Nick would have liked to say he was surprised when Brian was shot, but to be honest, Brian really was asking for it.
They were shooting a new video, and because Aaron would. Not. Shut. Up about having Shaquille O'Neal in *his* video, Nick had made an executive decision to have Arnold Schwarzenegger in the next Backstreet Boys video.
To his credit, Arnold was a true professional. He didn't whine or complain about anything. He just sat there, in a fold out chair, staring impassively, but giving the general impression that he was noticing everything. Truth be told, Nick thought he was a bit creepy, but damnit, he was a hell of a lot cooler than Shaq.
But Brian was being a pain. He was pretty funny most of the time, but anyone could see Schwarzenegger wanted to be left alone, or at least, did not want Brian in his face making fun of his accent.
So there was Brian leaping about in front of Schwarzenegger, wearing black wrap-around sunglasses, saying, "Hello, Arhn-nahld. How are your moofies? Do you like making moofies? I yam Quaid an' I vant to go to Maaaars!"
After about twenty minutes of this, Schwarzenegger pulled out a concealed weapon, trained the laser sighting on Brian's head and pulled the trigger.
Nick heard Howie make 'eww'-ing noises before he turned around and realised he was covered in little bits of Brian, and then began to make barfing noises instead.
Nick stood still for a few seconds, and watched with wide eyes as Schwarzenegger emptied the gun's clip, dropped the weapon to the floor and pulled out a new one. Nick didn't move until he realised the laser sighting was now trained on *him*, and with that, he leapt to the floor, sliding behind an upturned table.
"Aw, shit," Nick exclaimed, looking down. He was sitting in a puddle of what had recently been the catering. "Now what am I gonna eat?" Nick took a quick look to see if anyone was watching, and dipped a finger into the mess of whatever he was sitting in. He tasted it; wasn't that bad, actually. He went to scoop up a larger handful but noticed the shadow over him.
"Uh, I was just trying to clean up," he said. "I wasn't going to eat it!"
He looked up, and staring at him was a gun-toting Lance Bass. Nick stared at him. Even carrying a gun he managed to look like a boob-less chick.
Bass stared down at him, and extended a hand. "Come with me if you want to live."
Nick raised an eyebrow. "Be seen in public with you? Someone might think we're dating, and then believe me, I'd rather be dead."
Bass rolled his eyes, and hid beside Nick. "This isn't a pissing contest, Carter!" he snapped. A bullet whizzed past his ear. Nick peeked over the table. Schwarzenegger was systematically taking a few steps at a time and shooting at anything that moved.
"Come on!" Nick scoffed. "The big guy's just having a bad day. I feel like doing that sometimes."
"He's going to see you in a minute, and then we'll both be dead. And then my mom will cry, and blame you."
"Well, why don't you go out there and be my human shield and I can make my getaway?" Nick suggested.
Bass rolled his eyes again. It already irked Nick. "You don't get it, do you? You have been targeted for termination."
Nick made a whuffy noise. "I hate you. And I hate your band."
Bass stared, incredulously. Nick noticed his left eye was kinda lazy. It looked freaky and gross. "What?" he said.
"You're just jealous that we have a big star in our video clip, and you made a whole goddamn movie and the most famous person in it was Ben Stiller's dad!" Nick said, triumphantly.
Bass groaned. He stood up, and hoisted Nick up with him. Schwarzenegger saw them, and began walking quickly towards the pair, holding his new, large, shotgun in front of him.
"Run," Bass muttered at him.
"What?" Nick said.
"I said, 'run!'" Bass yelled. He fired off a few shots, which Nick could have sworn - on a stack of Backstreet Boys albums - that Schwarzenegger was hit, at least once. All he did was stumble slightly, though, and kept coming towards them.
Nick and Bass burst outside, and Bass grabbed Nick firmly by the arm and pulled him towards Nick's own car.
"Drive," Bass said, and began to reload his gun.
A rather messy and destructive car chase later, Nick was officially freaked out. He'd watched as the supposedly mild mannered member of *NSYNC had smashed Arnold Schwarzenegger's hand flat, shot him a few times, took a bullet to the hand yet still insisted Nick keep driving. Nick wasn't even thinking about the number of small explosions and fires that had just gone up unexpectedly, so they could drive through them and watch for people walking out of them. He made Bass drive for a while and tried not to wince too much when the blood from his shot hand dripped onto the upholstery. That would never come out.
"OK, I get it," said Nick. "That guy is not actually Arnold Schwarzenegger, is he?"
"People don't call you the dumb one for fun, do they?" Bass smirked at him.
"Shut up," Nick replied. “You’re dumb, too.”
“Keep telling yourself that,” Bass replied, and started looking out the smashed back windshield.
“So?” Nick prompted. “What’s the deal?”
Bass sighed. “You can’t work this out for yourself?”
Nick shook his head, a picture of confusion.
“OK. Here’s the deal: you have been targeted for termination, and I’ve been assigned to protect you."
Nick snorted. “You couldn’t protect your dog; it got run over by your fat Italian friend.”
Bass looked very sad for a moment. Then he snapped, “You’re still alive, aren’t you?”
“Barely,” said Nick. “I haven’t eaten all day!”
Bass ignored him. “Anyway, that Arnold Schwarzenegger isn’t the real Arnold Schwarzenegger. It’s a machine called a Terminator. Its whole purpose is to kill you. And the rest of the Backstreet Boys, too, of course.”
“What?” Nick exclaimed. “The other guys?”
“Yeah, although we only really need you.”
“So what about the other guys?” Nick asked, aghast.
“Well, you saw Brian,” Bass said. “I would guess, since we haven’t had contact with the other agents, that they’ve all been terminated.”
“What?” Nick yelped. Then he stared at his lap. “I guess that’ll make it easier to release my solo album.”
Bass rolled his eyes again. “’Cos that’s what’s important. Anyway, your survival is vital to the continued existence of the human race.”
Nick stopped picking his nose and looked at Bass. “Say what?”
“I know! It’s so ridiculous. You, of all people. There are how many billion people on this planet and it had to be you.” Bass shook his head.
“So, how to you get to my protector? Couldn’t I have gotten Britney Spears?” Nick asked.
“Oh, it’s some time travel, government conspiracy thing,” Bass said, waving a hand. “You know, the usual.”
Nick gave him a look like he was growing a third head. “So how come they told you about it?”
“We found out JC’s a robot. Makes a lot of sense if you think about it,” Bass explained. “He just fell over during rehearsal one day and his head came off. I mean, no wonder he was so skinny.”
“Uh huh,” said Nick.
“I mean, I can’t believe I slept with him!”
Now *that* was definitely into the realms of TMI, in Nick’s book. He huddled into the corner of the car, and tried to have a nap.
“Hey, look, he’s awake.”
“Finally. Time for round two!”
Nick opened his eyes and sat up. He wasn’t in his almost definitely damaged and certainly stained car, running away from an Arnold Schwarzenegger look-alike with a gun-toting member of a rival boyband. He was in bed. *His* bed. With his – very much alive, he was happy to note – boyfriends.
“Oh, thank god,” Nick drawled, flopping back down. “I had the worst nightmare.”
“I honestly don’t know what’s worse,” said Howie when Nick finished describing his dream. “The fact that Lance Bass was your protector, or that you didn’t mind that we were dead so you could release your solo album.”
“I’m hurt, really,” AJ said, licking Nick’s neck.
“But it was really freaky!” Nick shuddered. “That robot was really scary!”
AJ and Howie looked at each other with concern. Perhaps now was not the time to tell Nick about how Kevin’s head kept falling off.