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i have photos of him then that would break your heart

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[one]

Like a pair of peacocks screaming on a fence, Pete and Mikey are the talk of the mobile town that is Warped, and also like a pair of peacocks, they're a beautiful distraction. If anyone bothered to look past their feathered mess, they'd see a smooth undercurrent of other people's less dramatic summer flings going on around them -- but no-one does.

Andy likes to fly under the radar, anyway. He likes the way a lack of public scrutiny lets things stay gentle and only just west of friendly, so they'll fade out at the end of summer into a warm memory just as easily as they slid together at the beginning - a flowering of a friendship, bearing a fruit, but not killing the tree.

(Andy's mom once said he had the soul of a poet, but he likes to keep that on the inside and mostly just hit things with sticks when other people can see him).

It's like that with Ray. Their bands collided inexorably, between Bob and Patrick rooming together, and Pete and Mikey hooking up, and just generally … they all get along. They like video games, and stupid movies, and they end up sticking together sometimes because some of the older bands don't think that much of them or the music they play. And so Andy and Ray collided just as inevitably, swapping NWOBHM bootlegs and trading cards and, eventually, kisses.

They're friends. They were friends in spring and they'll still be friends in the fall, and between those times, in this long, hot, diesel-reeking summer, they'll be just a little something more, because why the fuck not?

***

[two]

They make it through a week of tourdates before the stars align enough to give them space and time and solitude enough to do more than kiss.

It's a week of finding each other in amongst the chaos of backstage and buses, parking lots and catering tents, sweating through inside out shirts or trying to keep enough sunblock on newly-inked skin. They disappear together into the nooks and crannies of tour, and reappear careful increments apart and walk in different directions, with stubble rash and no hickeys, so very definitely no hickeys.

Dizzied smiles, though, that Andy knows Ray blames on beer he isn't drinking when anyone asks; that Andy attributes to yoga he doesn't do but knows he has the reputation for among people who don't know him (or know what yoga is) that well.

But Andy … kind of wants to bite Ray, is the thing. Wants to leave those hickeys. Ray's got that whole soft, sweet, strong thing going on, and Andy just wants to sink his teeth into it.

So they find the time. They find a bus.

No-one sees, because they're all too busy watching strutting peacocks to notice the sparrows in the hedges.

***

[three]

'I'll fall, let me turn- Andy, let me turn around -' Ray's giggle is infectious as Andy pushes him backwards through the bus, steering by the wrists. He won't let Ray fall. Not until there's a mattress to catch him. Messing around with men is fun because Andy's never the taller but so often the stronger - messing around with Ray is fun because he's so, so easy.

Andy puts him flat on his back on the bed, and Ray lets him, and smiles at him like fucking sunshine, stretches out under him. So easy, for a little push, or a 'please'. Andy almost doesn't know what to do with him first.

Get rid of that shirt, that's what's first. Andy rucks it up and then shoved his hands under it til Ray gets the hint and pulls it off over his head. 'Bossy,' he says.

'You like it,' Andy mock-growls at him, and there's that giggle again.

He bends to kiss just under Ray's bellybutton, works his way up by sucking tight little mouthful after mouthful til the skin goes warm and tender, enjoying the sea-change of texture from grained with hair to smooth and back again, til he reaches a nipple and Ray's laughter breaks into a gasp.

What to do, what to do … Ray's breathing is heavy already, his belly rising and falling like the tide. What to do?

Go down on him, probably. Although not without finding out how he sounds when Andy sets his teeth to all that skin, those nipples, everything he can reach that Ray always covers up. 'Gonna give you something to hide, if you're gonna insist on hiding anyway,' he tells Ray, mumbling around the mouthful of belly he's got. It's summer, it's stinking hot, and yet Ray wears a stupid, to Andy's way of thinking, amount of clothes.

Ray doesn't protest his teeth, not at all. He breathes hard, and lets Andy peel those damnfool tight jeans off him, and makes tiny moaning noises, like someone who's used to having to get off silently and can't quite remember what it's like to let go.

Andy will remind him. He fastens his hands over Ray's hips and licks his cock, slowly, til he can't help making a proper noise. It's a victory for Andy, one he can't help looking up and smiling over. A line of purple-red blossoms wavers over Ray's skin, and his moan hangs in the air.

And Andy likes going down on people in general, y'know? - but going down on Ray is, it turns out, a particular kind of good time. He's appreciative, considerate - he knows how to pet without pushing, carding Andy's silly mop of not-quite-grown-out-yet hair back from his face when it gets a little bit too involved with proceedings, skritching gently at the back of Andy's neck.

Andy shows his appreciation with his tongue and his hands, moving from Ray's hips now he's pretty sure Ray can keep himself under control, reaching for his balls and his inner thigh, scraping his nails there gently just to hear Ray's voice break high and wordless and hot with want.

'Don't -' says Ray suddenly, his hips jacknifing. 'I don't want to - not yet, please, I -'

Andy eases off, cards his fingers over Ray's hipbones, round and round. 'Too much?'

'I just - I want this to last longer than five minutes, that's all.'

Ray's voice is wrecked. Andy lays his cheek on Ray's thigh and breathes a thin trickle of warm air over his wet dick, and watches it twitch. 'Oh, it's like that, is it?' he says, happily. 'We can keep this going all afternoon, Toro.'

'I have soundcheck at three,' Ray points out, laughing.

Andy bites his inner thigh, high up where the seam of his too-tight jeans will rub it something awful, and remind him for hours. 'Then we can keep this going til two fifty-five.'

By the time Ray's got to go tune up, Andy's mouth tastes of him, his labret piercing is a little raw-feeling from the stretch of having his mouth that wide open for so long, and Ray isn't even done gasping his orgasm into the crook of his elbow before he's hauling Andy up to kneel on his broad, strong shoulders. He shoves his own hair out of his face and says, 'here, do it here,' apparently too bashful to actually say i want you to come on my face out loud, but you know what? Andy likes giving people the things they're too shy to ask for.

He jerks himself off over Ray's beautiful smile, and wishes it wasn't the stupidest idea in the world to take a picture of this.

***

[four]

Fucking around with someone who's already your friend is fun. You get to say things when you're hanging out with your other friends that raise no eyebrows at all but sometimes make skin flush just a little bit extra warm, or get you a look that writes checks you'll definitely be cashing later.

Shit-talking takes on … not nuances, the word "nuances" implies subtlety that doesn't have a place here, but dimensions, maybe.

'Aw, fucking blow me, Hurley,'

'Maybe later, Toro, if you're lucky.'

And Ray grins, and Andy grins back, and no-one notices because of how they're all pretending they're not shriekingly aware of the fact that Pete and Mikey wandered off in the same direction fifteen minutes ago and aren't back yet.

They're just things they'd have said just as easily in spring, and will say again in the fall, that have taken on a summer's worth of warmth. This shit doesn't always have to be life-changing and world-ending.

As always, Pete said it best. For all his fucking melodrama, he sees truths in things.

Seasons change, but people don't.

Pete misinterprets his own wisdom, though. This truth? It's a good thing. That's why Andy likes a summer fling.

***

[five]

Ray would like it noted that he doesn't normally go to bed with his guitars, it's just that Frank and Gerard are working on something in the studio, and he didn't quite want to stop noodling even though he also didn't want to interrupt their flow. So he brought it out here and then … the bunk is just comfy. He can play lying down with his eyes closed. He can play behind his own head. He's a rockstar, or something.

'Are you gonna put that thing down for a minute?'

Ray opens his eyes and shakes the remnants of the chord progression he was playing with from his mind as he shakes the hair from his eyes. He looks up into the barrel of a camera lens, and smiles involuntarily.

'Sure, if you'll put that thing down.'

Andy snaps a photo, and grins.