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.
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.