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posted by [personal profile] lake_fic at 09:10pm on 09/10/2009 under , ,
history repeats
Nick/Joe, bb!Nick/bb!Joe, some bb!Nick/Joe/Nick/bb!Joe cuddling, and damn that is confusing!

This was originally commentfic at boyfriends_fic@LJ. Thanks to doctor_denmark@LJ & blackwayfarers@LJ for the beta job after I actually finished it.

"You shouldn't," Nick says. "He's fourteen," Nick says.

Joe shrugs one shoulder fluidly. "He's you."

"He's not," Nick insists.

Joe gives him his most careless smile. "You just don't wanna remember how you were then," he murmurs, breaking his wrists free from Nick's grasp, "and you don't know what I'm gonna do."

He turns and bounds onto the bus, where they've hidden this other Nick in a bunk that's normally just full of duffel bags and shoes. Joe hums a little near the curtain so New Nick - Young Nick? - Baby Nick? - screw it, Joe is calling this one Nicky and the older one Nick, at least out loud - knows that he's there.

"Yo, yo, Nicky," he whispers, sing-song, "can I come in?"

The curtain moves a little, and then the younger Nick is beaming at him, curls in complete disarray, dressed in a slouchy t-shirt and pinstriped pants. Joe can see the sharp definition of his collarbone. "Oh, man, this is so weird," Joe says, and slides into the bunk.

The younger Nick is in his arms like a shot, snuggling close and rubbing his cheek against Joe's cheek . "Missed you," he whispers.

They're not quite sure how he got here, but Joe's not going to question. It's nice having a Nick who will cuddle with him again, one who doesn't try to duck out of his hugs at least eighty percent of the time. A Nick who isn't quite so weighted down with expectations, both his own and other peoples'.

"I’m so serious," this Nick says, his face mashed against Joe’s chest.

"Yes," Joe agrees, "you are."

"Do I still have fun?"

As if to answer his question, the door to the bus bangs open and someone stomps loudly aboard, heavy footsteps all the way back to where they are. "Joe," Older Nick's voice says from outside the curtain, a deep sigh, "now there’s a younger you, too. I found him outside."

"What?" Joe exclaims, and Baby Nick giggles helplessly. "Oh, this I have to see!"

The curtain is yanked back and Nick’s hands are shoving a younger Joe into the bunk. The younger Nick makes a delighted noise and scrambles over Joe to cling to his counterpart. Joe finds himself squished against the wall, Little Nick between him and… him.

This is definitely weird.

His phone chirps, and it takes a little wiggling before Joe can dig it out of the pocket of his too-tight jeans. dont make out with them. Joe is willing to bet Nick is still standing outside the bunk.

stfu just because i kissed you once when you were 15 means nothing, he writes back.

"Hey," his younger self says. "My hair."

"Stopped straightening," Joe replies, taking in the tiny v-necked t-shirt and skinny red jeans that Younger Joe is wearing. He's got the most intense feeling of deja vu ever right now. It's a little bit creepy.

Younger Nick is still smiling. Joe pokes him in the shoulder, and he just smiles more. Joe can't help but grin back. His phone beeps again. what r u doin in there

Joe would reach out and tug the curtain aside and just tell Regular Nick to climb in here too, but space is limited. Little Joe is still hugging Little Nick.

Joe sort of understands how things had led up to the semi-failed makeout attempt. But whatever, it was years ago, and just because Joe sometimes wants to kiss away all the serious from Nick's face now doesn't mean anything.

"Joe!" Nick hisses from outside the bunk. "What are we going to do with them?"

"Um," Joe says. He really has no idea. "Wait, are we by a bus stop or train station or something? If we could get them to my house, they could stay there." He stops to think about that for a second. "If they promise not to destroy it."

"I would never," Younger Joe says, his eyes wide. His fingers are tangled in Baby Nick's hair. Joe tries not to look and fails.

"It would be pretty laughable to try and hide them on the bus for the rest of the tour or however long they're gonna stay in this dimension," Nick replies, his voice contemplative. "Let's do it. Before we all get caught. Right now we're the only people in here - I think I can get them to a cab before anyone sees us." There's a pause and then Nick clears his throat impatiently. "Dudes, let's hurry up and go."

Baby Nick turns over and hugs Joe tightly. Then he climbs over Younger Joe and out of the bunk.

Joe's left staring at himself. "Um," he says.

"So weird," his younger self breathes, then leans forward and kisses his cheek before scrambling out of the bunk.

Joe hears their footsteps going out of the bus but doesn't move. He stays there with the curtain half-open and it feels like hours until Nick comes back, even though he knows it's not that long. Nick stands outside the bunk and stares at him, arms crossed over his chest, expression unreadable. "If they get lost, it's your fault," Joe says to him, mostly for something to say.

"Maybe they'll go back to their own time, or whatever this is."

"They're just us."

When Nick speaks again, his voice is quiet. "I saw the way you looked at him." Joe feels his face flame, but before he can argue, Nick says he's going to sleep and turns on his heel.

If Joe's going to be honest, he sort of forgets about their younger selves until tour's over and he goes to unlock his front door and it's already unlocked. "Younger dudes," he yells, "don't you know how to keep the door locked?"

Baby Nick skids into view, his socked feet sliding on the slick marble floor. "Sorry," he says breathlessly.

"Nicky," Joe says, fully intending to scold him some more, but then his arms are occupied with hugging the younger version.

"You're almost out of food and stuff," Younger Nick mumbles against his neck, clinging tightly. "Me 'n my Joe played basketball outside all morning, we were gonna take a nap. Is the other me with you?"

"Yeah, he's getting the rest of our crap out of the car." Joe steps back and yawns. "A nap, huh?"

The bridge of Baby Nick's nose is a little red from the sun, his freckles more pronounced. He yawns, too. "You should take a nap with us. I think we could all fit in your bed."

Joe has a huge bed and he knows they could all four of them fit into it without trouble. And he would really like a nap. He hadn't been able to sleep on the plane, even with Nick offering his shoulder. But he also knows that Nick is not going to agree to sleep in the same bed as their younger selves. He can hardly ever get Nick to sleep in a bed with him these days. "You'll never convince Nick," he tells the younger one.

"Oh, I will," Younger Nick says assuredly, and goes out the front door.

Joe watches him walk out, laughing to himself at the battle of wills that's about to take place. Then he drags his duffel towards his bedroom and stops dead in the doorway. His seventeen year-old self is sprawled out face-down on the bed in nothing but a pair of basketball shorts that Joe knows he must have scavenged from the dresser. "Dude," Joe says.

"Sleepin'," Other Joe replies.

"You're taking up, like, the whole bed."

Younger Joe moves over a little. Joe slings his duffel bag into the corner and flops down on the bed next to him. "I thought I got rid of the hair straightener," he says, eyeing the younger one skeptically.

"Nope, I found it." Younger smirks at him a little, then looks hesitant. "Is it weird if we snuggle?"

"Probably," Joe answers, but before he can lift an arm for the other one to duck under, Baby Nick comes flying into the room and leaps on top of him.

Over his shoulder, Joe sees Nick following at a more sedate pace. "Joe," Nick says, "was I really this annoying?"

Joe can only assume that Nick doesn't want an actual answer, because Joe's answer will be that Nick was never annoying and that Joe misses the days when Nick let him snuggle close without complaint. "Are you coming to bed?" he asks instead. "These two make good pillows." The younger Nick hums happily against his neck, and the younger Joe is pressed up against his arm. "And the other me thinks it might be weird if he and I cuddle, so you need to be in charge of that."

"I hate you, all of you, including you-me," Nick says, and kicks off his shoes.

Joe grins as Nick climbs onto the bed on the other side of Younger Joe. It's definitely big enough for the four of them, even if Mini-Nick were to move out of Joe's space and stretch out a little. "I don't remember why I bought a bed this large, but I'm glad I did," he tells them.

"Joe, little you is clinging to me," Nick complains.

"I can't help it," Younger Joe protests. "You're the same age I am and you're bigger than I am, it's so weird!"

Nick murmurs something that Joe can't make out, and the other Joe starts to giggle, and the whole bed shakes. "I thought we were taking a nap, dudes," Baby Nick says, wiggling against Joe, trying to get comfortable. "You know, sleeping?"

"The older you is being way dirty," Other Joe says in a shocked voice, breathless with laughter.

Joe turns his head and looks at them. His younger self is snuggled in Nick's arms, his face flushed, and Nick's chin is hooked over his shoulder. "You can't help it either," Joe says in a low voice and watches Nick's cheeks turn pink.

Little Nick huffs that everyone should shut up because he wants to nap, thanks, and Joe meets Nick's eyes again and quirks the corner of his mouth. He gets it. Their other selves are exactly the age they'd been when they'd fooled around, and it's an insistent reminder. There had been that one strange period of time where their orbits had overlapped and all Joe had wanted was Nick, and all Nick had wanted was him. Too much time spent in each other's presence, too little time to themselves; it had led up to the night alone in the hotel room where he'd tripped Nick backwards onto the bed and crawled on top of him. Breathed him in, skimmed his hands over all the visible bare skin he could reach.

"Sorry," he'd whispered. "I can't stop," he'd whispered.

"It's okay," Nick had said, and Joe had kissed him then. Slow and lazy, he'd kissed his brother, because he'd had to know if it would be for real like it was in his mind.

It almost was.

Now, he sees where his younger self has a hand stretched out to dip under Other Nick's t-shirt, fingers tracing an absent pattern. He remembers the shock of the kiss, how it had been so close to right.

Joe wonders if it's right for them.

"Joe," Nick says, moving closer. "Stop thinking about it and just take a nap, dude." He looks hesitant, then leans in and, for a brief second, presses his mouth gently to Joe's. "We'll give it another shot, I promise."

Joe sighs and wraps his arms tighter around Baby Nick, who has fallen asleep and is breathing warm and heavy on his neck. He closes his eyes.

When he wakes up again, it's just him and Nick in the bed, a wide expanse of space between them. Joe feels like he's swimming through the sheets to close it. Then Nick moves too, and tugs him close. "Did I dream that?" he murmurs.

"I don't know," Joe replies. "Do you think they got home?"

"Don't know about them," Nick echoes, his fingers tightening a little on Joe's hips. He snuggles closer, sleepy-warm, and whispers, "but I think that we did."

Title from one of my top five favorite songs ever, Elvis Costello's "Beyond Belief". And yes, I liked him before I even knew who Nick Jonas was.
There are 12 comments on this entry. (Reply.)
posted by [identity profile] at 03:42am on 10/10/2009
This story is still totally awesome!

And it's weird how different commentfic can look after it's been merged together. Like, how much more smoothly a scene can read when it isn't broken up into separate comments.

Anyway, I absolutely love this bit: Now, he sees where his younger self has a hand stretched out to dip under Other Nick's t-shirt, fingers tracing an absent pattern. I think it's my favorite line, but I didn't even notice it in the original version, if it was there. It creates (to me, at least) the sense that even Nick and Joe can't penetrate the relationship that Nick and Joe have. Um, if that makes any sense.
posted by [personal profile] lake_fic at 03:47am on 10/10/2009
<3 Thanks!!
posted by (anonymous) at 03:42am on 10/10/2009
(this is Asha)

DUDE. I was NOT EXPECTING THAT ENDING OMGG. When Nick promised they'd try again, my heart legit flipped over. And the last liiiinee, JESUS.

posted by [personal profile] lake_fic at 03:47am on 10/10/2009
But Asha, what other ending could there be? I WASN'T GOING TO HAVE IT BE SAD!
posted by (anonymous) at 04:54am on 10/10/2009
It's Liz.


Yup, pretty much sums up my feelings on this. Especially this part:

"Sorry," he'd whispered. "I can't stop," he'd whispered.

"It's okay," Nick had said, and Joe had kissed him then. Slow and lazy, he'd kissed his brother, because he'd had to know if it would be for real like it was in his mind.

It almost was.
So perfect. That it was so close to right, but not. And they'll try again, my heart! Love your stuff, girl.
posted by [personal profile] lake_fic at 03:34am on 11/10/2009
Thank you Liz! <33333


posted by [identity profile] at 06:32am on 10/10/2009
Oh man... That was - the ending <333 I love you so much for this.
posted by [personal profile] lake_fic at 03:34am on 11/10/2009
N'aww, thanks!
posted by [personal profile] elodie at 05:51am on 12/10/2009
i think i must have missed this, which is a travesty. you are definitely one of my favorite writers. this was adorable and sweet and had that lovely calmness that pervades your stories.
posted by [personal profile] lake_fic at 12:18pm on 12/10/2009
Thank you!
posted by (anonymous) at 04:12pm on 12/10/2009
I've never been so tempted to get a dreamwidth account. JUST to be able to give you feedback, I swear. I loooooove this. The baby versions of themselves were SO CUTE and I'm really intrigued by it not being right QUITE yet at 15/18, but like a good sauce or something, it just had to simmer and become perfect, not inevitable maybe, but a choice?

idk, just love it.

- misskittye
posted by (anonymous) at 12:18am on 18/10/2009
this is so sweet. it's the first fic that gives a reason for bbnick&joe coming [at least i think it's so that joe&nick get together] and i just love it EVEN MORE for that!


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