You've Got to Hide Your Love Away by Patchwork Dragon

The Translated Remix by Mercutio

Here I stand, head in hand, turn my face to the wall.

Chris Lance
Some hours, two pipes, and several beers later, Joey realized he was nodding off, and looked around. Justin was sprawled on the chaise, talking sleepily with Chris. Lance lay mostly under Chris on the floor, singing sad 'someone stole my truck and my dog and my girl' country songs. Which was about stage three stoned Lance. Not that they had named and numbered the stages of Lance under the influence back in Germany or anything like that… White noise. Someone's talking. Mmm. Nice pillow. Someone dun stole mah pickup truck an' mah dawg an' mah Chris.
Joey himself was lying on the bed, spooned around JC. As Joey sat up, JC uncurled and looked at the others.

"Guys?" JC said softly. "You all ready for bed now?"

Goddamnit, why's Lance singing about losing his girl? If he broke up with me for a girl, I'm going to… going to… um. Spit in his cereal! Yeah!
Chris pushed himself off of his Lance-pillow, prompting a change in the song. "I think Space Cowboy here is down for the count, but I'm not ready for bed yet." But I would be if I could go to bed with Lance. I don't know if I hate him or me more. No, Carson Daly. Must hate Carson Daly. Little Bunnychrischris, hopping through the forest, scooping up the gay guys and breaking all their hearts. Down came the good JC, and he said…
"Me either," said Justin. "I wanna stay up some more, since I'll be on a plane most of tomorrow anyway. And then I won't be able to see any of you until Challenge."
Joey stood and went over to Lance. "C'mon, buddy. Bedtime." He pulled up the nearly liquid man. "JC, where should I put him." Damn Joey, always getting to put his hands all over Lance. Mmm. Warm. Male. Smells good.
"Let me show you," JC answered, leading the way out of the bedroom. When the door had closed behind them, JC pointed to the end of the hall.

"Let's put him down there; it's the quietest room."

"Also the furthest," Joey observed, as he attempted to walk with Lance draped over him. "Hey there, cowboy, watch the goods! I'm the straight one, remember?" Lance had evidently reached his horny stage.

Very warm. Strong. Male. Smells good.


Really good.


Together, Joey and JC managed to get Lance into bed with a minimum of groping. Joey kissed Lance’s forehead as he pulled the blankets up over his friend. He looked up to see JC smiling at them. Kissing. Lips good. Want more kissing. Mouth kissing. Skin kissing.

Naked kissing.

Out in the hall, Joey said to JC, "Man, if I weren't so straight…" Where did the kissing go?
"If you weren't so straight, and if I hadn't grabbed you myself back before we had Lance, you and Lance could be together. We all know this. But that's not the point. You are straight and Lance and I are so not right for each other. Besides, he's been in love with Chris for years. Chris is scared, that's all. And you know, Fleetwood Mac? Culture Club? Can you say Behind the Music? Lots of reasons to be worried about a serious relationship within the group." Joey was no longer surprised that JC made more sense stoned than sober. Or maybe being stoned himself made it easier for him to follow JC’s logic.

"But Lance is hurting." In his current state, Joey was far more concerned about his best friend's happiness than about group harmony. "He's not going to wait forever you know. What would it do to the group if after they came this close to getting together for real, Lance gave up and found someone else? The Bass is not designed to be single; we've all seen it."

"Man, I know what you mean," JC agreed. "Some of the people he's ended up with to avoid being single… Freddy, for instance…" JC shuddered.

"Do not speak that name in my presence, dude," Joey replied. "Im'a talk to Chris tonight. If we go into the studio like this, something's gonna blow up."

"Maybe you should let me do it. You'll just kick his ass and that won't help anything."

"I'm not gonna kick his ass. If anyone understands fear of intimacy, it's me. Ten years to get my head out of my ass… I just want to speed up the process for Chris."

No Lance. Hmm. Maybe I can smoke some more and claim I'm really high, then get in bed with Lance and pretend I was too high to know better.

Except that's really really pathetic.


Ooh. The pillow is soft. I'll hug it and squeeze it and call it Chris.

Hi, Chris. You wanna do it?

Back in the room, Justin asked Chris, "What's up with you and Lance, man? You guys break up or something?" No, moron. I just like having my heart stomped on.
"We were never together, idiot. Just fucking around. So how could we break up?" Justin's dumb enough to buy that. Maybe.
"Well, you look like you're well into your usual break-up bender, and Lance is just watching you with sad little puppy-eyes. Dude, it's just wrong. Lance should never have sad puppy-eyes. I do the sad puppy-eyes best; and Joey can make it work, but Lance? So not good at the puppy-eyes. JC, though, he can do it sometimes. You're probably better at it than me, even. Lance shouldn't even try that shit." Justin realized he had a tendency to ramble when stoned, but who didn't? And Lance's puppy dog eyes are my fault, how?
Chris, however, had a tendency to get maudlin at the slightest excuse when stoned, and apparently felt he had more than enough excuse tonight.
"He just feels sorry for me. Just making sure I'm ok after he dumped me. Feels guilty for breaking my heart or some shit." And that doesn't even make sense to me. He broke up with me. Why the fuck can't he go away and stop being so touchable and sexy and smart and fun?
Justin tried to frame a response that encompassed the contradiction between Chris's assertion that they were never going out (by definition making a break-up impossible) and his complaint about being dumped. But somewhere in the middle of the thought Justin’s attention was caught by a particularly shiny fish swimming by in the tank above his head, and all he managed to say was, "That's not what it looks like." Chris sat up and scowled at him. "What else could it be? Our 'arrangement' was always temporary — only when we're both single, only when it's convenient, never if it affects the group… I'm the idiot who thought maybe it could be more this time 'round." I want a better best friend. I bet Joey never spaces out when Lance is telling him his problems.
Justin spoke slowly, trying to be absolutely clear about this. "You told him you wanted to be together for real, and he dumped you? Lance?"
"As if. He never even gave me the chance to tell him. I walked in and he started this whole speech about wanting more than he could have with me. Friends with benefits not enough anymore, needing to act his age." Chris forced his voice to go as deep as it could. "'I want to try a real relationship, Chris. I want someone to share my life with.'" Chris sighed, then spoke more naturally. "I just hope he's happy with whoever-the-fuck he dumped me for." Hello? Bitter much? Tone it down, tone it down before Justin hits me with a stack of self-help books.
"He's seeing someone new?" Justin frowned as he thought over the last month or so. Granted he'd been busy touring, but he'd talked to at least one or two of the guys every day and he was sure he was up on all the gossip. "He hasn't said anything. Not that I've heard about."
Chris snorted. "Probably waiting for me to get over him before he introduces us to the love of his life. That's probably why he's watching me all the time, he's checking to see if I'm ready yet." The love of Lance's life is going to be yet another dark-haired guy, only one Lance can control. Yeah, so what if I'm bitter?
Justin could not remember any time that Lance had ever been able to hide who he was in love with. Sex yes; Lance was a master of hiding his sex life. Had to be, what with how active he was and how in the closet. But love he could never hide, not from them. Hell, everyone, except Chris of course, had always been painfully aware of the times he was in love with Chris. And this sure looked like one of those times.

Unfortunately, Justin had promised Lance years ago (on pain of really painful things the details of which he was very relieved to have blocked from conscious memory) never to so much as hint to Chris that Lance had real feelings for him. So instead of saying what he really thought, if he could even manage to explain something so complex in his current state, he said, "He's not that great at hiding when he's happy, man. Not with us."

"Well, I'm sure he's told Joey all about it. But I ain't asking Joey. He keeps giving me the look of death, like it's my fault that Lance feels guilty for dumping me." Right. Because Lance's shit-eating 'I just got laid' grin means that he's happy. Look at Joey. Joey hates my guts right now. That's how you know Lance is unhappy. When Joey's happy around him. But what would you know, Mr. I'm The Center Of The Entire World?
Chris rolled over and used Justin's arm to pull himself upright. "Fuck this girly talking shit, dude. Im'a go to bed." Ouch. Bitter much? Better make a quick escape before I start telling people what I actually think.
Justin noticed that he took the rest of the vodka with him. Definitely a break-up bender, he thought to himself.

Out in the hall, Joey and JC fell silent when Chris came out. "Which room should I take, C," he asked, waving his nearly empty vodka bottle. Which room is Lance in?
"Well, Lance is in the one at the end of the hall."
"Then I guess I'll take this one." Chris started to open the nearest door. Since it was a closet, he closed it and opened the next one. Not Lance's room. Have the self-respect not to crawl into bed with Lance.
"Chris is being noble by not taking advantage of Lance when he's stoned."

JC agreed. "We all know how he gets."

"Stage four, huh?" Chris asked, looking wistful. Fucking hell. I could crawl in with him. He'd like it.

Except then there'd be the morning and Lance would be mad at me and… fuck.

"Yeah, I barely got away with my heterosexuality intact." Joey was proud he could say such a long word in his state, though the conversation was sobering him up pretty fast.
Chris paused in the doorway, looking down at his feet. "I really miss him, you know. But I'm not gonna do anything he'd regret in the morning." He shut the door behind him without turning on the light in the room. Muscled thighs. Lance's mouth when he's stoned… oral and trying to eat him up…

Time to jerk off.

Joey couldn't quite figure that out. Lance declared his feelings. Chris walked on him. Now Chris is saying Lance would regret it if they fucked? He sighed. "I'm glad I'm straight, man. I know how to deal with women. This guy-guy thing is just fucked up."

JC's high-pitched giggle lasted all the way back to the master bedroom.

When they got back into JC's room, Justin was cleaning up the party debris.

"Can't you leave it till morning, Anal Boy?" Joey asked.

Justin ignored him, still trying to figure out what was going on. Lance seemed even more upset than Chris. Certainly not like someone hiding a happy new love affair. Of course, as far as he knew, he'd never seen Lance in a happy relationship, but he doubted that it would manifest in bloodshot eyes and deep sighs. Not even Lance could be that contrary.

Dropping the last of the empty paper cups into the trash — JC, though thrifty, did not like doing dishes with a hangover — Justin turned to Joey.

"Hey Joe, what's up with Lance? Is he alright?"

Joey scowled. "What, doesn't Chris talk to you anymore?"

"Chris is being a freak. He makes no sense. He says he never dated Lance, but then he says Lance dumped him, and —

"No way!" Joey cut him off. "Where does he get off saying that? I'm gonna slap the little gnome."

JC put an arm around Joey and Justin relaxed a bit. Physical contact usually calmed Joe down, especially if it were Lance or JC. "No taking sides here, man. Sit down, both of you."

Justin sat immediately, right on the floor. Years of conditioning meant he couldn't disobey JC when he spoke in that tone.

Joey hesitated, but then sat on the edge of the bed.

JC sat on the chaise where he could face them both. "Ok, Joe first. Tell us what Lance told you about this breakup or whatever."

"Lance finally got up the nerve to tell Chris we wanted a real relationship. He set up this whole romantic thing in a hotel, flowers and candles and shit. Then when Chris showed up and Lance started talking, the asshole just walked out on him. Said some shit about how it never meant anything real, no hard feelings. Broke Lance's fucking heart. Now he won't talk to Lance at all, and Lance is just trying to hold it together for the group."

"Arrrgh. Chris is smoking fucking crack or something." Justin could not believe his best friend could be so stupid… Wait a minute. Chris. Of course he could. The one thing he was always stupid about was letting someone care about him. "He said that he's been thinking that maybe they should try for real this time. But when he was ready to say something, Lance started in on one of his speeches. Something about growing up, and no more buddy-fucks, and how he was in love with someone. And you know Chris… He doesn't like to hear bad news. So he took off before Lance could say who he was in love with. I think —

"No." JC stopped him. "Facts first, from both of you; then we can think. Did he say anything else?"

"Not really. Just that he's sure that Lance is all torn up with guilt, and just waiting for Chris to move on before he can introduce us all to the love of his life." Justin kept an eye on Joey as he talked, ready to duck if he went off the handle again.

JC thought for a moment, then grinned and spread his arms. "I know what happened!" he said with delight.

Justin looked him over, checking for signs of insanity. Nope, just stoned.

JC continued. "Ok, so Lance is all saying he loves Chris, but he's saying it like Lance. You know, all careful and metaphors and such… Slippery Lance talk. And Chris, he's all scared and expecting bad stuff all the time. So he hears everything backwards. Thinks Lance is saying he's in love with someone else. Lance is. Not Chris. In love. Not with Chris, except he is, but Chris doesn't think so. And he's Chris, right? Always has to do what's best for the group, never himself. So he says they're still friends. And then Lance, he's always feeling rejected, always. So he thinks Chris doesn't want him. And he's Lance, so once he thinks that, he'll never ever ever ask Chris again." This speech was accompanied by many expansive hand gestures, though Justin thought it might be easier to follow without the visual aids. Or if at least one of them were sober, maybe.

"What the fuck is wrong with that man?" Joey asked. "Is he blind? Lance has been in love with him since Germany."

"I thought it was just a crush back then." JC frowned. "I asked Lance if he was in love, and he said of course not, that it was just friendly messing around stuff."

"Of course he said that. Chris fed him that line every time they hooked up." Joey just sounded tired now. "Even after Dani. When Lance dropped his boyfriend, so he could help Chris get over her, Chris kept saying they were just friends, just fucking."

"He told Larry King they were dating," Justin said. He was trying to reconstruct his memory of that time to take into account this new information, but it kept slipping away. He was too stoned for this.

They lay in silence a while more. Then JC sighed deeply and stretched. "I think we sleep now. You guys want to stay in here, or in guest rooms?"

Justin looked at the bed and saw that Joey was already sprawled out. "I've got a car coming to take me to the airport." He looked at his watch. "In about three hours. Fuck. I probably should go to a guest room so I can set the alarm and not wake you up, man."

"Ok then. Lance is at the end of the hall, and Chris is in the room you usually take. So, maybe, the one with the yellow? ‘Cause I know you don't want the pink one."

Justin sighed. "You and your freaky-ass color-coded guest rooms. I'll call you when I land in wherever the hell I'm going."

"No, at least wake me up to say goodbye when you leave."

Justin smiled fondly. JC hated it when people left while he was sleeping. Said it made it seem like they were sneaking away. Luckily he slept lightly, and really didn't mind being wakened. "’Kay then. You two gonna talk to the freak and his boy tomorrow?"

"I dunno. We'll see what they're like. Might be better to hit them when they've recovered." JC was curled around Joey by now, yawning as he spoke. Justin leaned over and kissed each of them on the cheek before heading out to find the yellow room.

Joey regained consciousness rather unwillingly. It had been a while since he'd stayed up all night drinking and smoking out, and his body didn't thank him for it. He sat up, dislodging the body that was wound around his, and looked around for a clock. Instead, he found fish. Everywhere he looked. He groaned.

JC sat up, rubbing his eyes, and Joey smiled weakly at him.

"You look green, dude," JC commented with a yawn. "Too old for partying, huh?"

"Just out of practice. Being a responsible adult does that to a man." Joey hauled his ass out of bed and headed for the bathroom.

"Come on down to the kitchen when you're done, man. Coffee and donuts," JC called through the door.

In the kitchen, Joey stared, blinking. This was not coffee and donuts, it was… something else. Something very JC. It looked like a bakery had exploded on the kitchen island. Lance was standing at one end, picking thorough a huge bowl of cut fruit. Fruit. I hope this is fruit. Looks like fruit. Fruity. Wait, I'm a fruit. Tooty-fruity!
"JC? Why would five men need seven different types of juice?" Joey asked. "Wait, Justin's gone. Four men."

"You need to replace fluids after a night like that. So there's orange juice, with pulp for Lance and without for me." JC pointed to the pitchers as he spoke. "And cranberry, because it's got lots of antioxidants. And wheat grass, and grapefruit, and apple juice, and that tropical mixed stuff you like."

"Coffee?" asked Chris, stumbling into the room. JC pointed at the gleaming espresso machine on the other counter. Didn't sleep, had nightmares, jerking off didn't do a damn bit of good and… ahh. There's the coffee. JC gets to live another day. Chris! So cute with his hair sticking out everywhere.
"JC, you are a god." Chris cackled evilly as he filled a mug that was, quite possibly, larger than his own head. All of your coffee are belong to me!
Joey didn't want to provoke the fierce Chris-beast by competing for the coffee, so he poured himself a glass of the tropical fruit mix before choosing a few donuts. He sat down at the table and Lance joined him. He was not surprised that Lance's plate held only fruit, but he was shocked when Chris sat down with half fruit and half donuts. "What's with the fruit salad, Kirkpatrick?"
"Getting too old to eat nothing but sugar. Besides, I need to be in shape for Challenge." I am not doing it to score points with Lance! Seriously! In-shape Chris! Drool!
Lance smiled sleepily at Chris, pointing at his enormous coffee cup. "Now if we could just get you to cut down on the caffeine—" I love him.
"Blasphemy!" Chris cried, shrinking away from Lance and cradling his mug protectively. "You must not take the name of coffee in vain!"

Lance just shook his head fondly and returned to his breakfast.

Mine! My coffee! Love him so much.
JC sat down. His plate held half a grapefruit and a chocolate éclair with cream spilling out the ends. His glass looked like he'd mixed most of the juices together.

"Chocolate and grapefruit, JC?"

"Two great tastes that taste great together." JC giggled before starting in on the grapefruit.

"Somehow, I don't see that succeeding as a candy," Lance observed dryly. If Chris won't eat it, it's not a candy, and if Chris doesn't like it, then what's the point.

Except Chris doesn't like me and won't eat me either.

Shut up! Stop thinking about him!

Like that's gonna work.

Joey knew that Chris had to disagree with Lance, as a matter of principle. Sure enough, Chris delivered. "I don't know. You can get that chocolate orange stuff, maybe people would go for chocolate grapefruit. Like little squares of chocolate and when you bite them the grapefruit stuff is all thick inside." Top Lance! Gotta top Lance!

Or he could be on the bottom. Mmm, Lance.

Lance wrinkled his nose and rather pointedly took the grapefruit off his own plate, wrapping it in a napkin and setting it to one side. "I'll never eat grapefruit again, freak." Stupid Chris. I try to be on his side and he changes sides.
"Cool. More for me!" Chris unwrapped the rejected fruit and began to eat it. I win.
JC felt incredibly happy as they ate. Here was his family, eating and joking and insulting one another. Sure, one of them was on a plane heading away from them, but he was here in spirit. Everything was golden.
He looked at Lance, who seemed unaware that he was leaning towards Chris like a plant towards the sun. At Chris, who was touching Lance far more often than necessary. And then at Joey, who met his gaze and nodded. JC stood. Love his wrists. Oops. He dropped his fork. Gotta hand that back. And if I get to touch his fingertips, well, that's just bonus. Sometimes I wish Chris would hate me, because then it would be easier, but he's just so cute.
"Everyone done? Great!" JC said. "If you'll all follow me into the living room, we can get serious."
Chris leapt from his chair, pointing accusingly at JC. "Is this a meeting? You didn't say anything about a meeting. You've brought us here under false pretenses!" Oh, fuck. They know! Don't even think about confronting my feelings, you fuckers, because I'm not going to.
"Not a meeting, goofus. Just need to clear the air." Joey hooked an arm around Chris's neck to pull him into the other room. Oh, yeah. That's a meeting.
When they were all seated (JC had to bite his tongue to keep from commenting on the way Lance and Chris sat sideways on the couch, their bare feet touching in the middle) JC realized he had no idea how to start this. He looked at Joey, hoping for help, but Joe just shrugged and raised an eyebrow. He even has cute toes. I get to sit with Chris!
JC was on his own. OK then, start with the slightly more rational one. "Lance, Chris said you told him you're in love. Why haven't I heard about this?" Lalalala. You can hold a meeting, but you can't make me listen. What the fuck?
Lance flinched as though he'd been hit. He looked up at Chris and JC realized he hadn't seen Lance that hurt in years. "Turning me down and walking out wasn't enough — now you're gossiping about it. Classy, Kirkpatrick. Fucking classy." I thought you liked me at least, Chris!
"What the hell?" Chris pulled his feet away from Lance's. "The only person I talked to was Justin last night. And I didn't tell him who you were in love with, since you never told me. What the fuck's the big deal, anyway? You found someone, so we're off again. Now you're moping around looking at me like I ran over your dog, and Joey's pissed at me, and I'm just…" Chris covered his face with his hands, obviously trying to control himself. What, what? Why is Lance mad at me? What just happened here? Uh, what the fuck did JC say?

What? I never did anything! Ever ever ever! What right does he have to say stuff like that?

"What do you mean? Never told you who I'm in love with? Is that a joke?" Lance got to his feet, looking like he was trying to laugh, cry, and maybe sing all at once. JC watched his face as he spoke and heard the beginnings of a new song growing within him. "I didn't… That's… Chris. I'm in love with you, fuckhead. I was trying to ask you if we could be serious, stop with the casual and get together for real. And you walked out while I was talking." I can't believe him. Why is he pretending to be the injured party here? I broke my heart over him.
Chris' jaw dropped and he sat there blinking. Lance. Lance. Is in love with me. Oh my fucking God. Well, at least he's not running away. Yet.
"You two." Joey shook his head in disbelief. "I swear you need an interpreter sometimes." Do not. Only for Chris.
Chris looked a little panicked. "But what about the group, guys? We said way back that pairing off was a bad idea." This can't be real. There's gotta be a catch.
"Yeah, well we also said one of us getting married would be bad, too," Joey said. "And I let that be my excuse for a long time. I don't want us to fuck up your chance at happiness." Maybe I should pinch myself. When is Chris gonna say something?
JC sighed. "Lance, Chris, you guys are no good with words. Lance, take his hand." Lance obeyed. "Now kiss him." He's touching me!

Do what?

My pleasure.
"I don't wanna see that," Joey whined. JC smiled. He didn't think Joey really minded, but with Justin gone someone had to say it.
Ignoring Joey, Lance bent and cupped Chris' chin for a kiss. They kissed softly, until Chris reached up and pulled Lance onto his lap. Then they heightened the kiss. Joey probably really was uncomfortable now. Want more. Mmm. Want Chris.
Sure enough, Joey spoke up. "Ok, that's enough PDA for one day. Take him upstairs and show him what you think of him."
Chris grinned at Joey, then kissed Lance one last time. He pushed Lance to the side of the couch, crying as he ran up the stairs, "Last one there's on the bottom!" Don't have to ask me twice.
Lance got up very casually, taking his own sweet time. And, JC noticed, adjusting his pants a bit. Mine. My Chris.
"Aren't you gonna run after him?" Heh. It's more fun when Chris does the chasing.
"Are you kidding? It's been a month. No way am I letting him bottom." At least, not the first time.
"TMI, Bass." Joey made a face and JC laughed at him. You haven't even begun to see too much information, Joey.
As Lance disappeared up the stairs, a thought came through the music in JC's head. "Lance—not the white room, OK? Use the blue room." I'm going to use whatever room Chris is in. You can always buy a new house. Now where's Chris?