V. Justin: Serious
Lance had been waiting with Joey for almost twenty minutes when Chris finally emerged grinning from his room. "Sorry, guys," he said, "But you're gonna have to eat without me. I promised JC I'd help calm that little fucker down."
Lance rolled his eyes. Joey said, "You know, if you all'd quit babying him, maybe he wouldn't act like that."
Chris said, "There's where you're wrong, Joe. I considered that at first, and if I thought there was a chance in hell this would be a learning experience, that he'd come out of this humbler, a sadder, wiser heartthrob, I'd say let him lose. But this isn't your typical Timberlake tantrum. The kid's falling apart here."
"Maybe that'd be good for him too," Lance said.
"Maybe for him, but not for the rest of us." Joey snorted, and Chris poked him in the chest. He bounced on his toes in a way that Lance recognized: riff coming up. "I'll tell you why. Lance, you'll understand this; you can explain it to this clown later. See, there's a whole lot resting on J's ego. I mean, let's say he freaks out, decides to move to Tibet and become a monk. He's already got the shaved head. Good for him, maybe, but not so good for us. And it's not just the four of us I'm thinking of. The end of 'N Sync means the end of a whole lot of jobs. And the music industry takes a big hit - we sell a lot of records, that's a lot of money right there. MTV goes under, Carson Daly has to live in a van down by the river, it's an American tragedy."
Lance opened his mouth and Chris pointed at him. "And it's not just that. What if all his fans decide to follow in his footsteps and suddenly it's trendy to meditate and help the poor? All those teenies out there "oom"-ing and giving alms instead of collecting boyband memorabilia. That's a big chunk out of the magazine industry, and that takes out part of the paper industry. Oh! Plus the whatever-the-hell-CDs-are-made-of industry, and the miscellaneous-crap-with-our-faces-on-it industry. We're talking a lot of cash here, boys. I don't know if the economy can survive Justin's crisis of confidence."
Chris looked at Lance's skeptical face and laughed. "Think of it like a government bailout. You hate to do it, you know he's been mismanaging the ego, throwing it around, wasting it on nightclub bouncers and b-list celebrities, but you don't think you can risk the fallout if he crashes."
"So you're saying that Justin's been right all along - he really is the center of the universe," Joey said.
"I'm saying that it's just possible that the American economy rests on Justin Timberlake's belief that he can sleep with anyone on the planet at any time."
"I see," Lance said. "It's our patriotic duty to make sure Justin sleeps with AJ."
"You got it, baby," Chris patted him on the back. "And I've got to go do my part." He opened the door to JC and Justin's room. "While you're at dinner, try to think of ways to make Justin sexier. The future of capitalism may depend on it."
"Hey!" Justin shouted from inside the room. "I'm plenty sexy!"
"That's the spirit, J!" Chris yelled cheerily as he closed the door behind him.
Joey laughed and looked at Lance. "You still wanna go out?"
"No," Lance said, "I'm not in the mood now."
Lance retreated to his room, feeling more annoyed than he knew the situation warranted. He picked up his cell phone and a sudden shiver crept down his spine. Some part of him knew it was a bad idea, but he ignored that part and dialed.
"Lance Bass. How the hell you doing, baby?"
"Hello, AJ," Lance said.
"What can I do for you?''
"Got a little piece of information you might be interested in."
"It's about Justin."
"Ah," AJ said. "Seems to me I should be asking you about Justin. Something along the lines of, why the hell is he on my jock all the time now? It's getting so I'm afraid to leave my room."
"Yeah," Lance said. "You don't need to know the reason why, it's an 'N Sync thing, but FYI, and I didn't tell you this: for one night only, if you catch him soon, he'd probably do anything you wanted. And it's, you'll excuse the expression, no strings attached."
"Intriguing," AJ said. "Tell me more."
"Nothing more to tell. There it is; use it if you want to."
"What angle is he working, and how is this gonna come back and bite me in the ass?"
"Nothing to do with you. I swear. You're an innocent bystander in this one."
"What, did he lose a bet or something?"
Lance paused. "Well, not yet."
"God," AJ laughed, "and they say we're the fucked-up ones."
"You know you can't believe what you read in the papers, AJ," Lance said. He was about to hang up when AJ said, "Lance?"
"I know you said I didn't need to know the reason, but I wanna know one thing. Is he screwing with JC somehow? Because, and I say this with the greatest respect and admiration, the rest of you are a bunch of twisted motherfuckers -"
"If you only knew," Lance said.
"But JC's a sweetheart, and I'm not gonna fuck with him."
"No," Lance said, "JC's cool with it."
"All right," AJ said. "Where are you guys going to be tonight?"
Lance told him. His fingers were cold as he closed his phone. As he headed for the shower, he tried to shake off the clammy chill of guilt that threatened to cover him. He was just doing what Chris told him to. After all, he was a patriot.
A few hours later he went looking for the others. He followed the sounds of Chris' laughter to JC and Justin's bathroom. Chris and Joey were clustered around the door, watching. Justin was sitting on the edge of the tub, his face turned up as JC bent carefully over him. With his thumbs he smudged the eyeliner at the corners of Justin's eyes. "There," he said. "Beautiful." Justin leaned in and kissed him lightly. When he pulled away, there was a smear of sparkles on JC's lips.
"What do you think?" Justin said, standing up. Chris whistled. Lance suddenly regretted calling AJ. AJ might think Justin was trouble, and he was certainly right, but Lance would like to see him try to resist this.
Justin was wearing black leather pants, laced up the front and cut so low Lance could put a hand in the hollow of his hip. He had on a sheer black shirt, all but two buttons open, that technically covered his navel, as long as he didn't move or breathe. The dark liner made his eyes spark and simmer, and a thin shimmer of gloss coated his lips wetly.
"I have a renewed faith in our economic system," Chris said.
"Wow," Joey said. "As a straight man, I have to say, there's no way AJ will turn you down."
"Joe," Chris said, "do you know what the word 'overcompensate' means?"
"What?" Joey said. "It's a compliment. I just mean that if even I think he looks hot, and I'm straight, there's no way someone not straight wouldn't want him. Except possibly a lesbian," he added.
"And who were you trying to compliment this morning when you said 'As a straight man, I want some more pancakes'?"
JC rested his chin on Justin's shoulder. "You guys better take off," he said.
"You're not coming?" Justin said.
"I'm kind of tired. I thought maybe I'd stay here."
"What did you expect, J?" Chris said. "You really think he wants to watch you all tarted up like a ten-dollar whore, picking up strange men in a seedy bar?"
"You know what," JC said, "let me get my coat."
AJ was already there when they arrived, standing on his own at the end of the bar. They huddled in a corner as JC gave Justin a last once over. "All right," JC said, squeezing Justin's hand, "if he turns you down tonight, I'm gonna tell Howie to have him committed."
"I'm feeling it, baby," Chris said. "Tonight's your night. That Backstreet Boy doesn't stand a chance."
"Justin," Lance said. Justin turned to him. "I've got a good feeling about tonight."
"Thanks," Justin said. He sent a dazzling smile Lance's way. "Sorry I was such a bitch to you before."
Lance mumbled something, and Justin turned away. Chris slapped his ass and said, "Get in there and make me proud!"
As Justin crossed the bar, JC murmured, "Chris, you're maybe a little too into this."
They watched Justin climb onto a stool next to AJ. AJ bought him a drink and rested a foot on one of the rungs of Justin's stool. He leaned in to say something to Justin. When he moved back, he left an arm draped along the stool's back. "Now we're getting somewhere," Joey said.
By the time he finished his drink, Justin was laughing and tracing a finger along one of AJ's tattoos. "All right," Chris said, "the kid's on fire tonight." Justin slipped off the stool to point out something on the other side of the bar, and AJ didn't pull back to give him room, but swayed just a little closer so their bodies were almost touching.
"Okay, baby," JC whispered, "now look down and then look up through the lashes."
Chris shot a look at him as Justin did just that. "You know," Chris said, "you two are officially the weirdest couple I know."
"Shh," Joey said, "AJ's moving in." Lance watched, slumped in a corner of the booth, as AJ's hand slid off the back of the stool to cup Justin's ass. He swore he could hear Justin's gasp from across the room.
"Bingo!" Chris cried happily.
AJ leaned in and whispered something in Justin's ear, and Justin blushed immediately, bright red, and dropped his eyes. AJ grabbed his jacket and guided Justin out of the bar, one hand still on his ass.
In the limo, Justin sat in the corner opposite AJ and rubbed his hands nervously over his thighs. "Um, AJ," he said, "there's one thing."
"Just a minute, baby," AJ said, and leaned forward to say something to the driver. When he sat back, he smiled lazily at Justin. "Get your ass over here."
Justin slid warily along the seat. "Yeah," he said, "about what you said in the bar?"
AJ ran a thumb over Justin's lips and examined the film that came off on his skin. "Shiny," he said.
"Yeah, um, about what you said in the bar?" AJ looked at him, and Justin shivered a little at the look in his eyes. "I don't, um. I don't think I want to do that."
"You wanna go home?" AJ said mildly. He leaned forward and tapped on the partition.
"No, no," Justin said quickly. "It's not that."
AJ curled a hand lightly around the back of Justin's neck and tugged him closer. "Oh, I see," he said. "It's just nerves." His thumb stroked small circles on Justin's skin, and Justin tipped his head forward as AJ's fingers moved below the collar of his shirt.
"No," Justin said, "I don't," and AJ kissed him, tongue pressing insistently into his mouth, moving hotly until Justin grabbed the back of his head and pulled him closer. AJ tangled a hand in the laces of Justin's pants and yanked until Justin swung over and straddled his lap, still kissing him.
"Yes," AJ said against his lips, "you do," and he slid a hand over Justin's ass. Justin sat back and wiped a hand across his mouth. When he put his palm on AJ's chest, he saw a sparkling stripe on the back of his hand.
"I don't like that," Justin said. AJ took his hand off Justin's ass. "Not that," Justin said, and AJ grinned and put his hand back. "What you said, in the bar."
"You ever tried it?" AJ said.
"No," Justin said, blushing, "but I don't think I want to."
"Then what are you doing here?" AJ asked.
"I want you," Justin said, and leaned in to kiss him again. AJ let him kiss him, but when Justin started to squirm closer to him he held him back.
"Look," AJ said, "it's simple. I told you what I wanted to do tonight, and you left with me. If you changed your mind, if you don't want to, that's fine, that's cool, I'll drop you off. No hard feelings, just didn't work out. But don't fuck with me." Justin dropped his head to AJ's collarbone, and AJ put a hand under his chin and pushed it up roughly. "I'm serious, Justin."
"Okay," Justin whispered, and kissed AJ's throat.
"You staying?" AJ said. He hooked his thumb beneath the waist of Justin's pants and spread his hand out over the leather, not pressing or squeezing, just resting firmly over Justin's cock. Justin made a soft little noise and rolled his hips, but AJ kept his hand still. Justin rocked back and forth, his pelvis cradled between AJ's hands.
"Okay," Justin whispered, lower than before, and AJ smiled. AJ curled his hands, just a little, and Justin moaned. He knelt up a little higher and then bore down.
"Oh, you're staying," AJ murmured into his neck. "I'd bet on it."
Justin grew quiet when they left the limo, staring down at the floor of the elevator with his arms crossed over his chest. He followed AJ into his room and then stopped uncertainly. He took off his shoes and socks, put a hand to the buttons of the shirt. "You want me to -"
AJ put a hand on his shoulder and pushed him back gently into the wall. "Don't worry," he breathed. "I'll tell you exactly what I want." He ran his hands down over Justin's arms and pushed them up against the wall over his head. He dropped his hands to Justin's waist and kissed him hard, Justin's head rolling restlessly against the wall. Justin writhed against him, let his arms fall to his sides and then tangled one hand in AJ's hair, pressed the other against AJ's ass. AJ pulled back. Justin panted down at him. "Up," AJ said, and shoved Justin's arms back up over his head, "keep them there."
AJ dropped his mouth to Justin's shirt and mouthed Justin's nipples through the cloth. "Please," Justin said, and AJ laughed to himself. "What?" Justin said.
"You're always such a cocky bastard," AJ said, "bet you're usually a pushy little bitch in bed. Funny how one little word's got you all nervous." Justin dropped his eyes, and AJ kissed him lightly. "Oh, we're shy again," he said.
AJ ran a hand easily down Justin's chest, flicking the buttons of his shirt open. He tugged the shirt down till it tangled over Justin's shoulders. "Down," he said, and Justin dropped his arms so his shirt fell to the floor. Justin put his arms back up over his head, and AJ smiled. "Good boy," he said.
AJ knelt down, and Justin bucked and moaned even before AJ's mouth touched him. AJ took the laces of Justin's pants between his teeth and started to pull them loose. Justin moaned again, his fingers scrabbling frantically against the wall. He clasped his hands together desperately as his hips twisted beneath AJ's lips. AJ finally worked the laces open and dragged Justin's pants slowly down his legs. Justin stepped out of them as AJ knelt back on his heels, looking up at him. "Beautiful," AJ said.
He took Justin by the wrist and led him over to the bed. He sat down and pulled Justin to stand between his knees. One hand still loosely curled around Justin's wrist, AJ traced a gentle finger over Justin's stomach, along the crease where his thigh met his torso, up his side and over his shoulder. Justin stayed silent as long as he could, shifting on his feet and shivering under AJ's touch. AJ's finger skated over his collarbone, and Justin pressed forward and said, "AJ, come on."
AJ put a hand on Justin's stomach, holding him in place, and said, "We've got a problem, Justin."
"What?" Justin whined, squirming so AJ's hand slipped restlessly over his abdomen.
"See, first you were cool with it in the bar, then you said you didn't want to in the car, then you said you did." AJ's voice was soft and teasing. "You got me a little confused, baby." AJ moved his hand just a bit lower on Justin's stomach. Justin whimpered. "I think you've gotta ask me for it."
Justin looked at the floor. "I can't," he said.
"Then I'm going to stop," AJ said. His hand circled slowly on Justin's skin.
"Don't want to stop," Justin whispered. AJ's hand paused. "I. Oh. I," Justin said.
AJ smiled. "I'm torn," he said, voice low. "Part of me wants to tell you to relax and let yourself enjoy it, but the idea of watching you fight yourself all night is so fucking hot." He lifted his hand just an inch off Justin's skin, and Justin swayed forward. "So fucking hot," AJ said.
Justin took a long shuddering breath and looked at AJ. "I want you to," he said.
AJ smiled, put his hand back on Justin's stomach and rubbed soothingly. "Gotta say the word, baby," he said, and Justin blushed and bit his lip. AJ trailed a slow finger up his chest to the base of his throat. "Let it go, baby," he said, and Justin surged forward, put his mouth to AJ's ear and whispered. "My pleasure," AJ said. He pushed Justin back a little and pulled his own legs together.
Everything happened at once then, AJ's fingers sliding over the small of Justin's back and tumbling him forward over AJ's knees, the room spinning around him, AJ's voice, "fucking long legs, baby," AJ's hand heavy and hot and rough against his ass. Then a sudden sharp shock of absence as AJ's hand lifted, and then AJ's hand cracked down, and even though Justin knew it was coming he gasped and AJ said, "So fucking hot."
AJ's hand came down hard and fast. Justin chewed his lip, tried not to make any noise until a moan escaped and he felt AJ shift underneath him, heard AJ's breath quicken. Then he opened his mouth and strange little cries flew from his throat. AJ rolled his hips and said, "Ah, fuck, fuck." Justin's ass was burning and he squirmed a little on AJ's lap. His cock rubbed against the soft fabric of AJ's worn jeans, and Justin gasped and squirmed closer to him. "Oh, you bitch," AJ breathed, and Justin whimpered and rocked his hips up to meet AJ's hand.
Everything stopped, and Justin lay still, trying to catch his breath and trying not to think about meeting AJ's eyes. Then he felt a hand on his hip, pushing lightly, and he rolled off AJ's lap to stand between his knees again. He scrubbed his fists over his eyes until AJ said, "Hey. Don't do that." Justin dropped his hands to his sides and AJ ran his thumbs lightly over the delicate skin below Justin's eyes.
Justin kept his gaze on the floor as AJ's hands cupped his face softly. "Hey," AJ said, and Justin looked up reluctantly. But although AJ was smiling, it wasn't smug and knowing. It was a small smile, cautious, and he studied Justin carefully, as if he were looking for something. Justin's lips curved a little, shyly, and AJ's smile bloomed into a wide grin. "Hey," he said again, and Justin said, "Hey."
AJ put a hand on his shoulder and Justin crumpled gracefully until his ass hit his heels and he jerked up and hissed. "Got a problem there, sweetness?" AJ said, but his voice was light, good-natured. He already had his jeans unbuttoned. Justin didn't answer, just spread his knees wider, hunched over a little and sunk his lips down onto AJ's cock. "Oh, you dirty little boy," AJ said reverently.
Justin worked AJ's cock fast and as roughly as he dared, AJ's fingers moving over his head, struggling in vain for purchase in Justin's close-clipped hair. AJ clasped a hand around the back of Justin's neck when he came. When AJ let go, Justin wiped his mouth on AJ's thigh. "Get on the bed," AJ said hoarsely.
As Justin scrambled past him, AJ stood up, pulled his jeans off, walked to the side of the bed and fumbled in the nightstand. Justin lay on his stomach and folded one of the pillows in half, propped it beneath his head. AJ looked over at him and said, "Roll over."
Justin turned over and winced, then pulled his knees up and tilted his hips. AJ knelt beside him on the bed. "Can we. On my stomach?" Justin asked, and AJ laughed at him. "It'll make it a little harder for me to suck your cock that way," he said. "Unless you don't want me to?"
"No," Justin said. "I mean yes." AJ laughed again, rolled him over onto his side, lay down facing him. He moved down the bed and ran a hand up between Justin's thighs. Justin threw a leg over his shoulder. AJ slid two slick fingers inside him as he mouthed Justin's cock, and Justin sighed. He rocked back and forth between AJ's fingers and AJ's lips. AJ took his time, teasing until Justin was begging and clutching the sheets. AJ pulled his fingers out and ran a hand along Justin's thigh up to his ass. He squeezed lightly and then harder until Justin cried out and came.
Justin closed his eyes. He was shivering. When he opened his eyes again, AJ was lying next to him, watching him. "Um. I guess. I should go," Justin said, and AJ put a hand on his hip.
"You're all freaked out, baby," he said. "Why not stay a little while?"
"Okay," Justin said.
AJ rolled onto his back. "C'mere," he said, and Justin curled up next to him. AJ ran a hand soothingly over his side until Justin fell asleep.
Justin woke up blinking into bright sunlight. He sat up and said, "Ow," in surprise. He heard AJ's laugh, and the night came rushing back to him. "Morning, baby," AJ said.
Justin got carefully out of bed. AJ was sitting in a chair pulled up to the window, naked, ankles crossed on the sill. He was smoking. "Don't suppose you feel like a repeat?" he said.
"Um. I should. I have to go," Justin said. He looked around frantically for his clothes. AJ pointed to the pile against the wall. "Thanks," Justin said. He tugged his shirt on and then swore. The pants were a lot harder to get on than they'd been the night before. Eventually he gave up on the laces and just held his pants closed. He picked up his shoes. "I'll just. Um. I can put these on in the elevator." He turned hurriedly toward the door.
"Stop," AJ said, and Justin froze. AJ chuckled and Justin looked at him.
AJ sauntered over, naked fluid grace, until he was standing just in front of Justin. Justin dropped his eyes. AJ put a hand beneath his chin and lifted it until Justin was looking down at him. "You," he said, "are one world-class fuck, and absolutely breathtaking besides, and if you ever want to do this again, I'll drop everything to run to your door."
AJ smiled, and Justin smiled back.
"You need cabfare?" AJ said.
JC was fidgeting, stacking their dirty breakfast dishes and then restacking them as Lance watched. He looked at the clock, then sighed and started to stack the dishes again. "C," Lance said, "you could call him."
"I know," JC said.
"I'm sure he's on his way," Joey said.
"I know," JC said.
The door opened and Justin staggered in. His shirt was on inside out and he was clutching his pants to hold them up. His eyes were glazed.
"I'm going to bed," Justin croaked.
"Wait," Chris said. "Did you do it?"
Justin let go of his pants and stood up straight, looked fiercely at him. Chris dropped his eyes. "Yeah," Justin said.
"Proof?" Lance said, although privately he didn't think it was necessary. Justin had either been fucked by AJ or hit by a train.
Justin looked at him blankly. His lips worked for a minute, then he said, "I. I don't. It." He paused then said quickly, "Only C. No one else." He stumbled into the bedroom, JC right behind him.
Joey, Chris and Lance exchanged looks. "Wow," Joey said. They sat in silence until JC came back, closing the door carefully behind him. His lips were pressed together and he put his hand to his mouth.
"Well?" Chris said.
"What's the proof?"
"He did it, all right," JC said. "You saw him come in. Do you really need proof?"
"You've got a point," Joey said.
"Hey, those are the rules," Lance said.
Chris said, "You know, J would be the first one to holler if one of us tried to get away with no proof."
JC nodded. "I know, you're right. And there is. It's just." JC's lips twisted into the smile he had been trying to hide. "He made me promise not to tell. Poor baby. He's traumatized."
"Hey," Joey said, "is he okay?"
"I'm sure he's fine," Lance said. He was feeling a little bad about the call he'd made to AJ. "He's a big boy."
"That's not cool," Chris said. "I mean, it's all in fun, but if people are doing things they don't want to do, it's not a game anymore."
"No," JC said, still smiling. "That's not. He didn't. He's not." JC's phone rang and he pulled it out and looked at the number in surprise. "Hi, AJ," he said. Everyone sat a little straighter in their chairs.
"Yeah, he made it back fine," JC said. "Just a few minutes ago. That's nice of you to call. Oh. Oh, that's really nice of you." JC turned away from the others and twisted a finger in his hair. "Really? Oh, I don't know about that," he said, his voice rising a little. Chris pointed at him and looked from Joey to Lance, open-mouthed.
JC giggled. Lance thought he had heard wrong, but then he heard it again, a definite "tee-hee."
"Oh, you," JC said. "Okay. Okay, I'll tell him. Right. Bye now." He closed his phone and looked at it for a minute.
"What the hell was that?" Joey said.
"Oh, that was AJ," JC said, turning around. "Hey, that should be proof, right? I mean, I talked to AJ myself."
"Sure," Joey said, "but what the hell?"
"What were you acting all flirty and girly about?" Lance said.
"I was not acting girly," JC said firmly. "And anyway, don't you try to pin your." He stopped and looked at Chris. "I forgot what I'm supposed to say."
"Don't try to pin your outdated gender roles on me," Chris said automatically.
"Yeah, that," JC said to Lance.
"What did AJ want?" Joey said.
"Oh, he just wanted to make sure Justin got home all right. Wasn't that nice of him?"
"That's what you were acting all flirty about?" Chris said, his voice rising in disbelief.
"Also," JC said, smiling, his cheeks a little pink, "he called me pussycat."
Joey, Lance and Chris looked at each other. "C, do you really want to be flirting with the guy who just traumatized your boyfriend?" Joey said eventually. "Because that is not cool. Not cool."
"Oh," JC said. "Oh. Oh no. It's not. AJ didn't. That's not what's traumatizing Justin." JC turned to go back into his room.
"What is traumatizing him?" Chris said.
JC smiled again. "He thinks he liked it," JC said, and went into his room.