by Synchronik
by Synchronik

Well I see him every night in tight blue jeans
in the pages of a blue boy magazine ...

Cyndi Lauper

It started as sort of a joke.

"If you could do it yourself, you wouldn't need a chick to do it for you," Joey said one afternoon, a typical Joey comment.

"No shit," Chris had said. "But you'd get a hell of a crick in your neck."

"There are guys who can," Lance said. "I saw --" He stopped and flushed bright red. "I mean, there was this movie, and. I accidentally saw part of it. Justin left it in the VCR!"

"Shut up, dork!" Justin said, and flushed bright red as well. That was actually kind of cute, both of them acting like they were pure as the driven snow and didn't jerk each other off under the covers at night, Chris thought. Kids.

"I bet I could do it!" JC said. "I mean, how hard can it be?"

"If it's not hard, what's the point?" Joey asked, and they all laughed, all of them, and then two weeks later Chris walked in on JC naked and bent over and the whole thing got very unfunny, very fast.

He didn't know what to say, so he didn't say anything, just stood there with his mouth hanging open as JC turned around. JC's face and his cock were the same color red, Chris noticed. JC didn't say anything either. For a long while it was just him and JC and JC's cock standing there staring at each other, until Chris couldn't stand it any longer.

"So," he said. "How's it goin'?"

"Oh. Um." JC shrugged. "You know."

"Yeah," Chris said, although there was no way he could possibly know. He just didn't want to talk about it. "I. See ya later, C," he said.

JC nodded. "Sure."


"You okay?" Justin whispered in his ear, and Chris punched him in the face.

"Oh, shit!" Chris grabbed Justin's arm and hauled him up onto the couch. "Sorry! God! I'm so sorry. I was watching TV."

"I know," Justin said, glaring balefully from the one eye that wasn't covered by his hand. "We can hear it all the way down the damn hall, which is what I was coming to tell you, ass. This is so going to bruise."

"Yeah, sorry," Chris said again. It was going to bruise. A lot. Chris could feel the ache in his knuckles. "You scared me."

"No, really? I thought it was our new group greeting." Justin shoved him, then slumped back against his shoulder, still holding the eye. "This really hurts, you jerk," he said.

Chris put his arm around Justin's shoulders and kissed his forehead. "Yeah, sorry," he said again.

"So what's up? I knocked, like, forty times."

"Nothin'," Chris said. He squeezed, but Justin would not be shut up.

"Everyone's acting all weird today," he said. "JC's locked in his room and won't come out and you're all spacey."

"Maybe he's writing," Chris said, closing his eyes and not thinking about JC's ass, small and high and ... "Where's Lance?" he asked.

"I don't know." Justin yanked himself away. "Somewhere. Let's do something."

"Okay, okay," Chris said. He stood up and followed Justin out of the room. He did not look at JC's door when he passed it.

Chris found that he couldn't look JC in the eye, which would have been very awkward except that JC couldn't stay in the same room with him, so everyone was talking about how weird JC was being and didn't notice Chris' commensurate weirdness.

As a result of JC's weirdness, people kept trying to talk to him. Justin took him aside about ten times a day to whisper self-help book advice in his ear, and Joey kept taking him to bars at night. Chris saw them leave sometimes, Joey's arm draped reassuringly over JC's shoulders. Lance had apparently settled for Meaningful Glances JC's way.

At any rate, Chris didn't need all that bullshit, so he took to spending a lot of time in his room alone. Justin would join him sometimes, and they'd play videogames, but Chris wasn't up to his usual level of fun and he knew it, which, of course, made him feel crappy about not being as much fun as he normally was, which made him even less fun. In other words, the whole thing sucked.

So he fully expected to turn Justin away when he knocked on the hotel room door one Thursday, just because he wasn't up to faking fun at the moment. All he wanted was a nice Friends rerun or two on TV. and maybe some beer.

"Hi," JC said.

"Hi," Chris said.

They stood and stared at each other for a long time.

"So, um," JC said. Chris jerked at the sound of his voice, then stepped back so JC could come in.

JC came in and sat down on the bed. Then he stood up. Then he sat down on the edge of a chair and folded his hands in his lap. "So, um," he said again.

"Yeah," Chris said. "Hey, I'm sorry I walked in on you. Before."

JC nodded. "I shoulda locked the door," he said.

"I shoulda knocked," Chris said.

"So, um," JC said yet again. "I'm real sorry I've been acting so weird. It's a little ..." He waved his hands around.

"Yeah," Chris said. "A little."

JC stood up. "Okay. I just wanted to say that, so ..."

"Can I ask you something?" Chris said, more because he didn't want C to leave, not when he was still twisting his hands in his lap and not looking Chris in the eye.

"Sure," JC said to his lap.

"Can you?"

"Can I what?" JC asked. Then he flushed red. "No," he murmured. "You know. Not yet."

Chris sat down on the bed. "Not yet?"

JC smiled a little. Chris leaned over and slapped his shoulder. "You dog," he said. JC shrugged.

well, you tried just for once,
found it alright for kicks,
but now you found out
that it's a habit that sticks

Orgasm Addict
The Buzzcocks

After that, things were pretty much cool between him and JC. It was like they had a secret no one else knew about: JC would come into the room with his face all flushed and smile at Chris and Chris would smile back and pretend that he wasn't thinking about JC's knees up around his ears, because that wasn't cool. They were friends.

Chris just wished that his friend wasn't so fucking flexible.

"Like this," LeVon said, kicking his leg up and over Chris' head.

"Whoa!" Chris leapt back, holding up his hands. "Let's just say I'm not com--"

"Like this?" JC said, and his leg went up and over Chris' head, too, flashing a sliver of his tighty whiteys under his shorts.

"Yes, exactly," LeVon said, while Chris stared speechless at JC. His white underwear and the glimpse of the smooth pale skin of his inner thigh shadowed by hair. "Now you try Justin."

Chris looked up. "Wait, no--" he said and then he was unconscious.

"Sorry," Justin said. "Sorry, sorry, sorry."

Chris blinked slowly. He didn't remember opening his eyes, but they must have been open, because there was Justin's face as big as the sun, if the sun could look worried. "Mm okay," Chris muttered.

"He's okay!" Justin shouted and then vanished from Chris' field of vision for a triumphant lap around the room or something. "I didn't kill Chris!"

"How do you feel?" JC asked.

Chris turned his head, and there was JC and JC's knee, and the slight gap between his shorts and his thigh and the faintest suggestion of JC's snug underwear covering what could only be his --

"I feel sick," Chris said, and closed his eyes.

They got to skip the rest of rehearsal, because even after he could sit up again Chris still felt a little dizzy. He sat in the back seat of the van with his head on Joey's shoulder and his eyes closed. He'd met Joey's dad almost three years ago, and had been a little in love with Joey every since. He didn't like to think about that much.

"Jeez," Justin said, as if Chris couldn't hear. "He's so quiet. I should kick him in the head everyday."

Chris heard someone, probably Lance, smack him.

"Seriously," JC said, and that meant the hand that was on his knee was probably JC, leaning over the back of the seat. If he opened his eyes, JC would be looking at him, his face red from the pressure of the seat in his gut, his eyes earnest and blue. Chris did not open his eyes. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah," Chris said. He curled into Joey's shoulder. Joey, father of them all, hummed a little.

They took Chris back to his apartment first. It wasn't like he wasn't glad to have his own place again, because he was -- living with them all in one big house had been fun in the way that things can be really fun and then instantly turn really annoying -- but seeing his shoddy apartment building in the harsh glare of the late afternoon sun made him feel a little alone. If they still shared the house, someone would have come in and sat with him and watched TV. Or at least checked --


It was JC, hanging out of the van.


"I could stay with you, if you want. You know. If you don't feel okay." JC looked hopeful, like he wished Chris would let him stay, and then Chris remembered that JC had been staying at Justin's with him and his mom. No wonder.

"Yeah, C," he said. That'd be good."

JC hopped out of the van and slung his arm around Chris' shoulders. "Thanks," he whispered, even though the van had already taken off. "He's driving me crazy."

"He kicked me in the head," Chris said, in a very non-whiny and totally adult way.

"Shh," JC said, squeezing him, ruffling his hair. "I know."

They went upstairs to Chris' dingy apartment and Chris ordered pizza while JC got in the shower. Chris flipped on the television, but everything was too loud so he turned it off again. The pain in Chris' head had settled down to a steady roar; he didn't want to antagonize it so he sat quietly on the couch holding his head gently until JC got out of the shower.

"Money's in my wallet," Chris said and shut the bathroom door behind him. He'd tried not to look at JC's wet skin, but it was a small apartment and he couldn't really help it. He heard the TV. come on in the living room.

The noise of the shower hurt his ears some, but it was a small price to pay for the fresh feeling of cleanliness and the steam seemed to open his sinuses or something, so by the time he'd finished washing his hair he felt almost okay. He couldn't find the soap, though; JC must have set it somewhere. He looked in the little shower caddy he had stuck to the back wall with suction cups, and then in the moldy soap dish of death, but it wasn't in either. He pulled back the shower curtain from the edge of the tub and there it was, sitting on the flat rim of the tub next to a dime-sized dollop of conditioner.

At least, Chris hoped it was conditioner.

It was, of course it was, because JC hadn't been in here long enough to do anything but wash, but still, for an instant Chris thought of JC, wet and naked, touching himself. It was a good thought.

He'd lean up against the wall, Chris thought, leaning himself, running his hands over his slick stomach, because it would be too hard to keep his balance otherwise. And he'd tip his head back and water would run into his eyes. And he'd be hard and hot and wet, and maybe he'd touch his nipple like this and maybe he'd move his hips just a little, like he was fucking his hand and pretending it was me, and maybe he likes it slow all the way through so he can feel it building in the pit of his stomach and his balls and --

"Chris?" JC said through the bathroom door.

Chris froze, one hand on his cock. "Yeah?"

"Do you have any more money? This guy needs a tip."

"Oh, um. On my dresser. Check there."


Chris moved his hand again, but it was no use. Touching himself now just felt dirty in the bad way. He turned off the water and grabbed a towel.

JC was on the couch eating pizza when Chris came out of the bedroom. He was only wearing a towel. His smile was laced with tomato sauce; he looked like a freshly fed vampire. Chris sat next to him and pretended that having a naked friend on his couch was totally normal.

"So," he said, very casually. "Why are you naked?"

"Mmm." JC wiped sauce off his mouth. "No clothes," he said.

"Yeah, that's what I meant by naked, C."

"No, I mean I didn't bring any clothes. I wasn't planning on staying."

"Oh," Chris said. "I'll get you some."

JC nodded and bit into another slice of pizza. He didn't seem to be in any hurry for clothes, Chris noticed. Maybe he could wait until it was almost time for bed before he found JC some stuff to wear. It would just be him and C, sitting around, naked, watching some TV. No big deal.

Then JC dropped some sauce on his chest. He swiped at it and stuck his finger in his mouth, smiling and shaking his head at Chris.

"So, sweatpants okay?" Chris asked.

They stayed up and watched Letterman and when JC leaned over and pulled Chris down against his shoulder, Chris let him. JC smelled like Chris' soap and Chris' shampoo and Chris' fabric softener, but he still seemed like a stranger, even in Chris' favorite sweatshirt. His laugh sounded like the call of an exotic bird.

"How are you feeling?" he asked during one of the commercials. His hand was in Chris' hair, tugging gently.

"Okay," Chris said. "Tired."

"You can probably sleep now," JC said. "You should be alright."

"Mmm." Chris pushed himself away, his hand on JC's narrow ribs. The guy was so skinny. "You wanna share?"

JC looked up. "If that's cool," he said. "Your couch is a little - -"

"Crappy?" Chris said. It was. He'd found it on the street.

"I was gonna say short," JC said.

"Oh. I'm gonna go lie down."

"I'll be in in a minute," JC said. "I want to see this."

"You want to see Ricky Martin," Chris said, poking at him.

JC ducked away and nodded. "I really like his music," he said.

"I bet you do," Chris said, poking again. JC slapped at his hands like a girl. The sad thing was that JC probably did like his music; he didn't lie about things like that.

Chris brushed his teeth and went to bed, making sure to stay far to one side so that there would be room for JC. He was too worked up to sleep, thinking about JC in his bed, his warm skin, the thin layer of sweat behind his knees, his narrow hands.

He jerked awake when the bed moved.

"It's just me," JC said, pressing one hand to Chris' shoulder. "Go back to sleep."

"JC," Chris murmured. "JC, JC, JC." He rolled with the dip of the mattress, coming to rest against JC's body. JC shook a little with amusement, hooked an arm around Chris' shoulders. He smelled so good. Chris buried his face in JC's chest and squeezed him. He was so good.

"Yeah," JC said. "You okay?"

"He ain't crazy, he's my baby," Chris said, tapping JC's chest for emphasis.

"Night, Chris," JC said. Chris meant to say good night, but his mouth couldn't form the words.

He woke up stuck to JC's back, one hand gripping JC's hip, his hard- on pressed to JC's ass. He let himself stay there for a second, just imagining how it would be if he could slide his hands into JC's pants, kiss the back of his neck, lick his ear. Then he got up and went to brush his teeth.

His head felt okay.

no sex,
no drugs,
no wine,
no women,
no fun,
no sin,
no you,
no wonder it's dark

Turning Japanese
The Vapors

Chris couldn't keep it a secret forever, not when he couldn't stop staring at JC, hoping for his shirt to ride up or his pants to fall down or something. Anything.

"What's wrong with JC?" Lance asked him one morning at rehearsal.

"Huh?" Chris said. Lance sat next to him, his hands folded in between his knees, his eyes on JC, who was doing stretches on the floor. If he was sitting with his legs spread, he could grab the sole of his foot. It was inhuman.

"You keep looking at him, like you're waiting for him to do something," Lance said.

"No I don't," Chris said.

Lance glanced over at him, one eyebrow raised. The problem with Lance was that he was too quiet. He would sit in a corner and think about things and figure things out and Chris didn't like it one little bit. Lance was a spying sneaky kid. "Whatever," he said.

"That's right," Chris said. Lance got up and walked away.

Chris knew that wasn't the end of it, though, because Lance went right over to Joey and murmured something in his ear. Lance and Joey were tight in that annoying tell-each-other-everything way that Chris and Justin used to be tight until Chris started wanting to put his hands down JC's pants. Sure enough, Joey looked over at him. Chris made a face. Fucking Lance.

"So, you like JC," Joey said to him while they were washing their hands in the bathroom.

"Look, I'm sorry to have to tell you this, man, but Lance is a liar. He lies about everything."

"He didn't say that you liked JC. I said it." Joey wiped his hands on a balled-up paper towel.

"Yeah, well. What the hell do you know?" Chris asked.

"I know what you look like when you want to fuck someone," Joey said. He threw the paper towels at the trashcan. Two points. Motherfucker. "I'll see you in there," he said.

"Sure, fine." Chris scowled at his reflection in the mirror. He did not "like" JC. He didn't.

His paper towel ball bounced off the rim of the trashcan and landed on the floor.

Since no one could fucking keep a secret to save their lives, Justin heard about it at lunch break while JC was off in the bathroom or something.

"Really?" Justin asked. "Is that why you haven't been calling me? Because you're in love with JC?"

"I have too been calling you," Chris said, even though he really hadn't. "And I'm not fucking 'in love' with JC. I just. He's really, um."

"Hot," Lance said.

"Sweet," Joey said.

"Freakaliscious," Justin said.

"Flexible! Okay? He's just. You know." Chris made waving motions with his hands. He didn't know exactly what he did mean, but it sure as fuck wasn't "freakaliscious."

"He is pretty flexible," Justin said. "He can put his head on his knee."

Lance nodded sagely. Lance, like Chris, wasn't very flexible at all.

"Oh god," Joey said. He stared at Chris. "Can he, um ..."

Chris shook his head. "I don't know," he said. He didn't, that was true, and there was no way he was going to tell what C had told him. You could be too honest about things, even with your friends. Plus, he didn't want Joey thinking about it.

"Whoa," Justin said. "What if he can?"

"What if who can?" JC asked.

"What if LeVon can bench press more that Justin," Lance said, quickly. Chris smirked at Joey.

"You're just going to have to do some more lifting," JC said, patting Justin on the head. "No big, J."

"Yeah," Justin said, his eyes bright with laughter. "No big. Sit here," he said, sliding away from Chris and patting the open space between them. JC did.

"So how much can LeVon lift?" he asked, reaching for a sandwich. "Ow, Justin, you're crowding me."

"Sorry," Justin said, and moved about an inch away. JC was pressed all along Chris' side, and Justin was acting like a fucking junior high kid, which would have been annoying if it weren't for the fact that Justin practically was a junior high kid.

They talked some more about LeVon, who was really just a huge guy and could probably bench press all of them if he wanted, but Chris didn't pay much attention. JC was sitting next to him, moving with the conversation, his leg lined up along Chris' and his elbow bumping Chris' arm. At one point, JC glanced over at him. "Sorry," he said, and put his arm around Chris' back, his hand spanning Chris' spine for a good couple of minutes, until he needed it for an emphatic gesture. Chris kept his eyes on his sandwich: he didn't feel like looking up and seeing Joey or Justin smirking at him. When C took his hand away, Chris got up and went to the bathroom. He splashed water on his face and then stared into the drain for a long time.

When he came back out, JC and Justin had their shirts off.

Chris pretended not to notice Justin winking at him. Hell was having a high school kid do you a favor.

So it turned out it actually was possible, giving yourself head, although it didn't look all that fun to Chris. Mostly, guys would sort of lie down and press their backs against the wall and tip their feet over their heads like they were doing somersaults and Chris didn't even know how they were breathing, let alone enjoying themselves. It just didn't seem fun.

And when he tried it he ended up hurting his neck. Bad.

I just want to get close to you,
find out what it takes to move you.

All Day Long I Dream About Sex
JC Chasez

JC came over right away. Chris had had the good sense to put pants on before he arrived, but a shirt had been too much -- he could hardly lift his hands over his head.

"Hey!" JC said. "What happened?"

"I hurt my neck," Chris said. He'd clearly said that on the phone.

"Yeah, but what happened?" JC asked again.

Chris shrugged, even though the only reason he called JC was because JC wouldn't laugh at him when he explained it. "I just hurt it."

JC simply waited.

"Okay, I was, um. Trying something. Something sexy. And it wasn't sexy at all and I hurt myself, happy now?"

"Oh, honey, you have to stretch first." JC turned him around and shoved him gently toward the bedroom, his fingers digging into the flesh of Chris' shoulders.

"You stretch?" Chris said, but when he tried to turn his head, the pain was blinding.

"Just shut up and lie down," JC said, and went into the bathroom. Chris crawled up the bed and pulled the pillows down from the pile he'd created during his little sexcapade, so they were flat.

"Hey, we're going to call this a sexcapade," he called to JC.

"Where's your lotion?" JC asked, leaning out the bathroom door.

"Um." Chris pulled open the drawer of his nightstand.

JC rolled his eyes.

"Hey, it's convenient," Chris said.

"Lie on your stomach," JC said, poking at him.

"What, on our first date?" Chris asked, but rolled onto his stomach. "Did you hear me about the sexcapade?" he asked.

"I heard you," JC said. He climbed over Chris and sat down on his butt. "How's this?" he asked.

"Eh," Chris said, closing his eyes. JC's butt was bony and somehow sexy.

"Okay," JC said. "You have to tell me if this hurts." He squirted a blob of lotion onto Chris' shoulders.

"That doesn't hurt," Chris said.

Then JC touched him.

"Ow! OW!OW!OW!" Chris said.

"Shush." JC squeezed his shoulders again. "You're fine."

"You said if it hurt--" Chris said, ready to voice his complaints, but then JC smacked him across his ass, and Chris didn't have any complaint about that.

"I can't believe you," JC said. Chris said nothing. He wasn't even thinking in words anymore, he was pretty sure. JC's fingers pressed down the bones of Chris' spine one at a time, releasing heat. Sometimes, he would bear down with his entire hand, his weight shifting off of Chris' butt and into his palms on Chris' upper back. He massaged the sides of Chris' neck cautiously. It became a sort of a rhythm -- JC's fingers, then his knuckles, then his palms -- and Chris breathed into it. He started anticipating the weight shift that would come when JC leaned in, the way the mattress would move under him, pulling away from his thighs and groin when JC would tip onto his toes and rising up again as JC sat back. He felt JC's thighs curved over his hips when he pushed, squeezing into Chris' sides. He started wanting it.

Finally, JC leaned forward, his hands flat on Chris' shoulders. "Better?" he said, in Chris' ear.

"Mmm," Chris said. He would just lie here quietly until he was capable of getting up without humiliating himself. JC would understand. JC was a very understanding person.

JC was licking his ear.

"Hey," Chris said, but JC pushed his head gently back onto the mattress.

"Sorry," he whispered in Chris' ear. He didn't sound sorry. "Sorry, I just. You should let me."

"Let you what?" Chris whispered back. He didn't know who he was afraid of overhearing. Maybe JC, who was clearly going to snap out of it any second.

"Shh," JC whispered, and licked him again.

Chris shushed.

What was weird was the whole thing smelled like Chris was jerking off. It was because of the lotion -- the neutral non-scent of the unscented lotion that Chris usually used to jerk-off, most recently while thinking about JC -- was smeared all over JC's hands, which were jerking him off. It was the masturbatory equivalent of an M.C. Escher drawing, and it was hot.

JC had rolled him onto his side and slid forward so that they were all tangled up together, JC's thigh between Chris' legs, his one arm under Chris' head. He had pressed his forehead against Chris'. His eyes were dark and deep and blue. "Can I kiss you?" he'd whispered, and his mouth was so close that they were practically kissing already.

"Yeah," Chris had whispered back.

JC had one hand on his waist and used it to tug him closer. His mouth was soft against Chris', and barely wet, and his tongue was gentle and dizzying and Chris didn't even realize that his pants were open until JC's hand closed around his cock and squeezed.

"Oh," JC said, staring right into Chris' eyes. They kissed again, Chris' hands tangled in JC's hair, and JC's hand slid over his cock. It was slippery already from the lotion and JC didn't fuck around teasing him; he just made a fist with Chris' dick inside it and moved.

Chris hooked his arm around JC's neck and breathed. His mouth was near JC's ear and he tried to kiss it, do something to express his gratitude for JC's incredible hands, but all he could do was gasp for hair and pulse his hips into JC's fist.

"JC," he hissed. "JC, please." JC pressed his mouth against Chris' and sped up.

JC brought him a towel afterwards, folding it into his hand because Chris couldn't open his eyes.

"Thanks," Chris murmured. JC curled up on the bed behind him and pulled his braids back from his face. He pressed a kiss onto Chris' neck.

"You're welcome," he whispered.

Chris dropped the towel off the far side of the bed. "C," he said. "Do you want ... something? Can I ..."

"I'm fine," JC mumbled into Chris' neck. "You can owe me."

"You're taking a raincheck on sex?" Chris asked, opening his eyes. All he could see was the curtains and the bottle of lotion on the far side of the mattress and JC's hand folded over his chest.

"Mmm," JC said. It was his sleeping "mmm."

"Okay," Chris said. "I mean, if that's how you're--"

JC clamped his hand over Chris' mouth. It smelled like lotion.

They were boyfriends after that, Chris supposed. He wasn't sure, because he'd never had a boyfriend before, but a guy who slept over every night and made you sandwiches and wore your clothes and sucked your dick was probably your boyfriend, Chris figured.

"That's all of us," Joey pointed out, after he caught Chris and JC making out in the back of the bus during a break in rehearsals.

"None of the rest of you has sucked my dick," Chris said.

Joey didn't seem to think that was important. "Whatever," he said. "Everything else. Lance gave you a backrub yesterday."

"My back hurt," Chris said. "And he's never sucked my dick."

"All I'm saying is if you're judging by sandwiches and who sleeps over, you're dating all of us," Joey said.

"I judge by dick," Chris said. Joey just shrugged.

"How can you tell if someone's your boyfriend?" he asked JC that night. JC, who was watching some PBS documentary about the Nile River with his arms wrapped around his knees, glanced back over his shoulder.

"I don't know." He shrugged, craning his neck toward the television. "He sucks your dick?"

"Thank you!" Chris said. "That's what I'm saying!"

"But that's more like ... just sex," JC said. "I mean, a lot of times --" he looked at Chris. "-- a couple of times, you know, I've, um, with. You know. People in clubs or whatever, and there wasn't. We weren't boyfriends or girlfriends or whatever."

"What the hell are you talking about?"

JC leaned back on his elbows. He had that crinkled face that meant he was thinking. Once Chris poked him between the eyes when he was making that face. JC had gotten really mad. He took the thinking face seriously.

"I mean," he said, "that boyfriends should do more than just sex. Like, they should care about you for more than just sex. Boyfriends should know stuff about you. Personal stuff, like --"

"Like how you like your sandwiches?" Chris said.

JC smiled up at him. "Yeah. That kind of stuff," he said, and he looked too cute with his happy upside-down smile for Chris to be pissed about it. Fucker.

"How do you know if you're dating someone or just fucking them?" Chris asked Lance the next morning while they were alone in the hotel restaurant. Neither he or Lance was good at sleeping in, Chris because he was just too hyperactive to sleep late and Lance because he was a boring old person in a nineteen year old's body.

Lance turned the page of the Wall Street Journal. "You're dating him," he said, without looking up.

"That is not an answer to my question," Chris said. "Plus, how do you know?"

Lance lifted his eyes from the paper. "It's JC," he said. "He only fucks strangers."

Chris didn't have anything to say to that.

"Isn't it weird?" Justin asked him that very same day, while JC was blocking out dance moves on the stage and he and Justin were goofing off. Justin didn't want to be goofing off, he wanted to be working with JC, but Chris wouldn't let him. He was too young not to fuck around more.

So they were sitting in the fifth row, and JC was wandering around the stage pantomiming the dance moves and half-singing, half-whispering to himself, and looking like the complete dork that he was.

Chris shrugged. "I don't know," he said, because he didn't. Sometimes, like right now, the idea of him and JC was weird. He couldn't imagine how they could get from this moment to the moment that would undoubtedly happen later, when JC would kiss him and touch his dick and maybe let Chris fuck him. Just the thought of kissing JC was strange and alien and made Chris' stomach twist a little.

Other times, though. He couldn't imagine anything else.

"Well, I think it would be weird," Justin said.

"What? You only touch Lance's dick?" Chris asked.

Justin flushed red. "Shut up!" he whispered. "You're not supposed to say anything about that!"

"What?"Chris asked, really loud. "The fact that you put your hand on Lance's dick, Justin?"

"Shut the hell up!" Justin smacked him, hard, on the arm. "It was only, like, twice."

"Twice a week," Chris said, but he used his indoor voice, so Justin would know he was stopping.

"And I never, you know, with him. I like girls."

"Lance looks sort of like a girl," Chris said, but he wasn't really paying attention, because Joey had gone up on stage and was talking to C, and JC was smiling a smile so bright that Chris thought he was going to go blind from it.

"No, he doesn't!" Justin said.

Joey grabbed JC and threw him over his shoulder. JC's laughter sounded like the screech of a whooping crane. "Chris!" he gasped, holding out his arms. Joey swung him around. "Chris! Save me!"

Chris smiled his own biggest widest smile, a smile JC would not be close enough to evaluate. "Sorry, C," he said. "You're on your own."

They had sex that night in Chris' hotel room and afterwards JC curled up and went to sleep, his nose buried into the sheets, one hand on Chris' arm. Chris didn't sleep. He wanted to, he meant to, but JC's presence kept distracting him, forcing his eyes open.

JC slept hard, his face pressed into the pillow, a small furrow in between his eyebrows. He slept like he meant it.

Chris sighed.

Chris sighed again.

Chris shifted around on the mattress a little and sighed again.

"Mmmm," JC said. His hand tightened around Chris' arm, but he didn't really wake up.

That was probably good, since Chris knew the only thing he wanted was for JC to wake up so that Chris could say things like "I need some space" and "maybe we should cool it" even though he was already totally cool and had all the space he ever wanted.

All he ever needed.

"So tell me what to do now," he hummed quietly, then looked over at JC. JC didn't move.

"Fuck," Chris said, and rolled over. If JC wasn't going to wake up and fight with him, then he might as well sleep.

He was wearing a leather jacket and he smelled of that and cologne and heat, and when Chris leaned in his long dark hair brushed Chris' cheek. Chris wanted to bite his throat.

Then they were naked, one the white sheets in a room so cold that all Chris wanted to do was move, get under the covers, get inside, but he couldn't. Someone kept slipping away from him. Someone laughed at him, affectionately, not in a bad way, and then there was a hand on his dick. Chris lifted his head and looked and he didn't know the guy. The hand moved.

"Chris," the stranger said in JC's voice.

"JC," Chris said back. His dick was so hard. He could feel the muscles in his stomach fluttering. NotJC's hand was slick. It stroked him. "JC," Chris said.

"Chris," the guy whispered in JC's voice, but this time the guy's lips didn't move and that was how Chris knew he was waking up.

He opened his eyes.

JC smiled down at him, propped up on one elbow, his hand curved over Chris' dick. "Morning," he said.

Chris told himself that he didn't want to open his legs and lie back, but he didn't know what else he did want to do, so he fell back into the pillows and closed his eyes. He said JC's name when he came.

Of course, he still found JC hot. That was kind of ironic-in-a-way- that-makes-you-long-for-death way. Here he was, actually fucking JC, bending him over on a regular basis, and all he could think about was how to get away from him so he could go back to jerking off over him.

"Oh, sure," Joey said.

Chris eyed him suspiciously. "Sure?" he said.

Joey took a bite of his sandwich. "I know what you mean," he said. "There was this girl --"

"No," Chris said. Every time Joey started a story about a girl he had to describe her boobs and Chris just wasn't up to it. Plus, there was just no way that Joey knew how he felt.

"Hey, fuck you," Joey said. "I'm trying to help, okay?"

Chris rolled his eyes. "Okay."

"So there was this girl, right? Anna? She worked at Universal. Red hair, big breasts, but really pale skin. You know who I'm talking about?"

Chris, who when he looked at chicks was more of a leg man, shook his head. "No, but do go on. This is really helping."

"Hey, who came to me all 'I'm sleeping with JC and I'm so sad about it'?"

Chris sighed. "Okay, so. Anna Big Boobs. Take it away, Joe."

"Anna's hot. Completely fucking scorching. All I can think of everyday is going by Customer Service and saying hello to her because - -"

Chris held up his hand. "Wait. You dated the red-headed girl from Customer Service? The one with the great smile."

"Anna, yeah."

"The girl who would give everyone free passes whenever they asked? The cool girl?" Chris remembered her. Not her rack, but the way she always seemed so nice, even when she was clearly having a shitty day, but would still say "hey, baby, how's it going?" and smile whenever he came by. He'd never known her name.

"Okay, not the point," Joey said. "The point is, man, that once I got her --"

Anna had been one of the coolest people he'd known at Universal and Joey had known her. Fucked her. Not that Joey wasn't also cool, but still. He remembered her looking up from the counter and smiling. It was a good memory.

"I gotta go," Chris said, standing up.

"What?" Joey said. "Chris--"

"Sorry," Chris said. He went and sat in the bathroom, staring at his knees, until it was time to go to rehearsal.

But it wasn't like he could keep pretending forever, not with JC all sleeping in his bed every night and taking his shirts right out of his bag without even asking.

"I didn't think you cared," JC said when Chris grabbed his red t- shirt back.

"Well. I do," Chris said.

"Oh." JC blinked a couple of times. "It's just. No, you're right. Okay. I should have asked." He smiled at Chris. "I'm sorry."

"Don't do it again," Chris mumbled, balling the shirt up in his hands. He didn't know why he cared at all, especially since he was wearing one of Joey's shirts and the red t-shirt was getting too small anyway, but he did. Something had clicked in him when he saw JC bent over, rummaging through his bag, smiling at the t-shirt like it was buried treasure or something. At that moment it had been vitally important that JC not have his red t-shirt.

"Okay," JC said. He put his hands on Chris' shoulders and squeezed. "I promise," he said.

"Don't promise," Chris said, squirming away. "Just don't, okay?"

"Okay," JC said. "I won't."

He sounded like he meant it, too, the fucker.

"He's apologizing, dumbass," Lance said, while everyone else was out wandering around a rest stop. The other guys were running up and down the grass. Chris almost, but not quite, hoped that one of them would slip in dog shit.

Lance cleared his throat. "You must be really good in bed, because you're being a jerk to him and he's totally making up to you."

Chris glared at Lance, but nothing happened. Lance was in a foul mood for some reason, and Chris couldn't intimidate him with a look. He moved to verbal assault. "What's wrong, Bass?" he asked. "Justin not yanking your chain often enough?"

Lance just scowled at him. "Not since you screwed him up about it," he said. "It's not enough that you mess with JC, but you gotta mess with Justin, too? You're a dick." He got up and walked away.

"He is not making up to me," Chris muttered at Lance's back.

But he was. JC was bringing him sandwiches and playing only music he liked and kept looking over at him like he was waiting for Chris to say something. Over a shirt.

"Look," Chris said, after JC had re-filled his iced tea glass for the fourth time. "It's cool, okay? You don't have to be all nice or whatever. You're making me pee."

JC smiled. "Can I wear your shirt, then?"

"Yes, fine. Wear the shirt." Chris flopped his head against the back of the couch. "Wear all my shirts. Wear everything I own, my shirts, my pants. Hell, JC, wear my underwear on your head like a hat if you want."

JC, already digging in Chris' bag, looked up horrified. "Gross, Chris," he said.

"It was your idea," he said.

JC shook his head at him like Chris had picked his nose and ate it. "You're crazy," he said and took off his shirt. Chris wanted to scream. He didn't know why.

If I had a chance, I'd ask the world to dance ...

Dancin' With Myself
Billy Idol

It went on like that for a while. JC would do something stupid like take his shirt or borrow his headphones or hog the blankets at night and Chris would get all bent out of shape about it and JC would apologize and be nice to him and they wouldn't break up. Chris didn't know why they didn't break up, since he kept doing things to JC to make him mad, but it never worked. Sometimes, JC got mad, but never mad enough to say something like "fine! Fuck you, Chris!" He'd just say "fine!" and walk away. JC was a shitty boyfriend, that way.

"Well, maybe you could try breaking up with him," Joey said.

Chris rolled his eyes. He'd gone to Joey for tips on how to get JC to dump him because with all the girls Joey had been with he had to be an expert at that by now, but Joey just hadn't been very cooperative. "You're not helping. What do you do?"

"When a girl won't take the hint and dump me?"

Chris nodded.

"When she won't just leave, even though I've hinted and hinted that I have no interest in her whatsoever?"

"Yeah, Joe."

"Hmm," Joey said. "I dump her," he said.

"God, you fuckin' suck," Chris said. "Really."

"Let me ask you, man," Joey said. "Why do you want break up with -- "

"I want him to break up with me --"

"Yeah, okay." Joey nodded. "I got that part. But why?"

Chris scowled at him. "Look, if you can't help me, forget it," he said.

Joey shrugged. "Sorry, man," he said. "I can't help you."

Chris sighed. The truth was, no one could.

He didn't know why he wanted JC to break up with him, but he did know why he couldn't break up with JC. It was the sex. JC was nasty in the sack in the best way. He kissed with his mouth open and fucked like an antelope on speed and lolled around afterwards like a slut and Chris loved every minute of it so much that the thought of taking the initiative to end it, to give up sucking JC's dick and fucking JC's ass and kissing JC's mouth with his own was just. There was just no way.

"Oh, yeah?" Justin asked. "That's great, Chris." He didn't sound like it was great, though. He sounded like he couldn't care less.

"I know it's fucked up, J, but seriously. I mean, could you give up Lance sucking your dick, like, voluntarily?"

Justin squinted at him. "Um," he said.

"Just think about it for a second," Chris said. "Lance, on his knees, with his tongue and his hand and everything, and you just saying 'no, never mind. Thanks, but no thanks.' That's just fucked up, right?" He wasn't thinking of Lance at all, but of JC two nights ago, his eyes dark as he slid to his knees, one hand on Chris' fly.

Justin shrugged. "Sure, I guess -"

"You guess!" Chris said. JC had licked him like a lollipop, slow and sweet. His knees had buckled and he'd been sitting down. Just thinking of it made his stomach flutter.

"You guess?" He shoved Justin's shoulder. "I'm telling you right now, J, that if I had Lance Bass opening my zipper on a regular basis that there would be no way I would end it on purpose. You know what I'm saying, right? Just imagine it."

"No, you're totally right," Justin said.

"Totally," Chris said. "If it were me, I'd have Lance suck -"

"I gotta go," Justin said. "I gotta go, um. Do something."

"Fine. Leave," Chris said. "Leave me alone to suffer in my misery, without a friend to comfort - hey! Justin!" But Justin was already gone.

JC fucked him that night, crawled up behind him and rolled him onto his stomach and fucked him roughly, the way Chris liked it, biting at his ear and the back of his neck. Afterwards, he lay flat on Chris' back and hugged him, his arms and legs tight around Chris' body. Chris felt used and tired and so blissed out that when JC murmured "do you love me?" in his ear, Chris couldn't say anything but yes.

JC fell asleep right there, across Chris' spine. Chris could feel his heartbeat and his breath slow down. He counted almost a thousand heartbeats before he lost track and dozed off.

In the morning, nothing had changed. JC got up and brushed his teeth and handed Chris a towel when he got out of the shower and kissed him good morning and life was totally the same. Only Chris was in love.

He was kind of freaked out about it and wanted to tell someone, but Joey just turned up the volume on the television set and Justin was in Lance's room and wouldn't open the door, so there was only JC.

"So, I'm kind of freaked out," he said to JC. JC set down his notebook.

"It's 'cause of what you said, right?" he asked.

Chris shrugged, but he said "yeah."

JC smiled. "I knew it. Don't worry about it," he said. "I was kidding with you."

"Yeah," Chris said again. He wanted to act like he was blowing the whole thing off, but he must have done a crap-ass job, because JC crawled up on the bed and put his arms around him.

"I was kidding," JC murmured, sliding his leg between Chris'. "If you were kidding." He shoved a hand under Chris' shirt and kissed his neck. He pressed his hips up against Chris and moved. "Were you?" he whispered in Chris' ear.

"I, um," Chris said, but he was having a hard time concentrating. JC's hands were on his skin and his voice was in his ear and his hips and his thigh and his mouth and Chris said "no, I wasn't. No," right before he put his hands on JC's ass and pulled him close. It was only later, afterwards, that he realized that he was telling the truth.

"That's pretty fucked up, right?" Chris asked Lance while they were watching JC and Justin rehearsing on the stage. "To find out while I'm trying to break up with him."

"I guess," Lance said. JC and Justin were going through the dance routine again, roughing it on the new stage, which was a little bigger than the old one. They would to a few steps and find themselves all in each other's space again, like they were dancing in a little club or something and not on the whole stage they had now. Lance watched carefully, like he was trying to memorize every move. He always had trouble with the dancing.

"I mean, it's completely fucked up. I was trying to break up with him, Lance. And the whole time I was all in love with him." He smacked Lance on the shoulder. "Can you imagine that?"

"Yeah," Lance said, staring at Justin, even though Justin was doing Tearing Up My Heart, which even Lance already knew by heart. "Totally."

"So," Chris said one night, lying in bed while JC pulled on his underwear and turned on the TV. He couldn't watch television in the nude - it made him self-conscious, like the actors were staring at him.

"Hmm." JC sat on the edge of the mattress flipping channels. He stopped at a nature show. JC loved the nature shows, especially the ones about how life in the desert was renewed by the spring rains where the flowers bloomed in fast-forward. He glanced over his shoulder. "Do you think this is one with crocodiles?"

Chris glanced at the screen. It looked like a safe bet that there weren't any crocodiles - it was a documentary about the Great Plains. "You're cool," he told JC. "I was wondering something."

"Hmm," JC asked, leaning forward, his elbows on his knees.

"You remember a while ago. Before. When you were going to, um, learn something. Remember?"

JC shrugged. "Maybe," he said. "Do you think this one has wolves in it?"

"No," Chris said. "No wolves. Do you remember when you were trying to learn something?"

JC turned and looked at him. "Oh," he said. "Sure. Yeah."

"So. Whatever. You know. What happened with that?" Chris plucked at the bedspread.

JC smiled at him. "You're kidding, right?"

Chris made a face. "No," he said. "I'm not. Throw me a bone here, okay? Can you or what?"

JC flopped back on the bed and Chris could see the long line of his body, his stomach, the soft bulge of his underwear. "Sure," JC said.

Chris blinked. "What?"

JC lifted his legs up in the air and brought them over his head, his stomach muscles flexing easily. His feet came up over his head and just kept coming until he poked Chris in the chest with his big toe. Then, in one swift fluid motion he was lying on his back again, his feet on the floor. "Sure," he said.

"Wow," Chris said. "Wow, JC."

JC smiled, a bright sunny smile. "Thanks."

"Um. But you don't. I haven't." He sighed. "Oh, fuck it. Why didn't you show me?"

JC shrugged. "I don't do it much. In fact, like, never, really. I only did it, like, twice."

Chris blinked. "Twice," he said.

"Well, Chris," JC said, sitting up and leaning forward. There were deer or antelope or some herd of something running across the screen. JC loved herds of animals. Chris didn't know why. It had something to do with the way they moved, Chris thought. "That's what I have you for. Besides," he said. "It really hurt my neck."

"Fucker," Chris said, and shoved him with one foot. JC smiled, fast and over his shoulder. The line of his back was the most beautiful thing Chris had ever seen.

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