Summary: There will be time, there will be time... / Time for you and time for me, / And time yet for a hundred indecisions, / And for a hundred visions and revisions, / Before the taking of a toast and tea.
Author's Notes: While I was writing this, I had lines from "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" and "Danse Russe" running in my head. In the end, Eliot won out, so thanks to T.S. Eliot for giving me the title, to susanderavish for encouraging me to write this in the first place, and to ragingpixie for reading it over for me.
WARNING: This is as free of spoilers as a spoiled person can possibly make it.
A year from today, Brian will finally admit -- after a three week "vacation" that was only supposed to last three days -- that he's not planning to go back to Pittsburgh, and he'll let Justin call Jennifer and ask her to get an estimate on the loft. He'll demand that they find a new place, something with bigger windows and an actual dishwasher, and when Justin tells him to shut up and reminds him that this is Justin's apartment, that Brian was just supposed to be visiting, Brian will roll his eyes and give Justin ten minutes to queen out in peace while he goes to find a copy of the day's classified ads.
Their new place will look eerily like Brian's old place, and Justin will secretly deposit checks for half the house payment into Brian's account, which Brian will secretly deposit back as soon as they clear. They’ll be happy and together, and every time Justin notices how beautiful Brian looks under the lights of the city – a real city – he’ll wonder why they didn’t make this move years ago.
Five years from today, Daphne will call Justin to tell her that she’s getting married, and that she wants him to be her “maid of honor.” Brian will tease Justin relentlessly, asking if Justin will let Brian go with him to get fitted for his bridesmaid’s dress, but when the time comes to get the tux, Brian does go and fucks Justin in the dressing room while the tailor waits outside.
They'll go to the rehearsal dinner, where Brian will kiss Daphne on the mouth in front of her fiance, and she'll blush and grin and Justin will feel so proud of her, won't remember a time that she ever looked prettier. Brian will pick at his too-fatty dinner and they'll all joke about why Brian and Justin never got married; Justin will smile uncomfortably and Brian will pretend he's choking by spitting a mouthful of water into his napkin.
On their way inside the church, Brian will lean into Justin’s ear and whisper, “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride,” and Justin will squeeze Brian’s hand hard enough that he’ll know Brian can feel the metal of the band on his ring finger – not a wedding ring, just a ring – digging into his skin.
Ten years from today, Justin will be stepping off an airplane at Charles de Gaulle when Brian calls him and asks him to come home, tells him hurriedly that it’s Debbie, that she collapsed at the diner – and how many fucking times does he have to ask her to quit before she finally listens – but that it’s serious this time, and something else about a drug-induced coma that Justin will barely hear because he’s already at the ticket counter trying to book his return flight.
Justin will arrive at the hospital after twenty-four solid hours of traveling, and Brian will hug him longer and harder than he ever has before, and Justin will realize that even though Joan Kinney died years ago, Brian may be about to lose his mother. They’ll all take turns sitting by Deb’s bedside for days, alternating between being at the hospital and trying to coax Michael to eat, to sleep just for a little while, to take a shower and change clothes, and then suddenly Debbie will be awake again, pulling through it, cracking jokes like she’s always done, asking where the hell her wig is.
When Justin goes back to Paris for the rescheduled job interview, Brian will come with him because someone has to teach Justin how to eat escargot and he’s always wanted to see the Louvre, and again they’ll find themselves pretending to vacation in a city they know they’ll never leave.
Twenty years from today, Justin will wake up at seven, like he always does, and walk out on the balcony of their fifteenth-floor flat to draw the city. He never gets tired of it. When his hand starts to ache, he’ll go back to bed, where Brian will be watching him, and make fun of Brian’s ever-growing bald spot, which neither one of them can pretend is “elegant” or “regal” or even “mature.” It’s just old, and it feels strange, but it’s true – Brian Kinney is getting old. Justin’s getting older too: he can feel it in his bones after staying out too late, can feel it in his stomach after too many glasses of red wine. In Paris, there are always too many glasses of red wine.
Justin will make coffee when Brian pesters him for it, and he won’t say anything when Brian smokes two cigarettes before he finishes his first cup. He won’t say that Brian can’t afford to treat his body the way he does, not with a history of cancer and the remnants of God knows how many drugs still lingering in his system from their clubbing days. He won’t admit, even to himself, that Brian’s done so much damage to himself over the years that there’s no way he’ll live to be really old, seventy or eighty or ninety old, that they’ll probably be lucky to have five more good years left.
Instead, he’ll pour them both another cup full of coffee, pick up a blanket off the sofa, and lead Brian behind him back onto the balcony. Brian will sit on one of the wrought iron chairs and put his feet up on another, and when he leans back with his mug in his lap and his closed eyes turned up toward the morning sun, Justin will draw him; Brian’s not young anymore, that much is obvious, but Justin can’t imagine a day when he’ll ever find a more beautiful subject.
He'll put his pencil to the paper and begin.