"There are two guys in the band who always want to do something on New Year's Eve: Till and me. I hate this day. So I asked the boys "hey, why don't we just play a gig that night?" It took me years to convince them to do it but this year everyone finally agreed… So yeah, the main reason for it to even take place is so that Till and I don't have to attend any of these silly parties and can actually go on stage and play." - Richard, 2018.
Before Richard can make his way over to him however, a pretty looking woman introduces herself and Till being Till is compelled to be charming and talk to her. Richard can see the mask slide into place from his spot on the other side of the room, trapped as he is by the arrival of a couple of friends. They're happy and tipsy and it's enfusing his mood a little but mostly, he just wants his singer. It would be a little rude to just walk away though, so he pays attention to the people around him, and keeps one eye on the other man on the opposite side of the room.
They have a signal, he and Till, when one of them needs rescuing or removing from a situation. Two discreet tugs of a collar or neckline and the other will swoop in and save them, no questions asked. It's been developed and honed and utilized many times over the years and it's never let them down yet. He's watching for it because it's only a matter of time before Till laughs at something the woman says and tugs his collar down, once then twice. He doesn't look away from his companion, and Richard's heart skips that Till trusts him so implicitly that he doesn't even need to look for him. Richard isn't about to let him down now. He immediately excuses himself with an explanation even he knows is flimsy, and heads over, dodging three more people who try to talk to him.
"Till!" He says, with as much urgency as he can manage. "Need you, it's important, so sorry." The last part he directs at the woman who smiles at him faintly regretfully but graciously moves on anyway. Till gives him a look so incredibly grateful it warms his fluttering heart. Richard eyes him up and down. He looks good tonight, devastatingly so, resplendent in an expertly tailored all black suit and shirt.
"Come on." Richard says, tearing his eyes from the other man and nodding towards a half-concealed back door. He had scoped it out much earlier in the evening as a potential escape route should one of them need it. He reasons that it'll be quiet out there now that it's so close to midnight. He heads in that direction and with a tug of his finely crafted sleeve Till follows him quietly, obediently and he smiles to himself.
"Feeling better?" Richard asks once they're outside in the cool Berlin air. His breath billows like smoke against the dark sky and he's grateful he also chose a well made suit for the night, though it's still not that much good against the biting cold. Till's nodding though, already looking happier now that he's in the quiet and under the stars.
"I hate these things." He says quietly, looking back at the half closed door, concealing them from the rest of the party.
"Me too." Richard agrees, content to admit to his weaknesses in Till's presence alone. Large parties make him nervous, though not on the same level as Till. "I wish we didn't have to bother."
"Downside of fame." Till shrugs with a touch of resigned melancholy that reminds Richard so strongly of Till many years ago, when he had accepted a much more meagre lot in life. He suddenly aches to be anywhere but here. Somewhere where it's just the two of them. Somewhere where they don't have to go to shitty parties and feel uncomfortable, just because it's what's expected of them by people who only know them as Till and Richard the performers.
"We should play a gig one year." Richard says quite suddenly, taking even himself by surprise. The idea coming to him so completely out of nowhere that he had no choice but to say it out loud. Till regards him with the look he usually reserves for particularly outlandish musical suggestions; intrigued, a little unsure but always unfailingly, unflinchingly supportive.
"A gig?" He repeats, with measured consideration.
"Yes, a gig, on New Year's Eve." Richard confirms. The idea now seems so obvious to him, so ostentatious and so very fitting for their band he wonders why it didn't occur to him before right now. If he has to perform, it might as well be on his own terms.
"You want to plan and play an entire concert just to avoid a terrible party?" Till asks him, though a smile begins to form and Richard already knows that he likes the idea of it.
"Why not?" Richard wants to know but Till only shrugs at him.
"No reason not to but you'll have to convince the boys."
He's got a spark in his eye that Richard doesn't see often enough these days, boyish and mischievous. He's fully on board with Richard's impulsive idea, even if he doesn't say it. So it goes with most of Richard's suggestions, band related or otherwise. A gleeful sort of determination floods Richard's veins. Physically less dangerous than any drug he could subject himself to but oh so addictive and sweet.
"Leave it with me, I'll figure it out." He says with a charming wink.
"Good luck." Till hums, returning the wink with a warm smile. The kind of smile that makes Richard want to take on the entire world just to keep it on his face for a minute longer. Even if it means planning an entire Rammstein concert on a whim, the reality of which suddenly starts to feel crushing.
"Rich, worry about it tomorrow, it's nearly midnight." Till says quietly, so in tune with him by now that he knows instinctively when Richard's mind begins to spiral, and exactly the right moment to gently pull him out of it. Richard focuses his gaze back on the man in front of him and grounds himself by pushing his hands under Till's suit jacket until they rest on his sturdy waist. The people inside are counting down now, they won't be paying attention to them. It makes him want to be bold.
He kisses Till at midnight, tender and sweet, and it's so absurdly kitsch they both burst into giggles wrapped in each other's arms. As much as Richard dislikes them and the parties that go with them, as far as New Year's Eves go, it isn't the worst he can remember.
"Think of all the fireworks we could set off." He says with a slightly manic smile that makes Richard stifle a laugh behind his coffee cup. They share a look, Richard winks at Till whose grin softens. Someone groans although Richard isn't paying enough attention to anything else to figure out who. Not for the first time he's entirely frustrated with their democratic system, especially if it means another year spent at a party he won't enjoy.
"If you two really don't like New Year parties that much, just don't go." Schneider says calmly and quite sensibly, when it's clear that Richard has lost the argument. "Go and spend it together somewhere."
Richard grumbles as he refills two coffee cups, although there's no bite in it. "Somebody will drag me to a party." He hands one of the cups to Till and sits back down next to him. Till bumps his shoulder gratefully.
"There's always next year." He says quietly, reassuringly, and it goes a long way to calm Richard's mood. It isn't that he doesn't like the idea of spending New Year's Eve holed up somewhere with Till, it's just that the concert idea has occupied his thoughts for weeks now.
"Go and lock yourselves in Till's hermit cabin." Paul suggests, both helpful and annoying in equal measure. "Then nobody can make you do anything."
Till perks up at that, Richard notices. One of his favourite things in the world to do is disappear into the woods for days on end with no connection to the outside world. It used to worry Richard something awful, endless thoughts of something terrible happening plaguing him from across the ocean. The more he thinks about it though, it sounds nice. It sounds romantic, though he would never admit it. They don't do romance, not in the traditional sense, he'd strangle Till if he ever bought him flowers but he could manage a few days in the wilderness he thinks.
"You're smiling." Paul says and it sounds like an accusation. "That settles it, discussion over."
The conversation swiftly moves onto other things leaving Richard feeling like driftwood, swept along in a current of chatter about things he doesn't quite care about. Till squeezes his thigh with a large, warm paw and he gives in and settles against him, cradling his coffee for warmth. Always next year, Till had said, he could always try again in twelve months.
The sound of the front door opening informs him that he has failed at his promise and he sighs again. A lot of undue noise from a simple cigarette run peaks his interest though and he sticks his unstyled head out of the bedroom door to find Till excitedly rattling around the kitchen.
"What are you doing?" He asks, leaving the bedroom to stand, towel clad, in the middle of the main room.
Till looks up and grins at him, eyes sparkling and appearing very pleased with himself. "Oh good you haven't got dressed yet, go and put something comfy on, we're staying in."
Richard blinks at him, a little surprised though he can't deny the relief he's beginning to feel. "What?"
Till ceases his rummaging about and comes to join Richard with a devious look on his face. "You might get a few messages, but I told them you had come down with the flu, nothing serious but far too sick for dreary parties."
Richard stares at him. "Till, what?" He repeats, entirely relieved and a little bemused now.
Till rests his hands on Richard's hips, they're cold still from being outside and Richard shudders. The corners of Till's mouth turn downwards, making him looking worried, his earlier grinning excitement fading. "If you want to go, we can say you're feeling better?" He offers, eyes downcast.
Richard shakes his head vehemently and he throws his arms around Till's neck. They don't get enough time to be themselves together these days, Richard misses it. He misses the wild chaos of being young and in love, and of making music in boarded up houses with equipment that only half worked and still sounded like the best noise he's ever created. He misses lying under the stars all night with stolen alcohol and Till's notebook and shy smile, and his old acoustic guitar that he still can't quite let go of. He's romanticising he knows, there's a lot about that time that he doesn't remember quite so fondly. Would he change anything that happened back then? Maybe. Would he change any decision that led him to be right here, right now? Absolutely not.
"Scholle." Till purrs. He hasn't called him that in years.
He ends up back in his bed, having bypassed the couch because of back pain and bad knees. He's sure Paul would tell him he's getting soft but Paul can fuck off, he's older now and can afford a little luxury in his life. His bedsheets are the softest he could find for a reason. They feel like heaven through his fingers as he clutches and scrabbles at them whilst Till takes his sweet time between his legs. It's his New Year's resolution, he grins into Richard's inner thigh, he's going to slow down and enjoy the journey more.
Richard loses all track of time under Till's gentle if filthy ministrations. He seems determined to pepper kisses across every inch of Richard's sensitive skin before even reaching for the lube. By the time he's got his slicked up fingers inside him, Richard's nerves are on fire. But Till is sweet to him and kisses him softly as he slides inside, the tiniest whimper falling from his lips as they part to breathe. He's slow and languid in his fucking, Richard is loathe to use the words love making but really that's what this is. He feels loved and safe and cared for and when tears spring to his eyes he can't even be surprised.
Till smiles, calls him beautiful though he's a little out of breath, and kisses his cheeks when the tears overflow. Richard clings to him, wraps his legs around his waist and his fingers around his forearms. His calloused guitar players fingertips can still feel every scar, every hair, every cord of muscle straining under his skin.
"Please." He begs, though he isn't quite sure what for. Till understands him though, Till always understands him. Wordlessly, he rolls them to the side and pulls him close so that Richard's back is pressed firmly against his front. He begins to lazily rock into him whilst one hand snakes to Richard's aching cock. Till murmurs into his ear, mostly nonsensical half remembered poetry, but it makes Richard's skin tingle all the same. He comes over Till's hand with a stifled moan of his name, and feels Till follow him seconds later, as though he was waiting for Richard to go first. Knowing Till and the mood he's in, he probably was.
Richard shuffles forward an inch and then rolls over, mess be damned, so that he can look at him, flushed and panting.
"I love you." Till whispers as though it's still a revelation all these years later. Richard kisses him when words fail him, he doesn't have Till's poet's brain but he can show him how he feels instead. I love you too, he says in the way he presses himself flush to Till's warm and quivering body. I love you too, he says in the way he bites down on his lower lip and then soothes it with his tongue. I love you too, he says in the way he steals the breath from his lungs with his kisses.
Later after a quick nap and a long, hot, shared shower, he perches on his kitchen counter with a glass of his favourite wine whilst Till makes dinner. They're both damp haired and dressed in soft sweatpants and shirts though Till still looks like he could strut onto a stage with a moment's notice, never quite able to let go of the look. The thought makes him a little sad, as do the unread messages of concern and well wishes on his phone. They could have been playing tonight instead of lying to get out of something they don't even want to go to. He sighs and pours a little more wine into his glass.
"Still thinking about your concert idea?" Till asks in his annoyingly perceptive way. Richard shrugs, not committing to an answer either way but he knows he's already been found out.
"If it's what you want, keep trying." Till tells him as he steals a sip from his glass. "Another's opinion has never stopped you before."
Richard smiles lightly. "Your opinion would."
"Ah but my opinion is almost always your opinion." Till says and kisses him fleetingly. Richard reaches for him and tugs him back into a longer kiss and decides the wine tastes far better in Till's mouth than it does in a glass.
"Richard." Till says softly when they part. "If the New Year thing means this much to you, you could always do something with Emigrate." He says it in a rush and then clamps his mouth shut as though the entire thought was never supposed to get out.
"Absolutely not." Richard replies with feeling, his hands framing Till's face. "It's Rammstein or nothing."
Till looks like he wants to argue the point so Richard kisses him again to keep him quiet. In another life, maybe he would play with Emigrate, a one off once in a lifetime concert. But then he might like it, like it too much, and that would crush Till and ruin everything they've worked so hard for for all these years.
Till steps away and arches a pierced eyebrow at him. "We could do something."
"Something more than this? Why would I ever want that?" Richard sips his wine and gestures around the room with his other hand.
Till shakes his head with a fond expression. "I meant we could play together, like we used to."
Richard is hit with a sudden flood of memories. He knows Till isn't being serious, there is no way the band would agree to it, but he can see the two of them so clearly. A long time ago, playing and writing together in secret. "We could play our song." Richard grins, deciding to play along.
Till rolls his eyes and turns to rattle a pan about a bit. "Are you still going to put that on an album one day?"
"Will you still sing it with me?"
For a brief second when Till faces him again, he looks as nervous as he did when Richard first caught him singing, avoiding his eyes and finding the floor very interesting. But then he nods anyway and wordlessly goes back to making dinner. Richard smiles and sips at his wine contentedly.
Midnight finds them sprawled on the sofa, lazy and full and wrapped up in each other. They've angled themselves towards the window so they can see the fireworks and when Richard glances up he can see the light and colour reflected in the depths of Till's eyes. He'd prefer the fire from a stage show, but this isn't so bad he thinks as he shifts and settles against Till, feels him somehow pull him even closer. If he never gets his New Year's Eve concert, he'll take this every year instead in a heartbeat.
Olli had been the first to agree, on the proviso that he was allowed to escape to the beach at least once a day, because even in December he'd said, Mexico is infinitely preferable to Germany. Paul had given in next. Richard suspected it was mostly because he had grown sick of Richard's endless asking about it, and saying yes was the only way to guarantee that it would stop. Flake came around after that, he had simply shrugged and agreed and generally gave the impression that he wasn't all that bothered either way. Schneider had been the biggest concern, having the youngest family but he had thrown his hands in the air and said it was only for one year and it could be fun so what the hell. Till had been off doing something ridiculous and probably dangerous with Lindemann, something Richard was likely to disapprove of. But he had texted his agreement anyway, if only for posterity because he wanted this as much as Richard did.
And so he finds himself halfway around the world, leaning on the railing of his hotel room balcony. Meanwhile a stage is being set up for a one off, once in a lifetime pair of concerts that came into being because he hates the concept of New Year parties. A gentle touch on his arm, and a presence at his back and he doesn't even need to turn around to know that it's Till.
"Got your wish." He says, his hand slipping to Richard's hip, warm and steady and familiar.
"Our wish." Richard amends with a smile and leans backwards until his back hits Till's chest.
Till takes his weight easily and winds his arms around Richard, he can feel him nuzzling at his shoulder. "Hmm your idea, I just happened to agree with it."
Richard frowns at that but before his doubt can run away with him, Till bites his neck playfully, it feels a little bit like a rebuke. "I can feel you thinking." He says into Richard's skin. "You're ambitious, I don't mind being here for the ride."
An argument forms on Richard's tongue but then he pauses. "You mean sex don't you?"
"Usually yes." Till licks at the spot where he bit him and Richard shudders involuntarily, feeling the smirk on his lover's lips against his skin that feels very hot all of a sudden in a way that has nothing to do with South American weather.
"Well," Richard says with a little roll of his hips. "We don't really have anywhere to be just yet."
"Christen the hotel room?" Till murmurs in his ear, before biting his earlobe and sending shivers down Richard's spine and straight to his dick.
He turns in Till's arms and kisses him. "Yes please." He answers against Till's mouth and lets himself be taken to bed in the soft glow of the Mexican sunshine.