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[Pre-slash] [N'sync] [Chris/Justin] [PG]

So it's cutting it pretty close to the wire, but this is my entry for the Brave Author challenge. I tried and failed to fill the pirate prompt, dear Anon Reader (and if you are who I think you are, and I think you are), sorry about that! I filled the prompt for cuddling, and surprisingly had also written a ficlet a little while ago involving JC and dreams (and the inception team!) Yay, serendipity! Anyway!

I feel like there's a lot more story in this 'verse to tell, but I didn't have enough time to really think about it; maybe in the future, though. :D And now onwards and upwards!

Trouble is a Woman
with a man on her mind

It's fifteen days before their tour's due to start when it happens.

When Jay happens.

It's Saturday, and they're already done with rehearsals for the week, so they're kicking back at Johnny's for a couple of hours to celebrate. That's what Chris is doing, at least, lounging in a lawn chair out back by the pool. He's this close to falling asleep when--

"Chris?" Lance sounds too-calm, and Chris scowls on instinct; Lance is only that practiced when he's freaking out and trying his best not to show it.

"I know you're awake, Christopher. You're making that face."

"Because you're using that voice," Chris says. He doesn't open his eyes.

"Because it's important."

"...How important?"


"Fine," Chris sighs, finally cracking an eye open. "Fine, what the hell do you--uh, hi."

"Hi," the girl with Lance says, in a small, small voice, and Chris' eyes bug out of his head. Because that isn't actually a girl at all. That is six foot of blond, leggy, gorgeous playboy bunny with Justin's eyes and Justin's mouth and the slant of Justin's shoulders, oh fuck.

"Great rack," Chris hears himself say, abruptly, when what he really means is what the hell is going on here?

"Oh god," Lance groans.

Justin looks at Chris for a long second, doesn't say a word as Chris looks back. Then his -- her -- expression crumples, grateful and relieved and terrified all at once, and Chris opens his arms when she collapses into the space beside him, tucks her face into the curve of his neck, and breathes out a, "Thanks."

Their legs tangle where she's folded against him, and she's so warm, soft curves and round hips where he's used to muscle and sharp edges. He slides a palm over the back of her neck, and she lets him, like she's thinking about staying, like she wants to be anchored.

It's been a while since he's seen Justin this scared, and Chris feels a sudden, sharp twist in his stomach, feels like he's back in Germany all over again.

Justin shudders a little, helplessly, and Chris doesn't even look up when he hears Lance say, awkwardly, "So I'm just gonna, uh--" and then footsteps, falling further and further away, until all that's left is Justin, silent and shaking against him.

"Hey," Chris says into her hair. "Hey, it's gonna be okay."

"Yeah," she says, her voice (two octaves too high) muffled by his shirt. He can feel the flutter of her eyelashes against his neck when she blinks. "Can we just - is it okay if we stay here a while? Just a couple of minutes."

Thing is, Chris has never been the cuddling type. He doesn't mind it, exactly - because with four sisters and an overly affectionate mother, touching's the kind of habit that's hard to break - he's just more of a tackle-and-tickle kind of guy.

But here they are--while Lance is probably making calls while trying to talk Johnny off the ledge, while Joey and JC are probably losing their minds somewhere inside the house, while Justin's probably losing his mind right here, and he should probably be doing something about the fact that Justin's suddenly distinctly not-male--here they are, cuddling, and Chris is - he's -- it's not going to fucking kill him to say yes.

So that's what he does.

(And, later, he'll offer to take Justin home, and Justin will laugh and blush and say okay, "but if you try to cop a feel, I'm going to knee you in the nuts.")
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