The Real Issues






As Brian watched Justin walk out of the party with Ethan, he felt as if his whole world was coming down around him. He knew that Justin would consider finding him in the back room with Rage the final straw. It was just enough to send him running into Ethan’s arms, which was why he had Melanie and Lindsey send him searching in the first place. It had been Brian’s plan all along to send Justin away. He knew that Justin had been seeing someone else for weeks, just waiting for the day when he would walk out that unlocked door, but that hadn’t happened. It became obvious that Justin was staying out of some sort of loyalty. For some reason, he was staying it a situation where he wasn’t happy instead of going after what he really wanted.


Everyone always said that Brian was selfish, but that wasn’t true. He had always tried to do what was best for everyone, and what was best for Justin was for him to be with someone his own age. To be with someone who could give him the words and the flowers that he longed for. He would never get that from Brian. Jack and Joan made sure that Brian would never be truly happy with someone because he learned early on that love was bullshit. So putting his own feelings aside, Brian had pushed Justin away, giving him the chance at a future with someone he could find happiness with. The only problem was that now Brian was alone. He never expected the heart wrenching pain that he was experiencing from watching his blond walk away.


He grabbed the nearest guy and started dancing, trying to put his thoughts out of his head, but it didn’t work. Every time he closed his eyes, he could see that sunshine smile, and a little more of his heart would shatter. After about an hour he knew he had to leave. He needed to get away from the curious glares and sympathetic gestures, so he could grieve in private. Grieve for the love he could have had and desperately wanted to share. After assuring Michael that he was okay, he made his way to the jeep and headed for the loft. It wasn’t home. Now that Justin was gone, it would never be home again.


He took the stairs slowly, prolonging the inevitable. He knew that once he walked through the door, the reality of what he had done would hit him all at once. He would have to face the fact that Justin was really gone, and he was once again alone. He briefly thought back to the days when he enjoyed the solitude that came with living alone, and let out a small chuckle. Then Justin Taylor had come into his life and nothing was the same again. As much as it hurt to know that he was gone forever, Brian couldn’t say that he was sorry for their time together. Justin was the best thing to happen to him, and he would always be grateful for all that the young man had taught him. He was a better father, a better friend, a better person because of Justin, and for that he would always be thankful.


Brian slid back the door and was greeted to an eerie silence. The life that Justin had brought into the loft was gone, leaving behind an emptiness that could be felt through out the room. He walked over to the liquor cabinet and grabbed his bottle of beam, bypassing the glasses, and heading to the couch. Plopping himself down, he felt tears building behind his eyes. The hurt was overwhelming and he downed half the bottle trying to dull the pain, but it wasn’t working. Being with Justin had even caused Brian to loose the ability to put up his walls.


“Well this is it. This is my life now.” Brian said aloud to the empty space. “ I pushed away the only man I could ever love. Oh, who am I kidding, the only man I ever did love.”


Brian had always thought that saying the words would be hard, but now that he had finally said them aloud, he realized that it wasn’t as hard as he thought. Would he be able to say them to Justin? Could he offer the man the words he so desperately needed?


“Is it possible that I made a huge mistake? If I was able to say what Justin wanted to hear, would he have still left with Ethan? Would Ethan even been an issue?” He continued to talk to himself, trying to work out the thoughts that were running through his head. “Justin has given me so much in our time together, would giving him the one thing he needs really be that difficult? He deserves that much and more for all that he has done for me.”


Brian took a deep breath, trying to calm his rapidly beating heart, before he continued to share his feelings with the emptiness. “I’m not sure what to do now that you are gone, Justin. You asked me if I would care if you weren’t here, and all I could say was that it was your call. If I had told you that I would care, could that have been enough? If I had found a way to show you how much you mean to me, would you have been willing to stick around until I was ready to offer you those words? I guess it doesn’t really matter now, does it?”


“Yes, it does.” Justin said softly from the doorway. He had silent tears running down his face as he stared at the love of his life.


Brian was shocked when he turned at the voice coming from the doorway and saw Justin standing there. He never meant for anyone, especially Justin, to hear his private thoughts. “How long have you been standing there?” He asked as he rose and slowly walked over to the blond.


“Long enough to know that I am right where I belong.” Justin replied quietly.


“What about Ethan?” Brian asked, afraid of what he might hear.


“Brian, Ethan was never an issue. Yes, I was with him, and I am sorry for that. More than you will ever know, but he’s not you. No one would ever be able to take your place in my life and my heart.” Justin assured him, wanting to take the older man in his arms, but knowing that they needed to have this conversation before he could let himself go.


“You left with him.” Brian whispered.


“Yes, I did, but not because I chose him over you. I needed to get away from the situation. I needed to be by myself to try to figure out what to do next to get you to see how much we have together. I could never choose anyone over you.” Justin explained, looking into Brian’s eyes so he could see the depth of his feelings.


“I don’t know if I will ever be the man you want me to be.” Brian admitted, his need for honesty keeping him from making promises he didn’t know if he could keep.


“You are the man I want you to be. You are Brian Kinney, the love of my life. Everything else is secondary, Brian. Yes, I would love to hear you say the words, and I would love you to only want to be with me, but I want to spend my life with you and I am willing to except you as you are, as long as I know that I am the only one who holds a special place in your heart.” Justin held his breath, waiting for Brian’s reaction.


“You are, Sunshine. My heart isn’t really that big to begin with and you take up most of it.” Brian chuckled, scared of the feelings he was sharing.


“It’s bigger than you think, Brian, and I’m willing to take all you have to give me. Just promise me one thing?” Justin could see the love in Brian’s eyes and knew that coming back to the loft was the right thing to do. “Promise me that you won’t try to push me away for my own good again. Trust me enough to know what I want and go after what I need.”


“How did you…” Brian was shocked that Justin knew what he was doing earlier.


“Brian, I know you very well by now. You may continue to trick, but you would never throw it in my face like that on such an important day without an agenda. It took me a few minutes to figure that out, but once I thought about it, I knew what you planned to do.” Justin explained, honestly.


“I thought you wanted to be with Ethan, so I figured I’d help you make your decision. I just want you to enjoy life and be happy.” Brian told him, taking his hand because he needed the contact. He needed to know that Justin was really there.


“I want you to enjoy life and be happy, too. Maybe we can do it together?” Justin suggested.


“I can’t promise you that I will give up tricking. I’ll try to cut back, but that’s all I can offer you right now. Is that enough for you?” Brian asked, once again afraid of the answer.


“I never asked for anything more, Brian.” Justin pointed out.


“And I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to say the words.” Brian admitted, holding Justin’s hand even tighter.


“I always thought I needed the words, but now I know better. Words mean nothing without the feelings behind them. As long as you have the feelings behind them, I can live without the words.” Justin assured him, finally taking Brian in his arms.


Brian held Justin for a long time, thankful that he was given another chance to make him happy. He was determined to do it right this time. He knew now how little his life really mattered without Justin in it. The last couple of hours were just a glimpse of what his future would be, and he knew he never wanted to face that future. The future he needed was right there in his arms, and he intended to keep it that way.


“Justin, I lo…” Brian tried, only to be interrupted by Justin.


“I know, Brian. I love you, too.” Justin whispered.


The two men stepped back and looked each other in the face, their eyes expressing all that was said and all that was left unspoken. They walked together, arm in arm, towards the bedroom, ready to put the past behind them and move on to their future together.



The End

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