It could easily have been his eyes playing tricks on him. In fact, it probably was. After all, he was already tripping and everyone looked beautiful, everyone looked special. There was no way he'd seen Justin Timberlake go by, the strobe light capturing freeze frames of his face so Nick could gaze at him. It just couldn't happen.
Nick wasn't even sure there was a strobe light.
"You wanna dance." It wasn't a request, it was a demand, and it wasn't from Justin. A strong, feminine arm wrapped around his waist and turned him around into her arms. She was right, he did want to dance. He didn't want to do anything *but* dance. And Justin Timberlake was quickly forgotten.
The dancing boy had slim hips and broad shoulders and the most amazingly brilliant smile Nick had ever seen. He drifted through the crowd just to be near him, just to touch that aura, feel its warmth on him. He could tell before he even got there that it would be warm and good.
There were so many hands reaching out to him on his way and he reached back, touched everyone he could, and smiled wide so the world could see how he was feeling. They were reaching out for the same reasons he was, not because he was a star but because it felt good. One of them even looked like Justin, too. Everything felt good.
He didn't expect to be danced with and touched and embraced when he got there, to the side of the beautiful boy, but that was good, too. That was even better. That made him wish he never had to do anything else in life than stand there and dance.
She was tall and blonde and had the greenest eyes Nick had ever seen. And Nick had seen a very lot of people eye to eye, far too many to count. She smiled at him and took him by the hand and they were dancing, wrapped around one another, letting the music dictate their movements.
"You're beautiful," he told her, then licked her jaw with a single, broad stroke. She tasted sweet.
It felt like the music was inside him, Nick felt like he knew it inside and out. He didn't even realize until the song was almost over that it was one of his own, remixed to the point it was almost unrecognizable to him. He ground against her to the last few beats, then let her lead him away.
"Later, sugar," said Nick, sliding his hand up under her shirt to give her nipple a gentle pinch as they said good-bye. He didn't know her name and he was pretty sure she didn't know his, but they'd found enough other things to call one another when they'd been grinding together in the dark.
Out of the corner of his eye he saw a Justin shape again, was the fourth time now. Just his luck to get Justin on the brain when he was tripping. It hadn't wrecked his high, though, it had just ... become enmeshed in it.
"Night," she said in return, groping the front of his pants and giving him one last, wet kiss before she backed away. The night was young, and she probably already had her next conquest in mind. Nick's next conquest wasn't a person, it was a song. With the images of her naked, writhing body on his brain, he just might be able to write it. Either that or he was going to give in and write about Justin.
Everything twinkled, the stars, the streetlamps, the red and blue flashing lights up the street. Everything was beautiful and good and he just wanted to bask in it, suck the warm night air into his lungs and let the world twinkle around him.
He wanted to find the ocean and sit on the rocks or the sand and smell the salt and feel the breeze. He belonged there; he needed to be there. He drifted down towards the beach, wandering down sidewalks and through back alleys and back yards, far from the rave, further from his hotel, far from the parts of the city he knew. Towards the water that he was sure would sparkle, too.
Even the shadow behind him was Justin-shaped, right down to the hair which waved just slightly in the breeze. Nick was kind of glad Justin had grown it out again, at least a little. It made him look softer, instead of all sharp edges and flat planes and hard.
But it was only a shadow, because even if Justin Timberlake *had* been at the rave, he certainly wouldn't be here, now. He would be dancing with a pretty girl or a pretty boy, and the ocean was waiting for Nick.
Maybe it wasn't a shadow after all. Maybe it wasn't just a Justin-shaped thing. He *was* in town, had been at the same media spectacle Nick had. It was how Nick had gotten him on the brain in the first place, Justin in baggy shorts and basketball shoes and shirtless, looking hotter than he had any right to.
Maybe Nick wasn't just seeing what he wanted to, maybe it wasn't all just a happy vision, maybe it was more than wishful thinking.
What might have been Justin was walking across the sand toward him, not merely a shadow but possessing color and motion and actual short curls that bounced with every step. His shirt was off and tucked into the waist of his pants again and he lifted his arms over his head, letting the breeze cool him.
He came close and closer, leaving a trail of footprints behind him on the beach that tracked his progress from the end of the concrete path right up to Nick's side. He was real. Nick looked up and smiled and said, "Hi, Justin."
"I saw you dancing," Justin said as he kissed Nick's throat, let a hand ride up under Nick's shirt as he knelt on the sand next to him. "You look hot. You should take this off now." He licked Nick's adam's apple. "I followed you here. I hope that's okay."
Nick let his notebook and pencil drop to the sand and pulled Justin closer.
Justin's naked body was even more spectacular than his clothed body, which was saying a lot. It was even better than the beautiful dancing boy. Nick's naked body was pretty good, too, or at least it felt pretty good under the night sky and in the warm air and under Justin's body. He thought that anyone's body would probably feel good under Justin's body.
"That tickles," he whispered as Justin kissed his chin, his jaw, his cheek, his lips. He bet it tickled Justin, too, when he kissed him back the exact same way. He hoped it did, anyway, because it was a good tickle. The kind of tickle that made him want to grab and thrust and grind and grope.
Justin ground against him and his moans were like music, rhythmic and pulsing and hot, hot, hot. Nick didn't even pay any attention to his own; he could feel them coming out but he didn't hear them, didn't listen. He heard Justin and he heard the waves coming in against the beach and that was all. That was everything he wanted to hear.
Justin even said his name, stretching it out so that it was a whole sentence, a whole story in itself. "Nick. Niiiiiick." It told the story of their night. It told the story of their lives.
Nick said Justin's name back to him as he came. He thought a lot of things in that moment, like "fuck" and "holy shit" and "god" and "you're amazing" and "want more more" but what he said was "Justin". Justin.
They stretched out side by side on the sand and stared up at the stars. They were quiet, the ocean was quiet, everything was quiet now. Their hands bumped and they grasped each other's fingers, for all the time they had left together. It couldn't last forever, but right then it felt like it was, like it already had.
Justin was warm and beautiful and Nick was warm and beautiful and the night was warm and beautiful. When dawn came life would go on and they would go back to their lives, but until then everything was ... warm. And beautiful.