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To Open the Eyes

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It all started on yet another rainy day on the road, winds whipping the rain so hard against the sides of their one functioning tour bus you could hardly hear yourself speak, let alone think. The other three busses had been lost to not one, but three flat tires, a bump in the road which caused one of them to break something that needed to be unbroken, and a very deep puddle which when driven through at high speeds would give your engine a bath it couldn't recover from easily.

With the date of their next show coming up fast, they didn't have time to wait around for any of them to get fixed, so as the busses were lost one by one, the remaining functioning ones gained another Backstreet Boy, until they were all crammed into Brian's bus, suitcases and random stuff thrown everywhere, and two of four occupying the entire couch as they watched Transformers on DVD.

Brian and Howie left AJ and Nick alone to watch the movie and sat down in some of the seats a little further to the front of the bus, their attempts at having a conversation hindered by the ever increasing sound of the movie as Nick or AJ turned up the volume every time the winds whipped against the sides of the bus.

Preferring not to yell at each other when they sat less that five feet apart, Howie dug a poetry book out of his backpack and sat down to read through them, perhaps to see if he could find one to write in his letter to his wife. Brian turned away a little, and let his mind and eyes wander.

Nick and AJ sat at opposite ends of the couch, yet still somehow managed to take up all the space. Behind them the blinds had been drawn, and they had even shut off his little reading light in the corner, wanting to see the movie in as close to darkness as they could with two other people (not including the driver and three assistants) on the bus. The sound was turned up a little more, and Brian turned to watch a little of the movie, but after the large metal creatures had trampled around a garden for what seemed like hours, he gave up on trying to jump into the middle and looked around for something more interesting to look at.

A little further in the back, near the bunk area, the floor was littered with paper and socks and the odd chewed shoe or boxer. It seemed Howie's new puppy, a gift for his wife no doubt, had gotten into the trash and possibly one of AJ's bags (who else had skulls socks and boxers). Not feeling up to cleaning Howie's mess, Brian gave up on trying to locate the puppy, and instead looked for his own bags, making sure they were still unharmed and hopefully somewhere safe.

Having made sure they were still in once pice, he let his eyes and mind wander again. Only half aware he looked back at Nick and AJ, still at opposite ends of the couch, and still taking up all the room, although now the middle had four opened bags of chips and one open bag of rice cakes (those had to be Howie's).

Both seemed mesmerized by the movie, they eyes glued to the screen and their hands moving back and forth from the bags of chips and the rice cakes (Nick seemed to favor those). But every now and them, one of the would glance at the other. It didn't last long, only a second or two, and the other never noticed. Brian had noticed AJ doing it first, but not long after, Nick did the same. Then Nick again, and then AJ.

At first Brian hadn't really taken too much notice, but after they had been doing it half a dozen times each in the span of five minutes, what they were doing caught his attention. He kept watching them, also making sure to seem like his mind was far away so if one of them looked at him they wouldn't notice he was staring.

Every now and then throughout the rest of the movie, Nick would glance at AJ, and AJ would glance at Nick. They both seemed oblivious to the fact that the other was also looking at them, doing their best to hide that they were looking in the first place. Brian had spent the time trying to figure out what was going on, and if this was some new game they had come up with in the short time they had shared AJ trailer before that succumbed to engine death by drowning.

He kept pondering as the buss drove up in front of the hotel they would be staying at for the next two days (four stars, with suites thank god, sleeping on the bus was killing his back). Howie had put his book down and was busy trying to hunt down his puppy in the back and dodging the chewed socks AJ was throwing at him at the same time. Nick had been busy packing up the DVDs and rice cakes (making sure Howie didn't notice his stealing), when he almost tripped over a small fast moving black hairball, which was closely followed by Howie and a pair of flying chewed socks.

As Nick grabbed on to the first thing he could find to keep from falling, Brian found himself in the direct line of sight between Nick and AJ, and as a falling brick wall the meaning behind AJ's secret glancing at Nick hit him. It wasn't the look itself, or the affectionate and humorous smile on his face as Nick nearly fell over onto a pile of suitcases. It was what he saw behind the look, that small flicker of deepfounded love that shone through for but a second, before it was gone again, hidden behind brotherly affection.

The look, though simple in itself, was the strongest form of love he had ever seen expressed, and he had seen it as AJ had been watching Nick, and thinking about it he was almost sure he had seen Nick giving AJ the same look right before the puppy had tried to run right through him. Yet even with the strong emotions that now seemed to radiate from both of them as they were standing next to each other, Brian was sure that neither of them had any idea about how the other felt. And as they exited the bus, the puppy safely in Howie's arms to avoid accidents, Brian started to formulate a plan in his head. He knew the look they gave each other, he gave it to his own wife every time he saw her, and he wanted the both of them to experience the sort of deep love that came along with the look, the sort of love that could last a lifetime.

********************

The hotel was one of nicest ones they had stayed at this time around, but Brian was pretty sure that if it hadn't been for the tour bus meltdown of the century, they would probably be somewhere else right now. This place was listed as four stars, but the suites were five star material for sure. You entered in a sort of hall, which even had a small table and chair you could sit at and read if you wanted to. The bedroom (with a massive king size bed, chairs, a table, a couch and a huge flatscreen tv) was located on one side of the hall, and on the other there was a dining room with a table that could easily seat ten people. The room also had a huge fake fireplace, and it even had a separate bathroom. The whole thing looked more like an apartment than a hotel room, suite or not.

Having looked around the room for a little while, and made a quick phone call to Howie to bring him up to speed, Brian closed the door behind him and headed down the hall to Nick's room. Ever since they had gotten off the bus about an hour ago, he hadn't been able to get what he had witnessed between Nick and AJ out of his mind. They were both so oblivious about the other's feelings that at first he hadn't known what to do. But as he got his room key and wandered a bit around in his home for the next few days, a plan had started to form in his mind.

He stopped in front of Nick's hotel room door and knocked three times. Mumbling and the sound of something hitting the floor inside let him know Nick was there, and a few seconds later the door opened. Nick grinned at him, and then left the door open as he returned inside to pick up the plant he had managed to knock over on his way to the door. Thankfully it was fake, which meant less cleaning up to do for the staff later.

Brian followed him inside and let the door fall shut behind him. He watched as Nick threw his stuff on the bed and turned on the television, falling down into the nearest chair. "So, what'cha doin' here Brian?" he asked. Brian grinned at him. "Letting you know you need to get your ass ready. We're going out. Dress nicely, and meet me in my room in one hour, at eight. Oh, and jeans and a t-shirt is not what I'd call nice!"

Nick gave him the 'what on earth are you talking about?' look as he gestured to his own torn jeans and faded black t-shirt. Brian ginned and yelled "Change!" as he walked out of the room again.

Once in the hallway he quickly got out his phone and made another call to Howie. "Dude, he's coming in an hour. Now it's up to you!" As he shut the door to his own room behind him, he could hear the one from the room across the hall open.

********************

At five past eight Brian opened the door after four knocks to find Nick ready to knock a fifth time. "You're late" he said as he let him in, and when Nick slapped him in the back of the head me made a face at him and walked into the dining room. Aware that Nick followed, he acted like there weren't set a table for two with flowers and two unlit candles. Instead he walked right past to get his jacked from another one of the chairs, and then turned to look into the mirror on the wall to fix his hair.

He noticed that Nick had indeed changed into something Nick considered to be nice. He was still wearing jeans, but at least these looked like they might actually be somewhat new. The t-shirt had been replaced by a very nice black shirt, and he was even wearing a jacket. He really had made an effort.

"What's with the table?" Nick asked, but Brian didn't answer. Instead he made a face at the mirror and pretended he wasn't happy about the way his hair was. "Damn thing won't do as it's told" he muttered, and was pleased with himself when it seemed to get Nick's attention away from the table. "It's what happens when you get older" Nick said with a grin. "Shut up and get me my hair products, will you. They're in this bathroom, not the other one".

As Nick turned and started to walk towards the bathroom, Brian had to stop himself from giggling like a schoolgirl. This was going a lot better than expected. The second Nick opened the door to the bathroom he sprang into action, and within a few seconds he had not only locked, but also barricaded the bathroom door with a chair. Nick wasn't going anywhere.

Checking his watch he realized he was running short on time, and ignoring Nick hammering on the door he stuck a note to it, put the final touches on the table and made a hasty exit. He left the door ajar, and put a post-it on it before he ran through the door across the hall just in time. As he closed the door behind him he could hear AJ's door opening and closing.

********************

When AJ arrived at Brian's door he found it open, with a post-it that said 'come in' stuck to it. He pushed the door open and went inside, wondering where the others were. Howie had said they were all to meet at Brian's place at eight fifteen, but none of them seemed to be there.

Finding no one in the bedroom he walked into the dining room. The stereo was playing some soft and highly romanic music, and the table was set for two, with lit candles and everything. On one of the plates he could see a while envelope, but as he was about to walk over to open it, he heard someone knock on the door.

He was about to walk out into the hallway again when he heard the knock again, from behind him. It wasn't coming from the hotel door, but from the bathroom door, and it was more hammering than knocking. That was when he noticed the chair that seemed to be blocking the door, and the post-it on it that said 'open me'.

He walked over quickly and put aside the chair. Whoever was locked inside hammered on the door again. "I'm coming!" he yelled, and the hammering stopped. Having removed the chair he unlocked the door, and almost found himself knocked to the floor as Nick burst out from the bathroom.

"What the fuck?" Nick half-yelled, looking at AJ. "I was about to say the same thing myself" AJ answered him. "Brian, that little bastard" Nick fumed, and turned, ready to stalk out of the room. Before he got two feet however, the dining room doors were closed shut, and hey could both head the lock turn. Then it sounded like something was being dragged, and by the time they both made it to the door, there was no way to open it. Whatever the hell was going on, it seemed part of the game was keeping them in the room.

Nick started to knock heavily on the door, and just as he was about to join him, and even add a little yelling and screaming (manly, of course) to the mix, AJ remembered the envelope on the table. Leaving Nick to hurt his hands on the door alone, he walked over, picked it up and tore it open.

A folded white sheet of paper emerged, and when he unfolded it he saw a single line of words, written in Brian's steady and somewhat readable hand.

Love is sacred. When found, it should never be let go. Make sure you don't.

AJ looked from the letter to Nick, and then back to the letter. Nick had stopped banging on the door, and was now walking over to him, holding out his hand, curious to see what the letter said. As AJ held it out for him to read, he noticed something written on the back of the paper.

Kiss him already

He did.