nsync in black and white

Disclaimer: this is fiction. We made it up.

Best Mistake

by Tracy, written for Amanda

July 2000

JC jumped, startled at the sound of a knock at his hotel room door. He was almost asleep and now someone needed to bother him. They were almost done with the first leg of the No Strings Attached tour and every show seemed to drain a little more out of him. He lay with a hand over his eyes as the knocking grew louder and more insistent. He sighed as he sat up, ran a hand through his short hair, and shuffled over to peer through the peephole, seeing a curly head. “I should have known,” he mumbled, opening the door. “What is it Justin?” he asked irritably.

“Hey JC, um, can I come in?” Justin practically whispered, looking up and down the hall as he shifted from foot to foot.

JC leaned against the doorframe and smirked at him with crossed arms, “Who said I want to talk to you right now?” He loved watching Justin squirm.

“JC, come on, let me in before someone sees,” Justin begged, his eyes pleading.

“Oh you mean like your girlfriend? I’m sure she’d be very happy to know that you’re down here,” JC sneered. “Or did she throw your sorry ass out again?” he questioned, referring to one of the many fights Justin and Britney had.

Justin’s eyes narrowed as he took notice of JC’s relaxed stance. Without warning he shoved him hard in the chest, sending him flying into the room and to the floor, before closing the door behind him. “Shit Justin, what the fuck?” JC snarled as he sat on the floor, licking at the blood on his lip where he had bitten it. “And now I’m bleeding, great. What the hell is your problem?”

“Fuck C, I’m sorry, you wouldn’t let me in and,” Justin trailed off. “Just, sorry. Here,” he said, extending a hand to help JC up. JC batted the hand away and stood up on his own, glaring at Justin.

“What do you want? And don’t give me some half-assed answer, just tell me the truth. I’m tired and I don’t get enough sleep as it is, this is the last thing I need right now.”

“Well aren’t you in a good mood,” Justin said as he looked around. He smiled when he saw no one but JC, “No Bobbie”?

JC smirked again, his blue eyes flashing, “Ha, the bitch left. Said she couldn’t stand to look at my face for another second. I told her not to let the door hit her on the ass on the way out.”

“Why do I have the feeling that you had something to do with her leaving?” Justin asked, fighting the smile playing at the corners of his mouth.

“Because I’m, ‘the biggest prick on the planet’,” he said, making air quotation marks with his fingers. He rolled his eyes, “Of course everything’s always my fault – I don’t spend enough time with her, I didn’t buy her some damn sweater she wanted, I don’t pay attention when she’s talking, blah, blah, blah. Cry me a fucking river. And heaven forbid I should want to have sex with her. She looked at me like I had three heads when I tried to kiss her. So good riddance,” JC said with a flourish of his hands as he sank down on the bed.

Justin stood uncomfortably by the door, “Um, sorry I asked?”

JC chuckled mirthlessly, “Like it’s the first time you’ve heard that.”

“So it’s not over?” Justin asked quietly.

“Please, she’ll be calling me tomorrow all, ‘baby I’m sorry, you know I love you’, and asking to come back.” He rested his head in his hands and sighed, “God my girlfriend is a nut case.”

Justin sat next to him and smiled as he patted his shoulder, “It’s okay C, girls were born to drive us crazy.”

JC shrugged off Justin’s hand and turned his head to peer at him, “What do you know? You have little miss pop princess at your beck and call. What are you doing here anyway? I thought you two went out tonight. Shouldn’t you be reading her a bedtime story or something?” he asked bitingly.

Justin pulled back, “Okay JC, look, I’m sorry you and Bobbie are fighting, but there’s no need to be an asshole to me.” He paused before adding, “Or to hate on Britney.” He sighed before adding, “She’s passed out in her room – never give that girl tequila.”

“Ha.” JC flopped back on the bed, exhaling, “Yeah whatever, I’m sorry okay? What do you want Justin?”

Justin grinned. “Well I thought I’d come down here and see what you were up to.”

“Well any normal person would assume I was sleeping at,” JC paused to look at the alarm clock, “2:15 in the morning, but not you,” JC said sarcastically, jumping as Justin eased a heavy hand onto his thigh and slowly let it creep upward.

“Justin, what the hell are you doing?” JC asked in an exasperated tone, his voice shaking a bit.

“Shh,” Justin murmured, putting a finger to JC’s lips, “You know exactly what I’m doing.” He didn’t miss the fact that JC made no move to pull away. “You know you want this,” he said, his hot breath tickling the soft spot beneath JC’s ear. He leaned in and nibbled lightly on the earlobe, pleased as JC shivered.

“Justin, no, we can’t, you promised, I don’t,” JC trailed off as Justin’s lips met his. He kissed him back for a moment, but pulled back as Justin’s tongue traced the seam of his lips. He was met with a smoldering blue gaze.

“What is it Jace? You know you want to,” Justin said in a smooth voice. He glanced down for a moment, “I can tell you want to.” He leaned close enough for JC to smell the soap he used, and the faint hint of floral perfume, no doubt belonging to Britney. He slowly licked a line down JC’s neck, sucking gently on the hollow of his throat. His hand slid underneath JC’s thin t-shirt, palming the smooth expanse of skin there.

JC inhaled sharply as Justin slowly pulled the fabric of his t-shirt up and let him pull it over his head. He closed his eyes as Justin’s lips met first his shoulder, then his chest, before returning to his own lips. A weak cry escaped his lips as Justin’s hand slid beneath the waistband of his boxer briefs and his long fingers trailed lightly down his length. He shuddered as Justin deepened the kiss and let his own tongue explore the other man’s mouth. JC let himself be pushed down onto the bed and was only slightly aware as Justin slid his boxer briefs off.

Justin broke the kiss and began licking a trail down JC’s torso, his tongue flicking in and out of JC’s navel. He nipped lightly at JC’s thighs and teasingly flicked at his head, before letting his mouth cover just the tip.

“Justin. Justin, no, we can’t. You know we can’t do this anymore,” JC said as his hips bucked, belying his protests. He summoned his willpower and reached down to push Justin’s head away from him. Justin looked up, questioningly, as he let his tongue snake over his lips. His blue eyes gleamed in the dim light. JC closed his eyes and clenched his fists, willing his erection to subside a little so he could concentrate.

He opened his eyes to find a clearly amused Justin sitting beside him. “JC, come on, what’s the problem, you were fine the last time.”

“Yeah I was fine until Britney almost caught us!” JC said vehemently. “Jesus Justin, do you even remember that? You should be a little more worried about this. Besides, I thought we agreed that last time was it, this is getting too complicated.”

“No you decided that, I didn’t say anything,” Justin declared, arms crossed in triumph. “Now I suggest you let me get back to things down here,” he said, already resuming his position, a bottle of lube appearing in his hand.

“No, Justin you’re not listening, I, oh God,” JC exclaimed as Justin took him fully into his mouth and began sucking. His head turned from side to side as Justin gently squeezed his balls before a lubed finger trailed lower and plunged inside him. JC’s hips bucked once again as Justin slid the finger in and out. He soon added another, moving them in a scissoring motion that made JC writhe against them. JC could feel his pent up frustration starting to melt into a white heat that settled in the pit of his stomach. Deep down he knew it was wrong, but something about the forbidden nature of it all turned him on even more.

Cool air met his hot skin as he felt Justin’s mouth and fingers slide away from him and he heard a rustling noise. “Mmm, Justin, don’t stop,” he murmured, cracking open one eye to see Justin quickly shedding his pajama pants and wife beater, stomach muscles rippling in the dim lighting.

“Gotta be inside you C. Now,” Justin said in a shaky voice, his fingers fumbling with the foil packet he had produced. In one fluid motion JC sat up and tore open the condom, sliding it quickly on to Justin’s cock. Justin squirted lube on his hand and hastily ran it down his length. JC pulled Justin down on top of him and kissed him long and hard, letting his fingers tangle in Justin’s curls. Justin shuddered as JC’s fingers found one of his nipples, twisting and pulling. Justin’s eyes met JC’s, both sets darkened with need.

Justin broke the kiss and situated himself on the bed, spreading the older man’s legs and contorting them until they nearly reached JC’s shoulders. He grinned at the pleasure on JC’s face before pushing inside of him, quickly picking up his pace as he thrust in and out. JC’s hands wandered down and grasped at Justin’s slim hips, gripping so hard Justin knew there would be bruises the next day; somehow he didn’t mind.

Justin suddenly slowed his pace, pulling back and almost out, letting just the tip of his head tease at JC’s entrance. JC wriggled and tried to push down. “Come on Justin, quit being such a cocktease,” he said breathlessly. Justin smiled and continued to tease, loving to see JC beg for it. “Justin, please. Harder. Now!” he ordered with a grunt. Justin felt obligated to comply, slamming into JC with such force that he cried out loudly.

JC knew he would be sore the next morning, but found it hard to care. Justin’s eyes closed as he rocked back and forth, knowing he was reaching his breaking point. He leaned forward, both palms flat on the bed as he felt JC tugging at his curls. Without warning JC tightened his muscles around Justin and with one more thrust he was undone, coming so hard he saw stars.

Still in the haze of his orgasm, Justin felt himself flipped onto his back and entered roughly as JC finished himself off. With a few quick thrusts he stiffened, mouth frozen in an o of pleasure. He then collapsed, sweaty and sated, on top of Justin. Justin tilted sideways until they were facing one another, burying his face in the crook of JC’s neck, inhaling the masculine scent of sweat, sex, and satisfaction. He smiled as JC watched him through heavily lidded eyes, planting kisses on his shoulder. Justin wrapped an arm around JC’s waist and threw one leg over his, settling in. Neither man spoke as they drifted off . “So wrong,” a tiny voice in JC’s head said, but he ignored it.


JC stumbled in to the breakfast room of the hotel the next morning, yawning as he sought out coffee with his bleary eyes. He quickly loaded a plate with food from the buffet and winced as he settled in to the empty seat next to Chris, across from Britney and Justin. He nodded hello to Lance and Joey at the next table and guiltily returned the weak smile a clearly hung over Britney gave him. Justin avoided all direct eye contact with him.

“Well, well, aren’t we all bright and chipper this morning?” Chris said loudly, looking back and forth from Britney and Justin to JC, all three of whom ignored him. Chris cackled, “Rough night?” Justin quickly raised his head at the question before seeing that Chris had aimed it at Britney, and went back to eating his cereal.

JC ignored the conversations going on and concentrated on his breakfast and getting some much-needed caffeine into his system. Chris bounced his leg next to him, jostling his arm as he reached for his coffee. “Well pump up chumps, tonight we’re live from MSG baby! HBO’s not gonna know what hit it,” he said enthusiastically. Still not eliciting much of a reaction, he pressed on. “So C,” he started, nudging the man next to him, brown eyes full of mirth, “Sounded like you were having fun last night, thought I was gonna have to start pounding on the wall to tell you to keep it down.” At that, Justin’s eyes widened and his face paled considerably. JC choked on his mouthful of coffee, the cup falling from his grasp and the hot liquid splashing down the front of him. Joey reached over to pat JC on the back as he coughed.

Chris, unfazed by the action, continued, “So where’s your better half C? I wanted to congratulate her on getting you to yell that loud. She must have some good moves.” JC didn’t respond as he stood up and tried to pull his now wet t-shirt and pants away from his body, still coughing. Joey pounded him on the back one last time and he finally appeared able to breathe again. JC looked desperately at Justin, his blue eyes watering.

“Uh, you just missed her Chris,” Justin finally said. Chris turned to look at him. “Yeah, she um, she left to go home this morning, some emergency at the magazine or something. I ran into her when I was getting a pop for Brit.”

Chris shrugged, “I guess I’ll have to tell her next time I see her then.”

“No!” JC and Justin said simultaneously. Chris looked back and forth between them curiously.

“She uh, she’d be pissed if she knew you heard us. You know how she is,” JC said haltingly, for once grateful that his girlfriend angered easily. He quickly cast a glare at Justin, willing him not to say anything else.

“Well whatever dude, I just hope you’re not too tired tonight. Wouldn’t want those thrusts of yours to be anything less than perfect for all your adoring fans,” Chris said, eyeing JC. His gaze dropped lower momentarily. “I hope that coffee didn’t do any severe damage either.” The rest of the group, minus Justin, burst out laughing.

“Ha ha Chris,” JC said, flipping him the bird. “I’m gonna go change, I’ll see y’all later. Soundcheck at 4 Lance?”

“It’s at 1 today, they want to make sure everything goes okay with all the cameras and everything,” Lance said knowingly.

JC nodded and walked into the hallway, pausing to lean against the wall for a moment. He looked down at his sodden clothes and tried to ignore the throbbing in his head as he glanced at his watch. It read 9:20; something told him this was going to be a long day.


Sound check took a while, but went off without a hitch. The little free time the guys normally had before the show was filled with last minute costume checks, dinner, and a few interviews for the local New York TV and radio stations. When show time rolled around all five guys were amped on adrenaline, and eager to be on stage. The majority of the concert went by in a flash and all the guys were enjoying showing off for the cameras and getting the fans to scream their heads off. The crowd’s energy was infectious and they were all having a great time; then came the quick change before Space Cowboy.

JC popped backstage to his area, already peeling off his sweaty green muscle tank, leaving just the wife beater they all wore under costumes to make changing easier. He quickly shed his pants and reached for the sparkly red pair that lay on his chair. He fastened the button and was easing up the zipper when a hand smacked him on the backside. Expecting it to be Chris or Joey, he turned around to see a smiling Justin still clad in his costume for ‘Just Got Paid’. His eyes narrowed slightly. He still wasn’t recovered from the events at breakfast that morning. “Shouldn’t you be changing?” he asked in a clipped tone.

Justin shrugged and smiled lazily at him as he stepped closer, invading JC’s personal space. “I’ve got time,” he replied, reaching out and tracing JC’s bicep lightly.

JC shrugged off the touch and stepped back, grabbing the silver spangled tank top from the chair. As he moved to put it on Justin took it from his hands and flung it on the floor. He moved closer until his body was flush with JC’s and licked his lips slowly. JC stared into Justin’s eyes, again seeing the dark desire that had been there the night before. He shook his head as Justin’s hand trailed up and down his back.

“Justin. No. We are not doing anything. I don’t have time for this right now,” he stated firmly. With no response he tried again, “ We don’t have time for this right now. In case you forgot we’re in the middle of a show J.” Justin smiled again as he leaned close, slowly grinding his hips against JC’s. JC closed his eyes briefly, fighting for control, “A show that’s being nationally televised.”

“Shh,” Justin whispered as their eyes met. He tilted his head down as he licked along JC’s jaw line before kissing him forcefully. He gripped the back of JC’s shirt as he attempted to deepen the kiss. JC resisted, trying to pull away. Justin ground his hips against JC’s again, eliciting a moan in response. Justin’s hands crept under JC’s shirt, moving over the sweaty skin there as he kissed him again. This time JC returned the kiss and rocked his hips back against Justin’s.

JC could feel himself losing control as Justin pulled back slightly and let his hands begin to creep into his pants. He made no move to stop him and responded immediately to his touch. His hands slid up over Justin’s shoulders to tangle in his sweaty curls as he let his tongue explore the other man’s mouth. Justin’s hands crept lower and JC moved closer, humming lowly in appreciation.

Without warning, footsteps approached and a voice called out. “Justin? JC? One minute to stage guys.”

The pair jumped apart at the sound, Justin tripping over his own feet and falling on the floor. JC felt himself snap quickly back into reality, color flaming on his cheeks at having almost been caught. Justin scrambled to get up and hurried to the chair where his outfit lay as Joey came around the corner, flashing them a grin. “Ready?” he asked.

“Fuck,” JC swore under his breath as he picked up his shirt and jerked it down over his head. He managed a weak smile as he looked at Joey, “Yeah Joe, we’ll be there in a second.” Joey gave him a thumbs up in response and headed to the side curtain. JC turned to see Justin struggling to tie a bandana over his curls, his back to him. He then looked down at the now painful erection pressing against his pants, closing his eyes with a sigh. He heard the stage manager calling out that they needed to get into place. JC ran to the side curtain, silently cursing Justin as he hoped no one would notice his not-so-little problem.


After the show the guys headed outside to the tour busses for the ride back to the hotel, not knowing how long it could take with the New York City traffic. Joey and Lance boarded their bus after loud shouts of congratulations on a great show. Chris, Justin, and JC headed for the three man bus. JC went straight for the couch, not in his usual high energy state, while Justin grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge and Chris bounced around in front of the table. With a wink at Justin, eyes sparkling with mischief, Chris plopped down next to JC. “So C, did you have fun tonight?”

JC eyed him suspiciously. He knew he was about to be the butt of some sort of joke, and he was pretty sure he knew exactly what it would be about. “Yeah, I thought it was a good show,” he said slowly.

“Yeah, yeah, a good show,” Chris said quickly before moving in for the kill, staring pointedly at JC’s crotch. “I was talking more about that massive hard-on you were sporting on stage there buddy,” he said, clapping JC on the back.

JC grimaced, knowing Chris would have to bring it up. “Whatever Chris, like it’s never happened to anyone else before.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know.” He spoke seriously, imitating what JC always said when this happened, “It’s a natural reaction to being surrounded by teenage girls screaming your name, blah, blah. It’s definitely happened to you before,” he said with a smirk. Justin tried unsuccessfully to muffle his laughter at that. Chris continued, “Still that was pretty impressive man, us being on live TV and all. Do you think they got any good crotch shots?”

With that JC felt his anger coming to the surface and he stood up from the couch, having heard enough. Chris stood up too, blocking his way and still talking. “I bet those sparkly pants made it look even bigger too. The little teenies are gonna love it! Hey Justin, we’re gonna have to start calling C, Big Red. What do you think?” Chris said, looking toward Justin for confirmation. JC sent an icy glare Justin’s way, just daring him to answer. Justin had the good sense to keep quiet.

JC shoved Chris out of the way. “Fuck you Chris, I’m not in the mood for your shit tonight, I’m going to my bunk,” he practically growled. He headed down the narrow aisle and bumped into Justin, who opened his mouth as if to say something. He thought better of it when he took a look at JC’s red face and flashing eyes, snapping his mouth closed as JC roughly brushed past him.

Chris called after JC, “Hey C, come back, I was only kidding, you don’t have to get all bent out of shape.” His only response was the sound of a curtain closing. “Drama queen!” Chris yelled, grinning as he saw a hand emerge from the curtain to flip him off. He rolled his eyes and turned to Justin, “Damn, what’s been up his ass lately?”

Justin’s eyes widened at Chris’ choice of words, but he said nothing.


Later that night Justin stepped out of his hotel room and headed slowly down the hall to JC’s room. He had given him a few hours to cool off and wanted to apologize for the little stunt he had pulled earlier. He knew it had been stupid and risky, but he hadn’t been able to resist. He paused outside the door before raising his hand to knock. He frowned as he heard muffled thumps and murmuring from inside. He knocked again, harder, and heard someone coming to the door. Justin took a deep breath and looked at his feet as the door opened. “Look I just wanted to say I was really sorry about earlier and I don’t blame you for being mad, and I just wanted to come down here and,” he trailed off at the sound of a woman’s laughter.

Justin looked up, startled to see a smiling Bobbie eyeing him strangely. “Oh, uh, hi Bobbie, I didn’t know you were back,” he said weakly.

“I never left,” she said coolly, green eyes narrowing slightly as she looked at him with a bored expression. “Do you have the wrong room or something Justin?” she asked as if talking to a small child.

“Oh. Uh, no. I just wanted to talk to JC,” he said lamely. He took a moment to take in her disheveled appearance and hastily thrown on robe. “But I obviously interrupted something and it’s not that important anyway. Uh, sorry,” he said already backing away.

A smirking JC, sans shirt, appeared behind Bobbie and wrapped his arms around her waist. He kissed her neck lightly while giving Justin a menacing look, as if to say stay away. “Is there something you needed Justin?” he asked coldly. Justin shook his head numbly. “Then I’ll see you tomorrow, I’m kinda busy with my girlfriend at the moment,” he said, watching Justin flinch at the word. He slammed the door without waiting for a response.


A week later…

JC was sitting in the lounge of the tour bus working on some music, headphones on and keyboard in his lap, the Midwestern scenery flying past him. He was deep in concentration when he felt the couch shift next to him. He glanced up to see Chris, but kept working. Chris crossed one leg over the other and bounced it so his shoe almost touched JC’s keyboard. JC ignored him, fingers moving slowly over the keys. Suddenly Chris’ foot made contact with the keyboard, nearly sending it flying across the room. JC sighed in exasperation, setting it aside and removing his headphones. “What do you want Chris?” he asked.

“We need to talk,” Chris said in a serious tone, looking JC full in the eye, showing it was important.

JC crossed his arms and leaned back, “About what?”

“Justin,” Chris said simply, seeing JC’s eyes narrow at the name.

“We can’t talk about him, he’s right there in his bunk,” JC said defiantly.

“He’s asleep, I checked. And before you ask what if he wakes up,” Chris said pointedly, knowing JC was about to, “I already took care of that. I slipped some Tylenol pm in his coffee this morning, he’ll be out for a few hours.”

“You can’t just drug him. What the hell is wrong with you?” JC said loudly, shaking his head. “Seriously, Chris.”

“Shut up JC, he could use the sleep anyway. Which is all beside the point. What’s going on with you two?” he asked bluntly.

“Nothing, everything’s fine. I don’t know what you’re talking about,” JC said, playing with the hem of his shirt as Chris stared at him.

“Right, everything’s fine,” Chris said sarcastically. “That’s why you’ve been a moody prick lately and Justin’s walking around like a wounded puppy dog. I’m sick of this shit, so you tell me what’s going on.”

“It’s really none of your business Chris, so just leave me alone,” JC said crossly.

“Well, when two of my best friends can barely stand to be in the same room and they haven’t really spoken for a week unless forced to, it becomes my business JC.”


“Fine we’ll just cut to the chase. How long have you two been fucking?” Chris asked dryly.

At the question JC’s eyes widened. They narrowed after a few moments as everything clicked into place in his head. The teasing, the knowing glances, he should have known Chris had figured it all out. “You knew the whole time didn’t you?” he asked accusingly, glaring at Chris.

“Guilty as charged. I had way too much fun with that one. You, my friend, are way too easy to get a rise out of. It almost makes it not worth it. Almost,” Chris said with a grin, before quickly sobering. “Sorry, not the point. Anyway, yeah I’ve known for awhile, and it’s cool, whatever you guys want to do, I know neither one of you is exactly straight,” he said with a small smile, “But what’s going on now?”

JC flopped back on the couch and closed his eyes, actually glad to be talking about everything. “It’s a mess Chris, it has been from the beginning really. We slept together on his birthday for the first time and we were both so drunk. I knew it was wrong, but I let it happen anyway. I mean god, he’s 19, he doesn’t even know what he really wants. It was a mistake Chris, a big mistake, and it shouldn’t have happened. I told him that too, but he didn’t listen. Always coming over and surprising me, and I’m so damn weak, I say no, but he always wins,” he said, sitting up and putting his hands to his forehead before continuing.

“It’s gotten too dangerous though. Britney walked in once and we made up some lame excuse, I don’t even know how she bought it. I told him we couldn’t do this anymore and he just won’t listen. I keep telling him, but you know how stubborn he is. It’s a lost cause. I slept with him that night last week, which, you know,” he said with a wave of his hand as Chris nodded. “And then he was all over me backstage at MSG which really pissed me off because I had to look like an idiot because of it. And the fact that Joey almost caught us. Then I kinda used Bobbie to get back at him later that night when he came to talk to me. I’ve just been so mad at him. You know the rest,” he finished, hands finally stilling and settling in his lap. He looked to Chris expectantly.

“Well, that was more than I expected to get out of you,” Chris said. “I guess this has been building up for a while now, huh?”

“Yeah since it all started,” JC said bitterly.

“Well, dude, I don’t even know if I know what to say.”

“Gee, thanks Chris, wasn’t the whole point of getting me to talk to you so you could give me some advice?”

“Yeah, but it’s a little more complicated then I thought,” Chris said slowly. “I thought you were just being a pissy bitch and he was being a drama queen, as usual.” JC glared at him. “Oh stop, you know it’s true. Plus the sex thing.” He paused for a moment, debating whether he should say any more, “And I hate to tell you this, but it’s about to get worse.”

JC laughed shortly. “It’s already pretty bad Chris. I don’t see how it could possibly get any worse,” he said, elbow on knee, chin in hand.

Chris looked toward Justin’s bunk as if expecting him to appear, before letting his gaze return to JC’s, “Oh it can, believe me.” He took a deep breath before continuing, “C, he’s falling for you man.”

JC tilted his head and gave Chris a strange look, “He’s what? Falling for me? No we’re just having sex, that’s all.” He looked down and muttered to himself as he ran a hand through his hair, trying to process what Chris had told him. He suddenly looked up with a smile. “Oh I get it, ha ha, let’s pull one over on JC again. He’s so gullible he’ll fall for it. Did he put you up to this?” JC questioned.

Chris sighed, “JC this is not a joke. Focus here. Justin is falling for you, it’s getting serious.”

JC shook his head, as if to rid it of the idea, “No, no he can’t be. It’s just sex, nothing serious, a big mistake that needs to stop, that’s all. No, no you’re wrong. You’re wrong Chris,” he said firmly.

“C, think about this for a minute,” Chris said in a gentle tone, making JC look up because Chris was normally anything but gentle. “It’s Justin. You know how he is when he likes someone. Remember how he was with Britney?” he questioned, waiting until JC nodded. “All stupid and googly-eyed, walking around like he was on cloud nine? And kind of spacey? And that damn annoying sigh thing he does? Know what I’m talking about?” JC nodded again, face paling, but remained silent. “I hate to break it to you, but he does the same thing with you now. Not exactly, but he’s always staring at you when you think he isn’t looking and he talks about you constantly. Plus have you seen Britney around lately?”

“No Chris, it just, no, it can’t be. Stop saying this stuff,” JC said irritably, “It’s not true. You’re messing with me, I know you are. Please say you’re messing with me,” he pleaded.

“Sorry C, I wish I could. The kid’s gone on you and you’re gonna have to do something about it.”

“Shit, shit. But, what do I do? This was never supposed to happen,” JC said miserably, head in his hands.

“I don’t know and I can’t tell you what to do, but you need to talk to him,” Chris said, laying a hand on JC’s arm. “And C, whatever you decide to do, do it soon, before it gets too out of hand.”

JC only nodded, lost in thought, as Chris got up and headed for the front of the bus. He sat there for a long time, idly biting his nails and staring into space. The words “Big mistake,” kept repeating themselves in his head and he cursed his own stupidity for letting the whole thing happen in the first place. When he heard Justin stumble out of his bunk and head for the front of the bus he knew with a grim determination what he had to do.


That night…

The last show of the first leg of the No Strings Attached tour had come to an end, complete with a huge party. Talks were already under way for the second leg which would start sometime in October and spirits were running high for the most part. Neither Justin nor JC were in the best of moods and left the party early to head back to the hotel. They shared a car and the ride was a silent, tense one. Right before they approached the hotel, JC turned to Justin, “Hey J, would it be okay if I came over to your room for a little bit after we get inside? We need to talk.”

Justin turned toward him, surprised, “Um, sure, that would be good.” He smiled slightly.

JC returned the smile, albeit feebly, and got out of the car. Their bodyguards led them through the throng of fans, allowing them to stop to sign a few autographs and pose for pictures, before heading inside. The elevator ride up was also silent as JC chewed on his lower lip and Justin tugged on his curls nervously. “I’ll be over in a few minutes then,” JC said as he headed for his room. Justin nodded in response.

JC entered his room and quickly changed clothes, a million thoughts running through his head. He exhaled forcefully and stretched, trying to rid his body of some of its tension. It worked slightly, but the knot that had been in his stomach all day refused to go away. He looked in the mirror one last time before heading for the hallway. The walk to Justin’s room seemed entirely too short and he stood outside the door for a few minutes before working up the courage to knock. “You can do this,” he said under his breath as the door opened, a tentative Justin standing before him.

“Hey, come on in C,” he said opening the door wider and motioning with his hand. JC walked inside and headed for a chair in the corner, bypassing the bed entirely. He saw the quick glint of disappointment in Justin’s eyes and knew he had made the right choice. He waited until Justin had settled on the couch opposite the chair before he started talking.

“Um, okay, well I guess first I want to say I’m sorry for the way I’ve been acting this past week,” JC said glancing up at Justin. He bit his lip and continued, “And for the way I like, flaunted Bobbie that night. I’m sorry Justin.”

“It’s okay C, I understand, I was stupid. I shouldn’t have come on to you like that at the concert and I was just coming to tell you I was sorry. I know it was a bad idea, but it seemed like such a good one at the time, you were so on that night. You like glowed on stage, it was awesome. I couldn’t resist,” Justin said, blushing slightly.

JC saw the way Justin was looking at him and knew Chris had been right, which was going to make it all the much harder to say what he was about to. Justin was still babbling, but JC cut him off with an upraised hand. “Okay, I get it Justin, it’s okay, I accept your apology.” Justin beamed and JC felt his heart sink. “Okay, I’d really appreciate it if you’d just listen to what I have to say next and please don’t interrupt.” Justin nodded slowly, eyeing JC curiously.

“Shit, this is gonna be harder than I thought,” JC said quietly, closing his eyes for a second before sitting upright and looking Justin in the eye. “Okay, Justin this whole thing we’ve been doing. It, um, it’s just, I can’t, fuck,” he grumbled, taking a deep breath. “We can’t do this anymore,” he blurted out, continuing before Justin could say anything. “And I know I’ve said that before, but I mean it this time. It’s over Justin, no more sex, no more little games, nothing. We go back to being friends and band mates and that’s it.” Justin appeared dumbfounded and JC prayed that he wouldn’t cry; he didn’t think he could handle tears tonight.

“But JC, I said I was sorry and I know you were upset, but we can work things out, we have to,” Justin said urgently. “Please, I’m really sorry.”

JC fought the urge to get up and sit next to him, reminding himself why he was there. “Justin no, that’s it. This whole thing was just a big mistake in the first place. We were drunk that night and it never should have happened. I let things get way out of hand and it was all just a mistake okay? I’m sorry, but we can’t do this anymore. I can’t do this anymore, it’s too hard.”

“JC no, you don’t mean it. Come on, is this about that night when Britney almost caught us? She really had no idea, I asked her about it. And Joey didn’t see anything the other day. And I know you were upset about Chris making fun of you that morning, but you have to admit it was kind of funny, and he doesn’t really know so it’s okay. You can still date Bobbie too, I don’t mind, I can share.” It was clear that Justin was desperate as he babbled on, which only made JC feel worse.

“Justin. Justin. Justin, would you stop and listen to me for a minute?” JC said loudly, startling Justin into silence. “It’s not about any of that. We just can’t do this anymore, that’s it. And I’m sorry if you feel differently, but that’s the way it’s gonna be. I’m not going to change my mind. We both have girlfriends and we’re not being fair to them and in some way it’s affecting the group. It was all a mistake J, you just have to accept that. Besides, you’re only 19, how do you know this is what you want anyway?”

JC could clearly see that that was the wrong thins to say as the begging, almost tearful Justin disappeared and an angry one took his place. “So I’m just some big mistake, is that how it is? I’m so glad I wasted all this time just to know you didn’t even give a damn about how I felt. Well fuck you JC, you’re an asshole. And you don’t even like Bobbie that much, you’ve told me so. But maybe you’d be better off with a cold bitch like that from what I’m seeing right now.” Justin jumped up and began pacing back and forth. “It was all just so you could get a piece on the side huh? The best of both worlds. And so what if I’m 19, at least I don’t lie to myself about everything like you do. You can’t even see what’s right in front of your face,” Justin spat out in a rush, fists clenched and face red.

JC’s eyes narrowed, as he felt his own body beginning to throb with anger. “You know what? I felt bad about coming down here and talking to you, but you’ve got some nerve. I can’t believe you’re going to sit right there and pretend like this is all my fault and you had nothing to do with it. You came on to me first and I’ll be damned if I’m gonna sit here and take this shit from you. You don’t even know what you want and I have better things to be doing than wasting my time trying to salvage something that was never there in the first place.” He stood up and faced Justin, blazing with anger.

Justin looked as though someone had slapped him at JC’s words, and his eyes took on a telltale moisture though no tears fell. “Fuck you JC, just go; I don’t need to hear anymore. Leave your big mistake behind and forget anything ever happened,” he said brokenly. “I won’t bother you again. Obviously I’m just some stupid kid who has no idea what he’s feeling. I can’t believe I thought I was in lo…,” Justin trailed off abruptly, the full force of what he was about to say hitting him.

JC’s eyes widened at what Justin had been about to say and really looked at the man standing before him, the fight leaving his body. He felt horrible, but through it all knew he was doing the right thing. There was no way Justin was ready for what he thought he was and JC really didn’t want to think about it anymore. He watched as Justin appeared to be facing an inner battle about what to say, but started talking before he could. “Please Justin, don’t say anything else. Don’t make this any harder than it has to be,” he begged, feeling a deep sadness settle into the pit of his stomach as he walked toward the door. “I’m gonna go now, I,” he paused with a hand on the doorknob, “I really am sorry. Um, I hope we can still be friends.”

Justin said nothing, but JC didn’t miss the lone tear that managed to escape and fall down his face. “I’ll see you later,” he said, walking away and not looking back. He heard the door close, signifying the end of it all.


July 2005

JC entered his hotel room and lay down on the bed, a hand thrown over his eyes. He was happy to be in Chicago for Challenge for the Children, but it was exhausting at the same time. Sure he had smiled and laughed and signed autographs and posed for pictures and sucked at basketball, just like always. All of it had been with the guys, but this year it just felt different. He was finally realizing that although the guys were all still friends, it would never be like it used to be. The thought made him sad. As he hummed quietly his thoughts wandered to that eventful night nearly five years earlier, an event that had been plaguing his thoughts on a somewhat regular basis lately.

Things had been tense for quite some time after that, but being thrown together in their situation, practically living in one another’s pockets, JC and Justin developed some sort of understanding. Their relationship was never quite what it was before, but they got along. JC had known things were truly okay when Justin had come to him first after he broke up with Britney. He had been there for Justin to vent to and comforted him through the months of fallout, and when it was all over he realized that something had been healed.

And now Justin was the happy one with the great girlfriend and JC was the idiot who kept picking all the wrong relationships. He grimaced at the thought of his latest debacle, Eva. He knew she hadn’t wanted anything serious, it was just sex to her, but somehow he had deluded himself into thinking she loved him. He recalled clearly the way she had laughed in his face when he told her he loved her, and how hard he had tried to hide his heartbreak. He ran his hand through his hair, short again, and suddenly sat up as a thought struck him. He felt like someone had punched him in the gut as he realized that he now knew exactly what Justin felt like all those years ago. He had been the Eva then and he saw how much it hurt to be the Justin, more than he ever would have imagined.

He sat up with a sudden bolt of energy, wondering if it was too late. He quickly dialed a number on his cell phone, praying the other man would answer. “Hi, Chris? It’s JC, I need to talk to you. It’s about Justin.”


Later that night…

JC tugged on the bottom of his t-shirt and quickly ran a nervous hand through his hair as he approached the suite door. He stood in front of it for a minute, before knocking softly. “You can do this,” he said quietly as the door opened to a curious looking Justin. JC momentarily felt transported back in time to that night, but he hoped this time the outcome would be different. “Hey J, can I come in for a minute? I need to talk to you about something.”

“Sure C, come on in,” Justin said, still looking confused. “Are you okay? You look worried.”

“No, I’m fine, I’ve just been doing a lot of thinking that’s all,” JC said distractedly, licking his lips as he walked in and sat on the couch. He was pleased to note that Justin joined him.

“Did it hurt?” Justin asked, laughing as JC rolled his eyes. “Sorry, I couldn’t resist,” he said, lounging back, one leg crossed over the other. “So what’s up?”

“I just, um, I, well I was, shit,” JC mumbled as he tried to get out what he had planned to say. It was a lot harder when he was faced with Justin in the flesh.

“C?” Justin asked with an amused grin, “Just spit it out dude.”

“You weren’t a big mistake Justin,” he blurted out. He clapped a hand over his mouth and closed his eyes as soon as the words were out, knowing that wasn’t how he had wanted to say it. He opened one eye a crack to see Justin’s smile falter slightly as he processed JC’s words.

“I wasn’t a big mistake?” he echoed. Then to JC’s horror said, “What are you talking about JC?”

“Oh god, I’m such an idiot, never mind Justin. I’m so stupid and I shouldn’t have come here. I’ll just leave, forget this happened, okay?” JC babbled, standing up and heading for the door.

“I hope we can still be friends,” Justin said, causing JC to freeze with one hand on the door handle.

JC turned around slowly, almost in disbelief, “What did you say?”

“I hope we can still be friends,” Justin repeated. ‘That was the line right?”

“Um, I, I, Justin, I, god, I’m so sorry. I keep thinking about what I did to you and I just feel awful about it. I know what you felt like now, after Eva, and I just, I don’t know. I had this stupid idea that I could just come back after five years and tell you I was sorry and maybe…” he trailed off, uncertain of where things were going.

Justin looked surprisingly unfazed. “So you finally came to your senses huh? And you realized I wasn’t some stupid kid who had no clue what was going on?”

“I, yeah, I guess. It’s just you were so young and I was scared and I didn’t know what to do. And Chris told me you were falling for me and I freaked out and I thought the only way I wouldn’t hurt you was to leave and then that didn’t work and I just, yeah, I, yeah. God I’m an idiot.” JC said in a long bumbling rush.

“JC?” Justin asked.

JC looked up, frazzled. “Breathe man,” Justin said chuckling lightly.

“I, uh, yeah, breathing’s good,” JC said stupidly. The silence stretched on as Justin stared at him. “So basically I realized I fucked up the best thing I ever had, and I made you think it was never what I wanted. I’m sorry. I’m sure it doesn’t matter to you, you’re with Cameron now and I’m, I’m,” he trailed off unsure, head down, hands flapping helplessly at his sides.

“JC? Just so you know?” Justin said, waiting for JC to look at him. JC looked up questioningly. “Cameron and I? We’re not together, it’s just for publicity.”

JC let out a breath he hadn’t realized he was holding, “What?”

“Yeah, I didn’t really tell anyone because everyone just assumed, and it was easier to play along and everything you know?” he said.

“Oh,” JC said, dumbfounded, “I just thought, wow, I never realized.”



They stood there looking at one another until JC found himself propelled forward. He reached out and traced a line down Justin’s face with his finger, slowly letting his hand curve around and settle on Justin’s neck. The familiar feeling of his tiny curls made JC shiver with memories. He moved closer until their bodies were fitted together and JC could feel Justin’s breath on his face. He felt Justin’s hand creep around and travel slowly up and down his back, following an old path. Neither one said anything as JC tilted his head up and let his lips meet Justin’s, warmth pooling through him as Justin kissed him back. He felt Justin’s hand move under his shirt and slowly travel up the knobs of his spine.

Before they got any further JC pulled back and stared into the depths of Justin’s blue eyes. Justin gave him a questioning look. “I just want you to know that if you were a mistake, then you’re the best mistake I ever made,” JC said. Justin smiled at his words and pulled him closer, walking backwards until he bumped into the couch and tripped, making them both fall to the floor. The pair laughed and JC hesitated before propping himself up and speaking again, “Also Justin, I, um, I…” he was stopped by a finger to his lips as he looked into wise blue eyes.

“Shh,” Justin said, “You don’t have to say it, I already know.”

JC grinned, his blue eyes crinkling at the corners as he let himself be pulled down on top of Justin. Some mistakes were definitely worth making.



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