* ** * ** *
The first time Justin had toured the school he had seen this room. This small, dark room in the chapel, and he hadn't known what it was for. Two of the walls were almost completely stain-glass windows, dark colors. There was a small raised platform with a podium, a few rows of pews. Small, dark room. It struck him as a place to mourn, maybe. Or repent. He still had no idea what it was intended for, but he was pretty sure it wasn't this.
This being him sprawled across a pew, legs hooked over the back of the pew he lay on and the one in front of him, fly wide open and JC's head between his thighs. His body tensed and he raised his hips, head thrown back and teeth gritted, not letting himself scream though he wanted to badly, JC's fingers gripping his hips hard and it hurt so good.
"I'm gonna, I'm gonna--" Panting softly, trying to whisper, "JC, fuck!" And he came. Squeezed his eyes shut tight, clamped a hand over his mouth and gasped and moaned and came. And trembled afterwards, as JC licked stripes across his belly until he calmed.
JC slid up him, fastening his pants for him, kissed his mouth softly. "You like that?"
Justin nodded, in a place of peace and warmth and reluctant to leave it. He wrapped his arms around JC, pulled him near and hooked his legs around him, capturing him. "Let's just stay a minute."
They lay there for a while, JC scooting down a little to rest his head on Justin's chest, and listened to each other breathe. When the bells signaled the end of evening mass, Justin's embrace tightened. JC tried to pull away. "Justin, come on."
"Just a minute."
"No, come on." JC pushed at him. "We can't."
Justin sighed, let him go. The room they were in had a door that led outside, so they went through that, ran along the side of the chapel to the front, got lost easily in the flood of people leaving mass, and walked together to the dorm. "You coming tonight?" Justin's voice was quiet, discreet, as they entered the dorm lobby.
JC glanced around them, making sure no one was listening. Realized he was being paranoid, because no one would know what they were talking about anyway. "I can't come every night."
"No, I know." They were at the foot of the stairs; Justin about to go up to his room and JC had to report to the front desk to get his list for room checks. "You coming?"
And even though he really shouldn't, and even though he'd come to Justin's room more often than not since they'd returned from his birthday weekend, JC said, "Yes."
"When are auditions for the play?" The guy sitting next to Justin in theatre raised his hand as he spoke.
"We're not doing a play." Chris said, and the class erupted in murmuring like a courtroom in a TV movie.
The guy said, "Why the heck not?"
"I'm trying something a little different this year." Chris explained, "Instead of doing some stupid play, and trying to get it together with limited budget and resources, we're going to have an improv team. Does everyone know what improv is?" The class nodded, a few freshmen looked kind of clueless but didn't ask. "Try-outs for that will be this Thursday during evening mass. Everyone is welcome to audition; fifteen of you will make it. Any questions?"
"Are we going to have a show, then?" Someone asked, because it was tradition that the thespians present their play to the school each April.
"Yhea, we'll do a show for the student body. I wouldn't want you to miss a chance to get out of class for an assembly." Chris smirked, "I encourage everyone to try out; it'll be fun. And even if it's not, at least it's better than going to chapel."
Justin scribbled a note on the calendar of his school planner. He'd think about it.
Lance smiled at Justin as he sat down at the lunch table beside him. "Tater tot casserole. Those cafeteria ladies should be shot."
Justin made a face at his tray, reaching for his dessert. "I'll fill up on brownies. They'll never take me alive!"
"You know what? Fuck this." Lance got up, lifted his tray, "Let's buy something."
Justin balanced his tray on one palm, holding his brownie in the other, and followed Lance to turn their trays in and go to the student restaurant. It was packed, not a surprise on Tater Tot Casserole Day, boys crowded around the arcade games lining the walls. They bought burger and fries combos, but there was no where to sit. "It's nice outside. We could sit in the breezeway." Justin suggested, leading the way to the covered walkway between Kent and Benedict Hall.
Despite the good weather, there weren't many people outside. A few loners sitting by themselves in the grass, preferring the company of books, and a handful of couples, maybe just study-partners or close friends, impossible to tell by the way they lounged on the manicured lawns chatting pleasantly in the lingering summer warmth.
"Hey, check it out." Lance pointed with a french fry at the steps that climbed the hill to the chapel. "What's that about?"
Justin looked at the people sitting on the steps, Nick Carter and that new teacher. Their conversation seemed both agreeable and intense, if their expressions were any indication. A book rested on Nick's knee, opened to a page near the end, and they were bent over it and towards each other. "What a kiss-ass."
"He's sucking up to Chris so he can get a spot in Society." It was obvious, wasn't it?
It took Lance a second to realize what he was talking about. "That improv thing?"
"Yhea." He shook his head in disgust, "I don't even know if I'm gonna go out for it, but god. If I do, I'll go for it the hard way. Not by kissing up to the teacher. What a jerk." It was convenient to forget that pandering was not only one of Justin's tendencies, but rather a specialty of his.
"Maybe Nick just likes him." Because Lance was naive like that. "Nick's in my theatre class and they're always talking and shit. They're into the same movies, weirdo independent films."
"Whatever, Carter's an brown-noser." Justin waved his hand in dismissal. "So what movie should we see this weekend?" Going to Joey's cabin on the weekends had become habit for the boys, and looking forward to it made the weekdays bearable.
"I don't care. We never do what I want anyway." Lance said, picking the onions off of his burger.
"When is Society gonna meet? Because if it's after school; Carter can't do it. Basketball practice."
"What?" Lance looked at Justin, gaze steady on the chapel steps. "You still on that, man?" Justin didn't answer, and Lance said, "Everyone who makes it will have their schedules changed so they have theatre seventh period. That's supposed to be Chris's off period, but he arranged that so people with extra curricular activities can still participate. Kind of cool of him, huh?"
"Yhea, whatever." Justin's eyes narrowed. "Dude, look how hard Carter's laughing. That is so fake."
"What do you care?"
"I don't. I just think it's pathetic." He turned away from the chapel, "I'm not gonna try out, anyway. Improv sucks."
Coach Wright was inside the gym hounding junior varsity, so he wasn't there to catch Nick showing up twenty minutes late for training. Justin, however, was just rounding the track and caught him fine. "Nice of you to make it, Carter."
"Fuck off." Nick breathed, starting his first lap. Varsity was running laps today to get in shape for the season.
"May I ask where you were that was more important than practice?" Justin matched his pace, stayed slightly in front.
"No, you may not." Nick jogged just a little faster.
Justin quickened his step. "As your co-captain, I think I have the right to ask."
Nick sped to a slow run, "I think you have a right to fuck off, so why don't you?"
"Uh oh, Carter," Justin pulled ahead, "Them're fightin' words."
Nick shot Justin a glare, stretching his legs into a full-out run, and Justin wasn't easily bested, putting his long legs and slighter weight to good use. They ran, blurring past their teammates, beating and then matching and then beating each other in intervals, Justin knowing he wasn't really trying and thinking that maybe Nick wasn't either, there was something not entirely aggressive in this. When they finally stopped, it was because they'd both slowed, sputtered to an easy jog and then collapsed on the grass, side by side.
"I coulda beat you, you know." Justin panted, laying back, lifting his shirt to wipe his sweaty face.
"Maybe." Nick huffed, like he didn't even care. Which wasn't admirable at all.
"So why were you late?"
"So why are you so nosy?"
"I just am." Justin bent an arm over his eyes, blocking the sun. "Why's it such a secret?"
"It's not a secret." Nick said, and then called, "What's up?"
Justin moved his arm to see whom Nick was talking to, immediately sitting up when he saw JC jogging towards them, wearing track pants and a smile. "Hey, man."
Nick put out his hand, and they slapped friendly palms. "You running with us?"
"Thought I might." JC sat cross-legged in the grass, nodded to Justin. "Hey."
Justin bit his lip, feeling shy as he returned the smile, "Hey." When Justin ran into JC around campus, he always felt this delicious secrecy. It was like being in third grade and having a really cool tree house in the woods that only your best friend knew about. Except instead of a tree house, there was really hot sex. and instead of the woods, there was really hot sex. and instead of your best friend, it was a guy with whom you had...um, yhea, really hot sex.
JC was talking to Nick about something stupid, but Justin was too preoccupied with watching his lips move to concentrate on actual words being said. He felt himself flush, heating up at the memories of what that mouth did best.
"--Chris and of course I jumped on it." broke Justin away from his thoughts.
"Awesome, man." Nick clamped his hand over JC's shoulder and squeezed, "We're gonna have fun."
"Wait, what?" Justin stared at Nick's hand, wanted to push it away. "What are we talking about?"
He didn't like the way Nick smirked at him, used JC's shoulder as leverage to stand, "We come here to talk or run?" And set off down the track.
"Come on." JC said, getting up himself, "I'll race you."
"Who's having fun?" Justin persisted, "I wasn't listening."
"You never listen." JC said, stretching. "Society. I'm gonna help with it."
"What?" Justin gawked as JC did a backbend. "Why?"
"Because." JC straightened, "I spent two years in BMU's improv group, the only reason I quit is 'cause I work at this godforsaken place, and they changed my schedule so I couldn't make the meetings."
"How did Chris know that?"
"He didn't. I approached him." JC nodded towards the track, "Let's go." And they started jogging. "You should think about trying out. It's fun. Unless that's like, not your thing, or whatever."
"I was already gonna try out." Justin said, "I love improv."
"Really?" JC flashed him a grin, and Justin nodded like it was common knowledge and he was surprised JC hadn't known. "Cool."
"So, we racing or what?" Justin reminded him, waiting a moment for JC to speed up before ducking his head against the wind and putting his all into it.
Try-outs for the Improv Society was just a series of games, group and partner, to see who stood out from the crowd as naturals. Even Justin had to admit he hadn't laughed so much in a while, and that, on top of the chance to spend a class period every day with JC, made him really hope he'd make it. Lance seemed to think he was a shoe-in. "Should've known you'd be good at this."
Justin spread his hands palms up like What can I say? and grinned, "What're you doing here anyway?"
"It'll look good on college apps, man. It's all about the transcript." They sat in the small, sunken lobby outside of the Theatre Arts room, talking to each other but acknowledging their departing classmates with little waves and nods.
Justin reached out to high-five a Varsity teammate as he told Lance, "You take that crap so seriously."
Lance wasn't easily offended, "It's important."
"Yhea, whatever." Justin slouched against the couch they were on, crossed his arms behind his head. "I'm not gonna waste the best years of my life worrying about how it looks on paper."
Lance smirked at that. "Says the boy who was on how many teams at his last school?"
Justin sat up, scowling indignantly. "I do that shit because I like it."
"Yhea, well, just means to a common end, right?" Lance shrugged, "Besides, high school isn't the best years of your life, college is."
"They both are."
"Anyway, aren't you glad I'm trying out?" Lance leaned close and batted his eyelashes. "We'll be together, darling."
Justin laughed, pushed him away. "Fuck you."
"Mmm, I love it when you talk dirty."
They both jumped a little at, "So do I."
Lance grinned up at JC, "Jace, my man."
"My man." Justin took JC's wrist, pulled him down to sit between them. "Hey."
JC fell into the seat easily, letting his leg rest against Justin's in lieu of public affection. "Hey."
"Did Chris tell you who he picked?" Lance cut right to the chase.
JC wagged his head a little, a yes/no gesture. "He's still thinking about it. He pretty much knows, though."
"Well?" Lance prodded, when JC didn't elaborate. "Did we make it?"
Mischievous eyes belied JC's innocent facade. "You'll just have to wait till tomorrow and find out with everyone else."
"Fuck that." Lance said, "Justin: beat it out of him."
Justin slunk close, copped a bad foreign accent, "I haff vays of making joo talk."
JC's expression lazed into shit-eating leer. "Baby, you have ways of making me do all kinds of things."
Lance gasped dramatically. "Don't sully my virgin ears!"
"Poor virgin ears." Justin looked appropriately sympathetic, "That's the only place Joey hasn't put it in."
Lance smacked him for that one. "Ass!"
"JC!" The classroom door opened, Chris holding it while Nick walked out.
"What's up?" JC was already on his feet, coming over.
"Can I borrow you for a minute?" Chris said, "I wanna make the final cut before I go home."
"Yhea, sure thing." He turned to Justin and Lance. "I'll catch up with y'all later."
"I know I'm going to make it." Justin whispered to Lance when the doors closed, his face solemn with mock-disclosure. "I'm sleeping with one of the judges."
"You should tell JC to sleep with Chris, then I'll make it, too." Lance suggested, as they got up and started walking outside, into the breezeway.
Justin nodded, one thumb up in approval while the other hand held the door for Lance. "Sounds like a plan."
"What's that?" Nick was leaning against the building, loitering for no apparent reason.
"We were just talking about JC having sex with Chris." Lance said, as though it were nothing.
"What?!" Nick's eyes bugged, and Justin swallowed his laughter.
"So we can make Society." Lance explained.
"JC's having sex with Chris?" Nick looked back and forth at them, and Justin wanted to smack him for being so gullible.
"No, stupid." Justin made his best You're-A-Dumbass face, "It was a joke."
"Oh." And he didn't even acknowledge being called Stupid. "I mean, so. They're not together, right?"
"Are you retarded?" Justin lifted a hand, made fake-sign language motions and mimicked a deaf person's speech, "It was a joke, Carter." And then, further annoyed, "Since when are you so interested in JC's sex life, anyway?"
Nick's cheeks flushed. "I'm not."
"You're not his type." Justin said, just in case there were any funny ideas floating around in Nick's little head.
"Yes, JC hates blonde, blue-eyed basketball players. Loathes them, really." Lance was grinning, turned to Justin to impress, "I said loathes."
Nick didn't seem to be paying attention; he was heading for the entrance. "I think I forgot my History text...I'm gonna go check."
"You just wanna eavesdrop on who they're gonna pick, you shady bastard!" Lance accused, then added, "If you hear anything, tell us."
"Yhea, fine." Nick waved over his shoulder at them, disappearing into Kent Hall.
They started towards the dorms; the sole students save a few stragglers farther along. Lance, who was getting pretty good at sensing Justin's moods, said, "What's your problem?"
Justin glanced over at him, eyes dark. "I think Carter has a thing for JC."
"Oh, yhea?" Lance sounded amused.
Justin made a little noise, exasperated by how lightly this was being taken. "Did you see his face when you told him JC was having sex with Chris?"
"He was just surprised."
"Alls I know is," Justin said, ghettobitch-style, "he best check himself befo'e he wreck himself."
"Step off yo' man!" Lance agreed heartily.
Justin wagged a finger through the air, "What makes him think I won't cut him?"
"Word." Lance did a wave-snap, and then they both started laughing.
"Hey." It was late. Late enough that Justin had fallen asleep waiting for this. For JC sliding into bed behind him, kissing his neck in greeting and whispering so they wouldn't get caught.
"Mmm." Justin rolled over carefully to face him; there wasn't much room for maneuvering with two people on a twin bed. "Where were you?"
"You miss me?" JC teased, one arm around Justin's waist to pull him close.
Justin blinked sleepily, smiled a little, "Yhea, I was forced to hang out with my friends for once."
"How was it?"
"Sucked. None of them wanted to make out." He joked, but then his tiny smile drooped into a tiny frown. "Where were you?"
"Me and Chris went off campus for some coffee and got to talking. I lost track of time."
Justin snorted, plopped onto his back. "I bet."
JC laughed softly, "Are you jealous?"
Justin rolled his eyes. "Yes, I'm totally jealous of that short, fat old man. How could I possibly compete?"
"Hey, don't say that. He's really cool."
"Cooler than me?"
"Much cooler." JC crawled on top of Justin, let their noses bump. "And better in bed."
Justin pushed at him half-heartedly. "Get out of my room."
JC laughed again, propped himself up on his arms, his legs on either side of Justin's. "Don't you wanna know if you made it?"
Justin raised any eyebrow, "I know I did."
JC tsked. "That's what you think."
And then both eyebrows were down and knitted, "I didn't make it?"
"I thought you knew?"
Justin shoved him again, "Get out of my room."
"You made it." JC grinned as he leaned to kiss Justin.
Justin waited until the kiss ended before turning his head away. "Leave me alone."
"Okay." JC slid a hand down between them, reached into Justin's boxers.
Justin's breath hitched, "The door's locked?"
JC's hair tickled Justin's skin as he nodded slowly. "Yup."
Justin shifted his legs, trapped JC's calves with his own, his hands in JC's hair to keep his mouth drawing at his collarbone, "Get out of my room."
"You know who's ugly?" Justin "Subtle" Timberlake thought that was a great way to start. It'd been a week since the Society Players had been picked and their schedules had been changed to make Theatre their last period of the day. It was already habit for Justin to wait in the lobby for JC to arrive, and for them to slip into class just as the bell rang.
That's what they were currently doing: sitting on a couch, not too close, JC preoccupied with the spiral notebook balanced on his knees. Notes for a class, maybe. "Hmm?"
"Nick Carter." Justin said, eyes locked on JC's face for his reaction.
It was a vague smile, "You think he's ugly?"
"Fat, too." he added for good measure.
JC looked up as if doubting he was serious. Seeing that he was, he said, "He's not fat, Justin."
"Are you kidding me?" Justin threw up his hands in disbelief; "He's practically obese!"
"Justin. You freak." JC laughed, "Nick Carter isn't obese, or ugly. And he's a really nice guy, you should give him a chance."
Justin glared at him, "Well, why don't you just marry him already?"
JC chuckled. "Maybe I will."
Justin crossed his arms, sitting back with a thump. "Fine."
"Will you be the flower girl?" JC was leaning closer as he asked, but straightened at the sound of a door opening, "Speak of the devil..." Raised his voice to call out, "Hey, Nick."
"Hey, guys." Nick jogged over, grin big and friendly. "What's up, Timberlake?
Justin offered an empty smile, more of a tucking of his lips. "My big, angry cock."
Nick startled, but recovered quickly. "I was talking to Chris at lunch, he was telling me about this new game we're trying today. It's gonna be a blast."
"I can hardly contain my excitement." Justin deadpanned.
Nick didn't appear to notice his lack of enthusiasm, or if he did, he didn't let on. His oblivion to Insult was really starting to get irritating. "Yhea, well...where's Chris?"
"He's in storage, rooting through the Props of School Plays Past." JC told him, pointing with his pen towards the classroom door.
"Oh..." Nick was quiet a moment, "you think he needs help?"
JC shrugged. "Go see."
Nick considered, and then said, like he was making some big decision, "All right, I will." He flashed a parting smile as he went.
When the door swung shut, Justin glared at JC again. "God, control yourself."
"What?" JC's eyes were back on his notebook.
Justin's hand came down on it, obscuring the view like a cat sitting on the Sunday comics while someone's trying to read them. "You were practically drooling."
JC shook his head in amusement. "Are you having emotional problems? Do you need a hug?"
Justin ignored him. "And could he jump off your jock for two seconds?"
"So, which is it? He was all over me or I was all over him?" JC brushed Justin's hand away.
And it smacked right back into place. "It was a mutual thing. You two disgust me."
JC slid his notebook out from under Justin's hand and put it in his backpack, zipping it closed. "We need to get in that classroom before I strangle you."
"First you throw me over for Fat Nick, then you threaten violence." Justin complained. "Worst. Boyfriend. Ever." And they both kind of froze, because. They'd never said that before, out loud. And Justin hadn't really even meant to, it had just slipped out naturally, which was better. Because they hadn't avoided saying it for any reason, it had just never come up and now...it was just...out there. They shared slight smiles, and though they couldn't kiss, it was understood by both that the other wanted to, and that maybe wasn't even almost as good, but it would do.
"Hey." Lance's head peeking out of the classroom, it was thirty seconds till the final bell. The warning bell was ringing.
"Hey." JC said, but his eyes didn't leave Justin's.
"You guys planning on sitting out here all period, or you gonna actually come in?"
"Loser." Justin grumbled; his eyes still on JC's as they stood to go, and the backs of their hands brushed as they walked through the door.