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Reconnecting

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It has been a while. They both have naturally gravitated away, orbiting around each other without making contact, for they had found their individual life partners at this point. Sometimes, when the nights on tour are long and the alcohol is flowing, Schneider looks at him like he could just reach over and touch him as a lover would. A rewind back to their times together. From the eighties when they were just awkward kids becoming adults, who were discovering their developing sexualities together, to the confident relationship they shared in 2001.

Sometimes, when they’re all sitting together chatting, buzzed on whatever they’re drinking at the moment, Schneider watches Paul talk, watches his lips, his hands, and really tries to recall the details of the last time they had sex. Which was… 2009? Paul was still frisky and a pain in the ass back then, so in result he had been more daring and confident when it came to initiating more intimate exchanges. But naturally, that faded.

It’s not due to their ties to matrimony; their wives aren’t ignorant of their past and have expressed an open-mindedness to it. It’s just the lack of interest. The absence of desire to pick up where they left off. Maybe some of it had been due to distraction as well—finding those things in their respective partners instead.

But now, eight years later, Schneider has a developing spark. Seeing Paul on stage, moving gracefully, with practice, with expertise, enriched like a fine, aged wine. Those skinny jeans, the chain, the vest, those fucking boots with the red laces. Schneider is always focused during the set, he has to be since the entire tempo is set by his strikes. He doesn’t follow the band, the band follows him. But in-between songs, when Paul is adjusting his earpieces, turning on a heel to look back at him with a raised brow and a grin, Schneider lets himself be distracted. Paul gestures at him in some obscure way that even Schneider doesn’t understand. An attempt to make him smile.

Post-show, Paul is either wired with energy—talking, moving, laughing, gesturing, bothering—or worn down from exhaustion. Slow blinking, weaker smiles, lackluster attitude, a quietness. It’s always hot or cold with him.

Tonight, he’s cold.

They leave the stadium, coming to an unspoken agreement that they have no energy to meet with fans. After shows, they often break off into smaller groups—Till, Richard, and Flake; Ollie, Paul, and himself—but this time, they separate into their individual rooms to catch up on sleep. Although, Schneider feels restless. For some reason, he’d rather not put an end to the night so soon.

“What do you plan on doing, Schneider?” Paul asks, standing beside him in the hallway of the hotel as the other four disperse, his arms crossed. Schneider looks at him; he’s wearing his beige leather jacket and a black beanie. Schneider shrugs, rubbing at the back of his neck.

“It’s not too late,” he says, “I won’t be sleeping.”

Paul nods, distantly looking at the carpet of the hallway. They stand there in silence for a second. Schneider is unsure what to say. Unsure what is on Paul’s mind. Paul glances up at him and manages a slight smile, his gray eyes searching Schneider’s face.

“Well, I suppose I’ll see you in the morning.”

“Maybe sooner,” Schneider blurts, earning a raise of a brow from the older man. Schneider clears his throat and crosses his arms as he elaborates, “I will get bored, you know. Sitting in a hotel room isn’t fun. If you don’t plan on sleeping, I mean.”

Realization lights up Paul’s eyes. He manages a slight, amused smile. He nudges Schneider on the bicep with his elbow and teases lowly with a twinkle in his gray eyes, “Feeling a little lonely, Schneider? Want to hang out with your best friend in the whole world?”

Schneider laughs dryly, once. He looks at Paul with flat amusement, a smirk twitching at his lips.

“I rescind my statement. I think I’d rather spend the night with the miniatures in the fridge and the sports channel.”

“Aw, don’t be like that,” Paul snorts, unraveling his crossed arms to hook one through Schneider’s elbow, shaking him a bit, “We’ll have a grand time.”

“Now you’re just being sarcastic.”

“Aren’t we always?”

Schneider smiles thinly, searching the other man’s tiredly smiling face.

“You know, I read sarcasm is a mask for underlying insecurities. Are you insecure, Paul?”

Paul laughs. He squeezes Schneider’s muscular bicep in a strong hand and murmurs with fond, albeit exhausted, eyes trained up on his face, “Goodnight, Schneider. Visit me if you’d like, I’ll be up for a little while.”

Schneider nods. Paul slides his hand out from the crook of Schneider’s elbow and turns to his door, withdrawing his keycard from the pocket of his leather jacket to get it unlocked. Paul’s room is two away from his—with Richard between them—so Schneider crosses the distance to get into his own room as well.

Inside, he flips on the low light and lets the door click shut behind him. He stares out into the abyss of the elaborately decorated hotel room and sighs. He presses his hand to his chest, atop the front of his black hoodie, brow furrowing. He feels oddly jittery, restless, accompanied by the fluttery warmth he sometimes gets when he’s around Paul. A fondness for him. He shakes his head at himself and steps further into the hotel room, taking a seat on the bed.

He sits there for five minutes, debating what to do. He wants to be with Paul, he knows that. But that exchange in the hallway had been a little strange, like maybe Paul wants the distance. Schneider isn’t sure. But knowing Paul, he would say he wants to be left alone, especially since Schneider had made the direct proposal.

He knows he should probably leave him be to catch up on some rest, but Schneider feels unusually drawn to him tonight. Like he’s subconsciously seeking his company, his warmth, or even his touch.

Rising from the bed, Schneider gnaws at his bottom lip as he crosses his arms. He stares distantly out the window of the hotel room, internally debating if he really wants to go through with this. He knows if he went to be with Paul, that feeling would only build up and up, until something had to be done about it. Until Schneider did something about it. He knows, from previous experience, that when he wants Paul in whatever form, the other man is irresistible due to the fact he knows Paul is almost always enthusiastic for that kind of contact. That all he has to do is reach out and then Paul is his.

He’s not going to just sit here all night and stew over it. He needs to figure out a solution to this newfound longing.

Turning to the door, Schneider runs his hands over his face and lets out a deep exhale.

 

In the hallway, at Paul’s hotel door, Schneider has his hand on the door knob, paralyzed only momentarily by his uncertainty. He definitely does not want to be found at Paul’s door like this, so his hesitation is brief. He reaches into his pants pocket to dig out the extra key to his room which the other man had given him for the sake of precaution. They always swap their extra key cards with each other.

The lock beeps when he pushes the key in, and then he’s stepping quietly into the room. The first thing he registers is that Paul is missing from the room. Secondly, the bathroom light is on, the door closed. Which means he’s still here. Good. Schneider flounders for a second, taken by surprise by his absence. He anticipated he would have to spin up a grand excuse for his abrupt entry.

Then the handle to the bathroom door turns, before said door is pulled open, releasing a burst of steam from within. Out comes Paul, ruffling a thick towel over his head, his face hidden. Schneider stands there, staring with wide eyes and a clenched jaw. Paul is naked. His legs are lean and muscular, his hips and waist slim, stomach slightly muscled. He still has quite a youthful looking body. His face is the most aged part of him, with his graying beard and the developed lines around his mouth and eyes. His arms are muscular, his shoulders broad. Schneider zeroes in on the graying hair which sits a bit lower under his stomach, between those freckled thighs, and then of course, his flaccid—

“Schneider!” Paul blurts, finally peeking past the towel over his head to see the other man standing there. Schneider jolts like he’d been slapped. His gaze flies up to meet Paul’s. Paul is grinning, sliding the towel from his head to modestly cup it over his groin. Somehow the visual of the white towel dangling between his muscular legs is more tantalizing than the view of his entire nudity.

“Uh, bad timing, sorry,” Schneider says, laughing lightly, a little awkwardly. Paul waves his hand dismissively with a pursed smile. Schneider watches him with heat in his face. His dark hair is wild, ruffled into a state of complete disarray. It’s cute. Paul’s skin is flushed. Schneider thinks he looks absolutely handsome.

“Nothing you haven’t seen before,” Paul muses with a roll of his eyes, which has Schneider bursting out an obscene, unintentional giggle. Shit. He’s already embarrassing himself. He blushes and wipes a broad hand down over his red face. When he peeks up at Paul again, he sees the other man watching him with a curious look in his eyes, his brow arched. Schneider lets out a breath. He knows he’s being rather obvious. He crosses his arms, looks down at his feet.

Paul shuffles further into the hotel room and says, “Let me put something on.”

Schneider nods, clearing his throat. He waits for Paul to begin shifting through his suitcase before he paces towards the mini fridge of the hotel room to look for something to distract himself with. Leaning over, he pulls it open and peers at its contents. While he hears the shuffle of Paul grabbing some boxers and stepping into them, Schneider spots some water bottles, a couple different miniatures in the door of the fridge. All complimentary. Schneider grabs a chardonnay.

He eyes the label as if it were the most interesting thing in the word, and then lets the door slowly swing shut. Turning around, he twists the golden cap off with a snap and lets his eyes roam upwards to see Paul wearing only a black night shirt and some boxers. He steps into his soft, black sweatpants he wears to bed, shielding the sight of his rather nice legs. Schneider approaches the other man as he takes a drink of the chardonnay, before making a slight face at the taste. Paul is watching him, flattening his dark hair to his scalp with strokes of both hands, and then laughs at his expression.

“You know, you don’t have to drink it,” he muses, holding out a hand. Schneider passes him the small bottle. He steps up beside him; Paul naturally drapes his arm around his back as he lifts the bottle to his lips. Schneider swallows hard. He’s always so easily affectionate. Sometimes he wonders if he’s even aware of it. Paul takes a drink and licks his lips.

“I’m glad you came over,” Paul muses, spinning the bottle lazily, watching the gold-tinted liquid swirl within, “Feel less alone, you know? We’re always together, but it seems to be out of obligation most of the time.”

Schneider nods. He hesitates, hands fidgeting by his sides. Paul glances up at him with a smile and then steps away from him, to take a seat on the bed. He takes another pull from the chardonnay and then lets out a deep breath. Schneider stands there, uncertain, watching the other man lay back against the made sheets, resting the hand wielding the bottle on his stomach, curling his other arm under his head. He looks up at the ceiling as he drawls, “Do you ever think about how much things have changed, Schneider? When we were messing around in Feeling B, there wasn’t nearly as much… Of that feeling of claustrophobia. The feeling of being enclosed, somehow. While we had been recognized for our so-called ‘talent’, it never got to that point. I mean, of course, we can still go out and shop without being hounded by countless fans, so we are probably at a good point, but I suppose what I’m trying to say is it’s weird. My goal in mind was never fame, and yet it’s come. When we’re on tour like this it becomes much more apparent.”

Listening to Paul’s monologue, Schneider watches the other man’s face as he talks. He takes a second to decipher what the hell he’s saying. Taking a seat on the bed beside Paul’s legs, Schneider replies, saying, “Well, at least you haven’t let it get to your head.”

Paul laughs and then presses the bottle to Schneider’s hip. Schneider silently takes it, but he doesn’t want a drink, so he just holds it. Paul then pushes up into a seated position. He sits beside Schneider, his legs crossing atop the bed. Schneider watches him, searching his aged face, admiring the handsomeness of it. The way his crow’s feet wrinkles up when he looks at him like that, with a fondness in his gray eyes, a slight smile on his lips. Schneider feels warm again. Paul reaches out and lazily drapes his arm around Schneider’s shoulders, his broad hand squeezing his bicep. He’s warm, his arm a nice weight around him.

It doesn’t surprise Schneider when he leans in to rest his head against his shoulder, his arm sliding down over his back. Paul lets out a deep breath and mumbles, “You are unfairly warm, and I am tired.”

Schneider blushes. This is why it’s hard to read Paul. He always does things like this, says shit like that. He doesn’t know if it’s flirting, or just Paul.

“If anything,” Schneider murmurs, watching him through lidded eyes, “The fame has made you humble. The opposite result I would expect. I guess it’s a responsibility that was placed upon us, and it made you mature.”

Paul snickers. He presses his forehead to Schneider’s shoulder. He nods.

“I was a real shit back then, wasn’t I?”

Schneider smiles. He says nothing, lets his silence act as an unspoken agreement. And then he leans in carefully, to let his nose and lips press to Paul’s graying hair, his eyes closing. The aroma of his typical shampoo overcomes his sense of smell. He is so warm here, despite the dampness derived from his shower. Schneider turns his head to rest his cheek against him. Paul is silent now, squeezing his arm around his lower back.

“You are still a little shit,” Schneider murmurs, a grin curling at his lips, earning a huff from the older man, “But you’re my little shit.”

That has Paul pulling back, laughing aloud. Schneider’s grin strengthens; he was hoping for that reaction. Paul looks at him with a broad grin, his crow’s feet wrinkling up. He hooks his hand over Schneider’s shoulder, arm curled and resting against his back. He leans in to whisper, searching in his handsome blue eyes, “You know, Schneider, I would be honored to have come out of your ass.”

“Jesus Christ,” Schneider laughs, “And here I thought you couldn’t top that!”

“What are you talking about?” Paul huffs, rolling his eyes, “I have topped that many times.”

“Shut up!” Schneider growls, shoving at him, his face immediately bursting aflame. Paul laughs evilly and shoves him back, harder. Schneider looks at him with aghast. Paul has the biggest shit-eating grin on his face. Schneider snatches Paul’s wrists and snarls, “So we’re going to be acting like children now, are we? Is that what we’ve become?”

“I now see your parenting methods, Schneider! Some very effective physical restraint!” Paul raises his voice teasingly, attempting—and failing—to twists his wrists out of his iron-grip hold. Schneider laughs sardonically and growls, “It’s going to be like that, huh?”

Paul tries yanking his wrists out of hold, with more effort now. Schneider refuses to let him go. Paul falls back onto the bed, laughing as he attempts to desperately wiggle out of his grasp. Schneider gets up on a knee, giving himself more leverage to pin Paul down to the bed. Paul wedges his leg between the both of them, knee to Schneider’s sternum, and proclaims with a voice wavering from laughter, “I could absolutely destroy you right now!”

“Try it!” Schneider remarks, elbowing his leg out of the way. Grinning up at him with wide eyes, Paul just lets him. This way, Schneider ends up between his legs, pinning his wrists to the bed, awkwardly propped on one knee. Paul crosses his ankles behind his back like he was about to flip them over, though he doesn’t make the move to—his thighs are squeezing around Schneider’s sides. The realization suddenly hits Schneider. Looking down at him with a flushed face, his stomach does a flip. Paul whines, weakly twisting his arms, “Schneider, you know how fragile and delicate my precious wrists are! You could ruin our entire tour, hurting them like this! Shall I go tell the others what you’ve done, abusing the poor rhythm guitarist? Finally, you’d be kicked out of the band!”

Schneider could make some teasing remark that would undoubtedly prod at a place more sensitive, but he just holds his tongue and laughs a little. Flustered and unsure of where this is going, Schneider just releases him and gets off. He takes a seat beside him on the bed. Pointedly finding something to distract himself with, Schneider pulls off his Vans and lets them drop to the floor. Paul sits up and Schneider can feel his stare boring into him.

“Was it something I said?” Paul snickers, “Did I hurt your feelings?”

Schneider looks at him with a lack of amusement, his eyes flatly staring at him. Paul laughs and reaches out to squeeze his bicep, thumb digging into his arm through his jacket.

“Or are you just getting tired? Here I thought we could wrestle around a bit on the bed, and then I would undoubtedly come out victorious.”

“Paul,” Schneider says firmly, weary of his teasing. Paul shuts up, retracts his hand from his arm. Schneider looks at him with a pursed frown on his lips. He searches Paul’s flushed face, sees confusion in his eyes. Schneider knows it’s not often these days that he expresses intolerance. It’s not like they have moments like this very often, either.

“I need to ask you something,” Schneider murmurs. Unable to hold his gaze, he looks down towards Paul’s arms—glancing across the freckles, the birthmarks, the hair lining his pale skin. His hands, broad and freckled with age, yet his fingers are almost slender, elegant in a way. It’s odd, seeing him without the skull ring and his watch.

Paul nods, remaining silent beside him. Schneider lets out a breath. Now he’s suddenly feeling overheated. He takes a second to strip off his leather jacket, exposing his dark hoodie underneath. He sets it aside and then folds his fingers together atop his thighs. He strokes his thumb over his index finger as he clears his throat and speaks in a low murmur, saying, “Is there any sliver of interest that remains? In what we had. I know it has been a long time. I wouldn’t blame you if there is nothing there.”

He peeks over at the other man. His heart is racing a little bit with his nerves, but he ignores it. Paul searches his face with surprise on his own. It takes a second for him to digest this. Schneider watches him, sees the way he folds his arms and adjusts his crossed legs atop the bed. He looks into Schneider’s eyes boldly, a slight smile on his lips, his gray eyes sparkling with something fond and intrigued. He speaks quietly, asking, “Is there something for you, Schneider?”

Schneider looks down at the covers of the hotel bed between them, hesitates a second, before he unravels his fingers and reaches out to set one hand on the space between their legs. He wets his lips with a drift of his tongue and peeks up towards Paul. He nods, searching in his eyes.

“I look at you and I want you in some way, a way I’m not totally sure of.”

Silence hangs between them for a moment, a moment of contemplation. Paul looks at him with a subtle, pleased smile on his lips, his eyes warm and understanding. He reaches out to rest his hand atop Schneider’s, which has a jolt going up Schneider’s spine. He looks down at their joined hands, watches Paul stroke his thumb over the back of it. He then takes Schneider’s hand in his own, lifts it so he can scoot closer, meanwhile threading their fingers together—slender and elegant fingers, in contrast to broad and rough. Schneider’s heart is now genuinely starting to race, his face becoming hot. Paul cradles their hands in his lap, as if the embrace of them is precious.

Those knowing gray eyes search his face, his handsome crow’s feet wrinkling up again as his smile spreads into a teeth-revealing grin.

“You’re still cute, after all this time,” Paul giggles, leaning in to knock his forehead into Schneider’s shoulder. Schneider scoffs, red in the face.

“And you’re still embarrassing. God, Paul.”

“I’m sorry!” Paul laughs, pulling back to look at him with joy in his eyes, “You make me happy, is all. I’m glad you hadn’t kicked me to the curb all this time.”

“Maybe I aught to,” Schneider mumbles, getting rather embarrassed at this point. Paul snickers and squeezes his fingers between his own. He lifts their joined hands to kiss the back of Schneider’s. Okay. Schneider is about to explode. His ears are burning. He stares at anything but Paul, his stomach doing a flip. He can feel the heat in his cheeks. Paul notices his shy silence, naturally, and laughs again.

“You are so easy to rile up!” Paul crows, squeezing his hand again. Schneider brings his other hand up to sag forward and press his face into it.

“Why did I tell you,” he mumbles. Paul giggles again and scoots closer so their bodies are pressed together.

“I’m glad you did,” Paul muses, “Because I want to kiss you all the time, you know. I want to touch you. Not necessarily sexual in nature, but it’s like you said. When I look at you, I see a man I once loved, one I still love, though perhaps not quite as intensely. A man who is breath-takingly handsome. One I saw grow up. I have urges to be affectionate, when I’m with you—which is blatantly obvious, of course. I just…”

Paul trailing off earns a glance from Schneider’s flustered eyes. Paul has his brow furrowed, his lips in a thoughtful frown. He shrugs, gaze flicking up to meet Schneider’s. He leans in to rest his cheek to Schneider’s shoulder, murmuring, “Things have changed. We have other people in our lives. I didn’t want to disrupt anything you may have.”

“It wouldn’t have been like that,” Schneider says quietly, “My relationship with you is different. It’s not a competition. I can love more than one person, in whatever form that may be.”

“And she’s okay with it? Still?”

“She has been, since the last time we talked about it, Paul. Nothing has changed.”

“Okay,” Paul whispers. Schneider is the one to squeeze his fingers between his own this time. It has Paul taking in a breath and then turning to him, rising up onto his knees. Schneider looks up at him, watching him with cool blue eyes. Paul releases his hand, to instead place his hands on his shoulders. He pushes him down, gently. Schneider relaxes back onto the covers, his combed hair becoming unraveled, the hood to his hoodie bunching up under his neck. He looks up at him, watching him, with a collected gaze and the slightest smile on his thin lips. His broad hands naturally meet Paul’s hips, his big fingers curling easily around him.

Paul moves to kneel over him, his hands settling on Schneider’s chest. His aged face is tense with focus. Schneider brings his hands up to drift them along the swell of Paul’s muscular biceps, fingers stroking across the faded ink of his tattoos. It has Paul’s expression lightening. He smiles faintly.

“Can I kiss you?” he asks, carefully, his hopeful gray eyes searching Schneider’s face. Heat rushes into Schneider’s face. He nods. He props up on an elbow to give himself some leverage. Paul grins and moves off of him, to lay on his side beside him, his knees resting against Schneider. He reaches out to cup one roughened hand around Schneider’s jaw, fingers sliding out into his buzzed, graying hair. Fondness is in his eyes as he leans in, searching Schneider’s face. Schneider’s breath catches just as Paul presses their lips together.

Letting his eyes roll shut, Schneider raises his hand to curl it around Paul’s bicep, squeezing him there as their mouths purse together gently. The warmth that grows in Schneider’s core has him melting. Paul is leaning into him, clutching the back of his head almost possessively, fingers in his unraveling curls. The kiss deepens with every succeeding crush of their mouths—a decade of repressed desire and urges rearing up and erupting like a dormant volcano that’s awoken. Schneider collapses back onto the bed, momentarily breaking the kiss. Paul looks down at him with fire in his eyes, panting already with his face flushed.

Schneider licks his lips, watching as the other man shifts closer and leans in over him to kiss him again. Their lips meet, crushing together with Paul’s nose pressing into Schneider’s cheek. His beard is scratchy against Schneider’s face. Schneider, flustered, raises a hand to run it across Paul’s broad back, an affectionate touch. He’s warm. A warm, heavy weight on top of him, a feeling he enjoys. It’s comforting, almost. Schneider likes being with him in this way.

Their mouths move together, a back and forth overlapping that has Schneider furrowing his brow, his breath becoming shorter and shorter, until he’s panting amongst the mashing of their lips. Paul’s hand is clutching the back of his head again, fingers splayed across his buzzed hair. Only when Schneider turns his head away, Paul’s lips sliding against his cheek, does Paul give him a damn moment to let him catch his breath. Paul is panting too, refusing to move away. He continues holding him, nuzzling his face into his cheek. It’s close, warm. Intimate.

He shivers when Paul kisses at his cheek, his temple, his forehead. His moves to lay beside him, drawing one leg over his thighs, shifting closer so he can kiss at his jaw and ear. He nips his earlobe between his teeth, which has Schneider jolting. He knows he’s sensitive there. Paul laughs quietly and draws his hand down from cupping his head to rest it over his chest. Schneider lets out a deep breath.

Paul’s soft lips are still pressing over his face. Kissing his cheek, his brow, and then down over his strong nose. Schneider closes his eyes. Paul gingerly kisses the corner of his mouth. Down over his chin. Up again, to kiss him directly on the lips. Schneider hums lowly, raising one hand to curl it around the back of his Paul’s neck, thumb extending to rest over Paul’s ear, feeling the cool touch of his gauge. Their mouths tenderly purse together a few times, slow, easy kissing that leaves them both with smiles. Schneider opens his eyes to look at him. Paul’s eyes are warm with love, his cute lips in a happy smile.

“Can we just lay like this?” Paul asks, searching his face with affection in his eyes. He reaches up to stroke Schneider’s curls back from his forehead in a gentle caress of his fingers. Schneider clears his throat. He nods. Paul smiles down at him and then moves to rest his head on his shoulder. His leg remains curled over him, though his arm soon joins; he winds it around his midsection and nuzzles closer.

“You’ve gotten better at controlling yourself in public,” Schneider comments lowly, bringing his arm around the slope of Paul’s back, “So I see why you would be so clingy now.”

“Is that such a bad thing?” Paul sighs, “This is your sacrifice for making me stifle my affection.”

Schneider snorts.

“Such a devastating sacrifice, but I’ll bear it,” he mumbles. Paul hums. He sounds tired. Schneider isn’t surprised. He had been exhausted long before now. While the courage is still flowing and the moment lasts, Schneider clears his throat and forces himself to ask the one thing he has to know.

“Will there ever be a time we do more than just kiss?” he asks lowly, heat creeping into his cheeks again. Paul makes another sleepy noise and speaks in a quiet murmur, squeezing his arm around him.

“If that’s what you want. I want you in whatever form, you do realize. If you want to fuck, we can fuck. Because I want what you want, Schneider. You know me. I’m a glutton for intimacy.”

Schneider nods. He is well aware of that. He hesitates a moment, wetting his lips with a drift of his tongue. He lets out a breath and then continues quietly, asking boldly, “When would it no longer be considered ‘too soon’?”

Paul huffs a laugh. Schneider’s nerves are becoming a little unraveled. He’s not very bold with these kind of conversations. Paul speaks again, softly.

“When I’m well-rested and horny.”

Pausing, Schneider laughs.

“Fair enough. But that could take a while.”

“Hey, my libido is very healthy, just so you know,” Paul sleepily retorts, pinching Schneider’s side. Schneider snorts, but he doesn’t bother producing a remark. Paul snickers to himself and then continues to say teasingly, squeezing his leg around Schneider.

“Especially since now that I get to fuck this handsome, sexy stud of a man.”

“Okay, now you’re just being sarcastic.”

 


 

Sunlight is peering into the hotel room beyond the drapery of the wide window, a window as wide as the wall itself. Cracking open his eyes, Schneider sees warm rays of sunlight bathing the carpet in shades of honey. He blinks heavily, stirring himself out of his stupor. Looking down to his left, he sees Paul curled up in a mass of blankets, facing him with his graying hair a mess. He’s sleeping. His aged face is lax. His hand is limply resting against Schneider’s side.

It’s cute. Schneider smiles weakly to himself and then turns onto his side, the bed quietly creaking, to look at the time. It’s almost ten. They need to meet up for brunch with the others.

Sighing, Schneider rubs at his face. He just wants to sleep forever.

A hand stroking up over his back to curl around his rib cage has Schneider pausing. He feels, and hears, Paul shift closer, drawing his arm around him, nuzzling into his broad back as their bodies align.

This is familiar. They haven’t spooned like this in years. Schneider melts, eyes fluttering shut. Paul is warm. Paul tucks his face into the crevice of Schneider’s back and the pillows. Schneider can feel his exhales through his sleep shirt.

“We need to get up,” Schneider murmurs, thickly. Paul huffs.

“In five minutes. This is comfy.”

Schneider feels him squeeze his arm around him. He smiles.

“Alright, just five minutes.”

 


 

A week of concerts comes and goes. Days in-between where they can rest up, and travel. Their previous exchange had seemed to open up the dam. Paul is much more affectionate in the moments they find privacy. In the airplane, naturally, they sit together, and Paul would briefly initiate a teasing round of footsies with Schneider, or lean his shoulder against Schneider’s. He would never cross the line. It seems he finally found it, after all this time. He doesn’t hold his hand, he doesn’t rest his head on his shoulder, he doesn’t kiss parts of him when he thinks no one else is looking. Schneider appreciates it.

Walking together out in public in cities they seldom visit, Paul would elbow him gently, grab his arm, his wrist, would let their hands knock together. Would bring his arm around his shoulders or back in a teasing gesture. Things that can be written off as just Paul, being ridiculously touchy with his friend.

When they’re changing, getting ready for the concert, Paul would make some off-hand comment about how buff he’s looking, pointedly reaching out to squeeze at his bicep or wherever, which, of course, he only did to fluster him. Either that, or he would silently help him do his makeup, or give him advice, though nothing of the sort was necessary since he’s had the same look for years.

Post-concert, Paul would pull him into a dressing room while the other four were occupied, give him a quick kiss that was derived mostly from the rush of adrenaline, and naturally, for Paul, affection came hand in hand with adrenaline. The overwhelming need to express love. Schneider would return it, wind one muscular arm around his shoulders, big hand clutching at the back of his head, fingers among short, buzzed hair. Then Paul would step back, beaming, and break into an excited ramble while they regained their composure.

 

On a morning they were to leave to fly to Paris, Schneider lays in bed, gazing up at the cream colored ceiling of the hotel room in Rotterdam. Paul is to his left, facing the other way with the blankets, once again, tangled around him. Schneider would absolutely wrestle it off of him if they were younger like they had once been, but now he doesn’t really care. The bed is warm enough with another body in it.

The nights after a concert have been especially more enjoyable for Schneider. When he could find the time to, away from the other four, free from responsibility, Paul would take a shower, join him in his room, and they would stay up to watch TV together, until they inevitably got tangled up with each other under the covers. A hunger for touching that wasn’t inherently sexual. Schneider liked stroking his hands over Paul’s body. Paul liked kissing him, pinning him down to the bed. They always wound up spooning with their hands laced.

Last night though, it was a little different. Paul had gotten hard, and Schneider felt it against his body. He could sense his lust, his blatant desire for more as they moved together, tangled under the sheets. Paul kissed him a little harder, held him a little tighter, pulled at his clothing with a little more demand, in a way that Schneider knew meant something more. Schneider wanted to just reach down and touch him, to acknowledge his erection and tend to it, but his own uncertainty had kept him restrained.

Now, as he stares up at the ceiling lightened by the morning sun, he realizes that was stupid. He should’ve acted. Paul was obviously trying his best to encourage it without actually pressuring him. Schneider, as usual, had stopped only himself. He sighs and brings a hand up to run it over his face. He’s too old to hesitate. Hesitation is something of the past.

He glances over towards Paul. He watches his torso expand and deflate, under the tangled sheets. Schneider smiles faintly to himself. He reaches out to gingerly drift the back of his fingers across his side, through his sleep shirt. Following the rise and fall of his rib cage, the very subtle dip of his side.

Then, sliding closer, Schneider draws his arm around Paul’s midsection and leans in to press his lips to the curve where neck meets shoulder, nosing at him there and breathing him in with closed eyes. He smells how warmth feels. Paul shifts and makes a slight noise.

“Morning,” Schneider murmurs against his skin, broad hand sliding up over Paul’s belly, slipping under his shirt to rest on his chest. Paul shudders, huffs a laugh. He reaches down to grip Schneider’s forearm, his roughened fingers squeezing firmly.

“Well, good morning,” Paul sleepily replies, turning just enough to look back at him. His eyes are lidded, heavy. Schneider searches his face and then leans in to kiss him. Paul returns it in two fleeting pecks and then turns away to rest his head on the pillow again, exhaling deeply.

Schneider shifts closer until their bodies are aligned, before getting comfortable and closing his eyes. He slides his hand out from under Paul’s shirt, politely fixes it, and then simply lets his arm rest around him.

It’s warm. And comfortable. Paul is breathing slowly underneath his arm. He’s laying his fingers gingerly atop his wrist. Schneider falls asleep.

Some time passes, an indiscernible length to Schneider the next time he’s awoken. Paul shifts underneath his arm, slides out quietly from underneath it. Schneider wearily cracks his eyes open to see Paul rising from the bed with a creak. He turns back to Schneider, smiles a little at the sight of him: disheveled and sleepy. He then leans in and kisses him on the temple, hand resting briefly on his shoulder.

He smooches him on the cheek and then turns away, stepping into the bathroom. He leaves the door slightly ajar. Schneider blinks heavily, sluggishly flopping onto his back and spreading out. He stretches, grunting, and then goes limp. He hears the start of the shower.

Well, he supposes they’re getting up now. Schneider glances at the clock.

They still have a few hours.

He pulls one of the sheets up over his face and closes his eyes. He listens to the sound of the shower curtain rattling, the pattering of the water. He pictures Paul naked, under the warm spray, surrounded by steam, his graying hair flattened to his head, eyes closed. The hot water rushing across freckled skin and muscle. Schneider opens his eyes, and then sits up.

Rising from the bed, Schneider crosses the room to stand before the bathroom door. He reaches out to quietly push it open further, slipping inside. Watching Paul through the sheer shower curtain, Schneider sheds his sleep shirt and then steps out of his briefs. By then, Paul has noticed him, Schneider can tell he’s looking at him through the curtain. Steeling himself, Schneider approaches, pulls back the curtain with a rattle, and then steps inside. Hot water rushes across him.

Looking up, he sees a broad smile on Paul’s face, accentuating his prominent crow’s feet. Well, he looks rather pleased. He reaches out to curl a hand around Schneider’s wrist, gently pulling him closer. Schneider steps up to him and stands before him, looking down at him with tired, albeit fond, eyes. Paul lazily threads their fingers together and arches up to kiss him. Schneider weakly returns it in a soft purse of his lips.

Then Paul leans back and squeezes his fingers. He says nothing, just searches Schneider’s eyes with a smile on his face before he lets his hand go and grabs the bar of soap. He rubs it between his hands, building suds. Setting down the soap, Paul then reaches out to run his hands down from Schneider’s shoulders, over his chest, across his midsection, leaving soap in his wake. Schneider huffs a laugh.

“Touchy,” he murmurs. Paul grins and teasingly pinches his nipples three times between his thumbs and curled forefingers, which evokes a sharper laugh from Schneider. Schneider weakly bats his hands away and then takes Paul by the bicep to navigate them around; he turns them so Paul is under the hot water. Paul turns to face it, back to Schneider, and sighs. Schneider leans in to kiss the back of his neck, and then his freckled shoulder. He’s warm. Schneider reaches out to place his big hands on Paul’s hips, strokes them up along his sides.

He noses at his ear while he cups his rib cage in his hands, feeling him so intimately under his touch. His hands roam, circling him to stroke over his chest, feeling his nipples against his palms as his hands descend to feel across his front. Paul is silent, breathing slowly and deeply in a way which Schneider notices.

Lower and lower his touch moves, fingers splayed and caressing warm skin. They find his hips. Schneider squeezes his thighs in his hands. Paul lets out a rushed exhale. Schneider kisses behind Paul’s ear as he lets his fingers slide down across the bush of graying hair between his lean thighs. Face hot and stomach flipping, Schneider hides his face in Paul’s neck as he strokes his broad fingers gently down across his shaft—he’s obviously not hard, but Schneider can feel that he’s getting interested. He cups his hand around his balls and just holds him in his hand as he kisses at his ear. Paul is shuddering a little, he can feel it.

Paul doesn’t say anything. Schneider is somewhat glad, for the sake of his own embarrassment, but he also wants to know what he’s thinking.

“Is this alright?” Schneider murmurs, spoken lowly to his ear. Paul huffs.

“A little late to ask that now that you’re holding my junk,” Paul murmurs, though Schneider can hear the smile in his voice. Schneider squeezes his hand around him, gently—Paul flinches a little, then laughs. Schneider catches his earlobe between his teeth, letting it slide out from between them. Paul shudders.

“Well, you seem to be in the mood,” he murmurs, stroking one roughened hand along Schneider’s forearm. Schneider bites up along the shell of his ear and then asks quietly, “Are you?”

“I can be,” Paul replies, squeezing his forearm. Schneider lets him go, to instead curl his fingers around his shaft, which is noticeably beginning to stiffen. He grips him in his hand, letting his fingers roam upwards to stroke lightly across the head, evoking a slight noise from the older man. Peering past Paul’s shoulder, Schneider watches himself touch him—he hasn’t in a very long time. He likes watching himself do this to him. He likes touching him. Paul has a nice body.

A hand reaching back to settle on Schneider’s thigh, gripping and squeezing, has a shot of electricity going down his back. It encourages him. He begins to pull at him slowly. He can feel his cock gradually fill out, stiffening in his hold. Schneider’s hand is big around him. Schneider watches with a heated face as he strokes at him, seeing the skin wrinkle up around the pink head with every pull.

This isn’t enough.

Schneider noses at Paul’s buzzed hair and then whispers into his ear, “Turn around.”

He lets him go. Paul nods and turns to face him, looking up at him with heated eyes and a slight smile on his cute lips. Schneider always liked his lips. They’re so kissable. He leans in, angling his head, and presses their mouths together. Paul hums and brings a muscular arm around his back, calloused hand affectionately cupping around his side. He shifts closer, lets his hard length slide up against Schneider’s thigh. Schneider furrows his brow. A burst of heat surges through his belly. Their lips move together, a deep, passionate overlapping that has them breathing each other in. The hot water rushes over them as they kiss. Schneider’s hands roam down along Paul’s back, to squeeze handfuls of his ass and pull him closer.

Paul breaks the kiss to rest his forehead to Schneider’s shoulder. His hand slips in-between their lower halves to grip Schneider’s hardening cock. Schneider takes in a breath and closes his eyes, letting the hot water rush over him, consuming him along with the grip to his shaft. Paul pulls at him in a way that has Schneider groaning—the feeling of his foreskin repeatedly closing around the head feels good, joined by the slight squeezing grip of Paul’s hand.

Schneider doesn’t want to wait anymore, though. He gently takes Paul’s wrist and draws his touch away. Paul pulls back to look at him with searching eyes. Water is dripping from his eyelashes and his graying beard. Schneider smiles down at him and leans in to kiss him fleetingly, in a firm peck that Paul returns, squeezing his arm around him. Then Schneider steps back, just enough to kneel. It’s not exactly comfortable kneeling in a bathtub, but he’s not going to shatter the moment for the sake of moving to someplace more suitable.

Watching himself, he strokes his broad hands up over Paul’s freckled thighs, enjoying the sight of them under his touch. Paul’s hard cock is standing stiffly from his body, asking for further stimulation, which Schneider plans to deliver. He leans in to kiss at his hip. He presses his lips over his thigh, and then noses at the graying bush of hair surrounding his cock, smiling to himself. He loves every part of him. Paul raking his fingers through his wet curls has Schneider taking in a breath, eyes closed. He nuzzles into Paul’s shaft, letting it slide along his cheek and lips.

Then he opens his mouth, guides it in-between his lips with his tongue. Paul groans when Schneider sucks it into his mouth, tonguing at the heat of the dripping head. Paul’s fingers clutch his hair. Schneider looks up at him, meeting his hooded eyes as he sucks at him, cheeks hollowed with his lips tightly secured around him. Paul moans, his mouth agape and cheeks red.

He’s perfect. Schneider realizes he missed doing this. Making Paul feel good.

“Schneider,” Paul whispers, “You’re so hot. I haven’t seen you like this in so long. You’re beautiful with my dick in your mouth.”

Schneider’s face erupts with an embarrassed blush. He digs his nails into Paul’s thighs and fleetingly glances away, down towards Paul’s heaving belly, and then flicks his piercing blue eyes up again to meet his heated gaze. He begins to bob his head, sucking around him so tightly it has obscene slurping noises filling the shower, joining the sound of the pattering water around them. Paul groans and brings his other calloused hand down to cup it around Schneider’s jaw, holding him gingerly, cradling his jaw as he sucks his cock. Schneider watches his face twist with pleasure. He pulls back just enough to nurse tightly at the head, while bringing his hand down from his thigh to cup his balls and squeeze them in his fingers. Paul sets his feet further apart, welcoming it.

Breathless now, Schneider pulls off slowly, letting his cock slip from his mouth. He drags his hot tongue up along the underside, pinning it to his belly. Paul’s pubic hair tickles his face as he mouths at his flushed cock. Schneider is so aroused himself, his shame is more or less completely absent.

He sits back on his heels, angles his head to lick and suck at his balls, pinning his cock out of the way. Paul gasps, clutches a tighter handful of Schneider’s hair. Schneider grips himself in a hand, unable to resist. He strokes at himself almost languidly, pulling slowly as he sucks one of his balls into his mouth, blue eyes flicking up to meet Paul’s. Paul is watching with wider eyes and an open mouth, his cheeks red hot.

“God,” Paul breathes, stroking his hand back and forth over Schneider’s head, along his messy curls and buzzed hair. “You are so perfect. Watching you touch yourself like that… Don’t stop.”

Schneider grunts, eyes closing. He pulls away, letting his balls slip from his mouth. He pants for a moment, looking up at Paul, the hot water raining down on them, surrounding them in steam. Paul cups his hand around his jaw, his gray eyes intense with lust. Schneider leans in to take his stiff cock into his mouth again. He begins to bob his head while stroking at himself, though languidly, enough to only stimulate—orgasm is his last concern. Paul begins to carefully rock his hips, thrusting his cock deeper into his mouth. Schneider groans around him. He stops touching himself to focus on the blowjob.

Furrowing his brow, Schneider lets him lead it. Paul holds him still as he carefully pumps his shaft into his mouth, deeper and deeper as he moans and gasps Schneider’s name. A particularly deep thrust has Schneider coughing—Paul draws back and cups his hand around his jaw again, a silent gesture for him to resume control. Schneider shifts closer on his knees, brings his hands around to squeeze the back of Paul’s thighs as he goes down on him. He sucks him tightly into his mouth again and again, until Paul is groaning, his legs trembling, thighs clenching under Schneider’s hold.

Schneider doesn’t stop. He continues moving his mouth over his flushed, throbbing cock, enjoying the taste of him, the weight of him on his tongue, the gasps of pleasure he’s evoking. Paul groans so deeply, clutching at his hair tightly, Schneider anticipates it when Paul grits out thickly, “I’m coming.”

He seemed to remember Schneider’s preference for a warning. Schneider pulls off, replaces his mouth with a tight grip of his hand. He strokes at his cock while angling his head to mouth at his balls, sucking at them with his eyes closed. Paul cups a hand around the back of his neck, pulling him closer as he moans. Schneider feels his cock flex in his hand. Then hot ropes of cum shoot out to land across his cheek and his fingers.

“Shit,” Paul hisses, shakily rocking his hips, his slick cock thrusting through Schneider’s tight fingers. Schneider continues mouthing at his balls, stroking languidly at his shaft, until Paul slows to a stop. He’s panting, shuddering. Schneider releases his spent cock, sits back on his heels to look up at him. The cooling water washes away the cum on his face. Then he moves to stand and winces. His knees hurt. Still breathing a little hard, Paul turns away to turn off the water. He steps close to Schneider, strokes his hands up over Schneider’s arms, and kisses him fleetingly on the mouth before murmuring with mischievous eyes, “Come on, let’s get out. I get to take you to bed now.”

Schneider nods. He leans in to affectionately press his lips to Paul’s forehead.

They step out together, grab towels, and reenter the hotel room. They dry off quickly, Paul more impatiently than Schneider. Grabbing him by the wrist, Paul tugs him over to the bed, glancing back at him with a grin. Schneider willingly climbs on, followed by Paul, who immediately shoves him down against the pillows. Schneider watches with a slight smile as Paul kisses down his chest and belly. His beard is tickling him. His gray hair is a mess, sticking up in places from ruffling his hair in an attempt to dry it. Schneider reaches out to lazily stroke his fingers over his locks, toying with them. But then Paul stops kissing him, sits back, and looks down to see Schneider is no longer erect. Paul glances up towards him and arches a brow, stroking his hands over Schneider’s muscular thighs.

“It’s not a big deal,” Schneider murmurs, “I don’t care about getting off. Come here. I just want to lay with you.”

“But I like making you feel good, too,” Paul huffs, though complies by crawling over to flop down beside him on the bed. Schneider shrugs. Paul is warm and heavy against his side. He likes it. Schneider drapes his arm around him.

“We have the entire remainder of the tour, Paul. We have time to do whatever.”

“Alright,” Paul says quietly, nuzzling into the other man. He draws his arm around him and deflates against him with a sigh. Schneider strokes at his bicep. Momentarily disrupting the moment, Paul sits up to grab the previously discarded duvet to pull it over them both. Schneider casts a glance towards the alarm clock. They still have some time before they should consider getting dressed and packing up their things.

So for now, Schneider turns his head to nose at Paul’s hair, letting out a deep breath. He’s warm in his arms.