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Word of the Day

Mintwitch

Disclaimer: All characters and situations from Queer as Folk are properties of Russell T. Davies, Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman, Showtime, and others. No copyright infringement is intended.

01 - Prosaic

The strangest thing about Brian is how reasonable he looks, as though he suggests shit like this every day, which, come to think of it, is entirely possible, considering his former line of work and the events of the last few months. Yes, it's even probable that Brian has been completely insane all along and no one noticed, simply because he had outlets or whatever they call it, and now that he's unemployed his whacked out version of reality is finally going public. It would be sad if it weren't so terribly, fantastically frightening.

Typically, it's Emmett who says what everyone is thinking. "Honey, sweetie, Brian: are you off your medication?"

Brian is saved from having to choose between answering Emmett and regally ignoring him by the loft door opening, rolling aside to reveal Justin and his mom chattering and excited from another successful bargain hunt, but the freaked out vibes permeating the loft eventually draw their attention. Or maybe it's the way Lindsay's holding her hands over Gus's ears and staring at Brian like he's just confessed to being the Second Gunman. Convincingly.

"What's going on?" Justin looks from face to face, confirming that the whole family is there, even Hunter and Ben. "Brian?"

"We're planning a surprise birthday party for you, so get the fuck out, or you'll spoil it." Jennifer looks like she almost believes him for nearly half a second, but Justin lets it whiz by without a blink.

"No, really, what's up?" Brian and Gus are the only ones who don't seem extremely uncomfortable, and Jennifer gets her worried, "maybe I should leave, now" look.

"Honey, I should go." She's predictable, but she means well. She kisses Justin good-bye as she backs out of the loft, and the door rolling closed behind her sounds final, ominous, scored for low-budget horror movies. It's familiar enough to be almost funny.

Justin stares at Brian, waiting. Brian stares at the wall, determined not to be the first to speak. "Nothing. Nothing's up." Fuck. Fuck fuck fucker.

A snort comes from the piece of floor occupied by Emmett and Ted, and it sounds suspiciously like derision, which is uncalled for, especially from someone who still spends two hours every evening in a church basement announcing that he has a problem to 30 other crystal queens. "Your boyfriend has come up with a way to salvage his career, make us all rich and famous, and possibly solve world hunger, isn't that right Brian? All we have to do is quit our jobs, sell everything we own, and become his faithful minions." Ted's sarcastic diatribe ends with an audible snap, literally biting off the rest of his words.

"Okay. Again, I say 'Brian' and hope for an answer?" Justin's steady gaze coaxes Brian's attention, and he watches as Brian goes into pitch-mode, becomes Ad-guy, a persona that gets Justin way too hot; the first time he saw this side of Brian, the man was gloriously naked, and he can't help it if he now mentally strips Brian, throws him on the floor, and sucks him dry while Brian continues to drone on about developing a concept, marketing an idea, an intellectual property to build his own agency from the ground... what?

"What?" This is what he gets for daydreaming: now Justin's not only turned on, he's turned on and worried. "How would that be possible?"

"All I need is starting capital and one account. That's it. I know I can make this work." Justin's still not sure why Brian is pitching this to him; he doesn't have any money, although that explains why the rest of the family is here, but he looks absolutely confident, and hell, okay, then.

He smiles and shrugs. "Of course you can." But oddly, the tension in the room doesn't dissipate at all. "So, what's the problem?"

Brian glares indiscriminately at the others as he answers. "No problem, if my potential investors would simply trust that I know how to sell a product, especially this product."

The conversation is getting old and confusing and Justin is losing interest. "Whatever. You guys work it out, and let me know if I can help. I mean, I can't really contribute with the money thing, but I can do the art thing."

Brian smiles, pleased and predatory, and for the first time Justin feels nervous. "I'm glad you feel that way, Justin," he says, as Michael groans, Melanie moans, and Emmett offers a quiet, "ummm, Hon'?"

But Brian is quick, certain of his prey and of his pitch. "Remember what you said about peddling your ass or your art? he smirks. I can work with that."

And suddenly Justin can see it, the past three years of Brian and himself and the two of them and Ethan and Stockwell and just everything, stored in that brain, waiting and thinking and Justin sees the inevitability bearing down on him like an avalanche, like a revelation or an epiphany, something momentous, an open window into Brian's head and oh no. Just no.

"No. You are not. You will not. You can't. Brian, no..." but he's being stalked by the panthery guy who always fucking gets his way and all he can do is back up into the kitchen, because this is the part where Brian fucks a yes out of him, and everyone knows it. They don't even bother to say good-bye.

The worst part is that he knows Brian can do it, can make him a little Twinkie star, an arty prodigy mass marketed for public consumption. He just doesn't know what will be left of him when Brian is done selling him off, piece by piece.

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