"Comfortable Brother?" Lance's voice, low and warm against his ear, audible even through the thump and wail of dance music.
"Or maybe a Passionate Kiss?"
O-kay... what was Lance on? He'd hardly been there five minutes...
"How about a Big Booty Shake?" Lance was grinning at him, eyes glittering weirdly in the constantly-changing lights of the club. "You know you want one of those." Justin had a momentary vision of Lance, dancing, and shook his head to clear it. And spotted the cocktail menu on the table. Ah.
"Man, you trying to kill me?" he demanded, grinning back.
"One Death by Sex, coming right up." And Lance disappeared, slithering nimbly through the press of bodies. No doubt he'd manage to insinuate himself into the bartender's vision and get served at once. Lance was like that.
Justin took a deep breath. His party, and it was going well, he thought. Good crowd here already, and they hadn't been going long. Nikki was doing a great job with the music, and the place was jumpin'. He didn't recognize half the people on the dance floor, but that was nothing new. He could see Christina, getting right into the party spirit. It was working out, touring with her.
It was good to have one of the guys here, though. It still felt weird, doing all the usual gigs, the radio interviews, Top of the Pops and what have you, all on his own. He could manage it all, of course he could, it was what this was all about, but still... sometimes Justin missed having Chris around, to splatter his very particular brand of lunacy all over a dull interview. Or, well, any of the guys. All of them. And now, Lance was here.
"Reckon it's too soon for Death by Sex," said Lance, behind him, "so I got you a Southern Sparkler instead. Here."
Justin tasted it cautiously, oh, nice, sweet and sharp and a little bit carbonated. "'S good, man. What'd you get?"
"Russian Comfort, of course." Lance winked at him, and veered off, waving.
Lance was definitely in the party mood. It was a relief to see him so upbeat, after the disappointment. Fucking Russians. Justin had thought—well, they all had, there'd been a frantic outbreak of transatlantic phone calls when the news broke—that he'd be shattered, not getting up there after all his training. But Lance just showed up in London, brandishing his cosmonaut certificate, which was admittedly extremely cool, and asking where the party was.
And there he was, out on the dance floor now with a couple of enraptured girls, shaking his booty.
Ever so slightly unsettled, Justin got up to dance.
* * *
Justin shook his head at the starlet he'd been dancing with, and made his way back upstairs to sit awhile. It took him about twenty minutes to get back to the table, with all the people to be greeted and thanked for coming and told a neat little anecdote about being on tour or how good it was to be back in London. But he got there in the end, and toyed with the cocktail menu for a while before settling for a Slam Dunk. Lance would probably be urging him to try a Comfortable Fuzzy Screw Against a Wall, he thought, and with that slow, seductive voice in his ear, he might even agree. However, he had to be reasonably sober for this party, at least for a while yet. So.
He felt, obscurely, that he ought to be doing something to make Lance feel better. Only thing was, he didn't know what. There was Lance, partying like he hadn't had a chance to party in—okay, so he probably hadn't partied in months. He was out there on the dance floor, not a care in the world and plenty of semi-dressed and shapely company.
It was weird. Justin had thought Lance would be—Chris, now, Chris was angry. A short, bearded mass of spitting, impotent fury, and declaring that he'd never drink another drop of vodka, no way. JC was deeply upset. He'd been enchanted by Lance's space adventure, excited as a child at the prospect of watching the takeoff, he'd taken it almost personally when they'd pulled the plug. And Joey, Joey was worried as fuck, with Lance on the wrong side of the globe and not close enough to be taken care of.
Justin... was mostly bewildered. It seemed so fucking stupid, after all this time and publicity, there wasn't the money, how could there not be the money, and Jesus, they were sending cargo? There was no way Lance hadn't made the grade, there was nobody in the world who would work like Lance could work, he'd jumped through all the hoops, even had his heart fixed, and they were dumping him for cargo?
But instead of being angry and upset and worried and bewildered, Lance was here at his party, raising an occasional glass of some lurid drink in Justin's direction, and shaking his fabulous space-camp-toned ass and generally having a fine old time.
* * *
"Whoa, mama!" Lance broke into delighted laughter when Justin switched on the lights. "Oh, man, this is the life! I got a room at the Grosvenor House, but this place is something else!" He beamed as he surveyed the huge, open plan penthouse apartment. Justin permitted himself a moment of smugness. It really was something. Vast expanse of gleaming wooden floor, a few choice pieces of cutting-edge furniture in primary colors, an enormous shiny silver sleigh bed at one end, and the bathroom facilities hidden behind a glass wall and acres of that see-through material, he didn't remember what it was called, but there was so much of it that it was almost not see-through anymore. He hadn't heard of this hotel when they'd booked him in, but it was the most amazing place. Seriously classy.
"You've come a long way, baby," Lance said approvingly, patting the ridiculous-chic silver head of the stylised swan arm on the nearest chair. "You remember those shitty hotels in Germany, way back when? When you and me had to share all the time so we could get our homework done."
"Long time ago," Justin replied, toeing off his sneakers and flopping into a funky but strangely comfortable scarlet recliner. Yeah, he remembered sharing with Lance. Helping each other with stuff. Math problems and poetry. Masturbating together. Watching each other.
He hadn't thought about that in years.
Not... not really.
"And—no! Tell me that isn't what I think it is!" Lance was pointing.
"It—well, I hadda—look, I don't know if they even have Captain Crunch here."
"I thought the point," Lance was giggling so much the words came out all distorted, "the point of being a 'supastah' was that you got to make other people worry about that stuff! Don't you have a rider, or something?"
"Yeah, sure, but not for my breakfast," Justin explained patiently. Really, if he wanted to bring his own cereal, it wasn't that funny.
"I'll say this for you, supastah, you throw a good party." Lance's spider-senses had led him to the bar discreetly concealed in that long glass wall. "You want a drink?" He was bending to pick something out of there. Nice.
Justin was out of his chair in an instant, and standing right up close as Lance straightened and placed a couple of bottles on the green glass surface. "I'm thinking, what I want is a Southern Peach."
"A Southern Peach, hmm?" Lance gave a deep chuckle, and shimmied his ass against Justin's hips. Justin clutched at him, sliding a hand round to Lance's flat, firm stomach, stroking slowly. Lance's neck smelt of sweat and smoke and citrus, probably someone had been doing shots off his skin, someone who thought that meant they were in with a chance of more, but it was Justin licking that sweet spot now, tasting all those things plus the indefinable something that was just Lance, Lance who was smiling sideways at him now, eyes glinting from under half-closed lids.
Justin's hand slipped upwards over smooth flesh. "I can feel your ribs!" he said, suddenly indignant. Lance was not supposed to be this thin. Lance was supposed to be soft, satin flesh, not bones and muscle. Did they not feed American pop singers, in Russia?
"You can feel them better if you take my shirt off."
* * *
The wake-up call came way too early next morning. Justin patted the air beside the bed until his hand landed on the shrilling telephone, grunted an acknowledgment into the handset. Stretched, staring at the broad white ceiling.
Lance was still asleep, lying on his stomach with his head turned the other way. Justin contemplated that smooth, creamy arm and thought very seriously about nibbling on it until Lance woke up. But, publicity called, and he'd never been one to shirk his duty. It wouldn't do to establish a reputation for unreliability with the media people. So, with a mighty yawn, he slid out of the bed and walked across the warm wooden floor to the amazing bathroom—which was impressive by US standards, so God knew what the Brits thought of it.
Washing under the deluge from the gigantic shower-head, he contemplated jerking off, but couldn't quite summon the enthusiasm. He was pretty much done, after last night. God...
He hadn't expected Lance to be quite so, um, demanding in bed. Forceful—no, not that, what was the word he wanted... bossy. Yeah. Telling him exactly what to do and how fast and when to move an' all. Still, Justin thought, soaping himself efficiently, it was definitely more Lance's area of expertise than his own. It had been exciting, doing what Lance wanted, even if he had expected to be, really, the one in charge, since it was after all his cock buried in Lance's ass, Lance's beautiful peach of an ass. The first time, anyway.
It did feel just a little bit, not sore exactly, but tender. A new sensation, and one he wasn't sure he was going to be able to repeat anytime soon, since Lance was leaving today and the idea of letting anyone else, anyone he didn't trust like a brother... He rinsed off, stopped the shower, and swept the water droplets from his torso and limbs before engulfing himself in the sheet-sized towel. Only Lance had said something about a drink, and fetched the bottle of Southern Comfort, and drizzled a chilly trail down Justin's spine and into the crease of his ass, and then licked it all up, his tongue hot and supple against Justin's skin, and the way he could use it, hell, and Justin had heard of rimming, of course he had, but no-one had ever, because Britney, just, no, and he hadn't realized just how incredibly sensitive his ass was, or how it would feel to have a slow, slippery finger in there, and then two, and then. Then.
Justin hoped he wouldn't sound more than morning-hoarse today. He must have screamed for hours. Lance was a fucking deity. Who knew Lance could be so, could move like, would know exactly, and wow.
He grinned into the mirror. His cock was, not surprisingly, reacting some to the memory of last night. He spoke sternly to it, then applied his antiperspirant and a dash of cologne, and went into the suite-sized walk-in closet to pull on his clothes. Lance was still slumbering, face smooshed into the pillow, hair in wild spikes. Justin dressed quickly, grabbed his cereal box, and headed towards his private elevator.
* * *
He wasn't surprised to find Lance gone when he got back, several hours later—though he wouldn't have been particularly surprised (or sorry) to find Lance still fast asleep in the vast acreage of the bed.
There was a note on the pillow. Hey supastah, great party, got to go, flying back home. Did I tell you your show ROCKS? Love you, L
Looking around the huge, empty penthouse, Justin frowned. Sat on the bed and pulled out his cellphone to check for messages. Aha! JC, calling to say how were things, and had he seen Lance, and was Lance okay, and he still couldn't believe, but what could they do, Russians, inscrutable, or was that the Chinese, anyway Lance?
Ruthlessly, he called back. 'Bout time 'C got his lazy ass out of bed anyway.
It took a while for JC to clamber back up the evolutionary ladder and re-achieve language, but anxiety about Lance was obviously a useful spur. Justin explained in detail, several times, that Lance had been happy to party, was not (as far as he could tell, and he had, in fact, known Lance for exactly as many years as JC) masking inner anguish with a brave face, and was as sane and well-balanced as he'd ever been.
"He knows there're people making fun of him, 'C," Justin reiterated patiently. "He heard all the boyband-in-space jokes months ago, he knows there'll be jokes about him not going. Yes, okay, he was—look, I asked him about that, okay? He looked exasperated, you know that thing he does with the eyebrows and the snarky look, like there's something nasty on his shoe? Well, he did that, and said if the late night talk show hosts and the tv comedians had any idea what was really involved they wouldn't think it was a fatuous joke. Yeah, he did say fatuous. He was a bit drunk, you know he gets all vocabulary geek when he's a bit drunk. No, he didn't really care. He said the guys on his crew told him they were real sorry, actually he said they protested about it but with the money not being there it was never going to get anywhere. And the people he met at NASA, they sent messages. He said the people who knew what he'd done didn't think he was a joke, and the people who thought he was a joke were ignorant as shit and he wasn't going to waste time worrying about them. I think that sounds like healthy Lance, right?
"Yeah, I do agree. I mean, he was all, like, how many people do you personally know who can fly a spacecraft, and you know? He's right. It still sucks that he didn't go up, but he's real proud of what he did, and he's right, so. No. Honestly. Well, 'C, if you really want to make sure, you'll just have to—yeah, he's on his way back home, today, I think. No, he didn't give me his itinerary, damn it, JC, I have an itinerary of my own here! Yeah, call her, she'll know. Absolutely. I'm sure Lance will appreciate that. Yeah. Sure. 'Bye, 'C."
Rolling his eyes as he disconnected, Justin had a mental vision of just where JC's willingness to "do whatever it takes to make Lance feel better" might lead. He fell back onto the freshly made bed and laughed like a maniac for ten solid minutes.
Then he wiped his eyes, checked his hair, rinsed with mouthwash, and went to his next interview.