Note: This pairing is a first for me, written for Rhonda, because she asked for it and always gives such lovely feedback... Yes, I'm easy like that! *g*
I'm so happy I managed to finish this - perhaps it means that I've finally gotten over my writer's block! *happy dance*

This time Nick had done something really stupid and he didn't know how to fix it.

It was nothing new for Nick to be in trouble - he _was_ Backstreet's resident prankster after all - but he had never intended this to go so far. He really had not meant to hurt Brian - that was the last thing he wanted. But he had and now he didn't know what to do to make things right again.
And everything because he had been bored...

"You know, if it wouldn't destroy the group I would probably kill you, Nick Carter!" AJ's angry voice interrupted Nick's train of thought. He shrunk even further into his seat and wished fervently to be invisible. But of course he had no such luck and AJ towered over him like the wrath of god. Well, he towered as much as someone with AJ's height and build could tower over someone of Nick's size - but there were not many things Nick was more frightened of than a furious AJ. Specially now, when AJ had every reason to be really really mad at him.

So Nick tried to melt into the wall behind him and avoided looking at the other man. But AJ was having none of that and slammed his hand against the wall beside Nick's head. "I have no idea what you've done to Brian, Nick", AJ said, his voice tightly controlled, "but truth be told, I don't fucking care! All I want from you is to go back in there and fix whatever you've done to make Brian cry as if his best friend just died!" With another punch, that could very well have damaged either the wall or AJ's hand, AJ left the room - probably because he was very close to losing his self control and start hitting Nick instead of some inanimate object.

Nick felt tears form a tight lump in his throat. He knew AJ was right - but how could he do what AJ asked of him? He couldn't take back the words that hurt Brian so much, no matter how often he apologized for them. They would always be there, hanging in the air between them and making it impossible for them to be friends like they were before.

What the hell had possessed him to do this? As much as Nick wanted to pretend that he had just been joking around, that he just had not thought about the consequences - he knew all too well why he had done it. He had been thinking about it for quite some time now, and today, when Brian and him had finally enjoyed some alone time again he simply had not been able to resist. And then he had laughed right into Brian's shocked face and had watched all color leave his best friend's face before he had turned around and fled the still laughing Nick.

Nick let his head fall against the wall behind him, almost rejoicing in the pain that shot through him. He deserved pain, he deserved everything AJ wanted to do to him, everything Kevin would plan to do to him once he heard of the incident.
In fact, it was strange that Kevin had not yet come bursting through the door. He was the one Brian would normally turn to when things got rough and Nick's clumsy attempts at consoling were not enough. Well, this time Nick obviously had not even had the chance to try to console Brian - he had been too busy laughing to cover up his confusion. So why had Kevin not yet come to beat the shit out of him?

Nick was roused from his thoughts when the door opened silently and Howie D stepped into the room. His friend's face was calm as usual, but his eyes burned with disappointment - and that seemed even worse to Nick than anger and rage would have.
He turned his head away, ashamed to meet Howie's gaze. "Nick", he heard him say softly and as usual he couldn't help but obey the unspoken command. He looked at Howie, tears shining in his eyes, his face so showing his emotions clearly. Howie couldn't help but feel sorry for the young man he considered his brother.

"Nick, you have to go to him! He won't talk to me and he doesn't want me to call Kevin." Nick's eyes betrayed his surprise as he heard that. Why had Brian not told Howie about the horrible thing he'd done? And why didn't he want Kevin to look after him? But Howie went on, interrupting Nick's jumbled thoughts: "I think he really needs you to talk to him. I have no idea what happened between the two of you - but you need to go and fix it. He won't let anyone else help him, so it's up to you, Nick."

Howie's words closely resembled AJ's, but because of the calm, even sympathetic tone of his voice Nick couldn't help but admit that maybe, just maybe he really should go to Brian and try to make things right again. But how the hell was he supposed to do that?
"I... I don't know how, D..." he said, his voice barely audible. Surprised he felt Howie's warm hand on his shoulder and he looked up again to meet his friend's equally warm eyes. "I can't tell you what you should do, Nick, since I don't know what you did in the first place. But honesty is always an option, you know. It's a difficult option - but I'd say it's your best shot. Explain to Brian what on earth possessed you to hurt him like that - because I _know_ that somewhere in that strange head of yours you had your reasons..." The last part was said with a slight smile and Nick felt suddenly better.

He got up and smiled down at Howie, clasping his arm briefly. "Thanks, man! I'll... I'll go and talk to Brian now." And before his newly acquired courage could leave him he walked out of the room and over to Brian's. His hands trembled as he knocked softly, a part of him hoping that Brian would not hear him.
But after a short while he heard his best friend's voice through the door. "It's open, D." Gathering his courage once more Nick went in.

"Bri?" he said softly, his heart almost breaking as he saw Brian curled up on the bed, clutching a pillow that was wet from tears. At the sound of the unexpected voice Brian looked up, his face betraying a host of conflicting emotions. "What... what do you want, Nick? Did you come to laugh some more?" Hurt was shining through the words and Nick's eyes filled as he realized just how much Brian suffered.

Shaking his head he sat down on the bed, trying not to notice that Brian flinched away from him. He took a deep breath and began to talk. Once he had started, the words tumbled out of his mouth: "No, of course not! I... God, Bri, I'm so sorry for what I did and how I reacted! Laughing... fuck, that was the worst thing I could have done, I know."

With some relief he saw that Brian was now looking at him. Perhaps there was hope yet. Nick knew that only honesty could make Brian forgive him, so he went on, letting everything pour out of him: "It's just... after doing what I did I was so confused and... angry at myself for giving in to... because I've wanted to do that for a while... and when I did it and saw your face I could have kicked my ass for doing this to you... and I laughed because otherwise I would have cried - and you know how much I hate crying..." This was said with tears streaming down Nick's cheeks, an irony that was not lost on Brian who had been listening to Nick's ramble intently.

A small smile formed on Brian's face and his eyes, still red from crying, won back some of their sparkle. He touched Nick's face, gaining his attention. Nick felt hope rise inside him at the soft touch of Brian's hand and the fact that he didn't look so heartbroken anymore.
But Brian's words were serious and Nick felt a bit confused from the conflicting signals. "You know, Nick, you hurt me so bad... What you did was bad enough - but then you went and laughed at me... and I felt like dying! You're my best friend, but that also means that you can hurt me deeper than most people..." Brian's voice dropped to a whisper: "And if you hurt me like that again, I don't know if I can forgive you again..."

Every word hurt Nick and he felt fear rise - had he done it? Had he hurt Brian so bad that he had lost their friendship forever?
Brian saw that heartbroken look on Nick's face and realized that his message had not arrived properly. He forced Nick to look at him and gave him a tenuous smile: "Nick... I said _again_!" Nick looked at him, confusion showing on his face, then giving way to enormous relief. "You... you mean... you forgive me this time?" Impulsively he wrapped his arms around Brian and felt him relax against him. Again tears threatened to flow, this time of happiness.

After a while Brian broke their embrace, but stayed close to Nick. "So, tell me, Nick - how long had you thought of doing this to me?"
Nick tensed, his eyes dropped to the bed spread, still ashamed of what he'd done. He mumbled: "I'm sorry, Bri, I really am - I promise I'll never do this to you again! I'd rather die than hurt you like that again!"
He completely missed the mischief sparkling in Brian's bright eyes because he couldn't bring himself to meet his gaze. Therefore he gasped in surprise as Brian pushed him on his back and loomed over him: "What the fuck?! Bri?!"

"Well, I thought I'd do something _I've_ thought of for a long time..." Brian said, his voice suddenly dangerously low - and sexy? Nick was completely dumbfounded. Did Brian want to take revenge somehow?

He certainly did not expect what happened next - Brian's lips closing firmly over his and his hard body pressing up against Nick's. Almost involuntarily he opened his mouth under Brian's assault and was surprised by a warm tongue invading it.
His hands found Brian's head and held him in place as their tongues began a heated duel. Brian had one leg thrown over Nick's hips and was grinding against him while his arms were placed left and right of Nick's head, holding him in his position above his friend's hot body.

After a seemingly endless time they had to break apart, both of them panting for air. Nick stared at Brian as if he had grown another head and finally managed to say between gasps: "Fuck, Bri - what was _that_?"
Brian blushed furiously - a bit late, Nick thought - but his voice was firm as he replied: "Don't _ever_ laugh at me again after kissing me, Nick Carter - do you understand?" And Nick understood.

Coldplay - Trouble

O no, I see,
A spider web is tangled up with me,
And I lost my head,
The thought of all the stupid things I've said,
O no, what's this?
A spider web, and I'm caught in the middle,
So I turned to run,
The thought of all the stupid things I've done,

I never meant to cause you trouble
And I never meant to do you wrong,
And I, well if I ever caused you trouble
O no, I never meant to do you harm

O no, I see
A spider web and it's me in the middle,
So I twist and turn
Here am I in my little bubble.

Singing out, I never meant to cause you trouble,
I never meant to do you wrong,
Ahhh, well if I ever caused you trouble
O no I never meant to do you harm

They spun a web for me
They spun a web for me
They spun a web for me

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