Note:This part starts exactly at the point where we left the story in part 3. You still remember? Lance and JC talking, then Justin alone in his and JC's room, watching MTV. We'll continue from there.
Dedication: Should I just leave an empty space here? Everybody knows that it's dedicated to Ben.
Disclaimer: My lawyer told me not to give any information away as long as the procedure isn't closed, so all I can say is that I don't own any member of 'N Sync, not yet. They still own themselves, but I will try to change that. Now, do I know them? Sorry, but I won't say anything I didn't talk through with my lawyer first. (I'm watching The Firm right now, and I guess it's rubbing off a little...)
Just To Be With You...
...is giving me the best day of my life...
Dido, Thank You
There've been changes beyond my dreams
Everybody wants me to sing
There've been changes beyond my grasp
Things I'm sinking in
Heather Nova, London Rain
The hushed voices of Lance and JC out in the corridor caused Justin to jump in surprise. It didn't even take him two seconds to turn off the TV and hop into bed, drawing the blanket around him. When JC entered the room, Justin appeared to be fast asleep, so the dark-haired man didn't turn on the lights, knowing that the other needed his sleep badly. However, the moment JC took a closer look at his friend's seemingly asleep figure, he realized that Justin was everything - but definitely not asleep.
"Just? Why aren't you sleeping? You know that you need your sleep!"
The younger one turned around, yawning and suddenly feeling very tired. "I couldn't, Josh. I tried, really!"
Moments like these were when Justin reminded JC most of a little boy who needed his protection. Justin felt the bed move, then JC was sitting next to him, stroking his curls. "If there's anything you want to talk about, then I'm here for you, Just. You know that, don't you? No matter what it is, I'll be there for you."
"I know, it's just... Sometimes it all gets too much for me."
"I think everyone of us feels like that from time to time. But I'm here, okay?"
"Hey, Josh? Could you sing me something?"
JC was surprised, to put it mildly. The last time Justin had asked him to sing him to sleep was about three years ago. He wondered if he had underestimated what Justin was going through. Was something else bothering the young man, had he been wrong with his assumption that it was just the stress of the tour and the constant pressure lasting on the assigned heartthrob of the group that had finally gotten to Justin? He didn't like the thought that Justin wasn't able to talk to him if there really was something important enough to keep the curly-head up at night. Maybe it was time for a talk with Britney, she usually knew almost as much about Justin as JC did, it was possible that Justin had told her something.
"Josh? You still with me?" The far-away look in his older friend's eyes scared Justin. Had he gone too far asking JC to sing? He didn't intend to ask him, it was a sudden impulse, just because he had felt the need to hear JC's soothing voice sing something for him, and just him. The temptation to slap himself was overwhelming, but he couldn't do that in front of his friend. Lately, Justin was really starting to lose control over his actions whenever JC was concerned, and he certainly didn't like it. Was JC suspicious?
JC snapped out of his trance and gave Justin a tired smile. "Sorry, I was just remembering the last time you made me sing. You were really homesick back then. Did I ever tell you that you're really mature now, Just? I know it wasn't easy for you, growing up in this business, but you managed it very well."
Even without the light turned on, the room suddenly seemed a lot brighter because of the tooth paste-advertisement-like smile that covered Justin's face now. Before JC had the time to react, Justin had pulled himself up to a sitting position and was hugging the other man tightly, a hug that was almost instantly returned. Both knowing that they had to, but neither of them wanting to let go, they stayed in that position for as long as they dared to without being too obvious, then separated and smiled at each other before Justin lay down again.
"Now, what do you want me to sing for you?"
"You're actually going to do this for me?"
JC looked confused. "Of course. Why not?"
Justin breathed a sigh of relief: It was crystal clear that JC didn't have a clue of how his friend was really feeling towards him. "I don't know. I just thought I kinda embarrassed myself, asking you to sing me to sleep like a baby."
Well, you could be my baby... "Nah, that's fine. But if you don't tell me what you want me to sing within the next ten seconds, I'll disappear in direction of the bathroom."
"God Must Have Spent."
"What? You don't mean it, do you?"
"I do. I just saw the video, and now I want to hear you sing it, without all the computer-made background music and the rest of us. Just you."
"Why? You want to prove that in reality, I'm a horrible singer?"
Justin laughed. "As if. If I wanted to prove something, then it has to be that your voice sounds even better a cappella."
"And you really want to hear God Must Have Spent?" JC had to ask once again.
"Yup. What's so wrong about that?"
JC shrugged. "Nothing. I just remember you saying that the song was totally mushy."
"It is. But I still want you to sing it."
"Well, if you're sure..."
"I am." Justin cut him off quickly. "Now sing!"
"Yes, Sir. Anything else I could do for you, Sir?"
"Just shut up and sing."
"Um, Just? That isn't going to work very well together..."
"You don't want to sing for me."
Justin pouted, and JC was having troubles restraining himself from leaning down and kiss the pouting lips of his friend. He took a deep breath to calm his hormones, closed his eyes and started the song, not aware of Justin's eyes that stayed glued to his face the whole time.
When JC was finished, he remained motionless for a moment, then opened his eyes to find Justin staring at him. A self-conscious grin spread over his face. "Too mushy?"
The younger one shook his head. "Mushy? Yes. But not too much."
"So, do you prefer the studio or the a cappella version?"
What do you think which one I prefer, Josh? Is it option A, the 'Oh yeah, buy this song! Buy this video! Buy this CD!'-version, or is it option B, the 'My best friend and secret love of my life sings a mushy love song to me'-version? Hard to choose, eh, Josh? "The second one, of course."
JC couldn't resist the urge to ruffle Justin's hair affectionately, and after having done this, he got up and went over to his suitcase, searching for his toothbrush.
"What are you searching?" Justin asked, propped up on one elbow to have a better view over the room.
"My toothbrush. We both need our sleep, Just. Especially you."
"I stumbled over your toilet bag when I put your shirt back in your suitcase, so I already took it to the bathroom."
"Huh?" the brunette asked, not getting what his friend was trying to tell him.
"Your toothbrush." Justin explained with a smile. "It was in your toilet bag. Which I already took to the bathroom."
"Oh. Thanks." JC came to his feet and headed towards the bathroom, but turned around one last time before closing the door behind him. "If you're not asleep until I'm out, I'm mad at you. I don't want you to exhaust yourself." I know a better way to exhaust you, though...
Once again, Justin yawned. "Yes, Big Daddy, and a good night to you, too. Oh, and Josh? Thanks."
A warm smile appeared on the older man's face. "No problem, Just. You know I'd do anything for you." When he heard the sound of even breathing coming from the bed, JC had to smile once again, knowing that his best friend had missed his answer because he had already been fast asleep. Finally.
And when somebody knows you well
Well there's no comfort like that
And when somebody needs you
Well there's no drug like that
So keep me, keep me
In your bed all day, all day
Nothing heals me like you do
Heather Nova, London Rain
As always, JC's first look after waking up was directed at Justin. This morning, he didn't like what he saw: During the night, Justin had somehow kicked off his sheets and was now lying on his stomach, one hand draped around his pillow, the other one was clenched to a fist, half hidden under his body which was covered in sweat although it wasn't hot in the room.
Carefully, JC swung his feet over the edge of his bed and silently walked over to where the younger man was lying, getting down on his knees to have a better look at his face. Justin's eyes were closed tightly, a frown covering his usually smiling face, and there were droplets of sweat covering his forehead. Even without touching him, JC could feel the heat radiating from his body, and when he pressed a hand against the forehead of the sleeping man, he felt as if he had been burned. There was no doubt about the fact that his lack of sleep had finally caught up with Justin and that this was his body's way to tell him to take a break. And JC intended to let him have that break.
A few minutes later, he hung up the phone, silently thanking Lance for relieving him of calling Chris and Joey. The Mississippian hadn't even needed any explanations: As soon as JC had told him that Justin was sick, Lance had automatically assumed that the dark-haired man would stay with the youngest of the group and therefore wouldn't attend the interview they had scheduled for today. MTV wouldn't be pleased to have only 3/5 of 'N Sync to grill about their private life, but they would just have to deal with it. After promising that Lance would come to their room after breakfast, bringing Joey, Chris and - most importantly - some food for JC along, they ended their conversation.
JC made a short excursion to the bathroom to get a wet washcloth which he placed on his best friend's forehead after adjusting his covers. A mournful expression on his face, he sat down next to the younger man, soothingly stroking the curls, lost in thoughts.
What is it, Just? What is it that keeps you up at night, and why don't you want to talk to me about it? I just hope it's not something I've done. Did you find out about my feelings for you? No, I don't think you did, or else you wouldn't have asked me to sing you to sleep last night. There has to be something else. I just wish you could talk to me, because whatever is bothering you, I'm sure you would feel better after letting it out.
But maybe you already did, maybe Brit knows something. But if she does, then she won't tell me. Well, I'll call her anyway, at least to let her know that Just's sick, and if she knows, then maybe she can tell me how I can make it all better for him, even without telling me his secret. And if she doesn't know anything, then I guess it's time to be really, and I mean really, worried about you, Just. You always talked to someone, you're one of those people who need to hear another person's opinion. Not because you're weak, but you were always able to see clearer after explaining your problem. It made you think it through. And if you didn't talk to anyone about this, then it's a bad sign, because you didn't reflect it objectively.
The curly-head stirred and opened his eyes a bit, then groaned and touched his head. Becoming aware of JC sitting on his bed and watching him intently, he sat up, still holding his head. "Josh? I feel like..."
"I know." The older one laid a comforting hand on his shoulder, signaling him to lie down again. "I already called Lance to settle everything. You'll stay here to recover, and I'll stay with you, in case you need anything."
"Isn't there an interview with MTV scheduled for today?"
JC shrugged. "There is. But you health is more important, so MTV will have to do the interview only with Joey, Chris and Lance."
"I guess that's fair. They pissed me off yesterday, so it's only fair that they have to do the interview without the sexiest 'N Syncer today."
Although he secretly agreed, JC's answer was accompanied by a raised eyebrow. "Well, at least your ego's still alive and kicking."
I was talking about you, silly. Instead of voicing his thought, Justin offered a smirk and sank back on the mattress, shifting a little to find a more comfortable position, then closing his eyes tiredly. Speaking of fairness: A whole day with you, and I can't enjoy it because my head hurts like hell. Now, that's unfair.
JC's voice jerked him out of his half-asleep state, and he opened one eye to find the dark-haired man bent over him. Within kissing distance.
"Hmm?" Silently screaming at himself to get a grip, he asked JC to repeat whatever he had been saying.
"Do you want to eat something for breakfast? I could call the guys to bring something along for you."
Justin shook his head, still mesmerized by the fact that JC's face was floating only a few inches above his own. Then a thought struck him. "Josh? What about you? Did you already eat something? I don't want you to miss breakfast because of me."
The older one shook his head. "Just, I am the one who's worried here. You're sick, remember? So you're not allowed to worry about me, got that?"
Tiredly, Justin nodded. "Okay, I'll try to remember that. Now, did you eat something?"
"That question was against the rules, I just told you that you aren't allowed to worry about anyone besides yourself today. But, just for the record: The guys will drop in later, and they wanted to bring something along for me."
"Good." Satisfied, Justin closed his eyes, and in a matter of minutes, he was fast asleep.
Fourth part, and already the second time that I used the lyrics to a Heather Nova song. What do I have to say to defend myself? It just fits the story so well. Anything else? Nope, I don't think so.