The Next Step

The Next Step


Authors Note:  This is based on a spoilers I have seen for 313.  This little diddy began forming in my mind immediately afterwards, and I had to get it down.  It’s probably VERY unrealistic, but my brain latched onto it, and was off to the races!




            Justin was sitting in the loft alone.  Brian wasn’t home, but Justin needed to talk to him, so he decided to wait.  He used the key he still had to get in, hopefully Brian wouldn’t mind.  The older man had never asked for his key back, and Justin never returned it.  He had just returned from his meeting with the disciplinary board at PIFA, and the meeting left him shaken.  Although he was expecting something like this to happen, the reality still threw him for a loop. 

            The loft door slid open, and Brian came in, but he wasn’t alone.  The trick followed him in, and it appeared the two were headed for more carnal activities up in the bedroom.  Brian didn’t notice Justin at first.  As soon as Justin saw that Brian had a trick he knew he shouldn’t have come over without permission.  He knew Brian was still tricking.  Truthfully, it didn’t bother him, he knew it was just Brian being Brian.  The ad-exec had been reverting to his old form of pain-management since losing his job.  He didn’t rub it in Justin’s face, and never tricked when they were together or had made plans.  This was why Justin didn’t mind.  He was over at the loft uninvited and unexpected, so none of his old dramatics would be appropriate.

            Brian saw Justin sitting at the breakfast bar, looking totally defeated.  He was surprised to find his lover there, and was worried by the blonde artist’s demeanor.  Justin looked up at him with tears in his eyes, but stood up to leave, “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have come over without asking, I’ll go now.”

            Brian knew that something major had happened, and he couldn’t let Justin leave, “No, sit back down.”  Brian looked over at his guest, “Sorry, but you’re going to have to leave now.”

            “What?”  The trick was thoroughly confused.

            “Out.  Now!”

            Once the trick left, Brian sat across from Justin.  He knew that Justin was not upset about the trick, something else was wrong.  “Are you going to talk to me about it?”

            “They want to expel me.”

            “What the fuck?”

            “I met with the disciplinary board today.  I embarrassed the intern program and the school.  So I have two choices, apologize to Vance and Stockwell or get expelled.”

            “So you apologize.”

            Justin snapped his gaze to Brian, “Are you kidding?  I have no problem apologizing to Vance, what I did was wrong to the agency.  But, I will not apologize to Stockwell.”

            “Justin, we’re talking about your future here.  Suck it up and apologize.”

            “No!  I did what I believe in, what I still believe in.  I will not sacrifice my integrity and my beliefs to go to school.”

            “Look, this thing went a lot farther than it should have.  You can’t throw away everything you have worked so hard for …”

            “Fuck you Brian!  I won’t do it.  I did what I believe is right, and I will accept the consequences, but I will not lie and provide some fake apology to stay in school.  It’s not worth it!”

            “How can you say that?  This is your life, your future we’re talking about!”

            “It’s not your decision Brian, it’s mine, and my mind is made up.”  With that Justin got up and left the loft.

            “Fuck!”  Brian said to no one in particular.  How could Justin throw away his dream?  This thing had gotten so out of hand.  He was unemployed, and Justin was on the verge of being thrown out of school.  Justin needed to see reason.  Brian decided to talk to the one person he believed could help him.




            Jennifer Taylor was shocked to find Brian Kinney standing on her doorstep.  Debbie had told her that Brian had been fired.  Apparently he had been helping Justin with his “anti-Stockwell” campaign, and even helped set up the ambush at the GLC.  Jennifer was surprised to hear this, she always thought Brian was incredibly selfish, yet he had helped Justin, and lost the job she knew was very important to him.

            “Brian, what a surprise!”

            “Can I talk to you?”

            “Sure come on in.”

            She led Brian into the living room.  He declined the drink she offered him.  Both were silent for a few moments.  Jennifer had never seen Brian so out of sort.  “So what’s going on?”

            “They’re threatening to expel Justin from PIFA unless he apologizes to Vance and Stockwell.”

            “Let me guess, he’s refusing.”

            “You got it.  He’s willing to sacrifice his future for this.  I won’t let him do it, he’s come to far.”

            “So why come see me?”

            “He won’t listen to me.  I thought maybe you could help.”

            “Brian, as much as I would hate to see Justin get kicked out of school, there is nothing I can do.”

            “You won’t even try?”

            “Brian, how well do you know my son?”

            “Pretty fucking well.”

            “Have you ever known him to back away from something he believed in?  I know it’s that strength of character of his that you love.  Would you really like to see him sacrifice his integrity just to stay in school?”

            “What’s he going to do, work in the diner forever.

            “If I know my son, he already has a plan.”




            Justin had finished putting his paperwork together.  He had two people that he needed to talk to … his mom and Brian.  He placed a quick call to Melanie before heading to his mom’s.

            “Mel, it’s Justin”

            “Hey baby!”

            “I just wanted to thank you for all the help you’ve given me.  I wouldn’t have a way out this mess if you hadn’t been there.”

            “Hey, I’m glad I could help.  Let me know how it all works out.”

            “You got it!”

            Justin headed over to his mother’s condo.  He decided she would be the easier of the two.  What he wasn’t expecting was to find Brian’s car at his mother’s.  Shit, he thought, well I guess I can kill two birds with one stone.

            Justin walked into the condo and found his lover and mother sitting together.  Neither one of them noticed his entrance.  “Trying to get my mom on your side?”

            Both heads turned, the shock was evident on their faces.  They hadn’t heard Justin come in.

            “I’m glad you’re both here, it saves me from having to do this twice.  Before either of you starts with me, hear me out.  First of all, I am not stupid.  I figured out right from the beginning there could be consequences for what I was going to do.  If I was exposed sabotaging Stockwell, I knew there would be trouble.  Vanguard was handling his media campaign, and I was working there.  There is enough fishiness about that, I knew if I got caught, the possibility of expulsion was pretty great.  So I contacted a lawyer, and applied to several different schools.  The reason that I contacted a lawyer was because I wanted to find out if I withdrew from PIFA before they expelled me if my record and transcript would be clean.  I found out it would be.”

            “Fuck Justin, what have you done?”

            “I withdrew today, and in the fall I will enroll in the art program at Columbia University.”

            “In New York?”

            “Yes.  I’ve already arranged for student housing, and actually got a scholarship.  They were very impressed with my portfolio, and decided I would be an asset to their program.”

            Both Brian and Jennifer were shocked.  Neither of them had any idea how thoroughly Justin had thought this through.  Brian looked sick, “So you’re fucking moving to New York, and that’s it?”

            Brian’s face and tone of voice betrayed his emotions.  Justin was leaving him again.  They had finally gotten to a place in their relationship where Brian believed they had a chance, and Justin was leaving again.

            “Brian, there’s more, but we should talk about it in private.”

            Brian’s mask was back in place, “Oh no Sunshine, if there’s more you will spill it right now.”

            “Ok.  First, I have to say, I never intended you to be involved in any of this.  This was going to be my war, and I would shoulder any fallout that occurred.  I never intended for you to lose your job because you helped me.  I have felt terrible since that happened, so I had to do something.”

            Brian spoke softly, “There’s nothing you can do.”

            Justin walked over to Brian and handed him three folders.  “What the fuck are these?”

            “They’re job offers from the three top firms in New York.  As soon as I found out Vance fired you, I began shopping your resume around.”

            “Excuse me?”

            “I know that one of the reasons you were working for Stockwell was because you felt his connections could get you to New York.  I screwed that up for you, so I had to try and fix it.  First, when ‘you’ submitted your resume to these firms, your cover letter disclosed the reason you were no longer with Vanguard.  You also disclosed the situation in your telephone interviews.  You were let go because of a conflict of interest between you and your client.  These firms were more impressed by your work and the value you could bring to their firms than by our little escapade.”

            Brian looked shell-shocked.  For the first time since their reconciliation, Justin could not read his lover.  He assumed Brian was pissed, and was thinking that Justin was trying to manipulate him and push him into a more permanent relationship.  “Before you say anything … I am not trying to trick you or manipulate you into something you don’t want.  Because of me, your dream of New York was shattered, I had to try and get it back for you.  New York is a big place, we don’t even have to see each other if you don’t want to, although I admit I’m hoping you will.  All that’s left is for you to decide which offer to take.  They are all very generous.  Not partner level, you would be an account executive, but the cost of living is so much higher in New York, that you would be making more money.”

            Brian was in shock, he couldn’t believe that Justin had done this.  While Brian had been dealing with the situation by fucking and retreating into his old pain-management techniques, Justin had been orchestrating their salvation.  “You must love me a lot Sunshine?”

            “With all my heart, and with everything I have.”

            “It’s probably about the same way I love you.”

            Justin’s heart leapt at that statement, he was sure that Brian was going to kill him for this one, “So …?”

            “I guess it’s the Big Apple or bust.  There’s only one problem.”

            “What’s that?”

            “You are a fucking twat if you think you will be living in student housing.  We will find a place to live this summer.”

            “Does that mean yes?”

            “You bet it does!  I love you Justin.”

            “I love you too Bri.”

            Jennifer watched as the two men shared a sweet kiss, everything was going to be ok.

Return to Kelley's Fic