Me and My Gun
by Cody

The Gods of Puberty didn't just smile down on Justin Timberlake; they grinned, laughed hysterically, came all over the little fucker. Not such a little fucker for long; he was gaining inches faster than a pizza boy in a porno. Just not in the same place. Well, probably there, too, but nobody felt quite right thinking about that. He was, after all, only sixteen years old.

Sixteen, sixteen, sixteen, the sole female *N Sync roadie chanted mentally when he came on to her. She felt really, really guilty the whole time she blew him in the bathroom. The male roadies weren't half so bothered.

Sixteen and Horny, like a song title they'd never use, the words hung above his head as though in bright, flashing neon. Sure, he'd been Thirteen and Horny and Fourteen and Horny and definitely Fifteen and Horny, but with each passing year it grew stronger. Like a scent emanating from him, maturing right along with his body, this incorporeal allure. It said, Come and Get It. It said, Gimme.

Nobody was above noticing. Not Joey or Chris, who found it amusing. Not Lance, who found it arousing. Not JC, who found it. Disturbing. Because all of a sudden Justin was saying and doing and wearing all kinds of provocative things. Because Justin might have always lounged around the bus in just a towel after showers, and licked his fingers slowly after eating something messy, and watched JC with hooded eyes and little smiles, but he hadn't always had a body like that.

And JC didn't like the fact that Justin let anyone willing to bend their knees suck him off. "There's all kinds of shit you can catch, even from oral sex," JC tried to take him aside and tell him, but he'd been unable to keep Justin's hands off of him long enough to make his point. Truthfully, JC tried to avoid being alone with Justin as much as possible. Justin was like an octopus, a painfully hot underage coworker octopus, and JC figured better safe than sorry.

And every time Justin caught JC alone, he was reminded exactly why it was a dangerous situation. In April, for instance, he'd made the mistake of letting Justin into the hotel room he was sharing with Joey. He had grinned when JC told him Joey was out at a club, and that should've been Clue Number One, but JC had been too sleepy to notice. He woke up fast enough, though, when Justin asked him for some friendly advice. "I took some photos of myself to mail to my grandparents. Which ones should I send?" Justin casually handed JC a small stack of Polaroids.

JC, after picking up his eyeballs off of the ground and inserting them back into his head, advised against sending any of the nude shots and shoved Justin out of the room, making sure to lock the door behind him. The next day he confiscated Lance's camera. When he found the pictures in his suitcase that night, he ripped them up and flushed them down the toilet. And he didn't even look at them. Much.

By June it became common knowledge that Lance and Justin were fooling around. JC was ever-more disturbed. "So, what?" he caught Lance alone before a sound check and asked, "Are you two, like, involved?"

"Oh, God, no," Lance laughed. "You think I'm crazy? Neither of us want that. It's not even-- it's nothing like that. It's just, you know."

"Sex?" JC wondered if it was horribly inappropriate to want details.

"It's just him being a horndog and me thinking he's hot. Honestly, I could be anyone for all he cares," Lance shrugged.

JC gaped at him, somewhat disgusted. "And that doesn't bother you?"

"Fuck no. He's hot," Lance grinned. "He's all obsessed with you, anyway."

"Pfft. Yhea, whatever." JC rolled his eyes. "The only reason he wants me is 'cause I'm the only gay guy he knows who isn't tripping over my dick running after him."

"And why is that, by the way? I've been wondering myself."

"Because," JC scowled, "not everyone is led through life by their pricks."

"Unlike me. Right?" Lance smirked. "Well, good for you. Now excuse me, Saint JC, while I go suck Justin's balls till they melt in my mouth like M&Ms."

JC watched in shocked silence as Lance walked off, but he headed towards the stage instead of the dressing room, where they'd both seen Justin go earlier. Anyway, they were being called for sound check to start.


"Hey." Justin came to him on the bus later that night, when JC was alone in the very back watching the road. He slid in next to him and bumped arms. "I heard you talked to Lance about me."

JC looked at Justin warily. "A little."

Justin grinned like a cat ready to pounce, put his arm on the back of the seat. "Why so concerned? Could it be you're…jealous?"

"Justin." JC scooted away. "Please."

Justin closed the distance. "Please what?"

"Please leave me alone. I'm tired."

"Tired of being so jealous?" Justin laughed. "Tired of wanting me?"

"Okay, goodnight." JC stood up to leave.

"Well, hey." Justin grabbed JC's wrist. "Whenever you're tired of being tired, you can have me."

JC yanked his wrist free, walked away.

"I'll be waiting," Justin called after him.

JC just shook his head.


Maybe it was stupid in the first place to talk about it in the bus kitchen, but JC and Chris were always the first ones up and usually had at least a half hour alone before anyone else rolled out of their bunks. And Chris was the one who brought it up. "Justin asked me to get Joey to share with me at the next hotel so you and him could be together. He said you wanted to room with him, but I figured…"

"You were right." JC poured water into the coffee maker. "Thanks for asking. I'd have had to sleep in the hallway."

Chris laughed at that. "Or lock yourself in the bathroom and sleep in the tub."

"Oh, hey. I'll remember that one." JC tapped his temple as though making a mental note.

"Dude, what's the deal? You just gonna run from him forever?" Chris got two mugs out of the cabinet and set them on the table. "I mean, is it just 'cause he's young or what? You're just not interested?"

"It's not a matter of age or interest," JC said, scooping coffee grinds into a filter. "I would never, ever ever ever get with Justin. Ever."

"Not even for a million bucks?"

"Not enough money in the world." Then, for no conscious reason, JC looked up and towards the doorway and like something in a bad movie there was Justin, looking like he'd just been socked in the gut. JC froze; Justin turned and left. JC flinched when the bathroom door slammed shut and let Chris have the Pop Tarts he'd been toasting for himself. He wasn't feeling very hungry anymore.


JC feared for the worst, but things actually got better after that. Justin's flirting stopped. His attention, when JC had it, was kind but reserved. JC had expected stony silences or bitchy comments, but he got the exact opposite. It made him horribly guilty and relieved and still more disturbed. But at least Justin was being nice.

After a few days, JC tried to make himself and Justin feel better by getting Chris to switch rooms with him and saying, "Look man, what you heard, that was just. I didn't even necessarily mean it; I was just trying to get Chris off my back. You know how it is."

Justin just nodded, turned off the lamp on the nightstand between their beds and rolled so his back faced JC.

"Justin…" he tried.

"Goodnight, JC." An emotionless reply.

JC sighed. "Goodnight."


Four days later, it began.

They were changing into their street clothes after a photo shoot when Justin noticed his ring was missing. "Hey!" He searched the tabletop he'd put his jewelry on, the floor around it. "Hey, where's my ring?"

"Whassat?" Joey came over. "Whadja lose?"

"I didn't lose anything. My ring was right here when we left. My silver ring. It was right here and now it's gone!" Justin looked over at Chris accusingly. "If anyone took it, they better give it back. That's not funny."

"Wasn't me." Chris saw Justin's lingering suspicion. "Honest to god, wasn't me."

Lance, seeing how upset Justin was getting, offered to find the wardrobe girls and ask who'd had access to their dressing room. "You think someone stole it?" Joey asked.

"It didn't walk off by itself!" Justin was pissed. "Man, my grandma gave me that ring for Christmas!"

"Dude, that sucks," Chris sympathized, but the wardrobe girls said they'd been at lunch and hadn't seen anything, so there was nothing to be done.


After the ring, it was a baseball cap, then a blue gel pen. "That was my favorite pen!" Justin's face looked like someone had run over his puppy.

"Dude, chill." Chris didn't take his eyes off his gameboy. "If we all pool our money and take out a loan, I think we can buy you a new pen."

"That's not the point." He snatched Chris's gameboy. "How would you like it if someone stole your stuff?"

"You guys steal my shit all the time." Chris grabbed the gameboy and tried to tug it back. "I'm used to it."

"Not the same and you know it," Justin grumbled, letting Chris have the game. He plopped down on the sofa in their dressing room to sulk.

"Dude, I'll find you another pen. I saw some like it the other day, I think." Joey gave Justin's shoulder a rough pat.

He smiled up at him gratefully. "Naw, it's cool, Joe. It's just the principle of the matter."

"Wanna go look for it?" Lance asked suggestively, and no one didn't know what he was really offering.

Justin looked over at JC, held his gaze until JC turned away, before telling Lance, "No, thanks."

Lance caught the exchange, smiled wryly. "Maybe later?"

JC glanced back at Justin, and their eyes locked again. Someone knocked on the door to signal they had five minutes till stage, and JC got up to go. He didn't pick up his pace, though, until after he caught Justin's reply: "We'll see."


JC went to Justin and Lance's room that night, listened for a moment before knocking. Justin opened the door for him. "Hey."

"Hey." JC stepped into the room, looked around. "Where's Lance?"

"Staying with Joey." It'd been Joey's turn for the single room.

JC's eyebrows raised. "Are they..?"

Justin laughed, shrugged. "Yhea, probably. Ew. Don't wanna think about that." He closed the door and dropped back onto his bed. "What's up?"

"Not much. I just thought you might want to talk." JC sat on Lance's bed. "You know, about how your stuff keeps disappearing."

"Yhea, what the fuck?" Justin tore his eyes away from the television long enough to toss JC a pissy face. "If I ever catch the motherfucker, I swear I'll--"

"Wait, you think it's just one person?"

"I dunno." Justin turned completely away from the TV now. "I guess so."

"What if it's a stalker?" JC had been putting a lot of thought into this. "I think it might be, too. Because it's happened three times now and only to you."

"It's probably some nutcase who wants to hack me into fun-sized pieces and put me in his freezer in Ziploc baggies," Justin grinned. "He's already got my ring and hat and pen on ice."

"Shut up," JC frowned. "That's not funny, jackass. What if it really is some psycho? Have you told Lonnie about it?"

"Man, chill out. Yhea, I mentioned it to Lonnie, but just, like, casually. So I got some junk ganked. BFD. No reason to get everyone all riled up."

"God, Justin. Yes, it is. You could be--"

"You could be, too. Any of us could be at any time and have no fucking clue. You think I'm gonna give security an excuse to shove even farther up my ass than they already are? Fuck that."

JC and Justin glared at each other for a while before JC sighed, relenting. "Okay, yhea. I see your point. I'm just..." He ran his hands through his hair. "Just be careful, okay? Keep your eyes open."

"I will. Except when I sleep. Or blink." Justin smile teasingly, "Or kiss."

JC warmed a little, cleared his throat. "So, um. You're alone tonight?"

Justin nodded. "Looks like it. Unless you're offering."

JC shrugged, looked at the TV and said, "If you want me to."

"Yhea, sure. Why not?" Justin slipped under the covers and looked back at the TV. "Turn off the light, will you?"

JC complied, turning off the lights and getting into Lance's bed. They watched South Park on Comedy Central, JC falling asleep during the second commercial break.


JC's eyes went wide and he gasped for air as he awoke with Justin crushing him, JC's nose clamped tightly in one hand. A ten-million-tooth smile right up in JC's face. "Morning, Sunshine."

JC yanked Justin's hand away, then yanked away the hand that quickly replaced it, and held them both behind Justin's back. "What the hell is your problem?"

Justin grimaced. "Your breath, for one."

JC blew in Justin's face as Justin squirmed out of his hold, finally breaking free and rolling off of him. "Whew. You must've dreamed 'bout eating ass last night."

JC winked mischievously, "You'll never know."

"Ha!" Justin grinned, delighted. "What a perv! Didn't know you had it in you, Jace."

"There's a lot you don't know about me." JC started for the bathroom to brush his teeth before realizing none of his things were with him. He almost hated to leave, enjoying the playful mood he and Justin were sharing. It was nice, like maybe things were going back to the way they were before everything got fucked up. Or maybe like things were better than ever.

"Your stuff's not in here," Justin said it for him. "Wanna go get ready, and I'll round up the guys and we can go down for breakfast?"

"Yhea, y'all can go ahead without me. I'll meet you down there." Because JC had a stop to make along the way.


He waited until they were in the bus on the way to the next venue to give it to him. He caught Justin alone in the kitchen and just kind of thrust it at him, not wanting it to be a big deal.

"Hey! Where'd you find that?" Justin took a step back, shocked.

"I bought it." JC held it out further, and finally Justin took it from him. "They had some in the hotel gift shop."

Justin examined it, and JC could practically see the little hamster in his head racing in its wheel. Justin laughed shortly, looking inordinately pleased. "Thanks."

"I know it doesn't, like. I mean, I know it still sucks your stuff keeps getting ganked. 'Cause of the principle of it all and everything, but--"

"No," Justin cut him off. "I think…I like this one more."

They smiled at each other. It is better than ever, JC thought, as Chris screamed for Justin to, "Hurry up with those drinks!" Justin grabbed two Dr. Peppers out of the mini-fridge and his hand squeezed JC's for a second as he brushed past him, his new blue gel pen tucked behind his ear.


JC was the last in hair and makeup when Lance wandered into the room and said, "Have you slept with you-know-who yet?"

JC rolled his eyes. "No, of course not. Why would I?"

"You do know it's going to happen, right? There's literally no way it won't. You-know-who gets what you-know-who wants. One hundred percent of the time," Lance chuckled. "And do you know why?"

JC looked over, and got pinched for his efforts by the lady trying to fix his hair. "Ow!" He faced forward obediently, asked Lance's reflection, "Why?"

"Because you-know-who might come off as just a pretty face, but it's a cover. The one thing I'm not really sure of is if it's intentional." Someone called for the makeup lady and she ran off. Lance reached for JC's head helpfully, artfully arranging random strands. "Among his many gifts," Lance smirked, "is one for reading people. When he needs to, he figures out exactly what people want and how to use that to his advantage. Sometimes I think he does it without even knowing it, and sometimes I think he totally knows and he's just fucking with all of us. I'd hate to give him that much credit, but I don't's like, either I'm completely overestimating or underestimating him, and regardless I feel he's got the upper hand. You know what I'm saying?"

"I have no fucking clue what you're saying and I'm glad I don't." JC swatted his hand away. "You're insane. I am not going to sleep with Justin and he sure as hell isn't some devious mastermind. He's sixteen, for fuck's sake."

"Okay, fine. Believe what you want," Lance shrugged. "But you'd sound a little more convincing if you didn't spend half your time riding his jock."

"I do not," JC protested. "You don't know what you're talking about. So what if we hang out?"

Lance snorted. "Okay, then."

"We used to hang out all the time when we first started out."

"That was ages ago," Lance said. "Before Chris became his favorite accomplice."

JC scoffed. "So now Chris is in on this, too?"

"In on what?" Lance crossed his arms, leaned against JC's chair and caught his eye in the mirror. "I'm just saying, back then you weren't two inches from fucking him at any moment." And with a smarmy smile, "Or were you?"

JC stood up, disgusted. "You are completely unbalanced."

"Or maybe I'm in on it, too," Lance laughed. "You never thought of that?"

"Quit watching Melrose Place," JC said. "It's warping your mind."

Lance's laughter followed JC out into the hallway as he left. "Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not out to get you."


It's not that Justin wasn't still an annoying little shit, because he was. When he was around Chris, he was loud and obnoxious. Together they romped around like elementary school hoodlums; broke stuff and farted at the dinner table and blew burps into people's faces and gave out Wet Willies at every opportunity. Chris wasn't all to blame, because on his own Justin was whiny and conceited and spoiled as fuck. He'd grown up being told by his mama that the world revolved around him, and damned if he didn't take her word for it. His personality didn't miraculously improve overnight or anything, so there was no real reason that JC should have a change of heart.

And yet, lately, Justin seemed...different.

He seemed so mature, when JC sat with him in the bus lounge and talked about their goals as musicians. He didn't spend the whole time trying to feel JC up; he spoke to him like a person. In fact, it was JC who put his hand on Justin's knee, scooted a little closer.

He seemed so sweet, when he curled up to JC's side to watch TV in their shared hotel rooms, tilting his head onto JC's shoulder. He fell asleep there, snoring in JC's ear, warm and heavy.

And also, there was the fact that Justin's things hadn't stopped disappearing. He'd lost another baseball cap, a yo-yo, and a t-shirt in the course of two weeks. And when he'd last had the single room, he had come knocking at Lance and JC's door in the middle of the night because someone called his room and hung up when he answered. JC had let him sleep in his bed that night, and after that he and Justin became continual roommates and occasional bedmates. It was scary; that someone might be tracking Justin's every move, stealing his things to have some sort of piece of him. Sometimes JC would listen to his copy of The Very Best of Sting and The Police and get chills when Every Breath You Take came on. And maybe he listened to it just for those chills. And maybe it made him feel good to think he needed to take care of Justin, to be around him and feel like he was protecting him.

So mature, and so sweet...and so needy. No one else knew what was going on besides them. Lonnie kind of knew, but not really. Justin didn't want everyone making a big fuss over it and JC understood that. That was fine anyway. Why get everyone worried when JC could take it upon himself to protect Justin? Every time something happened, the mildest little thing, it shook Justin hard, but he was so brave, hid it so well. He would wait until they were alone before he'd let the tears well up in his eyes and his voice tremble, cling tight to JC and tell him he didn't know how he'd get through this if it wasn't for him. And how safe he felt with him around and how much he needed him.

And there was nothing JC responded to like need.


"When you were doing your solo shots today I went to the bathroom...and when I was in there someone came in. I heard the door creak open and then these real slow footsteps, and I thought maybe it was Joey or something, so I said, 'Who's out there?' but no one answered. And I was like, 'Hello?' and no one said anything. I was so scared. I was wishing so bad that you would come in, but I knew you wouldn't because you were busy..."

JC held him tighter, face pressed into Justin's curls. "Who was it?"

"I don't know. I was too scared to look. I waited till the person left before I came out."

"I thought you were with Chris while I was taking my shots?"

Justin paused, then said, "No, yhea, I was. I just, I left for a minute to go to the bathroom."

"Oh." JC kissed the top of his head apologetically. "I'm sorry I wasn't there with you."

"It's okay." Justin settled comfortably against JC's chest, yawned. "You're here now."

JC sighed, unappeased. "I wish I could be with you all the time."

Justin tipped his head back to look into his face. "So you could take care of me?"

JC nodded, "Yhea."

Justin slumped against him, said in a soft, sad voice, "I wish you could be with me, too. But not just for that."

JC put his hand under Justin's chin, made him look up again. "And because I like being with you."

Justin's arms slid up, twined around JC's neck. His fingers slipped into JC's hair, angled JC's head so that their faces were close. "I wish you loved it."

There was nothing else to do but kiss him, so JC did, and fucked if Justin wasn't a great kisser.

Suddenly JC was under him, and a tongue slid up his neck and hands slid up his shirt and a luscious mouth was against his ear, breathing a hot whispered, "Be with me."

Defenses that had always held strong before crumbled now under the weight of lust and affection and the overwhelming urge to provide in every way for this scared, beautiful boy. And if the line between giving and taking blurred, that's how it should be if it better served the cause.


The morning came and JC was surprised to find Justin spooned behind him and not the other way around. It was strange to be the one asked, "You okay?"

"I'm fine..." JC said. "Are you?"

Justin grinned wide, stretched luxuriantly. "I'm great. I'm gonna hop in the shower."

JC got out of bed slowly, went to his suitcase. He dug out some clean jeans and a polo for himself and then opened Justin's bag thinking he'd lay something out for him to wear. Under a turtleneck too hot for the weather, he found something that made him freeze. He sat on the floor, Tommy Jeans t-shirt clutched in his hands like he'd never seen one before.

When Justin emerged from the bathroom and noticed him sitting there shell-shocked, he said, "What's wrong?"

JC looked at him, brimming on a dozen emotions. "I thought you lost this?"

"What?" Justin seemed sincerely confused, but he was born on the stage, and how to tell if...?

"This shirt. Your red Tommy shirt. It was stolen, remember?"

It happened so fast, possible that it was just imagined his eyes widened for a split second before his expression smoothed and he said, completely nonchalant, "I bought a new one."

JC said, "Oh." Looked down at the shirt he held, "Okay."

Justin came over, plucked the shirt out of his hands and reached for a pair of jeans and boxers out of his suitcase. "Hurry up and get ready. I want to go to breakfast."

JC picked up the clothes he'd chosen for himself and stood. "Go ahead and eat; I don't mind."

He watched as Justin dropped his towel, looked imploringly at JC as he slipped on his boxers. "I want you with me."

JC smiled, patted Justin's ass as he headed for the shower. "Well then you'll have to wait a while."

Justin caught JC by the waist, kissed the back of his neck before shoving him along his way. "Whatever it takes."


Back to Fiction Index