nsync in black and white

Disclaimer: this is fiction. We made it up.

a show tonight on trampoline

by withdiamonds, written for sola fiamma

Justin can tell when JC’s had too much to drink. His eyes give him away, glassy yet sly at the same time. He talks more than he should, says things he shouldn’t, and is overly friendly.

Except for Justin, everyone thinks JC’s funny when he’s drunk.

As far as Justin can tell, JC never thinks he’s drunk.


Justin’s never told anyone that he’d had a major crush on JC back when they were just kids. Back when Tony, Dale and JC had been the coolest guys Justin knew, and he’d watched them with envy. He surreptitiously copied the way Tony wore his jeans, the way Dale laughed, and the way JC tilted his head and closed his eyes when he sang.

JC was kind to Justin back then, because JC is a kind person, and Justin’s always appreciated it, and never more so than on the day they taped the last show of the series. Justin was devastated when Disney cancelled the show, and all he could think about was going back home, going to school with Trace again. Being ordinary again.

Everyone was in tears after they wrapped, and as they all hugged goodbye, promising to keep in touch, Justin raised his face to JC’s and pressed a clumsy, terrified kiss to his lips. JC stilled for a moment, then pulled back and smiled kindly down at him. He blinked and his eyelashes were dark and damp against his cheeks.

“Keep in touch, Justin. Have a good summer.” Common, every day words, platitudes, even, but Justin treasured the kindness behind them, because JC could have freaked out, but he didn’t. He just smiled and said goodbye.

Looking back, Justin realizes, of course, that JC wasn’t nearly as smooth and confident as Justin thought he was. But Justin’s never quite lost the habit of watching him, of trying to put his finger on the defining element of JC’s coolness, and trying to figure out how to co-opt some of it for himself.

Right now, however, there’s nothing cool about JC at all. He’s dancing with Bobbie, and he seems to be licking her neck, long, slow swipes of his tongue, and Justin’s glad they’re at a private party, because JC doesn’t ever act that way in public, and he’ll be mortified in the morning, even though it’s mostly just people he knows hanging around watching him.

Bobbie laughs and pushes JC away, her hands on his shoulders and her knee between his thighs. That just makes him grin wickedly and pull her close again, thrusting against her leg, and the fluid roll of his hips makes Justin pause in whatever story he’s telling Lance, the words dried up in his throat.

“Justin,” Lance says, smirking and waving his hand imperiously in front of Justin’s face. “So what happened to the guy on the other bike?” He waits for an answer, then laughs, shaking his head. “You know what, never mind. It probably doesn’t really matter, does it?”

The music thumps loudly as Justin drags his attention back to Lance, the bass vibrating in his chest, buzzing in his ears. “Huh? What? Oh, right, well, nothing happened. He just took off,” Justin yells over the noise.

“Okaaay,” Lance drawls. He cocks his head at Justin, and then follows his gaze thoughtfully. JC bites the tip of Bobbie’s nose and she swats at him, almost knocking the two of them off their not-so-steady feet. “He’s gonna feel like shit in the morning,” Lance says, sipping his drink like it really doesn’t matter to him one way or another.

Justin nods, still watching JC. He certainly hopes so.


JC apparently does feel like shit in the morning, and he and Bobbie emerge from their hotel room just as Justin yanks his suitcase through the door and out into the hallway. “Goddammit,” Justin mutters, as he wrestles with his uncooperative luggage.

“Could you make any more fucking noise, Justin, do you think?” JC snarls, as he frowns at him over Bobbie’s head, his face pale. Bobbie already has sunglasses on, but JC blinks in the harsh florescent glow of the corridor and scowls at Justin, dark circles under his eyes.

“Sorry,” Justin says, although he’s not, not at all. He wonders how much noise he can make before JC figures out he’s doing it on purpose. JC’s perfectly capable of making the upcoming day on the bus a living hell if Justin pisses him off enough, so Justin reluctantly decides to just make his way quietly toward the elevator without thumping his suitcase into the walls or yelling for Eric to come help him.

Bobbie’s headed back to LA, and JC hands her off to Lonnie, who takes her outside the front entrance to get a cab to the airport. JC’s bad mood seems to evaporate as they say goodbye. He laughs down at her and kisses her goodbye, his hand sliding down her back to pat her ass proprietarily. She grins up at him in return and quickly nips his chin before turning and heading out the door in Lonnie’s wake.

Justin turns away, and pretends he doesn’t see Lance watching him sympathetically. He glares at Chris, who’s obviously already found some coffee somewhere, which makes Justin seriously consider riding on the bus with the band, or maybe wardrobe. Chris just laughs and puts a hand in the small of Justin’s back, gently shoving him toward the entrance where the buses are waiting.

“Let’s go, kiddo.”

Justin makes his way to their bus, aware that JC is right behind them. He’s glad Bobbie is gone, glad they have the bus to themselves again. Glad they have JC to themselves again.

JC’s dark mood is back, though, now that Bobbie’s not there, and he heads to his bunk without a word. Chris grimaces meaningfully as Justin tosses his backpack on the couch and grabs a banana out of the pile of newly-delivered food on the kitchen counter. Before Chris can even start, Justin points the banana warningly at him and says, “I don’t want to hear it, Chris.”

Chris shrugs and raises his hands placatingly. “Okay, man, whatever.”

“Good. Let’s play something.” He waves at the Playstation.

Chris just nods and grabs a controller, and for that, Justin is grateful. About fifteen minutes into the game, he says, “I think I’m gonna see if Brit can join the tour for a few days. Maybe she can hook up with us this weekend.” He avoids Chris’s eyes.

There’s a pause, then Chris says lightly, “I think that’s a good idea, Justin.”

It’s a great idea. The more Justin thinks about it, the more he likes it. He misses having her around.


Chris and Dani have been having a rough time the past couple of months, but they seem to be doing okay right now. They’ve gotten back together after a bit of a misunderstanding, and while there’s a break between legs of the tour, Britney decides they need to have a party to celebrate. At least that’s the impression JC has. It all seems a bit vague to him.

But he and Bobbie go, of course, and there’s plenty to drink, because if there’s one thing Britney knows how to do, it’s throw a party with lots of booze. Chris and Dani seem perfectly happy to JC, and he can’t figure out what the big deal is, but if they’re happy, he’s happy.

“To Chris and Dani,” he proposes, raising a bottle of Jack and waving it around at everyone. He hears a few echoing answers of “Chris and Dani” as he tips the bottle up to his mouth and takes a drink. Bobbie laughs and tugs the bottle away from him. For a moment he considers fighting her for it, but shrugs and lets it go. She can have it, there’s plenty more where that came from. He turns around to look for some, kind of hoping another bottle will just materialize in front of him, and he catches sight of Justin and Britney ensconced in the corner of the enormous white sofa Justin insisted on putting in his living room. His and Britney’s living room. It’s not like she doesn’t live there half the time, too. They’re completely tangled up in each other, and JC is positive Justin has his hand up under her top. Justin nuzzles behind Britney’s ear, and she closes her eyes, smiling softly to herself.

JC turns back to Bobbie and roughly grabs the bottle out of her hand. “Hey, watch it, JC, I just bought this blouse yesterday,” Bobbie complains, as JC almost splashes whiskey on her.

“Sorry,” JC mumbles. He takes a drink, then turns to Bobbie and says brightly, “What do you say we get out of here?”

“You want to leave?” Bobbie asks, surprised. “We just got here, JC.”

“So?” JC frowns down at her. He hates what she’s done with her hair tonight. And he can’t for the life of him figure out what the hell’s she’s wearing.

“Soooo,” she says irritably, “Why would we leave?”

JC doesn’t answer as he takes another pull on the bottle in his hand, ignoring Bobbie as she tartly reminds him about the last time he drank straight whiskey and the hangover from hell that was the result. She tugs the bottle away from his mouth.

“Give me that, JC,” she hisses. “I’m the one who has to get your drunk ass home tonight, and I’m telling you right now, you’ve had enough.”

JC lets her take the bottle away from him without putting up too much of a struggle. He stumbles a bit as Bobbie plucks it out of his hand, and she grunts in disgust as she shoves him upright with her free hand. “Go find somewhere to sit, JC, before you fall over,” she snaps.

JC decides the perfect place to sit would be on the nice white couch, and he lands pretty much on Britney’s feet. “JC,” she giggles as she tries to shove him off. He tries not to see that her silky pink tank top is damp right at the peak of her left breast, where Justin has been mouthing at her through the material. JC can see her nipple, hard and pushing against the fabric, and she catches her breath as Justin rubs his thumb over it, seemingly oblivious to JC’s presence on his couch.

Bobbie glares down at JC for a minute, then turns on her heel and stalks away. Unfortunately, she’s taken the bottle of Jack with her, and JC feels a quick flash of anger as he frowns after her.

Britney giggles, and leans over to pick her drink up off the floor next to the couch. It’s almost empty, just a couple of half-melted ice cubes in inch or two of pale pink liquid, but JC reaches out and takes it from her, downing it in one swallow. Britney laughs again, then trails off uncertainly when she catches the expression on Justin’s face. He’s looking at JC like JC would expect his grandmother to look in this situation. His mother’s mother, not his father’s, Justin’s face is just that disapproving.

It’s too funny, and JC laughs as he hands the glass back to Britney with a flourish. He gets unsteadily to his feet and says, “Later, dude.” He head off to look for his bitchy girlfriend, taking great satisfaction in the fact that Justin is staring at him now, instead of at Britney.


“So how many times did you vote for yourself, J?” Chris snickers as he curls up in the corner of the couch with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in one hand and a can of Dr. Pepper in the other.

“Man, the real question is how many times did Lynn vote?” JC drawls, and the can in his hand is Miller Lite, not a soft drink, at ten o’clock in the morning. His tone is derisive, almost cruel, and Justin knows that’s his cue to get defensive, but he’s not going to do it this time.

This time he laughs right along with them, and says, “I think mom got Grandma to vote a few times, too.” That shuts them up long enough for Justin to say, “They have to think I’m beautiful, I have their genes.” Winning People magazine’s online poll of The Most Beautiful People in the World, 2000 may be one of the more embarrassing things to happen to him this year, and it certainly gives everyone plenty of material for mocking him, but he’s determined not to let JC get to him. It’s not like he won the damn thing on purpose.

It’s funny, he expects Chris to give him shit about stuff like this, but not JC. From JC he’d expected a sympathetic smile, that’s what he’s used to, but apparently drinking beer at ten in the morning doesn’t bring out JC’s sympathetic side.

JC’s eyes narrow and he says, “Yeah, no, your mom’s been telling you you’re pretty all your life. She can’t start telling you the truth now, can she, J?” and he takes a swig of his beer, his gaze never leaving Justin.

Again, Justin laughs and shrugs off JC’s half-assed attempts to insult him, although it’s really pissing him off. There’s no way in hell he’s giving JC the satisfaction of knowing that, though, even if he has to bite a hole clear through his tongue in an attempt not to tell JC to fuck off.

Chris is watching them curiously, head swiveling back and forth like he’s at a tennis match, his eyes alight with amusement, which isn’t helping Justin keep his temper in check. But he manages to grab onto it with both hands, manages not to explode for the half hour or so until the bus pulls up at their next hotel by the simple expedient of jamming on his headphones and listening to the game tape from the previous night’s show, walking through the choreography in the narrow space between the bunks.

They pile off the bus when they reach the hotel, and Justin wonders how many more beers JC had before their arrival. He wonders if he’s the only one counting, or even noticing, and why he thinks it even matters.

Justin doesn’t usually go to the hassle of using the workout facilities in whatever hotel they’re staying at, preferring to wait until they get to the venue, where he can use his own equipment in peace, but today he just asks Eric to make sure he can work out uninterrupted, and he takes his temper out on the weights in the unoccupied gym. By the time he gets off the treadmill, he’s pounded out most of his anger, and he makes his way, sweaty and winded, back to his room.

When he opens the door he’s greeted by the sight of JC sprawled out on top of the bed, watching Justin come in through half-closed eyes.

“What do you want?” Justin asks shortly, ducking into the bathroom before JC has a chance to answer him. He hasn’t really unpacked yet, and he’s lining up his razor and toothpaste on the counter, wondering what the hell JC’s doing in his room, when he looks up and sees JC in the mirror, leaning in the doorway, hip cocked against the frame, arms folded over his chest, a look of amusement on his face as he watches Justin. Justin quickly snatches his hand back from the collection of toiletries and glares at JC’s reflection.


JC shakes his head. “Justin, man, you need to not be so tense. You need to chill, dude.”

“Get the fuck out of my room, JC,” Justin says tersely.

JC watches him in the mirror for another minute, then smiles and says, “Sure, man. Whatever.” Justin shuts his eyes and waits until he hears the snick of the door closing before he takes a deep breath and turns the shower on, letting the water heat up while he carefully unpacks the rest of his stuff.


Sometimes JC wonders why none of them ever talk about the important shit, unless they’re forced into it for some reason. He personally gets his fill of talking about so-called important stuff when he’s with Bobbie. He’s been working on perfecting his blank stare, and he thinks he’s almost got it just right. It’s good enough to render Bobbie speechless with rage, anyway, and that’s about all anyone can ask from a facial expression.

But the five of them don’t talk about the big stuff much at all. They all know things, the kind of knowledge that just naturally comes with living such compressed, interwoven lives. Like, how Chris’s rages will burn themselves out if you just leave him alone for a little while. Like, Lance is gay, and how Joey is thrilled that he’s going to be a father, their fan base be damned. How about that Justin’s had a crush on JC for years and aside from that one kiss when he was only fourteen years old has never done a damn thing about it?

And, also, it’s quite possible that JC drinks too much.

But nobody ever says anything about any of it, they just communicate with sidelong glances and frowns and shared secret grimaces and smiles.

JC, for one, is sick of it. There are a few things he’s itching to get out in the open. He thinks it’s time.

“Hey, Justin,” he says, slowly looking Justin up and down, taking in the leather pants and the black mesh shirt. “Is that what you’re wearing?” He lets just the right amount of disdain creep into his voice, and he takes note of the slight flush on Justin’s cheeks with satisfaction.

“Yeah,” Justin nods, eyeing JC warily. He’s not sure what to expect from JC these days, and that’s just the way JC wants it. Justin off-balance is something really special.

“You do know we’re just going to a club, right? We’re not performing tonight or anything, you know that, right?” He raises his eyebrows, letting himself look a little puzzled. Justin’s flush deepens.

“I know that, JC,” he says defensively. JC feels a small thrill of victory rush through him as Justin glances down at himself doubtfully. Then Justin smiles and his face clears. “These are Britney’s favorite pants,” he says brightly. He grins at JC and says, “She likes the way they make my ass look.” He turns to yell at Chris and Joey to hurry the fuck up if they’re going to leave sometime this century, giving JC ample opportunity to check out his ass. JC feels a small muscle in his cheek jump as he clenches his jaw. It doesn’t make him feel one bit better that Britney’s busy working and is no where near where they are right now.

The club they go to is so excited to have NSYNC gracing their VIP section, they’re comping their drinks, which JC appreciates a lot. The night passes in a blur of music and alcohol, tequila burning his throat until Joey, of all people, actually notices and says, “Hey, man, I think you’ve had enough,” as he nods at the glass in JC’s hand.

The words I think you’ve had enough have the same effect on JC as a red flag being flapped in front of a bull, and he jerks his drink out of Joey’s way and snaps, “Fuck off, Joe. Mind your own damn business.”

Joey looks at him and shrugs. “Whatever, ‘C. Have a good time, really. Just don’t be a bitch in the morning, man,” and he wanders off in Lance’s direction, leaving JC alone in the shadows against the wall in the corner where he’s parked himself.

That pisses JC off. He never complains the morning after, and Joey knows it. “Prick,” JC mutters to himself as he drains his shot glass and looks around the club, eyes automatically searching for Justin before he even realizes he’s doing it. He shakes his head. It’s a bad habit, and he really needs to think about breaking it. He’s heard it takes three weeks to break a habit. If he starts tomorrow, that means by the end of the tour he won’t be aware of where Justin is every fucking minute of the day. Perfect timing, really.

He jumps when he hears a voice in his ear, shouting over the music. “JC! Come and dance with me.” Justin laughs. “Dance with me, JC. JC, JC, come dance with me!” He makes a beat out of the rhyme, spitting a little in JC’s ear, his warm breath making the hair stand up on the back of JC’s neck.

“Knock that shit off, J,” JC snarls. He pulls away angrily, and the sudden movement makes him stumble a little. Justin reaches out a hand to steady him, then stops at JC’s tone, his hand suspended awkwardly in mid-air.

The happy smile slides off his face, and JC takes a savage delight in seeing it happen. “What the fuck, JC?” Justin asks, as JC avidly watches him frown around his words. Justin has such a pretty mouth when he frowns.

JC smiles, the smile he knows for a fact makes Justin want to hit him. He can’t let all that good tequila go to waste, after all, so he lets it carry him along for the ride, a ride he’s been wanting to go on for a while now. He brushes the back of his hand quickly across the front of Justin’s pants, and the leather is warm against his skin. It feels nice, so he does it again, this time turning his wrist so his palm is holding soft pliable leather, although what’s under it isn’t soft at all. “You’re a cock tease, Justin. You’ve been showing me this for years, but you never follow through, do you?” His fingers curve around Justin’s dick, and he can feel it filling in his hand. Justin makes a move like he’s going to pull away, but he doesn’t. JC gives a little squeeze, and Justin stands stock still, his eyes wide on JC’s.

JC leans forward, his lips brushing Justin’s ear. “How long were you going to wait, J? How much longer until you-” Justin pulls back, shaking his head.

“No, I-Brit-” he stammers.

JC dismisses Britney with a wave. “Bullshit. Try again.” He grinds the heel of his hand hard against Justin, watching him, and when Justin closes his eyes and sags back against the wall, JC turns and walks away.


Justin’s been back from the club for an hour, sitting in his room staring at the TV, and if he was ever going to start smoking, now would be the perfect time for it. JC left the club before he did, in fact, when he walked away from Justin, he walked straight out the door. The only reason Justin didn’t follow him and put an end to this stupid game right then is that he needed time to compose himself. He doesn’t want to go to JC as a little boy again, it won’t work that way, no matter how much they both want it. He needs to do this as a man, or JC will pretend nothing’s happened, and he’ll keep using alcohol to push Justin away and nothing will change.

Justin gets up and straightens the TV remote on the dresser, automatically making sure it’s lined up exactly perpendicular to the edge of the wood, while in his head he replays JC’s words from earlier, thinking about how JC watched his face when he touched him, remembering how his fingers tightened and his eyes darkened.

And that’s enough to have him moving down the hall and knocking on JC’s door, resolved to finally settle things between them.

The door opens when he knocks, but JC turns away, and Justin is left to come in, or not. He grits his teeth and shuts the door behind him.

It’s dark in here, but the bed is still made and there’re no signs that JC was asleep. The drapes are open, and JC stands at the window, his back to Justin, waiting.

His shoulders stiffen as Justin takes a breath to speak, and Justin realizes that he’s afraid. That somehow makes things easier. “I think five years is long enough to wait, JC, don’t you?” he asks gently.

JC nods without turning around. Justin walks up behind him and touches the back of his neck, cupping it with his hand as JC finally turns. The only light comes from the city behind JC, and Justin can’t see his face, but he must have done this right, because when JC kisses him, every minute of those five years that separates this kiss from their first one seems worth it to Justin.

This time JC’s hands on him are demanding instead of insolent, and they quickly peel away Justin’s leather pants, which are not really Britney’s favorite ones at all. Britney actually couldn’t give a shit what pants Justin wears most of the time.

Justin very soon finds himself flat on his back on the bed, JC’s face just inches from his, JC whispering things in his ear that make him hot all over. He can’t imagine why he waited so long, except that he didn’t know JC was waiting, too, at least he doesn’t think he did.

Maybe he did know, but it doesn’t matter now, because JC tightens his grip on Justin’s wrists, pinning his arms over his head on the pillow, hissing, “Pay attention, Justin.”

Justin has no choice, because JC doesn’t give him one, and by the time he’s twisting under JC, begging hoarsely for whatever JC wants him to beg for, he knows it’s not likely that his attention will wander far from JC for a very long time.

Years, he thinks, closing his eyes and whispering, “Please, JC.”


Chris knows without having to be told, of course. Justin seems to be waiting for him to say something, but JC knows he won’t, not until the whole thing becomes less immediate. They only have a few hours on the bus today, and it’s a quiet, uneventful ride to the next venue. JC knows that by the time they’ve finished lunch and then soundcheck, Lance and Joey will know, too.

And that’s cool. JC’s content with it being one of the important things they don’t have to talk about.



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