After Nash gets off the phone with Chord, he makes himself move. He finds and pulls his jeans back on, not bothering to button them. He gently scoots aside his jacket on the floor with his foot as he tugs his tee shirt back over his head and goes to wait.
SMS from RYNO: be there as soon as I can
SMS to RYNO (Nash): drive safe
When Ry pulls up in Ian’s car, Nash is having a hard time making his lungs work. Aren’t they supposed to just work?
And then Ry is running up the steps, and Nash is opening the door for him, and they’re standing there just looking at each other, as if it had been days or weeks or months since they’d seen each other, instead of just a few hours.
It’s cold outside, and Ryan had driven in his coat, too impatient to take it off in the car, and there’s Nash, in a plain tee shirt that shows plenty of his tatts, jeans, and barefoot. Why would Nash’s feet of all things make Ryan feel so fucking tender right now? It’s how it’s always been for him.
“Yeah?” Nash asks.
All of a sudden, Nash can breathe.
“We can fix that.”
He pulls Ryan in the door and shuts it behind them with a kick.
Ryan had planned on saying so many things or asking things, like why Nash came out here, or why he didn't wake Ryan up first, or ask if he wanted to go, or anything, but he can't think with Nash's hands in his shirt and around his arm.
And Nash steps up, crowding into Ryan's space, and pulls Ryan’s head down and kisses his temple and whispers in his hair, "Sorry. I'm a dick. Sorry, Ry."
And Ryan puts his hand on Nash's arm to keep their balance, because toppling them both on the floor right now is probably going to be counterproductive to finding out what's going on with Nash. "Are you okay?"
"If you say we're okay, I'm okay." Nash is talking into the side of Ryan's face and he knows he probably should've shaved but he didn't fucking feel like it earlier and if Ry really does like him then a little scruff burn ain’t gonna kill him.
Ryan is getting so fucking distracted by the friction of Nash's stubble on the side of his face, and he needs to see Nash's eyes. To know they're okay. "Look at me."
Nash clutches for a second because he's just fucking afraid. He can hide shit from everyone but not Ryan. He ducks his head and then looks back up at Ryan. "I'm looking."
“I'm okay, Nash. And I'll be okay no matter what, but I need to know you'll be okay. Because we'll have to get through this together like we always have, or else I can't do it. You know what I see when I look at you?”
Nash is really thankful Ry's holding onto his arms cuz it's like his convo with Chord live and in-person and in-stereo and his heart is hammering again. "No, not really. I sure don't."
"Okay." Ryan moves his hand down Nash's arm and crooks his finger into a belt loop on Nash's jeans. “I see my best friend. I see a guy who is an amazing brother, and son, and uncle. I see--”
“No, I want to say it, because I finally can. Can I?”
“Yeah,” Nash says, barely above a whisper. He keeps his eyes on Ryan. He’ll keep looking, even if it kills him. Because Ry deserves it.
“I see a guy who doesn’t ever talk about the sweet things he does but still does them. A guy who crushes the guitar like Phil Keaggy and Slash all rolled into one. The guy who wrote Why Don’t You Love Me. You give 110 percent to everything you do, or it’s not worth doing. So, even though you left...” Nash opens his mouth, but Ryan continues first. “Even though you left, I know you wouldn’t have texted me to come up here, if you didn’t want me here. And I’m so glad you did.”
His finger still crooked in Nash’s belt loop, Ryan gives a gentle tug.
Nash goes with the momentum and his body remembers the feel of being near Ryan as he breathes deep and his hands shake. "Nerves," he says. So, he slows down because for the first time ever, he really wants to remember everything about this moment. Ducking his head down, he tugs on the buttons of Ryan's jacket, undoing them one by one.
Nash peels Ryan's coat off and lets it drop on the floor. He has to untangle Ryan's hand from his belt loop but puts it back again and backs towards his room. "Let's get horizontal."
They’re lying on the bed making noncommittal noises and looking out on the deck at the country star-filled night sky. It’s not really a night for talking or anything else but they try now and again to speak. Nash lets himself just sit back and feel the moment. He'd been freaking the fuck out over this skinny twerp. Yeah, he was built like a stick and wasn't like his usual type but it was Ryan...and evidently, he was Ryan's type.
Mraz is still on in the background and he should get up and turn it off or change it so he didn't seem so fucking emo, lying here in the dark thinking about Ryno, but he figures Ryan knows...he just knows. And it’s okay that he knows. Ryno knows everything, knows all the bad stuff and some of the good but he doesn't know how Nash would be in something like this. That with someone who knows all his bullshit lines and still cares, it could be completely different.
Ryan's laying there. Beside Nash, with Nash, practically under Nash, and his hands are on Nash's back and sometimes his face, that ridiculous beautiful face. Nash's are in Ryan's hair and on his chest. He realizes they're listening to the same song on repeat.
"That Mraz? I was thinking about covering this. At a small show maybe."
He starts humming along low, liking the way it feels in his chest with Nash half covering him.
Nash laughs. It's rueful in nature, but a chuckle nonetheless.
"Our audiences keep getting bigger. Pretty good chance I'm the smallest crowd you're gonna see for awhile."
Nash looks up, leaning his chin on Ryan's chest, letting his elbows span over Ryan's ribs as his hands rest just below the tatts on Ryan's chest. Out of habit he wants to harmonize, because that's what they do; Ryan leads, Nash follows. But, for once he sits still and very quiet and listens.
It’s the country air, he thinks, when he smells lilacs. Julie loves ‘em and has a trillion around the farm and the scent is on the breeze that blows in from where he’s got the french doors propped open. His eyes focus on Ryan; his hair falling again and then down to his eyes, his mouth, his shoulders, and to the tatts where his hands are resting. His fingers - on their own - stretch out to touch the skin bared there.
His fingers touch the words, tracing back and forth, just letting the pads of fingers linger along the ink. He feels almost naked being able to look like that, just to fucking look ‘cause he can and because he wants to look at Ryan like that.
The weird feelings from before left the minute Ry had showed up and something clicked back in place that he’d been missing. It felt like being in the middle of writing a song and knowing what he wanted to say and looking up from the paper - because he wasn’t using a fucking computer to write - and Ry would be standing over him and he’d have the next verse because that’s how they worked. The words would be on the tip of his tongue and Ry would say ‘em. The chords wouldn’t be working and he’d be ready to chuck the guitar out the window when Ry would reach over, fix his fingers, and smile up at him.
...and none of that would change.
It’d be better, Nash thinks, smiling slightly.
And he’d be a chickenshit if he backed out now. Doing this with Ry might be the best thing that ever happened to him. He’d never dated, never kissed, never did anything like that with someone he was already friends with. Chord was right. Nash fucking hated being twisted up over anyone, but this wasn’t just anyone.
He looks up into Ry’s eyes, almost black in the dark, but definitely brown. Reaching up, he brushes the hair out of Ryan’s eyes so he can see them better. He can usually tell what Ry’s thinking - just part of being around each other 24/7 and 365 - but he can’t now.
Mraz is still going in the background.
Nash is not gonna look away, not this time. So, he keeps his eyes locked on Ryan’s as he moves his hands down onto the bed. He’s still looking when he braces up on his elbows and moves up until he’s looking down at Ryan.
“Stop me if I’m outta line.”
Everything else in the world fades away as he waits and everything centers on Ryan’s mouth, his lips. His chest bumps against Ryan’s, breathing deep.
It’s taking Ryan a minute to catch up. Nash is looking at him, just looking at him, and raised up over him, and it’s almost too much.
Ryan’s hands go to Nash’s arms, a new obsession, and he’s tracing them with his fingers. Now his hands move up to Nash’s chest, and he’s gently pushing, and rolling with him, until they’ve swapped places, positions, and he’s looking down into Nash’s eyes, and yeah, he thinks this is better. Ryan moves his hand up, smoothing it along Nash’s shoulder to his neck and just lets the tips of his fingers glide over the skin there.
“Not out of line, no. You couldn’t be more in line, but maybe first we could talk about what this is. Not like what it’s called, but why did you go today, and why are you okay with this? What--”
“Stop. Just stop,” Nash says. He looks up at Ryan - and hello, who knew Ry had those moves? - and breathes in. “I left because I freaked.”
When Ryan doesn’t say anything, Nash settles his hands at the small of Ryan’s back, just rubbing back and forth, hopefully drawing out the comfort that he needs and Nash wants to give.
“You’re Ryan. We write songs together, we play music together. Dude, I’ve seen you naked and trust me that never bothered me before but when it’s what I’m laying in bed thinking about in the middle of the night when I never thought about it before....it’s...”
And because he can’t say it all just then, Nash leans up and rubs his cheek along Ryan’s and kisses his neck.
“I needed to get away to see if I felt the same way about you when I wasn’t right there with you.”
Ryan swallows hard, and tries to process what Nash is saying, but it’s hard to concentrate with Nash’s lips on Ryan’s neck. He wants to ask if Nash has figured it out, but he figures that’s why he got that text from Nash and especially the P.S., so he just lets Nash talk.
“And I did, I do. I sat here and thought about you. I thought that you know me better than fucking anyone ever and that you see past that shit I give everyone and you’re still here.” His hands clutch at the back of Ryan’s shirt, wishing like hell it was skin.
Ryan suddenly needs to feel Nash’s hands, so he reaches back and starts tugging his shirt up his back and then over his head, leaning away a little from Nash as he does it, keeping his eyes on Nash’s. “I’m here,” he whispers, and his hands go back to Nash’s shoulder, his neck.
Nash wills his heart to quit fucking hammering, breathing slowly. But he knows Ryan can probably feel it about ready to pound right out of his chest. It doesn’t matter, he thinks. His hands find Ryan’s waist again and he trails them up and down.
“I thought about you all day, Ry. All fucking day.” He leans up again and lays his lips right where Ryan’s jaw and neck meet. “Thought about kissing this spot right here.”
He moves down to where Ryan’s neck bows out into his shoulders and kisses him again, whispering, “And here.”
Nash whispering against his skin is probably the hottest thing Ryan has ever felt, but he manages to look at Nash and say, “I don’t think I’m the one who’s overdressed anymore.” He helps Nash pull at his tee shirt until they get it over Nash’s head, and they settle back down, this time side by side, face to face. Ryan brings his hand up to set on Nash’s waist, then moves it down, over, and up Nash’s chest, watching his own hand on Nash’s skin.
The look on Ryan’s face just about fucking kills Nash. Never once in his whole life has someone looked at him like that....ever. “Ry,” he whispers, his voice cracking a little. He puts his hand over Ryan’s stopping him for a second and then follows the line of Ryan’s arm up to his neck. He doesn’t grab, just lays his hand there letting his fingers span the back of Ryan’s neck and tangle in Ryan’s hair.
It’s so different, Nash thinks. So different.
Nash leans up and kisses Ryan’s forehead. “I thought about how I’ve never been friends with someone that I dated or messed around with. And maybe with you, I could do that. It’d be better that way.”
Nash leans back down, rubbing his cheek along Ryan’s again until they’re face to face. “It’d be better with you.”
“Okay,” Ryan says, moving his legs in closer to Nash’s, too, so that they’re all lined up. He looks, just looks into Nash’s face. Closer in the last two days than he’d ever been before, and moves in. “Okay.”
It’s a green light, Nash thinks. Green means go. “Too far away,” he mutters, pulling Ryan closer, lining them up from toes to forehead. When Ryan moves his thigh between Nash’s legs, Nash adjusts crooking his knee and sliding over Ryan’s thigh. Nash’s hands move to Ryan’s neck and cup the back of Ryan’s head. He runs his fingers through Ryan’s hair and leans in. It’s not like last night but still the same. It’s more, again, more. He kisses Ry lightly, just brushing their lips together.
“I’m so sorry,” he whispers. He can’t help but talk sometimes but this isn’t really talking, it just is. “And I missed you,” he says again, between small kisses.
He’d left and there was no way in hell he can make up for that, but Ry is here now and he’s going to make the most of it. His hand trails down, mirroring Ry’s, running over Ryan’s shoulders and chest, taking in all the differences.
As much as he wants to slowly peel back every layer of Ry, he knows tonight isn’t it. They are just figuring this thing out. And it is too easy, here in the middle of nowhere, to forget they eat together, write together, and make music together.
Plus, hey, no putting out ‘till dinner. He may be easy but he isn’t a skank.
“Ry, Ry, Ry,” he whispers against Ryan’s neck, drumming out the beat of his name against Ryan’s ribs. “We need to cool off before I kinda....go off, here.”
He could deny it but why? And it isn’t because it has been just that fucking long since he’s gotten some either. It is so about being completely into Ry and wanting to find out all the ways their bodies fit together all the time, that first rush of lust.
The idea comes to him and he grins wide against Ryan’s neck. He’d brought Ry and the gang out here a million times just to get away from the crazy of road life and they’d always kick it and write, laugh, and get drunk.
And now he has a chance to show Ryan something else.
After they pull shirts back on, and jackets, they text to let the guys know they’ll be back tomorrow. But tonight, tonight is still for them. Ryan is behind Nash on a fucking four-wheeler at the back of the farm going out to the pond, and he’s glad of the chance to try to compose himself without Nash’s eyes on him, for just this long. Thinking about bare skin and Nash baring his soul at the same time - as much as Nash can, well it’s good Ryan can feel the wind on his face, on his arms wrapped around Nash’s waist.
Nash would never admit it out loud but the stars and the moon shining off the pond beats the hell out of the bright lights of the big city every day. Paul had put the dock out earlier in the Spring and Nash pulls the four-wheeler on it and kills the engine with a flick of his wrist. He grins, leaning back into Ryan’s chest and tilts his head back onto Ry’s shoulder. He wants to say a lot of shit to Ry but it’d come out wrong. Maybe a song, he thinks. It would include lyrics about Ryan’s eyes or how good his hands feel. Or his smile when he’s really jacked up about something or his eyes.... Nash smiles and tilts his face into the side of Ryan’s neck and breathes in.
“You’ve got that douchey cologne on.”
He loves giving Ry shit about his clothes - for fuck’s sakes suspenders, Ryan? - but it’s so ingrained in who Ry is and nuzzling his nose right in Ryan’s neck while his hands reach for Ry’s feels like every good thing Nash has known for the past seven years.
Ryan snorts out a soft laugh but doesn’t say anything, just breathing and feeling and being with Nash.
“You ready to jump in?” Nash is asking and Ryan can’t see his eyes, but he’s pretty much up for whatever with Nash, the way it’s been since day one.
He squeezes his hands in Nash’s but consciously doesn’t lean forward into Nash the way he instinctively wants to. A cool down is a cool down, and any more contact with Nash’s body even through the layers of their clothing right now would be counterproductive.
“Let’s do this.” Ryan smiles into the night, ready for that next whatever.
Then Nash remembers the bottle of Jack in the bag and the radio in the ‘cabin’. He sets Ryan’s hands back down and slides off the four-wheeler, grabbing the bag. It’s no more than five feet to the door of the cabin, which was a restored chicken coop he and Chordy had spent four very long fucking days reshingeling and painting one summer. But when they spent the first night in it tucked tight in their sleeping bags - Superman and Batman, respectively - it was like the best fucking place ever. Through the windows they could see all the lightning bugs and it looked like stars dropping from heaven....or it did to two pre-teen punks.
Crawling in through the door, careful to not bump his head on the low rafters, he reaches around above the door and finds the flashlight that’s been there since their first night. Switching it on, he sees the ancient boom box - ‘No Bose out here in the sticks, Son,’ Paul had said - and flicks it on finding 107.5 by memory. Backing out, he quickly touches the wood to the left of the door where he and Chordy had carved their names that night. It’s tradition and you don’t fuck with tradition, Nash thinks.
When he turns, Ry’s still on the four-wheeler and is backlit by the moon. Nash would never be girly enough to say that Ry is beautiful or anything stupid like that but seeing him sitting there waiting is enough to make Nash’s breath to hitch. He hasn’t been hit in the gut since eighth grade by Jimmy O’Neill but this feels a lot like that....only in a good way.
Ryan’s been waiting quietly outside, his hands braced on the seat in front of him, arms straight, enjoying the sounds of the country for once. Happy to be in this moment. This ridiculous stolen moment, something they never really got anymore the way their lives were now. He’d heard a radio click on and smiled thinking of Nash getting dust on himself, and now he hears Bruno Mars come on as Nash is backing out of the old cabin/fort thing and there he is, and the way he’s looking at Ryan makes Ryan want to go to him, but he’s content to just wait for Nash’s next move.
Nash could move, but he doesn’t. Walking over towards Ry and taking his face in his hands and running his thumb over Ry’s bottom lip because that’s what he wants to do so fucking bad, but he doesn’t. Instead, Nash grabs at the neck of his shirt and pulls it over his head. He toes out of his kicks - right, left - and steps over them walking towards Ry on the dock. “C’mon, Ry,” he says walking around the four-wheeler. He flips open the button on his jeans as he backs down the dock towards the water. Bruno’s still wailing on about morphine and rain when Nash bends down and pulls on one leg and then the other, throwing his jeans aside.
Ryan catches up pretty quick, pulling his shirt over his head again, hadn’t they just done this, as he swings one leg over the seat of the four-wheeler to stand facing Nash as he moves his hand to the button on his jeans. Remembering shoes, fuck, he stops, and bends to remove them, untying the laces and setting them aside before going back to his jeans. Nash hadn’t moved. No longer content to be so far away, Ryan quickly shucks his pants off and sets them on top of his shoes, still looking out to the end of the dock, where Nash is. He wants to make a joke about Nash’s smiley face boxers, but instead breaks into a grin so big it hurts his face, runs to the end of the dock, and sticks out his tongue as he passses Nash.
He makes a splash as finally he’s in the water.
Nash laughs. Until the water hits him. “Follese, you fucker, that’s cold!”
Ryan takes his arm and scoops it through the water, splashing Nash again.
“Get down here, then!”
Nash grins wide. Oh, two can play that game. He runs the last few steps off the dock and dives off in Ryan’s direction. Surfacing, right in front of Ryan, Nash shakes his hair letting the water fly everywhere. He dips his head back in the water to get it out of his face. The water is fucking freezing and his fingers already feel like ice cubes.
“Shouldn’t stay out here too long,” Nash says, swimming closer. “Leg cramps.”
Ryan feels the cold, but he doesn’t. The night’s too pretty, too perfect. “Something in that bag to warm us up?”
“Maybe,” Nash mutters. He’s watching a drop of water slide down Ryan’s cheek and onto his collar bones. His eyes follow it down until it hits the water. “What?” he asks, shaking his head slightly.
“Nash, your teeth are chattering,” Ryan says, sweeping his hair off his own forehead with one hand, and reaching the other out to touch Nash’s chin, without thinking.
“There’s a bottle of Jack and a couple sleeping bags in the coop,” Nash replies automatically. He leans into Ryan’s hand.
Ryan’s mesmerized again by his own hand on Nash’s skin, watching as it moves back, the pad of his thumb tracing the edge of Nash’s jaw, the rest of his hand curling to rest on Nash’s shoulder where it meets his neck. “Sleeping bags, yeah. Jack sounds... great.”
Nash just nods because thinking flew out the window the minute Ryan touched his face. He treads water and breathes because it’s instinct and elemental.
Ryan opens his hand against Nash’s neck, leaving his thumb on Nash’s jaw. Presses against Nash’s skin.
“You’re cold. Let’s get out.”
“Yeah,” Nash says and heads back towards the dock. He swims till his feet touch bottom and turns around to wait for Ry. And when Ryan gets close enough he holds out his hand to tow him in. At the last second, he drops Ry’s hand, grabs him by the waist, and spins Ry so his back is against the dock. He doesn’t wait to see the look on Ry’s face or really he doesn’t give a shit what Ry’s thinking right now, Nash just wants. The kiss isn’t soft and it sure as hell isn’t sweet, but fuck it feels good. Ry’s lips are cold against Nash’s as his hands span Ryan’s waist, thumbs settling on hip bones. Nash moves to Ryan’s neck, kissing that spot right behind Ryan’s ear, and then down further and bites just ever so softly.
After Nash releases Ryan’s mouth, Ryan lets his head fall back against the post, breathing in and out, and wrapping his hand around the back of Nash’s neck, holding Nash to him. He turns his head to kiss the side of Nash’s face, just below his temple, at the top of his cheekbone. Breathes in again.
“Nash. Nash, we’re still in the water. It’s too cold, let’s move.” Presses his lips to Nash’s cheek again, he takes one of Nash’s hands from his own waist, holds it. “Nash.”
“Yeah,” Nash answers completely on auto-pilot. “Sorry. Tried to be good.”
Nash smiles into Ry’s neck - fuck, would he ever get tired of putting his mouth right there - and kisses again. He shivers. Not sure if it’s ‘cause of the water or Ry, he backs up.
“Watch out for the eels.”
Ryan almost jumps before he thinks about it. Laughing a little, loving Nash for remembering that movie, for always throwing out random quotes just to show Ryan he remembered. Still catching his breath, Ryan says, “I’ve never seen any eels in Tennessee. I wouldn’t be surprised if Paul had some shipped in for you and Chord to catch, though.”
He’s cold all over now, half in the water and half out in the cool night air, except for the spot on his neck Nash had last kissed, which burned.
“And don’t be sorry, Nash. Don’t ever be sorry for that.”
“Good,” Nash replies.
And it is good, that is. Because letting go of Ry isn’t something he’s gonna be doing anytime soon. Nash tugs Ry behind him as they walk up onto the grass. It’s fucking freezing in the night air. Digging the sleeping bags out, Nash quickly unzips one and tosses it around Ry’s shoulders and then does the same for himself. Nash ducks his head back in the coop and finds the bottle of Jack at the bottom of the duffel they’d brought out. Twisting the cap off with his teeth, he spits the lid towards the weeds and downs a shot straight out of the bottle. Nash wipes his mouth on the back of his hand as the familiar shudder of whisky warms him from the belly up. He tilts the bottle towards Ry and nods.
Ryan has his chin tucked into Chord’s old Superman sleeping bag, feeling warmer just watching Nash’s neck move when he swallows the Jack.
Ryan wants. He unwinds one of his hands from holding the sleeping bag around him, and takes the bottle.
Nash shivers again when Ryan’s fingers brush over his and he knows it doesn’t have a damn thing to do with the cold. He thinks about building a fire and bunking down in the coop for the night but not sure if Ry would be down with that - the guy never travels too far from his blow dryer - but he hadn’t said no yet tonight. Maybe Nash’s lucky streak would continue.
“You wanna stay out here or go back to the house?”
The house has their phones and the tv and the Bose but Nash could really give a fuck less about any of that. No matter why Ry says, Nash just wants to be where Ry is.
“I like it out here. It’s quiet. Kinda nice being off twitter radar for a while and just being here.” Ryan thinks, with you, but doesn’t think he has to say it out loud for Nash to get it. “It’s a little cold, though. Even with JD and Superman here.” Thinks again, and you.
Nash wants to ask if it’s just the quiet or if he weighs in on that equation anywhere, but he bites his tongue and nods. Ducking back in the coop, he finds the matches Paul always keeps stocked in their emergency kit and grabs a handful of newspapers, too.
Nash walks over to the small fire ring and drops the sleeping bag on one of the logs.
“Not a fucking word about being a boy scout either, RK,” he says, looking back over his shoulder. Smiling when Ryan answers, “I think it’s really cool you can do stuff like this.”
Crumpling up the newspapers, Nash places them carefully under the logs, lights the match, and waits for it to begin burning. The flame sparks, catches, and he drops the match in the fire. He blows on the flames to stoke them up. Nash steps back and watches the fire build up. Then, he grabs his sleeping bag, sitting down on the ground and leans on a log.
“C’mere, Ry,” he says, leaning his head back on the log to look at where Ryan’s standing.
Ryan couldn’t say no to that face even if he wanted to. Which he doesn’t. It has to be warmer closer to the growing fire, and with Nash. He adjusts his sleeping bag cape around his shoulders again, pulls it close, and settles in against Nash’s side, leaning his head on Nash’s shoulder to watch the flames. He wriggles a hand free and holds it out for Nash’s.
Nash reaches too and links their fingers together, settling them on his leg. The fire crackles and sizzles sending smoke up into the sky while Nash leans his head against the log again. Closing his eyes, Nash rubs his thumb absently over Ryan’s knuckles. He hums along with the radio - Cabrera, Adam, what the fuck? - and relaxes by degrees as he warms up.
Ryan hums, too, thinking the song is kinda perfect and curls into Nash’s side, rubbing his face on Nash’s shoulder, nudging aside the sleeping bag with his chin. His voice low, not quite a whisper, he says, “I like being here with you this way.”
Nash’s stomach flips and the words he’s singing fade off when he hears Ry. “Confession? Me too,” Nash whispers into the top of Ryan’s head. “Here with you, I mean.”
He reaches with his opposite arm and slides his hand under the sleeping bag to touch the back of Ryan’s neck pulling him closer. Nash lets go of Ryan’s hand, opens up his sleeping bag and pulls Ry in settling him against Nash’s chest.
Ryan makes a sleepy, happy noise in his throat as he moves his head up to burrow in at Nash’s neck. He rests his hand over Nash’s heart, occasionally tapping out a beat along with the music on the radio. Music is always there with them; this is no different.
Nash breathes in deep and exhales, feeling everywhere he and Ryan are touching, skin to skin under the sleeping bags. He hums along to the radio, running his hands down Ry’s back settling there right above his boxers.
Then, Adam’s voice breaks in.
“Guys, I just got a text message request from none other than Chord Overstreet, who you might know as Sam on Glee, but you probably also know his older brother, Nash, is the lead guitar player in local band Hot Chelle Rae and one of my BFFs. Chord is dedicating a song to Nash and Ryan Follese, the band’s lead singer, a dedication that I’m sure will come back to haunt him when Nash finds out. ‘My Heart Will Go On,’ by Celine Dion from the movie Titanic, now out in 3D, everyone go see it, and tweet me your love song dedications! Chord, here’s your song.”
“WHAT?! That little fucker!”
Nash tries to get up from the ground fully intending on driving to LA and killing Chord.
Ryan wraps his other arm around Nash’s back and keeps rubbing his hand in circles over Nash’s chest. “Stay. Don’t go kill your brother. Or call him. Or get up. Just stay.” He presses his mouth to the underside of Nash’s clenched jaw, not wanting anything to break up this time they have together.
“Ryyyyy,” Nash groans. “This fucking song? Seriously?”
The only thing keeping him from killing Chord is Ryan. Well, and Ry’s mouth.
“He’s fucking dead when we get back. I’ll have Adam announce that he’s getting married to Amber or something.”
Ryan just keeps soothing Nash with his hands, his kisses. “You know it’s funny, Nash. You just wish you’d thought of it first. You’ll get him back in classic Overstreet style, but please stay out here with me. We can turn off the radio if you want.” He bends his head down and kisses Nash’s chest, right over his heart, then looks up at Nash’s face, willing him to see.
Nash closes his eyes when he feels Ryan’s lips on his chest. Because honestly, if fucking ass kickings were in order, Chordy would be first followed by Nash, himself. Chord for being an epic twat and Nash for never seeing this before. How had he missed out on this - on being with Ry - for so long?
He opens his eyes and looks down at Ry who happens to be looking up. “Nice move, Ry,” he says, fondly. “I’ll stay.”
Nash’ll stay half because of Ry and half because he’s so fucking turned on right now, he’s afraid to move, afraid to break the moment again. He can ignore Celine singing in the background as long as Ry keeps looking at him like that.
“Good,” Ryan says, kissing Nash’s chest again, and moving his hand down to Nash’s belly.
The Titanic song fades out and Ryan can hear Adam saying something about making it up to them, and then ‘The Only One’ comes on, its very first radio play. But even hearing his own voice with Nash’s echoing over the radio isn’t enough to distract Ryan from Nash’s skin.
Nash can vaguely hear their song on the radio, but nothing registers more than Ryan’s mouth and hands. He lets Ry take lead, like always, but pulls him closer so he’s practically sitting in Nash’s lap.
Ryan’s eyes unfocus as his hips come in closer proximity to Nash’s. He raises his head from where he’s sucking lightly at Nash’s collar bone and feels Nash’s stomach rumble under his hand.
“Food. Are you hungry?”
Nash groans and drops his head back against the log. “Not for food,” Nash mumbles as he scrubs his hands over his face. He takes a couple deep breaths and tries to think of really gross stuff to bring his body back under control.
“We can go back up to the house and get some eats,” Nash says. “But if we’re stopping ‘cause you’re trying to take care of me like you always do, I don’t wanna go.”
Nash tilts his head back up and looks Ryan in the eye. “Just for the record.”
“Only you would remember to bring whisky and forget food. But no, I’m not going anywhere.” Ryan reaches up again, touching his lips to the underside of Nash’s jaw, and moves his hand slowly from Nash’s belly back up to his chest.
“I was -” Nash sucks in a breath through his teeth when Ry finds a particularly sensitive spot. “-fucking distracted.”
His hands find their way to Ry’s face and Nash tilts their foreheads together, just holding the moment in, he closes his eyes. He finds Ry’s mouth by feel and brushes their lips together and whispers against Ry’s lips. “You fucking distract me.”
Lying in that bed this afternoon, he’d thought of things that he’d never noticed about Ry, which wasn’t a lot, but just like Ry saying he never stopped looking, there were other things Nash noticed looking back. And dwelled on them ‘till it drove him to find Ry and get him here.
Ry really is distracting.
Suddenly, it’s not enough for Ryan. “Who needs food anyway.” He releases Nash’s back and slips both hands up between their bodies, placing them on either side of Nash’s face, fingers gripping the back of Nash’s head where it meets his neck. Not thinking, only needing, he pulls Nash even closer. Ryan angles his head as the kiss deepens. He takes more. Gives more.
Fuck, finally, Nash thinks. Ry losing his cool.
It’s what Nash wants, to know that thing that’s twisting him up from the inside out lives in Ry, too. He wants to jump in the air and say ‘YES’ but his hands are full of Ry. Nash wraps his arms around Ry, holding tight, holding on.
He’d felt a fuckton of things in his life like lust but never once passion and if this is it, Nash wants more. The night air cools on his arms as the sleeping bag slips down from Ry’s shoulders but he doesn’t stop to pull it up.
Nipping on Ry’s bottom lip - once, twice - he spans his hands on Ry’s waist, pulling them chest to chest, hips to hips, and eases back until he hits the log. The night around them fades away for Nash until it’s pinpoints of Ry’s lips, arms, and the small of Ry’s back. Everything in Nash aches for this, for Ry’s hands on his skin. He grips Ry’s hips hard enough to bruise and tilts his chin to angle better for a kiss.
And then it’s watching a bead of sweat drop off Ry’s nose as Nash grips their hands together. Looking into Ry’s face beneath his on the sleeping bag on the ground, half lit by the dying fire and half dark from the night, Nash’s heart skips.
Lying on his back afterwards, letting the sweat cool on his skin, Nash closes his eyes and lets everything settle in his mind as images flicker by of white knuckles against the soft flannel of the sleeping bag, throaty moans, smiling into Ry’s mouth, words, whispers, and Ry.
Nash looks over at Ry and grins.
Nash wakes to Woody and Jim chatting on the radio, but it’s all background noise as he shivers in the morning air and burrows closer to Ry. This, he knows, waking next to Ry and Nash reaches out and pulls Ry close - front to back - and nuzzles Ry’s neck. They have to go back today. But as he feels Ry wake up by degrees, he knows they’re not going anywhere right now. Time to warm up.
They finally make it back to the apartment after cleaning up the coop and dousing the fire. It’s a chilly ride and Nash ducks his head slightly against the wind on his face. He can see Ry’s hands wrapped around his waist. Grinning like an idiot, he tilts his wrist to gun the gas and feels Ry’s arms tighten. Nash laughs.
Then it’s showers and clean clothes. When he sees Ry walk out of the bathroom wearing one of his own shirts it makes Nash want to stay here and whisper shit that makes Ry blush. ‘Cause Nash gets to do that now.
But, Ry drags him down to the main house and into the kitchen. They’re cooking or trying to. Nash looks at the egg cartons all over the counter from where his ass is planted and thinks Julie is going to kill him when they get back home.
“Texting Chordy,” Nash says.
SMS to CHORDY (Nash): Sorry about your sleeping bag.
Also texting Adam:
SMS to INTERN ADAM (Nash): You owe me, fucker. Will talk later.
Snorting, Nash starts his campaign to get even with Chordy. Hopping down, he pets Harley and looks over Ry’s shoulder as Ryan cooks. The eggs look sorta not good. Nash tucks his phone in his back pocket and watches as Ry tilts his head to the left like he does when he’s thinking. Nash settles his feet to the outside of Ry’s and slides his hands around Ry’s waist. He kisses Ry’s neck and leans his chin on Ry’s shoulder. It feels like fucking Christmas and his birthday rolled all up in one Ryan shaped present.
When Ry does the shoulder-shrug thing that says ‘get off me’, Nash chuckles and pulls him closer still. “C’mon,” he says. “I’m trying to make up for lost time, here. I’ve got a lot of you to catch up on.”
Nash is super fucking thankful he can’t see Ry’s face, but he can feel Ry sigh under his hands and he figures it’s totally worth saying really touchy feely shit if he can make Ry sigh like that. Plus, it’s true. He might’ve been a little slow on the uptake on so much but Nash does totally plan on making it up to him.
Nash hears Harley bark and the crunch of tires on gravel.
He backs away from Ry and leans on the counter opposite getting ready to be invaded by Julie, Paul, and the Crunch Berries (aka Pez, Skittles, and Skye). Harley barks and jumps when Paul walks in the door and Nash smiles and waves at his folks.
There’s a flurry of hugs and kisses - mostly from Julie and the girls for Ry; although, Skye gives him a great big two-armed hug and he squeezes her, picking her little feet off the ground.
“Put me down, dick,” Skye hollers.
Laughing, he sets her back on her feet and looks up to find Ry watching. Nash sticks his tongue out making a face and then turns around to settle Harley down. Ry knows he has a soft spot for Skye. He wasn’t around a helluva a lot with the younger girls but Skye, and her wicked fucking wit, has kinda grown on him over the years. Plus, she listens when he talks. The other two squee about shit entirely too much. It was like eating too much cotton candy. It gave him a belly ache.
Nash helps his dad bring all of the luggage in and when he comes in to find Ry settled at the table helping Pez (aka Charity) with her homework, he stumbles.
“Just drop the bags here, Son. The girls have dirty clothes and your mother’ll want ‘em down here,” Paul says.
“I’ll take ‘em in the laundry room,” he replies without looking at Paul.
Nash walks out of the laundry room and Charity now has her Pokemon cards out and she and Ry are grinning over them. Nash watches as Ry files through a stack of them picking out his favorites and Nash can barely hear them making plans to have a trading session. It hits him in the gut how well Ry fits in every piece of his world.
Ry must feel him watching, because just then he looks up and smiles at Nash. His heart just picks up at that fucking toothy grin. Fuckin’ heart, he thinks, what do you know? He smiles back at Ry and walks into the kitchen to help Julie fill up the dishwasher. Out of the corner of his eye he sees Paul get out his new guitar and Nash shakes his head. He’d been showing it off to everyone and their dog. But Ry geeks the fuck out over it and they sit down in chairs and talk while Paul plays around.
“Good Lord, Paul. We just got home, honey. Plus the boys have today off. It’s like asking a taxi driver for a ride on his day off. Give it a rest.”
Ry assures Julie that it’s all good and Nash shakes his head again while putting a plate in the dishwasher. Fucking ass kiss.
“Nash!” Charity hollers from the table. “We heard Honestly like 87 times while we were driving.”
“Dope,” he replies.
“I was listening to Adam last night and heard The Only One, too,” Skye says.
Nash coughs, choking on the sip of coffee he just tried to drink and looks over at Ry. They both turn and look at Skye. She winks. Oh fuck, he thinks, busted.
“Nash, you wanna go check on the animals with me?” Paul asks.
“Sure,” he replies.
“Put a jacket on,” Julie says. “It’s chilly out there this morning.”
Nash hopes his dad doesn’t notice he didn’t gas the four-wheeler back up this morning but figures he has enough gas to get out to the barn and around and back. They hop on each of their own wheelers and roll out. The morning fog has burnt off but it’s still chilly out. Nash feels every bump in the road in muscles he hasn’t used in awhile and grins into the wind at the memory. They ride up to the sheep feed trough and kill the engines. Nash grabs the bale off the back of Paul’s wheeler and dumps it in the trough, breaking it up for the little shits to eat.
“You finally figured it out, didn’t you?”
Nash frowns. He’d wanted to sit on this for awhile before everyone came rushing in with a fucking opinion. Nash looks up at Paul. “Did Chord text everyone in the whole damn country?”
Paul shakes his head and lays a hand on Nash’s shoulder. "No, Son, I don't have to talk to Chord to know when my firstborn has been struck. And I saw something between you when y'all first met. It's half about the music, and half about what you share with Ryan."
Nash shrugs and scrubs the back of his neck. Paul doesn’t move his hand and finally Nash looks his Dad in the eye.
“Just kinda figuring all that out for myself.”
“Yes, well your Mother was a little slow on the uptake when we first started dating, too.”
“I - We’re not - It’s -”
“It is what it is. Just be happy, Nash.”
He wonders about Chordy getting the smart gene from his Dad and just nods his head.
“Good. That’s all that matters.”
They work quietly and ride back to the house without another word. Nash walks in the back door and hears his mom giving Ry a rash of shit about all the eggs he used up and he grins. Okay, that’s where I get it, he thinks.
“Mom, quit picking on Ryan,” he says without thinking.
“I’m not. Just be glad you two are going back tonight. Otherwise, you’d be helping with grocery shopping duty.”
“Oh yeah, Ry shopping, that’d work. He picks out shit like motor oil and peanut butter. And then gets distracted and accidentally drops $400 on a bandana.”
“Hey,” Ryan protests from his spot in front of the stove, and makes a face at Nash. Julie is at Ryan’s shoulder laughing and supervising the egg cooking.
“Oh honey,” Julie says, patting Ry’s shoulder. “We all know it’s true.”
Ryan leans into Julie’s hand a little, loving being in the middle of Nash’s family. He’s loved the Overstreets ever since he first met them. Loves when any of them come out to see their shows, when Paul came to Australia, when Charity calls Nash when they’re on tour and asks to talk to Ryan. Secretly, he loves that Chord requested a song, even to embarrass Nashie, because it shows how much he cares. Ryan walks back to the table and rests his chin in his hand, just happy to be here.
They eat and Nash just pushes his food around the plate until Ry’s nodding off with his chin propped on his hand. Elbowing him gently, Nash takes their plates and empties them out in the sink. Grabbing Ry and manhandling him out the door, he misses the look that passes between Paul and Julie at their son, at him and Ry.
“It’s about time,” Julie whispers.
Paul walks over and they watch the boys out the window. They’re walking across the yard to the stables, to Nash’s apartment. Paul props his hands on the counter outside of Julie’s hips and grins into her shoulder.
“He’s happy,” Paul says.
Julie leans back into him and sighs. That’s her baby falling in love and if tears spring up in her eyes, she can’t help it.
“Ryan’s good for him,” she says. And really that’s all that matters. But, Nash is good for Ryan, too, she thinks. Nash makes Ryan laugh and not take himself too seriously. And Ryan softens Nash’s rough edges and takes care of Nash when she’s not there.
“Yup,” Paul replies.
“I got a text from Chord this morning,” she says, absently. “He wants to bring Amber out the next time he comes.”
“He texted me, too.”
“Kinda can’t wait to meet her.”
Paul smiles again and nods. “Our babies are growing up, missus.”
Julie looks over her shoulder at the girls and thanks God that they’re still here. Plus, Summer’s boys. There are still a lot of years of babies yet.
Nash peels off his clothes and then strips Ry and pushes him in bed so they can sleep for a few hours before they go on the road back home. Stopping before he crawls in, Nash just looks his fill at Ry. His gaze moves over Ry’s shoulder blades and back exposed above what the blanket is covering. Nash can’t wait anymore and peels the blanket back and slides in behind Ry. Nash pulls him close and though Ry’s already asleep, he mumbles and adjusts. Everything’s where it’s supposed to be, Nash thinks as he lays his head down by Ry’s.
Nash wakes up later when his phone is buzzing and he rolls over and grabs it off the night stand. Sliding it open, he squints at a message from Chord.
SMS to MY DICKHEAD BRO (Chord): What ABOUT my sleeping bag?
Nash laughs out loud and then remembers Ry still sleeping and peeks over his shoulder. Yup, still blissed out. Rolling onto his elbows, he thumbs out his answer.
SMS to CHORDY (Nash): HAHAH. Nothing, it makes good padding.
The message was no more than sent when his phone vibrates again and Nash opens the message.
SMS to MY DICKHEAD BRO (Chord): PADDING FOR WHAT FUCKER?
Nash thinks for a sec, sticking his tongue out between his lips, and thumbs out an answer, snickering.
SMS to CHORDY (Nash): Thanks for requesting that song, btw. Ry and I had a REALLY nice moment during it. And after it. And again this morning. TWICE.
Nash waits about twenty seconds before the next message comes in.
SMS to MY DEAD BROTHER (Chord): OMG YOU DEFILED MY SUPERMAN SLEEPING BAG?!!!!!! AND OMFG MY EYES CAN’T UNSEE THAT YOU JACKASS!!!
Ryan wakes up, cozy and warm, to hear Nash snickering and Nash’s phone beeping texts going back and forth. Nash is turned away from Ryan, probably to let Ryan rest, and Ryan is touched. He also suspects Nash is giving Chord hell, but at least Nash is laughing. Ryan watches the muscles in Nash’s back and sides move as Nash’s hands play with the phone. Ryan catches himself humming The Only One softly, under his breath.
Figuring that’s enough to freak Chord out, Nash laughs and backs out of the screen. Dropping the phone on the bed, Nash turns back to face Ry and lays his head on the pillow. Ryan’s eyes are open and looking at Nash.
“Chord?” Ry asks.
Ryan is a talker, a singer, pretty much always using his vocal cords. But these past couple of days with Nash like this, Ryan’s so much quieter, just taking everything in, and letting himself just enjoy it. Enjoy Nash, because he can now. If he wants to watch Nash sleep he can. If he wants to run his fingers up and down Nash’s arm, he can. Right now Ryan feels so good from sex and food and sleep, he just smiles.
When Ry smiles and rubs his face in the pillow, Nash moves over closer. He slides a hand across Ry’s lower back and wonders if he can go three for three.
After, it’s chasing Ry into the shower, again, and more clothes and grabbing his duffel and getting ready to walk out the door. Nash stops at the door and looks over his shoulder at the bed and then out over the hills where the pond is nestled and nods. Then, Ry is grabbing him by the jacket and walking him out the door.
Julie’s in the yard and Paul’s slamming the hood of his truck down as they walk around the side of the stables.
“I get the oil changed in it regular, old man,” Nash hollers.
“I know, just checking,” Paul says as they get closer.
Nash tosses his duffel in the bed and walks towards the front of the truck.
“You got enough gas money?”
“You serious?” Nash asks laughingly. “I’m good.”
“Your mom threw some groceries in the front. Just stuff she knows you boys like.”
“Cool,” Nash says. He looks over his shoulder at Ry talking to Julie, to his mom, and grins.
“Well, you boys travel safe.”
“Call when you get in, okay? Both of you,” Julie orders, pointing at both of them.
“Will do, Mom,” Nash says.
“I’ll make sure he does, Mrs. O,” Ryan adds.
And then Nash is shaking his dad’s hand and kissing his mom’s cheek. She hugs him hard around the middle and whispers ‘I love you’ into his ear and he wonders if she’s been into the wine already but shrugs it off and tells her he loves her, too.
Nash turns to walk Ry to the car, following Ry’s black converse down the drive to Ian’s car.
“Still can’t believe you talked Ee outta his car,” Nash says.
Ryan just shrugs and gives a half-smile.
It hits Nash hard in the chest that maybe Ry might think this was some sorta ending and when they reach the car, Nash grabs Ry’s hand and pulls, turning Ry. “I don’t know what’s going on in your head right now, but this isn’t done. Just ‘cause we’re leaving here, doesn’t mean I’m fucking done.”
Ryan’s half smile turns into that smile that’s so big he can feel it in every muscle in his face. Like his eyebrows are smiling, too. Nash’s jacket is open over his tee shirt, and Ryan grabs hold of the edges and pulls them closed, keeping his free hand on Nash’s chest.
“I’m not done either. I won’t stop looking.”
And Nash doesn’t give a shit if Paul and Julie are standing on the porch, he drops Ry’s hand and puts both of his own hands on Ry’s face and kisses him.
“See you at home,” he whispers.
Nash figures that’ll keep Ry until they get back.