Title: Forgiveness
Fandom: Queer as Folk US

Type: Drama, Angst
Main Pairings: Brian / Justin
Rating : PG – 13
Warnings:, Minor Character Death.
Disclaimer: All QaF characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. No profit is being made, no copyright infringement is intended.

Summary: Sometimes you put things back to the next day and one day you saw it's too late.


December 12th.

He came home, like every day, at 7pm. He stopped at the study of the house and looked in - Brian was sitting at his desk, head resting into his hands. Hearing a noise he lifted his head and looked deep into concerned blue eyes.

Justin knew the moment he saw Brian's face that something was wrong; his eyes were darker than usual, and that couldn't be good. He stood on the doorframe asking, "What happened? Are you alright? Did something happen to Gus?" For each answer Brian shook his head.

Brian stood up and walked toward Justin, and told him "Grant called; Daphne passed away last night." Just like that. No bullshit. Straight to the point.

She was thirty. Justin had known her since forever, and Brian knew her since he was with Justin, approximately thirteen years. After 5 years in New York, Justin came back, finally married Brian, and she was their Maid of Honor. She was a great Doctor, and found her love seven years ago in a man named Grant. She married him five years ago and they were living in Brian and Justin's old loft. Everything was fine until she underwent a complete medical diagnosis six months ago and learnt she had cancer. Unfortunately, it was too late to be treated or cured because it had spread everywhere. The meds and painkillers could only ease the suffering and the pain to make it easier for her.

Both men knew it would happen, but they never thought it would happen so soon. They talked about going to see her, but every time they pushed the visit to the next week. And last month she was hospitalized and only immediate family could go see her.

Now it was too late.

Too late to tell her that they finally fixed every fucked up project they had lately, that they have been monogamous for 3 months, that they are talking about another baby, that Gus will come see them during the whole summer break, that they were finally happy.

It was too late to ask about the building renovations going on where they lived, it was too late to ask her if, during the renovation, Grant and her would like to spend time at the mansion. It was too late for everything. No more laughing, no more phone calls, no more dancing in the club, no more fag hag.

It was too late for that. And they couldn't do anything.

She died Saturday, December 11th. The burial would take place four days later.

Justin turned around, without a word and walked up to their bedroom. Brian followed a few minutes later. As he reached the bedroom, he saw that Justin had changed clothes since the ones he had been wearing were thrown on the floor.

But he wasn't there. Brian was heading to the attic when he heard footsteps. Justin was coming downstairs; he passed Brian telling him he was going to fix diner, and it would be ready in 20 minutes.

Nothing more, nothing less.

If it wasn't his red eyes, Brian could swear Justin was shutting everyone and everything out, like he did so long ago.

Dinner was silent, no words where exchanged. Once finished they put the dirty dishes in the sink. Brian headed to the study and Justin cleaned the kitchen. Once everything was cleaned, Justin headed upstairs to the bedroom. He showered and slid into bed with a book. He didn't wait for Brian. After ten pages he closed the book and turned the light off. He tossed and turned for a half hour and finally stood up and took a sleeping pill. As he came back, Brian was in bed; he didn't need to say anything, he knew. He knew that Justin was suffering and he couldn't do anything. He waited until Justin came back and wrapped his arms around him.

The following days went in a blur, each of them trying to keep his mind busy with work. Justin didn't say anything and didn't speak about Daphne. Like Brian suspected Justin had shut everyone and everything out.

On the day of the burial, Brian had an important meeting he couldn't dismiss and said he would be late. So Justin went with his mother. There was no casket, only an urn because Daphne wanted to be cremated. They were sitting in the third row, listening to the priest. His mother was crying. He wasn't.

Justin remembered Daphne always told him she didn't want to be buried in a cemetery. She always wanted to have just a small remembrance plate in the "Memorial Park" in east Pittsburgh. He closed his eyes and a single tear found its way down his cheek. A hand squeezed his. Brian was here. He didn't say anything, he was just standing near him. They were all invited to the burial at the "Memorial Park" but Jennifer declined, it was too difficult for her.

It was only the boys.

They were surprised to see Father Tom here, but it was Daphne's request, and he began the service with this sentence, "I lived in a stupid world with wonderful friends." Everyone smiled.

They came home and Justin closed himself in the attic. Three hours later, Brian came to see him, he was sitting in an armchair, looking straight ahead, doing nothing. As Brian tried to reach him, he flinched and moved downstairs. "I'll fix dinner, we can eat in about one hour, you can come to the kitchen then."

They spent three months like that, Justin building walls around himself and Brian unable to break them down. Every time he tried to reach Justin, he went farther away. They hadn't had sex in weeks. Each night Justin was in bed before Brian and each night when Brian went to bed Justin just moved to the other side of the bed. One morning, Brian found him in the guest room, sleeping on top of the blankets on the bed.

This couldn't continue.

But there was nothing he could do to help him.
There was nothing he could do to attenuate his pain, and nothing he could say, to bring a smile to Justin's lips again

Because Justin felt guilty.
Guilty to not have insisted to go see her.
Guilty because he hadn't called her.
Guilty because he couldn't be there for her.
Guilty because it's too late now to make excuses to a tomb.

And most of all, he felt guilty for his behavior toward Brian; he wasn't there for him either. He was just some ghost - eating, sleeping, and working. He couldn't even have sex with him, so the guilty part was suffocating him.

Five months passed.

Justin walked into the house like every day, putting his briefcase in the study. He heard Brian in the library talking with someone. He stepped in and saw it was Grant. After the usual greetings, Justin moved to the kitchen to prepare some dinner. Once everything was ready, he headed to his studio, with a book.

There was a knock on the door. It was Grant. "Can I come in?" Even if he wasn't very pleased, Justin told him yes. Grant began to speak, asking him why he wasn't with them downstairs, talking about Daphne. Justin told him it's complicated, it's too difficult, but Grant insisted, telling him it's important to speak, to communicate.

Justin stood up from the armchair and walked to the windows, trying to escape Grant. But he was there with him and had no intention of leaving. He tried again to speak about Daphne, but Justin didn't want to listen. Grant finally got through to him once he asked, "Why? Why are you shutting everyone out, why are you shutting Brian out?"

And Justin just let go. He cried. He cried because he felt responsible for something he couldn't control. He didn't go to see her, he didn't call them to ask if she was fine or not. He didn't bother to know how Grant was feeling. He was selfish, and tried to deal with his own pain. It was his fault if they weren't at the hospital; every time he had something else to do.

Grant told him, it wasn't his fault, and it was fate. She was sick, really sick. The last month no one could come see her except Grant and her parents. And before … everyone was busy, even him.

But, for Justin, it was more than being busy. He tried to avoid her, because he was afraid to lose her, and finally he did.

Brian stepped in, and walked toward Justin, wrapping his arms around him. For the first time in five months Justin didn't flinch or move away. Tears were running along his cheeks and he tried to say, between his sobs, that he was sorry, so sorry, that this was his entire fault, only his fault.

Grant approached the two men and put his hand on Justin shoulder, turning him in his direction he told Justin that it wasn't his fault; it was fate, only fate. It was too late to do something, to save her. He couldn't do anything about that. And that he didn't need forgiveness because there's nothing to forgive. And at those words Justin finally broke down, sliding to the floor in Brian arms.

Before leaving Grant left them a letter, the last letter from Daphne. Once gone, they opened it.

Hey you two,

I suppose that Grant brought you this letter.

Do you remember what you told me the morning after you spent the night with Brian? I think so - you told me you had just seen the face of God. I didn't figure that out until you showed me the loft and I met Brian, and you were right.

Do you remember what you told me after your first breakup/i No regrets, no apologies. i And that's exactly what I expect from you both.

I decided to undergo the medical procedure to ease the pain because lately I haven't had any break.

/i I i decided alone to die. I'm the only one to blame. You don't have to blame yourself. And if you want to blame someone or something, blame the cancer. Because it was discovered in May and we are now in December and it spread very quickly.

No regrets, no apologies.

I knew you were busy because I checked your schedules with Cynthia. I know you, and especially you Justin, I know you feel guilty, because you weren't at the hospital. And I have only one word for you :

Forgive.

You must forgive yourself because I forgive you.

I forgive you for not coming to see me, even though I know you loved me I forgive you each time you will cry on my memory, I forgive you for putting you in the hell you are in. I forgive you for everything you will do or you haven't done.

Because I love you

Daph.

That night, Justin cried himself to sleep in Brian's arms, the letter clutched in his hand. The next morning, they showered together, something they haven't done for at least five months.
That night, they made love like it was the first time for both of them.
Before drifting to sleep, Justin told Brian, "I'm sorry for the last few months."
Brian told him, "I forgive you for that … like Daphne forgave us".