October 19, 2003

Disclaimerish: I was listening to the radio, see, and... Do not archive this story without permission.

Flirt a little, maybe

JC stared into his empty glass, wondering if he could talk someone else into getting him another beer. He had blisters on three toes from performing in brand new shoes, and the bar was all the way on the other side of the dance floor. When he squinted that way, he saw Lance's white-blond head in the middle of a cluster of German girls, and even a few boys, and Joey over by the bar, getting another beer for himself - no, getting Justin another beer. Damn.

"Didn't we say we were gonna cut him off after the last one?"

Chris leaned forward across the table, looking where JC was pointing. "Yeah, but you know Joey can't resist that puppy-dog look. Oh, man. Here we go again."

JC pushed his own glass aside. No more beer, then. Justin was looking at the dance floor, drinking his beer, flushed, his eyes starting to glitter. JC wiggled his toes. Yup, they still hurt. "At least he's not an ugly drunk."

Chris made an amused sound. "Justin Timberlake wouldn't be an ugly anything. Yeah, there he goes." Justin had downed the beer in record time and was out on the dance floor, doing things with his hips that had to be rated at least R. "Sex on two skinny teenage legs. If you like that kind of thing."

"Judging from last time, a lot of people do," JC said. He thought about saying more, but then he thought maybe not. He loved Chris a lot, but Chris didn't really need to know that JC sometimes entertained the occasional fleeting thought about licking the backs of Justin's thighs, too.

"True. Well, I guess one of us should do it."

JC looked up so fast he almost gave himself whiplash. "Do what?"

"Dance with the boy, before one of the locals clubs him over the head and drags him home by the curls. The ones on his head, I mean." Chris pushed his shoulder against JC's. "You go."

"I have blisters," JC said. "You go."

"I'm too tired."

"Blisters, Chris. Big ones."

Chris shook his head. "First of all, it's your turn. Second, it's your turn, and third, he likes it better when it's you, anyway."

JC shook his head right back. "No, he doesn't. You're like his cool much older friend, it makes him feel all grown up. You go."

"No, see, it's like this." Chris slung his arm around JC's shoulder and leaned in closer. "It's true that I am his cool somewhat older friend, thanks for pointing that out, but it's like a buddy-buddy kind of thing, Justin and me, you know? So it's fun when we dance and hang out and all, but he knows that's all it is, you know? But with you, there's like, something else."

JC blinked slowly. "Something else?"

Chris nodded. "Justin and me, we're buddies and that's it. But you—"

"Chris," JC said. "No."

"Yes," Chris said stubbornly. "Listen, can you tell me that you would never, in this world or an alternate universe, right now or when he's all grown up, never ever even think about kissing him?"

"Um," JC said, trying to work out if that should be a yes or a no.

"See, that's my point," Chris said. "He knows that. Not that you're gonna ravish him on the dance floor or anything, cause that would pretty much wreck out careers right there, but there's a something. Spark. And it makes him happy, and it's your turn anyway even if you have blisters, so get going."

"But he's only a child," JC said.

"Did I say you had to have sex with him? Oh, lord, here comes the body roll. Get out there. Grab him before someone else does, kiss him if you have to, just keep him safe and get him out of here unmolested by half the population of Munich before the night is over."

JC sighed and leaned his forehead on Chris's shoulder for a moment. "You owe me," he said.

Chris just laughed. "Get going, Chasez," he said, and pinched JC's ass as JC left the table.

Justin was in the middle of the dance floor, shimmying with his eyes closed. Technically, he was dancing alone, but JC counted six people closing in on him with expressions ranging from mild interest to outright lust. Most of them were young girls, but a couple of them were definitely neither young nor girls. JC slid in behind Justin, put a hand on his hip, and spun him around. "Hey," he mouthed, not bothering to try to talk over the music.

Justin's eyes lit up. He did something with his arms over his head that JC was pretty sure he'd only seen in porn movies before, and his t-shirt rode up, showing skin and the edge of one hipbone over the low-slung, baggy pants. JC ignored his complaining toes and copied the move, and then they were dancing, catching each other's eyes and smiling, trading steps and routines back and forth.

It was easy and familiar, and JC had to admit that even though his toes hurt, it was fun. For the next few songs, they danced at the center of a shifting group of people, and JC took care not to lose Justin as it got crowded and others moved this way and that, while at the same time not keeping his hands on Justin the whole time or anything. Not the whole time.

Then the music slowed down, and the floor got so crowded they were pushed close together, and Justin smiled the way he sometimes did on stage, overjoyed and seductive at the same time. And okay, maybe Chris was right. There was a spark, something in Justin's shining eyes that JC could meet and match. Of course it was safe, because he would never, never ever, but it was safe in a whole different way.

Justin leaned into JC and looped an arm around his neck, swaying to the music. "My feet hurt," he said in JC's ear.

JC looped an arm in turn about Justin's waist, keeping his fingers on sweat-soaked cotton rather than skin. "Come on, then," he said, and started tugging Justin away from the dance floor.

"Okay." Justin followed as though they were still dancing. "I'm thirsty."

"I'll get you a Coke," JC said, looking around for a free space at a table or booth. Justin pouted and looked sideways under his lashes. "Keep that up and I'll get you tap water."

Justin held the pout for half a second longer, then grinned. "It works on Joey."

"I'm gonna have a word with Joey," JC said darkly. He found them a couple of chairs in a corner, not by a table, but next to a ledge in the wall that already held a collection of empty glasses. "Sit. Wait. Don't make Joey give you any more beer. I'll be right back."

JC made his way to the bar. Now that he'd stopped dancing, he could feel once again how much his toes were objecting to life in general and walking in particular. He flagged down the bartender and asked for two Cokes, and started checking his pockets for money.

"I thought your feet hurt," Chris said right behind him.

JC jumped. "They do," he said. "I think my blisters are bleeding."

"I'm sure Justin appreciates your sacrifice." Chris grinned. "See, he never dances like that with me." Chris grinned even wider. "Suppose that might be because I never dance like that with him."

"Shut up," JC said half-heartedly, knowing it wouldn't have any effect.

"Did you leave him alone out there?" Chris squinted across the club. "You know he's gonna give someone the eye, just by accident."

"I'm just getting us something to drink." JC turned around as the bartender came past again, and picked up the Cokes. "He's paying," he said, nodding at Chris.

"Cheapskate," Chris said. "I'm gonna tell your date you're not even paying for his drinks."

"How about you tell Joey not to buy my date any more beer," JC suggested. He smiled at Chris. "See you later."

JC walked carefully around the dance floor and made it back without spilling any Coke. He realized as he came back that the corner he'd found was pretty dark. Justin was sitting on one of the chairs and had his legs stretched out across the other. JC thought for a moment that he was on the verge of falling asleep, but when he saw JC he straightened up and swung his legs down. "Hey. Gimme."

"You're a pretty demanding date," JC said, handing over one of the Cokes.

Justin's eyes glittered even more brightly. "I'm your date?"

"That's what Chris says," JC said, keeping his tone light. He sat on the free chair and drank some Coke.

Justin leaned forward to put his glass on the ledge, and when he leaned back again, he was much closer, his arm pressed up against JC's arm. "Chris has some weird ideas," he said.

JC smiled a little. "Yeah?"

"Yeah." Justin nodded. "But he's totally right about this." Justin scrunched himself down a bit, and put his head on JC's shoulder. "I'm kinda tired."

JC put his arm around Justin and settled him more comfortably. "We're gonna go back to the hotel soon." He realized that his fingertips were resting against Justin's waist, just below the hem of the t-shirt. "Don't fall asleep, you know how cranky you get when you have to wake up again after twenty minutes."

"Okay." Justin yawned. "Are you gonna kiss me goodnight?"

"No." JC tightened his arm in a half-hug. "But I'll dance with you again next time we all go out somewhere."

Justin mumbled something sleepy into JC's shoulder. JC smiled. His toes were probably going to fall off, but Justin was warm and comfortable, resting against him. Maybe he should make a new deal with Chris; maybe they didn't really need to take turns keeping an eye on Justin when he got like this. JC didn't think he'd mind doing it more often. He didn't think he'd mind being the one who did it every time.

He turned his head and brushed his lips against Justin's forehead, right at the hairline. It was just a bit of harmless flirting, after all.

* * *

Nice and slow

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