[personal profile] moongirl24
Title: Forgotten Memory
Fandom: Queer as Folk
Pairing: Brian/Justin
Timeline: Post 513
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 2,394 words
Warnings: None
Summary: Brian and Justin think back on something that happened five years ago.
Disclaimer: Unfortunately, I don't own these characters

Author's Notes: Written for the photography challenge at [livejournal.com profile] boys4all

A million thanks to [livejournal.com profile] freakykat for the beta!


FORGOTTEN MEMORY


It’s the same every year.

That day arrives, and we both pretend that we are okay and go about business as usual. Neither of us know how to deal with the fact that this isn’t just any other day.

This year the day doesn’t start off any differently. As usual, he is not in bed next to me when I wake up in the morning, seeing as he is always awake earlier than I am. Instead the smell of freshly brewed coffee is coming from the kitchen, and I let out a contented sigh. I love waking up to that smell. I quickly get out of bed, put on a pair of sweat pants that I left on the floor by the bed the night before, and join him in the kitchen.

We exchange a ‘morning’, he pours each of us a cup of coffee, and I start preparing some breakfast. I ask him when he is leaving for work and if he has a lot of meetings today. He answers my questions and says he will drop me off somewhere before he goes to work if I want to.

Just as if it was any other day.

But it’s not, and we both know it all too well. Just like we both know that sooner or later, one of us has to mention it.

Usually that person is me. Brian would probably have preferred not to talk about it at all. I know that he finds it even harder to deal with this day than I do.

After all, he is the one who remembers everything.


***


We go without mentioning it until after we have had chinese for dinner late that afternoon.

We have just finished cleaning up and I’m sitting on the sofa, trying to think of the best way to bring up the subject, when I feel Brian sitting down next to me. Leaning against the back of the sofa he says nothing for a while, but then it comes. “Are you okay?”

The softness and concern in his voice takes me by surprise. I turn to him and smile a little, trying to hide how taken aback I am by the fact that this time, he is the one who brings it up. Because I know that his question doesn’t have anything to do with how my day has been, or if I’m feeling alright. He wants to know how I’m dealing with this day that is so normal to most people, but so very far from normal to us.

“I’m fine”, I tell him, and I mean it. I’m much more concerned about how he is handling it. Most people probably haven’t noticed anything out of the ordinary about him today, but he doesn’t fool me. I know him too well for that.

“What about you?” I ask, knowing that even if Brian isn’t okay, he won’t tell me that.

“Fine”, he replies as predicted, and again we sit next to each other in silence for a while. I feel the need to be close to him, to have some sort of contact, so I take his hand in mine to let him know... I don’t really know what. That I’m here and that we are in this together, I guess. That he didn’t lose me that night and that he isn’t going to, ever. To my relief he doesn’t pull away from me, but gives my hand a little squeeze in return. For a while we just sit like that, and I’m enjoying the quiet togetherness.

“Actually I could be better.”

His quiet voice, cracking slightly, breaks the silence that has filled the room. His revelation isn’t a surprise, but that fact that he said it out loud is. I turn to look at him, suddenly discovering the pain in his eyes. Just like that time, right after the bashing, when he took me back to the parking garage in an attempt to help me remember.

I know that he never really got over that day, the day of the prom, the day of the bashing. The memories are still as painful to him as they were the night it all happened. To him it’s still as real as it was back then, maybe even more so.

I pull him to me and hug him tight. It’s painful for me too, but that is because I don’t actually have any memories. People have told me how amazing that night was, and how beautiful Brian and I were on the dancefloor, and one of the things that has been the hardest to deal with after that night, is the fact that I don’t even remember one fucking second of it. It feels so unfair that a moment that must have been one of the best moments of my life, was taken away from me.

Of course, the events that took place later on that same night is something that I’m probably better off not remembering much of.

Brian, on the other hand, does remember that night. He remembers every second of it. He remembers the dancing and the kissing on the dancefloor – but he also remembers Chris Hobbs hitting me in the head with a baseball bat and me lying bloody and lifeless on the cold cement in the parking garage.

He told me once, in one of those rare moments where we actually have a long, serious conversation, that he thought he had lost me then. That he pulled my body into his arms and held me close until the ambulance came, kissing me, caressing me, because he thought it was the last time he would ever get to do that.

I cried when he told me. I couldn’t even begin to imagine how that night, and the days that followed, must have felt for him. I know by now how much he loves me, and I know how devastated and broken I would have been if the roles were reversed that night.

As we hold each other now, I know that words aren’t necessary. Everything we need to say is there between us, in a quiet conversation that we both understand. We know what day it is, and what impact the things that happened left on our lives. We know how we feel, and we know that night, exactly five years ago today, will always be with us.

I don’t know how long we sit like that, arms around each other. All I know is that we both need it, need to touch each other, to hold each other. It’s the only way to chase away the demons that still haunt us. Time stands still, and for a while, Brian and I are all that exists.

Then he whispers something, his mouth so close that I can feel his warm breath tickling my ear. “I have something for you.”

He has something for me? Since when does Brian get me stuff? Other than the way too expensive clothes he gets for me sometimes because he thinks my style of clothing needs improving, but usually he just hides those in the closet for me to find, hoping to avoid a discussion about it. And of course, he did give me Britin. And my computer. Okay, so Brian does give me things occasionally, and some pretty huge things at that, but it’s still not something that is normal for him to do.

Surprised, I pull back and look at him. He smirks, obviously amused by the somewhat shocked expression that I know must be apparent on my face right now. Then he gets up and walks over to his desk, opening one of the drawers there. He takes out an item, something that is flat and square and wrapped in white paper, and brings it back to the sofa where I’m waiting. He gives it to me, and I look curiously at it for a moment, and then back up at Brian.

“Go on”, he says, as he sits back down on the sofa next to me. “Open it.”

I start removing the wrapping paper with hurried movements, my mind racing as I try to come up with ideas for what Brian could possibly have gotten for me.

When I finally see what it is, I completely freeze. Absolutely nothing could have prepared me for this.

I’m holding a framed photograph in my hands. A photo of me and Brian, both dressed in black suits as we are dancing together at what I know must be my prom. We are holding on to each other tightly and are looking directly into each other’s eyes, a smile playing on my lips. Even Brian smiles, that kind of smile that I so rarely see, but treasure all the more because of it. It looks as if we are oblivious to anything other than each other.

I’m speechless. I try to form words, but nothing is coming out. So Brian speaks instead.

“Daphne helped me, and we managed to track down a girl who took some pictures that night, including one of us when we were dancing”, he explains, before continuing. “After I used my irresistable Kinney charm on her, she couldn’t say no when I asked for a copy.” He grins a little, but I can tell he is nervous about what my reaction will be. His next words are very quiet. “I thought it would give you back at least a little bit of that moment.”

I still can’t think of anything to say. My first thought is that I can’t believe I didn’t think about this myself a long time ago. That I didn’t think that maybe there was someone there who actually brought a camera that night. But after I left St. James, I never looked back. I didn’t want to. That place held no good memories for me.

My second thought is amazement over the fact that Brian has done this. That he wants so badly for me to have something from that night, that he tracks down someone from my old school in order to get that for me. Something that can’t have been easy, seeing as most of my former classmates are spread out at different colleges around the country by now.

I can tell that Brian is awaiting my response, so I pull myself together.

“Brian... this is...” But again I’m lost for words. What do you say when you feel like you finally got a part of your life back?

But he seems to understand what I’m trying to say because he puts his arm around my shoulders and pulls me to him, even though I can tell that the emotional moment is making him slightly uncomfortable.

I look at the photograph in my hands again. In fact I haven’t been able to take my eyes off it at all. In all these years I’ve heard about our prom dance and how amazing it was, but not until this moment have I had a chance to actually see it for myself. I still can’t, not really, but this one single photo is telling me so much about what that night must have felt like to me.

The thing that stands out the most, is how beautiful we look. It sounds silly, but it’s true. In my mind I’m picturing us moving across the floor, Brian’s arms around me, his eyes locked with mine. A lot of people are watching us, but we don’t care about them. I can see us smiling at each other, kissing each other...

And suddenly I know what it is Brian wants me to see. What it is in this photo that he wants me to know. My breath catches in my throat as I realize it, and I turn to look at him, baffled. Brian is looking at the photo as well, obviously lost in memories.

“Brian”, I whisper to him, touching his arm, making him look at me. “You...” I’m feeling overwhelmed, and I shake my head a little, trying to pull myself together. “You loved me.”

It’s true. I can see it in his eyes, the way he looks at me in the photo. He loved me already then. I must have realized it that night, because it’s all there in his eyes for me to see.

It seems unbelievable to me that I’m unable remember such an important thing, and for a moment I feel my anger rising at the thought of all the things that might have been different if I had remembered. I never thought he felt that way about me back then. If I had known it, in the months after the bashing, when I met Ethan...

But I know it doesn’t really matter anymore. What matters is the here and now. The fact that we are here, together, five years later.

Brian hasn’t moved, hasn’t said anything in response to my discovery, until suddenly he nods slightly, confirming what I’m seeing in the photo. “Then... Now.” A small pause. “Always.”

God. I have to swallow a lump in my throat. I’m still getting used to the openness he shows me more and more often these days. He tells me things I thought I would never hear come out of his mouth, and it sweeps me off my feet every time. How could I ever think that Brian Kinney wasn’t romantic?

“I love you so much”, I whisper to him, and kiss him softly, feeling tingly all over. We have come so far since the prom night, but he can still make me feel like the eighteen-year-old I was back then. I was young and naive, but also so certain that Brian was the one I wanted.

That has never changed, despite the obstacles we have met along the way.

I love the warmth of his arm around my shoulder, and my eyes are drawn back to the photo again. I’m finding it hard to take my eyes away from it. It gives me back a part of something that was taken away so long ago, and gives me hope that maybe, with time, I’ll get it all back.

“We were beautiful”, I say, as I carefully touch the faces in the photo with my fingers.

“We were perfect.”

I smile, and lean my head on his shoulder. We really were.


THE END

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moongirl24

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