by Hashinaka Choko (橋中蝶子)
Dante leaned over the counter, carefully dragging the glitter brush over his cheekbones. He heard the doorknob turn and glanced in the mirror, his mouth pulling down in a frown when he saw their manager.
“How much longer are you going to take, Dante?” Jerry asked, sounding exasperated.
“As long as I need to, Hitler,” Dante said. “This is our biggest gig. Everything has to be perfect.”
“Perfect includes the lead singer coming out on stage when he’s cued,” Jerry said. “Don’t talk to me about how big this gig is, I booked it.”
Jerry spun around and stormed out, slamming the door, and Dante straightened up from the mirror. “Jesus, he doesn’t have to be such a dick.”
Rain looked up from where he was plucking out a line on his bass. “Don’t be a prima donna tonight, Dante. That’s the last thing we need.”
Dante turned and spread his arms, changing the subject. “How do I look?”
Rain swallowed hard and ducked his head before Dante caught him staring at the way the mesh shirt stretched over his stomach. Not that Dante would have noticed, or taken him seriously. Rain was pretty sure that, given how long they’d known each other, Dante had some kind of allergy toward thinking of him that way. “Sparkly,” he finally said. “Even more so than usual.”
“It’s our biggest show,” Dante pointed out. Butterfly Hum was a new band, just breaking out into the scene, and this was there first headliner. “What do you think the others will say?”
Rain rolled his eyes. “Maelynn will say you look great. Cyrus will say you look even more like a queen. Solo won’t say anything, and Jerry won’t care.”
Dante tossed his blonde, turquoise-streaked hair over his shoulder with a huff. Rain had pretty much nailed the prospective reactions of the rest of the band, but that didn’t mean Dante had to like it. “Bitches. They don’t pay attention to me. What if I couldn’t sing?”
“Then we’d sure as hell pay attention. Don’t pull anything, retard. How many minutes do we have before we go up?”
“Fifteen,” Dante answered promptly. “I know; I was just being theatrical.”
“You had better,” Rain said. “Or so help me I’ll hook up a playback and you can lip sync out there.”
“Yuck!” Dante said, making a face.
“Then don’t even think about sore throats. That’s the last thing we need, understand? You’ll jinx the whole show.”
“Yeah, yeah.” Dante stuck his tongue out at Rain, and Rain fumbled for a minute on the neck of the bass, his attention caught by the little flash of metal in it. The tongue stud was still new, and it still startled him to see it – in more ways than one. He was excessively glad that his guitar covered his crotch.
Maelynn burst through the door then, standing for one second perfectly outlined by the light from the hall. Then she bounced into the room and over to Dante. “Are you as excited as I am?”
“You know it, girl,” Dante said, but pulled away when she tried to hug him. “You’ll sparkle like nobody’s business if you hug me.”
“Like I don’t already?” Maelynn curtsied, the light flashing off the glittery fabric of her skirt, her fake butterfly wings and her shoes.
Cyrus leaned against the doorframe, his denim jacket and torn jeans a contrast to everyone else’s glam. Even Rain, who dressed conservatively compared to Dante and Maelynn, shimmered a little, and his black leather trench coat was his biggest stage touch. Solo looked in over Cyrus’s head, his own costume glittering.
“Dante,” Cyrus said slowly, “You look gayer than normal. And I wasn’t even sure that was possible.”
“Eat me, Cy. At least I have fashion sense.”
“You dress like David Bowie did in his Ziggy Stardust phase, only with more black. That wasn’t taste, that was tacky,” Cyrus countered. “Besides, someone has to look normal onstage.”
“God he’s a downer, huh?” Maelynn said. “Where’s Rain?”
“Here,” Rain said, fiddling with a tuning knob and trying desperately not to stare at the way Dante flickered and flashed around the room – all sparkle and glam and… pants that showed off his ass.
“Whoa, man!” Maelynn jumped back with a hand over her heart, theatrically. “You’re quiet! What’s up?”
“Yeah… you have been quiet. Are you okay?” Dante raked his hand through his hair, eyeing his best friend.
Rain nodded. “Yeah, I’m cool. Just not worked up.”
The short silence that greeted that statement was only broken when Rain looked up with a scowl. “What?”
“Not worked up? Rain, you’re the one who used to pass out thermoses of coffee to get the rest of us up to your level of hyperactivity. And you’re not worked up? This is the first show where you haven’t been bouncing off the walls.” Dante walked over to stand in front of the couch Rain was lounging on. “You okay, man? Did something happen with your family?”
“No, it’s not that,” Rain said, keeping his eyes fixed on his bass.
Dante paused. “Is it the band?” he asked. “Is it losing its spark?”
“No! No, it’s not the band! How – this is our biggest gig –”
“Exactly! And you’re all – quiet.”
Maelynn made eye contact with Solo over Cyrus’s head, who nodded and grabbed Cyrus by the back of the jacket, hauling him out of the room. Maelynn smiled brightly at the two of them. “I just remembered I’m not wearing my Butterfly Hum necklace, and that’s not good because this is our first headliner, so Solo and Cyrus are going to help me look for it okay bye!” she backed out of the greenroom and shut the door.
“Now you ran them off,” Rain muttered.
“I’m trying to figure out what’s up,” Dante said. “Is it something I did?”
“Not – really. Just… could you maybe not… hang all over me, like you usually do?” Rain still wouldn’t look at him.
Dante blinked. “You never had a problem with it before,” he said. “It’s our shtick, that I’m gay it’s –”
“I know!” Rain said. “But can’t you drape yourself on someone else? Cyrus?”
Dante laughed. “Cyrus? It’s a toss-up whether he’d kick me in the balls or whether Mae would drop her guitar and claw my eyes out.”
“Solo, then,” Rain said.
“Solo’s the drummer, Rain. I’d fuck him up.” Dante paused. “Does it bother you that I’m gay? I only do it to you because you told me you were fine –”
“It doesn’t –”
“And why won’t you look at me when I’m talking to you? Christ! What’s your deal? Are you getting ashamed of me, is that it?”
“No! I – Dante, I’ve been friends with you for how long?” Rain looked up now, saw the way that Dante was looking at him, like Rain had betrayed him somehow, and… Is he doing that because he wants me, or because the gay thing sells records?
“Yeah! I want to know whether my best friend has been lying –”
Maybe it was the way that fucking tongue stud kept flashing when Dante talked, but Rain didn’t realize what he was doing until he had Dante’s head cradled in his hand and his tongue in Dante’s mouth.
Dante froze, and Rain could feel his hands shaking a little, and he squeezed his eyes closed, expecting to be shoved away. But Dante slid his hands around Rain’s waist under the trench coat, and ran his tongue stud along Rain’s lip, until it was Rain’s turn to tremble. Dante pulled himself closer, until the bass started to dig painfully into both of their hips.
Maelynn chose that moment to open the door. “Dante, Jerry says if you don’t – holy shit.”
Rain pulled away from Dante suddenly. Oh fuck. I just did that right before the show.
“Rain-” Dante started to say, but Rain tore out of his arms and out of the dressing room to where the rest of the band was waiting, bright red and shaking.
“Dude, what the hell?” Cyrus asked. “Where are Dante and Mae?”
“I – They’re coming,” he said.
Solo eyed him knowingly, and, well, Solo was Dante’s ex-boyfriend, which didn’t make Rain feel any better.
Dante came running up a minute later, with Maelynn herding him ahead of her like a particularly stunned sheep. He glanced over at Rain, but Rain looked quickly away.
“Good! You’re finally here,” Jerry snapped. “The crowd’s getting restless – get out there and play a fucking awesome show.”
“No pressure or anything,” Dante joked weakly. He wiped his hands on his pants, picking up more glitter off them in the process and setting the beads rattling, took a deep breath, and grinned. “Let’s do this.”
He stepped out on stage, Rain close behind him, and everyone took their places, plugged into their amps, and the lights came up.
Rain looked out into the crowd – what he could see of them beyond the lights – and felt his lungs and stomach tingle. His veins were on fire and everything else but his bass – and Dante – vanished. This was it.
They broke out into the opening notes of “Make it on My Own” and everything went wild.
It was a breakup song, so Dante stayed away from him for the time being. Hard on its heels, after Dante greeted the crowd, was “Not Done Yet,” a hard rocker in which Dante and Maelynn took the forefront. Rain was left to his own devices in the background, free to watch Dante.
And Dante – he was electric. He moved like he’d been plugged into a live wire, he never stood still, he glittered his way around the stage, he squeezed his eyes shut as he belted out the vocals from somewhere in his soul. Rain had never seen him so wild before, and suddenly he couldn’t wait for the end of the show – and the last song.
“Not Done Yet” segued into “Bad Map, Bad Road,” which was low and crooning, and which left Dante alone with the mic downstage, the rest of the band fading into the background.
After that, Rain couldn’t really tell anyone what they played. It was too much – adrenaline overload, he guessed, or too much of his eyes being drawn to Dante’s ass in those pants. He was sure the whole audience had seen him staring by now – but that was part of it. They were supposed to see him and Dante mooning over each other. They came in contact a few times, but nothing like what would happen at the end of the show.
At last, they all walked offstage in their “fake farewell,” able to catch some air and some water before they all ran back on for “Your Love is Like the Sun.”
It was always their last song – it had to be, because they had never been able to calm down the screaming fangirls afterward. And tonight, just like every night, as soon as Rain hit the opening bass line, the crowd roared to its feet.
“I swear there’s something about you,” Dante sang, and Rain’s head snapped up. He spun around and faced Dante, and they started across the stage toward each other.
The blocking was scripted. There was hardly ever a deviation from it, only the way Dante sang this time was less of a performance and more like a personal invitation – to Rain.
By the time he got to the chorus, they were less than a foot away from each other. “Oooh, your love, baby.” Dante trailed his hand up Rain’s arm, and Rain could feel the prickles of his skin through his trenchcoat. “It’s like the sun – hot, hot.”
Jesus fuck, Rain thought, as Dante swayed closer to him and he swallowed hard. I’m going to fuck him right here onstage if he doesn’t stop that.
But of course he didn’t, because that was their shtick. Instead, he slung one arm around Rain’s waist from behind and pressed up against him, crooning the lines of the second verse in his ear – “What you did to me baby, I’ll never forget.”
Rain tipped his head back against Dante’s shoulder and listened to the shrieks of the girls in the front row. He glanced out of the corner of his eye at Dante’s blue, blue eyes, and spun away from him for the start of the chorus again.
They circled each other, and by some miracle of the rock gods Rain managed to keep playing through the looks Dante kept shooting his way, half-lidded fuck-me looks that had always been part of the routine but hadn’t really meant something until now.
And he knew what came next, after Dante got through the second chorus and the bridge.
Dante and Rain stepped up to each other, inches away from each other, and Rain lifted his bass up over Dante’s head, trapping him between Rain’s body and the instrument. The crowd screamed. “Ooh, your love, baby-” and suddenly Rain got an irrevocable sensation that Dante was about to do something – “You’re my only one.”
And Dante kissed him, causing him to abruptly drop out of the last couple of chords; something the crowd didn’t seem to mind at all, from the way the front row sounded. Rain, of course, couldn’t break it now, not without looking stupid on stage, so he pulled Dante’s hips hard against him with the bass and threaded his fingers through Dante’s long blonde hair, his other hand just barely rucking up the edge of Dante’s mesh shirt. He flicked Dante’s tongue stud with his own tongue, and felt Dante’s hips – his cock – twitch against his own.
He pulled away slowly. “Say goodbye to the crowd,” he said roughly, knowing that with Dante’s microphone still wedged between the two of them, the entire audience could hear them.
Dante managed to pull his arm out from between them and waved to the crowd. “Thank you! Good night!” And if he sounded a little breathy – well. That was hardly Rain’s fault.
“Now turn off the microphone.”
The crowd squealed at that, and when Rain waved a little on his own and dragged Dante backstage.
“Jesus fuck, Rain,” Dante panted. “I-”
“You kissed me that time,” Rain said. “Tour bus?”
“Dear God yes.”
Dante fumbled the door to the tour bus open and cursed when Rain followed him too closely – he tripped on the steep steps and fell, catching his knees on the second step and his hands on the top.
Rain cursed too, slamming the door shut behind him and struggling to get his bass off and set down in a safe place. He hauled Dante up, one hand shoved up his shirt, and the two of them stumbled to the couch.
“You know,” Dante said, “you could have just told me you were gay.”
“I know,” Rain said. “I was afraid you’d just start hitting on me because I was here and available, and that’s not-” he stopped.
Dante paused in unbuttoning Rain’s shirt. “That’s not what you wanted. What do you want?”
“I-” Rain looked down at Dante, and reached out to brush some of the hair away from his face.
“Oh,” Dante said quietly. “Oh. You’ve got it bad, man.”
Rain’s cheeks turned red and he started to look away, but Dante caught the front of his jacket and dragged him into another kiss.
This one was calmer than the first, less desperate and more exploratory. Rain slid down into Dante’s arms, pressing himself closer with a small sound that was almost needy.
“Jesus Rain,” Dante said, working on his buttons again. “You – you should have told me.”
“Dante, everyone noticed. Mae was dropping hints left and right.” Rain pushed his hand up under Dante’s mesh again, working the shirt up over his head.
“Mae is like, the queen of gaydar, man. Her gaydar has country-wide range.” He finally finished Rain’s buttons and pulled Rain down so he could fasten his mouth to Rain’s collarbone.
“Solo noticed,” Rain managed, retaliating by skimming his nails lightly down Dante’s chest, catching a nipple in the process.
Dante licked up the side of Rain’s neck to his ear. “Solo’s bi. They have instincts about that kind of thing.”
“Dante.” Rain pulled his head back for a moment. “Cyrus noticed. So did Jerry.” He bit Dante’s lip, and slid down further, teeth tugging at Dante’s nipples.
Dante gasped, squirmed, and finally tangled his hand in Rain’s hair to pull him away. “Okay, so maybe I was a little dense. But man, you’re my best friend. You really could have told me something that important, and-” he hissed when Rain, ignoring Dante’s grip on his hair, scraped his teeth down Dante’s breastbone.
Dante pulled him back again. “Rain, would you be my boyfriend?” Rain jerked and sat up in surprise, looking like he might run away, but Dante sat up with him. “If you leave me hanging I will never forgive you, you asshole.”
“You aren’t – I don’t want this just because I’m gay,” Rain said.
“You’re stupid, you know?” Dante said. “You’re my best friend. You have been for as long as I can remember – and I’m not going to lie, I’ve had a crush on you for almost as long. But I could swear up and down that you were straight, so I didn’t do anything.”
“You’re stupid. If you had just made a move-”
“I didn’t want to run you off,” Dante mumbled. Rain kissed him this time, lingering.
“Dante. I’m just about to fuck you in the tour bus, and you’re worried about running me off?”
Rain felt Dante’s breath leave him in a rush at that. “Fuck. Does that mean yes?”
“Stupid, of course it means yes,” Rain said, and started to unbuckle the stupid belts Dante wore with his stage costume.
“Wait, wait,” Dante said, and slid off the couch between Rain’s legs. “Hang on, I got this because I wanted to try-”
“Oh, Christ,” Rain breathed, as Dante unbuttoned Rain’s pants and pulled his cock out. “Oh, Christ,” he repeated, thumping his head against the side of the bus as Dante’s tongue – or more accurately, his tongue stud, swirled around the head of his cock and slid down, a hard steel counterpoint to Dante’s hot, wet mouth – and Rain’s thighs trembled in an effort to be nice and not fuck his best friend – boyfriend – in the mouth.
Dante must have figured out what he was trying not to do because he pressed Rain’s hips back down with one hand, using the other to wrap around the base of his cock, keeping his tongue pressed firmly on the underside as he bobbed his head up and down, swallowing on the downstroke –
“Fuck, Dante, stop,” Rain gasped. “Too good, I-”
Dante pulled away, with one last flick of his tongue stud over Rain’s erection. “That good?”
“God yes, but come here.”
Dante crawled back up his body, kicking his shoes off in the process and struggling out of his pants. “Why,” he said, as he attacked Rain’s mouth again, “Do you still have most of your clothes on?”
“Fuck, I don’t know,” Rain said. He tugged on the sleeves of his trenchcoat as Dante worked on his boots, and between the two of them they managed to peel off the sweat-soaked layers of Rain’s stage clothes.
Dante shifted back around on the couch, pulling Rain down on top of him between his spread legs, and it was Rain’s turn to gasp for air as their cocks slid against each other, and Dante threw his head back with a short gasp.
“Dante,” Rain said. “God.”
“We should’ve done this so much sooner,” Dante said, and rolled his hips up. “You said something about fucking me?”
“Yeah,” Rain said. “Yeah – where do Cyrus and Mae keep their fucking condoms?”
“What the hell? Rain, I haven’t slept with anyone since Solo. You know where I’ve been. I know where you’ve been.”
“Neither of us are going to get AIDS, dude.”
“Fuck, okay. Lube, then.”
“That I can’t help you with. Unless you steal Mae’s hand lotion, and that shit smells fruity.”
“Fuck it. I’d rather smell fruity than not have sex.” Rain crawled up off the couch and into the bus’s tiny bathroom, retrieving the bottle of lotion.
Then he stopped, hesitating.
“What?” Dante asked, looking like he was about to die without more contact.
“I – I’ve never-”
“Oh, shit, I forgot,” Dante said, sitting up a little. He kissed Rain hard and took the lotion from him. “Don’t worry, baby, I’ll take care of it.”
Rain’s chest went tight when Dante reached down between his legs, one lotion-slick finger slipping up his ass easy as breathing. “Jesus, Dante,” he said, grabbing the lotion back. He slicked up his own fingers, and reached down between them to where Dante’s fingers worked inside himself.
“God, Rain, yes,” Dante said, slipping his own fingers out and grabbing Rain’s hand. “I can take it – please.”
“Christ,” Rain whispered, as Dante rocked back onto his fingers. “I-”
“Curl – your fingers up-”
The open-mouthed gasp Dante made when Rain followed his instructions was answer enough. Dante rocked back against him again, fucking himself on Rain’s hand, until Rain thought he might come just from watching him.
“I’ve been ready, Rain. Fuck – fuck me, please, I-”
“Jesus, Dante, yes,” Rain said, as Dante slicked Rain’s cock up with more of the lotion – and it did smell fruity, not that it really mattered when Rain leaned over Dante and pressed one of his legs up over his shoulder and slid into him, tight, god, and that noise Dante made, high and thin.
“Move, Rain!” Dante said, pressing back against him for emphasis, and Rain took the hint, grabbing Dante’s hips and thrusting hard. “God! Like that, fuck!”
“I’m – Dante, I’m sorry-” Rain blushed hard, his rhythm stuttering after only a few strokes, and Dante grabbed one of his hands, guiding it to his cock.
“Go ahead,” he said softly, and pulled their mouths together, twirling his tongue around Rain’s, his stud clicking across Rain’s teeth.
Rain didn’t mean to, but he thought he might have accidentally bitten Dante’s tongue when he came, eyes shut tightly and a thick moan bursting out of his throat.
Dante made another little noise, pulling Rain’s hand faster over his cock, and then his back arched and he came all over their stomachs and hands.
Rain rolled them over so Dante could lay on his chest – he was smaller, and Rain didn’t want to crush him. “That – Dante, that was-”
“Fuck yeah,” Dante said. “Can we do that after every show?”
“Mmm,” Rain agreed, his eyes slipping closed. After the adrenaline, and the sex, and everything, he was exhausted.
Dante pulled the blanket off the back of the couch and over the two of them. “Yeah, go to sleep.”
They woke several hours later to a happy shriek and a camera flash. “Maelynn!“