Sticks & Stones AKA Woman! Woman!

Linz bent down and tied her shoe as the other dancers and the boys went to take a break. She had been the best dancer in her classes, but now she was almost the worst. Linz breathed in deeply and attempted four turns in a row.

"Whoa!" Linz said as she fell on her ankle. "Shit. Smooth move, Linz."

Linz managed to wriggle herself around as Nick came in.

"Linz? What's going on? What are ya doing?" Nick went over to her and bent down.

"Did you hurt yourself?" Nick asked with a worried look on his face.

"Probably...not," Linz lied.

Nick ran a hand over her ankle. Linz suppressed her pain but Nick saw it in her eyes.

"That didn't hurt?" Nick asked half playfully half serious.

"Not at all," Linz lied with more pain in her eyes this time.

"You're just like your brother. Come on." Nick picked her up and carried her to his car in his arms.

"It doesn't hurt that bad," Linz managed.

"Liar," Nick joked as he massaged her ankle.

Linz tensed up for a minute but then relaxed as Nick softly massaged her hurt ankle.

"Does that feel better?" Nick looked into bright green eyes.

"Yeah..." Linz trailed off as Nick leaned forward and kissed her.

She kissed back, forgetting about her ankle.

"Kaos, gettin' it on......with A.J.'s sister?!" Brian interrupted them.

Nick and Linz pulled away at the same time to see Brian's smiling face.

"Don't tell anyone," Linz pleaded Brian.

"Why? Are you embarrassed?" Nick asked.

"No." Linz looked down and smiled to herself. "But if A.J. finds out..."

"If I find out what?" A.J. walked up to the car.

"If you found out that—" Brian started with a sly smile.

"Linz hurt her ankle." Nick cut him off.

"You what?" A.J. leaned forward in the car.

"I was trying to do a quad turn and I fell on my ankle," Linz explained.

"Are you okay?" A.J. looked worried.

"I will be."

"She probably just sprained it," Nick said avoiding looking into A.J.'s eyes.

"You need to go home then. Nick can you take her home? My car's all the way in the back," A.J. asked unknowingly.

"Sure." Nick smiled at her as he gently moved her leg over a little.

After they were a ways down the street, Linz got the courage to start conversation.

"I thought that you liked older women," Linz joked.

"I'm sorry." Nick looked down.

"For what?" Linz smiled at him.

"So you...?" Nick's eyes widened.

"Do you...?" Linz asked shyly.

"Yeah, but if you don't want to..." Nick trailed off.

"No, I do," Linzey reassured him.

"Well then, I guess we're...?" Nick half asked.

"I guess so." Linz smiled to herself.

"Gosh, we must sound stupid." Nick laughed at Linz.

"Yeah." Linz smiled warmly.

"I didn't know you liked me." Nick changed the subject.

"I didn't know you liked me," Linz repeated.

"Well I do." Nick's tone changed to half serious half lovingly.

Nick stopped the car at the apartment building, picked Linz up, and carried her into the apartment building.

***

Nick laid Linz down carefully on her waterbed. He gently slipped a pillow under her ankle and went to go get some ice for it.

"Nick. It's not that bad," Linz called to him.

"I just don't want it to get all messed up. I read somewhere that if you don't treat a sprain correctly then you can mess it up for life."

"Dr. Carter, calling Dr. Carter. You're needed in O.R.," Linz mocked.

"Shut up." Nick went over to her playfully.

"I thought Dr.'s weren't supposed to have relationships with their patients." Linz kept at it as Nick pinned her arms back. When they found themselves in the awkward position they sobered up and looked into each other's eyes. They kissed passionately. Nick began to unzip Linzey's sports bra, but she pulled away.

"I don't think we should yet." Linz looked into his gleaming deep blue eyes.

"I know I'm sorry I'm not usually like this." Nick got off of her and paced back and forth.

"It's okay." Linz sat up and grabbed Nick's and pulled him over to him. "How about we go out tonight? The beach maybe?"

"Really?" Nick said excitedly. "Can we?"

"Yeah."

"Great, I'll pick you up around...7?" Nick smiled. "You're the best."

Nick kissed Linz and left. Linz smiled to herself warmly and drifted off into a deep sleep.

***

"Linz? Linzey Sweetie wake up." Nick shook his sleeping girlfriend awake.

"Hmm? Nick! Hey." Linz woke up.

"You ready?"

"What? No, wait. Look at me, I'm still in this dance shit." Linz looked at her clothes. "Just give me a minute to change, k?"

"Okay, I'll be waiting, baby." Nick smiled as he left the room.

She quickly threw on some clothes and limped out the door to Nick.

Nick let her lean on him as he smiled warmly at her.

"I got it all planned out. See, I made us dinner and i got a swimsuit. I took one of yours before I left. Sorry if that's weird, but anyways..." Nick began to ramble off everything he had planned excitedly.

***

Katy finished her song for the audience just as Sarah walked in. Everyone clapped loudly. Katy thanked them and went over to Sarah.

"Hey I thought you were gonna come hear me sing."

"Sorry, got held up. I'm sure you did great. Now, if you're done here, we can go right?" Sarra said perfunctorily.

"No, I told Aaron we'd see him here," Katie said unsure of what was happening.

"Aaron?! Great! Who's next? Howie's sister?"

"I thought you liked Aaron?" Katy reminded her.

"Yeah whatever. Come on." Sarra pulled her out the door.

***

Linz kissed Nick passionately on her bed. The night had been amazing. After eating what Nick had cooked for them. They played on the beach some and then went star gazing on a blanket Nick had brought. Nick had topped it all off by singing to her and somehow they had ended up on Linz's bed. Nick drew the sheer leopard curtains as they shifted. Suddenly Linzey's phone rang but Nick didn't stop. He kept kissing her and kissing her and kissing her.

"Hello?" Linz managed.

"Hey Linz I need to talk to you."

"Katy I'm a little bit busy right now."

"With?"

"With someone you don't know."

"The question is do you know him."

"Yes. Shut up." Linz clamped the phone and told Nick to hold on.

"Did I hear you say Nick?"

"No, Vic, I said Vic."

"Bye, then."

"Byers."

"Why are you hiding the relationship?" Nick asked uncomfortably.

"Because if A.J. found out, you'd be dead." Linz ran a finger down his chest.

"Good point." Nick started to kiss her again and take his shirt and then hers off in between kisses.

***

Sarah packed up the rest of her things in her backpack. She couldn't take it anymore. Everyone was just leaving her. Brian, Linz, and now Katy would be leaving too someday. She was stuck there. Stuck with all of the loser preps that were her "friends." She wouldn't take it. Not again. Sarah quietly took 500 bucks out of her refrigerator. She knew that wouldn't last her long so she would find a job. She grabbed the paper with that thought and stuffed it into her bag. Sarah looked around the house, smiled, and walked out the door, never leaving a trace of herself.

***

"Ms. Richardson, you are very talented and we would be honored if you would sign onto our agency. Help us, help you." Mr. Garza smiled warmly at her.

"When could you get me my first gig?" Katy asked.

She knew what these agents were like.

Mr. Garza quickly turned to his computer, typed in a couple of words, and turned back to the suspicious Katy.

"There's tryout tomorrow. N'Sync needs an opening act," Mr. Garza relayed.

"You are good, but N'Sync?" Katy frowned.

"There's also an opening act audition for Destiny's Child." Mr. Garza turned back to his computer.

"Sounds good, where do I sign?" Katy smiled.

***

Linzey woke up to find Nick gone. The silk sheets where he had been were cold. She knew he wouldn't stay though. At least she enjoyed it while it lasted. She opened the sheer leopard curtains and hopped out of bed. Linz went to her dresser drawer, put on her green silk pajamas, and limped out into the kitchen/living room, only to see Nick waiting at the breakfast table for her.

"Nick? I thought you left or something." Linz smiled.

"Left?! I would never leave you." Nick got up and went over to her.

They kissed and Nick helped her sit down.

"I made breakfast. It didn't turn out that great." Nick pointed at the burnt toast and runny eggs. "So I ordered some Chinese. Would you like some moo goo gai pan, Ms. McLean?"

"Oh, Nick, that's so...cute?" Linz half asked.

"Hey, food like this is always good, oh yeah." Nick turned serious. "I told Aaron to come here. He's coming up for the weekend and I wanna be with you."

"That's sweet baby but are you sure you want him to stay here?" Linz smiled.

"I like the way you think." Nick kissed her.

There was a knock at the door.

"Shit." Nick pulled away.

Linz put a finger to his lips signaling him to be quiet.

"Who is it?" she asked.

"Aaron Carter, my brother told me to come here," the voice said from behind the door.

"Oh, thank G-d." Nick let out a sigh of relief and went over to the door.

"Hey, big brother." Aaron smiled as Nick opened the door.

Nick hugged Aaron tightly.

"How are ya?" Nick let him go.

"Good, how about you?" Aaron asked.

"Better than ever." Nick smiled.

"Who's that?" Aaron pointed to Linz.

"This is Linzey McLean. She dances for us." Nick smiled warmly back at her. "She's friends with Katy Richardson and Sarra Littrell."

"Oh yeah you're the druggie." Aaron shook her hand.

"Aaron!" Nick kicked him.

"Oh sorry." Aaron looked down.

"It's okay." Linz smiled.

"What do ya wanna do?" Aaron turned to Nick.

"Well I hafta go to dance practice for two hours but then anything really," Nick said.

"So are you coming Linzey?" Aaron asked.

"No, I can't dance." Linz smiled.

"But you're a dancer for the Boys, I thought?" Aaron half asked.

"I hurt my ankle yesterday. I won't be able to dance for a week or two." Linz smiled.

"Well, I should go to the studio. Do you wanna come?" Nick went over to Linz.

"No, I'll stay here for t'day. I don't think the other dancers like me anyway." Linz looked down.

"Don't say that. They just envy you." Nick gently pushed her head up to look her in the eyes.

"I'm sure," Linz said sarcastically.

Nick kissed her and started to walk away.

"Bye." He turned around.

"Your dancer, huh?" Aaron nudged Nick as they walked out.

***

Katy knocked on the Littrell's door. Mrs. Littrell opened the door in tears.

"Come in Katy."

"What's wrong?"

"Sarra ran away."

"Ran away?! Why?"

Mrs. Littrell handed Katy Sarra's note.

"It's my fault!" Katy said almost through tears.

"No, no. Don't say that. If she comes to you or if you find anything out, please tell us," Mrs. Littrell managed.

"I will, of course I will," Katy said reassuringly as she left.

***

Sarra sat nervously on the plane. She had snuck onto the plane. Thankfully, it had been a not so full plane.

"Hi everyone, this is your captain we will be landing in California in 30 minutes. Thank you for flying Fire in the Sky Airlines." The captain signed off.

"I'm not very comforted with a name like Fire in the Sky Airlines, you know?" a man that was sitting next to her said as he turned towards her.

"Yeah, it's like...do you want people to fly with you or not?" Sarra said.

"So why California? Family?" he asked.

"Yeah, but I'm actually trying to get away from family." Sarra looked down.

"Oh, I see," he said.

***

Brian managed to dial Linzey's number. Sarra was gone and he couldn't do anything about it.

"Hello?"

"Hey, it's me."

"Brian? What's wrong?"

"Sarra ran away," Brian sighed almost through tears...again.

"Omig-d."

"I know."

"Does anybody know where she is?"

"Linz?"

"Right, that was stupid."

"I think Nick's getting to you."

Linz smiled to herself at Brian's joke. At least he was still himself.

"I'll be over in a minute," Linz said.

"Are you sure? What about your ankle?" Brian asked concernedly.

"I'll be fine."

"Okay, thanks."

"Any time. See you in a while." Linz grabbed her keys and limped out to the elevator.

***

Linz limped up to the studio door. When she walked in everyone turned to her, but went back to their business when they saw her.

"Hey girl. How's the ankle?" Fatima high fived her.

"Good. Thanks." Linz smile warmly. "I'm kinda the bearer of bad news."

"What? What is it?" Kevin asked as he walked over to her.

"Brian's not coming," Linz whispered to him.

"What?! Why?" A.J. said from behind her.

"Sarra ran away."

"Ran away!" Kevin said loudly. "Ran away?" Kevin brought his voice down to a low whisper.

"Yea, I'm going over to his house now. He's a wreck." Linz looked down.

"Okay, I'm coming with you." A.J. went to get his stuff.

"Me too." Kevin went to get his stuff.

***

Nick watched Linz drive down the road with a smile on his face. He had never acted like this with a girl before. Maybe she was special, maybe she was the one. No, that's crazy talk. Nick shook himself out of the daze as Howie broke the silence.

"Do you think B will mind if we come?" Howie asked unsurely.

"D, he'll probably want you to be there. I mean, we're all his friends, right?"

"Yeah, I didn't know if it was a 'Littrell-McLean-Richardson' thing," Howie asked.

They had decided to come along after seeing Kevin and A.J. leaving with Linz. They didn't really explain to Nick and Howie what was going on.

Linz dropped her twizzler when she stopped the car.

"Don't waste that!" Nick grabbed it from the floor, brushed it off a little and put it in his mouth. Linz made a disgusted face.

"What?! Food is food," Nick explained.

"And viruses are found on my car floor," Linz argued.

"Who's the Dr. now?" Nick joked.

"What?!" A.J.'s eyes turned protective.

"Just an inside joke, J." Linz turned to him calmly.

"Yeah, and you're on the outside, Bone," Nick joked.

"Shut up." A.J. hit him upside the head.

They all got out of the car and walked into the apartment building door. Linz pressed Brian's room button.

"Brian, can we come up?" Linz asked.

"We?" Brian's somber voice asked.

"Me and the Boys," Linz answered.

"Linz! I don't want them to see me like this," Brian said.

"Brian, they're your friends," Linz rolled her eyes.

"Fine come on up."

They walked in a took the elevator up.

In the elevator, Nick and Linz stood next to one another. Nick slipped her a note. She slowly unfolded it and read it.

Hey baby,
Wanna take a walk on the beach again t'night?
Nick

"What's that?" A.J. looked at her sheet of paper.

"Nothing! I found it in my pocket." Linz pushed it into her pocket before A.J. could see it.

They got off the elevator as it stopped. Linz knocked on Brian's door. He opened it slowly.

Brian was hunched over with a gloomy look to him. He was still in his pajamas, his hair was messed up, the worst part was the smile that seemed to shine in his eyes was gone.

Linz saw all of this and quickly went over to him and hugged him tightly. He hugged back needing some comfort.

"We'll find her, I promise," Linz whispered in his ear.

"I hope so." Brian closed his eyes and held her tightly.

After she let go he was rushed by A.J. and then Kevin as Howie and Nick walked into the room with a confused look spread across their faces.

Brian closed teh door slowly when everyone was inside the room.

"What exactly is going on here?" Nick asked with a concerned look.

***

"Yes...of course...No I haven't done that yet, sir...Why not? I understand...Okay...Yes...Yes...Thank you...G'bye." Linz hung the phone up. "Brian, Sarra's here."

Brian jumped out of his seat. "What?!"

"A young girl fitting Sarra's description snuck onto a plane this morning. Around," Linz looked back at her notes, "8:15. Give Sarra just enough time to leave your house to get to the airport."

"Did they catch her?" Brian asked as the smile in his eyes lit up once again.

"No, they only realized she snuck on until after the plane had landed and all the passengers were gone." Linz smiled hopefully.

"So Sarra might be here?" Brian asked barely contained his excitement.

Linz nodded before Brian picked her up and hugged her tightly. He kissed her forehead before letting go of her.

"We don't know it's her, B-Rok. Let's just keep an eye out for her," Kevin said in a fatherly tone from behind Brian.

"Right." Brian turned around with a smile. "Um, Kev, you and A.J. can take my other car since you all came in Linz's car. D, you can come with me and Linz, you and Frack can go together."

Brian covered up his sly smile when he saw A.J. looking his way.

"Sounds good. Come on, Bone." Kevin grabbed the keys. "Bye guys, bye Z."

A.J. smiled at her before messing her hair up as he left.

Howie followed them out with Brian. Brian smiled at Linz, trying to hold back his laughter. Linz hit him upside the head.

Nick walked over to Linz.

"Shall we?" Nick held up an escorting arm.

She linked her arm with his as they left the room.

***

Beyonce smiled at Kelly as Katy sang her last note. When Katy finished the four girls clapped and rooted loud.

"You got a fresh sound, girl." Katy smiled.

"You got the part. Good job," Beyonce said as she wrote something down.

"Just be here t'morrow." Kelly showed her out. "Like around eight."

***

Linzey and Nick got in her car and drove off after saying goodbye to the others.

"You look beautiful t'day, honey." Nick smiled warmly at her.

"Thank you, baby." Linz looked over at him and then kissed him. Nick leaned in for another kiss, but Linz stopped him by putting a finger over his lips.

"Save it for later." Linz smiled slyly.

"So about us..." Nick fidgeted.

"What's wrong?" Linz looked at him.

"You don't think it's weird that we've been going out for three days and we've already done it four times?" Nick asked.

"Five."

"What?"

"Five times. You asked again last night."

"Oh yeah." Nick smiled to himself but quickly wiped it away when he remembered what the discussion was about. "But I've never ben like this before."

"Neither have I but I like it. If you don't want to..."

"I love you, Linz. That's why I'm asking," Nick said to her.

"You do, Nick?" Linz looked at him.

"Of course, I'm so sorry, I shouldn't have said that." Nick looked down.

"I love you too, Nick," Linz pushed his chin up gently to look him in his eyes.

Nick smiled and kissed her passionately.

"Well, I guess we should find Sarra, huh?" Nick aid.

***

JC walked down the dark streets of L.A. He window shopped a little but mostly he was trying to figure out why he got dumped...again. He stopped in his tracks when he saw that the girl he took for homeless person wasn't homeless but had been beaten badly. He went over to her and picked her up. She tried to wriggle out of his arms but he soothed her by stroking her hair.

"I'm going to help you. It's okay, I promise," he whispered into her ear.

She had obviously believed him because after he said that she turned her body and held onto him tightly.

***

Linz and Nick were the last ones to Brian's apartment. They had searched all day for Sarra but had found nothing.

"Brian we're back." Linz knocked on his door.

"Come on in." Brian had drooped back into his position and actions from earlier that day.

"Any sign of her?" Linz asked.

Kevin held up Sarra's tattered wallet.

"The police brought it by a while ago. They found it on a convicted assaulter/pickpocketer," Kevin said.

***

Sarra woke up in a cool room. She didn't really know where she was she just knew she felt better. She looked over to her tender to see JC of N'Sync. She moved back in surprise to see him looking down on her.

"Morning, sleepyhead." He smiled at her.

"You're, you're JC Chasez," Sarra pointed out.

"I am?" JC joked.

"Did you tell my brother?" Sarra asked.

"I don't know you, what would I tell your brother and who is he?" JC asked with a concerned look.

"Brian Littrell and that you found me," Sarra mumbled.

"Oh you're Sarra Littrell, I need to call Linz." JC reached for the phone.

"You know Linz McLean?" Sarra asked.

"Yeah, who doesn't?" JC smiled.

"That's true." Sarra smiled at her friend's reputation.

"You know her?" JC asked warmly.

"Know her? She practically lived at my house before she became a dancer for the Backstreet Boys. Always taking my food, watching cable at my house, you should've heard the messages she left on my answering machine." Sarra laughed with JC.

"Why does that not strike me as odd?" JC said through laughter.

"Ummm, maybe 'cause it's Linz McLean." Sarra smiled.

"Yeah, that does sound Linz McLeanish," JC said before picking the phone up.

***

Linz kissed Nick as he drew the curtains but they were quickly stopped when the phone rang.

"Ahhh, it's possessed," Nick joked.

"Yeah but it's only when you close my curtains," Linz said sarcastically.

"Really?!" Nick replied in all honesty.

Linz rolled her eyes and picked the phone up.

"Hello? If it's not important, I'll kill you," Linz said before kissing Nick again.

"Charming to the last, McLean," JC said from the other end of the line.

"Chasez, how much this time?" Linz rolled her eyes.

"That's not what I'm calling about?" JC smiled.

"Who dumped you this time?" Linz rolled her eyes.

"Lauren, but that's not what I'm calling about. You know Sarra Littrell?" JC said.

"Of course. Do you know where she is?" Linz let go of Nick and sat up when she heard her missing friend's name.

"She's over here. I found her. She's a little beat up but she's awake. Do you wanna talk to her?" JC asked.

"No, by best friend ran away, she got beaten up, and you found her. Of course I don't want to talk to her, Chasez," Linz said before moving over to kiss Nick again. Nick moved behind her and started to kiss up and down her spine.

"Here she is." JC handed her the phone.

"Hey."

"Hey."

"I can explain, see—"

"I understand, save the explanation for Brian," Linz managed through her hidden pleasure.

"Right. Love ya."

"You too."

"Linz, do you have someone over there?" Sarra smiled.

"Yes, now g'bye." Linz hung up the phone when she couldn't hide back her feelings anymore and let out a sigh of pleasure.

***

Brian dragged his feet all the way over to the phone.

"Hello?" Brian asked wearily.

"Hey. I got news."

"What?!" Brian perked up quickly.

"Sarra's alive. A little bruised but alive. She's over at JC Chasez's house, 52185 Apartment Building Highlands Complex." Linz gave out the info.

"Omig-d. Thank you Linz. Thank you forever." Brian started to cry.

"Don't thank me, thank JC." She smiled.

"Okay I will. Love ya, girl." Brian sighed.

"Love ya, too." Linz hung up.

Nick kissed her back one more time before turning her around and gently laying her down.

"Oh G-d Nick. You chose a really bad time to get me into things." Linz groaned as Nick moved his kisses lower.

"Shhh," he soothed. "Sarra will be there in the morning."

Linz was going to say something but Nick stopped her as he took the little underwear she had on off.

***

JC looked into Sarra's eyes. She looked at him only to find an odd passion she never saw there before. JC pulled Sarra close to him and kissed her. He began to stick his tongue into her mouth just before the doorbell rang. He let his tongue search her mouth a little before getting up to answer the door.

"Hey."

"Hi, thank you so much. I don't know how I could ever repay you." Brian hugged the now guilty JC.

"She wasn't a problem at all. I'm just glad I could help." JC managed a weak smile. JC showed Brian into the bedroom. Brian almost collapsed into tears when he saw his sister.

"You're okay." Brian hugged her tightly.

"I'm fine." Sarra hugged back looking at JC and motioning for him to call her. "Could we go? I wanna explain to you alone."

"Sure. Thanks again JC," Brian said before picking his petit sister up.

***

Linz laid in Nick's warm arms early that next morning. She woke him up with a passionate kiss that he met and intensified it.

"Morning." Linz pulled away.

"Good morning." Nick smiled.

"You looked so peaceful. I didn't know how to wake you up." Linz smiled back.

"Well, you did a mighty fine job. I know this may sound bad but I'm glad you sprained your ankle," Nick said as he got on top of her.

"You're so sensitive," Linz replied sarcastically.

"I think I'm falling in love with you, Linz." Nick held her closer.

"I know I'm falling in love with you, Nick." Linz wrapped her arms around his neck.

***

"You can stay here for a while. Just get your rest for now, Bear." Brian called Sarra by her nickname he gave her. He tucked his guilty sister into his bed. He smiled warmly at her.

"I'm sorry, Bri. I just couldn't deal with it anymore, I had to show you, I had to show everyone," Sarra almost said in tears.

"Shh. It's okay. I understand. I should've been a better brother," Brian soothed her.

"No! Don't say that. you couldn't have been a better brother." Sarra sat up and hugged him.

"You don't know how much that means to me." Brian hugged back and smiled to himself.

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