we invented the remix 6

after all these years by ninjetti: the second first time mix by randomling

"...more than okay."

Justin's grip tightened on the edge of the heavy hotel room door. He'd been so ready to walk away; that had been the last thing he needed. All he could think was, No, man, not right now, I can't deal with it. Like JC was trying to step into the space Britney had left. And now JC was just making it worse.

"I mean," JC went on, "it's not like I don't - " And that was too much. Justin held up his free hand and, thankfully, JC closed his mouth with a little snap.

"Not now, okay?" Justin said. "Not now."

JC, still standing in the middle of the room, nodded, but didn't say any more. He looked hurt now, too, and Justin suddenly wanted to just put his arms around JC and make it better, forget how that might hurt. Since he and Brit had broken up, all it took was for JC to put a hand on his shoulder, or in the small of his back, and for that little thrill of excitement to buzz his spine - and it made him think of how he used to feel when he held Britney. How he might never have that feeling again.

Except here was JC, and he was having that feeling again, and it felt wrong somehow.

Hell, it didn't make any sense.

"I'm sorry," Justin said. It was the only thing that even vaguely covered what he meant, and even that didn't get very close.

JC's mouth opened a little before he spoke, and his eyes were wide; it was the look he got when he sang a wrong note, the shit-my-mistake look, and that wasn't right either, dammit. None of this was JC's fault. "No," JC said. "Don't be silly, J. I." He paused, and his hands waved helplessly in the air. Justin wanted to step forward, grab those hands and pull them to his mouth. "I shouldn't have said anything."

"It's just, like." Justin smiled sheepishly. He felt it now, stronger than ever, the excitement at being close to JC. Desire. "Any other time, you know?"

"You had a girlfriend," said JC, returning Justin's smile. It didn't matter to JC that everyone had known for months that Justin's girlfriend was sleeping around, or that at least three people had told Justin that, morally, that gave him a free pass. It didn't even matter that Justin had used that free pass on more than one occasion. You had a girlfriend, that was all JC needed to know.

"Plus," JC said, "you were way too young."

Justin tried to stop smiling and couldn't. "I'm too young? I'm twenty-one, dude. I'm legal. For everything."

"I said you were too young," JC pointed out. He was still smiling too.

"Okay, good."

JC didn't seem to have an instant response; he just looked at Justin, still smiling, and then looked shyly away. Justin took a deep breath and tried to take stock of the situation.

Experimentally, Justin let go of the door, letting it swing shut behind him. JC started a little at the sound of the door hitting home, and Justin's smile widened as their eyes met. He couldn't even count how many times he'd dreamed about this. Alone in a hotel room with JC. The door closed, and locked automatically.

He'd long ago convinced himself that this would never, ever happen.

Justin took a slow step towards JC, and another deep breath. He felt turbulent inside, beyond nerves, because this was just the way he'd felt right before he kissed Britney for the first time. Like he was balancing on the edge of something scary and big, wondering if he was about to step into a whole new world and throw the old one away for good.

He'd been right, too. They'd made all those promises, years ago, and every single one had come to dust. He and Brit weren't lovers any more, and they sure as shit weren't friends, either, though they'd said they always would be.

He knew first-hand, now, what he'd suspected back then: that when you fall for a friend, you bet your friendship on love, and if the love dies, you lose what you started with. It didn't stop him from asking JC, "We'll be friends, whatever, right?"

A little frown crossed JC's face. "Of course we will."

Justin believed him, just a little. Enough to say, "Even if I kissed you?"

"I thought we weren't talking about this right now?"

Justin shrugged. "Me too. But we seem to be."

"Yeah, we do," said JC. He looked at Justin very seriously, and Justin recognized the expression JC used - still used - when he was trying to assess whether Justin was drunk. "Even if you kissed me, would we be friends?"

"That's what I wanna know."

JC sighed, turned away, and went to sit on the bed. He kept his serious face on as he talked. "The honest answer is, it's complicated," he said. "It's not something we can predict for sure. Hey, don't look like that, Justin. You asked, I'm answering."

Justin took the few steps to the bed and sat next to JC, looking at the floor, letting his hands hang in the space between his knees. Maybe it was true.

"I want us to stay friends," Justin said.

"Me too." JC put one of his hands over one of Justin's and squeezed lightly. "I want us to. I hope we will. I hope we would, I mean, if we kissed, which we don't have to."

Justin made himself look up at JC's face. JC still looked serious and concerned. "If we fucked this up," he said. He didn't need to say what the consequences would be, mention their friendship or the group or their careers. JC wasn't stupid.

"Yeah," JC said. "It's a risk. That's why. That's why I never said anything."

Justin nodded. Then he flopped back onto the bed and stared up at the very white hotel room ceiling. "I was right the first time," he said. "We so shouldn't be having this conversation."

"Yeah," JC said, and he stretched out next to Justin with a sigh.

There was a long silence. Justin kept his eyes on the ceiling, not daring to look around at JC, though he could see out of the corner of his eye that JC was looking at him. He couldn't even remember the last time he'd felt this awkward around JC. Things unsaid, things that couldn't be said, and a cold feeling in the pit of his stomach, like he'd screwed things up for good and he hadn't even gotten a kiss out of it. He shifted uncomfortably on the bed and JC sighed again.

"You're so beautiful," JC said. There was a dreamy quality to JC's voice, like he was almost asleep, but that slow, sleepy tone sent shock through him like a bolt of electricity, and he turned his head. JC chuckled quietly. "Don't look so surprised," he murmured. "It's not like I'm the only guy that's ever thought that."

JC's eyes were creased up in a half-smile. He was stretched out on his back and Justin could see the lines of muscle underneath his T-shirt. Beautiful; yeah. Justin rolled onto his side and whispered, "I wasn't saving myself for you."

JC smiled. "I know."

"I want you, though."

The impulse to do something about that was strong, and Justin went with it.

He leaned forward. It was like kissing Britney for the first time, icy nerves melting into liquid heat, how he suddenly didn't know or care if they'd be friends after this, because they'd be something better. More than friends: he remembered realizing, kissing her for the first time, how accurate that phrase was, how he felt like he'd opened up a whole new universe, how more was just the right word. Kissing JC was just like that. More.

Afterwards, he didn't remember clearly how he'd ended up on top of JC, or exactly when JC's hands had slid up under his T-shirt, or more importantly, why they'd stopped. Justin took a hungry gulp of air and was about to thrust his mouth forward to meet JC's again when JC said, "Justin."

There was a cold feeling in his stomach. JC hadn't moved out from under, or taken his hands off Justin's back, but that didn't mean he didn't want to stop. Justin swallowed and said, "Hi."

"Hi," JC said. "Look. Don't feel." JC frowned. "I don't want you to feel like you have to do anything."

"I don't. I don't have to. I just want." His hands were in JC's hair, his fingers threaded through the loose curls, and he bent to kiss JC's mouth again, softly and briefly this time.

JC felt quite different from Britney underneath him - half a day's stubble, no breasts, a slowly stiffening dick - but in other ways he was just the same, all toned muscle and easy grace. On impulse, he kissed the side of JC's neck, and felt a little gulping discomfort; one of Britney's sweet spots. "Do you want?" he asked.

JC let out a shuddering sigh. Obviously that was one of his sweet spots, too. "Yeah," he said shakily.

Justin decided to keep his mouth there for a while, making JC quiver underneath him. JC explored Justin's back with warm, slightly sweaty hands - up his spine, down to his ass, and back underneath his shirt again. He was a little surprised at how long they stayed like that before JC let out a little frustrated grunt and started fumbling with Justin's clothes. With JC's hands working the zipper of his pants, Justin lost his head. They writhed together, and all Justin could think was, More, more, more.

There was more. The air-conditioning made goosebumps on Justin's skin at first, then felt deliciously cool over his chest as JC's hands worked magic along his dick. JC felt hot and fluid and perfect in his arms, hard muscle flexing under smooth skin, his breathing a syncopated rhythm in Justin's ear. Finally, they collapsed in a single satisfied heap.

JC was on his side, his back to Justin. Justin wrapped himself around JC, and their legs tangled together as Justin pressed a kiss to the nape of JC's neck. He thought JC was asleep almost immediately, so he was surprised when JC's voice, thick and clumsy, cut through his own drowsiness. "Still friends?" JC asked.

Justin squeezed JC around the middle, and JC squirmed comfortably. "Mmm," Justin said. "Yeah.” Then he changed his mind, and murmured, “More than friends."

JC made a happy humming noise, and Justin smiled against his neck. He wasn't worried about the future any more.

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