by Elina

Dedicated to Rob Wright, inventor of the phrase "drunken dialies".

Thanks to Kim and Laura for insta-beta, and to Shine for saving my ass, once again.

"I don't want you to go."

Lance blinks, blears groggily at the clock. "Justin, do you know what time it - it's three-thirty in the fucking morning!"

"I know, I know," and Lance can hear the tequila in Justin's voice, and thinks Goddamned maudlin drunks, "but I don't want you to go, and they want you to go soon, and I needed to tell you because. I don't want you to go."

Lance scrubs his hand over his face and sighs. "Yeah, I think you said that. Listen," he sighs, "can we continue this conversation in the morning? Like, later in the morning?"

"Yes, okay," Justin's voice hitches, and Lance winces, "but I just wanted you to know. Because I don't want -"

"- Me to go, I know." Lance rolls towards the nightstand. "I'm hanging up now. I'll talk to you later today." He presses the "End" button, cutting off Justin's drunkenly earnest ramblings. He has just enough time to wonder how much of their odd conversation Justin will remember before he falls back into dreamless sleep.

The next morning, Justin is a sight to behold. Surly beyond his normal just-awake grumpiness, he slurps his coffee greedily, head down and body hunched over. He eats his scrambled eggs as if it hurts, but forces himself to do it because he knows he'll feel better afterwards.

Joey isn't in much better condition, but he keeps a weary smile on his face and has to remind himself out loud not to laugh at the other guys' jokes because it will make his head fall off. Chris seizes on his weakness and tells him joke after joke, until Joey is holding his head with one hand and waving Chris off with the other, laughing, and begging him to stop.

Lance takes advantage of the distraction to slide over to Justin and whisper in his ear, "So you don't want me to go, huh?"

Justin flinches, a cross between startled and pained. His eyes go shifty as he says, "Um, I guess, I. Did I say that?"

Lance nods. "Several times. I think you cried, too."

"Damn it," Justin mutters. "Joey warned me about the drunken dialies." He rubs his eyes, takes a deep breath, and meets Lance's gaze for the first time this morning. "Yeah. I don't, so much, want you going into space. It's, like. All dangerous and shit."

Lance smiles, affected deeper than he wants to admit by Justin's concern. "Well, yeah, but that's what the training is for. They'll teach me how to take care of myself so I don't get hurt. And then I can come back to you - to you guys." He congratulates himself on the deliberate verbal slip when Justin's eyes light up for just a moment. Caught you, he thinks.

"I know that, man. I know you'll get the best training money can buy - but there's no guarantees, you know? Space is a big place; anything can happen. You could go drifting off forever, or something. One wrong move, and..." Justin's voice is as light as he can make it, but it doesn't match the fear in his eyes.

Lance leans in closer, puts his lips right against Justin's ear. "Justin," he murmurs low, "I'm not going to fuck up. I'm going to do fine." He takes a breath, unsure if he should continue, then goes on anyway. "I have every. reason. in the world. to want to make it home in one piece."

Justin shivers, and pulls his head back to stare at Lance in surprise. A slow smile crosses his face, the first of the morning.

"Okay, then." And the subject is closed.

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