Actions

Work Header

Gaze

Work Text:

Schneider blinks in disbelief.

“Fuck that guy,” he mutters under his breath as he stomps out of the rehearsal room.

Flake looks up from his magazine and stares at him with wide, questioning eyes.

“Really, fuck that guy,” he repeats, and huffs.

Flake sits up and smirks, half-blithe, half-apologetic.

“Come on, you know he doesn’t mean it.”

Schneider couldn’t care less. He doesn’t understand why Paul has to be such a dick as soon as music is involved. They’ve been rehearsing the one same song for two hours straight and he feels like his brain is about to leak through his ears. Paul couldn’t seem to get over a couple of really minor details. Apparently, he couldn’t make one of the transitions as he wanted. At first, he teased, then he snickered, and eventually, he got blatantly annoyed. Schneider doesn’t get it: they’re not Pink Floyd or fucking King Crimson, and what’s the use of spending so much time on a rhythm that Aljoscha will never follow anyway?

He tried to explain that to Paul, but of course, the guitarist disagreed and ended up behind the drum kit to show him what he had to do. “Why don’t you do it yourself, then,” spat Schneider, and Paul snapped, indignant and entitled and overall insufferable, “The fact that it’s humanly impossible to play the guitar and the drums at the same time is the only reason why you’re here.” Fucking Paul.

“I don’t care if he means it or not, there’s just no way he can get away with being such an asshole all the time.”

“Don’t take it personally, it’s just the way he is,” offers Flake. “It’s only because he thinks you’re g-good he pushes you like that.”

“Yeah, right,” he scoffs. “I don’t know how you can stand him. He drives me nuts.”

“I accept him as he is and he accepts me as I am. That’s it, really,” Flake shrugs. “Here, sit down and have a drink.”

Schneider flops down on the couch and grabs the cup Flake is handing him. It’s a ridiculous, chipped thing with a golden rim and corny blue flowers. He takes a generous gulp—all that pestering made him thirsty—and spits half of it back when he realizes that what he expected to be stale tea is actually some unspeakable rotgut, the kind he never drank outside of Aljoscha’s flat and that Flake apparently finds fit for casual, daily consumption.

“Oh yeah, I should have warned you, I f-forgot,” chirps Flake, who is definitely slurring. It’s 4 PM. The totality of this band is absolutely insane. Paul is half-control freak, half-pyromaniac, Flake is a consummate weirdo (and an alcoholic, obviously), and Aljoscha is of course one hundred percent, thoroughly crazy.

Fuck these guys, really.



-



Truth be told, he really likes them, most of the time. They’re unlike anybody he knows. They’re generous, hearty, and wild. They’re independent and a lot of fun. They’re punks. Really, he’s glad he gets to play with Feeling B, even just as a stand-in. They’re not remotely professional, but it’s a nice foretaste of what it could be like to be a real musician.

Paul and Flake live together. Schneider often crashes at their place—it’s always too busy for his taste at Aljoscha’s—when he’s not spending the night with his girlfriend. The couch is comfortable enough and they always serve him a nice breakfast.

One night, he’s woken up very early in the morning by an urgent need to take a leak. On his way to the bathroom, he notices that the bedroom door is ajar. He doesn’t think twice: holding his breath, he approaches and peeks in. The pale light of dawn reveals the thin, bare bodies of his friends entwined on a wide, messy bed. Nested in the sheets, they look peaceful and unguarded. Schneider instantly feels his face flush and steps back.

He knew Flake and Paul were sharing a room because their flat is shabby and small, but it never occurred to him they were sleeping together. He’d never been in their room; he naively thought they had separate beds or something.

For some reason, he can’t fall back asleep.



-



At first, he only thinks about it when he sees them, even more so when he sees them together. Nothing off, nothing giving away that they’re more than friends. But soon, this is all he can think about. He has an uneasy feeling about it, he’s not too sure why.

He didn’t intend to, but one day, as he’s working on some gear in Aljoscha’s living room with Paul, he brings it up.

“How long have you known Flake?” he casually starts.

“I don’t know, almost ten years?” shrugs Paul.

“You’ve been living together all this time?”

“Sort of. Since Flake left his parents, actually—that’s more like five years ago or something.”

Schneider pauses, trying to choose his words carefully: Paul can be extremely hard to read and tends to be mercurial.

“What are you guys, really?”

For the first time, Paul looks up, and gives him a quizzical look.

“I mean, you’re not just friends...”

Paul remains silent, which is totally unlike Paul. He doesn’t look annoyed, but he doesn’t look too pleased either. Schneider’s pulse starts to run.

“I… I’ve seen you. You sleep together. Not, uh. Not like friends do.”

Paul doesn’t answer immediately.

“So? What if we do?” he eventually mutters with a raised eyebrow. He looks unfazed, yet Schneider thinks his hands look a bit unsteady as he lights a cigarette.

“Are you, like, boyfriends?”

Paul lets out an irritated little sound and rolls his eyes. “Does it matter?”

“Well, yes,” says Schneider, and it’s only when he hears his own tone he realizes he’s getting quite huffy about the whole thing. “When the hell were you guys planning to tell me?”

Actually, he’s starting to see where the uneasiness comes from: he feels betrayed. It’s not even a matter of friendship—if two of your bandmates fuck, you ought to know, no?

“Excuse me, I wasn’t aware we owed you full access to our private lives,” scoffs Paul.

“Are we in a band together or what?”

“Still doesn’t have anything to do with whatever Flake and I do at night.”

“Come on, Paul, be fair!”

It’s actually a matter of friendship as well: he spent so much time at their place these last few months, he believed they were close by now. Granted, he doesn’t know them that well, but still, it hurts.

“That’s the kind of thing you want to know about the fucking band you’re playing in!” he goes on.

“Why?”

“Because… Because maybe you never intended to play with a bunch of faggots!”

Schneider regrets it as soon as it leaves his mouth. When he feels hurt, he just wants to hurt back, which got him in trouble many times before already. But it’s too late: Paul is livid.

“Fuck off, then. You’re not the first on this spot, you don’t have to be the last either,” he spits.

Paul never gave a fuck about him. He always suspected that: he’s never good enough for him, not a real punk, not a good drummer. He’s not even worthy of the truth, or any kind of trust, apparently. When he thinks that he introduced them to Sonja, his girlfriend, even though he was sure she wouldn’t like them and would give him a hard time about it!

“Can’t you just admit you’re being a dick, as always?”

“Come on Schneider, do you hear yourself? Who’s being a dick, here?”

Paul looks furious now, and Schneider feels himself panic. Confusedly, a part of his brain wishes Paul would just punch him. Then they would fight, and things would be settled. But Paul doesn’t.

“What were you looking at anyway?” he snaps, the gray of his eyes ice-cold, and he storms out.

For long minutes, Schneider sits there, jaw set, wishing the anger away. He should’ve had this talk with Flake.

Aljoscha pops in with two of his friends. At the moment, he’s the last person Schneider wants to see, but he forces a smile anyway. He brings his friends to another room—probably in his bedroom, thinks Schneider bitterly—and comes back to sit with him.

“Hey. You alright?” he starts, looking genuinely surprised by his grim composure.

Schneider just shrugs. The very idea of telling him what happened is mortifying. Fuck.

“Paul is gone?”

“Paul hates me, doesn’t he?” Schneider stares at the table, dismayed.

“Of course he doesn’t,” guffaws Aljoscha. “If he did, you would have been out of the band a long time ago.”

“He’s always giving me hell. He doesn’t trust me.”

“He’s like that with everybody.”

“He’s not like that with Flake.” A flash of shame burns his cheek, but he chooses to ignore it.

“Their bond is special,” concedes Aljoscha with a neutral, diplomatic smile. He knows, of course. Schneider sighs, feeling more dejected than ever.

Silently, Aljoscha brings him a cup of soup and a shot of schnapps. He gulps both down and feels regret claw at his sides.

An hour later, he knocks on Paul and Flake’s door. It’s Paul who opens, which he both hoped and feared. His eyes still have the cold shine they had a couple of hours before. Paul sighs, but before he can say anything, Schneider starts.

“Please, let me- I didn’t-” He takes a deep breath, and goes on. “I’m sorry, Paul, I really am. That was really uncalled for. I didn’t even mean it. I don’t want to leave. I really couldn’t care less if you’re faggots or not, I swear.”

Paul rolls his eyes but doesn’t close the door, which he takes as a good sign.

“Come on, Paul. You know what it’s like to say stuff you regret when you’re hurt.”

“I still don’t see how you should be the one who’s been hurt, here,” he mutters.

“Do you trust me at all?” Schneider flinches when he realizes how desperate he sounds.

Paul doesn’t say anything. After a second of hesitation, he opens the door and lets Schneider in.

He lets him drink half of their beers, use their record player. He lets him ramble about the last Metallica album and share cigarettes with his—his what? Best friend? Roommate? Boyfriend?

Once again, he lets him crash on their couch.



-



People say Paul’s eyes are blue, but to Schneider, they’re gray. They’re cold and composed, and when he’s upset, they look like molten lead. The contrast with his warm, sunny smiles is striking—it unsettled him more than once.

Schneider always had the idea that it’s where he keeps his secrets.



-



It’s the middle of the night and Schneider is staggering in their corridor again. They played and they partied and he’s hungover—he got up just to get aspirin in the bathroom.

At first, it’s the sound that gives it away. It takes him a minute to realize what he’s hearing—soft moans, breathy sighs. His heart skips a beat. The door to Paul and Flake’s bedroom is half-open, beckoning…

He tries to resist for half a second—how hard is it to just close this stupid door?—, approaches silently, and lets his eyes wander.

They need to get used to the darkness, but the moon is full and its light covers his friends like a veil. At first, all he sees is a white shape pulsating to the unmistakable rhythm of sex. After a little while, he gets more: a long, sinuous back that must be Flake’s, and the way the right shoulder shakes says he must be jerking Paul—or himself—off. Schneider thinks Paul is half-lying, or maybe sitting up, it’s hard to tell. Flake is crouching between his legs.

Schneider knows that the longer he stays the more likely he’ll get caught, but he can’t bring himself to move. His heart is pounding ridiculously hard in his chest, and slowly the pounding slides down to settle on his crotch. He listens to the familiar brush of skin on skin, their ragged breaths, gasps.

He’s not too sure what Paul is doing, but he vaguely sees him arch, like he’s hauling himself up, and an arm wraps around Flake’s neck. Schneider immediately knows that he should fuck off right now—with the light of the corridor behind him, he must be very noticeable—but he’s frozen. Paul’s face peeks up in the crest of Flake’s neck and Schneider sees with perfect clarity realization lighting his eyes. His strangled yelp of surprise sounds dramatically loud in the stillness of the night.

Flake turns around and throws a few slow, myopic blinks in his direction. They both just stare. Schneider considers apologizing but flees instead.

Back on the couch, for long minutes, he hopelessly waits for slumber to give him some relief. It’s only after jerking off that he falls asleep.

The morning after is eerily quiet.

He can’t bring himself to say anything. Paul and Flake seem content with silence. The tension is thick, but Schneider doesn’t sense any hostility. Paul pours him coffee with a casual smile; over his bowl of muesli, Flake doesn’t look offended, resentful, or mad, merely curious.

After they cleaned the table, they both turn to him. Paul wraps himself on Flake’s side, his head tucked in the crook of his shoulder.

They both look at him with clear, inquisitive eyes; the same fleeting smile plays on their lips.

“We don’t mind,” Paul says.



-



They just finished carrying all their gear in the youth center they’ll play in a couple of hours later. Schneider is smoking outside, feeling a bit antsy.

His eyes fall on Paul and Flake, a couple of meters away from him. They’re still inside but he can see them through the glass door. They’re very close, Paul is leaning against Flake’s chest. It’s the first time he’s seeing them being so physical with each other out in the open. They must think that nobody can see them.

Paul nestles his head in the crook of Flake’s neck and gazes outside. He spots Schneider almost immediately. Taken aback, Schneider gives him a small smile. Paul smiles too, wide and wicked, and Schneider sees him say something. Flake turns to him too, just for a second, before Paul takes his face in his hands and kisses him, hard and eager.

Schneider is close enough that he sees Flake smile under Paul’s lips, and then they just go at it like fucking teenagers, heated and sleazy.

He’s dizzy with adrenaline and confused and way more turned on than he should be. He wonders what is Paul’s deal, exactly. Does he want to get on his nerves, make him jealous? Please him? Tease him? He swears to himself he’ll confront him as soon as he gets the chance.

And he gets the chance a couple of hours later, when they’re about to start preparing for the show. He sits on a couch backstage, beer in hand, and Paul is sprawled next to him, the armrest at his back, his guitar on his lap and a cigarette to his lips.

Schneider looks at him hard, but all words seem to die in his throat. Paul stares back and has the nerve to look innocent. He blows curls of smoke through his nose and smiles like he knows exactly what’s going on in Schneider’s mind.

This asshole, thinks Schneider, out of his wits. He would have said something if Sonja hadn’t come to sit on his knee, an arm thrown around his neck—that’s what he chooses to believe, at least.

The tension drops. Still, it nags him all through the show and back home.



-



The next few times he stays at their place, the door to their bedroom is closed. He knows because he checked, haunting the small corridor looking for something he probably shouldn’t want. He gets the message, he thinks.

One of these sleepless nights, he finds the door half-open. This time, he doesn’t doubt they did it on purpose. He can hear the same soft whimpers as before. He peeks in and waits for his eyes to adjust.

Paul is lying on Flake, between his legs, and is grinding down on him. He can see one of Flake’s hands slide in Paul’s hair. His heart picks up instantly. It’s loud to his ears in the quietness of the night.

On an impulse, he decides that they should know. He opens the door wider and the light from the corridor trickles in the room, a long, pale stripe that slides on their bodies like a caress. He holds his breath.

Paul twists so he can face him, and both of their gazes turn to him, glistening in the dark. They don’t say anything, but Paul gives him a small smile and motions at an armchair Schneider never noticed before. The possibility that they brought it in for him hits him hard in the chest.

“I, uh… I’m good here,” he stammers, suddenly paralyzed.

Paul moves to stretch next to Flake, and still they stare. They seem a bit uncertain, as if waiting for something.

“Don’t mind me,” he hears himself say with a confidence he finds absolutely baffling, “Pretend I’m not here.”

That seems to do it. He can see how they keep looking at him from the corner of their eyes as they resume kissing. Eventually, they go back to where they were, and despite the darkness, Schneider takes it in, all of it—the slight, white plane of Paul’s back, the curve of his ass, the shadows his moves trace, Flake’s long limbs wrapping around him like a vine. It’s as if if he watched hard enough, he’d know how they feel.

He can’t really keep track of everything that’s going on: he tries to focus on their hands to have an idea of what they’re doing, but often, they just disappear between them, and he has to use his imagination. He can hear, though, and it’s almost as good: the soft, wet smack of their lips, their low voices when they exchange a few, undecipherable words, deep sighs of pleasure.

Eventually, Flake pushes Paul on his back, drapes himself over his upper body—Schneider doesn’t think they kiss, he’s maybe licking his neck?—, and wraps a hand around Paul’s cock.

In this position, they’re half-hidden behind Flake’s thin back, but he can see how Paul thrusts up in his fist, and it’s already a lot. Schneider doesn’t even try to pretend he doesn’t stare: entranced, he looks at Paul’s dick sliding in and out of Flake’s hand, tip sleek with precome.

Flake presses himself on Paul’s side; they entwine, writhe, and it gets hard to distinguish anything. They breathe harder, though, and soon he hears Paul’s voice as he never heard it before, hoarse and tense, saying “Yes,” and “Fuck, yeah,” and nothing else. Schneider isn’t sure who comes first, but there is a loud, strangled gasp, and a moment later a shaky moan, and they slump down in a pale tangle of limbs.

For a minute, they don’t move, Paul’s chest and Flake’s back heaving. He sees them exchange a few lazy touches, then Flake rolls on his back and Paul extracts one of his hands from between their bodies. He carefully holds it upright and away as he reaches back for tissues: it glistens in the night lights and Schneider watches a thick drop dribbling down his wrist.

It feels a bit like waking up from a dream: he’s still transfixed by what he just saw, some normalcy is creeping back, but the limits are all blurry and he has no idea how to behave.

Paul wipes his hand and their bellies and curls up on Flake’s side. They’re staring at him again, he sees them smile—Flake, broad and playful, Paul, sharp, almost defiant. Schneider, still leaning on the door frame, lets out an incredulous, breathy chuckle, and grins back.

A few awkward seconds follow where he really wants to disappear, but doesn’t know how to do it in a way that’s reasonable and not too rude. He doesn’t know if there is an etiquette for when you just watched two friends going at it, but if there is, he doesn’t know it.

“Can you c-close the door when you leave?” says Flake helpfully, his voice a bit husky.

Relieved, he does, and when he’s alone in the corridor again, he feels like his knees are about to give in.



-



Schneider is with them all day long and he watches. When he closes his eyes, he still sees them.



-



One of these long, gray afternoons of fall, while Aljoscha and Paul are figuring some lyrics out in the rehearsal space, Flake falls asleep on the couch of the living room. Schneider probably has something to do, but he forgot what—and now he’s smoking, mindlessly looking at his unsuspecting friend.

Flake is curled up on himself. His folded arms and hands draw sharp, complicated angles; his back curves like a cat’s. His ill-fitting, dubiously clean shirt looks comfortable, sleep-warm.

There is this spot Schneider always comes back to: the crook of his neck, the pale, impossibly delicate skin behind his ear that he imagines warm and silky. He wonders how many times Paul’s lips have been there, how well they must know its taste.

As if from the sheer intensity of his gaze, Flake stirs, and the blue of his eyes peeks out. He rubs his face and squints.

“Schneider?”

“Yeah.” He quickly gropes for an excuse, comes up with: “I was about to make some coffee. Want some?”

And while he retreats to the kitchen, he daydreams and wonders what this all means.

He comes back with two cups and they just chat for a little while. Flake is weird, but unlike Paul, he acts like he has nothing to prove, which is actually quite relaxing. Flake is also clumsy, and predictably enough, half-sitting, half-lying on the couch as he is, he pours half of his cup on himself.

“Shit, that’s hot!” he winces.

Schneider peels Flake’s shirt off his skinny chest and drags him to the bathroom.

“You’re not burnt, are you?”

“Nah, I’m alright, it wasn’t that warm anymore. Wait—I’ll just go and steal one of Aljoscha’s tees.”

He comes back wearing a purple, ridiculously short thing that hardly covers his belly. Schneider chortles, but Flake doesn’t seem to mind: he sits comfortably on the edge of the bathtub, stretches his legs, and, in typical Flake fashion, watches Schneider struggle to get rid of the coffee stains on his shirt, not even offering help.

“Fuck, how is it possible? Is there even that much coffee in a cup?” he mutters, annoyed, soaking the shirt in cold water.

“You c-can talk. Look at you, your shirt is inside out!”

Schneider stops. Damn, Flake is right. He had a rough start this morning—that must be why.

Without thinking about it, he takes it off to turn it inside out, then puts it back on. When his head pops out of the collar, he sees Paul. He chokes back a gasp—he didn’t hear him coming at all. He’s standing in the doorway, still half in the shadow of the corridor, obviously stopped in his tracks. Schneider feels his gaze on him, heavy and thick like molasses. Paul is often hard to read, but Schneider knows how to recognize lust when he sees it.

Cheeks burning, he turns to Flake. His smile is playful but his eyes are knowing.

It’s almost nothing, just the twinkling of an eye, but it lasts, retinal persistence stretching time for a few seconds. And then reality catches up, and Paul disappears in the darkness.



-



They’re staying at the house of someone Schneider doesn’t know in a small town not too far from Berlin. They played there a couple of hours before. Sonja came with them as she does every once in a while.

They claim the best bedroom and leave the party early. But of course, you can count on Flake and Paul to bust in mid-fuck. He curses and Sonja freezes under him.

“Sorry, wrong room,” blurts out Paul, and they close the door before Schneider could even meet their eyes.



-



It’s gotten better. Paul is less edgy, and when he is, most of the time, Schneider has the strength to ignore him, and everything goes fine. Yet the tension isn’t gone, far from it. Maybe it just changed in nature.

Once, as Paul is being his unbearable self again in the rehearsal room, anger gets ahold of Schneider so fast it actually scares him. Paul has been on his back the whole day and managed to reproach him for not being creative enough and not sticking to the plan in the same sentence.

“You’re full of shit, Paul.”

He throws away his sticks and decides it’s wiser to leave. When Paul understands, he grabs him by the wrist and gives him what he probably thinks is a placating look, but what Schneider sees as condescending, nothing but pride.

Paul’s fingers are scorching. For a whole second, he thinks that it’s the last straw—Schneider is going to punch him. And then he realizes that it’s not punching him that he wants.

He storms out and walks and walks before going home, long steps on frozen sidewalks. He takes a cold shower. It still burns.



-



At first, he saw Flake as an ally, a safe haven. He’s terrible when very drunk, but for the most part, he’s nice and easy-going, certainly not as edgy as Paul.

During Schneider’s first audition, he came in with a devilish grin and a drum machine. For excruciatingly long minutes, Schneider had to keep up with it, on top of all their twisted ideas. By the time it was over, he was adamant that he’d never play with these assholes.

Against all logic and the most basic sense of self-preservation, when they asked him to join, he agreed.



-



Piercing. That’s what people say about Schneider’s eyes—piercing, ice blue, bewitching. They got him laid more than once, he’s sure. Even the most bashful girls compliment him on his pretty eyes.

They also get him in trouble. In middle school, he got caught peeping into the girls’ changing room through a slit in the door. It was his German teacher who caught him red-handed. She said, “There are many kinds of gazes, but this is just taking what’s not yours, exerting dominance.” To this, the boyfriend of his sister, a few years older than him, shrugged: “You just tried to touch with your eyes what you can’t touch with your hands.”



-



They had a lazy day. Schneider didn’t really have any reason to stop by at Paul and Flake’s, but still he did. It’s been a while: he’s been spending more time with Sonja lately. She complained about him being away all the time, which was sort of true, so. It left him with a nagging feeling of frustration, though, a hunger to see them.

They listened to music and chatted, then bickered, then laughed. Night fell; they had leftovers, quite a few beers, and countless cigarettes. They tried to play poker, but it was too much of a hassle, so they settled on slapjack. Schneider isn’t exactly a good sport, Paul sure isn’t either: it could go wrong in many ways, but so far, he feels comfortable and relaxed, and everybody seems to be having a good time.

Schneider sits on the armchair—the armchair he saw in their room one night—, across the pallet-turned-coffee-table; Paul and Flake sit on the couch, sprawled and casual, not too close, not particularly intimate. Yet Schneider stares when Flake playfully bumps Paul’s arm, when they exchange smiles, when their thighs brush. He’s tipsy and he can feel that he stares too much, so much that he’s losing and that he can’t bring himself to care.

Predictably enough, at some point, when a jack pops up and both Paul and Flake lurch forward to slap it, they collide ungracefully and Flake elbows Paul hard in the ribs.

“Ouch!” he winces loudly, and in a flurry of limbs, Flake sets them both back on the couch and, for a second, looks genuinely concerned.

“Oof, sorry! You alright? I think I heard a strange sound. Did I b-break something?”

“Fuck,” grimaces Paul with a pained chuckle. “It’s okay, of course you didn’t break anything, but god you’re pointy!”

“Let me make it better.”

Flake opens a new beer and grabs a cookie from the mostly empty box on the table, hands them to Paul, and bats his lashes. Paul gives him a sly smile and takes the bottle.

“Seriously, Paul? You’re content with that?” says Schneider, who’s been watching in rapture, who’s drunk and eager, and who thinks that if there is no tension between them yet, maybe he could bring some.

“What, you have a better idea?”

Flake sounds neutral and probably doesn’t mean much by that, but it fires something in Schneider’s guts.

“I don’t know, kiss it better or something.”

“Oh.” That was certainly not smooth, but the guys don’t seem to take it too badly. Paul’s grin is knowing and Flake looks amused. “Sure,” he chirps. He takes Paul’s cigarette, puts it off in the ashtray that is in front of them on the table, kisses the corner of his mouth, and, full of mischief, turns back to Schneider.

“Not like that,” he scoffs.

Paul lifts his shirt and points at a spot on his flank. “Here,” he says, holding Schneider’s gaze. Flake bows down and presses his lips carefully on Paul’s pale skin.

“Better?”

“I don’t know, it was very painful,” sighs Paul overdramatically, and he grins at them, wide and wicked. When Flake resumes, mouthing and licking and sucking lightly, he sighs again, but it’s something else completely.

Schneider looks, pulse racing. They both turn to face him. There is something strange in the air, heavy like a secret, an unsaid agreement. He doesn’t know how, but he knows that they know what he wants, and that they want it too.

“Kiss him,” tumbles from his lips before he could even think about it.

Paul settles back on the corner of the couch, and Flake gingerly leans in. They exchange a look, smile at each other, and kiss. It’s a real kiss, nothing playful about it; they go at it for a little while, lips parted and heads tilted. Schneider watches with delight Paul sliding a thin hand up Flake’s chest to his neck, Flake biting his lower lip, glistening slivers of tongue.

“Better?” asks Flake again eventually.

“We’re getting somewhere,” answers Paul, a bit breathless.

“Come on Flake, maybe you should try something else? You must know his most sensitive spots…”

“Uhu,” he nods, and buries his face in the crook of Paul’s neck. He must be kissing him somewhere, Schneider can’t see. He sees the flush of pleasure blooming on Paul’s face, though, his eyes fluttering shut.

“Don’t show him,” he protests weakly, and bites his lips as if he wanted to take it back.

Flake chuckles and goes on.

“Why? You’re afraid I’m going to use it against you?” Schneider teases. He feels confident, like last time, in control; he knows that Paul won’t turn against him now and he doesn’t feel that very often.

“Not afraid.” Paul chokes back a whine. Flake keeps going, delicate fingers wrapped along his jaw, and Schneider only stops him when Paul starts arching and grinding against him.

“Flake, try another one.”

Flake sure looks like he’s having a lot of fun. He grins mischievously and when Paul gives him a little nod, he slides down, lifts Paul’s shirt, and pulls his belt down a little bit. He starts mouthing at what must be the crest of his hip; Paul jolts and moans so unabashedly it sends shivers down Schneider’s spine.

“Is he hard?” he asks Flake. His voice is absolutely steady, which is a miracle he can’t quite explain.

He knows he must be, there is no way he isn’t when arousal is so blatant in his eyes. Flake nods. Schneider figures if they weren’t into that, they would have kicked him out a long time ago already, so he goes for it.

“Touch him… Open his pants.”

None of them seem fazed. Flake carefully opens the belt and the fly, and yeah, Paul sure is hard. Schneider stares and feels himself blush—worse, he feels his mouth water. He’s relieved they can’t see that, at least.

Lying between Paul’s legs, Flake loosely wraps his fist around his dick. He gives it a couple of light pulls and turns to Schneider.

“I don’t know… What should I do?” he asks slyly, obviously repressing a smile.

“Suck him off.”

Again, no resistance at all. They wiggle around a little bit, and Flake just pops Paul’s dick in his mouth. Schneider is actually a bit flabbergasted he has the guts to do that, but by now he knows that Flake’s sense of what is socially acceptable, embarrassing, decent, or even sane is very personal. Their obvious shamelessness makes everything seem lighter than it actually is: there is a tension, something sultry building between the three of them, so thick Schneider can almost taste it.

The way Flake is draped over Paul is hiding everything, so he has to do with the bobbing of his head and the glowing flush that’s covering Paul’s cheeks and spreading down his neck. Schneider never noticed he blushes like that, it’s charming.

“Stop.”

Flake does immediately, and Paul glares at Schneider.

“You should take off his pants, that looks very inconvenient.” When they’re off, he adds, “And his shirt, too, it doesn’t make sense like that.”

Apparently impressed by his nerve, Paul huffs a chuckle but takes his shirt off anyway.

“Flake, you should undress too, you can’t leave him like that.”

Flake drops his clothes, still unfazed, and stretches on his belly on the couch, between Paul’s legs, who is sitting with his back to the armrest.

“You don’t take off your glasses?”

“Nah. You’re not the only one who wants to watch,” he answers with a thin smile. The acknowledgment of what is happening makes Schneider’s heart pound faster.

“What about you?” asks Paul, an eyebrow raised, challenging.

“What about me? I’m staying like this,” shrugs Schneider.

“Doesn’t sound fair.”

“I don’t care. You’ll have a say at the rehearsals tomorrow.”

Paul’s eyes widen, half-indignant, half-amused, but doesn’t say anything. Somehow, Schneider feels totally unshakable, it’s making him almost lightheaded. He wouldn’t care about being naked in front of them, it’s nothing they haven’t seen before, but staying dressed gives him the feeling he’s the one in control—that they’re doing this for him.

He doesn’t need to tell Flake to go back at it, he’s already busy in Paul’s crotch again. Schneider looks at his long, impossibly thin back; his skin looks so smooth, pale and spangled with a few beauty spots. His fingers itch to touch, but that’s not what he’s here for. Somehow, he forgets himself completely, thoroughly absorbed by what he sees. The dizzying buzz of arousal feels distant—not the strain his pants put on his hard-on, though. He sits back a little bit and readjusts himself.

Paul sees and smirks. He holds Schneider’s gaze, which makes it worse, but makes it better as well: he can watch, fascinated, how pleasure changes him, read it all over his body, in the shine of his eyes and the way the muscles of his belly twitch.

Eventually, Paul breaks the eye contact and focuses on Flake. He plays with his hair and caresses the nape of his neck, reaches further to stroke his back. He bows his head to tell him something Schneider doesn’t understand, and they readjust a little bit: Paul sits back and up on the armrest so Flake can straighten up a little. Paul bows lower and cradles Flake’s head; they’re so close he can probably even kiss the top of his back when his head bobs down. He just resumed, slowly stroking him at the same time, his feet up, balancing lazily.

It looks so intimate that for the first time, Schneider actually feels a bit uneasy. He would have never thought that something so raw could look so gracious. He can’t tear his eyes away; he’d watch them like that forever.

But at some point, Paul straightens up a little bit, braces an arm on the back of the couch, and buries his face in the crook of his elbow. Schneider can see his chest heave erratically; he must be close. He pets Flake’s cheek, and soon he really sits up, his whole body clenches, and he gasps. He comes with a string of curses, eyes shut tight, and Schneider watches voraciously, mesmerized.

As Paul catches his breath, Flake emerges from between his thighs with disheveled hair and red cheeks. He scrabbles for the ashtray, messily spits out Paul’s jizz in it, and gives Schneider a goofy, giggly grin.

The way Paul looks at Flake, so openly, disarmingly fond, is sort of devastating, and for a minute, Schneider feels like there isn’t a gulp of air left in the room. His ears are ringing with the intensity of it all and he has to force himself back to his reasonably articulate self.

“Paul, you should, uh...”

But Paul doesn’t wait for him to slide on the floor next to Flake, who rolled on his back, hard-on gloriously bouncing back on his belly. He can’t see what he does, but it sounds like they’re kissing, and then he kisses down his neck, on his chest, and Flake caresses him gently, a hand stroking his shoulder slowly.

“… You should return the favor.”

“Of course,” Paul mumbles, and he goes to climb back on the couch.

“No, stay on the floor. Flake, sit up.”

Flake obliges, sitting up on the couch with his parted knees framing Paul, but Paul turns to Schneider with an indignant little scoff. From his spot on the floor, he has to look up to him, which Schneider doesn’t mind at all.

“You’re really enjoying that, huh?” he says, and Schneider chuckles. They exchange a look and he knows exactly what he means—not just the watching, but the watching from above, the upper hand. He just nods, and when Flake clears his throat, impatient, they both turn back to him.

Paul gets down to business immediately, and although Schneider may be getting a kick out of seeing him kneeling on the floor, he regrets that in this position, he can’t actually see much more. Paul’s elbows are braced on Flake’s thighs—he’s probably jerking him off at the same time—and his head is moving back and forth, slowly at first, then to a steady, eager pace.

Flake runs his finger up and down one of Paul’s forearms. He’s looking down at him with a warm, benevolent smile, and his blush is spreading by the minute, now reaching the middle of his chest.

Schneider stares at Paul’s back, slight and very pale, even paler than Flake’s. He looks almost fragile like that, which is not something he ever thought about Paul—it’s actually mind-blowing to realize that the loud, sly, and mildly terrifying guy that gives him such a hard time and this frail, careful, gently curled-up Paul are the same person.

As he goes, Flake seems to sink deeper and deeper in the couch. His eyes fall shut and he bites his lips. He looks defenseless, vulnerable in a strangely assertive way that is somehow so him that Schneider can’t help but smile.

He thinks that it goes faster this time but he doesn’t know for sure. His heart feels like it’s about to burst and he’s getting disorientated by lust. He could touch himself, at least just to release a bit of the pressure, but he doesn’t. He wiggles to try and find a more comfortable way to sit and stays completely focused on them—his friends, who are somehow blowing each other in front of him, and seem to be enjoying it just as much as he is.

Flake is getting close. He’s restless and Schneider can see tremors going through his body. He caresses Paul’s hair gently, but when he comes, he fists the bleached locks so tightly his knuckles turn white. Schneider winces in sympathy—it must hurt—but Paul just keeps going, and Flake moans, loud and strangled, squints hard, and slumps back on the couch.

Paul climbs up next to him, casually wiping his mouth, and they curl up next to each other, looking spent and sated. They both turn to him. He feels their eyes, still glassy with pleasure, run from his face, down his chest, to his crotch. There is no way they can’t see his hard-on.

“Knock yourself out,” suggests Paul with a little smile.

“N-no, I’m fine,” Schneider blurts out. He’s feeling constricted and unbearably horny but he’s petrified by these two pairs of eyes. It would only be fair, he thinks, and their gazes are soft, curious, nothing that should make him feel uncomfortable, but he can’t bring himself to.

“I’ll just-” he goes on, gesturing vaguely in the direction of the corridor.

“Sure,” shrugs Flake. “Whatever works for you.”

He staggers out and locks himself in the bathroom which is frankly ridiculous as everybody knows very well what he’s going to do in there. With a sigh of relief, he frees his cock and starts to jerk off in quick, desperate strokes. He comes ridiculously fast and hard, swallowing a moan and cursing under his breath, his mind a blur of thin, tangled limbs, bleached hair, and haunting blue eyes.

When he’s back to the living room, his bed has been set, but Paul and Flake are gone.



-



In his dreams, he knows the warmth of their mouths and the taste of their skin.



-



Flake and Aljoscha are playing off each other, as they do sometimes: Aljoscha belts something, Flake adds a little melody to it, Aljoscha belts some more, and they only stop when they’re satisfied, Flake grinning madly and Aljoscha laughing with delight.

Paul is looking at them—looking at Flake—with a fond, proud little smile that looks so soft Schneider feels like he should avert his eyes.

He really is in love, he thinks, and he knew of course, but it’s something else to see it displayed so openly, especially by Paul, who is often so guarded.

“Hey Paul, wanna start the last one again?” he says on an impulse. It’s not that he wants to break his moment, it’s just that he wishes he knew what it’s like to be cradled by this bright, honey-sweet gaze.

Paul turns to him and for a few glorious, sunny seconds, he does. Then Paul snaps out of it, gives him a neutral smile, and Schneider feels cold.



-



After a gig, Paul helps him bring his drums back to the van. Schneider is tipsy enough that he ventures:

“Flake is cute, but I’d thought you’d need someone more...”

“More what?”

“I don’t know. Stronger. As strong as you.”

Paul chuckles. “Flake is much stronger than me.” He pauses, his eyes intense and inquisitive. “He’s stronger than you, too.”

That’s as far as Schneider dared to go between them.



-



Flake’s eyes are wide and bright blue. Someone who wouldn’t know better could say they’re transparent, pure, innocent, but Schneider knows better.

His gaze is sharp, direct, but it’s hard to read, sheltered behind thick glass and a myriad of reflections. When he doesn’t wear his glasses, it’s dreamy, observant, and Schneider guesses that it’s because his sight is so blurry that he can see things exactly like they are—except, maybe, more beautiful.



-



One day, he makes the mistake of inviting them to a party his girlfriend’s brother is throwing. It starts fine, and everything collapses around midnight. From the living room, he hears yelps and laughter—cascading, hysterical laughter—, but it’s Sonja’s furious “Chris!” that puts him in motion.

He realizes that it smells like something is burning. When he gets into the kitchen, he finds Paul in stitches and Flake giggling just as much. His ears are scarlet and he’s covered in something that must be ketchup. Actually, it’s not just Flake: there are splashes of ketchup all over the room and big, black traces on the walls next to the stove. They both look completely wasted. Sonja is fuming.

“They tried to, I quote, ‘flambé French fries’,” she states coolly.

“And then Flake wanted to add ketchup but it wasn’t coming out so he shook the bottle but forgot to close it back up and it exploded everywhere,” adds Paul between two fits.

People are starting to gather to see what’s going on and Schneider is feeling very tired.

“They’re your friends! Say something, Chris!”

Truth be told, it is funny. Flake looks thoroughly helpless and Paul’s laughter is contagious. Schneider feels the corners of his mouth twitch.

“Please,” she adds, so he pulls himself together.

“What the fuck, guys,” he starts flatly.

“I don’t know,” says Paul with tears in his eyes.

“You’d better fix this quickly.” He’s trying to sound confident and bossy, but he’s not sure it’s working.

“S-sorry,” tries Flake, before bursting out again.

Sonja glares at him, then at Schneider. He sighs.

“Figure it out, Flake! Get rid of this fucking mess!” He’s getting snappy—it’s late, he was having a good time, and he’s getting annoyed.

It looks like something in Paul snaps. He even stops laughing.

“Come on, Schneider. Do you really have to ruin all the fun every time?”

“That’s not funny.”

“It is. Give him a fucking break,” Paul slurs, and he gives Schneider a cold look.

He holds his gaze. “That’s what it’s about, huh?”

“Is it?”

Paul still stares at him, challenging. Schneider rubs his face and sighs again. This is not working. He ignores the yelps of Flake and Sonja and drags Paul out of the kitchen.

“It’s a fucking chaos in there, you’d better clean it up real quick,” he starts. He knows Sonja is yelling and expecting something from him and he doesn’t know what to do, which is making him nervous. And you can count on Paul to make things worse.

“Give me a break, we’ll clean up tomorrow,” he mutters. “Come on. It was funny.”

Schneider chuckles drily. “No. It’s only funny because you’re wasted. Why do you have to fuck things up like that?”

“Jesus, Schneider, don’t be so stuck up! What’s gotten into you? Is it because she’s here?”

“No it’s not, it’s because you’re assholes,” he snaps, reaching the end of his patience.

“What is it about her, really? I mean, sure, she’s cute, but what a drag...”

“Don’t you dare go there, Landers.”

“Come on,” he just says, staggering closer. His eyes are glassy and he smells like booze and sweat and cigarette, which shouldn’t trouble Schneider as it does.

“She’s important to me.”

“Oh yeah?”

“She- I love her. Just fucking quit it.”

“And she loves you, huh?”

Schneider nods, jaw set. He feels himself simmering with irritation.

With every blink, Paul seems closer. It makes him uneasy, and it gets to a point where he can see Paul’s pulse fluttering on a vein on his temple, where they’re basically breathing the same air. Anger and lust and fear tangle in an incomprehensible mess that ties his throat shut.

“We love you too,” says Paul with a smile that makes Schneider’s stomach drop. No trace of snark; it looks sweet, vulnerable, and lurid. He thought Paul was completely wasted, but he doesn’t know anymore, he looks both very drunk and still somewhat in control.

Paul straightens up and leans back on the wall: Schneider didn’t realize he was crowding him, that he’d been the one getting closer all along. His head is spinning and he’s starting to think he’s not feeling okay at all. Thoughts swirl in his mind, one a bit louder than the others: I hope nobody is going to interrupt this.

He’s staring at Paul’s mouth, he can’t bring himself to stop and Paul notices, Paul is doing the same thing. He stumbles forward and Schneider thinks that it’s finally it, that Paul is going to kiss him. His heart is pounding so loud in his ears that the rest of the world fades away. He freezes.

Giddy, Paul braces against Schneider’s arm. He gets up to plant a peck on his brow, moves past him, and vanishes.



-



Not too long after that, Sonja chooses to break up with him. He’s always out with the guys, she says, they don’t share anything anymore. He does crash at Paul and Flake’s more often than not, and he can’t say he didn’t see it coming.

He does his best to look apologetic and vaguely guilty. The truth is that the only reason why he’s feeling guilty is that he’s actually not feeling much. No sadness, no pain, no anger. Just relief and a sense of freedom.

When she leaves, he goes straight to the guys.



-



It’s been gray and bleak the whole day, ashy clouds heavy, welling up. Schneider hates that kind of weather. It fills him with expectation, longing for a release—sun, rain, snow; anything but that.

They spent the evening rehearsing at Aljoscha’s, as usual, and they’re all quite buzzed. When they step out, it’s pouring.

“Shit,” curses Flake.

“C’mon, hurry up,” says Paul.

Flake clumsily takes off his coat and holds it over them. Paul squeezes himself on his side, an arm wrapped around his waist, and they stagger on the street, splashing in puddles and laughing their hearts out. Schneider is on their heels. His throat feels tied with yearning, and he’s quite sure it’s not for their ludicrous makeshift shelter.

Paul and Flake live just a couple of blocks away, but by the time they get there, they’re drenched. Their teeth are chattering and they look exhilarated.

They run up the stairs. It’s cold in their flat, but it’s dry. Schneider is breathless, his heart thumping hard in his chest. They don’t exchange a single word, just wide, hysterical smiles, and he follows them to the bathroom. They strip down unceremoniously, helping each other out of their clothes, and start drying themselves. They throw him a towel and he undresses too. There is something different tonight.

They turn to him, hair wet and slicked back, eyes wide and glittering. Flake takes Schneider’s towel from his hands and starts working on his hair, wrapping it carefully and massaging it lightly. Paul uses his own to rub all over Schneider, firm but not insistent. It’s overwhelming to be surrounded by them like that, to be pampered of all things. He plays it cool but his heart is racing. He sees Flake muttering something he can’t understand to Paul, and Paul nods.

When they decide it’s enough, Paul steps out first. Flake brushes Schneider’s wrist.

“C-come with us?”

He knows instantly what it means, and for a second, he feels like he can’t breathe.

He follows them to their room, into their bed. Paul slides in first, then Flake, and he gets under the comforter next to him, not quite touching.

At first, there is nothing but the rustle of the sheets. It’s dark in the room. The street lights are weakly pouring in, damp and sallow. Paul turned on his bedside lamp, a small, bare light bulb that can’t do much against the night.

Above them, the rain is hitting hard on the windowpane and draws translucent, pulsating veins. Schneider tries to follow the sharp, tinkling rhythm of the drops on the glass, but it’s irregular and chaotic, and makes him even more aware of the steady pounding in his chest.

Flake is so close. He’s lying on his back and both Paul and Schneider roll on their sides to face him. Without his glasses and with his hair out of his face, he looks very naked. Schneider stares at Paul’s hand resting casually on his chest. Across him, Paul leaves a kiss on his shoulder, and his eyes meet Schneider’s. He looks pensive for a second, his face shadowed and hard to read. Then he reaches out, takes Schneider’s hand gently, as if to not scare him, and puts it on Flake’s chest.

Flake’s skin is cold, a bit clammy still. His heart is beating hard too. And since the invitation couldn’t be more clear, he does what he carefully rehearsed so many times in his thoughts: he slowly strokes his way up to his neck and buries his face in the crook of his shoulder. His hair is coldly tickling his nose. It smells earthy, like damp concrete, empty streets.

His own breath is so warm: Flake basically melts against him and a thin arm curves around his shoulder, cool, soft fingers curling in his neck. Another hand, rougher, comes to rest over his. He dares to press himself closer and runs his tongue along Flake’s neck, to the soft spot behind his ear. It makes him whimper. Lust overcomes him very fast, like it’s been pooling for so long already, forever, and it’s now about to crash the dam.

He raises himself just enough to look Flake in the eyes, and he’s completely unguarded, his playful, benevolent smile pulling at the corner of his lips—the smile that Schneider so often sought as a refuge from Paul’s unforgiving smirk.

He leans forward and kisses him with probably too much heat, his lips insistent and wet, but Flake doesn’t seem to mind. His hand tightens at the back of Schneider’s neck, so Schneider presses closer and darts his tongue in Flake’s mouth.

As the kiss deepens, he feels Paul’s hand leave his own to settle on his waist. It slides up and down, firm, pulling him even closer. From the wet sounds he can hear, he must be kissing Flake too, his neck or his shoulder.

Flake is pushier than he imagined. It’s a messy kiss, enthusiastic, with a twinge of desperation that Schneider hoped but failed to conceal. It goes on for a while, long enough to feel Flake’s body squirm and literally warm up against his. When he full-on moans in his mouth, he figures there must be something going on. Paul’s hand is gone from his flank, leaving it cool and shivering. He detaches to see Paul mouthing at Flake’s neck and jerking him off at the same time, his fist an unmistakable bump under the comforter, slow, probably just teasing.

Schneider’s breath hitches: it makes him aware of how hard he is already. Too greedily for his own taste, he grinds against Flake’s bony hip and resumes kissing him, finger tangled in wet locks. He never thought it’d be so easy to close the distance—the distance between him and them, outside and inside, eye and hand.

At some point, they stop to catch their breath. His gaze turns to Paul, magnetized, and Paul looks like he’d been waiting for it. His eyes are black and glassy, and what lies in there is unmistakable.

It feels like a punch in the gut. For the first time, Schneider thinks about bailing out, lust and dread melding into paralyzing need.

As if he knew—he probably knows, thinks Schneider—, Paul reaches out to pull him in, a hand firm at the back of his neck. He rises a little bit so they can meet half-way, over Flake’s body. To Schneider’s utter embarrassment, he’s so stunned that Paul actually has to use a bit of force to drag him there. He stops when they’re so close they’re sharing breath, and lets Schneider close the gap.

Kissing Paul feels like kissing anyone else, or it should, but Schneider is swept by an overwhelming swirl of emotions—relief, trepidation, devouring hunger, all of it overshadowed by the glowing feeling that yes, Paul does like him after all. For some incomprehensible reason, he’s reminded of the first time he’s ever laid his eyes on him at school and thought that despite his stupid hair and silly mustache, he looked like the coolest guy he’d ever seen. And then it settles, and he loses himself in the kiss, Paul’s chapped lips and nimble tongue.

Flake’s hand slides up and down his back, making him shiver, and after a little while, he hears a light, playful smack.

“C’mon Paul, let’s swap,” he says. It’s the first words they exchanged since they stepped into the room. Hearing him makes everything sharper, more deliberate—makes Schneider more aware of how turned on he is.

There is a bit of shuffling and Paul squeezes between them, facing Schneider, his back to Flake’s chest, one of Flake’s arms wrapped around his waist. He twists back and they kiss. Schneider never got the chance to hear the wet sounds of their mouths that clearly, to watch them from that close, even though he can’t see much: Paul’s jaw working, Flake tilting his head and holding him tight.

To Schneider’s eyes, Paul’s chest and throat look offered, eerily white. The street lights flickering through the raindrops on the windows paint weird, pale blotches all over him. He traces them with his fingertips and goosebumps break when he brushes a nipple. So he goes on; he presses his lips to the faint fuzz in the middle of his chest and feels his heart fluttering underneath. Paul throws an arm around him and he wetly mouths his way up to lick along a collar bone, to his neck. There, he explores, soft nibbles looking for something, and when he finds it, Paul whines, low and unguarded, his throat quivering against Schneider’s mouth.

Flake and Paul part with a loud smacking sound that makes them giggle and Paul turns back to face him. He looks a bit antsy and the smile he gives him looks genuine, almost sweet, which leaves Schneider speechless. As he watches him bite his lips, eyes eager, he gets the idea that maybe Paul has been wanting that for as long as he has.

Flake squishes Paul to give Schneider a small peck on the mouth, and as soon as he draws back, Schneider and Paul kiss again. Paul entwines their legs and from back there, Flake brushes his soft fingers down his arm. He’s pressed flush against Paul; he distinctly feels his dick poking his belly, he’s pretty sure he can taste Flake on his lips, and wow, this is a lot—so much more than the couple of handjobs he traded in a dark corner of his dorm when he was in the army.

His fingers are tight on Paul’s neck, tangled in wet strands of hair, and he doesn’t even try to hold back: he sucks on his lips, bites them, and whimpers when Paul slides his tongue along his. He’s not really gentle, which doesn’t come as a surprise—he’s just as demanding as the rest of the time. He holds him tight, fingers curled at the base of his neck, hips arching forward.

Schneider feels a hand—he lost track whose—sliding down his back. It’s impossibly warm and it goes lower and lower, to his ass. He yelps when it cups it firmly and brings him closer. Now, both his dick and Paul’s are squeezed together between their bellies, hot and hard, so tight that when he pulls on Paul’s lower lip with his teeth, he can feel his cock twitch. He wiggles and Schneider suspects he’s grinding back on Flake. Flake—Schneider can make eye contact with him over Paul. His pupils are wide and he gives him a little smile before reaching back for something.

Schneider hears the pop of a bottle being opened. He figures out what it must be quick enough and for a few seconds of sheer giddiness, he thinks they’re actually going to fuck in front of him, that Paul is going to get fucked in his arms. Flake fumbles around, then Schneider feels his slippery knuckles brush his hip—his fingers are probably tight on Paul’s—and they both lurch forward, Paul pressed even tighter against him. But seeing how easy it goes and Paul’s wide, sly smile, he figures it’s not really it.

They wiggle around for a minute and Flake starts humping steadily. His wet hand squeezes between Schneider and Paul and soon moves in an unmistakable way, rhythmically bumping against Schneider’s belly. Paul breathes in sharply and moans, low and unrestrained. Schneider’s hips snap forward from their own volition, which is embarrassing, but makes Paul moan some more.

Paul twists his arm over his shoulder.

“Gimme some,” he tells Flake, and this time, Schneider sees: Flake squishes a small bottle over Paul’s cupped hand, then Paul rubs his fingers together. His hand disappears between them and Schneider feels warm, slippery fingers slide just under his navel and downwards, slow and tantalizingly light.

Schneider is about to ask for more when he sees Paul raise a questioning eyebrow at him. Schneider nods desperately and the fingers—Paul’s fingers—slip down, press along his cock, and wrap around it, the palm of his hand smooth and slick and impossibly hot. Paul holds his gaze and smiles when Schneider’s eyes briefly flutter shut, smug and so obviously aroused that Schneider grabs him by the neck and starts kissing him again.

Paul’s hand goes steadily up and down, up and down, squeezed next to Flake’s on his own cock, and Schneider can’t help but fuck in his fist, matching his pace as best as he can; Flake still pushes Paul forward rhythmically, and after a few minutes of fumbling around, they all synchronize so perfectly that a weirdly lucid part of his brain thinks they are made to play together—on stage and everywhere else.

He reaches blindly to grope Paul but they’re squeezed so tightly that it doesn’t quite work out, so he goes further, and runs a broad hand up and down Flake’s back. His bony hips and ribs are silky, unbelievably smooth. It’s hard to notice when he goes from one body to another, their skins are just as soft, as warm.

Schneider decides to explore further and touches lower, between Flake and Paul, to understand what’s going on exactly, and he feels it: Flake tucked his cock between Paul’s thighs. Schneider reaches around between Paul’s thighs and his own to sneak his fingers in. They brush against the wet tip of Flake’s cock.

Flake gives him a confused, ‘What the hell are you doing?’ look, and his slippery fingers grab his hand to guide it to Paul’s dick. Schneider’s heart is about to burst, but still he squeezes them tight around it. It’s incredibly hot and slick with lube and sweat and precome. It slides in and out of his fist easily when Flake thrusts.

“Schneider, fuck,” Paul sighs.

They’re way past the fooling around line; now, it’s really about getting off. Overheated, Schneider kicks the comforter away and pumps fast on Paul’s cock, firm, almost aggressive, and at some point, Paul stops returning the motion, which is fine because it’s too much to concentrate on anyway.

“Faster,” he moans. Schneider does, the slap of skin-on-skin obscenely loud in the quiet room. He tries to meet Flake’s eyes but his head is buried in Paul’s neck.

“Come on, Paul,” he huffs. Paul’s eyes are closed but the scalding smile he gives him makes his stomach flip.

They’re pressed so tight that he can feel that he’s close from the way his body twitches and tenses. He gasps, “Fuck, guys,” clenches hard, presses back against Flake, and comes in a few hot squirts that dribble through Schneider’s fingers, onto their bellies. Then he goes limp, curses again, and slumps in Flake’s arms.

Schneider huffs out a chuckle, overwhelmed, and as he untangles himself to catch his breath and try to gather the few brain cells he has left, Flake hugs Paul tightly from behind, and humps him vigorously, making them both jolt towards him.

He can’t really see Flake come; he hears him though, whining and gasping, and he feels his come drip on his thighs. What Schneider does see is Paul’s pleased, blissful smile, eyes still closed.

They pant for a little while, probably enjoying the afterglow and catching their breath. The tension dropped spectacularly and Schneider feels both incredibly horny and inadequate. He doesn’t dare touch them so he waits, bright red and awkward.

Paul must have noticed because he sort of climbs on him to get on his other side, and Flake scoots closer. He’s the one sandwiched between them, now, and it is just as astounding as he imagined it would be.

They don’t say a word, but he feels their mouths along his hairline, his jaw, in his neck, on his shoulders, their hands on his chest, his hips. He lets out a shaky breath and tries not to squirm.

“You feel so good,” coos Paul, and wow, he didn’t see this one coming. He feels himself blush, feverish. It’s dizzying to be the center of their attention.

The two of them face him, their heads impossibly close. They both look flushed and elated, eyes glistening, lips tempting. They exchange a look and a smile, their profiles pale, delineated lines against the darkness, and they kiss briefly, sweet and languid.

Gathering some of his senses, he brings a hand up to trace Flake’s mouth. Softly, Flake kisses his fingertips, and grins. He does the same thing with Paul, but Paul looks at him dead in the eyes and flicks his tongue along two of his fingers, then sucks them in his mouth. He nibbles on them, slowly rubbing his tongue against the rough tips. Schneider lets out a shaky breath. He pushes further, brushes along the slippery velvet of his tongue, then twists his hand to touch the roof of his mouth. As if it wasn’t hot enough as it is, Flake gets involved and kisses the thin, sensitive skin of the inside of his wrist, mouth warm and wet.

“Guys...” he whines, mesmerized and craving for more.

When Paul draws back, a string of spit stretches between his mouth and Schneider’s hand. It looks so filthy even he looks astounded. He lets out a small, delighted giggle, and wipes his mouth.

“Come on,” tries Schneider again.

Flake nods and kisses him, firm and heated, Paul buries his face in his neck, and he feels warm fingers wrapping around his cock again, tighter than before. Another hand is tracing lazy lines on his lower belly, through his pubes, on the tender skin of his inner thighs, down, then up again.

Overwhelmed, Schneider closes his eyes, stops trying to figure out whose fingers are where, and feels—their sticky and impossibly warm bodies, the smell of sweat and spunk and rainy Berliner nights clinging to their skin, the blazing heat of their mouths.

The hand on his thighs reaches his balls and cups them firmly, which makes him yelp.

“No?” murmurs Paul.

“Yes, yes,” he mumbles against Flake’s mouth, rushed and eager, so Paul goes on, rubbing and grazing and pulling, gentle but insistent. His fingers slip further to stroke his taint and he moans, sparks flashing behind his eyelids. Pleasure comes from everywhere, it’s electric and dizzying. In between two kisses, he gasps for breath, as if he was drowning in them.

Paul’s hand goes back up to entwine his fingers with Flake’s on Schneider’s cock, and the very idea of it makes his head spin. If only they would suck him off, one or both of them, if only he could bring himself to ask… But he doesn’t, and he’s too far gone for that anyway. So he forces his eyes open, his fingers lost in their tousled hair, tight on their hips. They’re facing away, staring at their hands joined around his cock, covering it completely, sliding fast.

They turn to him, smiling crookedly. With the tiniest tilt of his head, Flake beckons Paul and they kiss again, this time obviously making a show out of it, slow, wet and messy.

Predictably enough, that’s what does it: Schneider bucks in their fists a couple of times, pleasure rushing devastatingly fast throughout his whole body, and when he comes, his cock flexing hard in their hands, it’s like a dam breaking down, days and days of accumulated tension running free at last.

It knocks him out so hard that for a few minutes, everything is blurry. As he breathes raggedly and savors the ebbing of his orgasm, they pet him gently, careful strokes on his hair and cheeks. Their smiles are warm and they look at him a bit expectantly. He chuckles nervously, exhilarated. He feels amazing but also sort of weird.

Paul gets up to make the bed again and spreads the covers over them.

“Want a smoke or a d-drink?” Flake asks.

“No, I’m fine. I’m beat.”

Paul slides back in the other side of the bed and crawls over Flake to be in the middle again. He tucks himself in the crook of Flake’s shoulder, under his arm. It looks cozy and intimate and Schneider feels even weirder.

“This is the only way I can fall asleep,” Paul says as if he needed an excuse.

“Let me catch my breath and I’ll go,” he mumbles, suddenly self-conscious.

Flake grabs one of his wrists.

“Stay.”

Paul pulls Schneider towards them and when he’s close enough, he wraps an arm around his waist.

So he stays. Soon, he hears their breathing slowing down, soft and lulling. He listens to the rain still tapping on the window above them. It’s weirdly melodic, somewhat soothing.

For the first time in ages, when Schneider finally shuts his eyes, everything is black, and he’s perfectly content.