we invented the remix 6

the itch by randomling: the invisible man mix by bossymarmalade

"Shit, shit shit!" Chris yelled, his voice bouncing around in the storage closet. Justin winced at the volume and said, "Calm down, willya? We'll never get out of here if you use up all our air hootin' and hollerin'." He felt his way to the door in the pitch darkness while Chris muttered angrily in his corner, occasionally kicking at the floor.

"This is what I get for being the levelheaded one of the bunch," Justin sighed to himself, ignoring Chris's rude snort of derision. His hands skated over the doorjamb and came to rest on a handle ... which refused to budge when he tried to turn it. "Okay," he said, and then, "okay," again in a much less pinched way, because Chris's aggravated rambling was starting to get a panicky edge to it now and Justin knew from long experience that Chris's panic was usually catching. "I found the door, but it's locked."

"Motherfucker," Chris said, almost conversationally. Then something whizzed past Justin's face in the dark to bonk against the door, and he yelped and hopped back.

"Chris, jesus! You nearly took my fucking nose off! We don't have time for this!" Justin reached blindly back to where he could hear Chris's snorty breaths -- he sounded like a goddamn asthmatic pug -- and manhandled him up to the door. "Here, face me," he ordered, jostling Chris around. "I'm'a count one-two-three, and then we're gonna pop the door open with our shoulders."

"You think this is gonna work?" Chris asked.

"Yeah, of course."

"Ever done this before?"

"Read it in a Stephen King book."

A beat passed and then Chris gave a little chortle. "Well fuck, as long as it's from a reputable source," he said, voice warm and amused. Justin firmly kept himself from grinning back in the darkness and said, "And go after three, not on three. Got that?"

"Got it." Chris leaned forward and planted a kiss on Justin's nose, squashing it sideways. "Sorry 'bout your nose, Ringo."

"Quit it." Justin squirmed, pushing gently at Chris's hips. "We gotta get out of here. Now -- one ... two ...."

The door flung open at that point, causing Chris to stumble over himself and flop out at Joey's feet, banging his chin on the floor. "My thongue!" Chris yowled. "I bid it!"

"Serves you right for not going after three like I said," Justin told him severely, then gave Joey a grateful thump on the shoulder. "Just in time, man. We were gonna bust the door open, but this is better."

"Yeah," Joey said in a bland tone. "'Specially since that door was, like, two inches of solid steel."

Chris gave a bark of laughter from the floor. "Good ol' Joey," he said, mournfully holding his chin. "The level-fuckin'-headed one."


JC can feel the desire spreading through his body, from the marrow of his bones outward and outward like salt through the ocean; he twists hard in the airplane seat, pressing up against the buckle of his seatbelt. The pressure feels good and he moans, just a little, biting down on a corner of his bottom lip. Days and weeks and months like this, with this need inside him growing. He's ready to bring it to a head. He's so ready he feels as if he's going to burst out of his skin and just be pure energy, or something.

The want and longing reaches his throat, fills his mouth with iron-hot water, scorns gravity to trickle upward into his brain until JC wants to scratch through his eyes and sockets and skull and just sink his fingers in there and itch. Instead he drinks the vodka in front of him and jams his hands under his thighs. He'll try to sleep. He knows now where he has to go.


It turned out that Joey had also been forward-thinking enough to arrange for their stuff to be sent ahead in a rental car, a silver PT Cruiser whose hood Chris flopped onto in order to rub his face and hands fondly over the cold paint. "Just like my baby," he crooned as the other two diverged around him. "I get to drive, right?"

"Yeah," Joey said, opening the back door. "None of us want you bitching and complaining and kicking the seats the whole drive there, dude." Justin made a loud noise of agreement and got into the front seat as Chris jammed himself behind the steering wheel.

"Okay," Chris announced, rubbing his hands. "First, pit stop. Then driving."

Joey and Justin were agreeable about this, as well as about stopping along the way for drinks and candy and snacks and burgers and ice cream and even some apples (Joey insisted), but they drew the line when Chris wanted to stop at a sit-down pizza place that also served ribs and spaghetti.

"We don't have time for this," Joey told him sternly, cutting short Chris's anticipatory recitation of what he was going to order once they got inside. "We need to find them before something bad happens."

Chris made a slow sulky loop through the restaurant's parking lot before heading back out onto the road. "It's cold here. And I wanted some regional food," he said, rustling fruitlessly through one of the numerous empty Doritos bags littering the front of the car. "What's the point of driving through Virginia if we don't sample some of the delicious regional food?"

"I don't think Virginia has any regional food," Justin said. "Unless, uh, you count the ham."

Chris snorted. "What the hell does Virginia have?"

"Lovers," Joey and Justin said in unison. Chris raised an eyebrow.

"Too bad we don't have enough time for that," he murmured, digging his thumbnails into the steering wheel. Justin looked down at his hands folded in his lap, smiling, and Joey actually giggled in the backseat, totally spoiling the mood.

"That would be pretty lame," he laughed. "If we got there too late to stop Lance and C because we stopped to fuck along the way!" Joey scooted to the edge of his seat and put his hands on Chris's shoulders, warm and strong. "There'll be plenty of time for that once we get this done."

"Sigh," Chris said as Justin likewise reached over to squeeze his knee. "I hope these two losers appreciate the sacrifices on our parts to keep them from making the worst mistake in the world."

They only made one stop after that, at a small gas station/souvenir stand where Joey ran to the bathroom with great relief and Justin bought his mother a T-shirt on the spur of the moment. "Look, it's funny," he said, holding it up to show to Chris.

"'It's all relative in West Virginia'," Chris read, then goggled at Justin.

"She'll really like it," Justin said, folding the shirt up neatly so the store clerk could slide it into a plastic bag. The clerk re-folded it before putting it in the bag, and then Justin carried it to the other side of the store to surreptitiously re-re-fold the shirt on top of the ice-cream cooler.

"I work with freaks," Chris told himself. The idea wasn't as alarming as it should have been.


Lance finds the place despite itself, the stark all-the-same roads and the nondescript exterior and the featurless wintry sky. He pulls up to park outside and just sits in his car for a moment, until the warmth from the seats fades beneath him and the engine's impatient tiks space out and stop. His fingers are cold. He wants to go inside, but part of him is scared that the dream will turn out to be just that -- nothing more than desperate longing, alone in the wolf-howl lonely night.

He closes his eyes and sees it: the bare branches of the oak tree outside the window, shaking purposefully in the pale evening light; the big chintzy flowers on the old-fashioned carpet; the scent of real and true flowers (roses, out-of-season roses) to amend for the carpet's chicanery. He sees himself. He sees the love between him and the other person, the person who's been with him in each and every one of these dreams.

Just like every time, Lance strains to see who the person is; just like every time, he can't. He hears greedy ringing in his ears and feels his heart thump painfully, and Lance is out of the car before he quite knows he's doing it. Something inside him knows what to do, and he's helpless against it, but maybe he doesn't mind.


Justin followed the readout to get them there -- left turn here, third right, left again into the parking lot -- and they pulled up outside of a plain little hotel. "This is it," Justin said, the dubiousness in his voice making it clear that he felt his friends could have chosen a place that was somewhat more upscale. Joey rolled his eyes at Chris, grinning, and thumped him on the shoulder. "Pop the trunk," he said. "We better get up there and stop 'em."

They slung all their stuff on standing by the open trunk, boots crunching on the icy concrete. "Of all the places," Justin finally said once Chris shut the trunk, "they had to choose here? What's wrong with a big city like New York, or someplace warm? They don't like warm?"

"They're not thinking, J," Chris told him. "They're just gravitating to someplace quiet where nobody'll get to them in time." He shouldered his pack more squarely onto his back. "Now c'mon."

The pleasant-looking woman at the front counter was sitting plumly in a warm wash of heated air that made Justin groan in appreciation; her comfortable eyes got wide with dismay as she took the three of them in. "Oh," she said, "I don't think--"

Joey waved one hand at her. "No, don't worry about showing us up," he said in the cheerful, polite-but-firm tone he'd perfected for just this sort of situation. "We know where we're going."

"Flock wallpaper and floral carpeting," Chris observed gleefully as Justin's lip curled. He punched the elevator button more times than he needed to and did a little dance of Make-Elevator-Come-Faster while Joey checked his watch.

"Sunset soon," Joey muttered. "We sure wasted a lot of time getting here."

"You're too serious about this, Joe." Justin rubbed Joey's arm. "Don't sweat it -- I mean, they're our friends, after all. It won't be so bad."

"For an abomination, he means," Chris piped in. The elevator dinged.


JC's eyes are closed as he pushes open the door, but it doesn't matter it doesn't matter what he wants is in there, inside the room in that evening sun with the smell of winter and roses all around and the hunger rises up inside him like a tidal wave to smash against his ribs. And, "did you dream it, too?" Lance is asking, wonder and hotness and deep deep voice where he sits on the floral bedspread, and JC is breathing, "every night," as he moves forward to slide onto his stomach on the mattress. Their hands touch. Lance's fingernails scrape JC's palm as electricity jolts through them both, violently curving their spines with ravenous eldritch desire and all JC can hear in his itchy scratchy head now is a ceaseless consuming chatter. It's time, it's time, he can see it reflected in Lance's eyes, excitement spiking into them both like a barrage of sweet-stinging rose thorns.

It's time.


It was room 418 and Justin led them there easily, growing grimmer as they trotted down the hallway. They paused outside the door to readjust and Chris licked his teeth. "Here goes," he mumbled unnecessarily, then gave a wild shout and kicked open the door.

JC was lolling on the bed, Lance sitting next to him; they looked up, startled, as the other three burst in. "All right!" Joey bellowed. "Move away from each other!"

Lance's eyes flared in the last of the winter sun that was streaming in through the window. "I am the Keymaster," he said in an unearthly groan, followed quickly by JC's rasping, "--I am the Gatekeeper."

"JC," Justin pleaded. "JC, snap out of it! We don't wanna have to use these!" He shook his proton pack, agitated, and JC swiveled a blank, fiery face in Justin's direction and growled, "There is no JC. There is only--"

"Yeah, yeah," Chris said, and fired.


In the end, Lance and JC were happily unharmed and de-demonized but still rather confused. "When the hell did you guys become ghost busters?" Lance demanded, scrubbing his slightly fried, slightly more white-blond hair. JC leaned over to kiss Lance's temple and wrinkled his nose at the smell of toasted hair, patting worriedly at his own head while Joey explained, "We just kind of took it up over the past couple of months while you guys were, uh ..."

"Sneaking off for your marathon masturbation sessions," Chris supplied helpfully. "Possessed marathon masturbation sessions," Justin clarified, completely unhelpfully. He lurched forward and hugged both of them where they sat on the bed, Lance's arm coming around awkwardly to pat at the proton pack. "I'm so glad you have you guys back," Justin said with great emotion, burying his face in JC's neck. JC tickled Justin's ear and scrunched up his nose at Chris and Joey.

"So you know we still intend to stay together, right?" he said. "Lance and me, I mean." As if emboldened by this statement, Lance's free hand shifted to JC's lower back and started making determined starfish squeezes.

"Er," Joey said, looking unsure. "I guess that's okay, since we un-Gatekeeper and un-Keymastered you."

"Check Tobin's Spirit Guide," Justin instructed from where he was trying to climb into Lance's lap for better hugging. Lance, having suffered this long enough, shoved Justin off with firm affection and gathered himself closer to JC. "I don't care what that mouldy ol' guide tells you," he announced loudly. "JC'n me aren't breaking up no matter what you find in there."

Chris rolled his eyes. "Ah, l'amour," he grunted. "Perfectly prepared to bring about the end of the world for the sake of some nookie." Lance looked a little abashed at that, but Chris grinned crookedly as he hauled Justin back. "Well, don't worry, kids. We got to you before you consummated the unholy alliance, so everything's gonna be all right. Once you apologize for locking me and Justin in that supply closet before taking off."

"Shit, sorry," Lance said, and "Do we really have to?" JC said. JC's eyes were starting to look a little wild around the edges, his arm slipping around Lance and hand working steadily past the waistband of his jeans. Joey cleared his throat, amusement all over his face.

"I suppose," he said, "now that we've averted the coming of Gozer the Gozerian and all that--"

"Yes," JC said sharply, shooting up from the bed to grab at each of the other three and shove them toward the door. "We'll see you guys later. Later-later."

"And thanks," Lance called from the bed, waving. "We appreciate it!"

And then they were outside in the hallway, with the door to room 418 shut in their faces.

"Well," said Joey airily, echoed flat by Chris and happy by Justin. "Our job here is done."

"You know what that means," Justin grinned, shifting under the weight of the proton packs they were all still wearing. Chris leaned in and gave him a brief kiss, then one for Joey, and was just opening his mouth to say something when the door opened a crack and JC's ruffled head popped out, followed by one of his hands holding a key.

"Hey," he said. "Room 407. Help yourselves." He turned to look back into the room, then smiled at the three of them. "And yeah, thanks." He shut the door again, and this time they heard him lock it.


Justin smooths them all out with kisses even before Chris tumbles him to the bed, Joey curling up beside them to put his hands on Justin and feel Justin's hands on him. Chris scrunches his eyes shut and bares his teeth as he moves, deliberately erratic and deeper and deeper; Justin whispers things into Joey's ear that make him swallow real hard and tremble like he's on a leash. They shift around in a shared orbit, part of the same gravitational pull, and now Joey's the one moving and pushing and Chris's eyes are hot while his mouth is busy, Justin's hands tangled lazily in his hair. The last of the pale winter light shivers out, but they hardly notice at all.


"This hasn't been a very normal way to start a relationship," JC noted as they lay in bed, sheets and hands twined together. "You think they'll want us to join them? Like, in the hunting?"

Lance yawned and turned so he could rest one cupped hand on JC's chest. "Naw, I don't think so," he murmured. "I don't believe in ghosts."

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