Summary: An overview of specific moments in Michael's life; how he feels about
Brian, Justin, Ben, and everything after. Though, it's mostly a Michael Needs
To Get Over It fic, and well, I manage to write more about Brian than Michael.
Rating: gen, possibly pg 13?
Notes: The lyics between the parts are from 'Caring is Creepy' by The Shins.
[It's a luscious mix of words and tricks]
It starts at fourteen. Heís the smallest boy in his class and his mother had told him the year before he liked boys instead of girls and since then, somehow, it seems like the whole world knows. They all know and stare at him in the hall at school and hate him for it.
Michaelís Uncle Vic, who lives in New York, tells him over the phone that one day it wouldnít matter. That he likes boys too, that a lot men do Ė and donít listen to those kids at school, kiddo. Some people are just scared of what they donít understand.
But the kids at school are bigger and stronger; and when he walks in the hall between classes the boys on the school teams push him into the lockers, call him a fag and grab their crotches, laughing and pointing and rolling their eyes. They say want to suck my dick, queer? And Michael thinks of a thousand things to say back, but doesnít say any of them.
That is, until Brian Kinney.
Michaelís life can be divided into two categories by the age of fourteen: Before Brian and After Brian.
Brian who is tall and skinny but much stronger than Michael. This new kid in school (transferred from a private school across town?) who slams peopleís fingers in their locker doors and never takes any shit from anyone.
Brian who pulls Michael close in Geometry, until his breath is hot against his ear, and whispers: Want to know why Iím late, Mikey?
Michael nods slowly, closes his eyes and leans into Brian.
He says: I just blew the gym teacher in the showers.
Brian who is gay and blows gym teachers in the showers and never, ever apologizes for it.
That night Michael buries his face into his Captain Astro pillow case and imagines his entire life. And, in the end, the final scene is just him and Brian Ė old and married and happy together on some beach (maybe Florida?) - until the credits roll.
[That let us bet when you know we should fold]
At nineteen the wide and unknown and Brian is away at school most of the time.
Brian meets a girl named Lindsay his first year and suddenly heís taking her out on Friday nights instead of Michael Ė and Michael is fucking scared. Heís scared of losing Brian, of his life, of letting down his mother.
But mostly heís scared of losing Brian.
They meet on the weekends and go to Babylon. Brianís had a fake ID since he was 16 and he already knows the bouncersí names and how to cut the line outside; he weaves through the crowd easily and the bartender hands him a drink without asking what he wants.
And Michael realizes Brian goes to Babylon a lot without him.
They dance and dance until Michaelís knees hurt and he says: Jesus, I need to take a break.
He grabs Brianís hand and starts walking in the general direction of the bar, but Brian pulls his hand away. He says: Go ahead, Michael. Iíll meet you there. And Michael stands in the middle of the glitter and the thump-thump of the music and watches Brian walk away, dragging a handsome man along by the belt.
Twenty minutes later Michael is sore and tired and Brian shows up, drunk and stoned. Brian says: Christ, I love this place.
He says: Do you even know what a glory hole is Michael? And he laughs at him.
Michael tells him to go fuck himself. To stop making him feel stupid, and heíd rather not know anything than be some whore who fucks strangers in a filthy hallway.
Brian says: Thereís a whole big world out there, Mikey. Iíd rather be a whore than do nothing at all, like you.
Michael swallows hard, his throat suddenly dry and his stomach aching. Brian presses himself against Michaelís hip, grinds down on his leg, he whispers: Iíd rather be getting my cock sucked than sitting at home waiting for prince fucking charming.
Then suddenly Brianís ordering another drink, no longer pressed against Michael, and says this, Michael, is a popper and holds out his hand.
Like nothing had happened at all.
Michael takes the popper from Brian, watches how itís done, then follows suit.
[On rocks I dreamt of where we'd stepped]
When heís twenty-four everything is falling apart.
Brian has a job at a really good advertising agency and Michael is working at the Big Q and they hardly ever see each other.
Michael is working constantly. He gets a second job Ė a night job Ė at a twenty-four hour grocery store. He watches Brian spend all his money on drugs and liquor, watches him buy a gorgeous loft and a new car and all this shit.
Then goes home and watches his uncle Vic slowly die; watches his mother quit her job and stay home, wiping his ass and cleaning up his vomit, and listens to her crying at night through the too-thin walls.
So Michael works two jobs and double-shifts and makes just enough to scrape by.
Debbie holds his face in her tired hands and says: I donít know what Iíd do without you Michael. Youíll never know how much I love you, how proud I am of you. How thankful.
Brian calls him at one am on a Friday night and says: Iím coming to pick you up.
He says: Not tonight. I have work tomorrow.
But Brian tells him thatís bullshit, who cares and they havenít hung out in weeks. He says: What, you donít love me anymore, Mikey?
Michael presses his ear to the wall of his unchanged bedroom, listens to his mother say: then just fucking go ahead and die, Vic. Just give up and die, who gives a fuck. Weíd all be better off anyway, you fucking asshole.
Michael says fine, come and get me. Iíll be waiting outside.
They go to Woodyís and Michael isnít in the door five seconds before someone knocks into him, spilling some kind of mixed drink all over his t-shirt.
You gotta be fucking kidding me, Michael sighs and glares at Brian when he laughs.
The man who bumped into him says: Oh my God, Iím so sorry!
He says: Here, let me help. And starts patting Michaelís drenched shirt with one paper napkin.
Itís alright, Michael says. Donít worry about it. Really. Itís fine.
The guy is wearing glitter around his eyes and he smiles. Iím Emmett, and this, he says, pulling another man over by the collar of his shirt, this is Mister Theodore Schmidt. Say hi, Teddy.
[At long last it's crashed]
Everything is fine up until heís twenty-nine.
When Michael is twenty-nine the world shifts, falls off its axis. The ground opens up, fire and brimstone and the four fucking horsemen of the apocalypse. At twenty-nine it is the end of the world.
And he knows the exact moment the first seal is broken:
Brian is draping an arm across his shoulder outside of Babylon. Michael says: That was quick. And smiles up at him.
I got bored, Brian says.
Michael thinks, ĎI know you didí, and he fills with something that can only be described as hope. Because Brian has been saying that a lot lately. He goes into the backroom with the hottest men on the dance floor and comes out bored and vaguely disappointed -
And Michael canít stop himself from hoping that Brian is finally changing. Finally ready to settle down. With him.
And then: This little fucking stupid suck-ass kid shows up.
Itís surreal how it happens. How Brian just stops and stares and how Michael can feel the universe change, this stupid electricity in the air. He doesnít want to say sparks, like what everyone says when two people meet each otherís eyes across a room; and he doesnít want to use the words Chemical Reaction or Fate or whatever Ė but they are the first words that come to mind.
Brian goes over to pick him up and Ted says: Jesus, heís just a kid.
And Emmett says: Like he cares.
Michael doesnít say anything.
[Far above our heads are the icy heights that contain all reason]
At thirty-one heís doesnít really hate Justin anymore.
But Michael is angry Ė heís fucking furious with Justin Ė because no one can break Brianís heart without him taking it very, very personally. So when Justin shows up at Mel and Lindsayís with him on his arm, Michael has never wanted to hurt someone so badly in his entire life.
And maybe it has something to do with how Michael still loves Brian, no matter how much he loves Ben; and maybe heís just trying to show Brian that he would never have done anything like this, that he - Michael - he wouldíve never left. He wouldíve understood the tricking and he wouldíve ignored the sinkingpainful feeling of thinking he wasnít enough.
He wouldíve sacrificed his own happiness for Brianís.
So he says: After everything youíve done for him.
He is breathing heavily through his nose and he says: You should have just left him lying there.
Thatís all it takes. Brian pulls his hand back and punches Michael in face. Hard.
Michael falls backwards to the ground, and completely dumbfounded, he looks up to Brian. Brian who has never, ever in their entire friendship looked at Michael the way he is in that moment.
In that minute, Brian hates him. And Michael is positive that if they had been alone, instead of at a party, Brian wouldnít have stopped hitting him.
Over Brianís shoulder he can see Justin watching.
Brian doesnít explain his actions Ė and Michael doesnít say anything either.
He just lets his mother yell and scream and call Brian a monster and tell him to get the fuck out of here. He knows he should apologize, but he doesnít.
Because Brian was suppose to fucking love him.
[and all the whole mess of roads we're now on.]
When Michael is thirty-seven, he realizes his whole life heís been telling Brianís story.
Brian comes to him, soaked from the rain and shivering, he says: What the fuck is happening to me?
Michael looks back to Ben and Hunter, sitting at the table eating dinner, then back at Brian. He says Ďcome oní and grabs his coat from the rack. He glances back and Ben smiles, nods his head. Michael doesnít know how he got so lucky.
He sits with Brian on the steps in the rain and says: Whatís happening to you is called being fucking lonely, Brian.
Brian pushes his wet hair from his eyes and licks his lip. He says: Christ, this fucking blows.
Michael tells him he loves him; he says he always will and Brian, I donít think youíll ever know how much you really mean to me.
Michael cups Brianís cheek in his hand, and pretends it is only the rain on Brianís face. He whispers: I just donít understand why you insist on being so miserable. At this point, all you have to do is ask Justin to come back. Heís done everything he had to out there, but you Ė you keep telling him to stay there, to make a life for himself.
To make a life without you.
He says: And he canít, Brian. Just like you canít start over without him.
Michael digs into Brianís pockets and pulls out his cell phone, closes it in the other manís freezing hands.
Brian says: And what if he says heís happier there?
Yeah, Michael laughs, right. Just call asshole.
And he goes back upstairs, leaving Brian wet and cold, sitting alone in the rain.
[One day I'll be wondering how]
Every day (month, year) after thirty-seven, Michael measures with Benís gentle hands, Hunterís smart-ass remarks, and Jennyís growing height.
He sees Brian two or three times a week: at the diner or the gym, or maybe sometimes at Woodyís. Sometimes they play a game of pool and have a beer and Michael kisses him on the cheek when he leaves, and not on the lips.
Often when they see each other Justin is there, and he hugs Michael and crams lemon bars into his mouth, and says around the crumbs: ibst mude frucito.
And Michael grins and says: Itís good to see you too.
Sometimes when they are all sitting together in a booth, all four of them, Ben will whisper in his ear ĎI love you so muchí and Michael will say it back and mean it completely.
And Brian Ėwho never bends or breaks or compromises Ė Brian will look at Justin and soften. Heíll run his hands through Justinís shaggy blonde hair and lean in close to tenderly kiss him on his temple.
And it will mean just the same.