by Jain

Written for the Mix 'n' Match challenge.

On a very few occasions, Howie had sit-down dinner parties with mailed invitations and guests who RSVPed. Rather more often, he had Backstreet only parties--sometimes with assorted wives and significant others, sometimes not. The vast majority of his parties, though, had a guestlist that he invited by phone, and a limited group of friends and family that was always welcome, though only a small number of them showed up at any given party.

A lot of the fun of greeting people at his door was seeing which friends and family members had decided to drop by, and this party was no exception.

"Howie!" Chris said, giving him a quick hug. "I brought the rest of the enemy with me. That okay?"

Howie smiled. "Of course. Come on in. Jackets can go in the first bedroom to the left. There's food and drinks in the kitchen and the TV room and...well, just about everywhere."

"Excellent," Justin said. He clapped Howie affably on the shoulder as he walked by.

"He's been whining all day that, now that he's not on tour anymore, nobody ever feeds him," Joey confided, rolling his eyes. "I hope for your sake that you're stocked up, man."

"Howie always has enough to feed an army," Chris said, apparently eavesdropping even as he talked to JC and Lance.

"An army, or the Backstreet Boys," Howie agreed. "I'm still not sure which eats more."

Just then his doorbell rang again, and the remaining members of 'N Sync started moving away from the entrance.

"I'll catch you later, okay?" Chris asked.

Howie nodded. "I ought to be done here in another half hour or so."

"Cool. I'll see you around, then."

Howie just smiled in return, already opening the door to the next arriving guests.

Close to an hour later, he'd mingled and chatted with most of the people grouped haphazardly around the downstairs rooms of his house. One of the caterers had been relegated to front door duty with the guestlist to greet any stragglers. Howie felt free to finally enjoy his own party a little.

He drifted into a conversation about the relative merits of punk and emo--with a side-debate on whether either of them was worth listening to--when JC turned his attention from the discussion long enough to notice him. "Hey, Howie, I think Chris was looking for you," JC said vaguely. "Not too long ago--maybe half an hour? And then he went upstairs."

"Thanks. If you see him again, tell him I went upstairs, too," Howie said. He always locked the upstairs bedrooms, but it wouldn't hurt to make sure that the bathroom and sitting room weren't being desecrated, and it was possible he'd also run into Chris while up there.

He checked the bathroom first, with a mild sense of foreboding, and found himself relieved. It had obviously been used, but not too hard. Howie wiped the wet counter with a hand towel, tossed it into the hamper, and replaced it with a fresh one.

The sitting room he entered more cautiously, since it had a comfortable couch that he was fairly certain had been used by more than one couple at previous parties. All was silent when he eased open the door, however.

The room was dim, illuminated only by the floodlights shining through the windows, and Howie almost missed the shadowed figure on the sofa. Just as he was turning to go, there was a quiet rustle that made him first peer more closely into the dark, and then walk over to the sofa to sit opposite the seated man.

"Chris?" Howie said finally. "What are you doing?"

"Sitting," Chris said.

"Well, yeah, I can see that. It's dark, though. Are you okay?"

"I'm not drunk," Chris said abruptly.

", you're not."

"I can't get drunk."

"Not right now, at least." AJ was perfectly capable of going to parties and not drinking--and he got pissy when anyone suggested otherwise--but they'd all gotten into the habit of having the more than occasional dry party, anyway. "You could go somewhere else to drink, if that's all that's bugging you."

Chris just shook his head. "If I can't get drunk, does that mean I can't do this?" And he leaned forward a few inches to kiss Howie briefly and softly on the lips.

His eyes gleamed wetly in the half-dark as he stared intently at Howie afterwards, waiting for a response. "Um, no, you can do that whenever you want," Howie said, surprised that his voice was so steady.

"Oh, good." And Chris kissed him again, more urgently, his tongue pressing into Howie's mouth and licking insistently at Howie's own tongue.

Howie spared a brief thought for his neglected guests, and then Chris pushed him to lie back on the sofa and he stopped worrying about stupidly trivial things like...pretty much anything beyond Chris's body shifting warmly against his own.

He'd kissed Chris maybe half a dozen times before, but this time the sweetness of Chris's mouth didn't come from liquor. It felt like an unimaginably precious gift to finally know what unadulterated Chris tasted like. The sweet, steady touch of Chris's hands was all for Howie, too. He closed his eyes more firmly and opened himself to Chris's kiss.

Less than a minute later, Chris pulled away. Howie murmured a protest before he felt Chris's fingers at the fly of his pants and the faint press of Chris's knees on either side of his head, and realized what he was trying to do. His own fingers busied themselves with unzipping Chris's pants and drawing out his long, wet erection.

Chris dropped his head momentarily, his high-pitched gasp oddly muffled against Howie's stomach. Encouraged, Howie ran his knuckles in a corkscrew up Chris's cock, finishing with a fluttery twirl at the base. Chris moaned.

His cock twitched, as well, and Howie pulled it close to his mouth to lick the wetness collecting at the tip.

Apparently galvanized into action, Chris threw himself into getting Howie similarly available to his mouth, and a moment later they were licking and sucking in tandem. The rhythm was deceptively easy--almost soothing, but so intensely pleasurable that Howie felt ready to beg, scream, crawl out of his own skin if it would give him release...and was unable to do anything but whimper around the cock thrusting shallowly in his own mouth.

Even at the inexorable pace Chris was setting, though, the pulse of pleasure-pain in his cock kept beating higher and higher. The first bitter twitches of Chris coming into his mouth finally did it, and Howie came with a muffled cry, arching off the sofa into the hot, wet cavern of Chris's mouth.

Chris's not inconsiderable weight dropped onto him right afterwards. "Just give me a second," Chris's voice drifted to him, "and I'll stop flattening your internal organs."

"No problem," Howie said, trying not to laugh, since he needed all the breath he could get at that point.

True to his word, half a minute later Chris shifted around to lie pressed up against Howie's side. He snuck one hand up Howie's shirt to pet his chest hair, with only the occasional detour to brush Howie's nipples.

Howie, after a slight hesitation, wrapped an arm around Chris's waist, palming the hot, damp small of his back. "So, what was the big deal about you not being drunk?" he asked, hoping the answer was something he could live with. Namely, not I was bored enough to want you, or I thought I'd check if you were any good when I wasn't drunk, but I guess you're not. He tried to breathe evenly.

There was a brief silence. "I wasn't sure, you know?" Chris said finally. "I mean, we only ever had sex when we met up drunk at some party, and you never said anything about it when I called you. I didn't know if you'd even be interested in me sober."

"Very interested," Howie said, determined to get that straightened out first. "Since before we started sleeping together, actually. I just didn't realize you were."

"Excuse me? What about the phone calls? What about the date I made with you?" Chris demanded indignantly.

"Um, Chris? If you're referring to what I think you're referring to? You invited me to your house to watch football and eat pizza. Or maybe it was fried chicken. Maybe both."

"Exactly!" Chris said triumphantly. "A date."

"Leaving aside the fact that I don't really like football, which you should darned well know by now, since I've changed the subject every of the twenty or so times you've brought it up this past month alone--how many times have you invited Justin or JC or somebody to do the exact same thing?"

"I don't know. A lot."

"So how am I supposed to know that when you ask me to spend an evening doing something you've done with most of your closest friends, that's your way of asking me out?"

"Because I love you," Chris said matter-of-factly.

"...Oh," Howie said. For the barest of moments, the question And how the hell was I supposed to know that? hammered in his brain, but it faded to insignificance in the shadow of what Chris had actually said. "I love you, too."

A wicked grin lit up Chris's face, but Howie barely had a chance to see it before they were kissing again. Oh, and groping, Chris's hand sliding around to cup Howie's ass and pull him more firmly against his body.

Then the door opened. "Howie? You in here, man?" AJ asked, turning the lights on in Howie and Chris's blinking, watery eyes. "Oh, shit, sorry." The lights went out, and AJ closed the door most of the way, speaking through the crack. "Um, sorry to interrupt, but people are starting to leave, and they're wondering where you are. Should I go make up an excuse for you?"

"That's okay, AJ. We'll be out in a minute," Howie called. He sat up to straighten his clothing, and next to him Chris started to do the same.

"Um, if you help me clean up after the party, we can get to bed sooner," he said to Chris. He looked down suddenly, watching his hand trace aimlessly over the sofa seat. "Assuming you want to stay tonight, that is. If you're busy, or something, you don't have to."

Chris's hand covered his warmly. "I'll vacuum if you clear away the plates."

"Deal," Howie said, and sealed it with a kiss. Or three. His guests could wait just a little longer.

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