nsync in black and white

Disclaimer: this is fiction. We made it up.

Life's Driving Strength

by Mary, written for Lydia

"Every dancer hurts, you know."

Katherine Dunham

JC signaled to the volunteer in the corner of the room and the music started, blaring from the speakers and he watched his dancers count off in their heads before leaping into the world JC had choreographed for them. JC's eyes never wavered from the young dancers, making mental notes for each one when the door to the rehearsal room suddenly slammed open. He pivoted sharply, his eyes already glaring, and he was shocked to see Justin standing there, but his glare never faltered.
"Can I help you?"

Justin walked up to JC, his own face a mask of anger. "Fuck you," he hissed out.

"Excuse me?" and JC was genuinely confused.

"I didn't get into your ballet because I go to bed with you at night?" his voice was low enough that no one else could hear, something JC was grateful for.

"Who told you that?"

Justin raised himself to his full height and dared JC to say anything. "Kelliana." He didn't move.

"Keep working," JC said firmly to his group and pushed Justin out into the hallway. "When did she tell you this?"

"Does it matter?" JC could tell how angry Justin really was, had been able to read his emotions for the past four months. "Is it true?"

JC's eyes narrowed as well. "Why would you even think that? I chose my dancers based on ability and strength for what I saw in my ballet."

"Then I'm not good enough for your ballet?" he challenged.

"Justin," JC's voice softened suddenly and he touched Justin's arm. "You know that's not true."

"Then why wasn't I chosen?" JC didn't answer. "That's what I thought." His eyes burned into JC's. "Fuck you, Joshua. I thought maybe I had finally broken through that barrier you call dance, but apparently even I don't have the strength for that." He turned on his heel and left.

"Fuck," JC cursed.

"You had no right," JC said in a low voice that cut through the air in Kelliana's office. She turned from looking at her new headshots. "You had absolutely no right Kelliana."

"What is this about?"

"Justin," he grit out.

"Oh," she said flippantly. "We were having a conversation. You were mentioned."

"You had no right to tell him the reason he wasn't in my ballet. You didn't even tell him the whole thing! I trusted you," he was seething.

"You've been in this business for a long time, JC. When are you going to learn that you can't trust anyone but yourself?" There was anger and hurt laced in her words and JC perked up to it immediately.

"What is this really about?" He waited. "Kelliana." She threw an envelope at him. "What is this?"

"A letter. They brought it to my office instead of yours and I opened it since it didn't have a name on it." JC unfolded the letter and read it, eyes widening with every sentence and gasping when he saw the amount listed at the bottom. "JC?"

"This isn't, I'm not," JC paused. "He kept asking me about it. I never told him yes."

"You never told him no, apparently." JC shook his head. "That's a lot of money, JC. That's an amazing offer." She grimaced. "I trusted you to stay with me."

"Kelliana, I'm not leaving," he protested. In the back of his mind, he cursed Lance Bass, then took it back when he remembered the amount of money he was willing to invest in him.

"You should," she said quietly. She stared at him. "It's an opportunity of a lifetime." JC just stared at her. "You were an amazing partner, JC." She smiled sadly at him.

"Brit, you don't understand how much I hate him right now."

"You don't hate him," she said over the phone, trying to calm down her best friend. "You just hate what he's said."

"No, I hate him," Justin stressed. "I hate this," he confessed softly.

"What do you hate?"

"That I hate him. I hate myself for hating him. I hate that he has this effect on me." He paused.

"There's more that you're not saying, Justin. What is it? It's me; you've always told me everything."

"I hate that he makes me hate dancing."

JC sat in his bedroom late that night, staring out into the lights of New York City, his mind full of thoughts.

Do I want this company?
Is it worth ABT?
What about Kelliana?
What about Louis?
What about the company?
What about my career?
What about Justin?

JC breathed in deeply, rereading the letter.

What about Justin?

"Britney?" he exclaimed when he opened his door later that night. He blinked, trying to make sure he wasn't hallucinating. "What are you doing here?"

She looked at him seriously. "You just told me on the phone earlier today that you hated dancing. If that's not a desperate cry for some help from a best friend, I don't know what is."

Justin wrapped his arms tightly around her. "Thank you," he whispered into her hair.




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