Kinder, Gentler
by Elina

Scene: Kitchen. Morning. At the breakfast table are Joey and Chris, each yawning into the morning-after cure of their choice. Enter: JC, who greets them sleepily, grabs milk and cereal, and joins them at the table. Enter: Eminem.

Chris blinked. Peered suspiciously at his Bloody Mary. Too much vodka? Because it sure looked like Eminem standing in his kitchen, soft and rumpled in a T-shirt and boxers, but he had to be seeing things. Just a vision, just a hallucination. No prob.

The hallucination ruined everything by walking over to JC, ruffling his already-wildly-tousled hair, and leaning in for a quick peck on the lips. Hallucinations usually didnít do stuff like that. They also usually didnít hunt up a bowl and spoon, sit next to JC - too close to JC! Chrisí mind screamed - snag the cereal, and fix themselves a heaping helping.

Chris stared. He couldnít help it. No way this was fucking happening. He turned to Joey, hoping to see it really was a figment of his imagination, but found Joey staring with the same slack-jawed astonishment he felt painting his own face. Damn. Joey looked at Chris. Chris looked at Joey. They both looked at JC.

"Uh, morning, guys."

More looking.

"I, uh, think you know Marshall?"

Chrisí mouth worked. When he found sound again, it was a squeak. "Marshall?"

JC had the grace to flush. "Yeah, he, uh. Stayed here. last night." Chris thought his eyes were going to pop out of his head. "Oh, hope you donít mind. It was late, and I didnít want to bother you...two..."

Joey groaned. Chris felt the vein in his forehead bulge. Marshall perked up. "You two? Whatíre you saying, C? These two are like, together and shit?"

JC nodded. Joey groaned again, this time deeper, and followed it with a shot of the whiskey he was using as hair-of-the-dog. Chris wondered abstractedly whether he would get the chair for murdering his bandmate.

Marshall smirked. "I knew it. Knew there was something faggy between you pansy boys." JC cleared his throat.

"Uh, Marshall, I hate to remind you, but...youíre a 'pansy boy', too."

Marshall turned bright red, ducked his head, and looked at JC out of the corner of his eye. "Um, yeah, I guess I am," he mumbled.

"Iím sorry, what was that?" Chris wasnít sure he could believe his ears. Not that he could hear much through the ringing.

Marshall was meek this time when he met Chrisí eyes. "I, uh, that is, JC and I, ah...kinda..." Chris waited patiently, "...weíre sort of together." Even the tops of his ears were violently pink.

Joey threw back another shot. Chris thought that looked like a good idea, and spent the next few minutes sputtering and trying to catch his breath. Damn Joey anyway for having such smooth drinking reflexes.

When he could finally breathe again, he glared at JC. "So, how long has this been going on? Were you planning on telling us, or were you waiting till we saw it on Entertainment Tonight? Wait, I know. It was the time at that club, wasnít it? You disappeared with him for a while."

JC shook his head. "No, it was nothing like that. We just got to talking at the party after the awards last night, one thing led to another, and..." His train of thought visibly derailed as he stroked a hand down Marshallís cheek. Chris thought he was going to throw up. JCís hand continued down Marshallís neck and shoulder to caress his arm, and finally landed on the hand that rested on the table, where their fingers intertwined. Chris stared at their hands. He stared at JCís besotted face. He stared at the light that fired Marshallís ice-blue eyes. He stared at the visage he had seen looking out of magazines and TV with nothing but contempt and hatred for the world, now transfigured by the flowing love and tenderness between him and JC.

Chris threw up.

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