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“I’m worried about Freddie.”

Amazing how many of Brian’s conversations seem to start like that, these days.

Roger’s already rolling his eyes.  “You need to let it go, Brian, you know what he’s like.”

“I do know what he’s like,” Brian retorts, setting his guitar aside as he realises he’s gripping it a bit too tightly.  “That’s exactly why I’m worried.”

“He’s just having some fun, he likes a good party.”

“He’s not out there drinking a few too many beers and throwing up in someone’s bushes!”  Brian wouldn’t have minded that in the least, in fact he’s dealt with that Freddie a thousand times.  “He’s going to get in trouble, I don’t trust Prenter with him, you know he’s—”

“Not going to stop,” Roger cuts him off.  “He’s Fred.  If he wants to go off and shag eight men in one night, nothing in this world is going to stop him.”

Brian pulls in a long, deep breath and briefly wishes he smoked.  The breath is shaky when he lets it out.  “I just don’t trust Prenter with him,” he repeats, because none of the others take this seriously, he knows they don’t, but there’s something about that fucking man that sets Brian’s teeth on edge.  He wouldn’t want him around anyone, let alone Freddie.

“Oh, come off it, Brian, if Paul was hurting him, d’you think Freddie’d keep going out with him?”  

Brian swallows his reply, because he can’t bear to hear himself say, Yes.  

“Look,” Roger says, softening a little.  “Freddie’s just being Freddie.  He doesn’t do anything by halves but he’ll move on quick enough.  It’s just ‘cause it’s all new, all these clubs and men and all that.”

Brian frowns.  “He never used to skip out on studio time, though.  This always used to come first—the music, the band.”  Lately, though, it’s like Freddie can’t wait to be through with his bits so he can get back out there, Paul constantly hanging in the doorway and making eyes at him until Freddie makes his excuses and leaves for another night.  And Brian’s not blind; he knows exactly what Paul’s doing when he slips his finger or his tongue into Freddie’s mouth just outside, even if he can’t see the fucking pill.

It’s hard to tell because Freddie’s eyes are so dark anyway but they’re blown wide more often than not, glassy and too-bright in the brief moments when he takes his sunglasses off.  He misses notes where he never used to, deems songs ‘good enough’ where before he’d settle for nothing less than perfect, for whatever he could hear inside his own head playing back to him from their battered tapes.

Brian’s making himself sick worrying over it, no matter how many times Roger and even John tell him it’s no use.  He does know that Freddie’s impossible to control, that trying to talk to him about this will only make him defensive and defiant, that he’s going to lash out at anyone who tries to criticise him, and that’ll only drive him further into Paul’s arms.  But what else can he do?  He can’t just stand by and fucking watch because soon he’s going to be standing there uselessly fucking watching as Freddie seriously hurts himself.  

Just as he’d stood by uselessly today when Paul came to fetch Freddie from the studio, as he did every night, and Brian had watched Freddie’s retreating back, willing himself to call out and stop him but finding himself quite voiceless.  Again.  

It was no use promising himself that tomorrow he’d do something, always tomorrow, when he would somehow think of the perfect words to say.  There weren’t any perfect words, there was no magic phrase that would bring Freddie back to them and keep him there.  

“He’ll be alright,” Roger says, clapping Brian on the shoulder as he heads for the door himself.  No point in staying late without Freddie, may as well hit up a pub or three on the way home.

Deaky gives Brian a nod and a sympathetic smile before heading out with Roger, but Brian doesn’t follow for a long time.  He sits alone in the studio, fingers tapping restlessly against the control bank, and can’t help but think about Freddie.  What he’s doing, who he’s with.  If he’s safe, if he’s happy.  If they’re losing him.  

 

 


 

 

It takes Brian a long time to realise that there’s another emotion lurking in him, something more than worry or anger or frustration.  It’s not just irritation he feels flare up inside when Freddie’s lounging, smoking, kicking his feet up into Prenter’s lap.  He’s not pissed off at the immaturity of it all when Prenter parades Freddie round on his shoulders, hands secure on his thighs so he won’t fall.  He’s not only worried when he sees the bruises like bracelets around Freddie’s thin wrists, and the hickies that spot his throat.

He’s jealous.  

It’s hot and sharp one evening when he’s stood watching them in the doorway, watching Prenter whisk Freddie off yet again, a sick curl of it that Brian can’t deny.  He suddenly knows exactly what it is.  Seeing Freddie tip his head back for a possessive kiss that leaves his mouth pink and his eyes round, Brian has to turn away.  His hands shake, heart beating like he’s gearing up for a fight.  

“See you darlings tomorrow!” Freddie proclaims as he fans through the door, throwing a wave over his shoulder without a backward glance.

Brian lets him go again and hates himself a little more.

 

 

 


 

 

“What the hell do you see in that asshole, Fred?” Brian can’t help himself.  All of a sudden he’s no longer content with simply glaring at Prenter’s back and wishing a car would hit him when he steps outside, no longer satisfied to just think truly awful things and voice them only to Roger when they’re both drunk.  No.  He hates Paul with a vicious anger he’s never hated anything with in his life, and maybe he’d be able to cope with that, but it's Freddie.  It’s Freddie.  It’s always been different when it’s Freddie.

For his part, Freddie doesn’t seem too surprised by the outburst.  He gives a quick laugh that doesn’t sound like him at all, patronising and fake.  “Oh, you wouldn’t understand, darling,” Freddie says casually, waving Brian’s question off and his non-answer with it.

Try me,” Brian growls.  He’s desperate to know what the fuck Prenter has that literally any other man in the world doesn’t.  Why did Freddie have to pick him?  Because it’s not even like he’s exclusively with Prenter—Brian knows for a fact that Freddie frequently shags other people, and he’s sure that Paul knows too, but somehow Paul’s always still there.  

Freddie laughs again but he’s staring shrewdly up at Brian from where he’s laid out across three chairs.  “Well,” he says, “it’s the sex more than anything, dear.  He’s got a big cock, you see, and I’m quite fussy.”

Brian knows that Freddie’s trying to get a reaction from him, so he deliberately keeps his face impassive.  “So?” he asks.  “Plenty of men have big cocks.”

Freddie snorts at that, surprised and delighted by the retort.  “You’re right,” he allows, lazily swinging his leg back and forth, the toe of his trainer scuffing the floor.  “He knows all sorts of naughty places, though, Bri—you can’t even imagine.”

Brian can, actually.  “That’s it?  You’re staying with the prick because he’s got a pass to a few clubs?” Brian demands.  He steps closer.  “You’re Freddie fucking Mercury.  You don’t need him to get in anywhere—he probably needs you.”

That at least sparks a sort of thoughtful look on Freddie’s face, like he’d never considered that before, but he shrugs it off after a moment.  “I can’t go alone,” he says, like Brian’s brainless to even think it.  

“Don’t go alone,” Brian snaps.  “Just don’t go with him.  He doesn’t fucking care about you, Fred!”

Freddie gives a proper laugh then.  “I know that, Brian,” he chuckles, but he doesn't.  Freddie never does, he doesn’t see the worst of people and he always, always cares too much.  

“So why bother with him?” 

“I just told you!”

Brian doesn’t know what possesses him but the words are out before he can think better.  “You know what?  Fine.  If you wanna go to a gay club so bad, let’s fucking go.  Where’s your jacket?”

That’s twice he’s managed to surprise Freddie in as many minutes.  Freddie actually gapes at him, lets out a breathy laugh that peters off when he realises Brian’s not joking.

“Oh, Bri, you’re not serious,” he says, slowly sitting up.  He has a shitty smug look on his face that Brian despises, Freddie never used to look at him like that.

“I’m serious, let’s see what all this fuss is about—I’m dying to know.  Where’s your coat, Fred?”

Freddie doesn’t move, just watches Brian with frozen amusement on his face, and Brian turns to look for Freddie’s coat himself.  It’s tossed over the arm of a sofa and Brian steps right up to Freddie to shove it in his chest.  “Come on, then,” he says, all but clicking his fingers.  

“Brian…”  He rolls his eyes, which actually pisses Brian off more than the smug look.

“No, don’t ‘Brian’ me, I want to see where it is you have all this naughty fun.”

Freddie hesitates for a second longer before he just laughs through his nose and shrugs, getting up.  “You’re going to hate it,” he says, with that look still on his face.  “I doubt they’ll even let you in.”

“I’m sure they will if I’m with you.”  Brian hasn’t really thought that far ahead—will they let him in?  Is there some sort of code or look that you need to qualify?  A membership card?  It’s been a while since he went to a club like this, and he’s never been to a gay one before.  It stands to reason they’re a lot more fussy over who they let in, given the amount of abuse people face just out on the streets.  

“Probably.  Alright then,” Freddie says, with the air of someone washing their hands of a mistake.  “I’ll show you, if you want to see so much.”

Brian leads him outside and they clamber into the back of one of their cars, Terry slipping into the front seat.  “Where to, boss?” he asks.

Freddie smirks a bit.  “Usual.”

Brian catches Terry’s surprised glance to him in the rearview and makes sure his expression doesn’t change.  Let them be surprised, Brian’s not backing down now.  He’s always been more stubborn than Freddie, who’d always rather find a compromise than continue fighting for days.  Or at least, Freddie used to, before fucking Paul got to him and started whispering in his ear.  You don’t have to listen to them, Freddie and You should do what YOU want, Fred, nobody listens to this any more.  Brian’s heard him, Prenter rarely troubles to keep his voice down.  

He’s seething again just thinking about it, and something must show on his face because Freddie arches an eyebrow at him.  

“Having second thoughts, dear?” he asks knowingly.  “We can turn around.  Why don’t we drop you back at the hotel, hmm?”

“No,” Brian says resolutely, and turns to meet Freddie’s amused gaze.  “Do you really think you’re going to shock me that much, Fred?”

“Yes,” Freddie replies honestly.  A little of the smugness is slipping away, now.  “You’ll think differently of me, once you see.”  It’s a warning, but Brian knows Freddie well enough to hear the worry lacing the carefully indifferent tone.

“I won’t.”  Brian knows that.

Freddie doesn’t reply to that.  He lights up a cigarette instead, which he knows Brian hates, and Brian stares out of the window.  It’s not long before he stops recognising the streets they’re driving along.

He can feel Freddie’s gaze boring a hole into the side of his head but Brian refuses to react to it or even look at him, feigning mild interest as he watches buildings flit by.  Town is looking dodgier by the second and Brian feels a slight pang of nerves followed by a low wave of worry; if this is the sort of place Freddie gets dropped off every night, it doesn’t reassure Brian in the slightest.

What the hell has he been doing here?  It’s an industrial sort of area, something to do with meat if the smell is anything to go by.  It makes Brian feel faintly ill.  

The car comes to a stop before he’s quite ready for it and Freddie’s still watching him.

“Last chance to back out,” he offers, ever so graciously.  “Terry will drive you home, darling.  Let’s be serious—you don’t really want to see.”

Brian’s only response is to shove the door open and get out, leaving Freddie to scramble after him.  

He tries one more time to convince Brian to leave, which Brian cuts off before Freddie’s done much more than open his mouth, and Freddie just shrugs and slips an arm around his waist.

It makes Brian’s heart jump and he suddenly realises that this is quite probably a terrible fucking idea.  What the fuck is he doing?  He can’t stand watching Prenter touch him just casually, can’t stand to see a quick kiss in a doorway; how the fuck is he going to watch Freddie...take part in anything in here without losing his fucking mind?  Because he’s sure Freddie will take part, his friend and bandmate there as witness or no; he wants to shock Brian, after defiantly dragging him all this way.  

“You’ll have to play the part,” Freddie tells him lowly.  

Brian snakes his own arm around Freddie’s waist, hooking his thumb into one of his belt loops without thinking about it, and lets Freddie guide them over to a nondescript door Brian had barely even noticed was there.  

Behind it there are two large, bald men with arms crossed and Brian’s stomach flips with nerves but they don’t say a word, just step aside to let them pass through another door.  One of them nods at Freddie.

And that’s it—they’re in.

Freddie lets go of him as soon as they’re out of sight and Brian becomes aware, then, of his absence, tucks his hands into his pockets for want of something to do with them.  The door swings closed behind them and leaves them in a dimly lit hallway bearing nothing but a staircase going down.  There’s the muffled thump of music and Brian feels oddly imprisoned with the heavy door shut behind him and knowing the only way forward is to go down there and see...what, he’s not exactly sure.  

He hopes whatever happens here doesn’t ruin their friendship but his stubbornness and, if he’s honest, his absolute curiosity won’t let him leave now.  He wants to prove to Freddie that he doesn’t need Paul, yes, but he wants to see this as well.  Wants to know.  He used to do this, himself; different places, different clubs, different people.  But the game is still the same and Brian’s desperate to know how Freddie plays it.

“Pick-me-up?” Freddie offers into the quiet between them.

Coke will surely only help this situation so Brian holds his hand out and Freddie, for lack of flat surfaces and razor blades, tips it into the crease between his thumb and index finger.  It’s only a tiny hit, won’t do much, but it’ll be enough to get him through the initial shock, at least.  

It’s been months since he did this, any of this, but what’s that saying about old habits?  

Freddie starts down the stairs without another word, the music getting louder as they descend, and Brian’s heart starts kicking up like he never left.  

There’s another door, though this one isn’t guarded by anyone, then the music swells over them and Brian’s hit by the familiar smell of fresh sweat and leather and sex, which is immediately arousing.

Coloured lights flash every which way, illuminating skin in red, blue, green; little teases of bodies dancing and moving, men swaying together and alone, gyrating around poles and inside caged podiums.  There are men in police hats just like Freddie wears, men in collars and harnesses, men in masks with nothing but mouth-holes who are pulled along on leashes.  Men in garters and stockings, eight-inch heels and lipstick, men in nothing at all, men in short skirts and men dressed head-to-toe in leather.

It’s different to what Brian’s seen before, but not by much.  There’s actually, surprisingly, more lingerie being worn here than in clubs he’s been to with women.  He likes it.  

It’s always thrilling to see this sort of thing outside of a bedroom, out in the open and in public like this, where anyone can see—and people do see.  People watch.  It should be forbidden but here it’s not and Brian had almost forgotten the heady rush of it.

He meets a man’s eye, over the shoulder of the man he’s dancing with, and holds his gaze until their dancing turns him away.  

Brian feels flushed and light-headed.  He wants a drink, more coke, or something stronger, maybe.  He wants a lot of things, all of a sudden.

He really, really wants to know what it is Freddie does here.

Freddie, who is watching him like a hawk from Brian’s left side, waiting for him to turn and flee in horror.  

Brian offers his hand instead.  “Shall we get a drink?” he shouts over the music.  

Freddie frowns.  “Don’t you want to leave?” he calls back, surprised.  He has to lean in to be heard and Brian catches his elbow automatically, bending his head down to try and hear.  He stares at Freddie’s mouth as though lip-reading but it’s not just that, he knows it’s not.

“I don’t want to leave,” Brian says with absolute certainty.  “I want to get a drink.”

Freddie can’t hide his shock but it’s clear that he’s impressed.  “Bar’s that way!”  He jerks his head to indicate where and pulls his vest off as he starts walking, bathing him in blue light that makes him look ethereal and unreal.  There are lip-marks dotted across his chest and shoulders, possessive-looking bites that have bruised his skin.  Brian wonders how many of those belong to Prenter and wishes there was a wavelength of light that would wash them away, scrub Freddie fresh and new and clean again instead of this blue and the red, which only make them more obvious.  

Can admit to himself, in the dark anonymity of this club, that he only wants Freddie new again so can mark him with his own mouth.

He follows Freddie through the crowd, keeps a tight grip on his hand so they won’t lose each other in the throng of people pressing close around them, catches eyes and glances as he goes.  Some linger, some slide away, some give Brian such an obvious once-over that it gives him a tiny thrill.  

Freddie’s evidently noticed them looking.  He leans into his toes, his mouth close to Brian’s ear.  “I think they like you,” he has to shout to be heard, laughing as they join the crowd at the bar.  Thankfully the music isn’t quite as loud here.    

“I’m not here with them,” Brian tells him.  

Freddie doesn’t have a response to that.  He doesn’t do the polite thing and wait his turn at the bar—he’s Freddie fucking Mercury, after all—but pushes his way forward.  It’s quite easily done; as soon as people glance at him and either recognise who he is or at least recognise him from previous nights, they let him through.

He orders himself a vodka tonic and Brian a beer.  He doesn’t even have to specify which vodka because the bar staff just know, pouring Stoli and Schweppes into a glass for him.  

Brian catches himself wondering how many people in here Freddie’s screwed, or have screwed him.  Wonders if Freddie’s ever dressed up, if anyone ever fastened a collar around his neck, if he’s ever been fucked against the back wall like a dozen other couples are doing now, right in plain sight.  

His jeans are starting to get uncomfortable.

He takes a deep swig of beer and looks around some more, but his gaze is inevitably drawn back to Freddie no matter how many living fantasies parade themselves around the club.

“So do you just stand here and drink all night?” Brian says into his ear.  He’s trying to goad him and it works.  

Freddie arches a contentious eyebrow and turns back to the barman, signalling to him until a row of shots lines the bar.  

Probably a bad idea but, if Brian’s honest with himself, that’s why he came.

“Surely you don’t want to go anywhere else?” Freddie asks, and necks the first one.

Brian takes the second without replying, tipping it down his throat with the easy practice of any seasoned rockstar.

“One step out of this room’ll have you running for the hills,” Freddie assures him after he drinks the next one, shaking his head after and wincing a bit.  

Brian leans in, just a bit closer, and makes sure Freddie meets his eye.  “What makes you think that?” he asks lowly.  Any other night it might have frustrated him how innocent Freddie seems to think he is—God knows it has before—but tonight he doesn’t care.  Let him think that, if he wants.  He’ll soon see.  “Do you think I’ve never been in a sex club before, Freddie?”

Freddie blinks and slides the next shot toward Brian with one finger.  “Drink,” he says.  

Brian takes the glass but he doesn’t lift it.  “So what, then?  You drink and then what?”

“You don’t want to know.”

“I really do.”

“I get fucked, Bri,” Freddie says quickly, loud even with the music blaring though nobody pays them any attention.  “You should go back to the hotel, Terry’ll be waiting outside.”

Brian shakes his head.  “I’m not going anywhere.”

“I don’t need you to fucking babysit me—”

“That’s not why I’m here,” Brian interrupts, and finally lifts the shot glass between his fingers, though he doesn’t drink it himself.  He tips it against Freddie’s mouth, meets his eyes again as Freddie’s lips part and he tips his head back to swallow it.  

“Why are you here then?” Freddie asks.  His eyes are bright and there’s a wet smudge of tequila along his lip that takes every ounce of Brian’s self-control to ignore.  

Brian shrugs as though he doesn’t know exactly why he came, and why he stayed.  He does another shot from the bar and looks out at the club again, letting his eyes skim over everything that’s on display.

Brian!”  Freddie grabs his shirt and gives him a shake, demanding as ever.  “Why are you here?”  There’s a look on his face now like he knows, or at least suspects, but doesn’t dare say it aloud.  Because it’s crazy, it’s completely fucking insane and yet, here they both are.  

“I fucking hate him, you know,” Brian says, instead of replying.  The shots have made him feel pleasantly buzzed already so he abandons the final one in favour of his beer and nurses it for a moment, though it tastes awful after the tequila.

Freddie doesn’t have to ask who he means.  “I know.”  

“He brings you here?”

“Yes.”

“And you fuck.”  Brian already knows the answer to that, it’s not phrased like a question.

Freddie glances at him shrewdly.  “Sometimes,” he says.  “Sometimes I find someone else.  Depends what I’m in the mood for.”

“What are you in the mood for, Freddie?” Brian asks deliberately, turning to face him properly.  They’re stood so close the difference in their height feels more pronounced, Freddie’s chin tipped up to look at him, Brian looking down.  

Freddie swallows and looks away first.  “Another drink, I think.”

“You don’t need anything else to drink.  Why are you nervous?”

“I’m not nervous, darling, this is practically my second home.”  

But he is, Brian can tell.  He knows Freddie too well to be lied to.  

“If you want to go off and shag someone, don’t let me stop you,” Brian tells him, though he hates to do so.  He doesn’t want Freddie to go off with anyone (well, he kind of does want him to go off with someone) but he also doesn’t want to just stand here all night or there’s no point in coming.  Besides, while he’s not sure how he’ll feel about it, there is a small but loud part of him that wants to see.  Wants to see Freddie, even if it is with someone else.  Wants to see what he does, how he works, what he likes.  

Brian’s pretty sure he already knows—God knows, Freddie goes to his knees like he was fucking born for it—but he wants to see for himself.  

“And leave you here all alone?” Freddie asks.  “Oh, my dear, a sweet thing like you, they’d eat you alive.”  

Brian really turns into Freddie then, sets his beer on the bar behind Freddie’s elbow and crowds him against the counter, his hands either side of him.  “Do you really think that?” he asks, and steps the last bit closer.

Freddie’s eyes go wide when he feels him and Brian arches an eyebrow, rocking his hips just gently into Freddie so he’ll finally get the fucking message.  

“I think I could handle them,” Brian carries on, because Freddie’s just staring at him in shock.  “You think you’re so naughty, don’t you, Fred?  Coming to a place like this.”  

Freddie gets ahold of himself enough to lift his hands and hold tight to Brian’s upper-arms and his hips stutter when Brian gives a little thrust against him.  

“You’re not the only one, you know,” Brian says, leaning down and speaking low in Freddie’s ear.  He debates with himself for a second, but only a second because he can’t stop himself, and lets his tongue dart out to catch the shell of Freddie’s ear.

Freddie jumps in surprise and Brian hears him let out a little cry because he’s listening for it so fucking hard.  

“God, fuck, Bri,” Freddie gasps out.  “Have you been here before?”

Brian laughs.  “Not here,” he allows.  “But places like this are all the same, really.  You like to be told what to do, don’t you?”

Freddie nods slowly.  

“Good.”  Brian likes telling people what to do.  “Do you like this?”  He moves his hips again to rub his erection against Freddie a little harder and Freddie’s eyes flutter closed for a few beats before he nods again. 

“Good,” Brian says again.  “Unzip your jeans.”

Freddie’s eyes fly wide open at that.  “Brian—”

“Ssh,” Brian doubts Freddie can hear that over the beat of the club but it doesn’t matter.  He lifts his hand and cups his jaw.  “Don’t think about it.”

He holds Freddie’s gaze and keeps his expression steady even when he feels Freddie fumble with the button of his jeans, his hand moving against Brian’s crotch as he unzips them for him.  

Brian keeps his left hand where it is, holding Freddie’s chin, and slides his right into Freddie’s jeans to squeeze his cock.  

Freddie jumps again and bucks forward into his hand, mouth open and gasping and Brian wishes the fucking music would turn off so he could hear him properly.  

“Stop that,” Brian says, loosening his grip.  “Stand still.”

Freddie stills and Brian strokes him again.

Freddie tips his head back and Brian kisses his neck, runs his tongue along the column of his throat and that time he feels it when Freddie groans for him.

“We should—we should go into the actual club, this is the bar,” Freddie says roughly, righting himself and staring at Brian, flushed and bleary-eyed.

“No.  You’re going to stay here with me.”  There are fewer people here, most of whom are just drinking or kissing, so it feels somehow more risky even though the entire club is dedicated to this and they’re not breaking any rules.  Brian doesn’t mind, in fact he quite likes that without the crowd people will almost certainly see what they’re doing, and the music’s quieter here.  It’s still loud but at least they can hear each other speak.

“This is crazy, Brian,” Freddie says, shaking his head.  “What are we doing?”  Even as he talks, though, he’s rolling his hips into Brian’s fist, trying for more.

Brian stops again.  “Stop.  Moving,” he growls, and nips Freddie’s ear for his trouble.  “Let me take care of you.”

“Fucking hell,” Freddie lets out with a slightly hysterical laugh.  His hips still and Brian uses his foot to nudge Freddie’s legs further apart.  “Your hands are so fucking big.”

Brian laughs at that.  It does help.  He hasn’t done this to anyone else for a long time, and never exclusively; every sexual encounter he’s had with another man has been with a woman as well, but it doesn’t matter.  It’s Freddie; Brian’s always known how to handle him. 

“And your jeans are so fucking tight,” Brian responds.  It’s not easy to maneuver his hand, though if Freddie’s reactions are anything to go by he’s not doing a bad job.  “Pull them down.”

They haven’t discussed any of this and they should, Brian knows they should, it’s irresponsible not to, but he can’t stop now and Freddie’s clearly enjoying himself.  He lets out a long groan at the command and lets his head fall forward onto Brian’s shoulder before sliding his thumbs into his waistband and wriggling his jeans down a little.

Brian considers making him drop them all the way but decides against it; it’s early days, yet.  And he does like to go slow.  He especially wants to go slow with Freddie; quick, impatient Freddie—he was practically made to be teased.

“Good,” Brian breathes.  It’s much easier to move his hand like this and Freddie’s leaking a lot, easing the dry drag of his palm into something slick and messy.  Brian has to force himself to breathe slowly, to remain steady; it’s been a while since he did this, it’d be all too easy to get lost in it and he can’t afford that right now.  They haven’t even talked about this.

“Tell me what you do here,” Brian continues, shrugging his shoulder a bit to dislodge Freddie’s forehead, wanting to look at him.  He’s a fucking picture, beautiful as always, flushed and sweaty and not at all sure of himself with his cock in Brian’s hand.  It’s a good look on him.  

“I told you,” Freddie gasps.  “Fuck.”

“How?”

“God, Brian—”

“How?”  Brian keeps up his steady rhythm and has to fight to keep his satisfaction from showing on his face when he realises he can feel Freddie struggling not to move his hips into the sensation.  So he can follow orders like this—if only he was so bloody obedient in the studio.  

“Just—whatever people want,” Freddie manages to tell him.  His grip on Brian’s arms is bordering on painful but Brian likes that, too, loves that he’s affecting Freddie this much.  

Whatever people want.  

“Anything?  You let people do whatever they want to you?” Brian repeats, both turned on and concerned as hell about that.  

Freddie nods frantically, and pulls backward a little bit in an effort to stop himself from bucking his hips forward.  Brian simply goes with him, leans him back into the counter until there’s no room left and carries on stroking him.

“Would you let me?” he asks lowly.

Freddie tips his head back and Brian can’t resist, he’s only human and Freddie’s already covered in everyone else—he sucks hard just beneath his jaw, bites and has Freddie groaning, leaves his own mark.

Fuck, yes,” Freddie grinds out.  “Yes, I would—God, Brian, I’m really close now.”

“That’s okay,” Brian assures him.  “Good.  You can come when you’re ready.”

Freddie’s throat bobs as he swallows and he glances down, hips stuttering as he does like he just can’t help himself once he’s seen—fucking hell, the sight of Brian’s (Brian’s!) hand on him like that.  “It’ll get on you,” he says worriedly, nearly squirming now with the effort of trying to hold back.

“It’s fine, Freddie,” Brian tells him.  “Do it.”

That’s all it takes.  Freddie lurches forward and hastily buries his cry in Brian’s chest as he spills all over his bandmate’s hand, rocking into his fist now it’s not forbidden until he can’t stand it any more.  

Brian gives him one last squeeze before he lets him go, wiping his hand on Freddie’s bare chest before grasping the back of his neck and rubbing his thumb in soothing strokes while Freddie keeps his head down and catches his breath.  

“Oh God,” Freddie mutters; Brian can only hear him because his head is so close.  “Oh fuck.”  

Brian lowers his hand and rubs Freddie’s back.  “I know,” he says soothingly, as though Freddie’s in distress and not recovering from an orgasm.  “You’re alright.  That was good, Freddie, well done.”

Freddie lets out a low moan against his chest, Brian can feel the heat of his breath through his t-shirt, and he makes a mental note that he’d guessed already just from knowing him—Freddie likes praise.

He pulls back eventually and gives Brian a sheepish look, still a bit breathless.  “Oh fuck, I’m sorry, it’s all over you, darling.”

“I know, don’t worry.”  If they’d talked about this before Brian would tell him to clean it up.  As it is, he reaches around Freddie and grabs a wad of napkins from the bar to try and get the worst of it off while Freddie remains where he is, still hemmed in by him, and tries to wrap his head around what just happened.  

Freddie doesn’t move as Brian wipes himself off and chucks the soiled napkins back on the bar, nor when he tugs Freddie’s jeans back into place and carefully zips him back up.  He only reacts when Brian leans in to place a surprisingly gentle kiss on his mouth.

He kisses him back, equally gently, before his hand drifts onto Brian’s crotch.

“Are you…?”  He doesn’t have to finish the question; he can feel that Brian’s rock hard in his own jeans.

Brian catches his wrist before he can do anything.  “Not tonight.”  He knows what he’s doing, what he’s implying and, judging by the surprise on Freddie’s face, he does too.  “Do you want to stay or shall we go?”  Personally Brian wants to go away and think about things—needs to, actually, before this becomes something neither of them can control—but he has to admit there’s appeal in staying for a while.  He doubts it’d take long for Freddie to recover and he is aching in his jeans, but it’d be too much, too soon.  God, he wants to, so fucking badly, but it’d be irresponsible.  Even more irresponsible than what they’ve done already.  

Brian really, really hopes they haven’t just ruined their friendship and tanked their careers in one fell swoop.  

Freddie looks at him, his arm still caught in Brian’s grip.  “I’ll get you off, Bri,” he says earnestly.  “I’m very good.”

Freddie tugs his wrist and Brian doesn’t loosen his fingers around him but he does let Freddie move his hand downward, deliberately catching him again just as his fingers brush his jeans.  “Freddie,” he says lowly.  “Not tonight.  We need to talk.”

The words immediately make Freddie defensive and he yanks his hand back hard enough that it breaks Brian’s grip.  “Oh, spare me,” he says quickly.  “No need to overthink it, Bri.  You’re drunk, I’m drunk.  It’s fine, darling.”

He sidles out from where Brian’s had him blocked in and jerks his head toward the exit.  “Let’s get out of here, then.  The music’s shit anyway.”

His back is making its way through the crowd before Brian can stop him and he has to hurry before he loses him in a crowd of people who so nearly look almost like him, but there’s no mistaking Freddie.  Even from behind, even in nothing but blue jeans and unstyled hair, in the dark, even blind, Brian would know him.

Freddie doesn’t speak when they get outside and flag down Terry, who’s sitting in the car and parked just along the street reading a newspaper.  

Brian doesn’t push him to; he needs to process what just happened, himself, and Freddie’s clearly feeling a bit prickly and uncertain so it’s best to leave him to it for now.  

He pretends to be asleep in the car on the way back, which gives Brian free rein to stare at him all he likes, as he’s wont to do when his mind wanders.  Particularly when his mind wanders toward Freddie, which it usually does.

He needs to think about all this, they both do, and they need to talk about it, but not tonight.  Brian just lets his hand creep over the seat between them to take hold of Freddie’s and twine their fingers together.

Freddie doesn’t open his eyes but he gives Brian’s hand a brief squeeze and for now, that’s enough.

Good sense can return in the morning.  For tonight, there’s this.