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Counting Sheep But Running Out

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On his first tour as a member of My Chem, Bob gets away with sleeping on the crew bus for exactly two nights. On the third, he comes in from the show to find his bunk stripped.

"Someone finally wanted my slippers bad enough that they stole them?" he asks, rubbing a hand over the back of his head.

"Nope," Dewees says, shouldering past Bob in the narrow hallway.

Bob wedges his foot under the foam mattress and lifts it up, narrowing his eyes as he checks underneath it. "Prank?"

Dewees laughs. "I don't think so. Dude, the crew wasn't kidding when they said you'd been on the road a long time."

"Constant vigilance," Bob advises as he lets the mattress drop back into the frame. As Dewees gets settled in his own bed, the realization dawns on Bob: "Band bus now, huh?"

Dewees smirks at him, hair in his face. "I wonder how many video cameras they've got rolling in there."

Bob lets his forehead thunk against the rim of Dewees' bunk. "Aw, fuck."


He's watched the four of them working together before—onstage and in the van—but it's not until he's on the bus with them that Bob really notices how easily they move around each other. It's smooth and familiar, the way they trade iPods, pass styrofoam cups of coffee and grateful smiles, and maneuver through all the narrow spaces on the bus. Bob knows how to keep pace with them, but instead he finds himself trailing the crew most afternoons. He checks in at the soundboard, hauls gear, and hangs out by the trailers so he can shoot the shit with the guys there.

It's only at four in the morning when most everyone's asleep that Bob just lets himself be on the band bus, Brian next to him on the couch as the highway hums under their feet. He works a hand at the muscles of his neck and the tension he's built up there while Brian sinks lower on the cushions and finishes bitching about some guy from the label that's been leaving him pissy voicemails.

Brian falls silent after a while and stretches his arms up above his head, yawning. "So I know exactly how our sales are doing, our tour stats, and the state of our gear," he says. He rolls his head to the side along the back of the couch and lifts his eyebrows at Bob. "How are you doing, Bryar?"

"Fucking' peachy," Bob snorts. "Why, you got a complaint to file?"

Brian's gaze is steady on him, his blue eyes dark in the dim of the lounge. This kind of active listening bullshit usually makes Bob's skin crawl, but Brian knows when to shut up. And, yeah, sometimes it also means he knows when Bob needs to shut up and listen: "I saw you lugging amps yesterday, man. You don't have to prove anything to the crew, you know."

"Hell no," Bob says. He pulls at the hem of his pants, riding up where he's crossed one leg over the other at the ankle. "Just gotta prove myself to MTV and an army of fans, right? Easy as shit."

Brian grins when he sees Bob's lips quirked up. "Damn straight. You helped me babysit these guys in Europe, you can keep a beat for them a couple of hours a day."

When Brian shoves at Bob's arm, Bob moves easily with it, pushing back with his shoulder and smiling. Brian doesn't ask him anything else, then.

Bob's been watching the way Frank and Ray play so smoothly around each other's parts onstage and the familiar smiles on Mikey and Gerard's faces when they duck their heads over the kitchen table to talk; he knows that feeling, has been moving easily in and out of Brian's life for years, now. They've sat in the backs of vans tracking freeways across state lines, cigarettes, bottles of Jack, poker cards, and headphones passing between them. Sometimes they talk, sometimes they don't.

Bob's breath catches when Brian tucks two inked fingers into the front pocket of Bob's jeans. He's got both eyebrows and the corner of his mouth lifted, lip ring catching the warm light from the kitchen.

Sometimes they do this, too.

"You like to fuck the bands who pay your bills?" Bob says into Brian's lips, smiling as Brian settles over him on the couch, warm and solid against Bob's chest and thighs.

"You like to fuck the guy who keeps you employed?" Brian grins into Bob's cheek. His breath is hot on Bob's skin as he mouths across the close-cropped beard at Bob's jaw and catches Bob's lip ring between his teeth, tugging hard right out of the gate.

Bob lets his eyes fall shut and mouth drop open. "Shit, Schetcher." He fists his hand in the hair at the nape of Brian's neck.

"That's what I thought." Brian gets a knee between Bob's spread legs and braces his elbows on either side of Bob's head, bringing the smell of cigarette smoke and deodorant with him as he leans down to suck hard at Bob's neck. Bob slides a hand up the curl of Brian's spine under his t-shirt, fabric bunching under his wrist, and doesn't waste time tracing his other hand up the inseam of Brian's jeans to fit his fingers neatly alongside his fly, cupping his dick.

"Gold digger," Bob says while Brian bares his teeth into the crook of his neck and bites down, working a hand under Bob's waistband.

"Jesus Christ," Brian laughs, breathless, pushing his hips forward as Bob rubs his thumb firmly along the length of his cock though his jeans. "Right, I'd be a millionaire. I've seen your wallet, Bryar, nothing but rubbers and a Taco Bell discount card."

"Nah, he's got like five pesos too," Gerard mumbles from somewhere behind them. Bob's hands still. "And, like—" Bob hears Gerard pause to yawn as Brian slides smoothly over to other side of the couch "—a gift card to Wal Mart. He's living large."

Bob blinks. Brian looks relaxed, rolling his shoulders as his t-shirt settles back into place over the flat of his belly and the dark hair there. Bob turns, but Gerard has both hands over his face and his eyes closed, scrubbing up and into his wild black hair as he shuffles into the lounge.

"Fuck you, I'm Fortune 500," Bob says after a beat, discreetly hitching his hips up to slip his belt buckle back into place.

Brian huffs a laugh. Gerard bumps into the kitchen table and finally opens his red-rimmed eyes all the way. "Now you are." Gerard smiles, crooked and warm. "You can buy all the tacos in the world, Bob."

"Can't sleep?" Brian asks. The side of his mouth quirks up when Bob meets his eyes.

"Fuckin' never can," Gerard grumbles into the mini fridge, rummaging around.

Bob sighs and rearranges his jeans.


It turns out that Gerard wasn't even being dramatic: he really can't sleep. A few nights later, Brian and Bob finish a six-pack and stay up late talking about the stupid shit they did in their early twenties. Brian has just dropped to his knees on the floor, hands on Bob's thighs and a filthy smile spreading across his face, when Gerard wanders in and asks them which episode of Star Trek makes them the sleepiest.

Brian laughs at the ceiling and drops back on his ass, planting his hands on the carpet behind him. Bob sighs. "No fucking clue," Brian says, "let's start at the beginning and see?"

Brian stays on the floor, sagging sleepily against the foot of the couch and looking up in the light of the TV to catch Bob's eyes every now and then. Bob waits for Gerard to pass out, but by the time the second set of credits roll, Gerard whispers, "Just you and me, Bob," and passes the remote over. "You wanna pick the next one?"

Bob thinks about waking Brian up with a foot in his side, but he's not that much of an asshole.


Like with every tour, Bob hits a wall by the end of the first week and his adrenaline high crashes. He's left sleep-stupid and giggling with Frank while they elbow each other in the bathroom, brushing their teeth and falling face-first into their bunks at the end of the day. Bob clenches and unclenches his fists, cataloging the ache in his wrists, the overworked muscles in his arms, and barely manages to toe off his shoes before he's asleep.

There's a party on Face to Face's bus that weekend, and it feels good to slip back into the familiarity of a bus packed with hammered assholes arguing about lighting cues and guitar pick-ups. Bob's too busy matching Cortez one-for-one, stacking their beer cans on the kitchenette counter and trading tour stories, to pay attention to the time. It feels good being back on a crew bus, the chaos of gear everywhere, set-up schedules taped to the walls and spare cables spilling onto the floor. He waves off Ray and Mikey when they leave and stays until the beer in his bloodstream turns his limbs heavy and tired.

Bob finds Brian leaning against the side of their bus when he gets back, newsboy cap low over his face and the cherry of his cigarette glowing red between his thumb and forefinger. It's cool out this late, but Brian's only in his t-shirt from earlier, sunglasses tucked into the collar.

"Guess who's just started a one-man game of Risk to bore himself to sleep?" Brian asks after a minute of Bob's quiet company, pursing his lips and exhaling up into the dark night sky.

Bob laughs, loose and easy, and lets himself fall heavily against the bus. "This rock star shit is too wild for me," he says, "I don't know if I can keep up." He taps once, twice at Brian's nose, watching the tendons in Brian's neck strain as he inhales deeply. "Gimme."

Brian passes the cigarette over and waits until Bob's taken a drag before crowding him against the bus. Bob's stomach jumps under Brian's cold fingers as he pushes a hand up under his shirt.

"Hey," Brian says conversationally, "so I'm kind of over getting cock blocked by your lead singer." His voice is low and rough at the edges. Bob's always thought his eyes looked really intense up close like this. "I'm going to climb into my bunk and beat off."

"Yeah?" Bob asks, feeling kind of drunk and stupid. Slow. He licks his lips.

"Yeah," Brian says, showing his teeth when he smiles. "Promise I'll be quiet as a fucking mouse, though." He takes a step back, but Bob grabs the front of his shirt and hauls him back in.

"You're gonna try," Bob grunts. Brian's pulse is hammering as he stays still and tense against Bob's chest. Bob's always felt the promise of fucking in the way Brian holds himself up against Bob's body like this, humming with something ready to uncoil hard and fast.

Bob's already half-hard as he lets go and watches the muscles in Brian's back shift, flicking the cigarette away and pulling himself up the steps into the bus.

Once they've waved goodnight to Gerard and stepped out of their shoes and jeans, Brian skims his shirt over his head and hooks his boxers down over his narrow hips—right there in the dim light of the hallway, only curtains separating them from Gerard in the lounge and the rest of the guys asleep in their bunks. Bob's fingers twitch. He wants to get his hands on Brian's ass, dig into the corded muscles of his arms under those tattoos, wrap his palm around Brian's hard dick. It sways up against Brian's pale stomach as he props a knee on his bunk and climbs in.

Bob strips down to his boxers, t-shirt and hoodie, and gets in behind him.

The sound of their harsh breathing and the shifting sheets in the bunk seems too loud and obvious to Bob as they shuffle around to find a way they can lay that doesn't involve Bob's knee in Brian's balls or one of their asses hanging out into the aisle. Bob ends up on his side along the outer edge, Brian on his back on the mattress.

"So?" Bob whispers. Brian grinds his fist into Bob's upper arm, mouthing Shut up.

Bob rolls his eyes into the dim light and mouths fine. He waves a hand at Brian's dick, laying hard and curved up to the right against the dark trail of hair leading down from his belly button, but waits until Brian has licked his hand and started jacking himself off before letting himself touch Brian's body. It's been a while—Brian's lost some weight, put on some muscle, got some new ink. Bob's hand looks weird and pale against Brian's chest as he skates his palm up from Brian's stomach to the tattoos on his chest and out across his shoulder, moving up and down with slide of his hand on his dick. Brian's watching him.

Bob fits his thumb in the hollow of Brian's throat and feels his breath hitch. He smiles and presses in just a bit, enough to feel Brian's pulse.

Brian lets out a long measured breath through his nose and squirms a bit on the blankets. There's that energy—Brian was never good at keeping still, the few times they messed around before. Bob likes the way it feels to get up on his elbow so he can press a hand to each of Brian's shoulders and hold him there, still, against the mattress.

Predictably, Brian just draws his shoulder blades together underneath him and bows his back, pushes his hips up into his hand. He sucks his bottom lip into his mouth, lip ring shining wetly in the center when it slips back out, and smiles, dirty and promising, up at Bob.

Bob digs his thumbs into Brian's collarbone, hard enough to feel the thin layer of skin shift and slide across bone with the shake in Brian's body as he jacks himself off. Brian makes a sound, sort of a "Hah," and then swallows it quickly, eyes widening. Bob sweeps his right palm up the tense, corded line of Brian's neck, over the tattoo there, and across to cover his mouth.

Brian bites at the meat of Bob's palm while he squirms and fucks up into his own hand, and fuck, he looks good. Sweat breaks out across Bob's back. He rolls into Brian's space, enough to push his hips into the side of Brian's thigh and get some pressure there. Brian chases his teeth with his tongue, slippery and wet on Bob's palm, and it makes Bob's throat constrict. His breath is coming faster now and he struggles to keep it measured and quiet.

"I'm giving you," Gerard sings softly from the lounge, "on the count of three..."

Brian's hand on his dick stills and Bob drops his face into Brian's neck to breathe through the silent laughter that bubbles up in his chest. "Is he singing Michael Jackson?" he whispers into the shell of Brian's ear. "This was not in my contract." Brian smells like aftershave and sweat.

"Shh," Brian breathes, letting go of his dick and swatting at Bob with the back of his hand. Bob can feel the stifled laughter rumbling in Brian's chest too, pinned underneath him.

They wait it out, chests rising and falling together, the air sweaty and humid in the small space of the bunk, until Gerard's humming dies out. Eventually Bob lifts up onto his hands so he can watch Brian's face as Bob eases himself down into the space between Brian's legs. He always tries to be conscious of how heavy he is, doesn't want to accidentally push a noise out of Brian, but Brian knocks Bob's hands out so he falls down onto his elbows, weight settled fully across Brian's body. He's hard in some places and bony in others, shifting under Bob and letting out a puff of hot air into Bob's face. Brian's eyes are shining in the dim light, like don't be delicate, I'm not a fucking princess. Bob has to hold himself back from taking a dig at Brian in return.

Brian's too short to push Bob's boxers more than a couple of inches down his hips without sitting up, but Bob helps, gets them nearly down to his knees before settling in the warm hollow of Brian's hips.

"Ah," Bob breathes into Brian's hair, lips pressed to his temple, as Brian gets their dicks lined up and a hand around them both. It's been a long-ass time for Bob and Brian isn't taking it easy—he remembers how Bob likes it. They're both leaking into the hem of Bob's hoodie and the hair on both of their bellies where it's rucked up, Brian's knuckles bumping Bob's ribs on every upstroke.

He feels kind of stupid, lost for a bit, forgetting to hold himself up or do anything but pant uselessly into Brian's hairline and clutch at the pillow, squirming down into Brian's hand. It's hot, dark, and damp, and Bob isn't sure how long he'll last, but he's impressed that they're making it work: no sounds from the other bunks, nothing else from Gerard.

It takes Bob a beat to catch up when Brian's free hand closes over Bob's death-grip on the pillow and pulls his hand towards Brian's face. Bob twitches and spreads his fingers across Brian's mouth and chin, feels Brian's stubble under his fingertips and the wet of his tongue darting out.

"Jesus," Brian huffs, more an exhalation than a word, and Bob remembers enough about him to know what he's asking.

Bob pushes up onto his elbow, canting his hips into Brian's fist moving between them, and meets Brian's eyes. They look huge and black in the dark, fixed on Bob. Bob rubs this thumb back and forth on Brian's bottom lip, catching on the ring there and pushing his lip down. Brian's jaw drops open easy as you please and Bob sucks in a breath, cock twitching between them. Brian takes three fingers in right away. He starts out by sucking at them and it feels like cheating, almost, with how badly it gets Bob going, but he's messy and the suction breaks with a wet noise that makes both of them freeze, waiting for any kind of movement outside the bunk.

Lie down, Brian mouths after they're sure they haven't heard anything. He twists his head to the side so Bob's fingers slip out, smearing spit all down his neck. Bob's eyebrows draw together but he lets Brian rearrange him. He ends up on his back in the mess of blankets, chewing on his lip ring as he looks down at the hard lines and angles of Brian's naked body braced over him. He can't help skimming his palms down Brian's sides to grab roughly at his ass.

Brian dips his hips just enough that the hard tip of his cock bumps the hot length of Bob's and skids along it. He grins wickedly up at Bob and Bob has to tip his head back on the pillow and breathe through it to keep from swearing out loud.

He opens his eyes again when Brian's toes clip his nose, Brian's foot swinging over his head. Bob frowns and he tries to sit up, but he gets a faceful of Brian's ass.


Brian folds his warm hands over Bob's hips, digs hard into the softness there, before he tucks just one thumb above Bob's dick to hold it up off his belly and goes down on him.

Bob throws his own arm over his face as he drops back onto the pillow, grunting into the bunched fabric of his hoodie. There's no such thing as a bad blowjob, sure, but Bob knows when it's going to be a really fucking memorable one. It's been ages since he's done it like this and the angle makes it so his cock curves perfectly along the length of Brian's tongue and bumps the back of his throat. The first time Bob pushes his hips up Brian gags, pulling off, but goes right back down again. Bob scrubs both hands over his face to cup them over his mouth and nose because he's panting like he's running a fucking marathon in here and there are at least five dudes unconscious on the other side of the curtain.

He doesn't notice Brian's dropped a hand between them until he feels Brian's dick bump his chin, Brian's hand curled around it and pushing it back towards him. Bob grins. Yeah.

He shuffles down a bit—his dick slips out of Brian's mouth, but Brian's hand keeps working split-slippery up and down the base—until he can fit his elbow inside Brian's bent leg tucked in against Bob's side and he can curl his hand properly around Brian's cock.

It's an awkward angle, and the first two times Bob tries to get his lips around the head and let go, Brian's dick bobs back up towards his stomach. But eventually he figures out how to hold it steady enough, straining to lift his neck off the bed, so he can start to suck. Brian's body shifts and rocks over him, mouth sliding back down around Bob's cock. Bob is sweating like a pig in his hoodie, and it smells pretty rank inside the bunk, but he feels fucking fantastic about everything, right now.

Brian moves with it like a slow wave: his back bows and legs slip apart so he can push his cock further back into Bob's mouth, heavy against his tongue and so quick that Bob just barely has enough time to get his teeth out of the way. Then he curls his spine to brush the top of the bunk and his hips curl forwards once more, cock slipping wetly out of Bob's mouth again. Bob keeps a steady grip on Brian when it happens, pumping at the base and guiding the tip back to his mouth as quickly as he can. He can't see it but he can feel the duck and lift of Brian's body over his own cock, shoulders shifting and muscles working. His fingers are hot and bruising where he's gripping tightly at Bob's shifting hips.

It's—a lot.

Bob hasn't come in weeks, he's sleep-drunk and still buzzed from the party, and he can barely keep up with what's going on. He feels strung out between the hot ring of Brian's hand and slippery suction of his mouth and the hard line of his lip ring on Bob's dick. Spit and precome is smeared slick all around Bob's beard and chin from every time he's lost the angle or Brian has jerked forwards, dick slipping out of Bob's mouth again.

Bob tries to think about how much noise they're making, what the heavy breathing through their noses and wet suction might sound like beyond their bunk, but then Brian goes down deeper than he has yet, Bob's dick sliding past the contracting ring of muscle in his throat, and Bob can't think any more. Brian's body jerk and Bob feels, with his hand around the base of Brian's dick, the steely hardening of Brian's stomach muscles against his gag reflex—and just like that, Brian blows his load. Bob gasps wetly as Brian's dick pops out of his mouth, come dripping from Bob's bottom lip and down his chin into the neck of his hoodie.

Mmmm, Brian moans around Bob's dick, long and desperate, not as muffled as it probably should be. Bob struggles for air and blinks as Brian's hips circle above him, the last few weak pulses of come striping the front of Bob's hoodie.

"Shit," Bob breathes out on a whisper, swiping the back of his hand across the wet mess on his mouth and beard. His thighs shake and his stomach quivers with trying not to come, but Brian doesn't stop: he works his hand up and down on the base of Bob's dick, not even sucking any more, just taking Bob as deep as he can. He doesn't gag when Bob's dick bumps the back of his throat this time.

Bob feel desperate, grateful and humming with electricity all at once. He fumbles blindly between them, brushes his fingers along the hard, tensed muscles of Brian's straining throat, imagines how it must look under the tattoo there, and twists his fingers into Brian's short hair. He sucks in a sharp breath through his nose and pulls his lip ring into this mouth, metallic and bitter with the taste of Brian's come. Bob fucks up into Brian's mouth until he's coming, shaking and sweating and shifting under Brian's hands holding his hips down, Brian's knees against his sides, Brian's hair in his grip.

Bob drifts, then, fists uncurling and body sinking into the mattress as he catches his breath. He can feel Brian's small, strong hands on him as Brian gets their underwear back on and eventually manages to herd Bob back into his own bunk.

"Mmm," Bob mumbles into Brian's hair as Brian ducks to kiss, wet with tongue, along Bob's lower lip and up the curve of his jaw before heading back to his own bunk.


The next morning, Bob catches Gerard looking at him over the leftover pizza they're all sharing in the lounge, and punches him in the arm when Gerard starts to sing, "I'm bad, so bad, really really bad," under his breath.

"Next rest stop?" Brian says, stepping easily around Frank's duffel bag on the floor and ducking into the spot next to Bob on the couch, fitting warm and familiar against his side like he'd been there all along. "I'm buying out a pharmacy's worth of sleeping pills."