Improv ficlet for weredonut.

partway down
by Lesa Soja

Lance is sitting on the stairs - some stairs - these stairs. Partway down and also partway up, a perfect spot. He leans against the railing and he can see all the heads in the hall below. Not Jessie's - Jessie went somewhere, he is somewhere else. Wendy also is somewhere else. Maybe the same somewhere. Lance smiles. He is fine. He feels fine.

He has a drink, his drink; also he has Wendy's drink, because she gave it to him to hold while she went somewhere. He is just keeping it for her. He is not drinking it. Except when his own glass gets to about the same level, and then he mixes them up, he can't remember which is which anymore. He drinks from one glass, and then worries that it's hers and he'll have drunk it all up before she gets back. Not good. So he drinks from the other one next, so both will have some left.

"Hey, Lance," someone says. Lance looks up, and there in front of him is Howie.

"Howie!" he says, nodding and grinning because Howie has found and recognized this excellent spot on the stairs. "Excellent," he adds, and pats the bit of carpet next to him.

Howie grins back and sits down. "Happy new year," he says. But Lance holds up a warning index finger:

"Not yet."

"Right, right," Howie says. "How you doin', man?"

"I'm good," Lance says decidedly. "I feel good. And you." There is something he was going to say to Howie. Or not just Howie, really - any of them he happened to see. Any of - "Backstreet," he says out loud, that's it. "Your new album. Terrific."

Howie laughs. "We still have to finish making it."

Lance waves this away. "You're making it. You happy about it?"

"I'm really psyched," Howie admits.

"So," Lance says, satisfied.

Howie glances down. He tucks some dark curls behind his ear, and a small smile plays over his lips. Lance sets one glass down so he can trace that shape with his thumb.

"Lance," Howie says, warm against Lance's skin. Lance presses his mouth there, too. "Lance," Howie says again. He's shaking his head, but he's smiling. "Not yet."

Lance looks up at the big clock on the far side of the hall. "At midnight," he surmises.

"At midnight," Howie agrees.

It's something to look forward to. Lance nods, and Howie slips an arm around his waist. "I can wait," Lance says, and he can. He's gotten good at waiting.