Note: This takes place during 301, but spoilers would be thru 314. This piece is intended to be mostly shipper friendly, except in it's depiction of Michael/David. Moments you will find here might contain Brian/Justin, Brian/Michael, Brian/Rage, Justin/Ethan, Justin/Hunter, Michael/David, Michael/Ben, Meliane/Lindsey, Emmett/Ted and Jason/Lindsey. This piece is supposed to be Brian dealing with the whole punching Michael incident and it borrows from It's a Wonderful Life, but doesn't follow it.
Warning: There is char death in this piece, and it touches upon self injurious behavior in chapter 2.
Life Without Brian:
He'd turned into his Father.
This thought spun around in Brian's head and it wouldn't go away, not even when he tried to drown it with alcohol.
His Father, he'd become his Father.
He'd always sworn, to himself, that he would never hit anyone he cared about, but then…
What had it been? The wrong combination of one too many things?
He'd had a few drinks before going to Lindsey's and Mel's. He hadn't been drunk, but he'd had some drinks.
Then Justin had been there with his new boyfriend, the guy who he'd found that could give him what Brian couldn't. As much as Brian hadn't wanted it to it'd made his mind and stomach churn. It hurt more than he'd ever admit.
Then there'd been Michael. God, Michael, he could still see the look on his best friend's face when…
Shutting his eyes Brian took another long drink from the bottle in his hand.
I'm not my Father, I'm not, he tried to tell himself.
Yes you are, his voice of self doubt cut in.
Michael'd come over and started voicing everything that had been coursing through his head. It'd been overwhelming and he'd tried to tell him to stop. Then Michael had said the one thing Brian would never, could never, think.
His mind had spiraled back to the past.
Pavement…blood, so much blood…fear, pain…Justin…Michael.
He'd just wanted Michael to stop making him feel.
He'd wanted Michael to shut up.
He could still feel that moment vividly. That moment when he'd blanked and every part of him had screamed, 'Shut up Michael!'
Then his fist had connected and…
He couldn't get the look on Michael's face out of his head, or the sick realization of what he'd done. It seemed burned in his memory ready to scar.
He'd wanted to do so much in that moment after he hit Michael. He'd wanted to apologize profusely. He'd wanted to scream, 'Look what you made me do!' He'd wanted to drop to his knees and make sure that Michael was alright. He wanted a reassurance that he wasn't his old man. He'd wanted…it didn't matter what he wanted, he'd done the only thing he could do. He'd walked away.
He'd become his father.
It played around and around in his head.
You're your father, his voice of self doubt clearly declared.
He hadn't felt this low since the night when Michael was going to leave for Portland and then Justin…
His thought trailed off and he found himself staring at the support beams, contemplating.
Maybe just maybe he should try again. It was nearly a guarantee that Michael wasn't going to be there to save him this time.
No, then he'd be worse then his father.
It'd simply leave Justin and Michael with too much baggage. He knew them and each man would blame himself. The 'if only's' would weigh them down for the rest of their lives and that would make him ten time worse than his father.
He took another long drink thinking over his own 'if only's'.
If only he'd never been born.
Yes, that was it. The world would be a much better place if he'd never been a part of it. He took another drink as he told himself that his friends would've had better lives without him.
"But without you, I don't exist," a voice from behind him protested, "And I do like existing."
Brian jumped up from his seat on the floor near his couch and spun around to find Rage who was standing there smirking at him.
He blinked taking in the near mirror image of himself in a superhero's costume designed by the two men in his life.
He ran his hand over his face.
He closed his eyes slowly and reopened them.
Brian frowned and glanced down in question at the bottle in his hand. How much had he had to drink? How much alcohol did one have to consume to become crazier than Emmett?
"I'm going to close my eyes," he informed Rage, "and when I open them you'll be gone."
Rage stepped closer and Brian's eyes widened slightly instead of closing as the figment of his imagination leaned in, closing nearly all the distance between them, and told him deliberately, "I'm very real."
Then Rage took the bottle out of his hand and set it on a nearby table. Brian rubbed his eyes and frowned. He'd gone crazy, it was the only explanation. Rage smirked again as their eyes met. It was disconcerting for Brian to see his own eyes peering out at him from behind that mask.
"Now why would you want to uncreate me?"
"They could still make Rage," Brian protested slowly finding that his voice sounded funny in his own ears now that he'd hear himself through his comic book double.
"Without you?" Rage asked taking a step towards him.
"They could," Brian protested feeling the need to tell Rage just how intelligent Michael and Justin were. He didn't get a chance to go on.
Rage stepped in till there was almost no space between them and informed Brain, "Without you I don't exist."
Rage took a step back and spread his arms grinning, "And doesn't the world deserve a gay superhero?"
Brian's eyes widened. He'd actually felt Rage's breath on his skin. He'd felt the heat coming of the other man. Rage was real standing there before him.
"There are gay superheros," Brian protested. He'd heard a frustrated Michael give that argument before.
"Oh yeah, name one."
Rage raised an eyebrow and tilted his head, "Because his writers might one day give him a boyfriend."
"Or maybe Shatty and Ric will finally come out," Rage smirked, "Or Nigh…"
"Too bad," Brian told him in his best this-bores-me voice.
Rage responded with a smile, "We're getting off subject."
"I don't remember deciding on a subject."
"You did Brian, that's why I'm here."
Brian raised an eyebrow, a clear question.
"I'm going to give you your 'if only' and show you what the world would be like without Brian Kinney. You get to decide if it stays that way or if you want to go back to existing."
"This is insane. I'm going to hurt Anita when I wake up," Brian informed Rage.
"You didn't take any drugs, Brian."
"That doesn't explain how you came to be here or why I'm still talking to you."
Rage scowled and wondered if he was this difficult. He'd already explained this to Brian once, he shouldn't have to do it again. He wasn't going to do it again. That decided he told Brian, "Why don't we see what how your 'best friend' turned out without you."
"Isn't that supposed to be a question?" Brian asked irritated as the room began to spin around them.
"Cause my answer would be no," Brian continued as the room spun faster and still faster till it blurred and a whirling noise invaded his ears.
"I said no. I want off this insane ride now."
The room stopped spinning and Brian found he was no longer in his loft.