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Lost and Found in Space

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At the third show in a week on one of the outer moons of a planet James couldn’t be assed to remember, Frank kissed him. It wasn’t the hottest kiss James had ever had, not even close. But the way that Frank lingered for a beat longer than an absent-minded peck, Dewees held his breath at the pleasant surprise of it.

James almost thought he imagined it if not for the hot tingle left on his lips and the faint taste of tobacco. Started to go back to loading their gear in the ship to avoid thinking about a kiss that he might have wanted so long that he dreamed it. But it felt so real.

“Yeah, no,” Frank muttered. “That’s not going to work.”

Dewees swallowed around a lump in his throat, prepared to play it cool. That yeah, he hadn’t thought anything about an absent-minded kiss. No intent or want to see here. Just a meaningless show of affection that had no thought behind it.

But then Frank reached over, fingers twisting in Dewees’ shirt and pulled him down. Their mouths lining up as Frank tilted his chin and opened his mouth and Dewees chased his tongue with his and this. Yes. This was more like it. This had been what he’d wanted, what he imagined and it was perfect even with a guitar case digging into his hip.

Everything about the kiss was ridiculous. The stars even twinkled overhead. Ships arched into the port, fuel trails of iridescent colors sparkling behind as they touched down, glimmering in the fading light of the second sun.

As they pulled apart, Frank’s hair stood up in all directions from Dewees’ fingers. They were on a public street and James nearly forgot, except for some whistles and shouted encouragement down at the corner.

“Yeah,” Frank said. “Basically.”

“Yep,” James agreed, and for the life of him couldn’t recall if they’d even been talking before. Or maybe this had been the answer to this thing that’d been building between them since they started this tour of this corner of the galaxy. Hell, if James was honest, this had been building since before that. Probably even when they first met that summer on the Warped Tour with Dewees band imploding as Frankie’s was taking off for the stars and beyond.

Frank helped James through all that. James thought he’d just been returning the favor when Frank’s band called it quits. Or at least, James told himself that was all it was. He’d decided not to act on his hopeless love for this tiny punk. He thought he’d been over it. Or at least over the idea of anything more with Frankie. He loved being back in the thick of things with his best friend in the seven systems. The shows every night, even in these dives, were electric. The kids were unbelievable. Fun, James realized. He’d been having so much fun. He didn’t want any of that to stop because he had feelings.

He’d felt greedy for even thinking about more than bouncing around the reaches of space with his best friend. Wanting a partnership in all ways with Frank, something more than friends, he’d thought maybe that was just being selfish or simply ridiculous.

But now, Frank’s hand held tight to Dewees’ shirt and his other hand grasping his hip, fingers squeezing skin and the give there, James held his breath. He was dreaming and he might have just said that out loud.

“No, you’re not dreaming,” Frank said, smile in his voice as he nuzzled James’ cheek.

“Yeah, I’m too tired to be that creative,” Dewees joked. “Our timing on this is perfect. We don’t even have a show tomorrow.”

“It really sucks that I’m tired as fuck,” Frank bemoaned.

“Yeah, I think maybe I can manage a shower and low-key cuddling,” Dewees admitted.

“Oh my god, I’ve missed showers,” Frank mumbled against James’ cheek.

“And showers have missed you,” Dewees joked and chuckled against Frank’s neck as Frank gave him a playful shove only to slump back into James’ side.

“Let’s get the ship loaded and the fuck out of here,” Frank mumbled against Dewees neck.

James couldn’t stop smiling.

****

The motel had the feel of something you’d still find on Earth, a space motif complete with weird mid-century pulp art posters and dark blue wallpaper with tiny spaceships on them, all of it faded with use and time. This place belonged somewhere forgotten off a highway hardly anyone traveled anymore. Like it had been a tourist trap before people had taken to the stars only to be transplanted here and would be on this moon long after, worn and indestructible.

But the shower had excellent water pressure and a clean tub and no limit on usage. Frankie took a ridiculously long shower first and relayed about the pressure as Dewees stretched out on the bed nearest to the door, floating on the verge of sleep, his limbs heavy. Maybe he could take a bath and just sleep in the tub. He’d had worse ideas.

“Hey, you remember that time we had skittles and champagne?” He asked as Frank wandered out of the bathroom, towel tucked at his waist, steam trailing behind him.

“You mean the time that you ended up in a bathtub filled with candy? Because I remember you not sharing.” Frank chided, digging through his bag, sniffing a t-shirt and pulling out a pair of boxers and worn pajama pants.

“I totally got you a six pack of that swill you like,” Dewees protested, trying to open his eyes to appreciate the view of Frankie tangled in his pajamas and getting a nice look at his ass as he tugged his underwear on.

“Stop ogling me and go take a bath.” Frank righted himself with a final hop. “Come on, we’re not kids who fall asleep in our sweaty clothes anymore.” Frank gave a tug on Dewees’ wrist, half-hearted. “And I’m not dealing with your cranky ass in the morning because you didn’t get cleaned up.”

“All valid points,” Dewees agreed, catching Frank’s wrist with his fingers and pulling him down to steal a kiss, tilting his head to better capture Frank’s lips.

“Is this helping or is it part of your nefarious plan to get me in bed?” Frank joked, kissing Dewees again and leaning back.

“A little,” he admitted. “But mainly fortification.”

“Smart,” Frank gave him a finally peck on the lips then tugged. “Now get up. I’m stealing your warm spot.”

Dewees shuffled off to the bathroom, stealing one last glance as Frankie burrowed under the covers on the spot James’ vacated. James couldn’t help but smile and couldn’t wait to crawl into bed next to him.

****

Three weeks later, as the tour was winding down, Dewees tried to play it cool.

Like, he was pretty sure that they were actually together, just not two dudes who kissed and were touring this corner of the galaxy. But like, they’d yet to talk about what they were to each other. They hadn’t talked about anything really. Not that he was worried. He could be patient as fuck. He was a champion at the long game. Or at least he thought so. He’d been doing pretty good so far. Like, probably.

“What’s up?” Frank asked, glancing over as he maneuvered the ship out of the landing bay and toward the atmosphere lock. He switched control over to the ship to hover as they waited for clearance off planet.

“Nothing,” Dewees said and frowned. He hadn’t realized that he’d been thinking so loudly. Maybe his doubts were more than he gave them credit for, but he didn’t want to jinx this. Now he might have. He attempted to school his face.

“Yeah, nothing totally looks like that,” Frank said, rolling his eyes as he took the ship off auto-pilot and guided it out into the inky black, stars sparkling.

“Nothing that can’t wait,” Dewees clarified, inputting the coordinates for the jump into hyperdrive for Frank’s review.

“Sure, that’s exactly why you got the whole worried brow thing going on.” Frank tapped a few buttons and keyed a few things on the ship display, one last double check. “Taking the jump,” he said, the ship took off, stars streaking along the window in front of them.

“I’m hotter with a little furrowed brow.” Dewees countered. “More ruggedly handsome and shit.”

“Hey, you know that I love you, right?” Frank said, cutting off Dewees from riffing them both to complete distraction.

James swallowed and just let the words settle him. Beside him, his best friend in the whole world loved him back. That’d been all he’d wanted for so long and now that he had it, it caught his breath. He froze with the possibility of the future. He wanted to laugh or cry at everything they could be.

Frank chewed his bottom lip, but looked Dewees right in the eyes, nervous but patient.

“I love you, too” Dewees said, grinning happy and bright and if there were a little bit of tears in his eyes, Frank wasn’t going to say anything about it.

Frank giggled, smiling brighter than any sun James had ever seen. He couldn’t wait to keep at this thing between them, especially out here among the stars.