by >>Jae

"That's not what I said and you know it," Justin yelled, and slammed a hand against the steering wheel. Lance's steering wheel. Even though it was Lance's car, Justin was driving, of course, because apparently Justin's dick would fall off if he ever had to ride shotgun while a non-professional drove. "It's emasculating," Justin had explained when Lance tried to take the keys, in the slow, awed voice he used for scraps of psychobabble he found particularly impressive. Justin had no idea why Lance might find that explanation insulting or enraging.

Or maybe Justin did. Maybe Justin was trying to make Lance explode in fury, because really, why else would Justin have found it even remotely appropriate to add, "Britney never minded"?

"Britney," Lance growled, "can't be emasculated. She doesn't have a dick." He paused, then added, "At least, not that I know of. Although that would explain how you managed to stay with her so long --"

Justin smacked the steering wheel again, and if Lance found any damage tomorrow, he was sending Justin the bill. Justin took a few deep breaths and then smiled. It was a special smile, a smile Lance knew very well. It was Justin's I'm-about-to-drive-Lance-insane smile. "You know," Justin said, "this isn't really about me driving, or Brit, or any of that. You know that, right?"

Lance didn't say anything, but only because he didn't trust himself to. Not because he couldn't come up with an answer to that lame statement.

Justin glanced over at him and continued in the same calm voice. "This is really about your control issues."




Lance tried to laugh dismissively, but he was so angry it came out as a choked bark and Justin shot him a strange look. But really. Really. Justin thought Lance had control issues? Justin thought Lance had control issues? Justin thought LANCE had control issues? Justin, a man who was umbilically linked to the TV remote, thought --

"You think I have control issues?" Lance said.

Justin shrugged delicately and kept his eyes on the road. "Well, you do," he said.

Justin was still wearing his smug smile and Lance thought that he'd never wanted anything -- not the band, not space, not anything -- more than he wanted to knock that smile off Justin's face. Not that he would. Lance could never hit anyone he loved. No matter how self-righteous and self-satisfied and just plain awful that person might be.

Besides, while he could never hit Justin, Lance knew exactly what would happen if he did. Chris would try to beat him up, and Joey would be all quietly concerned and angry and, "Man, man, what were you thinking?" and JC would be so upset he wouldn't be able to talk about it for a few days, and then he'd get so mad that he might try to beat Lance up, which would just be embarrassing for all concerned. In the end there would be an intervention and Lance would be shipped off to some kind of relationship rehab where he'd have to listen to Justin talk about Lance's control issues for the rest of his life.

Besides, Lance thought as he snuck a look over at Justin, he kind of thought Justin could take him.

Justin was still smiling, and Lance had had enough. He did what he always did when Justin made him this angry. "Pull over," Lance said.

"We're in the middle of nowhere, Lance."

"Pull over," Lance said. Justin didn't even slow down, so Lance unlocked the door and started to open it.

"Jesus Christ," Justin said. He pulled over. Lance opened the door and got out. Justin tipped his head back against the seat. "Lance, come on."

Lance ignored him and started walking down the shoulder of the road. He knew Justin hated it when he left in the middle of a fight. That was exactly why he did it. Justin followed him in the car for a while, driving very very slowly and pleading with Lance to get in, but Lance just kept walking. Finally Justin shouted, "Fine!" and took off.

It was very dark once the taillights disappeared. There were no streetlights out here, and no sidewalks to walk on. It was a little different storming off in the middle of the city, where there were bodyguards and limos and even taxis, in a pinch. Here it was just the deserted two-lane blacktop and the woods and Lance.

Lance shook himself and pulled out his phone. There were hundreds of people who'd love to come pick up Lance Bass. Thousands, even.

Of course, that number did get a little smaller when he subtracted the people not within driving distance of the middle of nowhere, Mississippi.

Lance scrolled through a few numbers and thought. The number got even smaller when he subtracted the people he'd rather not have know he was standing alone in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere due to what the uncharitable might call a temper tantrum. Still, that still left a lot -- well, several people. He started dialing.

Fifteen minutes later, Lance was forced to face the fact that the number of people who'd love to come pick up Lance Bass who were within driving distance, already aware of Lance's temper, and who answered their fucking phones was a very, very small number. Lance looked at his phone and then down the dark road in front of him. He sighed and took a few steps. Then he sighed again.

He called the only person he could think of who would come pick him up.

Five minutes hadn't passed before Lance saw the car pull up, which meant Justin hadn't even tried to drive home. He must have pulled over as soon as he was out of sight. It didn't make Lance any happier to think that Justin had been waiting to gloat over him. He decided that there was absolutely no way he'd be the one to apologize.

Justin didn't look up when Lance got into the car, just mumbled, "Hi," and stared down at the steering wheel. He looked kind of upset, and Lance thought that maybe Justin hadn't pulled over to gloat. Lance felt a little bad.

They drove for a while in silence, each of them staring out at the dark road. Lance noticed that Justin had managed to change all the radio station settings while he was waiting, and he didn't feel quite so bad for Justin anymore. In fact, Lance didn't feel quite so bad about anything anymore. He wasn't going to apologize or anything like that, because he wasn't wrong, but he was starting to feel like maybe the fight wasn't that important. At least not compared to something really important. Like, say, makeup sex.

Lance looked over at Justin and thought maybe he didn't feel like the fight was that important, either. Justin was smiling, not the smug smile that had infuriated Lance earlier but a looser, wider one that Lance liked a lot more. As Lance watched, Justin licked his lips and cast a quick sidelong glance over at Lance.

"Baby," Justin said, low. There was something strange about his voice.

"Are you getting a cold?" Lance said. "You sound hoarse."

"Baby," Justin said again, even lower, and this time Lance knew what was strange about his voice. There was a false note in it, artificial, as if Justin were trying to imitate someone.

"Don't you fucking start with me, Timberlake," Lance said.

"Baby," Justin said, much lower this time, "can you come get me?" Then he burst into laughter, shaking with high-pitched giggles. One of these days Lance was going to tell him how much like a like a fourteen-year-old girl that laugh made him sound. Not today, though. Lance had something else to do today.

"That's it," Lance said. Justin kept laughing.

"Pull over," Lance said.

Justin stopped laughing. "Jesus Christ," he said. "Do we have to start this all over again?" But Lance didn't have to start opening the door this time. Justin pulled over to the side of the road and turned the car off. "I'm not even gonna bother driving away this time, cause you'll just be calling me again in ten minutes, so --"

Lance reached over and took the keys.

"What are you doing?" Justin said.

"Get in the back," Lance said.

"What, you're driving now?"

Lance looked up and down the road. They'd be able to see any cars coming from miles away. Besides, no one knew better than Lance just how deserted this road was. He looked over at Justin, who was still sitting in the driver's seat with his arms crossed stubbornly over his chest. "Did you hear me?" Lance said.

"I'm not just gonna --"

"Get in the back," Lance said, "and take your clothes off."

That got Justin moving. He climbed over the gear shift, already pulling off his T-shirt. "What're we doing?" he said, but he was grinning.

Lance followed him into the back seat. "We're working out my control issues," he said.

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