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05 May 2008 @ 11:51 pm
We Were Careless Hearts, Cash/Marshall, R  
Title: We Were Careless Hearts
Author: keeplistening
Pairing: Cash/Marshall
Rating: R
Wordcount: ~3100
Summary: He wakes up to Marshall's hand in his hair, fingers a comforting weight against his scalp, and one sweaty palm curled around the inside of Marshall's thigh for support, fingernails catching on the inseam of his jeans.
Notes: This is the fic I wrote for the cabfic fic exchange. Huge thank yous to Cody, Julie, Brianne, and Paula for the betas and the hand holding and helping me get this in on time. ♥!!!

Everything moves in slow motion in Arizona, driving with the windows down, hot, dry air flowing through the van as they cruise down the freeway. The air is thick and stifling, and Cash struggles out of his sleeping bag, limbs heavy and clumsy with the heat. A thin line of sweat is working its way down his back, making his t-shirt stick to him like a constricting second skin.

Next to him, Marshall stirs, face mashed up against the stationary back window, but his eyes stay shut, so Cash shimmies down the bench until he can stretch out on his side and settle his head on Marshall's thigh.

He wakes up to Marshall's hand in his hair, fingers a comforting weight against his scalp, and one sweaty palm curled around the inside of Marshall's thigh for support, fingernails catching on the inseam of his jeans.

Singer is driving, singing along with whatever top forty radio station they managed to find, and Cash clears the sleep out of his throat before calling out, "Hey dude, who sings this?"

"JT!" Singer responds, voice barely carrying to the back seat, and Cash grins, eyes sliding shut again. Way too easy.

"Maybe you should leave it to him, then."

He can feel Marshall laugh, fingers tightening in his hair briefly, and Marshall shouts up to the front, "You walked right into that one."

The next time Cash wakes up, his cheek is pressed against Marshall's stomach, Marshall's legs elevated so he can rest his feet on the back of the seat in front of them, and he's on his back. Someone's hand is wrapped around his right ankle and his left foot is hanging out of the middle window and Singer is still driving, still singing along to the radio loud enough that Cash can tell that it's Ashlee Simpson's new single. And the fact that he recognizes it has him worrying a little bit, almost as much as the fact that Singer knows all of the words.

Lunch that afternoon is Taco Bell two blocks from the venue in Tucson and fifteen minutes before Sing It Loud is due to go on stage. They manage hasty showers during Valencia's set with enough time afterwards for Ian to arrange with Travis a time to come out for his guitar solo and for everyone else to hang around the merch booth.

Cash has blind spots dotting his vision by the time the show is over and when he shuts his eyes, it's all neon-colored fireworks and bright camera flashes and he wants to strangle Singer for his announcement that everyone should come by and meet them after the show. He settles for dragging him into a headlock as they trudge towards the van to put all of their stuff away.

Singer just laughs, hands on Cash's hips as he lets Cash drag him along, and when Cash, Ian, and Johnson play rock-paper-scissors to see who's driving to the hotel, he stands behind Cash and mimes the shape Cash is making behind his back at the others.


They play Phoenix the next night and Cash drives because it's barely three hours, he can get away with passing it off as his shift at the wheel.

It's still new, still unspeakably awesome to not be the first band on the bill, and Cash stands in the back corner of the room with Johnson during Charlotte Sometimes' set, arms crossed over his chest and a plastic cup half-full of beer held loosely in one hand. Travis had pressed it into his shoulder earlier with a grin and a whispered, "Here you go, little man. You can thank me later."

He’s a little tipsy for their set and he mostly stands in one place so that the room doesn’t sway, bouncing up onto his toes and making faces at Marshall while he plays. When Marshall pulls out his guitar, he saunters over to Cash and Cash drops his bass, reaching a hand up and dragging Marshall’s head down to press their foreheads together. The screams of the crowd amplify and Cash grins and lets go, going back to his instrument, but Marshall stays right beside him for the entire song, elbows brushing as they play.


California is cold and damp, but they have a few days off in between shows and they get to hang around Los Angeles for two of them. The night after the Orangevale show, Travis and Hunter drag Cash and Ian to a nightclub. They lose Ian to the bar immediately and two beers and a tequila shot later, Cash is dancing with a tiny blond in a miniskirt and a vest and not much more.

Cash is not a big fan of septum piercings, but the metal is cool against the skin of his cheek when they kiss and she grabs his hand, pulls him through the mass of bodies towards the doors and out into the freezing night. He shivers and follows her down the sidewalk until they're in the shadow of the building next door, then drops her hand and backs her up against the wall, crowding her in against the warm brick with a knee wedged in between her legs and fists braced on the wall on either side of her head.

She just grasps his hips and pulls him closer, head tipped up, eyes shut, and she moans when he tugs on her lip ring with his teeth. The air is cold against his back, but he just slides his hands down her sides and presses in closer, lets her wrap herself around him as he slips a hand up under her skirt.


Cash smiles dopily at Marshall when he opens the door, and he lets go of Hunter and reaches out for him, stumbling into the room. Hunter grins at Marshall and says, “He’s all yours, buddy,” then takes off and Marshall sighs, sliding an arm around Cash’s waist and pulling him further inside so he can shut the door.

Cash feels good. Loose and happy-drunk and he lets Marshall manhandle him into the bathroom, slumps back against the wall while Marshall bends over to tug his jeans down around his ankles. "Lose the pants, Cash."

He braces his hands on Marshall's shoulders and kicks them off, sliding sideways along the wall while he tries to pull his shirt off at the same time. He manages it, somehow, tosses his shirt on top of the little heap of shoes and socks and jeans in the corner.

Marshall grunts with the weight of Cash as he helps him into the bathtub, keeps a hand wrapped around his bicep as he turns the water on in Cash's face. Cash just closes his eyes and lifts his face into the spray, lets the water run into his open mouth and down his chest, soaking his boxers and plastering them to his skin.

The phone number penciled on his arm runs in inky paths down his forearm and through the creases of his palm, dripping black water droplets from his fingertips, and Marshall slides his hand down Cash's arm to scrub at the marks until there's nothing but a blotch of reddened skin.

Cash mumbles, "Samantha. Her name was Sam." His eyes are still closed, but his chin is tucked against his chest and his hand is fisted in the front of Marshall's shirt, damp circle spreading slowly through the fabric around his hand. Marshall doesn't say anything and Cash opens one eye, turns his head to look at him. "I wasn't going to call her."

He isn't sure why he feels the need to be on the defensive, but Marshall still doesn't answer, just turns away to grab a towel from the rack, then turns off the water and pulls Cash out of the tub. He scrubs the towel over Cash's head, then drapes it over his shoulders, and Cash pulls it closed around his chest, shivering, lets Marshall lead him back into the room and sit him down on one of the beds.

He watches him go through his bag slowly, pulling out dry clothes, and once Cash is dressed in a dry pair of boxers and a t-shirt, he flops onto his side, bunching a pillow up under his cheek, and wraps a hand around Marshall's wrist. Looking up at him with sleepy eyes, he presses a kiss to the center of Marshall's palm and mumbles a thank you. He can feel Marshall sigh, shoulders slumping, and his hand goes limp in Cash's grip.

Cash doesn't let go, though, just lets his eyes slide shut, fingers still circling Marshall's wrist, so Marshall toes off his shoes and climbs over Cash's prone body, stretching out next to him with his arm draped over Cash's side, and falls asleep.


When Cash wakes up in the morning, Marshall is already gone and his phone is buzzing across the nightstand. Lifting his head from the pillow, Cash reaches out and grabs his phone, tucking it between his cheek and the pillow as he lays back down. "What," he grunts.

“You’re missing the continental breakfast, fucker.”

Cash groans, rubbing his eyes and sitting up. “Where’s Marsh?”

“Everyone is down here but you, come on, get your ass out of bed.” Johnson pauses, then says, slow and deliberate, “There are croissants.”

“Fuck you,” Cash says, thumbing off his phone, but he stands up and tugs a pair of jeans out of his bag and toes on a pair of sneakers.

He slides into a bench next to Singer and drops a plate piled high with eggs and croissants onto the table, slumping against the back of the seat.

"Dude, you look like crap."

Cash scowls at Johnson and bites into a croissant. "Shut up, grandma. At least I went out last night."

Singer wraps his hands around his mug of steaming coffee and says, smiling at Cash, "You shouldn't talk with your mouth full, Cash. It's not polite."

Rolling his eyes, Cash forks some eggs into his mouth and ignores them, looking around the little room. Ian is slumped over a table in the corner, Travis's arm around his shoulders. Cash has no sympathy for him. He spots Marshall sitting with Jess and the Charlotte Sometimes group, his back to their table, and he doesn't turn around once, no matter how hard Cash concentrates on the back of his head.


It's Ian and Johnson's turns to drive, just over seventeen hours to Colorado Springs, and Cash hops into the van first, yells over his shoulder, "I call Marshall!"

Marshall looks up from his guitar case, fingers tugging at the latches to make sure they're closed tight. Jess and Singer are already climbing into the van and stretching out on the front benches, leaving the back for Cash and Marshall, and Marshall protests, "What? No, come on, guys."

Singer grins at him, all teeth and fluttery eyelashes. "Sorry Marsh, he called you. It's, like, the rules."

Marshall makes a disgusted noise and Cash settles back into the corner while Marshall stows his guitar and gets in the van. As soon as Marshall sits down, Cash slides over until his arm is pressed against Marshall's, half-laying on his side. He leans his head on Marshall's shoulder and stretches his arm across his stomach, feels Marshall tense against his arm.

"Cash, what are you doing."

Making a face, Cash doesn't look up, just snuggles closer and reaches for Marshall's arm, dragging it around his shoulders. "Snuggling, what does it look like."

Marshall pushes half heartedly at the arm banded across his middle. "It looks like you violating my personal space."

Cash looks up this time, grinning, and says, voice pitched low and teasing, "That's not what you were saying last night."

Marshall just rolls his eyes and gives in, scooting down so Cash can rest his head on his shoulder, and pulls a blanket over them.

He breathes a gust of hot air against the zipper of Marshall's jeans and Marshall's fingers tighten in his hair, hips stuttering up against his mouth. He trails a finger along Marshall's inseam, from his knee up, brushes his fingers over the outline of his dick and Marshall groans, "Fuck, Cash."

"Cash. Cash." Cash jerks awake, head bouncing off the inside of the back door, and he blinks his eyes open to see Ian staring down at him over the back of the seat in front of him, mouth twisted into an amused smile. "Hey, buddy, we're stopped for lunch, come on. Let's go eat."

He nods and sits up, scrubs a hand through his hair and waits for the rest of his body to wake up. He's uncomfortably hard and he makes sure Ian isn't looking when he stands up, bent over so his head doesn't hit the roof, and adjusts himself.

The rest of the guys are already seated at a big, round table and Cash slides into the seat next to Johnson, tapping him on the shoulder with a fist and jerking his chin at Singer in acknowledgment. Marshall is seated directly across from him and Cash can't quite meet his eyes, bits and pieces of his dream flashing across the insides of his eyelids, and he shifts in his seat, sliding a foot up onto the chair, heel tucked firmly against his balls to try and distract himself from the ache.

Marshall is playing with the salt and pepper shakers just in the line of his vision, though, long fingers curling and uncurling around the little glass bottles, and Cash is having a hard time concentrating on the menu.

He orders a stack of pancakes and excuses himself to the bathroom, locks himself in the last stall. Bracing a palm flat against the wall, he tugs his pants down around his knees, takes a deep breath, and wraps a hand around his dick.

Teeth set into his bottom lip, he tries really hard not to think about his dream, about Marshall's hands in his hair and his own fingers digging into the tense muscles of Marshall's thigh, thinks instead about the girl from the club in California, about soft blond hair, big brown eyes, and long deft fingers curved around the back of his neck, urging him closer.

Tamping down on a groan, Cash barely hears the door swing open, but the sound of running water fills the room, and then Marshall's voice is is saying, "Cash?"

Cash squeezes his eyes shut, grips the base of his dick and says, voice hoarse, "Yeah, Marsh."

Marshall sighs and Cash's jaw ticks when he says casually, "I hate long rides."

He grits his teeth and forces out, "Me too."

Then, suddenly, Marshall's voice is right behind him on the other side of the door and he says, voice soft, "Hey, Cash."

He can't quite make out the tone of Marshall's voice and he waits a minute before answering. "Yeah?"

He can practically hear Marshall chewing on his lip, not saying anything for a full minute, then Marshall sighs again, barely audible, and says, "I think the food is ready."

Cash can hear a thread of disappointment in Marshall's voice and he nods, says, "I'll be there in a minute."

Marshall doesn't answer, just stands there for a minute and Cash holds his breath, waiting, but Marshall just walks away.

The door swings shut and Cash opens his eyes, then squeezes them shut again, straightens up and carefully pulls up his boxers and his jeans, smoothing his shirt down, and exits the stall.

By the time Cash and Johnson leave with doggy bags of veggie wraps in their hands, the rest of the guys are already in the van and Ian is leaning against the side, smoking. He holds the cigarette out to Cash as he approaches, but Cash just waves it away and climbs into the van.

Marshall is already situated in the back, stretched out on top of one of the sleeping bags, and he smiles at Cash when he sits down. Tucking the bags of food under the bench in front of them, Cash curls up in the corner against a guitar case, tugging a blanket up to his chin, then tucks his chin down against his chest and shuts his eyes. He can feel Marshall's eyes on him as the van rumbles to life and they pull out of the parking lot, but he feigns sleep until Marshall turns away, then snuggles down into the blanket and lets himself drift off.

The show that night is a mess. Sing It Loud and Charlotte Sometimes don't even make it to the venue, stuck some place in Wyoming, and they have to play first to a half-empty venue, because most of the crowd is still waiting to be let in. There are no technical difficulties though, and their set goes off without a hitch. Cash keeps his eyes on his fingers, even when Marshall grabs his guitar and presses himself along Cash's side, noses behind Cash's ear before moving away.

Their set leaves Cash drained and distracted and he goes about putting away their gear silently, avoiding eye contact with the rest of the guys. They have to be in Omaha for a show the next night and Cash just wants a shower and a beer.

Backstage, Singer looks around at them and says, shrugging, "So, I thought that went pretty well?"

Johnson bobs his head in agreement, stretching, and Cash watches the guys from Valencia pass by on their way to the stage. He's thinking about who he can convince to buy him a beer, not paying attention to the rest of his band, and then there's a hand on his chest, pushing him back into the shadows and against the wall.

"Hey, what're you --" Cash looks up at Marshall, hands coming up automatically to settle on his hips, and he stops talking, lets his head fall back against the wall. "Oh. Okay."

"Okay?" Marshall presses in a little closer, slides his hands up the sides of Cash's neck, thumbs on either side of his jaw tipping his head up, and Cash nods, swallowing audibly. "Okay," Marshall says, softer this time, and he looks down at Cash's mouth, hair falling across his forehead and into his eyes, and he leans in, ghosts his lips across Cash's.

Cash's mouth curves up into a smile and he mumbles, "This isn't a hotel night, though, so don't start something you can't finish."

"Don't worry." He can feel Marshall's answering grin against his own and then Marshall is kissing him, touching his tongue to Cash's bottom lip.

Cash pulls him closer and stops worrying.
Current Mood: sleepysleepy
this is me, disarmedclosernow on May 6th, 2008 11:31 am (UTC)
This was truly gorgeous. ♥
baby, i'm a dreamer: the cab/ so lets sing it all night longkeeplistening on May 28th, 2008 02:54 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! ♥
Sunnie: Marshall's hairlikeasunburn on May 6th, 2008 02:49 pm (UTC)
Sigh. I love how you write them, I practically sit on the edge of my chair, waiting to see what's going to happen. That tiny paragraph of Cash's dream? So hot. And I know I've said this before but I love how you write them as such BOYS. ♥
baby, i'm a dreamer: the cab/ cabulous!keeplistening on May 28th, 2008 02:55 am (UTC)
Thank youuuu, I'm so glad you liked it! ♥!!
a team of mavericks!: maaaarshallwithoutmaps on May 6th, 2008 08:50 pm (UTC)
Oh man, I seriously lovelovelove this. I love Cash and Marshall (god, Marshall) and seriously. Your boy voices are so wonderful and omg I love them. And you. <3333
baby, i'm a dreamer: the cab/ shut your fucking face marshallkeeplistening on May 28th, 2008 02:57 am (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
baby, i'm a dreamer: the cab/ shirley temple curlskeeplistening on May 28th, 2008 02:57 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!
Something New: cash too cute for his own goodsiren_mage on May 13th, 2008 05:46 am (UTC)
UGH I WAS AT THAT SHOW IN COLORADO SPRINGS. I missed most of the set but did catch Marshall getting up in Cash's mopey space.

When they weren't around after, I have to say, I was hoping something like that was the reason why. ;D

Love this. Your Cab voices are so dead-on and Cash and Marshall in particular are lovely and boyish and real. Great build-up and Cash's confusion is well-developed and a little heartbreaking but also so true to life. Great job.

baby, i'm a dreamer: the cab/ shut your fucking face marshallkeeplistening on May 28th, 2008 03:00 am (UTC)
Ahaha, I kind of made all of that stuff up. Except for Sing It Loud and Charlotte Sometimes missing the show, I read that part in a concert recap. ;)

I'm so glad you enjoyed the fic, thank you so much for the feedback! :)
is everyone here make-believe?shutyourface on May 14th, 2008 01:17 pm (UTC)
How did I miss this?! I love it! I really like the feel of this. <3<3<3
baby, i'm a dreamer: the cab/ cabulous!keeplistening on May 28th, 2008 03:00 am (UTC)
Thank you, bb! <333
that's c as in catastropheearth_is_a_star on November 7th, 2008 06:28 pm (UTC)
You've got the delicious akward tension down perfectly here! YUM.
baby, i'm a dreamerkeeplistening on November 9th, 2008 04:10 am (UTC)
Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it! :)