Fandom: Queer as Folk US
Timeline: Post 5.13; POV's
Word Count: 3.788
Disclaimer: I don’t own anything. It’s all CowLip and Showtime.
Beta: mander3_swish - thank you so much!
Here we go.
Might be a little sad, but well, it's a sad memory.
Anyway, I hope you like it.
Btw. I got the date from the poster they were hanging in episode 5.10.
If you zoom it, you can see the date. :)
As always: Every comment is welcome. I Love to read what you think. Thanks!
01. Listen to me
02. Trust me
03. Babylon Part 1 | Part 2
04. Find a way Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4
05. ...remember what's missing?
06. The Party
07. Thanksgiving 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10
08. 1 wedding, 4 rings... 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12
09. The first Webcam Sex Chat
10. The first call
11. Expectations - Happy Valentine | Revenge
12. March 18th 2006
I can’t believe it’s already one year later. It’s still so present. Every time I’m here at Babylon the memories come flooding back. I wonder if it’s the same for the others, too.
I remember that day. I remember that I visited Drew in his hotel and how upset he was that Brian had fired him and that people wanted to turn him into the most famous fag. I also remember that I went to the gym to talk to Brian and that he sent me packing.
But none of that mattered anymore… when it happened.
The club had been filled to capacity, the public mood was frolicsome and people were happy. So was I. At least I had tried to be. I loved the reason for the event; we were fighting for us, for our rights, for something good. And I being that I love Cindy Lauper, I was so very proud that she agreed to support us.
I had hoped that maybe we could really change something; that maybe we could really stop Proposition 14.
But besides all the hope and happiness I just felt lonely.
I had a boyfriend and I was proud about that. He wasn’t just anyone; he was Drew Boyd, a popular football player, a star. Unfortunately, even though he finally admitted to being gay, he wasn’t ready to live it. He was shocked and angry about the consequences that his outing brought.
He probably didn’t even care about the event and how much it meant to me. He didn’t support me. Back then our relationship was all about him: his coming out, his career, his future, his decisions, and his problems.
Unfortunately it seemed that almost everyone else had a supportive partner by his (or her) side.
Michael had Ben. They were already married. It might not have been a legally recognized union in the United States, but they had a ceremony, they had a justice of the peace, they had a party, and they had a family.
Ted had … I don’t remember his name, but I remember he seemed to be happy when he arrived with his new boyfriend.
Justin was probably as lonely as I was, but at least he had his mother to fight with and for him.
As I stood beside the stage, I tried to concentrate on Cindy Lauper while ignoring the others who had someone with them. I tried to understand Drew. It was hard for him and he didn’t deserve to lose everything just because he had admitted that he was gay, it was just wrong. That was one thing we were fighting for, but I wanted him to understand me, too.
There was a light, a flash, and it was blinding. I think we all knew that something was wrong. It was just one second, maybe even less. It had felt like an earthquake with the floor shaking and I fell down. It was dark and people started screaming. I tried to get up. I couldn’t see anything. The music was off and there was fire. I could see the flames. I needed a few seconds or minutes to realize that it hadn’t been an earthquake.
People were pushing, they wanted to get out. So did I. I could see Jennifer and her young boyfriend when they passed by me, headed towards the door, and they seemed fine, they were okay. I was looking around and then I saw Ben kneeling over someone at the bar. I was half way out the door when I turned around. I couldn’t leave them alone. I went to Ben and kneeled beside him. There was blood and soot and… it was just horrible, it felt so unreal. Michael was injured, obviously seriously injured.
The paramedics had taken care of him, and then they carried him outside. I stood up again and saw Ted and his new lover standing at the bar. Luckily, they had seemed to be okay.
I had looked around again, but the club was full of smoke and it was hard to recognize anything or anyone. Justin… maybe he was already out, maybe he had left the club together with his mother. And that’s where it stopped.
The next thing I remember is standing in front of the club, wrapped in a warm blanket. The press was already there, and I had seen Carl. I had felt like I was watching a movie, as if none of this was real, and that I could easily just walk away and everything would be good again.
After a while I was standing there alone. I had no idea what I was waiting for; I had no idea what to do. I don’t know how long I was standing there before I saw Drew. He headed straight for me, yelled at one of the reporters, pushed him back and then hugged me.
“I’m sorry I wasn’t here,” he had said.
I was still unable to move. I just let him hold me and closed my eyes. He came… and that was all that mattered. He wouldn’t have come if he didn’t care, and that was all I needed to know, that he cared about me.
“You’re here now,” I answered back.
Today, things are different. Today he’s here from the beginning, he’s right beside me, holding my hand while we’re listening to the speakers on stage.
We’re still fighting. We’re fighting for us, our rights, our love, and we’re also fighting for the seven people who lost their lives that night, for their families, and all the others who had been injured.
Time isn’t a great healer, but you learn to live with it.
It was one year ago.
365 days, 8760 hours, 525600 minutes and 31536000 seconds.
So many numbers, but it was just 1 second that had changed everything.
I can’t believe it’s already one year later. It still feels like yesterday.
Proposition 14 versus us, and we were strong, we wanted to fight, we wanted to win, and that night was important for us. I remember it.
When Michael had told me that Brian had given us the club I felt happy. It was weird, but I thought that by having the event there he would be there, too. It was his club. And yes, I wanted him to be there. It was important for me… It should’ve been important for him, too, but it wasn’t. I remember when I met him on the street and he told me that he was going to Australia – just to fuck some guys he would never see again - I had really tried not to be or look disappointed because it was none of my business anymore. We weren’t together anymore. So if he preferred to be on the other side of the world instead of by my side… fuck, it hurt. It didn’t matter to him if gays would ever be allowed to get married. He never wanted to marry, and this event - or him giving us the club - wouldn’t change that.
I felt lonely that entire evening. Actually I had felt lonely in all of the previous weeks, or even months, but it was worse that evening. I was fighting for the rights of gay people, for gay marriage, and gay families. That was something I knew I would never had, at least not the way I wanted to, not with the person I wanted to have it. It was something that was totally out of reach for me back then.
Everyone there had someone. They all knew for what or who they were fighting for.
I stood there alone and watched them, all of them, and tried to act as if it didn’t matter that he wasn’t there, that he didn’t fight with me – for us. So I tried to concentrate on the others. There was a still a reason to fight, there was always a reason.
I tried to enjoy the concert, and I tried to ignore my mother and her boyfriend who practically flaunted their lovey-dovey luck right in my face. I tried to not think about what Brian would be doing in Australia and why that trip was more important to him then m… Well, I tried to be strong.
I remember the flash that came out of nowhere and I remember the warm, almost hot wind I suddenly felt. It had been strong enough to push me back into a table.
Then there was silence… I don’t know for how long, one second? Two seconds? And then the fire alarm had gone off.
I couldn’t see anything, it was dark and the thick air of fumes was stifling. I heard cries of fear and then I saw fire. Someone screamed: “It’s burning! We have to get out!”
I had put my arms over my head when I felt people running over me. I took the first chance I got to get up and look around. I had no idea how much time went by until I saw the first fireman and police officer. Somehow the fumes dissipated a little, but there was still more fire and more screams. I touched my head since it hurt, but I realized that it wasn’t bad, I was okay.
It seemed that everyone had disappeared. I was looking out for my mother and Michael and Ben and Emmett or Ted. But I couldn’t see anyone, just strangers. I tried to help them as much as possible, to get through the turned over tables to find my mother. She had been right beside me so she couldn’t be that far away.
I had no sense of time.
Suddenly I saw someone coming up to me, probably another police officer to tell me that I had to leave the building, or so I thought. I looked up and saw Brian. At first I thought I was dreaming or hallucinating when he reached for my shirt and pulled me into his arms. Now he was here… after we had lost the fight. But then I realized that he had to be there, because it was his club. Someone must have called him.
He held me way too tight, and I could barely breathe. So many feelings, so many thoughts… Australia, the flight, the proposition, the explosion… He was shaking.
“Are you hurt?” he asked me with a broken voice.
He tried to touch me, but I didn’t want him to. I was weird, it was… I think I was in shock. I almost pushed his hand away, but he didn’t let go.
“Just some scratches. Have you seen my mother?”
“She’s okay. She’s outside, she’s looking for you.”
Outside, she was outside! She was okay! He was still shaking.
That was one year ago.
One year later and we are still fighting for our rights!
There are still haters!
There is still violence!
But today we are here to remember the seven people who had lost their lives because they had fought for their rights or the rights of their friends or family.
Today it doesn’t matter how lonely I felt back then and how angry I was that he didn’t fight with me. Today he’s here, right beside me, holding my hand while listening to the speaker onstage. Today he’s fighting with me.
Lewis. His name was Lewis. I’ve been trying to remember his name all day…
It feels unreal. It always had. I never expected to be in a situation where someone would attempt to harm or kill any of my friends, let alone me, too. Why would anyone even care about me and if I was alive or dead? Who was I that some people would prefer to see me dead? Right, I’m a homosexual.
One year had passed and even though it might sound cruel, it was an amazing year for me. Now I’m happier than I ever was before in my whole life.
Back then I was still waiting. Waiting for something to happen, waiting for “the one.”
I will never forget Lewis; I just couldn’t remember his name. I never saw him again after that night - I never want to - but I will never forget him.
After finding each other online, we met, and I sort of persuaded him to join me that night even though he was nervous in crowds. I remember that I was kind of euphoric about it; about having him on by side – having someone on my side. And I was proud. I had found someone. I had a reason to fight. And I wanted to fight.
Somehow I think that deep inside I knew from the first hello that he wasn’t “the one” and if the bomb hadn’t have happened, who knows what else would’ve had happen to make me realize that Lewis wasn’t what or who I was looking for. But when we arrived, together, as a couple or a possible couple… I was proud and relieved. I wasn’t alone anymore.
Lewis was extremely tense during the entire time we were there. The club was loud and full of people and he was scared. I tried to help him, but I couldn’t really relate to his problem. I also don’t think that I really wanted too. I was selfish. That night, that date was all about me: Me, having a boyfriend, me, being with someone, me, fighting for the rights of gays and lesbians. It was not about him.
I never left his side, not for a second. He relaxed a little when Cindy Lauper started to sing, but he didn’t move from my side. I liked it, I liked to be needed, I always did. The truth was, every time my partner stopped needing me, the relationship failed. Lewis was weak, he needed me and I stayed with him. I even asked Michael to get us some drinks.
There was flash, just one second and then it was dark and there were flames and the music was off. It was hard to breath and the force of the blast had pushed us to the ground. Lewis had kept a tight hold on me. I had no idea what to do, I was totally concentrated on Lewis. We were okay, nothing happened to us, no injuries, just a lot of ash and the shock.
I’m not proud of myself, my thoughts, and the things I did back then. I held Lewis, I saw Ben, and I saw that Michael was seriously injured. I saw the paramedics taking care of him and getting him out of the building, but it was as if it didn’t matter. I totally blocked it out. I couldn’t think about the flash that had come from the bar nor that my best friend was seriously injured because I had sent him there to get the drinks for me and Lewis.
Lewis… it was still him who held onto me, but honestly, I think I was the one who needed him way more than he needed me in that moment. I needed him to need me; otherwise I would have had to grapple with what had happened and with my own guilt.
I acted completely selfish.
Unfortunately Lewis didn’t need me and he also didn’t care about me. The second we got out of the club he ran away from me, blamed me for getting him here, and that he never should’ve listened to me.
I never saw him again.
Seven people died that night. That’s all that matters. And that’s why we’re here tonight. To remember them, to remember what we were fighting for and that it’s still worth it. No matter if you are alone or not, it’s always worth to fight for what you believe in.
Today I have with me “the one,” the only one. He’s right beside me - holding my hand and leaning against me - while we’re listening to the speaker onstage. I could feel the golden ring on my finger, Blake’s touch on my arm.
I look at him and give him a smile. He had always been the one and I had always known that. It was just a matter of time until we would end up together for good. Even though I had always looked out for love, I never really believed in it or trusted it. Now I do.
“I love you,” he whispers and kisses me.
I put my arm around him and hold him. We’re still fighting and we won’t stop. Ever.
I look around. They’re all here. Michael, Ben, and Hunter with his new girlfriend; Ted and Blake; Emmett and Drew; Jennifer and Tucker – and right beside them I see Molly and Craig Taylor. Justin had told me that his father was out of rehab and that his condition had improved. He was still using a wheelchair, but the doctors were confident that one day he would be able to walk again.
Justin also told me that his father was still calling him every week, without fail. I guess he really means it this time. He looks at me. I nod to him and he answers it back.
Never in a million years would I have expected someone like Craig Taylor to show up at Babylon – a popular gay club. But he was here…
So much had changed since that night.
I don’t want to remember. I hate memories like that. Unfortunately they never fade. They’re even more present than all the good ones.
Like prom night; Justin’s prom night. I should remember the dance and the kiss, but all I remember is the moment that fucking Hobbs swung the bat.
There were barely any good memories from the day, or night, of the bombing. I had officially reached a state of being where everyone seemed to hate me.
Emmett would have loved to kick my ass because I had to fire his boyfriend and that I didn’t fight for him.
Michael had built a new life for himself with Ben and Hunter – a life I didn’t fit into – and we were officially not friends anymore.
Justin… I had lost him… again, and he wouldn’t be back. It was different this time. When I met him on the street that day, it had been painfully obvious. When I told him that I wouldn’t be at the Stop Prop 14, he was disappointed. But I had no reason to join them; they didn’t even want me to be there.
I wasn’t happy back then, I knew that, but I had no idea how to change it. I was afraid and … yeah, I was chicken. I was constantly running away from everything and everyone, just because I was too scared to take the responsibility for what I really wanted and needed.
I remember everything.
How I felt when Michael showed up at Kinnetik, but then realized that he didn’t come because of me. He came because he needed something.
How I felt when I saw Justin on the street; I don’t think I’ve ever felt so lonely in my entire life before.
How I ended up sitting in the backseat of car service on my way to the airport. I was running away! I knew that even Australia wouldn’t be far enough, but at least it would give me some space to breathe.
I remember the announcement on the radio and how I told the driver to turn around. I had no idea what to expect, and I didn’t expect it to be that bad. I tried to call Justin, to ask him what had happen, but he didn’t answer his phone.
When I had arrived and exited the car, I was shocked. Fire department, police, ambulance… I could see the panic in so many faces. There was blood and soot and fear.
Then I realized how bad it was. It’s weird; when you hear that there are fatalities you don’t think it could be someone you know, because stuff like that normally doesn’t happen to you. It only happens to others – to strangers - no matter what you had already been through before.
Everything changed when I found Jennifer and she told that “Justin’s still in there…”
I hadn’t expected what I saw when I entered Babylon or what was left of it. There was blood and there were causalities, there was panic and… there were dead bodies. I remember a fireman who tried to push me out of the club again. I could barely breathe and my eyes were burning from the smoke. It was hard to see anything or to recognize anyone. People were covered in soot and ash all over the place.
I knew he couldn’t hear me, there were so many people screaming. I tried not to think about the possibility of him being injured or… dead. It’s hard to describe that feeling. It felt like sick. My heart was pounding in my ears, my stomach wrenched, and I couldn’t swallow.
I don’t remember how often I cried out his name or how long I walked through the club or how many bloodied and panicked faces I saw. Why was it that the only memory that popped into my head from the evening at Michael and Ben’s house was when I had seen the cover of the Rage issue that showed Rage and J.T. at their wedding – that of course was supposed to be Justin and I, at least in his mind.
He had really wanted to be with me and I had let him go. Or worse, I had pushed him away.
I think I made a silent promise to myself that if he was alright - uninjured and healthy - I would do anything he wanted me to do. I would stop tricking, I would stop being unapproachable, and if he still wanted to be with me, to marry me, I would do that, too, immediately. I would be exactly the guy he always wanted me to be. The man he – and he was probably the only person who thought so - always thought I could be.
Today I try not to think about that night. It’s not easy, since it’s still my club and I’m still hanging out here. The memories are everywhere. Today everything was different, everyone was different. Our lives had changed after that night.
Today I’m here, right beside him, holding his hand. I look at him and he gives me a soft smile. I put my arm around him and pull him closer to me; just to make sure that he’s really here, right by my side. And whatever he thinks is worth fighting for, I’ll be there.