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Bob's girlfriend breaks up with him a couple weeks before Warped Tour. He's doing laundry and getting his shit organized and she looks at him across the kitchen and says, "I can't do this anymore."

The sad thing--the very telling thing--is that he doesn't have to ask what she means. He's always leaving and she's always alone. He can't even be angry because he knows it's not really fair to her. She deserves more from a boyfriend than he can give right now, so instead of arguing, he nods and says, "Okay. I'm sorry."

She doesn't cry and he gives her a kiss on the cheek when she leaves. That night he goes out with Brian and gets completely hammered, and the resulting hangover makes him swear off drinking for a while. By the time the tour rolls around, he's good. He's looking forward to playing again, excited to see all the bands they've toured with before and all the new ones he'll get to meet. His heart isn't broken and he isn't angry, so he figures if he happens to meet someone new, she won't be a rebound or a revenge fuck. He's not looking for someone new, but if it happens, he'll go with the flow.

And then he meets Matt Skiba again.

Or to be more accurate, Matt greets him with a hug and says, "It's good to see you again, buddy," like he really means it.

Even though Bob is not much of a casual hugger--not like some of his band who hang off each other all the time--he hugs back. Their bands have toured together a few times over the last few years and Matt has always been a fun guy to hang out with. He's looking good now that he's not dyeing his hair black anymore, but Bob doesn't say that, instead he says, "Likewise. We tried to catch up with you guys when our tours crossed in Michigan, but we had bus trouble and ended up losing half a travel day."

"Yeah, that sucks," Matt says with a nod. And of course he understands because every band has a bus or van break down at some point. Bob's just glad they didn't have to cancel a show. The band would have been upset but Brian would have been pissed. He takes that shit very seriously. Matt knows all that too because he asks, "Did you have to cancel the gig?"

"No, we made it with less than an hour to set up and sound check. That was a nightmare."

"Oh God, that reminds me of this time in, shit, I think it was Arizona? Some place really hot and dry anyway. And we get to the venue over an hour late and--" Matt stops talking and his head snaps around. "Hey, catering's finally finished setting up. Come on. I'm starving."

Bob finds himself following Matt across the tent, weaving through the crowds of people at the kick-off party, to where some catering people are still putting out trays of desserts. "Can we have one of these, please?" Matt asks so fucking politely that Bob laughs.

Matt ignores him and beams when the catering guy says, "Sure, help yourselves. Sorry we were late. We had some issues with our van."

"No problem, man, we understand," Matt says as he carefully considers all the options before picking up a chocolate cupcake. His eyes widen as his teeth sink into that first bite and then they slowly slide closed as he chews and swallows. With his second bite, he makes a sound in the back of his throat that does funny things to Bob's insides. He opens his eyes and says, "Mmmm. Here, try one."

And instead of grabbing another one, Matt holds his cupcake up to Bob's mouth and Bob, even though he hates eating after other people, takes a bite. It's delicious, but frankly, Bob liked it better when Matt was eating it.

Matt's face is absolutely blissful as he licks fudge frosting off his fingers and his voice goes deeper when he moans, "Holy shit, that's really good. Right?"

Bob's mind goes blank except for imagining Matt licking him. Matt's pink tongue flicks over the tips of his fingers and all Bob can think is 'blowjob blowjob tongue blowjob blowjob'. He swallows hard and shakes his head. His face feels hot when he finally manages to say, "Yeah. Hey, these are vegan, right? I should go tell Frankie."

He barely waits for Matt to nod before he walks away, with no idea where Frank might be. He doesn't give a shit either, all he can think is how weird it is that he just got turned on by a guy eating a cupcake.

Apparently, you just don't forget something like that, and for the next several days, Bob finds his thoughts drifting to Matt any time he's not actively thinking of something else. The sounds Matt made and the orgasmic expression on his face while practically making love to that damned cupcake start to find their way into Bob's dreams at night and in the dreams, he wants to make Matt do that again--the face, the sounds, the sensual enjoyment. Bob wants all that, he wants to be the cause of it, and in his dreams that involves actual orgasms.

Which would all be fine and dandy except that Bob is straight. Well, there was a drunken handjob once, but that was mostly a dare and not because he was interested or wanted to experiment. Okay, he'd been a bit curious, but he was a teenager at the time so it would have been weirder if he hadn't been curious. Right?

Although, if he's honest with himself (and he always tries to be), the way he nearly gets hard watching Matt walk across the parking lot wearing nothing but shorts and a damp towel slung around his neck starts to put Bob's perceived straightness into some doubt. When Matt sees him and waves, Bob smiles and throws up a hand in return and thinks, 'please don't come over here, don't come over, don't--Fuck!' And then Matt walks up, says "Hey, Bob" all warm and low and Bob is desperately glad the jeans he's wearing are left over from before he lost weight and therefore big and loose enough to hide the boner he's just popped. He hasn't been this trigger happy since he was a sixteen and turned on by everything from shampoo commercials to his homeroom teacher when she wore that one particular low-cut blouse.

Matt tells him about some new band on the tour and how good their show was and Bob can barely take in a word he says because he's too preoccupied with watching Matt's mouth move and the quick way he smiles then looks serious again. Matt reaches into the pocket of his shorts and pulls out a pack of cigarettes as he talks and then Bob has to watch his lips purse slightly as he sucks on the filter and... gah. Bob finally drags his gaze away from Matt's mouth long enough to say, "Hey, yeah, I'll try to catch them sometime, but I have to head back to the bus. Ray wanted to talk about some song he's working on."

"Okay, catch you later," Matt says and takes another drag off his cigarette. Bob nods and walks away, forcing himself to go slow and casual and not run away like a little girl.

When he gets to the bus, Ray is nowhere to be seen, and thank fuck the bus is deserted, because Bob goes straight to his bunk and jerks off. He tries to think about his ex-girlfriend, that hot blonde actress in the movie he watched yesterday, Lara fucking Croft, anybody with breasts and a vagina. That lasts for about two minutes before images of Matt fill his mind. Matt's voice and his mouth, and oh holy fucking fuck, his hands. Bob pumps his own hand furiously, imagining Matt touching him, Matt's fingers wrapping around his dick and somehow, consciously giving into the fantasies that lurk in his dreams while he sleeps is all he needs. In giving himself permission to be attracted to Matt, he comes so hard his eyes nearly roll back in his head.

He represses it for another day or so, just for lack of knowing what else to do. He's never really thought about his sexuality. His attraction to girls was just there, like his blue eyes and freckles. And just like those attributes, nothing has ever required him to explain or justify it. And nobody has ever made him question it until now.

And the next time he jerks off in his bunk thinking about Matt, specifically the way he licked apple pie filling off his fingers at lunch, Bob concedes that it's not even much of a question. Or if it is, the answer is suddenly 'yes, please, I will definitely have some of that' where before it would have been 'no thanks, but you go ahead'.

But still, it's just Matt, a dude he's known for a few years and never got worked up over before, so Bob can't help but think that maybe it's just some weird anomaly that, if ignored for long enough, will eventually go away. He doesn't have to give in to it or acknowledge it outside his own head. His self-image may change a bit, but nobody else will think of him any differently.

But then he comes across Matt drunkenly draped all over Gerard, who is stone cold sober and laughing softly into Matt's hair as Matt nuzzles his neck, and Bob wants to punch Gerard in the face. He actually feels his hand start to curl into a fist before he takes a deep breath and forces himself to stay calm.

Obviously, ignoring it is not working.

Bob turns and walks away, so he can get his jealousy under control. Wanting to punch a friend is not good, not good at all. Well, he's punched Frank a few times but not seriously, just to get Frank out of his bunk or make him stop doing whatever annoying thing he's doing. Bob doesn't want to really hurt Frank. For just that split-second, he wanted to hurt Gerard bad. He wanted to hit him so hard that blood ran freely and his knuckles split, and he hasn't done that in years.

Bob is halfway back to My Chem's bus when Mikey falls in step with him and says, "Hey, Bob. 'Sup?"

"Nothing," Bob says, so convincing that he almost believes it himself. Mikey just looks at him with the exact same expression. "What?"

One eyebrow quirks a half-centimeter and Mikey says, "You don't have a crush on my brother, do you?"

"What the hell?" Bob comes to a full stop. "No."

"Oh," Mikey says, and for all that nothing about his voice or face changes, he seems thoughtful. "Okay then."

He smiles and turns to walk away, but Bob stops him. "Wait a minute. Just out of curiosity, what would you have said if the answer was yes?" Bob hastens to add, "Not that it is, because I don't."

"I'd have told you not to get your hopes up," Mikey says with a minute shrug. "As flamboyant as he acts, when it comes down to it, he's actually pretty straight. Except for kissing Frank sometimes. And that thing with Matt. That's kinda weird, I guess. But I don't think they actually do anything except, like, cuddle sometimes. So if it's Matt you're interested in..." Mikey trails off, waiting for Bob to confirm or deny. When Bob does neither, Mikey adds, "Just saying you might have a chance with him. From what I've noticed, he's actually pretty flexible."

Bob silently takes in all this information and still doesn't confirm or deny Mikey's suspicions so eventually Mikey wanders off. Bob remains right where he is, trying to process the fact that Matt is not actually fucking Gerard. That doesn't mean he'd want to fuck Bob instead. Bob doesn't even know exactly what he wants--his fantasies to this point have been mostly tied to Matt's voice and his mouth and his hand on Bob's dick. Does he want to fuck Matt? He's never fucked a guy or given a blowjob. What if he's really bad at it?

It would probably be easiest to just lie there and let Matt do stuff to him, but Bob's never wanted to be fucked by a guy either so...whoa. That's a disconcerting mental image. Bob backs away from that thought for a moment. Instead, as he walks the rest of the way to the bus, he considers what attracts him to Matt and what he wants to get out of it. Or if he really wants to get anything out of it or just go back to ignoring the whole thing. And even if he does decide he wants Matt for real, what's to say Matt would even be interested in him?

Bob couldn't help but notice that Matt has had some unusually close relationships with other guys over the years, but they were with guys like himself and Gerard. Outgoing men who are always the center of attention, the ones standing at the front of the stage while a few thousand kids scream their names. Bob is friendly--he certainly has a lot of friends on the tour--but he isn't sexy or flashy or charismatic. He can usually get laid when he really wants to and works at it, but he doesn't exactly have people of either sex falling at his feet. Fans totally don't count because they're off limits and, if he's honest, some of them scare the crap out of him with the intensity of their devotion.

***

Matt looks over at side stage while Danny's singing Crawl and notices My Chem watching them play. His grin falters a little when he notices Bob's not there and he realizes this is becoming a pattern. The middle of a show is not the time to get distracted thinking about it, so he puts it out of his mind and moves on to the next song.

Later, he catches the last half of My Chem's set and sticks around to say hello. By the time he pulls himself out of Frank's sweaty clutches and looks around, Bob is already gone.

And that is just weird. Matt hung out with Bob plenty of times earlier on the tour and he's unaware of anything he might have done or said to make Bob avoid him. Bob gets his sense of humor and is unlikely to take a joke the wrong way and even if he did he'd say something about it and not just disappear every time Matt comes around.

Matt gives it a couple of days, just to make sure he's not imagining things. He and Derek do an interview for some Canadian music show and when the interviewer says something about Dan coming to join them, Matt looks over to see Dan chatting away with Bob fucking Bryar, who looks completely relaxed and is smiling as if he doesn't have a care in the world. He walks away from Dan with a little wave and Dan comes to join the interview, and Matt has more to think about.

And then a day or so after that, Derek says, "And then Bob said that I should--"

Matt cuts him off with, "Wait a minute. Bob Bryar? You talked to him?"

"Yeah," Derek says, giving Matt a curious look. "We talked about drumming for about an hour this afternoon. We traded some ideas about..."

Derek keeps talking but Matt's not really listening anymore. He gets up off the couch and says, "I have to go see somebody. I'll be back before we leave."

"Yeah, okay," Derek says and opens up his laptop.

 

Matt goes in search of Bob and finds him sitting in a lawn chair next to the My Chem bus talking to Frank and Adam Lazzara.

"What the hell, Bob Bryar? Are you avoiding me?" Matt asks, ignoring Frank's snickering and Adam's confused but interested look from Matt to Bob and back again.

Bob sighs and gets up, tilts his head away from the bus and says, "Take a walk with me?"

Matt nods and falls into step as Bob heads away from the buses. He digs his cigarettes out of the side pocket of his cargo pants and lights one as he walks, and if Matt didn't know better he'd think Bob was nervous. But that's crazy because why would Bob be nervous around him?

When they've reached a deserted area at the back of the parking lot, Matt puts a hand on Bob's arm, tugging on his sleeve, and says, "What's up? Did I do something to piss you off? Seems like every time I come around, you suddenly have somewhere else to be. I know you talk to the rest of my band, so it's just me that you avoid."

"Yeah." Bob ducks his head and takes one last long drag off his cigarette. He lets the smoke out slowly and drops the butt to the ground. "Sorry about that. You didn't do anything. It's me, not you."

Like Matt hasn't heard that one before. He props his hands on his hips and just frowns at Bob, until Bob winces and says, "Okay, it is you...sort of. I have this--" He grinds his cigarette butt into the gravel with the heel of his shoe and covers his face with one hand. And with a sinking feeling, Matt can almost see the word 'crush' forming on his lips, but he sighs and tries again. "I can't...stop...uh. Fuck, this is hard."

Matt's eyes widen and that sinking feeling gets even heavier in his stomach. "Oh my God, not again."

"Yeah, I know it's weir--wait. What are you talking about? Again?"

Matt watches Bob's reaction carefully as he very seriously asks, "Do you think you're gay for me?"

He can see the answer in Bob's little flinch at the word 'gay' and sighs, "Well, at least you're not jail bait. The last one was barely out of high school."

It's possible Bob knows Matt a little better than Matt thought because instead of being scandalized or skeptical, he snorts and rolls his eyes. "But you fucked him anyway, didn't you?"

"Well, yeah, he was a sweet kid and actually pretty hot. Could not hold his liquor." Matt can't help a nostalgic smile at how cute Patrick was when he was drunk. He remembers seeing Fall Out Boy at some function in New York a while back and how close Pete and Patrick were. "I think he's in love with his bassist now."

Bob rubs his eyes and seems like he doesn't know what to do now. Matt understands that feeling. Sure, this has happened to him before but that doesn't make it any easier, especially when it's someone he's known as long as Bob. It's usually kids like Patrick who are still figuring out their sexuality or assholes who think as long as they're the ones doing the fucking it's not really gay. He claps Bob on the back and says, "It'll be okay."

"Sorry I've been avoiding you. I thought that would make it go away. I didn't want to make you feel...you know, weird or anything."

"It really is okay," Matt says again, but he's looking at Bob a little differently now as he slowly withdraws his hand from Bob's back. He's always liked Bob. He's an interesting dude to chill out with and he's always got a fun road story or two when the beer's flowing, but now Matt is seeing that Bob is actually pretty good-looking. And unlike most of the guys on tour, he doesn't seem to know he's hot, which is both funny and endearing.

Determined to put this new view of Bob aside for the moment, Matt throws an arm around Bob's shoulders and starts walking him back toward the buses. "Come on, buddy, you need a beer. Let's go see what we can steal from TBS. They usually have the good stuff and we know Adam's distracted right now."

 

***

In the days and miles and ever changing cities that follow Bob's revelation--he refuses to think of it as coming out--Matt doesn't treat Bob any differently and Bob tries to act normal until eventually things between them start to feel normal again. When their schedules allow, Bob goes to watch Alkaline Trio play and Matt comes to see My Chem and sometimes they hang out or have lunch together. Occasionally Bob catches Matt watching him with a thoughtful look on his face and maybe he touches Bob a little more often than he used to.

One night in South Carolina, a bunch of the guys--three-fifths of My Chem, all of Alkaline Trio, bits and pieces of Rise Against, Taking Back Sunday, and a couple other bands--are sitting around a bonfire that it's way too hot for but somebody decided that they really needed to burn some stuff and a bonfire seemed like the safest and least-likely-to-involve-eventual-lawsuits option. Some of them are drinking beer and some are sticking to soft drinks, while they tell jokes and stories. Ray and Derek have brought out acoustic guitars and are playing a rousing game of 'hey, do you know this one?' And the answer seems to always be yes. Yes, they both do. Derek especially seems to know every song ever written.

Bob finishes telling a story about the time these two fans who claimed to be vampires cornered Gerard in a truck stop bathroom and begged to join his coven or some crazy shit, and Matt leans into Bob's side and puts a hand on Bob's leg as he laughs. Then he turns to Dan and demands he tell the one about that one time in Amsterdam because, "Come on, you tell it better."

While Matt and Dan get into a bizarre old-married-couple type argument about some detail of the story--that involves yelling "it was a fucking DUCK!" and "Fuck you, it was a GOOSE!" at each other-- Mikey leans into Bob's other side and says quietly, so no one else can hear, "So. Guess he really likes you."

"What? Who? Matt? No." Bob fights back his panicky first reaction and he is so fucking obvious that he vows not to drink any more beer after he finishes the one in his hand because if he got really drunk there's no telling what kind of secrets he'd reveal. "No."

"He's into you." Mikey shakes his head and nudges Bob's knee with his own. "I know what that looks like."

"No," Bob insists in a furious whisper. He wishes it were true, but this is Matt, who doesn't pull any punches. "No, he'd say something if he was."

"Maybe not," says Mikey, folding his hands contemplatively. "If he doesn't know--"

"He knows," Bob says shortly.

"Oh. You told him?" Mikey nods and hums as Bob just shrugs. "I'll have to think about this and get back to you."

Bob's first instinct is to say, 'please don't' but Mikey has actually been known to give sound advice, especially where interpersonal relationships are concerned. For all that he comes off as lacking in common sense sometimes, he is pretty much a genius at reading people and figuring out what they really want. Bob is almost certain that it was Mikey's idea to offer him the spot drumming for My Chem, because he knew--without Bob having to say it out loud--that Bob wanted to play more than anything else. So in the back of Bob's mind it has always been Mikey who made it happen, and he trusts Mikey not to fuck things up between him and Matt.

Matt turns back to Bob and Mikey and says, "Okay, he's gonna tell the story now and he's going to do it right--with voices. Right, Daniel?"

"I always tell it right," Dan says calmly before launching into the story.

Bob loses track pretty quickly--there's something about hookers and hash and a waterfowl of some sort--because Matt slumps against him, resting his head on Bob's shoulder. Bob can feel it every time Matt laughs, even if he doesn't make a sound. When Dan tries to mimic a Dutch accent, Matt tilts his head up to grin at Bob and Bob realizes that Mikey is right. The more frequent touches, the random text messages about whatever Matt's reading or thinking, the way he seeks Bob out every day just to say hey...Matt has been showing interest and Bob didn't even recognize it for what it was because he'd convinced himself it wasn't going to happen.

He's been thinking Matt would say something, but it's possible that for all his confidence and straightforward approach to life, Matt might just be as unsure as Bob is when it comes to making a move on someone.

Bob cracks up laughing and says, "I just got it."

Mikey laughs quietly, Dan looks startled, and Matt looks puzzled, especially when Bob stands up and pulls Matt to his feet and away from the firelight. "Bob, what the fuck? He didn't even get to the best part yet."

As soon as Bob gets them away from everyone else, he pushes Matt up against a chain link fence and kisses him. Matt sucks in a shocked breath and then opens his mouth and kisses back. Bob hooks the fingers of one hand through the chain link and cups Matt's face with the other. Matt makes one of those noises that started all this and shoves both hands up the back of Bob's shirt, his long fingers digging into Bob's skin exactly like Bob has imagined a dozen times. Only better because it's real. It's guitar player calluses scratching his skin and sweat sliding down his spine. It's a growing hardness against his hip and a different kind of tension and strength in the arms curled around him. Bob's never been with someone taller than him who could probably lift him off the ground before, and that's weird and surprisingly hot.

Matt wraps his leg around the back of Bob's thigh and arches up, into the curve of Bob's body until they are completely tangled in each other. The fence at Matt's back is the only thing keeping them upright because Matt is hanging off of Bob and Bob is too lost in Matt's hot, wet mouth to spare a thought for such trivial matters as balance and gravity.

He's so consumed by wanting, by finally getting what he's been longing for, that the stray, almost off-hand thought that maybe he should have asked Matt what he wanted is like a bucket of cold water poured on his head. He jerks back--or tries to but Matt follows him with his mouth, sucking at Bob's tongue and making a whimpery noise in the back of his throat. Bob gives in and keeps kissing him for a few more minutes before the resolve to be responsible hits him again. Wrapping his hand around the back of Matt's neck, Bob holds him still while he breaks the kiss and says, "Wait. Are you sure you-- Do you want--" And this would be so much easier if Bob could catch his breath, and the way Matt is grinding against him doesn't help much either.

Matt opens his eyes slowly and looks at Bob incredulously, his gaze shifting from Bob's face down to where they are wrapped around each other, his hard cock digging into Bob's hip through their jeans. "Yes, I fucking want. I couldn't be more emphatically saying yes without stripping my clothes off and yelling 'Fuck me, Bob Bryar' at the top of my lungs. Which I might do if you really insist, but we'd never hear the end of it from the rest of these assholes."

The reality of where they are slams into Bob and he drops his head to Matt's shoulder and groans. For all that they've given themselves the illusion of being alone, there's no such thing as real privacy on Warped. And also, there's a highway not twenty yards away on the other side of the fence. Two people dressed mostly in black making out won't attract much attention, but a couple naked guys fucking would be pretty hard to miss.

Bob's lips brush against Matt's neck as he asks, "We have a couple days off soon, right?"

"Fuck that." Matt slides his hands down Bob's back and into his pants. "Your bus or mine?"

"Gerard and Frank are having arts and crafts time on mine." Bob gasps and twitches when Matt pushes his hands inside Bob's boxers and cups his ass. Somehow he manages to keep at least part of his mind on the conversation. "And I know yours is never empty."

"It's empty...enough." Matt gives Bob's ass a squeeze and Bob is ready to agree, but then Matt says, "We can go in the back lounge. Heather won't care."

"I like Heather, but I'm not having sex with you while she's right outside. I could never look her in the eye again."

Matt pulls his hands out of Bob's pants and wraps Bob up in a hug, nuzzling his hair as he murmurs, "You are so precious. How have you ever managed to get laid in your life?"

Bob rolls his eyes, but just says, "The women I date are usually in favor of privacy."

"You shut the door and it's plenty private. I swear that Heather never said a word about Patrick being over. Neither did Dan or Mike or anyone else."

"Wait a minute. Patrick?" A light goes on in Bob's head and he pulls away from Matt completely. Well, he tries but Matt clings like a limpet and finally Bob gives up and lets himself be cuddled. "Not Patrick Stump? From Fall Out Boy? Are you actually telling me that your jail bait boyfriend was Patrick Stump?"

"I wasn't planning to tell you that, but I swear he was totally legal." Matt shrugs and runs the tip of his tongue around the shell of Bob's ear and arches his hips. Bob shudders and forgets all about Patrick for the moment.

***

When Matt finally stumbles up the steps of his bus--alone, because he never could convince Bob to come back with him--Heather looks up from the text she's typing out on her phone and considers him for a long moment. "Who is it this time?"

"What?" Matt makes a face at her and heads for his bunk to take care of the frustration Bob left him with. He'd spent the last week or so subtly flirting with Bob to see what would happen. If anything, he'd expected more awkward confessions, possibly a request for a date, maybe a shy kiss or two. He didn't expect to be hit by a runaway freight train of pent-up sexual tension. If he'd known this was what was hiding under Bob's calm dude exterior, Matt might have come on to him a long time ago.

Heather kicks his leg with her bare foot as he walks by and says, "Confused kid?"

"No." Matt stops and thinks about it. "Maybe confused. I don't know yet. But definitely not a kid."

"You gonna tell me or do I have to wait until he does the walk of shame?"

"Hey, there is no shame in getting with this," Matt says indignantly, but he knows some formerly-straight guys might not see it that way. "Don't worry about it. He won't come over for any hanky-panky. He's got issues about privacy."

Heather pushes against his leg again and laughs. "And he is...?"

Matt sighs and just admits it because she'll eventually find out anyway, unless Bob has a freak out in the morning and refuses to ever speak to Matt again. "Bob."

"Bryar? Huh. Didn't see that coming." She looks thoughtful for a moment and then smiles. "He's a good guy. As far as I can tell he doesn't fuck around."

"Really? I can't say I've ever noticed who he might be sleeping with." Which is true in the specific sense, but Matt couldn't help but notice that on the few occasions Bob talked about dating or hooking up or whatever, it was always with a woman. He'd filed Bob in the straight box in his mind and had no reason to think that would ever change.

"The girls on tour talk about these things."

"Really?" Matt's not surprised but he is intrigued. "What do they say about me?"

"That your pants are surprisingly hard to get into." She tugs on his pant leg with her toes to illustrate.

"I...don't even know what to say about that."

Heather seems to think about it before attempting to explain. "It's because you're so affectionate with everyone. I guess some people think that makes you sluttier than you actually are."

"So my reputation among the ladies on Warped is that I'm not as slutty as I look? Are you shitting me?" For just a second or two, Matt is a little offended but then he sees the ridiculousness in that attitude and lets it go.

Heather just shrugs and goes back to texting.

"All right then." He shifts from one foot to the other and suddenly has a sense memory of Bob's fingers sliding up the back of his thigh. He smiles and says, "I'm going to go masturbate to thoughts of Bob's hands now."

"Didn't need to know that," she says absently, not looking up. "Have fun."

As he walks on back and climbs into his bunk, Matt considers Bob and how anxious he was to make sure Matt was on board with what was happening between them. Maybe he needs to stop being subtle and really show Bob how into him Matt is.

Even if it turns out to be a mistake that ends badly, Matt doesn't do anything halfway.

 

***

 

The next morning, Bob steps out of the bus and has a cup of coffee shoved in his hand before he's even registered that Matt is waiting for him. He mumbles "What?" around the unlit cigarette in his mouth and flinches when a lighter flicks on right in front of his face. He lets Matt light his cigarette and takes a deep drag off it before taking it out of his mouth. He keeps his eyes on Matt while he takes a cautious sip of the coffee. It's hot and exactly how he likes it. He probably should be disturbed by that but he chooses not to be.

Matt's smile is brighter than anything that Bob should have to deal with before noon. "Good morning."

"What the hell? Did you even sleep?"

"What's weird about it? You're up."

"Yeah, but that's because the Ways have decided sleep is for the weak and eight a.m. is the perfect time to get into an argument about... You know, I don't even know what they were discussing. Just that they wouldn't shut the hell up about it and if I didn't get a smoke I was going to kill one or both of them."

"Murder is never the answer, Bob," Matt says gravely, reaching over and smoothing down Bob's hair where it's probably sticking up in an impressive bedhead impression of a cockatoo or something. Bob leans into the touch just a little. He can't help it.

"Yeah, I'm too delicate for prison." While Bob drinks the coffee and smokes his first cigarette of the day, Matt just stands there, sipping his own coffee and watching Bob through his ridiculous white framed sunglasses. It would be unnerving if it were anyone else, but Bob just shoots sideways glances at Matt and thinks about kissing him. Remembers kissing him, because it's not theoretical any more. He knows exactly what Matt tastes like and how he sounds when someone slides a hand down the back of his neck and presses their open mouth to the base of his throat.

"So what time do you guys play today?" Matt asks, trying to sneak Bob's cigarette pack out of his pocket.

"Four, I think," Bob says, smacking Matt's hand away. "You could just ask, you know."

"That's not nearly as much fun as trying to cop a feel, though."

Bob has to concede that point, but he gets the pack out anyway. He offers Matt one and figures what the hell and shakes out another for himself. He lights it with the one he's just about finished and says, "You're driving me to chain smoke."

"Hey." Matt lights up and takes a drag, letting the smoke out though his nose. "Is everything all right?"

"What? Yeah."

Bob must look as mystified as he feels because Matt motions between the two of them. "With this, I mean. You're not freaking out or anything?"

"Oh." Bob thinks about it as he looks around. They're not precisely alone because there are drivers and crew out and about, but nobody is paying them any mind. "I'm...yeah, I'm pretty okay with it. You?"

"Good." Matt grins around the cigarette hanging out the corner of his mouth. "I'm good, but you know, frustrated. Very frustrated."

Bob huffs out a laugh and finishes his coffee, carefully not watching Matt the way he wants to. Otherwise he might as well hang a neon sign over his head telling all the world how he feels.

"So did you ever get a chance to catch that band I told you about?"

"Not yet. The one day I could've, I got roped into doing an interview with Mikey. Frank was sick and couldn't do it as scheduled."

"Just you and Mikey? The least talkative members of the band? That must have been one fun interview."

"It was all right. Mikey can talk his head off when he's given the chance."

"Still. Kinda wish I'd seen it." Matt shrugs and says, "We're not playing until after you, so we should go see them today."

"Go see this band--what was it? Gaslight Anthem? Together?"

"Yeah."

Bob keeps his face as straight as possible, but inside he's dying to laugh. "You asking me out on a date?"

Matt drops his cigarette to the pavement and grinds it under his sneaker, blowing his last lungful of smoke up at the sky as he says, "If it'll make you put out faster to call it a date, sure."

"I'm not that kind of girl," Bob says regretfully. "You have to at least buy me dinner first."

"So demanding," Matt sighs, a little too dramatically. "You're lucky you're hot."

Bob snorts and shakes his head. He might have argued that point, but Gerard comes stumbling out of the bus and makes gimme hands at Matt.

Matt hands over his coffee cup, which can't have much left in it, and says, "Sorry, no smokes. I bummed off Bob."

Gerard leans against Matt as he drinks the coffee and Bob finds that he is not jealous this time. Mikey said they don't do anything, and Bob trusts him to both know for sure and to tell Bob the truth. He does wish Gerard would stop touching his... whatever Matt is, but there's no way to say it that won't be horribly embarrassing so he keeps his trap shut.

"We should go see The Gaslight Anthem today," Gerard says out of the blue when he's finished Matt's coffee. "You know they're from Jersey?"

Bob sighs and looks away, and Matt doesn't say anything for a long moment and Gerard says, "Uh...guys?"

Bob glances at Matt who smiles softly at Gerard as he says, "Bob and I kind of have plans."

"Oh? Cool. What are you doing?"

"We were going to see Gaslight Anthem," Bob says, and after a significant pause, he adds, "together."

"Oh." Gerard blinks and then breaks out in a joyful grin. "Awwwww, Bob. I had no idea."

Bob allows Gerard to hug him and gives Matt, who is snickering almost silently, a dirty look over Gerard's shoulder. "You should have told me," Gerard says into Bob's ear before he pulls back to grin at him again. "You know I fully support your sexuality."

"Yeah, I support yours too," Bob says dryly.

"No, I mean," Gerard says earnestly. "If you ever need to talk about, you know, how difficult it is being in the closet--oh! Do you want to come out? I will totally support you, if you do. I'll help you write the press release and--"

"No!" Bob nearly shouts and then points at Matt who is now laughing, loud and shameless. "And you shut up."

Matt shakes his head and tells Gerard, "Bob doesn't know from closets yet. I just turned him gay. So you might want to give him some time to adjust first."

"I don't think it works like that," Gerard says but he's looking thoughtfully at Bob and then at Matt.

"He didn't--I'm not...you know what? Never mind." Bob rubs his face so hard he gets sparkles behind his eyelids. His fucking life. Seriously.

***

By noon, Bob is standing side stage watching Gaslight Anthem putting on a damn good show and Matt is slinging an arm around Bob's shoulders. Coming from Matt, it probably looks like a buddy thing to anyone watching, but it feels more intimate than that to Bob.

He does not know what to do with this. On the one hand, he likes Matt touching him. On the other, there's approximately a billion people who could conceivably notice the way Matt tilts his head toward him in a weirdly intimate gesture even when he's not saying anything. But back to the first hand, he really likes Matt touching him and would like to drag Matt away somewhere private so he could get more of that.

However, the band is as good as Matt said they were and Bob is enjoying the music, even if he's feeling all itchy and twitchy with Matt pressed against his side.

"What do you think?" Matt shouts directly into Bob's ear, and Bob just nods and gives him a thumbs up. Matt slides his hand down Bob's back and pats his ass before curving his fingers around Bob's hip.

Bob makes a point of not reacting outwardly, while inside he is a mass of responses--a jolt of arousal in the pit of his stomach and a hit of fear and worry somewhere in his chest and a thread of amusement in the back of his head. He pays attention to the music, but kind of subconsciously monitors Matt's hands in case he gets carried away and forgets where they are. And before Bob knows it, the set is over and Matt is dragging him over to meet the band.

Bob barely has time to tell them he enjoyed their set before Worm shows up and says, "There you are. Come on, you've got an interview with Fuse in ten minutes."

As Worm drags Bob away, he mutters under his breath, "I should have known Skiba was involved."

Bob doesn't have to ask what he means. He's figuring it out.

***

Bob doesn't see Matt again until just before the buses are set to hit the road to the next city. Bob and Mikey are debating whether to play Halo or something else for a change when Ed, the driver, calls back and tells Bob he has a visitor.

When Bob goes up front to see who it is, Ed says, "You've got five minutes until wheels roll, so make it snappy."

Bob nods and hurries down the steps and out the door to see Matt standing outside, holding up a plastic container like it's the prize in a contest Bob didn't even know he'd entered. Bob ignores the container in favor looking at Matt, who seems to be freshly showered and shaved and is wearing a nice button down shirt instead of a t-shirt. Bob kind of wants to molest him, but is vividly conscious of the fact that they are not even close to being alone. He suspects Gerard is watching them from the windows but he doesn't want to know so he doesn't check. "Hey, Matt. What's up?"

"I brought you something," Matt says, stepping closer and shoving the container at Bob's chest.

"It's not a severed hand, is it? Or a shrunken head?"

"No," Matt says, matter-of-factly, as if those were viable options just not correct guesses.

Bob eyes the container suspiciously and asks, "You sure?"

"Positive. Now stop being a dick and take it."

Bob takes the container and makes a great show of reluctantly looking inside. He's almost disappointed that it's not a severed or shrunken anything. "Strawberries?"

"A fan gave them to me."

"I thought your fans gave you skull-shaped coffee mugs and candle holders that dripped blood."

"Mostly. Fuck, our fans're awesome," Matt says a little dreamily, before shrugging. "But occasionally we get one that hasn't just taken a pottery class."

"And you're giving them to me?"

"Sharing. I had some already--"

"You made daiquiris, didn't you?"

"Of course we did. But anyway I thought you'd like to have some. They're really fresh and sweet. Like you." A bus horn sounds from nearby and Matt says, "Oh, I gotta go. Enjoy the strawberries."

"I-- Thanks," Bob says and is about to go back inside when Matt turns, rushes back, and plants a kiss on Bob's cheek.

"See you in the next town." And then he's gone and Bob is staring after him wondering why the hell he's suddenly in a 1950s romantic comedy.

After a minute or so, Ed calls down, "You coming or am I leaving you here?"

Bob shakes himself of his daze and goes up the stairs. Ed shakes his head and says, "I'm not asking."

"Good because I have no fucking idea," Bob says. Ed just laughs as he shuts the door and starts the bus.

***

"Sorry, sorry, we can go now," Matt calls as he dashes up the bus steps and makes his way through the front lounge.

Dan looks up from where he's putting a DVD in the player. "Hey, Matt, we were about to watch--"

"Maybe later," Matt says and keeps going. Behind him, he hears this exchange between Dan and Heather:

"What's up with him?"

"He went to see Bob."

"Ah. Say no more."

Matt climbs into his bunk and closes the curtain. He pulls his phone out of his pocket and thinks about texting Bob. Maybe that would be too pushy. He wants to court Bob, not stalk him. Scaring him off won't do either of them any good. Matt would miss out on the full Bob experience, and Bob would miss out on figuring out if men really do it for him. If Matt really does it for him.

It certainly felt like Matt was doing it for him when they were making out last night. Bob had gotten hard and there's no way he could have missed Matt's erection pressed against his hip and he didn't jerk back and try to pull any of that 'only above the waist' bullshit either. He knows the likelihood of Bob continuing to want him so passionately is pretty slim, but he's willing to push that aside for now, because even if/when Bob eventually has a big gay freakout, it won't be the end of the world since none of this is super serious.

And just the idea that Bob could want him that much is powerful and arousing. Matt has people screaming their love for him nearly every day when he's on tour and most of those people would probably have sex with him if he only asked, so it's not like someone showing interest is so unusual that he's going to just fall right in line. They don't know him like Bob does. He knows Bob, too.

What Matt likes the most about Bob is that he's oddly fearless and occasionally reckless, but a really solid, down-to-earth guy. He can hold his liquor and tell a joke and whip out interestingly weird bits of trivia at a moment's notice. He can be a self-conscious dork one minute and completely cool and confident the next. He's got pretty eyes, broad shoulders, and drummer arms, and Matt never claimed to be all that deep when it comes to who he's attracted to.

He grins to himself in the dimness of his bunk as he pictures Bob's face when he gave him the strawberries. Nobody should look that gobsmacked over a simple gift from a friend. It makes Matt want to give him more stuff just to see how he'll react.

Bob is probably over there on his bus right now, opening up the container and drawing out one of those perfect red berries. They likely wouldn't have whipped cream on the bus, but Matt would bet money that a bunch of coffee fiends like My Chem have sugar. Bob is probably dipping a strawberry in a bowl of sugar, coating it in sweetness before taking a bite. The flavor will be bursting on his tongue and sugar crystals will cling to his lips until he flicks his tongue out to lick them off.

Matt slides his hand down his torso and flicks open the button on his pants. He takes his time getting them open and out of the way, teasing himself by rubbing his other hand across his chest, pinching his nipples while he thinks about licking sugar from Bob's mouth, tasting strawberry juice on Bob's tongue. He has to bite back a moan when he curls his fingers around his cock and imagines Bob's slightly shorter, thicker fingers doing it for him, squeezing just a little too hard at first until Bob figures out exactly how Matt likes it.

He fondles himself to hardness and then digs a bottle of lotion out from under the corner of his mattress and slicks up his hand. As he strokes his cock, he thinks about Bob. His mouth would be red and wet by now and so sweet Matt could kiss him forever. He'd like to touch Bob again, get him to make that startled sound when Matt slides his hands over his ass. The way he twitched under Matt's tongue on his neck and shuddered when Matt arched against him makes Matt think that if Bob is that responsive to just kissing and a little groping, he's going to be explosive in bed.

His hand picks up speed as he thinks about getting Bob naked, how he'll probably be all shy and reserved at first but then lose his inhibitions the more he gets turned on. And Matt is going to have such a good time turning him on, rubbing up on Bob's smooth skin, tasting him all over, getting his mouth on Bob's cock. Bob felt so good pressed up against him with all their clothes on, Matt goes a little light headed thinking how amazing it'll feel with nothing between them.

As his orgasm approaches, Matt loses himself in a haze of random thoughts, memories and fantasies all tangled into one amalgam of what happened and what he wishes would happen--Bob shoving him up against that fence, the soft scratch of Bob's beard against his face-his belly-the inside of his thigh, Bob's mouth sweet and soft, his teeth sharp against Matt's throat, pushing his cock between Bob's strong thighs all slick and hot, Bob losing his inhibitions and whispering filthy things against Matt's skin...

Matt arches into his own fist and comes with a choked off little "mmm" that he hopes doesn't travel beyond his bunk. He sinks back into his pillow and wonders if Bob fantasizes about him this way, if he's flying down the highway right now jerking off to thoughts of Matt. He starts to reach for his phone again, but pulls his sticky hand back and wipes it off on his shirt instead.

He forces himself to finish the last two chapters of the book he's been reading before texting Bob to ask how he likes the strawberries, and he finds himself feeling irrationally proud of his restraint.

 

***

Over the next couple days, Matt brings him an apple, a weird cucumber sandwich thing, and two muffins. The apple brings all kinds of Snow White jokes and the second muffin causes mock disappointment that Matt is starting to repeat himself. When he leaves a slice of cherry pie on the counter of the kitchenette in My Chem's bus with a note reading 'FOR BOB!!!!', Bob hunts him down over by the merch tents and says, "Are you trying to fatten me up for some reason?"

"No," Matt says, but he looks so shifty that Bob stares him down until he adds, "I just want to give you things."

Bob doesn't say anything. After a couple of very long moments, Matt finally cracks and mumbles, "It's a substitute for what I really want to give you."

Bob wants to laugh but he doesn't want to offend--oh fuck it, he laughs anyway. Matt scowls at him but then he laughs too.

When they finally calm down, Bob says, "We've got the weekend off." That's two whole days that they can hole up in a hotel room and have all the privacy they want.

"What do you want to do?" Matt asks with a huge grin.

After making sure nobody's close enough to overhear, Bob opens his mouth to answer and then shuts it again when he realizes he never did decide that. "Um...maybe we could just play it by ear?"

"Ooh, kinky." Matt laughs and says, "I gotta go sign some stuff. Get back to me when you figure it out."

Before he walks off, Matt pats Bob on the upper arm with a look that makes it clear he wishes it were a much more intimate touch. Bob decides to go hang out at his own merch tent for a while instead of doing what he really wants to do, which is huddle in his bunk and download gay porn off the internet. For educational purposes.

 

After Bob has signed a million (give or take) autographs and accepted gifts of three stuffed bears, two cat posters, a Rise Against hoodie to go with the hat some fans noticed him wearing a lot lately, and three love notes for Gerard, he finally goes back to the bus and downloads some educational gay porn clips. He doesn't have time to watch any of them before their set so he saves them for later.

He thinks about it a lot, though. In the back of his mind, while he's doing his job and getting an endorphin high off playing, he wonders what's going to turn him on most. He already knows he wants Matt to blow him. He's had dreams and fantasies about that since the start of the tour, and Bob has gotten enough blow jobs in his life to be able to look at Matt's pretty mouth and get hard from the possibilities.

And he definitely wants to feel Matt's legs wrapped around him again. Bob has always been a leg and ass man, and just because he's into a guy right now doesn't change that at all. He's had dreams about Matt's long, strong legs wrapped around his hips, fantasies about pulling Matt in close and getting his hands on Matt's ass. He thinks about that so deeply he nearly misses a cue, and he decides he needs to put Matt out of his mind and focus.

It's only after he gets his gear packed away and ready to move on to the next venue that Bob finally breaks away from everyone else and sequesters himself in his bunk with his laptop. Frank knocks on the wall next to his curtain and says, "What's up, Bob? You got new porn? Share!"

"Fuck off, I'm writing an e-mail to my mom," Bob shouts back without opening the curtain.

"Is that what the kids are calling it these days?" Frank laughs but Bob hears him moving back up to the front lounge, and then he's alone again. Or as alone as he can be on the bus.

He fires up his laptop, puts in his earbuds, and clicks on a clip titled "Jack and Sean." The two boys look barely legal, and it's a little disconcerting how skinny they are and how they have almost no body hair. He turns that one off before they do anything more interesting than kiss and roll around naked on a bed.

He clicks on the next clip--"Steve Fucks Ted"-- and the guys are a little older, a little more normal looking--although with the same kind of sleekness that the twinks had. Bob watches them strip each other's clothes off, and he's glad they don't try to talk much. He's seen enough horrible "acting" in straight and girl-on-girl porn to have no confidence that the gay stuff will be any better. Steve moves between Ted's legs and the camera zooms in for a close-up of his already shiny-slick fingers easily sliding into Ted's hole.

Just because he hasn't done it before doesn't mean he's stupid, so Bob knows they left out some steps, but he tries not to dwell on that and just focus on what's going on and how it affects him. He's almost surprised to find himself getting turned on. He's been analyzing everything so much that he didn't even notice his physical response. He would almost laugh at himself but he's too busy setting his laptop off to the side so he can shove his pants down and get his hand on his dick.

After a couple of strokes, he gets curious and tries out what they're doing in the video. The little bottle of lube he keeps stashed under the corner of his mattress is almost empty but there's enough for him to get a couple fingers slicked up. He works one inside. The angle is awkward and it's mostly just uncomfortable. He figures it would be better and much, much hotter to do it to someone else. He wonders if Matt will let him and decides Matt's probably up for anything. He certainly hasn't mentioned any no-go zones, seeming happy to leave it up to Bob to choose what they do.

Bob hears a noise outside just as the couple on the screen move on to fucking so he closes the file and closes the laptop with one hand while he tries to finish himself off, quick and dirty and most of all silent. He pumps his hand and pictures Matt, thinks about pushing his fingers inside him, imagines Matt gasping and moaning his name.

He bites his lip, wishing he could bury his face in Matt's neck, and comes with a shudder. After wiping his hand off on a dirty t-shirt, he jerks his pants and underwear back up and lies there feeling out of breath and out of sorts. He realizes that he's missing Matt, even though he just saw him a few hours ago. He rolls his eyes at himself and opens his laptop again. Avoiding the porn, he plays a movie instead, one that he downloaded a while back and never got around to watching.

***

Bob gets a text from Matt in the middle of the night. I want to go to Chicago on our days off. It's only a 2 hour flight.

OK. Stay at my place?, Bob types out quickly before he loses his nerve. This thing is getting more complicated all the time.

Y! Cant wait to get you alone. And before Bob can respond, another text comes in. and naked! alone and naked!

He laughs a little and types out book the tickets. ill pay u back

with sex? deal! is Matt's quick response to that.

Bob tries to formulate a response, but ultimately lets it go in favor of going back to sleep.

When he wakes up several hours later, he's got a message saying check yr email. When he does he finds a copy of their flight information.

Holy shit, he's taking Matt home with him.

***

If Matt notices he's having to do most of the talking on the flight, he doesn't mention it. He chatters on about calling his parents and going to his favorite bar and some vegetarian place Bob is going to love, even though he's a carnivore. Bob gives him a smile to show that he appreciates the nonjudgmental way Matt says that, and then Matt adds, "But if you ever want to give it up, I'll be more than happy to help."

"I'll think about it," Bob says, amused that eating meat sounds like being a drug addict when Matt puts it that way, and goes back to drumming his fingers on his thigh and staring out the window. They're on the approach to the airport already and Bob takes a deep breath when they make the announcement to prepare for landing.

Matt's hand slides into his and holds on tight, and when Bob looks over, Matt says, "I don't mind the take-offs, but I'm afraid of the landings."

Bob suspects that's a lie, but it's an acceptable reason to hold hands so he lets it pass and wraps his fingers around Matt's and squeezes gently. Matt tilts his head back against the seat and closes his eyes, completely serene as the plane touches down with a jolting thump. Bob envies him.

When they walk out of the airport with their backpacks slung over their shoulders and go to find a cab, Matt considers Bob carefully before saying, "You know...you can always change your mind."

"I'm not--I mean, I won't." Bob smiles, but it feels a little strained. He's embarking on a journey he hasn't made before and no matter how confident that it's the right one, he can't help the nerves that are making him quiet and awkward. What if he's not any good at the stuff he's never done before? Matt will be disappointed and this whole thing is going to be a horrible failure and Bob'll never recover from the humiliation.

"Bob--" Matt starts, but Bob just shakes his head and climbs into the waiting cab.

The driver seems to think he's driving in the Indy 500 instead of midmorning Chicago traffic, so neither Bob nor Matt says much on the trip from the airport to Bob's apartment. They're too busy hanging on and hoping they don't die. When they get out of the cab in front of Bob's building, Bob pays the driver and Matt says, "That was amazing."

"But not in a good way," Bob says, as he leads the way upstairs. His nervousness ratchets up a notch as they reach his floor and he fumbles with his keys as he unlocks the door. He reaches in and flips on the lights before he motions Matt inside.

As soon as Bob shuts and locks the door behind them, Matt grabs Bob's bag and drops it on the floor next to his own. Shoving Bob back against the door, he kisses him until they're both a little breathless. When he pulls back, he rests his forehead against Bob's and sighs, "I've been wanting to do that for hours."

"Then you should probably do it again," Bob says without opening his eyes.

Matt laughs and noses at Bob's cheek. "Probably?"

"Definitely." Bob captures Matt's mouth and cups his hands around his hips, pulling him closer as they kiss without having to worry about who might see or interrupt. They have no shows to play or interviews to do, nothing that will take them away from each other for the next two days. It's as overwhelming as it is wonderful.

As if his thoughts were traveling the same path Bob's were, Matt breaks the kiss with a laugh and says, "Now that we've got privacy, you'll let me get you naked, right? I want to get my hands all over you."

Matt follows his words with matching actions, opening Bob's pants and shoving a hand up under his hoodie, and Bob can only say, "Um. Yeah?"

"You got a bed around here somewhere?" Matt asks as he runs his hands up Bob's sides, fabric catching and bunching on his wrists.

"Yeah, I keep it in the kitchen, where else?" Bob pushes away from the door and leads Matt toward the bedroom. "Did you need your bag or anything?"

Matt looks down at the obvious bulge in the front of his jeans and then back up at Bob. "No, I have everything I need. Why, did you want to do something particularly kinky? I figured we'd keep it simple for your first time."

"No, simple's good," Bob says quickly, as he opens the bedroom door. "And it's not my first time."

"So you've been with a lot of men?"

"No, I mean, it is but it's not like I haven't had sex before."

"I didn't call you a virgin. I just meant that it's your first time with me."

Matt has been unbuttoning his shirt as he spoke and Bob is having a hard time focusing on the conversation because his brain is already skipping ahead to Matt being naked and spread out over his bed. Finally he blinks and says, "Right, I knew that."

Tossing his shirt on the floor, Matt sits down on the end of bed to take his shoes and socks off. Bob watches him, hands twitching nervously at his sides, until Matt looks up all bright-eyed amusement and says, "This'll be a lot better if you get undressed."

And then the bastard leans back and props himself up on his hands like Bob's going to do a striptease or something, and just no. Bob pulls his hoodie off quickly and kicks his shoes off at the same time and then motions to the head of the bed. "Move up."

Matt scoots back until he's lying flat on the bed and then shimmies out of his jeans, and Bob has to look away for a second. That move was pretty hot but he almost laughs because Matt's bright red briefs are straight out of the porn he watched, but then they join the pile of clothes on the floor and he's staring at Matt's hard cock. "It'll also be a lot better if you come over here," Matt says matter-of-factly, motioning to himself and the bed.

Swallowing hard, Bob shoves his pants and boxers down together and lowers himself to the bed. Matt raises up and kisses him, keeping it gentle as he slowly pulls Bob's hand against his torso. His fingers are long enough to wrap all the way around Bob's wrist and his grip is strong, and that's not at all what Bob is used to. Even the girls he's dated who were on the sturdy side still seemed kind of delicate compared to him. With Matt, he might not have to be so careful about how tight he grips his hips or worry that he's crushing his wrists. He could probably lie on top of Matt without worrying about his weight--he's not planning to because he's still a little self-conscious about it, but he probably could.

The slight curve of Matt's waist feels almost familiar, but when Matt loosens his grip on Bob's wrist, Bob slides his hand over Matt's hip and the lack of softness is different. He likes it, likes the hard jut of Matt's hipbone under his fingers. He also likes the way Matt's making soft encouraging noises that only occasionally coalesce into actual words like, "Go on," or "yeah, that's good," or "whatever you want."

Bob wants a lot, everything. But he shies away from touching Matt's cock and balls just yet, instead rubbing his hand down Matt's thigh and how weird is that? The hair tickles his palm until he presses harder, feeling firm muscles that shift under his hand as Matt turns toward him and presses his open mouth to Bob's neck. The slick slide of Matt's tongue across his throat makes Bob tilt his head back and push closer until his cock nudges Matt's. And that is amazing. It's damn near electric.

Why the fuck didn't he do this before? Weeks ago, years ago. He could have had this, could have had Matt laughing as their hands get tangled when they both reach for each other's cocks at the same time. It's not really funny, but it is fun and he snickers a little breathlessly himself as he shoves away both Matt's hand and his own inhibitions.

"Can I--just--" Bob stutters over the enormity of it all and Matt laughs and pulls him over on top of him, lining their cocks up next to each other and that feels fantastic. Matt is all solid muscle and smooth skin underneath him and Bob is willing to put off exploring Matt's body for a while if it means he can get off right now.

Matt wraps his legs around Bob's hips and his arms around Bob's back, arching up as he catches Bob's mouth in a scorching kiss. Matt is a really good kisser, focused so completely on what he's doing that Bob feels the rest of the world just fade away with the slide of Matt's tongue and the press of his lips. Bob may not be completely sure of how he feels otherwise, but he's already in love with Matt's mouth.

Matt drags his hands roughly down Bob's back and arches his hips over and over like he can't get enough either and that's just astounding to Bob, even as he finds Matt's rhythm and matches it, picking up the tempo until Matt jerks his mouth away and groans, "Fuck, Bob" and then he's coming, hips jerking and sticky wetness spreading between them.

Bob never expected that having another guy's come on his cock and his belly could be so hot and he's kind of marveling over his own reaction when Matt pushes him over onto his back and scoots down and curves around so that his mouth is right there. Bob is so close to coming that he almost tells Matt he doesn't have to, but then Matt's licking his own come off Bob's cock and Bob loses all power of speech. All he can do is pet the back of Matt's head and whimper when Matt pulls him into his mouth and works his tongue over and around the head of Bob's cock. Bob tugs on Matt's hair in warning because even though he never wants this to end, he's not going to last, especially when Matt sucks him in and hums deep in his throat. The vibrations push Bob right over and he comes, and it's so much more of a release and relief than usual because it's not just 'another guy' sucking his dick, it's Matt, who pulls away with a low incoherent sound and rubs his face against Bob's thigh.

After a stunned moment, Bob lets out the breath he's been subconsciously holding. It's been a very long time since he's felt this relaxed and--he feels like a giant wuss to even think it--complete. He actually feels like something was missing and he didn't know it until now.

"Well, what'd you think?" Matt asks, as he straightens out next to Bob and stretches his arms up over his head until his knuckles hit the wall. Something in his shoulders or spine pops loud enough for Bob to hear it.

"Your mouth," Bob says reverently and really can't add much to that for a moment, but then something about lying naked on top of the covers in the middle of the day after having some pretty promising first-time-with-a-guy sex gives Bob a type of courage he's never had before. He's got an unusual desire to be super honest with Matt, say things he'd normally never let himself say. "I mean, all of it...it was great. I've never laughed in the middle of sex before."

"Dude." Matt grins and rolls over onto his side, hooking a leg over one of Bob's and sliding his hand across Bob's middle. "You've been missing out. Sex is the most fun you can have."

"Yeah, I'm getting that," Bob laughs and skims his fingers up the length of Matt's thigh. "On so many levels."

"So you're not scared of the cock anymore?"

"I was never scared." Matt just looks at him until Bob relents, "A little nervous, maybe. It's just that I hate doing things I'm not good at."

Matt's laugh is very close to a giggle and Bob pokes him in the stomach and says, "What? That's not funny."

"Sure, no, it's totally not funny that you have a compulsion to be competent." Matt's smile is not as teasing as his words and Bob has to look away because his stomach goes all swoopy and warm. He tells himself he's just hungry because he hasn't eaten anything since early morning. Matt pets his ribs and says, "Hey. Hey, what else're you worried about?"

"Nothing," Bob says automatically, and then turns to meet Matt's eyes as he absently slides his hand up and down Matt's thigh and then around the curve of his ass. "I want." He licks his lips and shifts his gaze down to his hand on Matt's ass, his fingers spread wide over skin a few shades paler than Matt's back. "I want to fuck you. Would you--I mean, do you do that? I've heard some guys don't."

There's something less than open about Matt's expression for just a moment, but before Bob can withdraw the question, he smiles and is back to his normal--well, post-coital--self. "Sure. You can fuck me. Do you have any lube? I couldn't exactly bring any on the plane."

Bob files Matt's reaction away for later and thinks about what they could use and realizes he has nothing. He's not even sure he's got any condoms left. "No. We'll have to go out and get some."

"We need to buy beer anyway. And you probably don't have food either."

"Since I was planning to be gone for four months, no. But there's some good restaurants nearby that deliver and a drug store a couple blocks away."

"Wonder if we could get them to deliver?" Matt says around a yawn, his eyes slipping shut. "Call them up and see if they'll bring us some lube and beer, so we don't have to get dressed and go out."

"Yeah, I'll get right on that," Bob says, but quietly, so Matt can go to sleep if he wants to.

 

Matt does fall asleep, half on the bed and half on Bob with his face smushed against Bob's shoulder, but Bob stays awake. He's fascinated by the smooth unmarked expanse of Matt's back compared to the chaotic color on his arms. Bob traces the blue and red L shapes on Matt's biceps with the tip of one finger, watching carefully to see if he's waking up. When Matt doesn't so much as twitch, Bob skims his fingertip around the outline of the black heart right above his elbow. He kind of wants to trace all Matt's ink with his tongue now, but that can wait until Matt's awake enough to appreciate it.

Bob turns his face to the side until Matt's hair is brushing his nose. Matt always smells good-- cleaner than Bob is used to on tour-- but now his usual scent is mixed with musk and sex and Bob really wants to lick him all over just to see what he tastes like right now.

"I can't sleep with you staring at me," Matt mutters, his mouth barely moving against Bob's skin.

Bob thinks about saying something flippant about how if Matt doesn't want to be stared at he shouldn't be so sexy, but what he actually says is, "Sorry. I didn't mean to wake you."

"Nah, it's okay." Matt raises his head and props his chin on his hand. "My stomach is growling anyway. You really don't have any food, do you?"

"I really don't."

"So we have to go out. Which means we have to get dressed."

"If you don't want to get arrested, that might be a good idea." Bob rubs a hand across the come and spit drying sticky on his belly and says, "Shower, too."

"A real shower with plenty of hot water? That's the only reason I'm here." Matt proves he's lying by kissing Bob on the lips and then laughing.

"Right, I was going to let you share with me, but maybe I'll make you wait until I'm done." Bob starts to get up, but Matt pulls him back down for another kiss.

Several minutes later, Bob drags his mouth away and says, "Or we could share."

 

***

 

They have their first fight in the condom aisle at the drug store. It's an extremely low-voiced argument and Matt finds it secretly hilarious how annoyed Bob gets when Matt says, "If you're not the one who's going to be using it, you don't get to choose the lube."

"We're both going to use it. Unless you plan to just jerk off with it and not let me participate."

"You know what I meant."

Matt knows his dislike of the brand in Bob's hand is kind of irrational, but it's one of those things. One less than stellar experience with it and he won't use it again. He crosses his arms over his chest and just stares at Bob until he puts it back and says, "Fine. You pick."

Matt picks out a bottle and magnanimously motions to the condoms for Bob to choose. He shakes his head at the first one Bob reaches for and says, "We don't really need spermicidal. And it's not a good idea for what we're going to use them for."

"Oh, right. I wasn't thinking," Bob says, giving Matt a long, thoughtful look before choosing an economy-sized box. Matt can't help but grin. Bob shrugs and turns toward the snack aisle. "What? It's cheaper in the long run."

Matt pushes away the thought that Bob's first choice was rather telling and says, "You are practical to a fault."

"It's not a bug, it's a feature. One that you will benefit from, so shut it."

Matt shuts it and trails after Bob as he adds packages of chips and crackers and Pop Tarts to the basket. Matt tosses in a few items of his own, but his eye keeps catching on the size of that box of condoms. It's sort of a commitment. Sure, it's not a ring and hyphenated last names, but even if they apply themselves, it'll take a while to work through 72 condoms.

Matt's been with some guys who couldn't even make it through a three pack before sobering up or otherwise deciding that having sex with a guy was a little too gay for them, which usually happened the moment Matt suggested he should get to fuck them for a change. Even though he knows Bob well enough to trust him not to be a total dick about it, he can't help but expect that moment to arrive. That 'oh shit what am I doing?' moment where Bob realizes that he doesn't really want Matt, just a convenient way to get off until a nice girl comes along. As long as Matt's the one taking it up the ass, then Bob can tell himself that he's not a fag. It wouldn't be the first time that Matt had heard that after some guy decided he was suddenly attracted to him and then just as suddenly decided that no, he was still straight and Matt was just an anomaly and the words "I'm not a fag like you" get thrown around.

Bob probably wouldn't be like that. He does seem to genuinely like Matt as a person. They've been casual friends for years, so it's not like Matt is some big mystery to Bob. Bob has seen him, not at his worst, but certainly close to it and if Bob still likes him after that, then he's not going to suddenly turn into a raging asshole just because he decides that Matt was only an experiment and he really wants to go back to fucking girls.

And Matt has an epiphany. He wouldn't really be worried about how this is going to end if he didn't care how it ends, if he didn't want it to not end. He'd first started flirting with Bob because it was fun and he was interested in seeing how far Bob might go, but somewhere along the line--and he suspects it was before they even had sex--he started taking this seriously, taking Bob seriously. He realizes that he's been treating this as an actual relationship, not just a fun tour fling that will leave him with a handful of memories, some good and some bad but ultimately not all that important. This is...could be something serious. Matt wants Bob to be important, needs him to be different from all the rest.

"Matt," Bob says impatiently, like he's said it a couple times already. "If you don't speak up, you don't get a choice."

Matt realizes they're standing in front of a cooler full of beer and Bob's hand is hovering uncertainly over a twelve-pack. He shrugs. "Yeah, that's fine. Whatever."

"You okay?"

"Hm? Yeah. Just got distracted."

"You got distracted from alcohol? Holy shit, are you dying?" Bob puts his hand on Matt's forehead like he's checking for fever and then laughs when Matt pushes his hand away.

Bob waits until they're out of the store and almost back to his apartment to look at Matt curiously and say, "So really. What's wrong with you?"

Matt slides his sunglasses on and instantly feels less exposed. "Nothing. I'm awesome."

"Yeah," Bob says kind of slowly, drawing it out but not in a sarcastic way. "Listen, I've been thinking--"

"Did it hurt?"

"Asshole. No, I'm serious. If you don't want to--" Bob cuts his eyes toward a woman with a little kid walking past them on the sidewalk "--you know. We don't have to. I don't want to hurt you."

"If you do it right, it doesn't," Matt says. He's tempted to roll his eyes but Bob is being so earnest that he just wants to give him a hug and pet him like a puppy. That immediate reaction aside, he is sincerely touched that Bob cares about causing him discomfort. That Bob is taking it seriously and not just trying to get off means a lot. "I can talk you through it. It'll be fine."

Bob nods and continues to look deep in thought until the door of his apartment shuts behind them. He goes into the kitchen and sets down the bags and digs out the condoms and lube. He holds them out to Matt and says, "You should fuck me instead."

Matt just stands there and considers Bob for a long moment because this is not what he expected. He's seldom truly surprised at anything because he's seen and heard just about everything, but Bob has managed to catch him off guard with the misplaced generosity of that offer. It's not that he doesn't want to fuck Bob, because he'd do it in a heartbeat if he thought that was Bob's deepest desire. But he's got a hunch that it's not and Bob would be making a sacrifice for Matt, and that just about blows his mind because it's so contrary to most of his past experiences. It's weirdly sweet, but he can't just jump on the offer if it's going to cause problems later. "Do you want me to fuck you? Honestly think about it before you jump into something you're not ready for and that you'll resent me for later when--if--you decide being with a guy isn't for you."

Bob just blinks at him as Matt takes a beer out of the carton and shoves the rest into the refrigerator. He cracks it open and drains half the can in one long gulping swallow. He stifles a burp and says, "I'll be in the bedroom snooping through your record collection."

***

Bob watches Matt walk out of the kitchen and then slumps back against the counter to think about what Matt said. This isn't a game to Bob and he didn't just decide to sleep with Matt out of boredom and lack of opportunity for anything else. He is genuinely attracted to Matt--not just his amazing ass and sexy hips and smile that makes Bob want to smile back every time, but also his intelligence and sense of humor and the strange way his mind works. Bob likes that Matt can surprise him just as often as he can be comfortingly familiar.

Bob really doesn't want to hurt Matt. He knows that getting fucked must feel good or nobody'd ever want to do it, but he still has a hard time accepting how everything's going to fit together. It just seems awkward and like it could easily go wrong. He thinks maybe it would be better to let Matt do it to him. When he tried it with his fingers it wasn't too bad, and even if it does hurt, Bob's got a pretty high pain threshold. He can put up with some discomfort to save Matt from having to, and maybe it would be really good.

But whether he wants it or not...he's not entirely sure. It's not something he's ever thought about much, until lately and even then he's mostly shied away from imagining having a dick up his ass in very much detail. But when he thinks about the rest of it--Matt's naked body against him, covering him, strong hands pushing him down into the mattress, Matt's low voice whispering in his ear just what he's going to do and how it feels...when he thinks about those things, he gets so turned on he can hardly think anymore. He wants Matt. The rest is just details.

Bob takes the condoms and lube into the bedroom and drops them onto the bed. Matt looks over from where he's reading the back of an album cover and says, "I want to make sweet, sweet love to your collection."

"I've been replaced by vinyl already? Bummer." Bob goes over, takes the record out of Matt's hand, and carefully slots it back into place on the shelf. He ignores Matt's amusement and leads him over to the bed.

When he pushes Matt gently down onto the mattress, Matt laughs and says, "I guess you know what you want now."

"You." Bob shrugs and starts undressing Matt, who just watches in bemusement for a minute before helping Bob get them both naked.

They wrestle each other out of their clothes, taking little detours for kissing and groping and a little accidental tickling when Bob discovers brushing his beard over the back of Matt's left knee sends him into spasms of giggling and trying to get away. Bob forgives Matt for kicking him in the ribs when Matt flips him over onto his back, strips Bob's underwear off, and nuzzles his balls.

When Matt shoves his legs apart, Bob can't help stiffening just a little. He doesn't mean to, it's just reflex and he immediately relaxes again. Matt just licks his cock from root to tip and murmurs, "Dude. It's not the be-all and end-all." Then he giggles against Bob's stomach and adds, "So to speak."

Bob ruffles Matt's hair--even though it's too short to properly mess up--and says, "Just go ahead and do it."

Matt kisses his way up Bob's torso until he reaches his mouth, and then he settles in, alternating between teasingly brushing his lips over Bob's face and licking into his mouth with what seems to be the intent of driving Bob crazy. And it works because Bob can't keep his hips still and his hands move all over Matt. He can't get enough of Matt's skin under his fingers and Matt's cock brushing against his hip with each movement of his body. Matt is holding himself up with his hands on the mattress but Bob needs more contact, so he pulls Matt down until they are pressed together chest to thighs.

Matt makes a helplessly turned on little whimper that just about fries Bob's brain. He turns his head so that his mouth is right up against Matt's ear and says, "Matt. Please, now...fuck me."

He sounds so broken and breathless that he should be embarrassed but he's not. He just wants to come already, no more waiting, no more playing around, no more fucking thinking about it.

"Okay. Okay, just let me--" Matt breaks off as he leans over and grabs the lube off the floor where they knocked it off at some point. He doesn't pick up the condoms and Bob gives him a confused frown. Matt kisses him gently on the lips and says, "We're taking it slow."

"But--"

Matt stops him with another kiss and says, "Trust me. This will be really fucking hot."

Bob groans his agreement because Matt leans down and mouths at the head of Bob's cock while he gets the lube open. Bob shudders and tries to thrust up but Matt leans his forearm across Bob's hips and holds him still. When he finally gets the lube open, he gives Bob's cock one last lick and sits up, straddling Bob's knees and pushing Bob's thighs together. Bob props himself up on his elbows so he can see better. His chest tightens and his stomach clenches at the intense look in Matt's eyes as he licks his lips and stares down at Bob while he slicks his bare cock. Bob opens his mouth to protest that some steps have been skipped, but then Matt squeezes some more lube onto his fingers and slides them between Bob's thighs. Against all reason, Bob tries to spread his legs but they're pinned together by Matt's knees and Matt doesn't go any further than stroking the insides of Bob's thighs.

He braces one hand on Bob's shoulder to keep his balance while he leans over and presses his open mouth to Bob's chest, kissing and licking his way from one nipple to the other while his other hand is busy slicking Bob's thighs and playing with his balls. When Bob is so worked up he's desperately arching his hips, trying to get Matt's hand back on his cock, Matt whispers, "Yeah, yeah, now," against Bob's skin.

He leans back a little so he can guide his cock between Bob's thighs and Bob instinctively clenches his legs together and Matt tosses his head back and groans, "Oh, holy fuck. Yeah, Bob. Just like that."

It's kind of weird at first because Bob can't quite adjust to the difference between what he was expecting--discomfort and maybe some pain--and reality, which is just slick and easy and hot. And it's so good, the way the head of Matt's cock slides against the underside of his balls and Bob feels it just bump against his hole before Matt pulls his hips back and thrusts again. And then Matt wraps a hand around Bob's cock and starts to jerk him off to the rhythm of his cock stroking in and out between Bob's thighs.

Bob's already got one hand on Matt's hip and now he untangles his fingers from the sheet underneath him and wraps his fingers around the wrist of the hand that Matt's using to prop himself up. That makes his elbow bend at an uncomfortable angle so he slides his hand up Matt's arm, feeling the flex of his muscles as he shifts slightly to change the angle of his thrusts. Bob doesn't have time to think about how different that is because the head of Matt's cock hits just right and Matt's grip tightens and Bob can't hold it in any longer. He helplessly arches his hips and comes with an almost silent groan. He rides it out and then says, "Come on, Matt, fuck."

A couple more stuttering thrusts and Matt's coming, adding to the slippery mess of lube and sweat between Bob's thighs, and with what tiny bit of his brain that still seems to be online Bob thinks that should be kind of gross but it's not. Maybe a few minutes from now when it's turning cold and sticky, but for right now, this very minute, Bob's world is pretty much perfect. Matt collapses next to him with an exhausted smile and rubs his hand through the come on Bob's stomach as he smushes his face against Bob's shoulder.

"You're so dirty," Bob says, but it's with fondness and not disgust until Matt tries to touch Bob's face with his sticky hand. Then Bob has to grab his wrist and wrestle him into submission.

When Matt is flat on his back with both wrists pinned to the bed, he just laughs and raises up enough to nuzzle his face into Bob's neck. "What if I gave you a hickey, right here?" He licks right under Bob's ear where there'd be no hiding it.

Bob jerks his head away and sinks his teeth into Matt's collarbone. He sucks until there's a nice red bruise forming up and then raises his face to look Matt in the eye. "There. Now it's just between us."

That shuttered look comes over Matt's face again, but it's gone before Bob can barely even register it. "Fine. I'll push against it every time I play Clavicle and think about how you are a dork."

"Hey," Bob says mildly, but Matt is smiling and pulling Bob down into his arms so he can rub his face against the side of Bob's head.

"But a really sexy dork," he whispers into Bob's ear and Bob relaxes against him.

***

Sprawled on Bob's comfy sofa, Matt's attention keeps wandering from the old Hammer Horror flick they're watching to the feel of Bob's shoulder pressed against his and the warmth of Bob's hand curled around the inside of his thigh right above his knee. This is the most relaxed and happy he's been while sober in a long time and it's not just the usual post-sex good mood. It's Bob.

As the credits roll, Bob sets aside the bowl of popcorn they've been nibbling on and says, "Hey, it's not that late. We should go out."

Matt had lost all track of time but realizes that Bob's right and it's only eleven, but still he glances at Bob in surprise. "Yeah, I could use a drink."

"In that case, I'll call a cab." Bob gets up and goes into his bedroom, leaving Matt to wonder what brought this on. For all his chatter on the plane, he never really expected them to leave Bob's apartment until time to catch their flight to rejoin the tour. Maybe Bob's tired of him already, or feels too much pressure without other people around to deflect some of Matt's attention.

When Bob comes out of his room wearing a different shirt, he says, "Cab'll be here in about half an hour."

Matt goes to the bathroom, washes off again even though they'd cleaned up after they got out of bed, and puts on clothes that are mostly clean. When he comes back to the living room, the TV is off and Bob is standing by the open window, smoking a cigarette and staring down at the street. Matt goes over to stand next to him and asks, "Anything interesting going on out there?"

Bob startles like he hadn't even heard Matt walk up. He turns slightly toward Matt and says, "Oh, uh, no. I was just thinking."

Matt's knee-jerk reaction to make a joke is squashed by the look on Bob's face telling him now is not the time. He feels a chill and absently wishes he'd grabbed one of Bob's hoodies. He almost gives Bob an out and makes it easy on him, but then he thinks that if Bob's going to dump him then Matt's under no obligation to do it for him. He crosses his arms over his chest but realizes that makes him look defensive when he doesn't have any reason to be. Not yet anyway. After he fidgets for a minute with Bob just watching him, he finally drops his hands to his sides and says, "Well?"

"I'm not--" Matt closes his eyes because here it comes, but then Bob continues, "I mean...You kind of confuse me sometimes."

Bob sighs when he's finished and Matt opens his eyes to see Bob take a deep drag off his cigarette and then crush it out in a small ashtray on the window sill.

"Well, right now the feeling's mutual, buddy, 'cause I have no idea...unless this is going to be one of those 'you turned me gay' things, which I've heard before and never stops being ridiculous."

"No, it's not that," Bob says quickly, then frowns and shakes his head slightly like he's trying to work out what to say. Matt waits somewhat patiently for Bob to get to the point. "It's...okay, sometimes I get the feeling that you are...that you're not..." Bob huffs out a breath too sharp to be sigh and says, "Look, am I asking too much from you?"

"No." Matt tilts his head slightly and looks at Bob for a long moment. He's seen Bob nervous before, but this is different. He seems genuinely worried. "I might wonder the same thing."

"I--what?"

"You're the one doing things you've never done before."

"Because I really fucking want to." The incredulous way Bob says that makes Matt smile, but then Bob frowns again. "I can't explain it very well. Just, sometimes. You seem to not be on board all the way. Like when I asked to fuck you."

"I said you could. You're the one who changed your mind."

"Yeah, that's the thing, your voice said yes, but your face said hell no. Just for a second."

"Bob," Matt says. "Come on. When have you ever known me to do something I didn't want to do?"

"Fair point, but you're holding back something. If you don't want to tell me, that's fine, but I'm afraid I'm fucking things up and I don't even know it. I'm really good at accidentally fucking things up. Just ask my ex-girlfriend."

"You're. It's just..." Matt decides to be honest and just lay it out for Bob, how it's not all fun and games and orgasms. "This is new and exotic for you, but eventually you're going to change your mind and this will become a dirty little secret we never speak of again--if you even want to talk to me at all. It wouldn't be the first time."

"I wouldn't--I'm not like that."

"You won't be a douche about it, but like I said it's happened before. Remember Tommy the guitar tech on that tour we did three years ago?"

"Yeah. What about--oh. Is that why you were so fucking moody for the last few weeks of the tour?"

"It got ugly," Matt says simply and leaves it at that. He neither wants to relive the whole thing nor recount it for Bob so he shifts closer so that he and Bob are almost but not quite touching. "I hate relationship talks--especially this soon-- but just this once... You're a good friend and a good person. You are hot as hell and you don't even know it which is both endearing and hilarious. I like you, Bob. I like flirting with you and hanging out with you and going shopping for condoms with you. It started out just being fun--hell, I'll admit it was partly curiosity about how far you'd take it--but somewhere along the line it became...it's not just a tour fling for me. Unless that's what you want."

"I don't know yet. I mean, it doesn't feel like a tour fling but what do I know? I don't really have tour flings. This is all pretty new, but I like you and even if it doesn't work out for whatever reason--my fault or yours or nobody's-- I hope we can still be friends." Bob raises a hand like he's going to reach for Matt but then pulls the window closed and locks it. He fiddles with his lip ring for a moment and then says, "So we'll just see where it goes?"

"Sure. You may be sick of me by the end of Warped. No harm, no foul. We'll stay friends." Matt means that, but he also thinks it might be harder on him than he makes it sound.

Bob gives him a look that sends a warm shiver through his stomach, but before he can suggest they go back to bed instead of out, Bob looks out the window and says, "Cab's here."

Matt figures the anticipation will make whatever they do when they get home that much better.

***

Bob wakes up slowly the next morning, still a little tired and way too warm. Matt is plastered all against his side with a heavy arm slung across his chest. It's not unpleasant, just different. Matt takes up space that Bob is used to having to himself. His ex stayed on her side of the bed, but Matt has no sense of personal space and Bob is finding that doesn't bother him as much as he might have expected after weeks of being cooped up in a bus bunk. He throws off the sheet and shifts Matt's arm to a more comfortable position across his middle and goes back to sleep.

The next time Bob wakes up, he's lying on his side facing Matt, who is staring at Bob through half-opened eyes with a odd little smirk tilting his lips. Bob figures out why when he notices Matt's got one hand curled around his hardening cock, stroking his thumb lazily up the side. He's sweeping his other hand across his stomach and up over his ribs.

Bob watches Matt idly enjoying his own body for a moment until curiosity sets in. He flicks his tongue over his dry lips and reaches out, slowly sliding his fingers over Matt's so that he's holding Matt's hand as he strokes it over his cock. He licks his lips again and lifts his eyes to Matt's and says, "Can I..."

"Yeah," Matt says hoarsely and wiggles his hand out from under Bob's, then he looks surprised when Bob withdraws his hand too and sits up.

Bob tries to figure out the best way to do what he wants, and finally has to say, "Can you sit up for this so my legs don't dangle off the side of the bed? I think that would be distracting."

"What are you--oh. Yeah, okay." The way Matt's face goes from confused to eager makes Bob want to laugh but he's too nervous. When Matt is comfortably propped up against the headboard, Bob moves over to kneel between his legs and Matt reaches for him. "Come here."

Bob lets himself be pulled into a surprisingly sweet kiss, but doesn't get so lost in it that he forgets what he was going to do. He leans back a little and says, "Don't laugh if I'm awful at this, okay?"

Matt licks his lips. "You'll be fine. Just the fact that you want to is pretty hot to me."

Bob wants to go back in time and kick some guys' asses, but that's not a viable option so he kisses Matt again before scooting back so he can lean over and prop himself up on one elbow. He licks his lips and takes a firm hold on the base of Matt's cock. He looks at it for a long moment because he's never been this close to another guy's dick before and it's interesting. He'd always figured that, except for size, color, and presence or lack of foreskin, cocks were all pretty much the same. And they mostly are, but he finds the slight differences hotter than he would have expected--the straightness of Matt's cock where his own curves, the darker flush of the head, even the way Matt gets a little damp at the tip quicker than Bob does.

"Take your time," Matt says soothingly, like he thinks Bob is scared to get started and that makes Bob flash a quick smile up at him before dragging the flat of his tongue over the head of Matt's cock. He licks it some more before taking it into his mouth, and when he tries to get a rhythm going, he's not very good at it, which is frustrating because he knows what feels good to him. Doing it is completely different from having it done to him. He suddenly has even more respect for every woman who ever blew him and knew what she was doing, because it's harder than it looks. He's ridiculously grateful when Matt doesn't laugh when he tries to go too fast and chokes. He just pets Bob's hair and says, "It's okay to go slow. That feels good too."

Bob tries it again, slow and steady, which draws all kinds of encouraging sounds from Matt that aren't even words any more. After Bob gets past the novelty and the worry of doing it wrong, he starts to really enjoy the experience and not just the effect it's having. The velvet heaviness of Matt's cock on his tongue, the taste of him, is hot and arousing and Bob can't help shifting his hips against the sheets to get some friction on his own achingly hard cock. The tenderness of Matt's hands on his head and the almost worshipful way he strokes Bob's face makes Bob stop thinking completely and just go with whatever feels good.

Bob's jaw is starting to ache and he's about to pull off and rest when Matt tugs on his hair and says, "I'm gonna--"

Curiosity makes Bob stay where he is and let Matt come in his mouth, which he regrets because it's more unpleasant than he expected. He only swallows because that gets it out of his mouth quicker than getting up to spit it out would, but he vows to listen to the warning next time and catch it in his hand or something.

Matt watches him sympathetically and Bob can only imagine the face he must be making, but Matt still doesn't laugh, just says, "Sometimes it's an acquired taste and some people never do."

Bob appreciates Matt's attempt at comfort but all he can really think about is rinsing his mouth out and brushing his teeth. "Sorry, I can't, I have to--" He climbs off the bed, ignoring the way his erection is tenting his boxers, and goes into the bathroom.

He's just spitting the last of the toothpaste foam into the sink when Matt leans against the door frame, completely comfortable with still being naked while Bob is already wishing he'd put a shirt on because his boxers don't cover nearly enough. He wipes his face with a towel and reaches for the t-shirt he left lying on top of the hamper, Matt stops him with a hand on his wrist and a smile. "Your modesty is cute, but I still owe you one."

"I didn't know we were keeping score," Bob says wryly as he allows Matt to pull him back to bed.

"Nah." Matt wraps his arms around Bob and presses his lips to Bob's ear and whispers, "Think of it more like...you deserve a reward."

Bob lies back and lets himself be rewarded until they have to grab one last shower and then throw their shit together and race for the airport. Even with all the nerves and uncertainty, it's still been one of the best weekends of his life and his only regret is that it's over so soon.

***

Because the first few days back on tour are very busy for both of them, Matt and Bob talk through text messages more often than face to face, and Matt is starting to get a little frustrated. He got to have a lot of sex with Bob and now he's having none, and that's just not fair because he knows exactly what he's missing.

On Thursday afternoon, he's standing around talking to Brian from the Gaslight Anthem waiting to do an interview with Steven Smith from Fuse when he sees Bob lurking around the edges of the crowd that's gathering to watch with his hood pulled up and sunglasses on. Matt grins at him, then goes back to his conversation until Steven calls out, "Hey, Bob, get over here!"

Bob walks over, his reluctance obvious in every step. He nods at Matt and Brian and then says, "Steven. You ever think of a name for your show?

Steven laughs and says, "Why mess with perfection? What's up, buddy?"

"Eh, not much. You know, playing some shows. A few people come to see them," Bob says dryly, making Matt smile. He's seen Bob in the press and he's never seemed this comfortable. Of course, the camera is not actually on yet, so right now it's just friendly chit-chat.

"Yeah, I've seen them. It's kind of sad. One day, you guys might draw an actual crowd." Steven grins and goes over to check with the camera man and then comes back again. "Just a couple more minutes guys. So, how's life on tour for the last single guy in My Chemical Romance?"

"I'm not single," Bob says, and then kind of catches himself. "Um, well, I'm not married, but I'm seeing someone. Oh fuck, that's, like, way off the record." His voice drops just a little lower and he sounds worried when he says, "You're not going to announce on your show that I have a boyfriend, right?"

Matt is kind of impressed with how quickly Steven recovers from his visible shock and says, "No, but dude, if you want to come out, you have to give me the exclusive."

"Oh my God, no," Bob groans, and Steven claps him on the shoulder.

"It's okay, Bob, I know you're a really private person and I respect that." Steven nods and something in his expression makes Matt believe it. "You want to tell me who it is? Off the record, of course!"

Bob takes a casual look around to make sure nobody can overhear, and if Matt wasn't standing right next to Steven, he'd never have been able to hear Bob say, "No, I think I'll leave that up to him."

"Okay, fair enough. So, what time are you guys playing?"

As Bob answers, Matt leans over and whispers in Steven's ear, "He's seeing me and if you tell anyone I will break both your legs."

Steven jerks and Bob looks over at Matt suspiciously, and Brian just stares at them all like he's not sure what the hell is going on anymore. But before anyone can say anything else, the camera man calls, "I think I've got the problem fixed. Get ready to roll in thirty seconds."

Steven says, "Bob, you wanna stay for this?"

Bob shakes his head and moves off to stand behind the camera man's left shoulder. He never draws attention to himself, but Matt can't take his eyes off him anyway.

Because Bob is smiling.

The end.