Happy twelfth birthday, Billy. Getting shoved down the stairs was a great present, thanks dad!" His voice was cynical, and Slash felt very disturbed. "The reason I can't stand small spaces is due to his little 'repentance closet' that he'd stash me in for hours at a time when he was sick of dealing with me. Usually, there wasn't even any light in there."
"Axl-." Slash started, but was cut off.
"No, this is good, Slash." He said, angrily pacing the room now. "You wanted to share, so that's what we're doing.
"Okay, okay." He said. "We don't have to do this, Axl-"
"No, you wanted to hear it. Here it is." Axl said. "Did you know that I used to wear long sleeves, even in the summer, just to cover up the bruises?" Axl looked down at his arms, covered them with his hands. Slash wrapped his arms around him.
"I'm sorry." He said. Axl was physically trembling, and Slash held him tighter. "Axl, I'm sorry. We're done, okay? It's over." Axl was taking shaky breaths, his mouth clenched in a frown. Slash held him for a few minutes while he calmed down.
"Is that what you wanted to hear?" Axl asked. "And even when I was able to escape, and get out of that fucking house for a while, I still wasn't away from being hounded. I'd love to tell you about all the times I was arrested, thrown in prison like a fucking dog for no fucking reason. How about the time three cops surrounded me, and harassed me just for walking down the street? Let's go into detail about the fucking Lafayette cops."
"Axl, I'm sorry, okay?" Slash said. "I won't bring it up again, I promise."
"But you did bring it up, Slash." Axl said, pulling away from him. "Now you know my sad little story. Poor Bill Bailey and his fucked up childhood."
"Axl, thats not what I-" Slash started, but was cut off again.
"No, it's fine, Slash, really." Axl said. "Now you're 'in', as you put it. You get a bit of a glimpse of something I've been trying for years to bury. Thanks for bringing it all back up." Slash didn't know what to say. He tried to touch Axl's shoulder, but was shrugged away. "You know what? I'm not feeling so tired anymore." He walked out the door. Slash followed him out, but Axl turned around.
"Don't even think about following me, Hudson!" He got into the elevator, and Slash watched, astonished, as the doors closed. Axl had never called him by his real name before. Slash didn't know what to think. He was left in the hallway, gazing at nothing but the silver doors of the elevator.
He went back to the room and sat on the bed. Great, he thought, Axl's not even back for five hours, and they were already fighting. He put his head in his hands and lay back. What the fuck was he supposed to do, he wondered. Axl's mood swings were really starting to wear on him. He knew he'd sit there and take it, simply because it meant being with Axl. And not being with Axl.....he couldn't even comprehend that possible reality anymore. So he sat and waited.....and waited.....and waited.
He looked at the clock for the thousandth time that night. Four hours. Four hours had gone by, and nothing. He'd paced, sat, lay down, and had even played himself five games of solitaire with the playing cards Axl had brought with him. Finally he got up. He was tired and pissed. He didn't want to sleep, and he didn't want to stay in the hotel anymore. Grabbing his jacket, he headed out. He had no clue as to where Axl had gone, and he wasn't intending to find him.
All that he had wanted was to have a conversation with him. Simply state what he'd been worrying profusely about for the past few weeks, and Axl had gone off on him as usual. Granted, he knew getting into it that Axl never talked about his past. But that was no reason to.....to what? Slash knew he should've handled it better, or not brought it up at all. Or, he should've completely ignored his dreams, and just dealt with them inwardly. He punched the elevator door as he walked out.
"Dammit!!" He shouted. "Dammit dammit!" He hated this. Blaming himself for something that clearly wasn't his fault was something that he'd been doing more and more often. It wasn't fair that Axl should be let off so easily. He wondered if Axl ever felt pains in his stomach when they were separated. Wondered, not for the first time, if he meant as much to Axl as Axl meant to him. Everything he did revolved around Axl. It wasn't fair. He remembered the anger he'd seen in Axl's eyes when he'd stormed out. "Fuck it." He said, hailing a taxi as he stepped into the cool night air. "Fuck it all." Making up his mind, he told the driver to head in an Eastern direction.
He found Steve, Duff and Izzy at one of the bars they had frequented over the past couple of weeks.
"Yo, Slasher!" Steve said when he saw him. "You changed your mind."
"Damn straight, I did." Slash said. He ordered a bottle of vodka, and sat down.
"Where's Axe?" Duff asked. Slash just shrugged. Duff looked confused, but Slash wasn't about to explain. He sat and cradled his bottle for the next half hour, accompanying it with shots of scotch. There were quite a few people with them at the bar, an assortment of roadies, crew members, and hangers-on, that soon the place was full. Someone had a house nearby, so they decided to move the party there. It was loud, cloudy, and the alcohol and drugs ran rampant. Slash allowed himself a free run of whatever he could get his hands on. He'd taken some pills from Steve, not even bothering to look what they were, and downed them with his now almost empty bottle of vodka. He stumbled into a room where he found a few people doing lines, and gave in. He didn't know how much coke he'd done, or even how many pills he'd taken. After almost two hours of being there, he wasn't even aware of himself anymore. The last thing he remembered was Duff grabbing his shirt, and pulling him into the bathroom.
The next thing he was aware of was a slow and steady beeping. He slowly opened his eyes, but closed them quickly again. The room was bright white. He also noticed the smell. It was too.....clean, he thought, like disinfectant. Trying a second time, he got his eyes halfway open, but kept them squinted. He tried to swallow to alleviate his dry throat, but immediately gagged as he felt like he was swallowing fire. Looking around, he discovered he was in a hospital bed, hooked up to different beeping machines. He raised his hand to rub his eyes, and saw an IV connected to it. He groaned, feeling the fire in his throat again. Something near his leg moved, startling him. He looked down, and saw Axl slumped on a chair, his sleeping head right beside Slash's hip. Slash rubbed his eyes again, making sure he was really seeing Axl there. He was, to Slash's great relief. Still feeling a bit disoriented, he tried sitting up. His head swam, and he quickly lay back down. The motion woke up Axl, who immediately sat up, and looked at Slash with desperation.
"Oh!" He gasped, noticing he was awake. "Oh, god, Slash!" He was beside him in an instant. Slash looked at him closely, noticing the dark circles under his red puffy eyes.
"What-?" Slash was able to choke out.
"You're in the hospital." Axl answered his unspo