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Instead of getting used to Paul, like he expected and hoped, Flake develops a crush.

It’s wholly ridiculous, Flake thinks. They spend way too much time together and are way too exposed to each other to develop anything but tired annoyance. Flake knows everything about Paul there is to know, from his opinion on coffee to the way he ties his shoelaces. It’s like discovering you’d really like to hump your battered Casio.

And yet, there he is, standing on a crowded street in Budapest, stomach glued to his spine, nearly passing out from heat, hunger and river water poisoning, and all the cognitive abilities that’s left in him he can only spare on Paul. On Paul and how fucking elating it feels to play along with him perfectly, without a hitch, without Aljoscha distracting them, juggling the tune with ease that should only be possible for mind readers. On Paul and how stupidly elegant he manages to look in his dumpster rugs and craggy boots – and how Flake’s fingers itch to take it all off. On Paul and his bright smile that won’t let Flake just drop on spot, given up on this disaster of a ‘tour’ and life in general. On Paul, and how later, at night, they will be back in their stinking, rattling, terrible bus, impossibly tired and yet unable to sleep because of the noise on the highway. Paul’s back will be pressed to his in the crammed up space and Flake’s face would be bright red and head would be full of compromising ideas.

Flake is very well aware how embarrassing (let alone criminal) his idiocy is but it does not affect the ideas for shit. Must be another example of Aljoscha’s bad influence, just like developing alcoholism and readiness to perform their nonsense in front of a confused crowd.

After two hours of being subjected to their improvised jam session, someone from the confused crowd throws them a bill – a whole-ass paper money bill that Paul snaps right out of the hat, a riff still hanging in the air.

“It’s probably in hope we’ll stop playing now,” Flake comments, eyeing the money in disbelief.

“Nonsense, they love us. And I’m taking you to a restaurant tonight,” Paul declares, grinning wildly, holding it up with a triumph of someone who just won the first place at the Olympics. “We’re practically millionaires.”

“We’re practically homeless delinquents. Look at us. No one’s gonna let us anywhere near a restaurant,” Flake objects, but he’s grinning too, imagining Paul’s scenario for a second. “Is it even a real bill?”

Paul blinks and takes a look. “Probably. It has a 100 on it. We could even buy proper clothes.”

Flake snatches the bill out his hand to confirm it is a hundred and it isn’t just a colored piece of paper. Briefly, he thinks about Aljoscha and that maybe they should give the money to him, but quickly dismisses it with a self-directed snort.

“Proper clothes?” he asks, handing the money back. “You haven’t worn a proper piece of clothing in your life and won’t do it any time soon. How about a new guitar for you?”

Immediately, Paul’s eyes light up, making Flake smile, besotted.

“But we’re going to a restaurant anyway,” Paul says firmly, putting it into his breast pocket carefully. “I’m starving to death and you already have starved to death.”

Flake still doubts anyone will be foolish enough to let them in, but he doesn’t argue. Paul squints at him, plucking on the strings softly in search of a tune and Flake immediately knows what it will be.

Paul nods as soon as Flake plays the first note, and joins in seamlessly, both of them grinning at each other from ear to ear.

Is there a better place on Earth to be right now, honestly?




The day was scorching hot but the expected relief did not come with the sunset. The night is just as stuffy warm, barely a breeze coming from the sea. There are almost no waives either, no noise of the surf, so the shoreline is eerily quiet, making the party a hundred meters away from them really loud and really annoying. In addition, the full moon is shining Paul right in the eye, a pretty sight any other time but absolutely loathsome tonight.

Paul growls quietly, turning on his back, his already foul sleeping bag disgustingly sticky and damp. Right beside him, Flake is just as awake but motionless, stubbornly hoping to fall asleep, but Paul can tell by his breathing he hasn’t yet succeeded.

Maybe he should join Aljoscha who's sitting a meter above them on a dune, smoking – he came back from his pub crawl half an hour ago, and to give him the credit, did it almost silently. If Paul wasn't staring at the distant camp fire with hatred that moment, he wouldn't have known.

Then again, joining Aljoscha means either sharing a bottle of schnapps hidden strategically under a nearby tree, or talking, and Paul wants to do neither. If the bastard is sitting upright, smoking, it means he’s not drop-dead drunk yet and gloomy as the result, a less than ideal company for this time of night.

Annoyed, bored and overheated Paul tries to think of anything available that would help him and comes to a conclusion he’s doomed to suffer. And if the radio was right, the heatwave will last for a week more, which is exactly the amount of time they’re going to spend here. Away from fridges, normal beds, bathtubs, or, for that matter, sex. The moment he thinks of it – and he tried not to – Paul can only think about a good hard shag. Hell, at least it would be something nice to occupy yourself on a sleepless night. Of course, finding a suitable person on the Hiddensee shore, in two in the morning, surrounded by drunken, stinking, lowlife punks is highly improbable.

Paul refrains from a frustrated groan but turns on his side, where he is met by glimmering white shoulder blades and a long curve of a narrow back, and it doesn’t divert his thoughts in any way.

What's worse, Paul is pretty sure Flake wouldn’t yelp in alarm and wouldn’t gallop away if Paul stroked his palm along the bony spine. Paul knows they're being laughed at, all three of them – 'Aljoscha and his boys', the implication loud and clear, and Paul sneers every time he gets a whiff of that, never short of a comeback, but the truth is, birds of feather do flock together. However it works and what sixth sense is responsible – they’re a good match, musically, and in all other ways.  

It doesn’t help that the snide commentary has long since put all sorts of thoughts in Paul’s head – not so much about Aljoscha, but a shitload of really vivid ones about Flake. 

Maybe it's a combination of heat, sleep deprivation and a well-brewed set of fantasies that makes Paul reach out and put his palm between Flake's sharp shoulder blades, his skin soft and warm and inviting. For a long moment, Flake doesn't breathe but as Paul has predicted, nothing else happens.

He wonders, if Aljoscha is watching, for it's certainly bright enough, and if he is, will it be entertaining enough to compensate his semi-sober night. Paul smirks at the thought and shifts a bit closer, sliding his palm lower, fingertips nudging the waistband of Flake's ratty underpants slightly – if he has an objection, he’d better object now, for Paul is being perfectly transparent with his intentions.

There is another breathless moment and no objections.

Flake is so skinny, he occupies only a half of his sleeping bag and Paul is basically two dimensional, so he abandons his shitty bed to lie flush to Flake’s back, which raises his temperature even more, but at least this time it’s welcome.

Following the waistband, he ghosts his fingers past a hipbone and to the abdomen, making Flake twitch and breathe in sharply. He's emanating heat and Paul’s fingers burn as he slips them under the thin cloth and bumps into the smooth and already damp skin on the tip of Flake’s cock. Paul bites on his lip and strokes lower down, spreading the dampness gently. Flake is taut and motionless in his arms for another second but then realises playing dead is counterproductive and reaches behind to return the favour. It’s an awkward angle for a hand job but Flake’s grip is unhesitant and eager on his cock and Paul almost comes then and there, starved for a touch.

After a short fumble, deciding a backward hand job won't do, they wrestle out of their underwear, trying to make no noise and not much apparent movement – Aljoscha might very well enjoy it if they did, but an open beach is not really a place for having impromptu gay sex. When the pants are finally gone, Paul presses closer in, achingly hard and desperate for any sort of friction, and it feels natural to slip his cock between Flake’s buttocks, gasping. Flake only grabs on him to draw him even closer, though it can’t be possible.

It feels fucking amazing, Flake's heavy cock in his fist and his own trapped tightly between firm thighs, sliding wetly along the smooth skin. It’s not his first time, but it's just as heady and filthy good – he loves the quiet ragged breathing and a shared excitement of feverish haste, forbidden and thrilling. He bites on Flake’s nape as he comes, to prevent any moaning, and Flake leaves bruises on his thigh.

“I’m all sticky now,” Flake whispers a complaint after a minute, having caught his breath. “More sticky than I already was,” he adds on the afterthought.

Paul laughs. “Can’t offer you a warm bath, sorry.”

They aren’t only telepathic about music, after all, Paul thinks, as they help each other up and stumble towards the sea, weak-kneed and drowsy.

“Think his mood will improve?” Flake asks on the way, stretching languidly and yawning. “I was getting tired of him hovering above, all gloomy.”

Paul smirks. Can they have one unshared thought at all?

They take some time to rinse off the stickiness and have a swim in the warm silky black water – Paul decided to do it next night regardless of other activities that may take place.

Back at the camp, they find Aljoscha spread on the sand, a rucksack under his head, snoring.

“Fucker,” Paul says fondly, “But it must mean it was one hell of a performance.”

“And it was only an offhand improvisation,” Flake mutters and Paul can bet he’s blushing.

“I’m sure we’ll be even better next time.”

They’re being painfully un-smooth and un-cool, Paul is well aware, but fortunately, there’s no need to be cool.

“Well, we certainly can’t be worse.”

Delighted, Paul giggles and steps over to kiss Flake’s shoulder fleetingly, and in the moonlight, catches faintly a rueful smile flashed at him in response. 

Having dried off a bit on the gently puffing breeze, they settle back on their disgusting sleeping bags and Paul falls asleep right away.