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not real, made up, purely intended for entertainment

Stalking Dragon

by Raven

Justin spotted it first. He'd been sitting there looking out the bus window and thinking, sulking actually. But that's neither here nor there, he was the first to see it. A dragon in the sky. A dragon that seemed to be closely following the path of the tour bus. He'd started yelling for Chris, for anyone, to come and look. When no one reacted to him, he'd gone and demanded that the bus driver stop.

The driver had actually laughed at him, when Justin had told the man that he was going to get him fired. The man informed him that Lou paid him, not Justin and that Justin could make all the threats he wanted. Justin had stomped back through the bus until he reached Chris' bunk. Chris was laying on his side, his back to Justin. The headphones to his cd player firmly on his head. "No wonder he didn't hear me." Justin thought as he grabbed Chris' ankle and tugged.

"Justin, you little shit, what is your problem? Do you not see me sleeping?" Chris grumbled. "Why are you bothering me and not someone else?"

"There's a dragon outside. Don't look at me like that, I'm telling the truth. There's a dragon in the sky and I think its following the bus."

"A dragon? Sure Justin, you been sneaking into the beer again? Someone give you a joint or what?"

"Shut up. I'm telling you there's a dragon following the bus, come and look."

Only after much goading, did Chris get out of his bunk and follow Justin. The kid was just so earnest about the whole thing, he might as well humor him. At least then maybe Justin would let him go back to his nap. Only there was nothing in the sky, nothing following the bus. Just as Chris knew there wouldn't be. Chris had wandered back to his bunk, Justin had resumed his seat at the window. Justin's last words hanging between them. "I'm not joking, I did see a dragon."

Lance was beyond tired; emotionally and mentally worn out. So many things could happen with this lawsuit. He was supposed to be sleeping, another day of sitting in the courtroom awaited him. He'd even tried to sleep, he'd laid on the bed and stared at the ceiling for what felt like hours. His mind just wouldn't turn off. What if they lost, they said they'd continue with another name if they had to; but would they? He didn't want to go back to Mississippi and be normal.

He wasn't sure how long he'd been looking out the window when he noticed something moving in the night sky. He pressed his face closer to the glass, there it was again, something flying. Just over the woods that backed the hotel's parking lot. It was too big to be a bird. He rubbed at his eyes, he was tired and stressed, he knew that, but there was no way that something that large could be flying. Wasn't there. It wasn't a plane, it definitely wasn't a bird. It banked suddenly to the left and crossed in front of the moon; suddenly Lance saw it clearly. A dragon. There was a dragon, but there couldn't be. Dragons didn't exist, did they?

Joey looked across the breakfast table at Lance. Lance was staring down at his plate, pushing the food around with his fork and not eating. The whole situation was taking its toll on everyone, but Joey swore Lance hadn't looked this bad the night before. He'd tried to get Lance to talk to him and had even thought that Lance was going to, then everyone else had crowded in around the table and Lance had shut his mouth. The more Joey pressed him to talk, the more Lance shook his head no. Joey didn't know what had happened to Lance during the night, but he was going to find out. If someone had hurt Lance, Joey was going to make him pay.

Chris' knees were just throbbing. He was going to kill Wade one of these days and nobody would blame him. Well, maybe Justin would, but that was it. Even JC had been shooting Wade dirty looks at rehearsal lately. In his heart Chris knew that the choregraphy was going to look great on stage, but his aching joints just wanted Wade dead.

JC had wanted to go out to dinner "or something" after rehearsal, Joey had turned him down; saying that he wanted to go call Kelly and the baby. Then Lance begged off with the excuse of needing to make some business calls and Justin had plans with Wade. Only the look of disappointment on JC's face had kept Chris from also backing out, but he'd made it clear that he wasn't up for going out clubbing. Dinner and then Chris wanted to call it a night and go soak in the hot tub. He wasn't surprised when JC wanted to continue to hang out after the meal, but Chris had been firm. If JC wanted to hang out and he'd have to join him in the hot tub. JC had passed, telling Chris that he needed to release some pent up energy. Chris couldn't understand how JC could have any energy pent up after the day they'd had.

JC made him promise not to drink too much and drown himself in the hot tub. Chris had laughed and promised to stop before he was seeing the dancing pink elephants. Chris never expected to see a freaking dragon land on the edge of the roof, let alone to have the beast crane its neck down until it could dip its snout into the hot tub's water. Chris had sat there frozen until the beast raised it's head and then proceeded to shake the droplets of water clinging to it in Chris' direction. Chris had clambered over the side of the hot tub, tripped more than once over the empty beer bottles that laid discarded on the deck. He'd run, bare-assed naked across the deck and through the glass doors into the building. Chris swore that the beast laughed at him the whole time.

Lance scowled the next morning as he looked out at the deck. Empty beer bottles lay scattered around the uncovered hot tub and if he wasn't mistaken those were Chris' boxers laying in a damp heap on the little steps leading into the tub. Lance walked out onto the deck, he wasn't cleaning up Chris' mess, but he would at least turn off the hot tub and cover it. He might want to use the tub later so he didn't want it full of leaves or bugs. As he tugged the cover over the tub he spied something gleaming at the bottom of it. Thinking that Chris might have lost one of his chains or even possibly have broken a beer bottle and left some glass in the tub. Lance reached down into the water to remove it. It wasn't either of those things and as for what it was, Lance didn't know. It looked like a fish scale, but yet it was so different in texture and size from any fish scale that Lance had ever seen. It gleamed in the sunlight, almost as if it was lit from within and it was hard as a metal. Lance couldn't help wondering what it was and what exactly Chris had been doing the night before.

Joey could still see the resort in the distance as he hadn't walked that far up the beach. Still, he'd gone far enough that he was alone. No one to bother him, no cameras following him and best of all no one to nag at him. He knew he was suppose to have security with him, but he'd talked Lance into helping him ditch it. He had to promise he wouldn't be gone long and that he wouldn't get into any trouble. He just needed to have some time to himself to get out of the mood that he'd been fighting with for the last day or so. He hadn't realized how out of sorts he was until Lance had pulled him aside and asked him what had crawled up his ass and died. He just wished Lance had stepped up and said something before Joey'd succeeded in making so many people angry at him. Joey waded into the water until it just came up to his knees, thinking about who he'd need to apologize and wondering just how much he was going to have to grovel to Kelly.

Lost in his thoughts he continued to walk, distantly aware of the sound of something large splashing in the water, but not paying attention to it until a wave of water knocked him off his feet. Sitting in the water, the ocean almost up to his shoulders he saw what had caused the wave. Joey shook the water out of his eyes as best he could and just stared. There was a dragon sitting in the water no more than 100 feet from him and Joey wondered if the tropical sun might be causing him to imagine things. Just to be safe he started to crab-walk backwards away from the thing. Thousands of mental images flying through his brain, every one of them ending with the dragon eating him and no one ever knowing what had happened to him. How had no one seen this thing before? How had it managed to sneak up on Joey? Joey mentally kicked himself for ditching security and threw in a couple of mental kicks in Lance's direction for helping him do it. He just knew he was going to be dragon chow. He hoped his family knew he loved them. He hoped the guys would forgive him for ending their careers so suddenly with his sudden death. He hoped Kelly and the baby would be fine, maybe Kel would meet someone nice and he'd help her raise the baby.

Another massive wave of water swamped him, the dragon had lunged skyward suddenly and then splashed back down into the water. Once more Joey shook his head to clear the water from his eyes. He looked once more at the dragon, was the thing smirking at him? Joey squinted against the glare of sun on the water and the water dripping from his forehead into his eyes and looked once more. It was, the thing was smirking at him. Who did it think it was? "Hey!" He yelled at it, "Knock that out before you drown me."

The dragon lowered it head until its snout was in the water. As Joey watched the dragon snorted and bubbles rose to the water's surface. He couldn't help but laugh at that, it was definitely an improvement over the way he generally made bubbles underwater. The creature withdrew its head from the water and sat calmly as Joey resumed his crabwalking back to shore. Soon as he was back on shore it took flight once more. Joey watched as it skimmed along the water's surface for awhile and then dove again into the water. This time it didn't resurface. Joey stood and watched for it's return, finally when it didn't he began to wonder if he truly had imagined it. After all, he knew there wasn't any such thing as a dragon.

JC stood on the stage and listened as the crowd screamed for more. This was the last show, the end of the tour. Starting the next morning they'd officially be on a hiatus. Just the thought of the word made his skin feel tight. How was he suppose to keep an eye on the guys if they were going to be spread out all over the globe. Especially Lance, how was he going to be able to watch over Lance while he was in Russia. And what about this RV trip that Chris was talking about taking or Joey going to New York to act. He'd have to make sure to visit each of them, but how and when were another matter. He could feel his back shifting, he needed to get off the stage, needed to get far away from everyone. One last bow, one last wave to the crowd; he could wait. He could do it.

The party was raging on when Justin slipped out and was headed for the SUV that would take him back to the hotel the band had chosen to stay overnight in. He was going to check on JC and then go crash in his own hotel room. JC hadn't acted right since the last encore. Justin just hoped he wasn't back at the hotel throwing up or something equally as nasty. He'd never be able to tell anyone what made him look up at the sky before getting into the SUV, he wasn't sure why he did. But there, flying in lazy circles above the party was one lone dragon and in his heart, Justin recognized it.


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