Author Note: This story is based upon the Backstreet Project comic book and cartoon 'webisode' series that Nick Carter made with Stan Lee. The series had the boys as superheroes protecting the universe against an evil villain called Zator.
1: THE END
"What do you mean the Backstreet Boys are over?" Nick cried, staring at Brian in shock and betrayal. His entire body seized up with the sudden words and his heart began to sink to his stomach in a vicious wave of nausea.
It couldn't be…
"Nick, it's over," Brian said softly. "You knew it would happen one day." He sighed and stood up from where he had been crouched down beside Nick's chair. "I'm leaving the band."
The words hit Nick with a pain that was almost physical. He stared into Brian's eyes and saw no shine or twinkle of amusement that would tell him that it was all a joke concocted by his silly friend. But he was deadly serious. The small stabs of pain struck Nick's heart as he vividly remembered all the times they had spent goofing around, wrestling… They had been best friends… best friends who talked of buying houses next door to each other.
What had happened to that friendship?
"We all knew it would end some day," AJ added.
Some day… but Nick did not want it to end. It had felt as if it would go on forever and he was happy with that. He had a great singing career and was surrounded with men he was proud to call friends. He had imagined that they would always be together, outlasting every band and showing the world that they were unbreakable.
But they had broken… And Nick hadn't seen it coming until it was too late.
"B - but not so soon!" Nick wailed. "There's so much we haven't done! So much we promised ourselves we'd do!"
"We've had a good run in the business," Kevin said. "Now it's time to step down."
'Business'? Was that what they considered it? To Nick, it was his life! He loved it so much…
"Why?" he whispered, staring at Brian again. Why had everything turned bad?
"Nick, I'm married and we're about to have a baby. Is it really fair if I leave Leighanne to do all the work? I want to be there for my child, but I can't if I'm touring all of the time," Brian said gently. "I want him to have the best life I can give to him and I would be no father if I'm dragging him from one town to the next. Can you understand that? That baby deserves a better life than that! I want him to have a normal life!"
Yes, Nick understood that! It wouldn't be fair for a child to be deprived of it's father! But Nick didn't want to be deprived of his friends…
"Brian, you don't have to leave! We'll work something out! You always said we would!" nick gabbled, again pushing back the tears.
"Nick, I don't want to work anything out!" Brian snapped. "Stop being childish! You'll understand when you have your own family!"
Ha! Like that would ever happen! Nick wanted a family, of course he did! But it seemed so unlikely… The only girl he had ever truly cared about, he couldn't have…
The tears began their watery descent down his cheeks as Brian's words thrust themselves into his heart like hot needles that tore at him mercilessly.
'Stop being childish!'
Was that what Brian thought of him now? A stupid child who had nothing better to do than pal around with men who didn't even want him around anymore?
"Fine, we can be a group without you if that's the way you feel!" Nick found himself saying angrily. How could Brian betray him like this?
"We all feel the same," Howie confessed suddenly.
Numbness crept stealthily over Nick's body and the ice-cold feeling swirled throughout his veins. A small pit opened up within his abdomen and Nick wanted nothing else other than to crawl into that pit and cry for eternity.
These people weren't the guys he had known. They weren't the Backstreet Boys that everybody knew anymore. They weren't even friends… friends don't betray each other… do they?
"What?!" Nick cried, jumping out of his seat and backing away from the four men before him. "You guys have already talked about this haven't you? You discussed it without me! How could you?"
"Nick - " Kevin said, beginning to stand.
"NO!" Nick dodged away from Kevin's arms that sought to comfort him. How could they? They knew how much he loved the band! "You talked about this together without even considering me! Did it occur to you that I don't want Backstreet to end?" He took another step backwards and then placed a hand to his face to try and wipe away the tears.
'I don't want this to end! When did you guys change so much?'
"Come on Nick, it's not the end of the world! You've got your solo career after all!" AJ said.
Nick flung his hands away from his face. "Is that why you're doing this? Because of my solo project? You knew I would never want it to end Backstreet! My heart was always with you guys!"
"Nick, they are more important things than the Backstreet Boys!" Kevin snapped, seemingly angered by Nick's attitude. "Some of us are married, some of us want to have families! We have to choose between the two!"
"And a family is more important," Brian said.
'More important than friendship?'
"What about me?" Nick whispered. "You guys all have girlfriends or wives… but I don't. I don't have anybody like that."
"You'll meet someone," Howie assured him. "I could hook you up with my sister's friend."
"No thanks," Nick said coldly. They just wanted to sponge him off so that he wasn't bothering them anymore.
"You'll get over it, Nick!" AJ said.
Nick glared at AJ, hardly believing that those words had emitted from his mouth. Nick had been with the guys since he was thirteen. They had raised him through his teenage years… and now they were abandoning him.
"What about the fans?" Nick asked, thinking of the thousands of girls who would be in tears at the news.
In tears… just like Nick was…
"They'll find a new boyband," Brian said, waving his hand vaguely.
"How can you say that?" Nick exclaimed.
"They'll understand!" Howie said. "They know we're only human and humans want families and want to take care of their families!"
"And they'll still have Nick Carter," Brian added, but Nick could have sworn that he caught a note of sarcasm in his voice.
'Fuck you, Brian.'
Their fans had done everything for them and they deserved more respect than what Brian was giving them. What had happened? Brian had always adored their fans… it was like he had turned into some sore of monster…
Nick would have his work cut out for him after the news escaped. He would have to bring out another solo single to cheer them all up… if he could avoid falling down into the hole of despair that wanted to swallow him up. And Nick was so tempted to jump into it…
How could he go on without them?
His hands unconsciously found the chain about his neck. He glanced down and looked at the magical amulet. Backstreet Boys was not just about the music…
"And about the amulets?" Nick said desperately, clasping his fingers about his magical amulet about his neck. "We're a team." They could break up the band, but they couldn't break this up… could they?
"Not any more…" Kevin said bluntly.
Nick clutched the amulet tighter, his fingers beginning to turn clammy. It felt as if they were alienating him completely. It felt as if they wanted to alienate him…
"W - what do you mean? We're super heroes! We have to protect people from Zator!"
"Some of us are also about to become fathers," Brian pointed out. "I can't be risking my neck every day for other people. What about my son? If I die, he won't have a father."
Nick sat back down upon his chair dismally. Everything was running out of control. He could feel his life slipping between his fingertips and, as hard as he tried to stop it, it was fleeing from him anyway. "I can't believe this is happening…"
"You'll feel better when it sinks in," Howie said almost cheerfully.
Why did Nick have the dreadful feeling that Howie was wrong? He had lost his whole life… and though he felt like crying forever now, he had the miserable feeling that it would be much, much worse by the time it had sunk in.
"Nick, we've got to be going," Kevin said, standing up and dusting his hands as if he was washing his hands of Nick.
"Bye Nick," AJ said, grabbing his coat and heading for the door. "I might see you around."
"Yeah," Nick said weakly, holding back the oceans that were beginning to try and dribble from his eyes.
Howie patted him on the shoulder. "I'm sorry…"
Nick heard the clatter of the door as they all left his house and he could not bear to watch them go and walk out of his life - and he knew that they were walking out of his life.
'I might see you around.'
Nick doubted it.
And as for Brian… Brian had not even bothered to say goodbye.
What had happened to them all? In the old days, they had been the best of friends. They had taken care of one another… trusted one another. But now they had their own lives to live and they didn't need a kid like Nick loitering around them permanently. It was like they weren't even the same people anymore.
It was over…
It was all over…
He traced the red jewel in the centre of his amulet. Now he was alone, but he would not abandon his duty to Zanell, the woman who he had promised to that he would guard the amulet.
The world had given so much to him and he had to protect it now. Close to Earth, hiding from the satellites, was an immense space ship containing the evil emperor Zator who was determined to gain possession of the amulets so that he could invade the planet.
But Nick would never let that happen.
Even if he was alone.