nsync in black and white

Disclaimer: this is fiction. We made it up.

Case Closed

by Katie, written for Tracy


She looked up at him with cool green eyes framed by dark, thick lashes. Raven colored hair splayed over the white pillow in artful disarray. He bent closer to her body, his eyes raking over her frame. Her golden legs and arms bespoke of regular hours spent under the Miami sun. She might have been one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen, but there was one minor flaw.

He leaned back up slowly. Picking up his camera and taking careful aim, he framed the deep, jagged cut that sliced her slim neck from ear to ear. Click.


His forehead rested against the grainy wood of the bar. It had not been a good day. The bartender walked by and plucked the pilsner glass out of his hand, quickly refilled it then set it back on the bar. He only received a grunt of thanks before the man grabbed his beer and drank half immediately.

The young man had been awakened by a storm too early in the morning only to face a murder-suicide, followed by a child molester and then a man who was beating his wife to death – all before lunch. The two donuts he had inhaled en route to a car crash sat like lead in his stomach for the remainder of the day. His afternoon was filled with paperwork and more evidence that some people should simply not be allowed to reproduce.

He was exhausted. His shift ended two hours ago, but he had yet to go back home. After a day like his, the need to unwind and let everything roll off was essential. He did not do it everyday, because most days as a detective for the Miami Police Department were incredibly gratifying; but sometimes cases got the better of him.

With another sigh, Justin Timberlake sat upright, downed the rest of his beer and turned headed for the open pool table the back of the bar.


“Josh! Hey, Chasez! Wait up, man!”

Josh’s white lab coat spun around his knees as he turned to wait for Joey. The lab technician rushed down the sterile-looking metal and glass hallway. It ran from the DNA lab to the executive offices of Miami Crime Scene Investigation Unit.

“Hey, Joey, what is it?”

“Lab results from this morning.”

“The female vic from the hotel?”

“Yeah. Angelina Manueles. 26. Just finished Miami U with a Masters in business.”

“And was it the injury to her throat that killed her?” Josh grabbed the file from Joey and flipped it open. His eyebrows were already raised in surprise when Joey began to speak.

“No. She died from drug overdose. Cocaine. She had a seizure first; the throat was slit postmortem.”

Distractedly Josh flipped through the pages in Joey’s report. “Interesting. Great. Thanks, Joey. Let me know if you have any luck with the remaining trace.”

“Will do,” Joey replied, but Josh was already moving again – his coat swinging behind him. At the end of the hallway Josh disappeared behind a door. The nameplate rattled slightly as he shut it firmly behind him. Joshua S. Chasez, M.D, Ph.D., Miami Police Department – Crime Scene Investigation Unit, Director.



Josh Chasez sat facing the window. His mind was racing. It was how he normally worked – completely focused and damn near unresponsive until he figured something out. It was trancelike, his concentration, and it helped him on more than one occasion. He loved puzzles, and piecing together a crime scene was the most realistic, most important puzzle in the world.

His newest puzzle came in the form of a beautiful murder victim. He knew it was a murder even though her throat had been slashed postmortem. Something did not add up.

She was already dead. Why did he cut her throat? Was it symbolic? Was it an act of passion? But there was no evidence of sexual assault. She died of a coke overdose. Why would she voluntarily take that much coke? Did she know she had ingested it? How can someone not know? The seizure was a reaction to the coke and it shut her brain down. That’s how she died. Did he think the seizure would stop and she would talk? Yes! That is why her throat was cut. It was precautionary! Now, how can that be connected? What piece of evidence…What is that noise?

Josh was shaken out of his thoughts by the telephone.

“Yes?” He snapped, slamming his hand on the speakerphone button.

“Josh? It’s Micah. I thought you’d be here. It’s not even 7 AM!”

“Yeah, yeah. I had some work, some thinking to do. What’s going on Micah?”

“I have some interesting information for you.”


“The Manueles case? I just got off the phone with Kassmire and Bolston, the officers at the scene? They’ve been working on the case and say that she was Alexander Valesquez’s flavor of the month.”

Josh was silent for a moment. “The Alex Valesquez?”

“The one and only. You know what this means, right?”

His voice was chilly when he spoke, “Yes, I know. Thank you for the update, Micah.” Josh hung up the phone and sat – staring at nothing. Shit.


Justin’s pager began to vibrate just before 6 AM. He cracked an eye and watched it move slowly across the table, falling to the floor with a smack.

Moaning, Justin leaned over the side of his bed and picked it up, XXX-4455, Chris.

Justin dropped face first back into his pillows. He did not want to be talking to Chris this early in the morning, but a message from the Captain of his squad was normally important.

He grabbed his cell phone and dialed by memory, his eyes still closed, “It’s very early, Chris. You got home the same time I did. How can you even be at the office?” he grumbled when Chris answered.

“Alexander Valesquez.”

And now Justin was awake and slowly sitting up in bed. “What about that fuck?”

“Justin…you’re a cop – watch the language.”

“I’m not in uniform right now Chris. Tell me what is going on.”

“I’ve got a DB and he’s connected. Kass and Bolston are on it. I just thought you should know.”

“I want it.”

Chris sighed, “Justin…I can’t--,”

“I don’t care,” Justin ground out, “I want it. Take them off right now. I’ll go see the CSIs myself and get all the details.”

“You do know what that means, don’t you?”

Justin covered his eyes with his hand – a gesture of fatigue, “Yes. I do. I’ll meet with him today.”

“Whatever you say, Timberlake. Don’t mess this one up. And be here in 20.”



Justin was uncomfortable. The middle-aged woman who took his name at the reception desk checked him out discreetly. The hallways were shiny and transparent. He could look down and see a lab below on his right and an electronics room on his left. Technicians in white coats scurried about like maniacal rabbits.

In his years at Miami PD, he tried to make his visits to the CSI building as infrequent as possible. Simply knowing Josh Chasez was in the building set Justin on edge.

They had not ended well, and working alongside someone you have a confusing history with can be tricky. Justin avoided any call-outs that Josh took. He tried to make all his contacts at CSI bypass Josh though it had been considerably harder since he became the Director. Director – that was a funny thought - Josh was the director now. A quickly fleeting sense of pride rushed Justin’s stomach, thinking that Josh had come so far.

And now Josh was making him wait. He could do that and no one would think anything of it. Josh was an important, busy man: the director of one of the most advanced, respected crime units in the country.

But he was making Justin wait, and it was starting to annoy. Justin paced the short distance across the lobby, his hands in the pocket of his suit pants. Justin’s Detective badge was clipped to his belt along with his pager and cell-phone. When he moved just right, the brown leather band of his shoulder holster peeked out from beneath his arm.

The visitors pass hung loosely around his neck and Justin was about to rip it off and leave when the sliding glass doors that read MIAMI POLICE DEPARTMENT - - CRIME SCENE DIVISION swished open and Josh stepped into view.


“Dr. Chasez.”

For a moment they both stared. The past peered like a ghost over their shoulders and they could read history and hate in each others eyes.

Justin did not think he had ever seen Josh look better. He looked older, distinguished. His work pants and shirt were impeccable; his tie was silk and understated. He had always been beautiful and self-assured, but now the confidence radiated off of him in waves. Justin’s eyes traveled briefly to Josh’s hair, it had been one of Justin’s favorite things about Josh when they were together. It was soft and curly and Justin’s fingers twitched involuntarily at his sides. He was cast out of his reverie the moment Josh spoke.

“Can I help you?”

“Yes, is it possible we could talk somewhere else?”

“Of course, follow me.”

Josh felt eyes boring holes into his back as they retreated through the glass doors and down the hall. Every part of his body felt hot. Josh inwardly cursed Justin’s ability, even after all their time apart, to make Josh flush. The intensity in Justin’s gaze had always been powerful, but there was something else now. His eyes were determined, knowledgeable, and patient. The fire had always been there, Josh remembered, and now Justin had the intelligence to make it work for him.

The door clicked shut behind them and Justin’s sharp eyes flicked to Josh’s face. “Tell me about Angelina Manueles.”

“You’re not on this case.”

“I am now. I took it from Kass and Bolston this morning. You had to know I would.”

Josh was silent.

“Look,” patience gave way to aggravation, “I am the lead investigator here and I need to know what you know. I want to nail this guy.”

Josh leaned against a bookshelf almost casually, “You know it doesn’t work like that. Processing takes time and I am working as fast as I can. I’ll give you what I have when I have it. Right now I’ve got nothing.”

“Chasez,” Justin bit out, “Why don’t you just give it to one of your other guys and I’ll take this up with them? It’s obvious that you and I are going to get nothing done here.”

“Who says we won’t get anything done? I’m willing to help you in any way you need. I always have been. I just hesitate because if the evidence doesn’t turn in your favor, I don’t want to fear for my career again.”

A cold look crossed Justin’s face, “I never did anything about your career.”



Josh bitingly explained, “After Valesquez two years ago I was being investigated for tampering with evidence, when you know very well I would never and didn’t do a damn thing. You never even said a word to anyone.”

Passing regret flitted over Justin’s face before it turned stony again and he glared across the room at Josh, “Sorry if I didn’t jump to your rescue, but I had just watched my partner, the guy whose back I’m supposed to have, the guy who has saved my own life once or twice, get gunned down in front of me.” Justin’s voice rose an octave and he began to yell, “And it messed me up and I blame Valesquez and I blamed you.”

“Blamed?” Josh asked curiously, calmly.

Justin sighed and backed up to lean against the office door. “Blamed, Josh. It’s in the past.”

Josh stood very still and started at Justin. After a moment he spoke, emotionless, “So it is.”



He selected the small cardboard container and opened it slowly. A long Q-Tip fell out and landed on the sterile table. He picked it up and looked at it carefully. The tip had some material attached and he knew it to be scrapings from beneath Angelina Manueles’ fingernails.

He grabbed a pair of sterile tweezers and removed the trace from the tip of the cotton swab, placing it on a glass slide. After putting a small cover sheet on top of the material, he set the slide under the microscope. Shoving his glassed to the top of his head, he bent down and began to analyze.

Josh slide a pen out of his lab coat pocket and began making notations in the open file. He loved this: the procedure, the delicacy, the mystery of forensic science. He loved the technology of ballistics, the amazement of DNA profiling, the capabilities of a single fingerprint. He was thorough and meticulous.

Envy riddled every work environment, and the Miami CSI Unit was no exception. Josh knew that others wanted the job of director, but he logged the hours, he ran the early call-outs. Josh took the promotion to director very seriously, and he rarely missed a clue.

Flipping the microscope to digital readout, Josh waited for the elemental components to appear on the LCD screen on the far wall. He thought back to the day before. Justin was paged and had to leave suddenly, but the look on his face as he left promised that this was not over.

Josh tried to put Justin out of his mind and focus on the Manueles case. Normally Josh would have no problem focusing solely on the case, but the shock of seeing Justin again so suddenly had thrown him off slightly.

He did not want to argue with Justin, he did not really want to work with Justin at all, but they were both too committed to this case to give it up. Yet somewhere in the back of his mind he wanted to give this to Justin. He wanted the evidence to fall into place so Justin could arrest Valesquez and lock him up for good.

Josh watched the LCD screen bring up information that he already suspected. The substance from beneath Angelina’s nails was skin. Josh took the sample from beneath the microscope, placed it in a test tube and added some chemicals. Slipping it into the processor, he started the machine and sat down to write again in the file. He would have the DNA results from the skin within the hour.


Justin’s desk was littered with empty coffee cups, gum wrappers and orange peels. Beyond that, his files were irritatingly neat and organized. The Manueles case was open in front of him; his pen was poised above a legal pad as he listened to Kassmire and Bolston recount the scene for the third time.

“And the physical evidence recovered at the scene?”

“CSI took women’s clothes that were strewn all over the room. They took the sheets. There was a little bit of blood on the headboard – that was sampled. The drains and all the fixtures in the bathroom were sprayed and samples were taken. We watched Dr. Chasez photograph the entire room. He even did the hallway outside the room.”

As Kassmire spoke, Justin took detailed notes in his own version of shorthand. At the mention of Josh’s name, Justin felt his face get hot. Of course Josh would think to do that. That modicum of pride flitted again at the edge of Justin’s conscious before he tuned back to the policemen recounting the scene.


Josh studied the printout again. It was exactly what he suspected. The DNA from beneath Angelina’s fingernails matched Alexander Valesquez. This was the evidence Justin needed to pick up Valesquez for questioning – and though Josh still felt reluctant to help Justin, he knew that Justin would be more than greatful.

Josh picked up his phone and punched a few numbers. Not masking the smugness in his voice he said, “Detective Timberlake, please. This is Josh Chasez at the Crime Lab.”



“Tell me about you and Justin Timberlake. Why do you hate one another?”

Micah and Josh were walking back from the cafeteria when the younger man sprung the mini-interrogation on Josh.

“I’m not sure that’s your business, Micah,” Josh tried for coy but it came out more standoffish.

“Come on, man. You work around here with all these law enforcement guys and you start to hear things. Any call outs in Timberlake’s jurisdiction, you give to someone else. Anything case you are on and he hears of, it’s reassigned to another detective. I’m just curious.”

“We just don’t like one another that much.”

“It’s more than that, Josh. Tell me.”

Josh started out slow, “I met Justin Timberlake in college. We were seniors at FSU, both in the same advanced chemistry seminar. The lecture was huge and on the first day we sat next to one another and just started talking.”

Micah smiled sardonically, “Touching.”

“Anyway, we became friends, and then we became more,” Josh threw a cautionary look at Micah before continuing. “He was going into the Police Academy after graduation and I was applying to grad schools for Chemistry. We tried to make it work, but we just grew apart. I left for Virginia and he stayed in Miami,” Josh had stopped walking, the look on his face reminiscent.

Micah made a ‘go on’ motion with his hand and waited for Josh to continue.

“I don’t think we ever really broke it off. We just kind of separated. I went north and he stayed here. Of course I saw other people after a while, and I’m sure he did too.”

Josh paused for a moment before continuing, “Two years ago Alexander Valesquez shot Justin’s partner, Detective Santrino, point blank – and Justin was standing right there. I forget the conditions, but I was the secondary on the scene for CSI – only a level two at the time. I was completely shocked seeing Justin, and I think he felt the same. We agreed to meet up later that week after I submitted all the processed evidence to the DA. For some reason, we couldn’t put the gun in Valesquez’s hands, and Justin’s line-of-sight was blocked. Valesquez got off, Justin blames me and I went under investigation for tampering with evidence.”

“Shit, Josh. I had no idea,” Micah said, stunned.

“Yeah, well, most people don’t. IA investigated and Justin did absolutely nothing for me. He didn’t even give a character affidavit. I was so angry with him for the longest time. He knows me; he knows I would never do something like that.”

They headed towards Josh’s office. “And now?” Micah asked.

“Now?” Josh spoke softly, “I just don’t know.


Justin came to him early in the evening with files on Valesquez, Manueles and the case from two years ago. And now they had been working for hours and were nowhere near any conclusion or revelation. Josh felt the tension in the room from the moment they sat down. Jerky movements and silted conversation made their communication awkward.

They sat with files and test results strewn across the conference table in front of them. The case was not coming together and the DA wanted to move on Valesquez before he got wind of what they were planning and left town.

Josh read through the evidence notes for the fifteenth time. He sat back in his chair and ran his fingers through his hair tiredly. It was late, everyone else was already gone, and Josh was tired. Justin had come to the lab around four, and they were still in the same room, talking about the same case, trying to connect Valesquez to Angelina to Angelina’s death.

Justin stood again to pace, “What are we missing?”

“It’s the cocaine. That doesn’t add up. Where did it come from? Why was it inside her? I think we’re going to get a break when Bass gets back. Since we don’t have an autopsy, we can’t really go any further with this.”

“I know, I know. It’s just that I want to make sure that we have thought of everything. I want to nail this bastard, JC.”

Josh turned sharply, “What did you call me?”

Justin stopped pacing and turned, “What?”

“You called me ‘JC’.”

A funny look came across Justin’s normally composed face. “I didn’t…I’m sorry.”

Josh folded his hands together on the table and said quietly, “It’s ok. I liked it.”

“Yeah?” Justin’s voice was hoarse. He blamed it up to the late hour.

“Yeah, I always liked that nickname. No one calls me that anymore.”

“Yeah, well, they’re probably afraid to. You being the boss and all,” Justin teased lightly, going over to the small buffet for another cup of coffee.

Josh muttered something noncommittal then said, “I don’t know if I should say this…but I’m just going to. I’ve been thinking about this since Monday and, well--,”

“I thought you got passed the inarticulate phase when you got your doctorate?” Justin smiled softly and took a seat next to Josh again.

“Hey now, I’m very articulate. Just, not about this stuff.”

“Ah. Well, what were you going to say?”

“Right. Just that, um, I’ve been thinking a lot about you. Not about you, you. But about you and me and our history. I just wondered, well, what you thought of it.”

“What I thought about what? Our history?”

Josh nodded and watched Justin fidget with his coffee cup. “I don’t know. We never talked about it. You just kind of left me here.”

“What? No. No I just went away to school; you knew I was going to do that. We talked about it. You were going to stay here and I was going to go to Virginia and we would make it work.”

Justin’s voice was soft, “We didn’t make it work, Josh. Why was that?”

Josh was tired and this conversation was wearing him down even more, “I don’t know, Justin. I thought you hated me.”

“Why would I hate you?”

“I thought because of Valesquez two years ago, and because you didn’t say anything when IA came--,”

“I’m very sorry about that. But I knew they would not find anything. I knew you would never tamper with evidence. So, I guess it didn’t really register with me. I was still dealing with Santrino’s death and seeing you again after such a long time and all these feelings were coming back. I’m sorry about that, Josh. I should have come forward.”

The fragment of Josh’s brain that was still awake focused on one thing, “What feelings?”

Justin took a deep breath and angled his body towards Josh, “Feelings for you. God, when I saw you at the scene you looked so good, older and different. I just wanted to touch you. But it was entirely inappropriate and Santrino was dead and I just freaked out. So I ignored you and blamed you. I realize now how stupid I acted.”

Josh was quiet during Justin’s admission. He didn’t know quite what to say. He needed to sleep, but more importantly, he needed to get away from Justin – if only for a few hours.

Josh lost himself in thought as Justin began to pace again; only this time, his mind wasn’t on the case.

He’s not acting like a complete ass, I guess. This could be worse. We haven’t talked for the longest time; he’s changed so much. He looks intimidating, maybe it’s because he carries a gun? That’s silly – he just looks so in control. He’s always been attractive – blindingly so. His chin looks stronger, and his lips – oh God, I need to not think about this right now. He needed to sleep, but more importantly, he needed to get away from Justin – if only for a few hours.


“Well, I found the source of the cocaine.”

Josh looked up, startled, when Lance Bass walked into his office.


“Angelina Manueles, she died of a coke overdose, but no one knew how. I just posted her. The cocaine was put inside her from a surgerical procedure she had about 2 weeks before she died. Apparently they removed a kidney and replaced it with cocaine sealed in a plastic package. The package burst – probably during sex or exercise – and coated her internal organs.”

Josh was still frozen when Lance stopped speaking. Planted inside her body? Someone put it there on purpose? Surgically! What kind of sick…

“Oh wow. I think I know what happened. Lance, thank you so much. You need to stop going on vacations, man.” Josh was already flipping through files on his desk and grabbing papers while picking up the telephone and punching the number for the Miami PD.

Lance chuckled once before leaving, “And you, Doctor Chasez, need to start.”


“Well? I did what you asked, now tell me why.”

“You brought it with you?”

“Yes, it’s right here.”

Josh and Justin were back at the table in the conference room – this time Josh sat calmly with a hint of smile on his lips.

“Ok, this is what I have,” Josh spoke. Justin watched the transformation overtake him – he sat straighter, his words became deliberate and serious, he was speaking with authority. And it was attractive.

“Bass did the autopsy today and he found scars on her back, proper scars. Angelina had surgery, as you know from your research, just over two weeks ago. The medical report states she had a kidney removed – she did, but in its place was a very large packet of cocaine. It ruptured inside her, but I don’t think that was the intention of whoever put it there. I think the intention was for her to be a human mule. You have the airline reservation?”

Josh could tell the moment everything clicked for Justin. His eyes, already sharp, narrowed to slits when he realized they had solved it.

“Motherfucker,” Justin whispered. “He was using her to smuggle drugs to Mexico. He’s already wanted down there for trafficking. He booked tickets for Mexico about the same time she went in for surgery – and when they got to Mexico, she was scheduled for a follow-up with Valesquez’s personal doctors. The drugs were going to be removed down there.”

Josh nodded and pushed the evidential findings across the table to Justin, “Go get him.”

“You bet your ass I will,” Justin was already standing and grabbing the paperwork. “Thank you, JC,” Justin said, letting the nickname slip, “I really appreciate this.”

“You’re welcome,” Josh responded quietly to the empty room.


Josh reclined in the lounge chair and reached for his coffee. It had been a hellish week. Though he had not been in contact with Justin after he left the Crime Lab yesterday, Josh had heard rumors that they got Valesquez. And he was arrested, arraigned, and currently awaiting trial.

Trace, DNA, and the autopsy had all fallen into place for this one and Josh couldn’t have been more pleased. It was rare for him to have such involvement in individual cases, but somehow, with Justin working alongside him it was difficult not to let his emotions surface.

Thankful for the day off, and the chance to let his brain rest, Josh filtered thoughts of work out of his mind only to be replaced by thoughts of Justin.

Frankly Josh was shocked they hadn’t crossed paths in the two years since the last Valesquez trial, but now that they had Josh wasn’t so sure he wanted to wait that long again and now he had to come up with a way to tell Justin.


Justin sat silently in his car, staring at the elegant apartment building. He had not had to build his courage up like this in five years. Justin was fearless, determined, cautious and calm; it was this attitude that promoted him quickly through the ranks to Detective.

But now, sitting outside of Josh’s building, he couldn’t bring himself to make that first step.

Working so closely with Josh again had sparked feelings inside Justin that he had buried when Josh left for Virginia over five years ago. Now Josh was back, and they had talked about their relationship – and Justin wanted him back.


The doorbell rang late Saturday night, startling Josh. Finding Justin on the other side startled him even more.



They both stared. With the anxiety of the Manueles/Valesquez case behind them and the air clear of any unsettled history, neither knew what to say. So they just looked.

“I, um, just wanted to say thanks again. I didn’t really get the chance to thank you properly when I ran out of your office on Friday. I know that you were just doing your job and I was doing mine, but this one meant more to me, and I think you knew that.”

Josh nodded solemnly.

“Yeah, so thank you.”

“You’re welcome. I just do what I can. I’m glad that you got him. Someone who treats another person the way he treated and then killed Angelina – they just should not be out there on the streets. Did he ever say why he cut her?”

“Yeah, you were right – it was precautionary.”

“Ah,” Josh nodded.

Silence enveloped them again as they stood uncomfortably in the doorway.

“Was there something else?”

“No. Yes. No, yeah I just wanted to say that, uh, you look good, Josh. Really, um, good.”

Josh smiled and returned the compliment, “You do too.”

They stayed like that for a moment, all the awkwardness evaporating slowly. Josh could feel his body temperature rise as Justin continued to stare silently.

Justin wanted to take one step forward but that would bring him nose to nose with Josh and he just wasn’t sure he was wanted. So instead he just smiled.

“Well, I guess I should go…I just stopped by to say thanks.”

“You’re welcome,” Josh replied softly.

Justin grinned one last time before turning to leave.

Josh’s brain was in overdrive. He didn’t want Justin to go, but did he want him to stay?

We just have so much history to get past. But he came here, he’s making the gesture. I want him to stay. Why can’t I just ask him to stay? Ask him to stay!


Justin stopped on the sidewalk, turning back as Josh rushed down the few steps towards him.

“Justin, um, stay?”

A grin spread across Justin’s features, “Yeah, for a little while I guess.” Justin leaned in slowly and pressed his lips against Josh’s. It may not have been the most passionate kiss, but it was warm and it was real, and it was enough - for now.


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