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11 December 2010 @ 11:16 am
Valediction - Epilogue  
Title: Valediction (Epilogue)
Rating: R Language, violence
Warnings: Angst. Oh, and then? More angst. * Major Character Death *
Disclaimer: I own nothing except my thoughts, and even then sometimes, I rent.
Complete: Yes Word Count: 61,251

General Summary: Canon thru 509(ish), right down to some of the scenes/dialogue directly from the show. Some just happen in a slightly different time line. Because what if Brian realized what he was missing before the bombing? What if he changed just one thing, and that changed everything - the butterfly effect gone mad.

Author's note: I promised this epilogue way back in September, and I swear it was mostly written at the time, but I could never quite finish it and eventually scrapped it altogether. I've found that when something just won't work it's because I'm trying to write with my head instead of my heart and my heart told me that Justin should have the last words of this story. And so, here they are.

Once again, my heartfelt gratitude to all those who stuck with me through all these months and who took the time to comment. It means more than I can say. I appreciate all of you, and most especially those who took a chance and looked beyond the 'death!fic' warning to share in the love of these two amazing men and their family. Thank you so much. ~ q_dicted



Valediction Parts 1-6




Epilogue



March 28, 2005

Dear Brian,

This is bullshit. Alex, you remember him right? Dr. Alex Wilder. Anyway, he says if I can't talk to him, I should talk to you. Like I said, bullshit. Right?  He told me that he knew you – I get the feeling that he didn’t just mean biblically. (Fuck you, Alex – you made me write this shit down, so deal with it.) Whatever. He says I can’t see him again until I write something down, and I think I need to see him again. So here it is. Something, written down.




March 30, 2005
Dear Brian,

So... shrinks don’t really have much of a sense of humor, do they. Okay, maybe it wasn’t all that funny, but shit, what am I supposed to say? I guess the thing is... The thing is that I didn’t mean it. You know that right? I swear to God, I didn’t mean it. It was just... it’s just too fucking much, you know? The funeral, my piece-of-shit father, the media. The will. Jesus Christ, Brian. I don’t even know.

These past few weeks since you... I just wish... I just wish I could forget. How fucking ironic is that? I never understood when you said that, not really. I never understood how much pain was in those words, how much of a burden you carried over something that wasn’t your fault, something you couldn’t have stopped. Sometimes I really resented you for it – because all I wanted was to remember. I understand now. Because I would give anything to just forget. Not you. Fuck, never you.

It’s so hard, Brian. I just wanted to forget for five fucking minutes. I guess it worked.




April 2, 2005
Dear Brian,

I saw Alex again today. I’ve told him that it’s over, that I’m okay. And I am, honest to God. Or at least, I will be. I know he doesn’t believe me so I guess I’ll probably keep seeing him for a while, but I know that I’m going to be okay, either way. He really isn’t that bad a guy, for a shrink. He’s not going to be reading this – he says the first ones were just an exercise to get a ‘dialogue’ started – but I kind of miss talking to you, so just stop rolling your eyes and listen, okay? I want to explain. Don’t worry, I know the rules – no excuses, no apologies, no regrets. Afraid I can only cover two of those, because fuck me, I am sorry.

I haven’t been sleeping. The migraines are back with a vengeance and my hand hurts like a motherfucker. Fortunately I didn’t break any bones, but the cuts are taking a long time to heal. I only hope the same can be said for that sonofabitch’s face. Anyway, I know I don’t have to explain pain management to you. A few pills, a little weed, a lot of alcohol, a few more pills. Whatever it takes to get through the day, right? And it worked, at least for a little while. Until I’d wake up alone in this shabby apartment that I was oh-so-fucking proud of, shaking and crying and missing you so fucking much I thought I might die of it.

Jesus, Brian. Maybe I can only cover one of those rules of yours, because I do have regrets. How can I not regret knowing that if I’d just had a little more faith in us – the same fucking faith I asked you to have – we would have had our future together. You were always the one who took the chances. You were the one who risked everything. How did I not see that? And now, how can I stop seeing it every time I close my eyes? I know I don’t have to explain nightmares to you, either.


Anyway. I was telling you what happened. Kinnetik is gone.

You have to know Cynthia and Ted tried their damnedest, but it didn’t take long for the sharks to start circling. Remson and Brown Athletics didn’t even wait a week before calling emergency meetings. Of course they expressed their deepest regrets, but the campaigns currently in progress would be their last with Kinnetik. Eyeconics and Home Station followed suit right behind them – so very sorry, but the bottom line was the same: You were Kinnetik. It was your vision, your bold and innovative voice that grabbed the world by the balls and demanded its attention, and that voice, your voice ...was gone. The writing was on the wall and honestly, I don’t think anybody had the heart to fight without you, Brian. And so last week, one month to the day after... because yeah, God is just that twisted, Kinnetik closed its doors.

We were all at Deb’s when Ted came to tell us it was done and fuck, I don’t know – it just killed me. Everything you worked so hard for, gone – like it never existed. I don’t know why it cut so deep, after all the shit that went down. It was inevitable, we all knew it was coming, but it hurt. It hurt like another bat to the head. Like I said, just too fucking much. God, or Fate, or whoever is in charge of this fucked up universe needs to find another toy to play with, because really? Seriously? How much is enough? What else do we have to lose before it’s fucking enough?

I took off for my studio – I just had to do something with all this pain, all the anger. I started painting, if you could even call it that – slashing at the canvas with blacks and blues and flashes of white and one terrible streak of crimson. Rage.

I don’t really know how it happened, but I swear, I wasn’t trying to hurt myself. Just the opposite, really. I just wanted the pain to stop – all of it. My head, my hand, my fucking soul. Too many pills washed down with too many shots and I closed my eyes, and finally... finally felt the blessed nothingness I’d been looking for. No pain, no memories, nothing. But then I heard the sharp voice of a woman demanding I wake the fuck up, and then another, softer voice – a whispered promise. My promise. And then a small, frightened boy trying not to cry. ‘Did Jus have a accident too, Mama?

And then I did wake up, alone in my studio, reeking of paint and tequila and puke. Jesus.

I knew I’d never feel deeper shame than I did in that moment. All I wanted, all I still want is the chance to prove myself worthy of the faith you had in me. I promise you, I will be here for Gus for as long as he needs me. I will be the man you believed me to be, Brian. I knew I needed to talk to someone before I ended up shaving my head and wearing pink again, so I asked around and Alex came highly recommended. You know I think therapy is bullshit just as much as you do, so we just meet at Woody’s and talk. Shut up. It helps.

I’ve decided to move back into the loft. I think it will be good for Gus to be able to visit there. I still can’t believe what you did. God, Brian, the house, the loft, the car. All that money. I told Mel and Lindsay I didn’t want it, it should go to Gus. He shouldn't pay because of some grand gesture to win me back. But Lindz told me about the insurance policies. I should have known better. And Mel told me you wrote your will when... fuck, when I was still in Hollywood. You didn't even know for sure if I was coming back, Brian. And you never changed it, not even after... Fuck. Ted is going to look after the club and Mom told me the notes on the house and Kinnetik were both insured as well. I don’t even know what to say, Brian, except I want to do something important with it, something... honorable. Something worthy of the legacy of Brian Kinney. I have no fucking clue what that might be right now, but the first thing I’m going to do is go back to school.

The tragically obvious notwithstanding, my list of regrets in life is surprisingly short, but not getting my degree after all the money that you invested in my education is right at the top. PIFA is off the table – they can go fuck themselves. Thanks to my impressive portfolio, a stellar scholastic record, and a little help from Ben, it looks like I'll be accepted into the BHA program at Carnegie Mellon for the fall semester. I’m hoping it will feed my artistic needs and maybe help me get an actual job if my career as the next Andy Warhol doesn’t pan out.

I’m taking some new meds for the migraines now, and my hand – well I don’t think that will ever really stop being painful. But I’ll deal. I miss you, Brian. Every day. I don’t think that will ever really stop, either.




April 12, 2005
Dear Brian,

I found it. God, you are such an asshole. And I love you, too. I’m not even sure what made me open it - that bag from the hospital with your... effects. Shit, I hate that word. It’s been sitting by the dresser since I moved my stuff back. I just couldn’t...  you know? But tonight... I needed you.

Halstead’s trial started today. The bastard pleaded not guilty. Funny how his confession suddenly became the product of ‘the voices in his head’ after the State’s Attorney charged him with eleven counts of first degree murder. It’s unbelievable  – I was sure they would fuck us over again. But the whole fucking world is watching this time, Brian. They’re going for the death penalty. I hope he gets it, and I hope that I can be there when they put the fucking needle in his arm. I’d spike him myself if they’d let me.

I didn’t go to the courthouse. The press is relentless and it seems like they’ve fixated on us. And by us I mean you and me, the ‘tragic young lovers’. Of course they dug up the bashing, or should I say The Bashing. That’s how they say it – with capital letters in their voices. It’s fucking crazy, Brian. Sydney Bloom called me today. He still has a couple of my pieces there from the show and he said there was a bidding war going on. A fucking BIDDING WAR. I told you. Crazy. I can’t deal with that right now. I don’t want to be some kind of pathetic poster boy. If that’s the only reason they want my work then they can fuck off.  I’d rather burn it than sell it to fucking ghouls.

Anyway. I opened the bag tonight. I guess I’ve been scared to ‘til now, which is pretty ridiculous considering I see it every night when I close my eyes – the paramedic cutting through the leather... Damn. I’m not even sure why they returned it, except that it was so obviously expensive. It still smells like you. God, I miss that so much. Shit. Holding that jacket felt like... like I was holding you. I know – pathetic. Too fucking bad. Sue me. Anyway, I found the bracelet in the inside pocket. You are unbelievable, Brian. It’s beautiful. Jesus Christ, you really did mean it, didn’t you? I almost missed the inscription, it’s so tiny. But it means so much more to me than any rings or vows ever would have. And Brian? Now I know, too.




July 8, 2005
Dear Brian,

Holy shit. Eleven consecutive life sentences. No possibility of parole. Can you fucking believe it? The jury didn’t buy his insanity defense, thank God. It only took them two days to convict him on all counts but we’ve been waiting nearly three months for the sentence to come down. We were hoping for the death penalty but maybe this is better. Maybe this is real justice, making him spend the rest of his miserable life with nothing but men. I was there this time, Brian. I watched while the judge told him he was going to die in prison and the cowardly piece of shit broke down like a little girl. They practically had to carry him out of the courtroom. So much for martyrdom.

I keep waiting to feel something. Satisfaction? Relief? Closure? I don’t know. It all just feels like a huge fucking waste. Motherfucker.



August 28, 2005
Dear Brian,

I drove to West Virginia yesterday. I don’t know how many times I started out for it this summer and then turned around. Yeah, I know. Shut up.

I spent hours wandering through the rooms, roaming the grounds. Jesus, a tennis court? Stables??? Everything I ever thought I wanted. I think we could have been happy there together, Brian, I really do. But I called Mom when I got home this morning. You understand, right?

The reopening of Babylon was a big fat fucking success. I know some people didn’t think we should do it – that it was somehow disrespectful of the people who died. Of... you. But I know that is bullshit. We decided to reopen because of you – because of all of you. To show them that they didn’t win, that they will never win. Ted has been great. He offered to oversee the rebuilding and hired a kickass manager out of New York City. They say the place looked amazing and the lineup to get in was three blocks long. It’s been open for three months now and by all accounts it has reclaimed its place as the hottest club in Pittsburgh. I haven’t been yet. I’m not sure I ever will.

Classes start tomorrow. I’m freaking out a little but in a good way. The University has some amazing facilities, especially for mixed media. Very forward-thinking and progressive, unlike PIFA who pretty much had their heads up their asses when it came to anything outside the box. I’ve been working a lot this summer. My hand is better (mostly) and .... it helps.

Sydney called me over to the gallery last week. Simon Caswell was there (still a pretentious cunt, btw) and he had the editor from ArtForum with him this time. They want to do a feature on me. Jesus. I told them I wasn’t interested in people who only saw me as some kind of tragic figure – that’s when Sadie (the editor) told *me* to get my head out of my ass and realize what I was throwing away. ‘Everybody has a story, Justin. Everybody has pain. Not everybody has this kind of opportunity. Don’t fuck it up for no good reason.’

Jesus Christ, Brian, it was her voice, but I swear it was you I heard speak. Anyway, I brought them to the studio and showed them the rest of my work and she didn’t say much, but I could see it, Brian. Especially when she was looking at the painting from that night... I could see it in her eyes – she got it. Sydney saw it too, I guess, because he offered me a solo show. A Solo Show. To coincide with the article. In fucking November. Are they out of their fucking minds? Am I? I think I must be, because I said yes. Holy shit.




March 24, 2007
Dear Brian,

It’s finally here. This past year is a blur. Between school and my art and the project, I’m so fucking exhausted I don’t know my own name most of the time. It’s all worth it though. I told you I wanted to do something good with what you gave me, something important. I think we have. I hope you think so, too. Our official opening is tonight.

The studio was Lindsay’s idea. Well, Lindsay’s and mine. And Stella’s. (Stella is my agent. I have an agent. How crazy is that?) I think they just got tired of listening to me bitch about the lack of room in my studio, and the loft – well the first time I spilled paint on the hardwood I had nightmares for a week. Starring you. Anyway, I’ve been making a little money from my work, so started looking around for a place, but couldn’t find anything that felt right.  When Lindsay suggested the Kinnetik building (suggested, as in, 'it's absolutely criminal of you to leave it sitting there empty, Justin'), I thought she was out of her mind.  I must admit, though, that it's just about perfect. Something about the light and... I don’t know, it sounds corny I guess, but it’s like there is an energy there, an aura – like it was meant to be a place where imagination and creativity live. Leave it to you to see all that in a decaying old bathhouse.

It didn’t take much to convert it into a studio. The open concept was ideal and apart from adding a couple of skylights, we haven’t changed much except the name. Kinnetik is you Brian, and it always will be. 9th Street Studios isn’t the most original thing I’ve ever come up with, but I said it so many times over the last year (I’m at the studio, on 9th Street) it just kind of stuck. There is still so much of you there – in the ancient concrete walls with their peeling paint and old chrome fixtures, so incongruous to the polished marble floor and hi-tech lighting. A study in contrasts. Just like you. So cynical and callous on the surface, but underneath... yeah, still cynical and callous. But that never stopped you from being a truly generous and caring man. Debbie got it right you know – your biggest organ was always your heart.

That’s why even though you’re probably calling me all kinds of a twat right now, I know you understand. The foundation is going to help a lot of people, Brian, and I want them to know where it came from. I need them to know. I thought of naming it something cute, like ‘Britin’, but I figured you’d find a way to come back and haunt my ass if I did that, so I settled on The Kinney Foundation. Apart from the annual Brian A. Kinney Scholarship (shut up – deal with it), we’re going to have four grants every year that will cover studio space, art supplies and $2500 towards tuition at CMU. There’s room to spare at the studio, and we left the front area open – kind of a resident artist’s gallery where each person will get to show their work while they are part of the program.

The University has been really great, especially the Dean of Student Affairs. She is a good friend of Ben’s and has agreed to sit on the board with us, along with Jamie Kingsbury (the head of the Art School), Lindsay, Ted and myself. Ted says that there is enough money from the sale of the house and Babylon to keep it going for at least five years and we are getting new patrons all the time. Hopefully tonight will mean even more money for the foundation – half of Pittsburgh society is coming, thanks to Senator Baxter. I guess all the publicity was good for something after all.

The whole gang is coming over before we go to the party and I expect Mel and Lindz will be here any minute now. I’m so glad they decided to let Gus come with us tonight. He’s such a good kid, I love having him around. He’s smart and he’s sweet and god Brian, sometimes it hurts just to look at him. I wouldn’t miss a minute of it though. Anyway, I guess I should go and start getting ready.

I miss you Brian. I love you. I hope you’ll be proud.




September 19, 2012
Dear Brian,

Gus turned twelve today. I gave him a new Nikon SLR for his birthday – it’s probably a little too much camera for his age, but he’s been driving us all insane with the photography talk ever since he found a box of your old equipment in the back of the closet a few months ago. Besides, he’s pretty responsible and it was obvious how much he loves it. I thought his head was going to explode when he opened it. He’s always had an artistic nature – how could he not with you and Lindsay for parents? But he seems to have a real passion for photography and an amazing eye for a kid his age. I can’t wait to see what he does with it. God, he’s amazing, Brian. He’s already almost as tall as I am and he’s a little braniac in school. He's a great kid, even if he can be a real wiseass sometimes. (I guess that's herditiary heditarary Fuckinghell. I guess he got that from you, too.) He’s happy though, and he's a great kid.

His birthdays are always kind of bittersweet for me, but this one... damn. This one was hard. Twelve *years*

I’m the same age now you were the night Gus was born, twelve years ago tonight. You were so fucking beautiful – like nothing I’d ever seen before (or since, if I’m going to be completely honest – and since I’m pretty much shit-faced at the moment, honesty is all I’ve got). The face of God. That’s what I told Daphne the next day. Jesus, how did you all stand me? I know - you didn’t. Ha!

Didn’t matter though, because I loved you enough for the both of us, right from that first moment. Can I tell you a secret? You told me once that I said the Prom was the best night of my life, but you know what? It wasn’t. That was – the night I met you.

Anyway. What was I saying? Right, Gus turned twelve today and you know what I realized? He’s had more birthdays without you now than he had with you. You’ve been gone for more than half his life. You’ve been gone longer than I knew you. Do you know how much that sucks, Brian? Do you know how fucking unfair that is? Really fucking monumentally, colossally, get-bashed-in-the-head-on-your-prom-night unfair, that’s how much. Enough to make me dig out this journal after all this time. Damn.

Tomorrow it will be twelve years and a day, and I’ll wake up next to Nicky. I’ll go back to being mostly happy, and I’ll mean it when I say that my life is good because it’s the truth, and I’ll regret buying this bottle of Jim Beam Black just because it seemed kind of poetic. Tonight though? I’m gonna have another drink.



March 25, 2017
Dear Brian,

I miss you tonight. I guess that seems pretty weird after all these years, but it’s true. Weeks, months, years – the calendar doesn’t really matter, does it? It’s only time.

There are just some things that you should have been here to see and this was one of them. Tonight your son had his very first show. Ostensibly, it was our tenth anniversary gala. We auctioned some of my pieces and raised a boatload of money for the foundation – but all that was really beside the point. Gus Petersen-Marcus was the star of the show.

We’re so proud of him, Brian. His work is really incredible. Sharp, insightful, with a depth of emotion that would be remarkable for a seasoned photographer. For a kid barely out of high school it’s extraordinary. And that’s not just my admittedly biased opinion. The critic from the Post-Gazette called his exhibit  ‘A visually stunning, sometimes disturbing collection of images of the youth of Pittsburgh, from the hollow-eyed rentboys who prowl Liberty Avenue to the country club girls of Sewickley. Individually, each photo tells a story, some heartbreaking in their beauty, some just heartbreaking. Collectively, they create a striking mosaic that is, well, a work of art.’

Pretty fucking amazing for not-quite seventeen-years old.

He’s so funny. The kid is gifted. He’s been accepted to School of the Art Institute of Chicago for the fall on a merit scholarship. He’s faced judgment in the most prestigious national arts competition in the country (an NFAA YoungArts Silver medalist, thank you very much). And still, his first show in his hometown, surrounded by family and friends and he spent half the evening looking as though he might throw up at any minute. He looks so much like you that sometimes I forget he hasn’t yet acquired your cocky self-confidence. God, Brian, were you ever that young? It doesn’t matter though - by the time the evening was over he had everyone in the room wrapped around his little finger just like he always does. He might not have your audacity but he has your wicked charm and brooding good looks in spades. God help us all when he really learns how to use them.

Ten years, Brian. It doesn’t seem possible that ten years could have passed and yet the proof was all around me tonight. In the glasses that Michael has taken to wearing recently; in the silver threading Ben’s sandy brown hair; in the fine lines that crease the corners of Lindsay’s eyes; in Gus, practically a man and on the cusp of a brilliant future. It’s there in my own mirror every morning, even if Deb tells me I still look seventeen. Okay, what she actually says is I’m too fuckin’ skinny and maybe I should show up for Sunday dinner more than once in a blue fuckin’ moon – but that’s semantics. Heh.

I know she worries about me – they all do. It doesn’t seem to matter that I’m only a couple years older than Michael was when he met Ben, they all think I should be married by now, with a dog and 2.3 children. Michael says I’m alone because I compare every man to you, but that’s not true. Or at least not as true as it once was. I believe when it’s meant to happen, if it is meant to happen, it will. For a while I thought Nicky might be the one... I swear Deb took it harder than I did when we broke up.

We’re all going to Woody’s later. I can’t even remember the last time we did that – probably Hunter’s stag a couple of years ago. He’s the only one who couldn’t make it tonight. Amber is due any day now and he won’t leave her alone for more than five minutes. Fucking twins, can you imagine? Who would have thought that the littlest hustler would turn out to be the family man among us? I don’t think Michael has stopped twitching yet – he can’t quite get over the fact that he’s going to be a Grandpa. Shit, I don’t think he’s ever quite gotten over the fact that Hunter is straight. Just so you know, Gus hasn’t told us in so many words yet, but by the way he and his friend Daniel look at each other, I doubt we have to worry about that. I think he just likes torturing us.

Maybe it’s not so strange that I’m feeling this way tonight. Maybe it’s this place, or maybe it’s because it’s been so long since we’ve all been together at the same time... Maybe it’s just me being a sentimental twat, I don’t know. It happens sometimes when I’ve been away for too long. I mean I love New York, it’s great. There’s a whole different kind of energy there. But here, the Pitts, the loft, this studio, this is home. I can remember who I am here. I think I’ll stay for a while this time, at least until it’s time for Gus to leave for Chicago. I miss spending time with him. I miss the loft. I miss... you.

Not in a heartbreaking way – I don’t mean that. I don’t know... Don’t take this the wrong way, but it almost never hurts to think of you anymore. In fact sometimes I go weeks, even months without ever thinking of you at all and then there’ll be an ad in a glossy magazine for the new Prada collection, or I’ll catch the spicy aroma of Thai food emanating from the little take-out place down the street, and I’ll smile without even realizing why. You’re a part of me, Brian. The way that art is a part of me. The way that breathing is a part of me.

But every once in a while... a glimpse of hazel eyes more gold than green... the scent of really fine leather... moonlight filtering through the windows of the loft at just the right angle and I’ll find myself just like this, with this overwhelming need to close my eyes and see your face again, to feel you. To remember. Twelve years you’ve been gone and I can still feel your warm breath in my ear. I can still hear your whispered words when I need them.

I allow myself these moments – I learned a long time ago not to resist them  – and then I open my eyes and you’re gone again, back to the past where you belong. Where we belong. Only this time the memories aren’t fading quite as quickly as they usually do. Maybe because tonight I’m not the only one thinking of you.

I heard Gus talking to Daniel earlier. They were looking at the painting – it’s still hanging in the same place it was the day we opened, you know. Stella still brings me an offer for it every so often. I don’t think she’s ever going to accept that it’s not for sale at any price. Anyway. I heard Gus telling him that I painted it years and years ago, right after his dad died and I was  all kinds of fucked up. He said it sort of made his heart hurt to look at it for too long and for a second I thought that Daniel was going to rag him for being a pussy or something. But he just put his arm around Gus’s shoulders and they stood there for a while, and then he asked him why he looked at it if it hurt. I guess I must have made some kind of noise then because they both finally noticed me standing there. Gus rolled his lips and shrugged in that way of his that makes me believe he’s your clone, not your son, and I was sure he was going to make some smartass remark to cover his emotions (like I said –your clone), but he didn’t. He said... Christ, Brian, he looked me right in the face and said he didn’t mind the hurt because it helped him to remember and he wanted to always remember. Not that you died, but that you lived and you were proud and brave and didn’t take shit from anyone, and that you were loved. Damn. I didn’t tell him how proud you would be of him, Brian, or how much you loved him. I didn’t have to.

Just like I don’t have to tell you.

They’re waiting for me now – I can see Michael hovering outside my office door. I know you’ve been on his mind tonight, too. And Lindsay’s. Inevitable, I suppose, on a night like this, just like the tears will be later. But there will be laughter, too. And celebration.

I read a quote from F. Scott Fitzgerald once. He wrote, ‘Show me a hero and I’ll write you a tragedy’.  Somehow, I think he must have known you, Brian - larger than life, daring and brave, beautiful but flawed, loved in spite of (and by some, because of) your unapologetically wicked ways. I wonder if he could have imagined a tragedy more devastating than the reality of losing you? Doubtful. Gus, Michael, Lindsay, Debbie, even Teddy, we all changed a little the day you left us. None of us are the people we might have been if things had happened differently. We are each a little less, but we’re also a little more for having endured. Our non-defined, non-conventional family has survived, even thrived, just like you would have expected... no, demanded of us. No apologies. No regrets. But always love, Brian. There has always been love. There always will be.




Valediction
1. an act of bidding farewell or taking leave.
   2. an utterance, oration, or the like, given in saying goodbye or taking leave.





Audio Fic

For those who may be interested, Valediction is available as an audio file (read by me). If you would like a download link, comment here or send me a PM. ~q_dicted


 
 
 
manuela: Brian&Justin [new life]manueladb on December 11th, 2010 01:56 pm (UTC)
What a beautiful epilogue, it had me in tears. It was worth the wait. I love to think about Justin writing, talking to Brian years after he's gone, telling him about his life, his emotions, the people that loved Brian and were loved back. The whole part about Gus really touched my heart.
I read other death fics but none has affected me as much as yours. You truly are a gifted writer and I hope you'll write other QAF fics in the future.
Thank you for this beautiful story, it's one I'm gonna read over and over again.
q_dictedq_dicted on December 11th, 2010 09:03 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I can't tell you how nervous I was to post this part - I've never written in the first person before, but I so wanted to tell Justin's story. I think Gus was the hardest POV to write - he made me cry, too. Thanks again for the sweet words.
gekko11: Brian and Justin Bargekko11 on December 11th, 2010 02:17 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you finished this. It's gorgeous. And so sad, especially when Justin talks about Brian having been gone longer than they knew each other.

q_dictedq_dicted on December 11th, 2010 09:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I think anybody who has lost someone they love and lives long enough to experience that 'moment' knows that it's a tough one. I know I did - and I got a little drunk, too. I appreciate the comment very much.
anyusa0030anyusa0030 on December 11th, 2010 03:28 pm (UTC)
this is better than i could have imagined, and i had such high expectation for it, because of what came before. you are such a gifted writer,its hard to imagine this was your first qaf fic,you have this amazing ability to pull your reader into the story and make them feel and live every emotion.thank you so much for sharing your amzing gift with me, i hope you write more qaf fics but if this turns out to be the only one am glad to have read it.
q_dictedq_dicted on December 11th, 2010 09:07 pm (UTC)
I am thrilled to know that the epilogue lived up to your expectations. I give full credit to the creators of these wonderful characters for giving me such inspiration. Thank you so much for the compliment and taking the time to let me know you enjoyed it.
The Holy Church of the Way-Oh: pridelapindiable on December 11th, 2010 04:13 pm (UTC)
This is a fitting end to one of the most beautiful and heartbreaking stories I have ever read. I don't know why this story affected (and still affects) me so much, I really don't. I think perhaps it's the way you conveyed so clearly and simply the emotions, evoking a common feeling that we can all relate to, as humans, as people who love and are loved, as people who cannot comprehend how someone can even begin to deal with something so utterly awful and unfair. So many times over the course of this series I've been reading - and needless to say crying helplessly - and get hit all over again with the honest, raw reality in your description of Justin's emotions and reactions. The things he thinks and feels, they're exactly what I think and feel when I look back at losing someone too soon and the empathy is just overwhelming. And yet this story is never overdone. It's understated, quiet, and for that reason it *aches*.

This epilogue is similarly beautiful. I like that we get to hear Justin first-hand. It's horrible to think about life going on when someone who meant everything has gone, but unfortunately it does and I appreciate how the growing time informs the way Justin writes. The desperate anguish in the earlier letters giving way to a calmness and just a deep, deep love that comes through in every word. It's wonderful that Brian's legacy continues even after he's gone and that Justin has fulfilled his promise to take care of Gus and has seen him grow into an amazing young man. And "it's only time"? You broke my heart again.

I'm sorry for the length of this comment. I wanted to tell you how beautiful I found your writing and how profoundly this story moved me. Thank you so so much for writing it and for bringing it to such a satisfying, touching end. I hope you continue to write in the future.
q_dictedq_dicted on December 11th, 2010 09:22 pm (UTC)
lapindiable, I can't even tell you how much your post means to me. Writing this story has been one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had. Knowing, through such thoughtful comments as yours, that I've been able to touch some people in a meaningful way is an incredible feeling. As I said in the author's note, I struggled quite a bit with the epilogue until I stopped fighting to tell the story and let Justin do it.

I was wondering if anyone would notice 'it's only time'. Thank you for that, and for the amazingly kind and generous comments.


Julie Marielivingbeauty91 on December 11th, 2010 04:50 pm (UTC)
I just re-read the whole thing and I have not stopped crying. Oh god, it's so beautiful and so sad. I need to go drink two litres of water now to prevent the killer dehydration headache that's coming on.

Seriously, though, usually when I see anything about major character death I run in the opposite direction as quickly as possible. I'm glad I gave this one a chance. It was painful but well worth it.
q_dictedq_dicted on December 11th, 2010 09:24 pm (UTC)
As I said in the notes, I really, truly appreciate those who are afraid/leery of death fics and took a chance anyway. Sometimes a little heartbreak reminds us of what it is to feel good, you know?

Thank you so much for the comment. I appreciate it so. I hope the water did the trick! *g*
amaranthink: B/J - mouths/loveamaranthink on December 11th, 2010 05:10 pm (UTC)
Oh God! I'm crying my eyes out and this is not going to be eloquent in any way. How could you stand to write this part? Hell, how could you stand to write the entire story? I mean that in the most complimentary way. I could barely see through my tears enough to read it. How could you see through the tears to type and spell?

But you did. You poured so much emotion and beauty into these words. So clear and raw and pure.

Closure. That's what this was. You took us beyond, helped us move forward, with baby steps then bigger steps. You were so right, that we needed Justin to lead us, to show us the way to move forward.

You’ve been gone longer than I knew you. Do you know how much that sucks, Brian?

This is where I lost it.

You’re a part of me, Brian. The way that art is a part of me. The way that breathing is a part of me.

But every once in a while... a glimpse of hazel eyes more gold than green... the scent of really fine leather... moonlight filtering through the windows of the loft at just the right angle and I’ll find myself just like this, with this overwhelming need to close my eyes and see your face again, to feel you. To remember. Twelve years you’ve been gone and I can still feel your warm breath in my ear. I can still hear your whispered words when I need them.


Yes. There's nothing I can add to this.

I'm crying my eyes out and thanking you for being the cause of it. People ask me how I can read stories like this. Because the best writing speaks to the heart and makes you feel. It grabs you and won't let go. It changes you and stays with you long after you close the book, so to speak.

This is one of the best QaF stories ever written IMO and one that I will read over and over again. Because, as someone said in a comment to a previous chapter, Brian is present in every line, every paragraph. And this story is a celebration of Brian through the eyes of those who love him.

Thank you for giving us this gift.
q_dictedq_dicted on December 11th, 2010 09:35 pm (UTC)
buckeye, I hardly know what to say. Such a huge compliment coming from someone who writes as well as you do is really amazing.(And now that I'm done I can't wait to get back Making A Scene - I find it extremely hard to read other stories when I write.) What's cool is that paragraph you quoted... But every once in a while... is probably the very first thing I wrote when I began putting Justin's letters to paper.

I'll tell you that part of the feelings are my own, having gone through the loss of my first husband, and writing them was and is almost a healing type experience. But yes, I cried copious amounts of tears writing this story - not for me or the past, but for Brian and Justin. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Cowlip for bringing us two such amazing characters, and to the wonderful writers of this fandom who have kept them alive for us all. It occurred to me today that like Justin's realization about Brian being gone longer than he knew him - our QaF has now been gone as long as it was on. Kind of fitting, huh?

Your words mean so much to me and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing them with me.
cori1950cori1950 on December 11th, 2010 05:33 pm (UTC)
Simply amazing. The best fanfic I have read in ages. I am crying...
q_dictedq_dicted on December 11th, 2010 09:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! I'm so thrilled to see new faces in here for this, the last part. I appreciate the comment and the kind words.
pclu2004pclu2004 on December 11th, 2010 06:18 pm (UTC)
Oh my, I can hardly write for the tears. Magnificent.
q_dictedq_dicted on December 11th, 2010 09:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you so very much.
solarisday: resistsolarisday on December 11th, 2010 06:57 pm (UTC)
I don't read fics with major character death. At all. But for some reason - I'm not quite sure why - I clicked on the link and read your story. Needless to say, it was a heart-wrenching read, but also an oddly beautiful one. I probably won't be reading anymore of these types of fic, but I'm really glad I read this one. It's going to stay with me for a long time...

You have a true gift with words. Thanks for sharing.
q_dictedq_dicted on December 11th, 2010 09:38 pm (UTC)
As I said, I appreciate every single reader very much, but I am so grateful to those who take a chance and look beyond the death!fic to see the love within. Thank you so much.
allie_dupuisallie_dupuis on December 11th, 2010 06:59 pm (UTC)
Very rarely comment on fanfiction, although I'm overtly addicted to well written B/J fic... but I'm breaking the habit of a lifetime to comment on yours. I've been following it from it's inception and have never been so invested in a piece of fanfiction. It stole my heart away and through the tears, I thank you, for what for me, will always be one of the best fan fics this fandom has ever delivered...simply wonderful, in it's conveying of a love that knew no bounds and simply was true to itself..thankyou
q_dictedq_dicted on December 11th, 2010 09:42 pm (UTC)
Wow! I am honoured that you broke your tradition for me (and for our boys). Brian and Justin are, in my opinion, one of the greatest love stories of all time and I am proud to think that people might include my little piece of them in their hearts.

I can't think of a greater compliment or a better feeling than knowing that you've touched someone through words. Thank you so much for letting me know.
indigo556: Brian smokingindigo556 on December 11th, 2010 07:36 pm (UTC)
I read this on amaranthink's recommendation, and I wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed it. I loved your use of canon moments and your insights into the feelings and emotions of each of the characters.

I was also impressed with how vividly you were able to bring out so much about Brian via his relationships and actions with others. The writing is a fantastic; vivid without ever being slowed by the details. Altogether it makes for a very moving story.

I'm very glad that I read it. Thanks so much. :)
q_dictedq_dicted on December 11th, 2010 09:54 pm (UTC)
A recommendation? How cool is that? Thank you so much and thank you to amaranthink

The most important thing to me in this whole writing experience was to be true to Brian and Justin's characters and to keep Brian part of the story to the end. QaF gave us some rich moments and I feel lucky to have them to work with and from.

Thank you for the kind words and for taking a chance on my story. I do appreciate it very much.
federicafefaxx on December 11th, 2010 10:14 pm (UTC)
So beautiful. Sorry but tears do not let me write more...
hugs
q_dictedq_dicted on December 11th, 2010 10:39 pm (UTC)
fefaxx, I know you are having issues with deathfics right now so I really, really appreciate you sticking with me and reading the end of Valediction. ((((hugs)))) Thank you!
whatever, whatever: (qaf)314 b/j hugcamelhaircoat on December 11th, 2010 11:21 pm (UTC)
Once again, I was so happy yet so sad at the same time to see this - so happy to see it continue, so sad because this time it really has come to the end. However, quite a fitting end and a beautiful tribute to our Brian and his life it was. I was once again immediately swept right back into the story as though there had been no time lapse between chapters, and even though I couldn't imagine how you would pull this off when I thought about it all this time, your "Dear Brian" format felt just right.

All I can say is once again you have written a gut-wrenching, heartfelt, beautiful and haunting piece of fic that will stay with me for a long time. I actually think of this not as a death fic but as a life fic, because even though technically/physically Brian is gone the love is still alive and vibrant through Justin and Gus. I wanted him to be there in the worst way, but if he couldn't be, this was definitely the next best thing.

Thanks for sharing this beautiful story with us. It truly is one of the best I have ever read in the fandom. I hope your first won't be your last.

*hug*
Amy
q_dictedq_dicted on December 12th, 2010 12:08 am (UTC)
Thank you, camelhaircoat. You were one of the first people to comment on Valediction and now here we are at the end. I really appreciate you coming along for the ride and being patient with the wait between chapters. I honestly didn't think I'd still be writing it almost a year later.

I did struggle with this epilogue - I wrote and re-wrote and re-wrote some more, and it just wasn't working. I couldn't hear Justin in any of it. And then (I swear this is true) I woke up really early one morning and he was practically whispering in my ear... I got up, came to the computer, deleted everything I'd written and typed out the words Dear Brian... and suddenly it was just 'there'. I am so thrilled to know that it feels right to you all, too.

I, too, have mixed emotions saying goodbye to this story. You know, I purposely didn't type 'The End', because while it's the last time we'll get to read Justin's letters to Brian I have a feeling it isn't the last one he wrote. He wasn't saying goodbye, only goodnight.

((((hugs))))

(no subject) - amaranthink on December 12th, 2010 12:17 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - q_dicted on December 12th, 2010 01:36 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - camelhaircoat on December 12th, 2010 03:47 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - camelhaircoat on December 12th, 2010 03:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - q_dicted on December 12th, 2010 08:57 am (UTC) (Expand)
Ondioz_ondi_au on December 12th, 2010 02:25 am (UTC)
I'm literally speechless...what a wonderful story you have written...Every chapter was special, but this epilogue done in Justin's voice & only letters, was just pure genius...
I've done a marathon sitting today and read all of it after reading the review that buckeye5 wrote in her lj..Its all good, every single chapter is so strong and wracked with emotion...shed tears here & there, and felt for Justin's pain...and Brian is in every chapter...I could feel him.

Congratulations...I don't shy away from Death Fics...and I can say if you continue to write fics of this standard I will be along for the ride...It was truly remarkable...

I have also friended you, if that's ok...

Cheers Ondina.
q_dictedq_dicted on December 12th, 2010 09:04 am (UTC)
I am just thrilled to see new faces and names here, reading. Thank you so much for taking the time. I also appreciate the encouragement about writing deathfic - it was scary to jump in there, but I, too, am a reader first and it's one of the things I enjoy reading most. (Enjoy is an odd word to use, but you know what I mean.)

On the epilogue... I have never written anything in the first person before, but as I told camelhaircoat, once I heard Justin 'speak' it practically wrote itself. I just took dictation *g* I am thrilled that it worked.

And I friended you back.
templeton_matempleton_ma on December 12th, 2010 03:01 am (UTC)
It's truly remarkable that you have capture Justin's journey so well. Brian was there and became a part of Justin. And Gus. Justin has kept his promise to Brian. Gus did not forget his father. I wished Brian did not die but you have made that plot into a masterpiece. In a way, I feel like I was mourning the loss of QAF in the same way. Just brilliant work you created. Big thanks from the very bottom of my heart.
q_dictedq_dicted on December 12th, 2010 09:07 am (UTC)
Brian will always be alive as long as Justin's heart continues to beat.

Thank you so much for the beautiful compliment and the comment about QaF. I realized some time yesterday that now, our beloved show has also been gone for as long as it was 'here'. Like Brian though, it will never be forgotten as long as we fans keep it in our hearts!