Authors Note: Yes, yes, yes – I know that I have a raft of O.C. fan fiction lying dormant on here. I also know that I have never seen a story all the way through to the end. What can I say I'm a sporadic and very annoying author! But this story has been driving me crazy! Actually got to a point where I needed to put it on paper just to get it out of my head! I hope anyone reading forgives me for my past indiscretions but more importantly enjoys this story.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters portrayed within this story they belong to the makers of Brothers & Sisters.
Summary: The character of Justin is portrayed in the series as the rebel wild child as a result of being the baby in the family. In this story I explore a more sinister and darker event in Justin's' early life which could have led to the events in the show.
Points to Remember: This story is set in the past before the show focuses on the lives of the characters therefore I have approximated ages of the main characters to reflect the gaps on the show.
The Robinsons had been neighbours of the Walkers for nearly 40 years, when William had purchased his dream home the Robinsons had been on the street for many years and already had a growing family.
Tonight was Mary and Andrews' 50th Wedding Anniversary celebrations and in true party spirit the whole street had been invited to celebrate along with the family. Also in the true party spirit, Nora Walker had commanded that ALL of the Walkers (and wider circle) be present and correct at the party – it goes without saying that best behaviour was expected by all.
To a nineteen-year-old Justin the party was the typical event, penguin suited waiters rushing around with canapé platters, soft cheesy background music accompanying every conversation and the constant stream of faces that seemed to know him but he had no idea who they were.
Sarah, Joe, Kitty and – and – God what was his name – Kitty's new boyfriend – M, M something Mark, Marvin – Marshall! The four of them were seated round a patio table dressed appropriately, with glasses of vintage wine on show chatting about Kitty's new love interest's temptation to buy a holiday home in Barbados. Kitty always had an unavoidable attraction to men with plenty of money but very little awareness of how they were perceived by the world. Justin smiled as he saw Joe polish of the last of his wine in one swig and didn't miss the swift kick delivered to his shin by Sarah as she tried desperately to smile and nod in time to Marshall's ramblings.
Justin turned inside and headed between the crowds of people hoping to avoid another awkward conversation about college plans with a concerned friend of his fathers worried about his 'career path'. College just wasn't for him – no one had been this concerned when Tommy had left high school and gone straight into their fathers business.
Reaching the kitchen through the pantry Justin was finally alone with only a few scurrying waiters for company. Finally he was able to fix himself a decent strength Seven 'n' Seven expertly disguised as a soft drink – he needed something to get him through a Friday night spent with these people.
Circling the centre island to head back out to the main action of the party he spotted an unwelcome yet familiar face. Through the patio doors leading to the driveway, was a man dressed in an expensive suit and tie – this wasn't what concerned Justin it was the arm he had wrapped around the shoulders of one of the neighbours children.
Instantly, without conscious decision, Justin was outside and beside the man – he didn't trust his voice to speak directly to the man so instead he focused on the boy in the conversation, he recognised him from the street:
"Hey Callum, your Moms looking for you – I think its time to go home now." Justin tried to raise a reassuring smile at the boy; he smiled back confidently and scampered off over the flower bed separating the path to the gardens.
Swallowing hard Justin turned and for the first time in five years looked into the darkest eyes he had ever seen.
"What are you doing?" he questioned his voice betraying his nervousness.
"What am I doing?" the voice drawled, "I was just talking to young Callum – he's going to be coming for music lessons soon. What are you doing J?"
"Don't!" Justin pleaded closing his eyes for an instant, "Don't call me that. You stay away from him – I'm warning you – just stay away."
"Or what?" the man drew himself up to his full height, which today wasn't much more than Justin's height but the threat was clear "What will you do exactly?"
Frozen in place Justin gripped at the ice cold glass tightly, his eyes fixed upon a deep purple pansy to the left of his feet.
"I didn't think so." The man sneered one last time and walked away from Justin, as he re-entered the party Justin's stomach turned as he heard the sinister voice raise an octave to his pretend false front.
Justin had no idea how long he had stayed out on the driveway path, he had polished off the Seven 'n' Seven long ago – downing it in a mere three gulps. The alcohol had burned his throat but warmed his stomach, helping to calm the nerves he had felt. He knew that he needed more to make the images, smells, sounds – all of it – go back into the box he had closed years before.
It had been a surprise to see him here tonight they had managed to avoid each other for years even on those rare occasions when they were at the same function he had the sense to stay at a safe and discreet distance from the Walkers.
Justin returned to the kitchen, which was now winding down for the evening – dishes were in the sink and stacks more filled every available space. Again Justin silently went about fixing himself a drink – nobody around questioned him they were used to drunken trust fund kids at parties. This time Justin cut out the mixer pouring straight Vodka into the glass, downing without pause and then refilling.
The alcohol was beginning to take effect; his body was warm and loose, the edges of his vision taking on a fuzzy quality indicating he was well on his way to inebriation.
His confidence returned he headed outside this time the area was a lot less crowded most of the guests deciding to call it an early night and had dispersed from the house. Kevin, Tommy and his father were stood around the edge of the pool with Andrew Robinson deep in conversation; no doubt Dad was still on about the four of them golfing before the bad weather struck.
Still Sarah, Joe, Kitty and Marshall sat at the same table but this time they had been joined by a fifth person. His back to Justin he was still instantly recognisable.
"Justin." Sarah called out to him from her seat "Justin? Hello Justin?"
Breaking from his trance Justin raised his head in quick acknowledgement of his eldest sisters greeting. All the while his heart was beating in his chest 'don't ask me to come over, please, please don't ask me to come over'.
"Where have you been? Mom was looking for you she wanted to head home hours ago." Sarah was the most parental of all his siblings but she still couldn't read the fear on his face – he had become too good at hiding it.
"Come and sit down – she just went to the bathroom then we can go." With that she twisted back round in her seat and tried to catch up on the conversation she had missed.
As steadily as he could Justin walked over to the table the only seat left was directly between Sarah and his tormentor. Gingerly he kicked the chair out and closer to Sarah sitting as far from his reach as he could.
"Hey Jus – Mr. Thomson was just telling us about the years of piano lessons he gave you and you still can't play a tune." Sarah toyed with her glass in her hand as the group laughed.
"Oh please Sarah – after all these years you can't call me Michael?" There was that voice again, his show voice to fool everyone, so no one would see the real him. "So what's the verdict then? The sooner the better I say?"
Justin raised his eyes sharply looking to Sarah.
"Mr. – I mean Michael – was just asking about Paige. He thought that she should be staring lessons soon – if your record's anything to go by we should get a head start." Again the small gathering was smattered with laughter, Kitty and Sarah not trying to concealing their giggles at teasing their little brother.
"I don't know yet she's still really young, maybe once she starts school we could try her?", Joe always the voice of reason and concern for his children.
"No." Justin's statement cut like a knife through the jovial feeling around the table. "No you can't".
"Alright Jus it was just an idea."
Justin was no longer interested in those related to him around the table his gaze was locked on Michael. How dare he? For all those years he had kept his secret, never telling anyone and now he was sitting here talking about his niece, he wouldn't let that happen.
"She'll never be near you." His protective instincts were kicking in and he was in danger of letting his emotions get the better of him.
"Justin!" – Kitty
"Justin, that's enough!" – Sarah
But they didn't know – they didn't know.
"Justin – I – I just wanted to offer my services early." That smile, he knew they were in a stand off that he had the upper hand, Justin was trapped.
The alcohol had clearly heightened his emotions and diminished his sense of consequences – before he had the chance to think rationally his right hand hurt like hell and the sound of smashed glass filled the air.
"JUSTIN!" Quickly the world came into focus, any thoughts of being drunken gone, sobering actions which he hadn't anticipated.
His eyes stayed on the middle aged man now sprawled on the patio, his right hand extended to his face holding his bleeding lip. He felt the sets of grabbing hands and his ears filled with male voices – Tommy, Kevin, probably Joe – all of them tugging him backwards away from the scene.
Instinctively his body tensed and breathing became ragged, "Get off!"
"What the hell Justin?" Kevin's firm hand pressed against the middle of his chest.
Michael had the sense to rise to his feet and step back rather than prolong the confrontation; William had stepped between the parties extending his first concern to Michael rather than his youngest.
"Michael – I'm so sorry – are you alright?" He stepped in and dipped his head trying to examine the bleeding lip.
"It's okay William." Another step back. "Really nothing serious – obviously the boy's upset about something. I didn't mean to offend him – just sharing some tales of his childhood."
The Walkers were now the centre of proceedings, those that were left stood still watching the events unfold, the Robinsons themselves nearby ready to protect their property should it escalate.
Red tinges flared on Michael's cheeks as he realised the scenario he was now in, "I should go home, Andrew thank you for a lovely evening."
And with that he was gone.
Turning on the spot William looked toward his sons grouped together, with no hint of discussion or concern he barked "Home. Now"
Silently Justin tore out of the grasp of his brothers and stalked past his father, just close enough to tip Williams shoulder round as he barged through.
"I can only apologise for my son's behaviour, Andrew. Thank you very much for the invitation and I hope you enjoy the rest of your evening but we'll be leaving now."
William nodded to his family and they all slipped past him, tracing the path Justin had left, they thanked the host as the pasted knowing not to anger their father anymore.
As the Walkers walked single file past the stairs a concern Nora walked against the tide looking for her husband.
"William what is going on here?"
Justin stormed in through the heavy wooden front door leaving it open in his wake he didn't have the energy to slam it shut behind him. That was lucky for Tommy who, being only several paces behind would have been on the receiving end of the door if he had taken out his anger on the furniture.
"Jus. Hey. Don't walk away from us." As usual father figure Tommy was desperate to be the first with his insults in. "Justin!"
Sharply Justin halted on the stairs and spun around stopping Tommy in his tracks at the bottom of the stairs, "What!?!"
Tommy, along with his other siblings were taken aback by the rage on Justin's face rarely was the teen drawn to such anger, "Uh – are you going to explain why you just punched out that guy?"
Justin's grip tightened on the banister of the stair, he was aware of the eyes on him as everyone made their way inside the house. The photographs of smiling faces over his right shoulder fuelled his anger. Pretending – it was all pretend.
"I don't have to explain anything to you Tommy." He steadied his voice, knowing it was near to breaking.
"Maybe not but you will be explaining it to me young man." The calm, unwavering voice of his father cut the air.
Turning on his heels Justin bolted from his spot, knowing the tears he could no longer hold back were beginning to drop from his eyes.
"Sweetheart?" was the last call from his mother as he dashed along the corridor and slammed the bedroom door with all his might.
He had stayed in the bathroom half of the night, the shower running to feign that he couldn't hear his Mom, Sarah, Kitty, Mom again, Kevin and finally his father calling through to him.
During that time he had formulated the only plan he could think would work – a way to confess, to stop the cycle, to save Callum and Paige and all the others, without the guilt and shame.
His sacrifice would be their gain – he knew what he had to do.
Finally when everyone had left and the driveway was empty he unlocked the door and slipped into his bedroom. He located everything he needed and was seated at his desk, it took at least ten attempts to organise what he had to say.
Finding the right words was the hardest thing he had ever done.
Once the letter was finished he had taken another hour to decide who to address it to, his mother would be devastated, his father wracked with guilt, Kitty had her own New York life, Tommy would never understand, Kevin looked at the world through lawyers eyes.
Sarah was his big sister, she was a mother, she had to protect Paige – she would know what to do, she always did.
Slipping the letter inside, he wrote her name on the front, his hand shook with every letter; instinctively he turned over the envelope and kissed the seal.
Now for the second part of his plan – reaching across the desk he popped the lid from the container and palmed a handful of tablets. He had taken plenty of drugs before, legal and illegal, but this was different his mind fought against everyone he swallowed.
Finally when he was satisfied and the bottles were empty he slipped beneath the sheets of his bed.
He gave a final thought to the person who would find him in the morning – he only hoped it wasn't his Mom.