The post-show exhaustion had set in immediately after he stepped off the stage at Lustenau, an hour of pure energy draining him to the point of heavy lids and dragging feet - he leaned on Malte as soon as he could, arms draped around his brothers shoulders and head rested at the nape of his neck. There was a group effort to usher him back to the hotel, to usher him to the airport, to force him awake through security and boarding until finally he was on the plane. Tucked between Sam and the window, all it had taken was one blanket and hot drink and Roy was out for the flight.
That was until he was shaken violently awake by the boy next to him. He yawned, stretched, ignoring Sam's impatience as he drew himself from sleep and back into the real world. Sam hit his chest, Roy grinning and snatching his hand before Sam could pull away.
It's been years, but Roy has been here before. Sam points out the window and leans over him to get a better look. With time left to go on the flight they're given the view of a green island and blue water, colors slightly dulled by the cold but so much more vibrant than Roy remembers. There are a few clouds obstructing their view, but it's enough to leave Sam and Roy entranced as they sit with their necks craned, trying to see everything. Eventually Sam transitions into Roy's lap and he holds him there, temple against his shoulder.
Less than an hour left to go and Roy falls back asleep.
Jack Toomey is warm. Jack Toomey has massive arms. His massive arms wrap around Roy in a warm hug and Roy - whose love language is physical touch - feels himself melt into the embrace with zero hesitation. Sam's father is personable. He already knows so much about Roy without having to be told anything. He talks about his albums, his music, if they're already working on a third, how is festival season, he hopes he can make it out to see them in Germany. Roy tells him he's always welcome. Jack puts an arm around Roy and gives him a squeeze. It's a one-armed hug that surpasses his own father's, who only ever gives one-armed hugs. Jack is easy to listen to. He teaches them sailing. He puts Roy and Malte to work as soon as they're on the boat and there's no resentment harbored because they feel like they're doing something. Jack makes them feel like they're learning. After a lifetime of struggling to garner any life lessons from his own parents, Roy feels like he's a better sailor and better man after twenty-four hours on the boat.
Jack treats Roy like Henry treats Sam. Jack treats Sam like Henry treats Sam. Roy wonders what it is about Sam that makes him a collector of father figures.
He tries not to be jealous.
You are fresh, brand new, and oddly quiet for a baby. Your mother abandoned delicacy somewhere after giving birth to Malte, and though you haven't been dropped you have been passed from person to person more like a pitcher of water than a living, breathing baby. Your oldest brother carries you with one arm and runs at the same time, and has only been scolded for this once. The scolding was light, since it was discovered quickly that the sounds coming from you weren't cries- but rather laughs.
Not all of your older brothers choose to handle you like a football. Bastian is incredibly careful to the point of paranoia, choosing to hold you when he's already sitting down. Malte is only four years old and he diligently uses both arms to keep you secure (you are an impressively large and hefty baby). There are times when you scream for reasons unknown, and at those times Maman hands you off to her third child explaining: Vous avez un cadeau. You lay in Malte's arms, he sings, and you stop screaming. Maman is right.
He has a gift. You won't remember this.
At age five (following his first growth spurt putting him almost at Malte's shoulders), Roy has found a spectacularly effective way to annoy his older brother: reach up, grab the back of his shirt collar, pull hard, and smack the back of his head. Sometimes the smack is substituted for a grab which has resulted in accidental hair removal. Roy has been scolded for this behavior, but not enough to stop doing it- growing only more bold with his attacks. Spring was the premiere prank season, their parents distracted with farm business and able to keep an even less watchful eye on their children.
"Ich sagte, hör auf!"
This was Roy's second attempt that day. He and his brothers were in a spot they shouldn't have been: atop the barn roof, the sound of sheep shearing resonating from below. This spot wasn't safe (most spots weren't, not for all seven of them - and there were seven at the time) and they'd had their warnings, but hadn't heeded them.
There would be a third attempt.
Roy's fingers latched on to Malte's collar, and in a split second he felt his brother's arm against his, his palm on his chest, and suddenly he was floating in a free fall. The fall lasted only two seconds but felt like years, his world pure silence until he was flat on his back in a pile of hay.
He coughed, took a deep breath, and stared up at his brother.
"Fein! Ich werde aufhören!" Roy shouted back, and then cried. He would remember this.
Everyone is out of earshot when you bring up the incident at the barn which is nearly two decades in the past and Malte rolls his eyes at you. You don't know about how he used to hold you, how he'd watch you and play with you when your other brothers had better things to do. Your mother doesn't tell you about this because she had her own distractions at the time, happy to feed you and put you to bed and sing to you when you cried, but she wasn't there for your first steps. Neither she nor your father were there for your first steps without the aid of a table or hand, your first words, the process by now not so miraculous as it was expected. You don't remember any of this, you were too young, there's no video of it. But you do know it, somehow. Malte slaps his palm against your chest and you put your arm around him. You'll remember this too.
you're roy, you're a german musician who gets destroyed on screen from time to time, you're a farm boy, you have ducklings, you're a gucci slut, you call your mother maman and it's adorable, you love driving with an arm outside when it's summer to feel the breeze on your skin, you hum to yourself made up songs or real songs when you're getting dressed, you are dumb in the most endearing way, you are smart because you know fucking everything.
Thu, Aug 8, 8:24 PM
miss you. love you.
at the last minute i decided to have the "crescent moon" tattooed on the side of my hand, inspired by our lord and savior lana del rey, except the "crescent moon" looks more like the letter c. and by more like, i mean it is the letter c. i have the letter c tattooed on my hand. so fun. c for cunt?
Fri, Aug 9, 9:54 AM
day 2 since you abandoned me for the sea.
wouldn't it be so sad if you were taken hostage by a sexually aggressive dolphin? i think about that a lot. hope you're safe. i don't think sam could fend off a dolphin, is all i'm saying. and i doubt you could either. maybe malte?
anyway. love you lots. good luck out there. switzerland's great, i've only cried like, six times since i got here. a personal record. xoxo nazanin.
Sat, Aug 10, 9:57 PM
it's almost 7am and i just left a club called "disco club boomerang" full stop and i've never loved anything more. the bartender at disco club boomerang spoke perfect english and showed me a trailer he'd cut together for disco club boomerang. a fucking TRAILER for a club smaller than my parents' house.
i told him to upload it to vimeo so all my faraway friends can experience disco club boomerang in 1080p60.
i showed him my tattoo and said it was a c for my dead lover and he seemed really touched, anyway, i guess what i'm saying is i had sex with the bartender at disco club boomerang in the utility closet.
disco club fuck me up, roy. hope your TRUE AND PURE LOVE is still sacred on the seven seas or whatever. xx.
Sun, Aug 11, 11:42 AM
should there be balloons at a sex party or is that too obvious?
asking for a friend.
(the friend is me)
your life as sinbad is easily the worst thing that's ever happened to me, roy!!! never!!! again!!! thanks!!!
i think probably no balloons. okay, later. xo
Sun, Aug 11, 5:11 PM
i'm just a teenage dirt bag baby
god i hope you've drowned by now. i hope you're on a small rock surrounded by sharks and you're screaming and you'll never hear teenage dirt bag again.
love you! okay bye!
Sun, Aug 11, 10:48 PM
are you back yet? i miss you. i hope you're having the best, most magical time, but i miss you.
It's been months since he's written anything.
Leon commented on this only a few days ago, telling Roy that usually he was "a machine of emotion", writing down lyrics on his skin or napkins, constantly singing to himself, editing himself, trapped in his own brain until a half-written song was deemed decent enough to share with his brothers. This happened frequently, and when it didn't happen it didn't go unnoticed - especially by Leon, who believed in diligence in artistic creativity above all else. Roy had been a disappointment, he had felt it. Distracted. Consumed by thoughts of Sam, by being with Sam, staring at his phone in the few hours the two were away with each other rather than allowing the silence to settle in and let his brain get to work. Leon didn't resent his brother's boyfriend for it, but he wasn't afraid to address it - and the thought of being in the midst of writer's block had weighed heavily on Roy's mind.
Most of the time, anyway. Not now. Not on the open sea, past midnight, stars above and the soft white noise of the ocean surrounding them.
Warm skin, three blankets, a wintery chill, a thousand uncountable freckles. Roy wraps his arms around Sam as they lay back on the on-deck seating and stare up at the stars. This is an unspeakable amount of cheese that has made at least one of their fellow boat-mates gag. Sam lays his head back on Roy's shoulder and they link fingers, sharing a pair of headphones as they watch the stars overhead, clouds obstructing their view every now and then. The air is cold, chilly to the point of shivering if they didn't have each other - but it's hot beneath the blankets. They stare at the sky and don't say anything for an hour, until Sam lifts his hand from beneath the covers. He holds it up against the sky and Roy squints to see exactly what he's doing - until he sees a glint from the ring he'd put on Sam's hand only a few hours ago. It catches light from the waxing moon and Roy eventually pulls his own hand out from under the blankets, holding it next to Sam's, fingers outstretched. Their matching rings clink together and at the exact moment Roy presses a kiss to Sam's cheek.
Roy hums a tune he's never hummed before. He does it over the music they're listening to, melody disparate to the one that's playing in their ears. Sam looks at him and pulls their earbuds out. Roy doesn't seem to notice, he's looking at their hands and humming. Thinking. Writing. His fingers start to twitch, tapping against the stars.
For the first time in months, he writes something.
Friday 8:21 AM
Mama!! I don't have long. Sammy, Malte and I are safe. Yesterday Sam and I watched the stars and listened to a playlist I made for him, it was all very romantic. You would have liked it. It reminded me a little bit of a story you used to tell about you and papa, how you'd sit outside in the lawn and watch stars and listen to his records. We see dolphins ALL THE TIME. I hope you're okay! I hope you talked to papa. I hope Leon and Jonas came to visit. Seb is coming with us to Germany after the trip, it's officially decided. I miss you so much! Ich liebe dich!
August 11 6:43 PM
Back on dry land! A few more days and we'll be on our way home.
Wir sprechen heute Deutsch?
Ja! Papa kam zu Besuch nach Hause.
Ich freue mich für dich! Geht es euch beiden gut?
Ja Liebling. Pass auf Sam und Malte auf!
Ich habs. Liebe dich, Maman 💕
August 5 10:56 PM
Did you arrive safely, darling?
Ja 💕 Wir sind gut angekommen. Ich vermisse dich! Ich wünschte, du wärst gerade hier, es ist kalt, aber so hübsch.
English today, love.
Are you alright?
Papa is working, it's only Bastian and me.
I'm sorry, maman. Can you FaceTime papa?
Is Malte with you now?
Does he look happy?
Yes. Can you call Leon or Jonas? They aren't far from you.