Thanks to Cecilia and Helen for the bunny (though I'm not sure this is how they meant for it to turn out, yo).

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by Lesa Soja
 

JC and Lance and Chris were definitely more affectionate than Joey and Justin. Not that the two of them were exactly hands-off, but the others seemed freer of their touches somehow, as if they barely even noticed the hand stroking a back, the lips brushing a cheek, the knees pressed close together.

Joey thought that maybe if you were already used to kissing ("and other stuff," Justin said) in front of someone else, you could get to be almost unconscious of little things like that. It seemed nice to him. Like, it would be nice just to hold hands, for instance, without having to think as long and hard as Justin usually did about what time of day it was and who all was in the room.

Or to do that, Joey thought again, watching JC stretch out on the couch with his head in Chris's lap and his feet in Lance's. Lance put down his glass without looking away from the TV and began sweeping his thumb across the arch of JC's right foot, while Chris's fingers tangled in JC's hair. Joey looked a moment longer and then made himself turn back to his magazine.

Sometimes, if he was honest with himself, he had to acknowledge a fleeting desire to be in their relationship instead of his own.

Justin had just never been the demonstrative type. Even back when his mom had been around all the time, he never gave her a hug without being told to, and he submitted to her goodnight kisses gracelessly, kicking a foot at the floor while she pecked him on the forehead. That was normal for a teenage guy with his mom, though. Joey had kind of assumed that Justin would be different with him, after the day when he came in and said, "Joey, um. I've been - I mean. I - do you - maybe - Would you ever wanna - Oh, fuck."

"Would I wanna fuck?" Joey said, laughing, and Justin turned wide eyes on him.

"Justin," Joey said, and maybe he'd been slow on the uptake, maybe he hadn't really thought about it before, but with Justin's ribs quivering under his hand, it was suddenly all he could think about. Justin's cool skin, his long fingers, his quick breath. Justin. Joey wanted that all the time, now, and he couldn't understand why Justin kept sitting down in the beanbag when Joey was on the couch and didn't start kissing him until the door was all the way closed.

"Joey, c'mon," Justin said, twisting away from him in the kitchenette, and Joey spent a lot of time staring at his own hands until Justin came to his room two nights later and tugged Joey down on top of him.

Justin kept on wanting to hang out together, though, and he was never unenthusiastic about actual sex, so eventually Joey came to the conclusion that Justin just wasn't a touchy kind of person. Still, it made him really notice when JC started cuddling up to Lance.

Lance might be sitting at the table, for example, and JC would come up behind him and drape himself against Lance's back, peering over his shoulder at the papers spread out in front of him, and rubbing the buzz-cut ends of hair just above Lance's nape. Or if Lance was sitting on the couch, JC would come sit on the floor in front of him, pushing in between Lance's knees and resting his head against the inside of Lance's thigh.

So that's how it is, Joey thought. He didn't bother saying anything to anyone, because, after all, it was there for anyone to see, the way JC was always hanging off Lance.

After a little while he became glad he hadn't said anything, because he began noticing that JC was exactly the same way with Chris. He saw JC more than once sleeping in an unperturbed curl around Chris's back while Chris pounded at the PlayStation controller, or running his fingers down Chris's arm during meetings while they were waiting for Johnny to get off the phone. So then Joey figured that was just the way JC was. And in fact, he even sometimes saw Chris sitting with one leg thrown across Lance's while they were watching TV. Joey shrugged to himself.

Then he went into the sitting room of their hotel suite and saw Lance sprawled in the corner of the couch with JC kneeling over him, head bent to Lance's cock, and Chris holding JC's hips to his with both hands, grinning at Lance over JC's back.

So that's how it is, Joey thought.

"What's'a matter with you?" Justin asked when he found Joey standing in the hallway.

"They, um," Joey said. "Did you know they were doing it? C and Lance, and, uh, Chris?"

Justin snorted. "Yeah, I know," he said. "They made sure everyone knows." He looked at Joey. "Aw, what, you jealous, or somethin'?"

"No," Joey said, because they weren't the one he wanted, because Justin's mouth was opening into a grin and he was turning away towards his own door and looking just briefly, just quickly over his shoulder to make sure Joey was following him. Justin kissed him on the neck and on the mouth and on the stomach and high up on his thigh, and Joey couldn't remember what else he'd thought he was missing.

He certainly wasn't jealous of the hours JC spent staring disconsolately out the bus window, or of the way Lance's eyes followed Chris's hand down JC's leg, or of the doors he could hear slamming from two rooms away. He raised his head anxiously off the pillow to listen, but that seemed to be all for the night, so he lay back down and tightened his arms around Justin.

Justin reached up and brushed his fingers across Joey's chin. "Go 'sleep," he murmured.

Joey kissed the top of Justin's head. "Yeah," he whispered.

Even so, it was a little weird when he and Justin pulled up in front of the hotel and saw the other car already sitting there, the driver waiting patiently for the guys to get out. Justin went and knocked on the window until Lance rolled it down, his hair going every which way.

"What?" Lance said.

"Get a room, y'all," Justin said goodnaturedly, and eventually they all tumbled out, tugging their shirts down.

They hadn't gone two floors up in the elevator, though, before they were at it again, Lance sliding his hand onto JC's waist on one side and Chris nipping at his neck on the other. JC's eyes looked a little frantic, Joey thought. He looked over at Justin, who was watching the floor numbers.

It was stupid, really, to keep watching them like that. He was being stupid. So when they all stepped off the elevator, he caught up to Justin and laid his arm around Justin's shoulders.

Justin glanced at him sidelong. He didn't shrug Joey off, but he kept his own hands at his sides.

Joey kept walking with him, trying to match Justin's pace, until they reached Justin's room. When Justin stood still, Joey let go.

Justin swiped his keycard and opened the door. Then he turned around and leaned against it, flipping the card back and forth between his fingers. "Joey," he said, "don't let them get to you," and he jerked his chin at the laughter coming from around the corner.

"Yeah," Joey said.

"No, I mean," Justin said. "They're all, whatever, okay. But I don't want us to be like that."

Joey swallowed. "Justin," he said.

"You and me is not for show," Justin said. He took Joey's hand and pulled him into the room and pushed the door shut.
 

[smile]