(“We crossed the line…who pushed you over?
It doesn’t matter to you…it matters to me…” --U2)
You aren’t quite sure why you hate slash fiction so much. After all, you should be indifferent, shouldn’t you? You shouldn’t give a flying fuck that people are writing about sex between you and one of your closest friends. But you do. You see nothing wrong with allowing people to indulge in certain types of fantasy, but for whatever reason, this particular type disturbs you, and you prefer reality anyway, thankyouverymuch.
You hadn’t even been aware of it, not really, until some helpful fan had pointed it out to you one day, and you had stared and blinked stupidly and tried to come up with some sort of snappy response to her obviously unsettling comment.
“There’ll be none of that,” You had mumbled, dumbly, your mouth dry and cotton-filled and your ears roaring with blood. Sex? With JC? What?
She had laughed and you had chuckled painfully and tried to last through the awkward silence that followed, but inevitably your inherent need to justify everything you’ve ever done crept through and you were talking before you could stop yourself.
“I just…we would never work like that, y’know? I just don’t even want to think about it,” You said quietly, looking away.
From the other side of the door you could hear JC’s pained gasp, hear his rapid footsteps as he walked away, and you slammed open the door to shout out his name, causing him to stop in his tracks. He turned to look at you, and when he did it was more kicked puppy than pretty kitten, and you felt your heart lurch.
“I’m…” You started, slowly, but he held up one slender hand and shrugged, sadly.
“It’s the way it is, I guess,” He whispered, and then he was gone.
It’s not that you minded he was gay, or bi, or whatever he was calling himself these days. That was just the thing: JC was JC, for better or worse, all aspects included, and if that meant his sexuality was a little, well, diverse, so be it. It just meant you could pick on him a little more when you were feeling testy.
The others, however, seemed to mind that you weren’t paying that much attention. Justin was always hovering around you for some reason or other, and it wasn’t the “how are you doing” kind of hovering. It was more like the “hurt him and I’ll break you” kind of hovering, the same type of hovering he bestowed on those who also hovered around Jonathan or Britney or anyone Justin professed to love.
You weren’t all that close to Justin, not really. He had annoyed the shit out of you on MMC because he was a punk-ass little kid and you were years older and wiser than him and he somehow managed to get more leads than you ever did. It pissed you off. He even had the gall to hit on your girlfriend, but you retaliated and took Britney out for an innocuous ice-cream cone one Sunday afternoon and when you returned you swore he would burn a hole in your scalp with his eyes alone if he could.
But this was years later, water supposedly under the bridge, and while you shouldn’t have felt unsettled by the way Justin watched you constantly, you did. You smiled and rode it out and tried to disappear while finding new ways to avoid JC, who hovered just as much as Justin, but in a different way.
When the two of you finally had “the talk,” it didn’t go anything like you expected. JC had always been up-front and frank and a bit self-righteous about everything he’d ever done, so to see him timid and nervous and ducking bashfully as he avoided your gaze freaked you out more than anything had in a long time. You had an involuntary flashback to that one slash story where JC had come to Chris broken and crying and upset, and you had laughed to yourself because it was so out of character. Now, with this broken, almost-crying, definitely-upset man-child in front of you…you weren’t so sure.
“I…I can’t deal with this, Tony,” He whispered softly, and inwardly you groaned. Whenever JC prefaced his monologues with that simple line, you knew he had practiced, and practicing meant melodrama, and melodrama, inevitably, meant guilt, and guilt meant…
“Are you even listening to me?” JC said softly, with too-wide eyes and a quivering lip. You swallowed and nodded, and focused your attentions back to him.
“You’re one of my best friends, Tony. You know that right?”
Nodding, you said nothing.
“I…I think I’m…well…”
You didn’t need to hear the rest, because you knew how it ended. You had read the story before he even wrote it.
It was three weeks before he tried to kiss you, though he had been filled with tiny touches and awkward, slightly possessive gestures. You knew you should have done the right thing and turned him down when he looked at you and begged you not to shut him out completely, but like a sap your eyes softened and you had told him that you could never, ever shut him out, and he had nothing to worry about.
His eyes had lit up like roman candles and impulsively he had hugged you, his lips at your throat, lingering just a little too long before pulling away breathlessly.
“Thanks, man,” He breathed. “You won’t regret it.”
You weren’t so sure, because you knew you didn’t like being hunted. You had seen that look before in the eyes of a hundred different female fans: hot-blooded lusty calculation. It unnerved you, made you feel like you were being violated while still craving the violation, and you shuddered sometimes at the heat in their stares. JC’s approach was different, all fleeting caress and murmured sentiment, but you knew, eventually, he would strike, and you weren’t sure you were entirely prepared for it.
It happened by accident, during a thunderstorm, watching the lightning race across the sky in big silver streaks. You had just finished talking with your now-ex girlfriend, her shrill voice echoing over the line as she lectured you about responsibility and learning to be a real man and all those things your mother used to harp on before you turned the legal age. Her final words had been short and clipped, and left no ambiguity whatsoever. You supposed, for a fleeting moment, it was better that way. Relationships were nothing but baggage.
It surprised you most of all when you felt yourself sliding down the glass, slick skin squeaking against the smooth surface, tears spilling onto your cheeks to mingle from the rain outside, a pane of glass the only thing separating you from nature’s own tantrum.
You think JC had knocked five or six times before he got the master key and let himself in, but you couldn’t be sure. You were too busy matching the aching in your heart with the howling of the wind. When he sat down next to you, bumping his shoulder carefully with yours, you hastily wiped your eyes and cleared your throat and returned to that calm, smooth place where nothing hurts and songs are born.
”Rough night?” He said sympathetically and you turned and kissed him ferociously, pressing his mouth open with your lips and darting your tongue inside, your fingers snaking through his hair and against his hips. He made a soft sound of surprise before moaning, desperately, wantonly, and the two of you parted for a mere moment, staring into mirrored dilated eyes and tasting parted, swollen lips.
“I want you,” He whispered, and it was so fucking sexy you wanted to die, but at the same time a twinge of unrest burrowed in your skull, taking residence in dark places no one saw.
You said nothing, just pulled him closer, and the two of you kissed, pressed up against the glass, until sunrise.
The thing is, you loved him. And with that love came an immeasurable dose of comfort, which you had basked in liberally when things had gone not-so-right and weariness crept on the edges of your heart. He had been the one who would listen to you talk about anything, for any amount of time, and never, ever asked for anything in return.
So when he came to you two weeks later, eyes wide and scared, heart racing, cheeks flushed with adrenaline and desire, and asked to sleep with you—simple, murmured sentiment--you found yourself saying yes.
Heavy guilt and black shame whispered in your ear as the smile spread on his face like sunshine, and his eyes crinkled into cheerful crescent moons. Tentatively, he reached for you, fingers outstretched, hesitant.
You stood stock still, allowing him to touch, quelling the sensation of dread in your stomach. This was JC, right? He would never, ever hurt you.
He kissed you slowly, deeply, and hazily you think he tasted…foreign. Not good, like Keri, not bad, like the drunk fucks you’ve had along the road, but…foreign. His tongue was thick and slippery and aggressive, and he moaned when his hips collided with yours.
He began undressing you and you returned the favor, until at last he was guiding your inexperienced body over his, whispering soft commands, moaning and begging and gasping as you moved your body slowly.
You’re a good fuck.
You know it. Hell, you’ve had
tales of your skills plastered on every bathroom wall from here to
JC gasped and clawed at your shoulders and begged for you to go harder, harder, and you complied, nervous sweat breaking out above your lips. This transformation of your best friend from dorky geek to sexual creature was both mind-boggling and intriguing. He was beguiling in bed, all come-hither eyes and smooth, sinewy limbs. He was eager and willing and completely, heartbreakingly vulnerable, and as he arched beneath you, sighing your name and splashing his release across your stomach, the sex ceased to be pleasurable. You had used him. And somewhere, deep inside…you both knew it.
“I love you, Tony,” He whispered, softly, and his eyes closed as he reached his mouth up for a kiss. Your last thought as you touched your mouth to his was that things seemed to end better in slash fiction.
Perhaps that is why you hate it.
After all…you prefer reality. Don’t you?
© 2002 ~A.