The Last Man Standing
Warning: Death fic.
Funny how time flies. The days become weeks, weeks become months, and before you know it, eight long years have flown by. Everyone always says that they’ll keep in touch, but no one ever does, even couples in love, like Brian Kinney and Justin Taylor.
“Turn here, please,” Justin directed his limo driver down Liberty Avenue.
Everything looked so different now. Somehow Justin remembered things being bigger. The hustle and bustle that was normally made up of beautiful gay men in skin tight jeans, and leather jackets had been replaced by Metrosexuals in business suits. Tacky queen haberdasheries the likes of “Torso”, Emmett’s old place of business were now home to department store chains like Macy’s and Neiman Marcus. Even the Liberty Diner had succumbed to the changing tide. Where there was once a legendary eating establishment that served up pink plate specials, 24hrs a day, there now stood a “Starbucks”. Justin shook his head in disgust. It never failed. Homosexuals move in, renovate the place, and raise property values, then heterosexuals come along, and snatch the prime real estate back.
“Driver, make a left turn at the light, please.” Justin wanted to see the strip, at least what was left of it anyway.
Liberty Avenue was never the same after the bombing of Babylon. The herd moved on, taking with them their capital, and abandoning other possibly targeted gay night spots such as “Pistol”, “Meat Hook”, and “Woody’s”. Pittsburgh’s new gay nightlife was now located in the suburbs, near gated communities, established by same sex couples, all seeking sanctuary, far away from the violence of a city that hated them. About the only thing that even remotely resembled the old Liberty Avenue was an old bath house that had been transformed into one of the most successful advertising agencies in Pittsburgh, “Kinnetics”. Justin smiled to himself. Leave it to Brian Kinney to be the last gay man standing on Liberty Avenue.
“Driver, I’d like to go down Tremont Street, please,” Justin said.
At least Brian’s building was still there, although the vehicles in the parking spaces had changed. The gas guzzling luxury models, sporty jeeps, and muscle cars were long gone. In their places were sensible hybrids, and minivans, the universal symbol of the man who has given up. Looking at the urban mothers pushing their baby strollers out front, it was hard to imagine the unbridled nights of debauchery that took place there. Brian’s loft was like a revolving door of tricks. From a seventeen year old virgin that he plucked from the streets on a whim, to the pastor of his mother’s church. God made them, and Brian Kinney had fucked them all.
“I’m ready now, driver,” Justin said.
If there is such a thing as the love of one’s life, Justin was sure that Brian was his. Of course there were those skeptics that dismissed it as puppy-love. After all, don’t all gay boys fall in love with the first man who fucks them properly? Perhaps the naysayers were right. If love was supposed to stand the test of time, and absence made the heart grow fonder, then the great love affair of Liberty Avenue had failed its test. Justin’s move to New York brought him new experiences, with men who were not only skilled tacticians in the bedroom, but procurers of the heart as well. After years of perusing Brian Kinney, and painstakingly picking through his layers of emotional baggage, Justin found it refreshing, and easy to fall in love with a man who had already sorted things out for himself, and didn’t need rescuing. Such a love had made Brian Kinney, and Liberty Avenue, a distant memory, until Justin received Melanie’s call.
“Thank you, driver. Wait for me, please. I won’t be long.” Justin got out of the car, and paused at the bottom of the steps of his destination. Until now this had all been kind of like a surreal dream. However the overhead name on the building reminded him of the nightmare he was walking into.
“The Victor Grassi Hospice Care Center” was one of the few buildings left over from the old Liberty Avenue that was allowed to remain. A grand symbol of how God punishes fags, it had become the latest pet project for desperate housewives, seeking to ease their own guilt, and occupy their time between extra-marital affairs, while their husbands were away at work. Justin climbed the stairs to the newly remodeled death house, and was directed to a room at the end of the hall. From where he stood, he could see a gathering of vaguely familiar faces. Emmett was the first to spot him.
“JUSTIN, hello baby!” The consummate drama queen beckoned.
Justin took a deep cleansing breath, and stepped up his pace. “Hello, everybody!” He marched into the fold, and greeted his long lost extended family. Everyone looked so different, older, fatter, grayer, balder. “Where’s Gus?”
“I’m right here.” Gus stepped through the private room doorway.
For a moment, Justin was back on Liberty Avenue, standing underneath a lamppost, on a damp summer night. Gus was the spitting image of his father, from his long slender physique, to his auburn eyes, with matching eye color, to his pouty full lips. “Hello, Gus.” Justin forced a smile.
“I’m done. It’s all up to you now,” Gus said.
“Let me have a few moments alone with him, please,” Justin said.
Justin stepped into the dying room, where the faint sound of beeping monitors could be heard. There, laying among the various tubing was the icon himself, Brian Kinney, the last man standing on Liberty Avenue. Justin watched as Brian’s chest rose, and fell to the beat of the ventilator. He then looked up at the over bed screen, and the flat line that showed no brain activity, before venturing closer to the bed. “I’m back, Brian.” Justin leaned over the bedrail and gave his former reason to live a kiss.
“Oh my god, look at you. I never thought I’d see you with gray hair. You know, I kind of like it this way. I always knew you would look very distinguished in your old age. I wish I could say the same for Michael. I never pictured him with a receding hairline and a beer belly. I guess that comes from living the good life in the suburbs. You always hated the suburbs,” Justin chuckled.
Beep…Beep…Beep. The sound of the heart monitor continued.
“Speaking of bellies, I see you kept your boyish figure. You always said that you would be happy as long as you could find your cock without lifting your belly. Well there it is, and I must say that this is one of the few times that I’ve seen it asleep.” Justin smiled.
Beep…Beep…Beep. The sound of the monitor continued.
“Wake up, Brian. Don’t make me have to do this,” Justin pleaded. “You stubborn, cantankerous bastard! Why didn’t you take better care of yourself? Why didn’t you call me and tell me when the cancer came back? I loved you. New York could have waited. Why didn’t you let me come back here and take care of you?”
Beep…Beep…Beep. The sound of the monitor continued.
“Justin, we need to get this over with,” Melanie said as gently as she could.
“Why me, Mel? Why did Brian choose me?” Justin stroked his fingers through Brian’s hair.
“Because Brian always said that you loved him enough to do it.” Melanie handed Justin the legal document.
Justin looked up at the flat line on the over bed monitor one last time, before signing his name. He then watched along with family and friends as Brian’s ventilator was immediately disconnected. No apologies, no regrets. Brian Kinney, Liberty Avenue’s last man standing took four shallow breaths, before bidding his illustrious life a final goodnight.
Return to Reunion Challenge