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not real, made up, purely intended for entertainment

Lights All Faded

by Musicboxgirl

It's just a Thursday and Lance feels completely out of place and lost when he wakes up in his Orlando house. There's sunlight and silence, two things he's become unaccustomed to over the past months. It makes his heart feel heavy when he thinks about it. They were so close, so close.

Lance thinks, more sleep, more sleep would be better, but he knows he needs to get up. It's morning and he's not jetlagged and there are things, things that need doing, probably. He makes himself get out of bed and he forces himself to smile at himself in the mirror in the bathroom before he steps into the shower. He thinks, it's going to be a great day. He doesn't really believe it.

After his shower he stands around and wonders what's on the schedule, nothing that he can't do later or even tomorrow. He sighs a little bit and pads down to the kitchen in sweats and socks and starts making some breakfast. One of the highlights of being back is no more Russian food, no more Kraft's Mac and Cheese, no more crap, not that he's got a degree in the kitchen but at least he can make some scrambled eggs with some spinach and cheese and tomatoes. All deliciously good things. He gets to work without another thought and when he catches himself humming 'Girlfriend' under his breath he stops suddenly and tries not to let his brain wander to the thought of an extended hiatus. He's thinking positive. They'll be back in no time.

Chris strolls right into the middle of the kitchen while Lance is cooking his eggs.

"Lancey, I'm home! Whatcha making?"

Lance clasps a hand over his chest and shouts in surprise.

"Jesus, Chris! A little warning before you come bursting into my house."

"Is it my fault that I still have a key and I missed you dearly and needed to see you so we could hug and make with the cute puppy eyes of lurv? Plus you said, and I quote, 'Stop by anytime, I'm always happy to see you.'"

"That doesn't mean you shouldn't tell me when you're coming."

Chris smirks.

"Oh, when I'm coming, you'll know."

Lance rolls his eyes and throws a dish towel at him.

"Big talk for such a little man."

"You're one to talk. You go to Russia and come back half your size and I'm not talking about your height!"

Chris chuckles at his own joke and Lance shoots Chris a dirty look and if his hands weren't currently occupied he'd probably have flipped Chris off too. As is, his hands are busy and it's not like Chris hasn't learned to read Lance's 'fuck off' face.

"Can you put some ham in mine?"

"In your what?"

"In my eggs."

"Who says I'm making you eggs."

"C'mon, baby cakes, don't be a big meanie. Feed me and I will make all of your dreams come true. Like Disney only you gotta be yay high," Chris raises a hand to about Lance's (new) height and continues, "to ride this ride."

Lance arches his perfectly curved eyebrows.

"What does that even mean?"

"Feed me and you'll find out."

Lance just sighs and goes in search of ham. It's almost always easier to just cave to Chris' will, especially when your own will is still a little battered.


After breakfast Lance stares at his practically blank planner and decides that he has nothing, nothing at all he has to do. It's Thursday, Russian in the morning followed by some physics then gym and centrifuge. Not anymore, he sighs loudly and picks at the edges of his planner. It's not even that he misses the hellish training and the crazy, money obsessed Russians it's just that, well it was his chance and it's gone. Like for real gone and now he's back and just like sitting around and waiting. It fucking blows. S-U-C-K-S, sucks, Lance thinks.

"Ok, that's enough, Mopey. Let's go."

"I'm tired, Chris. Seriously, I appreciate whatever it is you think you're doing here but I think I'm just going to go lie down."

"You just got up."

"Yeah, so?"

"It's not bed time. C'mon."

"I don't want to." Lance can hear the whine in his voice and he almost cringes at it. It reminds him of Justin and that makes him frown a little more. He doesn't really want to think about Justin, going solo, being great, while Lance is stuck in Orlando being strung along until it's no longer convenient. Damn is that depressing. He's trying to be positive today.

"Too bad."

Lance sighs again and crosses his arms. He doesn't have to go and they both know that.

"We're just going to the fucking park, princess. Stop being such a grump."

Lance wants to yell at Chris a little bit, tell him to 'GO HOME DAMMIT' but it's not Chris' fault that Lance feels like, like, well, like his life just went from really amazing to on the verge of nothingness in five seconds flat. It's just not Chris' fault at all and Lance just feels like a huge jerk all of a sudden so he smiles a little bit and nods.

"Alright, give me a minute to change."

"You look fine."

"It will just take a minute."

"I swear if you take more than five minutes that I will continue to wait here impatiently and I cannot be held responsible for my actions when you return. And don't try to look too good or else I'm going to look like a bum next to you."
Lance smirks, it almost feels like it should, like there is no huge pink elephant standing in the corner trumpeting along to the song of utter failure, almost.

"You always look like a bum next to me," Lance says. He springs for the stairs before Chris has even gotten off the couch.

Like old times, Lance thinks and races to lock his bedroom door.


It's weird because there are all these people that just stalk them all the time, like always, and now that they've been on hiatus for over six months it still hasn't changed and Lance almost missed the craziness of it. He had missed it in Russia at first, when no one knew, or cared, who he was and they would pass him on the street without a second glance. It had been freeing in a way, at last he could just be and not have to worry about if walking down the street was going to cause a riot or if he'd still be wearing his clothes when he arrived at his destination. Then the Russians had found out about how he was a cosmonaut in training and things had been different, people wanted his autograph or his picture sometimes but it was never as bad as when he'd been with *NSYNC. Not even close and he'd missed it a little bit; it felt like he wasn't quite himself without it. That had to be a little bit crazy, that he missed the utter insanity of fanatics watching him and waiting for him and wanting him but the truth of the matter is that he just liked the feeling of being important and of being wanted.

When Chris finally drags him out of the house and there's a bodyguard waiting, Lance is almost a little bit ecstatic. It isn't really, really the end, he's not really nothing, he's still Lance Bass international pop sensation and member of *NSYNC. He still has something under his belt even if he hasn't been to space and even if no one wants a solo record from him and even if the future is looking a little bit clouded over. Even so, he's still somebody, he thinks.


The trip to the park is pretty serene. It's just barely past noon and all of the teens are still in school or at the mall or something because the park is practically abandoned and Rob has no problem strolling a few yards behind them.

"So what's going on with you, Lance?"

Lance smiles a little, the corners of his mouth just barely tugging up.

"Nothing much. I'm back and the deal fell through and I'm ready to record but we're not recording and I don't know. It's fine but not what I had expected to happen at all."

"That sounds an awful lot like something."

"Yeah, I guess." Lance falls silent for a minute while he tries to organize his thoughts. He's been having a lot of trouble with that lately. "I don't know. I guess, I'm really frustrated with the way everything worked out and then I come home and this hiatus just keeps stretching on and on and all I want to do is throw myself back into work but I can't even do that because everything is all up in the air and not even my own company needs my input. How messed up is that?"

"Who cares if they don't 'technically' need your input, it's your company so do and say as you please, man."

"Sure, except I seem to have the touch of failure lately."

Lance sighs and tugs on his hat a little, pulls it down lower so it covers his eyes. He really doesn't need Chris to see that his eyes are a little wet, he's not crying though. He's really not.

"Man, you're not a failure you're pretty much the anti-failure. Check out all the great things you've done and if anything has ever fallen through it has not been because you didn't give one thousand percent. All the shit going on has nothing to do with you not being enough."

Chris claps Lance on the back and squeezes his shoulder a little.

"I know," Lance says even though he still feels like he could have done more, been more of whatever the network needed or whatever Jive wanted. Something. There's always something more you can do.

Chris drops Lance off and Lance thanks him for the pep talk. He knows he's gotta get his head on straight if Chris is the one that got sent to check on him.


Friday morning feels exactly like Thursday except that Lance wakes up to the smell of bacon and when he opens his eyes there's a tray of food on the night stand and Chris is sitting on the edge of Lance's bed.
Lance tries to speak but his throat is tight with sleep and he swallows a few times before trying again.


"Yes, it is."

"What are you doing here?"

"Why, yes, I did make you breakfast. You're very welcome. It's great to see you too."

Lance rolls his eyes.

"Thanks for breakfast. So why are you here?"

Chris shrugs and says, "I told you yesterday, I missed you while you were away."

Chris looks down and picks at the corner of the comforter. Lance thinks that he really loves when Chris has quiet moments because he always looks so, so, ethereal is the closest word he can think of to describe it. Chris gets all quiet and calm and beautiful. Lance swallows again before he tries to speak, he almost doesn't trust his own voice to come out now that he feels like he's been washed over with a tidal wave of desire.

"Is there something you want to tell me?"

"Have some bacon. It's good."

Lance knits his eyebrows together and tries to read Chris' expression but he's not sure what that face is supposed to be saying at all. He finally gives up and starts to get out of bed, a shower, maybe even a cold shower, is in order.

"I'm just going to grab a shower first."

"Great. I'll be downstairs."


Lance watches Chris leave the room before he pulls the covers off his lap. He stares at his erection, wonders how much of it is morning wood and how much is due to the way Chris looked, quiet and sitting in a pool of sunlight. Lance sighs, thinks, Chris, yet another thing he can fail at achieving. He silently scolds his dick for being stupid and wanting to have unattainable things.

In the shower Lance tries to figure out what is up with Chris, has he been so wrapped up in his own pity party that he missed some big Chris thing? Odds are there's a reason that Chris is hanging about and it's Lance's job to figure it out before Chris sees how truly messed up Lance is. It feels oddly right to Lance that at least his relationship with Chris has not changed because if Chris is anything, he's really fucking blatantly obvious and Lance knows that all he has to do is pay attention and look for it. Cat and mouse games forever, Lance thinks and smiles. He listens at the door to be sure that Chris isn't in the bedroom and he sneaks back out to grab his phone. He calls Joey and prays that Joey is awake.

"What?" Joey asks.

Shit. Still asleep.



"Yeah. Listen, Chris has been over two days in a row and he made me breakfast today, do you have any idea what this is about?"


"Do not even think about lying to me."

"I'm not going to lie I'm just not going to tell you anything. How's that? Look, just hear him out. He, uh, he really missed you and stuff. I dunno. I can't really say anything else."

"That is not helpful, Joey. What is this about?"

"Look, ok. You're having a hard time and you need someone there and he missed you and he's being a friend so just let him. Ok? I gotta go."

"Wait. Joey!"

Joey hangs up on Lance and Lance scoffs at the phone. He huffs a little when he drops it on the bed and then stalks to his closet to get dressed.


He brings the tray of food downstairs to the living room and eats it dutifully. It's actually very good. Like, really good. Lance doubts that Chris actually cooked it.

"So what's on the agenda?" Chris asks.

Lance shrugs. "Self-flogging at ten, self-deprecation at eleven, you know, the usual."

Chris chuckles and says, "Sounds like a great time, Bass."

"The bacon is good."

"I didn't make it," Chris says through a smile.

"I know. It's too good to be your cooking."

"Oh, fuck off. I can cook!"

"As long as it involves step by step instructions and a microwave."

Chris makes a sound half-way between a growl and a scoff and Lance laughs because it comes out sounding a bit like a dog sneeze.

He feels at ease for the first time since he's been back. It's nice, very nice and very comfortable and just like what he'd been missing while he was in Russia, people who get him and it's good. It's good.

"Want to hit the pool? I was thinking of getting a few laps in."


Chris beams at him, or maybe Lance imagines it but he feels like he's standing in a spotlight. He smiles back and enjoys how easy it feels to just let the negative shit go for a minute.


Lance swims laps while Chris cheers him and then pokes him as he swims past. Once he starts to feel like he's possibly developing a bruise between his eighth and ninth ribs from Chris' insistent poking, he finally gives up and splashes Chris with as much water as he can. Chris reciprocates by leaping at Lance and dunking him. Lance comes up laughing and sputtering water. Chris jumps away when Lance tries to grab him.

Lance spots it when Chris starts to swim away. A dragon tattoo on Chris' shoulder, it's new, Lance knows that much because he's never seen it before. The dragon has big, pale green eyes and a tuft of brown hair with blonde tips; flames lick out from the corners of its mouth. Lance's stomach does flip flops when he sees it and his heart thumps faster because it looks like, well, like him, if he was a dragon that is.

"When did you get that?" Lance asks.

Chris freezes and treads water for what feels like eternity to Lance but is probably more like three or four seconds.

"Um, sometime after your heart thing."

Chris shrugs and flicks little drops of water at Lance. Lance thinks about it, that was months ago and he doesn't remember Chris mentioning it at all.

"I hadn't seen it before."

"I know. I didn't show you on purpose."

"Oh," Lance says and he tries not to sound completely disappointed even though he feels kind of crushed. It would have been cool if it was supposed to be him or was for him or something. His dick would probably really appreciate it if it was but it's not that's ok.

"'Cause it's supposed to represent you or whatever. I dunno. You did the surgery and I was scared something was going to happen and then you were ok and you just flew right back out there and you did training and you didn't let anything slow you down at all. I admire that."

Lance is nodding along with Chris' words even before they've registered and after they have he stops nodding and just stares.

"It's just, yeah. Yeah," Chris says, like that just explains it all. It explains nothing.

Lance starts to smile and then he says, "Thanks."

"For what?"

"For believing in me enough to get a freaking tattoo."

"Well it was the least I could do," Chris says. "Plus, he's kind of cute."

Chris is a little bit flushed and Lance can't decide if it's because of the sun or, he hopes, something having to do with almost calling Lance cute. Chris bites his bottom lip and smiles and Lance swims over to him. Lance touches it, feels the skin against his fingers, he can feel the difference between the Chris' skin and the tattoo. Chris shudders against him and Lance sighs. He feels confused and scared and excited when he leans forward and kisses Chris' shoulder.

"Lance?" Chris asks, voice unusually soft.

Lance freezes and swallows slowly. Wrong, wrong, wrong, he thinks.


"I really missed you."

"I missed you too."

Chris turns around and looks Lance straight in the eyes.

"I missed you, a lot," Chris says. Chris' eyes dart over Lance's face.

Lance knows he's flushed, cheeks pink with heat. He wants things, things that he can't quite put into words but have a lot to do with Chris being this close and right there and so fucking beautiful when he's quiet and sometimes even when he's loud. Lance kisses Chris' wet lips before he can think too much about what it all means. He just needs to feel something. Not alone and grounded in something with someone else so he can get out of his own head. And it's Chris. Chris, Lance thinks and licks across Chris' bottom lip. Lance's stomach goes tight with anticipation and a little bit of panic before Chris' lips part and Lance slides his tongue right along Chris'.

Lance feels like himself, like he's alive again, all of a sudden and he matters and someone, people, care and he has purpose. Purpose, even if that purpose is to make Chris smile at him again, even if that purpose is to make Chris moan his name. It doesn't matter to him, just matters that it exists and all of a sudden he doesn't feel as lost and alone and lonely because Chris' hands are pressed low on Lance's hips and they're treading water together. Better than alone, Lance thinks, better with Chris.


Saturday morning feels nothing like Friday and even less like Thursday and Lance is already beaming only seconds after waking up. Chris is sprawled across Lance's bed and Lance can see the tattoo clearly. He trails light fingers against the raised skin of it and his heartbeat quickens as he remembers the feel of Chris' fingers on his skin.

Chris stirs and his eyes flutter open.



Chris chuckles a little, yawns and reaches out to press his fingers into the finger shaped bruises on Lance's hips. Lance shivers under Chris' touch. Chris' smile goes wider.


Lance licks his lips and nods quickly.

"Yes, please."

"So polite."

Lance stretches out in the bed, arches just a little bit and Chris falls silent as he pushes Lance back onto the bed. Chris sucks on the bruises on Lance's hip and Lance inhales sharp, his fingers threading through Chris' hair when Chris finally wraps his mouth around Lance's cock. Lance arches off the bed again, trying to get more, more, hot, wet, good. Chris hums, sucks, tongue wrapped around Lance's dick. Lance's mind goes blank, his vision blurs and he's pretty sure he shouts something, hopefully Chris' name.

When he opens his eyes Chris is looking smug.


"I know, I rock your world."

Lance laughs and nods. "Yeah, that's a good way of putting it."

They shower together and Lance returns the favor and Saturday is by far the best day ever.


After breakfast Chris sits on the counter while Lance loads the dishwasher.

"So what's on the schedule for today?" Chris asks.

"I dunno. It's a nice day. We should do something fun, get out. Then we can come back and have sex until we pass out."

"That's a great plan."

"I think so."

Lance doesn't even care when they get stopped five times by people who want to know when Justin's album is coming out and then ask about what happened to his 'space thing'. He doesn't feel like almost crying when three other people ask what they're doing now. He just answers the questions politely and keeps walking.

It's not like they haven't done a lot, it's not like he hasn't done a lot. They're taking a break and it's not the end and they can pursue other interests and do other things. Lance is currently pursuing an interest in Chris and that's going well so far but he can't share that bit. It's not the end. It's only the beginning and it's good.


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