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Ezra picked up his complaining again, muttering a tight-lipped string of obscenities while Chris replaced the ice-stuffed towel he was holding against his head for another. He didn’t even seem to register it, closing his eyes and pressing his head back lightly against the pillow, and Chris watched him for a few minutes before returning to the sheet of lyrics in his hand, trying to pick up a tune in his head so Ezra wouldn’t get a migraine on top of everything else.

The band had decided to stop for the night at a cheap motel not too far off the highway, Ezra too out of it to voice his usual protest that he wouldn’t accept less than a hotel. Usually they made the close quarters of their tour bus work, but after someone had left the fridge open and Ezra wasn’t watching where he was going and his head ran smack dab into it, then losing his balance and whacking his head against the counter on top of that, Chris had decided enough was enough.

Plus, he finally had an excuse for getting out of that claustrophobic death trap.

And yes, the stop was putting them back a good twelve hours, but Chris figured to hell with the remainder of the tour - they’d get to the next stop when they got there - and focused on Ezra instead, who meant a helluva more to him than getting up on stage or signing autographs. At least for the time being. 

“Ice helping?”

“Mmmm,” Ezra groaned. He shifted around on the bed for a good minute before sighing in exaggerated agony, and after he pounded the pillow into submission he finally settled on searching for the remote, which Chris rolled his eyes at but also thought was sorta cute because his eyes were still closed.

Chris could hear Vin, Josiah and Nathan laughing through the wall behind him, and he could also make out the distinctive sound of Josiah’s sitar. Vin had been on a writing kick lately and Chris figured they were working on some new stuff too. He went back to going over the lyrics until Ezra pounded his fist several times against the wall behind him, at least until he winced and then ceased moving altogether. Buck and JD seemed to have resorted to the same in their own room, laughing raucously and then JD shouting some complaint loudly enough that Chris almost lost the tune in his head.

He put the sheet down and sighed, opting to make good use of some alone time with Ezra while he had it. Ezra might not be up for anything but silence, but Chris loved to be in his company regardless of what they were doing. Chris joined him on the bed gingerly, not wanting to startle him, then scooted closer until their shoulders were touching. He picked up the remote Ezra still hadn’t found yet.

Ezra turned his head toward Chris but didn’t open his eyes. “I hope you are aware that I am making us late for Wichita. We have quite a significant fan base there.”

“Shut up, Ezra.” It was always like Ezra to make great pains to keep them on a strict schedule. ‘Time wasted is money wasted, gentlemen,’ he always spouted, but Chris would be damned if he’d sit here and listen to Ezra’s guilt complex seeping out more with each passing minute. “Ya want the TV on or what?”

Ezra sighed in even more exaggerated agony this time, and reached for the hand that wasn’t currently holding the remote. Intentional or not, Chris smiled and breached the small space between them, placing a kiss on the back of Ezra’s hand and then another on his palm before placing it on his leg. Ezra leaned over until his head was resting in the crook of Chris’ neck, one of his legs thrown over Chris’, their breathing in sync.

They sat there in comfortable silence for a few minutes, listening to the angry whir of the air conditioner and the occasional shouts of their other band members, before his concussed lover spoke again. “If you’re expecting me to thank you then I must relate that you might be waiting for quite some time.”

Figuring a second ‘shut up’ wouldn’t make a damn bit of difference if the first hadn’t worked, Chris carefully cupped Ezra’s head and kissed him.

A cranky Ezra was a helluva lot better than no Ezra.