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Chapter 5 - How Fruity Is Your Fruitcake?


<~> Brian's POV <~>

You know, I could really get to like living in this looney bin. It's really not so bad. I mean, the food is for shit, it's noisy and overcrowded and there's no fucking privacy at all, but I simply love the sleeping accommodations. Then again, who wouldn't love having a snugly little blond boy in one's bed every single night?

Lily, Luke and everybody else have pretty much given up on trying to keep me out of My Hal's bed at night. They don't even bother to comment about it anymore. Amateurs! I knew I'd wear them down. I learned a lot about persistence from this kid I knew once. . . Nope. Nope. Nope you big dope. Not going to think about that! Nope. Nope. Nope.

I'm not going to think about anything sad. Not sad or bad or mad, just glad. Just glad. Just glad to be here. I'm just going to lay here watching the sun coming through the windows and lighting up My Hal's beautiful blond hair. He's so fucking gorgeous, isn't he? I really do a great delusion! Fuck reality!

He's going to be waking up soon. My Hal always starts getting a little squirmy in the mornings right before he pops open those big blue eyes. I don't mind, though. In fact, I kind of like the way his hand is moving over my chest like that. It's nice to be petted by My Hal.

If I turn my head just a little bit to the left, I can leave another kiss on his temple. Mmmm. That's so nice. I really can't get enough of kissing him.

Lily DOES still keep harassing me about all the kissing. Rules. Rules. Rules. You have to follow the rules, Brian. You have to be good, Brian. Brian, Brian, Brian. Flyin' Brian. Tryin' Brian. Kissin' not cryin' Brian.

I don't give a fuck about the rules though. Those rules are stupid. I don't think the rules should apply to personal hallucinations anyway. If I want to imagine my boy with perfectly kissable lips, well, there's really nothing they can do about it, is there? He's my hallucination. Those are my lips. I'm going to keep right on kissing them whenever I please and they can all go jump in a lake.

I kiss My Hal once again just to prove my point, in case anyone was listening in on my internal mental raving. They do that sometimes, you know. That's why I like to make sure I'm making a point even if it's only in my head.

Of course, kissing is all I let myself have. Well, kissing and holding him. But nothing else. It wouldn't be right. My Hal is still a little broken. He's not really ready for more than kissing, even if Lily would let me. But until he's ready, I can wait. I can be respectful. I need to take care of My Hal and fix him all better and then, when he's ready, we can move on from the kissing.

But, can I just say, I hope he's ready soon! The once and future Stud of Liberty Avenue hasn't gotten any action in so fucking long I wasn't even sure if my dick still worked. I mean, it simply didn't seem to be a problem before because, up until recently, I've been a bit preoccupied, what with being insane and all. But now that I'm here with my new kissable, huggable, luscious-looking Hal . . . well, let's just say I'm almost certain my dick still works.

Right now, for instance, I'm harder than a second term calculus exam. It doesn't help much that My Hal just brushed his soft hand across my chest again, lightly grazing one nipple. Oh, yeah. What's harder than a calculus test? Whatever it is, that's what my dick feels like now.

And he just smells so good, too. Is there a word that describes the wonderful scent of warm young blond boy? Back in my marketing days, I'd call it something like, 'Arousing, For Men'.

The way he's burrowing into the crook of my neck now is basically torture. I can feel his warm breath on my skin. He sighs with a little mewl and I get goose bumps. I can't hold out another instant - I have to kiss him again even though I'm worried it might wake him.

"Mmmm. Brian," My Hal mumbles in his sleep as my lips gently caress the soft patch of skin high up on his cheekbone that never gets stubbly.

Shit! He's so perfect. So perfect. Perfect. Perfect. And mine! And I don't care who knows it. I'm certifiably insane! I don't need to worry that anyone will see how much I need My Hal. Care about My Hal. Even love My Hal. I can be crazy in love and nobody will know or care cause I'm just plain crazy! It's the perfect cover!

When My Hal shifts slightly, turning his head back even further so his nose and lips tickle alongside my neck, I freeze. Maybe I was thinking too loudly and I woke him up? No, I think he's just getting more comfortable. And it feels so good.

When he says my name a second time, "Brian", the word seeps through my skin, enters my blood stream and flows straight to my heart.

When he kisses the tender spot in the hollow of my shoulder, I start to shake.

When he shifts again, so that his body is even more impossibly close to mine and his left leg casually stretches across my body, brushing ever so lightly against my ever so hard dick, I'm cumming in my pajama pants and moaning out loud, forgetting that we have no real privacy.

"Oh yes. Fuck, Justin," I hear myself crying out before I can stop the forbidden name. "Jus . . . Just in my head. Just in my head. Just in my head," I remind myself quickly.

But all is quiet. It looks like no one caught my little slip. The rest of the inmates are all still asleep. My Hal is breathing deeply, still apparently deep in his dreams. I'm safe for now, although that was a close one.

"Shit!" I curse as my heartbeat slows and my breathing finally evens out. I squirm uncomfortably in my sticky, wet pajamas. "I hope it's a shower day!"

At least I know now for a fact it still works.



<~> Daphne's POV <~>

That nice female attendant, the one named Lily, brings Justin into the lounge today when I come to visit. It's been three weeks since I was here last. I know I should try and get here more often, but it's tough with school and my internship at the hospital and my work study job in the library. It doesn't help that the visiting hours here are so inconvenient for my schedule. I really hate leaving it so long between visits, though, because Justin tends to get really neglected when I'm not around as much.

So I'm expecting to find a dirty, half dressed, lost looking Justin this afternoon. Which means I'm pleasantly surprised by the Justin I actually get. Shit! He looks good. Almost like the old Justin.

"Wow. Justin, you look great today," I compliment him. "You got your hair cut and it looks like you've got some new clothes, too."

The attendant smiles at me. "Blondie does look a lot better, doesn't he," Lily agrees.

"Thank you, Lily. You don't know how much it means to me that you're helping Justin like this. I worry about him so much and the past few times I've seen him he looked so . . . well, he looked more neglected than ever. I really appreciate that it seems you're taking better care of him," I sincerely thank the woman.

"Oh, don't thank me," Lily smiles a bit mischievously. "Justin has a new friend. He's the one you should be thanking for all the additional attention Justin's been getting."

"A friend? Who?" As far as I know, Jennifer and I are the only two who have ever visited Justin, and I don't think Jennifer's been around much at all lately.

"We got a new patient in the same ward as Justin a few weeks ago," Lily starts to explain. "He's a lovely man - it's such a shame really that he's in here. But anyway, he basically adopted our boy here. He's the one who insisted on the haircut. He also took Justin down to the Lost and Found, appropriated everything he could find in Justin's size and had one of the laundry attendants sew and repair everything. I think you'll see a definite improvement now that Brian's taken Justin under his wing."

"Brian?" The name throws me.

*Beep, Beep* Lily pulls the pager off her belt and looks at the little screen. "Shit! Sorry, gotta run before Eugene eats another jar of paste down in the craft room."

Brian? It couldn't be. Lily did say the name Brian, but it couldn't possibly be the SAME Brian. Not Brian Kinney. What would Brian Kinney be doing in a mental institution? Especially one that's as substandard as this one. I must have misheard Lily. There's no other possible explanation.

"So, Justin," I turn my attention back to my friend - I don't want to waste what little time I do have thinking about silly impossibilities. "You have a new friend, huh? He must be something special to have won you over so quickly."

"Brian," Justin whispers quietly, shocking the fucking hell out of me, and is that even I little hint of a smile I see on his face?

For about half a minute it even seems like Justin's really actually looking at me, not just through me. It's the first spark of life I've seen in him in years. It's a fucking miracle! If I didn't know better, I'd even suspect that a certain tall, older, brunet man that Justin once referred to as 'The Face of God', might be responsible for this wondrous phenomena.

But that's insane, right?


<~> Brian's POV <~>

You know what's really fucking insane? All the damn pills and crap they're always giving us here in the Cracker Barrell. Every night after dinner it's the same thing; they come around to our tables and hand out these little white paper cups filled with all sorts of pretty colored pills, then they stand there and watch to make sure you take 'em all.

The pills, by the way, don't ever seem to do anything.

I would know, too. I mean I'm practically an expert on pills. And alcohol. And drugs of pretty much every description. How the hell do you think I got here in the first place? I'm the guy that OD'd, remember?

So, I'm looking at the pills in my little cup and wondering why I bother with them, when I notice that the cup they give My Hal has about five times the number of little pills. That's not right is it? Why would My Hal need so many little pills. Pills. Pills. Good for all his ills? Too many pills.

So of course I ask, right? "Lily, why does My Hal need so many little pills? I think it's too many."

"No. It's okay, Brian. These are Jus . . . Sorry, your 'Hal's' regular meds. It just seems like a lot to you because he's on several different medications that you don't need. But it's not too many. It's the right amount for him," Lily explains patiently.

"I think it's too many," I insist. "What do they all do anyway?"

"Brian, that's really none of your business. Hal's doctor is the one who ordered them. You really don't need to worry about this."

"No. It's too many pills, Lily. And it IS my business. You said My Hal is my responsibility. You said I get to take care of him. So, I need to know what the pills are for or I won't know how to fix him. Fix him. Fix. Fix. Fix the mix."

Lily knows me well enough by now that she sees I won't back down on this issue. Giving into the inevitable, Lily pulls out the chair next to me, sits down and then dumps My Hal's paper cup out into a saucer. Picking up a spoon she separates them all out, pointing to each as she explains what they're all supposed to do.

"These two are SSRI's, similar to what you take Brian, just a different dosage. They're for general depression. This one is a special anti-anxiety medication. These," Lily scoots over four or five assorted pills that are all different, "are just plain old vitamins, mostly because Hal doesn't always eat right. This big orange one helps prevent migraine headaches, which he used to get a lot. This little white one is, I think, an allergy pill. Which leaves these two big ones, which are sedatives."

"Sedatives? Why sedatives?" I ask, confused why you'd need to sedate someone who was diagnosed as catatonic.

"Without those, Hal sometimes has episodes of violence where he's a danger to himself and others," Lily finishes her explanation, dumping all the pills into My Hal's hand and ordering him to swallow, which he does, like always. My Hal is a good, obedient little boy.

"It's not right," I insist again, but Lily's already getting up and moving off to see to somebody else. "Lily, it's not right. It's too many. And everyone knows you don't mix those - it'll make you sick. And you think I'm crazy? Lily!"

Of course nobody listens to the madman. What would the guy with a drug-induced psychosis know about drugs, anyway? But I know it's not right. I KNOW! Know. No. No. No mixing uppers and downers. That's a no no. A no. No. No! Why don't they know?

I resolve to get somebody to listen to me. Maybe I could talk to Dr. Travis. I don't think he's My Hal's doctor, but maybe he would listen. I have to fix this.


<~> Daphne's POV <~>

"Hi, Mrs. Taylor. It's Daphne Chanders," I say when I finally get a chance to call Justin's mother a few days after my last visit.

"Daphne. It's so nice to hear from you, dear. How are you?" Jennifer sounds as pleasant and WASPy as always.

"I'm fine, thanks. I was calling because I was just over at The Banks visiting Justin the other day and I . . . well, I was wondering when was the last time you saw him?"

"I, uh, I haven't been there in quite a while actually. Is there something I should know about? The Center hasn't called me about any problems . . ."

"No. There's no problem exactly, at least I don't think so," I stumble through my explanation, not sure myself why I called. "It's just that one of the attendants there told me that another of the patients has befriended Justin and sort of taken over his care. I don't think there's anything wrong going on. In fact, Justin looked really good when I saw him, but it's just a bit odd and I wondered if you knew anything about this new friend of his."

"No. I haven't heard anything about any new friend. Are you worried that it's inappropriate or that he'll hurt Justin? If so, I'll call The Center immediately and have them take care if this."

"I don't think that's necessary, Mrs. Taylor," I hedge, not really sure how to ask what I want to ask. "It's just that I'm curious about who this new friend is. I thought that maybe the next time you go visit you might want to meet the guy and sort of check him out, you know."

There. That sounded innocent enough, right? I completely avoided using the name 'Brian' - which I knew would set Jennifer off. She's still never forgiven the man, even though nobody else except she and Brian even remotely think that he was in any way responsible for what happened at Prom. I don't dare ask outright if she knows anything about Brian's whereabouts these days and I have no contacts with any of the gang anymore. Last I heard, Jennifer still wasn't even talking to Debbie. But, I really don't know who else to ask about what I suspect, maybe, might or might not, possibly be going on up at The Banks.

"Daphne . . . Um, I really don't think I'll be visiting Justin anytime soon," Jennifer finally fesses up. "You see, every time I went there, Justin would have the most violent outbursts. He . . . he still blames me for keeping him away from . . . From the people down on Liberty Avenue, even though it was in his best interest and I felt I had to protect him from all that . . . And, well, the last time I was there, Justin was so out of control. He was throwing things and screaming at me and it was so upsetting for both of us. They actually had to sedate him and took him away to an isolation room. . . Afterwards, his doctor said that it might be better if I not visit for awhile - at least until they were able to deal with the whole violence thing. So . . . well, I just don't visit anymore, Daphne."

"But . . . but . . . Fuck, Jennifer! That was ages ago! Justin hasn't had a violent episode like that in more than two YEARS! You mean you haven't been to see him since then? That's so completely fucked up! No wonder Justin always looks so neglected when I visit him. He fucking IS neglected! I can't believe that even his mother won't visit him," I'm so incensed that I forget all about the possibility of a Brian connection. "You know what? Just forget that I called. You can just forget about me and Justin and everything else that's not easy and perfect and that doesn't fit into your perfect little world. Fuck you!" I end the call, briefly contemplate going over there and literally  kicking her ass.

Well, so much for enlisting Jennifer in my plan to solve the mystery of Justin's new friend 'Brian'.