nsync in black and white

Disclaimer: this is fiction. We made it up.

Build My World

by Timberstrick, written for satsumagrove

Justin led the way. JC remained silent on their walk but he couldn’t resist letting his eyes wander over Justin’s broad back as he negotiated the little path in front of him. Justin moved easily, with a grace borne of long days hard at work in the fields. One arm clutched a bundle wrapped in a blanket. The other swung lazily at his side.

Justin felt slightly nervous as he approached their destination. This was his favorite place. He referred to it as “The Pond” in his mind but it was more like a wide place in a stream that ran through Justin’s land. It was shadowed by a huge White Oak tree, branches sweeping down and secluding the pond from view on one side. The bottom and sides nearest the Oak were stone and the opposite side boasted a sunny bank that stretched up to a green undeveloped lawn of short grasses. It looked like heaven in the hot Tennessee sun. Justin felt himself tense as he sighted the pool. He hadn’t shown this place to anyone and had purposely not built his house right near it so that others might not even know it was here. It was his private place and the only one who had ever been here with him was Britney. He was nervous sharing this place with JC, although there was no real reason for this. It just felt to Justin like a cross roads and he hoped desperately that he and JC chose the same path. Justin took a deep breath and let the sight of the shady, cool, water soothe him and empty his mind.

Justin lead the way under the shade of the Oak branches and turned to grin at JC, pride spreading across his face. “Isn’t it great?” he asked. “This is the reason I settled on this land. There were other farms available on the frontier, some a little larger, some with better soil, but none with this. I couldn’t resist. I thought that maybe my children would play here some day.” Justin trailed off into silence and turned away. “Well, what do you think?”

JC smiled with palpable delight, “It’s wonderful...is it okay if...I mean, ...can we swim?”

Justin nodded, “If you want to. I have some cloth to dry off and I even brought some soap. This is where I bathe before church on Sunday mornings...when the weather is warm enough, and sometimes even when it’s not.”

Justin showed JC where they could undress and leave their clothes. Justin was painfully aware of JC as he disrobed next to Justin but he forced himself not turn and stare like he wanted to. Justin stripped off his clothes quickly and approached the edge of the water. Once there, though he moved more slowly, easing himself into the cool water, savoring it. JC did the same but headed to the other side of the pond, sensing Justin’s need to relax in silence for a moment.


Justin could easily recall the first time he’d seen JC. It was only a few months ago but it seemed like a lifetime.

Justin stopped for a moment and wiped the sweat dripping down his chest before gripping the plow handle again and whistling to his oxen to continue. It was hot for May. Not for the first time Justin wished he could afford to hire help with the sowing of his crops. Perhaps he’d have enough next year if corn prices were up again. If he could hire a few hands, he could plant a lot more of his land and he’d do that much better… Justin’s eye caught on a plume of dust rising from the road. Someone was approaching on horseback. Justin whistled for the oxen to stop again and headed out to meet whoever was on their way. He wished for a moment that he had his shotgun with him but dismissed the thought before he let it take hold. There hadn’t been any trouble on the frontier in over 2 years but old habits die hard.

As the rider approached, Justin could see that it was a man dressed in a suit. Justin frowned to himself and wondered who it could be. He could see that the man was slight but he didn’t look small and his shoulders seemed broad enough. Still, he didn’t look like he’d been doing any farm work. Justin had hoped for a moment that it may be someone looking for work, someone willing to work cheap, maybe he could have afforded him… Justin greeted the man with a raised hand as he drew close and waited for the horse to halt.

“Mr. Justin Timberlake?” the man asked without preamble.

“Yes, I’m Justin Timberlake,” Justin replied, his curiosity piqued. Up close the man was very affable looking, his hair long in chestnut colored waves, his eyes wide-set and a stunning blue. His face had a friendly look to it and Justin found himself liking the man immediately.

The man got off his horse and extended a hand to Justin who took it slowly, still a little bewildered. “I’m Joshua Chasez,” the man started but hesitated slightly when Justin didn’t respond. “I’m the school teacher the town sent to Boston for... um, I’m supposed to be staying with you.” The blue eyes were starting to take on a definite look of concern, “Let me see... I have a letter.” Joshua Chasez began to fumble in his breast pocket.

Justin could feel his already hot face flush in embarrassment, Of course, Justin thought to himself, the schoolteacher. There had been a town meeting last fall. There was finally some money for a schoolteacher and the town had already started building a schoolhouse on the land set aside for that purpose. Justin had not been able to agree to help build the schoolhouse either with time or supplies. He was simply stretched too thin as it was, living alone and trying to force his farm to make an income. But he had promised to house and feed the schoolteacher until his living quarters attached to the schoolhouse were ready. Most of the farms around here housed families and extra living space was scarce. Justin was alone though and could easily make room for one more. He actually hadn’t thought it would come to this. Most of the teachers willing to come out to the frontier were women and if the schoolteacher had been a woman, she would have lived with the Widow Diaz. He wondered how the town had gotten a male teacher to leave the better jobs in the east behind for this small town position. Still, here he was and Justin had to find a place for him to sleep.

Justin stopped the teacher from his hasty search through his pockets, “No, no. I’m sorry. A letter isn’t necessary...Mr...Chasez was it?”

“Yes that’s right,” the teacher seemed relieved at Justin’s interruption, “Joshua Chasez but everyone calls me JC,” the teacher supplied and held out his hand again.

Justin shook it, and then indicated the oxen in the field. “I was just about to break for the noon meal. Let me just see to my animals and we can walk back to the house.”

Back at the house, Justin divided up his noontime meal to share with the teacher. The meal was plain but hearty enough, a thick stew and some crumbly corn bread. JC was hungry and ate with relish. They sat across from each other at Justin’s small plank board table. Justin seemed intent on eating and made no attempt at small talk. This was fine with JC who was a bit nervous at meeting the man he was going to be living with for the next four months until the schoolhouse was ready. JC looked around the house surreptitiously. He’d come out west with an escort provided by the charter that was to pay his salary and they had camped on the way out. This was the first time he’d been in a frontier home. It was very basic, all one room. He could only see one bed and wondered where he was going to sleep refusing to allow himself to imagine sharing the bed with the man sitting across from him. JC examined Justin Timberlake through his eyelashes while they ate. He couldn’t help but be aware of Justin physically. Hours in the sun had bleached Justin’s curly hair to a golden brown. JC could see scattered freckles on the bit of chest exposed by Justin’s work shirt where it was parted at the neck. When Justin glanced up at him, JC caught blue eyes, a full mouth, and sharp cheekbones in a sun-darkened face. Justin leaned on the table with his elbows while he ate and JC noticed broad shoulders and strong forearms exposed by the rolled up sleeves of his shirt. Big capable-looking hands used a chunk of cornbread to push the last of Justin’s stew onto his spoon. JC had to shake himself from his reverie. The man was beautiful. JC was going to have to be extra careful around him.

After the meal, Justin carried the dishes to a wooden basin in the corner and turned to JC. “Shall we bring your things inside and see to your horse?” Justin suggested. “I’ll show you were the animals are kept.”

After they’d taken care of JC’s horse, they returned to the house with JC’s saddlebags. Justin crossed the room to a chest at the foot of the bed and quickly emptied it of bedding, clothes and a few other personal items. “You can keep your things in here while you are living here.”

JC looked around the fairly bare room with concern, “Where will you keep your belongings?” he asked.

Justin shrugged, “I’ll make a rough chest and keep this stuff in the loft with me,” Justin pointed back over his shoulder, indicating a ladder attached to the wall and leading up the ceiling that JC had not noticed before. Justin deposited the things from the chest at the base of the ladder, selected some bedding and crossed to the bed, stripping it of sheets and blankets and smoothing the clean sheets into place. “You can sleep here.”

“I don’t want to take your bed,” JC protested. “I can sleep in the loft.”

Justin just shook his head as he worked, “This town waited a long time for a school teacher,” Justin stated matter-of-factly, glancing up at JC with a lopsided grin, “I’m gonna treat him right.”

JC caught his breath at the look Justin flashed him and tried not to stare.


Justin sighed as he waded into the cool fresh water. It always lifted his spirits to be here. He could hear JC’s quiet splashes as he moved about at the far side of the pond and appreciated JC letting him have a moment alone as he settled in the water. Justin let himself drift for a time but soon he found himself looking about for JC. When he found him, Justin froze at what he saw. He’d seen JC without clothes before. Once, he’d even been pressed up against JC’s half clothed body but in the daylight, here, in Justin’s favorite place, Justin was stunned by how gorgeous JC was. He was standing with his back to Justin about thigh deep scooping water with his hands and letting it sluice down his back and chest. JC was very thin but his body was muscular and his shoulders and back were surprisingly broad and well developed despite his leanness. Justin let his eyes wander down JC’s back to the roundness of his buttocks and began to notice himself becoming hard at the sight. Justin started to turn away but was caught by JC’s blue eyes as he turned and locked glances with Justin. Justin expected surprise or perhaps anger at catching Justin staring but, instead, JC’s eyes seemed to reflect the need that Justin had been feeling. Justin wanted to apologize and look away but he didn’t. He just waited to see what JC would do. JC just stared for a moment but finally smiled and glanced down before looking back up at Justin and admitting, “I’ve heard tales of water holes but never been to one. My mother was very conservative and there are not a lot of places like this in Boston where I grew up. Thanks for bringing me here.”

Justin blushed with pleasure, “I’m so happy I did. I’m glad that you like it,” and it was true, it meant perhaps more than it should to him that JC liked this place. Justin breathed a sigh of relief.


JC had had some trouble back in Boston and had left rather suddenly. He’d had an affair that his mother didn’t approve of and it had caused a minor family scandal. During the trip out west, he had not allowed himself to think about what had happened, to think about Chris, but now that he was settled, he couldn’t seem to stop. He had sworn to his mother that if she gave him this chance, that he would behave himself, that he would cause no more problems. He had promised.

At first JC did not know what to do with his time. He spent the first few days at Justin’s settling himself and writing a few letters to folks back home, letting them know he’d arrived safely and about how he found things there on Justin’s farm. After a couple of days, he penned an explanation to Chris and mailed it, hoping it would reach him. He rode into town, met with a few of the townsfolk who had arranged his charter, and viewed the site where the schoolhouse would be built. After awhile though, JC started to feel like he should be helping Justin. Justin rose early and ate a small cold meal before seeing to the animals and starting in the fields. At around 9:00, he returned to the house for coffee and a larger breakfast, then came back for the mid day meal at around 1:00 before spending the rest of the afternoon in the fields. After supper, Justin bedded the animals down and saw to chores in the barn and elsewhere on the property. At the end of the day, Justin would attend to a few of the most necessary household chores, and then seem to fall into bed. Justin was working hard to run the farm and the household on his own, that much was evident. All JC was doing was eating Justin’s food and sleeping in Justin’s bed. JC started to think about how he could help and ultimately decided to meet with the Widow Diaz, one of the townsfolk who’d showed him the schoolyard. He was going to ask for some advice.

Eventually JC had taken over much of the cooking and food preparation and the care of the vegetable garden that Justin had planted next to the house. The widow had taught him to make soap and JC had made a large batch of lumpy but serviceable lye soap for his and Justin’s use. JC had learned to cook, on Justin’s wood burning cast iron stove, the hearty meals that Justin required to work long days in the fields. He’d even been patching and darning clothing. Widow Diaz had promised next to teach him to put up food for the winter next week if he brought his own produce out to her place..

JC was pleased with his efforts to help around the farm in exchange for his room and board. He felt that they gave Justin more time to spend in the field, or doing other chores that needed doing. And he’d noticed some changes in Justin. Justin had begun to spend a little time in the evenings doing some woodworking that didn’t look like farm maintenance to JC but more like something that Justin enjoyed doing. Often he would bring his tools out from the little shed attached to the house onto the porch. JC would sit with him on those evenings and they would talk while Justin worked. JC had not had the nerve to ask Justin anything very personal and Justin did not seem inclined to share any of this type of information, but then neither was JC.

JC remembered the first night that Justin had brought out a fiddle. It was on a Saturday. JC noticed that Justin didn’t work as much on Sundays, just tending the animals and perhaps doing some light maintenance around the farm or house or doing some work at the Widow Diaz’ spread, then attending Church in town so perhaps Justin felt he could stay up a little later on a Saturday night. It was maybe the third week that JC had been living with Justin. JC had noticed that Justin had seemed more relaxed that whole day, lighter and just in good spirits in general. They ate supper as usual and JC started the dishes expecting Justin to either head out to the barn or into his shed. Instead he had joined JC at the sink and dried and put away the dishes that JC washed. When JC looked quizzically at Justin he just smiled. When they had finished the few dishes from the meal and put them away, Justin disappeared momentarily into the loft and returned with a curved leather case.

“Can you play the fiddle?” Justin asked as he opened the case and carefully removed a fiddle and bow.

“No, but I have a fair singing voice,” JC replied. Justin smiled a smile that transformed his face and began to play. JC found it momentarily difficult to breathe.

JC was surprised at his skill. He could play almost anything that JC suggested and sang many of the words as well in a high yet husky voice that went straight to JC’s soul. JC had always loved to sing and joined in readily. Their voices blended easily as they took turns singing harmony. JC was moved. He felt as if they were meant to do this together, and he suddenly felt close to Justin.

They played into the evening, lighting a lantern after it had grown too dark to play, something which Justin usually avoided, to save on the cost of kerosene. After a bit, JC offered to get out the Scotch that he had brought with him from Boston. Justin admitted that he had never drank alcohol but agreed to try it and after a grimace or two, began emptying his glass perhaps a bit too freely.

When they finally called it quits, Justin just beamed at JC, meeting his eyes and smiling for several more moments than seemed comfortable to JC. Finally Justin exclaimed, “You have a beautiful voice! Thank you for singing with me, JC!”

JC smiled with pride and forced himself to continue to meet Justin’s gaze. Eventually Justin leaned in toward JC and embraced him tightly before stating with a yawn, “I need to turn in. Morning comes early.”

JC clung to Justin for a moment, enveloped by his scent, savoring the feel of Justin’s chest pressed against his own before letting him pull away, but as he did, Justin paused, then turned his head and let his mouth slide sloppily across JC’s. JC forced himself not to respond but Justin’s drunken kiss continued. JC inhaled Justin’s scent again, letting the strong smell of scotch remind him that that this was probably wrong and took control of the kiss. Justin stilled for a moment but tentatively let his tongue touch JC’s. Justin was inexperienced, JC could tell, but he seemed enthusiastic. JC could feel Justin’s hands convulsively clench around him as JC slanted his head for a deeper kiss and coaxed Justin’s tongue into his own mouth.

As the kiss continued, Justin began to groan and the sound only excited JC further. He pulled at Justin’s shirt until it was free from the waistband of Justin’s work pants and JC slid his hands over Justin’s hard stomach, along his ribcage and to his nipples, puckered and begging to be pinched.

Justin inhaled sharply and pulled away when JC did pinch a nipple but the glazed look in his eye as he muttered, “Oh, JC,” and let his head tip back on his neck was as ready an invitation as JC had ever seen. JC fastened his mouth onto the pulse point in Justin’s neck and slid his hands around Justin’s back and down, using leverage to pull their groins together. Justin shuddered and pressed against JC tightly before he sighed and pulled away from JC’s grasp.

“No,” he stopped and looked to the side before meeting JC’s lust glazed gaze, “I can’t...I...I really need to just go to sleep,” Justin met JC’s eye with an unsteady, slightly desperate look that seemed to be begging JC for understanding.

JC nodded and Justin turned on his heel and made his way, a bit clumsily, to the loft.

JC barely slept that night he was so fearful about what would happen the next day. Would Justin ask him to leave? Would he tell the schoolhouse committee members what had happened, that JC had gotten him drunk then taken advantage of him? It would take only a little bit of investigation, perhaps a letter back to the institute, to discover why JC had had to leave Boston, that he had accepted the offer to teach on the frontier in place of his sister and why. He could already envision this getting back to his mother. If that was the case, he was sure he would have no home to return to should Justin ask him to leave, should he be dismissed from this teaching position.

The next morning, though, Justin slept in, came downstairs with one hell of a hangover, and didn’t mention one thing about their kiss. JC had tread lightly all that day but he doubted that Justin even noticed in the haze of his first hangover. At the end of the day, JC breathed a sigh of relief and hoped that that was the end of it.

Since that night they had played the fiddle and sang a several times together, although JC had never offered to bring out the Scotch again. Even without the kissing, these had been JC’s favorite times with Justin.


Justin had intended to spend a little time at the pond, maybe bathe, then head to church for service but now that he was here, he didn’t want to leave. He was feeling more relaxed than he had in months. He knew that not a small part of this was due to JC’s help on the farm. It was a relief not to have to worry about the garden or meals and JC was taking on a number of other tasks that would be of use to Justin for several months to come. He was appreciative, yes, but JC’s help seemed to affect him on a much deeper level as well. He thought that the carefree feeling that he felt now though must be due to not having to rely only on himself. Even though he knew that his arrangement with JC was only temporary, he felt less alone. Sharing the pond with JC was one way Justin felt he might be able to relay some of this feeling to him, this closeness and gratitude. Justin looked across at JC again, quietly cupping water over his chest and shoulders and spontaneously skimmed his hand along the surface of the water quickly, sending a sheet of it in JC’s direction.


Justin recalled the night that he’d fallen in love with JC.

They had been in town for Church and had stopped to pick up mail. Justin almost never received any letters and when he did, Miss Christina, the postmistress would bring the letter to church and read the letter to him afterwards. JC received letters more regularly, though, and Miss Christina had been leaving these with him during church as well.

It was JC’s practice to save the letters until after the supper dishes were done. Then he would settle down and read while Justin worked in the shed or out in the barn. This time, JC had told him that he’d received a letter from his mother. Letters from his mother always seemed to leave JC kind of melancholy so Justin stayed out in the barn longer than usual to give JC some time alone, should he need it. When he finally came in, JC appeared to already be sleeping and Justin started to move quietly to the loft so as not to wake him. He couldn’t resist glancing at him, though. A sleeping JC was a sight to behold. What he saw stopped him in his tracks. JC was still clothed and laying on top of his covers. He was even wearing his shoes. His face was blotchy and shone with tears. Justin could detect a slight shaking of JC’s shoulders and realized that he was still awake, and crying.

Justin was across the room before he’d even had time to question his actions but once he was standing above JC, he didn’t know how to proceed. Justin had had experience soothing others, of course, but had been living alone for three years now and was a bit rusty. He sat carefully on the edge of the bed and let his hand hover near one shaking shoulder. “JC?” he questioned.

Justin noticed that JC’s hand clutched a letter, presumably the one he’d received earlier today. He carefully pried it loose and set it on the bedside table. “JC,” Justin repeated. “Please tell me what’s wrong.”

Blue eyes cracked open and JC looked up at Justin with more misery than JC had ever witnessed. Justin let his hand fall to JC’s shoulder and smooth the fabric of his shirt over bone and muscle. “Read the letter,” JC ground out and let his eyes close again.

“I can’t,” Justin admitted. “I can’t read. You’re gonna have to talk to me JC. Tell me what’s wrong.”

“She’s dead,” JC muttered. “She’d dead and it’s all my fault.”

Justin let his strokes lengthen so that his hand was moving up and down the length of JC’s back. He was confused about who JC was talking about but felt that if he kept quiet, JC would reveal the whole story in his own time. JC explained in a stilted choked voice that his sister had died. They thought it was Scarlet Fever but after a day or so, it had seemed to become much worse and now they thought she’d developed meningitis. She’d died quickly, before JC’s mother had even had time to send word. “It's my fault she was there at all,” JC looked up at Justin with a pain-wracked expression.

“What do you mean? How could it be your fault?” Justin asked quietly, continuing his soothing strokes.

That’s when the story came out. It was Heather who was offered the job to teach here in Tennessee. But JC had been caught having an affair with his male teacher, someone called Chris. Justin felt his hand clench a little on JC’s back, before he forced himself to relax again and continued his stroking.

Chris had been his instructor at school although he was only a little more than four years JC’s senior. JC had liked Chris from the beginning but was surprised when Chris pursued JC as a friend. Their friendship became something more during JC’s last year of studies. JC and Chris had been at a ball and it had grown rather late. They had both drank somewhat too much wine and when Chris suggested that they retire to his home for another drink, JC had agreed readily. One thing had lead to another and Chris had kissed JC. JC had been surprised but not repelled and he quickly realized that his strong feelings of friendship had actually hid other feelings for Chris that he had not previously acknowledged. That night they had begun a secret affair that had gone on for the better part of a year before they were discovered by Chris’ servant. JC had been frantic but Chris assured him not to worry. He went on to say that he didn’t care if people found out, that he was in love with JC.

JC’s French-Canadian family was well established in Boston, however, and was one of the few powerful families in the still fledgling Boston Catholic Church. JC’s mother was livid when she found out. She used her influence to have Chris dismissed from his position at the school and when JC’s sister received an offer to teach on the frontier, JC’s mother accepted the offer in JC’s name. Although it was unlikely that JC would be able to cause any family scandal this far west, his mother was taking no chances and made JC promise to curb this unhealthy behavior and to settle down with a nice woman, with any woman. She was convinced that Chris had used his authority as an instructor to corrupt JC and that if JC were only to be out of Chris’ sphere of influence, JC would see the error of his ways. JC knew that she was wrong and that he was different. He had not realized it before Chris had kissed him but he had come to understand that he was not interested in women, that he had romantic feelings for men and that that would never change for him. Nevertheless, he owed loyalty to his family so he promised his mother to find a wife and accepted the job on the Tennessee frontier. His appointment wasn’t until September and his lodging would not be ready until then but his mother had arranged for him to leave immediately under the guise of settling in and getting to know the community. He’d not been able to contact Chris before he left. He hoped Chris would understand why he had to go.

“See, if I hadn't...if I hadn’t been so weak, I’d be there and she’d be here. She died because of me, because of my weakness,” JC sobbed.

“Shhh,” Justin murmured. He let his hand move around to JC’s face and used his thumb to wipe tears from JC’s cheeks. “She wouldn’t have left four months early, though, would she?” Justin asked. “She would have stayed in Boston until the schoolhouse was ready. She’d still have been there. She still would have died and maybe you would have too,” Justin reasoned. JC quieted slightly.

Justin decided that what JC needed now was rest. “Let’s get you in bed,” Justin murmured. Justin straightened and moved to take JC’s shoes and socks off. That done, he coaxed JC to sit up, carefully unbuttoned JC’s shirt, and eased it off his shoulders. Justin moved slowly and treated JC as gently as a babe, he seemed so fragile. Still, he couldn’t help letting his hands skim over JC’s skin as he removed his shirt. Justin pulled back the covers and urged JC to lie back, shifting the covers out from under JC’s slim hips and pulling them all the way to the foot of the bed. Here Justin hesitated. JC would be much more comfortable without his trousers on but Justin did not want to violate JC’s privacy. He spared a glance at JC, expecting to see closed eyes but JC was just watching him quietly. “I’m going to take your trousers off so you can rest better, okay.” JC nodded slightly. Justin continued and noticed his hands shaking as he reached for the button at JC’s waist. He forced himself to breathe deeply and continued. Several buttons later, Justin separated the material at JC’s crotch and slid it carefully down JC’s hips. When JC lifted his hips slightly to help, Justin’s gaze flew to JC’s face and colored at the intense look he found there. JC still bore the evidence of tears with puffiness around his eyes and blotched skin but there was a sharp look in his blue eyes. Justin felt his mouth go dry and forced his gaze away from JC’s to the task at hand. Justin slid JC’s pants off and draped them over the end of the bed, then pulled the sheet up over JC’s nearly naked form. He let out a shuddering breath and said, “JC, I think you should sleep. You will be able to think much more clearly about this tomorrow,” then a thought struck Justin. “Where is that Scotch? I’ll get you a drink.”

“It’s in the chest” JC indicated the chest at the foot of the bed with his chin.

Justin retrieved a glass and brought it to JC, sitting on the bed again and holding it carefully to JC’s lips, sliding an arm under JC’s side to help him up enough to drink. JC downed the glass of scotch and sat back. As Justin started to turn away again, Justin felt JC grip his arm. “Wait.” Justin halted. “Don’t go. I mean, can you stay here with me? … Justin, stay with me until I fall asleep.” Justin hesitated, then nodded. He stood up and pulled his shirt over his head, then sat back down, leaning over to untie his shoes. JC watched with shuttered eyes. Justin opted to leave his own trousers on and stood, pulling back the sheet and nudging JC over with is knee. JC just stared.

“Scoot,” Justin let a small grin split his face. JC complied and Justin slid into bed next to him. Turning JC away, Justin fit in behind him, letting his arms come around JC’s slight frame and resting his hands along JC’s belly. JC snuggled back against Justin and sighed. Justin could feel the tension begin to leave JC’s body.

Justin took another deep breath and tried to relax himself. It was hard. He was comfortable, lying in his bed, pressed up against JC. In fact, he was surprised at how comfortable this felt. Yet he was keyed up, his mind was racing and he knew it would be awhile before he’d be able to sleep. Just as well, Justin thought. JC had asked him to stay until he fell asleep, not to sleep here himself. Almost against his will, Justin’s thoughts strayed to that night with the fiddle and The Kiss. Justin knew that he’d allowed JC to believe that he didn’t remember it. It seemed easier that way. He’d stopped it that night, had retired to his bed, and was immediately terrified of what he’d done. He was scared that he’d taken advantage of JC, that he’d maybe even disgusted him. Although JC hadn’t behaved like he was disgusted at the time, Justin had been drunk and he couldn’t trust his own perception of JC’s response. The next morning, the only thing Justin could think to do was pretend that it didn’t happen. He reasoned that if JC wanted to bring it up, he’d deal with it then but that he wasn’t going to open the door for JC to do so. Nothing had been said and they’d both pretended that it had never happened.

Now Justin could see that JC must have been scared as well. Scared that Justin would tell someone, that he’d lose his teaching position, that his family would find out. Justin wanted to tell JC that he’d never do that to him but it would have to wait.

Justin thought of how it felt to have JC’s lips pressed against his own. Justin had only kissed two people before that night and, while he had enjoyed it, he hadn’t found it particularly stimulating. This had been very different. Firstly, Justin had never kissed that way, with the tongue and the touching. He knew that people did. He had even once seen Britney kissing Wade like that behind the barn on the plantation before he and Britney had married and settled their own land. When he and Britney first married, he imagined that they might kiss that way but they never had. Settling their land had been harder than either of them had expected and Britney had been very sick because of the baby. Then she’d died along with the baby when it had come early and had tried to come out wrong. Later Justin had realized, although he loved Britney with all of his heart, that it wasn’t that kind of love. He’d never known who the baby’s father was. He’d not cared enough to pressure Britney to tell him. He’d simply offered to marry her when she’d come to him in trouble, asked her to move out west with him and settle a farm. She’d agreed gratefully. Later he wished he’d pressured her a little more so that he would have known who to write to, who to tell when the baby died. He suspected it was Wade but he could never be certain. But, this was water under the bridge now. It had been 3 years since her death and Justin missed her but had long ago accepted their relationship for what it was. Now a thought filled Justin’s mind. Perhaps this was why he and Britney had never kissed like that. Perhaps he had needed something else all along, something that Britney couldn’t offer him. Perhaps he had been waiting for JC.

Justin was jerked out of his reverie when he felt JC move more snugly against him. That was when he noticed his erection. Justin tried to pull away so JC wouldn’t feel it too but JC’s hand reached back and gripped Justin’s hip holding him in place. Justin froze as JC eased back even more until Justin’s erection was pressed firmly against the upper curve of JC’s buttocks. Justin let out a shuddering breath and felt his hips flex involuntarily rocking his erection more firmly against JC in a primitive rhythm. JC gasped and turned in the bed, reaching out for Justin’s cheek with one hand and sliding the other behind Justin’s neck. JC paused with his nose nearly touching Justin’s and asked, “Is this okay?”

Justin was at a loss for words momentarily before breathing, “Yes, oh God, please, yes.”

JC mouth came down hard on Justin’s and Justin opened his immediately, this time knowing what to expect. Justin inhaled, tilted his head, and deepened the kiss, pressing forward against JC’s body, letting JC feel his arousal. JC slid his hand to Justin’s shoulder and pulled Justin harder against him. Justin may have had second thoughts about kissing JC earlier but he’d also had third and fourth and fifth thoughts...tenth thoughts. In those he cursed himself for not touching JC, as JC had done to him. This time, he didn’t hesitate to run his hands over JC’s body, wonderfully bare. God, his flesh. It felt like velvet. Justin gloried in the feel of JC’s supple skin over his firm frame. Justin felt like he was on fire, yet he couldn’t get close enough to the flame. He wanted to climb inside JC.

JC broke away from the kiss, gasping. “God Justin. I... I want...” JC stopped and deliberately moved away from Justin in the bed. Justin tightened his grip but JC met his eyes and shook his head slightly, letting his arms slip from behind Justin. One hand pushed against Justin’s chest. Justin let him go, experiencing a sharp sense of loss. JC continued to meet his gaze, however, and lowered his other hand to the button holding his underpants closed. Justin broke eye contact and let his gaze follow JC’s hand as JC unbuttoned his underpants and loosened the fabric at his crotch. Justin’s eyes were riveted but JC didn’t bare his skin, instead he reached for Justin’s hand and guided it to his erection. Justin allowed JC to mold his hand around JC’s hard penis. He couldn’t have stopped him if he’d wanted to. Once there, JC guided Justin in a slow stroke, up and down his length. Justin’s eyes flew to JC’s and he bit his lip at the passion he found on JC’s face.

Justin began to pant in time with his strokes. JC’s eyes slid closed and he let his head roll back bonelessly onto the bed. Justin had thought JC’s chest had felt good but it was nothing compared to JC’s cock. Justin felt a little scared but he tried to ignore it. He spared a thought to JC’s distraught state earlier. What if he was taking advantage of JC’s emotional turmoil? Knowing that JC was attracted to men made taking this leap much easier but still, what if JC resented him in the morning? What if he left Justin’s home? The thought made Justin feel desperate but he pushed it out of his mind. JC was participating in this equally. Justin would face any consequences that came, when they came but he was not going to deny JC’s obvious need now... and he was not going to deny himself.

Justin continued to stroke JC as he leaned his head forward and buried his face in JC’s curls. JC’s scent made him even more desperate and he turned to run his mouth along JC’s neck. JC’s hand closed over Justin’s on his cock and began to move even faster. Justin could feel his own erection straining to get out. His wrist brushed along his fly with each stroke and the stimulation was almost enough to make him come. He wanted to stop and take his cock out. He wanted to feel JC’s hand on it but he didn’t want to stop masturbating JC. JC was close, Justin could feel it. JC had begun to thrust his hips forward and the movement stimulated Justin’s erection even more. JC’s breathing had become erratic and his movements jerky. Justin let his mouth move along JC’s jaw until Justin found JC’s mouth again. Once there, he assaulted JC’s wet heat with the intensity of the emotions he was feeling. JC groaned, bit down on Justin’s full bottom lip and came. The feel of it hitting Justin’s stomach and the pulsing of JC’s cock in his hand pushed Justin over the edge . Justin wrenched his mouth free of JC’s and began chanting JC’s name as he came.

Justin lay for a moment in the after haze of his orgasm. He’d never come so hard in his life. When Justin’s thoughts stopped spinning, he became aware of JC’s absolute stillness and silence. He pulled back enough to get a look at JC’s face. God, he was beautiful. He had a glow of satisfaction that Justin had never seen on his face but underneath, there was some anxiety. Justin wanted to erase it. He met JC’s eyes and smiled, “Messy, huh?”

JC grinned almost against his will, “Yeah, it can be.”

“You okay?” Justin asked.


“JC, I feel so good...I can’t even describe...” Justin trailed off feeling foolish, then finally offered, “Let me get something to clean us up with.”

JC nodded.

Justin had returned to the bed to find JC nearly asleep. He cleaned the two of them up as best as he could, and returned to the bed with JC. JC hadn’t objected, had just snuggled into Justin’s arms and gone to sleep. Before dawn, Justin had crept from the bed to start his workday, leaving JC sleeping peacefully, allowing himself only a brief brush of JC lips.

Justin hadn’t known what to expect the next morning but it certainly hadn’t been this odd limbo that he’d found himself in. Justin had returned for breakfast mid morning, as usual. JC had it all ready but when Justin had reached for him to greet him with the kiss that he’d been thinking about since he’d left JC in bed, JC pulled away.

JC explained in a stilted voice that he was grateful for what Justin had done, for comforting him last night, for staying with him but that that was all it could be, there couldn’t be more between them. Justin rushed to protest, to explain that he hadn’t been just comforting JC, that it had been more than that, but JC wouldn't hear him out. JC apologized if he’d mislead Justin. He said that he’d reread his letter from his mother and that her expectations had been clear. That JC could not start another relationship with a man, that he owed it to his family to honor his mother’s expectations, that it had to end here. He went on to say that he valued his friendship with Justin, though, and that he wanted to stay until the schoolhouse was ready if Justin would still allow it.

Justin assured JC that he wanted him to stay as well and that he would respect JC’s wishes to remain only friends. Justin thought to himself that he could do that and that it was preferable to not seeing JC at all.

Since then things had changed between the two men. Despite JC’s request that they restrict their relationship to that of friends, Justin couldn’t help the new feelings he had for JC and he acted on them in subtle ways. Justin began coming in from the field a bit earlier each evening so that he could watch JC move about in the kitchen, putting the finishing touches on supper, helping when he could. After supper, Justin stayed to help JC with the dishes, standing at his side taking turns washing or drying. Justin sometimes stood a bit closer than he maybe should have and sometimes let his hand linger on JC’s when passing dishes or on JC’s arm as he reached past him to put a dish away. Justin made an effort to bring his tools to the porch in the evening because he knew if he did, JC would join him while he worked, bringing some small chore to do as well while the two talked. Justin told JC all about Britney, how they’d been friends since Justin was 11, how he’d always loved her but had realized that he’d never been in love with her. How he’d felt when she died, how alone he’d felt. He stopped short, though, of letting JC know that that feeling had begun to change, afraid of scaring JC. In turn, JC talked about Boston, his family and Chris. Justin got out the fiddle more often. Singing with JC was when he felt his closest to him. Justin dreaded the approaching completion of the schoolhouse and the end of this perhaps artificial closeness that he was experiencing with JC. When the schoolhouse was done, JC would have to move, there would be no excuses and, then, Justin would be powerless to even express his feelings.


JC sucked in an audible gasp as the icy water covered his face and chest. He was momentarily stunned but quickly retaliated. Soon the two were engaged in an out and out water fight, behaving like children and loving every minute of it. Justin had expected to have the upper hand but JC was surprisingly agile. After yet another wave of water hit Justin directly in the face, he decided that that was enough and lunged at JC, grabbing him around the chest and pinning his arms to his sides. JC laughed and struggled in Justin’s grasp, sinking further into the water, trying to dislodge Justin’s hold. JC’s wiry strength caught Justin off guard but he managed to keep his hold on JC and they thrashed about in the water, laughing, each trying to best the other. Eventually, JC had to admit his defeat and laughingly gasped, “Okay, you win. I can’t beat you, you are too strong.”

“That’s right,” Justin boasted but loosened his grip on JC and started to stand. Their wrestling had moved them about in the pond and the rocks underneath were smaller and looser than where they had started their game. Justin immediately slipped and instinctively reached out for JC as he fell. JC simultaneously reached up to catch Justin and the two found themselves in an embrace that had suddenly lost all signs of playfulness and seemed hauntingly familiar to Justin. Justin’s hands were on JC’s shoulders and JC’s were clutched around Justin’s ribcage on either side. Justin was breathing hard from their wrestling but it seemed to him that his breathing quickened. He looked at JC’s chest and noticed it rising and falling in sync with his own and froze. He let his gaze slip to JC’s face, almost scared of what he might see there. JC was staring back at him with an expression of apprehension but also filled with the need that Justin had glimpsed earlier. He made up his mind in a split second and let his hands slide from JC’s shoulders around his back and to his neck. The movement urged the two men closer. Justin held his breath but after only a moment’s hesitation, JC came willingly, letting his arms slide around Justin as well. Justin kept his eyes pinned on JC’s face searching JC’s expression before finally settling on his mouth. He gave JC a moment to resist, to give Justin some sign that this was not what he wanted but JC said nothing and remained perfectly still in his arms. When Justin could wait no longer, he slowly leaned in and pressed his lips to JC’s.

JC returned Justin’s light pressure and after a moment, opened his mouth slightly and let his tongue slip out to caress Justin’s. Justin was conscious of the luxurious shade of the white oak, the cool water lapping his chest, the slick smoothness of JC’s skin beneath his hands, and JC’s smell somewhat subdued by their water play but still musky. This felt so right to Justin and he sent up a prayer that JC was ready, that Justin was not ruining things between them.

Justin was aware of JC groaning and this encouraged Justin. He let one hand slip from JC’s back to the back of his neck while the other moved down to JC’s hip. He couldn’t seem to get enough of JC’s mouth, his taste. Justin pulled back and bit at JC’s bottom lip before opening again and letting his tongue twine with JC’s. JC lowered his hands to Justin’s waist and pressed his body to Justin’s. Justin felt JC’s erection sliding against his own. It was at once exciting and terrifying. After a split-second, terrifying won over and Justin pulled away from JC, letting the cool water come between them once again.

“JC,” Justin tried to hold back the pleading tone that was threatening to creep into his voice. “Let’s not do this if it’s not what you want. I mean, if it won’t be what you want later, JC. I can’t...” Justin looked at JC and decided to be honest. “I can’t lose you. I’d rather not really have you at all. I’d rather just accept what we’ve got.”

JC’s face lit with a dawning realization. “Even though it’s not enough?” he asked.

“It’s not enough but it’s better than nothing,” Justin admitted.

JC thought about his family, his mother’s ambitions within the Catholic Church and his father’s meek acquiescence to her demands, his sister dead and buried and his brother who disappeared with barely a word when he turned 18 so that he could escape his mother’s dominance. JC had always tried to be the responsible first-born son, always tried to make his mother happy, but it had never been enough. He realized now that, in a way, his mother had been right about his relationship with Chris. Chris had lost his hold on JC. JC realized that his relationship with Chris had been exciting simply because it had facilitated his discovery of himself, of what he truly wanted, but that it hadn’t been love. Chris had been a good lover, passionate and tender. He’d introduced JC to the world of love between two men and for that, JC would be forever grateful but he was glad he was no longer with him. This is where he was meant to be, here with Justin. JC allowed himself to admit that for the first time and he nearly collapsed with the wash of relief that came over him. He let his joy show on his face and immediately saw the reflection of it on Justin’s.

“Does this mean you’ll let me in, that you’ll stop holding me at arms length?” Justin asked.

“Justin, I love you.” Justin let his face break into a broad grin. “I feel as though I’ve been waiting for you my whole life. Thank you, God, thank you for waiting for me.”

Justin launched himself at JC, nearly pushing him under the water with the force of his hug. “I love you too, JC. I never thought I’d hear you say it. I never thought I’d be able to say it to you.”

Nothing could stop Justin now and he couldn’t wait until they went back to the house. Justin let all his pent up love and desire guide his actions as he covered JC’s mouth with his own. JC responded with equal passion. Both were surprised that they were able to even make it out of the water and onto the bank before they gave into it.

“Justin, I have so much to teach you,” JC murmured and, to Justin’s ears, it sounded like the best promise he’d ever heard.

Thanks to Quicklime for the extremely helpful beta and an extra special thanks to my exceedingly understanding husband who not only supported and nudged me through a near paralyzing writer’s block but who read my mess of a fic (when he’d never laid eyes on a fanfic before) and gave me amazing restructuring advice. Whew!


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