by Miss Kitty E
The first brick that was laid down winding, twisting, made-no-
sense-road Chris found himself on was put there because he could see
the writing on the wall. The jealousy, the fighting, the choosing of
sides, all because Joey obviously didn't have any fucking common
sense. Of all the stupid things to do really, to go and start a
relationship- volatile, transient, unpredictable as Joey knew they
were -within a group that needed to last years to even fucking be
worth it. Oh, but then of course it must have made sense when you
were only just coming down from your sexual peak and were enchanted
by innocent eyes, but Chris could see that it wasn't all fun and
games like Joey said.
Fic Index - Main
Lance wasn't easy, if Joey had wanted easy there were other
places to go. No, it had taken time, time spent taking a special
interest in Lance, listening to his stories, paying sole attention to
him, murmuring away insecurities by promising Lance he was his
favorite. Time spent waiting for the perfect opportunity to touch
Lance in such a way that his baby-fat cheeks would flush pink and the
little choirboy would think sinful thoughts on his own. Neck rubs,
and teasing kisses on the cheek before the final step, the real one,
with open mouths and intruding tongues and a little sigh that wasn't
Joey's. When God's hand didn't come down and cast them into the fire,
Lance surrendered completely.
But that didn't mean they were entirely serious either, even
though Joey called Lance "baby" all the damn time, bought him gifts,
and would beat the ire out of anybody who messed with Lance a little
too much. Entwined fingers, whispered three word phrases, nights
spent wrapped around each other were all well and good, but Joey
wasn't about to bring Lance home to his nice Catholic family to ask
if he could keep him. Chris suspected Lance was thinking the same
thing in the back of his practical little mind. And yeah, things were
good now, when all it took was a certain grin and Lance would glide
over, trance-like, to Joey, waiting for his kisses. And they were
attached at the hip but in harmony, laughing and playing and enjoying
their youth, making all kinds of concessions to each other to avoid a
fight. But Jesus, it was only the first month, and the days were
being counted down before the first fight, the first fork in the
Beyond that even, the giggly, enthusiastic make out sessions
in the corner were bound to start pissing somebody off. JC was
already starting to withdraw and Chris just knew it was because
that "initial crush" JC'd had on Lance wasn't really so short-lived.
And Justin hated being in the room with them sometimes, because he
was sixteen and jealous of the relationship, not the people involved
in it. Chris knew something had to be done, he explained as much to
Joey one night.
It was only afterwards, as Joey was tugging his shirt back on
that Chris could admit that he had been jealous too.
The fight after was really awful. Lance, true to his Southern
temperament, sustained his anger for hours, brooding and lashing out
until finally Joey just held on tight while Lance beat his small
hands against Joey's chest. Held him there until Lance was exhausted
and Joey had ugly purple bruises. He whispered then, in Lance's ear,
while the blonde sniffled pathetically and Chris watched.
"Didn't wanna let you go, baby, still my baby, but we gotta
share. We still have something just for us, but the guys need
something, too. Better this way, baby, Lance. Baby. Didn't wanna hurt
you, but it made so much sense."
Lance didn't know what else to do except forgive him, he
looked at Chris as he slipped his arms around Joey's neck, red-
rimmed, green eyes but Chris couldn't decipher the emotion there
before they closed and Lance buried his face in Joey's neck. Later,
he would be questioned by them, while Joey slept with Tiger Balm
slathered across his chest Lance pinned those same eyes on Chris and
demanded to know everything.
"Why did you do this?" he asked finally, all quiet as he
stroked Joey's hair.
"For exactly what he told you. Lance, you knew it was a bad
Lance nodded but he didn't look like he believed it. It was a
long time before Chris could even approach Lance, long after JC had
knocked on Lance's door and shown him the perks of the new deal.
Justin wandered in one day and wanted to be a part of it too,
but he didn't really know how it worked because this is one thing he
has no example to work off of. At first Chris just thought he was
scared, maybe a little put out, asking what Chris thought of it all.
"I dunno. It's just the new deal, it's how things work now."
He looked at Justin and thought he was too young to be in the middle
of all this. "What do you think of it?"
"It's weird." Then Justin touched him, reached out with one
hand to touch his cheek, and lightly, oh so lightly, trail fingers
down his neck. He looked at Justin, thinking maybe, but he still
looked scared, young.
"Let's get comfortable with this first," Chris said, wrapping
one arm around Justin's waist and pulling until Justin relaxed
against him, breathing. It wasn't too long before Justin could pin
him to the bus floor, laughing, then lean down to try and suck out
his tonsils. Chris had worried about it for a while, that Justin
would get a crush on someone and want to own them, but he was sixteen
and the sex was free, Justin did the best out of all them.
It was good. Fuckloads better than before, right? Because now
everybody touched everybody and everybody had fucking fantastic
memories and attachments to everybody, and nobody ever felt lonely.
It didn't matter if you were in the middle of nowhere because you
were always with four other guys and at least one of them was
thinking the same thing. Sure everybody had a favorite, and one they
were favored by, but it worked somehow. Maybe it was part of the
lucky streak they were on, that it all worked out so that nobody
could pair up and leave the others behind. Not any more.
Lou flipped when he found out but there was nothing he could
do except scream about it. And in between sighing and shaking their
heads the publicists were a little bit pleased because Lance went and
got a girlfriend, wanting someone only for himself, and Chris did the
same, but sometimes he wondered how that had happened. Pretty soon
they all had girls, and "the fucking" just kind of stopped, petered
out slowly and became a part of the past. The more time he put
between himself and that the more Chris wondered how he had ever
done it. Normal people just didn't do that, did they? They didn't
fuck best friends in dressing rooms, they didn't go down on their
best friends as the ultimate apologetic gesture. Or did they? It had
been so long since he could honestly say "I'm an average kind of guy."
It wasn't until after Dani left him that he missed it, that
he ever thought about going back. They couldn't do it now, he
couldn't walk up to Lance and say, "Hey, you wanna go in back?"
because Lance would think Chris wanted to talk with him, or show him
something. And even if Chris explained, Lance would probably look at
him funny. He'd still say "Sure," but the funny look defeated the
entire purpose. It wasn't normal, it wasn't alright. It wasn't
something they could go back to. And besides, Joey had a kid. A
fucking kid. He couldn't do that shit anymore, and Justin wouldn't
want to, not really.
Chris felt lonely for the first time in years.
One night he sat down next to Lance on the bus. No reason,
really, Lance was just the only one who wasn't asleep or on the
phone, and Chris didn't want to sit alone.
Absinthe eyes focused on him, and gently asked, "How ya
Chris was drunk, not very, more than he should be considering
the beer in the little fridge was for all of them. Still he could
tell what Lance really wanted to know. "As well as I'm able." He
shrugged, "I miss her a lot."
Joey laughed somewhere in the background, and said, "Bye,
baby." Lance looked off somewhere behind Chris for a while.
"Do you ever miss it?" Chris asked suddenly, because he
wanted to know.
Lance shook his head, and Chris wasn't surprised. "I miss him
sometimes, though," he said really softly, so Joey wouldn't hear as
he made himself a sandwich. "A little. He was good to me."
Chris nodded and didn't say anything for a while, Lance has
had a string of bad relationships, catty little bitches- even the
men -that were using him as a way into the biz. "I'm sorry," Chris
said suddenly, because he was. His mind doesn't seem to want to take
the time to review his impulses, he just says whatever comes to
mind. "Just didn't seem fair that he had you." What Chris had meant
to say was the 'that you and he had somebody,' but he realized as he
reviewed his statement that what he'd said was also true. Joey's
somebody was Lance, and Chris thought that maybe that was made the
situation less irksome and more intolerable.
Lance looked surprised, "Me?"
Chris shrugged. "Yeah, it was wrong of me, but I didn't- I
was jealous. Selfish."
Like that, he was forgiven. Lance suddenly had sympathy for
him and shook his head sadly, "It's not like me and Joey were longed
for forever. It was better this way."
Chris wasn't sure that made it right.
And later the guilt was compounded when Lance followed Chris
to his hotel room and kissed him. It felt good, Chris hadn't kissed
anybody he cared about in months. He latched onto Lance and they fell
asleep on top of the sheets, just kissing. The next morning he
thought he might give it a try, and he wrapped his arms around Lance
waist, called him, "Baby." He stayed there, watching him shave,
teasing Lance as he shaped his glorified chin scruff but when Lance
was done he rubbed his palm over it and smiled.
And Chris understood why Joey had gone and taken such a risk.
Lance had a way of spreading your heart wide open and making himself
at home there. He'd talk, endlessly if he had to, to get Chris to
open up and share things, and he never made Chris regret it. He
followed Chris to his grandmother's house for Christmas, laughing and
cooing over the children, never once acting like he didn't belong.
Chris was surprised his family bought it, but they did, never
questioning, never fighting. And he slept around you like a pet boa
constrictor, needing to be cuddled and reassured, until you
said, "Baby, I love you so much," so many times you couldn't help but
And that wasn't a bad thing, because Lance was sweet and
thoughtful, buying Chris things he didn't even know he wanted until
he'd unwrapped them, vintage records, promotional shit for Hong Kong
action flicks, video games that weren't even released in the states.
Lance was big on acts of service, organizing Chris financial
business, cooking him dinner, but he never seemed to expect it in
He was hot, too. Fucking scorching, making noises in the back
of his throat, not deep and purring, but a little high, completely
unconscious, like it was just so good he couldn't hold it back,
wasn't thinking. He had gotten over himself, too, and could admit
that sex could be recreational as well as serious and didn't always
need candles and moods and shit like that. Sometimes, in a meeting,
Lance would lean over and whisper in his ear, and Chris never knew if
he would hear "Management's fucking us over again," or a story about
bathroom stalls, and necktie gags, and "fucking you so hard your feet
don't touch the floor." Lance never actually did it, to Chris'
extreme disappointment, but he would say it all again when they got
back to the house.
Chris tried to keep it a secret, not knowing why really,
except he was sure he didn't want to share. Share Lance, share how it
made it him feel, anything. Justin eventually found out, in the
sweetest possibly way, just sensing it, knowing Chris well enough to
see it in the way he walked. But Justin told JC, and JC brought it
out in the open, talking about it like it was a casual thing. Joey
didn't really think it was cool, but he didn't say anything, just
kind of looked at Chris and for weeks Chris couldn't even look up
when Joey was in the room for fear of seeing that same expression
again. JC wanted to know if the "old rules" were back, Chris looked
at Lance, knowing that the answer would be somewhere on his face.
"Cause you know it doesn't work the other way," JC offered.
Chris nodded, and tried to delay it for as long as could. He
kept Lance busy for three days. On the third night he couldn't find
him, he didn't even ask around. Just went and sat down in the little
niche they had every forty feet in the corridor for windows. Chris
sat on that little lounge they had there under the window, staring at
JC's door for an hour, not even moving really, a monumental feat for
someone like him. Someone like him, yeah, that was his excuse for
everything. He didn't really think about anything, except for the
exciting twenty minutes where he was annoyed by the squeak-squeak-
stop of the maid's little cart. She didn't knock on JC's door; there
was a Do Not Disturb sign on the handle and everything.
Lance shuffled out a while later, sleepy and physically
sated. He looked at Chris and knew that things were not alright. He
sat next to Chris, scooting down far enough to put his head on Chris'
shoulder, press his lips to Chris' neck. "What's wrong, baby?"
"I didn't..." Chris sighed, trying to force it all out of
him, all the hurt and jealousy and the selfishness, the whiney,
little voice screaming, 'Mine, mine. Not his, not fucking anybody's
now. Mine.' "I don't know. I just don't think I can do this."
"Do what?" Lance asked, sweet and na´ve. He thought about it
for a while, "You mean JC?"
"I mean them all."
"Why? What's different now?"
Chris thought about for a while, touching Lance's face and
neck as if he could smooth JC's and Joey's and, fuck, Justin's and
that girl who had almost managed to marry him, and all of Lance's
loser boyfriends' touches away, wipe him clean. "Cause now you're
Lance knew all about ownership, knew the he couldn't be
mostly Chris' and partly everybody else's. It hadn't worked with Joey-
and God, Lance had wanted it to. "Wait then."
Lance nodded, pushing his face a little further into Chris'
shoulder because he didn't want to look up just yet. "Cause there's
no way now that it could be just you and me, but if you waited...
until all this was over, or maybe just beginning of the end."
"I'm not patient," Chris said, his hands were still moving,
now up and down Lance's back.
Chris shrugged his agreement, then felt bad about it, because
it wasn't that he didn't care, he just didn't want to agree. So he
kissed Lance hard and said, "Yes." He could, because Lance was the
condition that made all things possible.