Disclaimer: Fiction-ous; no libel or slander intended regarding real people. Soundtrack and title: "fever" by Kylie Minogue. Thanks to: Kael for the prodding, idea, and the rest of it.



I've been bitten by a bug and I am coming with oh
something that can't be cured


Lance came back from Russia with a cold, and things got steadily weirder.


"JC," Lance said petulantly, "I feel so, weird. Can you bring me some juice?"

"Sure thing, honey," JC said sweetly, and grabbed Lance a cup of juice. They were supposed to be recording in three days, but JC wanted to make sure Lance was one hundred and ten percent before they went in. A sore throat was no one's friend, in the studio. "Anything else?"

Lance sipped his juice with a big smile. "No thanks, tiger," and slapped JC's ass.


After that, JC -- while very nice about it and totally supportive -- never went to take care of Lance. They recorded in the afternoons, people staying far, far away from Lance because he sneezed all the time and wiped his nose, and even though he was singing great no one wanted whatever gross germs he was carrying.

Chris jumped three feet away, as Lance passed, pressing himself against the wall. Joey did so on the other side. "Russian germs, even," Chris complained. "Hardier than ours cause, like, they live in the cold."

Lance scowled miserably at them as they passed. Chris flipped him off cheerfully while Justin grinned from inside the booth. Joey smiled sympathetically, but said, "Keep moving, partner. The snot-train ain't stopping here."


As well, Lance developed this habit, all of a sudden, of leaning casually against walls and tilting his head back a little bit, exposing his throat. Justin studied him from across the room, while Joey looked at him weirdly. Joey asked, "What the hell are you doing?"

Lance blinked, straightening up. "I dunno." He sneezed again. Joey looked at him sympathetically, and backed away.


"So she's--"

Lance cut Joey off. "We broke up." He wrapped the phone cord around his finger. "She just. I need something new."

Joey chuckled. "New flavour, man. That's what it's all about."


The five of them were going over a track, Lance banished to the chair across the room overlooking Johnny's balcony, when Lance's cold got it's official nickname. He'd been back from Moscow for about a week; home from space for about two and a half. JC shook his head. "What is wrong with you, Lance? You've been sick for weeks."

Lance rubbed his eyes, which were watering, and pulled out a tissue. "Fucked if I know."

His legs were spread, and he was slouching. Chris piped up with, "I bet you got it in space."

Joey looked at Chris like he was crazy. "Oh, like an evil alien space virus?"

Chris nodded. "Right. The kind that incubates in your system and eventually kills off all of humankind. An evil alien virus."

"No more X-files for you," Joey was saying, as Lance stretched. The hem of his tee-shirt rumpled up a little bit, and he rubbed his stomach thoughtfully.


That night, Justin called Lance because he left his CD binder in Lance's SUV, and he absolutely had to have it. Justin never felt comfortable anywhere unless he had his CD binder. Lance answered the phone, sounding more miserable than ever. "Yeah?"

Justin said, "You sound horrible."

"I'm fine," Lance said shortly.

Justin knew something was wrong. "What's up?"

"I'm just, restless. I don't feel that bad, but this damned cold won't go away. And y'all act as if I've got leprosy." He sniffed into the phone, and Justin realised it wasn't from sneezing.

"You want me to come over?"

"No, it's." Lance paused. "I'm good. Forget it, I'll bring your CDs tomorrow."

"Be there in ten." Justin hung up. He'd risk it.


Justin's attempts to cheer Lance up came in the form of a video that they'd both seen and kind of liked, and a can of Chunky chicken noodle soup. "Uh," he stammered, "I would have brought real soup but I figured, grossing you out with my cooking wouldn't have helped."

Lance grinned. "I like Chunky soup."

They sat on opposite ends of the couch to watch the video, sipping lukewarm soup, but eventually Justin sprawled out like always and ended up on Lance. Lance was breathing right on him. He looked down, licking his lips. "Aren't you afraid you'll catch something?"

Justin looked up at him. He felt a little weird. "Uh. Nah. I can take it."

Lance lowered his lashes. "Can you."

Justin hightailed it outta there. When he got home, he sneezed.


The other guys took one look at Justin's flushed face the next day and quarantined him too. "The evil alien virus got Timberlake," Chris mourned, "but it ain't gonna get me."

Both Lance and Justin complained they felt fine, except a little weird. Not sick at all.

Justin grabbed JC's ass when he wandered past the two of them by mistake. JC refused to record any more tracks with them until they got better. He went home in a bit of a daze. This was normal, so no one really noticed anything weird.


Justin called Chris, desperately wanting some entertainment and action. "You wanna come out with me tonight? I wanna dance so bad."

"What, and risk the flu for the rest of my natural fucking life? No way."

Justin sighed. He called Lance. Lance said yes before he'd finished asking.


The club was loud and the bass was thumping through and making their skin tingle, and there were a lot of hot girls there. Justin started grinding on one girl, really hot, shaking it for all she was worth. But something wasn't right, and she didn't stick around and Justin didn't try to keep her from leaving. "Fuck," he muttered. "Hasn't been that long that I've forgotten how to pick someone up."

Lance wandered by. "Another drink?"

"Sure." Justin followed him back to their table. He noticed that he wasn't sneezing anymore. "Hey, weird."


Lance did a shot, and Justin watched him lick salt off the back of his hand after. Justin replied, "I'm not sneezing anymore."

"Huh. Me either."

"Maybe we're cured!" Justin shook his booty. "A night of dancing and tequila cures all your ills?"

Another girl he'd been dancing with came up to him, winked at him. Justin smiled. And then he sneezed. She high-tailed it outta there, too. Justin sighed. So much for any action. And he really, really wanted some too.


It wasn't the tequila.

He didn't ever like making excuses for things that had no excuses, so the tequila was definitely not it. Justin knew that for a fact, because Lance had only done two shots all night, and he'd only done one, and spilled the other on his shirt. Which was now off. In Lance's dryer.

Lance had sucked on a lot of limes, though. So had Justin. His lips were kind of stinging from it.

"Hey, J." Lance came up right behind him. "You warm enough?"

Justin jumped. "You scared me."

Lance didn't back off. "Sorry."

Justin nodded. "I'm good. It's warm."

"So I shouldn't bother to offer you a shirt."

Justin grinned. "I'm good."

Lance said, "good."



"How was space?"

Lance wandered into his living room, Justin on his heels. "It was good. You know how it was. You watched like everyone else."

Justin felt a bit feverish. "Hey, Lance." Lance looked at him. "Did you. I mean. With this cold. Did you get feverish?"

Lance moved a little closer, looking at his feet shyly. Justin imagined it was shyly. Lance said, "Yeah."

"Oh. Hm." Justin licked his lips again. Citrus-sting. "Cause I'm thinking some really weird thoughts and like, maybe you're thinking them too."


"Like maybe that you're hot."


"Not, that you're thinking you're hot. That you're thinking I'm hot."


"And," Justin leaned in, "I'm thinking maybe I really wanna get laid, a lot, and so do you. And I think this may be the fever talking but I think we should do that."


"Quit it," and Justin pushed Lance onto his couch, straddling his waist. Lance's hands immediately came up to grip onto Justin's hips, pressing at Justin's skin. Justin let his head fall back a little, revelling in the sensation of his knees in the soft couch cushions, in his crotch just barely pressing against Lance's, against the fingertips digging into his waist.

Lance pulled Justin towards him a little, and licked Justin's belly, right at his waistband. Justin moaned. Lance murmured, "okay."


The sex was amazing and incredible and Justin saw red everywhere when Lance was inside him. He saw orange when he was inside Lance, and yellow when Lance sucked him off in the middle of the night. He kind of saw green, sucking Lance, but that was also Lance's duvet, and then when they 69'ed everything was blue and faded.

After the sixth time, and Justin's vision going a little purple-y, they both blacked out.


When Justin woke up, he let out a little shriek, and then jumped out of bed to go to the bathroom and use his cell phone. Chris would wish, later, that he hadn't answered his phone.

"Chris?" Chris mumbled something that sounded like 'hattrack'. "Chris, I slept with Lance."


"wake the fuck up. I slept with Lance." Chris mumbled again, and hung up. Immediately, Justin felt worse, but then better when he realised that had Chris been, indeed, awake, the rest of the guys would now also know that he and Lance had slept together.

He went back to sitting on the toilet seat and staring at himself in the mirror. Minor freak-out, he kept telling himself. Minor. Minor and not major. A major freak-out wouldn't be cool.


Lance handled it slightly worse: he refused to get out from under the blankets until Justin left, not even when Justin pulled on them hard enough to make a little rip.


"Really?" Justin could hear Trace munching down a salad over the phone; how gross was that, eating over the phone? Trace sucked sometimes. Trace said, "Like seriously?"

"Honest." Justin looked glum. He had gone home, after getting dressed, and thought about his options. "He didn't say a fucking thing. And I mean, okay, it was awkward and scary but c'mon, also very rude. And not much with the whole, putting-me-at-ease either."

He imagined Trace frowning, and then sticking lettuce in his mouth. "Were you bad?"

"Bad?" Justin blinked. This was so unfair. "What?"

"Y'know." Trace hesitated. "In bed."

"Um." Justin turned bright red. "I was good."

"Are you sure?"

"He came five times, didn't he?" Justin swallowed, hearing too late the defensiveness in his voice and also, the volume.

"Wow, okay." Trace paused, and in the moment of quiet Justin could hear ESPN on in the background. "Impressive. But so what's his problem?"

Justin shrugged. "I don't know."

Trace answered, "Oh," and Justin heard him crunching.


Justin called Wade next for four reasons. One, he was reliable enough not to tell anyone, and that included the rest of the guys; two, he wasn't one of the guys and therefore wouldn't tell the rest of the guys; three, Justin was pretty sure that Wade was pretty gay anyway; and four, he kind of suspected Wade of already sleeping with Lance.

"No man, sorry, we never." Justin heard Wade's TV on, MTV Justin thought. "Wish I could help. Not that I wouldn't like to sometime. And you tell him that."

Justin hung up. It figured.


He decided to go to the source of the problem instead, and forcibly sat Lance down.

"Look, can we just talk about this, Lance?" Lance stared at Justin, eyes narrowed and looking pretty pissed off. Justin sighed in frustration. "Fine, fuck you, let's argue about it."

Lance put on his smooth-and-cool look, the one he wore right before firing someone. He was already standing up to leave. "Look, you're really nice and I don't want you to take this the wrong way, but I don't want to think about what happened. So nothing happened."

Justin raised his eyebrows; at the same time, he was glad he'd never been fired before. "That's pretty insulting, you know."

"I'm sorry, but your fledgling ego is not my problem."

"It's not that, it's." Justin bit his lip. "That was my first time, okay? And I'm a little freaked out about this. Not a lot," he amended, not wanting to offend Lance or anything, "because I'm open-minded and totally open and. But it was definitely the first time it was that," he swallowed, and finished up "good."

"That was our first and last time, J, so get over it." Obviously Lance wasn't worried about offending anyone.


Justin went back to his plan A, which was call Chris.


Half-way through dialing Chris's number, he realised that plan A still sucked because then everyone would laugh at him and possibly tease him for weeks, and plus they'd know, and went back to sitting in his living room, and thinking. He had slept with a guy. Okay, much less of a freak-out over that than at first, which was good news. Step one, accomplished. He, Justin Timberlake, had slept with a guy.

Justin tried it aloud, quietly at first. "I slept with a guy."

No shrieking, which was good. Good news. Step two: sleeping with a guy meant he was possibly--

Justin started breathing a little heavier, and freaking out. Okay. Smaller step. He'd slept with Lance.


"Yeah?" Chris answered on the first ring. Justin prayed silently, 'thank God'.


Chris drove over, once Justin said that he had something he wanted to talk about, and brought donuts. Which was pretty damned nice of Chris, Justin thought, and munched on a donut. "So," he said. "What's up?"

Justin decided the only way to deal with this was blurt it out. "I slept with--" He paused. "Okay. If I finish that sentence you gotta, like, promise not to tell anyone. And seriously promise, none of it where you just like, pretend. Really."

Chris put down his donut. "Okay, won't tell anyone."

Justin was reassured, since Chris was actually putting more emphasis on listening than on food or the television, which was probably a sign he was serious and would keep his mouth shut, and moreover was better than Justin's other friends. Justin said, "Lance."

"Lance what?" Justin blushed bright red, and Chris's eyes widened. "Oh." He processed the information rather quickly, to Justin's thinking, and a few moments later came up with, "Didn't think he was your type."


Chris held out his hands. "Joking, joking. Seriously though, I didn't think he was your type."

He said it kindly, so Justin stopped threatening to hit him. "Me either. But it just, it happened, and apparently he really is my type."

"And now you're freaking out."

"I." Justin was a little heartened, thinking that plan A of talking to Chris maybe wasn't such a bone-headed idea in the first place. ESPN wasn't even on. "Kind of. I mean, I've never." He bit his lip. "I never slept with a guy. And now I have."

"Oh." Chris said it quietly, and then he put a kind hand on Justin's shoulder. "So you don't know what it means."

"Well no." Justin squeezed his eyes shut, annoyed with himself. "And I'm open-minded, of course I am, but it was." He glanced at Chris, and mumbled, "it was fantastic."

"Oh." Chris picked his donut up again. "Well that's good, right? I mean, it could have been worse. It could have been bad." Justin frowned. That was true. "So now. You don't know what to make of all of this."

"No." Justin picked apart a jelly roll. "I mean. Have I really been in denial this long or something? Am I, gay or something, and didn't know it? I didn't think I was that stupid, but--"

"Justin." Chris interrupted. "Justin, calm down. Look. Does Britney turn you on?" Justin nodded, hesitantly. "Did Lance?" He nodded even more hesitantly. "Okay. Those two things aren't mutually exclusive you know."

"Where the hell did you learn a phrase like 'mutually exclusive'?"

"Shut up." Chris flicked a piece of powdered donut at him. "I think I'm dealing with your sexuality crisis very well thank you, especially for an old straight guy."

Justin scowled at him. "So what you're saying is, I'm... bi?"

"I'm not saying anything." Chris looked at him seriously. "If you want to call yourself that, then you can. If you want to just, be yourself? That's fine too. It doesn't matter what you say as long as you're happy about it, except maybe to our PR people but we can deal with them when the time comes."

Justin nodded, feeling a little better. "I guess I'm kind of over-reacting."

"A little." Chris smiled. "Most people do when they're faced with uncertain sexuality issues."

"Dude, where do you hide all these smarts in interviews?" Justin laughed, and ducked as another donut sailed over his head. He really did feel a lot better, since it was one time, and he'd liked it, and if he wanted to do it again it only meant that he wanted to do it again. Which he could handle. "Seriously. Thank you. You totally stopped me from over-reacting."

"Any time."

Justin rubbed his eyes. "Now if only I could get Lance to speak to me." Which reminded him that he hadn't just slept with a guy, he'd slept with Lance. Justin took a very carefully steady breath. "Oh my god. I slept with Lance."

"We went over that."

"No," Justin said, and grimaced. "Like, Lance. What do I do?"

Chris looked at him sympathetically. "You're on your own there."

Justin covered his eyes, and started quietly freaking out again. Okay, so he was maybe a little queer, maybe some queer, maybe all queer. He could figure that out later, was what Chris was trying to say, or never figure it out, which made a lot of sense in a Chris-like way. He could be himself. He could be whatever that meant. It wouldn't change the fact that he'd also slept with Lance.

Chris patted him on the back, in comfort, but didn't say anything else. Justin freaked out. Plan A sucked.


Trace just said, "I hardly know him, man, I can't help" and "but I'm glad you're feeling better" and then "wanna go see a game next week or something?" Wade wasn't home, and his bathroom mirror offered no advice.

Lance still wasn't speaking to him, like out-and-out not speaking to him, like, hanging up the phone when he called, or not answering his cell phone. He knew that because he called Lance from Chris's cell phone, and Lance hung up when he said a tentative, "Hey?"

Plans A through D sucked.

Justin considered calling Joey, asking for advice, but Joey would probably laugh at him. A lot. And rightly so, because Lance. Lance was like, the ideal homosexual or something. If there was anyone who could have been perfect for his first time, it was Lance. And JC would probably be a great guy to ask how to tell Lance he loved him, but Justin wasn't aiming for that. He was aiming for getting Lance to say anything at all.

He went over for dinner at his mom's house, instead, because even though Lynn wouldn't want to know about the details, she would probably give better advice than JC or Joey, which would just be "do it with flowers" or "do it in public".

"Mom," he said, slowly, "I have a problem."

"All right." She folded her hands on the table, and leaned forward. "You know I'm here for you."

"This is kind of really embarrassing." He shuffled around in his seat. "See, the thing is, I." Decided to change tactics. "Lance isn't speaking to me."

"Oh, my." She frowned. "What did you do? Or, what did the two of you fight about?"

"No, that's just it!" Justin made a fist of his hand, under the table. "We didn't fight-- I just. Something happened and now he won't say a thing to me."

Lynn hmmm'ed for a moment or two. Then she asked, "What happened?"

Justin turned bright red again. "If I tell you this, will you promise not to tell anyone?"

"Of course." Lynn looked a little offended. "I'm your mother, Justin, I would never tell anyone."

"Okay. Also, please, don't. I don't know what to make of this right now, so can we please not discuss anything," he hesitated, "like, else. Tonight. Because I really don't know what to say. Okay?" She nodded, and he blurted, "We slept together."

"Oh." Lynn frowned. "Oh. All right. Hmm. What you don't want me asking, I assume, is are you... gay. Or if it was your first time. Or whether Britney knows. Right?" He nodded fervently. "All right. I won't. But you should know I love you."

"Thank you." Justin looked down at the table. "I just don't know what to say about, that. I just want Lance to stop being an ass--" he paused. "To start talking to me again. It's not like I was mean in the morning, or something."

Lynn frowned again, eyebrows creasing. "Maybe he's scared too?"

Justin blinked. "But, it's not like it was. It couldn't have been. Surely I wasn't. his first. I mean." He glanced up at Lynn. "I mean. It's Lance."

Lynn just shrugged. Justin decided that, while plan E didn't yield any good advice on the Lance front, it did reassure him that should he want to come out, at least one parent wouldn't disown him. On the other hand, it did remind him that he hadn't told Britney about it yet. Which was a freak-out all on its own.


"Hi, you've reached Britney! Leave a message."

Justin hung up. That could wait, at least until Lance was speaking to him again. Maybe until Lance was speaking to him not in a yell. maybe for a long while after that.

He called Joey next, for information. Joey picked up with a "yeah?"

"Hi, Joey." Justin coughed, and said, "Okay, I need to ask you something. And I need you to tell me honestly, okay? And I can't tell you why but I promise it's not a joke or that I'm gonna tease him or anything. So, how many guys has Lance slept with?" Justin amended hastily, "Just a ballpark figure."

Joey cleared his throat. "Justin, what?"

"How many," and Justin knew he was never going to get over being mortified about this whole situation, "guys has Lance slept with?"

"Uh, Justin," Joey said oddly, "No one except you. I mean, I guess maybe he hasn't told me, but until you two, he hadn't slept with hardly anyone, and none of them guys."

Justin hung up, and didn't believe a word of it. He also didn't pause to really think about how Joey, now, also knew that he and Lance had slept together. Justin let the phone ring at Lance's house fifty times, even leaving a message on his voice-mail that said, "I know you're there, pick up fucker!" before he realised that Lance couldn't actually hear his automated voice-mail even if he was home.

He briefly played with going back to sitting in his bathroom and panicking, but it didn't really help. Instead, he called Diane.


"Hi, Diane." Justin really loved Diane. Diane was sweet, she was amazing. Justin knew that she'd do anything she could to help, and not ask all the questions that she probably should. "Okay, I'm really kind of freaking out here. And I was wondering if I could ask you a question. And I promise it's for a really really good reason."

Diane sounded confused. "All right, honey."

"Okay. How many guys has Lance slept with?"

She paused a minute, and in that minute Justin realised that, maybe, that wasn't the best way to spring Lance's gayness on his mother. And that maybe she had no idea, and that maybe she thought he was saving himself for marriage. To a nice girl. And that plan F was a really really stupid idea.

And then she said, "well, you, honey," and Justin blinked.

"Could you say that again? Like, elaborate? Cause."

Diane answered patiently, "I know that you and he spent the night together, honey, but other than that -- Lance hasn't mentioned really anyone. I know he was seeing Laura for a while, and that other nice girl..."

Justin choked out a thank-you, and hung up. One other thing about Diane is that Lance would never have lied to her, even by omission, and Justin trusted Diane not to lie to him. So that was the truth: the only guy that Lance had slept with was also him. Which was un-fucking-believable. But Diane said it, so it must be true.


"Well, now I know where all our problems came from."

"Brit," Justin grimaced into his mirror. "It's not like that. I just wanted to tell you--"

"--because you're gay. Just tell me I ruined you for all women okay?" Britney probably sounded a little too smug there, to Justin's ear, but he let it go. "It's kind of the ultimate compliment, in a weird twisted way. I turned you gay."

"I'm not!" Justin huffed air out of his nose. "I slept with Lance. That's what I wanted to tell you. Not that I was gay!"

"Justin," she said patiently, "sleeping with men makes you gay."

"I." Justin sighed. "That's not what Chris said."

"And you're trusting Chris now?" She giggled. "Look, Justin, I appreciate that you told me you're dating Lance now, but keep it quiet, okay? Unless, y'know, if you don't want to you don't have to but please say nice things about me or I'll have to like, act pissed off and unhappy and I really am happy now, so--"

"Britney." Justin grimaced again. "I'm not dating Lance. We just. He won't even talk to me."

"What did you do?"

"I didn't!" Justin paused. "I'm gonna go. Don't tell anyone, okay?"

"Not a problem, sweetie." She made kissy noises into the phone and when he heard the dial tone, he hit himself in the head with the phone. His bathroom mirror seemed to have better advice. Fruitless. Fruitless and hopeless and okay, Britney wasn't mad at him but now he had to worry about whether people thought he was dating Lance, and all he wanted was Lance to start talking to him again.

Justin called Lance's house, got the voice-mail -- what a surprise -- and snarled, "You're an asshole." It made him feel a little better, but he was still freaking out about how to deal with Lance, and now about whether he had a boyfriend. Life sucked.

Justin sneezed, and he amended, life sucked a lot.


"You're sick again?" JC said nervously. Justin nodded, playing with one of the knobs on the mixing board. JC said, "Oh! Uh. I'm sorry. And I, forgot. I have a thing. I gotta go." He all but ran out of the booth, so it was just Justin and Joey recording, on opposite sides of the glass. Joey raised an eyebrow. Justin shrugged.

Joey sang, but didn't come near Justin, saying he didn't want to get Brianna sick. Justin sighed, and felt miserable again. Plan F was totally useless, Justin thought, plus he kind of came out to his mother. To top it all off, as they finished up the track, he felt his temperature rising.


"I thought you'd gotten well, fucker." Chris sounded pissed off, which probably meant that he'd broken up with that dancer he'd been seeing on and off.

"I did!" Justin sniffled again, and then coughed. "I'm not that sick, man. Come on, take me out."

"No way." Chris didn't sound at all sympathetic. "You're fucking disgusting when you're sick and I don't want to catch anything. Call Lance."

"He still won't talk to me, remember?"

"Guess you're out of luck then."

Justin sighed. "I just really want to get laid tonight."

"Call Lance." Chris still didn't sound that sympathetic. "I got plans, plus you're sick, plus I got studio time tomorrow."

"Lance still isn't talking to me."

Chris softened his voice a little. "You feeling any better today about that?"

"I." Justin considered it for a moment. "Yeah. I mean, Britney told me that I'm gay, and Lance still won't talk to me, which should be interesting when all five of us have to go into the studio next week, but I'm okay with like, me."

"Good. Look, I gotta go."

Justin hung up. Lance didn't pick up the phone when he called, so Justin left a pissed off message on his voice-mail that said, "you fucker, I'm sick and I wanted to get laid, and now no one will go out with me because I'm like, sick. Fucker."

He sneezed in the middle of it.


The studio time was less awkward than Justin had imagined. Aside from everyone treating him like he had leprosy, since he was still sick and getting worse ("dude, it sounds like you've got the plague or something"), the recording went okay. He had a head-cold, so the tracks weren't great, but until he had to do the leads that was okay.

Lance even talked to him a couple of times. Just recording stuff, and when Justin cleared his throat and said, "so," Lance had taken off again, but it was progress.

Chris risked coming over to Justin, hand over his mouth. "You go to the doctor?"

Justin shrugged. "He thinks it's just some viral thing."

"Get better, man." Justin went home to take some ibuprofen, curl up in bed, and feel sorry for himself.


"I think it's just some stomach flu, mom," Justin said. "Don't worry about me. I'll be okay in a couple of days, I'm sure." Justin left off the part about how he'd been sick, off and on, for almost two weeks as information she didn't need to worry about.

Lynn clucked her tongue at him, but hung up. He went to order more take-out. Lonnie, the good friend he was, had dropped by yesterday with some more soup, but hadn't stayed for fear of germs.

When Justin checked his voice mail right after, he found a message from Lance. "You're a fucker too. I feel awful again and I have a fever of a hundred and one."

Justin erased the message. "Good."

The only up-side to the whole having-a-plague thing Justin could see was that he felt too miserable and feverish to freak out about having slept with Lance, and that Lance wasn't speaking to him. Plan G: ignore Lance, which he'd developed accidentally, seemed to be working out all right. Except for the fever. And the nausea and dizziness. And the sore throat. Other than that.

Justin curled up in his bed with a glass of orange juice and felt sorry for himself some more. Plan G fucking sucked, too.


Justin didn't answer the doorbell when it rang, faithfully trusting anyone to either come in with a key or go away. Joey peered around his bedroom door with a big grin. "Brought you a care package, man." He wrinkled his nose. "Jesus, have you had a shower today?"

Justin shrugged, shoving the tissue box off the bed. "Think so." He sat up a little more. "What'd you bring me? More Tylenol? Juice? Cause I could really use some--"

Joey reached around the door and dragged Lance into the room by his collar. "Not quite. Though I'll get right on the juice problem. Orange? Apple?"

"Yeah, uh," Justin stared at Lance and mumbled, "whatever."

Joey disappeared, for which Justin mentally cursed him for. Lance stared around the room, and then finally said, "Okay, I'm just gonna go to bed in one of the other bedrooms because I feel horrible and dizzy and stuff."

"Wait a minute." Justin struggled to sit up against his pillows. "You're still sick too?"

"Um." Lance raised an eyebrow at Justin, and Justin noticed that he was tired looking, with bags under his eyes. "Have you been in Justinland the whole week? Yeah."

"Uh. Sorry." Justin fidgeted. "I guess I was kind of busy freaking out about what happened."

Lance glared at him. "Gee, thanks."

"Hey!" Justin gave up on sitting up, and just laid down again. "I'm not the one that wouldn't say." Justin paused as Lance sort of shuffled towards the doorway. Trying not to sigh, he said, "Okay. Why don't you lay down, and I won't say anything."

Lance wrinkled his nose. "Oh gross. Your bed's all like. sick. I'll just go in another room."

"There aren't any sheets on any of the other beds."

Lance moved back into the room, looking pitiful. "Fine."

He laid down carefully, curling up. Justin patted the sheet over Lance carefully, then when Lance closed his eyes, Justin jumped on him, wrapping Lance in the top sheet. Lance squawked, but Justin just laid on top of him and refused to move, pinning Lance under the covers. "No," Justin said. "We're gonna talk."

Lance kept struggling, but Justin, who was limp and dead weight, wouldn't move. Lance glared at Justin from underneath. "About what?"

Justin made sure that Lance was fully trapped under him. He then realised that Lance was, in fact, under him, and swallowed. Right. Mind on the task at hand. "Why didn't you tell me it was your first time?"

Lance started struggling again, but Justin held firm. "Justin--" Lance finally gave up, putting his hands over his face. "Fine. Fine. I dunno."

"I had no idea you hadn't." Justin chuckled. "Dude, I totally thought you were a pro."

"Um. No." Lance blinked. "You hadn't-- either?" Justin shook his head. Quietly, Lance said, "Oh. I didn't know that."

"We were good together." Lance started struggling again, but Justin didn't budge, saying, "Seriously, we're talking about this. Cause we were very, very good together."

Lance shoved, hard, suddenly, and Justin fell off him. In a flash, Lance was standing up. Justin narrowed his eyes. "Fuck you. Fuck you, man. Plan H is sucking too and it's not even my plan!"

Lance blinked. "What?"

"Plan H!" Justin coughed pitifully. "Like, there were these ideas I had, to make you start talking to me, and A through G failed miserably, plus I kind of came out to my mom and then I got sick again, and now Joey tried and you still won't talk to me. Fuck you."

Justin glared at Lance as Lance closed his eyes, then sat back down on the bed. "Okay," Lance murmured. "Let's get this over with."

"What do you think I'm gonna say, man?" Lance shrugged. "Okay, why the fuck were you avoiding me?"

Lance shrugged again, and fiddled with the blanket. "Not talking to you meant that I didn't have to think about it."

"But," Justin said suddenly, "you freaked out anyway, even if you weren't talking to me. Because like, you told Joey and Diane knew."

"You talked to my mother?" Lance grimaced.

"You talked to her first."

"She's my mother!"

"Okay," Justin snapped, "let's get back to the point. Which is, we slept together." Lance wouldn't look at him, but he nodded. Justin was feeling a little, twitchy. Residual from laying on top of him, probably. "We slept together."

"Yeah. I heard you."

"And," Justin said firmly, "It was really good. Which you can admit." Lance swallowed, scowling. "You can say it, man. You were very good. We had great sex."

Lance was twisting his hands around in his lap. Quietly, he answered, "Yeah."

"Yeah what?" Justin ran his hand through his hair, frustrated. "Look, this isn't rocket science. We had great sex. You can say it."

Lance swallowed, and then looked directly at Justin. "Us, together, was the best sex. Ever."

Justin blinked, and his face went a bit red. "Right. Now that we've got that established--"

Lance interrupted. "Would you fuck me again?"

Justin shuffled a little closer to Lance, dumping his TV remote control on the ground to do so. "Yeah. Yeah I would. I mean, I know you don't want to think about it, maybe, but we don't have to define ourselves." Justin tried to sound sincere. "The truth is, I'm attracted to you and I'd really like--"

"Hey," Lance frowned again, interrupting, "I feel a lot better right now."

Justin smiled. "I'd like to think s--"

"No," Lance bit his lip, thinking. Justin caught himself staring at Lance's lips. "Like, my throat is fine and stuff."

"Whoa." Justin coughed experimentally. "Me too. Maybe the plague's been cured?"

Lance looked suspicious. "How could coming over to your sickhouse cure the flu?"

"Maybe we gotta." Justin licked his lips. "Maybe we should do what we did last time."

"Uh. Um."

Justin shrugged. "They say sex is good for you, who are we to argue?"

Lance's face shifted rapidly, before he finally just laid back down on the pillows, closing his eyes again. "Mmm. I guess, I guess," he murmured, "being sick has like, had its advantages.."

"Thank god for your Evil Alien Virus then," Justin said, leaning back against the headboard. "We may never have found out."

Lance groaned. Justin caught himself staring at Lance's lips again. "Oh god, don't say that. Chris will never let it go."

Justin looked thoughtful, suddenly. "Hey, you think we could get the other guys?"

"What?" Lance opened one eye to look at him.

"Y'know. Infect them." Justin waved a hand around. "Give them your weird virus too."

"I'm sure we can find a way. So that they too can see rainbows."

Justin grinned too, rubbing Lance's arm. "Right. Speaking of which, I still feel kinda feverish. So I think we should try that now. Again."


"Quit it," Justin said, and leaned in.

andthentheyhadsex, again, theend.