Part One: "Glimmer"
by Cody

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I.            The time to hesitate is through.

JC groaned, rolling over to answer the phone. He glanced at his alarm clock, eyes widening at the realization that it was four in the afternoon. He picked up the receiver on the sixth ring, "Yhea?"

"Hey, Jace?" It’s Joey, one of those friends JC doesn't really remember how he made, and can't figure out why Joey spends time with him, because he's so popular and fun and everything social that JC's not.

"Hey, man. What's up?" JC sat up, scratching his chest sleepily.

"Just seeing if you were still up for Glitter's?" Oh, yhea, that. One of Joey's friends, Lance Bass, better known as Glitter, was an entrepreneur of sorts. He owned an isolated house in Martindale where he threw house parties every weekend. By charging admission, he afforded his own partying, kept reign on social circles, and made a profit. His parents covered his living expenses and tuition, so he really didn't have much to worry about, but being a professional party-host beat getting a real job.

"Eh, I don't know..." JC had been invited, via Joey, to several of Glitter's parties, but never went. He wasn't really into the party scene. He wasn't like Joey, friendly and lovable and completely unselfconscious. JC tended to keep to himself, hangout with his small group of close friends and his boyfriend, Rick. Or he had, until about three weeks ago, when Rick had dumped him. Since Rick hung out with all of JC's friends, he really didn't see much of anyone anymore. He stayed home, watched too much TV, and fended off invitations from Joey.

"Come on, man. You can't keep yourself holed up in your place forever. You gotta move on. You're never gonna meet someone new if you never leave that fucking apartment."

This was true, of course. But, still. "I know, I know. I'm just not ready yet. It's only been three weeks since we broke up. I'm still..." Moping. Dwelling. Wallowing in self-pity.

"Three weeks or three years, who cares? It's over, and it's still gonna be over next week, and the week after that. Come out with me, have a good time. I'm not talking about fucking the first guy who looks at you, I'm just saying it'd be good for you to meet some new people. Make some new friends." It was a convincing argument.

JC sighed, knowing Joey was right. "Okay, fine." He smiled as Joey whooped triumphantly. "What time are you picking me up?"

"I'll be there around nine." And after cursory good-byes, they hung up. JC thought about going back to sleep; then decided against it. He got out of bed and headed to the shower, mentally searching his wardrobe for something to wear.

II.            Let me go wild, like a blister in the sun.

Nine-fifteen. Around nine, that meant before nine-thirty, right? JC had been studying himself in the mirror for the past half-hour. He was wearing a pair of dark denim jeans that felt and looked like a second skin. Rick had bought these pants for him, but he'd never worn them before. He'd never been comfortable with the way they outlined his...well, anyway. Not that he was a prude, really. Maybe he was, just a little. His shirt was Rick-bought and a first-time-to-wear, too. It was black and slippery, laced up his sides, revealing stretches of skin. He couldn't stop staring at his reflection, which made him feel rather vain. He hadn't bothered to get a haircut in a while, and his hair was long, a little shaggy. He'd run two heaping handfuls of mousse through it, yanked and tugged until it stuck out from his head like he'd shoved a finger in an electrical socket. He looked...different. Not like himself. Which might not be a bad thing. New clothes, new hair, new JC. Maybe he would fuck the first guy that looked at him.

He twisted in front of the mirror, checking out his ass. Not bad, not bad at all. Fuck Rick and his 'we're like an old married couple, there's no adventure in this relationship.' What was wrong with stability? What was wrong with renting movies instead of going to the theatre, drinking at home instead of getting blotto at random keggers?

But now JC was sort of starting to see where Rick was coming from. They were young, college kids, and these were supposed to be the best years of their lives, right? So, fine, he'd go to this party and have a good time. Get wild. Go crazy. See what was so tempting that Rick had thrown away fourteen months of a nice, dependable relationship. A car horn sounded. JC went to the window, saw Joey's Explorer in the parking lot. One last look in the mirror and he was out the door.

III.             It’ll make you feel good.

They rode in silence to Martindale, listening to Underworld to get in the mood. When the house came into sight, Joey turned the volume down and said, "You gonna do anything tonight?"

JC knew what he meant. "I don't know. I might. I don't really feel like rolling, but I might trip. Depends on what they've got."

"You remember Dawn?" JC shook his head, the name not ringing any bells. "Doesn't matter. She makes foxy. You ever tried it?" JC shook his head again. "It's kind of like, the best parts rolling, tripping, and shrooming mixed into one. But it’s not really visual or anything, it’s more of a body roll." The last part was added as an incentive. JC wasn’t fond of vivid hallucinations, for whatever reasons.

"Hmm." JC looked skeptical, "Have you done it before?"

"No," Joey admitted, "This’ll be my first time. But I hear it's a lot of fun."

JC didn’t like the idea of trying a new drug while at a party with a bunch of people he didn't know. "How much is it? How much do you take?"

"She’s got it in liquid, and she hooked me up, so it's five bucks a vial." Joey pulled up into the lawn and parked. "You should try it, it's cheap. Lasts about eight hours."

Eight hours. He glanced at his wristwatch; it was nearly ten-thirty. Eight hours meant...six-thirty in the morning. Fuck. "I don't know..."

"Okay, that's cool. I'm sure I can find someone who wants it." He turned off the car and reached for the glove compartment.

"Wait, you already got it?" JC watched as Joey unzipped a little black bag and pulled out two vials. The liquid was clear, looked harmless, like water. Best parts of a roll, trip, and shrooming mixed into one. Who could resist? "Did you say five bucks?" Reaching for his wallet.

"Yhea, I did," Joey grinned. "But don't worry about it. Here." He handed JC the vial, "Be careful opening it, the cap's on tight. And you want to chase it with something, 'cause supposedly it tastes like shit. By the time the aftertaste fades, it should be kicking in."

JC pulled off the cap gingerly, hesitated for a split-second, and then swallowed the liquid. He gratefully accepted the Pepsi Joey handed him and gulped it. Oh, god, it tasted like fermented ass. Like cleaning detergent or just, not something people should purposely ingest. Chemicals. Gross. Shit. He felt Joey tugging the Pepsi out of his hand and figured he must've taken it, too. When he could finally bring himself to talk, he said, "That seriously tastes like pure crap."

"Yhea, it does," Joey agreed, wrinkling his nose in distaste. "Fuck. Let's go."

They got out of the car and walked towards the house, passing people lost in various states of intoxication. A small group lay on top of bushes, rolling in them and laughing. Nearly everyone they passed called out to Joey in greeting. Joey called back, introducing JC, who smiled politely and waved.

IV.             Not everything in this magical world is quite what it seems.

In the house it was dark, multi-colored lights glancing off of a giant disco ball that was suspended from the ceiling of the main room. The walls were cluttered with murals, many unfinished, all abstract and beautiful. In one corner a DJ spun, the area around his booth crowded with CandyKids, stomping wildly to the pulsating music.

"That's DJ Lucky," Joey said. "You can meet him later, he's nuts." JC nodded, eyes scanning the room in a vain attempt to absorb everything all at once. "There's, oh hey, there's Glitter. Come on." Joey grabbed JC's hand and guided him across the room towards a pale guy with blue hair.

"Hey Joey, you made it!" He was dressed in light blue jeans and a matching jacket, glitter designs swirling their way over the outfit, a pink mesh shirt revealing a smooth chest and pierced nipples. He leaned forward, grabbing the back of Joey's neck and pulling him into a deep kiss. When he stepped back, he looked JC over appraisingly. "Mmm, who's the yum?"

"This is the one I was telling you about." Joey laughed at the expression on JC's face.

"I remember...JC, right?" Glitter smiled, poked JC's stomach. "You gonna have a good time tonight?"

"Uh," JC could tell the drugs were kicking in, his body was tingling, and the designs on Glitter's clothes were blurring. "Yhea, I'm. Can I get something to drink?"

"There's a bar down that hall," Glitter gestured vaguely towards a doorway, "You're 21, right? Got ID?"

"Oh, yhea, I've..." JC patted his pockets, finding his wallet.

Glitter was laughing, "I'm kidding. Go get yourself a drink. You need one." He smacked JC's ass playfully.

"I'll," JC stumbled a bit as he walked away, "I'll see you guys later."

"You want me to come with you?" Joey offered, but he was already slipping an arm around Glitter's waist.

JC shook his head, "No, I'm cool." He waved, feeling like his hand weighed more than it should, and went through the doorway and into the hallway.

He realized he didn't know which way to go, right or left, and looked back towards Joey and Glitter, but they were gone. He shrugged and went left; he was in the mood to walk, anyway. The foxy made walking seem very entertaining, and he kind of hoped he was going the wrong way, so he could walk walk walk all around the house. All around the world. The universe. The galaxy. The. Was a universe bigger than a galaxy? It was, right? Wait, no. Strike that. Switch it around. Yhea. Galaxy bigger than a universe. Okay. All around the whole fucking dimension, then come skipping back to square one and start all over again. Or...and there was the bar.

JC shuffled up to it, leaned against the counter and studied the bartender. A young girl, looked about nineteen, dressed head to toe in bright neon green. "Can I get you something?" She asked, smiling at him.

He smiled back, "I like your hat." It was a floppy fisherman's hat, with a zipper on the side. "Can I wear it?"

"No," She said, then giggled as his smile drooped, "Sorry Charlie, but I don't let people wear my hats. They have a tendency to wander off, if you know what I mean. Not, like, stealing. It's just, you know..." She pantomimed throwing back a shot, "and they forget to give it back."

"Yhea, I feel that." JC nodded wisely, "Can I have some orange juice?"

"You want some OJ?" She turned away from him, and then was back, setting a glass in front of him, "So, who'd you come here with? I've never seen you here before."

JC took a minute to process the question. He'd come here by himself. Walked. Oh, wait. No. "Joey Fatone. He's my friend."

"Joey!" She cried, "You know Joey? I love him! Where is he?"

"He's," JC flopped his hand in the air, "Off somewhere. I don't know. With Glitter."

She giggled, wiggled her eyebrows suggestively, "I bet he is, huh." Another girl appeared; this one tall, with a mess of brown curls piled high on her head, and shoved the Greengirl. "Hey, you're late, bitch!"

"Shut the fuck up," Curlygirl said, and they both giggled. Girls giggle too much. Curlygirl spotted JC and grinned, "You gonna drink that or what?" JC looked down at his drink, then back at her, and nodded. She giggled. He drank his juice.

The girls stepped away from him, fell into a whispered conversation, and he sipped his juice and stared at Curlygirl's shoes, four inch platforms, looked uncomfortable as hell, made her feet look like Jessica Rabbit's. "Hey, have you met DJ Lucky yet?" Greengirl asked him. He shook his head, pushed his empty glass towards her. "Want me to introduce you?"

She took the glass and handed it to Curlygirl, who just stuck it on a shelf under the counter and told him, "I don't do dishes." He started staring at the streaks in Curlygirl's curls, and suddenly he was being pulled away from the counter by Greengirl, and led back into the hallway.

"Are we exploring?" He asked, wishing he were walking through grass barefoot.

"No, I'm taking you to meet DJ Lucky." She said, and he was a little disappointed.

Then they were in the main room and he was happy because he could watch the colored lights ricochet off of the disco ball and hear the music clear and hypnotic. He moved to it, suddenly wishing he was wearing a tuxedo, and Greengirl was in a neon green ball gown, and he'd twirl and whirl and swirl the girl like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, dance until they wore holes in their soles.

Greengirl guided him towards the DJ booth, sidestepping the crush of CandyKids and going behind the tables. "Chris!" She yelled, pulling on his sleeve to get his attention.

DJ Lucky, a short, older man, grinned like a fool when he saw her standing there. He held his hand up, then stopped his music, put on a Happy Hardcore CD, and took off his headphones before turning towards her with open arms. She hugged him briefly, then said, "Hey, I got someone I want you to meet. He came with Joey." She grabbed JC's arm and pulled him forward, presenting him to Lucky like a trophy.

Lucky looked him over, a smile playing on his lips, "So, you're a friend of Joey's?" JC nodded, still bouncing a little to the music. "Any friend of Joe's," He held out his hand, and JC accepted it, shook it a little too vigorously, but Lucky just laughed. "Come with me," He started to walk away, and Greengirl followed him, so JC went too. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed some of the CandyKids were coming with them.

V.             I saw you; it was incredible.

It ends up that the hallway, if followed to the right and down to the end of the hall, leads to a bedroom lit only by a blacklight and the glow of a lava lamp. Lucky and Greengirl sat Indian-style on the bed, and JC copied them. One of the CandyKids, a platinum blond with his eyebrow and lip pierced, sat beside JC and put a hand on his thigh. JC smiled at him but pushed his hand off. The Kid looked surprised, then laughed and reached into his pocket, pulling out a heavy sack of weed. "Got some KB for you, Lucky," The Kid mumbled, "Just got it this afternoon."

One of the girl Kids, wearing a cow-print dress and striped tights, pretty like a flower, with chocolate skin and round eyes, produced a pipe from the messenger bag she carried. The pipe was a swirling tube, coils sitting on top of each other, so when it was used, the smoke pulled through it like a rope of cloud. Lucky hit it first, then Greengirl, and the platinum blond, whom Lucky called Step, passed it to JC. He took the pipe like it was the Holy Grail, sipped the wine and found life eternal. Sipped again and then, oh, the chocolate flower girl was looking at him expectantly. That's right, he had to pass it. Damn. "Give it to Peaches," Step said, pointing to the girl, "And then Peaches to Sugarlips," Another girl Kid, this one with pigtails and a silver halter top, "And her to Angelboy, and then back to Lucky."

JC handed the pipe to Peaches, who smiled and tugged at the hem of her cow-dress before hitting it. He smiled back, then turned his smile on Sugarlips, who giggled and gave him a little wave, and then. And then. Fuck.

Angelboy. A perfect name for the boy who sat with his back against the wall, his legs stretched out in front of him. He was biting his fingernails and studying the lava lamp. Under the black light he seemed preternatural, a mythical creature dressed in a light blue t-shirt with dark blue lettering telling the world, "I Love Boys", faded Kikwear jeans, and a pair of shell-toe Adidas made of a shiny material, Care Bear shoelaces thick and untied. His right wrist was heavy with candy, some glowing in the dark, and a silver ring that looked too big for his long, thin fingers. Full, cupid's bow lips were set in a soft pout, long, thick lashes framed big pretty eyes, and his hair was curly, gelled and tugged into twisty horns all over his head. JC couldn’t stop staring. Didn't want to ever look away. Angelboy. Beautiful. He wanted to touch him, just to make sure he was real.

The room was suddenly very quiet, and JC realized someone must've asked him a question, because people were looking at him. "Huh?" He said dumbly, and everyone laughed. Even Angelboy, whose eyes never left the lava lamp, smiled, and his straight, even teeth shone blue-white.

"I forgot your name," Lucky repeated. "Letters, right? What is it?"

"JC," He tore his gaze away from Angelboy and looked at Lucky. "My first and last initials. Josh Chasez."

"Ooh, the full name comes out," Greengirl giggled. "These people don't even remember their real names; fucking ravers."

Step laughed, then said, "Mine's Wade." And Peaches was "Denika." And Sugarlips was "Jessica." Lucky was "Chris". And Angelboy was. JC held his breath as Angelboy took the pipe from Sugarlips and opened his mouth to speak, "Justin."

And then those lips were on the pipe and those eyes closed as he inhaled. Voice. Soft and smooth, JC wanted to hear it again. Angelboy sat only a few feet away, but it seemed like miles. JC wanted to get up and sit by him but didn't, since Angelboy had yet to even look at him. He wanted to say, "Look at me," or "Talk to me," or "Come here." But just stared and wondered how it would be to touch that curly hair.

"Man, you know what'd be fucking rad?" Lucky said suddenly. "If our eyes could, like, project holographic images and shit. And we could, like, watch our thoughts. So if we were thinking about a particular thing, we could see it. Like, I'm picturing Step naked, right?" Everyone laughed, and Step smacked Lucky lightly, "So I could, like, see him in front of me, right? And I could interact with the image, feel it and taste it and shit. But let's say I'm just mad or something, and I'm so mad I can't think straight, it would just be, like, flashing abstract images, all red and bloody and shit. But what would suck is if you couldn't control the projection of your thoughts, so people could always tell what you were thinking. So you're, like, in church, and you're thinking about having sex with Step, and the preacher's seeing it, and he's getting a boner from watching." Lucky started cracking up at the thought, and Step laughed with him, but everyone else seemed caught up in the idea of projectile daydreams. JC wondered what Angelboy would think if he could see what he was picturing right now.

"I want to go swimming," Sugarlips said, swinging her pigtails to feel the hair brush against her face, "Let's go swimming, y'all."

"Yay! Swimming!" Peaches jumped to her feet enthusiastically, but then she looked at the pipe, which Greengirl was hitting, and sat back down. "Wait, Step just reloaded the bowl."

"We'll go when it's done," Lucky said, leaning back against the wall. Step laid down so he could rest his head on Lucky's thigh, and that had him lying across JC's lap in the process. JC didn’t mind though; it felt good to touch another person. Lucky looked down at Step, stroking his hair fondly. "Your hair's wet."

"I'm sweating," Step wiped at his forehead. "It's fucking hot in here."

"And smogged." JC blinked his eyes, which were watering from the fog of smoke in the room. No one spoke for a while as the pipe made its way around. They smoked and got lost in their thoughts, until Step handed the pipe to JC, and he lit it and hit it, but on the second hit nothing came. "It's cashed." He said, relieved that now he could get out of the room, that seemed to be getting smaller and hotter by the minute.

"Let's go?" Lucky asked, waiting until Step sat up before scooting himself off of the bed. Greengirl was the first one out the door, followed by Sugarlips, and then JC. He closed his eyes for a second as the relatively cold air of the hallway hit his skin, and breathed in gratefully. He could taste the oxygen in the air. Fresh and sweet.

They headed to the main room again, and JC jumped when someone grabbed his arm. "Hey, you having a good time?" Joey's grinning face was inches away. JC nodded, then raised his chin in greeting when Glitter, who was wrapped around Joey, smiled at him.

"Joey!" Greengirl cried, and Glitter moved to pull her in between them. She started kissing Joey, and Glitter started kissing her neck, and JC started feeling like maybe he should walk away right now.

"You coming?" Peaches tugged his hand, and he let her link their arms and lead him to Sugarlips, who linked her arm through his free one, and they were off to see the wizard. No, off to see the pool. And, would he be the Scarecrow or the Tin Man? Or maybe the Cowardly Lion? And which one of them was Dorothy? Or was he Dorothy, but, please, that would be so gay-cliché, and Lucky could be Toto. JC laughed at his thoughts, and the girls laughed with him, though they had no idea what they were laughing at, but that didn't matter. Laughing was what counted, and it felt good.

They walked through the main room and towards the back of the house, then through a glass door and into the back yard. The pool was lit, and there were people by it. Oh, that was just Step and Lucky. They were stripping. JC felt the girls release his arms and looked at them. They were stripping, too.

Well, you know what they say: When in Rome, get buck-naked. JC pulled his shirt over his head, tossing it onto a lounge chair, and then his jeans, despite their tightness, slid off easily because his legs were sweaty, and those joined his sandals and underwear on the chair. God, there was no breeze, but it still felt good to be outside. Oh, shit, diving board!

He took a running start, leaped onto it, and then off and hit the water in a satisfyingly splashy cannonball. He came up laughing, and the girls screamed and dunked him, which made him laugh more. He grabbed Peaches around her waist, lifted and threw her, and she made lots of noise and called him a jackass. Then Lucky did it to her, and she ended up swallowing water, and got pissed and told them off. Then Step did it, and she threatened all kinds of violence concerning sacred body parts. Then she was being lifted again, and through the water and her kicking legs, JC saw a smile that made his heart skip. When had he gotten in? JC waited impatiently for the water and Peaches to settle down so he could see him clearly.

God, Holy Fuck. Nothing like him, ever. His body golden, perfectly sculpted, wet and glistening. Drops of water clung to his eyelashes, hair, lips, skin like they didn’t want to let go, and JC couldn't blame them. His eyes scanned the lounge chairs, and, motherfucker, there it was. A pile of clothes: a light blue shirt, faded jeans, shoes, socks, and, yes, boxers. Fuck. His hand slipped down of its own accord, and he held himself for just a second before he realized he was with other people, but it was enough to make his face hot with embarrassment. He ducked underwater until he couldn’t breathe and then came back up gasping. And Angelboy was looking right at him. Shit. Eyes intense and unreadable. So blue, JC hadn't realized how blue they were in the darkness of the bedroom. They were blue as the night's sky at eight o'clock. Almost unbearably blue. And his features were even more perfect now that the eerie cast of the black light didn't thwart their color. It was ridiculous how pink his lips were, how soft his skin looked. And his body was too muscular and lean, too sexual for a face that unforgivably pretty. They stared at each other, and JC thought he saw Angelboy's lips curl up a bit at the edges, but he couldn't be sure with the shadows cast by the lit pool. He had to get closer. He tried walking, pushing the water away from him with his arms, making his way slowly across the pool, but then Sugarlips called for Angelboy, who dove under the surface and left JC cussing beneath his breath.

Everything was warm and fluid and slow motion, the water beading on JC's skin and rolling off in rivulets that caught the light like liquid diamond. He cupped his hands and lifted them, just to watch it rain from his palms, over and over. The splattering sounds amplified a thousand times, curled around his ears and he was lost in them.

The daze broke, and suddenly he could hear the others talking. He looked up to see what they were doing. Some sort of game was going on. Sugarlips was treading water near the diving board, with Peaches and Lucky standing by the wall of the shallow end. She called out "Adam Sandler Movies!" and when Lucky guessed "Billy Madison!" they swam at and past each other. She reached Lucky's starting point before he reached hers, and began jumping happily, her breasts jiggling in a way that made JC's nose wrinkle.

He heard laughter and found Step standing next to him. "You don't like that?" Step asked, and when JC shook his head, he pointed, "You like that?"

JC turned to see Angelboy laying facedown on a lounge chair, moonlight tracing every edge and curve of his body. His face was turned towards them, his eyes closed, shadows swallowing half of his features. He shifted, and for a breathless moment JC thought he might roll over, but he was just crossing his arms to pillow his head. There seemed no better thoughts to be had than those of covering Angelboy's body with his own. To lay on top of him and press flush, skin to skin, and taste the slide of that silver-lined neck.

JC heard someone pulling himself out of the water, but didn't turn to see who it was. He really wasn't interested in looking at anyone or thing that wasn't Angelboy. He heard someone walk towards the house and open the door, and then some minutes later he heard the door reopen, and the others in the pool were talking and shouting and splashing, but he still didn't relieve his gaze from worship. Wet footsteps slip-slapped towards him, and suddenly female legs were blocking his view. He looked up at Peaches and gave her a small, outraged frown. She was holding two towels with one hand and reaching out for him with the other. "Get out, we're going to Lucky's."

He accepted her hand and let her help him out of the water, lightly scraping his knees on the concrete. He took a towel from her, wiping himself down before wrapping it around his waist. He felt cold on the surface, warm inside; goosebumps made the hair on his body stand up. He walked carefully but quickly to his clothes, pulling them on without bothering to get fully dried, and then used his damp towel to rub the excess water from his hair. A hand thumped his back, and there was Lucky, "You need a place to crash?" And he might, actually, because who knew where Joey was?

"I don't think I'm gonna be sleeping anytime soon," JC admitted, watching his own feet as he shuffled into his flip-flops.

"That's cool, as long as you're not too loud. I just wanna make myself some food and maybe sleep for a while, then I'm gonna come back here to get my equipment. I don't feel like fucking with it right now." Lucky scratched the back of his neck, "Joey'll probably crash here, so you could come back with me later and meet up with him."

"Is, uh...who's all coming?" JC forced himself not to look around and be completely obvious.

"Yes, he's coming." So much for not being obvious. "You like him, huh? Don't be embarrassed, it's okay. Everyone likes him."

"Is he...with anyone?" And JC realized that no matter the answer, he would still want Angelboy. He didn't care if the Kid was fucking married; he would still want him so bad it made his teeth grind.

"Nah, not him," Lucky sighed. "It's sad, you know? I remember how he was when I first met him...he could've been anything." What did that mean? But before JC could ask, Step came up behind Lucky and wrapped his arms around his waist, kissing the side of his neck. Lucky smiled and lifted his chin towards JC, "Come on, let's get out of here."

JC followed them across the lawn and through a fence, and found himself standing before the Mystery Machine, straight out of an episode of Scooby Doo, Where Are You? The van was painted in perfect likeness, with a miniature model of itself displayed on the dashboard. "Oh, shit!" JC circled the van, his eyes wide and impressed and amused, "This is fucking awesome!"

"Isn't it great?" Peaches was by his side, her arms spread like Vanna White, "Lucky loves Scooby Doo."

"That's so fucking cool!" JC shook his head, grinning. "I can't believe I'm gonna ride in the fucking Mystery Machine!"

"It's a trip, huh?" Angelboy's voice, and their eyes met for a second. JC was too shocked to respond, so he just watched Angelboy climb into the van, and then could've punched himself for not saying anything, for just standing there like a dumb ass.

"You mind sitting bitch?" Peaches asked. JC tried not to smile as he shrugged. He got in the van, slid across the seat towards Angelboy, who was looking through the window, up at the sky.

"Do you know any constellations?" JC asked, and then bit his lip, because that had to have been the stupidest question ever.

Angelboy turned to him, a whisper of a smile on his lips, and said, "I love the moon."

That would have been a great time to cup Angelboy's chin and kiss him, but JC didn't realize that until long after he'd turned away, when Chris had started the van and they were halfway to his house. He bit his fingernails into his forearms, thinking of chances missed.

VI.            Look at the stars, look how they shine for you.

Chris's house was modest but nice, a small one story with two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a living room that bled into an open kitchen/eating area. Chris and Peaches headed straight for the kitchen; the rest went into the living room. Sugarlips and Step fell onto the couch in a tangle of limbs, Angelboy sat cross-legged on the floor, and JC perched on the arm of the couch, checking out the prints of Dali paintings on the wall. His body still felt good, good, good, happy all over and smiling. He stretched his arms and looked at his fingers, which seemed vague and thick, and he was very aware that they were meat and bone covered with skin.

Voices were soft and lazy in the background of his world, but his ears perked when he heard Angelboy murmur something about outside. He found himself on his feet, following Angelboy into the small backyard and laying beside him on the grass to gaze up at the night.

The grass tickled his bare arms and a stretch of his back where his shirt had ridden up, he felt it bending beneath him through the barrier of his clothing and hair and brushing his cheeks when he moved his head or the wind blew. The sky was dark black and the stars were warm yellow, close and coming closer, not falling, but pressing down slowly, easing their way down to kiss him, maybe. He reached up for them, welcoming. Slow motion they came down, bright like promises, growing and laughing silently. He waited, patient and impatient, come down and closer, touch and warm and it will be good when they are here, he knew. Down, down, down, ease, come, coming slow but wait, just wait, it'll touch...

"Beautiful," One half-articulated sigh broke the spell, and the stars retreated like frightened deer, leaving JC with one desperate moment of trying to coax them back before realizing it was futile. He turned to Angelboy, whose voice had startled the touch away, and hummed in question. Angelboy looked over at him and breathed the word again, like it was the only word he could define, "Beautiful."

Without thinking, without needing to think, JC found himself rolling onto his side and leaning over Angelboy, lips finding lips that were as warm as the stars would've been. His hand twisted the shoulder of a soft shirt, pressing harder into the kiss before releasing and rolling onto his back again, breathless. He looked at the sky like he hadn't moved, felt nothing about his actions but that they left it hard to breathe calmly. He wasn't anything when he sensed a body coming closer, he just closed his eyes and licked into the hot mouth that met his own.

The body shifted to cover him, legs weaving together and there it was, unmistakable, pressing against his thigh. He tilted his hips so they could grind together, and sound broke in the back of his throat. Hands, long fingers under his shirt, gripping his waist. His feet laid flat on the ground so he could thrust harder, desperate for the friction, his own hands slipping under clothing to dig fingertips into skin. Panting and licking between kisses, tongue where his neck curved into his shoulder, and then searing, wet tugging on the skin, teeth sinking in slightly. His head rolled back, his whole body arching into the sensation. Though he knew, he suddenly realized whose mouth this was drawing ecstasy from his body, and his eyes opened, and there was the sky again, which he saw and didn't see and owned and didn’t believe in. Palms scuttling over his ribs, and then that wet pulling on his nipples, one and then the other, slicking down his stomach, drawing at his hip bone, and his pants were opened and his boxers tugged down and god right where it became everything it ever could, it met him and lured him until, clawing dirt under his nails and yanking grass out roots and all, he came.

His gasps were ugly and harsh, and he had to take a moment to ride out the head rush when he rolled on top of Angelboy, but he was already scrambling to unzip the fly that lay between him and what he could almost taste. And then he could taste it, heavy and warm and dripping, pulsing against his tongue. Lick, he knew just how to do this. Full and all, he'd had years of this, and couldn't think of anyone he'd ever wanted to use every ounce of his knowledge on more than this writhing seraph. Swallow, swallow, in, deeper, take it in and he could take it in and he could feel it come burning, melting moans in his ears and frantic fingers in his hair. He lay between spread legs, his face pressed to a sweaty stomach, and they heaved for breath in unison.

When things were calm, he lifted himself up, sat back to straighten his clothes, rub his face against his arm. The world was moist with perspiration, glistening with it, like dew. Blood was warm and inside everything, pumping within it all. He licked his lips, ran his tongue over his teeth, licked his lips again. Looked over at the heat beside him. Beautiful, and still lingering within him as taste and smell and fresh-grown memory. Angelboy blinked up at him, and JC felt compelled to say something, anything.


A little boy's smirk, "Hi." A hand snaked up and brushed at his hair, "You have grass in your hair."

JC shook his head gently, watching stray blades fall. Reached down and finally got his hands on those curls, stroked them slowly, under pretense of checking for vagrant leaves of grass. Eyes whispered to each other, and he leaned down, sweeping his lips across a damp forehead, following the bridge of a nose, to sideways lips that parted, tongue reaching up as his delved down.

And now it was slow where before it had been frenzied. Unhurried kisses, deep and drawn to the last splintered moment of damp intimacy. Mouths meeting like they'd never part, parting just to meet again. Then a series of short, playful kisses, until Angelboy growled softly and held JC in place with hands on either side of his face. The kiss broke, and when JC went in for another Angelboy turned away, and tongue touched cheek. Soft laughter, JC nudging his nose into the cheek, leaning down to nuzzle a stretch of smooth neck. Angelboy's shoulder came up to block him, ticklish. He bit the shoulder teasingly, capturing a bit of shirt between his teeth and tugging. Fingertips on his cheekbone made him meet eyes crinkled in smile. "You hungry?"

Hungry? He didn't remember what that felt like. He shrugged, "You?"

Angelboy nodded, "Let's see what they cooked."

So JC stood, reached down to pull Angelboy to his feet, and followed him back into the house.

VII.            I can't get your body, can't get your body out of my mind.

The kitchen was empty, a stack of pancakes cooling on the table and a pile of syrupy dishes in the sink were the only evidence that anyone had been in there. Angelboy smeared syrup over a pancake before rolling it and taking a big bite, offering JC his fingers to lick clean. He sat on the counter with JC's hands on his waist and alternated feeding himself and JC. They shared three pancakes and swigged the last of the orange juice straight from the carton.

"C'mere." Angelboy took JC's chin in hand and lapped a smear of syrup from the side of his mouth before taking hold of his shoulders and pushing him back so he could slide off of the counter top. They licked languorously into the warm sticky sweetness of their mouths in the dark kitchen, smiling into their kisses and finally breaking apart with gentle laughter. "Let's go to my room." Angelboy took his hand and led him toward the short hallway where the bedrooms were.

"You have your own room here?" Thank god. It wasn't unusual for Candykids to be homeless, crashing wherever they could whenever they could. JC'd hoped Angelboy had a permanent residence, and this was close enough.

"Mm, sort of, yhea. I'm not like, on the lease, but Lucky lets me stay. I put in for bills and groceries and shit." Which meant he had a job, another plus.

"That's cool."

"Yhea." Angelboy took him into a little room with a bed on the floor and posters on the wall and not much else. There was a CD player and stacks of CDs in one corner, an alarm clock on the floor by the bed, a guitar leaning up against a small amp, and random clutter.

JC let go of Angelboy's hand and kneeled by the guitar, plucking at the strings. "You play?"

"Yhea, I can play acoustic, electric, and bass. That's a bass." He sat on his bed and took off his shoes.

"I know," JC smirked a little. "I play guitar, too. And piano."

"Yhea, I play piano." Angelboy laid back, his arms behind his head.

"I never took lessons," JC wondered vaguely why he was bragging. "I taught myself when I was eight."

"I taught myself all my instruments," Angelboy countered. "I was in a band."

JC's eyebrows lifted. "You were in a band?"

"I was the lead singer and bassist." Angelboy gave a nonchalant shrug, "No big deal. Just a garage band."

"Did you, like, perform?"

"Yhea, we'd have park shows sometimes. Pretty good local following."

"Local where? Here in Austin?"

"No, Kingwood. It's near Houston." He put out his hand to JC.

"That's your hometown?" JC took the proffered hand, stepping out of his sandals and towards the bed.

He nodded as he pulled JC down next to him, "Born and raised."

"When'd you come here? Why?" JC scooted up to lay his head on the pillow as Angelboy rolled atop him.

"Just some shit went down. Wanted to get out of town. You know how it goes." JC didn't know, and he wanted to ask more questions, but Angelboy was settling over him and snuffing against his neck sleepily, and he let it go so he could kiss along the hairline of the curls tickling his face. "I'm just gonna...lay for a little bit, okay?" It wasn't okay, because JC felt like moving, walking, going, but he nodded. It felt good to lie so close together, even if he was restless.

For a while he followed his thoughts. They roamed aimlessly, gliding through notions and memories like myriad pools of wet paint, smearing them into a brilliant vista of impression that encompassed every facet of perception, not just sight and sound but taste and smell and touch and opinion. How long did he lay there captured by himself? Most likely for hours, considering he spent at least twenty full minutes contemplating orange. What came first, he wondered, the color or the fruit? Which was named after which? It was a query reminiscent of chicken and egg, and he finally dismissed it as a Grand Mystery of Existence. He thought of different fruits and then tried to taste them, and it worked deliciously until suddenly the taste of mashed potatoes came to his tongue and wouldn’t shake. He could still taste fruits, but only accompanied by the stubborn flavor, so he abandoned the pastime. He remembered people he’d known that he didn’t know anymore, how much he liked roller coasters, his times at summer camp when he was a little boy that he hadn’t thought of in years. He found pictures in the tiny bumps of paint on the ceiling like they were clouds, made up stories about them. As he thought, his eyes fell closed and reopened randomly, and he drowsed somewhere between Sleep and Wake.

His arm twitched, and something poked his elbow. He bent his arm awkwardly to reach it. A pen. He pushed the cap off with his thumb and stared at the tip. He pointed it at the wall, but stopped himself just in time before he wrote on it. One of the first lessons of life: Don’t write on walls. But there wasn’t any paper. He needed paper. He twisted to look at Angelboy’s face. Closed eyes, lips half-parted. JC sighed; knowing the cause was lost. Nobody wakes a sleeping angel. He focused on Angelboy’s arm, tan and covered in golden hair, the inside a shade lighter and smooth. He touched the tip of the pen to Angelboy’s skin, casually drew a swirl, and then studied it. Another swirl. Some waves of water. An eye. A triangle around it. A star. And he was off, doodling random designs and phrases, until finally he ran out of space. It was then that he realized what he was doing, had done, and froze. The inside of Angelboy’s arm was entirely covered in doodles. It seemed so wrong to have marred such perfect skin with ink…like graffiti on the David. And what about when Angelboy woke up? What then? Too loudly, especially with his mouth so close to Angelboy’s ear, JC said, "Shit."

"Hrm?" Angelboy stirred a little. He probably wouldn’t have noticed anything yet; if JC hadn’t panicked and grabbed his arm and said, "Nothing!"

Angelboy blinked down at the iron grip JC had on him, his forehead wrinkling in confusion when he saw the drawings. "What the fuck?" He looked at JC, pulled his arm away to inspect it. "What the hell?" He read some of the phrases littered across his skin, 'There are worse things in the world than being a scarecrow.''life is purriffic'‘FUCK'. Angelboy smirked and then read aloud, "‘If lost, please return to JSC’. That’s nice. What am I, your lunchbox?"

JC blushed, felt like a complete loser. "I was…" He held up the pen, "Pen."

Angelboy laughed, checked out his arm again, "I like the little…whatever that is. That dick with the astronaut helmet on."

"Space Penis," JC explained.

"Ah, okay," Angelboy grinned, kissed JC. "Weirdo."

He wasn’t mad; in fact, he seemed amused. JC couldn’t believe it. Rick would’ve blown a gasket if he’d woken up looking like a stall in a public bathroom. On impulse, JC grabbed him with both hands and moved to top him, settling between lifted thighs and pressing his crotch into Angelboy's ass, miming penetration. He slid his tongue into Angelboy’s mouth as he rocked against him. Angelboy’s legs folded around him, and JC’s hands went to help pull them tighter. Clutched between muscular thighs, locked in heat and want, JC ground hard, driven mad by the encumbrance of clothing between them. They undulated, kissed until they were too close to the edge to do anything but pant into each other’s mouths and roll their hips in pulse-stopping patterns. JC reached down between them to knead Angelboy through his pants, making him grab JC’s shoulders and surge up, cry out as he came.

His legs slackened their catch, and JC undid his fly and pulled himself out of his pants, stroking himself quick and firm. Angelboy watched JC with heavy-lidded eyes, pushing up his shirt so JC could spill across his chest. JC couldn’t take it, wanted to close his eyes and prolong the moment, but having Angelboy beneath him plucking at his own nipples, anticipatory lust making his eyes simmer, made it impossible for him to do anything but drink in the vision and succumb to release. Angelboy’s back arched in pleasure as JC splashed hot on his skin, a delighted moan of, "Oh!" when JC swooped down to lick him clean.

JC brought sticky lips to Angelboy’s so he could share his flavor, and the slippery sounds of their mouths joining was lusciously obscene, sent shivers down his spine. Angelboy pulled out of the kiss, rubbed his face against JC’s. "Let’s take a shower."

"All right." He wasn’t going to argue with that.

"I’m all," Angelboy made a face, "Gross." And JC realized Angelboy had been fully clothed when he came. JC got off of the bed and Angelboy immediately stood up and took off his pants and boxers, tossing them into a pile of clothes on the floor that JC assumed must be laundry. JC could see the wet streaks on the boxers and felt deranged for wanting to pick them up and smell them. Angelboy turned to JC, wearing just a t-shirt as he toed out of his socks. "You coming?"

"Oh...Yhea." JC watched him walk into the bathroom before undressing. He didn’t want to miss a single second of that view. He wondered what the hell he was doing. How the hell did he end up here, in the bedroom of this beautiful creature, losing himself in flesh like he never had before? It was better than he’d ever guessed it could be. But it was too chimerical for him to fathom. He wasn’t the kind of person who…falls into bed with a gorgeous man he doesn’t know and has mind-blowing orgasms. That was stuff that didn’t even happen in his fantasies. The thought kept circling his mind: This Is the Best Dream I’ve Ever Had.

He laid his clothes out on the bed and went into the bathroom, nearly trembling with eagerness. He was going to see Angelboy, right there. Naked. In the light. He’d been waiting for this since he laid eyes on him. Which wasn’t so long ago, really, but seemed like an eternity. JC pushed aside the curtain and stepped into the shower, and it was then that he knew that this couldn’t be a dream. His mind reeled with the cognition that this was reality and so beyond what he’d ever thought reality could achieve. But he knew it was real, because no imagination could ever conjure up anything like this. Like him. He was too beautiful, too perfect to the minutest detail to ever be the figment of any fancy. He, like this whole night with him, had to be real because he was too surreal to be unreal.

Angelboy gave him a sweet, close-mouthed smile, handed him a bottle of shampoo and bowed his head. JC took the hint, drizzling a puddle of shampoo into his palm and then rubbing it through Angelboy’s curls. They kissed a few times, soapy kisses that made them grimace and grin before going back for more regardless. JC bent Angelboy’s head back so he could wash out the shampoo, and couldn’t resist stepping so close that their thighs bumped and sucking on that pale-gold column of neck. When he stopped to admire the bruise forming, Angelboy squirted shampoo onto JC’s hair and began massaging it in. JC leaned his head back, offering his neck to Angelboy, who skimmed his lips lightly across the skin, pausing to revisit a hickey he’d left earlier. The still-tender spot ached in a strangely satisfying way, and JC let out a long, low moan. After rinsing out JC’s hair, Angelboy picked up a bar of soap and cleaned himself, scrubbing at his ink-smeared arm before handing the soap to JC and getting out of the shower to brush his teeth. JC lathered and washed himself, and Angelboy wrapped a towel around his waist for him when he turned the water off and stepped out of the tub.

"You wanna wear something of mine?" Angelboy offered, going into the bedroom for clothes.

"Yhea," JC answered immediately. Because that would be nice. And because that would give him a good reason to have to see him again: to return his clothes. JC startled at his own thoughts. Seeing Angelboy again. He would, wouldn’t he? JC had never had a one-night stand before, had never done anything sexual with someone he’d just met. They hadn’t had actual penetration intercourse, but…close e-damn-nough. And not just that, but. Even if he hadn’t laid a finger on him, JC still would’ve felt compelled to see him again. And again and again and again. Because Angelboy was the most beautiful thing JC had ever encountered, and because there’d been an instant connection, such a strong attraction, a…something-at-first-sight that JC’d never even come close to experiencing before. Dreams only lasted one night, but JC reminded himself that this was no dream. When Angelboy held out some clothes for JC he took Angelboy by the wrist and caught his eyes before saying, "This isn’t it, is it?"

"Isn’t…what?" Angelboy’s head cocked slightly, his lips quirked like he was ready to be amused by whatever JC said next.

"I mean, tonight. Like, us, we’re…Is this…just for tonight?" JC told himself to expect the worst, because the other shoe had to drop eventually.

Angelboy looked at him funny. "Why would it be?"

"I don’t know." JC felt like he shouldn’t have said anything, like maybe that’s not what people did in these situations. They’re just supposed to, like, take it as it comes, or something. "I mean, if--"

"Do you want it to be?" Those pretty pink lips twisted into a frown. JC hurried to say, "No, I’m not…I just meant, if you…I want to. See you. Again. I mean, a lot. I want to." Which wasn’t exactly eloquent, but Angelboy was smiling at him, so it didn’t matter.

He brought a hand up to cup JC’s cheek and told him, "I’ve never met anyone like you."

JC had to laugh shortly at that, because it was so much what he wanted to hear and so much what he wanted to say himself. They had just one lingering kiss, and then JC put on the clothes he’d been handed. A pair of boxers and jeans. JC looked at Angelboy questioningly. "No shirt?"

He shook his head, "I don’t want you to wear a shirt."

"You’re wearing a shirt," JC pointed out.

He looked down at himself. "Mmm-hmm."

"I don’t want you to wear a shirt, either." JC started to tug at Angelboy’s clothing, but his hands were pulled away by the wrists.

"I get cold easily," He said, in a tone that JC suspected was purposely insincere.

"I get cold easily, too," JC said, but Angelboy was quick to wrap his arms around him and promise, "I’ll keep you warm."

"Oh, you’re good," JC smiled wryly. "You want me to walk around half naked because you say so?"

"Okay," He agreed, giving JC a charmingly goofy grin. JC laughed, and a knock came at the door. "Yhea?" Angelboy called, "Come in."

"Hey," Lucky’s head poked in, his eyebrows shot up in surprise when he saw them embracing. "You guys…whoa."

"What?" Angelboy asked, his eyes mischievous.

"You, uh…your hair’s wet." Lucky was incredulous.

"We took a shower," He said nonchalantly.

"Oh yhea?" Lucky was grinning now. "Well, um. Hm." He cleared his throat. "We’re gonna be leaving for Glitter’s in a few minutes. So you might want to get dressed."

"We’re dressed," Angelboy said.

"He’s not wearing a shirt." Lucky’s eyes ran over JC’s bare torso.

"So?" A joking challenge in Angelboy’s voice.

"Hey, I wasn’t complaining." Lucky grinned widened lasciviously. "We leave in five." And with that he was gone.

"Let me get my stuff together," JC said, scooping his clothes off of the bed and folding them into a messy roll. He slipped into his flip-flops and started towards the door, "Let’s go?"

"Wait." Angelboy’s hand on his arm. "You’re putting on a shirt."

VIII.             Sometimes it just takes you by the hand.

"So what is it about you?" Lucky wondered aloud, running appraising eyes over him.

"What is it about me?" JC didn’t get where this was coming from, or going.

Lucky looked back at the house. He and JC were sitting in the van, waiting for Angelboy and Step to finish getting ready. They were wasting time doing their hair. Lucky had opted for just putting on a ball cap and JC’d run a heap of mousse through his hair, yanked at it and called it done, but the other two were not to be rushed. "Yhea, what is it about you? I mean, besides the obvious."

JC checked himself out in the rearview mirror, tugging at his hair some more. "What do you mean?"

"You and Angelboy."

JC’s face heated. "What about us?"

"Well, okay, you’re hot, I get that. But he’s got tons of hot guys after him, and he never bites, so that can’t be it. There must be something more. What is it?" Lucky studied him, an earnest expression on his face. "I guess you kind of…There’s this weird kind of vibe you got going on."

JC wrinkled his nose at that. "Thanks."

"No, I mean, it’s good. Angelboy never…He hasn’t looked twice at a guy since Nick, until you. I think it’s great. I’m just wondering what it is about you that finally caught the little brat’s eye." JC wanted to ask whom Nick was, and wanted to tell Lucky not to call Angelboy a brat, but he didn’t have a chance to do either. "Ah, the divas emerge from their dressing room," Lucky said, and there was Step and Angelboy approaching the van.

"Sorry we took so long." Step got into the front passenger seat and ducked his head so Lucky could bounce his palm lightly across freshly spiked hair.

"’sokay." Lucky shifted the van into drive, "Who am I to put a price tag on beauty?"

Angelboy got in next to JC, slid the door closed, and then turned to him, raising his eyebrows. JC brushed a hand through Angelboy’s gel-wet curls, making a face when his fingers came back sticky. He wiped them off on the upholstery of the seat. Angelboy gave a silly grin, picked up his hand and kissed the back of it. JC tucked his questions away for now, not willing to sacrifice the mood.

IX.             If you only knew all the love that I’ve found.

JC was standing alone in the middle of the main room when a friendly hand thumped his back, "Dude! What are you doing here?"

He turned to see Joey eating a donut. "Looking for you. Wanna give me a ride home?"

"Yhea, sure." Joey sucked on a frosted thumb, "Sorry ’bout taking off on you last night. I kinda got distracted."

JC shrugged, "It’s cool."

"I figured you would catch a ride home with somebody." Joey held out the box of donuts he was holding.

JC lifted a jelly-filled gingerly between two fingers. "Yhea, I ended up hanging out at Lucky’s house."

"Oh cool, you met him?" Joey looked around the room, "Where is he?"

JC gestured towards the door. "Loading his equipment into his van."

Joey took a seat on a couch. "What did y’all do at his place? He show you his big-ass hookah?"

"No, he slept." JC sat down on the other end of the couch, leaning his back against the arm so he was facing Joey. "I hung out with Angelboy."

"Oh, shit, yhea." Joey gave a long, exaggerated groan. "Angelboy. Fuck me. He’s hot, huh?"

JC held back a smile, took a bite of his donut and nodded.

"He’s frigid or something, dude. Swear to God. Everyone’s been trying to tap that ass, but he ain’t havin’ it." Joey stuffed the rest of his donut in his mouth, little flecks of dried glaze flying out as he spoke. "What’d y’all do?"

JC shrugged again, shoving his tongue into the middle of his donut and coming back with jelly-coated lips.

"Hey!" Joey called to something over his shoulder and JC turned to see Lucky, Step, and Angelboy coming through the door.

"Joey!" Lucky ran towards him and leaped into his lap, making Joey "Oomph!"

"How now, brown cow?" Lucky asked, pulling Step into a headlock as he sat between them and JC on the couch.

"What are you guys doing today?" Joey let them each have a donut before offering the box to Angelboy. Angelboy took a chocolate-filled and sat on the arm of the couch, his legs on either side of JC.

"No plans as of yet," Lucky said, but Joey wasn’t listening. He was watching Angelboy, who had one hand under JC’s chin, tipping his head back so he could lick the jelly off of his lips. Joey’s eyes widened in surprise, and Lucky glanced to see what he was looking at, turning back with raised eyebrows and a smile. "I know," He said, then brought a finger to his lips so he wouldn’t comment on it.

"What are you going to do today, Jace?" Joey asked when Angelboy pulled away.

"Um, I don’t know," JC spoke to his donut, nibbling it contentedly.

"Well, we could all go home and shower and then figure out what we wanna do." Joey raised an arm and sniffed himself. "I know I need to."

JC kept his eyes on his breakfast, feeling coy. "I already showered."

Joey’s eyes narrowed as he noticed something. "Are you…Where’d you get those clothes?"

JC looked down at himself, and Angelboy laughed and started kneading his shoulder. JC bit his lip at Joey, who looked like he’d just stumbled into the Twilight Zone. "I borrowed them."

"From who?" Angelboy asked, threading his hand into JC’s hair.

JC tilted back his head to look up at him. "I don’t remember. Some asshole."

"You’re the asshole." Angelboy made a mock-angry face and gave him an upside down kiss. When it ended, JC smiled at Joey’s awed expression and thought he’d never felt so good. Attractive and Clever and Happy.

"We could all go to my place," JC offered, though he was notorious for hating the role of host, on account of his being somewhat of a clean freak. It’s like people were allergic to coasters or something. But today JC was feeling generous and open, wanting to share his space with others.

"Can we smoke there?" Step didn’t know what he was asking. JC made people take off their shoes by the front door.

"Yhea, I don’t care," JC found himself not just saying it, but meaning it. "I don’t have anything to smoke out of, though."

"I’ll get one of Glitter’s bongs," Lucky volunteered, getting up. "Are you riding with Joey?"

"Yes," Joey answered for JC. "You can follow us."

"I’ll help you pick one out," Step said, following Lucky out of the room.

"Step’s gonna pick out a huge one," Angelboy shook his head in disgust. "He doesn’t understand the concept of discretion. It doesn’t take a genius to know you can’t just walk around holding a giant bong. I’m gonna go make sure they put it in a bag or something." He stood up, kissed JC quickly before he left. "I’ll see you at your place."

"Okay." JC waited until he was out of sight before turning to Joey. "Let’s go?"

Joey looked at him a moment, "All right." And hefted himself off of the couch. They didn’t talk again until they’d put on their seatbelts and were idling in the driveway. "So, spill."

"What?" JC said, wanting to milk it. He was enjoying this way too much.

Joey wasn’t in the mood to humor him. "Shut up. Spill."

"What?" JC smiled. "What do you want me to say?"

"Everything." Joey leered at him expectantly. "Did you ball him?"

JC rolled his eyes. "God, Joey."

"What? Is that a yes?" JC just gave him a look. "Does he have a big dick?"

"Joey!" JC cried. "Shut up!"

"Why? Come on, tell me." JC glared at him. "Okay, fine. At least tell me if you saw it."

JC looked out the window, ignoring him.

"Come on, Jace. You owe me." Joey put on his most imploring face.

JC was unmoved. "Why do I owe you?"

"Because. You wouldn’t have met him if I hadn’t have dragged you here last night. And because I gave you free drugs. And a donut." JC still seemed unimpressed, so Joey added, "And because I’m your bestest friend and you love me."

JC sighed, secretly pleased to talk about Angelboy and the amazing night he’d had. "Okay, fine. What do you want to know?"

"Okay." Joey considered carefully, then started with, "Did you see him naked?"

"God, Joey, is that all you think about?" JC had been hoping for questions on how they met or what they’d talked about. Even though, really, they hadn’t talked much at all.

"Yes," Joey was unabashed. "Did you? And if so: details."

JC sighed again. "Yes, I did and no details. I’ll just say…no, I won’t say anything. Shut up."

Joey slapped a hand against his forehead. "Oh, shit, you lucky bastard. You balled him, didn’t you?"

"No, I didn’t ball him, Joey. Jesus," JC scowled at him. "No more questions. I should have known better."

"You sly dog," Joey elbowed him conspiratorially. "Worked the old Chasez Magic on him, huh? He didn’t know what hit him."

"Joey." JC couldn’t help but smile. Joey was just such a frickin’ goof.

"You come off like, ‘Hey, I’m not gonna do anything. Lemme just sit here and be all silently sexy and stuff.’ and then you’re like, ‘Hey baby, is that a mirror in your pocket? Cause I can see myself in your pants.’ Next thing he knows, you got him on all fours callin’ you his daddy. Oh yhea, I know how you work it, Jace. I’m on to you," Joey nodded his head wisely, and JC was laughing.

JC spotted Lucky coming out the front door, "Here they come." He waved at Lucky and watched Angelboy walk towards Lucky’s van carrying a black duffel bag. "And Joey?"

"Yhea?" Joey had his eyes on the rearview as he backed out of the driveway.

"Say anything to Angelboy and I’ll kick your ass."

Joey glanced at him, smiling slightly. "Is that a threat? Or a warning?"

"Neither," JC made what he hoped was an intimidating face. "It’s a promise."

Joey laughed loudly at that, but nodded obediently. "I won’t say a word."

X.             There's nowhere I'd rather be.

"Jace told me y’all fucked last night," Joey said, making JC choke as he hit the bong.

"Oh, he did?" Angelboy raised an eyebrow at JC, who was shaking his head in protest and trying not to have a coughing fit.

"Yhea, he says you have a really big dick." Joey gave JC his widest shit-eating grin.

"That was nice of him." Angelboy watched JC turn red as Step pounded on his back. "What else did he tell you?"

"I didn’t--" JC started, but Angeboy interrupted him with, "No, I’m curious. What else did he say, Joey?"

"He, uh…" Joey thought quickly. "He said you give lousy head."

Angelboy copped an injured expression. "JC, you bitch."

"I didn’t say that! You give great head!" JC blurted, then realized what he’d said and his blush deepened. Everyone was laughing at him, Joey hooting, "Oh shit, I knew it!" and JC jumped indignantly to his feet, teetering precariously for a second before catching his balance. "I hate all of you," He announced, then left the living room to go pee.

He walked through his bedroom and into the bathroom, closing the door behind him. He did his business, and while he was washing his hands he checked himself out in the mirror. He was going to crash soon, he was pale from lack of sleep and the weed had only served to make him more tired. He reached for his toothbrush, and as he scrubbed his teeth he thought fondly of his bed, of curling up in it and sleeping for a week. But he didn’t want to go to bed, because then Angelboy would leave, and sleep wasn’t worth that. He sighed, dried his hands off, and opened the door.

Angelboy was tucked into his bed, clothes in a pile on the floor. He looked at JC. "I kicked everyone out. They went to Lucky’s to unload his stuff and chill. I told them we’d call 'em later."

JC went to the bed, walked on his knees across the mattress until he was straddling Angelboy, and then plopped down on top of him, the comforter poofing as he fell. Angelboy laughed and stroked his hair, "Get off." He pushed JC away and started tugging at his shirt, "Come on." JC lifted his arms and hips, letting Angelboy undress him. He slipped under the covers, pulled Angelboy to him, and sighed at the warm skin that met his own. This was good, this was all there need be. And he wanted it to stay.

XI.            It feels so good tonight, who cares about tomorrow?

JC woke up to a murmuring voice and a hand petting his back. He turned over to see Angelboy on the phone and yawned at the smile he received. He rubbed his eyes with his fists, reveling in the touch of the hand that now grazed his chest in slow strokes that almost tickled and almost burned. He kicked the covers away from him, writhing as the hand traveled lower and found where it really mattered. JC tossed his head to the side, burying it into his pillow as he curved into the touch, still thick-blooded and hazy from sleep.

He looked at Angelboy, captured his gaze and then let his eyes flutter closed. Angelboy ended his conversation abruptly; tossing the phone to the floor and going down to take JC into his mouth, his hands rubbing hard into the grooves of his hips. JC gasped and clutched his pillow, abdomen flexing as he curled off the bed. Angelboy followed him, keeping him buried deep into the slick heat, hands sliding up JC’s chest to push him down. JC let out a strangled groan, bucking his hips hard and high the minute his shoulders touched the bed. Angelboy was lifted with the movement, never losing his hold, intensifying it to draw JC out, bringing a hand down to slip fingers inside of him. It was unexpected, and broke JC, making him fling an arm down as though to grab Angelboy’s shoulder, instead hitting his back with an open hand and curling it into a fist as his body arched so completely that only his head and heels touched the bed as he came.

Angelboy laid sloppy kisses along the inside of his thighs, his breath against JC’s skin sending sweet, lazy shivers through him. He traced a slow trail of kisses up to JC’s lips, letting his tongue find contented retreat there for some minutes before pulling away and saying, "So I give lousy head, huh?"

JC smiled luxuriously, his eyes still closed as he shook his head. "Mmm."

"Look at me," Angelboy commanded softly, and when JC complied he smiled and kissed the side of his mouth. "It’s nine p.m. We slept all day."

JC shrugged, not caring at all.

"Let’s go find something to do." Angelboy slipped off the bed and started pulling on his clothes. "People are over at Lucky’s deciding on plans. Lisa Jordan’s having a rolling party. You know her?" JC shook his head no. "And Sugarlips wants to go camping for some reason, but Step says it might rain…who knows? Or there’s Glitter’s, but two nights in a row…" Angelboy went into the bathroom, and JC let the sound of the faucet running spur him into action. He slugged out of bed, wiping himself off on his sheets before putting the clothes he’d borrowed from Angelboy back on. He could, he supposed, change into his own clothing now, but he didn’t want to. He’d just wear these forever.

He was standing in front of his dresser mirror, pulling his hair through his fingers so it stood up in errant tufts, when Angelboy came out of the bathroom. His curls had been smoothed under control and he’d gargled. "Where are we going?" JC asked as they headed out to his car.

Angelboy stopped on the outside staircase, three steps below JC, and looked up at him with a reckless smile. "I guess we’ll find out when we get there."

And JC let that be enough.

* ** * ** *

lyrics credits
I.       "Light My Fire"...The Doors/"The Doors"
II.       "Blister in the Sun"...The Violent Femmes/"Add It Up"
III.       "All That I Need"...Blind Melon/ "Nico"
IV.       "Turn off the Lights"...Nelly Furtado/ "Whoa, Nelly"
V.       "Stranger"...The Presidents of the United States of America/"PUSA 1"
VI.       "Yellow"...Coldplay/"Parachutes"
VII.       "Body"...The Presidents of the United States of America/"PUSA 1"
VIII.       "Ladies and Gentlemen Part 1"...The Presidents of the United States of America/"PUSA 2"
IX.       "Garden Grove"...Sublime/"Sublime"
X.       "All You Want"...Dido/"No Angel"
XI.       "New York Groove"...The Presidents of the United States of America/Ace Frehley Tribute

Part Two: "Sparkle"

Prologue: "Fall"

Guide to Insanity: "Lost"

Fade Into You Index

Fiction Index