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Izzy kisses Alex in an on-air interview.

It's not on MTV, because MTV would yank them and make sure no one saw it. It's not on late-night - they never get enough airtime to fuck around on Leno, wouldn't be invited to Letterman.

Rosie, though, she genuinely likes them, and they get a whole hour, no scripted interview, no rush to get to the questions about the tour and the album. There's the usual bullshit about the tour and the album, natch, but they actually get to talk to her, and have it filmed for all of America to see.

Alex immediately looks at him like he's psycho, and Rosie grins - eyes wide and somehow triumphant, showing solidarity and that she's on the same side. The audience, too, is hooting and cheering, obviously ecstatic with the antic. And right there, the band and Rosie score a victory for gay rights, Alex settling on looking bemused and Cassie nearly crying for laughter.

"So is that the most outrageous thing you guys have done on camera?" she says, grinning. It's not some lead-in question, either, she's not looking for the answer that people are expecting.

Rick doesn't even glance at him. His voice is calm, unruffled. "Well," he says, while everyone else tries to compose themselves, "Jana almost poured pudding on the MTV Diary cameraman. But like, she missed and squirted the camera, not to mention Alex's friend, uh,"

Alex pipes up, "Bobby, was it?" while Jana protests. "She got it all in his hair. MTV didn't even stick it in the segment, either, but they let me have a copy."

Izzy sits, perfectly composed, perfectly natural, not saying a word. When Alex and Rick are finished, he shrugs at Rosie. "You see what I have to do to get anyone's attention around here?"

The audience eats it up.

-

"Come on, we're going out," Jana says, "aren't you ready yet?"

Izzy has a thousand pairs of pants. Probably literally. He stares into his suitcase, and wonders how many he actually has with him. This is Atlanta, it'll be hot, so nothing denim or polyester. Something normal and preferably cotton.

"You're not ready," he says, looking at her. Jana's wrapped in a towel, slinging volumizing mousse on her hair and smoothing it out. "You're naked."

"You're naked," she replies, giggling. "You're so naked!"

"Who's naked?" and Alex pops his head into the hotel room, drying his hair - and quickly it turns into some kind of sadistic towel lashing game, Jana screaming about under-aged pornography rings and security ducking every two feet.

"I'm not naked," Izzy says.

-

"Cheer up, Holmes," Rick says, "we've got two days off coming up."

Izzy stares around, peering out the window for the cameras that are always there. "You know what I wanted in high school?" he says to Rick.

"Date the head cheerleader and her boyfriend too?" Rick asks.

"You know what I want now?"

Rick sits on his bed, unconcerned. "To sleep with Britney Spears and her boyfriend too?"

Later that day, they have to do another radio interview, and some industry press. He has to wear the right clothing for this luncheon, and then the interview and then the press conference and the after-party. They won't have time to change, just zip from one to the other to the other.

He has nothing to wear.

-

The show is over an hour long, in total. That's over an hour of thousands of people looking at him, eating him up, digesting him - and only one of him resisting. It's a constant battle. Izzy is losing, badly.

-

"So," Cassie says to him, "what's really wrong?"

"Nothing," Iz answers. Nothing is wrong. Their lives are perfect, they're bringing music to thousands of people each night, they're touring so much that he can barely sleep - but everything is going according to plan. "What's up, holmes?"

"We have got to stop switching slang," she comments, collecting up their stuff to drag out to the bus. Izzy is already packed. "I swear, I thought Rick was the only one saying that."

Izzy is startled, anxious. "He was?"

Cassie faces him, eyes piercing. Izzy fidgets, shifting uncomfortably until everyone else shows up.

Alex shoves him as they leave the hotel, and he bumps Rick, and Rick bumps Cassie, and Cassie nearly bumps Jana. Izzy stumbles more than once, going up the steps. He peers around, half-expecting someone to be filming their morning to air on a special later.

"So it's just the one interview?" Alex asks, frowning. They're already moving, changing their city after midnight. "Half an hour?"

"I don't have anything to wear," Izzy says, low, but Rick and Jana are already arguing over who's going to pick the movie, and Cassie's drinking a beer, and Alex is on the phone.

-

"What have you given up, for this?" Rosie says, looking at each of them in turn.

Izzy is feeling remarkably quiet today, and so Alex has done most of the talking, while Jana entertained the audience with her always-dry wit. Cassie says, "I want to be able to go into a comic store and buy the newest trade of Filth without people wanting to mob me, for one."

Jana, settling on her human form for the time being, adds, "And, while I appreciate that you think I'm pretty enough to sleep with Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston at the same time - promise, it hasn't happened."

"I didn't see that one," Alex says, blinking. "Where was--"

"Basically," Rick interrupts with, "you know, most people are like, 'this is my dream, and I'm living it, so it's amazing' - and that's totally true for us too? But we never ever say there's nothing wrong with this, that being a superstar doesn't take sacrifices."

Izzy looks over at Rick. He licks his lips, and says, "And it's not like we can take any of it back."

Then he hops up, nearly kneeling on the couch, and leans over to kiss Alex square on the mouth. It's intimate, even if there are no tongues, even if it's only for a moment. Izzy can feel himself, trying to open up, can mostly feel Alex, but is thinking about Rick. He opens his eyes, and hears the audience cheering. Even that one moment of his soft lips pressed to Alex's is for show.