nsync in black and white

Disclaimer: this is fiction. We made it up.

just tell me

by gina, written for bayouskye

JC sat on the balcony overlooking the ocean. The waves crashed violently against the shore as the brewing storm stirred up the surf. The beach was deserted, the day gray. The scene before him bore a remarkable resemblance to his own mood. He had awoken grumpy, the distance growing between him and Justin frustrating him, worrying him, scaring him. He couldn’t remember a time in their many years together when things had been this bad. They’d been through rough patches like any other couple, but never like this. In the past, they had talked about what was bothering them and helped each other to overcome it. Now, Justin was distant, quiet, withdrawn. The most fucked up part of it was that JC had no idea why. One day, everything was as it always had been. They were laughing, playing, enjoying each other. Overnight, it all changed. At least that’s the way JC thought it happened. He had no idea how Justin felt for Justin wasn’t really talking to him. They shared empty conversations about sports, the weather, the ongoing tour, the antics of their group mates, but those deep, soul searching conversations they’d had in the past were just that, in the past. Also gone was their physical connection. They hadn’t had sex in what seemed like months and even more important than that, Justin would tense and move away from JC no matter how innocent the touch. JC just couldn’t understand, no matter how hard he tried. Justin was slipping through his fingers and he didn’t know what the hell to do about it. He looked down upon the beach, watched as the waves grasped the sand and pulled it mercilessly back out to sea. He blinked away tears.

He heard the door open and close and knew that Justin was back from wherever he had gone, but the sound didn’t cause JC to move. If Justin wanted to find him, he would. After all, their suite wasn’t very big. They’d shared a room for over a decade, even though there was always one booked for each of them. During those first years, it was the innocent need of a child that pulled Justin into JC’s bed. Justin would creep into JC’s room and snuggle into him, a scared child embarking on territories charted mostly by adults. He’d been frightened, unsure, in need of the friend that JC was. JC would hold him, calm him, reassure him, ease his fears.

All that had changed the night of Justin’s eighteenth birthday. JC remembered every moment of that night, each sight, each sound, each smell, each touch. Justin had pulled JC to him and declared that he was in love with him and had been for years. JC had thought it was a joke until Justin pressed him against the wall and convinced him with his tongue, his hands, his body that he was serious.

Their relationship deepened to frightening levels since then, neither of them knowing how to live without the other, neither of them willing to spend even a moment apart. JC wondered when and how it had gone off course. He knew he should confront Justin, tell him that he was no longer listening to Justin’s bullshit answers of everything being okay, but just as much as he knew it, he was too scared to do it. What if what was bothering Justin was directly linked to him? What if Justin didn’t want him anymore? What if Justin had found someone else? There were too many what ifs and not enough answers, but JC would rather live in this frustrated state than to not have Justin at all. He figured if Justin wanted to be rid of him, then Justin would have to be the one to start that conversation, because he wasn’t going to.

It didn’t take long for the curtains behind him to part and for Justin to step out onto the balcony, maybe a few minutes, maybe less. JC didn’t budge, but he could sense each of Justin’s movements. The small steps around the cramped space, the way Justin raised his arms to stretch before settling into the chair next to JC. The way Justin squirmed until he was comfortable.

They sat in silence until Justin commented on the weather. “Nasty storm coming in.” JC rolled his eyes, responding with an almost inaudible, “Yep.”

More quiet followed and it seemed to stretch forever. Knowing that he was unable to put anything he was feeling into words, JC reached out his hand and tentatively placed it over Justin’s, bracing himself for Justin’s recoil. It didn’t come. Instead, Justin laced his fingers through JC’s. As he did, JC was filled with relief and something else…something that felt a lot like hope.

Inside Justin’s head, his thoughts were as tumultuous as the raging waters below them. He knew he had to tell JC what was going on, knew it was wrong to keep it from him, but how could he tell him this? How would JC understand? Justin still loved him as much as he ever had, but he knew that this secret was tearing them apart and he didn’t know what to do about it. As much as he longed for JC to hold him and tell him that no matter what everything was going to be okay, he wasn’t positive that would happen. He was pretty sure, but that inkling of doubt taunted him and kept him quiet. He had a doctor’s appointment in three weeks, if he could just somehow hold on to JC until he could find out what was wrong with him, everything would be okay. Justin turned his head sideways and let his eyes linger on his lover, his best friend, the most important person in the world to him. Justin knew he was hurting JC – he just didn’t know what to do about it. Justin drew in a deep, cleansing breath. He had to do something.

Squeezing JC’s hand tighter, he twisted in his chair so that he could fully see JC. Their eyes met. Held. JC turned away, his gaze returning to the shore.

“Want to go to dinner?” Justin asked.


“I don’t know, last time we were here you raved about the Sushi place down the street.”

“You don’t like sushi.”

“No, but you do. I’m sure they’ve got other stuff on the menu.”

“They’ve got?” JC turned and faced Justin, a questioning grin on his face.

“Yeah, they’ve got. Remember, Southern Boy – we don’t know nothing about no grammar.” Justin returned, a small smile forming on his lips.

JC smiled with him. It felt good to do so. There were questions he wanted to ask desperately exploding inside of him, but he held them off. He didn’t want to ruin this moment. Justin was reaching out to him and JC was going to cling to that with all of his might.

“You’re sure, sushi?” JC asked.

“I’m sure. I’ll go get it all together while you get ready.”


They returned to their room well past midnight. The time had passed in a blur of good moments. The awkwardness seemed to be gone, the tension dissipated. It was as if the past month had never happened. That was until they got inside. Immediately, the atmosphere changed as Justin became aware of where the night was leading. His intention of dinner was to just spend time with JC, doing so in public allowed him an amount of calm he wouldn’t have felt if they had been alone. It was easy to pretend that his problems didn’t exist for there was no chance in them becoming an issue as they sat at the restaurant. They could talk as they always had, laugh at all of the inside jokes they shared, just be in each others company. Alone, though, there was no protection, no hiding his problem. It was just he and JC and the no touching sign thrown away. Fear pulsed through him as he felt JC come behind him and wrap his arms around him. He tried to remain calm as JC placed chaste kisses along his collar. Justin knew he had to get away. He couldn’t allow this to go further. Doing so would highlight what was wrong with him, would let JC know that his body no longer worked, that no matter how much he wanted JC, his body wouldn’t cooperate. He didn’t want JC to know. He wretched from JC’s embrace, ignoring the look of hurt and confusion that settled on JC’s face. He left the room.

Justin returned to find JC pacing. His heart plummeted at the sight. He entered as quietly as possible, lowering himself into a chair by the door. JC sensed his presence immediately. He stopped pacing, his eyes falling on Justin. Anger exploded inside of him.

“I don’t fucking understand.” He said, his tone wrought with frustration, hurt. “We go to dinner tonight at your insistence and then we come back here and you act like touching me is the worst fucking thing in the world. Do you not want me anymore? Is there someone else? Just fucking tell me. I don’t want to live like this anymore.”

Justin lowered his head. This is exactly how he hadn’t wanted this to happen. He took a deep breath. “There’s no one else.”

“Then what the fuck is it?” JC didn’t like that he was cursing at Justin. It wasn’t something that either of them did, but he couldn’t control it. They had promised long ago not to keep things from each other. JC had upheld his part of that oath. Justin hadn’t and JC was damn hurt and angry about it.

“I should have told you sooner.”

JC heard the defeat in Justin’s voice. He didn’t like it there. What the hell could be going on?

“Just tell me now.”

JC watched as Justin struggled to find words to express what was obviously something hard for him to admit. He wished that he could make it easier, but he had no idea as to what it could be. He couldn’t offer a guess.

“I love you, J. You’ve got to believe that. I’d never…there’s no one else. Why would you think that? How could you think that about me?” Justin’s voice broke.

“I just don’t know what is wrong, J. I don’t know how to help you when something is so obviously wrong. I was beginning to think it was me, that you didn’t want me anymore. I talked to Lance. He thought that maybe…”JC paused, struggling to say the words. “He thought that maybe you wanted…that you wanted to explore, sow your oats, something. You were so young when we…”

Justin rose from the chair and reached JC in three long strides. He captured JC in his arms and held him to him, his whole body seething. As much as he loved Lance, Lance was the king of jumping to the wrong conclusions and Justin wanted to strangle him until he stopped breathing and then revive him just so he could strangle the shit out of him again for putting these harebrained ideas into JC’s mind. Justin understood the roll he played in allowing these thoughts to take root and to fester, but it was just easier to be mad at Lance.

“I don’t want to sow my oats. I don’t want anything else but to be with you. It’s just…J…”he trailed off.

“Just tell me. We’ll work it out, just tell me.”

JC felt Justin shudder and he held him tighter.

“Just tell me.”

Justin opened his mouth, but quickly closed it. He didn’t know the words, but knew he had to find then. “There’s something wrong with me,” he tentatively began. “I wanted to wait until I saw the doctor before telling you so that I would know exactly what it is. I’m so sorry.”

Thoughts of incurable illnesses clouded JC’s mind, tears pricked at his eyes. He tried to recall the last weeks all in a matter of moments. Did Justin seem more tired than usual? Was he eating more or less? Was he coughing? JC couldn’t remember, all he could see was the fear that took over his body. He needed to know and didn’t want to know all at the same time. “Justin…what is it? Why do you think there’s something wrong with you?”

“Because I want you so bad, J, I feel it all over my body except where I’m supposed to. I don’t work. I can’t…I can’t…”

JC quieted him by meeting his lips to his. After a long, soft kiss, he asked, “Are you not attracted to me anymore?”

Justin sighed at the question. “This is why I didn’t want to tell you. I knew you’d think that and that’s not it. God, J, I want you so bad, I hurt, but no matter what I do, my body doesn’t cooperate. It’s not you. It’s me. Something is wrong with me.”

JC felt relief surge through him. Justin still wanted him, but what was wrong with Justin, they didn’t know. They had to find out. “You said you have a doctor’s appointment.”

“I called the doctor in Memphis. We have a show there. I just, I want to go to my doctor. There was no time in the schedule to fly there and fly back. So I scheduled it for when we’d be there.”

JC silently nodded his head, agreeing that Justin seeing his own doctor was the best thing. He only wished that Justin had told him sooner, then things wouldn’t have gotten so tense between them. He wouldn’t easily let it go that Justin had held this from him, but now was not the time to get into that. Taking care of Justin was his biggest concern now until they’d see the doctor to find out what was wrong.

After standing quietly for an eternity, JC pulled away slightly. “I love you.”

“I love you.”

“We should get ready for bed.”


They went their separate ways and went about their usual nightly rituals, both ending on opposite sides of the bed. JC pulled the covers down and settled himself on the bed, then invited Justin to do the same. Justin accepted, snuggling into JC. Comfort and calm soared through each of them. Now that the problem was out in the open, it didn’t seem quite as scary anymore. JC worried about what was causing Justin to not be able to become aroused, but since Justin had reassured him that it wasn’t him, he knew that whatever it was, they would overcome it.

JC held Justin until Justin’s breathing settled and he drifted off to sleep. JC was tired himself. The past weeks of wondering if he and Justin would last had taken their toll. His eyes burned, his head hurt, his body longed for sleep, but it was not to come. He was now worried about something else, something that was much more important, Justin’s health. JC didn’t know anything about sexual dysfunction. He’d heard the words over and over again on commercials, but thought it only affected old people. How could Justin, a very healthy, twenty-one year old be having this problem? Slowly, JC untangled himself from Justin and rose from the bed.

Three hours later, JC sat at the end of the bed and watched Justin sleep. He’d spent two hours pouring over internet sites, looking for all the information that he could find. He’d called his mother and after apologizing profusely for waking her at stupid o’clock in the morning, he talked to her about it. What she told him was no different than what he’d found online. Erectile dysfunction could be caused by both physical and psychological problems. Something as simple as stress could cause a man to have difficulty having or maintaining an erection and if a multi-city world tour with all of the pressures of success hanging over your shoulders wasn’t stress, JC didn’t know what was. On one site, he read something about a test they could do to figure out if the problem was physical. It said that if a man achieved erections like normal during sleep, then the problem was psychological. This piece of knowledge is what had JC staring at Justin’s sleeping form. So far, nothing had happened, but the site had said that the naturally occurring erections happened about every 90 minutes. He glanced at the clock 4:15. There were still 30 minutes to go.

JC felt a bit silly conducting this non-scientific test, but he just thought that if he noticed something, then at least they’d be a step closer to figuring out what was causing Justin’s problem. His body was filled with fatigue. He wanted so much to just lay beside Justin and sleep, but he knew that this was important. He felt his eyes closing, his head gently tilting. Quickly, he woke himself back up. Glancing up at Justin, he froze. Justin lay on his back, his right arm by his side, his left hand resting on his bare stomach, the tips of his fingers tucked into the waistband of his boxers. His face was peaceful, his breathing coming in a soft rhythm, but JC noticed none of that, what caught his interest was the tent that formed over Justin’s pelvis. Nothing physically wrong with him. JC sighed with relief. There was no life threatening illness. JC wanted to bound out of the chair, wake Justin and tell him, but thought better of it. He didn’t want Justin to know he had sat up all night staring at him for the slightest hint of an erection. He knew how self conscious that would make Justin feel, how much more embarrassing attention that would put to what was bothering Justin. No, he was just happy to know for himself. He wouldn’t mention it to Justin. He would, however, try to figure out the psychological cause to this problem.

Days passed without either of them mentioning “the problem.” They had decided to wait and see what the doctor had to say, so there really wasn’t anything more to discuss. Even though they weren’t having sex, their relationship was as good as it ever was. The easy laughing had returned, the comfortable silences, the raucous laughter, everything but their physical intimacy was back to normal.

They arrived in Memphis a little after 1 in the morning. They were staying at Justin’s house instead of a hotel room and they both welcomed the alone time. The stresses of the tour and the expectations were starting to wear on the group. Getting away from everything even if only for a day was a welcome retreat. They collapsed in bed as soon as they’d arrived and had drifted off to sleep with barely a word.

The sun rose on the new day and illuminated the room in its glow. Justin’s eyes opened to find JC looking at him.


“I just like watching you sleep. You’re hot.”

Justin blushed. “Okay, Paris Hilton.” He joked.

“Ohhhhh, ow.”

They shared a laugh and a brief kiss. JC turned to get up, but Justin stopped him.

“I love you so much, J. Thank you for still loving me.”

JC’s eyebrows knitted. “J, no matter what, I’ll always love you. We’ll figure this out. I promise.”

“I know. I just spent so much time being afraid to tell you, afraid of your reaction, I can’t believe how stupid I was.”

JC nodded. “I can’t either.”

Justin mocked indignation and they both laughed. The atmosphere around them relaxed.

“So,” JC asked, “what do you want to do today?”

“This. I just want to be with you.”

“Well, I can’t say no to that, but if I don’t put some food in my stomach soon, I’m gonna start gnawing off my arm.”

“We can’t be having that. Let’s go grab some breakfast.”

The day progressed as it had started, in easy company. They had watched tv, shared ice cream, did the crossword puzzle in the paper together, arguing as they did about the answers. As nighttime fell, they found themselves by the pool, the water too cold to swim, but the weather warm enough to enjoy the outdoors. Their bodies were intertwined in the hammock as they lay quietly watching the stars appear.

“Is something bothering you?” JC asked, not wanting to end the wonderful day they were having, but wanting to see if he could get Justin to talk about whatever might be bothering him and causing his problem.”

“Bothering me? I don’t think so.”

“Nothing you’re worried about.”

Justin remained quiet for a few minutes, thinking. “I worry about lots of stuff.”

“Tell me.”

“You know it. The fear of failure, of not being good enough, of being 65 years old and all I can say I accomplished was this.”

“That’s not going to happen. You’re too good for that.”

Justin looked away. “I worry about us.”


Still staring at the trees, Justin began, “We’ve always been together. MMC and now Nsync. We’ve spent every minute together, almost forced to because of our jobs. This tour ends in a week. What then? There’s no Nsync. What if that means there’s no us? What if…”

JC silenced him by placing a finger to his lips. “There will always be us, no matter what else happens, with or without Nsync, we’re completely separate from that. It’s our job, but this is our relationship.”

“I know. I’m just scared. Taking this hiatus is the right thing, but the future is so scary.”

“It is for all of us. We’re doing this at a time when everyone is telling us it’s the wrong thing to do. We could milk this, J, but to what end. We’re losing our friendships, being together 24 hours a day is taking its toll. You and Chris spend more time at each other’s throats than you do having a good time. Even Joey and Lance aren’t getting along. This is what we need to do. We’ve always done what we’ve needed to do and not listened to anyone else. This is no different. Could we make another album and tour again and make a hell of a lot more money? I’m sure that we could, but we’d lose each other and that’s not worth it.”

“No. I know.”

“Besides, isn’t the solo album what you want?”

“I think yes and then I think no. I don’t want anything if it somehow messes up things with us.”

“And you think the solo album will.”

“I’m headed to Virginia Beach – you’re on your way to LA. We’ve never been apart this long. What if you find someone better?”

“And what if you do?”

“I won’t. There’s no one better.”

JC turned to look fully into Justin’s eyes. “How can you feel so strongly about that and even think that I don’t feel that way too?”

Justin bit his lip, holding back tears he didn’t want to fall. Crying was such a childish thing to do. “I’ve never been without you.”

“You won’t be without me. We’ll be on opposite coasts for awhile working on different things, but there’s the phone and have you heard they have these really big things that fly through the air and could have you and me together in a matter of hours.”

“Now you’re just making fun of me.”

“I’m not. Justin, I’m really not. I’m just trying to get you to see, that even if miles are between us, it can’t ever come between us. You want me to come to Virginia Beach, I will. You’re more important than anything in LA.”

“I know you want to go out there and do some work with your friends.”

“You’re more important than anything in LA.”

“I could come to LA with you.”

“No, you can’t, because I won’t let you. You have this burning inside of you, you have since I met you, and you can’t suppress that because of me.”

“You promise that we’re going to be okay.”

“A million different ways, I promise.”

“I’m so scared.”

“I know. Every new step we take in our lives is scary, but you don’t have to be scared of losing me.”

“That’s the thing I’m most scared of.”

JC pulled Justin tight and held him. “I’ll always be here.”

Justin listened to JC’s heart beat and held on to his words as he fell asleep.

They awoke in the hammock. The night surrounded them, ink black and cool. They untangled themselves and rose, their bodies protesting. They walked into the house in silence. As the door shut behind them, Justin reached out for JC, pulled him toward him, kissed him. JC responded, his hands tangling in Justin’s shirt, a desperation shared between their lips the magnitude of which scared each of them. They pressed their bodies as close together as was possible, no room for air between them. It had been so long since JC tasted Justin, felt him, his body immediately reacted and he was suddenly aware that Justin’s was not. He pulled away.



“No. I need you. I don’t know what’s wrong with me, but God, I need you. Please, J, please.”

JC had never been able to say no to him. This time would be no different. JC led them to the bedroom, stripped them both, placed ravenous kisses along Justin’s collarbone, down his chest, to his stomach, stopping momentarily to tease Justin’s bellybutton. He felt Justin shudder, knew Justin liked his ministrations, but also knew that Justin’s body did not react. Tears escaped his eyes. He couldn’t control them. They fell to Justin’s stomach. Feeling JC sob, Justin pulled him up to him, kissed his lips, held him tight, then turned them so that JC lay on his back with Justin atop him.

“I love you.” Justin whispered.

JC opened his mouth to respond, but Justin’s hand wrapping around his length made him forget the words. It had been so long, JC didn’t know if he could control his reactions to Justin’s touches. When Justin’s mouth closed around his nipple, he knew that his battle was lost.

Justin lost himself in JC’s pleasure. He licked and teased, used his tongue and his fingers to bring JC to the brink before letting him back down, just to build his arousal once again. JC begged for release, but Justin ignored him, continuing his game until he knew JC would last no longer. He moved down JC’s stomach before taking JC into his mouth, small licks that moved quickly into JC being buried inside Justin’s mouth. JC knew he was too close, he tried to focus on other things, to suspend this moment, not wanting it to end. He was lost to the feelings Justin created. He felt the heat sear his midsection, its fingers trailing out to each nerve ending. His body started to shake, his release coursing through him. He groaned as he came, whimpered as Justin licked at his head, cleaning every drop. He lay back spent, but feeling guilty.

“Come here.”

Justin went to him, kissed him. JC could taste himself on Justin’s tongue, the memory of the last minutes causing his body to tighten once again.

Justin felt JC’s arousal grow between them. He smiled against JC’s lips.

JC sighed. “I’m sorry.”

“My God, J, for what?” Justin wanted to know.

“That, that…”

“We’ll figure what’s wrong with me out. Believe me, we’ll figure it out, but…I like pleasuring you. Shhhh.”

They held each other close and fell asleep.

Sometime during what remained of the night, JC awoke to find the very real proof to his theory of what was bothering Justin poking him. He reached out while Justin slept and wrapped his hand around it. Justin stirred slightly but didn’t wake. Using soft, delicate strokes JC massaged Justin’s arousal. He heard Justin whimper and turned to look at him. His remained eyes closed in sleep. JC continued, increasing the pressure with each pass. Justin’s eyes fluttered open. Before he could utter a single word, JC quieted him with his lips. Shock registered on Justin’s face, but was soon replaced with desire. His breathing shallowed, his heartbeat quickened. His mind let go of all conscious thought and he concentrated just on JC’s movements. Within seconds, he felt his body grow taut, his muscle twitch, his release pulse from his body all over JC’s hand. JC smiled up at him, but Justin couldn’t register a thought, too many were vying for attention all at once. He decided to focus on only one – his deep love of JC and JC’s deep love of him. He smiled back.

“I don’t know, ummm…” Justin tried to speak, but couldn’t. JC held him close, saying nothing. Minutes that seemed like hours passed.

“I don’t know why this time was different.”

“Because you weren’t thinking. That night you told me, I did some reading while you were sleeping. I learned that at your age, the cause of all of this was probably psychological – that something on your mind was preventing you. I stayed up that night and watched you. The site I read said that if you, you know, have erections while you’re sleeping, then it is most definitely just in your head and not something physical. I watched you that night. Those umm, erections happened like they’re supposed to, so I kind of figured that something was on your mind.”

“You stayed up and watched me sleep?”


“To see if I’d have an erection?”


“You’re a sick bastard.” Justin laughed.

JC laughed, too. “I know. Honestly, I just wanted to…I just wanted to know what was wrong.”

Justin smiled, feeling his body stir. “I don’t think anything’s wrong now.”

JC looked down. Justin’s arousal stood full. “No, ummm, I think everything is right.”

Justin pulled JC toward him and kissed him, hard.

“Think maybe I can cancel that doctor’s appointment?” Justin questioned, breathless. “I have more important things to do.”

“Mmmm,” was all JC could respond as Justin’s tongue pressed passed his lips and into his mouth.


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