He can't sleep, and he hates that he cant sleep, because that will mean that the makeup people tomorrow will hate him. Hate him. He's pale as fuck, especially with his dark hair now, and when he has dark circles around his eyes, it shows. Back when they were still with TransCon, he almost never got to sleep, and it showed, and he got yelled at for it.

But this is his movie, and his makeup people, so maybe they wouldn't make a big deal out of it. Besides, he's supposed to be playing a regular guy, and they get dark circles sometimes, right? It would only add to his role.

And then he feels stupid, and pretentious, and he knows that no matter what, he will still have to look absolutely perfect tomorrow, pretty and baby-faced and perfect, even though the roundness of his face has mostly faded into sharper angles with the weight he's lost.

He doesn't even know what has brought on this newfound insomnia. He could say that it's worries about the costs of the movie, and whether anyone will even go see it, and whether it will make or break his little company, but its not that, not really. It is that, but it's something else, too, something larger; and its only when he turns on MTV and sees the guys that he realizes that he's lonely. He misses Justin and Chris and even JC, who he fought with before he left, and he misses touring, misses feeling the ground below his bunk rumble and vibrate, rocking him to sleep.

And that's fucking stupid, because who is he, JC, who isn't just fucking around when he tells reporters he thinks that sleeping on the bus is better than sleeping in a bed. Usually he thinks JC is crazy, but that's all he wants right now, the knowledge that he is constantly moving; the knowledge that he could open his curtain at any time and look into his best friend's eyes.

And it's stupid to feel this way, because he just saw the guys a few days ago for that lame, but oddly fun, TRL thing. Besides, Joey is just next door, big cuddly fun Joey, and there's a door connecting their rooms that he could knock on at any time. But Joey is probably sleeping and maybe even has a girl in there, and its past fucking midnight anyway, so it would just be selfish and stupid to wake him up.

But he's moving, up and out of bed, before he even knows it, the carpet thick and soft beneath his feet. He remembers when they used to have to stay in cheap hotels, sometimes even sharing a room. Joey was always his roommate.

So he knocks, and the answer is almost immediate and the tv is blaring infomercials, which makes him think that Joey was already up and pacing in the dark, pacing and frowning, like he is now. He snaps, "What?" at Lance without looking him in the eye, and Lance frowns too, and remembers that Joey has been oddly quiet the last couple of days. Quiet and snappish.

"I couldn't sleep. Are you okay?"

Joey's face immediately softens, and he leans against the doorway, quirking a shoulder to motion Lance in. He closes the door and sighs, then goes over to turn on the lamp on the bed table. Lance sits on Joey's bed and looks up at him with what he hopes are sympathetic eyes. He knows that they are wide with concern, and probably already have circles around them. "Joey, what? What's wrong?"

Joey doesn't answer, but sits down next to Lance on the bed, wrapping a blanket around Lance's shoulders, which he accepts gratefully. He's only wearing his boxers, and its cold in here, colder than in his own room, due to the fact that Joey runs maybe a little bit hotter than the average human. He is hot against Lance's bare skin when Lance leans against him. Joey accepts the slight comfort and puts his arm around Lance's shoulders beneath the blanket, hot and soft against Lance's back.

"I just have a lot on my mind," Joey says quietly, and that's wrong, because Joey is usually quiet only in the presence of Chris, who is everyone's partner in crime, and tends to take the spotlight when he can, which is surprisingly often.

We all do is what Lance really wants to say back, because its true, but Joey isn't fucking up the movie-yet, a part of him says-so it's not time to crack down, its time to be a friend. "I know," he says instead, and leans into Joey a little bit more, cuddling under his arm. He puts his own arm around Joey's waist and pulls him closer, working his hand under Joey's t-shirt so that he can feel the hot skin of Joey's back, his spine curving beneath Lance's fingertips. Joey shivers a little, and his fingers run over the bottom of Lance's arm, stroking him slightly.

"Its just...I have a family now," Joey says, and Lance thinks yes, almost bitterly, because it is a family outside of the band, outside of *N Sync and the family they have created within it, with Chris as the Mom and Joe as the dad and Justin, the spoiled jock golden boy, JC the bratty introspective child who slams doors and hides in his room writing horrible dramatic teen poetry, and Lance, the one who tries, tries too hard to catch up with the Artistic One and the Talented One and just. Doesn't.

But it's not fair to be bitter about that, not when Joey is so obviously torn, so Lance just tries again to be supportive, and puts his other arm around Joey so that it's a full hug, and whispers into the warm cotton of Joey's shirt, "I know," again. Probably doesn't help, but he's there, and he has someone in his arms and someone's arms around him, and it's helping him, so maybe, maybe its helping Joey, too.

He thinks it is, because Joey cuddles closer and laughs a little bit. "Yeah, you know, and so does everybody else. It's just not official yet." He murmurs into Lance's hair, "Kelly wants me to put out a press release. Like, I have to make a fucking announcement that I've had a daughter, like she's a new album or something. Hate that."

He sounds a bit drowsy now, and Lance feels kind of tired too, but he still wants to be there for Joey. "I know what you mean. My last boyfriend...he wanted me to, like, announce it to the world. That I am, um. Gay and all." He hates bringing up the gay thing, especially when he is wrapped in his best friend's arms, especially when said best friend has just been discussing his daughter, product of a totally heterosexual relationship.

But Joey doesn't seem to mind. If anything he pulls Lance closer, wraps himself more tightly around the other man. "Mm. I remember him. He was an ass." He pulls back to look at Lance. "He wasn't good enough for you. Find someone better next time, okay?"

Lance looks into his face, into his wide, honest eyes, and wants to kiss him; wants to run his fingers over the bare flesh of Joey's cheeks, so naked now that he's clean-shaven. Doesn't. Instead he smiles, if painfully, and says, "I will."

"Okay." Joey pulls him closer again and sighs. "Its okay, though. I like that I have something that's apart from all...this. Like, you have FreeLance, outside of *N Sync, but I don't. I didn't have anything. But now I have Brianna."

"And Kelly," Lance says, and his voice is a bit shaky, but he doesn't cry, like he first did when he heard that Kelly was pregnant, so it's okay.

Joey shrugs, and Lance can feel it against the top of his head. Joey's hand is still stroking his bare skin, still running over his arm like he's petting a very soft and beloved cat. "Not really," he says. "We're not really...together. It's just the kid, you know?"

Oh, fuck. And Lance is almost breathy, he feels like Marilyn fucking Monroe, but he says, "Yeah. Yeah, I know," again, and feels immediately stupid, but then Joey pulls back from their hug and gives him a happy Joey smile that is also strangely knowing, and Joey says, "Yeah, I'll bet you do," and gets up.

For a moment Lance feels almost rejected, but then he realizes that Joey's just pulling back the covers on the bed, so Lance gets up and stands there feeling stupid for a few seconds. Joey looks at him again, smiling, all his teeth showing, then picks up the remote, turning off the tv. He reaches a hand out for Lance and pulls him to the bed. "Why don't you sleep here tonight?"


And then it's official, he is breathy, because his voice comes out that way when he says, "Okay," and when he tries again it is too low, a sex voice, and finally he just gives up and goes back over to the bed. Lies down in it, and stares nervously at Joey while he turns off the light, feeling like a frightened virgin. Which is stupid, because he hasn't been a virgin in forever, and besides, nothing is going to happen, because this is Joey.

But still, he jumps when he first feels Joey's hands on him, and then he is enfolded in Joey's arms, breathing against Joey's hot skin, and he apparently took off his shirt, too, because Lance can feel bare flesh against his own. And he wants to do something but he can't, can't, not unless Joey says it's okay, so he raises his head a little from Joey's chest, and asks, "Joey?"

He feels a hand come down on his head, stroking his hair. Joey's breath is warm against his ear, his lips soft on Lance's skin when he kisses his neck, breathes into his ear, "Tomorrow."



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