Chapter 1: Away.. again..
"If you dare slam that door, don't even think about coming back!!"
"See if I care!!"
16-year old Sven Kruspe stormed out of his parents' house, stomped the few meters down the driveway and ran out of the street. He only stopped in a park a few blocks away, and dropped down on a parkbench, secluded behind a large bush.
This was his usual first stop after running out of his parents' house, at which he would consider the next step of this escape.
He couldn't even count the number of times he had left anymore, everytime fully convinced that this had been the last straw, he would never ever go back again to his family, especially his stepfather, no matter what, no way, no how.
In this spot, on the bench where nobody bothered him apart from the odd passing pigeon or finch looking for some food, he would think over the situation and his plan of action.
The first couple of times, there had hardly been a plan, and all he had come up with was spending the night on this bench, waking up cold and stiff from laying on the uncomfortably hard wood, and hungry from not having eaten for a while.
Later he had been able to stay with various friends or acquaintances, occassionally even with people he hardly knew and had met while wandering around town. But that had never been possible for more than a few nights, no-one wanted to risk offending his stepdad who was an ardent member of the socialist party, and in a socialist country, that was a big deal, so after a while Sven would be out on the streets again.
Eventually it was usually the hunger that drove him to return home. The few times that he had tried to nick some bread or roles from a local bakery, he had been caught, handed over to the police, after which the police had escorted him triumphantly back home.
The lesson that younger Sven had learned quickly was that the one thing worse than going home because of hunger, was going home when accompanied by the police. His mom and stepdad had been ever so friendly when the officers were still there, but after those left, they had both yelled at him and his stepdad had knocked him to the ground, leaving Sven to nurse a cut lip and black eye by himself.
When he went back on his own account, he would pretty much be ignored by the family, save for one or two snide remarks like 'quitter' or 'failure', to retreat to his bedroom to mull over the situation and come up with ways to be more succesful at staying away the next time.
Because there always was a next time.. after a return he would be left to his own devices for a while, only his older brother or younger sister now and then sneaking into his room for a quick 'glad you're back' but they pretty much tried to stay out of the confrontations between Sven and their stepdad.
Even though he meant to stay away every time, deep down in his heart he always missed his family as well: his brother, who occassionally tried to intervene on his behalf, his parents listening to him, considering him their 'golden child'. His mum, who he loved dearly but unfortunately only seemed to notice him when he was having a row with her husband (and, Sven felt, never took *his* side) and his little sister.
His stepdad he never missed.
When his own dad (who he had loved most of his family) had just not returned home one day, and soon after been 'replaced' (as it seemed to Sven) with this new guy, Sven had hoped it was just a temporary arrangement, but after asking a few times when dad would be back and getting a slap on the head each time, he had stopped asking.
His dislike about the guy had never changed, and as it quickly turned out, the feeling was mutual. He considered Sven not good enough, not tough enough, not clever enough, basically not enough anything.
When young Sven had cried when being beaten or yelled at, he had told him to toughen up and not 'act like a girl'. Sven hadn't understood what the problem was with acting like a girl, some of his best friends were girls and he loved to hang out with them, but the derogatory tone had been enough to teach Sven not to cry anymore.
Again Sven sighed.
As always the cause for today's fight had been innocent enough. His sister had gotten a small make-up kit for her birthday, her first one. She had been trying to apply the nailpolish on her own fingernails, but that had proven more difficult than she had expected, so with three spottily painted nails, she had turned to Sven and asked for help.
Sven's school mates would often complain about their annoying little sisters, and he would join in the laments to fit in, but in reality he didn't mind playing with her.
She was always nice to him, rarely whined like other little sisters seemed to do, so when she had asked him to apply the nailpolish for her, he had done so, and apparently so well, that she had wanted him to redo the botched nails as well.
After admiring the result, she had asked if she could now paint *his* nails, as practice for trying to do it herself. Richard had laughed a little, but happy to humor her, he had let her. She had been very pleased with the result, and as her chosen color was pail-pink, almost the same as the natural color of his fingernails, he had thought no-one would even notice.
But ofcourse, his stepdad had.
It hadn't even taken him more than a few seconds of sitting at the lunchtable to start yelling, calling Sven a 'degenerate', 'weakling' and some other terms that Sven hardly understood, but the tone had been clear enough.
Sven had yelled back, ran to his room to fetch his backpack (that was always prepared for a runout) and on the way to the frontdoor had snatched a bag of fresh pastries and some money out of the shoppingbag that had been left in the hall. He couldn't care less about taking money from his stepdad's purse, felt a bit worse about taking mom's, but always justified it by telling himself that it was her own fault for never defending him.
And after that he had been out, slamming the door extra hard, intending this time for it to be the definitely last time ever.
But now what...?
Sven opened his backpack and decided to allow himself one of the pastries as he had missed lunch. He counted the money that he had saved and what he had stolen from the purse. It was a decent amount. He was saving up to at some point really not returning home and get a room for himself somewhere, but hadn't quite figured out how to achieve that yet.
The pack also held a change of clothes, his ID, an old familypicture and a toothbrush and comb.
And the letters from Paul. Paul from Berlin, his friend, penpal, confidant, Sven didn't quite know what to call it, but when things were bleak and he felt alone in the world, he would think of Paul, smiling at him, a little mischievously as he always did, and Sven wouldn't feel lonely anymore.
In reality Sven and Paul had only met a handful of times, but each time had been a happy one, so Sven felt close to him, even though the distance between Berlin and Schwerin was too large to see eachother face to face.
After they met the last time, they had exchanged addresses to be able to stay in touch. Paul his own, and Sven, who had not dared to let the mail arrive at his place, had managed to get help from Richard Bauer, the physician from his wrestlingteam. They had come up with a plan to hide Paul's mails by having Paul write to Richard K. (K for Kruspe) at the physician's address and indeed, no-one had found out about the letters.
Sven was always excited when he got a new letter and his heart leaped when he'd see 'Richard K.' on the envelop.
He was happy to be 'Richard' for Paul, and not just 'Sven the failure' or 'Sven the looser' like at home.
He opened the most recent letter he got. Paul wrote passionately about the band he had joined as a guitarist, or rather, that he had founded, together with his friend Flake on keyboards and with an older guy as a singer.
The first letter about the singer had described him just as 'really old dude' (typical for Paul to describe him like that), but the next letters had grown ever more exciting about the new world that had opened up for Paul and Flake by meeting him, now referring to him by name: Aljoscha.
A new world of music, fun, hanging out with loads of exciting people, plenty of alcohol and, thanks to Aljoscha being able to travel to 'the West' and back without trouble (Sven had felt a little pang of envy when he had read that..), instruments, books and records that no-one in the GDR had.
Paul's last letters had been all about this band, called 'Feeling B' and the trips they were making every friday through sunday this summer to an island called 'Hiddensee'.
At Hiddensee, from Paul's stories, it seemed that everything was allowed and possible, the band played until deep in the night and partied till the morning.
The letters always ended as Sven's own: 'hope some day we meet again', but it was two years ago that that had happened.
Sven folded up the letter again and put it in the backpack with the others.
He missed Paul.
And the more he thought about Paul, the longing to see him again grew stronger.
It was friday today.
The people in Schwerin were having their last day of work before starting the weekend.
In Berlin Paul would by now be loading up the band's van (they had a van!) to make the trip to Hiddensee.
Sven had a lonely weekend ahead of him. The friend who had last let him stay was away for holiday, so that was no option this time.
Sven looked at his hand laying on the backpack, his pink painted nails. His sister had done a pretty good job, and in a way he actually liked the pink. That settled it, he was not going home..he refused to be in a place where people lost their marbles over nailpolish.
He wondered if Paul would like it.
And just like that Sven knew what to do..
He closed his backpack and got up to walk to the railwaystation. When Paul's first letter about Hiddensee had arrived, Sven had looked up where the place was on a map in school and had seen there was a railwayline ending quite near the coast. Already then he had daydreamed about one day going there himself.
The man at the ticketbooth looked at him suspiciously when he asked for a ticket, or so it seemed to Sven anyway, but made no further comment when Sven proved to be able to pay for it.
Sven had considered hopping on the train without pay, but felt it wasn't worth the risk, the ticket wasn't that expensive anyway.
Still, Sven kept feeling uncomfortable in the train being watched by people he didn't know, so he kept to himself and stared out of the window at the german landscape rushing by.
He tried to empty his mind from worrying thoughts: what if Paul's band wasn't on the island this weekend, what if he would be stranded in the north of Germany without knowing anyone, would his family miss him after a couple of days or would they be happy he was finally gone, but as he was now on this speeding train, going further and further away from Schwerin, there was no going back.
He had always wanted to leave home behind for good, maybe this was the day.
It proved to be an even more elaborate journey than Sven had expected, with several busrides and other vehicles, but it was now evening and here he was starting the last leg of the journey: the actual ferry to Hiddensee.
He was not the only one making the journey, far from it. On the quay several small groups of people mostly families, Sven suspected, were collecting their suitcases and bags and chatted excitedly, clearly looking forward to a fun weekend out on the island.
All looked harmless enough, but Sven still couldn't shake his feeling of discomfort; these families looked just like the people his stepdad liked to mingle with and wanted to model himself by. Sven put his hands in his pockets, not eager to show his pink nails in this surroundings.
Paul had never mentioned this in his letters, from them it had sounded like Hiddensee was a wild and freespirited place, not a bastion of GDR officials out on a daytrip.
He was glad when the ferry arrived and the families walked onto it. He casually walked behind one with several kids, pretending he was part of their group so as not to attract the attention of the ferryman.
When the boat left the quay he breathed a sigh of relief, and found himself a quiet place near the railing, away from other people, so he could look out over the water and the sky above.
It was beautiful here. He had been on holiday to a lake once, but this was so much bigger and more peaceful with the seagulls flying overhead, that he slowly felt the worries sliding away with the slowly setting of the sun.
Only a couple of hours ago he had been at home, all tense, as he usually was at home, and this seemed like a different planet, 'a new world' as Paul had written.
He laughed out loud when two seagulls apparently got in a fight for the same piece of food; at one point it seemed one got away with it, but then the other followed him and pinched it's tail to make him drop the food again.
"Funny birds, aren't they?"
Sven started and quickly glanced at the man who had approached him, now standing next to him at the railing. The man smiled at him and didn't seem unfriendly, but in a way he reminded Sven of some of his stepdad's circle.
The man threw a piece of bread to the birds, who both dived for it, resulting in another airbattle "Are you travelling on your own?"
"Yes.." it was a potential tricky question if this really was a government official, but it was also tricky to refuse an answer, so Sven decided on a plausible story "..I'm going to my uncle and aunt who are staying on Hiddensee."
"Oh yes? What is their name, I go here quite often, maybe I know them?"
Damn..Sven clutched his backpack, which he held to his chest, a bit tighter so his nails disappeared in the fabric and did some quick thinking "..they haven't been here often, but we all got invited by some friends of my uncle, I don't know their name.."
"I see.." again the man threw a piece of bread "..so what's your name then.."
Sven looked out over the water again "..Andreas Müller.."
After starting to use the name 'Richard' with Paul, Sven had realized that an alias often came in quite handy, and 'Andreas Müller' was the name he used when random unknown persons asked; both names were among the most commonly used in Germany, so would always be difficult to trace.
The man threw his last piece of bread and wiped the crumbs of his hands. He turned a bit to lean with one arm on the railing.
"Well Andreas..I hope you enjoy your time on the island."
"Thank you sir, I'm sure I will..the water is really beautiful.."
For a few seconds the man didn't respond, quietly looking at Sven.
Sven hoped that this would be the end of the questioning, a bit surprised when the man remained standing next to him. All of a sudden he felt the man's hand on his back.
"That's not the only thing that is beautiful.."
Sven shivered as the hand stroked his back, going up his spine and down again. He didn't know what to do without attracting attention and risking getting officials alerted. The hand slowly moved to his side, gripping him firmly, pulling him a bit closer to the man.
Sven tried to shuffle away along the railing, but the gripping hand restricted him from moving away very far.
Instead he now felt the man's chest against his shoulder, his breath against his face "..and I can show you a lot more beautiful stuff on the island.."
Sven swallowed. He had some experience with people like this, and his usual reaction was make a run for it, but that wouldn't get him very far on a ferry.
The hand moved slowly up his side..
"Ladies and gentlemen, in five minutes we will arrive at Hiddensee, please remain on deck until the ferry has moored, so you can exit safely."
The announcement immediately triggered action all around with people getting up, closing bags and collecting their kids.
The man had released his grip, surprised by the interruption.
Sven immediately used the opportunity to get away "I promised my uncle to be at the front of the ferry so they could pick me up, goodbye sir" after which he indeed hurried to the front of the ferry and mingled with some of the familygroups already assembled there.
After mooring he again walked off the ferry with the family, but was left puzzled where to go next. The families and the ones who looked like socialist-party-officials all turned right at the dock...maybe that was where everything was on the island..but for some reason he couldn't imagine them being in the place that Paul had described so elaborately in his letters.
Out of he corner of his eye he saw the clingy man walking up to him...that was the last thing he wanted.
Another group of people, longer haired, a bit dishevelled looking, with tie-and-dye shirts walked past him and turned left at the dock. After they had passed him, one of them turned around and said "Nice nails kid.." then turned away again and walking on.
"Andreas? Did your uncle not come? Do you want me to take you?"
It was probably the fastest decision Sven had made in his life "..no thank you sir, I'm fine.." after which he turned left and hurried after the tie-and-dye people away from the ferry.
Sven felt the eyes of the man pricking in his back, but didn't look back.
The group walked on, now and then taking a sip from a bottle of beer they shared. After walking on for a few minutes one of them turned "Hey kid, are you stalking us?"
"No.." Sven realized it didn't sound convincing "..I'm going to meet a friend..we're going to see a band.."
"Ah, are you here for that new 'Feeling B' band? We saw them last week, they're great!"
Relieved his luck finally seemed to be changing, Sven hurried his step to walk a bit closer to the group "..yeah, that's the one..I just..it's my first time on Hiddensee, so I don't know where to go..really..you know.." Sven was still reluctant about sharing too much information with people he didn't know, but these people seemed in no way to be in with the GDR government.
"No problem..just keep stalking us and you'll get there.."
And that was that, no further questions, the group walked on and weren't bothered by Sven following them.
After a few more minutes, Sven heard music further along the beach and saw some campfires in the distance, glowing against an ever more darkening sky.
The tie-and-dye-guy again turned to him "Over there..that's usually were the band plays, your friend is probably there somewhere, me and my mates are going to put our stuff away at our hide-out, maybe we'll see you later.." and without awaiting a reply he turned again and the group walked away.
"Thank you!" Sven managed to yell after them.
As he walked on, the music growing louder, ever closer to the campfires he could smell sausages being roasted and realized for the first time how hungry he was.
Hungry.. and thirsty...and tired, really really tired...
He stopped, took off his backpack, and sank down to sit on the beach, clutching his backpack in his lap.
He was overwhelmed by what he saw.
There were a lot of people on the beach, maybe 30, no 50, no maybe even 100.
Some were busy with the campfires, others lay in the sand drinking lazily from a bottle.
On the side were several trees lined the beach there was a small knoll in front of which several people were jumping and shaking to the music played by the band on the knoll.
The singer of the band was, Sven smiled to himself when he saw him, indeed an older looking guy, although probably not as old as Paul had described him in his letters. He sang lyrics that didn't seem to completely go with the song, but oddly in some way they did. Now and again he took a swig from a bottle between lines (or sometimes in the middle of a line).
Sven stretched a bit to try and see the rest of the band behind the dancing crowd.
The keyboarder was a tall and skinny guy; and Sven was happy to recognize him, this was indeed Paul's friend Flake, grown a lot taller since they had last met and possibly even skinnier as well. He moved jerkily, Sven suspected it to be his way of dancing, as the crowd mimicked his moves.
And at the front of the knoll...Paul!
Even though night was falling, the remaining light, combined with the campfires was enough to recognize him, a bit taller, hair a bit longer, but unmistakenly Paul.
Sven clutched his backpack even harder, almost cried from relief mixed with tiredness, but managed to keep it together.
Paul whirled around the knoll, playing faster than Sven had ever heard anyone play before. Maybe this was why the singer often had difficulty keeping his lines in sync with the music, but no-one seemed to care.
When one song was finished, the next was started immediately.
Sven had hoped there would be an intermission between songs so he could go up to the knoll and let Paul know he was there.
But the band and the crowd of dancers went on and on, sometimes even mingled with the band stopping to drink and the dancers going on after which the band picked up their rhythm again, sometimes the dancers would retreat to a campfire, but then others who had been on the beach would start dancing.
Paul even lay down his guitar a couple of times right on the sand, Sven flinched when he saw it imagining dancers jumping up and crashing down on the guitar, and jumped in the crowd to join them, while Flake and the others continued the song.
Sometimes someone handed him something to eat from a campfire, but that too appeared no reason to stop the band from playing.
Sven was happy to see Paul having this much fun. It had already shone out from his letters, but it turned out to be even better than Sven had imagined.
If only he could talk to him, just for a minute, just to let him know he was there..
But then what.. while looking at Paul, Sven realized that he didn't even know what he wanted to happen..clearly Paul was having the time of his life and not stopping anytime soon.
He wouldn't have time to chat with Sven the way they had years ago in Berlin, and before that in Schwerin.
And if Paul would see him, just say 'Hi' and then go back to the band...was that enough?
All of a sudden it was too much, maybe it was his tiredness, the smell of sausages and beer, the crowd of people, but Sven couldn't bare it anymore.
He got up, looked at Paul a last time and walked back along the same path that he had come.
After a short while the music was not as loud anymore, the smells replaced by the salty air of the sea.
Sven stopped on another small strip of beach, close to the water, and sank down again. He considered staying here for a while, gathering his thoughts.
But as he sat there, knees drawn up against his chest, head on his arms, he felt his eyes closing.
He fought against his sleep, knowing it was a bad idea to sleep in the open where people could see you and take your stuff, but eventually he slowly dozed off, until..
...a hand grabbed his shoulder and shook him.
He woke up with a start and fell down on the beach in his hurry to face the person standing behind him.
Chapter 2: So close
This chapter starts earlier the same weekend, in East-Berlin
"Come on Paul, stop doodling and give us a hand!"
Paul grinned, he shoved the paper he had been writing on in a crack of the seat of Feeling B's van.
The band were loading up to go to their weekendstop at Hiddensee. Paul was in a good mood already, possibly helped by the customary Schnapps that started off the weekend. Ever since he joined the singer and his drummer-friend Alex Kriening to form this new band, Paul saw everything from the sunny side and was firmly determined not to let anything bother him: everything was possible if you wanted it, and if it didn't happen you just find something else to want.
The few months he had played with the band had all been about fun, music, partying and fooling around in general. Paul felt content with life as a whole and his own life in particular.
As a matter of fact, he had just written the very thing in the letter he was working on, to his friend from Schwerin Sven who, now Paul wrote to him under another name, he often thought of as 'Richard'. And with the namechange and Paul's own changed life, he hoped some of it would rub of via his letters on 'Richard', to give him an escape from his 'Sven' homelife. Sven had been very interested to hear Paul's band adventures, so this weekend Paul had decided to write the letter as a sort of diary so Sven could experience first hand (well..as good as..) what life with Feeling B was like.
"Yeah, yeah, chill, I'm coming.."
Outside the drummer was waiting impatiently with Paul's friend Flake, the fourth member of the band "Here, help Flake to tie the keyboard down, I'm helping Aljoscha to get his stuff."
Flake, younger but taller than Paul, was looking uncomfortably at the large unmanageable keyboard, rendering a snort from Paul: Flake might be taller, but his growth in length had not been reflected in any gain of musclepower to speak of, he was even more gangly than when he was young.
Not that Paul was that muscular, but he was clever in using whatever skills he had, or bluffing his way through it where they lacked.
While they were handling their gear, tying it down on top of the van, Aljoscha and Kriening (who for some reason was usually just called by his last name, Paul had decided it was 'probably a drummer thing') came down the housestairs with some plastic bags, a large box of booze and the last pieces of the drumkit. These too were loaded up and with a last raid of the house to collect Flake's sleepingbag and some rolls of toiletpaper, Feeling B were good to go.
Another quick 'Schnäpschen' for the road, as Aljoscha put it, and the bandmembers, and some of their friends who had happened to stop by and were spontaneously invited as temporary bandmembers to come along, were off for a weekend of..
"Stop! Go back!"
Kriening stepped on the brake and threw a disgruntled look at Paul who opened the van-door while the van was slowing down "Knew it, what did he forget this time.."
Paul jumped off the step and ran in the house, returning only a minute later.
Kriening rolled his eyes at Aljoscha "...his guitar.. your guitarist left his guitar behind, where did you find this guy.."
Aljoscha smirked and slid down in the passengerseat "Lay off him..at least we were still in Berlin when he remembered it..that's 50 kilometers better than last weekend"
The road to Hiddensee was as uneventful as it usually was. Paul enjoyed chatting to the others and grinning at Flake's dry comments in the back of the van, that almost looked like a cosy east german cottage.
Paul's mom had even provided some curtains for the windows, which made Paul giggle everytime he saw them for the homely feel of them, so not at all in keeping with their intended image of a punkband. His mom had even offered to make them in a black, but Paul had chosen a little flower pattern and considered it the ultimate punk feeling to even rebel against the punk image itself.
A couple of hours, pee-breaks and petrol-stops later, the van arrived at the ferry to Hiddensee.
All gear was taken down from the van and distributed so it could all be carried onto the island (this was another reason why friends were conveniently invited along, so the band didn't have to carry all their stuff themselves).
Aljoscha's theory was that the ferryguard only thoroughly checked one ferrycrossing daily, for anyone without a legal permit to enter Hiddensee, and let the other crossings go by willy-nilly.
Today they lucked out.
Their bandpermit was painstakingly checked and everyone not mentioned was investigated as to their purpose for the trip. Fortunately Paul was quick in coming up with suitable jobdescriptions for everyone from somewhat feasable 'sound technician' to 'fire creator' and 'keyboardkey wiper'. Finally Aljoscha's connections were checked and the band knew they were off the hook; his family had been having a house on the island for years and the prominent spot of if never failed to impress the guards.
As they lay on the deck of the ferry, surrounded by their gear, Paul pulled out the letter he was working on, to write up on everything that happened so far.
Aljoscha reached for another beer and looked over Paul's shoulder to see what he was doing "Oooh, our Paulchen is doing a 'Dear Richard' letter again..." he took a swig of his beer and grinned "..are you still sure he's not your boyfriend..?"
"..it would be a real disappointment to all those girls that are ogling our cute blonde guitarist later on at the beach.." Kriening joined in.
"Oh, shut up, he's not my boyfriend okay.."
The others laughed.
Paul turned away a little annoyed, it wasn't the first time the others had been teasing him with it and for some reason he had no snappy reply to it like he usually would..
"He's just a friend, I like him a lot, and he likes to hear what we do with the band because he wants to be in a band some day too, and he doesn't get to travel much himself and.."
"We're just toying with you Paul.. " Aljoscha grinned lazily, taking another swig "..and just for the record, there's nothing wrong with having a boyfriend.."
"You would know.." Paul snapped back and grinned, the others laughed. Aljoscha smiled too, too relaxed to let a little argument spoil his mood. He looked at Paul, who had started another funny story and again got a lot of laughs from the others, and congratulated himself on getting the two youngsters on the band: 'the short naughty one and the tall skinny one' as he thought of them before he had remembered their names.
Paul sat back again, content to be on the lightly rocking ferry, onwards to the island. As he threw the last bit of his raisinbun to the seagulls, who immediately started a fight to catch it, he picked up the letter again.
He never really thought of Sven, as a boyfriend, but wasn't completely sure how to describe their relationship. The others were right, there would be several girls on the island, happy to dance and sing with the band and afterwards join the campfire, a grilled sausage and sometimes a sleeping bag, but he hadn't looked at any of them as a girlfriend either.
Paul smiled in himself; it would have been nice to see Sven again, dancing along to 'Feeling B' and joining a campfire and...stuff...
"Paul, have another beer, everything we finish now we won't have to carry when we arrive.."
"Better give me another bun then too.."
After arriving on Hiddensee, the band hauled their gear a few miles along to a beach on the other side of the island, as far away as possible from prying eyes of the other people also vacationing here.
Due to his family's long history on the island, Aljoscha knew all the right places to be and people to meet and to avoid and he had been happy to share his knowledge with Paul and Flake.
Now the two had been to Hiddensee a couple of times already, Paul took the lead in securing the best spot on the beach for setting up the bandgear and some of the others had started a campfire. Aljoscha only had to wait for the setup to finish and lay down in the sand enjoying the sun.
After the first sausages had been roasted (and the burnt bits cut off and tossed away in the water), band and crew downed a pre-gig Schnapps, ready for their first song.
That Aljoscha at the last moment was distracted by two friendly girls he spontaneously invited to their campfire, didn't matter too much, the band continued with Paul's backing vocals turning into lead. This was nothing unusual, Aljoscha would join the band when he felt like it, occassionally even with the same song they were playing.
Paul was having a whale of a time, he had decided to play every song faster than the last just to see how long it would take Flake and Kriening to start complaining. 5 songs in, he was hit on the arm by a drumstick Kriening had thrown at him "Hey shorty, we have all weekend, no need to finish our entire songlist in under half an hour".
"So what, we'll just play them all again, no one will know the difference."
"Okay, if we're going to do that, I'm getting another beer" Flake left his keyboard mid song to get a drink, and was offered another sausage on his way back so missed another song.
Paul laughed and when some of the spectators started to dance to the music he joined them, as good as possible while still playing.
Every now and then more people joined the beach, enjoying the music and starting new campfires. The afternoon rolled into the evening, the sun was setting but the light of the fires was enough to continue. Paul hadn't noticed anyone in particular anyway, apart from people who offered him a drink or bite to eat.
On a rare moment off playing, Flake was doing a solo on his keyboard, Paul for the first time actually noticed how many people had come to see them.
Paul grinned, trying to get a good look so he could remember it for his letter to Sven. Close to the water's edge people were laying in the sand, nodding their head and feet to the rhythm. Three girls with long summer dresses had jumped up to dance wildly with their arms above their heads (Paul made a mental note to go and have a chat later). A bit further burned a fire with a group of 5 guys, two were jumping up and down as if they were in a competition, the others lay flat out on their backs, most likely asleep (or possibly passed out).
A little away from that group sat a guy on his own, hunched over, watching the band. Paul scrunched up his eyes to see better, there was something familiar about the guy. He started to take a few steps to get a closer look, but Aljoscha grabbed his arm and pulled him back in the band area "You'll have to sing the next one, I've seen some interesting people over there I want to meet".
Paul had planned to look for the guy later, but when night had fallen, it was too dark and the girls with the long dresses turned out to be very interested in blond guitarists, so all other plans were suddenly forgotten..
Sven toppled over, startled out of his sleep and simultanously trying to turn around to look at the guy who had grabbed his shoulder.
Clingy guy... the guy who had tried to feel him up on the ferry...the very last person he wanted to see..
"What are you doing here by yourself?"
The guy made another grab for his arm, but Sven crawled away, clutching his bag against him (fortunately that was still there, Sven cursed himself for having fallen asleep like that).
Anxiously he was trying to get his wits together, still groggy from sleep.
He quickly looked around.
The sun was up, but it seemed still early.
No other people around.
No sound other than the water softly rippling against the sand, a few seagulls overhead.
The background of music from the beach where Paul had played was gone.
He was on his own.
"Your family isn't here at all, are they...come with me, I'll take care of you.."
Sven shook himself awake, if his experience with guys like this had taught him anything, it was to not go with them..
"No, I'm fine, my family is in one of the cottages over there."
"Then why aren't you there?"
"I ...eh..I wanted to watch the sun rise over the water.." he shuffled back a bit more and managed to get on his feet "..I like the water, I think it's beautiful..I guess I must have dosed off for a minute.."
"You shouldn't be out here this early" the guy took another step to him, trying again to grab his arm "I'll come along and talk to your uncle about it.."
Clingy guy was not letting off.
This only confirmed Sven's opinion that going with him would be a bad idea.
"No, that's okay, my uncle was okay with it, but I'll go to the cottage now, bye.."
"I'll walk you there" the guy took a large step and was now blocking Sven's way across the footpath.
Sven turned, now looking in the direction of the band's beach. He started to walk.
The guy followed.
Sven picked up his speed without trying to seem suspicious, but his heart was racing...this was only a small island, an island where he knew nothing and no one..
For a splitsecond he felt panic overtake him and considered giving in, letting the guy take him. Best case scenario would be that he would be sent home.
What was the worst that could happen..
"Come with me, Andreas" clingy guy seemed to notice his hesitation "I won't report you to the authorities if that's what you're afraid of.."
Sven quickly looked over his shoulder.
Apparently the guy took this as encouragement "If you like I can show you more beautiful places on Hiddensee.. you'll like that.."
Sven licked his lips, his mouth was dry, he wanted to scream but his throat had closed up and he could only manage a squeeky "..no.."
"Let me take care of you.."
Worst case scenario! Worst case scenario!
Sven started to run, the only thing he knew was getting away.
He came to the band's beach and from a distance saw a person sitting near the water.
Sven ran to the person, a man, when Sven was close enough he thought he recognized him from the night before: it was the singer of Paul's band, Sven frantically tried to recall his name... Aljoscha..
As Sven got closer, the man didn't react.
He just sat there, near the water, eyes closed, hands loosely laying on his knees.
Sven didn't dare to call out to him, but he felt clingy guy still following, and knew this was his only chance.
He ran to Aljoscha and plopped down beside him.
Aljoscha still didn't react, he was slowly breathing, as if doing exercises.
"Sir.." Sven panted "..please, you have to help me.."
Still no response, Sven considered whether the singer was actually unconscious, but the sight of clingy guy approaching spurred him on.
"Please sir.. I came to see your band, to see Paul.."
Aljoscha, eyes still closed, frowned as if bothered by an annoying insect, but still didn't reply.
Sven started to panic again, and considered running off, surely the others were here somewhere...if only there was some sign of where all the people, that had been on the beach yesterday, were. But apart from burnt out fires, beerbottles and a few bits of leftover food, there was no sign of life to be seen.
"Please sir...Aljoscha...I know your name is Aljoscha, and Paul is your guitarist, and your keyboarder is Flake.."
"So you're a groupie.. we'll do another gig tonight, come back then.."
Sven breathed a quick sigh, at least Aljoscha heard him.
"Andreas, you don't want to mingle with the people here" clingy guy was panting now he caught up with him "..I'll take you to my place."
Sven grabbed Aljoscha's arm and lowered his voice "You have to help me, I don't know anyone here, I came to see Paul and the band.."
Aljoscha now opened his eyes, visibly annoyed at the interference of his meditation "..and I told you that if you're a groupie, we play again tonight... bring your own beer" and he closed his eyes again.
Sven started rambling "..I'm a friend of Paul, I'm not a groupie, I just wanted to see him, I haven't seen him in ages..and...and.." frantically searching for anything to convince the singer "..he comes from Berlin and.. and.. I know where he went to school and his name is actually Heiko, but he changed it and Flake's name is Christian...and..and.. he writes me every week about the band and how much he likes playing.."
"Wait.." Aljoscha opened his eyes again and, now interested, turned to Sven "..are you Paul's Richard..?"
"Yes!" Sven could have kissed him.
"Andreas, quit stalling, let's get away from here, this is no place for you.."
Aljoscha gave a side glance to clingy guy and turned to Sven again "Why is he calling you Andreas if your name is Richard?"
"Long story, can explain..but please help me..tell him you're my family.."
"No one knows I'm here, I just came because I wanted to see Paul, and this guy knows I shouldn't be here, so I made up a story that I have family here.." Sven gulped "..he..he already pawed me on the ferry.."
Aljoscha seized Sven up, but didn't talk.
Clingy guy stepped to Sven and grabbed his arm. Sven flinched and threw a desperate look at Aljoscha.
"Andreas, let's get away, I'll get you breakfast.."
"He can have breakfast at my place.." Aljoscha got up and turned to the guy "..he's with me.."
"Really? I don't think so.."
Aljoscha grabbed Sven's other arm and pulled him on his feet "Don't care what you think, but he is, he just got a bit lost because it's his first time on the island.."
"Hmm, why should I believe that.."
"Suit yourself, but he's coming with me, I live at the hillside house there" Aljoscha nodded to an area inland where the roofs of some large houses could be seen over the trees.
Clingy guy let go of Sven's arm and seemed taken aback "You are from that family? And he stays there too?"
"Yes" Aljoscha now firmly grabbed Sven's arm and pulled him behind himself. Sven without realizing, grabbed onto Aljoscha's shirt, determined not to let go "..so you can go on your way, I'll see to it that he doesn't wander off anymore.."
"Well..if you're from that family.."
"Thank you, good bye" Aljoscha started to walk, Sven stumbled to keep up with him. Aljoscha murmured to Sven "..don't look back, just keep walking.."
When they were at the end of the beach nearing a row of shrubs, Aljoscha grinned "You can let go now.."
Only now Sven realized he still was holding on to the singer's shirt. As he let go, he threw a quick glance back on the beach, where clingy guy was now nowhere to be seen.
All of a sudden Sven's legs started to shake and he plopped down on the grass, feeling like crying, but managing to hold back the tears.
"Do you actually want some breakfast by the way?"
Sven swallowed, still coming to terms with what happened. He looked up at the singer "Do you really live in a big house here?"
"Well, my family does, sometimes it comes in handy.. besides, there have been rumours about that guy on the island, I guess he was afraid I'd report him...so how about that breakfast?"
Sven coughed a bit nervous "Are you...going to report me..?
Again Aljoscha grinned "Did you think you could get away with sneaking in here illegally?"
"I..wanted to see Paul..sort of.." Sven felt a bit self conscious saying it out loud "..I didn't really think.."
The singer stuck out his hand to pull Sven up again "..if you're a friend of Paul's, you have nothing to worry about.."
"I am...I think.." all of sudden Sven remembered the doubts he had last night after seeing Paul. Paul's life had changed so much, much more than Sven's own. He didn't really know what to think.
He let the singer pull him to his feet again.
"Come on, we'll get you some breakfast, I can use a little something as well, we'll see if we can find my guitarist on the way."
When they had walked some meters into the shrubbery, Sven realized where all the people from yesterday were, all over the place people lay in tents, under loose covers or sleeping bags or simply on the grass.
Some showed signs of slowly waking up, others were still in deep sleep.
While the two made their way through the crowd of sleepers, they found a tall skinny guy busy putting on his pants, both legs at the same time.
"Hey, Sven from Schwerin..is that you?"
Aljoscha shot Sven a glance, Sven giggled, elated to at least see someone familiar "Even longer story, but I promise I can explain.."
"Flake, have you seen Paul anywhere?"
"Yeah, he's over there behind that curtain.."
The mentioned curtain was little more than a torn tentcover, draped over a treebranch.
When they walked past it, they found the neighbouring shrubs covered by clothing: jeans, shirts, several long summerdresses..
Between it all Paul was laying on his belly, sleeping, in the middle of some companions also fast asleep.
Aljoscha nudged Paul's foot with his shoe "Hey guitarboy, wake up.."
"Someone to see you..I think it's a groupie" Aljoscha grinned at Sven.
"Mmm...she can sleep here too.." Paul didn't move.
"It's not a her.." Aljoscha looked at Sven thoughfully "..it's a guy with many names.."
"Huh..?" Paul slowly woke up and pushed himself up on one elbow, with the other hand wiping the sleep from his eyes, before turning around to face them...
Chapter 3: Reunited
Chapter starts a few hours earlier on the beach...
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
The concert for that night had drawn to a close. Not so much because they finished their 5th run of the setlist, but the freely flowing alcohol had taken it's toll: Aljoscha was sitting with friends at a campfire and Flake had gone to pee and hadn't been seen since. Drummer Kriening gave one last drumroll "Right! I'm off!" and did exactly that.
Paul grinned as he quickly put his guitar away where it wouldn't get trampled on, and then went to find the girls he had spotted earlier.
Not that he was much of a ladies man, at least he didn't think so himself.
Not like his friend Sven from Schwerin who, judging by the letters Paul had received from him in recent months already had gone through several girlfriends. And from the photos he received of Sven even he realized Sven had turned into a goodlooking guy over the years since they last met.
But even though he doubted his own good looks, it didn't bother Paul that much. He knew girls often found him funny and cute, and as being funny and cute turned out to be a great way to get some smoochies and cuddles, that was all fine by him.
And now, helped by several bottles of beer which as usual had made him relaxed and giggly, he went to the girls who sat together on a large beachtowel. One of the girls was already half asleep, the other two giggled as Paul plopped down between them "Here i am, what are your other two wishes?".
The girls giggled again at the cheesy pickup line, but were happy to have the blond guitarist join their campfire "We loved your music, it was the best ever!"
"Yeah? Which song did you like best?"
The girls exchanged a quick look, they couldn't really remember distinct songs from the evening by now "..the really fast one.."
Paul grinned "Yeah, that's my favorite too.." as the nestled himself between the girls on the towel.
The next hour they spent talking, having another drink, and canoodling. The girls ruffled his hair, Paul was enjoying himself, exchanging a smoochy, now with one girl, then with the other, but all of them were too sleepy and tipsy to make a serious move.
When the other people on the beach were slowly clearing out to find a place to have a few hours of sleep, Paul and the girls found a place between some bushes, which Paul craftly kitted out with a small tarpaulin and a blanket so they had some privacy.
While giggling they all helped eachother loose their clothes and in their underwear lay down on the tarp. A few more smoochies were exchanged but somehow they all drifted away to sleep under the moonlit sky.
Paul didn't wake up.
"Paul! Hey Paul!" now Paul felt a kick against his foot and with a grumble he pulled his foot in, not ready to wake up yet.
Aljoscha grinned at Sven "He probably had a lot to sleep off.."
Sven gave him a nervous smile, seeing Paul laying there with the girls, made him reconsider if it had been a good idea for him to come here...what if Paul wanted to be with these girls, what if he had a steady girlfriend..
"Paul would have mentioned it in his letters if he had, he writes about everything.." a small voice in his head said.
"Maybe he didn't want me to know.." Sven answered the voice.
"Don't be silly, didn't he write he wanted to see you again..?"
"Yeah, but maybe he didn't mean it, maybe.."
"Oh, quit worrying.." the voice snapped and Sven felt a blush on his cheeks, hoping the little voice had indeed only been in his head.
Aljoscha nudged Paul's foot with his shoe "Hey sleepy, wake up.."
"Someone to see you..I think it's a groupie" Aljoscha grinned at Sven.
"Mmm...she can sleep here too.." Paul didn't move.
"It's not a her.." Aljoscha looked at Sven thoughfully "..it's a guy with many names.."
"Huh..?" Paul slowly woke up and pushed himself up on one elbow, with the other hand wiping the sleep from his eyes, before turning around to face them...
Sven swallowed away a lump in his throat, what if.. what would he do if..
But before he could finish the worrying thought he was grabbed in a tight embrace. Paul had jumped up from the tarp "Sven..?" he flung his arms around his friend "Sven! It's really you! What are you doing here?"
Sven grinned. The small voice was immediately forgotten the moment he felt Paul's arms around his shoulders.
He wrapped his arms around Paul's waist and happily returned the hug.
Paul sleeping companions had by now woken up too, and quickly put on their dresses when the realised they had more spectators than they had expected.
A bit confused from the abrupt waking up they tried to get Paul's attention again, but he seemed too occupied with this new guy they hadn't seen before.
Paul didn't notice. He gave Sven another squeeze, then let go to take a step back and look at Sven, his hands still lingering on the other's shoulders "Let me look at you! I still can't believe you're here! How did that happen? And how did you grow up so much? Did you come today or were you here already?"
Again Sven grinned; Paul might have grown up too, but he was still the old Paul "So many questions, were do you want me to start?"
"Eh... Paul..?" one of the girls decided to try and get his attention back "..do you want to get something to eat?"
Paul threw a quick smile at her, but turned his attention back to Sven right away "That's a great idea! Are you hungry? Do you want something to eat?"
He didn't wait for an answer, but grabbed Sven's arm to pull him to the beach to join one of the campfires.
Aljoscha smiled at Paul's excitement, before he turned to the girls "Ladies, I'm afraid my guitarist isn't much of a gentleman, allow me to treat you to a luxury breakfast in the house, guaranteed sand-free, which is more than you'll get at any of those fires."
Any worries Sven might have had, were washed away by a hearty breakfast of leftover sausages and an excited Paul, trying to show him everything he had written about.
He dragged Sven from the beach to Aljoscha's house, to the small artist's colony that camped on the island.
In the middle of the colony they caught up with Flake, sitting on the ground with a small selection of what appeared to be jewelry.
"What are you guys doing with that?"
"We make earrings and sell them, that way we earn a little spending money, and it's real easy and cheap to do."
"Look.." Paul showed Sven his ear and only now he noticed Paul was wearing their own merchandise.
"I wouldn't have thought you were jewelry kind of guys.." Sven grinned.
Paul took Sven's hand and spread the fingers; the pink nailpolish clearly visible in the sunshine "..and I didn't think you were a nailpolish kind of guy.." he chuckled as Sven quickly drew back his hand, his cheeks reddening "..it's okay, I like it, in a way it suits you.."
With one finger he gave Sven's cheek a quick stroke, making Sven smile again.
Paul smiled too.
He always liked Hiddensee, but having Sven here with him, without having to worry about parents dropping in or other people interfering, felt better than Paul could have imagined he could feel.
And the best thing was that he knew without asking that Sven felt the same.
He could see it in his eyes, in his smile when he laughed over Paul's stories or when watching the hustle and bustle on the beach together.
Again he stroked Sven's cheek, this time a little bit slower, then quickly running his finger through Sven's hair.
"I missed you.." and as he said it, he felt a warm feeling in his stomache, realising how much he indeed had missed the other boy. Or..boy.. at 16 Sven had turned into a young man, as tall as Paul himself, with lean but well developed muscles through years of wrestling practice.
He felt an overwhelming urge to embrace him, still stroking his cheek and jaw.
The feeling turned out to be mutual; before Paul could act, Sven took a step towards him and wrapped his arms around him in a tight hug "..I missed you too.." burying his face in the curve of Paul's neck "..I thought about you so often.."
Paul closed his eyes, as he felt Sven's lips move against his shoulder, giving him goosebumps at hearing the words.
He wrapped his arms around Sven's back and stroked him, feeling the warm muscles through his shirt.
For a while the were happy to just stand there holding eachother.
Paul felt a sudden urge to kiss him, to feel his skin against his own lips..
"Ouch! Damn, that's the third time that happened today.."
Paul opened his eyes, all of a sudden aware they were not alone.
He looked over Sven's shoulder to Flake, who was sucking his thumb with a disgruntled face.
Sven let go of Paul and turned to Flake as well.
"It's that stupid iron wire! When I cut it, it always springs back and pinches me, if this happens again, I'll switch to make earrings out of wood.."
Paul grinned "..knowing you, you'd get a splinter.." then turned to Sven, a little sad their moment was gone, but determined not to let anyone notice "..what do you say..do you want us to fit you an earring too?"
Sven chuckled "Okay.."
"No problem, sit down, I'll pierce your ear and then you can choose which one you want from Flake's collection.." he grinned "..free of charge.."
It was not the first time someone spontaneously decided to start wearing earrings, piercing ears was one of the many things Aljoscha taught them.
Paul got out a cork from a winebottle, a handkerchief and an iron needle. He heated the needle to desinfect it.
"Okay, which ear do you want pierced?"
"Don't they have a saying that one ear is 'cool' and the other is 'gay'?" *)
Paul grinned "Yeah, but I never know which is which, so I have both pierced, just in case.."
He gently grabbed Sven's face, shortly distracted by how seagreen his eyes were, but shook the thought off quickly; piercing a hole in someone's body was not the moment to get distracted.
He put the cork behind Sven's ear "Now this is going to sting a bit, I'll count to three.."
Sven braced himself.
Sven closed his eyes and pressed his lips together.
"Two" immediately Paul pierced the needle through Sven's earlobe.
"Hey! I thought you said three.."
"It works better this way.." Paul chuckled "..here, hold the hanky against your lobe to stop the bleeding.."
A bit startled, but determined not to let it show, Sven did as he was told.
"So which earring do you want?"
"One like yours.."
"Have this one, this is the first one Paul had as well.." Flake pulled out a small hoop and opened it, giving it to Paul who put it in Sven's ear "..there.." again he gave Sven's cheek a quick stroke and put the hanky back at the ear "..i hope it doesn't bleed too long.."
"Don't worry.." Sven gave him a shy smile "..I heal pretty fast.."
The unspoken story behind the words was clear to them both, and as Paul pulled Sven to his feet again, he gave his hand an extra squeeze.
The day flew by, filled with catching up on everything that had happened, Sven meeting everyone from Paul's band and friends and relaxing on the beach.
Sven had even managed to impress Aljoscha at dinner, which was usually the same old menu of sausages with beer; he came up with something none of them had tried before.
He asked Aljoscha if at the house they had butter and eggs and snagged a role of tinfoil the band brought with them.
Then he found a forked branch of a tree, and wrapped the tinfoil around the forked part, to make a makeshift fryingpan.
He stuck it over one of the campfires, put a lump of butter in it and when it had melted, broke an egg, to make a perfect sunny-side-up fried egg.
A huge succes, Sven one after the other supplied all of them with a fried egg, some with bits of sausage in between.
"That guy is a keeper Paul" Kriening laughed after finishing his second batch.
"Hey Richard..Sven..whatever your name is..where did you learn that?" Aljoscha grinned.
Sven quickly glanced at Paul "I eh...I camp out sometimes.."
"With a youth club or something?"
"Must be a cooking club, you could be a professional.."
Sven hoped he wouldn't be asked to explain, but a new supply of fresh beers made Aljoscha loose interest in the topic.
Paul gave Sven an encouraging smile, Sven's backstory was something between them.
He declined the beer, knowing Sven wasn't used to the alcohol the way the group was, Paul had decided to go sober today as well, so Sven wouldn't feel pressured.
When the evening's concert started he made sure Sven was sitting next to the band area so he could regularly look at him and make sure he was okay.
Sven enjoyed the band and the music, and he was actually interested in the songs as well. More even, Paul thought with a grin, than the band themselves, who usually weren't that bothered with finishing what they started and more or less played what they felt like, when they felt like it.
Being that close to the band had one disadvantage though as Sven quickly found out, when a few guys of the group started a wild dance splattering beer all over the place in the proces.
Much of the beer landed on Sven, who pulled a face at getting downed in a cold shower, but quickly recovered so people wouldn't notice.
Only Paul noticed, and he winked at Sven while he played on.
The concert ended sooner than usual this night. The sun hadn't even set yet.
Kriening had disappeared in a tent in the shrubs, Aljoscha hadn't been with the band for over half an hour. Flake was absorbed by a long solo he was doing on his keyboard and which had no relation anymore to the song Paul had last been playing.
Paul didn't mind.
He nodded to Sven to come with him.
Sven grinned and got up "All done?"
"As done as we're going to be tonight.." Paul grinned too ".. wait here, I have an idea.."
Paul quickly put away his guitar and grabbed a tarp and blanket lying around.
Back with Sven, he gave him the pieces, grabbed a branch and lit it on a campfire.
He grinned again to Sven "It'll save us from having to make a new one.."
"Where are we going?"
Paul took Sven's hand and gave him a little pull. From his previous weekends Paul knew there was a small strip of sand and shrubs around the island's bend. The Hiddensee-crowd didn't seem to go there, it was too far away to hear the music, too inconvenient to haul cases of beer to and too narrow to hang out with a lot of people.
But tonight, Paul had no intention of hanging out with a lot of people at all.
15 minutes later they walked onto the strip of sand, overlooking the sea.
"It's beautiful here" Sven sighed as he stopped to look at the slowly rippling water against the sand.
Paul walked a few more meters and cleared a spot in the sand to put the burning treebranch.
On the ground under the shrubs he found some more dead branches and even some bigger pieces of wood. He took it with him and built a small fire on the sand.
When that was burning nicely, he took the tarp and spread it out on the sand a few meters away from the fire.
Job done, he plopped down on the tarp and grinned at Sven, still standing a few meters away "I thought it would be nice to chat, just you and me, without the others interfering."
Paul took off his jacket and propped it up to a makeshift cushion to put under his head, as he lay down.
Sven grinned and made a move to do the same, then made a face "yuck, my clothes all smell of beer.."
Paul smiled lazily "I'd offer you a set of mine, except that i didn't take any spare.."
"Gross, this is going to be awful tomorrow."
"Well, why don't you wash them in the sea...they'll be dry tomorrow.."
"Maybe that's not such a bad idea.." Sven stripped down to just wearing his underpants and made his way to the water's edge.
Paul watched him from the tarp, once again struck by how much Sven had grown since the last time he'd seen him, his muscles were clearly visible in his arms and back and especially around the shoulders and chest. Wrestling was said to be one of the sports which built the greatest variety of muscles in the body, and looking at Sven sitting in the shallow surf, soaking and rubbing his cloths, Paul could only agree.
"I could really use some soap.."
"It's just beer, if you let them get wet through and through, the beer will soak out automatically."
Sven grinned over his shoulder at Paul "Is that what they teach you in Berlin?"
"Well...beer is just water flavored with a little grain, isn't it, so you just let the seawater flush out the beerwater.."
"Sounds real scientific.." Sven laughed, half still scrubbing his clothes, half turning to Paul on the tarp "..oh damn.."
A splash as Sven lost his balance and was now lying on his back in the water, spluttering as his head was dunked under as well.
Paul laughed out loud, even more when Sven looked back at him with a slightly injured face at first, then laughing too at Paul's giggles.
He grabbed his clothes, and went to the tarp, hanging his shirt and pants out on the shrubs to dry in the evening air, then with a slightly perplexed face hesitated to join Paul on the tarp in his dripping underpants.
Paul giggled "You might as well take them off too, they'll dry quicker when you're not wearing them.." and a bit softer to comfort Sven a little "..there won't be anyone here tonight anyway, just you and me.."
"Okay.." Sven hesitated a few seconds, then deciding it was the sensible thing to do, he hung his underpants on another branch and joined Paul to lay on the tarp.
For a while they lay there, just chatting, enjoying a small summerbreeze.
The sun was setting and night was falling over the water, but a full moon in the clear sky and the glow of the camp fire were enough to still be able to see eachother.
When the sun was gone, Sven shivered a little, still laying naked on the tarp.
Paul turned to lay on his side to look at his friend "Are you cold?"
"Not much, it's okay.."
"Well, maybe a little.."
Paul pushed himself up, supporting himself on his elbow, while he reached for the blanket they had brought.
He spread out the blanket, over himself and over Sven, making sure it covered all of him, over his feet and side. He made extra effort to tuck the blanket in under Sven's arm. As he did so, Paul brushed his hand over Sven's shoulder, at first accidently, but when he caught Sven's look and they both grinned, he let his hand rest on Sven's chest for a minute, then traced Sven muscles with his finger, his chest, over to his shoulder and upper arm.
Sven reached out with his other hand and stroked Paul's cheek.
Their faces close together, again they caught eachother's eye, and again they smiled.
Paul moved his hand to Sven's face and stroked his cheek "..how's the ear..?"
"Fine, doesn't hurt a bit, you're an expert.."
Paul felt a nervous flutter in his stomache as he brushed a few strands of Sven's hair, still moist from his dip in the sea, away from his cheek "You..you look good.."
Sven ran his fingers though Paul's hair "..so do you..I like your hair this way.."
Paul smiled; Sven moved his hand to cup Paul's cheek, gently rubbing his thumb over Paul's lips.
"I love it when you smile, when I read your letters I always imagine you smiling at me.."
Paul felt his flutters even more in his stomache, but realized there was more to it then nerves.
"Can I.." he giggled, suddenly shy "..may I.. kiss you.."
Sven flashed a smile "..we did kiss before.. "
Paul's nerves fluttered again "..I know..but I..I don't know..maybe you didn't want.."
Sven's hand slid from Paul's cheek to his neck, and he gently pulled Paul towards him, until their lips met.
Paul's hand found his way back to Sven's chest which he kneeded as he put his lips on Sven's and kissed him.
At first just lightly touching their lips, then savouring the feeling, he shuffled a bit closer to Sven under the blanket.
He tasted Sven's lips, slightly salty from the seawater, and enjoyed the feeling of Sven also tasting his own, when he felt Sven's tongue touching his lips and licking them.
Paul's flutters were building, but strangely his nervous feeling was gone, and a whole new feeling had replaced it.
He opened his lips a little against Sven's, and felt Sven's tongue carefully entering his mouth, just the tip, almost hesitating to go too far, but when entering was happily welcomed by Paul's own.
Paul felt Sven's breath against his face, as he shuffled closer again. Sven turned a little on his side to meet Paul's body, one hand still stroking Paul's head, he reached with his other hand down Paul's side to the small of his back.
Still kissing Paul felt Sven's naked body now against his own, still clothed, one and slid his hand down from the chest to Sven's side to pull him closer, then his hand moved even further to pet his back and, not hindered by any annoying clothing, moved effortlessly to Sven's butt.
Round and muscular and soft; Paul gently squeezed it, and smiled against Sven's lips when he heard the soft moan that gesture produced.
And not just a moan.
Through their closeness, Paul felt Sven's member against his leg; firm and warm, Paul had never been this close to a guy before, had never even considered it, but this time, with Sven, it was like this was what he had been waiting for, and feeling Sven like this, his manhood hardening, Paul wondered how it would feel to touch it, to feel it against his skin.
He slowly released the kiss, Sven was panting a little as he gave Paul a few kittenkisses on his jaw, then rested his head against Paul's shoulder.
Paul took a few moments to catch his breath, then again kneeded Sven's buttock under the blanket.
Again a small moan against his shoulder, Paul smiled, happy to be here, on this beach, with this guy. Sven's member was still laying against his leg, with every move he made to change position he felt Sven moving with him, eager to try and keep the touch he received from Paul's closeness.
As he squeezed the soft buttock again, this time a little firmer to pull Sven even closer, he felt he a spot of wettness against his leg.
The stirring Paul had felt in his stomache before, he now felt in his own pants too, and with every soft moan he elicited from Sven, his own pants grew a bit tighter as well.
Again he pulled Sven in to rub his member against his leg, and again Sven moaned.
Paul all of a sudden got up from under the blanket. Sven, a bit dazed, left under the blanket, looking up at him confused "Hey...don't go.."
"I'm not going anywhere.." Paul grinned and without bothering to neatly undo all the buttons, he pulled off his own clothes; shirt, pants, underwear all in one go.
Sven grinned too as he saw Paul's manhood spring out from the confines of the clothing, he held the blanket open with one arm and Paul was all too ready to nestle himself next to him again.
They giggled as their bodies touched full length, skin on skin for the first time.
"Where were we.."
Sven lay on his back, two hands now free to touch Paul. He let his hands glide over Paul's slender body, then pulled him towards himself, to enjoy a new kiss.
Paul gladly responded, and eager to experience the sensation, his hand eager to get back to the spot it was before on Sven's behind to pull him against himself.
He hitched his breath when again he felt Sven's member against his leg, but this time, against his bare skin. Paul forgot to kiss, so distracted by the feel of the warm shaft, he felt himself grow hard as well. As he kneeded the buttock a few more times, each time rubbing Sven's dick against him, Sven let his own hand glide away from Paul's back.
He felt for Paul's hand on his butt and when he found it, lightly grabbed it, guiding it to a different place.
Paul was still distracted by his own dick twitching; at first he didn't really sense what Sven was doing. But when he felt his hand being guided to the front, he opened his eyes and looked at Sven's face. Sven was looking at him as well, eyes half opened, coy smile on his lips.
Paul smiled too, kissed Sven's mouth and put his hand on Sven's member.
Paul had never been this turned on in his life, and by the sounds Sven made, he suspected the same went for him.
Paul gently closed his hand around Sven's shaft, he felt the soft skin, the veins on it. With his thumb and forefinger he enclosed the head, gently fondling the skin. Again he kissed Sven, this time a little deeper than before and Sven responded eagerly.
Paul slowly moved his hand, up and down, up and down, as he felt Sven's breath become quicker and get in rhythm with Paul's hand. He felt wetness on his hand and applied a little more pressure, eliciting more moans from Sven.
Sven's hand on Paul's back was pulling him closer, his nails starting to dig in the skin.
Sven spread his legs a bit more to give Paul's hand more room to hold him. Paul put his own leg over Sven's, and shuffled closer, so his own dick rubbed against Sven's upperleg, growing harder himself and leaking precum between both their bodies, he too now not able to contain soft moans anymore.
He buried his face against Sven's neck and panted as they continued to move together, body against body, pulling eachother closer to try to feel as much of the other's skin as possible.
Sven's gripping of his back and arm became tighter and his movements choppier, as he panted "..can't..hold it.."
He was the one to say it, but Paul was just as close himself, the friction of his dick against Sven's body more stimulating than his own hand had ever been "..it's okay..let it go.."
And as he said it, Sven cried out and rocked against his hand and Paul felt his squirts gush over his hand, still moving to pleasure Sven as long as he could.
And as he felt the warm cum, the thought of them here together on a beach on Hiddensee, being intimate like this, he felt himself tip over the edge too and he came as well, his cum landing over Sven's leg and hip.
As they felt their orgasms subsiding their moves became slower until they both lay panting on the tarpaulin, Paul half on top of Sven, their bodies sweaty and sticky.
When they managed to catch their breath a little, Sven put his hand on Paul's cheek and pulled him towards himself to exchange a tender kiss, languid and lazy, in the afterglow of their shared orgasms.
After a while Paul pulled back a little, he smiled and was happy to see Sven smiled back just as broadly. He gave Sven a few eskimo kisses and grinned, before moving in for a new lazy kiss.
Sven stroked his back "I've wanted to do that for so long..but i wasn't sure.."
Paul grinned "..well you can be sure now.." as he nestled his head in the nape of Sven's neck again "..that was hot.."
He moved his hand over Sven's chest, stroking it, then moving down to his well-trained abs, giggling as his hand landed in the sticky traces of their lovemaking.
Sven smiled as he lifted his head to try and see what was going on "..what..?"
"Now you have to wash up again.."
Sven grinned too, but pulled Paul's shoulders in a tight embrace, as he kissed Paul's forehead "..not right now, i want to enjoy this a bit longer.."
Eventually they did pull eachother up and walked to the seafront, laying down in the shallow water near the beach.
They helped clean the stickyness off of the other's body, then lay back on the beach, chatting, feet in the surf.
Now and then they exchanged kitten-kisses, after a while, Paul sat up and gave Sven a quick kiss on the lips "Want to move back to the tarp?"
Sven grinned and nodded, as he let Paul pull him to his feet..
The full moon was bright enough for them to be noticed by others, should someone have considered making a midnight stroll, but luckily the whole island of Hiddensee was asleep.
When next morning the first breakfast fires started to be stoked up on the band's beach, Flake was the first who noticed them missing "Where did Paul and Sven go...do you think we'd save them breakfast?"
"They'll turn up when they get hungry.."
"What can they be doing on an island this small?"
Kriening smiled "For some kinds of fun you don't need a big space.."
"If it's fun they were after, they should have stayed here with those friendly girls, they could have some extra special fun.."
Aljoscha grinned at Kriening "..I think those boys are having the kind of special fun you can do without girls.."
"Oh.." Flake looked at the other two when it dawned on them what they meant "..oh!.." after some thinking remembered "..the first day we met, i think Paul was away at night with Sven..i just thought they were sharing a secret beer.."
Kriening smiled at Aljoscha "These youngsters of yours...so innocent.."
Aljoscha grinned "..I bet one of them is not so innocent anymore by now.."
Feeling the sun tickling his nose, Paul slowly opened his eyes. For a second he was confused about where he was, but when he felt someone laying next to him, regularly breathing against he shoulder, he smiled.
He gave Sven a small peck on the brow, and chuckled when that seemed to wake him up, looking at him with his seagreen eyes.
Sven smiled too "you can say that again..."
The two leaned in to kiss; slowly and leisurely, then Sven shifted to lay his arm over Paul's belly and nestled his head against Paul's "Best..Morning..Ever.."
Paul wrapped his arms on Sven's back and gently stroked him.
For a while they enjoyed being together watching the sun rise and listening to the sea.
"Too bad we're leaving today.."
"Yeah.." Sven sighed "..you guys go back to Berlin.."
"You can come with us.."
Sven smiled as he pecked a small kiss on Paul's chest and gave his belly a squeeze "..would love to, but you're enjoying your bandlife so much, I don't know how to fit in it."
"You could be our cook"
"Well actually..." Sven lifted his head to look at Paul "..you guys have given me an idea here..I should start to make my own money, like you do with the jewelry..and..well, I think I should take up a apprenticeship at a cooking-school, our schoolcouncillor mentioned there was one available a while ago."
Paul brushed away a few strands of hair from Sven's cheek and smiled "That might actually be a really good idea.."
"The best thing is..that position is in a different town, so I can move out of my parent's place and live on my own while I do this apprenticeship."
Paul leaned in to kiss his friend "As long as you let me know where you are, so I can visit you.."
"You'll be the first to know.." Sven smiled and lay back on Paul's chest again "..you don't know how happy it made me to hear Aljoscha call me 'Paul's Richard', like I belonged to you in a way.."
Paul closed his eyes and smiled, gently letting his hands wander over Sven's shoulders and back, trying to feel every muscle and dip to remember it "You do.."
When the sun was climbing higher in the sky he sighed "I don't really want to but we'll have to get up before it gets really late, Aljoscha usually wants to take one of the earlier ferries, he has a theory the guards are not awake by then.."
"And are his theories usually right?"
"Rarely.." Paul snorted "..but we humor him anyway.."
After they got dressed and folded up the blanket and tarp, they made their way back to the band beach where they found the others of the group who had already finished packing.
Kriening grinned and pushed Paul's gear towards the two "Here..I'm sure you'll have your hands full already with eachother, but you might as well carry Paul's stuff between you.."
"And I guarded your backpack for you.." Flake giggled a bit nervous as he pushed the bag to Sven.
Sven looked at him gratefully "Paul's lucky you're his friend.."
"Tell him that, maybe he'll be less annoying to me.."
Paul smirked "I only do that for your own good.." but he gave Flake a small press of the arm to show him he appreciated it too.
The trip back on the ferry was as uneventful as ever, but Paul and Sven were happy just to sit together and watch the waves, the clouds and the birds.
Paul had hoped to convince the others to make a detour with the van and drop Sven off in Schwerin, but in the end they compromised on taking Sven part of the way and drop him off at a trainstation from which a direct train ran to Sven's hometown.
At the station Paul and Sven got off the van to get Sven's bag and say goodbye.
They stood behind the van to get a little privacy from prying eyes.
Paul smiled and again stroked Sven's cheek as he had done so often these last few days, then took Sven in a warm hug again.
Sven wrapped his arms around him and tightened the hug.
There was much they wanted to say, but neither found the right words so in the end they were happy to just stand and hold eachother.
After a few minutes Kriening honked the horn of the van and Aljoscha looked out of the door "If you're not quick you'll miss your train, and there aren't that many running on sunday.."
Paul and Sven let go and with one quick kiss and a last smile Sven ran into the station where they heard a train indeed approaching.
Paul still stood behind the van, lost in thought, half wanting to run after him.
A few minutes later the train had arrived, stopped and rode off again.
Paul started as Aljoscha stepped up behind him
"Come on, get in the van.."
"What if he was too late and missed that train.."
Alljoscha wanted to make a joke, but looking at Paul's face he decided to go easy on him, and grabbed his arm to gentle pull him to the van-door "He seems like a guy who can take care of himself.."
When the van drove off Paul and Flake sat together on the backseat and looked out of the rear window.
Flake looked at Paul "Remember when we went on that schooltrip and we drove off.."
Paul gave him a small smile "..Yeah.."
"You didn't know if you'd ever see him again, you hardly knew anything about him then.."
Paul smiled as he thought back on the weekend.
He could still smell Sven's scent against his cheek, the feel of his muscles warm under his fingers, the soft skin on his butt and...other parts..
He turned back to the window "..I know him now.."
*) with regards to wearring earrings there's a German phrase "Links ist cool, Rechts ist Schwul" (Left is cool, right is gay); even if it really was ever a sign in the past, it certainly isn't anymore nowadays..