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far from the carnage of the firey sun

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It's too hot to do anything but lie out on the rooftop and get some color, but Johnny insists on staying inside. "I burn," he whines, looking out at the Brooklyn skyline a little wistfully. He's wearing a plaid shirt like some kind of hipster freak, and he forces the windows open instead of letting Theo crank the A/C. Fucking hippie. Global warming can suck it, because Theo feels like he could burst into flames at any moment. Even his balls are sweating. That's how hot it is.

"How are you not dead of heatstroke yet?" he asks Johnny, who's not wearing shorts, either, but that's because he has chicken legs and doesn't want Theo to make fun of him for it.

"I'm just that cool," Johnny answers, bending his head down again. He's trying to work out the bridge to one of his new songs, has been for days, and he just can't leave it alone until it sounds right. For him, that'll probably be never; he's the ultimate perfectionist.

"Take a break," Theo suggests. "We could get ice cream from that place down the street you love." Sometimes Johnny has to be dragged out of the apartment like a fucking toddler. He's a homebody, and that doesn't exactly mesh with Theo's attitude of staying out until the sun comes up and sleeping until three PM, but they compromise: Theo will DJ one night, and watch some old black-and-white movie with Johnny the next.

"Yeah, okay," Johnny agrees. "Just for a little while, though. I want to get this done before the show."

It's barely three o'clock yet, so they have plenty of time to chill out. Theo could smoke a joint now and be fine tonight, but Johnny hates when he does it when they have a show that day. Once they're outside, he settles for a cigarette instead, lighting one for Johnny when he snags one from the carton Theo's holding. "You're gonna regret that tonight," Theo says, nudging him. Idiot's not an easy score to sing, and it's worse after smoking, but Theo's also seen how shaky Johnny gets when he goes without nicotine for too long.

"Like you won't," Johnny says, narrowly avoiding stepping in some nasty-looking gum some asshole left on the sidewalk. Theo laughs, and Johnny fakes pushing him into the busy street.

It takes them longer than it should to get to Anopoli; Johnny stops to pet someone's puppy, and Theo makes faces at little kids. They end up ordering cheeseburgers and fries, too. Johnny picks a window booth so he can people-watch—"be a pervert," Theo corrects. "Are you going to renew?" he asks, taking a loud slurp of his soda.

"Yeah," Johnny answers. "Think we'll last that long?"

It's a valid question, though Theo doesn't really like to think about it, but he does worry what will happen when the summer rush dies down. He hopes they have a decent run; he doesn't have anything else lined up, and all Spiderman jokes aside, neither does Johnny. "Hope so." And then, before Johnny can start thinking too much and overanalyzing everything, like he sometimes does, Theo asks, "Hey, when's your next gig again? You better hook me up with some VIP passes, motherfucker."

Johnny laughs, warm and bright. "Yeah, I think I could swing that. I might need you to make it worth my while, though." His lips are gradually getting pinker from the strawberry ice cream, skin chapped and raw even under the wetness.

Theo's cone—chocolate chip—goes ignored, but he didn't really want it, anyway; it melts quickly in the sticky heat. He notices Johnny watch him lick the drops off his fingers, eyes dark and intense, focused, and that's what makes Theo feel too hot, not the disgusting weather. "You ready to get out of here?" he asks. Johnny nods and tosses his half-eaten ice cream in the trashcan.

As soon as they're outside, he tugs Johnny into the alley behind the restaurant. It's shady, mildly cooler than the rest of the city, but Johnny's cheeks are still flushed and a little sweaty. He breathes in when Theo kisses him, and Theo curls his hands in that fucking stupid red plaid shirt (he has no idea how Johnny's wearing flannel in July, really), pushes him up against the brick so he can hook his fingers in Johnny's empty belt loops while they kiss. Unlike his body, his mouth is cool, and it's a welcome change.

"Fuck," Johnny says when he pulls away. Theo just uses that opportunity to get his tongue in Johnny's mouth. He's getting hard in his shorts, but they're not going to fuck here; it'd be a bad choice.

"We're going home," Theo says, "and turning the air conditioning on. I don't want you passing out when I fuck you."


"Fine by me," Johnny says, and tucks his hand into Theo's back pocket as they head home.