Brian was standing in an alley near Tremont. After Justin had departed with the fiddler, he'd left the party and started walking. Walking and thinking. Walking, thinking, and regretting, though he'd never admit it.
Suddenly, someone emerged from the shadows. Brian hissed, "Who the fuck are you?"
The man replied softly, "A friend."
Brian just stared at him.
The man added, "You should have accepted my first response. You won't like the truth."
Brian prodded, "Which is?"
The man stated simply, "I'm a ghost."
Brian scoffed, "A ghost? More like a lunatic."
"Nope. Just a ghost. Go ahead. Try to touch me."
Brian hesitated, but then approached and tried to grab the man's arm. Brian's fingers passed through his arm as though it was made of air. He backed up, eyes wide, looking a bit pale.
He exclaimed, "Shit, what the fuck did I take?"
The ghost laughed. "Nothing. Well, not nothing, but you are actually sober at this point."
"Okay, assuming you are a ghost, why are you here? Why are you talking to me?"
The ghost sighed. "Because I've been watching you for the last couple of years. I wasn't going to meddle, but, despite myself, I've become invested in your future."
Brian, suspicious, asked, "How so? If you're really a ghost, nothing that happens to me will affect you…"
The ghost replied slowly, "True, but watching has made me care about what happens to you. I want you to be happy, and, despite your many flaws, I think you deserve to be."
Brian was astonished and confused.
The ghost laughed and suggested, "Look, I know this concept is alien to you, so let's skip the why part and move on to the how part."
"The how part?"
"Yes, how I am going to help you…"
"This isn't a Christmas Carol thing, is it?"
The ghost chuckled. "No, it's not Christmas. I don't know all of your past or any of your future. I just know what's been going on with you the last couple of years and what's happening right now."
"How would that help me? I know all that, too."
The ghost retorted sharply, "Actually you don't. You only know about events you were present for. You can't see the bigger picture."
Brian nodded his head, but he had his doubts. A great many doubts. "Ah…"
The ghost smiled. "I can also do a neat trick."
"I can let you see how I remember certain events. I just have to possess you temporarily."
Brian yelled, "Hell fucking no! You stay on your side of the alley, and I'll stay on mine."
The ghost cajoled, "I'd only do it for a few minutes at a time."
Then he implored, "Look, Justin just left with the fiddler. You can still fix what you broke, but you need to trust me."
Brian clenched his fists and looked down.
The ghost was growing impatient. "We don't have much time. Justin still loves you and wants to be with you. But if you do nothing, he'll put up walls. He'll start framing everything you two experienced in a negative light because he doesn't think you love him, and he's bitter about that. Starting to be anyway. Soon it will wreck all that was good about your 'relationship.' (the ghost makes air quotes as he says relationship) Even if you reconcile later, that bitterness will remain. He'll trust less, fear more, and start leaving at the drop of a hat. Believe me, I know."
Brian snapped defensively, "How the fuck could you know that?"
The ghost was becoming angry. "Because, asshole, I've been where you are. I made the wrong choice. I let the person I loved leave, really leave, and, even though we reunited later, nothing was ever the same. What I've learned from my own experience and from the hundreds of years I've watched the living is that you can't ever let your lover leave. The first time is always the hardest. After that, everything changes."
Brian swallowed hard. The ghost's words were making him uneasy.
The ghost sighed and grabbed Brian's phone.
Brian exclaimed, "Hey, you aren't solid. How are you even holding that?"
The ghost explained, "I can become solid for a few minutes at a time. It's not pleasant, but desperate times call for desperate measures. I don't know why I thought you might be more willing to accept help. You want Justin back, and badly. It's written clearly in your eyes. But you're letting your foolish pride keep you from getting what you want, what you need, and it's starting to annoy me."
The ghost began punching numbers. Lots and lots of numbers.
Brian snapped impatiently, "Are you fucking calling the moon?"
The ghost laughed. "No. I was texting Justin."
Brian's eyes widened in horror. "You didn't!"
"I did. I'll read it to you. 'Sunshine, I need you. I know I fucked up big time. I don't even know why I did it. Maybe I was jealous and hurt and wanted to hurt you back. I'm not sure. Please meet me at the loft in an hour. If you want to go back to the fiddler after, I'll understand, but I need to see you. B'"
Brian laughed. "Justin will never believe I sent that."
The phone lit up, and the ghost laughed. "Wanna bet on it? Justin replied, 'I'm not promising anything, but I'll be there. S' Isn't that sweet? He signed it 'S' as in Sunshine. That tells me that he still considers himself yours. And the whole 'I'm not promising anything' means that he's at least tempted to reconcile. So now I have an hour to get you to come to your senses."