So one night at Babylon, Michael is disgruntled. He broke up with David a while back and still hasn't found anyone new. All the good ones are taken, he complains to Brian, who says blithely, "I'm not." Michael gives him the dirtiest look ever and then says, "Yes, you are." Justin comes up and drapes himself over Brian and grins a hello. So there's dancing and such, Brian and Justin noodling their bodies and heads together, and then Brian looks through the crowd and sees Michael dancing with this dark-haired hottie, a guy Brian recognizes as having once slept with; he remembers him as being a hot fuck and also kind of a mensch, providing coffee and muffins the morning after, as Brian had inadvertantly slept over at the guy's house in a drugged heap.
A while later Michael comes bouncing up to the bar, chattering giddily about the guy he's met. He downs a quick shot and tells them he's taking off, going home with him. When he's leaving up the stairs, trailing behind the guy and holding hands, he waves down to Brian and grins and points to the trick's well-muscled back. Brian gives him a big facetious thumbs-up, rolls his eyes, and goes back to dancing.
A few days pass and there's no sign of Michael, and the comic book shop is closed when Brian stops by, which worries him. He hasn't even been back to the apartment and Emmett is freaking out. Brian is more quietly trying not to freak out. He goes to the window and stares off into space as everyone who's gathered at the apartment gabs wildly and loudly; he's seizing up with the sheer breath-taking, heart-stealing scope of his panic. Then he barks a sharp order for everyone to shut the fuck up. He takes businesslike command of things, assigns everyone tasks--Debbie to the cops, Emmett and Ted to call everyone in Michael's address book, Mel and Lindsay to try and track down Visa card activity, etc. He and Justin go from bar to bar with a photo, Brian yelling and getting in people's faces if they don't answer his questions well enough, Justin easing him back.
That night, Brian is at home, losing it big time, getting drunk, forcing Justin to leave, hanging up on everyone's calls. And then there's a knock on the door. He yells, "Leave me the fuck alone," then his eyes go wide, his face stripped raw with fear and need, and he makes it to the door and throws it open and it's Michael, looking hot as fuck in black leather, hair mussed up and gelled in a sharp way that he's never worn it before. His skin is pale and his eyes are dark and wild and he grins at Brian. "Hey," he says casually.
Brian lurches into him almost with a sob, hugging him tightly (Michael oofs protest), ruffling his hair, pressing his face into his neck. Then he pulls back to see Michael laughing. "You fuck," Brian says, getting enraged. "Where the fuck have you been?"
"Aren't you going to invite me in?"
Brian gives a chuff of amazement, not quite a laugh, as if he's dealing with some impossible child, and steps to one side. "Fine. Come the fuck in."
And Michael does, and he's perky as hell, bouncy still, like he's high, and Brian follows him over to the couch area. Michael says he's been with that guy he met, Lucas, and they've been hanging at his place. "What, you couldn't call?" Brian asks. "Do you know how fucking ripped up your mother is?" Michael blows him off, saying how great Lucas is, how he's got this great scene--it's like nothing you can even imagine, Michael tells him. "What," Brian says, affecting boredom, "drugs, whores, home movies?"
"You've got to come," Michael says. And Brian is all, no fucking way. Still sore as hell, but not entirely sober either. And Michael comes over and straddles Brian's lap--Brian laughs with incredulity as he stares up at him--and grins at him, and he hates to admit it, but at this moment Mikey is hot now as he's never been before. Michael is painting a picture with words of how great it'll be if Brian comes with him, of how he wants to give him something better than any drugs, better than any fuck, "But if you want a fuck too, you can have it."
He's got an unnervingly direct stare when he says this and it's so unlike Michael that it shakes Brian from his stupor. He shoves Michael off--or tries to, but can't. "Get the hell off me," he says. Face cold with anger, Michael gets up. They have a fight that escalates from old, familiar gripes to new and frightening levels. Brian has never seen his friend get so scary, and then Michael begins to pick a real fight with him, physical. Brian keeps batting him off with disgust but is finally provoked into hitting him. When Michael hits back, it drops Brian to his knees, almost ready to puke from pain, and then Michael throws him across the room, crashing into furniture.
"Jesus," Brian yells when he can speak. "Did you take PCP, you stupid asshole?"
"Man, I told you," Michael says. "It's better than drugs." And he comes and picks Brian up by the neck and holds him close as he begins to struggle, and he smiles this liquid, little-boy smile. "It'll be great," he says tenderly, with such an intense love it quiets Brian for a moment. "You and me. We'll live forever. Immortals."
He vamps out. Brian goes limp in his hands and stares. "Isn't it the fucking coolest?" this new Michael says with happiness.
"The coolest," Brian repeats in a dazed, rasping voice. "Oh fuck, Mikey--what happened?"
"The best thing ever. And I can do it to you too!"
"Why the fuck would I want that...whatever the fuck it is?"
"It's immortality," Michael says with an indignant squeak. "That's how it's supposed to be. I wouldn't do this alone. This is your destiny, Brian Kinney." A classic Michael smile is beamed at him, ruined by the mangled mask above it. "You'll always be young, and you'll always be beautiful. And you'll have powers you never dreamed of."
"I don't want any of that--"
"Oh shut up," Michael interrupts with a whine that vampirism didn't kill, a whine so powerful it could drill through a brick wall. "Do you have to ruin the moment?"
And then Justin arrives home, sliding open the door and gasping in confusion at the sight. Michael lets Brian go and snarls at Justin like a mad thing, and when his head is turned away, Brian slams a statue into it.
"Ow," Michael says, sounding incredibly hurt and staring at Brian with big puppy eyes. Then Deb's voice comes from the stairwell, giving screechy warning that she's going to roust Brian off his ass to help her find her son, and Michael devamps, says a nervous "Oh shit," and leaves by a window.
Brian won't let Justin say anything to Debbie, and collapse and discussion follows after she leaves, and the next day Brian goes all stoic and mad-eyed and moody, the Brian-Kinney attitude on steroids, looking so dangerous and self-destructive you would cross the street to stay out of his path. He goes and buys an illegal gun and he starts looking for Michael every night on Liberty Avenue. Every day he gets drunk and reads every stupid vampire novel he can get his hands on, and worse, comics ("They're graphic novels!" Michael would say), and watches a bunch of stupid vampire movies, and ignores Justin, who can't penetrate his vicious funk.
And one night when he's trawling the streets, he thinks he spots a familiar back in a dark alley and heads down it. If you were anyone else, you'd think that here were just a couple of guys getting it on, one macking on his trick up against the wall. But when Brian interrupts, Michael is draining the guy. Brian is terrified; Michael is casual about letting the guy's body drop to the ground, and looks happy, in a dark way, that Brian came to find him.
His mood turns sour when Brian brandishes the gun. Another argument brews. "You came to kill me?" he asks, pissed off. "I'm your friend!"
"Your nobody's friend, cutie," a strange voice says and then some goth chick with attitude comes out of nowhere and attacks Michael, who misses getting a cross-bow stake in the chest only because he slips on some wet garbage and lands on his ass.
"Damn," Faith says with a frown.
"Hey!" Brian yells at her, and then: "Mikey, get out of here!" Michael scrambles up and runs down the alley.
"Back off," Faith snaps to Brian; then she stiffens and lifts her hands a little as she feels Brian's gun press against the back of her head. "Okay," she soothes, tone changing entirely. "You got the drop on me. Take it easy--"
"Drop the fucking cross-bow."
She pretends to comply, then whirls and chops at him to disarm him.
"That was real dumb, vigilante boy."
Brian catches his breath, doesn't answer, and turns to walk off.
"Hey!" Faith calls. She jogs to catch up with him, grabs his jacket and whirls him to face her. "Look, I'm on the clock here and usually I don't take time out to deliver the good word, but that thing back there--that's not your friend anymore. So don't go looking for him, and if he comes by for a quickie, lock your door. Also? I'm the good guy. And killing innocent people in dark alleys, not so smart. Take my word for it."
"If you're innocent, I'm a fucking choir boy. Also, cross-bows? Not your standard fetish wear. Take my word for it." The strangeness of her sinks in and cools the worst of his temper. "What's your story? What were you doing back there?"
"Sorry, I don't give interviews."
She leaves and he looks after her, then goes to get coffee at the diner and sits there, zoning out with his cup untouched, feeling like he did that night he took Justin to the hospital, as if his world is falling to pieces. And then at some point, maybe hours later, someone slides into the booth across from him, and it's the chick from the alley. She forces her company on him and orders a burger and fries with cheese and gravy and a milkshake, and he stares at her with a kind of heartfelt disgust and anger, and they end up talking about vampires.
"Once they're turned there's nothing you can do."
"Bullshit," Brian says. They've been talking for a while, and she's sketched a bit of history on the whole vamp deal, and now as he calls bullshit his tone is so flat that it's a coin flip whether he's in denial or insightful. "You can't tell me this shit's been going on for thousands of years and no one's figured out how to fix it yet."
"They cure AIDS yet?"
He stares at her, then looks down sharply as if he might cry. That's all she needs, Faith thinks, some faggot losing it and her without a hankie. "They've got treatments for AIDS," he says at last, lifting his head.
"Look, get it through your nut." The need to blast his hope makes her voice harsh. "Some demon jumped into your friend's skin like it was an empty jacket he found lying around. He's a stone-cold killer, no soul, no conscience. He gets the munchies, he'll tear into a toddler, not even think twice."
Brian stares at her glassy-eyed. "I don't like kids."
"Hey, I hate the rug-rats too," she says easily. "But he'll sure as shit rip your throat out as look at you. And anyone else gets in his way."
"The world is overpopulated. It's probably a public service." He doesn't sound as if he's convincing himself though, and after a pause goes on: "He said he wanted to turn me...into one of them."
"Trust me. You don't want the lifestyle."
"Maybe I do." He's starting to float off into the possibilities, the la la fantasy-land of vampire wannabes everywhere; she can see it behind his eyes as the vision takes shape. "Eternal life, beauty, a complexion to die for. All in exchange for a liquid diet. I've tried worse."
Dumbass party boy with a death wish, she thinks. "Hey," she says sharply. "Get it through your pretty head. There's no coming back from this trip. It's a..." She hesitates. "It's a one-way ticket."
"As long as it's first class." He focuses on her with new intensity, big weird eyes on her in a way that makes her feel like he x-rayed her when she wasn't looking, ogled her naked tits, and wrote her off as uninteresting and all too easy to know. "But I don't think you're telling me everything."
"No shit. I'm not hosting a seminar here."
"I bet there's a loophole." He smiles: a man whose entire life has been one success after another in getting exactly what he wants. "There always is."
"What're you, a lawyer?" He looked it. "There's no loophole."
She sits back and cocks her head a little. Savvy bastard. "I've never heard of a vamp turning human again."
She gives in without knowing why; maybe because she hasn't had a real conversation in a while, and she gets the itch to share sometimes. "Met one with a soul." It was wrong to give him hope. "Special case though, got his own prophecy and a nasty curse I'm bettin' you wouldn't want."
"A vampire can get his soul back?" The guy's eyes harden with the kind of determination that makes assholes do crazy things. "Then I'm getting Mikey's back."