AN: Just a little one-shot centered on the idea that Justin was in the diner when Debbie threatened Loretta's husband in season five. So a few things about this – 1. I hate it. LOL When I started it, I was so excited and loved it but as I wrote it, I lost it, and I really don't think it's that good. 2. It might be a tad OOC, but I don't care. 3. The ending is dumb, but like I said, this one really fizzled out and 4. Quite possible, and probable, that it is full of mistakes…

So if after all that you're actually still going to read it than enjoy! LOL

I do not own Queer as Folk or Brian and Justin!

The sound resonated around the diner and Justin's entire body tensed up immediately. He didn't look up right away from where he was reading the paper but he didn't need to. There was no mistaking or ignoring the sound of a baseball bat meeting the counter.

Justin's chest tightened and he could feel his breathing steadily quickening. He glanced up enough to see Debbie standing only a couple feet away from him brandishing a baseball bat at a guy he didn't recognize.

"Only you're not getting it through your head so maybe my friend here can help." Justin heard Debbie say as she moved closer toward the guy, and Justin.

Justin clenched his eyes shut against the images that assaulted his mind; a flash through the air as he turned around to see Chris Hobbes standing behind him, Hobbes standing over him as he lay bleeding. Reality mixed with what he'd seen many times in his dreams and Justin was left feeling dizzy.

Justin heard the new waitress, Loretta, break away from the guy and start speaking but he couldn't focus on her words. His breathing was becoming dangerously close to hyperventilating and his entire body was tense. He heard Debbie start speaking again and saw out of the corner of his eyes as the guy turned and walked out of the diner.

Justin looked up to be met with the sight of Debbie still standing in a defensive pose, the bat held firm in her hands. She shifted and the bat moved through the air in an arc similar to if she had swung it. He jumped up and fled the diner quickly.

Outside, Justin turned around the side of the building and heaved forward to empty the contents of his stomach on the ground in the ally.

"Hey man, are you alright?"

Justin's head shot up and he turned frantic eyes on a figure advancing toward him. The guy was tall with bright red hair, nothing familiar about him, but when Justin's eyes met his all he saw was Chris Hobbes. Justin backed up slowly, his eyes staying trained on the guy.

"I'm – I'm fine, just, just a li-little sick." He stammered.

The guy was close to him now. Too close. He reached a hand out to rest on Justin's shoulder and Justin froze. His heart quickened in his chest and he was again assaulted by the image of Hobbes smirking dangerously at him. Justin's eyes widened and he jerked away violently from the hand on his shoulder.

Without giving the stranger an opportunity to reach out for him again, Justin continued out of the alley. He backed out quickly but refused to turn his back on the man in the ally, who stood staring curiously at him.

Justin emerged onto the crowded street and was met with curious and annoyed glances of people passing by. An arm came in contact with his and Justin flinched. His breathing became more and more erratic to the point where Justin wasn't getting enough oxygen. His eyes widened. I can't breathe, he thought fearfully.

Justin fought to gain control of his breathing as he stumbled down the sidewalk and in the direction of the loft. His eyes clenched shut and he tucked his arms close to his body in an effort not to come in contact with anybody.

A short time later, without really being aware of how he managed it, Justin stepped out of the lift and through the door into the loft. Immediately he turned to lock and bolt the door. He leaned his head against the door and breathed.

"Where have you been?" Brian asked nonchalantly.

Justin spun around, nearly falling over in his haste, and was met with the sight of a shirtless Brian. He raised an eyebrow at Justin's behaviour and made his way closer to him. Without thinking, Justin backed up against the door. Brian stopped immediately.

"What the fuck's wrong with you?"

Justin flinched and his eyes fell shut again. Brian frowned and slowly took a step closer to Justin. He gave him a closer look and his frown deepened at what he saw. Justin was pale and sweating and his body appeared to be trembling. He took another step toward Justin and stopped in front of him. Close enough to reach out but far enough that Justin still had some space.

Brian reached out and brushed his finger tips along Justin's cheek. Justin flinched and his eyes shot open. Brian's brow pulled together but he didn't retract his hand.

"Sunshine, what is it?" He asked gently.

Justin shook his head. "It's no-nothing. I'm fine."

"Like hell you are. What the fuck happened?" Brian asked again, careful to keep his voice calm, or as calm as he could anyway.

Justin stared at him and Brian found that his initial observation was correct. Justin was trembling. Brian waited and silently forced himself not to reach out and shake Justin. He hadn't seen Justin act this way since a couple months after the bashing. Seeing it again was not doing anything to keep Brian calm.

"I was at the diner- Debbie- some guy was there- and Loretta- bat." Justin gasped out.

Brian's brow furrowed as he tried to piece together what Justin was trying to say. All he was getting was that Justin was at the diner and something happened involving Debbie.

Justin clenched his eyes shut again and a sound like a sob escaped from his lips. Brian's eyes widened and he reached out with his other arm to pull Justin into his chest. One arm wrapped around his waist while the other went to the back of his neck where Brian proceeded to run his fingers through the hair there.

"Hey, it's okay. Just breathe. You're okay." He murmured soothingly into Justin's ear.

Justin made another choking sound and his arms snaked around Brian and held tight. Brian could feel Justin's nails digging into the bare skin of his back, leaving marks he was sure.

Without breaking the embrace, Brain steered them toward the living room and carefully manoeuvred them on to the couch. He sat back and tugged Justin gently to where he was straddling Brian's waist. Justin buried his face in the crook between Brain's shoulder and neck.

Brian continued to whisper words of comfort while he waited for Justin to calm down enough to tell him what the fuck had happened at the diner.

Several minutes passed and just when Brian thought he was going to go crazy with the need to know what happened, Justin shifted. He pulled his head back enough to look at Brian but didn't move to leave his place on top of him.

"What happened, Justin?" Brian asked gently but firmly.

Justin breathed deeply. "I was at the diner when some guy came in and started talking to the new waitress there. I think it might have been her husband." He began slowly. "They were arguing and he started pulling her toward the door when," Justin's body tensed in Brian's arms and he ducked his head to where he wouldn't have to keep eye contact with Brian.

Brian gripped Justin's chin in his hand and gently forced his head up to meet his eyes. He stared at him intently.

"Look at me." He said quietly.

Justin tried to pull his head back but Brian wouldn't let him.

"Justin, it's okay. Tell me."

Justin stopped struggling and took a deep breath. "When I heard this loud crack sound and I looked up to see Debbie." His breathing picked up and Brian rubbed the back of his neck soothingly. "She-she had a bat, and she was-she was holding it like she was going to hit the guy."

This time it was Brian who tensed beneath Justin. A baseball bat? Debbie had threatened a guy with a fucking baseball bat? Debbie had threatened a guy with a baseball bat in front of Justin of all people? What the fuck had she been thinking?

"A baseball bat?" Brian asked, more to himself than Justin. Justin nodded anyway.

"I-I may have freaked out a little bit." Justin admitted softly.

Brian raised an eyebrow. A little? If the way Justin had arrived back at the loft was any indication, he had freaked out a lot. And that was after he had some time to calm down. Brian's eyes hardened.

"How much?" He demanded.


"Tell me, Justin."

Justin sighed. "I couldn't breathe. I couldn't move. When I was finally able to get out of there I ran outside and threw up. And then I came back here." He said in one breath.

Brian's face was completely still but there was something there in his eyes. Justin wasn't sure what it was exactly. Anger? Pain? Every part of Justin wanted to believe that it was love. Brian's grip on Justin's arm tightened for a second and then he pushed Justin on to the cushion next to him. He stood and began pacing the floor in front of Justin.

"Son of a bitch. What the fuck was she thinking?"

Justin watched Brian closely and slowly stood to stop his pacing. He held Brian's gaze.

"I don't think she realized or remembered that I was there." He tried.

Brian shook his head. "Don't defend her sunshine. She shouldn't even have a goddamn bat at the diner in the first place. What the fuck was she thinking?" He repeated.

Justin shrugged helplessly. He'd seen Brian in his current mood enough to know that there really wasn't anything he could say to pull him out of it. He needed to rant. Another minute passed and Brian calmed down enough to talk. He glanced down and noticed Justin standing in front of him. His eyes softened.

Brian reached out and pulled Justin into his arms for the second time. "Shit, Justin. You don't need to deal with this right now." Justin heard the silent 'I'm sorry'

"Are you okay now?" He asked.

Justin shrugged in Brian's arms. "I guess. I just needed to get home and time to calm down." Brian nodded.

"I'm kind of tired." Justin continued. Brian pulled back enough to see Justin's face. He did look tired.

"Why don't you go and lay down?" He suggested. "We can get something to eat when you wake up." And I can talk to Debbie and find out what the fuck she was thinking, he added silently.

Brain felt Justin tense and he frowned. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing," Justin said quickly.

"Bullshit. What is it?"

Justin sighed and dropped his eyes from Brian's. There was no way he was going to look at him when he said what he wanted to say.

"I don't want to go to sleep." He said slowly. Brian raised an eyebrow and waited for Justin to continue. "I don't want to have a nightmare."

He spoke so softly that Brian wasn't sure he heard him at first. He had to strain to catch the words but once he did, his entire body froze.

A nightmare. After the bashing, Justin had them a lot. There wasn't a night he wouldn't wake up screaming or crying – he never did explain what happened in them but honestly, Brain didn't want to know. After awhile they slowed down and eventually stopped all together. For the most part anyway. Brain wasn't about to inform Justin that he still felt his body tense up in sleep occasionally.

Hearing Justin admit that he was afraid they would come back forced Brian to admit just how much he cared about and wanted to protect Justin, at least to himself anyway. He wasn't going to let him go through that.

Brian reached up to rest a hand on the side of Justin's face. Gently, he raised Justin's head so that their eyes met and leaned down to press a chaste kiss to Justin's lips. Justin responded immediately and his tongue ran along Brian's bottom lip.

Brian didn't hesitate to open his mouth and their tongues met in a slow and languid way. The kiss wasn't heated but it was passionate. Brian held Justin to him tightly, offering comfort in a way that meant so much more than simple words. Too soon, they pulled away and Brian leaned down to rest his forehead against Justin's.

"C'mon, I'll lay down with you for awhile." Brian offered.

Justin nodded slowly and together they made their way up the stairs and into their shared bedroom. Brian let go of Justin long enough to pull back the duvet and lay down. Once settled, he stretched out his arm and Justin moved to lie beside him. Justin fit his body into Brian's side, their chests pressed together and Brian's arm wrapped around Justin. Justin in turn wrapped his arms around Brian.

With Brian's free hand he ran his fingers through Justin silky locks, soothing him into the sleep Brian knew he needed. Much sooner than Justin expected, his eyes fluttered shut and he fell asleep.

Brian stayed awake, still running his hand through Justin's hair and watching him silently as he slept. He knew this wasn't the last he would hear about Justin's fear, or the last time he would be in this position, and he still had to deal with Debbie's carelessness…but for now, right here, Justin was okay. And while he wouldn't admit it, that was all that mattered.

Review and let me know what you thought please! : )