Justin's Cliff
Chapter One

Justin stared at the closed loft door, his body shaking, ears still ringing with the sounds of shattering glass. He had done it. Now he just had to live with the consequences.

Two weeks earlier...

At first, Justin had thought Brian was fine. Having taken the loss of his job better than Justin could ever have imagined. Brian had not shut Justin completely out, having shared with him the number of zero's on his credit card statements nor had he retreated into Brian Kinney pain management mode, but he also had not shared the news that Vance had called and asked Brian to meet with him. It was not until after breakfast at the diner, when Debbie had been handing out the checks and had bypassed giving Brian his that he had found out about the meeting. Brian had jumped up and grabbed everyone's check, despite Ben, Mel's, and Lindsey's objections. Then he had announced the meeting with Vance and how he planned to be gracious as long as possible before sticking it to his former boss.

Justin said nothing, only agreed with everyone else that it was great news and watched, worriedly, as Brian left. That evening, Justin had pulled back the loft door only to discover his mom was there and speaking with Brian. He caught bits of their conversation, Brian's question, "How much," and her reply, "I'll let you know."

"Mom," Justin called out as he set his satchel down on the counter. He ignored the uneasy glance Brian shot him, and accepted the kiss on the cheek and the "Hi honey," from his mom. "What's going on?" he asked, moving to Brian's side.

Brian did not answer, nor did Jennifer. She just glanced quickly at Justin before moving to the door. Brian waited until Jennifer left before turning to look briefly at Justin. "I'm selling the loft," he announced, before moving to the bar.

"What?" Justin asked stunned. He grabbed Brian's arm, turning the taller man around to face him. "You can't sell your home," he said, pleading in his tone.

Brian seemed indifferent as he looked about his loft. "It's just four walls," he murmured before moving to the liquor cart. Justin heard Brian's snort of disgust at finding the bottle of Beam empty, he moved once more to face the older man.

Looking up into Brian's blank hazel eyes, he tried to convey what this place meant to him, to them. "It's not just walls. It's where we made love for the first time," Justin whispered.

Brian laughed harshly before moving out of Justin's reach. "That wasn't love. I just gave you a rim job and fucked your brains out." Brian moved to the old ratty sofa Justin had gotten at a second-hand shop. He sat down, empty bottle still in hand.

Justin knelt down in front of Brian. Placing both his hands on Brian's jean covered legs; he looked up him, letting him see the emotion in his eyes. "It was love to me," he simply said.

Brian smirked at him and then waved the empty bottle in his face. "Well we both know you are a starry-eyed little school boy," then rising, he pushed past Justin and left, with a cryptic, "I'm going out."

Justin knelt there, on his knees, for a good five minutes staring at the loft door. He had not expected any return declarations. He knew better than that, but neither had he expected that brush off. Brian would usually just give him that tongue-in-cheek smirk, at least since they had gotten back together. The after fiddler time he called it. The harsh brush-off with sarcastic comments had stopped. He had almost allowed Justin's "sappy" comments at least verbally, but never returning them.

Justin got up and took Brian's empty seat, staring out the windows. He had wanted to ask about the meeting with Vance, but now he did not need to. If Brian had gotten what he wanted out of his former boss, he would have crowed about it. True, it would have been Kinney-fashion crowing, but you'd have known. Now he knew not to ask. Brian's actions saying stay away just as if he had shouted the words. Justin almost wished he had a shift to work at the diner.

Justin rubbed his hands over his face, and with a sigh, got up. He didn't know when Brian would return, but they needed some dinner, even if Brian's was heated up hours after dinner time. The contents of the freezer yielded little. Forgetting that idea, Justin pulled out the take-out menus. Placing their order, he counted out enough money from his tip stash and laid it on the counter. He hated having to search for money or his check book while a delivery guy stood there waiting.

Before Justin even moved away from the counter, the loft door was opening. He couldn't hide his surprise at Brian's appearance. He had been sure that Brian was already in the backroom getting his dick sucked.

Brian smirked at his shock. "What?" he asked, shaking the brown paper bag he carried. "I had to go buy more Beam," he said sitting the bottle down to remove his jacket which he flung across the counter before grabbing the bottle again and moving to the couch.

Justin stared at the back of Brian's auburn head. "I ordered food," he said, watching as the other man opened the bottle of Beam and drank from it without a glass.

"Not hungry," Brian mumbled, killing the shot in his glass before refilling it.

Justin moved to the couch and sat next to Brian. Reaching up, he smoothed Brian's bangs back off his forehead. "You have to eat Brian," he said, a small smile stealing across his lips when Brian turned to glance at him. He said nothing though, only rolled his eyes at Justin, and Justin laughed.

They finished dinner with Brian saying nothing about his meeting with Vance and Justin did not ask. In bed that night, Brian's touch had almost a desperate edge to it, as if he could not lose himself enough in taste, touch, or pleasure. The next morning Brian was up and dressed before Justin awoke. He seemed almost manic, talking about the calls he had to make, appointments he wanted to set-up, places he had to go and people he had to see.

Justin watched him bleary-eyed, finally getting out a "What?"

And just before Brian sailed out the door, he turned to Justin, face blank. "Oh, didn't I tell you? I'm starting my own agency." Then he left.

Justin did not see much of Brian over the next couple of days. Brian was up each morning before him and leaving out the door as Justin stumbled to the kitchen. Each night, Brian was out late, wining and dining, only to fall into the bed too exhausted to do more than grunt at Justin. So he was shocked when he opened the door to the loft one afternoon in between his shift at the diner and classes only to find Brian home, dressed in sweats, and seated on the couch.

"Hey," Justin called out. "What's going on?" he threw down his bag and moved to the couch, rounding the back to look at Brian.

"Nothing," was all Brian said, eyes trained on the glass he was rolling between his hands. Finally, after a moment of silence when Justin said nothing else, only looked him, Brian looked up. "Why?" he asked, face blank, eyes slightly bloodshot.

Justin just shrugged, unsure what mood Brian was in. "Just surprised to see you here. That's all," he said.

Brian crooked a brow. "Why? I do live here," he shot back, and Justin tensed, hearing the fight behind that tone.

He moved away, turning and went to the bedroom, calling back over his shoulder. "I don't want to fight with you Bri. I just thought you had smoozing and such to do." Justin pulled the jeans and sweater he wanted form the closet and begin changing.

He ignored Brian as he stumbled up the steps into the bedroom. The older man had obviously been drinking for a while. Brian came up behind him and leaning down, kissed the side of Justin's neck, and Justin leaned his head to the side granting access and accepting the silent apology. But Brian did nothing more, only moved past Justin to the bathroom while Justin turned to watch him go.

"You going to Woody's tonight?" he asked, shouting over the sound of the shower cutting on. "Bri?" he called, when there was no answer. Not hearing anything, Justin went into the bathroom. He addressed Brian's steamed and water-blurred image. "Brian? Didn't you hear me?" he demanded. Not getting any response this time either, he knocked on the glass, noticing that Brian flinched at the noise.

Brian stared at him for a moment, almost as if he didn't even recognize Justin. Finally, he seemed to shake his head. "What?" he asked.

Justin frowned. "Are you going out with the guys tonight," he repeated. Brian seemed to think about it for a second before he shook his head no. Getting the hint, Justin left him alone.

That night they ate dinner, or Justin did. Brian just picked at his food, moving it around on the plate, eyes lowered being sulky and silent. Justin tried to get him to open up, asking about his clients and when they were coming on board, but all he got was a snarled comment. "They're not." Words that did not invite further inquiry.

At first, Justin thought Brian would sulk for a while and then bounce right back. But after a while, he noticed a pattern. Brian would barely leave the loft. He did not go to Woody's or Babylon, and when Michael or the guys called, he put them off. Telling them that he had a job interview early or that he was going to see a man about a job. But Justin knew he wasn't. Brian would sit in front of the windows, drinking. Every time Justin came into the loft, that's the position he found Brian in. Justin could only get Brian to eat very little, and he knew he wasn't eating when Justin left each morning for class or work. Brian also wasn't sleeping. They'd go to bed together, fuck, though not as often as before. Then Justin would fall asleep holding Brian only to wake hours later to cold sheets, alone. Brian would be back in front of the windows, familiar bottle in hand.

Justin tried to get Brian to open up, to talk to him, but Brian either ignored him or snarled a response, daring Justin to push. Justin had no idea how to help Brian. He could have found a way as he had in the past, if Brian were using his past pain management techniques. But he was at wits end with this Brian. He had retreated inside himself, displaying none of the personality traits of the Brian Kinney he knew and loved. He seemed fragile now, the loss of that arrogant confidence he wore leaving him raw and exposed. Justin could see it on Brian's face; he doubted himself, something the old Brian would have never done.

The other night, Justin had been awakened by Brian thrashing about and talking in his sleep. Justin had tried to wake him, but Brian continued, mumbling about being a family man and never amounting to nothing. Finally, Justin had shaken him hard enough and Brian had awakened, disoriented, and refusing to talk to Justin. As far as Justin could tell, that was the last night Brian had spent in the bed. Justin would catch him dozing at odd hours on the couch. As the days went by, Brian retreated further and further inside himself. Justin could do nothing but watch and die inside a little bit each day while Brian slowly lost himself.

To be continued...