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inkruns: Bob/Brendon/Spencer, red

"Ow, fuck!" voice number one said.

"That's what you get for being a dumbass," voice number two said.

Bob rounded the corner and said, "Whoa."

"It's not as bad as it looks," number two told him--number two evidently being Spencer Smith. Number one, played by Brendon Urie, was bleeding all over the place.

Bob nodded. "Head wounds. Bleed like a bitch." He sympathized. Well, he sympathized with Spencer. He had a number one of his own. Granted, mostly he let Jamia handle Frank, so long as she was around, but still, Bob knew Spencer's pain.

Spencer asked, "Do you know if there's, like, a bathroom around here?"

Bob actually had played the venue and even teched it a few times, so he said, "Yeah, I'll show you," and lead the way.

***

Bob held Brendon down while Spencer turned on the water. Brendon said, "Fuck, cold!" and then, "Ow, hot!" and then, "Okay, that's--" but whatever the end of the sentence was got lost in Spencer dunking him completely under. Bob turned to the side to smile, but there was a mirror, so he was fairly certain Spencer saw it.

Once the worst of the blood was washed away, Bob could see the scratch, and it really wasn't that big a deal. Spencer said, "Were you and Jon playing Frisbee near the scaffolding again?"

Brendon was suspiciously quiet in response to this. Spencer asked, "Where'd Jon go?"

"Uh. To get a Band-Aid?"

Bob failed to shut down his laughter in time. In the mirror, Brendon, soaked down to his collar, but looking less like a refugee from a horror flick, grinned at him. He said, "I went Jon two better."

Spencer rolled his eyes, but Bob thought that might be his way of laughing.

***

"Coffee or beer?" Spencer offered later that evening, when some band Bob vaguely knew but didn't care to listen to was playing.

"Hm," Bob considered. "Coffee."

"Yeah, good thinking," Spencer said, but took the beer for himself all the same.

"Uh, thanks?"

"Oh, you know, for saving my boyfriend's life and all. I value him deeply, clearly."

Bob laughed shortly and took a sip of the coffee. It was good coffee, so Bob suspected there was more truth to Spencer's statement than his mockery would have suggested. Also, Bob admired a guy who was open about a secret that everybody knew but he was probably supposed to shut the fuck up about anyway. Bob asked, "That kinda shit happen a lot?"

Spencer shrugged. "He doesn't always watch where he's going."

Bob said, "Good thing red works for him."

Spencer snorted beer out his nose.

***

"This is kinda familiar," Bob said.

Spencer pulled his mouth off of Brendon's. "Yeah, totally like déjà vu, except for the whole contact-sport thing."

"Not that we're not inviting contact," Brendon said, grinning.

"My boyfriend is a total slut," Spencer told Bob, straight-faced.

"You're not denying the offer's open," Bob said, equally straight-faced.

Spencer smiled then. "No. No, I'm not."

***

Bob called Patrick and asked, "Urie and Smith. Kinky fuckers, open relationship, or something I'm not considering?"

"Context?"

"No," Bob said.

"No?" Patrick asked.

"Just answer the question."

"Um. Probably kinky? I don't know. I could ask Pete. I don't talk about this shit with other guys."

"Fucking breeders." Bob was surrounded.

Patrick was silent for a long time. "So, um, should I talk to Pete?"

"If he finds out I asked--"

"Jesus, Bryar, this isn't my first rodeo."

"It's saying shit like that that makes me worry, Stump."

"Call you back tomorrow?"

"I'll be waiting by the phone, I'm sure."

***

Patrick didn't call. He texted, "Maybe kinky? Monogamous acc. 2 pete, bt dying 2 gt in ur pants."

Bob probably said, "Okay," and then, "okay," aloud, but there was nobody around to testify, and he deleted the text pretty quickly. He wasn't an idiot.

***

Bob didn't really see the guys from Panic all that often, was the thing. That first time had been something of a fluke, a festival they had both accepted, MCR mostly because MSI had been playing and Gerard had wanted to be near Lyn if possible.

Luckily, Panic was not the hardest band in the world to track down. Bob acquired Spencer's phone number from Matt, who still had it from when they'd toured together. He called and asked, "How serious was the offer?"

"Uh. Who-- Oh, Bryar?"

"Yeah, sorry, didn't mean--"

"Good think you still have a Chicago area code."

"Smith--"

"Brendon dealt with enough shit getting to the point where he could date me and not hate himself. Even if he goes around making ridiculous, bullshit offers, I don't join in if I'm not dead serious about making sure everything works."

Bob asked, "How long ago was that? The whole gay freakout?"

"Long enough."

"Smith."

"I've already said more to you than anyone whose name isn't George Ryan Ross III or Jonathan Jacob Walker, and I swear if I hear one syllable--"

"I'm not that kind of asshole. I just want to know what I'm getting myself into before I agree to get into it."

"Jesus, we want to sleep with you, not keep you forever."

"It always sounds so easy when you're just talking about it on the phone," Bob told him.

After a long silence, Spencer admitted, "I wouldn't know."

"I would. So I'm gonna ask again, how long has it been?"

"Almost two years," Spencer said. "And even if something goes wrong, it's my problem, not yours. He's-- I've got it."

Bob said, "If I had a dime for every time I've heard that."

"You probably still wouldn't be making as much as you do now."

Bob was silent.

"Okay, maybe you'd break even."

***

Brendon was in the hotel room Bob had checked into when he got inside. Brendon grinned. "Hi."

Bob nodded and set down his bag. "Hey."

"Spencer says you think I'm gonna break over the hotness of your pure manliness."

"Did he actually say it like that?"

"I embellish sometimes," Brendon said, the words just a hint sharper than they should have been.

Bob made sure to keep eye contact as he said, "Threesomes are messy even without complications. It wasn't wrong of him to say."

"No, just. You should let me have mine. My say."

Bob bit his lip so as not to smile. "So? Say."

Brendon was clearly wired, nothing but pent-up energy, and Bob was readying himself for a verbal explosion, but in the end all he got was a direct shot of Brendon himself, hands against Bob's chest, lips to Bob's, and it was hot and heady and confusing for a second, until Brendon pulled back and said, "I can do this."

Bob looked down at him, solid even inside his energy and said, "Yeah. We should find Spencer.

***

Spencer didn't take much finding. Brendon opened the door and rolled his eyes. "Jesus. You coulda just come in, instead of standing there like some kind of asshole eavesdropper."

"Couldn't hear a thing," Spencer said, like that made it better, and came in the door.

Bob made sure it was shut behind him.

liketheroad: Bob/Mikey/Brian, aquamarine

Bob had known about MCR before he ever met them because Brian couldn't fucking shut up about them, at least when he was out of range of bands he actually already represented. He talked about the lead singer non-stop, and their guitarists--"fucking crazy kid from Pencey, Frank Iero?"--and even their drummer occasionally, if not as much, but he had only ever mentioned the bassist once. "Gerard's little brother."

That was it. That was all Bob knew about Mikey Way. That, and the fact that the only time Brian didn't talk about someone was when he was a little too interested for his own good.

***

Mikey Way, as it turned out, was a hard fucking read. Brian actually was too, a little bit, but Bob had know Brian too long to notice anymore. Bob didn't worry about it all too much, though. Brian was a professional; he'd get over Mikey. Mikey probably didn't know a thing, so all was well, totally, totally well.

***

For a long time, Bob thought the whole unicorn thing was a joke. He knew how this stuff happened: one moment a guy was making an offhand comment in an interview about having walked the Appalaichan Trail, the next moment he was Sasquatch's boyfriend--"Really truly! From his own mouth!" That was until he saw Frank give Mikey a unicorn pin as a cheer up gift one time, and it took Mikey three days to decide on a good place for it. He wasn't melodramatic about it, just very precise in his choice.

Coincidentally or otherwise, the fact that he didn't find anywhere perfect until Brian got him a small cork board to put in his bunk clued Bob into something else. He had known that Brian wasn't over Mikey. He would have been surprised by the fact, because he'd never known Brian to crush on someone for over a year, but despite the rocky start he'd had with Mikey, Bob had come to realize that there was really very little not to love about Mikeyway. He just hid his awesome really well. A person had to work for it.

No, he would have been surprised because Brian generally moved on from things that weren't going to work for him. He was a pragmatic guy. He didn't pine for a year and still do things like buy mini-cork boards for his artists to pin mythical creatures on.

Then again, most of his artists didn't smile the way Mikey smiled when Brian showed him the cork board. Mikey, for the most part, didn't smile like Mikey smiled at that point. Something about the whole thing felt weird to Bob, but he didn't let it bother him. Things in this band were always odd.

***

Or, well, he didn't let it bother him until he found himself making out with Brian after a show. Not that he wasn't enjoying the making out, because Bob liked guys who were half his size but could keep him pressed against a wall all the same. Still, he wrestled his mouth away long enough to say, "I'm not Mikey."

Brian stopped cold. He didn't move, just stopped. He said, "You're such a fucking idiot." He wasn't looking at Bob as he said it, but, well, Bob had learned to read Brian, eye-contact or no.

His mind stuttered for a few minutes before he managed, "Um. Both of us?"

"Shut up," Brian said, low and desperate, like he was asking, not ordering.

Bob said, "Okay," and went back to kissing Brian instead.

***

Bob was pretty sure the first thought he'd ever had about Brian Schechter had been somewhere along the lines of, "I'd tap that." In his defense, he'd been really drunk at the time--too drunk, in fact, to tap anything. Later on he would realize this had been for the best, since it meant not having had to get up the next morning all awkward and shit, and instead being able to work with Brian and talk with Brian and do pretty much anything he wanted except fuck Brian. Bob had taken this limitation in stride.

That was, he had until it was rescinded, at which point he realized that he'd pretty much been lying to himself for a few years and was possibly in love with Brian, but very definitely in an advanced state of lust. He was a little busy trying to act like nothing had changed for the rest of the world, so it took him a bit to realize that Mikey was moping. In fairness to Bob, it was a little hard to tell. A mopey Mikey looked very similiar to an entirely fine Mikey, except for the part where he left his bunk a lot less.

He was right on the cusp of figuring it out when Gerard kicked him, actually, honest to fuck, kicked him. He looked kind of apologetic when Bob said, "Hey!" but managed to hold onto his anger long enough to say, "Stop being an asshole, asshole," and walk off.

Bob asked Ray, "Um. Have any idea what I did to piss Gee off?" He would have asked Gerard, but Gerard got all excited and Bob never understood what he had actually done wrong.

Ray said, "No clue, but Mikey's upset as shit about something he won't talk about, so Gee's probably pretty on edge."

"Mikey's upset?"

Ray looked at Bob slowly. After a bit he said, "That's maybe where you should start."

Bob said, "Yeah, okay."

***

Talking to Mikey when Mikey didn't want to talk was way, way easier said than done. Mikey had the magic power of not being anywhere he didn't want to be at any time he didn't want to be there. After a week, Bob recruited Brian, saying, "Maybe if you stand in one corner of the room--"

"He's avoiding me too."

Bob stopped then to notice the line of stress running from Brian's neck to his shoulders and downward. He said, "Hey," and took Brian's shoulders in his hands. He was sore from playing all week, but he worked at the muscles as long as he could. Brian asked, "Is Gee talking to you?"

"Only if he has to."

"I think--" Brian shook his head. "Fuck, okay, don't punch me."

"Um."

"I think Mikey's kind of into you."

Slowly, Bob asked, "Why would I have punched you for telling me that?"

"Because, um. He kind of was when I--" Brian grimaced. "I thought if I didn't do something, the two of you would get together and I'd have to, y'know, be around it and I couldn't-- Just call me a selfish asshole and hit me now, would you?"

Bob sighed and said, "You're a selfish asshole," but he didn't hit Brian. Bob had done shitty things in his time, too. "Now we're gonna have to go fix this."

"Bob--"

"Shut up, you don't get to choose your punishment."

Brian shut up.

***

There were a fair number of rules to living on a bus with four other guys, but the most important one was: a guy's bunk is his space, nobody else is allowed in unless invited. Granted, Frank broke this rule all the time, but that was Frank. Bob was not a personal space invader. Still, it was clear that that was the only way he was going to get Mikey to talk to him, so he climbed in, trapped Mikey beneath him and said, "You're coming to the lounge with me. You can try to run, but Ray and Frank are on my side and they're barricading the way out."

Mikey said, "Okay," which, really, was so utterly Mikey. Bob kind of wanted to kiss him right then, but there was always the possibility--although, admittedly not large--that Brian was a ginormous dumbass and wrong about all of this.

Bob herded Mikey into the back, where Brian was waiting, and closed the door. There was an interminable, oppressive silence between them until Brian said, "We got you something."

Bob rolled his eyes. That was not how this was supposed to start. But, okay, he hadn't said anything either, so whatever.

"Um," Mikey frowned.

"Because, like, you like unicorns and fantasy stuff."

"Mostly unicorns," Mikey said.

"Right, but, I was in Florida checking out a band and there was this place that had all this mermaid lore and it turns out that it used to be said that mermaid's lovers were made out of aquamarine. Sailors used to sleep with a little bit of it under their pillows to ensure a sound sleep, and I know it's not always easy for you on the bus, so, uh. I got you some." Brian held out his hand, two unset aquamarine gems lying flat on the palm.

Mikey approached, looking but not touching. Finally he said, "I'm not mad."

"You're not talking to us, either," Brian said.

"But I'm not mad. And if I was, something shiny wouldn't stop me from being so."

Bob crossed his arms over his chest. "You have to give us something here, Mikey. Brian said-- He told me what he thought is going on, but I haven't got a fucking clue and I can't fix what I don't--"

"You can't fix this," Mikey said flatly. "You fixed our band. Just rest for a while, or whatever." Mikey took the aquamarine. "Thanks. I'm gonna take a nap." He smiled then--not a real smile, not the mild quirk of his lips or the actual off-guard grin.

Brian grabbed his shirt. "No."

Mikey opened his mouth to say something, but Brian took advantage, diving in for a kiss. He didn't lengthen it, just made his point, then pulled back. Then he let go of Mikey and said, "Sorry, I just. If the two of you are going to-- I just wanted--"

Mikey hit him. Not hard or anything, but it was definitely hand-delivered violence. Brian blinked. "I didn't mean--"

Mikey stopped him with his mouth. Bob was going to quietly leave, only Mikey pulled away to say, "Don't."

Bob stopped. Mikey looked at him, but Bob was back to feeling completely at sea with Mikey's mild looks. Mikey took small steps toward Bob, and Bob, trying, trying, took a few toward him. Mikey said, "He said 'we.' 'We got you a present.' That's what he said."

Bob nodded. "Yeah. We."

Mikey said, "So if I--" his lips touched Bob's, not in a kiss, but the invitation of one.

Bob took him up on it.

***

Bob came into the room he and Mikey were sharing on the next hotel night. The beds were pushed together, and Mikey was putting something under their pillows, three in a row. Bob asked, "Mikey?"

Mikey held up a piece of the aquamarine. "So we can sleep."

"Weren't there only two pieces?"

"I ordered a third to be shipped here overnight. There are three of us," Mikey said, like this was the most obvious course of action in the world.

Bob bit back a smile. "Yeah. There are."

lalabebe: Bob/Spencer/Gerard, pink

Gerard fucked up the laundry, which wasn't surprising really. What was surprising was, "Who let Gerard do the laundry?" Bob made himself ask calmly, politely. He could give his pink shirts to Mikey. Mikey liked Bob's old clothes to bum around the house in, even the stuff that had been horribly disfigured in tragic laundry accidents.

"What do you mean, who--" Spencer looked at the pile on Bob's bunk. "Fuck. I told him to wait."

Ryan seemed to sense that things were about to go downhill quickly, since he attempted to wedge himself between Spencer and Bob, but Ryan Ross was a twig. Bob set him aside--he didn't fling him, it wasn't wholly Ryan's fault that his best friend was a dumbass--and hauled Spencer off the bus, where he could probably kill him without any witnesses. Well, unless the guys watched from the windows.

"Bob--"

"No, seriously, Spence, we agreed to you guys opening for us because Pete asked after you guys took a random two years off so that Jon and Cassie could be married and shit for a while, and it hasn't been bad or anything, but you've been told like eighty fucking times that Gerard likes to be helpful and you can't just put stuff in front of him and expect it to go well."

"In my defense, the man is in his late thirties, how the hell has he not learned to separate whites from darks yet? This isn't fucking rocket science."

"He's not stupid, he just gets distracted. Like you don't fucking pay Ryan's bills for him, okay?"

"That's different. Ryan thinks he's an anarchist."

Bob gave Spencer a Look. Spencer said, "I'm sorry about your shirts? If it helps, all of mine are a lovely shade of pants-left-in-wash pink as well."

"You owe me, Smith. You fucking owe me."

"Next Target we pass."

"Pray that it is soon."

***

"So, I was thinking," Gerard said, and he had a hopeful look on his face. Bob had found this combination to be overwhelmingly dangerous.

Cautiously, he asked, "About the new album?" because, really, they hadn't even started considering that, but it seemed like a safe way to divert Gerard, if he could be diverted.

"About Spencer."

"Um."

"Because, like, he owes you, and all. For the shirts."

"Way to pretend you had nothing to do with that."

"No, no, see, that's where I was going," Gerard said.

Bob thought about that, but no, he had nothing. "Huh?"

"I mean, we both should make it up to you, right?"

Bob knew that tone. "Gee, um--"

Gerard looked at him, his gaze just a little bit sharper than Bob was really used to. Bob said, "Okay, so I wasn't reading that one wrong?"

"Just an offer. If you were interested."

Bob looked at Gerard. "In Spencer."

Gerard smiled. "Well, I know you're interested in me."

Yeah, he had a few years proof of that. "Spencer," Bob said again.

"Spencer," Gerard said, smiling, because as dense as Gerard could be, he could also be pretty insightful, especially when it came to Bob. Bob rolled his eyes, but he didn't protest. He knew better than to be self-defeating.

***

"I thought you were waiting for us to find a Target," Spencer said.

"Don't act all innocent," Gerard said. "You left me alone in the laundry room, now is not the time to front."

Something flashed in Spencer's eyes and Bob thought whoa. It wasn't that he hadn't credited Spencer with being smart and devious, but that was a step above. Bob wondered what he was getting into for a moment and then realized that he was, and had for a long time been, dating Gerard Way, who was all innocence on the outside, but totally got you when you were asleep. Bob could admire that in a man.

Spencer said, "So maybe I'm interested."

"Maybe," Bob said.

Spencer smiled, slow and designed for seduction. "Maybe."

blutlittlepig: Bob/Gabe, teal

Mikey said, "Look, I need someone to protect my virtue, and shit."

"You should stop hanging out with people who might steal it. Also, take Alicia. She has, like, a vested interest in your virtue."

"Alicia's going to be on tour. I asked. I begged."

Bob looked doubtfully at Mikey, but Mikey just stared back with the blank look that meant, "totally innocent, nothing to see here, folks."

Bob considered saying no, but a) he liked Gabe's parties, so it wasn't a huge deal to take Mikey to one, and b) Ray would totally kill Bob if he got back from his honeymoon and Mikeyway's virtue had been stolen by anyone who wasn't Alicia. "You have to pretend to be me on Twitter for a whole day."

"I hate you," Mikey told him.

"Do we have a deal?"

"Hate."

***

Gabe was already well to getting his party on when Bob and Mikey walked in, so Bob wasn't surprised to find himself having to peel Gabe off of Mikey less than half-an-hour later. Gabe frowned at Bob. "I'd return him in the same condition I found him."

"Yeah," Bob said, "why don't I believe that?"

Gabe smiled angelically. Bob asked, "'Nother beer?"

"Fruit of the gods," Gabe agreed.

***

Somewhere between the beer and vodka shots, Gabe asked, "So, are you like, My Chem's sacrificial offering? The lost lamb who takes the place of Isaac?"

Bob wasn't drunk, but all the same, "I don't have a fucking clue what you're talking about."

"Well, someone has to be your gift to the host, and if it's not going to be Mikey--"

"Keep going and I'll punch you."

"You're just not drunk enough." Gabe smiled winningly. Bob laughed.

***

Mikey came to collect Bob at some point. He took one look at him and said, "Yeah, okay, call me in the morning." Then, after another look, "Afternoon."

Bob said, solemnly, "You're a good little brother, Mikeyway."

Mikey rolled his eyes. "Gabe, I want him back the way I brought him."

"Not even a--"

"Gabriel," Mikey said, and Bob had never noticed, but his warning tone was really that much more frightening for its complete lack of tone.

Gabe said, "Fine. You used to be such fun, Mikeyway. What happened?"

"The love of a good woman," Mikey said, and turned to be on his way.

"Be that way," Gabe called.

"I will," Mikey said, before slipping out of the club.

***

Gabe had gotten a room at a hotel within walking distance, and Bob used the night air to sober himself up a little. Gabe looked over and said, "Aw, no fun."

Bob laughed. "Maybe you just haven't slept with the right guys."

Gabe snorted in acknowledgment, but didn't say anything. They rode the elevator up in silence, Gabe leaning against the wall, his head resting backwards, the full line of his throat on display. Bob dragged him out the second the door opened and said, "Room number."

"Nineteen ten."

Bob found it and stole the key from Gabe's fingers. Gabe said, "Careful, you might seem eager."

Bob didn't bother responding, just closed the door and licked his way from Gabe's collarbone to his mouth. When he'd kissed Gabe into thrusting up, panting a little desperately, Bob started to undo Gabe's jeans, using Gabe's hip as an anchor as he went to his knees. Once he was there, he caught a glance of Gabe's underwear and asked, "Um. Really?"

"Very few men can pull off teal, I'll have you know."

"I'm not sure you're one of them," Bob said.

"Are you going to suck me off, or not?"

Bob thought about it. "Teal."

"I'm a really good fuck when I've gotten what I want, Bryar."

"Modest, too."

"Modesty is for people who never get laid."

Bob said, "I have high standards," leaning in close enough that even with the briefs still on, Gabe would be able to feel the heat of the sentiment.

Gabe thrust forward, but Bob moved back just in time, looking up expectantly. Gabe made a plaintive noise and said, confidently but not cockily, "I'll meet them. Jesus, Bryar, just--"

Bob pushed at the hem of the briefs, saying, "Teal," one more time, just for good measure, before fulfilling his part of the bargain.

hammerhead22: Bob/Brian, purple

Bob was the first to admit that he could be a little oblivious some of the time. Or, it wasn't so much obliviousness as that he got used to paying attention to one thing and would lose track of others. My Chem took a lot of concentration at times. But it wasn't that he hadn't noticed Brian, it was just that he'd often had other things on his mind. He could see how the two could seem a bit similar.

Still, it wasn't just the purple tie that woke Bob up. Bob liked purple on a guy--or rather, he liked bold colors breaking up black or gray or brown. Brian always carried it off well, too; the bare hint of red, bright peek of blue, shiny sliver of green. Bob had never seen him do purple, but it was nice, the way it was still dark against the black of his shirt but different in its darkness. It made the sharpness of Brian's features more apparent. And it was hardly that Bob had never noticed that Brian was a good looking guy, but he'd never really thought, "Huh," before, with an emphasis on the, "uh."

Brian loosened the tie upon getting in the door. "Tell me somewhere around here delivers food that is spicy and delicious."

Bob handed Brian a pack of cigarettes. "Start with that." He went into his kitchen and dug up the menus for the nearest Indian place that delivered. He glanced back just once to notice Brian sitting on the couch, a patch of skin peering out from beneath the collar of his now-open button up.

***

When Bob came back to the room, Brian was well into the first cigarette. He threw Bob a grateful look. "Thanks for letting me stay here."

"Kinda stupid to have you stay in a hotel as long as you're in town. I take it the meeting was, uh--"

"No, it was fine, just. A meeting."

Brian was good at the business part of his job, Bob knew, but that didn't mean he enjoyed it all that much. Put Brian in a venue of unknowns, trying to search out a band, he was golden, but in a room with a long table and lots of other men with much more boring ties, well, that wasn't so much his scene. "Sure," Bob said, and handed him a menu. "Nice tie."

Brian smiled. "Throws the suits off. They're never quite sure what to make of the choice."

"Jesus," Bob said.

"This place's curries?" Brian asked.

"You'll have to replace your tongue afterward," Bob reassured him.

"Perfect."

***

Brian started to take off his tie before the food got there, but Bob put out a hand to do it for him. Brian knocked the hand away. "No."

Bob raised an eyebrow. Brian said, "You're one of my artists, Bob. I actually kinda take my job seriously. Sometimes."

"That argument would work so much better if Mikey hadn't married one of our techs and Frank hadn't met Jamia while Pencey was still on Eyeball."

"If all your friends jumped off a bridge--"

"Yeah, probably. I mean, wouldn't be much fun without them, right?"

Brian just looked at him. Bob looked back. Brian said, "No, Bob."

Bob sighed. "This would have been easier back when I could have gotten you drunk."

"Asshole much?"

"Prude much?"

Brian glared. Bob was about to respond in kind, but the doorbell rang. Bob said, "Not finished," and went to go pay for the food.

***

When they were both red eyed and sniffling from the curry, Brian said, "Why now?"

"I like your tie," Bob told him.

"I think you have managed to out-stupid my expectations of anything you could have said in response to that."

Bob shrugged. "Shouldn't've asked if you didn't want to hear the answer."

"Bob," Brian said.

"Brian," Bob said.

Brian sat for a moment. Then he shook his head and just served himself up some more food.

***

They were all-but chain-smoking their way through an old episode of CSI when Bob said, "Because I'd been distracted. Before."

Brian took a long time to say, "Distracted," clearly unimpressed, but also obviously aware of what Bob was saying, despite it having been at least an hour since they'd left off the conversation.

"I had shit going on," Bob said, not particularly apologetic. "And you know me."

"And suddenly you're not?"

Bob rubbed a hand over his eyes. "You were, like, right there, the whole time. It was a little too obvious, I think."

"You are so completely full of shit," Brian said.

"Yeah, but you knew that, too."

Brian made a sound that was maybe amusement. Then he asked, "Bob. Why now?"

Bob thought about Ray and Krista and the way they had just always known, about the surprise that Alicia and Lyn had been for Mikey and Gerard, about the way nobody had ever questioned Frank and Jamia. "Because I've started noticing that things can be real."

Brian sighed. "You're still my employer."

"I could fire you. Gerard would support me."

"Bob--"

"Or you could just sue me, like, if it isn't real."

"Asshole."

Bob laughed, "Yeah." Then he pulled Brian to him by his lapel.

stepps: Bob/Jepha/Brendon, blue

There was a fair amount of shit that occurred in Bob's life which made him pause and think, "Really?" but generally more in a, "wow, that was fucking ridiculous" way, then a, "whoa, amazingly coincidental," way. Of course, the latter happened, too.

Bob and Jepha had long made a deal that if Bob could be there when Jepha got new ink, he would. Bob wasn't overly interested in the process, but he didn't mind watching, either, it was kind of cool, and afterward he got to take Jepha home and do just about whatever the hell he wanted with him, so long as it didn't fuck up the new art. Not that Jepha really made Bob work all that hard for it any other time, but he was just plain easy after having been in the chair for a few hours or so, and Bob wasn't one to pass that up.

Bob had flown out to LA specifically because Jepha had said, "Hey, I wanna get some work on my thigh, wanna come take advantage of me in my weakened and desperate state?"

Bob wasn't an idiot, not that way, at least. As such, he was sitting in the waiting area of one of Jepha's long time parlors, texting Mikey, when he heard an, "Oh, uh, you're--"

Bob usually tried acting like he had no idea what the person was talking about, but when he looked up, the person in question was awfully familiar looking. Jepha was refusing to look up from his book so Bob had to puzzle it out on his own. "Urie, right?"

"Yeah. We met at... Uh. Something out here, I think." Urie frowned.

"Um. Probably?"

"The Jay-Z and Beyonce charity thing Gee dragged you to," Jepha said without looking up. Bob glanced over at him and he must have felt it because he said, "You were totally freaked by two out of four of them being Frank-sized."

Bob said, "Oh, fuck off," but Urie laughed, so it seemed that all was well.

He asked, "You getting work done?"

"No," Bob shook his head. "Just acting as chauffeur."

"Nice of you to stay. One of the guys'll come pick me up if I ask, but they don't come out and sit with me, or anything."

"What are you getting done?" Jepha did look up at that. Bob had to stop himself from rolling his eyes. Jepha would talk tattoos with just about anyone.

Urie reached in his pocket and pulled out a piece of paper. It had a line of sheet music on it. He explained, "It's from a-- Just. The first song I learned that wasn't a hymn. I'm putting it on the back of my neck."

Jepha considered the line, humming out the line low in his throat. "Puff the Magic Dragon?"

Urie shrugged and took the piece of paper back. "I didn't get out much. What about you? What are you getting done?"

Jepha pulled out his own piece of paper. "Japenese woodblock print. I'm thinking just the top trees and mountain, though, since my thigh isn't epic, or anything, and I'm not sure I want it to wrap all the way round. Mostly I just like the color and the..."

"Austerity?" Urie asked, looking at the sheet intently.

"Yes," Jepha said, as though he had only decided just that moment. "Yeah. Austerity. It's so clean."

"The shades of blue are really amazing. Your guy can do that?"

"My girl, and yeah. Yeah, she can do pretty much anything."

Urie grinned. "Might have to steal her away."

"Try it, muppet," Jepha said, and went back to his magazine. Urie was unfazed, simply turning his attention to Bob and telling him all about how Jon and Ryan were evidently trying to cross breed their cat and dog.

He seemed unconvinced it would work, largely because, "I kinda think Hobo's gay. I mean, not that Ryan wouldn't be okay with that and all, but it's impeding their Franken-catdog scheme, you know?"

Sadly, Bob sort of did.

***

Jepha must have liked Urie more than he let on, because when he poked his head in--bandaged neck and all--and asked, "Hey, all right if I stay and watch?" Jepha just laughed.

Bob was a little concerned that Urie was going to talk or bounce or do something to distract Jepha from his zone, but evidently either the adrenaline rush of getting his own tattoo had worn him out, or he just knew how to still on occasion, because Bob barely even knew he was there the whole time. Shading and all, the whole thing took about five hours, and at the end, he was still there, nothing but a small breath out and a, "Wow," to let Bob know he was still awake.

Jepha smiled, a slow, pleased smile and asked, "You done staring yet, kid?" but there wasn't any edge to it.

Urie smiled back at him. "Yeah, sorry, just. That's some great work."

"Thanks," the artist said, and got to cleaning and wrapping the tattoo.

***

Urie shook himself--literally-- and said, "Right. I should call someone."

"Or we could drop you off," Jepha offered. Bob looked over at him, raised eyebrow entirely ready, but Jepha preempted it with a look that Bob knew. It was a little surprising, because Jepha didn't normally ask for anything post-inking, just let Bob take, but that didn't mean Bob wouldn't do something, if Jepha wanted.

Urie said, "No, that's-- I've already--"

"Let us give you a ride," Bob said, with less room for argument than Jepha had given him.

Urie looked between the two of them, silent for a long moment. Then his eyes darkened ever so slightly. "Yeah, that'd be really nice of you."

***

"You easy, afterward, Urie?" Jepha asked, settling himself in the car.

"Got in the car with you, didn't I?" Urie asked.

Bob laughed. Jepha said, "Point."

rufus: Bob/Brendon, purple

Bob didn't have to make conversation. Sure, it was a party, and somehow he'd ended up standing near Brendon Urie, but he could have let things lapse into silence, assuming Brendon ever decided to stop talking. Instead he cut into Brendon's thoughts about the food and asked, "What's the ribbon for?"

Brendon looked confused for a second, but then his hand came up to the purple ribbon on his chest and Bob knew he'd caught on. Bob had noticed pictures of him wearing the thing whenever Pete sent Mikey some, or Panic ended up in the same magazine as Lyn, and Gerard bought it. Brendon said, "Well, actually, it can be for lots of stuff. I've had people ask me if I knew someone with Alzheimers, Chrone's, Pancreatic Cancer, Lupus, this like, huge spectrum. But it's an eating disorder thing."

Bob nodded. He wasn't going to ask, because even if a guy wore a purple ribbon, that wasn't exactly permission to pry, but Brendon just said, "One of my nieces. Anorexia. And a friend, compulsive overeating. Really, I'm pretty sure there have been more, but guys almost never talk about it, and girls may talk about it more, but not much."

Bob said, "Yeah."

Brendon looked at him quickly, but paying more attention than he had been before. Then he said, "I'm getting more of those shrimp thingies. You want?"

***

Somehow hanging out with Brendon translated to getting high on one of the balconies with him and Jon Walker. Bob didn't really do pot all that often, mostly because he hung around with the other guys more than anyone else, and Krista wasn't crazy about Ray smelling like weed, Mikey and Gerard weren't going to go near the stuff, and Frank had made a deal with Jamia that if he was going to compromise his immune system with stupid behavior, he would limit his substance intake to either pot or alcohol. Alcohol had seemed like the path of lesser resistance. Matt or James would go in on it with him sometimes, but they weren't around as much and Bob never really felt like getting high on his own. Most of the fun was being high-stupid with other people.

It was too warm in LA for the winter, crawling up into the eighties, the nineties during the day, and Bob felt like the heat slowed everything even more than the pot usually did. Jon was talking about missing his cats, and Bob nodded solemnly. His dogs were so far away. "Soooo far away," he told Jon.

Jon said, "We should, like, go get them."

There was something wrong with that plan, but Bob couldn't quite put his finger on it. It was Brendon who said, "I don't think we can walk that far."

Jon laughed. "'Course not. We need, um. A plane."

"Oh," Brendon said, nodding with eyes wide. "Right. Plane." He held out his hand for the joint.

"Plane's a funny word," Bob told them. "Puh-laaaane."

Jon laughed some more.

***

Bob wasn't entirely sure how he'd ended up in Brendon's hotel room. He remembered the cab ride and the elevator, and all those things, he just couldn't remember agreeing to come, but then he was there, so that part didn't really matter, he supposed. Brendon actually looked a little surprised that he was there, too, which made him feel better, all things considered.

Brendon said, "I keep snacks. In case of munchies."

Bob said, "I was about to suggest room service."

"M&Ms and Chex Mix."

"And burgers."

Brendon wrinkled his nose. "Carnivore."

Bob sighed. "Save me from socially conscious assholes. Fine, grilled cheese."

Brendon perked right up. Bob went for the phone.

***

It was over the two pound bag of M&M's that Bob said, "My mom dated this guy once. Total douche. He'd say shit to her, you know? And she'd, like, take it in, or whatever. She tried all these diets and shit and none of it ever worked, so I guess she thought-- I don't know. I like to think the time I caught her puking dinner up was the last time it happened, but." Bob shook his head. "I kinda doubt it. I think it was... I think it wasn't until she got rid of him and spent that week in the hospital for what she told me was the flu."

Brendon took a few M&M's and rolled them around in his palm until it was a mass swirl of colors. "My niece passed out in the middle of her school play. She hadn't eaten anything that day, nothing except water."

Bob said, "I tried it. Even though, when I saw her-- I thought, I was in high school and I was the fat kid, definitely, but I thought it was stupid, then."

Brendon set the M&M's down uneaten. "Then you got on the scene," he said softly.

"Patrick did it sometimes. Like, he knew it was fucked up and stuff, but he'd go out with Pete who, you've seen him, eats like it's going out of style, and he'd be hungry, so he'd eat and then, you know, worried about the next photo shoot, or whatever. And it wasn't like I thought it was less stupid, but jesus, the shit people say--"

"Yeah," Brendon said. "Yeah."

Bob looked at him critically. Brendon said, "Spencer. And Jon. And if you think it makes it any easier to listen to, tell me that the next time people say shit about Mikey ruining the band or Ray being ugly."

Bob opened his mouth and then shut it. Finally he said, "Okay."

"Sometimes, after I would hear those things, I'd eat until I couldn't help throwing up."

"Fuck."

"Spencer caught me doing it one time and almost killed me. You do not want to be almost killed by Spencer Smith."

Spencer didn't seem all that scary to Bob, but Brendon was just a little guy, so maybe he could take his point.

"He's scarier than he looks," Brendon said, and Bob frowned, wondering if he'd said that aloud.

"Sure."

Brendon smiled but let it go. Instead he asked, "Do you still? The throwing up?"

Bob shook his head. "Half the band got sick as fuck on bad chicken one time and I was throwing up for, like, ten hours straight and I pretty much swore off of it after that. I don't think it had gotten to the addictive stage yet, since it wasn't that hard. I mean, sometimes I still want to, but mostly it was just deciding I was done and being done."

"And when people say things?"

"I tell Gee. He can be pretty amusing when he's pissed off for one of us."

Brendon grinned. Bob asked, "What do you do?"

"Tell Ryan. He's scary as shit when he's pissed off for one of us. Awesome to watch. Also, Keltie gets all up in it when he tells her and she's-- Well, probably a lot like Gerard, actually."

Bob laughed. Brendon asked, "You guys at the same hotel?"

Bob said, "Nah, but it's not far."

Brendon picked up the long-abandoned M&M's and shoved them in his mouth. "You could stay."

It was a testament to his years with guys that Bob understood him perfectly. "The others staying elsewhere?"

"Haley's in, so Spence and her got a room, Ryan's at Keltie's new place, Jon said he was probably gonna crash at Pete's, so this palace is all ours."

"Almost hard to believe," Bob said.

"Share the magic," Brendon said. Bob stole the last of the M&Ms.

kws136: Bob/Mikey, purple

Mikey bought the plant two days after getting out of rehab. He said, "You're supposed to--" and Bob had nodded and said, "Yeah, I know, but. Aren't those kind of hard to take care of? I think they mean a Pica or a Fica or whatever the fuck that thing is that nearly can't be killed."

Mikey looked at his chosen plant thoughtfully. "This was prettier."

Bob knew that was one argument he just wasn't going to win.

***

The African violet--as Bob learned--needed very precise temperatures, amounts of sunlight and water. He knew he probably shouldn't have been helping Mikey with the feeding and care of the thing, since the whole point was that Mikey needed the responsibility outside of himself, but it would have been weird, having Mikey do this one particular thing on his own, when everything else between the band was a shared endeavor.

Besides, it wasn't like it was just Bob. Gerard fretted over the thing, and Frank kept making stories up about it, and Ray had actually gone out and bought an automatic watering system when it seemed like maybe they weren't keeping it wet enough. Bob just helped Mikey make sure it was getting good sun, and enough nutrients and all basic plant-care needs. He wanted Mikey to succeed. Also, the plant really was kind of pretty.

***

One day when it was just the two of them, Mikey plucked a leaf that hadn't made it and admitted, "I named her."

"Her?" Bob asked, not even wondering if he had missed something. Mikey and Gerard started talking in the middle of thoughts all the time.

"The plant," Mikey said, not looking at him.

Oh. "Um. Probably a good idea. Like, if it knows you care, and stuff."

"It seemed weird, taking care of something that didn't have one. My Sidekick has a name."

Mikey had a point there. "So... What's her name?"

"Lewa. I looked up African names, 'cause like, African violet, and all." Mikey shrugged. "It means beautiful."

"Lewa," Bob tried it out. Then, "Lew."

Mikey smiled. "Lulu."

***

Mikey took Lulu with him when he went off the tour, which was only right, but Bob was surprised to find himself missing the damn thing. He texted Mikey every day anyway, but it became routine for him to ask, "th watr thng wrkng?" or "gttng enuf sun?" Mikey was surprisingly precise in his answers, which helped Bob get a hold both on how Lulu was doing, and, more importantly, Mikey.

When they got to Jersey, they all went to Mikey's first thing and Mikey hugged all of them, let them hold on a bit, but when it came to be Bob's turn, he said, "Right, like you're even here to see me."

Bob smiled into Mikey's shoulder and said, "That's right, bitch, show me to the flora."

***

Maybe Bob should have stopped to wonder why it was him that Mikey dragged to the shelter when his plant year was up and it was time to move onto a pet, but he didn't really. Somewhere along the way, floral and pet life had evidently become his department in Mikey's existence. Bob considered being annoyed by this for about ten seconds. Then he looked at Lew, and calmed the fuck down.

Bunny picked Mikey out more than anything else. Mikey'd had his heart set on a kitten that he could train up, but when they'd gotten to the shelter, Bunny had mewled at them until Mikey had no choice but to play with her a little, and it was all over the moment she tried to climb up inside his t-shirt. Bob said, "I think she wants to go home with you."

Mikey looked at him for a moment, his eyes a little sharper than Bob was wholly at ease with, and said, "Yeah, looks like."

***

Sometimes Bob would secret Bunny away to where nobody would dress her up and play with her until she curled up on his chest and passed out. He never mentioned this to Mikey.

***

"So, uh." Mikey was kicking at the dirt a little, squinting under the midday shine of the Texas sun. Bob wasn't sure where exactly they were, in Texas, but he was fairly certain it was Texas. There were flags everywhere.

Bob said, "So."

"I kept a plant alive for a year, and I've had Bunny for a little more, and I was kind of-- I mean, you helped me and all, so I thought maybe you were, like, but if that's not, then I get it and all--"

"Mikey."

Mikey looked over at Bob under the shade of his hand. Bob hesitated for a second. "Are you-- Do you mean--" He shook his head. "Fuck it." He leaned in to kiss Mikey. "That? Was that what you were asking?"

Mikey smiled at him. "Thanks for finishing my sentence."

Bob laughed, and pulled Mikey in for some more.

neviditelny: Bob/Brian/Pete, black

"The fuck?" Bob put the car in park and got out to a decisive, "Ow." Bob was pretty glad he hadn't been going quickly.

"Who's there?" Brian called, which Bob had been totally on top of, but whatever, Brian liked to feel like he had things under control, even when random men who dressed in black at night showed up on Mikey's driveway.

"Who are you?" Random Guy responded, like they were the ones who didn't have the right to be there, despite the fact that Mikey had left them strict house-sitting instructions that involved a lot of, well, being there.

Bob knew that voice, though. Evidently Brian did too, because they both asked, "Pete?" at the same time.

"Um," Pete said. "Brian?"

"Jesus," Bob said, and started walking toward the house. He could yell at Pete about being a moron when they were all inside. Bob got the door open and Brian all but threw Pete inside.

Pete said, "Mikey usually sees me."

It was honestly sort of amazing that Pete wasn't very dead. Bob asked, "You do this often?"

Pete shrugged. Bob didn't really want to know what that meant. Brian rubbed a hand over his face. "Aren't you supposed to be in... Somewhere not here?"

"We had an overnight in New York. I took a train. Then a cab. Mikey's usually home if you're not on tour or like, somewhere together."

"Alicia convinced him to come and see her for a few days," Bob said, because Pete wasn't exactly wrong about that. "You didn't even text before--"

"I kind of like that he never turns me away," Pete said, like that made total sense.

Bob and Brian shared a look. Brian asked, "Have you eaten?"

Pete said, "Um. Chips on the train?"

Brian asked Bob, "Pizza, Chinese, Mexican or that sub place?"

"Sub place," Bob told him. Brian went to go get the number.

***

Bob was all ready to yell, but Pete looked sort of ready to endure, sitting on the couch, so instead he sighed and said, "You can't just stand in people's driveways in the dark wearing black. What the hell would we have told Mikey if we'd broken you?"

"Mikey knows it's usually my fault." Pete smiled, but it was sharp.

That was probably true, but Bob felt his point stood. "Pete."

"Fine, no more black at nighttime in driveways."

"Promise."

"Cross my heart."

Bob nodded. "Wanna see the dogs?"

"Mikey lets me sleep with Pig."

Bob didn't have the heart to tell him that Mikey let Pig sleep wherever the hell she wanted.

***

Brian found a stash of microwavable popcorn above the fridge and they raided Mikey's movie collection for anything they could all agree on. Pete wandered into the kitchen at some point and returned with cookies. Brian asked, "Where'd you find those?"

"Mikey keeps 'em beneath the stove, behind the cookie sheets."

Bob wondered exactly how often it was that Pete dropped in randomly, that he knew all the nonsensical places Mikey stashed things. He didn't ask, just reached over and took one of the cookies. He did ask, "You're here just because you were nearby?"

"I'm here because I can usually find Mikey here," Pete said softly.

Bob sighed. He hated that tone. Mostly because any time any of his guys used it, it was pretty much a sure thing Bob was going to be letting them cuddle--or, if it was Frank, climb--or helping them do whatever ridiculous thing they asked. Brian made a noise that was suspiciously like a laugh and Bob muttered, "Oh, fuck you," before all-but scooping Pete up and tucking him into Bob's side. Pete moved a little bit to adjust his position, then made a happy sound and relaxed.

Brian mouthed, "Marshmallow."

Bob mouthed, "Goat fucker."

***

Pete fell asleep about halfway through the second movie, snuffling into Bob's chest. Brian said, "You're gonna let him sleep with us, aren't you?"

"The only reason you love me is because it masks your own gooey inside. You should admit it. Come out. You'd feel better."

"I hate you and every member of your band."

"Sucks that you haven't managed to get us to fire you yet."

"My life is hard," Brian said, with a blankness that could have matched Mikey's.

Bob looked down. "You're really gonna kick that out of bed?"

Brian looked at where Pete had managed to curl his fingers in the hood of Bob's hoodie. "Jesus."

Bob smirked.

***

Pete was awake when Bob woke up. He pulled the covers more firmly over Brian and went to go find their wayward guest. He was easily located, in the kitchen, with coffee brewing. He smiled at Bob, but there was something off about the smile. Bob said, "'Morning."

Pete said, "Um, okay, this is going to sound-- Just. Did I drink last night? I don't remember drinking, but--"

"You fell asleep while we were watching the movie and we put you to bed. You woke up a little, you just don't remember. You were pretty tired."

"Oh." Pete looked pretty relieved. "Um. Coffee?"

Bob rubbed at his face. "Please."

Pete poured for them and sat down. Piglet and Watson immediately curled at his feet. Edgar stood by Bob, who said, "We've discussed this, big guy, no coffee for dogs."

Bunny ignored them all, eating her kibble instead. Brian stumbled in and said, "Is there some for me, though?" heading straight for the pot. He poured the rest into Mikey's biggest mug and said, "What time've you got to be back today?"

"Um." Pete put down his coffee and walked out, coming back with his jacket. He fumbled in the pocket until he found his phone. "Two."

It was eleven. Pete said, "I can just finish and--"

"Take a shower," Brian said. "You're gonna be on a bus, have some manners. We'll drive you back to the city."

Pete smiled into his coffee cup. Bob coughed out the word, "Marshmallow."

Brian coughed out the word, "Asshole."

adorkable37: Bob/Spencer, green or yellow

"Iceland?" Spencer asked.

"There's cottages for rent there. And the whole country's got like 300,000 people. It'll be quiet." Bob was looking at the brochure on his table. He wasn't entirely sure what he could have signed up for that ended with him being sent an Icelandic touristry brochure, but it had found its way to him and even managed to get a look, when he generally just threw junk mail into the recycling bin. He had, though, and the sheer greenness of the pictures had caught his eye. Chicago had nice parks and all, and the interior of Jersey could be decently green, but nothing like what the brochure was showing him. He didn't know if he really believed anywhere could look like that, but he kind of wanted to find out.

Bob could pretty much hear Spencer thinking, so he was a little surprised when Spencer's answer was, "Okay."

"Um. There are usually questions. Before the okay thing."

"Usually it hasn't been an entire six months since I last saw you. You know my schedule. Plan this fucker, tell me to buy plane tickets, I'll see you there."

"The easiness of this victory will come back to bite me in the ass, won't it?"

"Probably," Spencer said. "Miss you."

He hung up before Bob could answer back.

***

The cottage was the only building for at least a couple of acres. The guy who ran the properties drove them out and dropped them off, explaining that there was shuttle service twenty-four hours, all they had to do was call. At least, Bob was pretty sure that was what he said. His accent was a little heavy.

Spencer set his bag down on the porch and said, "Wow."

"Yeah," Bob said, because he hadn't really believed the pictures, not in his heart, but the place was incredibly green, utterly lush with it. Spencer toed his shoes and socks off and walked from the porch into the grass. He stood for a moment before turning to Bob and saying, "C'mon."

Bob followed suit, coming out to Spencer, who, after a second of hesitation, held out his hand. Bob didn't say anything, didn't make fun of Spencer for the times when he wasn't as hard as he pretended to be at all, didn't mention that as alone as they seemed there might still be someone out there. He just took Spencer's hand. The air smelled like grass, it made Bob feel like he was even smelling the color.

"I wish the guys could see this," Spencer said.

"Romantic."

"Whatever, you were thinking the same thing."

Bob just smirked. "Why haven't we ever toured here?"

"Probably because it's Iceland. Also, they have a population that's roughly the size of one of your American concerts."

"True. Still, I could probably convince Gerard that the youth of Iceland need their lives saved, too."

"Gerard, sure. Brian?"

This was, admittedly, a weakness in the plan. "Worse comes to worse, I can have Matt ask him right before he falls asleep. Brian is an easy fucker when he's tired."

"I am never breaking up with you," Spencer observed with admiration.

Bob nodded solemnly. "You can't. I know all your secrets now."

***

Bob wasn't an early riser when he wasn't touring. Neither, for that matter, was Spencer. It was something they were good at with each other--lying around in bed together until they had enough energy to fuck. Then they would lie around some more. But when Spencer whispered, "Hey," his fingers sliding over Bob's ribs early the next morning, Bob didn't moan at him, just asked, "Hm?"

"Go for a walk with me."

Bob peered at where a sheer curtain was drawn over the window. It wasn't quite dawn yet. He rolled over and found a pair of pants on the floor. They were Spencer's, he realized when he couldn't fit in them. He fished for another pair and came up victorious. He grabbed a hoodie from his bag, open on the dresser, and followed Spencer out the front.

The sun was rising, thinking about it, at least. There was dew everywhere and the air was just a little bit cool, kind of perfect. Spencer said, "It's loud," sounding surprised.

It wasn't exactly loud, it was more like the noise was different from everything Bob was used to, but he understood Spencer's point. "Yeah. You sleep?"

Spencer nodded. "Hard."

Bob had too. It was weird to be this awake after it, but he was.

Spencer said, "I'm hungry, though."

"They make breakfast at the main cottage. We can just call the shuttle."

"You checked out who else was at this place?" Spencer asked.

"Brian did."

Spencer turned to head back to their cottage.

***

There were homemade crepes and freshly brewed coffee waiting for them when they walked into the main cottage. Bob rifled through the offer of daytrips while they were there and asked Spencer, "Hiking?"

"How far?"

"Beginner's trail's only a few miles."

"We're total pansies."

"Yup," Bob said, and took another crepe.

***

They had dinner in the nearest town that evening after the hike, Spencer having to order two meals. Bob wasn't going to tell him it was hot. He would bide his time while they were in the shuttle, pressing his hand discreetly over Spencer's cock so that he was well past ready when Bob got him in the cottage. Spencer said, "You're such an asshole," but Bob had a feeling he'd be singing a different tune when Bob finished sucking him off.

Instead Spencer just rolled his eyes and said, "Don't get all proud of yourself," before dragging him into the shower.

Bob had kind of had plans for the rest of the evening, but as it turned out, Spencer's handjob in the shower was as far as they got, because the moment they were in bed, both of them were asleep.

***

Bob awoke to the soft, even heat of Spencer's breath at his shoulder. He whispered, "Good morning."

Spencer murmured, "Morning," into his shoulder, but didn't move. Bob stayed where he was.


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Skin by egelantier, photo by microbophile