Timeline: Post 405 - A darker conclusion to the Pink Posse arc Rated: R
This story was written for the challenge in two parts at qaf_challenges and was inspired by this graphic.
If you haven't already you should really check out all of the stories (41!!!) and graphics (24!!!) from this challenge. The master list can be found here.
A huge thank you to xie_xie_xie for hosting this amazing challenge. She went above and beyond with this one!
I cannot say enough about the beautiful graphic which inspired this story. It was made by cam_a and I began writing almost as soon as I saw it. It inspired me to write something complete different and just a little outside my comfort zone... which ended up being nerve wracking and a lot of fun :) THANK YOU!
And I must thank _alicesprings for doing all the wonderful things she always does to make my stories readable and for encouraging me on this story when I was extremely uncertain.
When I was a kid my parents had a new sidewalk put in in front of our house, and they let me put my hand print in the cement. I loved to put my hand over the print and see how much I had grown. I was nine when we moved and I cried and cried. My dad rocked me like a baby and told me that things can't stay the same forever, everything changes, and sometimes for the better - our new house had a pool.
Things did change. I grew up. My dad stopped loving me. And I didn't think about hand prints for a very long time.
I put the barrel of a gun down Chris Hobbs' throat. The absolute insanity of that is not lost on me. I went home that night, Brian fucked me and then I fell into a deep, peaceful sleep. It was the next morning when I woke as the sun was rising that my hands shook and I could feel the panic beginning to swell inside me. Not even so much at what I had done, as at what I had become. A person I didn't know. Only that stranger seemed to be gone now and I was back where I belonged.
I laid in bed that morning next to Brian, thinking I was over it, the bashing, the anger and helplessness I felt.
I looked at Brian and felt momentarily overwhelmed. That I was here with him, that we had come so far, and mostly that I could love him so much. All the violence I had felt inside was gone and I just wanted him.
I fucked him that morning and I didn't have to wrestle it out of him. Getting inside Brian's ass requires much less force and slightly more finesse than I had displayed when I tried to fuck him a few nights before. But that bit of information had gone the way of my common sense these last few weeks.
The day progressed with a long, hot shower and a trip to the diner, and with every step I felt lighter, happier and more like I had finally left the bashing behind me for good. I may not have been proud of what I had done, but I did feel like I had finally taken back control and in the process, taken back myself.
When I first saw the hand print all I wanted to do was put my own hand over it, like I had done so many times as a child and see if it fit. This weird feeling inside me told me it would.
Brian grabbed my arm and held me back from approaching the door. He already had his phone in his hand and I knew without asking that he was calling the police.
I should have been scared but I wasn't. It seemed that guns and violence and blood weren't so far gone from my life after all.
Brian called Carl directly which was a bit of a relief, the idea of dealing with some asshole homophobic cop right now was not appealing.
Brian pulled me close to him, maybe for comfort, maybe to keep me from touching anything. We stood in the middle of the landing in front of his door with a bloody hand print staring at us and just breathed together. Minutes went by and I wondered how long it would take Carl to arrive.
Regardless of how softly he he spoke it was still jarring when Brian whispered into my hair.
"Is there anything I need to know?"
He didn't push, just stood there silently holding onto me until we heard Carl coming up the stairs.
A forensics team went to work on the door. Brian and I couldn't help laughing at the number of different finger prints, not to mention an ass print or two, they might find on that door. Laughing felt good and reminded me what life was like before all of this started.
And then Carl was ready for us and he had lots of questions. None of them really hit home until he asked if there was anyone who might be angry with either of us. Brian spoke up first.
"I fired two people this week, turned down probably half a dozen tricks and at least one guy that I can think of was less then pleased when I told him to get lost after I fucked him."
Carl shook his head and laughed a little.
"So it's been a slow week. I'll need a list of the people whose names you know."
They both looked at me, clearly indicating that it was my turn. I don't even technically live here, but I guess no one really takes that seriously.
"Cody Bell and Chris Hobbs."
I saw Brian's face pale noticeably, it isn't often that I get such a physical response out of him unless we're talking about his cock. It's oddly satisfying.
"Care to elaborate?"
I should have known Carl would want more than just names.
"Cody would probably say that I'm a pussy and that I left him hanging."
Talk about understatements.
"And I sort of had an... altercation with Hobbs last night. Plus we have history."
Brian's fists are clenched at his sides and if Carl wasn't here right now I'm sure he would have some choice words for me, probably beginning with 'what the fuck happened?' If he only knew.
"He's the kid that attacked you at your prom, right?"
I figured Carl knew about that.
"Yes. And last night Cody and I confronted him. Cody wanted to take it further than I did and he was pretty pissed when I walked away."
"Fuck! Jesus Justin, what the fuck were you thinking?"
I knew he wouldn't be able to hold his anger for long. I ignore him because I have to deal with Carl right now.
"How far did this confrontation go?"
"I'd rather not get into that."
I can see how torn Carl is.
"Was anyone injured?"
"I'm going to accept that for now. But I can't promise that will be enough depending on what turns up."
"I want you two to stick around here for the rest of the day at least. I can only imagine the shit fit I would have to deal with from Debbie if anything happened to one of you. I'm going to track down Hobbs and Bell and we'll go from there. They seem to be our best leads at this point."
Great, that means I am stuck in the loft with Brian. The thought makes me more uncomfortable than anything Carl might find out from Chris or Cody.
Brian paced, fuming until everyone was gone. I knew he wasn't going to like what I had to tell him. I know I would have told him what happened someday, but I hadn't planned on it being so soon. Really, I hadn't had time to plan on it at all.
He started to talk but I held up my hand.
"I'll tell you everything, just try to stay fucking calm."
"There is a bloody hand print on my fucking front door and you went to see Hobbs last night, I'd say it is highly fucking unlikely that I'll stay calm."
"Fuck! It felt good, to be in control, to put a little fear into someone else. To be angry out in the open in front of you and the rest of the world. But then Cody took me to see Hobbs at his work a few days ago and I was paralyzed by fear. Seeing him brought it all back. And that made me even angrier. Because I had convinced myself that he didn't have power over me anymore, but he did. It made me feel like nothing was mine, like he owned me, and I couldn't have that anymore. So we went to his house and waited for him and I made him apologize. He wasn't sorry, but I made him sorry."
Brian's just staring at me. But I can feel his anger, and maybe even his fear, like electricity in the air. His voice is low and smooth when he talks.
"How did you make him sorry?"
I feel ashamed but I'm mad now too and I let that emotion win because Hobbs fucking deserved it and if anyone should understand that it's Brian. I look him straight in the eye.
"I put a fucking gun in his mouth and I made him suck it."
He gets right up in my face.
"Congratulations, you just made yourself a real enemy."
I feel like I've been sucker punched. I remember the last time he said those words to me and what happened next.
Brian goes back to pacing but I can't focus on anything but the nauseous, sinking feeling I have in my stomach.
Hobbs nearly ended my life once and what did I do but give him an engraved invitation back into my world.
Brian is quiet for a long time and I don't even try to hide the way I jump when he finally speaks again.
"I take it Cody didn't think you handled it sufficiently."
"No. He thought I should have pulled the trigger."
Brian looks like he might puke and any pride I had earlier from shocking him is long gone.
"I never would have done anything like that. I just wanted to scare him. I just wanted to be free of him."
"Did it work for you Justin?"
"I thought it did."
I sit quietly on the couch for a while and he stares out the window. I have the notion that he is keeping watch, which is absurd, but knowing the way Brian takes the weight of the world on his shoulders, is probably not that far from the truth.
"I can't do it again Justin."
His back is to me and his voice has no emotion, like he just asked me to take out the trash or pick up some coffee on my way home.
I don't answer because the phone is ringing and what the fuck is there to say to that anyway?
Brian is so silent on the phone that I swear he is holding his breath.
Finally, he speaks.
"What the fuck are we supposed to do in the meantime?"
That sounds like the Brian I know. He does a lot more listening and I'm getting impatient, I want to grab the phone away and find out what the fuck is going on. He walks towards me and as he ends the call he drops the phone and pulls me tightly against his body.
"Fucking crazy motherfucker."
I have no idea who he means. Hobbs? Cody? Me?
I'm gripping him back but I also have to know what is going on.
"They found Hobbs dead. They think Cody did it, but they haven't found him yet."
I could have done that. I could have killed him. I had a gun in his mouth. I pictured him dead. Gone. Punishment for what he did to me. I could have been the one. Part of me wanted to stand in front of the world and say what he did to me was wrong and you all let me down so I made it right. The faggot fixed it. I was there. I could have done it.
Only I didn't lie to Brian. I couldn't do it. I never could have. As lost as I was I couldn't have done that.
The part of me that loves my family and my friends and Brian and painting and laughing and fucking would never let me go that far.
I didn't get what I wanted standing in Hobbs' shitty backyard. Because it wasn't there. What I want is back in time in a cold parking garage and I can't have it. Walking away made me me again and I want to hold on to that. I want to find another way to be OK.
But things are certainly not OK. I may not have pulled the trigger, but Cody never heard of Hobbs before me.
"Horvath thinks he came here looking for us... you. To show you what he did or something. He wants us to stay put until they find Cody. He has someone watching the loft in case he comes back here, which he probably won't at this point."
"Holy shit. I never thought he would go this far."
I didn't. I can't quite believe it really. Even with all of his talk, even after I stood there and listened to him yell and scream at me to pull the trigger, I can't believe he would really do it.
The rest of the day and night passes slowly. We're stuck waiting for news that can't possibly be good. I run over possible outcomes in my head and there isn't one that I like.
The second call comes at three in the morning. I talk to Carl this time. Cody pulled a gun while police were attempting to arrest him and he was shot. He didn't survive.
Brian seems relieved. I feel like shit.
My hand prints are all over this.
I wake up not to the knock on the door, but to Brian talking to Carl in the kitchen. They look equally exhausted and I can't imagine what I must look like. Brian hands me a cup of coffee and I sit at the bar wondering what comes next.
"I don't know what you did Justin..."
I hope he doesn't want me to answer that right now.
"...but I don't think I want to know. There is no evidence that you were involved in either death. And the fact that Bell came here to show off or threaten you... I feel pretty confident you didn't have anything to do with it."
He looks at me and I feel like I have to give him something.
"I didn't know he was going to do it and I certainly didn't want him to."
"I believe you. I can't promise I'll be able to keep you out of this, but I'll do my best."
A little of the tension falls from Brian's frame.
Brian went back to work, but I laid low for a few days. It was hard to believe that it could all be over and done with... almost like none of it had ever happened. Two people were dead, but my world hadn't really changed all that much.
Life wasn't better with Hobbs dead and gone. And everything else aside, I can't deny that sometimes I thought it would be. Sometimes when I had woken up after a terrible nightmare I wished he would just die. I thought that would make all the bad feelings go away. It didn't.
And then there was the guilt. Because how could I avoid thinking about the part I had in ending two lives. And yet I couldn't completely drown myself in the guilt the way I felt I deserved because the part of me that knew these two people had a lot more to do with their deaths than I did kept my nose just above the waterline. I walked away from them before it was too late for me.
And then life did what it always fucking does. It moved on and dragged me along with it. There were some happy moments, the grand opening party for Kinnetik, the interest Rage was getting. I couldn't help being proud of Brian and myself. I couldn't help thinking that these were the things that kept me from being like Cody or Hobbs.
That night, when I had a gun in Hobbs' mouth, Cody said it was what I had been wanting to do. But that wasn't true. I never wanted anything like that. I never asked for any of this, the anger or the hate. Those things belonged to Hobbs and Cody.
But it was the hard things, losing Vic, and Brian's cancer that really put things back in perspective. It was the things that squeezed my heart and made it hard to breathe that reminded me how much I wanted to keep breathing and keep loving.