Various fandoms, including *nsync, X-men, and buffy. The story goes, Al sent me an email that was the thank-yous from *nsync's second album, "No Strings Attached". the thing about oz's nickname for his boyfriend kinda comes from hth's "moonlight and van helsing" story.


> hey. Typed up some liner notes, thought about you.

> Chris
> > Angelo, good luck with everything.

"Are you sure you're gonna be okay, Ange?"

Chris' face scrunches up, he worries. Ange shrugs, lights his cigarette--flipping the lighter like Pete, of course, because there are things you absorb and can't squeeze out of yourself, even after months of trying. "Sure I'll be okay, man. It ain't the end of the world."

"Jesus," Chris says. "You're calm about breaking up."

"Gotta be."

Chris nods. "I know that feeling."

Ange shakes his head. "No, I mean-- look. You can't really write music, right? But you enjoy it. You let someone fuck with your head every time you go onstage?"

The reference goes completely over Chris' head, but that's the point, so Chris shrugs again. "Listen, you've got my number. Just remember, dude. Older guys are assholes. He's not worth it."

Ange drops the butt on the ground. "Yeah, I know."

Don't need to say it.

Chris looks at the time-- he has to be someplace else. "yeah, well." Nods. Smiles, gives Ange a hug from a friend. "Take care of yourself."

Ange lights up another. Chris grins. "And you should quit that, y'know. Those things'll kill you."


> Justin:
> A special shout out to my Huckleberry Finn, and also to Lance, Chris,
> JC, and Joey-- let's keep it goin' y'all.

"Okay, Justin, dude. C'mon. We've been asking for an hour, now. Who the fuck's Huck Finn? I know we don't use names, but damnit if I wanna know who the fuck would float down a raft in Sunnydale."

Devon throws a fry across the table. "Leave the fucker alone, Brad, you're not gonna find out, okay? He's being mysterious."

Oz slurps his soda. "Huck Finn's a good book."

Brad snorts. "Like you've read it, Oz."

"I did."

Justin shoots a straw wrapper at Brad. "Look, guys. Huck Finn. New guy, alright? I was gonna tell you what we did last night, but if you're not interested in the fucking night I'll just go to practise--"

"No, man. Tell us about this date."

Justin grins, thinking about the way his hips moved against Joey's in the dark, and the streets they ran through in the middle of the night. Says, "Wasn't a date."

Oz smiles, secret. Devon stretches. They both think, yeah, right.


> Joey:
> > With the help of many people I've grown up.

JC isn't a smart man.

JC, actually, is barely a man. Joey knows this. Chris really knows this. Lance, for all his quiet and his playing at stupid, knows this. Even Justin knows this, and Justin's still in the early stages of adolescence. Really, the only person that doesn't know JC isn't a man is JC.

Joey knows because, when JC's sleeping too much and when he's not-- ready, or not able, or a little crazy, Joey pulls him out of bed and tells him he's got work to do. The others could do it, but they don't-- leaving Joey, older. He could be out drinking, he could be the one to lie in a puddle in the parking lot... but by lottery, by default, he's not.

They throw their hands up and walk away, and only so many friends can do that before there aren't any friends left.

When JC does drugs, and dances around the bus and the parking lot at three in the morning, Lance has passed out, Chris is elsewhere, and Justin just doesn't fucking care enough.

It's not supposed to be your friends that force you to grow up. But sometimes, it is anyway.


> Lance:
> > Thanks to ... all those saints with no sense that are so dear to me!

"Lance, are you really--"





Lance falters, gets off his knees. "Are you really a superhero?"

Bobby's grin is genuine. "Are you really a pop star?"


> JC:
> > When music was introduced to me for the first time, I fell in love
> > immediately.

"JC, you've been playing that stupidassed song for an hour now. Shut the fuck up."

He puts the headphones on, turns down the volume. It's kind of tense in the bus-- Chris has no one, and the girls around them are all reminding him of what's-her-face. Whatever her name is. Was.

"Why are you listening to that still, anyway?" Lance says. It's questioning, but not enough to make JC defensive. It's kind of nice, that someone would ask.

He says, quiet enough that it doesn't interrupt Chris' reading or Justin's fucked up beat-boxing. "It's the first song I remember being in love to."

"You fell in love to Led Zepplin?"

JC grins. "Okay, so it's not the most romantic thing in the world. But I remember his face like it was yesterday. Ten years older, maybe, and I was a stupid-looking kid with a guitar. He said he'd teach me to play." His voice gets wistful. "I could never concentrate because he'd be around and I'd be so nervous."


"Shut up." But it's friendly, and Lance has a little look of understanding, like, yeah, he's been there. Maybe minus the guitar. "Anyway. He loved Zepplin."

Lance leans forward on the bunk, and stretches out. Pillows his chin on his arms. "So, why are you playing it now?"

JC smiles, kind of happy-like. "I just kinda felt like remembering."