April 12, 2004

Disclaimer: belated birthday present for Merry. No commercials were harmed in the writing of this story. Do not archive this story without permission.


"This is really stupid," Chris said, waving the remote. Justin leaned back so he wouldn't get hit. "This is the stupidest commercial, I swear. See, this dog, it doesn't like the bathroom cleaner that this woman uses, so the dog locks her out in the back yard and—"

Justin slid down on the floor and leaned his forehead against Chris's knee. "I think I might be gay," he said.

"—and boots up the computer and buys some other bathroom cleaner over the internet, and you know, thinking some of the users out there are actually golden retrievers, that explains a lot. What did you say?"

"I think I might be gay," Justin muttered into Chris's kneecap. "Ow!"

"No, no, no," Chris said, raining remote control blows down on Justin's head. "You can't do this now."

"Hey, fuck you." Justin grabbed the remote. "I'm having a crisis of sexual identity here and your idea of being a supportive best friend is to hit me in the head?"

"Yes," Chris said, flicking Justin's forehead with his finger. "Because first of all there's no way you were faking all that shit about Britney let alone all the others and second, you really have to do this now?"

"I didn't know we were on a schedule."

"When are we not on a schedule? You say hiatus, I say really long pre-release promo tour for the nsync five ring circus."

"You say a lot of stupid shit." Justin glared up at Chris. "Why can't I do this now? Cause now is when I'm doing it."

"Well, you can't just go around and experiment. It's not safe, in any sense of the word, you know? If you're sure that you're gay, great, we're all totally behind you, go for it. But we're not going through any big coming-out hoopla when you get caught with somebody's makeup artist's second assistant and then two weeks later you decide it was all just a phase." Justin opened his mouth, but Chris talked right over him. "So you're gonna have to experiment with someone on the short list, and frankly that short list is the rest of the band, Trace, and Steve Fatone."

Justin made a gagging sound. "Trace? Are you completely insane?"

"If we can't trust Trace, who can we trust? Anyway, you'd think the two of you would already have gone through the experimental jerking off together thing years ago."

"God. No. I mean, yeah, but. That was totally different and — you have a list?"

"Of course I have a list." Chris scrubbed a hand through his hair. "At least when C went through his maybe I like boys phase, Lance was single."

Justin blinked. "What?"

"Lance," Chris repeated slowly. "Single."

"But what's that got to do with — and what do you mean, when C—"

"And now he has a very nice boyfriend with sticky-out ears that we'd all like him to hang on to, so. I mean, not the ears specifically, but, you know. You're gonna have to have sex with me, and I gotta tell you, I—"

"I don't want to have sex with you," Justin said, incensed.

"You don't?"


"Well, then you're not gay. Case closed, let's move on. Let me tell you about this commercial."

Justin grabbed the remote away from Chris and hit mute. The sudden absence of talking dogs and extra value meals was deafening, or reverse-deafening, or something. "I don't want to hear about the commercial. I want to hear about when C liked boys."

"You missed that?" Chris shook his head. "You can't have. He was all about exploring different sides of himself and wearing things that had pink sparkles or feathers or both and growing his hair out. And having sex with boys to see if he liked it. Lance was happy to help a well-hung friend out with the problem, so it was all good. Turned out he only liked the pink and the sparkles, though, really."

"Lance and C had a, a thing?"

"No, they did not have a thing, you freaky, prudish child. They had sex. Lots of it. I think they got halfway through the gay kama sutra before C called it a day and started chasing after girls again."

Justin hit Chris with the remote. "You don't gotta make it sound so mechanical. No wonder C decided he was straight."

Chris hit Justin back with a rolled-up tv guide. "I seriously don't think C decided he was straight based on what I just said about it all a few years later. He's not psychic." Chris paused. "Though that might explain why sometimes he leaves half the words out of his sentences."

"You're nuts," Justin said. He got up and went over to the big sliding glass doors and looked out. Rain crinkled the smooth surface of the pool, and he didn't feel like going out at all, but he needed a bit of distance from Chris.

"You know you love me," Chris said and turned the sound back on the tv.

Justin went upstairs instead. He wandered off to the guest bedroom in the corner and looked down at the rainy pool from above. It looked pretty much the same.

The rain was getting him down. He wasn't going to call JC or Lance, because he kept picturing them in bed together and that was all kinds of wrong. Justin wondered how he'd missed that. Sure they'd been touchy-feely, but they all were touchy-feely, they were in a boyband, that was the name of the game. Chris and Joey had even had a game at one point called How Far Can We Go, but they'd called it off after everyone agreed that Nick Carter won when he started smooching Howie on-camera.

He thought about calling Joey, but he was pretty sure he knew exactly what Joey would say.

Justin tromped down the stairs again and sat on the floor and leaned his head back against the couch.

"There's a beer commercial with a talking llama," Chris said. "Bet you didn't know llamas drink beer."

"I think I might be straight," Justin said.

"Yeah? It's pretty popular, lots of people swear by it."

"Like JC?"

"I think C swears by his theoretical bisexuality," Chris said. "I don't quite get it, but it seems to make him happy."

Justin snapped his fingers in belated epiphany. "Was that when Lance gave him back the toaster?"

Chris patted Justin's head. "I think we need to start sending you memos, straight boy."

"I might be straight," Justin corrected him. "I thought maybe I'd experiment a bit. Is there a short list for experimenting with girls, too?"

"I think it's more like a reverse short list," Chris said. "Like, don't do it with anyone's mom or anything."

"Not even my own?"

Chris made a sound like a steam whistle having a heart attack. "Fuck! I'm never speaking to you again."

"And you're not having sex with me either," Justin pointed out. "Count your blessings, man." Chris frowned. "Cause you were sounding way unhappy about it, so you know. This is all working out pretty good for you." Chris frowned some more. "You got a headache or something?"

"It's all those stupid commercials," Chris said. "But hey, you're my best friend, I would totally do it for you, man. You know. If you did decide that you wanted to try it."

"That's really sweet," Justin said. "But, you know. Straight."

"Are you sure?"

"Course I'm not sure, if I was sure I wouldn't have to experiment. Whaddya say we go out tonight? I need to meet some people, look around a bit."

"At girls. Cause you're not looking at any guys."

"No, I got it the first time," Justin said. "If I want guys, I'll come to you. Like this," and he leaned in and kissed Chris on the mouth.

Chris kissed him back.

"So you're straight, right?" Chris said a while later.

"Well," Justin said when he could breathe right again. "Possibly. I think maybe a bit more experimenting wouldn't hurt."

Chris grinned. "I dunno," he said. "I think I might be straight."

Justin hit him with the remote.


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