JC hated to wake up.
He denied it. He said he was just slow in the morning, dull with sleep, drowsy. And it was true, he never complained about getting up, was never grouchy or sharp. He never hit the snooze button. But Justin saw him wince every morning as the shrill shriek of the alarm penetrated his sleep, watched his muscles jerk and then smooth as JC forced himself to relax. JC hated loud noises, and surprises, and harshness, and hurrying. JC was not well adapted for life on tour.
JC was not well adapted for life on earth.
Justin threw the alarm clock across the room the first time he saw JC bolt straight up, gasping, out of sleep. It was a new clock, and Justin couldn't figure out how to turn it off right away. At last he picked it up and hurled it against the wall, cutting the strident whine off with a satisfying thump. He looked over at JC. He was sitting up, hands on his knees, eyes still closed. Justin touched his arm, and he twitched. "C?" Justin said, and JC opened his eyes, and smiled, and said he was being silly. Maybe he was, but Justin saw the way his hand trembled as he stroked his pillow longingly. Justin kicked the clock hard on his way to the shower.
Wakeup calls were a little better. Justin turned the phone down as low as he dared, and dove for it the moment he heard the ring in the morning. But he slept soundly, and sometimes he woke to JC's gentle hand on his hip, JC's other hand scrubbing at his eyes as his face twisted against the light. Even when the sound didn't wake JC, it still hooked into his slumber and dragged him closer to consciousness. JC's sweet smile on seeing Justin didn't quite erase the creases at the corners of his mouth, etched with his efforts to cling to his dreams.
Finally Justin cornered Lance and told him what he wanted. Lance looked at him skeptically. "You never listen to a thing I tell you usually. Why will this be different?"
"It will," Justin said stubbornly. "I promise."
"All right," Lance said. "But the first time you guys oversleep, or you bitch at me in the morning, I'm stopping."
After that, Lance, who thought tardiness was one of the seven deadly sins, knocked lightly on their door every morning. Justin would call out something incoherent and turn to JC. Even that soft exchange registered on JC's face, but only a little, only a tiny ripple in the vast ocean of JC's sleep. Justin laid his head next to JC's on his pillow, rubbed careful fingers along JC's arm, hummed softly and slowly till JC's eyes eased open. He loved to watch JC drift drowsily to the surface of his slumber, loved the moment when he crossed to the other side. To Justin's side.
Those weren't his favorite times, though. His favorite times were when JC was up before him. They happened rarely; even on their days off Justin was an early riser. But sometimes JC would leave a club to sleep happily while Justin stayed, or some strange JC thought would pull him awake in the middle of the night with an idea for a song. Then Justin would wake to find JC watching him intently, one thumb circling lightly over Justin's hip. While Justin was still blinking blearily, JC's mouth would move along his skin, so slowly and softly it seemed like a dream. JC knew Justin was wordless in the mornings, and he teased him, talked to him, knowing Justin could answer only by arching up under him.
On those mornings, when they heard Lance's knock, JC would lean in to kiss Justin quickly before he called, "It's okay, Lance. We're awake."