DISCLAIMER: The story that follows is a work of fiction. Characters may be based on real people, but this story should not be considered accurate or truthful representations of any actual person. This story is not intended to reflect any real person, living or dead.

Strange Interlude

Howie's hotel room was mostly dark, the only light coming from his computer screen. His body was tired, but his mind was still mostly awake—it always was after a show—and this had always been a great way to relax. It'd been more than two hours since they'd come off stage and an hour since they'd come to the hotel, but Howie was just now beginning to feel like he could sleep.

Of course, he'd told the guys he was going to bed an hour ago. He didn't want them to know what he was doing. Couldn't let them know.

Reading over what he'd just typed, Howie fought a yawn but ultimately lost the fight. He was tiring fast now that the adrenaline of being onstage had worn off. But he was done now. With a few clicks of his mouse, he had his email open and sent the file off. Then he opened his browser: as long as I'm online, he thought, I might as well download some of the others.

The Website was opening when he was surprised by a knock on the door. "D, are you still awake?" Kevin's voice. What should I do? he wondered. Feign sleep, or open the door and risk Kevin finding out?

"Howie," Kevin spoke again, "I can't find my carry-on bag. Did they mix it up with your luggage?" Well, that decided it. If Kevin's bag were in here, he'd need it before he could get to bed. He might as well give it to him, before Kevin got the management to open the door.

Closing the laptop most of the way, Howie crossed the now very dark room and opened the door. Light from the corridor seeped in indirectly. "Hey, Kev. I don't think I have your bag, but you'd better come look."

"Thanks, D. I didn't wake you up, did I?"

"No, I was just..." Howie paused before adding, "goofing around on the Internet. Trying to unwind a little, y'know?"

"Yeah. Can I turn on the light?"

"Sure." The sudden bright light was a little painful to his eyes. While Howie's eyes were adjusting, Kevin took a quick look at Howie's luggage near the table, retrieved his overnight bag, and cast his eyes on the active laptop on the table. Howie's eyes were fully adjusted to the light just in time to go wide as he saw Kevin reach over to raise the laptop's screen.

"What are you lookin' at?" Kevin asked as he flipped the case open and looked at the browser's screen. "The 'Nifty Archive'? What's that?" Kevin peered at the list of files on the screen while Howie groped his brain for an answer. "'Boy Bands'! What is this, D?"

"It's a collection of fan fiction," Howie resigned himself to admitting. "I found it from one of the Anti-BSB sites. I thought they might be fun to read." There, that's not a bad lie, Howie thought. Please let him believe it. Please!

"Are they funny?" Kevin asked him. Trying to hide his own surprise at finding Howie accessing the Archive, he started tapping the page-down key, scrolling through the long list of titles. The list was as long as he remembered it. After a couple of taps, he found what he was looking for. There's my story, he thought. That's two weeks ago—I really should finish off the next part. A thought occurred to him. I wonder if Howie's read it. No, the title hasn't been selected.

"I've only read two or three of them," Howie said, mentally congratulating himself for clearing the browser's history every time he logged off, "Some of them are funny, but most of them are just kinda perverted. They're all about us having sex with other guys." Please don't let him get suspicious, Howie thought anxiously. He can't find out that I'm writing one of these stories.

"Perverted!" Kevin repeated. Thank God he hasn't read mine, Kevin thought. If he knew I was writing one of these stories...

"Yeah, it turns out this is a database of homosexual fan fiction," Howie continued his lie. "Look at the titles! Every other one mentions you or Nick or Justin Timberlake!" Maybe if I make him think they're repulsive, he'll leave.

Kevin smiled at him. "What, you mean no one's writing about you?" God, I have got to get out of here before I give myself away!

Howie acted ignorant. "Uh, I don't know. Like I said, I only looked at three or four stories." Shit, shit! I said "two or three" last time! I'm gonna make him suspicious. "I'd read them until the sex started, then I'd read another one. They were really kinda gross. I was about to shut it off when you came in."

Kevin paused. "Gross, huh? Well, I don't want to see them." Gotta turn this into some kind of joke, he thought. "Although, if you spot a really bad one about AJ, maybe we should show it to hum. You know how he's always telling us to be tolerate of all our fans." He grinned at Howie. Please let this put him off.

Howie grinned back. "Yeah, that'd be funny." Oh, Kevin, if you only knew... "But, like I said, I was gonna shut it off and get some sleep."

"Well, I'll let you get to bed. G'night, D."

"G'night, Kev." Seconds later, Kevin was gone, the door was closed, and Howie was shutting down the browser. Coming that close had left him shaken, and he wasn't in the mood to download any stories, even though he'd seen that a couple of his favourites had been updated.

With the browser closed, the email program came to the forefront of the screen, and Howie could see that he had new mail from the NiftyArchivist. He clicked it open and read: "I have added this part to your story. Thanks, David."


Out in the hall, Kevin was heading back to his room, wondering how convincing he'd been with Howie. He'd had to pretend he'd never seen the Archive before, of course. He seemed to believe me, he thought. I just hope he doesn't wonder later..

"Kevin! Find your bag?"

Nick's voice surprised Kevin. "Uh, yeah, it was in Howie's room."

"Did you wake him up to get it?"

"No, he was on the Internet..." Shit, why did I say that! Now he's probably gonna ask...

"What was he looking at in the middle of the night?" Nick leaned in and said conspiratorially, "Porn?"

I gotta tell the truth, Kevin thought. If Howie mentions it tomorrow, Nick will know I lied to him. "Well, not exactly. He found a bunch of stories about us from some hate-site, but they turned out to be homosexual fan fiction."

Nick laughed loudly. "No! D's reading homo fan fiction! About us! This I gotta see." Nick started past Kevin toward's Howie's door, but Kevin grabbed his arm gently.

"He's gone to bed now. Ask him about it in the morning." Oh, please, God, let Nick forget all about this. If Nick knows, he's bound to tell Brian and AJ. The last thing I want is for all of them to know about this.

Nick looked disappointed. "Oh, okay. But what was the name of the place? I'll go looking for it on my laptop."

Oh, great. That's all I need. "Uh, Nifty-something," Kevin feigned ignorance. "I don't remember exactly. Look, I'm dead tired now. I'm headin' to bed."

"Okay, g'night, Kev."

"G'night, Nick."


As Kevin turned to head toward his room, his face registering worry, Nick headed back into his suite and closed the door. Grabbing a drink from the mini-fridge, he sat at the table and booted up his laptop. "Nifty-something, huh?" he said to himself. "I wonder if Howie read my story."


OKAY, OKAY, this was just some weird idea I had and I wanted to indulge myself. Kind of like "Just for Grins." Ben and the little brothers will be back next time.