nsync in black and white

Disclaimer: this is fiction. We made it up.

Life's Driving Strength

by Mary, written for Lydia

"Dancers are instruments, like a piano the choreographer plays."

George Balanchine

The cooling autumn air had already turned chilling, marking the beginning of the Christmas season in New York City. Thanksgiving was done and over with and Justin hadn't been able to go home, something he was used to but still hated. A glance at his calendar told him that his family, the ENTIRE family, would be arriving in the city the next weekend. He was happy that they were coming up, both sets of parents; he knew they would take his mind off of the craziness that was ABT and JC.

He loved Christmas, didn't usually care whether or not he had a significant other during the holiday season, as long as his family was around. This year was different though. His family would only be around for a week and he was so close to having JC. He put the thought out of his mind though; he couldn't change anything that happened.


"Hey," Kelliana's voice was soft as she addressed JC. "You want to go walk around the city with me? See the windows and the tree and everything?"

It was something they had done ever since they had started dancing together and JC was glad the tension between them hadn't stopped a tradition. "Of course. Let me grab my coat." As he said the words, he grabbed his coat from behind his office door and nodded at Kelliana. "Come on."

The biting cold air whipped around them and JC tightened the scarf at his neck. He and Kelliana didn't say anything, they never did on this walk. It was getting close to the start of different shows and JC breathed in the scent of roasting peanuts from the sidewalk corners. They walked silently until they reached Lord and Taylor's on 5th Avenue and stood in line to see the window displays. They stayed in comfortable silence as the line moved on.

At the first window, JC finally let out a smile. "God, it's beautiful." The gold strands and twinkling lights always put him in a good mood. Kelliana nodded next to him and they walked with the flow of the crowd, laughing when they saw the miniature version of Radio City Music Hall and staring in awe at the display of the White House. When they reached the end of the displays, JC didn't want to go back to his apartment. "Hey, what time is it?"

"9:00. Why?"

JC smiled, "You think we can get in for the last skating round?" He took Kelliana's hand. "Come on, let's try. We'll throw our names around if we have to." Fifteen minutes later, they were sitting at one of the tables surrounding the rink. They hadn't been able to get the bracelets to let them onto the rink for the last round, but they were given a table to watch which JC was grateful for. Kelliana had gone straight for the coffee bar and JC was waiting for her when he glanced down at the rink and saw a familiar body.

"Hey, what are you looking at?" she asked, handing him a tall cup of warm coffee.

"Justin's down there," he answered quietly. "I think he's with his family."

"Really? Where?" She peered down and glanced around quickly, finding the dancer after a few minutes. "Oh, how cute. That little guy looks just like him." She glanced quickly at JC, who was still staring. "I'll be right back."

JC didn't think anything of it until she was gone for twenty minutes. A quick glance at his watch told him it was now 10:30 and anger suddenly flared when he realized where she must have gone. Standing up, he grabbed his cup and began walking towards where he knew Kelliana would be, not surprised when he saw her at the exit of the entire skating area, talking to Justin and two younger boys.

"JC!" she called. "Come here."

"I hate you," he muttered under his breath. "I hate you so much right now, Kelliana Marten." He raised his voice and forced a smile, "Kelliana. Justin, hi."

"Hey, JC," he answered quietly, moving out of the way slightly to let a large group walk by him, holding, who JC figured were his brothers, tightly. "How are you?"

"Okay." He turned to Kelliana, "Are you almost ready to go?"

She smiled a slow smile at him and blinked. "Justin said his parents were inside getting coffee. I told him we could wait, then walk back to ABT together so he wouldn't have to walk alone."

"You don't have to," Justin said. "I'll be perfectly fine. Oh, these are my brothers by the way, Jon and Steve. Say hey, guys." They both waved but looked to the door leading inside. "Sorry," Justin apologized. "My dad's getting them hot chocolate so they don't really care about anything else right now."

Kelliana leaned down to Steve and smiled, "You like hot chocolate, huh?" He nodded, raising his eyebrows in a way that made him look eerily like Justin. "So do I. My favorite part is the marshmallows."

"Me too!" he said happily, finally smiling. "When you have to chase them with a spoon so they don't melt." At that moment, his parents walked up. "Mom, she likes marshmallows too!"


"Sorry, this is Kelliana and JC. They're both dancers at ABT. Kelliana, JC, this is my mom, well, stepmother, but mom nonetheless, Lisa."

"You're both extremely beautiful," Lisa said bluntly. "Justin?" she raised an eyebrow at him.

"Oh, God, not this now," he muttered. "Listen, they offered to walk back with me. Is it okay if I leave you guys here? You'll make it back to the hotel okay?" They nodded. "Thanks. I'll see you guys tomorrow or the day after. I'll call."

"Thought you said you could make it on your own?" Kelliana grinned.

"Shut up," Justin said. "She doesn't need to know about my love life or lack thereof."

JC stayed silent.


"You gonna keep staring at that card?"

Justin sent a dim smile over at Jordan. "Yeah, guess so."

"Why don't you just give it to him, man? It's not like he won't be thankful." Not knowing what to do anymore, Jordan sat on Justin's bed and nudged him with his foot. "I hate seeing you this down, man."

"I'm alright," Justin argued but it was weak. He glanced up. "You going to the show tonight?"

"Where else? We'd be shot if we didn't go." He paused. "You sitting with us or with your family?"

"My family. I miss them, you know."

"Him, too?" Jordan couldn't help but ask as he nodded to the white envelope in Justin's hand.

"No," Justin forced out. "I love my family." Without another word, he let the Christmas card drop from his fingers into the trash.


"When do you leave?" Louis asked, leaning on the doorframe of JC's bedroom.

"Tomorrow. I just need to do the show when the entire company is here, then I'm off."

"You actually going home this time or off on another vacation in some European country?"

"Home," JC said softly. "I haven't been home in a while and I think maybe I need it this year."

"You okay?" Louis asked, finally walking into the room. Without asking, he began picking up some of the shirts JC had thrown onto his bed and folding them.

"Yeah, just you know, a lot lonelier this year." He shrugged and smiled his thanks when Louis handed him some shirts. "I'll be okay. I just need some downtime with the family. I think everyone's actually come home this year and I haven't seen Tyler in a while."

Louis nodded. "Okay. I'm here though, if you need me."

"I know," JC said quietly. "Thanks." A snow globe sitting on his dresser caught his eye and he picked it up, watching the white flakes swirl around the miniscule New York City. "Do me a favor?" When Louis nodded, JC handed the snow globe to him. "Keep this safe for me."




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