nsync in black and white

Disclaimer: this is fiction. We made it up.

Back Around

by Megan, written for Scotty

Justin walked into the restaurant with a sure step, taking his seat at the reserved table in the back corner to wait for JC. It had been a long time since they'd seen each other, and Justin felt his breath rush out of him in a gasp as JC approached, his long, lean frame hugged by black slacks and a deep blue button-down shirt.

"Hey," Justin greeted hoarsely, taking a drink of water and licking his lips. JC sat down across from him, unfolding his napkin and laying it in his lap with the same gentle grace that JC had brought to the smallest of motions ever since Justin could remember.

"Hey yourself," JC returned, a small smirk forming on his lips as he looked Justin over lazily. Justin had to force himself to meet JC's gaze rather than ducking his head and blushing. "What brought all this on?" he asked, waving lightly to indicate the restaurant, the formality of the occasion. "I don't hear from you for months, and then you want to meet for dinner here?"

"That's. You were too gay," Justin blurted, cheeks pinking when JC sat back, raising an eyebrow. "They. I had to think of my career."

"I don't think I understand. I was too gay to speak to for half a year, but you ask me to meet you for dinner—dinner, Justin—at the nicest restaurant you can think of, where you know we'll be photographed? Isn't that a little, oh, I don't know… gay?"

"People are starting to talk. Saying we aren't friends any more, because I'm never seen with you…"

"Well, I hate to disappoint you, Justin, but when you ignore someone for the better part of a year, you aren't friends."

Justin sucked in a breath at the sharp edge to JC's voice.

"That's not-."

"Ask Lance to dinner if you want a 'gay best friend' story to counteract whatever homophobic issue you're having this week," JC spat, pushing to his feet.

"C, I didn't mean-."

"I don't give a shit what you meant, Justin. Whatever it was, it wasn't honest. Guess things haven't changed that much after all," he said, smiling wryly. "See you around, man."

"Fuck," Justin breathed, slumping down in his seat as he watched JC walk away. Five minutes later he was on the road, snaking back along the route he'd become so used to when his girlfriend and best friend had lived just down the road from one another. Things had been so much less complicated then.


"Where are you going?" Britney demanded, her pretty face scrunched up in an unattractive scowl.

"C and I were working on some tracks, and since he's got a studio now, we're gonna lay it all down and get it right before we have the guys listen to it," Justin said, kissing her forehead.

"But you just got back last night! We only have three days, Justin, and you promised.! You see JC every freakin' day of your life!"

"It's work, Brit. This is, we actually get to hang out and have fun for once, you know?"

"Whatever. Go see your fucking boyfriend. I'll call Fe and get a pedicure or something."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Don't play dumb with me, Jus. I'm the one you used to spend hours talking about JC with when we were kids, remember?" she asked, eyes welling with tears. "I don't know what made me think I ever had a chance."

"Brit… I love you."

"Doesn't really matter, though," she dismissed, talking over him as she pulled a bra on. "Not like you're my one and only, either."

Justin's fingernails cut into his palms, and as he turned to look at her, his arms shook.

"You heard me."

"How long?"

"A few months," Britney admitted, shrinking under his gaze. "Justin…"


"Does that even matter?"

"Who. Is it?" Justin ground out through clenched teeth. Britney dropped her eyes, sitting down on the edge of the bed.

"Wade," she said softly. "He's around, Justin. He's there, and I just…"

"Jesus. I loved you, Brit! I never-." Justin cut himself off, yanking a shirt over his head and walking out before he caused any damage. It was over.


The rest of that tour, after Britney, he'd spent more and more time with JC. They had crossed the 'just friends' line on more than one occasion, but they'd never talked about it. It was easier that way, especially with Justin preparing to jump-start his solo career. It was easier to leave everything else behind. Standing on the front porch of JC's house, Justin took a deep breath and shook himself free from memories.

JC opened the door partway, blocking Justin's view of the house with his body. He'd changed into jeans and a soft blue t-shirt, and his eyes, when he looked at Justin, held both pity and contempt.

"Justin," he sighed wearily, "What do you want?"

There were so many answers to the question that Justin wasn't quite sure where to begin. He took a deep breath, watching JC as he gathered his thoughts.

"I want to come in."

"Fine." JC opened the door further, slipping away into the living room without waiting for further reaction. He'd redecorated, Justin noted, and wondered how long ago the changes had been made. JC settled deep into a dark leather couch and spread his arms, looking at Justin expectantly.

"We- we used to be friends."

"We used to be a lot of things, J," JC said, not unkindly. "Things change."

"That's. What if I don't want them to? What if I want to go back?"

"Can't always get what you want," JC said, huffing out a shadow of a laugh. Justin closed his eyes at the brittleness of it.

"Then what if - what if I wanted to start something new?" he asked, flopping onto the couch next to JC. He took JC's hand, stroking the back of it with his thumb as he waited for a response. "What about that?"


He lifted his eyes to JC's, clasping JC's hand in both of his own when it seemed he'd pull away.

"What do you want, Justin? Really, what do you want?"

"I want. I want my best friend back. I want you back in my everyday life. And I want-." He swallowed, licking his lips. "I want to pick up where we left off on the Celebrity tour—preferably without the ambiguity."

"I don't know, J. Isn't that a little too… gay?"


Justin walked into the restaurant, faltering for a moment when he didn't immediately see JC. This meal, this time, was a new beginning, and Justin didn't remember ever being so nervous in his entire life, not even when he'd met JC at auditions for MMC all those years ago.

The maitre'd stepped forward, leading Justin to a secluded table in a back corner of the restaurant.

"Your table, sir," he announced, taking his leave with a small bow.

"But I'm expecting—" Justin's protest was cut off when JC appeared, gait steady and sure.

"Relax," JC whispered, applying gentle pressure to Justin's shoulders until he slid down into his seat. "It's just me."

Justin opened his mouth to protest, but was reduced to a high-pitched whimper when JC's lips ghosted over the corner of his mouth.

"It's just me, J," JC said again, taking his seat, and Justin thought, It's always been you.


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