to want to write it, and thanks even more for actually taking the time to write it.

Much appreciated.
rand_altrand_alt on June 9th, 2006 08:17 am (UTC)
THanks for the clapping, Jo! I'm glad you got goosebumps, that's a good thing.
southernlilsouthernlil on June 8th, 2006 11:42 pm (UTC)
When I read your header that this was the last chapter I was disappointed...that is until I read the story- perfect and satisfying (uh, unlike what's going on over at "Burn" central, LOL- but that's his story to tell and we'll hang tight) Brian might be a bit domestic in this chapter but love that in your world for them, they will never be domesticated.

Sigh, if only Cowlip would have done the boys justice in the end as you have done. Thanks again for sharing with us-

rand_altrand_alt on June 9th, 2006 08:18 am (UTC)
thanks for reading. i know the timing was weird for those reading burn, but I had to go ahead and post.
(Anonymous) on June 8th, 2006 11:51 pm (UTC)
...I'm not sure I can find the words, but let me try....

Randall, That was a sheer JOY!

I had a feeling that Ch 20 was the end, but I'd been keeping an eye out for 21 and I'm SO pleased that I did.

My smile was bright through the whole thing, but I stretched it even further at this line:

"My idea of a bracelet is shells on leather."

Thank you so much for this beautiful ending to what was a beautiful story.
ShammyMacCshammymacc on June 8th, 2006 11:52 pm (UTC)
sorry! that's from me, I forgot I wasn't logged in!

(no subject) - rand_alt on June 9th, 2006 08:19 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rand_alt on June 9th, 2006 08:19 am (UTC) (Expand)
damietta on June 8th, 2006 11:51 pm (UTC)
It's so nice to know 'the offer still stands'. LOL!

I had a friend over last weekend and she noticed that I had S5 DVDs (we watched the blooper reel). She said I didn't seem as upset over it all as I was. I said, well there are a couple of great writers who are re-writing the story. You are one.

I loved that you chose to have Gus with them for the last chapter. It is possible to compromise and win and still have love and fire.

I have high hopes for their future.

Thanks so much for taking us for this ride.

rand_altrand_alt on June 9th, 2006 08:20 am (UTC)
thanks deb, and yeah, in my world, gus is part of brian's happiness always.
asm614: Manhattan Beach :: PLEASE DO NOT TAKE!!asm614 on June 8th, 2006 11:51 pm (UTC)
You have given Brian and Justin's story the justice it deserved. Thank you so much for sharing this with us, Randall. It was wonderful.
rand_altrand_alt on June 9th, 2006 08:20 am (UTC)
Thanks for reading it!
(Anonymous) on June 9th, 2006 12:00 am (UTC)
Thank you, Randall!

rand_altrand_alt on June 9th, 2006 08:21 am (UTC)
you're welcome, lori
(Anonymous) on June 9th, 2006 12:02 am (UTC)
Lovely. I wish there was more, but that's because I'm a greedy so-and-so who always wants more of your writing. This is an appropriate ending, one that fits where the characters should have been at the end of their five years, not the pointless ending Cowlip left us with. Thank you.
Ann Marie
rand_altrand_alt on June 9th, 2006 08:22 am (UTC)
well you know i'll always be writing SOMETHING! BWHAAA! I'm glad it made sense to you, it worked for me
(no subject) - (Anonymous) on June 9th, 2006 05:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - rand_alt on June 10th, 2006 10:41 am (UTC) (Expand)
narnia06narnia06 on June 9th, 2006 12:13 am (UTC)
You've totally messed up my qaf cannon! (Congratulations =D)

Truly amazing story. I really like your take on things. It was a joy to read.
rand_altrand_alt on June 9th, 2006 08:23 am (UTC)
Thats a good thing, right??? BWAHAAA! Did anyone else think the fawn (faun) in your picture looked like a young russell crowe?
(no subject) - narnia06 on June 14th, 2006 03:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
itsjustkristen on June 9th, 2006 12:21 am (UTC)
Absolutely beautiful! Thank you so much! ♥
rand_altrand_alt on June 9th, 2006 08:23 am (UTC)
Thanks, glad you likey.
har2har2 on June 9th, 2006 12:23 am (UTC)
Great story. Loved the ending, Ran, but I'm sad to see it end. I love the way you write B/J so please don't stop with the QAF fiction. I read and love P/CP as well.
rand_altrand_alt on June 9th, 2006 08:24 am (UTC)
thanks karla, i love the boiz too so as long as there's an audience....but I really need to work on my novel.
oh bother: BJ OTP ani (don't take please)jenepherre on June 9th, 2006 12:36 am (UTC)
I'm always a little sad when you finish a story, but this was so so gratifying to read, Ran. You fixed it. Not sure what else to say. Just... perfect.
oh bother: BJ Season5 Promo Pic Anijenepherre on June 9th, 2006 12:39 am (UTC)
Re: Perfect.
I forgot to give you your gold star! Here's another one, to make up for it. Star
Re: Perfect. - rand_alt on June 9th, 2006 08:25 am (UTC) (Expand)
Re: Perfect. - rand_alt on June 9th, 2006 08:25 am (UTC) (Expand)