Title: Shattered Illusions

Author: soul1essharpy™

Pairing: Justin/Ethan, Daphne, talks of Justin/Brian

Rating: M (for language)

Spoilers: S3 Ep7

Disclaimer: I do not own the boys, no matter how much I wish I could say that, because if I did, they would have had a much better, 'forever' kind of story and would NOT have ended like they did.

Summary: (Could be considered gap-filler 3.07-3.08) Justin POV during his and Ethan's break-up scene then Daphne POV when Justin shows up at her place afterward. Slight? Ethan bashing. Okay, a LOT Ethan bashing.

Author's Notes: I know, not really Brian/Justin, but there's Justin, and mushy talk of Brian so I hope you like it, even though sadly, there's no porny bits... in this story. I have many in the works that are full of smutty goodness, so be patient.

I glance at the clock and realise I should have been asleep hours ago. Tomorrow's a big day, after all, but the butterflies of anticipation flitting around in my stomach are keeping me awake. You see, tomorrow, I start my internship at Vanguard. My first step in the plan to get Brian to take me back.

Thoughts run through my head like a checklist of sorts, a reminder of what's at stake, like I've forgotten. Impossible. 'There's no room for error, failure is not an option. I only have one chance at this, or else I will lose him forever. "Unless I already have." I whisper aloud. 'No, I gotta stay positive. Trust the plan, the plan will work...it has to.'

The plan is simple but precise: Through my subtle but constant presence at Vanguard and by sheer force of will (and strategically dropped items that I just have to bend over to pick up), I am going to make him remember how we were together, what we were together, and also remind him what we're missing by remaining apart.

I made a monumental mistake, one that I hope desperately to set right with this plan Daph and I concocted. To say that the task of manipulating Brian ( god, it sounds so awful when I say it like that) into thinking it is his decision to take me back will be not be easy is a gross understatement. It has to be on his terms, or at least what he perceives as his terms, or else he'll dig his heels in on principal, no matter how much he may want "us" back. 'Christ, I hope he does.' As long as I am back in his life and his bed, I don't care whose "idea" he thinks it is. I want, no, I need him back in my life, because a life without Brian is not living at all...it's empty, incomplete, joyless. Fuck. When did I become a lesbian?

I never should have left him to begin with, every minute spent away from him made that fact more painfully clear. All that pain and suffering because I childishly and naively let myself be swept up in the belief that I needed bullshit romance and pretty fucking words to make me happy. Neither of which proved to be worth a damn in the end. Eventually roses die and even the people who profess to love you lie. Brian told me, though I was loathe to believe him at the time, that "Words are bullshit." Even if he couldn't, or wouldn't say it, Brian had shown me everyday that he loved me.

As usual, I was too blind, too busy waiting for the grand gesture or declaration of love, that the significance of the little things was entirely lost on me. Things like buying the sugary, high-carb food that I love (even though he hates it), or turning the heat higher in the loft in winter so I won't be cold (because he knows I hate it), some were bigger things like dinner with my mom and Molly (he hates 'couple shit', but went because I asked) and paying for PIFA (even after I left him for Ethan!). He even came to my senior prom, for fuck's sake! (just to show me he cared) The biggest of all, the one I'm most grateful for, is the fact that he saved my life...literally. If he hadn't called out my name to warn me...well, I wouldn't even be here right now, much less worrying about starting this internship. I owe him my life and he's always had my heart, ever since that first night at the loft. I never stopped loving him, even when I was with Ethan.

Jesus, fuck. What a mistake he was! I yawn loudly and as I slowly succumb to sleep, my thoughts go back a few weeks to the night I broke up with Ethan, the night I finally realised what a truly EPIC cluster fuck I had made of my life starting with the choice I made to walk out on Brian.

"I want to be with someone who only wants to be with me." Parroting his own words back at him, I rail, the anger in my voice as unhidden as the contempt for him on my face. Anger boils in my veins, hands unconsciously shredding the roses in them before I am even aware of their presence, the debris launched at Ethan in frustrated punctuation during my tirade. "Someone I can be with forever." Thoroughly disgusted, though ironically, with myself more so than I was with Ethan. Why had I left Brian and the life we had together for this pretentious asshole? God, Brian was right, I am a stupid fucking twat! "Crock of shit!"

"I meant it." Oh, the look on his face says that he's sorry, alright, but that's all that it is...a look, a mask. I know better, or I should by now, than to believe what people say literally at face value, because faces lie.

I lived with Brian for how long? Now, Brian, he is the master at masks and hiding things and by now, as well-versed as I am at the Brian Kinney Operating Manual (hell, I should be, I wrote most of it) I should have seen this train-wreck coming. Reading Ethan should've been a fucking cake-walk, considering he's about as deep as a puddle! Tonight, it seems, I'm seeing Ethan for the first time, I mean really seeing him. I study his eyes closely, eyes that reveal his true feelings, though his face displays a near-perfect mask of contrition. Clear as day his eyes speak volumes, nothing emotion in them registers even remotely as 'sorry', instead, flashing like a neon sign, blazes 'caught'.

"Yeah, I'm sure you did the second you were saying it." Seeing what I have in his eyes just now, the fact he continues to act like he ever really cared about me at all only serves to enrage me more.

"Christ! Look at what you're doing to your hands." The panic on his face catches me off guard, causing me to follow his gaze to my hands, only to see them covered in dozens of small cuts and rips, not unlike my heart, soft flesh ripped open while shredding the evidence of his infidelity. Curiously, I had felt not a single twinge of pain. Presumably numbed by anger and adrenaline, my hands are now bloody victims of this battle, my heart and my pride it's fallen comrades among the growing list of casualties.

"Oh, so fucking what! You're a LIAR!" I call him out for the charlatan he is, unwilling to let him fake concern for me any longer, the taste of it like acid in my mouth, as I deliver yet another mangled, scarlet fistful of his betrayal back in his face.

"I didn't want to hurt you." 'Jesus, does he really believe that I am going to buy this pathetic line of shit? How stupid does he think I am?' I inwardly emit a derisive snort as I realise that I was obviously pretty damn stupid and naïve enough to fall for his false promises of love and fidelity in the first place, so I guess he's only partly to blame for still thinking I'd continue lapping it up like a hungry kitten with a saucer of milk.

"That is SO laughably, so PATHETICALLY lame, I am not even gonna comment on it." Suddenly very aware that I am in full-fledged 'queen-out' mode, flailing arms and all, I find myself not really giving a shit. 'Brian would SO be laughing his ass off at me right now.', I can't help but think.

"Try something else." I urge him to continue, hoping he will finally show me a little respect and at least be honest for once, he at least owes me that, if nothing else.

"I was... I was covering my ass." 'Finally, some hint of truth!' Although I have no doubt he wasn't the one covering his ass. Ethan is a total bottom, and a weak one at that, never having the guts even once to try and top me, not that I would have let him, no one is has ever been allowed that privilege but Brian.

"That's better. Go on." I revel in the power I have over him at the moment, deriving some pleasure watching him struggle and fail miserably to come up with excuses to justify his inexcusable actions, prodding him to see what other paltry excuse he would next pull out of his ass.

"I was alone. You weren't there." I can only stare at him, wondering when I wandered into the Twilight Zone, because there is no way in this universe that his decision to cheat could ever be my fault. Was I the one who signed the goddamn homophobic contract complete with the 'get your ass back in the closet and drag your queer boyfriend back in with you' clause in it, no that was all him. It sure as hell was not me, would not ever be me. I took a bat to the head and nearly died as a result of choice to live my life honestly, out and proud, and this sonofabitch tries to shove me back in? Again, what the fuck was I thinking?

"Now it's MY fault." Oh, that's beautiful! He fucks someone else because I wasn't there. Yeah, lets not own up to our mistakes like a man, blame someone else. Typical.

"That's not what I mean. I missed you." I'm curious to know what fucking language translates 'I miss my boyfriend' into 'Let some random guy stick his cock up my ass instead'?

"So you... Since you couldn't BEAR to be without me for ONE fucking night, you pick up some... drooling admirer?" I know I am an amazing fuck, as plenty of the patrons at Babylon can attest to, but was that supposed to make it alright? 'Oh, I missed you so much I had no choice but to let some trick fuck me?' I bet next, he'll try and tell me that he only thought of me the whole time that loser fucked him, like that's any better!

"Basically, yes." One word - 'Pathetic.' How did I ever believe that this bastard loved me?

"So tell me Mr. Gold..." Violently I slam the twisted and mangled remains of the rose bouquet into his chest, voice dripping with sarcasm as I grill him even though at this point, I don't really care enough about the answers anymore, or should I say excuses, that will inevitably fall from his deceitful lips. "As a last minute replacement, how'd he do? Did he KNEEL at your feet and worship your HUGE talent? Did he MARVEL at your magnificent fingering? Did the way you stroke your bow leave him BREATHLESS?"

"It was ONE stupid mistake." He says it like it makes all the sense in the world, like he can't understand why I won't just turn a blind eye and forgive him, if only because he said he was sorry. Like that fixes everything. Well, fuck you, Ethan cuz 'sorry's bullshit'. Too bad for you, it is a mistake that you will never be allowed to make with me again, you fooled me once fiddler, never again.

Then, he says it. I hear it and I think that I clearly must have misheard him, because no one who really knows me is that stupid, it's just one button you don't want to push with me. Even as the words come out of his mouth, I know I am staring at him in total shock and disbelief...before the fury is unleashed."Look how many times you forgave Brian!"

"I NEVER forgave Brian!" Whoa! Back the fuck up! Hehas no right to talk about Brian at all, he knows nothing about Brian, not the first goddamn thing! He dares to think he can compare himself to Brian? They are not even remotely in the same league, hell, they don't even play the same sport! Brian on his worst day is still five times the man Ethan is on his best. Ethan's comparison sends me off the deep end and I slam my hand into the back of the bar stool in front of me, sending it spinning wildly as I counter, "I never had to. Because he never promised me anything... you did."

'Now, the tears fall?' I guess so, considering I was just jolted with the harsh reality that Ian, shit- ETHAN (damn you, Brian!) was the single worst mistake ever. Pretty words are bullshit, apparently. I had real love, tangible love, more than anyone could ever hope to have. Love from a man who loved me so completely that he would put my needs before his, would rather see me happy, even if it meant that I was with someone else and he would be miserable. I had that and I callously tossed it aside for 3 fucking words and bullshit picnics on the floor?

'I should be more hurt, heart-broken, even...shouldn't I?' It actually caused me physical pain when I saw Brian in the backroom with Rage that night. All I feel now is anger. I am so unbelievably livid, my brain is on auto-pilot, reacting purely on instinct, without a single conscious thought. 'Anger is at least feeling something, right?'

I experience an epiphany. The anger and hurt I feel right now has nothing to do with Ethan's infidelity. Surprisingly, I found myself realising that I really don't care that much about Ethan at all. I should be angry at my cheating lover, right? However, what I am really most furious with is the pure poetic irony of the situation, a situation that I set in motion.

I've come full-circle. Ethan has now cheated on me... cheated on me just like I cheated on Brian. The knowledge that I caused Brian unnecessary pain, over this insignificant prick, is what claws at my heart now. Karma is one spiteful bitch. Really, though, I brought this on myself, therefore, I have no one else to blame... and fuck if that realisation doesn't hurt!

I realise, I have been holding in anger at myself for months now. I denied my feelings, refused to admit, to myself or anyone else, that I had made a mistake. Ethan, by way of not keeping it in his pants, has unknowingly triggered the floodgate, unleashing my torrent of pent-up anger on anything in it's path.

"I need you. I don't know what I'm gonna do without you." 'The same thing you did with me, asshole...fuck other guys.' I couldn't bring myself to care what the fuck, or who the fuck he did after I was out the door. Hell, he could pitch himself off the roof for all I care, the worthless sack of shit.

"I'm sure you'll survive. After all, you still have your music. It's the only thing you ever really loved." It was also one of the things I had begun to hate with a passion. If I had to hear fucking 'Paganini's Cantabile in D major, Opus 17' one more time, I swear to fucking god I would've broken that goddamn bow off in his ass! The novelty of having romantic violin music played for me wore off about four days into us living together. He was up 'playing' til all hours of the night. Though, most of the time, it sounded more like a screaming cat than music, so no wonder the neighbors hate him!

I am already well on my way towards the door, determined to get the fuck out of here, because as far as I am concerned, we are finished. In every sense of the word. The sunlight reflects off the worthless token of his/our 'commitment' as I reach for the doorknob. I turn back quickly and see a brief flash of hope on his face before I obliterate it as I slam the worthless band of metal on the counter with a hard, resounding clang, glad to be free from it, from him. Feeling a weight suddenly lifted off my shoulders, I exit my former prison, making quick work of the stairs as I dial Daphne's number.

Daphne POV

"I can't fucking believe I was so stupid, Daph! I left Brian and our life together for that pathetic, lying, cheating asshole? Fuck! What was I thinking?" He's been doing this for an hour already, just pacing and rambling. I forgot how much he can talk...to himself, apparently. I can't get a word in.

"You-" Justin didn't hear me and continued his pacing rant before I had a chance to interject an answer. 'Why did he need me to be awake for this again?' He seems to prefer handling this conversation solo.

"Right, yeah...pretty words and bullshit promises. I can't believe I was so gullible and naïve. I threw away everything that Brian and I had, all because he wouldn't tell me he loved me. Hell, he showed me he loved me everyday, but I just HAD to hear those 3 fucking words. Idiot! I was so damn busy looking for what I thought I wanted/needed that I wound up not seeing the forest for the trees..."

"Or that other guy's dick up Ethan's ass..." I muttered under my breath, grinning to myself as the comment went unheard, while Justin continued to pace the living room floor, rambling. 'I swear that boy is gonna fork over some cash to replace the carpet he's wearing a hole in!'

"I mean...shit! What does that say about me or my 'love' for Brian that I was so quick to let myself be charmed by pretty words and picnics? That I flat-out ignored the rules that I had insisted on in the first place, and that Brian had agreed to? Do I really love Brian or was it only infatuation because he was the guy who took my virginity?"

"Uh-" I attempt to answer him, but Justin continues rambling, the question is apparently once again rhetorical. Remind me again why I am still awake at 3 am? Right, twink in crisis mode pacing my living room.

"Yes. I DO love Brian. Without a doubt, in-your-face, no-holds-barred, heels-over-head *grin*, ache when I'm not with him, love him. Now I just hope he still loves me... God, Daph, have I lost him for good? I have to get him back. But how?"

"..." I sit in silence, waiting to see if it was finally my turn to speak now, or if he would just cut me off again.

"Well, Daph? Aren't you gonna say something! Are you even listening? Help me out here!" Justin looked at me expectantly. 'Oh, now I get to speak? Finally!'

" I was waiting for your little drama-princess ass to finally take a breath! Now sit down, will ya?" I huffed in frustration. 'Now maybe I can speed this up and I'll make it to bed before dawn.' He sat down on the couch beside me, still a giant bundle of nervous energy.

"Sorry. Thanks, Daph. Well, for...letting me stay and …you know, everything." Justin chuckles a little and bumps my shoulder, eliciting a girlish giggle from me, the gesture feeling just like old times. He had become such a different person while with Ethan, spouting about how 'romantic' it was, like 'Brahms' or 'Mahler' (I mentally imitate sticking a finger down my throat.) I was glad to see my Justin back.

"What else can any respectable hag do when her fag shows up on her doorstep in the middle of the night with a boy crisis?" Justin looks at me sheepishly, an unspoken apology for being such a lame-ass lately, reminding me one more time just why I love him. I just smile and hug him, making sure there is not a hint of 'I told you so' in my eyes, he already knows he fucked up, he doesn't need me to tell him...even though I will, eventually. Hey, it's what best friends do, call each other on their shit.

One month later:

" Ok, I need a plan. A good one. I had a dream last night that Brian learned to levitate and we were fucking in mid-air. I can't stop thinking about him! What am I gonna do, Daph?"

" I think I have an idea...You remember Billy Hauser?"