Love Is a Many Splintered Thing

An NSync story by Weredonut

Sadness, the chummy doctor, injects
serum after serum into sunset,
but the water wakes up as
blue and enticing as ever.
  - from Sadness by Theodore Worozbyt


Rating: PG-13
Summary: JC is their sunshine.
Thanks to clumsygyrl for the beta. I did change it a little after she looked at it, so all stuff-ups are mine, not hers.


Lance feels inadequate. He feels like a phony. He tries to be all things to all people. He has to know everything for the guys, organise their schedules, and fix their problems. He thinks that somehow he's just temporary, that he's just holding the position, waiting for the real fifth member of the group to turn up.

Justin is insecure, sometimes, difficult to believe with all that talent and all that adulation and adoration, but inside he's still the dorky little boy that joined MMC and looked up to the older kids.

Joey sometimes worries that he'll suck at this fatherhood thing. That despite the fact that he loves Brianha as deeply and as desperately as he does, somehow he'll fail her. He worries that Kelly will leave him and take Bri with her; he worries that all that he has to give just won't be enough.

Chris has never forgotten what it was like to grow up poor. He loves his mother more than anyone could ever know, but as a poor kid he was invisible and ignored. He worries that unless he makes everyone pay attention to him that he'll just fade away to nothing.

Lance is in love with Justin. He thinks that Justin will never love him back. He thinks that Justin might love him back one day, and then what? JC watches and worries.

Justin tries to be everything he can for Britney, but somehow that's not enough for her. Fucking Wade. JC hugs him close and sings him lullabies.

Joey is too loud, too Italian, too happy, too something - he's not sure what, but he knows that whatever it is, it's bound to fuck everything up. JC gets him drunk and takes him out to a strip club.

Chris, well Chris is so used to feeling like a fuck-up he sometimes doesn't know how else to feel. JC recites him rude limericks until he?s giggling like a schoolgirl and chasing Justin around the bus.

Lance feels like a joke after Russia, like an even bigger joke when Freddy leaves, looking for someone better. JC finds him and wraps him in love and soothing nonsense until he cries, then just rubs his back for hours and whispers, "You are worth so much more than that."

Even now, dating Cameron and with a hugely successful solo career, sometimes Justin feels like he's living someone else's life. JC will then turn up on Justin's doorstep with vodka. Sometimes they'll play Nintendo or watch cheesy horror movies. When it's really bad they'll watch old MMC tapes, sing along and laugh. They don't really talk much during these times, but somehow Justin always feels more like himself afterward.

Joey tries to explain to JC just how much he loves Kelly, but he's worried that she'll realise that she's too good for him. JC just laughs and says, "She already knows she's too good for you, you big idiot, but she loves you anyway. Dude, just ask her to marry you already." Joey laughs, but he does what JC says anyway, and JC is the third person he rings after Kelly says yes.

Chris reminds JC of the Tasmanian Devil from the cartoons, all sound and fury - yet despite his image, JC knows that Chris is, in some ways, the most fragile and delicate of them all. JC smiles indulgently at Chris when Chris is hyped up on a sugar and food-colouring high, and cuddles him close during the crash afterwards.

JC discreetly gives Lance the thumbs up after Lance introduces Jesse to the guys. JC knows that Lance still loves Justin, knows he's still smarting from Freddy's rejection, but is glad to see him finally moving on (and with such a gorgeous guy, too).

Justin turns up on JC's doorstep one night, drunk and sick and shaking with the news that Cameron has left him and gone back to Jared. JC takes him in, makes him coffee, gives him a bucket to throw up in and wipes his face after. In the morning JC holds Justin when he cries.

Joey pokes and worries at his hair, turning his head this way and that, sure he's losing a little off the top. JC walks up behind him, roughs up his hair, and kisses him on the cheek with a "Hello handsome."

Chris makes too many jokes at his own expense - he mocks himself mercilessly, talking about how short, fat and old he is, how weird looking he is, how strange he is, how he's unlucky in love, how nobody cares about him. JC allows Chris to lick him on the cheek and just smiles and says "We all love you, Chris. I love you." JC means it more than Chris will probably ever know.

Lance's fling with Jesse fizzles out and one day he takes Justin by the hand and drags him to an empty room. When they come out an hour later with kiss-swollen lips and hooded eyes, JC catches Lance?s eye, and winks.

Justin admits to JC that he thinks he might be sort-of-in-love with Lance. It's the first time Justin's said it out loud. JC slings an arm around his shoulders and whispers "Go tell him, kiddo, he's loved you for years."

JC and Lance straighten Joey's tie just before the walk down the aisle to wait for Kelly. Lance hugs Joey first, then JC hugs Joey real tight and hands him a handkerchief just in case he gets something in his eye during the ceremony.

Chris is sitting outside after the ceremony, beer in hand, and the noise of the festivities in the background. Uncharacteristically for Chris, he's quiet and still. JC sits beside him and laces his fingers with those of Chris' free hand.

"JC" Chris says, "I don't have anyone."

"You have me", says JC, quietly.

"No, I mean I don?t have anyone who loves me, I mean really loves me. Like Joey loves Kelly. Like Lance loves Justin."

"You have me," repeats JC.

"I do?" asks Chris.

"Yes." sighs JC.

Chris leans across and kisses JC lightly, and whispers "You have me, too." And sits back, beer abandoned, holding both of JC's hands in his, humming happily to himself.



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