nsync in black and white

Disclaimer: this is fiction. We made it up.

i'll never stop

by roz, written for michelle x
I don’t know
Do you believe me
After all is said and done
All the lies
How I regret them baby now

Justin’s eyes were closed, but JC could tell that he wasn’t asleep. He could tell from the way he held his neck somewhat stiffly against the passenger seat’s headrest. He could tell from the way he’d occasionally exhale with long, deep sighs, but he wasn’t breathing deeply and evenly. He could tell from the way his hand would sometimes twitch on his thigh, his eyelids would flutter, and his face would scrunch up every so often. And, he could tell because this was Justin, and JC had been accustomed to sitting in a car next to a sleeping Justin for over ten years.

“You okay, J?”

He didn’t open his eyes, just slumped down a bit in his chair. “Yeah.”

Again, JC knew him too well. “No, really. Are you feeling all right?”

This time he slowly turned his head towards JC as he opened his eyes, raising an eyebrow at him questioningly.

“I could tell that you wanted a nice, peaceful, and quiet ride. Why do you think I offered to drive the second car and asked you to come with me?”

“Cause you’re less likely to get us pulled over for speeding?” Justin grinned, and JC couldn’t help but do the same.

“So are Lance and Joe. And that doesn’t explain why I invited you along.”

Justin closed his eyes again but he was still grinning. With a loud yawn he reached up to stretch, hitting his knuckles against the roof. “You just wanted to get some alone time with me and my sexy body.” He didn’t have to look over towards the driver’s seat to know that JC was rolling his eyes.

“Oh yeah, J.”

As he reclined his chair a bit, Justin said, “You know you always wanted me. Always have, always will.”

JC didn’t comment, and Justin, who still had his eyes closed, didn’t see the grin leave his face. “Really though. Is everything okay? Is your throat bothering you or anything?”

Justin didn’t answer him with a smart retort about suddenly changing the subject, which only further confirmed JC’s belief that something was up.

“Eh. A little. My head hurts worse, though.”

JC frowned. “Did you have some cough drops? Some tea? Do you want some water or something?”

Sensing the old mother hen act coming on, Justin turned to him with a reassuring smile on his face. “It’s just a little sore, that’s all. The doctor said it would be after my first time performing again.”

That didn’t appease JC. “Did we overdo it though? Should we have just stuck to the set and not added in those last few songs?”

Justin matched JC’s serious expression. “No, Jace, we didn’t. It’s fine. Besides, it was worth doing those extra couple songs. Look how happy they made everyone, including us. You know how cool it was to look out at the crowd with all five of us together again on stage, right? And did you see Robin? Did you see how big that smile was? I haven’t seen her that happy since … forever.”

A somber silence filled the car with Justin’s last words. When they had found out that their long time vocal coach and close friend, Robin Wiley, had been diagnosed with cancer, they knew that they would have to perform again. For her. Then someone had suggested making it a benefit concert, and from there it grew into an idea that had culminated earlier that day. The guys had only planned on singing four songs, not wanting to take the attention away from the other acts, and not wanting to risk Justin overusing his voice. It was more than three months since his surgery but his doctor had still warned that he should play it safe and not jump into a full blown performance right away. But when the five of them were on that stage, in front of all of their friends, family, and fans, they had fed off of that energy and given the audience an encore.

I am the loser
And you’re shining like the sun
Tell me why can’t I still be the one

“You’re right, J.” JC broke the silence. “It’s just that…” he ran his hands through his hair, a habit that had not ceased despite his current, shorter haircut, and sighed. “Seeing someone close to you have to face something like that, it’s like … a reminder of life’s uncertainty. You never know what tomorrow will bring, you know? It just made me re-realize that you shouldn’t take what you have for granted, and you shouldn’t do or not do something that you know you’d regret later on. I know how important singing is to you. And I know that if you were to overdo it, and you lost that, we’d all have to live with that. Forever.”

Justin just sighed and looked out the window. Dark storm clouds loomed ominously ahead of them as they made their way along the hilly highway, a stark contrast to the rosy sunset visible through the rearview mirror. Lightning lit up the dark sky before them and Justin said, “Y’know, there’s always the other side of the coin.”

JC looked over at him, brow furrowed in confusion. “Huh?”

“The whole ‘don’t do anything you’ll regret later on’ thing.”

“Yeah …”

“Like, I could say that singing those extra songs was a good idea ‘cause you never know if tomorrow we all five just woke up and couldn’t sing or something. I know it’s not likely, but then again, you never know …”

JC started to respond, but was interrupted by a phone ringing. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Justin reach between them to get it.


JC heard Joey’s loud voice boom through the speaker, and silently laughed when Justin moved the phone away from his ear a bit. He could also faintly hear Chris saying something, only to be interrupted by a “Chris, shut the hell up! Joey’s on the phone and I’m trying to concentrate on the road here!” That had to be Lance.

Justin grinned. “So, how’s it going in ‘the other car’?”

Joey said something that made Justin laugh as he looked out the window at the gently sloping valley to his right, but then he must have sobered up because Justin did as well, squinting his eyes as he looked out the window at the road ahead of them.

“Yeah …” He put his hand over the mouthpiece. “Hey, Jace, you got a pen and paper here somewhere?”

“Check the glove compartment. Is everything okay?”

“Yeah, Joe’s just giving us directions to this place in case we lose each other, ‘cause it looks like a pretty bad storm up there.” He reached for the spiral notebook and pen in the glove compartment just as a clap of thunder pealed through the sky. Startled, Justin slammed the door on his fingers. “Shit!” He shook them in pain, but turned his attention back to Joey as the first raindrops hit the hood of the SUV.

Almost instantly, they found themselves enveloped in a thick curtain of rain, the beautiful sunset a fading memory. JC tried to listen in over the battering rain as Justin quickly wrote out the directions.

“Joe, you’re gonna have to hurry up. You’re breaking up over here.” He hurriedly continued to copy Joey’s instructions as JC tried to read them, barely able to make out the taillights on the SUV ahead of them.

“What was that last part?” Justin was practically yelling into the phone, trying to hear and be heard over the static, the rain, and the thunder. “Joe? … Joe? … Joey!”

A brilliant bolt of lightning cut through the darkened sky, illuminating everything for a moment. Time seemed to stand still in anticipation of the imminent thunder peal. It pierced the momentary silence, bellowing so loudly that the car shook with the force of it. JC had slammed on the breaks, or at least he thought he had. Then why were they still moving? Or was it that the ground was still shaking?

JC looked over to Justin’s shadowy face, still able to clearly make out the fear written across it despite the darkness. Because suddenly the ground was moving and so were they. But JC wasn’t doing anything.

Before either of them could think to utter a word, the car slid to the right, off the road, and then downward, as if being pushed by something from behind. They were traveling downhill relatively slowly, but JC and Justin were too enveloped in fear to remember that it had been a gentle slope into the valley. To them, they had been falling for hours at breakneck speed. They finally came to a stop when they felt the SUV hit something ahead, jolting them forwards in their seats.

At first, the sound of his own pounding heart was all that Justin could hear, but he soon felt the wetness on his face, heard his own harsh breathing, and noticed JC’s wide, panic-stricken eyes looking over at him.

He slowly reached over the console to grab JC’s hand and squeeze it reassuringly, but JC quickly stopped him, his words coming through clenched teeth. “Don’t move!” He waited a moment before speaking again, “Don’t move until we figure out what the hell just happened. For all we know, we could be stuck on the ledge of some huge cliff, waiting to fall to our death. So just don’t move.”

“Okay.” Justin whispered out, as if talking too loudly might jar the vehicle.

The two men sat in silence in the car, the thunder and rain moving off into the distance. As the storm passed, they noticed another noise, barely audible, coming from the ground by Justin’s feet. They didn’t have to look down to know. It was the static from the phone.

* * *

I’ll never stop

How could I ever
When my heart is in your hands
And I know
Baby there is no turning back

* * *

Justin hadn’t realized that he’d fallen asleep, but he must have, because he was jerked back into consciousness when JC cautiously opened his side door. It was then that he noticed that the storm had passed quite some time ago, and the warm California sun lit up their surroundings.

“What’re you doing?” Justin whispered, still not fully awake, though acutely aware of the throbbing headache that had not had the courtesy to leave with the previous night’s storm.

JC looked over at him, wide awake despite the obvious lines of exhaustion smudged beneath his eyes. “I just wanna see where we are.”

“But we could be …”

“We’re not on a cliff, J. I’ve been trying to figure out what happened since the sun started coming up.”

It was then that Justin took a moment to look around. He noticed that the car had somehow leveled out while he was sleeping, since he no longer was leaning forward and relying on his seatbelt to keep him from falling. On both sides, remnants of the sloping valley lay mashed together in jumbled heaps of rocks, trees, grass, and mud. Lots and lots of mud. Mud caked the rear window so much that he couldn’t see out of it. And right in front of him was a large tree, obviously the object that had cushioned their fall into… whatever was behind all of the trees and mud and stuff.

JC stood on the ledge next to the driver’s seat and looked out to survey their surroundings. Leaning back in, but keeping his door open, he sat back down and turned to Justin. “Looks like it was either a flood, or a mudslide, or both, because that,” he motioned towards the mud and debris on either side of the SUV, “is the road we were on last night. Or at least it was.”

Looking farther out his window, Justin noticed a section of highway resting like a slide on the now steep slope that had formed where there once was a gentle valley. “Shit.” Suddenly, something occurred to him, “What about the guys? Are they okay? How’re we gonna know?” Remembering that he had been on the phone with Joey, he reached towards his feet to pick up JC’s cell. He pushed all of the buttons, but nothing happened. “It’s dead. Wonderful.”

JC took the phone from his hands. “That’s what a car charger’s for.” He help up the cord and plugged the phone in.

“But we shouldn’t waste the car battery. We might need to use the headlights and stuff. Here, let me try my phone.” Both men felt a glint of hope when they heard Justin’s phone beep to life. Their smiles were soon erased, however, when they realized that he wasn’t getting any signal.

Justin closed his eyes and massaged his temples, willing away his headache. And the nausea that now accompanied it. And the faint hint of hunger that was starting to make itself known. He heard JC fumbling around with the keys and opened his eyes again when he heard the radio come on, blaring static loudly throughout the SUV.

“There’s gotta be a highway patrol station or something, right?”

They both listened with bated breath as JC flipped from one static station to the next. They got faint reception on a country station; something that might’ve been heavy metal, though they couldn’t tell because the screaming and static sounded one and the same; and a Spanish station. They were about to give up hope, when they heard the words cutting in and out of the speakers.

“… severe flood damage. Flooding in some areas was exacerbated by the sudden and unexpected earthquake. Though only moderate, it disturbed the soaked soil and caused mudslides and landslides in some areas. Damage to major roadways, such as I-…”

Static muffled the speaker’s voice and Justin inhaled deeply, willing away the nausea that was slowly rising.

“Emergency repairs are being completed first on roadways leading towards hospitals, and then other major thoroughfares, and rescue helicopters are still scanning all roadways for signs of travelers that might have been caught in last night’s storm. In the meantime…”

It cut out again, and Justin gripped the passenger side door handle tightly until his knuckles turned white from the effort.

“Due to contamination risks, citizens are being advised to use bottled water for all drinking, bathing, and other needs. No- ”

This time Justin closed his eyes, trying with all his might to swallow down the taste rising in his throat.

“… severe flood damage. Flooding in some areas was exacerbated by the sudden and unexpected earthquake. Though only moderate, it disturbed the soaked soil and caused mudslides and landslides in some areas. Damage to major roadways, such as I-…”

The message began to repeat itself. Unable to fight it any longer, Justin pushed open his door and threw up onto the mud beside the SUV.

“Justin, are you okay?”

Justin moaned and JC tried not to panic. “J? What’s wrong?”

Justin grabbed his head with his hands. “Get me my fucking pills.”

“Where are they?”

“Front pocket of my backpack.”

JC carefully climbed into the back of the SUV and sifted through the jumbled piles of luggage before finding Justin’s backpack. He unzipped the front pocket and pulled out two pill bottles.

“Which ones?”

Justin tensed, dry heaving before gasping out, “The white ones.”

JC opened the first bottle and saw blue capsules. He screwed the cap back on and opened the other bottle, pouring a few pills into his hand.

Justin reached over shakily and took two of the pills, swallowing them dry and fighting the urge to immediately throw them back up. JC handed him a water bottle, and he choked the pills back down. Then JC helped Justin recline his chair and lean back in it.

“You okay, J?” He whispered.

“Yeah. Just need a nap,” Justin said softly and JC could see he was sweating. Worried that Justin needed immediate medical attention, JC moved to plug in his phone but Justin’s arm shot out, stopping him.

“Please don’t move,” he panted. “Just let me rest.”

Despite the voice inside him that told him that Justin was just being his stubborn self, JC leaned back slowly in the chair and tried to think of something besides the two of them dying all alone in the middle of who knows where. Too nervous to even turn his neck for fear of upsetting Justin, his eyes focused on the pill bottles on the dashboard.

* * *

You say that I’m crazy
And I kind of understand
How I wish for this nightmare to end

* * *

A very long hour and a half later, Justin stirred in his seat. JC glanced in his direction in time to see him sit up and stretch. His shirt pulled up a bit as he did so, exposing a sliver of pale but perfectly smooth looking skin and now was not the time to be checking Justin out at all because Justin was obviously ill and there had definitely been a humongous natural disaster that had left them stranded in the middle of … wherever they were.

“Hey,” Justin said, his voice gravelly from sleeping.

“How are you feeling?”

“Mmmm, better. I’m hungry though.”

“I’ve got some snacks in the back if you’d like.”

Justin made a noncommittal noise that JC interpreted as meaning he wanted food so he gently turned around in his seat and fished through the bags until he found a pack of pretzels.

“Here,” he said, handing Justin the package and the bottle of water he had drank from earlier.

“How much of this do we have?”

“I bought a twenty-four pack. You never know what the tap water’s gonna be like once we get to the cabin.”

JC’s words hung between them as they thought about whether they would ever even reach their destination. It was supposed to be a weekend of relaxation. Just the five of them – JC, Justin, Lance, Joey, and Chris – in a cabin. They didn’t have anything planned except for their unspoken agreement to have a meeting that would ultimately decide the group’s future.

“What’re we going to do?” Justin asked, knowing JC would understand what he was saying.

“We’ve got a few options,” JC said because he had been thinking about this, among other things, while Justin was sleeping.

“We can charge my phone and hope it’s got service and call someone for help. Or we could try and climb back up the valley to where the road used to be and wait for help. We can try and light a fire and hope someone notices it. Or we can take turns watching for some sort of help. The guys have to have reported us missing by now, that is, assuming they’re okay.”

“What if they aren’t? They could be nearby.”

JC hadn’t thought of that.

“How could we tell? We can’t walk in this mud; it’s over waist deep.”

“We could try yelling. They weren’t that far in front of us.”

JC contemplated this for a moment, but Justin sat up and opened his door, standing with his torso outside the car.

“Justin!” JC grabbed Justin by the waist and dragged him back inside the car. “Your voice! Let me do it.”

Justin made an indignant noise but sat back down. JC leaned out his own door and took in a deep breath. “HELP!”

His voice echoed. And then … silence.



JC slumped back in his seat.

“Now what?” Justin asked, feeling much younger than he actually was. “We can’t risk running the battery in case it dies. We could be stuck here for – who knows how long.”

JC stuck his head out the window and looked up at the steep muddy slope behind them. “I could try and climb back up to the road.”

“How? And what if you fall?”

“Shit. So what do you propose?”

“How much food do we have?”

JC fumbled through his bag. “Water, trail mix, pretzels, peanut butter, jelly, a couple loaves of bread, and some hot dog and hamburger buns – the meat and eggs and stuff was in the other car.”

“That’s enough to last us a little bit. If we start running low on supplies, we can charge your phone and try calling for help.”

“I guess that’s what we’ll have to do.”

Justin and JC sat in silence for a few moments. Justin noticed his medication bottles sitting on the dashboard. He made a reach for them and almost dropped them when JC spoke up, startling him.

“What’s fluoxetine?”

Justin froze. “What?”

“What’s fluoxetine? Those blue pills?”


Justin said nothing.


Justin sighed. “It’s the generic form of Prozac.”

JC immediately became concerned. “What’s wrong?”

Damn it! “Nothing.”

JC eyed Justin, who was avoiding his eyes. “J?”

Justin sighed again, slamming his hand against the car door. “I’ve been fucking depressed and my doctor says I’ve got OCD and that’s causing me to be anxious. There—are you happy now?”

“Justin, I had no idea—”

“No shit.”

JC frowned. “Don’t be upset. Like I said, I had no idea. If you had mentioned it I—”

“What? You would have coddled me like a fucking baby. Just like my mom did. Well that’s not what I want. Do you have any idea how fucking scary it is to hear your doctor say you’ve got blisters on your vocal chords and there’s a chance—no matter how small—that you may never be able to sing again? And then to find out that your friend has fucking cancer? And at the same time you’ve got to be the fucking king of Hollywood with your super hot girlfriend who’s not even really your girlfriend anymore because …”

“She’s not?” JC interrupted.

“No! It’s all for publicity at this point.”

“Why? You guys were doing fine the last time we talked.”

Justin, who had been looking right at JC during his tirade, again averted his eyes.

“It’s nothing.”

This time it was JC’s turn to get frustrated. “It’s obviously something, J, if you’re on medication. What is it? You know you can trust me. I …”

“That’s exactly it, I …” Justin trailed off, watching JC stick his head out his window and squint upwards at the sky. “C?”

“Justin, look!”

Justin stuck his own head out his window and tried to follow JC’s line of vision. “What?”

“A helicopter!” JC pointed.

Justin looked in the direction of JC’s finger. How had he not heard that coming? He had no time to wonder because JC had climbed onto the roof of the car and ripped his shirt off. He waved the bright red material in the air, screaming, “HELP!”

There was no way in hell they would see or hear them, Justin thought, and holy shit, someone had thrown some kind of rope out the side of the helicopter and now they were descending it, the vehicle hovering nearer and nearer.

“Grab on!” Shouted the man, reaching out a hand for JC.

“My friend! He’s in the car!”

The man nodded. “You first!”

JC grabbed onto the rescuer’s back and was hoisted towards the helicopter. Justin rested his head against the roof of the car before looking back up to see JC being lifted into the helicopter.

“I fucking love you,” he whispered as JC disappeared and the man descended again.

* * *

Do you believe me
When my heart is in your hands
Don’t you understand
I’ll never stop

* * *

Justin sighed as he stepped under the shower’s warm spray. It had been a tiring past couple of days. After being rescued, they were airlifted to a nearby clinic where JC and Justin were checked out and released.

At the clinic, JC had gotten a hold of the right people to make sure everyone knew they were okay, including Joey, Lance and Chris, who had made it to the cabin safely.

“We thought it was just some really loud thunder,” Chris explained when asked about the landslide behind them. “It was too dark to see anything and we were all concentrating on staying on the road.”

Despite the danger being past them – the cabin had only received the outer edge of the storm’s wrath and escaped with a few fallen trees but no power outage – Justin felt the heavy weight of the upcoming burden on his shoulders.

He knew the real reason the guys had decided to take this vacation together was not because they needed to relax. Everyone had been relaxing with the exception of Justin and even then the surgery had forced him to relax, if only for a week. No, the real reason they had all agreed to head to a cabin in the woods was because they needed to talk. They needed to talk without the distraction of managers and interns, publicists and other hangers-on. They needed to decide what was to become of the group.

And then there was the issue with JC. Although he had been suppressing this issue for quite some time, Justin no longer felt that he could deny his feelings for him. But JC was going through a ‘no dating because I need to know myself before I can get to know someone else’ phase and …

A knock on the door startled him out of his thoughts.

“J? Can I come in? I gotta pee and Joe clogged the other toilet.”

Justin made sure that the shower curtain was pulled tight before calling back to JC. “Yeah.” He heard the door open and close, saw JC’s silhouette walk to the toilet and put the seat up and …

Shit. The thought of JC peeing should not turn him on. And it wasn’t, per se; it was the thought of JC naked – with him – in the shower that made his cock hard.

Without realizing it, his hand snaked its way down his chest until it settled between his legs. He gasped when his hand curled around the base of his cock.

“You okay, J?” JC asked as he shook himself off and tucked himself back in.

“Y-yeah,” Justin said shakily. He heard JC leave and sighed, his hand already moving on his erection.

What Justin didn’t realize was that JC hadn’t closed the door all the way. Not when he heard Justin moan quietly. He leaned in, his ear against the door, and waited.

Justin moaned again, and this time JC heard his strained voice clearly over the noise of the shower and the rest of the guys downstairs.


* * *

I will never stop
Until you’re mine
I can wait forever ‘til the end of time

* * *

Justin didn’t sleep much that night. He lay awake, his thoughts keeping him up. What did he want his future to be like? That was what it all came down to. When he did manage to fall asleep, he didn’t find it very restful. His dreams were overtaken by visions of JC – JC with him, JC all by himself, and, oddly enough, JC with Britney. He awoke at dawn and stayed in bed contemplating the questions that were sure to be ahead. By the time he heard the first signs of someone else in the house waking up, Justin knew what he had to do.

JC was also awake late into the night with his thoughts. He thought of Justin in the room down the hall. He thought of how he felt about him. He thought of himself being with Justin, being with someone else, and being all alone. He finally thought himself to sleep and in his dreams his answer came to him.

He had to talk to Justin.

* * *

Justin lay in bed waiting for a sure sign that someone was up. Footsteps pattered down the hall, stopping outside his door. Someone knocked. Justin pulled the covers up.


“J? Can I come in?”

Justin gulped and tried to compose himself. Might as well get this over with. “Yeah.”

JC entered the room, closing the door behind him before taking a seat at the edge of the bed.

“Hi,” he said.

“Good morning.”

“You awake yet?”


“Can we talk?”

For a moment, Justin panicked. JC had figured him out. He was here to tell him that there was not a chance in hell of them getting together, not when Justin was obviously dealing with serious personal issues.

“Yeah,” he said unsteadily.

JC took a deep breath. “Listen, J, I’m going to be honest with you. I heard you in the shower last night.”

Justin felt his face burn and was sure he had just turned a less than flattering shade of red. Oh. My. God.

“And I kinda figured it out. And I …”

“It’s okay,” Justin interrupted. “You don’t have to say it. I understand. I can’t say it’ll be easy, but I’ll get over it. You’re doing your whole ‘not dating’ thing and it just wasn’t meant to be and …”

JC put his hand over Justin’s mouth. “Can I finish?”

Justin nodded.

“I thought about it. I thought about it a lot. I thought about what you said the other day in the car – about how sometimes you need to go for what you want because before you know it, ‘it’ might be gone? You’re right. I don’t want to risk losing you but I can’t lose you if I don’t even have you.”

Justin’s eyes grew wide. “W-what?”

“I thought about what I really need. And right now, I need you. I want to give us a chance.”

Those were the three words Justin had longed to hear. “Say that again.”

“I need you?”

“Yeah.” Without hesitation, he leaned forward and brought their mouths together. He pulled back after a few moments and rested his forehead against JC’s. “And I need you.”

JC smiled. “But J,” he said softly, “you’ve gotta be open with me and let me know what’s going on.”

Justin knew what JC was referring to. And he knew that JC was right. If they were going to be together, JC deserved to know. “I know.”

JC looked at him expectantly and Justin knew he wasn’t off the hook just yet.

“When I got home from Africa with Cameron I was really depressed by everything I’d seen. At the same time I was mad at myself for feeling that way instead of being grateful for my own good fortune. Then I found out about my surgery and I just sort of fell into this downward spiral until my mom insisted I see somebody, at least once. So I went to my doctor and talked to him and he prescribed me the meds and told me I should talk to someone. But I felt like no one would understand me so I never did. Besides, the meds work pretty well on their own. I think I feel happy again – really and truly happy – for the first time in months. And now that I’ve got you I … ”

“Will always have someone to talk to. Don’t ever be afraid to come to me, J.”

“I won’t,” Justin whispered and for the first time in a while he believed himself when he said it.

JC smiled and leaned in to kiss him again. “Now I think what we both need to do is talk to the guys.”

Justin sighed. He could do this. With JC, he could do anything.

Cause my heart is in your hands
Don’t you understand
I’ll never stop

Lyrics: I’ll Never Stop, *NSYNC


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