9/23/2013
Slash fiction for those with awesome childhoods

"What do you mean? They're a singing group. What's to explain?"

That's Kira, person I genuinely want to meet, and fervent Directioner.

Well, by Directioner standards, she's not that fervent. And by Directioner standards, I mean the sort that get unenlightened people like me utterly annoyed. You know, the bit about you supposedly devoting your entire life to the, uhh, the worship of this boy group, brought together out of expediency on one season (err, series) of The X Factor, getting to the finale, but not winning the whole thing - Little Mix would have the honor of being the first group to win the top prize - and becoming, well, international superstars.

By those same Directioner standards, I am a hater, a guy whose one purpose in life is to bring down One Direction. I do not know talent when I see it, or in this case, hear it. Or, well, in this case, see it. What's not to love with these five handsome, charming, marvelous men? Their vocal harmonies are awesome, their songs break your heart, and they are very nice people. They make you want to just be near them. The Who? To hell with the Who. They are nobodies. They're a band of old people without a Twitter account. One Direction is way better.

By the way, I happen to like the Who, or at least the few songs of them I've heard, especially the ones used as theme songs on the CSI franchise. But their instrumentation will be so much better with these five men singing on top of them.

I know, I know, I am being terribly unfair. But if you're the typical guy who scoffs at pop music and says "I'm long past this" then you'll, at least, scratch your head over the devotion Directioners have over One Direction. I've seen several people try to explain why. "Unlike other artists, the members of One Direction themselves handle their Twitter accounts," said someone, somewhere. I'm pretty sure that's what it said. The argument is, the fans feel closer to these guys than they do to all the other groups. They know what's going on in their lives; they hear it from the guys first, rather than the tabloids; an attachment is formed.

Then again, this isn't new with fans nowadays. I've been in the middle of this for years. I still see my friends who are big fans of David Cook collectively melt whenever he teases just a little bit about new songs. "It's the voice," my friends would say, and I just giggle, because it's funny seeing someone else go crazy - and I'm the guy who waged this half-hearted and futile campaign to bring Haley Reinhart to Manila - and because you know what they're talking about, and you get it.

And I don't get One Direction. I mean, they are a boy group. They're five boys who sing together. They have serviceable pop songs and, when the occasion calls for it, a proclivity to cover pop-rock songs from the 70s and 80s, or perhaps mash two of them together. Why do we have girls screaming very, very, very loudly over them? On Twitter, in all caps, like, OMG HARRY STYLES FOREVER, and Niall and Liam and Zayn and Louis too, but OMG HARRY I LOVE YOU, AND PLEASE MARRY ME, AND PLEASE PLEASE MARRY ME! Why do we have girls waging a battle over anybody who they believe are vaguely threatening the existence of the group, or of the Directioner family themselves? "You haters don't understand, but we are a family. Let's see you be a family." "48 Larry shippers committed suicide tonight. I hope you're happy, Channel 4."

"Is it just me," I asked Kira, "or are they venerated more than BSB and *NSYNC back in the day? Or am I just older now?"

"I'm not sure," she replied, "but I definitely feel like it was easier for 'em to become known around the world quicker because of the Internet."

As I said, Kira isn't one of the so-called crazy Directioners. I know she likes the boys, the same way she likes Matt Smith and the Union Jack, and the most I've seen her do is retweet a few things, pose in front of a wall with the One Direction guys' faces on it, and generally play cool about it. And so do the few other people I know who like the guys. And, perhaps, the same goes for most of the Directioners. They retweet a few things, hope that they get to shake hands with Liam one day, and generally play cool about it. But then again, the crazy people, those who have access to their parents' credit cards, those who fly to Miami and book rooms in the same hotel as the boys just for the chance to meet them, perhaps only to faint, and not remember anything, and still call it the best moment of their life, ever - the crazy people, they get the most attention just for being over the top, for hoping they're in a relationship with Liam, or for hoping that Louis is really in a relationship with Harry. "Larry is for real, you guys."

I don't know. Is it the Internet? Is it because kids nowadays are just richer? Is it because girls, with their supposed tendency to be emotional about the things they love, finally have an outlet, the same way boys, with their facts, can get geeky?

Well, maybe it is the Internet, but when my sister got obsessed with Blue when she was 13 - an obsession fueled by the Internet supplying photos of Lee Ryan topless and holding his nipples like he didn't want a candid photo - it wasn't the sort of obsession where she'd hate on anyone who'd even dare make fun of anything.

And when *NSYNC was also a big deal roughly fifteen years ago or so, we didn't threaten to kill anyone who taunted Justin Timberlake's dorky haircut. Imagine us passing notes during class. "Send this to Niko," Abigail would say - and apologies to Abigail, my elementary classmate whose love for Justin Timberlake knew no bounds, a love that manifested itself in photos of Justin cut out from newspapers and pasted in school projects, and in one case, an article in a "magazine" I started but never finished. Anyway. "Send this to Niko," she'd say, and the note will reach to me, and it'll say "Justin's hair is perfect! You must die!"

Is this why our childhood was supposedly awesome? Growing up in the 1990s, we actually talked about why Nick is better than A.J., rather than having word wars. I don't want to imagine BSB fans (Backstreeters?) and *NSYNC fans (Asterisks?) screaming at each other in the playground over who has the best dance moves. "You need strings! We don't!" Sure, we also fought, mostly kid stuff, like this guy has cooties or that. But we talked. And we played. On a playground. And we knew how pencils fix cassette tapes. And we blew Game Boy cartridges when they won't bite. And we grew up still understanding the Internet... but not these Directioners and their obsession.

What if we had the Internet back in the 1990s? Okay, yes, yes, we already had the Internet then. Revise. What if the Internet worked in the 1990s the way it already does now? What if we had Twitter, and Tumblr, and cheap cameras, and counterfeit image-editing software, and basically any tool that a fan requires to spazz out?

Our timelines would probably be populated with GIFs of those dance moves on "Bye Bye Bye". Each frame will be dissected and used as proof as to which *NSYNC member is more handsome. Someone says JC is cuter, and then "no, Joey!" and then "Chris Kirk-pat-rick-gonna-get-therr-ass-kicked!" and then someone posts a GIF of Justin with the words "it's gonna bey meyyyy!" superimposed.

"Justin and Lance are cute together, aren't they?"

"Oh my gosh let's make fan fiiiic! Justin and Lance... in bed."

"Oh my God, it's, like, gonna be soooo hot. But what do we call them?"

"Jance."

"Lustin."

"Lustin!"

"Lustin in... in... Lustin in Bangkok!"

As night fell, Justin and Lance returned to their hotel room. It was small and cramped, and they had to share one bed.

Justin sat down on the bed and took his sweaty shirt off.

Lance looked at him and, in that moment, he knew he wanted Justin all for himself.

Justin stood up and pulled his pants down. He was now only wearing his underwear, a fresh pair of white briefs.

Lance paused. "Bro?" he asked.

"Yeah?" Justin replied.

"You're... you're..."

Lance stood up, took his hands, and ran it down Justin's wet, sticky chest. And it went lower, and it was close to Justin's briefs. And then, his hands brushed his crotch, lightly.

Justin looked up to Lance. He looked him in the eye. He saw in Lance's eyes the urge to let all of his inhibitions go. And their faces drew closer, and closer...

And suddenly there was a bang. A loud bang. By the door. Someone's knocking at the door. A knock. And another. And another.

"Justin! Lance! It's Chris, dude!"

And your responses...

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