Dig by callsigns

There's Something Goin' On Remix by

It's the thought of being thrown away that has him digging. His hands are numb from the cold of the snow, but he keeps moving—he keeps reaching deeper and deeper into the white powder, hoping to find some semblance of himself there in the ground. He knows that a legacy is something to leave behind, but nothing is a legacy without the evidence of greatness. And he doesn't want their hard work—all of his hard work—to be covered by the snow under his feet.

So, he searches. He searches for his footprints covered by a blanket of blinding white, not wanting them to be forgotten. Not wanting them to be the metaphor for what will be his life. Something covered and lost; something once there, but now stricken from all memory.

He can't—won't—explain this to Chris when he's being bitched at in the bathroom later.

"The next time you want to fucking freeze your hands off building a fort, you have to tell me so I can make you wear your mittens. And not freeze your hands off. Or something. Okay?"

"It wasn't a fort," Justin says to Chris's fluorescent reflection in the bathroom mirror. He wants to continue. He wants to tell Chris all of his fears and why he was out in the snow, looking for something that wasn't there. But all he can do is stare at his hands as Chris holds them under the warm water; he watches them change colors, back to something warmer than he feels.

Justin knows they talk about him. They say things when they all think he can't hear them. But he can always hear them, and it's not because he's eavesdropping all over the place. Just because he's young and he does odd things at times, he's disregarded and it's like he disappears from the room when, in fact, he's standing right behind Joey, within JC's line of sight.

"Have you seen how he looks at him?" JC says. Justin is aware of how drunk he is, but doesn't let that stop him from thinking of how he could beat JC later with his bare hands.

"Dude, no, just no." Joey waves a hand dismissively in the air.

"But really," JC persists. "It's just, come on, you think Chris'll do anything about it?"

"Sure," he hears Joey say decisively. Joey's not drunk, and Joey's known Chris the longest. He suddenly turns around to look Justin in the eye, letting him know that he knew of his presence the entire time.

"When hell freezes over."

Justin thinks he should have stayed in the hallway.

Lance is the nicest out of all of them. Justin decides this when, without so much as a backwards glance, he trades seats with him.

It isn't too hard to get Chris to give up his blanket, seeing as he always got too hot on planes, and Justin always got cold when he was scared. Not saying he was scared of the plane—no. He was scared of other things. Things that had been completely outted by a drunk JC and a protective Joey in his best interests. He had always hated that saying. No one ever acts in other people's best interests, because they just don't know. They never know what a person's best interests are, no matter how hard they try.

Which is why, when he thinks Chris has fallen asleep, Justin lifts up the armrest between them and curls his legs in the opposite direction, so the balls of his feet are just touching Chris' thigh. Chris's hand comes down to rest on his feet, squeezing once, and Justin closes his eyes.

He dreams of lying flat below the snow, safe from the wind and surrounded by warmth, the open sky full of angry clouds above him, but every is cloud miles away.

They're back in Orlando before Justin can blink, and the whirlwind is starting all over again. It's nothing but radio interviews and photo shoots and long gigs followed by rehersal and more gigs—Justin's mind hurts just thinking about it. He's only comforted by the fact that the others are just as wary of the schedule as he is, almost laughing when Lance whines about the lack of food scheduled into their day.

He gives Lance the rest of his bagel—because Lance is still the only nice one; he gives JC and Joey a glare at that thought—and joins Chris, who's hunched over the countertop watching the coffee drip with a wary eye. "It won't finish in time," Chris mutters conspiratorially. "No coffee all day." He says it like it's the end of the world.

"I'm sure we can get you coffee," Justin says. "At the radio station. They'll have coffee."

"I know they'll have coffee, that's not the point." Chris slumps forward, his forehead sinking down onto his forearms. Justin puts his hand on Chris' lower back, right where the tension settles and twists. Chris turns his face to the side, peering out at Justin. "The point is on your head. Pointy-head." He reaches out and pinches Justin's thigh.

Justin makes Chris laugh. He makes Chris laugh to make Chris make him laugh. There's always something to laugh about, whether it's Lance's hair or JC's hair or Joey's hair. Justin laughed at Chris' hair once, and Chris gave him the worst Indian burn. Chris laughs at Justin's hair everyday. Justin laughs at his own hair, because hell, you have to laugh or you're just gonna cry.

"You've got to lighten up, man," Chris tells him. "Well, not too much, or your head's going to blind me—ow, no fair, no fair, that's not what the spatula's for!"

Justin's down on the floor now, Chris sitting on his legs and wrestling the spatula out of his hands.

"This is for pancakes," Chris says sternly, thwacking the flat end down on Justin's chest, "and flapjacks, and more pancakes, and not for hitting my ass with."

"Will you make me some pancakes?"

"I'll make you some ass, you need an ass more than you need pancakes."

"I need pancakes," Justin argues. "I already got some fat ass sitting on me."

"Lawksamussy Miss Justin, is I too heavy for you?" Chris wriggles forward, and suddenly, Chris is very much too heavy to be sitting where he is, his knees bracketing Justin's sides and his gravity centered right where Justin needs him not to be.

This time, Justin doesn't want to make Chris laugh because his treacherous hips want to arch. His body wants to move and he thinks fiercely of deep snow while he grabs Chris' shoulders and pulls him down.

"Okay, what the hell is that?" Lance's face is pressed to the window, and he jumps when Joey whoops and slaps his back.

"That's snow, country mouse."

Justin laughs.

"I know what snow is, dumbass," Lance says. "I just didn't realize it snowed in Florida. Ever."

"It doesn't." JC joins Lance and Joey by the window. "It must be…um, it must be a cold front, like, cold air from the north hitting the humidity here in some weird way."

"Turn on the TV," Lance says.

"Dude, there's no TV outside!" Chris has already pulled his shoes on. He looks expectantly at Justin. "You're coming, right?" JC and Joey look over to where Justin is starting to pull his shoes on, and Justin just looks at them defiantly. They turn away to the TV Lance has switched on, and Justin runs outside.

It won't be fast enough or thick enough to even cover the ground; no snow angels for JC or snowballs for Joey, no sledding like in that park in Munich—not that Justin really cares about that. He catches the sweatshirt that Chris tosses him, but doesn't put it on. It's not cold enough outside.

The air has just frozen enough for breath to crystallize in puffs of clouds, and Justin barely feels the goosebumps rise on his arms when Chris lifts an arm around his shoulders and gazes up at the sky.

"Losers. Watching the news."

"Here's the news," Justin ducks his head and whispers to Chris's neck. "It's snowing."

"That ain't news anymore. I knew that like three minutes ago. What else is new?"

"Something." Justin's voice catches in his throat. He can't explain himself, won't explain himself, although he's pretty sure he understands. He leans into Chris and turns his face up.

Chris' next words are almost too quiet to be heard over the wet drop of Florida snowflakes. "Justin. That ain't news either."



Justin blinks up at the snowflakes. They hit his eyes, but it doesn't sting at all. Chris's arm is very warm around him, and where the snow lands, it melts. He doesn't want to lie beneath anything. He feels safe on top of the world, and he can see where he's going, the footprints of his future stretching clearly ahead of him in the blank landscape that he can barely imagine.