Awesome April story: Sail On - Saving the Vorwuls since 3289 a cage!
Awesome April story: Sail On
I was a little unsure of this, so thank you to sperrywink, nopseud and msktrnanny who reassured that it was okay.

It isn't what I was supposed to write, the story of my life lately, but I hope you enjoy anyway.

Nsync gen.

I have no idea if I should warn for this or not. So, scroll right down at the end of the story where I've added a warning if anyone wants to check.

Joey wakes curled on a small bed.

It isn’t the bed he has at home, that has luxurious pillows and cosy flower patterned sheets. This is a small cot, narrow with white starched sheets that scratch against his skin. Slowly opening his eyes, Joey looks around, at dark wooden walls, lanterns swinging from brass hooks, causing pools of light to sway across the floor.

Nauseous, he presses his face against the pillow, breathing through the churning of his stomach. All he wants to do is leave, but he doesn’t want to move. There’s something wrong with this place. It thrums, and when he reaches out his hand, the walls minutely vibrate against his fingertips.

Joey’s not ashamed to admit to himself that he’s scared.

“Joey, hey.”

It’s a voice from a lifetime ago, and Joey doesn’t want to look, can’t take the disappointment of being wrong.


The mattress dips, a hand against his back.

“It’s really me.”

The voice is wrapped in a smile; a thousand memories centred on laughter and shared times.

“I know it’s scary, but you need to look at me.”

A hesitation, and Joey’s still. So still. Holding onto this dream.

“Do you want me to get the sponge?”

The new voice makes Joey gasp, and he clenches his fists against the covers, fingers clawed tight. Because this is fucking cruel, and he can’t take getting what he’s missed for so long, only to have it taken away again.

“I told you not to come in yet. You know what it’s like the first time.”

There’s censure, and this time Joey does move, desperate. “No! Don’t go.” He twists in place, the sheets tightening around his body, and everything is frozen, pin prick sharp as he sees Justin standing in the doorway. His grin wide, and utterly failing to appear casual. Then Lance. Lance who’s sitting at Joey’s side, legs crossed at the ankles, smiling so hard.

“You took your time,” Lance says softly, and then he’s leaning forward, pulling Joey into a hug and everything feels desperate, needy, reattaching long-severed ties. Then Justin’s running forward, dropping to his knees at the side of the bed.

“I missed you,” he says, his hands against Joey’s back.

“Joey’s missed Justin too; he’s missed them all, their lives taking different directions until all that remained were cards at Christmas and glossy printed memories made dull with age. A staggered heartbreak of goodbyes.

“We need to get going,” Lance says suddenly, and there’s something in his voice that makes Joey look up sharply, catching the way Lance glances at Justin. The way Justin’s shoulders slump, sorrow obvious in the way he dips his head and looks away.


Joey’s words are lost in a sudden savage hug, Lance’s face against his own.

“I’m sorry, you’re not getting the time that you need, but JC’s waiting and we haven’t got time.”

“Hold on,” Joey says, and he’s smiling, lips curling as he detangles himself from Lance and Justin. “JC’s here?”

“He was here first,” Justin says, and his hand is wrapped around Joey’s arm, steadying him as he stands and they walk toward the door. Which Joey is thankful for, because the floor seems to sway under his feet, as if gravity is all wrong in this place, is working against them.

“We need to hurry.”

They step into a corridor, wooden floors and pale walls and Lance sounds anxious now, his head tilted slightly to one side as he’s listening intently. If Joey concentrates, he thinks he can hear something too. A ticking.

Slowing. Slowing.Slowing down.

“Come on!”

Justin’ urges Joey on until they’re almost running, hurrying along the corridor, passing closed doors and stairs that disappear into the dark. Finally he stops at the last set of stairs, starts to run up them, and Joey’s panting for breath, gasping as he follows Justin, feels Lance close behind.

Finally they reach the top and Joey almost stumbles as Justin opens a door. They step outside and it’s nothing that Joey expected, how could he? Nothing could have prepared him for stepping onto a wooden deck, sails rippling above his head, a skull and cross bones flag fluttering from the top of a mast.

Except, there’s no sea, no water at all.

Just a ship sailing through the sky.

“Isn’t she gorgeous?”

Gaze torn from the sails, Joey throws himself toward JC, because JC is expected. Normal, solid strength and unruly curls that tickle against Joey’s face as they hug.


“I know,” JC interrupts, and he’s holding Joey close, his chin against Joey’s shoulder, as if it was yesterday they last talked. “It’s scary and fantastic and you probably think you’re dreaming.” JC smiles, presses a quick kiss against Joey’s neck. “You’re not.”

He falls silent then, and Joey’s aware that Justin and Lance are standing close, waiting, and the ticking is louder here. A steady throbbing beat that’s still slowing.

Slowing. Slowing. Slowing down.

“It’s nearly time,” JC says, and when he moves, Joey’s collar is damp, JC’s eyes glimmering with tears.

“You’re not leaving?” Joey asks, frantic, because he doesn’t understand any of this and his head is still thumping, pain slicing through uncertain memories and foggy periods of time.

“No, I’ve been waiting.”

Which is no answer at all, and Joey’s frowning as Lance steps forward and takes his hand. Fingers entwined, he pulls Joey forward until they’re both pressed against the rails that circle the ship. From there they can look down at the city below, thousands of lights in the darkness, the tick of the clock filling the air.

Slowing. Slowing.


They stop moving, boards creak and sails still, and Joey jumps at the sudden unearthly howl.

“It’s the Captain summoning his guard,” Lance explains, and when Joey looks up he sees flashes of dark, indistinct figures who swarm the decks and climb the mast as a gang plank suddenly appears, joining ship to sky.

“Are we picking someone up?” Joey asks, even though he knows the answer. It’s the only thing that fits. That JC would have his arms wrapped around Justin, both standing and looking torn between grief and joy.

“One last passenger then we can go,” Lance says, and his fingers are painfully tight around Joey’s.

That passenger walks into view, body bent and shuffling forward, and Joey thinks he’s wrong, this isn’t Chris at all. Because Chris may be older, but he’s never been old, and this man is. Wizened and grey, each step painfully slow.

“He outlasted us all,” Lance says, and he’s smiling now. “Stubborn bastard, he probably wouldn’t have gone now if it wasn’t for you.”

Joey feels sick, has to grip onto Lance and the rail. “I don’t understand.”

“I know” Lance says softly, and he looks at Joey, rests his hand against Joey’s cheek. “Normally all this gets explained, but he went so soon after you we didn’t get a chance. He’s between there and here now, life and death.”

“He’s dead?” Frantic, Joey looks at Lance, at how he’s exactly the same as he was so many years before, demands, “and Justin? JC? You?”

“We’re all dead too, have been for a while, you’re just not remembering that right now.” Lance squeezes Joey’s hand and steps even closer, so they’re pressed together from hip to shoulder. “Fucking chicken sandwich, I wanted to go with a bang not a whimper.”


“Kelly loves you,” Lance says simply.

He rests his palms against Joey’s cheek, and suddenly Joey can remember. Lying in his bed, Kelly, Bri and his grandchildren at his side, her arms wrapped around him as she kisses his cheek, says how much she loves him, has always loved him, but now it’s time to go. Tears against his face, against her lips as she kisses him, tells him to be happy, whatever that takes.

Lance presses a kiss against Joey’s cheek. “We’ll talk more later. We’ve someone to meet first. Watch.”

He points, and Joey looks back at Chris, watches as he starts walking faster, his body uncurling, his hair lengthening, losing the grey, until he’s running, the gang plank bouncing under his feet. Then his feet meet the deck, and Justin grabs hold, swinging Chris off his feet as JC laughs and pounces on them both.

Joey can’t help grinning as he watches them, recreating so many tickle fights on this ship of death.

“We’d better go over; he won’t have long before needing to sleep.” Lance slowly uncurls their fingers and gives Joey a look. “Come on, you know how he gets when he doesn’t get attention.”

Which is true, and fresh sorrow mixes with happiness as Joey hurries forward, dives into the pile of bodies and grabs hold of Chris, holding him tight as the ship begins to sail once more.

Warning! This is a deathfic, just not in the usual way. They are together at the end.

Tags: ,

48 mutant blasts or blast me
chrismm From: chrismm Date: April 5th, 2008 07:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really like this--all foggy at the beginning, and then the story clears as Joey's head clears, and we figure it out about the same time Joey does and yes. It's a little sad, and yet still it seems very warm to me.
turps33 From: turps33 Date: April 5th, 2008 07:39 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you.

I have no idea if I should warn or not for this or not. I probably should, but then it spills the story before time.

I'm so glad you enjoyed. Thanks for letting me know.
adelate From: adelate Date: April 5th, 2008 07:51 pm (UTC) (Link)
Terri! You seriously made me cry. Like. Sobbing, here. Boys. I love this. ♥
turps33 From: turps33 Date: April 6th, 2008 07:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh no. I'm sorry. *pets*
adelate From: adelate Date: April 6th, 2008 03:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
No, don't be sorry, that was so beautiful, Terri. I'm just glad I didn't read it in company. :P (Read it again and I'm crying again. How are you this good?)
(Deleted comment)
turps33 From: turps33 Date: April 6th, 2008 07:49 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you so much :D
nopseud From: nopseud Date: April 5th, 2008 08:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
This really is very shiny indeed!
turps33 From: turps33 Date: April 6th, 2008 07:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!
phaballa From: phaballa Date: April 5th, 2008 08:21 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, sad!! But happy too. I'm glad I didn't know it was a deathfic when I started reading, or I probably wouldn't have read and then I would've missed this. Very nice, very lovely. I hardly ever read fic from Joey's POV so this was good, a good change for me.

Also kind of freaked me out, because last night in my google alerts, some fuckhead blogger was claiming that CNN was reporting that Justin had died in a car accident. And I was drunk. So I freaked out a little :P
turps33 From: turps33 Date: April 6th, 2008 07:48 am (UTC) (Link)
I was so conflicted about warning for the deathfic aspect. Because while technically it is, it's more than that too.

JT dead. The thought is just so wrong!
puszysty From: puszysty Date: April 5th, 2008 08:30 pm (UTC) (Link)
Morbid and uplifting at the same time. If that makes any sense.
turps33 From: turps33 Date: April 6th, 2008 07:47 am (UTC) (Link)
It does.

Thank you!
pensnest From: pensnest Date: April 5th, 2008 08:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
This is the kind of sad that gets a person all choked up but happy.
turps33 From: turps33 Date: April 6th, 2008 07:47 am (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I think that's pretty much the reaction I had too.

Thank you :)
cd_lind From: cd_lind Date: April 5th, 2008 09:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
This was awesome! :D
turps33 From: turps33 Date: April 6th, 2008 07:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!
runzu From: runzu Date: April 6th, 2008 12:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow. I'm totally blind-sided. In a good and sad way. WTG Ter! :)
turps33 From: turps33 Date: April 6th, 2008 07:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!

And you're back again. Awesome!
runzu From: runzu Date: April 7th, 2008 10:41 pm (UTC) (Link)

Sort of back-ish. My online visits are spontaneous -and by spontaneous I mean, my mother calling me without warning and saying, "We're going to Panera's when I get home. Be ready!" Click.- at best, unfortunately.

But I'm happy to see everyone still functioning. :D
From: turlough Date: April 6th, 2008 05:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
turps33 From: turps33 Date: April 6th, 2008 07:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!
justhitstatic From: justhitstatic Date: April 6th, 2008 05:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
This was gorgeous and written so beautifully. I have to admit, I don't read much NSYNC, but between this and all of the other April Challenge fics, I must find some more to read.

This was just beautiful. Great work.
turps33 From: turps33 Date: April 6th, 2008 07:08 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, especially as you're reading something you normally wouldn't :)

And you know, if you ever want recs, I'd be happy to point some out.
justhitstatic From: justhitstatic Date: April 6th, 2008 10:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
I would love some NSYNC recs! Thank you!
llamabitchyo From: llamabitchyo Date: April 6th, 2008 08:09 pm (UTC) (Link)
This was beautiful and I'm a little teary-eyed, but... it's the chicken sandwich that really kills me. *loves it*
turps33 From: turps33 Date: April 7th, 2008 08:38 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!

When I was writing this up, I was wondering how each would go, and it just seemed funny that Lance with his love of all things danger would be felled by a chicken sandwich. I'm someone else liked that too :D
vaudevilles From: vaudevilles Date: April 6th, 2008 10:10 pm (UTC) (Link)
I really do love you. And this is sad and delicate and just lovely.
turps33 From: turps33 Date: April 7th, 2008 08:37 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!

I'm so glad you enjoyed :D
ephemera From: ephemera Date: April 6th, 2008 11:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
afterlife love!
turps33 From: turps33 Date: April 7th, 2008 08:36 am (UTC) (Link)

That's exactly what it is :D
brighton_girl From: brighton_girl Date: April 7th, 2008 12:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's a lovely idea, that when they go, they will end up together forever.
turps33 From: turps33 Date: April 7th, 2008 12:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, it would be nice :)
imsinkingfast From: imsinkingfast Date: April 7th, 2008 05:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh dear I'm falling behind a bit. This was fantastic! I love fics where you don't know exactly what's going on right away, then you get little hints, and finally a reveal.

In many Native American traditional cultures it is believed that when you die you take the happiest/proudest moment of your life with you and that is the 'state' in which you are in death. Not reliving the moment, but being in that 'feeling'. So in life it is of great importance to have/create a moment like this for yourself to take into death.

So that's what I was thinking about at the end of your fic. That for all the boys their happiest moment in life was being with each other. *happysigh*
turps33 From: turps33 Date: April 7th, 2008 09:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!

That's such a lovely thing to believe.

hat for all the boys their happiest moment in life was being with each other.

That makes me really happy too :)
rikes From: rikes Date: April 8th, 2008 10:45 pm (UTC) (Link)
You made me cry and cry and cry, no fair! But it was beautiful.
turps33 From: turps33 Date: April 9th, 2008 11:36 am (UTC) (Link)

Thank you for reading :)
ninjetti75 From: ninjetti75 Date: April 10th, 2008 06:42 am (UTC) (Link)
Ohhh, this is lovely!

I mean, it's sort of sad, but not really. . .I mean, everybody dies sooner or later, and this aftermath was pretty cool! I think the saddest part was that JC went first, but I suppose somebody has to unless they all go at once in an accident of some sort, and that would just be a tragedy.

It was funny, I checked the spoiler, wondering what on earth you were up to, but then I didn't get the chance to actually read the story until a few days later, so it still snuck up on me. Somehow I knew right away it was a ship, an old pirate ship (did you mention that when you were working on it, or something?), so I was TOTALLY expecting the Choey Woke Up Gay story, and was very confused not only when the header said "gen", but then when the First Voice turned out to be Lance instead of Chris, silly me. *g*
turps33 From: turps33 Date: April 10th, 2008 11:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Thank you!

You're right, someone does have to die first, still. JC :(

It was actually supposed to be the choey wakes up gay thing, but I wasn't in the mood to write humour, and this is what I ended up with instead. A big difference I know.
ninjetti75 From: ninjetti75 Date: April 10th, 2008 04:23 pm (UTC) (Link)

Okay, now the Choey story has to start out similarly, with Joey not only being worried and afraid (and gay), but also having a strong sense of deja vu. :D
frausorge From: frausorge Date: April 19th, 2008 04:50 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh man! You totally made me tear up. *sniff* But I love the idea of them being together on the other side of things.
turps33 From: turps33 Date: April 19th, 2008 02:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
I like to think of them together too. Like they're going on to better things together.

Thank you.
bossymarmalade From: bossymarmalade Date: May 3rd, 2008 08:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
I liked this a lot! The progression (regression?) backwards, the slowing down of his ticking heart; the fact that their afterlife is a pirate ship; the Lance-choking-on-a-chicken-sandwich that was TOTALLY UNEXPECTED and so hilarious! I love that you felt perfectly at ease with integrating those bits of strange, wonderful humour into a deathfic, and this bit:

their lives taking different directions until all that remained were cards at Christmas and glossy printed memories made dull with age. A staggered heartbreak of goodbyes.

-- just wonderful. There's something that resonates so deeply in that -- closed cards, faded photos -- and the way that it all ends in sailing through an open sky, vibrant and full of energy. Thank you for posting this!
turps33 From: turps33 Date: May 22nd, 2008 04:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
You always give the most fantastic feedback.

I had no intention of writing this story when I first opened the file, it was one of those where the idea arrived and wouldn't leave. So I'm thrilled that people enjoyed.

When I was thinking of the deaths I thought about how Lance is this thrill chaser. You'd expect him to die in space or jumping off a cliff, so I knew he had to have something unexpected. So choking on a sandwich it was *g*

Thank you!
ravenbat From: ravenbat Date: June 16th, 2008 09:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm playing catch up with the April and May challenges so I'm just now reading this.

This choked me right up, Terri. *sniffles* They're together again, but they're all dead and and and *sniffles* Waaaah.
turps33 From: turps33 Date: July 8th, 2008 10:40 am (UTC) (Link)
But they are together! They'll be happy!

Thank you so much, honey.
bubbleforest From: bubbleforest Date: June 21st, 2008 08:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I'm so glad I finally got around to reading this. You have such control over your story here, and I love how it unfolds. The language, first of all, is amazing. Descriptive and there's a rhythm to it that I love. It's lyrical in a way, without being overdone. The detail with the clock, for example, I loved. And Lance's savage hug (Joey and Lance here are SO much love, they got me all choked up), the wind blowing in the sails, the gang plank bouncing when Chris runs over it! That last one really struck me for some reason.

There's so much love in this story coming from all of them - Kelly, for instance, oh man. :( But then there was the chicken sandwich in the middle of all that soft somberness and that made me smile so much. I really, really loved this a lot. You wrote it so well, I'm in awe over here.

Edited at 2008-06-21 08:23 pm (UTC)
turps33 From: turps33 Date: July 8th, 2008 10:39 am (UTC) (Link)
Oh Mette, what such lovely feedback. I'm so glad you liked it and you said such wonderful things. I'm all aglow.

Thank you!
48 mutant blasts or blast me