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Aeon (Scenes From A Pairing)

by Navia, written for topaz

The No Strings Attached Tour Era

There was a rapid knock on JC's door, excited and strong. He looked out the peephole and saw Justin, practically bouncing on the balls of his feet, looking into the hallway then expectantly back to JC's room. JC was smiling when he opened the door. "J, what's--"

Justin's hands in his hair stopped him. Justin's mouth on his mouth, wet and eager, made him stumble back. He didn't melt into the kiss the way he wanted to -- he pushed back instead, disbelieving. "You--"

"We broke up," Justin said breathlessly, divesting himself of his shirt and reaching for JC's. JC angled his body away, surprised.

"What?" he said stupidly.

Justin stepped forward again and tugged on JC's shirt, brought him into another kiss. "We broke up," he repeated against JC's lips before urging his shirt up and off. JC let him, still reeling. Before he could ask any questions, Justin kept talking, all the while pushing him back towards the bed and kissing his face, his throat. "She did it, just now. She did it."

JC was fast losing coherence, but his brain did manage to catch Justin's words and form questions in return. "How? I mean, what did she say? Exactly." He was on his back on the bed, propped up on his elbows, as Justin unbuttoned his pants and pulled them down his legs with his boxer-briefs. He lifted his hips slightly but didn't help otherwise.

He tried to concentrate on getting answers -- important answers -- rather than on the sinew of Justin's body, shirtless, jeans unbuttoned and sliding down his hips. "Justin," he said, hoping Justin would remember the question so that he didn't have to.

Licking his way up JC's leg, ankle to knee, then pushing up to mouth JC's jaw, Justin finally answered. "She said, 'That's it. That's it, Justin, I swear. And don't try to call me back.'"

JC would have laughed if he hadn't been so in his head with doubt. He put his hand in the center of Justin's chest to push him back, but faltered when Justin leaned down and kissed him, hard, with a tongue begging to be sucked. JC arched into Justin's hands, which seemed to be everywhere at once, finally tangling in his hair as they kissed. And kissed and kissed.

Justin sucked fervently on his neck, making JC feel weak and like he really didn't have a choice, even though he knew very clearly that he did. He took a deep breath and spoke, trying to stop Justin's descent down his body with a hand tugging on his curls.

"Justin, that doesn't sound...it doesn't sound..." permanent, he wanted to say, and couldn't.

Justin was licking low on his stomach, and JC knew he better talk, and fast. "Are you sure that's what she meant? I mean, are you sure--ah, god." He shut his eyes as Justin went down on him. Wet. Enthusiastic. His fingers tightened in Justin's hair, and Justin looked up, then slid off.

"I'm sure," he whispered, eyes clear and calculating, before he bent down again.

He's sure, okay, great, JC thought. That made one of them.


The Solo JC Era

Chris was losing patience. Some would say he was always losing patience, but he would disagree. He had the time for this, he just didn't want to have the time for it.

"If you think I'm gonna ask you more than once--"

"I miss Justin." JC looked down at the water bottle he held between his knees. "And I miss Lance, and I miss Joey, but I just... Don't you?"

"I don't have to miss Justin."

JC looked up with narrowed eyes, and Chris cursed himself. It wasn't his fault, but it wasn't Justin's fault or JC's, either. It had just happened -- a few missed phone calls and two conflicting schedules had combined to look like a lot more. Now it was growing into a whole other thing that he wasn't sure they were ready for.

JC stood up abruptly and said, "I'm gonna go." He set his water bottle on the table and grabbed his jacket, and Chris got up to stop him. When his answering machine beeped, they both turned to look at it.

"I had the ringer off," Chris said with a shrug, but shut up when Justin's voice rang through the kitchen.

"Chris, I'm gonna be there in two minutes, man. I know you're there."

They both froze, until JC regained himself and took a step towards the door. Suddenly his face was full of worry. "Should I leave?"

Chris rolled his eyes. "Don't be stupid." He knew JC was distracted, because he didn't respond to the insult.

"It's just--We haven't really talked to each other in like--And he doesn't know I'm here, and he'll show up, and I'll just be--"

JC jumped when a loud knock made the window rattle. Justin always knew to use the kitchen door. Chris opened it, and he came bounding in, a whisk of energy. "I knew you were here," he said, smiling, before embracing Chris in a tight hug. JC just watched and started to bite his nails.

Chris clapped Justin on the back, then turned him around to face JC. Justin's smile froze before falling away completely. They stared at each other, Justin barely blinking and JC struggling not to look away. Chris moved in between them, grabbed their shirts, and dragged them a little closer. "JC, this is my old buddy Justin. Justin, this is my older buddy JC. You might have heard of each other?"

Justin broke his gaze and turned to Chris. "I was just surprised to see him here. But it's cool with me if it's cool with, you know."

Chris could see JC's nervous expression turn to annoyance. "Why wouldn't it be cool with me?"

"You tell me."

"Guys," Chris interjected, "what are you even fighting about?"

"We're not fighting," they said in unison, and Chris remembered why he never got involved.

"The last ten times I called I got voice mail," Justin said. "I thought you were avoiding me."

"I wasn't, I was just--" JC paused, and Chris could tell that he realized he was trapped. "I was just busy, like, in the studio or wherever." They all knew it was a lame excuse, and after a moment JC looked down to his fidgeting hands. Chris wanted to walk over and knock their heads together.

"Justin," JC said to his hands, but Justin shook his head, his mouth creased into a thin line. Chris had a brief moment of smugness knowing that Justin rarely looked at him that way.

"I got somewhere I gotta be," Justin said. He walked past JC, making sure not to touch him, and tossed Chris a quick "see ya" on his way out.

At the sound of the kitchen door slamming shut, JC moved to slouch against the counter. "What is wrong with me?"

Chris studied him and couldn't believe what a fucking idiot JC could be. "You really don't know."

JC looked up sharply. "What the hell does that mean?"

Chris stared and thought maybe he should tell him. Or maybe he should tell Justin, at least. But he didn't see any way it could go down right if he said anything now, so he just shook his head. "Nothing. Nothing, dude." If they wanted to draw this out, he wouldn't stop them.


The Solo Justin Era

Justin looks up, water bottle halfway to his lips. He thinks he sees someone in the corner, a shadow beyond the glass. He stares until the person smiles, teeth visible. "Hold up, hold up." Taking off his headphones, he gestures to Timb and sweeps out of the booth.

They hug, brief but warm, and Justin speaks quietly in his ear. "How long have you been here?" JC shrugs, still smiling. "Okay. Why are you here?"

JC laughs and leans against the wall, his hat covering his eyes. Justin wants to flip it up. "I thought I'd check you out, man, see how things were going."

"And," Justin asks, when JC doesn't offer more, "what do you think?"

JC's lips curve into a smirk, but his eyes are too hidden to read. "And," he says, "you know how I feel."

Justin watches JC's face for a moment before he pulls his hat off with a flick of his wrist. JC reaches out to grab it, but when Justin puts it behind his back he sighs and runs a hand through his hair.

"How long can you stay?" Justin asks.

JC scans the room, then curls his hand into Justin's belt and urges him closer. "I thought we'd grab a bit of food," he says.

The way JC's looking at him, Justin thinks maybe the hat had been a good idea. He glances back to the studio as JC's thumb strokes just under his t-shirt. After a quick read of the clock, he turns back to JC and nods. "Let me just--"

"--finish this verse," JC says, and Justin smiles. He teasingly moves forward and gets a light shove to the chest. "Go, dude," JC says. "Time is money."

Justin's heard JC say that enough times to know he's serious. He takes a step back but holds JC's gaze. "Don't go anywhere," he says. When JC merely nods, Justin lowers his voice and says, "Promise," only half kidding.

"I promise," JC says, rolling his eyes.

Satisfied, Justin turns and starts walking back to the booth. "J," JC calls, and Justin spins around but keeps walking, backwards. "You gonna rock that?" Justin looks down to his hand, still clutching the floppy white hat, and grins as he tosses it to JC. He backs through the door and settles in front of the mic.

"Sorry," he says to the room at large, "I'm ready."


The Celebrity Tour Era

Neither moved, and it seemed to JC that Justin wanted to say something, maybe. He sat on the couch and waited, still holding the basketball he'd brought inside.

"We were good together," Justin said. He felt stupid, though; it was a stupid thing to say. He moved his shoulder from the door jamb and stood up straight, shoving his hands into his pockets.

"Yeah, we were," JC said, but it hadn't been a question. One day JC would stop trying to convince himself that it was. Today, right now, he just wanted to take a shower. Sweat had already cooled on his skin, and his hair felt uncomfortable against his neck.

"Are you and that girl from D&G...?" Justin flinched, regretting the question immediately, but not enough to take it back. It had been driving him crazy since he'd seen them whispering to each other after a wardrobe meeting two days ago. He waited for the answer, his lip caught between his teeth.

"No," JC said, with an inflection that didn't sound final. Justin tasted blood and brought his fingers up to touch his lip. The salt on his skin only made it sting.

JC sighed, annoyed with himself for answering. It wasn't Justin's business who he did and didn't hook up with. He thought about saying that out loud but decided against it. Justin would do and think whatever he wanted anyway.

"Not that you can't--You can," Justin stuttered, gesturing awkwardly before shoving his hands back into his pockets. It had been easier when they weren't speaking. "I just want you to be happy."

JC dropped his eyes and ran a thumb over his palm, hoping that Justin would leave soon. He wasn't going to reassure him of anything; they didn't lie to each other. Much. He pressed his fingers into the flesh between his thumb and index finger and discovered that it really hurt. He guessed there were, like, extra nerves there or something.

"JC?" Justin said. He hadn't expected him to lie, but he hadn't expected to be ignored, either.

JC looked up and noticed that Justin was running his tongue back and forth over one side of his lower lip. He tracked back and tried to remember if there was a question he was supposed to answer. "Okay," he said, acknowledging that he'd heard. Justin stopped licking his lip and just breathed. JC stared at his glistening mouth and felt numb.

"Okay," Justin repeated, waiting a beat before turning his body to leave. If JC didn't want to tell him the truth, he wasn't going to push it. "Okay, then I'm gonna--" He took one hand out of his pocket and gestured into the hall.

JC nodded slightly, trying not to feel like every chance was the last chance to have Justin memorized. "Wait," he said, and stood up abruptly. The basketball rolled from his lap and bounced loudly against the floor. Justin took a step back from across the room, and JC froze.

Justin winced and took three steps forward, but it was too late. He went to apologize but JC spoke first.

"I just wanted to say," he started, suddenly feeling unsure. Maybe Justin didn't want to hear it. But of course he would; anyone would. "I'm proud of you. For, you know."

Justin waited, watching JC physically try to find the words with his hands. He hated himself for needing to hear them. "For everything," JC whispered, then quickly cleared his throat.

Justin smiled, what felt like his first genuine smile in weeks. "I'm proud of you too," he said, and meant it. He looked around the room, a far cry from the days of five guys living in one small space. "I'm proud of all of us."

JC nodded, and they watched each other until Justin looked away. He always had to be first, a quality that had never before left JC burning with resentment.

Justin decided it was time to leave, on a good note. Maybe when they spoke again, things would be halfway normal between them. He nodded towards the door and waited for JC to nod back. With the thought that things would be okay, he turned away from him slowly and left.

Alone, JC stood still in the room and blinked as if he'd forgotten how. For the first time, he thought things might never be the same between them. It wasn't something he was prepared to deal with. He kicked the basketball through the open door and followed it, heading for the shower. He tried not to feel like an ending.


The High School AU

Justin finds him in the locker room, gathering his stuff before practice. He's running late, as usual. Justin watches for a second before walking over and touching his arm. JC whips around, startled.

"Jesus, J."


Justin sighs, not sure what to say, even though he practiced in the mirror only an hour earlier. JC fidgets in front of him, playing with the strap on his warm-up bag.

"Look, I've gotta--"

"No. Wait," Justin says, moving forward. He wraps his fingers around JC's forearm, then squeezes when JC doesn't look at him. JC's eyes are contrite, and Justin wants to say it's okay, but really doesn't want to say anything at all. He leans in, eyes focused on JC's lips until they move away, turn to the side, and JC steps back.

"No way." There isn't much room for argument in JC's voice, but Justin hears it anyway.

"Why not? I know you want...I mean, you can't bullshit this anymore, JC."

"I'm not trying to," JC starts, then seems to think better of it. "Just no, okay? You're a kid, and it was stupid, and I'm not even gonna try to blame it on being drunk or whatever, because I know what that'll sound like to you." He leans against the lockers and runs a hand through his hair, looking like he might say more, but Justin's too impatient to hear it.

"I'm not a kid -- no more than you are -- and I don't know if you really believe that, or what, but if you do I just think that's...a really fucking lame excuse not to have what we both want."

"And what about the excuse that we live together?" JC takes a step forward into Justin's space, challenging. "And are practically fucking related, I don't know if you want to remember that. How lame is it that your parents would freak out and probably throw me out of the house and maybe you too. Have you thought of any of this, or have you been too busy jerking off over me to notice?"

The hard shove to JC's chest takes them both by surprise. The lockers clang and echo as he slams into them.

"Fuck you," Justin says, disgust in the scowl on his lips. "Try not to break anything during practice." This isn't at all how he'd wanted it to go, but he should have figured JC would be an asshole about things.

He's almost to the door when JC's voice stops him with what he thinks is an apology. He pauses but doesn't turn around, wondering if sheer force of will can really cause someone to hallucinate what they want to hear.

"I'm sorry," JC says, louder this time, and when Justin turns around he sees him slouched on the floor against the lockers. His head is tipped back and his eyes are closed, and this time Justin does wait for him to go on.

And he waits, sitting down on the bench in front of him. He's not sure if JC even knows he's still there, so he nudges his sneaker to make sure, and JC finally opens his eyes. "I don't think of you as a kid." His voice is soft and his eyes are softer.

"I know."

"I'm sorry."

"I know, you said that already."

Justin sighs, his anger gone, and moves to kneel on the floor between JC's legs. He watches JC's eyes and rests his hands on the cool green metal of the lockers in front of him.

"Please don't kiss me," JC whispers, but makes no move to get away. Justin shakes his head and presses his lips to JC's.

This is what their first kiss should have been like, Justin thinks. He pushes the thought from his mind when JC pulls him closer with a tug on his belt loop. As Justin slides his tongue along JC's, he feels him relax completely.

Until the bang of the gym door startles them both, then footsteps. "JC!" Chris calls out, moving fast.

Justin stands up quickly, almost tripping over the bench behind him. JC's mostly stunned, and when Chris finally rounds the corner, the first thing he does is wipe his mouth with the back of his hand. Justin winces, hoping Chris didn't notice.

"Justin! Hey," Chris says, smiling. "Dude, where have you been lately?"

Justin tries to smile back, but it's strained. "You know, school and stuff. I've been busy, man." He notices Chris look from him standing by the bench to JC sitting against the lockers and braces himself.

"What's up?" Chris asks, eyebrows raised.

Justin glances at JC, on the floor pulling a thread from his track pants, and figures he's gonna have to take this one. "Nothing, man. We were just talking about JC's scholarship -- you know, heavy stuff," he jokes and thinks he sounded convincing.

Then he knows he did, because Chris drops it easily and focuses on JC. "Well, you better make up something better than that, because Coach is gonna have your ass. And probably mine too since he blames me for all your mistakes."

"All my mistakes?" JC says, finally pushing himself up off the floor. He brushes the dust from his pants and grabs his bag. "Dude, I don't make mistakes; it's my gift." He grins at Chris and throws an arm around his shoulder as they turn to leave.

"So I'll, uh, see you at home?" Justin says, suddenly unsure about what just happened.

JC doesn't glance back when he says, "Yeah, yeah, definitely."

Chris slips from under JC's arm to face Justin. "Call me, J, I want you to check something out. I bought new toys," he says, waggling his eyebrows, and Justin laughs. He tries not to worry too much that JC wouldn't meet his eyes.


The Pop Odyssey Tour Era

When Justin wakes up, he feels a thrum of energy shifting through his body. His usual morning grumpiness has been temporarily replaced, and he can't be bothered to question why. He smiles at the heat to his left and turns to touch, running a slow hand over JC's naked back. When JC doesn't stir, Justin moves closer, his hand spanning possessively over JC's ribs, his hip, up over his stomach. He thumbs a nipple and waits for a reaction.

JC makes a small, disgruntled noise and turns fully, squinting at Justin before burying his face in Justin's neck, shielding himself from the sunlight coming through the large hotel window. "I'm asleep," he declares, wrapping an arm low on Justin's waist and nudging a thigh between Justin's legs, trying to get comfortable again. Justin laughs and trails his fingers down JC's spine before running an open palm firmly up his back.

His hand makes it into JC's tangled curls, tugging gently, and he attempts to nuzzle JC's head up. "Come on; wake up, man."

JC grunts low in his throat and mumbles against Justin's neck. "Why?"

Justin looks at the clock and sees that technically they could sleep a little longer, technically the day doesn't have to start yet. "Because," he answers.

JC looks up at him, confused. "Why do you sound so awake, dude? Is there breakfast?" he asks, lifting his head a little to scan the room. Justin kisses his nose and shakes his head. JC looks at him like he's a stranger, and he laughs.

"I'm me, I swear," Justin says, bending to kiss JC's neck. The taste of his skin opens Justin's mouth, makes his kisses wetter as he moves down JC's body. "I can prove it," he says with a sly grin as he urges JC to his back and spreads his legs.

"Oh, okay, now it's making sense," JC says, amused but still half asleep. Justin hums and brushes his lips against JC's inner thigh, back and forth to feel the soft hair and softer skin inviting his mouth. His tongue reaches to lick the skin of JC's balls, slow and intense. When he slips them into his mouth, one after the other, JC sighs and brings a hand to Justin's shaved head. "Seriously, J," he pleads, "just give me ten more minutes," but his breaths are already coming faster.

Justin starts stroking JC's cock, agonizingly slow, while tonguing the sensitive flesh in his mouth. He lets his teeth very gently graze along the skin and smiles when he hears a sharp intake of breath. "Really?" he teases. "Ten more minutes?" One long lick tracing a vein and then he's taking JC into his mouth, slowly, slowly. JC's hips rise from the bed as Justin slides smoothly to the base. Justin hears a whimper as his tongue curls, as his lips tighten, and draws back evenly.

Pulling JC down the bed a little, he grabs a pillow to fit under JC's hips. Before he even decides to do it, his hands are spreading JC's thighs, and his tongue is flicking across JC's ass. JC gasps, startled, and his hips jerk once. "Oh," he says breathlessly as his legs fall farther apart. Justin hooks a leg over his shoulder and moves forward, swirling his tongue in circles, closer and closer, before finally pressing against JC's entrance.

He pushes his tongue inside, firmly, and rests until JC starts squirming, starts pushing back and murmuring. "Mmm, please," when Justin finally starts fucking him with slow, smooth strokes of his tongue. JC brings a hand down to work his cock, rough and determined, but Justin intercepts and grabs JC's wrist, pinning it to the bed.

"No, don't--" JC begs, twisting his wrist and gripping the pillow above him with his free hand. Justin runs the flat of his tongue up JC's neck, hot and wet. He turns to reach for lube and feels JC's tongue in his ear, licking the shell and biting, his voice and breath unbearably sexy. "God, just..." He grabs Justin's ass, pulling him forward.

"Shit, wait," Justin breathes as he slicks himself up with a shaking hand. He pulls JC's ass back over the pillow and takes a breath.

Pressure builds around the head of his cock as he thrusts in, god, and doesn't stop. One firm, perfect stroke and they're both cursing. Justin recovers first, capturing JC's wrists above his head and shoving forward. He can feel JC's bones under his palm, can feel them shift under his fingers as he struggles.

"Fuck, Justin," JC winces, but moans when Justin switches angles, snaps his hips.

"Sorry, sorry," Justin says anyway, and releases JC's wrists. He moves to sit back, but JC reaches for his hands and twines their fingers. He holds Justin's gaze and leans up for a kiss, squeezing Justin's hands in his, squeezing Justin's cock inside him. Justin moans and pushes JC into the mattress. He frees a hand to run a path down JC's arm, his chest, over his flexing abs damp with sweat.

Just as JC starts to wrap his legs around Justin's body, Justin slows and pulls back. JC watches but stays silent when Justin tosses the pillow off the bed and coaxes him onto his hands and knees.

With one hand on JC's hip and the other resting low on his back, Justin slides back into JC's body, a little more gently this time. A few long, languid thrusts and Justin's eyelids are fluttering.

"Yeah," JC sighs, sliding bonelessly to his forearms. Justin follows, mouthing the muscles in JC's back, feeling him shiver. He quickens his pace and runs a rough hand along JC's side, thigh to chest and back down, until JC drops his head to the sheets and pushes back harder. Soon Justin's draped over him, hips driving forward as he whispers in JC's ear, moaning when JC spreads his legs impossibly wider.

Justin's knuckles chafe against the sheets as he jerks JC off, but the burning friction of his cock is all he can feel. JC reaches back and grabs Justin's ass, pulling him forward as he pushes back, and Justin knows he's close. He tightens his hand on JC's cock and strokes, sure and quick, until JC comes hard, his body shuddering with release.

Justin follows an instant later, the squeeze and pulse of JC's body too much to hold onto. With a bruising grip on JC's hips and his mouth open on JC's back, Justin comes in a blinding, intense rush.

When he's vaguely aware of himself again, he's a sweaty heap of tired muscles and still on top of JC. He shifts slightly to the left and sighs, all words and actions having disappeared from his brain. JC turns his head to look at him, his body immobile, his glistening back rising and falling as he catches his breath. "Good morning," JC jokes, his voice raspy and light.

Before Justin can do more than grin, a loud knock fills the room, followed by Lance's voice. "Ten more minutes," he says, then continues down the hall. They pause, looking at each other blankly, until Justin laughs against JC's shoulder, and JC buries his face in a pillow and groans.



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