we invented the remix 5

world tour by topaz: the let's go by vegas mix by pen

Yeah, I'm a pushover. We all are, I guess. You wouldn't think it to look at us, you'd think, hey, scary, or something, like you're meant to, but truthfully? We're all pushovers. Any one of them wants something, they can have it, and they don't give orders, they could but they don't, they just ask, and you know, we just do it.

Well, Justin called. So I spent the day consulting with the guys in the park, getting the lay of the land, if you know what I mean, going over exit strategies and crowd control, just in case, and talking with all the security personnel, and filling my cell with numbers to call if I needed help. They know their job, but it don't hurt to make sure they know I know mine. Confirming the permits, memorizing the layout. We go there all the time, it's good, it means nobody's starting from scratch, it's just revision. Couldn't have done it at all, if there hadn't been plans in place. There's a lot to work out.

Our boys don't know what it involves, but we like it that way, you know? They do their thing, and we do our thing, and they respect what we do and they're good boys, they do what we tell them, and they trust us. And I would never, none of us would ever compromise that by doing a half-assed job. So, hours on the phone, and I memorized the map of the damn park, and I promised Martha we'd go somewhere real nice on the bonus I'm getting from Justin to do this. Since it's my vacation time, and all. Boy could sell artificial snow to the Eskimos, I swear, he even had Martha smiling and telling him she didn't mind when he talked to her on the phone, but he's never cheap when he gets what he wants. Acapulco, maybe. Maybe the Bahamas.

Wonder if Martha would go for Vegas?

Picked him up before nine, and on the way to JC's place he was all shiny with excitement like a big kid. Promised me he'd be back with JC in twenty minutes, which I did not believe, because JC and mornings? Let's just say, it isn't JC's favorite time of day. In fact, let's just say, JC doesn't usually see the morning at all. Ay em is kinda theoretical for him, except in hell week.

So I wasn't seriously expecting them to be back in twenty minutes. I sat in the car going through the park in my head, adding in the street entertainers, mariachi players or whatever, just refreshing my mind. I thought maybe there'd be time to take a look at the Caribbean brochure Martha shoved into my hand as I left the house.

I was wrong though. Yep. Artificial snow to Eskimos, that boy can get anyone to do anything. He was kinda prodding JC out to the car, but JC was looking about half awake, and his hair still wet from the morning shower, which I'll just bet was a cold one, because Justin knows exactly what JC is like in the mornings, and he is a ruthless little brat when he's set on something. Must have been a tussle, though, because Justin's jeans looked kinda wet. I kept my grin to myself and just drove, and tried to remember who had this month down in the Book.

All of three minutes before JC started whining for coffee. Things degenerated pretty fast, there, with the "I made you coffee!" and the "No, you made me industrial waste!" and then the "You are not getting out of this car!" versus the "I'm not going anywhere without real coffee inside of me!" argument when JC wanted to stop at Starbucks. JC doesn't pull a diva very often, but when he does, there's no one can do it better. I was willing enough to go inside for the order, but JC said if Justin wanted him to do this, then it was down to Justin to make sure JC got his breakfast, it was his job not mine, and I should stay in the car. I reminded them there was a drive-through ten minutes west of there, but Justin didn't want to go out of our way, and I figured, hell, we were in a nice part of town, plus it was early enough in the day that I was confident any fans who spotted one of my boys would be easy to handle.

So JC promised (pinkie swear, can you believe it? They're such babies sometimes, I figure it's from the Mouse training when they were too young to know better) not to even undo his seatbelt, and I said yes, I'd be watching to make sure he didn't escape while Justin went inside. Not true, of course. No way was I going to be watching JC while he was tucked up nice and safe inside the car, I was gonna be watching to see that Justin made it through okay. We were parked right up close, and I could see through the window the way Justin pulled his cap low and his collar high and kinda slouched through the shop, because the place was full of high school girls, but he got out okay, and even tried to hold the door open for a couple women to go first, which when he was holding three coffees plus a bunch of pastries was way too ambitious, but it made JC snicker, which I figured meant the rest of the day was gonna go better.

They bickered a while longer as I drank my coffee, but after a while Justin offered JC a bite of his pastry, and then there was peace. Gotta love those two, really, even if the back seat was going to be hip deep in crumbs by the time we got there.


Parked in VIP, gave the gate guys a heads up, and we headed straight on over to the lake, which was good strategy because at this hour of the morning most everyone else was still in Futureworld concentrating on the rides.

I was pretty sure it was Mike, this month, all set to scoop the pot.

Justin was as excited as a little kid, God bless him. Bouncing up and down and grinning the way he does, you know, the one that got him where he is, I guess. The only people who can resist it are the other boys, and I wouldn't swear to Chris's immunity, myself.

JC was still just a bit pissy, though, looked over his sunglasses at Justin, all superior. "Every time we hit a country, we drink. It's a fairly simple concept, J."

I was a couple steps behind, getting into invisibility mode. You wouldn't think a three hundred pound black man could go invisible, but you'd be surprised what I can do when my boys let me. Problem with polite kids like these, they get out of the habit of behaving like clients, takes them a half hour to stop including me in the conversation.

Course, they aren't polite to each other.

"It's called Drinking Around the World. It's not rocket science," JC said. I laughed, because really, but JC seemed to have hit a nerve. Justin looked awful young, all of a sudden, and offered to give up and go home. Which actually would have pissed me off quite a bit, even though I felt sorry for the kid.

JC seemed a little bit ashamed of himself when he realized Justin was taking this all so seriously. Really, they spend so much time together, you'd think they'd be able to figure these things out. Maybe it's easier to see it from our point of view, close, but not right inside the pressure cooker. Plus, it's our job to notice stuff. Any bodyguard doesn't know five times as much about his client as the client thinks he knows? That's a bodyguard who isn't doing his job right.

Anyway, Mexico. Pyramids, not like any part of Mexico I ever went to, but that's Disney for you.

There are times when I really appreciate my job, you know? Not having to have a drink at every pavilion because I'm on duty, for one. Mind you, they started off gentle. Watermelon juice. I thought Justin was going to puke, and so did he, from the face he made. He was mighty indignant about getting the alcohol-free version. JC told him about vitamins, or something—I couldn't figure out if he was yanking the boy's chain, or what, but maybe he was serious. When we stop the buses for midnight shopping, nobody else ever comes back with macrobiotic yogurt and sunflower seeds.

The dancers threw me for a second, a troupe of them in feathers and bells and stuff got between me and my boys, but it was not much after eleven, place was barely open and hardly anyone here yet, just how I like it. Keep them ahead of the crowd, no worries.

I didn't smile when I saw JC was pulling Justin along by the belt loop. Impassive, that's what we do. Though if those jeans were actually to slide right down over the famous Timberlake hips, I might just have to grin a little. The both of them were wiggling a bit, I guess it was the drum rhythms from the small army in feathers.

Next up, Norway. Justin was far too interested in doing the drinking thing to bother with the ride—it would be way too tame anyhow, so they got themselves set up with beer, and JC insisted on a plate of food. He wasn't wrong, because the two of them, drinking their way 'around the world' with only a couple Starbucks pastries to line their insides? Man, I'd be carrying them home.

Not that I'd have gone for fish, myself. I mean, a nice lobster, sure, or a tuna steak, or crabmeat with hot sauce, but not for breakfast, and not that slimy smoked salmon stuff. Made JC happy, though, and Justin had himself some waffles, and they sat down on the floor which was fine with me because more people were coming through now and anything that kept my boys out of sight was going to make my life easier. Mostly the tourists were older, here. The teens would still be working their way through the rides back in Futureworld. But it didn't take many to cause a scene.

They were still bickering about food when we moved on to the China pavilion, but JC's face lit up when he saw the acrobats, tiny girls who could bend themselves into circles, and he stood and watched and I could just see him wondering if he could do some of that stuff. Don't think he even noticed what he was drinking.

Justin watched JC more than he watched the bendy girls. Damn it. If they'd done this a month ago, it would have been my pot! I guess some people would say it's unprofessional to be running a Book, but I say we're entitled to have a little fun on the side.

There was an oompah-band in 'Germany' so they chugged their beers and damn near ran to the Italian section. Fine with me. Justin didn't seem to mind that JC grabbed him by the wrist to get him out of there, either. There was a bunch of people painted up like statues, seemed to appeal to JC because he posed with them and got Justin to take pictures. Justin's smile seemed a bit forced, specially when JC had his arms round the half-naked guy in the tunic. So I moved them on. Well. Quite a few people taking an interest now, I didn't want them to end up mobbed before they were even half way. Managed to find a nice quiet spot inside the restaurant, and they drank a bottle of some fizzy crap and giggled about the marble people and reminisced about being painted gold.

By the time we got to the good ol' US of A, they were all cosy again. Found themselves a quiet little spot by the lagoon to drink their Buds and munch on chicken fingers. It was mid-afternoon now, and I was ready for something myself. Martha always makes sure I get a serious breakfast inside me for a day like this, but when the burgers are calling your name, no point being a martyr.

Besides, I wasn't going to get lunch in 'Japan'. Uh uh.

Anyway, we kept on going, but something happened to Justin. Don't know what, or how, but I think maybe he was having doubts. JC was crossing off the 'countries'—kept asking me which one came next, such a lightweight, but we were sitting in an out-of-the-way spot tucked in behind one of the pavilions, so I wasn't too worried about them being seen. I was a bit worried about Justin, but nothing to be done about that. It's my job to keep them safe, not to run their lives for them.

"Tiny's gonna sign this, as an impartial third party," JC promised. Truthfully? I didn't think they were gonna make it. Four more 'countries' to go, five if you count going back to Mexico for alcohol this time, and JC was slurring and waving his arms around and talking about some drunk rodent, apparently this whole Round-The-World drinking game was happening because the kids used to do it when they were on the Mickey Mouse Club, and there was some stupid prize. "We got that for her the first time we did this," JC was explaining very carefully, "and then whoever managed to finish a full shirc—circuit got to hold the damn mouse for a month."

JC was windmilling now, so I reclaimed my ballpoint before he put somebody's eye out, and wrote down the details using Justin's back for a desk. Boy was real tense. I was beginning to have my own doubts, not so sure Mike was going to get his money after all, because JC was so into this drinking thing, he didn't notice Justin practically vibrating under his hands when he pointed at the map.

Or maybe JC did notice. I don't know. Because now it seemed he couldn't keep his hands off Justin. And no, I wasn't watching my boys, most of the time, I was watching everything else, that's my job, but I still noticed the hands. JC was stroking Justin's arm, or his back, that little flash of skin between the too-loose jeans and the T-shirt, and Justin was touching back. It was five times as much as they usually did, which meant, like, a hundred times more than regular guys touch each other. It was getting dark now, people were settling themselves around the lagoon, for the fireworks, so with reasonable luck, nobody would take much notice. My boys were sloppy drunk, swaggering around like they didn't have bones, after three glasses of wine in that French pavilion and a half-yard of whatever it was they drank in the pub.

Maybe they'd make it through 'Canada' without throwing up, but I wouldn't want to be either of them in the morning.

Then—shit, all of a sudden there was no JC.

I grabbed Justin, sat him down on a bench, told him not to move. Where the fuck was Chasez?

You know, I love JC, I do, but there are times when you just want to put him over your knee and paddle his skinny white ass. Like now. He was on the fucking stage, up there with the weird guy with the bagpipes and the guitarist in the red kilt, wiggling his nonexistent hips and drawing every eye in the place and I could have wrung his neck, I really could.

I was through that crowd like a dose of salts, with Timberlake right behind me, I could feel his hand on my back, which was good because I knew there was no way I'd get the pair of them back through this crowd, not after JC Chasez had been singing fucking harmonies up there in front of a whole bunch of really happy people. A little blonde in pink called out his name, her friends started to jump up and down, and there was going to be serious crowd trouble if I didn't get them out of there. I grabbed him the second he got down and had them backstage and out of the public area in seconds and shoved them into the nearest dressing room while I called for backup.

Man, I hate that. That moment when I looked back to my boys and JC was missing, and I could see Justin didn't know where he was either, that taste of panic in my throat when I didn't know where he was, shit. I hate that.

I let my heart rate settle down before I made the call. Asked the security liaison for help getting them out of the park and into the nearest hotel so I could bring the car around. I knew the route, but that little girl in pink worried me. Fans can be determined to a point way past insanity.

Took a few deep breaths before I thumped on the dressing room door. I was pissed, but mostly at myself. Should have realized he was too drunk to know better.

Got the door open and whoa! The two of them were wrapped around each other and kissing like nothing else mattered, or even existed. They separated the moment they realized I was there—probably thought they still had lightning reflexes—and I don't think I gave anything away (impassive, remember?), just got them out of there and out the Gateway by the back route. Somebody met us at the nearest emergency exit in the Yacht Club and took us up in a service elevator, nice room on the top floor.

"Tiny?" It was JC, tugging at my arm. "Man, I'm so sorry." I swear that boy's eyes get even bigger when he's all sincere. "It was the music, man, it just—I forgot about not drawing attention, I just wanted to sing, you know?" Okay, I was pretty much calmed down, but it was a hell of a fright he gave me so I made him work for it. "I forgot that—you know, you kept things cool, you did such a great job, man, but I promise, I won't ever do that again."

Like I said, I'm a pushover.

JC's eyes flicked over to where Justin was sitting on the bed, looking kinda dazed and a little bit sorry for himself. "Listen, Tiny," he said, "I think J and me should stay here tonight. If I get in the car now, I'll probably throw up. Um. Can you sort things out at the desk?"

Just as well this wasn't my month. The guys would be accusing me of setting them up. I'd get a few beers out of Mike, though.

"Thanks, man!" He gave me that big grin, and really, what can you do? I gave him a smack on the shoulder, just to reinforce the 'Don't do it again' part of the agreement.

Couldn't resist saying, "You owe me, Timberlake," right before I left.

It was... strange, going through the routine stuff with the front desk then getting a ride back to my car with one of the park security guys, all the while with the image of those boys in the back of my mind, kissing like they needed each other more than breath. Knowing that right now they—and I did not need to be thinking about what they were doing right now, I did not need any pictures in my head, I really, really did not want to be thinking about that. Two pretty boys who'd been waiting for this for ever without even realizing. Shit. Really didn't want that in my head.

But the passion, the need. Yeah. I understood that.

I told Rico thanks for the ride, and got my cell out before I switched on the ignition.

"Hey, beautiful. I'm on my way home. You wanna wear your red teddy tonight?"

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