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two truths and a lie

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The worst thing about the Americans was that they were so stuffy and straight laced.

Straight being the operative word.

No fun at all to be had there.

***

 

i. like a crazy straw

 

“You’re all boring when you’re in love,” Brendon mumbled, wincing as Ryan carefully drew a thin black line of kohl on his lid. Ryan smiled and kissed the corner of Brendon’s eye in apology.

Spencer looked up from fiddling with his hair. “I’m not in love. I’m in--.”

“Crush. He’s in crush.” Ryan finished wetting his thumb and smudging the edge of the line, making the shadows dark, blending the black with the mottled purplered of Brendon’s swollen eye. “My poor wittle Brendycakes.”

Brendon pinched Ryan’s ass for that. “Fuck you, Ross.”

Ryan smirked and kissed Brendon- slow, hot and nasty. Hips moving in a greedy roll in Brendon’s lap, laughing when Brendon’s hands gripped his ass, fingers white against thin black fabric. “Yes, please. Thank you sir, may I have another?”

Spencer snorted and looked around the white tent. The bands were separated by thin opaque sheets of nylon in a 10 foot by 10 foot box. There were shadowy almost figures from the outside and blurred outlines of other tents and people from the inside. It was like being naked in a soft white boxy bubble.

They were hidden, though it wouldn’t take much imagination from someone on the outside to know who or what was being done if Brendon and Ryan kept that shit up.

Or if Ryan kept all that noise up.

Spencer grinned when a slim but familiar hand slid up his thigh. He looked back at Ryan and Brendon. Brendon’s head lost in a cloud of red velvet vest and white linen shirt, biting and marking Ryan’s body.

Not that Ryan was complaining. His head thrown back, pink lower lip caught between white teeth. His dark eyes, made seemingly darker by the beginnings of a mask of make up, locked with Spencer’s asking the question.

Spencer shook his head and bent down to give Ryan a hard and affectionate but brief kiss. “Not tonight, Ry.”

Something shuttered in Ryan’s look and he pushed at Brendon’s shoulder. “Why not?” There was the petulance that Spencer and Brendon and hell, even Jon were used to receiving these days.

Brendon and Spencer exchanged a look. “Mainly because Spencer is trying to hook up with Patrick and going over there smelling like sex probably isn’t going to help the cause.”

Spencer sat on the edge of the small table and rested his hand on the back of Ryan’s neck, thumb brushing against the soft hair. The past few weeks had been anything but easy. The return of Pissy Bitch Ass Ryan was a welcome relief from the one who said nothing and did nothing and only seemed to animate when he got on stage.

Once Spencer and Ryan had watched a program on the Discovery Channel, where a man had fallen, almost flash frozen in an icy river. It had been morbidly fascinating, the closest thing Ryan or Spencer had come to seeing an honest to god block of frozen ice was at Shelly Fabermeyer’s bat mitvah when he was twelve and Ryan was thirteen. He remembered the show and how the guy had nearly died from the exposure to so much cold.

Reviving hypothermia victims was supposed be gradual; let them surface from the cold in slow increments.

That’s how it had been recently with Ryan. He had been flash frozen in the miasma of grief and anger at his dad’s death. They had each taken a turn warming Ryan, trying to pull him out of that sticky clinging cold. Brendon bore the brunt of the frustration and anger and the silences, coaxing more of the Ryan they knew back from wherever he’d lost himself.

Pissy Ass Bitch Ryan was a headache, but it was one that they could all live with.

Ryan tipped his head back against Spencer’s hand. “You sure you don’t want to stay?” There was plaintive note to it, but Spencer saw the calculating glint in Ryan’s eyes.

Spencer bent and kissed Ryan softly, squeezing the back of his neck gently. “Yeah. But if I strike out, I’ll come back here to lick my wounds.”

“We could help with that,” Brendon offered lasciviously and waggled his eyebrows.

Ryan giggled and pressed his face against Brendon’s neck, looking happy if not a bit horny. “We really could.”

Spencer laughed and kissed the edge of Brendon’s bruise. “Don’t wait up for me.”

Both Ryan and Brendon snorted at that and Spencer rolled his eyes at the both of them. “Fine, don’t keep me up when I finally do get in.” Spencer rubbed the back of Ryan’s neck again grinning. “You know you could try and initiate Jon tonight.”

“Someone say my name?” Jon asked pushing back the flap to the tent and his lips quirked slightly seeing Ryan straddled in Brendon’s lap. There was a slight lispy slur to his words and he smelled like warmed barley and sweat. “Trohman, the fucker, was so right.”

Spencer clapped a hand on Jon’s back and all but pushed him forward. His hand was warm and tingled. He let the flap of the door close behind him hearing Ryan call Jon closer.

Body heat and friction were another way to warm someone up.

 

ii. the transitive property

 

“So, black robes, huh?” Patrick said lying on the ground right in front of the portable fan. It would figure that the palest motherfuckers at this thing would get a tent space right in the middle of the field under nothing but the harshest rays of the sun.

Gerard flicked lukewarm water at Patrick and shoved at him with the tip of his black boot. “It’s for ambiance.”

“Candles and incense make up ambiance. Black robes are from bad horror movies with Neve Campbell.” Patrick paused and wiped the condensation off his glasses to grin up at Gerard. “Or has Frank’s Harry Potter obsession finally swayed the masses?”

Gerard flipped Patrick off with both hands laughing. “You can’t even give us the decency of Ring Wraiths. You had to go right into PG-13 movie territory?”

The grass was cool and tickled the back of Patrick’s neck. There was a light puff of air every time someone walked by the tent. It was like peeking out from under the table cloth during one of those long drawn out family dinners. He’d always gotten in trouble for trying to hide out from his Cousin Bethany. Who had a weird propensity to want to play house.

And that was just icky and weird even at this age. Especially at this age.

At least the creepy postcards had stopped. Patrick guessed that the nurses had taken away her glitter and glue sticks.

“…It’s all about the atmosphere. It’s an internal and external change. Like the shedding of a persona and taking on a new one--.”

“If you fuckin’ say ‘cocoon’, ‘taking it to another level’ or ‘new sound’, I will kick you in the nuts,” Patrick warned pulling his sweat heavy tshirt from his stomach.

Gerard set the water bottle in his lap protectively. “You kiss your mother with that mouth?”

“Kissed a lot of other things with this mouth, if you remember Mr. Way.” Patrick said tossing a stray bottle cap at Gerard.

Gerard batted it away with the long held practice of someone living in close quarters with three or plus more guys for more than four years. “You don’t get it, Patrick.”

“Sure. I’m the Black Parade. You all are the Black Parade. And you’re also My Chem.” Patrick said waving a hand.

“Well, yeah. Exactly.” Gerard opened his mouth to elaborate.

Patrick broke in before there were monologues on one consciousness and the oneness of the Force or anything else. “So, it’s like math.”

Blinking and fixing Patrick with a blank stare, Gerard asked, “Huh?”

“The transitive property a = b, b = c, so therefore a = c.” Patrick pulled himself up brushing the grass out of his hair.

There was a long slow elegant blink of thick black lashes and Gerard grimaced at him. “You take all the joy out of the aesthetic.”

“Artist.” Patrick teased.

“Fuck you,” Gerard returned smiling.

“Did that.”

They both smiled at that memory.

“Hmm, why’d we stop that again?” Gerard asked running his fingers over Patrick’s ear, grinning when Patrick flinched and shied away just as Gerard knew he would.

“Your brother hated my best friend and my girlfriend would have cut off my balls for cheating on her.” Patrick said philosophically.

“Oh yeah.” Gerard’s lips pursed. Patrick could have probably gotten away with calling Gerard cute at that moment, but then again you never knew with those Ways. He’d seen Mikey chuck an entire box of Otter Pops at Pete’s head once for wearing his favourite belt. “So, remind me why we aren’t doing it now?”

Patrick reached up to snag Gerard’s fingers with his. He gave them a friendly little squeeze. “Because your girlfriend would cut off your balls with her texturizing shears and my best friend hates the fact he’s still in love with your brother.” There was amusement and a little bit of sadness. That sentiment often came up when people talked about Pete, funnily.

“Well, we’ll always have Warped.”

Patrick squeezed Gerard’s finger again and they both sighed.

There was a soft knock, or the best one could do against a flimsy nylon wall, from the outside. Spencer poked his head in between the gaps and smiled at seeing Patrick. “Hey, I was just about to head over to the side stage. Was wondering if you wanted to come along?” There was that false cheer along with the prickly almost painful bravado.

It was cute.

Gerard even bent down and whispered as much into Patrick’s ear.

That earned him a painful pinch to his finger before Patrick let go. “Yeah, Spence. I’d like that.”

Gerard waved them off grinning and gave Patrick the dorkiest two thumbs up sign this side of geek. Patrick shook his head and rolled his eyes, put his hand on Spencer’s back just to make Gerard give an encouraging cheer.

Spencer turned and raised both eyebrows at Patrick. “Do I even want to know what you were talking about?” He didn’t move out of the way, took a step forward and to the left, letting the side of his body brush against Patrick’s.

Patrick answered Spencer with a warm smile and a tightening of his fingers on the slim hip. “Just artistic aesthetic and math variables and theories.”

“Huh. Would it be way too much information if I told you that was way hot?” Spencer asked, mouth puffing warm words against Patrick’s neck.

Patrick tugged Spencer toward the stage and shook his head. “Let me tell you my theories on relative bodies in the same space and time in continuous motion.”

 

iii. two stalwart soldiers facing the gay agenda

 

Jon belched and accepted the tall glass of whatever it was the fuck they were drinking. “…So, I dealt with it you know? I teched with The Academy and all those fuckers for years.” He frowned and looked down at his drink. How this European stuff was making all his S’s turn into Th’s was anyone’s guess.

Joe tried to pat Jon’s knee and ended up clocking him in the shoulder with his bottle of lager. “Man, I’ve been living with, around, and in the Gay Continuum since I was seventeen. You gots years let. Uh, you got years left to put into service.” He snickered. “It’s like the Army. Not Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Ish like. Like Do Everyone and Take Pictures and Don’t Tell On Anyone.” He squinted. “What’s up with this stuff? It’s making me talk all funny.”

Jon nodded sagely and kept nodding. It wasn’t their fault. It was hot and the bottles of water were in the other tent entirely. The nice cold other drinks were in this one. There were other people around. Half dressed women, given they were people’s wives and stuff, but still. Half dressed! And women!

Half of the women turned to look at Jon.

“Yous got no intermural dialogue, shithead,” Joe whispered nearly falling out of the camp chairs.

It was a good thing both of their bands had hours till they were on.

Joe had cornered him earlier that day. Right after breakfast and tugged him into the tent. Jon was afraid that they’d sent Joe to sway him over into the other camp. Not that Jon had any problem with the other camp. Hell, he had lived with Bill Beckett and Tom Conrad for years. That had to earn him some queer cred. But no. All Joe wanted was a drinking buddy.

Life was hard amongst the straight edge kids. Or that’s what Joe had blathered after their fifth, eighth, whatever number beer.

“The problem’s this,” Joe said setting down his bottle and grabbing hold of Jon’s shoulders pressing their foreheads together. “You gotta put in your dues. An’ then they’ll leave you alone.”

Jon blinked at Joe. Joe was drunk. Jon was sure of it. “That work out for you?”

“Well, there was this one time when Pete made out with me…” Joe burped and he pushed Jon back into his chair. “I think it’s Pete.”

“What’s Pete?” Jon asked tipping the glass up, flat bottom of the glass parallel to the tent top. Empty. Sadness.

“The root of the Gay Quadrangle.” Joe gestured with his now empty bottle hand, smacking Jon in the face. “It’s Pete,” he said firmly.

His nose stung and he blinked back tears to focus on Joe. “And William.” Jon added.

Joe giggled and Jon joined soon after. “And Ryan.” They said at the same time.

“He’s like the gay troop leader.” Jon pushed himself out of his chair. “Gotta go sober up.”

Joe stood, weaving a bit and snapped off a wobbly salute. “Be strong, soldier. We’re the last of a dying breed.”

Jon stumbled out of the drink tent wondering briefly why his nose hurt.

***

“The bad thing about these Americans is that they haven’t… They’re a damn conservative lot,” Ricky said waving his bottle of lager at Didz. Grinning and tipping his face up to the weak stream of sunshine, Ricky laughed – into the sun or at it, Didz couldn’t tell.

Didz watched contemplatively as Spencer and Patrick walked toward the main stage, arms clasped tight around each other. “Well, now Ricky. Don’ you think that maybe you’re judging a bit harshly? You’ve barely spoken two words to the young little things.”

Minutes or hours passed. Time lost its straight line combined with good German and English brew.

Ricky snorted and stole Didz’s cigarette. “You only say that because you’ve a sweet spot for that singer. The one in the damn marching band.”

“Gerard.” Didz supplied helpfully and grinned. “Sweet spot for a sweet fellow. Can’t help it.”

Speaking of the sweet, Gerard wandered by giving them both a little wave, chattering away to a rather inebriated man. Didz searched his memory. The guitarist from the pop-y little punk band. Joe something.

“…And it’s like everyone is gay. ‘m like an island!”

Gerard patted his shoulder gently and steered him away from the food tents and back toward, what Didz assumed was Joe’s own.

Didz watched as Ricky took a pull off his drink and eyed the milling crowd. He noted that a few of the band tents were busier than they had been. There were some interesting shadows playing off against one of them. Both Ricky and he squinted. “Huh, ‘ppears there’s something quite interesting going over there.” He gestured with a sharp flick of his wrist, hitting Didz with flyaway water and ash.

Didz sat up and tilted his head watching the twist of shadows intently. “Does at that.”

Moments later they heard a slurred cry of discontent rise into the midday air.

Three rather disheveled well shagged members of, the disco band Didz noted blearily, stumbled out of the tent. The wobbly Joe fellow pointed a wobbly finger at the smallest of the three well fucked boys. “Ross, you made me the island.”

“Should we wonder why he’s quoting Hemingway?”

“Incorrectly?”

“Americans…”

Ricky clinked his bottle with Didz’s in salute. They watched while the crowd roared behind them.

 

fin.