Two Man Bus
By: Chaos and Raven

It wasn't like he'd done it on purpose. But there was no way any of them would be able to handle Chris one-on-one. Even with his attention split, Chris was a spaz. Justin and JC had to be close, too, since they were almost always working on something. Lance needed alone time more than Joey, and there was just no way to get it with three of them on a bus. So somehow, it became Lance and Joey's bus. They switched around all the time, depending on who had PMS when and if Justin and C had their groove goin' on for the Next Big Thing.

When they did need their space, Justin would say "we're going to Lance and Joe's." Or JC would mumble something about needing quiet that was not happening. Sometimes, Chris even needed to center himself and so the buses would pull over and he'd say "hey Joey, you mind?" Then, Joey would stumble out to where JC was making notes in his little book and Justin was half asleep in his lap. And that was normal.

Sometimes, they'd all get a little homesick and lonely and crash out in one bus, sprawled in one big pile. ("Like puppies," Chris trilled happily.) When they woke up it would be because Justin threw an elbow ("I'm sorry, C," he'd cried later, "it was a total accident."), or because Lance rolled sideways over JC and Chris, burrowing his head in Chris's stomach which made Chris nervous for some reason. Then they'd slowly untangle and go do their separate things.

The best times for him though, were when the bus really was theirs. Joey would sit with his legs spread and he'd tuck Lance between them and make fun of other famous people on the TV. Lance would read and giggle ridiculously at the things that Joey said. And it was like. Their own little world, where they weren't famous or pretty, they were just Joey and Lance.


The first time Joey kissed him, he almost decked him. Not because of Joey -- it had just been his forehead for Christ's sake -- but because that's the way he was supposed to react. It was after a rehearsal, when Lance was finally starting to get things. Joey pulled him into an embrace, his lips resounding wetly against Lance's skin and he said "you did good kid," like it was no big thing. Lance's arm twitched and he locked himself in the bathroom for an hour, praying to cry. After that, it started to happen more. The other guys realized that Lance wasn't an ice princess and they could touch him, too. It was weird but it was also good because everyone needs a hug once in a while and now he was getting a steady supply.

The first time he kissed Joey, it was an accident. He had been at his mom's for a week and was in the habit of kissing her good night. They were all over on the three person bus playing poker but Lance was jet-lagged and cranky. After he lost the fifth hand in a row, he tossed his cards on the table, leaned over to smooch Joey on the cheek and said "g'night y'all." He didn't realize what had happened until he was walking to the bunks and he heard Justin hiss, "what the hell was that?" And Joey had answered something low that he didn't hear.

He stayed awake half the night thinking about it, too. He was dead tired but it was in his head 'what the hell was that?', and it wouldn't leave. He finally crashed out some time after four. The rest of the guys were either sleeping on the sofa or still playing cards because they hadn't come back. The next day his eyes were red and he looked and felt hung over. Joey hugged him though, after he snapped at JC for drinking his soda and then he felt a little better.


"Dude," Chris bounced in the door of Lance's hotel room, a teenybopper mag clenched in his fist. "Lance, seriously, start squinting at the camera because you look like you're doing more crack than a crack-whore."

Lance, who was reading The Hobbit for the five billionth time, turned to glare at him. "Mr. Kirkpatrick, cease and desist. I know you're jealous of my manly charms but that's just immature." And then he started reading again.

"Jesus fuck, Lance," Justin wheezed when he'd stopped laughing. "How the hell do you do that?"

"Telling Chris off is pretty easy, Jujubee, but since we all know you want some of his manly charms, it's not going to happen." And Joey scruffed up Justin's curls in a way that meant 'no hard feelings.'

"As if," Justin snorted.

Lance said, "What is your deal with my eyes anyway, Chris?"

"They look like they're about to jump out of their sockets."

JC nodded sagely. "They really do, most times."

Lance frowned a little and Chris clapped his hands together sharply, saying, "Yeah, do it like that baby."

"Shut the hell up." He scowled and tried not to knit up his eyebrows but didn't really mean it. "I don't want wrinkles."

Joey grabbed Lance's face between his hands and stared hard for a minute. "I think it's his eyebrows," he said finally. "They're all arch-y and so his eyes look too big."

"Jesus, get off you guys. People like my eyes." And he flounced off the bed and over to the sofa because he hated the way his stomach lurched every time Joey stared at him. It just wasn't fucking cool to dig your best friend when you had to live with him like all the fucking time.

He could still hear the guys back in his room, Chris's voice loudly critiquing their spread in 'Seventeen' or whatever the hell it was. He knew Chris was just teasing. Sometimes, it hurt anyway, even when they were joking. JC swore that eventually he'd grow into his face but Lance wasn't sure he believed him. Chris had made fun of him about his baby fat too, until they were working out all the time and Lance could bench more than most of them because he was trying the hardest.

He sighed and looked back into his book. The words weren't making sense any more and his cheeks still felt tingly from where Joey's hands rested on them. Sometimes -- god -- sometimes he thought he was in love with the idea of Joey. The playa. And one day, Lance would catch him, tame him, and keep him. But then they'd go out at night and Joey would get ninety percent of the women and Lance would try not to cry in his rum and coke.

That was only when he was being totally honest with himself. It was happening more and more often. He wasn't sure if he ought to be happy with that or not. Joey was going to find out soon, he knew that much. Maybe Joey already knew. He looked down at his watch. Three AM. Somewhere, because Lance didn't think he'd adjusted for the time zone yet.

He went to the little refrigerator and pulled out one of Chris's microwavable burritos. They were nasty except in the middle of the night when he was too empty to get anything else. The city lights were glowing through the windows, a haze of fog shrouding the coast. He ate his burrito and walked to the window, staring vacantly out at where he thought the bay was.

"Hey babydoll."

Lance turned to see Joey walking across to him, barefoot in old baggy sweats. And why the fuck did Joey always have to call him sweet things? He had a hard enough time keeping his knees locked when Joey smacked him across the back of the head and called him 'dumbass.'

"You out here sulking?" He stepped up right behind Lance and set his chin on Lance's shoulder.

"Nah. Well, a little." Lance amended because Joey knew no matter what he said. "It's just... I like my eyes. They set me apart."

Joey squeezed him around the waist with one hand and ruffled his hair with the other. "I like them, too. Chris is just jealous because he's not pretty like you." He used his grip on Lance's waist to draw him backward onto the sofa. "Let's watch infomercials until we fall asleep, huh? Maybe there's the one with the choppy thing."

And Joey spread his legs, settling Lance firmly between his thighs. Lance dropped his head back to Joey's shoulder and they flipped through channels until they found something for the Bow-Flex. Joey made fun of the bad acting and ran his hand absently across the thin strip of skin on Lance's waist that his T-shirt didn't cover.

Sometimes, being in love with Joey was the best part of Lance's day.