Improv ficlet for lisan.

had to
by Lesa Soja

"No, but seriously," Chris says. "If you had to."

"I do have tattoos, Chris," Lance says, and adds another magazine to the small stack he's carrying.

Chris rubs a hand across the back of his neck, where the sweat from the walk across the parking lot is now being chilled by the Stop'n'Go's air conditioning. "If you had to get another one, dumbass."

Lance raises an eyebrow without looking in Chris's direction. "Did JC ever call that guy from People back?" he asks.

"I don't think so." Lance lays the new issue back down on the rack, and Chris picks it up, flipping aimlessly through the pages. "Can I come over for the break?" he says suddenly.

"I'm gonna be in San Diego," Lance says. "Parade thing."

"Oh," Chris says, and then, "Hey - I thought you stopped with that shit. Now that we're touring again."

At that, Lance does look up. "We're not gonna be touring forever," he says kindly.

He's wearing thin linen pants and a close-cut T-shirt, and Chris can't see any of his tattoos. "If you had to get a new one," Chris says. "Somewhere you've never gotten one before."

"Are you getting that?" Lance says, gesturing at the magazine in Chris's hands. "Give it here, I'll pay for it with mine."

"No," Chris says, and shoves it onto a shelf. Lance shrugs and turns towards the checkout counter.

"You wanna come ride on my bus?" he asks over his shoulder while he's paying. "Joey's driving with Kelly and Bri tonight."

"Yeah, okay," Chris says, a little sulkily still. He picks up the seven-grain crackers and the bottles of iced tea Lance bought and follows him out the door.

The heat wraps over every inch of Chris's skin as soon as he steps outside. "I can't believe people live here," he says.

"It's surprising what people will put up with," Lance says.

Chris scowls.

On the bus, he throws the snacks down on the kitchen counter and sprawls across the couch. Lance sits down next to him and takes Chris's hand. For a moment he just holds it, thumb pressed across Chris's palm. Then he draws Chris's fingers high up under his own thigh where the linen is wrinkled and soft.

"Here," Lance says. "Right here."

The bus starts rolling. Lance's eyes flicker. Cool air hits Chris's face like a kiss.