February 26 - sometime in March 2003 (April 2003)

Disclaimer: This? This most definitely did not happen. I mean, really. Title from John of Trevisa's translation of Isidore of Seville. Do not archive this story without permission.

A ryght cruell beast

Justin yanked the door open almost before Chris's knuckles had left the wood. "Help," he said.

Chris walked inside. "Hello to you, too. How are you, Chris? I'm fine, Justin, how are you?"

"Going crazy," Justin said. "You have to help me."

Chris put his carry-on down on the hall floor and stretched, feeling his back pop. "I'm glad you're in town, Chris, you should come over, we should do something fun. That sounds great, Justin, what did you have in mind?"

Justin turned his head. His eyes were a little wild. "Chris," he said.

"Okay. All right." Chris put an arm around Justin and patted him on the shoulder. "Tell me what's up."

"In here," Justin said and pulled Chris along. They walked into the room at the back of the house with the big couches and the piano and the hardwood floor and the rickety coffee table, and Justin halted. "There," he said and pointed.

Next to the piano stood a very small creature. It was about as high at the shoulder as the piano bench. It had four dainty hooves and a dainty little tail and dainty little ears and very large baby blue eyes. It had a dainty little spiral horn growing from its dainty little forehead. It was a fetching shade of pure white, bordering on silver. On seeing Chris, it gave a dainty little snort.

"Jesus." Chris rubbed a hand over his eyes. "What the he— Did you buy that? Have it custom made? Get it from an insane fan? What is it?"

"It's a unicorn," Justin said in a thin, strained voice. "It was here when I woke up and it won't go away."

"It's not a unicorn," Chris said. "There aren't any unicorns. And if there were, they'd be bigger."

"Fine, you tell it," Justin said.

Chris looked into the baby blue eyes. "You're not real," he said. "You're some weird fake thing, or a drug hallucination."

The unicorn stamped one of its dainty little hooves and dented the hardwood. Justin scowled. "Thanks, Chris. Do you know what this floor cost me?"

"Too much, if anything that size can leave marks. Is it housebroken?" The unicorn tripped over to Chris, going clicketyclick on the floor, and poked its horn into his knee. "Owww!"

Justin dropped down on the nearest couch and put his head in his hands. "What am I gonna do?"

The doorbell rang, and someone knocked loudly. "Answer the door," Chris suggested. "Maybe someone wants their LSD flashback back. Ow!"

"You get it," Justin said. "It's probably C. And stop insulting the unicorn, it's wearing a hole in your jeans."

Chris limped to the front door and flung it open. "JC! Great to see you, come on in. Are you playing a really weird practical joke on Justin? Or does the zoo in your head have any runaways right now?"

JC smiled. "Hey, Chris," he said, walked inside, and gave Chris a hug. "Good to see you. I didn't know you were staying with J."

"I just got here." Chris poked a finger into JC's stomach. "Do you know anything about this?"

"No," JC said. "Anything about what?"

"This way," Chris said and dragged JC the same way Justin had dragged him before.

They walked into the room. JC's eyes went wide. "Dude. What is that?"

"I was hoping you'd know," Chris said.

"It's a unicorn," Justin said without lifting his head. "Hi, C. I need help."

JC nodded. He dropped down on his knees and looked at the unicorn. "Careful," Chris said. "It could poke your eyes out."

JC stretched a hand out, slowly, towards the unicorn. It touched its nose against his fingertips, shook its head, and went over to Justin and rested its head on Justin's leg.

JC grinned. "Is there something. Um. Have you been lying to us, J?"

That made Justin lift his head. "What?" he said tiredly.

"Well, you know." JC waved a hand. "Unicorns. And virgins."

Chris tried not to giggle.

"Virgins?" Justin sat up straighter. "I'm not a virgin, for fuck's sake."

Chris giggled. "So you say."

"I'm not!" Justin looked down at the unicorn. "I'm not a virgin." The unicorn looked up at him. "Listen. I. Am. Not. A. Virgin. I had sex with Britney, I had sex with Jenna, I had sex with Janet, I had sex with Alyssa, I had sex with Tara—"

"What?" JC took a step forward. Chris grabbed his arm.

"—and I had sex with," Justin looked up and appeared to be counting in his head, "seven guys on the Pop Odyssey tour alone."

"What?" Chris took a step forward. JC grabbed his arm.

"Not a virgin," Justin said to the unicorn. "Go away."

JC frowned. "You had sex with Tara?"

"Before she started dating Trace, okay," Justin said.

"That's not it." JC rubbed at the back of his neck. "I mean, she's kinda like a sister to me. And you're kinda like my brother. That's just, euw."

"Whatever," Justin said. The unicorn rested its head on his leg again. He started petting its ears.

"Maybe it's something else, then." JC sat down on the other couch. "Like you have to have sex with someone you really love."

"I loved Brit," Justin said flatly. "And why do you think this is about sex, anyway?"

JC gestured. "It's a unicorn. I don't think it's here to talk about the weather." He got out his cellphone. "I'm gonna call Lance."

Chris sat down on the armrest of the couch. "You're gonna call Lance?"

"Maybe he'll think of something. Or Joey."

Chris took the phone away from JC. "I'm not ready for Lance and Joey to have the rest of us committed just yet."

"But we have to do something," Justin said, scratching the unicorn under the chin.

Chris shrugged. "Why?" He gestured at Justin and the unicorn. "You seem to be getting along just fine."

"Yeah, tell my floor that. And dude, what if it follows me when I go out the door?"

"Then you have an exotic pet."

"Like a llama," JC said helpfully.

"Or an emu," Chris chimed in, grinning at JC. "Big deal."

"It's not a pet." Justin was starting to look a bit wild-eyed again. "It's a unicorn and it's probably trying to tell me something and I don't even know what it eats and you guys aren't taking this seriously!"

Chris tipped his head to one side. "Maybe it's your spirit animal."

"Like, it symbolizes his inner virgin?" JC looked up at Chris, and then they both started laughing until Chris fell off the armrest and onto JC and they both slid to the floor.

The clicketyclick of dainty hooves was Chris's only warning before the unicorn poked him with its horn in a sensitive place. A moment later, JC said "Ow! Shit!"

"Don't fuck with the unicorn," Justin said, sounding a little smug.

"Sorry," Chris wheezed. Next to him, JC sat up.

"Well, um. Let's be methodical. Maybe you need to have sex with someone who really loves you."

Justin pouted. "Hey!"

"Come on," Chris said. "That can't be it."

"That's pretty easy to fix," JC said cheerfully.

Chris sat up. "C, you don't even know," he said, and then he saw the unicorn looking at JC as though JC were the brightest child in an otherwise fairly dim class. "Oh. Right. So what's he supposed to do, masturbate?"

Justin threw a couch cushion at Chris. "Shut up. C, please tell me that you're not gonna offer to have sex with me."

JC smiled. "No, man. Love you like a brother, and I don't get freaky with my brothers. But, see—"

"I have to go," Chris said. "I have an appointment to. er. Get my teeth cleaned."

"No, you don't," JC said. "You have to have sex with Justin."

Chris sniffed. "No, I don't."

"Yes, you do."

"No, I don't — look, you can't make me have sex with Justin."

"Don't you want to help him get un-unicorned?" JC blinked beseechingly.

"I'm sure the novelty value hasn't worn off yet."

"Hey," Justin said. "Do I get a say in this?"

Chris turned his head and looked at a spot not too far from Justin's face. "Don't worry," he said. "C's not gonna make you have sex with me."

Justin got up off the couch. He grabbed Chris by the arm and pulled him upright. "Bedroom," he said. "Now."

"Wait a minute," Chris said.

"Shut up." Justin tugged harder. Chris went with him. Up in the bedroom, Justin turned and looked at Chris. "You love me." Chris didn't say anything. "You love me." Chris kept his jaw clamped shut. Justin hauled him over to the bed, pushed him down, and sat on him. "You," Justin said, poking a finger into Chris's chest, "love me."

Chris sighed. "You knew that."

"Not that you love me in an anti-unicorn way I didn't. I thought you were like C with the brotherly thing. You were gonna tell me this when? The nsync fifty years later reunion tour?"

"I was gonna go with never," Chris said. "Remind me to beat JC to death with a pillow later."

"Yeah, cause God forbid I find out about it." Justin crouched down over Chris until they were nose to nose. "We're gonna have sex now," he said. "And then the unicorn will go away. And then," Justin grinned evilly, "we are going to have a long talk about our feelings."

Chris worked his left arm free from the weight of Justin's shin and touched his fingertips to Justin's jaw. "I'm only doing this to save your floor."

"Uh huh." Justin pressed his lips to Chris's briefly, not so much a kiss as a mouth to mouth touch, and then he got off the bed, fast, and started taking his clothes off.

Chris watched for a while as Justin took off his shoes and his socks, his pendant and his hoodie and his long-sleeved t-shirt, his undershirt and his jeans. Then he sat up. "Come here." He tucked two fingers into the waistband of Justin's boxerbriefs and tugged, and Justin came, laughing, tumbling down over him.

Chris kissed Justin's mouth for real, kissed the laughter. He tried to pull Justin closer, and Justin wriggled, tugging at the hem of Chris's shirt. The way Justin wriggled made Chris's eyes roll back in his head. He lifted an arm, and then, when Justin poked at him, the other arm, and Justin peeled him out of his shirt and started licking a line down from his collarbone. "Stupid," Justin said, buzzing the word into Chris's skin, "stupid, stupid, stupid."

"I know you are," Chris said, "but—" and then Justin reached his nipples, and Chris didn't really care if Justin was spelling S-T-U-P-I-D with the tip of his tongue, or writing his initials on Chris's chest over and over, or both. "Justin," he said instead, just to say it, and ran the flat of his palm over Justin's short hair.

Justin crouched back over Chris's legs and began to undo the zipper on Chris's jeans. Chris helped, winding his fingers through Justin's and moving their hands as one. One time, they'd played Halo like that; it had been their worst game ever. Now Chris shivered at every fumbled caress.

Justin had to move to give Chris room to kick the jeans off, and Chris took advantage of it to push at Justin and unbalance him and make him sprawl across the bed. Chris smiled. He ran his hands over Justin, all of him, from his buzz-cut scalp down to his soft, pedicured soles. He kissed Justin's big feet and his skinny hairy legs. Around the knees he looked up to say, "You're kinda like a moose."

"The fuck I am," Justin said, rubbing a hand across his belly and smiling. "When was the last time you heard anyone call a moose an international sex symbol?"

Chris bit gently at the inside of Justin's thigh. "You have enough legs for four people, and you're kind of top-heavy, with the shoulders." He smiled back. "And you're horny."

"Well, you got that right, anyway." Justin nudged Chris with his knee, and Chris crooked his fingers into the waist of Justin's boxerbriefs and tugged again. Justin shifted and raised his hips in instant cooperation. Chris licked the edge of Justin's hipbone as it was revealed, and abandoned the boxerbriefs around Justin's knees to concentrate on planting slow kisses from hipbone to navel.

"You taste like vanilla." Chris poked his tongue into Justin's navel, and Justin squeaked and squirmed and pushed Chris's head away. "Is that some kind of statement you're making?"

"Body lotion," Justin said. "Shut up."

"Please tell me you didn't put it everywhere," Chris said and licked a slow line along Justin's cock. It didn't taste of vanilla. "Thank God."

"I still think this would work better if you shut up." Justin trailed his fingers over Chris's face, pushing the tip of his index finger between Chris's lips for a moment.

"Whiny brat," Chris said and nipped at Justin's finger, and then he breathed on the head of Justin's cock and took it into his mouth, licking and sucking. He kept it light and gentle until Justin swivelled his hips and pushed his cock halfway down Chris's throat. Chris grabbed Justin's ass and dug his nails in, and Justin moaned and pushed his hips up again. When Justin closed his fingers around the back of Chris's neck, Chris felt a shiver run down his spine, and he closed his eyes and relaxed his throat.

Justin was saying something, over and over, but Chris couldn't make out the words over the beating of his heart. He felt the urgent flex and quake of Justin's muscles under his palms, and the hot, bitter taste of Justin in his mouth, and all he could smell was sex and vanilla as he swallowed, and swallowed, and swallowed.

"God," Justin said weakly, falling back on the bed.

Chris rubbed at the back of his neck, feeling for Justin-shaped fingerprints. He popped his jaw and kissed the smooth arch of Justin's hipbone again. "Vanilla. Great. I'm gonna think of sex every time I have ice cream."

"I think you should fuck me now," Justin said, catching Chris's hand in his own.

Chris threaded his fingers through Justin's. "I'm not sure we really need to do that."

"Maybe it's an old-fashioned unicorn." Justin smiled. "I want you to fuck me, okay? Forget about the unicorn. I want you to." He rolled over, reaching out to rummage in the drawer of the bedside table. When he threw a strip of condoms over his shoulder, they landed in the small of his back.

"I hate to disappoint you," Chris said, "but we're not gonna need seven."

Justin threw a small plastic bottle, hitting Chris between the eyes. "How about we start with one, and then we can negotiate the rest later."

Chris put his hands on the backs of Justin's knees, also soft and smooth and smelling of vanilla, and stroked slowly upwards, pushing Justin's legs apart. Justin shifted, stretching and arching, following the pressure of Chris's palms. The strip of condoms slid to one side. Chris tore one off and clenched it between his teeth. He needed both hands to open the lube, and squeezed out a large glob in more or less the right direction. Justin laughed and cursed when the cool gel hit his skin, and then he sucked his breath in between his teeth as Chris pushed a finger into him, slowly, steadily.

"Okay?" Chris said, dropping the condom.

"Mmm." Justin moved, and Chris stroked deeper into him. "You don't think we can do better than just okay?"

"Demands, demands," Chris said, slapping Justin's ass. He picked the condom up and dropped it again because his fingers were too slick. He had to wipe his hands on the sheet and try again.

Justin looked back over his shoulder as Chris fumbled. "Come on," he said, and smiled like sunshine.

One gentle thrust, two, three four five and Chris was all the way inside and felt as though he'd just slammed back a row of tequila shooters. His head spun. He bit Justin's shoulder to steady himself, and Justin rolled his hips, working up and back, rippling impatiently under Chris's weight. "Don't fucking rush me," Chris said, sliding his arms forward until he could close his hands around Justin's wrists. "I already know you want it, okay?"

Short, hard thrusts made Justin whimper. Longer, slower, deeper ones made him cry out, his eyes closed, his mouth open. Justin shifted and twisted, moving under Chris and with Chris, pressing them closer together in every way. Chris trailed a chain of bites and kisses over Justin's shoulder until he closed his teeth on the back of Justin's neck and Justin shuddered like a tectonic shift and spread his legs wider. Justin was talking again, saying things that sounded a little like "there" and "harder" and "now" and a lot like "chrischrischrischris."

Chris fucked Justin in time with Justin's frantic breaths. Justin sweated vanilla, a bitter chemical taste. It made Chris bite him harder. One of the bedsprings twanged on a low, carrying note that rang in the back of Chris's head like the first sign of orgasm. He felt as though his fingers had fused around Justin's wrists. Justin bucked up and cried out — in harmony with the bedspring, a major third. Then he stopped breathing, and Chris couldn't stop the final desperate thrust that pushed him all the way into whiteout.

He slumped across Justin's back and breathed. Justin was breathing again, too. "Good," Chris muttered. "Cause it would be bad if you were dead."

Justin wheezed out a laugh. "Can I get back to you on that?"

Chris worked up enough energy to pull out and get the condom off. He tossed it over the edge of the bed and sank back down, pillowing his head on Justin's back. "I really do," he said into Justin's spine. "Love you."

"Wow," Justin said, not even out of breath any more. "And it only took a really good fuck to get you to say it." He rolled over and wrapped himself around Chris like an affectionate straightjacket. "Chris?"


"Are you listening to me?"


"Good. I love you." Justin hooked his ankle around Chris's. "Like, not like a brother. At all."

Chris rubbed the top of his foot against Justin's shin. "Yeah?"


"I want a shower."

"Okay. Still gonna love you when you're clean." Justin tipped Chris's head up and kissed him. "Just so you know."

"Shower," Chris muttered. "Now."

They showered together without wasting more than half a bottle of Justin's expensive shower gel. Justin dried Chris very carefully all over with a large baby blue towel. Chris licked drops of water from Justin's shoulders. Justin wriggled away. "No, listen. First we throw C out of the house. Then we have more sex."

Chris grinned. "What if the unicorn's still there?"

Justin grinned back. "Then we throw C out of the house and have more sex."

Chris borrowed a t-shirt, and then he chased Justin down the stairs. JC was sitting on the couch, but he stood up when he saw them. "Hey, guys." He waved his hand vaguely towards the piano. "It's gone."

"Good," Chris said.

"I just turned my head and it wasn't there any more."

"Really very good," Justin said. "Listen, C—"

JC's cell phone rang. "Hello. Yeah. No, what—" He looked at Chris and Justin. "Guys? It's Lance. He says there's a unicorn in his kitchen."

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