DISCLAIMER: This is fiction. I don't know the Backstreet Boys, I am not one of them, and I don't know their sexuality. If you're under 18 or homophobic, leave now.
AUTHOR NOTE: Welcome! I've read half the boy bands archive, and although a good number of them manage to find a creative way for the boys and a fictional character to meet, the majority don't hold a knack for originality. This has been the most dominant obstacle for not writing in the boy band archive sooner. One day this just hit me. The award for being the most original goes to Scotty T., he's amazing. I am in no way a novice writer, but this is my first Nifty story. Don't expect sex, I doubt it will ever appear. I am sorry to disappoint anyone, but this is a story about emotion, loss, love, and identity, with a somewhat believable supernatural twist. I have never written anything so complicated before, it was and is a HUGE challenge, but I thrive on a good story, with good writing, and when I am able to meet my own standards I know I have accomplished something. So, with no further hesitations I reveal "The Body Switch with Nick Carter". My address is VillainNo1@aol.com and Email is welcome but never required. I tend to dismiss authors credibility that practically demand email/feedback and threaten to end a series if those demands are not met; their heart isn't in the writing. I don't presume to say it is ego, or the wish for fame or a following, but writing is an Art, and art needs no excuses and has no walls. It is created to give an artists soul a voice and to me it doesn't matter who is listening. Even if just one person reads and likes my work, that is enough. So please, even if there is just one fan, don't let them down.
"Winners forget they're in a race. They just love to run." - With Honors.
Tyler shut the door to his apartment so hard the entire floor shook, knowing his fury. He stomped into the bathroom, ignoring the shocked and frightened looks Ash was giving him. Tyler locked the door and faced the mirror. He tentatively touched his temple, flicking away the dried blood around the once open wound he acquired not too long ago that night. He pulled the strands of his hair away that matted into the gory mess. He was getting *very* sick of this routine.
His girlfriend's ex-boyfriend had been stalking them for weeks, the death threats did not stop, and the physical abuse was laid onto Tyler when convenient.
Ash apologized for Hunter's behavior whenever she could but could feel it wasn't going to do any good this time. She loved Tyler and didn't want to lose him, he was wonderful, maybe even perfect, but as the days passed, his resentment grew. He wouldn't' even look at her anymore. He feared if he did, she would see just how much he wanted her out of his life. But it was a fifty-fifty call. Tyler did love her, did want her, but she wasn't worth the extra baggage, a.k.a. Hunter. Only if life was easier, only if he had the life of someone protected, famous even... like-
"Tyler, open the door. Let me see, please? When you didn't show up at the restaurant I came over to see if, you know, things were okay." Ash cooed at the door gently rapping with a fingernail.
Tyler hated that too. The way she would look at him and talk to him like he was going to shatter. It made him feel like a child. He was 22 years old, and the last time he checked he wasn't incapable of dealing with negative emotion.
Tyler impatiently sighed through clenched teeth, and threw down the bloodied washcloth. "Go away Ash, you know what happened to me, and its not one damn bit different than the other twenty fucking times Hunter caught me on the way home. So please go the fuck home."
"Tyler! Don't treat me like that."
Yeah, that's Hunter's job, he thought venomously. "Then get a fucking restraining order already! Or let me do it! Do you like seeing this happen all the time?"
"No, of course not. But-" Ash was cut off immediately.
"Don't say it. DON"T say it." Tyler gripped the sides of the sink with inhuman strength and his involuntary shaking was loosening it from the grout in the wall.
"I CAN'T! He needs help Tyler, he doesn't need to be arrested."
"You are such a bitch, Ash. You and your twisted ethics, I'm sick of it. Hunter wants you? Good, he can have you!" Tyler heard a tiny gasp come from the other side of the door and his conscience and heart sank a little. But, just a little. Whether it was his pride, his impatience, or the pulsating wound on his face, there was no more room for her or her past in his life. Tyler let go of the molested sink and opened the door.
"Are you going to say you're sorry?" Ash was sitting on the bed looking away from him.
"No, I'm not. I was serious, Ash." Tyler walked to the closet, pulled off his fashionable black tweed trench coat, and hung it up. First thing tomorrow, it was getting a trip to the dry cleaners. Ash watched him and bit her lip when he turned around, giving her perfect view of the damage Hunter had managed this time.
"My sentiments exactly." He spat, seeing her reaction.
"Okay, Tyler listen, how about I go make a statement tomorrow, and get a restraining order." Tyler kicked around the idea for a second. "No. I am really sorry, but I want this bullshit to be over. Please just go, get out, go away, find someone else."
Ash made a whimpering sound and slowly stood. "Fine. I'm gone. I tried."
And she was gone. Tyler went to the kitchen, got a couple pieces of ice, and wrapped them in another washcloth. He stared out his front window over the city of New York pressing the soothing ice to the wound. Life didn't make any sense.
"I wish I was someone else. Anyone. Fuck it. I can't stand this life anymore. The hiding, the pretending, the media scrutiny... long hours, psychotic fans, god I can't do this. I would trade the fame for anything. A no-body, invisible, even homeless, I don't care. There is a world out there, a billion people with a life better the one I lead. They just don't' know it. Poor, lucky bastards."
A knock on the door echoed in the large lush Miami hotel room. "Nick? Are you still thinking? I can wait longer if you want me to, it's not a big deal-"
"No Brian, its okay, come in." The door opened slowly and Nick noted the small smile that Brian toyed with on his face. He was also slightly anxious.
"So..." Brian shyly put his hands in his pockets and glanced at the ground. "You um, decide?"
Nick smiled warmly. "I have."
"And your answer would be?" Brian's heart pounded with force.
"My answer would be, yes." Nick smiled a partially forced smile. "Yes, Brian. I'll marry you."
Tyler finished bandaging up his head and finished off his tea. Pulling off his watch, he sat back on the bed and glanced at the digital alarm clock. The time was currently going on 1am. Tyler set the alarm to rudely awaken him at 7am and laid back on the bed, too tired and lazy to pull down the covers.
"What I would give to trade places with someone else... anyone." Sleep waved its hand and Tyler gave a sweet kiss goodnight to his consciousness.
"He dumped me, Hunter." Sobs wracked the frail female body of Ash. "He just dumped me! He said you could have me again. But don't you dare get any ideas. I don't want you back, and I don't want you to call here anymore. I just want to be alone. So, do that okay. Leave me alone? Stop watching me and stop chasing me. Tyler is gone, out of my life. Leave him alone too." Ash hung up the phone, hoping both of the men in her life stayed away from her. It was a new beginning and it was starting now, even if she was alone.
"Goodnight Brian." Nick whispered into Brian's soft hair. "I love you."
"I love you too Nicky. Sweet dreams, beautiful."
Tyler's eyes opened at the onsets of dawn. His internal clock was automatically programmed for the time, and he wondered why he ever bothered with the alarm to begin with. It was still rather dark out, and immediately Tyler noticed three things. One, his head didn't hurt. Two, he was undressed and beneath the covers, and lastly, there was a body in the bed with him.
He thought back to the night before and rewound the events. Hunter had pummeled him while he waited to cross the street a block from his house, and then once he reached home he broke up with Ash. Tyler let a half smile tug at the corners of his mouth. Looks like she came back anyway, Tyler thought. But did he even want her back? Tyler sighed and decided to live in the moment. He reached over and gently pulled Ash towards him, noting she seemed much heavier than he remembered. But then again, he also remembered her having a soft, quiet, feminine voice.
"Nick? Go back to sleep, it's too early."
Tyler's heart ceased to beat for a full three seconds and all brain function came to a screeching halt. He lurched back in the bed, simultaneously throwing off the covers and knocking the sleeping form next to him onto the floor on the opposite side of the bed. He sat up and frantically felt for his bedside lamp, but it wasn't there. What was going on? His mind raced at light speed, with panic and pure adrenaline catching up fast.
The figure Tyler was backing away from had pulled himself off the floor and with angry grumbling he pulled on some boxers and flicked on a light. "What the hell Nick?" He snapped.
Tyler was paralyzed with fear and confusion. He was naked, with a man in the room with him, and he was in a place he had never seen before.
Brian's eyes flashed deep concern as he saw his fiancé standing there as if the fear of God was put into him, glancing around nervously at his surroundings like they were foreign to him. "Nick?" Brian used the most soothing voice he could conjure. His boyfriend looked like he was about to drop dead from fright, and when Brian spoke, those wide blue eyes locked onto him with no recognition mirrored there whatsoever. "Nick are you okay? What happened?"
Tyler's grasp of reality was taking some hold and he snatched the cover from the bed and frantically wrapped it around himself. He clutched the loose fabric to him and turned his stare at Brian again. "Where am I, and who are you? What do you want with me?"
Brian did a double take. "Nick what the fuck happened to you?"
"ANSWER ME!" Tyler screamed.
Brian's face contorted into mild fear and began talking. "Uh, you're in a hotel with me and the guys in Miami... and I'm... I'm Brian. You're boyfriend. I wouldn't do anything to you, I love you."
Tyler felt himself pale and his legs lose strength. "Miami? My boyfriend? What the FUCK is going on!"
Brian winced and took a couple steps back. "Nick, please calm down. Everything is going to be okay."
"Stop calling me Nick! My name is TYLER!" He yelled hysterically.
"What happened to me!" Tyler cried. "How did I get here! Oh god, what's happening."
"You're really scaring me." Brian whispered, feeling the urge to cry building inside him like a savage rainstorm.
"Me?" Tyler countered, "Me? I'm scaring YOU?" He tightly held the blankets to him and dashed over to the nearby bathroom. Brian started to move, but Tyler ran faster. "Stay away from me!" He screamed behind him.
Brian stopped his attempted chase. "Nick, PLEASE!"
"Shut up and stay away!" Tyler yelled, as the door was slammed closed and locked. He started to cry and rested his forehead against the back of the door. This was crazy. There had to be an explanation, ANY explanation, it didn't have to make sense. He was in New York City just a few hours ago. If this was a practical joke, no one was laughing, especially the guy in the other room. Who the hell was that anyway? Most of all, why did he keep calling him Nick, and saying he was his boyfriend? He shuddered involuntarily and tried to calm the heaving in his chest. His body ached and his head was spinning. This was crazy. Hunter couldn't have been behind this, it wasn't his style. Kidnapping him to Miami and rooming him with a gay man? Tyler took a huge deep breath and let it out slowly, rubbing his hands over his face and hair, and began feeling for the wound on his temple. But it wasn't found. Tyler's heart squeezed in reoccurring panic. His breath was being sucked from his lungs and his throat felt like it was closing. Tears stung his eyes and mixed with the salty sweat that formed all over his face. Shaking, he gathered up the blanket that was falling down around him and he made his way over to the wall-mounted mirror above the sink.
Brian jumped in surprise as his ears picked up the sound of someone knocking on his door. He curled one hand's fingers into a tight fist and clenched with a masochistic intent to fight back any tears. When he opened the door, he found his cousin and two friends AJ and Howie all in their bedclothes trying to hide their "what the fuck?" expressions.
"Bri? What the hell is going on in here?" Kevin asked incredulously, obviously hearing Nick's screaming antics about being someone named "Tyler."
Brian's nails dug into his flesh harder. "Guys, I really have no idea, I swear. I didn't do anything, he just woke up and started-" An ear-piercing scream emanated from the bathroom and shattered the sound waves, forcing Brian to stop his explanation in mid-sentence.
"OHMYGOD! OHMYGOD! OHMYGOD!" Thud. Silence.
The group of four quickly exchanged scared looks and ran to the bathroom, banging on the door, screaming for Nick to open up. AJ began digging in nearby drawers with intent to find a key for the lock, but wasn't very successful.
"Brian, get one of your credit cards, we can break in." Howie said, scrutinizing the lock. Brian ran to his luggage and found his wallet immediately. He dug out a credit card and passed it to Howie, who in turn began to carefully nudge it into the frame of the door. Minutes passed in agonizing slowness and the silence dominated the air as the guys held their breaths to give Howie the concentration he needed. Before long, a click stole the attention of the small crowd and Howie pulled open the door, letting it hit the wall behind it.
Brian pushed ahead of the guys and looked down at Nick's still prone body. There wasn't any blood anywhere, or pills. Nothing could show that Nick tried to kill himself. Brian looked at Kevin who was positioned next to him. "Guy's, I think he fainted."
AJ squeezed into the room, knelt by the body of his friend, and touched two fingers to Nick's neck. "He's breathing fine. Steady heartbeat. Bri might be right, Nick's just fainted." He looked up at the others for their approval.
"Help me get him back into bed, AJ." Brian said as he took hold of his lover's shoulders. AJ nodded and grabbed Nick's legs. The other two Backstreet Boy's got out of the way, watched Nick be laid down and wrapped in the large blanket that used to cover the hotel bed. "Do you think he's gonna be okay?" Brian said to no one in particular. Kevin chose to answer him.
"I don't know Brian. If all he did was faint, he should be fine. We can try to wake him up you know. Move aside a bit." Kevin scooted Brian a couple of feet away from Nick's side and he sat next to the boy on the bed. Kevin pushed Nick's famous thick blonde hair away from his sweaty forehead and felt the moist skin. There was no trace of a fever at all. He gently tapped Nick's left cheek to hopefully stir some life into him. "Nick? Come on, snap out of it, you're making us worried about you. Nicky?" Kevin softly talked to him as he tried to stimulate some response. He got thoughtful for a second and glanced over at his upset cousin. "Maybe you should kiss him Bri."
"Kev..." Brian made a sarcastic and exasperated face. "I doubt that would work, and something tells me it wouldn't be a good idea."
Brian's face crumbled into hurt and confusion and slid a few feet to sit next to Nick's upper torso at the head of the bed. He softly ran his fingers through Nick's hair over and over, savoring the contact. "I'm not sure what happened but, he woke up and started to freak out. He started asking who I was, and where he was, and saying that his name wasn't Nick, it was Tyler." The rest of the guys glanced uncomfortably at each other. This news was far from good. With every passing second they were being led to believe, something was definitely wrong with their baby brother. Brian continued. "When I told him who I was, that I was his boyfriend, he was registering nothing but shock. Guys, he acted like he never saw me before in his life." Kevin rubbed Brian's arm when he saw that he was now openly crying. "When I tried to get near him, that's when he took off for the bathroom and locked himself inside. Do you think that all the stress he has been dealing with has really taken a toll on him? I mean, this is a stretch but, what if he has multiple personalities?" Brian half expected his friends to burst out laughing at the thought of such a thing, but everyone wore a serious face, considering it as a possibility.
"This is..." AJ put his head in his hands and sat on the corner of the bed, unable to finish his thought. Howie sat down next to him and turned his attention to Brian.
"Bri, did anything at all strange happen in the past twenty four hours? I mean, aside from asking him to marry you."
Brian's hand stopped moving through Nick's hair and rested in one place. "Nothing that I can think of. I don't know. I wasn't with him for the whole twenty four hours though, I'm not really qualified to answer." He sniffed back the after effects of his crying spell and exhaled. "But, there is one thing. He was talking to himself on the balcony." All attention was sharply focused on Brian and he began to feel smothered. "Wait, I don't mean like that. He was just thinking out loud. Last night I went to check on him to see if he thought about the proposal enough. I walked into the room without knocking and he was on the balcony and he was... wishing that he was someone else." All eyebrows went up.
"Are you serious?" Howie questioned sincerely. "What did you say?"
"Nothing. I went back into the hallway and knocked, calling to him from outside. When I came back in he was, for lack of a better word, normal, and that's when he said yes."
"Poor Nicky." Kevin whispered. "Do you guys really think this life has gotten to him? Especially to a point, where he is wishing he was someone else? Or even worse, developed a multiple personality syndrome?" He was answered with shrugs and blank stares. They were all lost in their own thoughts; there wasn't time to consider Kevin's pondering. He felt the bed shift and looked up, to see Nick lightly tossing within his cocoon of blankets. All the guys noticed and Brian drew close to Nick's face, pushing his fingers through his hair again.
"Nicky? It's me, Brian. Open your eyes, we're all here." Nick groaned softly and his eyes fluttered beneath the lids.
"Ash? Ash is that you?" Nick mumbled borderline coherent. Brian was speechless.
"Brian, who the hell is Ash?" AJ asked in a harsh but hushed whisper.
"I have no idea." He answered in a bitter monotone. He sighed and lightly kissed Nick's forehead. "Nick? Wake up Nick, its Brian. Everything's okay now." Nick's eyes flashed open a couple times and he swallowed deeply.
"Ash?" He let his eyes adjust to the light and was face to face with four strange men who were crowded around him. Tyler was physically and mentally exhausted but found new strength. The guys sensed he was about to freak out and all dove in to hold him down, his arms trapped within the folds of the blankets. "LET ME GO!" He demanded, starting to cry with fear.
Kevin had to take control. "Nick! STOP! What is wrong with you? Don't you know us? STOP MOVING! PLEASE! We are not going to hurt you, Jesus Christ Nick we love you. It's me Kevin, and AJ, and Howie and Brian. God if any of us, at least recognize Brian, he's your fiancé Nick!"
Tyler stopped struggling and lay there, loathing his vulnerability. "Listen, I really don't know any of you. I'm not Nick, something's happened to me." His sobs clouded some of his speech but the guys were able to pick up all of it. They waited for him to continue. "My name is Tyler Ellis, I live in New York City. Last night I fell asleep in my own home and I woke up here. I know you think I'm this Nick person, but I'm telling you, I'm NOT Nick! I know, that I look like him, but really, I'm Tyler!"
Kevin sensed genuine fear in the person before him, Nick or Tyler, whoever. There was no way he could continue to be questioned in such a manner. "Hey guys, let go of him, let him sit up or something." They obeyed and Tyler pulled his arms from the tight folds and pushed himself back against the headboard, keeping his hands fisted with blanket, covering himself completely say for his head. "Okay um, Tyler? Is it? Why don't you tell us exactly everything you can remember about the past few hours?" The man-child before him slightly nodded in agreement and looked down, letting his eyes focus and blur at the closeness of the fabric that covered him.
"I don't know how I got here. Last night I was jumped by my ex-girlfriends ex-boyfriend." He revealed a tiny sheepish smile at the way he sounded. "I came home to my apartment and Ash was there, wanting to know why I was late to dinner that night. I was sick of being bashed by Hunter so I told her to get out, and we were over. I had a huge cut on the side of my face, and I cleaned it up before going to bed. Then I woke up here. After being scared and panicked I ran into the bathroom, and that's when-" A gush of tears and sobs exploded from his body out of nowhere. "That's when-" More. "That's when I saw myself. I'm not me. This is not my body!"
"Unfuckingbelievable." Howie muttered quietly, awestruck at what he had just witnessed come out of his friend's mouth.
"Listen, I KNOW how it sounds! But, but then it all made sense. I mean, it didn't make sense but it did. God Dammit. It's my mind, my soul, but this isn't my body." He sniffled profusely, feeling lost in this situation.
"Okay, you said you saw yourself in the mirror, and everything... made sense?" Kevin made a small attempt to keep the boy talking.
"Yes, but it's crazy! Last night, I was at wits end. I was looking over the city before I went to bed and I told myself that I wish I could trade my life away, that I wished I was someone else. Any life seemed better than mine." He wiped at the wetness at his face and put his head down on his knees, locking his hands behind his neck.
For the four other Backstreet Boys, time and space folded in on each other. Their breaths echoed in their ears like rolling thunder and if one could stop the reeling of their minds, they could feel the earth spinning on it's axis. Slowly they looked into each other's eyes, daring the other to be the first to speak. For Brian, it took tremendous effort to turn away from Kevin's stare, and looked at his friend Nick, renamed as Tyler. Deep inside it felt like denying his own religion to call Nick anything but his own given name and nicknames, but forced himself to find vocal power.
"Tyler?" Tyler looked up at Brian, the one who was supposedly engaged to this body he hosted. "God help me." He whispered. "You really aren't Nick." His voice broke on the last syllable and he forced himself to stare into the blue eyes in front of him. "You're body is the same, but you're eyes have changed, there is no Nick in them at all." Kevin observed the display in front of him and in turn, craned his neck slightly to look into the blue eyes that Brian got lost in hundreds of times. He couldn't see any difference however. Brian noticed. "Kev, this isn't Nick. Trust me. Somehow they managed to make too similar a wish around the same hour of night, and it's impossible but it's happened. They became each other." Brian saw Kevin's hand come to rest on his shoulder and it was given a squeeze.
"I believe you Bri. I believe Tyler too. Granted it holds such insanity, oh shit this is flat out crazy! But it has happened! Tyler, last night, Nick made the same wish, if that helps you at all with figuring this out." He turned to AJ and Howie, who were both still struck dumb by the original news from Nick's mouth. "You guys okay? What do you think about this?"
"I want to believe it Kev," AJ began. "But damn, we are talking about some supernatural or paranormal occurrences. I would sooner believe the theory of multiple personalities, but the bottom line is, one or the other, THAT is not Nick."
"I can prove it." Tyler whispered.
"Of course." Brian said, locking into Tyler's thought pattern. "We can call New York, your apartment. Logically, Nick is in your body... if that is even what happened." Brian trailed off while reached over to the opposite side of the bed and grabbed the phone, handing it to Tyler.
Tyler gave everyone a hesitant glance and picked up the receiver. He dialed his home phone number and listened for the ring, feeling his heart triple in pace for umpteenth time. That's the moment he realized that it wasn't his heart. It was Nick's heart. And there were Nick's eyes, Nick's brain, Tyler began to wonder if they had switched bodies, or switched minds. Technically it was either or. The more he was aware this wasn't his body, the more freaked out he began to be. He turned his attention to the phone at his ear and listened for the sounds of someone picking up. It rang once, twice, three times, four times, no answer yet. "Maybe he isn't awake." He mumbled, feeling foolish. He sighed and was about to put the phone down when a voice spoke into his ear. It wasn't recognized at all.
"Hello? This is the Ellis residence, may I ask who is calling?"
Tyler paled and looked at the men surrounding him. Their eyes were dripping with curiosity and interest. "Hi, um is Ni- I mean, Tyler Ellis there?" God he felt so strange talking about himself in the third person.
"Who is calling?" The voice asked cautiously.
"I'm Nick, a good friend of his. Who is this?"
"Hello, I'm Officer Hayes. Your friend Mr. Ellis had an accident, Nick." He paused during Tyler's shocked yelp of questioning. "Mr. Ellis is at the hospital, last night he was attacked and put into a coma."
"Oh God, I'm sorry but I really have to go now." Tyler said goodbye to the confused Officer and tried to hang up the phone through his shaking and tremors. He looked up at his audience and began to talk hurriedly, getting worked up all over again. "My body, my body is comatose. What am I going to do? How am I going to get back?"
"Whoa, what's going on Tyler, calm down, don't force yourself to talk, calm down first. Who did you talk to on the phone?" Kevin was beginning to think he was getting good at dealing with crises. Tyler gasped and made whimpering sounds into his hands before taking a deep breath and relay what he had just heard.
"It was a cop. He said I, Nick, whoever! My body was attacked last night and is in a coma."
"No fucking way." Howie gasped. "That's, what? How?"
Tyler suddenly grabbed the phone again and quickly dialed a number. "I'm going to find out what happened, I think I know already. I just need it proved." He reached over and pulled Howie across the bed. "You're listening to this with me, I am not Nick with some damn multiple personality shit." Howie shrugged at the others and pressed his ear against the back of the phone. The phone dialed and Ash's machine picked up. "Ash? Ash, pick up the phone! This is about Tyler!" It was answered immediately.
"Hello? Who is this?" Ash asked with a reserved voice.
"Ash, please don't ask that right now. What happened to Tyler? Please just tell me."
"Hunter found out about him dumping me, and broke into his house. He got into a fight with Tyler and smashed his head into a doorway really hard. Tyler has been in a coma all night with head trauma." Howie was communicating with his eyes and facial expressions to the other guys, telling them that Tyler was telling the truth. Ash and Hunter did exist, and his body was very much comatose. "Who is this anyway?"
"God Ash, if I told you, you wouldn't believe me. Why aren't you at the hospital?"
"Why wouldn't I believe you? Who ARE you? And I'm not at the hospital because they said it didn't look good and he might not wake up. They said I might as well go home and they would call if there was any news."
"Oh my god. God, god god. All right, I know you're going to have a hell of a time with this, but you wanted to know who I am. Ash, this IS Tyler. Before you say anything, listen to me. Last night, after- after I dumped you, I cleaned up and went to bed. Before I fell asleep I..." Tyler dug his teeth into his soft bottom lip, unable to believe this himself, and HE was LIVING it. "I kind of made this sort of wish, about how I wished I was someone else, because I wasn't happy with my life."
"Wait a minute. What are you trying to say?" She was just as confused as the rest of the guys.
"I'm saying that I'M Tyler, I'm in Miami, in a different body. My body is up there in New York, but that's NOT me inside, it's someone named Nick. Nick is the guy I switched bodies with. I'm here with his friends and apparently, they said Nick made a similar wish last night as well, and by some supernatural force, it came true. Ash, PLEASE believe me, ask me anything! Shit, check this phone calls records, I'm calling from a hotel in Miami."
"This is crazy. You're claiming to be Tyler in another body? Are you fucking serious?"
"I said ask me anything! I'm telling you the truth! Call it anything you want, but I swear I have been switched with another guy." Howie pulled Brian over and had him listen to the conversation in his place. He then pulled Kevin and AJ to the other side of the room and began to tell them what he heard on the phone.
"Okay, let me think. Something that only you and me- er well, Tyler and me would know." She paused, searching her brain for some obscure miscellaneous fact that had happened in their relationship. "Okay I got it. What is the first thing I ever said to you."
Tyler half smiled. He knew this. He was pushing through a crowded café with a friend of his and ended up spilling a full, steaming glass of Irish Crème cappuccino all over the flowing skirts of Ash's white dress. "Asshole. You called me an asshole for spilling cappuccino on you. You were with your mother and she was telling you about wanting to divorce your father." Brian backed away from the phone and stared at his lover with the changed eyes. Howie snapped his fingers to get his attention and motioned for Brian to go over to them, most likely to share what he had just heard.
"Tyler? No, this is impossible! I have to ask something else. If you really are Tyler you know how much proof I need for things."
"Again, ask me anything Ash." Tyler caught Brian's pained stare, watching the loss register in his face. His boyfriend, fiancé, was in a coma on the other side of the country, but yet he was sitting less than one foot away from his body. He mouthed a truly sincere "I'm sorry" to Brian and listened to Ash's second question.
"Umm, shit. Where did I get my computer?"
"You won it three years ago in an art contest, April twenty fifth, in nineteen ninety seven."
"Where do I always sit at the Movie Theater?"
"Fourth row center."
"Do your favorite quote from 'The Lost Boys'."
Tyler suppressed a laugh. "You're a vampire Mike! I can't believe this! My own brother, a goddamn shitsucking vampire! You wait until mom finds out!" Ash's voice grew silent as she absorbed everything. "It's me Ash. I don't have any more answers than you do." He felt he was being watched, and saw the rest of the room was looking at him with a completely lost and hopeless aura surrounding them.
"Tyler? Holy shit, this is SO impossible. First we break up, then I think you're going to die, and now I'm being forced to believe in... in... whatever the hell happened to you. Maybe it's a miracle Tyler. You were saved from Hunter."
"No Ash, it wasn't a miracle. I may be fine, but the other guy, Nick, he didn't do anything, he was completely innocent and he is in my body in a coma. Where is Hunter anyway?"
"After he called me to tell me what he had done I turned him into the police. He is in their custody and being charged with attempted murder. Tyler, what are you going to do?"
"No idea. I can't stay here, but I can't go home. What AM I going to do? No one else would believe this! I can't resume my former life in this body! I can't even switch back! FUCK I can't live like this! Nick has his own family, his own friends. I won't parade as him, and if I tell them the truth, AHHH!"
A distracting cough was heard from the corner where the guys were. "Tyler. I think you need to be told something." AJ mumbled.
Tyler pursed his lips together and decided to end the talk with Ash. She couldn't do anything for him except be there, and her job, for now, was done. "Ash, I better go, I'll probably call you later if any brilliant ideas come to me okay? I have to talk with Nick's friends, plus I'm beyond exhausted."
"I understand. I hope something comes up soon. Be careful and good luck, Tyler. Hopefully there will be a way to fix this."
"I know what you mean. Goodbye Ash." Tyler hung up the phone and put it away from him on Brian's side of the bed. "All right guys. What's up with those looks?" Everyone, except for Brian, was giving Tyler a cryptic look, as if they were holding back the punch line to a serious joke.
Kevin looked at the guys and no one looked like they were prepared to tell him what he obviously hadn't noticed yet. He took their silence as a go ahead and spoke. "Do you have any idea who we are?" Tyler took the defensive.
"Did we not just cover this? I have no fucking clue."
"Don't get upset. It's just, talking to Ash about going home? This is fucked up as it is, but Tyler, prepare for this problem to triple in size, not only for you, but ALL of us. You can't leave, for many reasons. See Nick was a part of us, and um, we... God it's so much easier to deal with recognition sometimes than have to explain to someone our fame. Tyler, the body you are in belongs to Nick Carter, of the Backstreet Boys."
"Holyfuckingshit." Tyler remembered his face from the bathroom mirror. The blonde hair, the bright blue eyes, the tall build- it was all distantly familiar in a way, and he began to flashback to the poster Ash had on her wall from when the band first came out. He let his eyes scan over the faces of the boys. "Brian, AJ, Kevin, Howie... Nick. It never even occurred to me. And you're right. This fucks up everything ten folds. Now I understand everything."
"What do you mean?" Howie asked.
"Well first of all, the hotel. Five guys in a Miami hotel, all sharing different rooms? That had been bugging me in the back of my mind. That makes sense now. But I was really referring to what you told me about Nick making the same wish as me. The fame, and having to hide his relationship with Brian? Then he gets a marriage proposal and has to hide THAT as well, and being only 20... Its just now I know why he made the wish. But, back to what we were talking about. I can't leave because of course, I am bound by contract to be in the band, and if I did leave, it would be the end of you all, and plus there is his entire family to explain my leaving to New York. But hear me out, what are we going to do? And I mean ALL of us, about EVERYTHING. Guys, Nick is in MY body a couple THOUSAND miles away, and Ash told me on the phone that the doctors sent her home after saying that staying there was pointless because they think he isn't going to make it. Nick is DYING. My body is DYING! We are ALL fucked here!"
The guys were pin-drop silent. Brian hadn't said anything since Howie beckoned him into the corner. He was sitting cross-legged on the floor with the others, staring out the sliding glass doors of the room's balcony and was stone still except for a thick trail of tear tracks pooling towards the bottom of his chin. Tyler looked down and wished he hadn't started yelling about Nick's doomed situation.
"I'm sorry." He said. The bowed heads raised at his words and he just shook his head. "I'm sorry. This involves more people than I ever imagined possible. It is the epitome of overwhelming. I don't mean to keep talking but I need to figure this out for myself, for the sake of my sanity, and to find answers. Even if Nick was okay, there is no way to reverse things. I don't think wishes accept take backs. But Nick isn't okay. If my body dies with him inside, he is going to die as well. What are we going to tell his family? I don't want to lie to anyone, but its ludicrous to try and convince people of the truth, and I don't want to be stored away in a lab with people pulling cut straws on whether they should dissect my brain. No, Nick's brain."
"Since when did you endorse reason? You were halfway to hysterical not half an hour ago." AJ said benevolently.
"I don't know. Honestly, I think it might be a form of shock, or maybe acceptance. But I have calmed down enough to know my pain doesn't compare to yours. I'm trying to help you. I don't want to be in a coma, I especially don't want to die, but metaphorically, I AM dead. My life is gone, and with every passing minute of being in Nick's body, I feel it trying to fit me inside, reshaping my identity. You have no idea what it's like to be on this end of things, but with Nick unable to be here, I feel like I carry the blame, and I'm trying to tell myself I didn't even do anything! But the "what ifs" keep coming and I can't help but think I'm paying the price for not being thankful for what I had."
"Tyler it's not your fault. I know if Nick was here, he would confirm that as well." Four heads and eight eyes zeroed in on Brian, whose voice was losing tone from the silent crying.
"Brian please don't try to help me, not now. I wouldn't even be so arrogant to assume anything about what you must be feeling right now." Tyler spoke his words slowly with building helplessness. He wondered if there was anything, anyone could do for him to help his suffering, without having to turn back time or wave a wand.
"No, it's okay. The hardest thing to deal with right now is the denial. To sit here, looking at you, looking at my Nick, but yet knowing he's not you, and he might die alone in another body miles away, is staggering." His throat was pinching with the lack of moisture and holding back the physical attributes crying produced. Speaking was becoming increasingly difficult. "I want to say, Nick isn't dying, look he's right there across the room. The tricks a mind can play, it's cruel. I love him so much, and I have NO power to save him. Nothing."
Kevin hefted himself off the floor and removed a bottle of water from the complimentary drinks in the mini-fridge. "Here cuz, you need this." Brian took it and polished off half the 20oz before he took another breath.
"Thank you, Kevin. Tyler is right though, he is losing his life too. I think we should go to New York and see what we can do at the hospital, at least that would be something, we can't just sit here."
"What are we going to do though? What are we going to tell everyone? Family, the fan's, media, our last concert is tomorrow night. Nick isn't Nick- he can't perform! Tyler doesn't know the dances or the routine, the layouts, he cant just BS through it. Don't get the wrong idea guy's, I'm not even INSINUATING I care about all this Backstreet Boy career shit over Nicky, I'm just stating things, and these are problems too. Nick's life comes first of course, but there is a bigger picture, we need an excuse for this until we can fix it, people are going to want explanations." AJ hoped his friends would understand what he was getting at.
"No it's okay AJ. You're right. We do need an excuse." Kevin absently scratched through his goatee, thinking up a storm.
"This is so big. Can we even handle this by ourselves? Do you think we should try to get help?" Howie was humbled by the weight of the situation. They had no experience in dealing with such tragedy, and he was modest enough to admit it.
"But who?" AJ asked. "Even if we did find someone who has dealt with paranormal findings, how can we trust them? And we can't let management in on it."
Howie sighed and looked at the thinking Kevin. "Any bright ideas yet, Kev?"
The oldest Backstreet Boy slightly shook his head. "No."
"Amnesia." Brian whispered. "It's the only thing we can plausibly get away with. It explains why he wouldn't remember about being a Backstreet Boy, or remember any of his family. We have to run with that until we get Nick back... if we get Nick back." The guys nodded.
"Hey that will really work." AJ conceded. "We have to cancel tomorrow night and say we have to make an emergency trip to New York because an old friend of Nick's is in a coma. While we're there, we can set off the amnesia act. Tyler, are you willing to do this?"
The blue eyes that held Tyler prisoner blinked and clamped shut. "I don't have much of a choice, but yes I'll help out, willingly." He opened his eyes and gave a tiny smile. "I don't love the idea of having to do an Oscar winning performance for the people close to Nick, but I won't be come a lab rat and as crazy as it sounds, I want my body back."
Kevin stood and moaned as he stretched his aching sleepy muscles. He ran a hand through his hair and scratched behind his ear. "What do we do now. Do you want to put things into action now, or do you want to get a few more hours of sleep, or what? It's your call." He said to his band mates. A yawn possessed him and it ran its course as the others stood with him.
"I am giving the word tired a new definition." Tyler droned. "Please agree with me, I need energy for later. At least give me just a couple hours, I need it."
The others either felt sorry for him or felt the same, because they all agreed to fit in a couple more hours of sleep, to wake up at 11am.
It was nearing eight o'clock and the sun was shining into the glass doors of the hotel room. The orange Florida sunlight mixed with the pinks and pastels of the room and gave it a calming look. Kevin, AJ and Howie gave condolences, regrets and apologies to Tyler, and said they would set up the wake up call. With a final nod of his head, Howie closed the door to room 1017, leaving Tyler and Brian alone.
Brian forcefully ground his fists into his eye sockets, rubbing and itching away the tears, stress, and lack of sleep, then walked to the blinds on the double doors, closing off the sunlight. He turned towards Tyler and reluctantly looked up. "I don't know what I'm going to do. I'm losing my best friend and my boyfriend- who I was engaged to for what, seven hours?" He sat on the bed and sighed.
"I'm so sorry. I don't know what else to say. If I could I would change everything back." Tyler shifted on the bed, untangling the blankets somewhat, so he could freely move his legs. Brian looked more alone in that moment than Tyler himself had ever felt in his entire life. He pushed over closer to Brian and laid a hand on his shoulder to offer some comfort. Brian tensed and immediately began trembling.
"Please Tyler, don't touch me." He whimpered. "It's just a giant reminder of this fucked up reality. You own the body and the face that held the man I fell in love with. I know nothing about your personal and social convictions but I have been with Nick for so many years. I can't even remember the last time I had to sleep without holding him."
Tyler obeyed Brian's request and removed his hand. "Sorry. I didn't realize."
"Do you want to know the last thing we said to each other?" Brian was crying again and Tyler's heart sank.
"What was it?" He questioned gently.
"We told each other 'I love you'. How perfect is that. It isn't fair."
"I don't think anything in life is fair, I don't think it's supposed to. I always thought that, well, shit happens. Like a slot machine. Sometimes you win, sometimes you don't. It's no ones fault, no one can control it."
Brian sniffled and turned to face Tyler. He sighed and lay back on the bed, wiping away the drying tears. "So am I correct in assuming you don't believe in fate?"
"Yes. People throw fate around like they're trying to be deep and spiritual but its like they're lying to themselves."
"Agreed. I refuse to think Nick's fate was to be transported to a dying body. He was supposed to be with me." Brian's drying eyes shot towards Tyler. "Don't apologize again."
"Fine. How about I ask for some clothes instead?" He said, gesturing to his blanket-covered body.
"Oh, yeah. Um, Nick's luggage is under the bed, right by you." Brian mumbled.
"Thanks." Tyler leaned over, trying not to fall off the bed and felt around. His fingers brushed past a handle and he pulled out a large black suitcase. He felt stupid hanging off the edge of the bed but he was too tired to climb off and back on again. Unzipping the suitcase, he found all Nick's white T-shirt undershirts and boxers in the top compartment and pulled out one of each. After shoving the suitcase under the bed again, Tyler sat up and tugged on the shirt, and after a bit of under-the-cover acrobatics, pulled on the boxers as well. He self-consciously glanced over at Brian, who wasn't looking at him. He was rolled over on his side, still and silent. "Brian?" He whispered. There was no answer.
Tyler grabbed the two corners of the large bedspread and flung it out over the mattress. It sailed into the air and the folds and ruffles fluttered as it landed close to its original position, before Tyler had torn it off the bed and used it as make-shift pink floral toga. He sighed and looked at Brian again, only able to see his back. He felt so sorry for him. Tyler honestly considered that Brian was going to suffer more than anyone by the time this was over. He leaned over to Brian and pulled the thick blankets up to the sleeping mans neck, making a small attempt to tuck him in. It was the least he could do. Brian stirred as he withdrew his hand and mumbled a single word.
Tyler felt Nick's heart clench. He was wrong. There WAS one thing he could do. Smiling half-heartedly, he leaned in close to Brian's ear. "Goodnight Brian," He whispered with Nick's voice. "I love you."