It Was Only Time
Disclaimer: Sadly, nothing belongs to me – everything QAF belongs to Showtime and CowLip.
Summary: Brian thinks he has lost Justin in the bombing, not realizing that he has unexpectedly moved to New York. For the next three years they live their lives apart. They meet again and realize that its far from over between them...But can they fix the mistakes of the past and find their way to a future together?
A/N #1: This is my very first fanfic ever! Actually, this is my very first attempt at writing anything remotely fictional. I "discovered" QAF a month ago and totally fell in love with the show and all the characters. The ending was so heartbreaking that I literally felt compelled to come up with my own version. For some reason the idea of Justin leaving before Brian could finally declare his love lodged itself into my brain and wouldn't let go, so the story went from there and took a life of its own. I realize that some chapters are too dialogue heavy, others not so much; some chapters are rather short, while others are too long. So, please bear with me while I figure out this whole writing thing.
A/N #2: The story is as true to cannon as I could make it, that is until S5 Ep10. I may have changed the time line a little and pretty much made a lot of things post S5 Ep10 disappear. I am trying to stay as close to character as possible, while at the same time reflecting on the changes that the bombing had on Brian and everyone else, and the move to NYC had on Justin.
A/N #3: The story is turning out to be long. At the end will probably be somewhere between 40-45 chapters. I sincerely hope that someone reads it and sticks with it. Please read AND review! My writing needs all the help it can get! :)
A/N #4: Does have strong language – this is QAF after all.
P.S. This is the one and only time there will be this many author's notes (they will also be at the end of chapters from now on). I promise! Please read and review.
Chapter I - A New Place
That Thursday morning, Brian was driving to work when he saw Justin stapling posters to a bulletin board by the bus stop on Liberty. He stopped the car on the corner and watched him through the rain streaked car window. A few minutes later Justin noticed him and came over.
"Morning, Sunshine. Heard you moved to a new place."
"Yeah, a studio at Highpoint Towers."
"Christ, Justin, that's just about the worst neighborhood in Pittsburgh! What the hell were you thinking?"
"It's not my dream country manor with stables and a pool, I know, but it's all mine and it's all I can afford at the moment. Hopefully, not for long…"
"A country manor with stables and a pool, huh?" He said smirking.
"Well, if you have to dream, dream big! Besides, judging by your loft, you are the one who spoiled me on all that fine living."
"Right…Listen, I can loan you the money for…"
"No!" Justin sharply cut him off "Thanks, but I'll do this on my own. I'll be fine, really. Anyway, I guess I'll see you at the fundraiser tomorrow?"
"No, I'll be busy getting a tan down under and a little bit on top."
"You are going to Australia?"
"For the gay Mardi Gras – it is the gayest place on earth, other than Disney World, of course."
"Of course… " Justin laughed "Later, than…"
"Later…" Brian watched Justin walk away with a casual wave and his ever-present, sunny smile, not realizing that it will be a long, long time before he'll see it directed at him again.
It was so Brian to go to the gay Mardi Gras instead of a fundraiser, Justin thought, ruefully shaking his head. A very Brian thing to do and shouldn't really be surprising, yet somehow it still was. His thoughts were interrupted by his ringing cell phone.
"Justin, where are you right now?" Lindsay fairly screamed in his ear.
"Lindsay? I'm on Liberty, hanging change of venue posters for the fundraiser tomorrow. Why?"
"Drop everything and meet me at the gallery ASAP. I have some news, some very exciting news that you need to hear right away!"
"Well, tell me!"
"Oh, no! This has got to be done face-to-face. You won't regret it, I promise!"
"Listen, I am pretty much done with the posters here, so I might as well finish. I'll meet you at the gallery in 30, is that OK?"
"I guess I can contain myself a little while longer. Hurry!"
Justin had no idea what to think of it, but judging by Lindsay's voice, it was bound to be something big. He wondered why Brian hasn't said anything, but maybe he hasn't known. One thing was for certain; Justin loved surprises and couldn't wait to find out what Lindsay had in store.
At the same time, a slightly perturbed Brian was on the phone with Jennifer:
"How the hell could you let him move into a dump like that? You are a realtor, for fuck's sake, couldn't you find him a better rental?"
"Cool your jets there, Brian! You know as well as I do that once Justin makes up his mind about something it's next to impossible to convince him otherwise. He found the place himself, he borrowed money from Michael for the deposit himself and was moved in before I even knew anything about it. Like it or not, Justin is an adult now and it's been years since I've had any kind of control over him. You are right about one thing though, it is a dump. Actually, calling it a dump is high praise indeed. Have you seen it?"
"It has no kitchen, no private bathroom - he has to share it with other unfortunates living there. The apartment, if you can call it that, is on the 9th floor and the elevator's been broken for months. I was horrified from the moment I set foot in the place, but Justin is happy as a clam that it has huge windows that let it lots of light and the room is big enough for his painting. I offered, begged really, to find him a better place and pay for the relocation. He categorically refused! Keeps talking about it being the first step towards a country manor…"
"With stables and a pool….yeah, so I've heard…"
"Bottom line, he is refusing to move and I doubt that even you will be able to change his mind, especially since you've broken up again. I'm sorry about that, by the way. One thing I know is that he's determined to stand on his own two feet. On the one hand I am really proud of him; on the other hand I am terrified."
"How long do you think he plans to live there?"
"He signed a 6 month lease and hopes to have enough money saved up to move somewhere better after. Trust me on this, Brian, I did all I could to convince him to move."
"I hear you. Thanks, Jennifer. Bye!" Brian hung up seething. Justin won't be living in that hellhole for long, if he has anything to say about it, he thought. He wanted to call Michael, but since Mickey still refused to speak to him he decided against it and called Ben instead. Ben confirmed that they helped Justin get into the studio; however, he said that the money they gave him wasn't a loan, but a gift. They told him not to worry about paying it back and instead save the cash for a better apartment. Thank God for small graces, Brian thought. Next on his list was Lindsay:
"Linds, do you have a minute? Good." He said, not waiting for a reply "Was Justin's painting sold at the show?"
"Yes, actually, he did really, really well. Why?"
"Well, I wanted to buy the painting for, say, $2000."
"Why? I thought you two broke up."
"Have you heard about the new place he's moved into? Broken up or not, I still want him safe and living in someplace half-way habitable. He let Michael and Ben help him a little, but he is refusing help from anyone else and wants to save money for a better place himself. So I thought getting two grand for one of his paintings would go a long way towards getting him out of that dump quicker. If I bought the piece anonymously through the gallery, he'd accept the money and no one would be the wiser."
"Wow, Brian! I know how much you love…"
"Give it a rest, Linds!"
"Fine! Actually, he does have two other pieces similar to the one we chose for the opening. The composition is completely different, but thematically, stylistically, they are similar. There was significant interest in his work, so I can honestly say that I've mentioned those pieces to several people. There's no reason why someone wouldn't want to acquire at least one of them."
"Good, I'll have the check dropped off at the gallery this afternoon."
"What about the paintings? Don't you want to see them? Which one do you want to buy? What about delivery?"
"I'm acquiring both and I'll have Cynthia arrange everything. And Linds, not a word of this to Justin or anyone else, ok?"
"I promise. See you at the fundraiser tomorrow?"
"Fortunately for me, I will be on my way to Sydney tomorrow for Mardi Gras. Bye, Wendy!"
Content that his work here was done, Brian put the Corvette in drive and sped off towards the office.