Note: This song is short (about 45 secs I think) - and so's this fic (not even 2 pages)... Angst warning! Oh, and no Sarah here - sorry.

It hurt, it hurt so damn much. AJ had thought he knew what he was getting into, he had thought he was ready for the inevitable pain. But hell, he had had no fucking clue!

He had gone into it with his eyes wide open - after all, Kristin had always been around and Kevin had never given any sign of being anything but straight and in love with her. Oh, sure, he had cheated on her when they were in Germany and separated for months on end - but AJ had witnessed their tearful reunion when the boys had returned to the US and had seen the love shine in Kevin's eyes.
So AJ could really not blame Kevin for any of this.

He also couldn't blame Kristin, because he had really grown to like her.
At first he had hated her, because he had fallen for Kevin on that very first day, the day he auditioned for his, Howie's and Nick's new group. How could he not? Kevin was beautiful with his green eyes, his chiseled features and his model's body. And he had looked right at AJ and seen right through the tough facade AJ had built around himself. It had felt completely natural to fall in love with the older man. And that of course had meant that he had been fiercely jealous of Kevin's girlfriend, the one he was not supposed to have but had anyway. And in time he had gotten to know her better and begun to understand what Kevin liked about her. Also, how could he hate the person that made the love of his life happy?

During all those years AJ had loved Kevin with all of himself. That love had survived the fame, the groupies, the hectic schedule, the fights AJ couldn't help but pick with Kevin. That love had turned into the very core of AJ's being, the symbol of everything he liked about himself.

But it just hurt so much.

Even after all these years of seeing Kevin and Kristin together, of hearing Kevin talk to her on the phone for hours, of listening to him chatter on and on about how wonderful she was - even after all of this it had come as a shock to AJ when Kevin had announced that they were getting married. And on Kevin's wedding day AJ could have sworn that the sound of his heart breaking would have been audible to Howie and Nick standing beside him if the wedding march hadn't been playing.

Nothing had prepared him for so much pain. That dull ache he had felt every time he saw Kevin's face light up when he looked at or talked to Kristin had been nothing in comparison to this awful feeling of plunging into an abyss without anything to break this fall.

AJ knew he was being melodramatic, but he wasn't able to help himself - it was the way he felt.

In order to survive the reception he had plundered the bar. And to his surprise it had helped, he had even been able to kiss Kristin on the cheek and congratulate Kevin with a genuine looking smile. Inside, he had been dying.

That day had been the trigger. Until then he had somehow been able to live with his love for Kevin and even managed to be a good friend to him. But after the wedding AJ had begun to separate himself from the rest of the guys. They hadn't noticed for quite some time, because AJ had still joked around, performed and partied with them - but inside he'd put up a wall that let no one in.

After a while he had not been able to hide the fact that he was high on _something_ almost 24/7 anymore. And he had given up trying, because he had simply not cared anymore what the others thought about him. He didn't need them and he most certainly didn't need Kevin!

It had gone on like this for a while, with AJ shaking off any attempts to help him. Howie, Brian and Nick had been helpless although seeing their friend like that had almost killed them. It was then that Kevin had taken action. His approach had been direct, bordering on brutal - and he had appealed on AJ's love for him and the guys.
Kevin would never know but it had been this that had caused AJ to finally ask for help. His love for Kevin had been the only good thing he had left, the only thing he had been sure about.

So, although he had been terrified of having to face the pain of not having Kevin without the buffer of booze and drugs, AJ had gone into rehab. It had probably been the hardest thing he had ever done, but the love he felt from the others and specially from Kevin had helped him through. Because he had realized one thing as he had seen the intense emotions displayed on Kevin's face - anger, fear, worry and above all love - that Kevin _did_ love him, even if it was not the way AJ would have liked.

After a month in rehab he was still hurting, still in love with Kevin - but he had learned to live with it, both with the pain and the love. They were both part of him, both burning brightly and with passion inside him and they made him the man he was now. The man who didn't want alcohol or drugs to dull his emotions until he was no more than an empty shell.

AJ looked through the glass doors of the rehabilitation center that had given him shelter when he had been close to losing himself forever.
His mom was waiting for him - and beside her, leaning against a rented car, stood Kevin's familiar figure. AJ didn't know if that meant anything beside the fact that his friend wanted to be there for him - but it was not really important anyway. He knew that there were people who loved him and who would be there for him to stop him from falling.

He could wait for Kevin for as long as it was necessary.

Smiling AJ squinted into the bright sunlight and stepped outside.

Coldplay - Parachutes

In a haze, a stormy haze,
I'll be around, I'll be loving you always,

Here I am, and I'll take my time,
Here I am and I'll wait in line

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