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The Difference Between an Irish Wedding and an Irish Funeral

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Warped 2004

"Ray, hey, Ray," Gerard whispers, clambering into Ray's bunk.

"Mmnph," Ray says, and Gerard drapes himself over Ray's chest, heavy and warm and reeking of alcohol and sweat and weeks-old clothing.

"Ray." Gerard pats Ray's cheek, and looks down at him, eyes wide and solemn. "I want to fuck your mouth," he says earnestly.

Ray can't help it; he bursts out laughing.

Gerard looks offended for a split second, then starts giggling himself. He falls asleep in mid-laugh, going limp and boneless against Ray.

Ray's laughter dies away, and he contemplates pushing Gerard out of the bunk, but in the end it seems like too much effort.

He doesn't mean to think about what Gerard said, but the image lingers as he falls asleep.

Gerard doesn't say anything about it the next morning, but he doesn't exactly drop it either.

A few states later, he tells a busful of people that Ray has a really pretty mouth.

Ray flushes but Adam nods seriously and says, "Ray has a cock-sucking mouth."

It's not the first time he's heard that, but it's the first time he's been around people who mean it as a compliment. It's kind of nice.

Later, on the way back to their bus, Gerard leans into him and whispers, "Please, please, please," against his shoulder. His fingers curl warm and strong against Ray's skin where his t-shirt has ridden up, and Ray feels it even through the alcohol and the summer heat.

"Shh," Ray says, "shh," and Gerard has forgotten it by the time Ray gets him to his bunk.

Gerard never asks when he's sober, but Ray's starting to realize Gerard isn't sober that often on this tour. Ray spends a lot of time not-sober himself, but never drunk enough to think that saying yes would be a good idea.

Almost never.

Ray's playing flip-cup with Frank and Matt and Mikey against some people whose names he probably knew an hour ago, after a show in a state he probably never knew the name of to begin with, when Gerard reappears.

Gerard is a giggly, affectionate, uncoordinated drunk. By the time he's done hugging all of them, their makeshift table has collapsed and the beer is soaking into the dirt.

"Oh," Gerard says mournfully, looking at the wreckage and other team, half of whom are already wandering off.

Ray pats him heavily on the head, and Gerard loops an arm around Ray's waist with a sigh.

A bunch of people thunder by completely naked, a fast-moving herd of bare asses and tattoos, war-whoops echoing in their wake.

"Oh, shit, Frank, no," Matt says, but it's already too late. Frank has whipped off his shirt and is chasing after them, and Ray is feeling far too mellow to do anything more than shrug.

They lose Mikey and Matt somewhere on the way back to the bus. Ray suspects that this means two of them have taken a wrong turn, but he has no idea which two. It also means they're alone when Gerard knots his fists in Ray's shirt and lunges up on tip-toe to kiss him.

It's hard and clumsy and a little awkward, but it's Gerard, so Ray opens his mouth and kisses back.

Gerard sways into it, pressing his whole body up against him. Ray has just enough presence of mind to get them off the beaten path, tugging Gerard into the space between a bus and an equipment trailer. He pushes him up against the back of the bus, grinding up against him.

Gerard is his friend and his lead singer, and he loves him like a brother, and right now those all seem like excellent reasons to say yes instead of no.

Gerard breaks the kiss and says, low and hoarse, "Ray, I want to fuck your mouth," and this time Ray doesn't feel like laughing at all.

The ground is cool and damp through his jeans when he drops to his knees in front of Gerard. He undoes Gerard's belt, unzips his jeans. He wraps his hand around Gerard's cock and looks up. Gerard is looking down at him, eyes wide, mouth a little open, like he can't believe this is happening.

Ray keeps his eyes on Gerard's face as he leans forward and slides his mouth over the head of Gerard's cock. Gerard's breath comes out in a rush and he jerks a little under Ray's hand.

Ray drops his gaze and concentrates on moving his mouth up and down on Gerard's cock. Gerard's hands flutter over his head, soft and petting and hesitant, and then more confident, tangling in his hair. He thrusts into Ray's mouth, hits the back of his throat and makes him gag.

"Shit, fuck, sorry," Gerard says breathlessly, and he's a little more careful on the next stroke.

Ray's got one hand on Gerard's hip, holding him steady, not holding him back or down. He could stop it anytime he wants, and maybe that's why he doesn't, why he just opens his mouth and takes it.

The smell, the taste, bitter-salty-sour-sharp, fills his mouth and his nose. His jaw aches and the corners of his mouth feel stretched and tight, and he's so hard it hurts.

Gerard runs his thumb over the hollow of Ray's cheek, and Ray looks up. When he meets Ray's eyes, Gerard comes. Ray swallows, sloppy and fast, and pulls back, fumbling at his own jeans.

He gets one hand on his dick and lets his head fall forward to rest against Gerard's hip. Gerard's hands are still tangled in his hair, fingertips rubbing tiny circles against his scalp. It only takes a couples of strokes before he's coming.

When the rushing in his ears has subsided, he makes himself straighten up. Gerard lets his hands drop, and his expression is still a little dazed. Ray stands up and the world spins, and he braces himself with one hand on the bus next to Gerard's head.

Gerard leans in and kisses him, soft and easy, and Ray kisses back until he realizes that's not what's making him dizzy.

"Hey, we should," he says, and Gerard makes an disappointed noise, but lets Ray maneuver him back to—eventually—the right bus.

The bus is silent when they get back, everyone either passed out or still wandering the grounds. Ray's grateful for that, because he suddenly can't remember if he zipped his pants. He doesn't exactly put Gerard in his bunk, more like points him in the right direction and lets gravity do the rest.

Gerard curls his hands into Ray's shirt at the last moment and pulls him down, too, before Ray catches himself, hunched over and face to face with Gerard. Gerard blinks at him slowly and licks his lips, but then his grip goes slack and his eyes close. Ray nudges him the rest of the way into his bunk, and collapses into his own, asleep before he hits the mattress.

When Ray wakes up, the bus is moving, and he has to concentrate very hard on lying still and not puking. Or dying.

The night before comes back in a rush, and the knotting in his stomach has nothing to do with his hangover. They're going to have to have a whole awkward conversation starting with Hey, do you remember what we did last night? and ending with Is this a thing?

Ray doesn't know what he wants the answers to any of those questions to be.

"Fuck," he mumbles, and wonders how much worse it would make things if he just avoids Gerard until the hangover goes away.

They never do have that conversation. In the end, it doesn't matter, because two days later, they're somewhere in the Midwest, and Gerard decides to go see The Killers play.

After that, a lot of stuff doesn't matter.

Warped 2005

"Noooo, Ray, don't leave me with them," Bob shouts as Mikey and Frank drag him off the bus.

"Have a good time!" Ray says, and the door shuts on Bob's laughing "You bastard!"

The studio in the back of the bus was genius.

"Hey," Gerard says from the doorway.

Ray looks up from the laptop. "You're not going?"

"Trailer trashed," Gerard says, rolling his eyes. "Whatcha working on?"

Ray holds out the headphones.

Gerard comes over to lean his hip against Ray's shoulder and listen.

Ray thinks that Warped '05 is a lot like Warped '04—exhausting and confusing and filthy—but the stink coming off of both of them right now has nothing to do with alcohol, and that makes it completely different.

He looks up at Gerard, who's bobbing his head and humming along with the guitar track, and lets himself think for the first time that they made it, they can do this. He leans a little harder into Gerard's hip and smiles, and Gerard grins back, bright and open and happy.

When the track is over, Gerard pulls the headphones off and fiddles with cord. "So," he says, and Ray's thinking about the bass line and makes an encouraging noise.

"I did a lot of stupid things on Warped last year."

Ray blinks and the words Didn't you do this step already? are on the tip of his tongue before he sees the way Gerard isn't quite looking at him, and realizes what he's talking about.

Ray hasn't thought about that in a long time; he kind of just folded the memory up and put it away and focused on getting through...everything.

"Oh," he says.

Gerard's gaze flies to his face and he grimaces. "No, fuck, I mean, I had a lot of good ideas, but the execution was usually crap. Like now, apparently. I just—'I want to fuck your mouth' is maybe not the best pick-up line ever."

The last sentence comes out in a rush, and Gerard's cheeks are getting pink, but he keeps his eyes on Ray.

"Oh," Ray says again, and ducks his head. "It worked, though."

"Yeah," Gerard says, and then he's climbing into Ray's lap, smiling that brilliant, happy smile again. "So. You wanna fuck my mouth?"