This is my first attempt at a QAF fic, set in a sort of limbo, somewhere-in-the-middle setting. :) I'm a big fan... hope you enjoy it!

"I"


Michael looked up from his copy of Uncanny X-Men. "Of course they're going to write the only gay X-Man out," he murmured.

"Mikey, Mikey," a familiar voice called, having just entered the store. "You can't expect all of your little comic books to be Rage, can you?"

The comic book shop owner smiled and his heart raced, his eyes meeting the face of his best friend – everyone's favorite Brian Kinney. (Or something like that.)

"No," he said, standing and shaking his head. "It's just that every time there's a step in the right direction, at least with Marvel – well, at least concerning this – they pull characters like Northstar from an active lineup. I mean, he's just going to teach… even you know that means we won't be seeing him much. If at all."

"So log on to your little fanfiction websites and read about him banging Ice-Boy or whatever his name is. We have real things to talk about."

Michael grinned. "Iceman… and you do listen to me, don't you?"

"Whatever," Kinney spoke in a barely audible tone. "I have a problem."

"Did you forget to kick out your latest piece of ass before Justin got home?"

"Clever, Mikey… very clever," Kinney scoffed. "And that piece of ass, my friend, happened to be Justin."

A look of disbelief washed over Michael Novotny's face. "I'm impressed."

"Look," Kinney said as he took a seat in the small comic shop, "I need your advice."

"I'm all ears, buddy," Michael replied, taking the seat next to his.


"I do love him, Daphne," Justin stared into his Tazo Chai from Starbucks. "You know I love him."

"I know, I know," his longtime friend – and the only person he still talked to from high school, replied. "I guess I'm just tired of seeing you waste away into nothing."

"Don't be such a bitch," Justin laughed a little and looked into her eyes.

Daphne grinned. "You know I'm half-kidding."

"I know how he is – I've known since the first night I made love to him. He's 'Brian Kinney' – yes, the Brian Kinney… and whether I knew that at first or not, I knew he wasn't going to come easily."

Chuckling, his friend didn't even need to mention the double meaning.

"You know what I mean," Justin laughed, rolling his eyes.

"Well, I love you… and I'm man enough to say it."


"We both know you love him," Michael said… and no matter how much he loved Ben, the ever-impressive college professor and Michael's biggest fan, he felt his heart skip a beat. His thoughts turned elsewhere – he was back in his mother's house, down in the basement.

"Don't flatter yourself," a young Brian Kinney spoke to his friend with a sickening grin and a hand on his hip. "You're not the first guy I've kissed."

Novotny rolled his eyes. "Don't be such a bitch."

Brian pulled closer to him, his hand running through the hair on the back of Michael's head. His mouth moved to his best friend's and Brian couldn't help but smile somewhere inside as Novotny desperately tried to use his tongue.

Pulling back, Kinney smiled. "Happy Birthday, Mikey."

"Don't flatter yourself, Mikey," Brian spoke, true to form. Michael smiled… some things never change. "You don't know shit."

"In all of our years together," Michael smiled, taking Brian's hand into his own, "I've never seen someone get through to you like he has. I mean, you pick up one underage kid a couple years ago… and he's still sleeping with you today. That alone…"

"I get your point."

"So why can't you just tell him?"


"It's just hard," Daphne sighed. "I hate watching you pour your heart and soul into a man non-stop and see you get little to nothing in return. I mean, a fuck doesn't make up for an 'I love you.'"

"…maybe he doesn't love me," Justin relinquished, taking another sip of his overpriced tea.

His friend arched an eyebrow and Justin started laughing. They both knew that he did… like he'd said, Justin knew Brian Kinney – whether he liked it or not.

Justin's cell phone broke the silence. Pulling it from his coat pocket, he smiled. "Speak of the devil."


Michael ran to answer the phone at Red Cape Comics as he watched Brian stumble over calling the man he loved on his own phone. "Red Cape Comics – where you'll find all the rage!"

The voice on the other end of the line was Ben's. "I never get tired of hearing you say that."

"Is that why you never call my cell phone? You do remember that it's free for us to talk, being mobile to mobile…?"

"I never knew I fell in love with a walking commercial," Ben chuckled. "Listen, I was just calling to tell you that I'm going to be running late tonight. I'm going to run over to the center and help Melanie with some things. You're welcome to join me."

"I'll call your cell phone. It's free – and on our nation to nation plan…."

The two men shared a laugh.

"I love you, Ben," Michael spoke into the receiver… just as Brian Kinney was about to ask Justin to meet him at home.


"…Brian? Are you there?"

Daphne looked intently at her friend and his cell phone. She knew this wasn't a casual conversation and couldn't help but mouth to her friend in distress – "What's going on?"

Justin shrugged his shoulders. "Brian, are you there?"

"Damn married couple," he heard Brian mumble.

"…what?"

"Nothing. Listen – Justin… I want you to meet me at home in about a half an hour."

"I'm out with Daphne – we were going to…"

"Please."

Justin didn't know what to say, pulling his phone back and staring at it. He brought it back to his mouth to hear Brian say he'd see him there.

Click.

"What in the hell was that about?" Daphne erupted. She could barely contain it.

"That's what I was wondering," Justin said as he stood. "Listen, I've gotta get to Brian's… he's acting really weird. Maybe we can meet later?"

"Sure," she said reluctantly. "It's not the first time you've ditched me for him."

Justin raised an eyebrow this time. "Let me guess… you're half-kidding?"

They smiled at each other as he walked out of Starbucks.


"You're said what?"

"I told him to meet me at home in a half an hour," Brian spoke blandly.

"Seems a little… I dunno…"

Brian stared at him.

"I'm just saying, Brian… it's not exactly…"

"Straight enough for you?"

Novotny rolled his eyes. "It just seems a little off. Y'know… Me Tarzan – you Jane, meet at home, finally confess that I'm madly in love with you and don't know what I'd do—"

"Shit, Mikey – no wonder you ended up with Ben."

"Hey!"

Brian shot a merciful smile. He was in a good mood. He bent down as he stood, kissing Michael lightly.

"Let me know how it goes."

"Wouldn't have it any other way."

Michael's heart skipped another beat – and he couldn't help but wish it hadn't.


"Tell him, then. Tell him what you could never tell my Michael," Deb spoke as she sat next to Brian.

Kinney looked at the woman who'd been like a second mother to him – though he'd never admit it.

He didn't say anything.

Brian's heart pounded as he thought of the confrontation he'd once had with Deb. She was right – she usually was. Stupid hag… God, he loved her, too.

What was wrong with him? What was happening to him?

Did he really have a picture of he and Justin sitting on his desk? Talk about hypocrisy.

Justin walked into his apartment – their apartment? – and walked toward Brian. "…are you okay?"

"Peachy," Brian replied instantly. "Never been better."

Justin stared at his lover. "What's going on? And don't bullshit me."

Brian, who'd been sitting on his bed, stood and kissed the man he loved. Justin dropped his bookbag and wrapped his arms around Kinney. Before either of them really knew it – it had happened this way so many times – the two were shirtless and lying on the bed.

Kinney looked down from atop Justin and smiled. The younger man raised up, kissing Brian passionately and running his hands over his back and down to his butt. "You should've just said you wanted a fuck, Brian… really."

"It's more than that," Brian said as he reached into the drawer on the small stand beside his bed. He placed a condom on the bed, quickly and effortlessly pulling Justin's pants form his body.

Justin looked into Brian's eyes and knew that it was. Something was definitely… different. He felt his own heart skip a beat, deciding to test the waters.

"I love you, Brian."

Kinney hesitated, looking down on his lover's expectant – hopeful – eyes.

"I…"