Strong

Keira


This is a ficlet that's been running through my head for a while, so I thought I should just get it out already. It's partly inspired by something that happened in real life, and takes place circa the end of S4. It's a different style then the other fic I've written, so feedback would be greatly appreciated!



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The day Brian stops doing drugs starts like any other. The alarm goes off. He wakes up. He gets up right away, because when itís a workday, Brian doesnít believe in snooze buttons. Theyíre for the weak.

And Brian is not weak.

Brian has always told his friends never to take drugs from people you donít know. Thatís how you end up dead, or in a coma, or on the floor of the bathroom at Babylon, covered in a myriad of disgusting substances.

Brianís too smart to let that happen to him. Or to Justin. In teaching Justin to be the best homosexual he can be, Brianís taught him never to take candy from strangers.

The day Brian stops doing drugs proceeds like any other. He fucks Justin in the shower, the hot water pulsing over them as he presses him against the glass for what is possibly the millionth time. Brian wouldnít be surprised if it were, because most days with Justin start this way.

And most days start with Justin.

Brian goes to work and yells at the incompetent art directors and copywriters. Theyíre actually very talented, or else he wouldnít have hired them, but Brian likes to keep them on their toes. After all, he has a reputation to uphold.

Lunch is ordered in and eaten at his desk. He writes a brief for the new Pet Emporium print ad, as he congratulates himself again for stealing the business away from Vance. He also emails Justin to tell him that he wants to go to Babylon. Itís Friday night, and Brian wants to play. He knows what happens when you're all work, and heaven forbid anyone ever accuse him of being a dull boy.

The day Brian stops doing drugs almost ends like any other. But when Brian looks back, itís reminiscent of a night that he tries not to think about. Even when he focuses on the good parts Ė Justin's disbelieving smile, their hands clasped tightly, the scuffed dance floor beneath their feet, the music, the blur of lights and shocked faces Ė Brian still canít forget what came next.

He works late, so he wonít have to bring anything home for the weekend. He takes the stairs up to the loft, the familiar thrum of adrenalin already in his blood. He can hear the thump of the bass emanating from within, and he can imagine Justin dancing around the loft, getting ready to go out.

When Brian opens the door, itís just as he expected. Lights blazing, Justinís sketchbook and pencils still all over the table. He looks towards the bedroom to watch Justin hop down the stairs to greet him, moving to the quick beat of the latest DJ mix from New York.

When he doesnít appear, Brian shuts the door and takes his coat off. He calls out that heís home as he drops his briefcase on the desk. The music must be too loud, because Justin doesnít answer.

He heads to the bedroom and is at the top of the stairs when Justin comes out of the bathroom. Justin smiles and Brianís heart skips a beat, the way it always does. He kisses him and looks forward to later.

As Brian changes into his clubbing clothes, Justin gets their stash of E from the little box in the sock drawer. He says he wants to start early, and pops a pill on his tongue. Brian tells him heíll have his in a minute, and finishes buttoning his shirt.

Justin shakes his cute little ass to the music as he goes to clean up his art supplies. Brian goes into the bathroom to wash his face and inspect his appearance. He leans in closely to the mirror, looking for wrinkles. He canít help himself, and is pleased that there are no new additions.

When he hears the thud, he thinks itís just part of the song. But when he pokes his head out of the bathroom anyway, and peers around into the living room, Brian can see an outstretched hand on the floor, near the table. Logic dictates that this is Justinís hand, and Brian has trouble figuring out what Justinís doing down there.

It seems to take a very long time to cross the bedroom and get to the top of the stairs, where now Brian can see that Justinís whole body is on the floor. He moves forward as his brain tries to process what heís seeing, and he falls to his knees beside him.

Justin stares, eyes open and unblinking.

In that moment, Brian knows that Justin is dead, and he feels a terror he hasnít felt since that night in the parking garage. But at least then, there was hope. Justin was still breathing, even though his blood was draining rapidly onto the concrete.

Brian wishes with everything he is that Justinís eyes were closed, not open and unseeing. Not empty. Justinís chest doesnít move, and the panic and grief is like a thousand volts of electricity that have somehow rendered Brian unable to move either.

Then Justin suddenly gasps and his chest expands. He blinks, looking up at Brian blankly.

Brian knows that only a few seconds have passed since he got to Justinís side, but heís felt more fear in that short time than he did from the moment of the discovery in the backroom to the doctorís confirmation to the radiation. Justin tries to speak and looks frighteningly pale where minutes Ė is it only minutes? Ė ago he was laughing and flushed.

Brian takes his cell phone out of his pocket and calls 911, refusing to move to get the cordless. The operator asks a lot of questions and he answers them honestly, not caring if the police get involved. Justin shivers and Brian holds him close as he waits, whispering comfort.

The day Brian stops doing drugs doesnít end until long after midnight. He sits by Justinís bed in the crowded emergency room, glad for the curtain pulled tightly around them. He knows that the E was from a reliable source, and he knows with great certainty that he is a fool.

Justin sleeps, his breathing steady, heartbeat pinging in comfortingly regular intervals on the monitor. The doctor says it was fortunate Brian was there. Brian stays at the hospital and holds Justinís hand, unwilling to let go.

They say your life can change in an instant, and Brian decides to remember that.

End