Actions

Work Header

i'll watch you from my telescope

Work Text:

“Have you seen my shirt?” Otto yells from where his head’s jammed under the bus couch.

“You’re gonna have to be way more specific,” calls Geoff, wrestling the fitted sheet off his bunk mattress.

“The Projekt Revolution one, that I always wear to sleep? It’s black,” Otto says, lifting his head and sitting back on his haunches, frowning. He knows he just had it; he slept in it last night, there’s no way he could have misplaced it too badly.

“Awsten, have you seen it?” He turns to where Awsten is bundling his overstuffed duffle down the bus stairs. Awsten spares him a glance before turning back to his task, tugging on an overtaxed zipper.

“I dunno, you probably packed it in with your stuff already. What percentage of the clothes on this bus are black, between all of us? I bet it’s stuck in one of your skinny jean legs,” Awsten says offhandedly. Then he’s gone, out the bus door and off across the parking lot.

Otto’s frown deepens. He knows it’s not in with his stuff or he wouldn’t be looking for it. That shirt’s his favorite, even though it’s worn with age and the logo’s peeling off, the My Chemical Romance on the front almost illegible.

Sighing, he takes his cap off and scratches at his forehead. He really hopes it turns up in someone’s laundry.

 


 

It’s always a relief to be home after months on the road, and this time is no exception. Otto can stretch out on his own bed, shower in his own bathroom, drive his own car, wear his own clothes that don’t come wrinkled out of a suitcase… the list goes on. He lets himself luxuriate in the comfort of familiarity for a solid forty-eight hours. He barely leaves the house in those two days except to get himself Chipotle (which he can eat on his own schedule!). His mom even does his laundry for him. Life is so sweet.

There is… one other thing Otto hasn’t been able to do on tour.

Listen. He’s not proud to admit this, but. When you’re maybe-kinda-sorta questioning your sexuality on tour, which you may or may not be realizing is not as… strictly heterosexual, as you had previously believed (thanks to a short, but results-skewing, list of ex-girlfriends), there are not a lot of outlets. You simply don’t have the free time, freedom, or anonymity to swing by the local gay club in any given city and pick up a rockin’ twink to test out your hypothesis with. And this is to say nothing of the field day the tabloids would have with you if you were caught. Visions of TMZ headlines like “Waterparks drummer caught gay cruising in New York! He’s not trying to ‘Sleep Alone’ on this tour!” flash nightmarishly in his mind’s eye whenever he thinks about it. But you obviously still have needs, so sitting around and twiddling your thumbs for two and a half months until you’re home again doesn’t really work either.

The best happy medium Otto has found? Cam sites.

Again, he’s not super proud to cop to this. But there’s no shortage of gay camming when you go looking for it, and after a day or two spent getting over the intense embarrassment of visiting those sort of websites, Otto finds that they do a decent job of filling the need. There’s something about livecams that feels less intimidating than just jumping straight into watching porn, all clinical and formulaic and fake. With cams, the performer usually spends time chatting with the viewers, warming up, letting a little of their personality come through before getting into the action. It’s nice; it feels more human than the staged stuff, like there’s an imitation of connection there, almost like the halfway mark between porn and a real person. Otto likes it. It’s been working for him, so far.

While on tour, space and time and privacy for getting off are all obviously at a premium, so he’d really only been dabbling in site browsing when he had a few spare minutes alone on the bus to take care of business.

(He’s quiet when he jerks off, supposes he could have rubbed one out with the curtain drawn at night, but something about doing it knowing Awsten and Geoff were asleep right across the aisle felt… wrong. So he didn’t.)

He hasn’t spent much time with the options, just watching whoever was live, and he’d been looking forward to having the time and privacy when he got home to browse through specific performers, maybe pick a favorite or two. Maybe get a feel for what he liked, what kind of guys he’s into. Or not into. Start from square one.

Still in pajamas, on a morning he knows he’s got the house to himself, Otto stretches out on his stomach in bed, laptop propped up on the pillows. He’s excited, and a little nervous, too, even though watching porn hardly equates to deep soul searching. He navigates to one of his usual sites, clicking the age confirmation box and hitting enter. Otto startles when the homepage loads, dozens of tiny boxes full of miniscule sex acts being performed splashing across the page. Embarrassed, he scratches awkwardly at his nose, feeling his face heat up. He’s still not used to the shock reflex of seeing so many gyrating dicks pop up out of nowhere, even when knowingly loading a porn site.

He clicks around to the sections he frequents. Otto might be new to this, and still figuring it all out, but he’s working off an inkling or two that he tends towards guys with leaner bodies, less muscle. He’s not opposed to a little body hair, though, something he was surprised to discover but that bolsters his conviction in his newly uncovered not-so-heterosexuality.

A handful of live videos catch his eye, and he starts clicking around. They’re sorta hot, he supposes, as he sifts through a couple. This guy has too much muscle; Otto clicks away. The next one’s too scrawny; cute in a boyish way, maybe, but with too-delicate arms. Propping his chin up on his fist thoughtfully, Otto decides to keep moving.

The next guy’s attractive, tan but slightly muscular with a strong jaw and some hair on his chest, jerking off and smirking at the camera. Otto feels himself take a little interest, hips shifting against the mattress. Something about the playful look in his eye is doing it for him. The guy on camera is saying something, but Otto’s not really listening, mind filling in a vague fantasy on autopilot. Otto reaches down to cup himself through his boxers, hand pressed between his body and the sheets as he nudges his hips into his palm.

Otto clicks away, cycling distractedly through streams until one catches his eye and he jumps in. The guy’s face is out of the shot, and so are his hips, but he’s kneeling up on the bed, running his splayed hand down a pale chest dusted with sparse but dark hair. Otto immediately hones in on his defined arm muscles and lithe torso. He’s not sure what it is, exactly, but the guy’s body type is really doing it for him; turning onto his side, he slips his hand into his boxers to grip himself, exhaling through his nose. Onscreen, the guy’s arm is moving, hand just out of frame. He backs up so his face is still offscreen but you can see his hand working over his cock, head popping out of his fist on every pass. Otto groans and starts to stroke, mimicking the pace.

The guy isn’t saying anything, just letting out little breathy noises and moans as his hips roll into his fist. His voice is nice, Otto thinks, stroking himself faster. It doesn’t sound forced or awkward like a lot of the other performers; he sounds like he’s genuinely enjoying himself. It’s good, not too low but not high either, hitching slightly in the middle of his breaths. Otto lets himself get lost in half-formed fantasies as he works himself, slide getting easier as he starts to leak precome.

The groans coming from his laptop speakers pick up, and the guy looks like he’s getting close. Otto speeds his hand as well, figuring he’ll time his climax with the performer. He keeps an eye on the guy’s fist onscreen, wrapped around his flushed, dark pink dick. It’s kind of nice-looking, too; it matches him, Otto thinks absently, feeling the low twist in his belly start to build. He sighs and closes his eyes, letting himself tip into his orgasm.

Onscreen, the guy starts talking.

“Shit,” a breathy, familiar voice says, “I’m gonna—fuck—”

Otto’s eyes snap open. No.

“Awst—?” he chokes out, icy chill shooting down his spine.

He tries to grab at the base of his cock to stop himself but it’s too late, he’s coming, the guy’s—Awsten’s moans filling his ears as he shoots into his fist and boxers, body jerking.

He’s scrambling to sit up as soon as the pulses stop, legs shaking from a combination of ruined orgasm and sheer adrenaline.

He looks at the screen and his heart stops cold in his chest.

At the top of the frame is a familiar smile, a familiar jawline framed by familiar lavender hair.

“Thanks guys,” Awsten is saying, leaning down so his eyes and bushy eyebrows are visible in the shot. “Same time tomorrow?” he laughs.

The feed goes black.

Otto sits back heavily on his heels, dumbfounded.

His stomach roils with nausea as his hand dries cold and tacky.

 


 

Otto is a man of morals.

He values honesty. He values hard work and doesn’t take credit where credit isn’t due. He’s mindful of the way he speaks to others, tries to treat everybody with respect. He doesn’t lie if he can help it. He puts the shopping cart back in the corral. He recycles.

If he knows something is wrong, deep down, he doesn’t do it.

All of this is to say that he knows what he does next is reprobate behavior. If there is a God out there somewhere, Otto mentally shoots Him an apology, because he knows there’s no coming back from this one.

Before he even wipes his hand off, he’s bookmarking Awsten’s profile page and jotting his username down on the notepad he keeps beside his bed. Just in case the bookmark somehow doesn’t take and he loses it.

---

There are twenty six clips on the profile Awsten had gone live under. He doesn’t seem to have been active for more than a few months, and sure enough, the uploads mostly fall during their breaks between tours.

Otto spends the next couple days getting off to them so frequently he goes through half a bottle of lube and almost chafes his dick.

It’s sick, and wrong, and invasive too, probably. He knows all of this. He’s well aware that whatever reaction Awsten would have were he to find out Otto is doing this would not be a positive one, in all likelihood.

But he can’t help it.

Look, Otto’s not stupid. He knows the sudden desire to reconsider your sexuality in your mid-twenties doesn’t suddenly manifest out of thin air. He’s aware that he likes Awsten, is attracted to Awsten. He has been for years, practically since they met as teenagers when Awsten invited him to join his old band. Maybe that’s sick too, in its own way; the better part of a decade spent longing for (lusting after, something sharp and cruel in his mind corrects him) your best friend.

But Awsten, despite the skinny jeans, despite the fawning way he acts, despite the way he jokes about liking Otto’s body and tries to touch his abs, is straight. He’s said as much, and though Otto disbelieved him at first, it does seem to be the truth. Otto learned many years and several girlfriends ago to stop getting his hopes up every time Awsten laid a hand on his arm or dove in to fake-kiss him. All the million little touches that make Otto’s heart flutter in his chest are Awsten’s version of kidding around, playing the room for laughs. Otto’s learned to school his reactions and go along with the joke, feigning exasperation. Just like he’s supposed to.

Awsten doesn’t know any of this, and if Otto’s very lucky, he never will.

But now, Otto’s found something wonderful and terrible; a way for him to artificially experience what it would be like to get off with Awsten, be intimate with Awsten. Even the knowledge that this is something he doesn’t deserve and hasn’t earned isn’t enough to deter him, not really. If he can’t have it for real, no matter how badly he wants it, then he’ll take it like this.

The best part is that Awsten never even has to know, never has to be negatively impacted by it at all. Never has to look at Otto, betrayal in his eyes, when he learns that Otto’s been thinking about him when he comes for years before he found any of this.

Nobody gets hurt.

If that’s not enough to stave off the empty pool of dread and slimy guilt in Otto’s stomach every time he finishes, well. He’ll deal.

---

Otto doesn’t watch all of the videos.

Mostly he wants to save them, afraid of burning through them too eagerly in case Awsten doesn’t upload any more. So he watches the same five or six over and over and over again, trying to savor them for all they’re worth.

He does check out the other uploads, though. A lot of them are Awsten jerking himself off in various positions; sitting in his desk chair, flat on his back in bed, kneeling in front of the camera like the stream Otto saw. One is him curled on his side, arm stretched out under his head, smiling at the camera. Otto likes that one. Some videos have Awsten using toys on himself. Judging by the thumbnails, sometimes it’s a fleshlight, sometimes it’s a vibrator. Sometimes it’s a dildo. Otto’s too nervous and guilt-ridden to watch any of those yet, though his insides twist with want.

Otto is unfairly relieved to find that Awsten’s solo in all of the clips. A lot of the streams are by guys playing with their partners or boyfriends, so the fact that Awsten’s aren’t like that lets Otto take comfort in the fact that he’s probably not secretly seeing anyone. Not that he deserves to feel that way, he scolds himself; Awsten doesn’t belong to him, and if he wants to screw around on camera with somebody that he’s fucking, or even dating, Otto has no right to feel any certain way about it. Especially considering that he really shouldn’t even be watching Awsten’s videos in the first place. Even so, he takes a small amount of solace in seeing Awsten appear by himself.

Otto’s favorite videos are the ones in which Awsten talks to the viewer like they’re dating, like they’re sleeping together, like they mean something to him.

“That’s it, yeah, wanna see you come,” he breathes in the clip of him jerking off on his side, dialogue that Otto has already memorized. “God you’re so hot, wish you were touching me instead, I want you, ah—” Awsten babbles as he curls in on himself, starting to come, at the end.

It always gets Otto off so hard and so fast it makes his head spin.

He feels the worst after that one, though, queasy tendrils of shame licking up his neck as he thinks about what Awsten would say if he knew. If he knew that Otto was laying in his own bed, jerking himself off like some sick voyeur, fantasizing about Awsten wanting him back.

He pushes the thought from his mind. He tells himself that Awsten has these clips up specifically for people to get off to, that they’re public and every view count he racks up is money in Awsten’s pocket.

He doesn’t quite believe it.

---

Otto makes a throwaway account on the website and buys a subscription to Awsten’s channel. He does it both to support Awsten, a silent apology, and to assuage his own guilt just a little.

(He never types in the chat. He never makes requests of Awsten; it would feel too manipulative, dishonest, like he’s using Awsten as jerk-off fodder under false pretenses. Otto’s already got enough self-loathing brewing over this to last him a lifetime if he lives to be a hundred and five.)

He gets a notification the next day that Awsten is going live.

Oh, fuck. Otto’s heart starts to race and his palms feel clammy. This is different than watching the pre-recorded clips; Awsten’s going to be really doing what he is on the screen, in real time, in his house just across Houston, in his bedroom that Otto has been in a hundred million times over the years. It’s going to be concrete, undeniable. Should he really do this?

Otto loses a good chunk of time locked in an internal debate with himself, fingers drumming on his desk. Eventually, though, desire and curiosity beat out morality and Otto clicks the cam link, wondering what he’s going to find Awsten doing to himself when it loads. He shivers with anticipation.

The feed cuts in and he’s treated to an eyeful of Awsten’s bare torso, hand already around his cock and jerking himself off. Otto’s face flushes instantly. Awsten’s kneeling on his bed again, but his legs are spread this time, body low and face in the frame. He’s got—Otto swallows. He’s got an oversized black t-shirt on, hem pulled up and clenched between his teeth. The thumb and forefinger of his other hand roll and pinch at a dark pink nipple as he rocks his hips smoothly with the motion of his hand, making muffled sounds into the fabric.

It’s lewd and adorable and hot all at the same time, and Otto has to squeeze his eyes shut, turned on so suddenly that it’s painful. He clenches his fists and plants them firmly on his thighs, determined to avoid temptation this time. He’s just going to watch.

Onscreen, Awsten is sliding his free hand down his chest and belly, seductive in a practiced way. Otto breathes hard through his nose, knuckles digging into his own legs as he fights the urge to palm himself through his jeans. When Awsten’s hand cups his balls, rolling them between his fingers, his eyebrows knit together and he grunts. Otto glances at his face, taking in the flush across the bridge of his nose and the way his long eyelashes rest on his cheeks, thick and dark. A barely-there shadow of stubble darkens the line of his jaw. He’s beautiful, absolutely gorgeous. Otto’s heart stutter-thumps in his ribcage, trapped somewhere between ardent affection and miserable guilt.

Awsten’s expression shifts, eyebrows moving up and breath coming faster around the cotton in his mouth. Otto’s eyes trail down and he gasps quietly when he sees why; Awsten’s got two fingers brushing between his cheeks, sliding back behind his balls. They disappear suggestively into the shadow there, and Otto sweats as he wonders if Awsten’s fingering himself or just teasing. Groaning softly, he gives up, popping the button on his jeans and pressing the heel of his hand against the tent in his boxers. He doesn’t want to let himself go further, feels reprehensible enough as it is.

Sounds of fabric shifting fuzz through Otto’s laptop speakers, and when he looks up again Awsten is repositioning himself in a slightly pixelated blur. He’s moved partially out of frame, back visible as he sits and faces away from the camera, knees pulled to his chest. Heart pounding, Otto wonders what’s coming next.

Awsten flops onto his back, hips popping up, and Otto’s heart fucking stops.

Awsten is wearing his shirt.

No. There’s no way. He has to be seeing things. Has to, because there’s no way that Awsten would be jerking off in Otto’s Projekt Revolution shirt, because it doesn’t make any sense.

Otto rubs his eyes, blinks. Rubs them again.

The peeling orange logo and faded black cotton greet him, hanging off of Awsten’s delicate frame.

Awsten is arching his back, feet planted and hips rolling into his fist, head tipped towards the camera. Otto watches, still stunned, while he slips three fingers of his left hand into his mouth, sucking on them as he moans deep in his chest. Otto’s cheeks burn as he sees Awsten’s lips close around them, sliding down to his palm and back up. It’s hard to see due to the pixelation, but Otto catches flashes of pink tongue as Awsten splits his fingers apart, runs them over his tongue and slicks them with spit. His dick twinges painfully in the confines of his boxers, imagining what Awsten’s mouth would feel like; a wave of self-disgust follows, dripping down his spine like ice water.

Awsten’s eyes blink open and fix on the camera. Otto just about jumps out of his skin before he remembers that Awsten can’t see him.

He pulls his fingers out of his mouth, sending the camera a watery grin before fisting his hand into the collar of his (Otto’s, Otto’s) shirt. As Otto watches, bewildered, he pulls it up over his nose and mouth, eyes slipping shut again as his fist speeds up on his cock. Otto doesn’t understand what’s happening until he hears the harsh inhales, just barely picked up by the mic, and it hits him. Awsten is—Awsten is smelling his shirt. While he gets off. He’s almost totally sure. His heart pounds frantically.

Heedless of Otto’s distress, Awsten’s brows furrow, then arch, as he tightens his fist in the material and presses it closer to his nose. Otto can’t stop the small sound that tears itself out of his throat when Awsten speeds his hand, turns his face sideways into the collar of his shirt, and comes.

Otto stares dumbfounded as Awsten’s body shakes with it, come spilling over his fist and spattering onto the shirt hem. His body, tightly wound, goes slack and languid against the sheets as he exhales slowly, pulling the fabric from his face.

Awsten flips onto his stomach, looking at the camera with a blissed-out expression. Otto holds his breath and doesn't know why.

"Thanks for tuning in," he drawls, eyes half lidded. He looks debauched and sated, and Otto doesn't think he's playing it up for the audience. The flush across his cheeks is captivating.

"See you next time," Awsten is waving, arm reaching out towards the camera to presumably end the stream. The feed goes black.

After a moment, the title of the stream pops up over the now-empty video player.

Otto chokes on his tongue, all the air punched out of his lungs as he scans the words, uncomprehending.

"JERKING OFF IN MY BOYFRIEND'S SHIRT<3 ;)" it reads, stark white text burning into Otto's retinas forever.

Mind reeling, Otto thumps against the back of his chair, eyes wide. His confused boner would like to know why the action has stalled, but his thoughts are racing.

What the hell did that mean? Why would Awsten title a stream like that; was it a joke? A gimmick to pull in more viewers? Otto was kind of under the impression that Awsten's whole niche was that he didn't have a boyfriend. And, and why the fuck did he have Otto's—had Awsten taken it on purpose? He's sure Awsten has plenty of his own oversized band t-shirts. Is there a reason he used Otto's?

Otto feels his stomach flip. Could this mean something? He knows it’s stupid to get his hopes up, and he’s aware that there's no way to ask without admitting that he saw the stream. But he thinks of the way Awsten had closed his eyes, had tangled his fingers in the collar of Otto's shirt, had breathed in so frantically when he...

Otto rubs a hand across his face. He needs to stop this line of thought before he lets it get too far and ends up hurting himself. Or worse, obsesses over it until it comes through in the way he acts and Awsten catches on that something's wrong.

He wants to believe it means something. In all likelihood, though, Otto's shirt got mixed up with Awsten's clothes in the chaos of packing and made for a convenient prop. The sniffing act was just to titillate the audience, really play up into the scenario he set out. It didn't mean anything, and even if it did, there's nothing Otto can do about it that won't constitute a massive invasion of privacy. It's best to drop it.

He tells himself all of this. He has a hard time believing any of it.

 


 

Early the next morning, Otto is startled out of fitful sleep by his phone ringing. He’s not sure what’s happening for a second, still locked halfway in uneasy dreams, but he fumbles around his nightstand anyway, managing to knock his empty water glass from the night before onto the carpet as he gets his fingers around his phone. The opening lines to “We R Who We R” bleep cheerfully from the speakers. (Awsten set the ringtone for himself to Kesha years ago and Otto’s never known how to change it.) He answers the call on speaker and flops down onto his back, resting the phone on his forehead and closing his eyes.

“H’llo,” he mumbles.

“Otto, my good bitch!” comes Awsten’s upbeat voice, entirely too peppy for this early in the morning. Whatever time it is. Otto’s not sure. Certainly too early for a phone call to be polite or appropriate, not that that’s ever stopped Awsten.

“Mmrh,” Otto groans in response. He wonders if Awsten will notice if he just falls back asleep.

“I hope you’re up and attem, because I’m t-minus ten minutes from your house and we’re going out for breakfast,” Awsten continues.

“Wha…” Otto says blearily, rubbing his eyes. “Can it be somewhere with hashbrowns,” he croaks, figuring he might as well start bargaining early before Awsten takes him somewhere that only serves acai bowls.

“Yes, you gross heathen. Now get up, seriously, I’m pulling off the freeway,” Awsten says, and the line goes dead.

Otto savors his last few moments of being horizontal before kicking the comforter off and sitting up. He’s brushing his teeth, eyes half open, when the memory of what he spent yesterday doing slams back into him.

His throat goes tight. This will be the first time he sees Awsten in person since they got off of tour, and since Otto found his videos; he’s not sure his poker face will be solid enough to mask the tumult of the last few days’ emotions. Not that he thinks Awsten could possibly suspect him of the extent of his transgressions, but he’s extraordinarily perceptive, and if he notices that Otto’s acting weird he won’t rest until he pries the reason out of him.

He’s pulled his jeans on and sleep shirt off, pawing through the clean laundry, when he hears the familiar stomping up the stairs that signals Awsten’s gotten into his house. He has to fight the unfamiliar urge to cover himself when the door slams open, and he doesn’t know why.

“GOOD MORNING,” Awsten yells, traipsing in. “Oh,” he continues, catching sight of Otto. “Nice. Well, don’t let me interrupt,” he says, settling himself on Otto’s bed.

“Hardy har,” Otto intones drily, feeling the blood rush to his face, suddenly very aware of Awsten’s eyes on him. He tugs his shirt down over his head quickly, straightening himself out and glancing up.

Awsten looks back at him, a tiny smile on his face. Otto’s heart gives a weak flutter.

He does his best to quash it. Normal, act normal, he reminds himself.

“So, I figured we could go to that little diner. Remember, the one we stopped at that one time with Geoff and Jawn and Travis after bowling?” Awsten says, looking down at his phone.

Otto does remember; they had had an expansive enough menu to satisfy both his craving for greasy foods and Awsten’s delicate appetite.

“That sounds good, yeah. What’s got you up so early today?” he asks, pocketing his phone and wallet.

Awsten knocks his feet against the bed frame, looking thoughtful. “I dunno. I guess I just slept really well last night,” he says, hopping up and heading for the door.

Otto’s mind floods with the livecam frames of Awsten’s half-lidded eyes, sleepy, sated. “Uh-huh,” he rasps, mouth suddenly dry, as he follows Awsten down the stairs.

---

Awsten lets Otto man the aux cord, unusual in itself, and Otto takes the opportunity to put Three Cheers on. It’s his favorite album, and he figures he could use the familiarity amidst the tumult of his emotions.

He sees Awsten shift minutely out of the corner of his eye as the opening notes of “Helena” play, but he’s tapping along on the steering wheel when Otto turns his head.

“My Chem is so tight,” Awsten notes as he pulls onto the freeway.

Otto hums in agreement, leaning back and closing his eyes. He drums his fingers on his knee to the familiar beat, feeling just a bit more grounded.

---

True to form, Awsten orders a fruit platter and an iced coffee while Otto’s plate is piled high with waffles, sausages, and hashbrowns.

Awsten glowers dispassionately down at Otto’s meal while he sips at his drink. “How,” he says drily, “do you get to look the way you do when all I see you eat is processed food and like, fried meats.”

Otto laughs as he spears a link of sausage. “I’m protein-loading,” he jokes as he bites into it. Awsten’s eyes track his fork, cheek propped up on his hand, watching him chew. Otto feels a little twist of not-entirely-unpleasant nervousness curl in his belly.

Looking down, he cuts off a chunk of waffle and gestures towards Awsten’s plate.

“Want a bite?” he asks, holding his fork out. At Awsten’s nod, Otto stretches his arm across the table, intending to drop it on the plate, but Awsten reaches out first, fingers wrapping around Otto’s own. To Otto’s surprise, he brings their joined hands up to his face, popping the waffle into his mouth. He holds Otto’s startled gaze as he deliberately closes his lips around the fork, fingertips lingering on the back of his hand when he pulls away.

Otto’s so shocked he drops the fork, scrambling to pick it up off the checkered tablecloth. He knows— He knows Awsten’s kidding around, expects him to crack a joke back, to play into the script. But all he can think about is Awsten’s tongue curling around his own fingers on camera, which makes him imagine Awsten’s lips wrapped around him, his brain running wild with images he shouldn’t have.

His cheeks are prickling with heat and he knows if he looks up, Awsten’s going to rib on him for it and he just. He can’t take it, not when he feels like his guts are already twisted up in knots.

But if he lets on that he’s out of sorts, Awsten will start asking questions, and that’s worse. Otto clears his throat and forces himself to take another bite, trying to look nonchalant. Indirect kiss!, the annoying little voice in his head chirps when he puts the fork in his mouth. He mentally shoos it away.

When he dares to lift his eyes, Awsten’s expression is unreadable. Otto’s terrified he’s going to start in on him, but he just takes another sip of coffee.

“Do you want to go to Memorial Mall after this? I feel like we haven't been in a while,” Awsten asks, shaking the ice around at the bottom of his cup. “I heard they closed that weak-ass Sears while we were gone.”

“Good, screw that Sears,” Otto says automatically. Awsten grins, perking up.

“Right? Let’s go see if we can sneak into the empty husk,” Awsten says, and Otto chuckles despite himself.

“Yeah, okay. We can race on those little motorized bears,” Otto concedes, smiling. He hadn’t noticed Awsten’s expression had been tense until he shoots him a return grin, real and easy.

“Don’t cry in front of the kids when I beat you at bear racing,” Awsten says, kicking Otto’s sneaker under the table. Otto knocks his toes against the inside of Awsten’s foot and feels a knot come loose in his chest.

---

Awsten does end up beating him at bear racing, but only because he plants his feet and pushes the thing like a Flintstones car when he starts to lose and it makes Otto laugh so hard he has to stop before he crashes into somebody.

“Stop, st—” Otto wheezes, doubled over on his stupid yellow bear. “You win, I concede, oh my god.”

“Damn right!” Awsten yells from down the mall walkway. “Loser buys Jamba Juice!”

---

They tromp around the mall aimlessly for a few more hours, Awsten slurping so obnoxiously loudly on his smoothie that Otto can tell he’s in a genuinely good mood.

Watching Awsten in profile as he talks and laughs, as full of life as ever, makes Otto smile helplessly to himself. He’s beautiful, funny and captivating, and Otto can hardly remember a time where he didn’t look over at this face and feel warm adoration. For a moment, he allows himself to pretend this is a date, that what Awsten said on his livestream was true, that Otto is his boyfriend. That Awsten likes him back. That Awsten is his, in some way that’s real.

Otto wonders suddenly if Awsten still considers himself straight. Not that the content he makes for a porn site necessarily has any bearing on who he likes in real life, but. The vast majority of the videos were acted out as though Awsten was imagining a male partner; a boyfriend sometimes, a hookup others, but always another boy. Otto wonders if Awsten likes boys. Wonders if he has someone in mind as he films.

Wonders, hoping against hope, if it could possibly be him.

He slows to a stop, stomach twisted up in knots. That really shouldn’t matter. It’s none of Otto’s business. And yet.

Awsten, jabbering animatedly about new guitar pedals, stops on his heel when he realizes Otto isn’t beside him anymore, and doubles back, question in his eyes.

“What’s wrong?” Awsten asks, brows knitting together in concern.

Otto has to come clean. This is awful. He can’t do this to Awsten, and he can’t keep doing this to himself.

“There’s—” Otto clears his throat and tries again. “I need to tell you something.”

Awsten looks confused, then interested. Empty smoothie cup forgotten in his hand, he leans in a little, eyes bright. “Yeah?”

Of course he thinks it’s something good. He trusts Otto, and why wouldn’t he? Otto feels like scum.

“I…” he starts, then trails off. The nausea in his stomach has solidified to become a lump in his throat and he—he can’t get the words out.

He’s a creep. And worse, he’s a coward.

“...Never mind. It’s nothing,” Otto mutters, looking away.

Awsten looks vaguely disappointed. “You sure?” he says, and Otto nods. He knows he’ll have to tell Awsten about this sooner rather than later, but as selfish as it is, he just can't bear to hurt him.

---

They make their way back to Awsten’s car, Otto shaking his head this time when Awsten offers him the aux.

“So you’re staying over at my place tonight, right?” Awsten asks absently as he scrolls through his music.

Otto’s heart drops. That is what they always do: hang out, then goof around at Awsten’s until they crash on the couch or in Awsten’s bed. But Otto just… can’t. Not like this. He’s all over the place, feels deceitful and riddled with guilt, and the last thing he wants right now is to be alone in Awsten’s room with him.

“Actually,” Otto says, voice faint, “I think I should probably head home for today.”

Awsten whips around to look at him, eyes wide and concerned. Otto looks back at him forlornly.

“Sorry,” he adds feebly.

“Are you feeling alright? You’ve been acting kinda weird all day,” Awsten says, sounding sad.

Otto’s right there with him. “I’m okay. I just have some stuff on my mind, I guess,” he replies, offering a shrug that’s unconvincing even to himself. He’s so tired all of a sudden.

He feels Awsten’s eyes linger on him. “You know you can talk to me about anything, right?” he says, in a voice much more gentle than Otto deserves.

Oh, Otto loves him so much, and it is terrible.

“I know,” Otto whispers, looking down at his hands resting in his lap. He’s struck for the first time by the horrible thought that this could seriously fuck up their friendship, maybe for good, and that he would deserve it.

He rests his head against the window as they drive home in silence, watching the street lights flicker by in regular intervals, and pretends to be asleep.

 


 

Otto wakes the next morning without feeling particularly rested. He doesn’t feel quite so full of dread as he had yesterday, though. He and Awsten have been friends for years; surely something like this wouldn’t get in the way of that, not forever. He just needs to tell Awsten and apologize, that’s all.

He’ll probably think it’s funny, even, once the initial weirdness has passed. Otto tells himself as much in the bathroom mirror as he sticks the toothbrush in his mouth.

By the time he’s fresh and ready for the day, he’s made up his mind. He’ll call Awsten, since it’ll be easier to say his piece if Otto doesn’t have to see his face when he does it, and then he’ll give him some space to process. It’ll be fine, totally. They’ve had fights before—big ones, even—and they came out the other side okay. Awsten forgave him for basically ghosting for a year and half when they were nineteen; surely this is only a little worse than that.

Heartened, Otto settles himself at his desk and runs through what he wants to say. Sorry I found these and didn’t tell you. I should have stopped watching immediately, and it was wrong of me not to. (He decides the specific reason he kept watching isn’t… essential to his apology. Awsten will probably assume it was morbid curiosity or something.) I don’t see you any differently, and I won’t watch anymore. If Awsten asks what he was doing on gay camming sites, well. He’s gotten out of many uncomfortable questions between them by saying nothing before. It should suffice this time, too.

He takes a deep breath, then reaches out to grab his phone where it sits on the desk. He picks it up, moving to unlock it.

When his phone buzzes instantly with the notification that Awsten’s going live again, he jumps so badly that he slams his elbow into his desk chair armrest. As he doubles over, clutching his tingling forearm (Why do they call it a funny bone? he wonders grimly), his heart starts to pound in double time.

He stares at that little message like it might burn him if he taps it. This is wrong. If he’d been debating it with himself the last time, now he’s just certain. He can’t justify doing this when he knows what he’s supposed to be doing is calling Awsten right now and coming clean about what he knows, what he’s seen.

Unfortunately, there is a discrepancy forming lately between what Otto should do and what he ends up doing. This time, to his chagrin, is shaping up to be no different.

What he does instead is click the livestream notification. Dread and anticipation get into a knock-down, drag-out fistfight somewhere in his lower stomach.

He feels terrible. He’s furious at himself for his lack of willpower, but. This is the last time, he swears to himself, and means it. The last time, and then I’m calling him and telling him everything.

“Hey there,” Awsten is saying when the video feed loads. He’s clad in just boxer briefs this time, legs crossed as he sits on his bed, looking casual. “Today’s the day. Like I promised, I’ll be doing an extra-long stream this time around. I hope you can keep up with me.” He winks at the camera, sliding into a kneeling position. “I figured I’ll just go until I can’t anymore. See how much I can take,” he says, and here his voice drops down to something husky, suggestive. Otto swallows hard.

“To start things off,” Awsten says, mischievous grin playing on his lips, “I’ve goooot…” He pulls something from behind his back and twirls it between his fingers. Awsten plants a hand on his bed and leans forward towards the camera to bring it closer. It’s pink and looks like a small remote. Otto’s not really following what’s happening.

That is, not until Awsten leans back again, holding it provocatively against his slightly parted lips. “Ready?” he asks before hitting a button.

Instantly his back arches and his eyes go wide, a tiny sound slipping out as he jerks, and. Oh. Oh. Otto’s face goes immediately red. Awsten’s got a vibrator in. He covers his flaming cheeks with his hands, peeking out at the screen from between his fingers.

“Ahh, haha, it’s stronger than I—hah—thought,” Awsten laughs between gasps, giving himself a squeeze through his underwear. He reaches his other hand up to pluck at a nipple, biting his lip and looking focused. Otto squirms in his seat.

“I wish my boyfriend was here to do this to me,” Awsten says, breath heavy, “but I’ll just have to play with you instead. No telling,” he sing-songs. Otto’s insides do a confused flip. He thinks back to Awsten wearing his shirt possessively and wishes, not for the first time, that he knew what was going through his head.

Onscreen, Awsten is shimmying his underwear off and getting his dick out. He’s most of the way hard and groans when he gives himself a stroke. Thigh muscles flexing and tensing, he works himself for the camera, a flush spreading slowly across his cheeks and down his neck. Otto tips his head to the ceiling and closes his eyes for a moment to regain his composure.

Awsten reaches for the remote and clicks it up a notch, shuddering as he bows back then leans forward, gripping the sheets and pulling in a sharp breath. “Shit, it’s so much,” he chuckles to himself, voice trembling. He leans in, eyes flicking from side to side, reading the comments that must be scrolling down the screen. “I’m not gonna get myself off right now!” he chides the viewers with a grin. “If I come now I’m gonna be tapped out by, like, the hour mark. I’m gonna edge for as long as I can.” He throws a wink to the camera and leans to the side, grabbing a bottle of lube from out of frame. Clicking it open, he pours a dollop onto his palm and takes himself in hand.

Awsten gives the camera one last look before settling himself on his knees. Otto watches longingly as his eyes flutter closed, slipping two fingers in his mouth as he strokes. He gets into it quickly, hips rocking with the movement. It seems like he’s murmuring something around his fingers while he sucks, but he’s too far away from the mic for Otto to be sure.

Abruptly, Awsten drags a mess of pillows in from somewhere else on his bed, making a little pile in front of him. He sinks down into them, propped up on his chest with his ass in the air. Otto’s eyes trace the smooth, pale curve of his spine over his shoulder, the tuck of his waist. The urge to touch him, to hold him, is overwhelming.

Awsten’s hand is still moving between his legs as he presses his face into the pillows and moans. When he raises his head slightly, lidded eyes trained on the camera, his face and the tips of his ears are fully pink.

He’s mumbling into the pillow. Otto tilts his ear closer to the speaker, trying to pick up what he’s saying; it’s familiar, somehow, but he can’t quite…

Then Awsten lifts his head and closes his eyes and it clicks.

It feels like all the air has rushed out of the room. Otto cannot, cannot process what is happening at first.

He turns up the volume— but no, there’s no mistaking it. Not for him. He’s heard Awsten say this for years and years in a hundred different tones; gleeful, pissed off, sleepy, confused, choked with laughter. He would know the way it sounds in Awsten’s voice in his sleep.

“Otto, Otto,” Awsten gasps. “Ah, Otto,” he breathes, quietly, like a secret, just for him.

Sharp and sudden like a flashbulb flare, it all comes together in his mind. Before he knows what he’s doing Otto’s already in motion, grabbing his keys and flying down the stairs two at a time. The door slams shut behind him, final.

---

The drive to Awsten’s house usually takes about thirty minutes. Otto makes it in under twenty, breaking more speeding laws than he ever has in his life in the process.

He pulls up to Awsten’s house with a screech of tires, noting with relief that his is the only car parked in the driveway. He hops up the porch steps, pulling the spare key from where it rests on top of the door frame, and lets himself in.

“Awsten!” he calls, already bounding up the stairs to his room. His door is slightly ajar and Otto shoves it with an open palm, rushing in.

Awsten has gotten his knees under him, pillow pulled haphazardly over his lap, little pink remote powered off in his hand. His hair is mussed, pupils blown, lips slightly wet. He stares at Otto in the doorway, mouth hanging open.

“Awsten,” Otto pants, out of breath. Awsten turns his dinner plate eyes from Otto back to the feed, slaps the mute button, then swivels back to Otto, uncomprehending.

“I,” Otto starts as he tries to get his wits about him, head spinning, “I’ve been—I found the livestreams, and I know I shouldn’t and I’m so—I’m so sorry but I watched them because I like you”—he’s babbling at this point—“And then you, you said my name and, before with my shirt, and I thought maybe but I didn’t know, because I just like you so much and I—”

And Awsten’s hands shoot towards him from the bed, twisting into the front of Otto’s shirt, hauling him in, and the next thing he knows Awsten is kissing him frantically.

Otto cups Awsten’s cheeks in his hands and kisses back, because what else is he to do? His heart beats a frantic rhythm against his ribs.

He braces a knee on the bed so he doesn’t topple over with the way Awsten is tugging him closer. His mind is blank and Awsten’s lips are so, so soft and their noses are bumping and he doesn’t even care because he’s kissing Awsten. It all feels surreal, like time is moving in slow motion, jittery freeze-frame progression.

Awsten pulls back slightly, hands moving to Otto’s face, gasping, “—you idiot, I can’t believe you, what took you so long, I’ve been trying to tell you for years—”

“Wait, wait,” Otto replies dumbly. “What? I thought you were joking.”

Awsten looks stunned, then indignant, a cute contrast to his rosy complexion. “How many times can I ‘joke’ about wanting to fuck you until you realize I’m serious?”

“I—”

Awsten continues. “And how many times can I beg to see you shirtless? How many times can I touch your abs? How many times can I announce that I want to kiss you to anyone who will listen?”

Otto just stares for a moment, stunned into silence. Then he drops his forehead against Awsten’s, hands coming up to cover his own face as he laughs, borderline hysterical, giddy with relief.

“What? What’s funny?” Awsten asks, bewildered.

“I think we might be stupid,” Otto giggles, “because I’ve liked you since you walked into band practice in swim trunks with one shaved leg.”

Awsten looks at Otto with wide eyes, still. Then he says, “I actually cannot fucking believe this.” Swiftly, he pulls Otto in for another kiss. Otto laughs and lets him, kneeling over him on the bed.

“I know we’re going to have to talk about all of this later,” Awsten says, pulling back, “but I’ve just spent the last thirty minutes edging myself thinking about you, so. If you wouldn’t mind. Would you be so kind as to please fuck me already.”

Otto feels himself flush, but can’t help his grin. He slips a hand gently into Awsten’s hair, cradling his cheek. “Can I?”

Awsten’s expression goes soft for a moment before he turns away, reaching into his bedside drawer. He fumbles around and returns with a condom and the bottle of lube, which he places nearby. Otto’s heartbeat picks up; this is really happening.

Awsten sets a hand on Otto’s shoulder and one on his jaw, pulls him in, and kisses him hard.

“Please fuck me,” he whispers. “Please, Otto.”

Otto’s heart stutters.

He dives back into the kiss with force, gripping Awsten’s hair and tugging at his bottom lip. Awsten groans low in his throat when Otto tips him backwards, pressing him into the sheets and settling above him.

Awsten’s back arches beneath him, chest pressing to Otto’s, when Otto nips his lip and slips his tongue inside. Awsten’s arms come up around his shoulders, crossing behind his back, as he tilts his head and opens his mouth to give Otto easier access.

He feels Awsten’s hands fist in his shirt and tug, and he pulls back, confused.

“Off, shirt off,” Awsten pants, lips red.

Otto shakes his head fondly, crossing his arms at the hem and pulling it over his head. At least Awsten was serious about liking his body.

Awsten gets his hands on Otto’s hips the second the shirt is off, tracing his abs with his palms and sliding his thumbs along the sharp lines of his hip bones. “You are so fucking hot,” he breathes reverently.

Otto, feeling faintly shy, leans back down to kiss Awsten again, holding his shoulders against the mattress. Awsten moans approvingly, hands still roaming Otto’s torso. As Otto sucks his tongue, Awsten’s hand wanders lower, fingers skating over his belt buckle. He makes a pleased sound when he feels that Otto is hard.

“I’ve wanted this for so long,” Awsten breathes as he breaks the kiss, starting to tease open Otto’s belt and zipper. “You have no idea.”

Otto struggles to keep his hips still as Awsten’s fingers brush against his clothed cock. “I think you’d be surprised,” he pants. He presses his lips to Awsten’s neck, teeth grazing softly, and Awsten cries out with more zeal than Otto was expecting. Interest piqued, he laves his tongue over the pulse point; Awsten sucks in a harsh breath and sticks his fingers in Otto’s waistband, trying to tug his pants down.

“As much as I’d love to let you do that,” he says, voice shaky, “I need you inside me like yesterday because I am just not going to last.”

Otto pulls back, bemused, to help Awsten in shucking his jeans and boxer briefs. “Is your neck that sensitive?” he asks wryly, kicking them to the floor. He settles between Awsten’s legs.

Awsten makes a face at him, but his cheeks are pink, pink, pink.

He reaches a delicate hand out to trace the side of Otto’s dick curiously, making him hiss. “You’re thick,” he says, sounding awed.

Otto brings his hands up to wrap around Awsten’s hips, thumbs bracketing his dick where it rests on his belly. He’s seen it before, on the streams, but it doesn’t compare to how pretty it is in real life. He can’t help himself; he takes it in his hand, strokes a thumb up the underside. Awsten gasps, jerks; Otto rubs at the drop of precome that slides out.

“Can’t, seriously, can’t,” Awsten says, teeth clenched and voice strained. He reaches down to take Otto’s wrist, guiding it away from his cock and down, lower, between his cheeks. Otto’s face flames when his fingers brush hard silicone; the base of the vibrator.

“I haven’t ever… um, with a guy,” Otto admits, barely above a whisper. “Can you show me what to do? I don’t want to hurt you.”

Awsten looks like he’s going to laugh as Otto is speaking, but his eyes have gone soft by the end. He leans up to kiss Otto again, then grabs the stuff, handing him the condom.

“You’re so sweet. I’m already prepped, you don’t have to worry about it hurting. Just...” he gestures towards the condom. Otto nods and tears the foil open. He’s sliding it on when Awsten pulls the toy out, huffing softly. He lubes his hand and reaches for Otto, slicking down the shaft. Otto tries not to buck his hips into his fist.

“Ready?” Awsten asks, soft.

“If you are,” Otto replies, equally as quiet. He looks up and Awsten’s warm gaze makes him feel like he’s melting inside. He leans down for one more kiss, feeling Awsten smile against his lips, then pulls back, angling Awsten’s hips with a hand on his thigh. Gripping the base with the other, he lines himself up. “Ready?” he asks.

“I just said I—was,” Awsten chokes as Otto slides in. “Oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck,” he says in a strangled voice as Otto sinks in to the hilt, one long, smooth stroke, then stills.

“You okay?” he asks, breath coming heavy. Awsten is so tight, so hot inside; he can’t believe he gets to do this. It feels like a wet dream come true.

“Yeah, give me a sec, fuck, you’re big,” Awsten pants. Otto holds as still as he can, letting him adjust. He reaches up to pet Awsten’s hip, hands itching to touch his skin.

Awsten lets out a long breath, then takes another deep one and says, “Okay, you can move.”

Otto puts a hand on Awsten’s belly, rolls his hips, rocks in and lets him get used to the stretch. Awsten’s bushy eyebrows twist up and his eyes flutter closed, clearly trying to get his wits about him. Once he’s relaxed enough that the drag has eased, Otto gets both hands around Awsten’s thighs, pulls back, and pushes back in, starting a steady rhythm.

Awsten’s back bows off the bed, eyes scrunched tight and mouth open soundlessly. “Ohh my god,” he squeaks, bracing his elbows behind him to prop his torso up. “Otto.

“You feel so good,” Otto pants, shifting to an overhand grip and pulling Awsten closer. “I’ve wanted to do this for so long, I’ve wanted you for so long,” he says, words spilling out with no input from his brain.

Awsten opens his eyes, and the look he gives Otto is so overwhelmed, so full of sentiment that Otto feels like his heart is about to leap right out of his chest.

He wants to be closer to Awsten, suspects there must be a better angle— he’s never fucked anyone with a prostate before, but he knows it’s what he should be aiming for. Grabbing Awsten’s hips, he hauls him halfway into his lap, braced on his thighs, and leans forward over Awsten’s chest, nearly bending him in half to get their bodies closer. From this angle, he can thrust deeper.

“Holy shit!” Awsten cries, legs clamping against Otto’s sweaty flanks. “Oh my fuck, ohh my— ahh,” he babbles when Otto starts fucking him in earnest, short sharp thrusts. He can tell he hits the spot when Awsten seizes up hard, hands flying around Otto’s shoulders and nails digging into his back.

“Right there, right there, oh god, Otto, Otto,” Awsten gasps, voice going high and tight like the squeal of fingers on a guitar string.

“I’ve got you,” Otto pants, exertion and emotion making his voice husky. “I’ve got you, so good, Aws.” He presses their hot foreheads together and breathes Awsten’s air.

Otto,” he keens again, plaintive, and Otto mashes their lips together clumsily and holds him closer against his chest.

“Yeah, that’s it, so good for me, wanna see you come, wanna see you,” Otto mumbles against the corner of Awsten’s lips and cheek.

He can feel Awsten start to lose it a moment before it happens; his high moan goes throaty and he tightens up so hard around Otto that he almost can’t thrust. Awsten’s hand flies down to tug at his dick at the same moment that Otto pulls back to watch his face as he falls apart.

Awsten closes his eyes, tips his head back, and comes. It’s the prettiest thing Otto’s ever seen.

He keeps rocking his hips inside as Awsten rides it out, Otto’s hands coming up to cradle his face. “You’re so beautiful,” Otto gasps, pressing a quick kiss to Awsten’s brow just to touch him. “So beautiful, coming for me, oh, Awsten…”

Awsten whimpers, and a hot splatter of come hits both of their bellies. He pulses around Otto, who stills, curving down to kiss him deeply as he finishes. Awsten pants through his nose and lets out a soft whine, free arm coming around Otto’s waist.

“Oh my god,” he breathes. Otto laughs against his mouth in agreement.

Awsten tugs at Otto’s hip. “C’mon, you can keep going. Wanna see you too.” Awsten’s thumb slips back into the divot of Otto’s hip bone like there’s a magnet guiding it there.

Otto takes a deep breath and resumes his movements, bracing a hand by Awsten’s head. He doesn’t think it’ll take him long, not with the cocktail of emotion brewing in his chest and the feeling of Awsten catching his breath beneath him.

“Awsten,” Otto gasps as he speeds up.

Awsten just threads a hand through Otto’s hair, leaning up with some effort to press a kiss to the corner of Otto’s lips.

“That’s it,” Awsten says, quieter than a whisper. “Love you.”

Otto chokes on an inhale, pace faltering. “Oh, fuck, I love you too,” he grits out, eyes closed as he speeds his thrusts, feels it coming. “Love you, I love you, Awsten, I love you,” Otto pants mindlessly like a mantra, a prayer, as he holds Awsten’s chest to his with his free arm.

Awsten kisses his cheek one more time and Otto slides home, stills, and comes inside him.

He grips at Awsten through it, rolling his hips as he rides it out, gasping for breath with ragged inhales as it feels like his entire brain melts out into Awsten’s heat.

His muscles are jello when he’s done and he slumps down on Awsten’s chest. Awsten’s arms wrap around him immediately, holding him close even as their bodies stick together with sweat.

“Holy shit,” Otto wheezes.

“Yeah,” Awsten replies from somewhere in the vicinity of Otto’s puff of hair.

Otto gives himself a few more moments to catch his breath, then pulls back, looking Awsten in the face. He’s sure the soft smile he finds there mimics his own.

“Hi,” Awsten says.

“Howdy,” says Otto.

“So, I love you. Huh,” Awsten says, widening his eyes with fake surprise.

Otto laughs. “Funny,” he replies, “because I love you too. Huh.”

Awsten grins, huge and wide and bright, and Otto’s heart twirls in a happy little circle as he leans down to kiss his neck.

Awsten stretches, tilting his head back and baring his throat to give Otto better access. Otto keeps peppering gentle kisses against his skin as Awsten fumbles around for his laptop, hitting a button.

“So,” Awsten is saying. Otto can feel his voice buzzing under his lips. “This is my boyfriend.”

Otto lifts his head, and laughs when he sees the stream he had interrupted is still going. He glances down at Awsten, who is looking at him gleefully. He tilts his head back again and says to the camera, “Isn’t he hot?”

They both dissolve into giggles, foreheads pressed together, as Awsten clicks a final button and ends the feed.

Otto kisses Awsten’s nose and thinks, oh, I love him so much, and it is incredible.

 



 

EPILOGUE

Otto hears the front door open and Awsten’s heavy footfalls hit the stairs right as he pulls his shirt on.

“GOOD MORNING,” Awsten yells as he bursts into the room. “Aw, man, you’re decent,” he pouts upon finding that Otto is already dressed.

Otto rolls his eyes fondly. “Good morning to you too.”

“C’mon, don’t be coy,” Awsten pleads. Otto lifts the hem of his shirt, flashing his abs and pulling a silly face. Awsten cheers boisterously and moves forward to lovingly pat them, as one might a small animal.

“Ready for brunch?” Awsten asks as he dangles his keys from his ring finger. “My treat?”

“Sure, although you still haven’t told me what the occasion is,” Otto says, hand sliding affectionately across the small of Awsten’s back as he moves past him for the door.

“We’ll get there,” Awsten says cryptically.

They hop in the car, Awsten once again graciously handing Otto the aux.

Otto smiles to himself, remembering when they were in this exact position a week or so ago. He thinks oh, what the hell, and queues up Danger Days.

“You know, you never gave me back my Projekt Revolution shirt,” he notes with a sly grin shot Awsten’s way.

“You can have it back as soon as I wash the come stains out of it,” Awsten says primly, not taking his eyes off the road. Otto dissolves into a fit of laughter, and Awsten’s not far behind.

---

They settle into a booth at the same diner as last time and don’t waste any time ordering.

Otto nudges Awsten’s boot under the table, and Awsten clamps both feet around Otto’s sneaker, holding on tightly and making him laugh.

When their food arrives, Otto cuts off a piece of waffle and holds it out to Awsten, not flinching this time when he takes it off the fork with his lips. In reply, Awsten silently spears a strawberry and offers it up the same way. Otto leans forward to pop it in his mouth, chest warm at Awsten’s pleased smile.

“So,” Awsten begins, stirring his oatmeal. “About the streaming.”

Otto is instantly alert. “Yeah?” he asks.

They had talked about Awsten’s camming during the in-depth, and long overdue, conversation about their relationship that first night.

According to Awsten, he’d picked it up at the end of the tour before last to earn a little extra cash between gigs, and though he wasn’t big enough to fear recognition, it brought in some healthy pocket change. He didn’t use any personal information, but he had attracted some frequent viewers who tipped generously when he played up to their requests.

Otto had apologized profusely for watching in secret; Awsten had graciously forgiven him, citing that it had resulted in their getting together, and all’s well that ended well, right? Though he had been surprised that Awsten was so apparently unbothered by it all, the relief Otto had felt was like a yoke lifted from his shoulders.

Otto had also made it clear that he had no problem with Awsten continuing to cam if it’s what he wanted to do. Awsten had smiled, but given no indication of his plans.

“Well,” Awsten continues, taking a sip of coffee instead. “I’m gonna be real with you. That last stream? Made bank.”

“What? Really? The one I interrupted?” Otto is puzzled.

Awsten nods, a grin playing on his lips. “Yuh-huh. Turns out people were super excited to see that boyfriend I always mentioned show up and fuck me.”

Otto smiles roguishly. Awsten had come clean about setting up a narrative with an imaginary boyfriend in some of his videos that Otto hadn’t watched; said imaginary boyfriend oh-so-conveniently happened to fit Otto’s description to a T.

The whole time, it seems like Otto wasn’t the only one daydreaming about them together.

“Glad they liked it even with the sound off and my face out of frame,” Otto remarks.

“Actually, the sound being off probably helped a ton, since it hid the fact that it was our first time. But anyway, my question for you is”—and here Awsten starts to fiddle with his napkin, looking a little nervous—“would you be down to fuck me on camera again? Like, I know it’s kind of a lot, and you don’t have to say yes, but—”

“Yes,” Otto says without hesitation.

“—we could split th— really?” Awsten blinks, like he was expecting Otto to put up a fight or something. “You’d be okay with that?”

“Sure, why wouldn’t I be? They won’t know our names or who we are. Camming is something you’re good at; if it’s also something I can help you with, then of course I’m game.” Otto smiles comfortingly. “Plus, um, it’s not like it’s any particular hardship for me to have sex with you.”

Awsten seems pleased, and maybe relieved to boot. “Cool. I—yeah. Seriously, the last stream brought in over a hundred dollars and we didn’t even have the sound on, so…”

Otto’s grin turns mischievous and he pitches his voice low. “And,” he continues, “maybe there’s something a little fun in knowing everybody watching wants you, but only I get to have you.” He rests his head on his hand innocently. “You know?”

Awsten goes instantly and noticeably pink. “Please don’t say incredibly hot shit like that to me when we are in public,” he says, eyes boggling. “Right in front of my fruit salad.”

Otto breaks into a laugh—his real, honking one—and almost knocks his fork off the table.

He catches it at the last moment, and a thought hits him.

“Wait, is that why you wanted to treat me to brunch? Because the stream did so well?” He can’t keep his lips from wobbling, trying not to break out into another giggle fit.

Awsten’s grinning too now. “Yeah. I mean, I figured you deserved to reap the fruits of your labor, so to speak.”

“So you’re saying I—” he chokes on a nasally guffaw and has to compose himself. “You’re saying I fucked my way into a free lunch?”

Awsten bursts into his high, endearing little squeaky toy laugh and Otto is gone. They both laugh so hard the table shakes, then Otto tries to take a steadying sip of water and chokes, and that sets them off all over again.

When they’ve regained their composure, Awsten leans back against the booth and says, “Oh, man, we’re gonna have to tell Geoff.”

“Do you think he’ll care?”

“Eh, I think he’ll be cool about it. He’s so sweet, you know that.” Awsten pokes at the ice cubes left in his cup with the straw. “I just don’t want him to feel like the third wheel in his own band.”

“No, me neither,” Otto says, shaking his head. “But I don’t think anything has to change between us, not really. Why don’t we call him, give him a heads up before we all see each other again?”

---

They sit in the car after Awsten pays for their meal and lean over Awsten’s phone on the center console. Awsten taps the guitar emoji and starts a FaceTime audio call on speaker. They make apprehensive eye contact as it rings.

“Hello?” comes Geoff’s voice.

“Hey Geoff!” Awsten says. “Yo, Otto’s here too.”

“Howdy, Geoff,” Otto chimes in.

“Hi guys,” Geoff chuckles. “What’s up?”

“Okay, so I—er, we—have something to tell you, and I swear to god preemptively that I’m not pulling your leg,” Awsten starts.

“Okay, shoot.”

“Um, so, Otto and I—” Awsten breaks off into that quasi-giggle he gets when he’s really, genuinely nervous, and tries again. “Otto and I are a thing? Like, a boyfriends thing? I know it’s sudden, but I promise it won’t change anything, either with us or the band.”

Geoff cracks up over the line.

Awsten and Otto exchange puzzled glances.

“You think this is sudden?” Geoff’s big smile is evident in his voice. “Guys, I’ve been watching you two perform more and more elaborate mating dances with each other for, like, six years now. I’m so happy for you, and you have my blessing, but you’re both idiots,” he finishes with a telltale warmth in his familiar amiable voice. “Love you both.”

Otto feels his heart swell. “Love you too, buddy.”

“I love you Geoff, also fuck you, asshole,” Awsten laughs. “See you next week for band stuff?”

“Yep! Have fun and be safe, kids,” Geoff says with just a touch of mockery in his voice. “See you.”

“Bye,” Awsten and Otto chime in unison before ending the call. They look at each other in silence.

“Well, shit. Maybe we are stupid,” Otto tries.

“Maybe so.” Awsten’s eyes are wide and bright. “Now come over here and kiss me like we’re two dumb teens on prom night.”

Otto leans across the gearshift, pulls Awsten in for a kiss, and thinks that there’s nowhere else he’d rather be.

-END-