"Slash!" Axl screamed from the bedroom. "Get your fucking snake out of here!" Slash laughed, and walked into the room where Axl was standing on the bed, pointing at Clyde, Slash's favorite pet snake.
"Oh, he just wants to make friends." Slash said, lifting Clyde from the floor. He nuzzled his head against his nose. "Doncha, boy? Yeah, you just wanna make friends." He placed him gently back in the tank and put the brick over the top. He had meant to fix the top, but just kept forgetting. Clyde escaped every once in a while, a sure way to get Axl worked up.
"Just keep that thing away from me, Slash. I'm serious. Last time, he tried to bite me." Axl stared warily back at the lounging snake. Slash just laughed.
"He can't bite, hon. He's not even poisonous." Slash said, staring up at Axl, who just rolled his eyes.
"Yeah, right. He tried to bite my fuckin' head off the other day, remember?" Axl said, which made Slash laugh even harder. Axl had never liked snakes, but he put up with them for Slash's sake. And when Slash got kicked out of his apartment, he'd had nowhere else to stash his beloved pet.
"Have I thanked you for taking him in?" Slash asked, smiling at the still-shaking Axl.
"Maybe....." Axl said. "I don't remember." Slash wrapped his arms around Axl, pulling him close.
"Well, I'll just have to do it now." He said. Axl smiled down at him. Slash pulled Axl's legs out from beneath him, making him fall to the bed. He jumped on top of him, pinning his wrists down. Axl didn't put up a fight.
"Thankyou." Slash said, kissing his forehead. "For taking," He kissed his cheek. "My poor," He kissed his nose. "Homeless," He kissed his other cheek. "Buddy Clyde..." Their lips met, and Axl moaned. It never failed to amaze Slash how the smallest things that Axl did could turn him on so much. His moans, the way he ran his fingers through his hair, and the raw animal growl that he saved only for performances and Slash.
Axl moved down a few inches to get more comfortable, as Slash slid his hands underneath his shirt. Axl arched his back as Slash peeled the piece of clothing off. His hands worked their way down his back, as Axl's worked their way through Slash's pants zipper. Slash pulled back, looking into Axl's eyes. Axl could moan, and growl all he wanted, but nothing....absolutely nothing worked on Slash better than staring into those eyes. He could read everything there was to know about Axl through his eyes. His moods, his desires...He even knew what color to be aware of when Axl got into one of his dark periods. Which was happening more often than not, these days. Slash just chalked it up to the added stress of completing their album.
"Uhh..." Axl moaned again as Slash crashed into him again. He slipped his hands down Axl's pants, but was restricted by his belt, which Slash unbuckled. He made his way from Axl's mouth to his neck, and down his torso. Axl licked his lips, and grazed his hands through Slash's hair. Just as Slash was about to free Axl of his boxers, there was knock at the front door.
"Yo!" They heard Izzy call. "Anyone home?" Axl looked at Slash, eyes wide.
They still hadn't told anyone about their relationship, which had been going on for months now. No one suspected anything, despite some pretty bad mishaps on their part. One time, during a particularly heated make-out session, Duff walked in carrying a huge speaker. If the speaker hadn't been covering his face, he would've seen Axl diving behind his couch grabbing his shirt. Or another time when they'd been at a party at Steve's new place, in one of the back bedrooms, Izzy had walked in. Axl had heard him coming just in time, and shoved Slash to the floor. He'd told Izzy that Slash was drunk and had fallen over. And, try as he might, Slash couldn't help but eye-hump Axl during their shows. The hotter Axl danced, the better Slash played. Slash watched Axl's every move, until it was like he was in a trance. Paradise City was one of his favorites to play, letting the crowd and the band believe that his guitar solo was climaxing because it was just part of the song. The sex was never better than after their shows.
Slash got up, throwing Axl his clothes. It was a good thing that Axl had a place of his own, because they finally had a little privacy. He went to the door to let Izzy in.
"Hey, man." He greeted him. "Whats goin' on?" Izzy sat on the couch.
"Uh, you got any beer, Axe?" He asked as Axl walked out. Axl went to the kitchen.
"They want us to tour soon." He said, taking the beer when Axl returned.
"Yeah, we know." Axl said. "They called me a couple days ago."
"Well, the albums gonna come out, the LP's already selling well." Izzy continued. "I just don't know, man..." Slash sat next to him, Axl took the chair. "I don't know if we can handle it."
"What are you talking about, Iz?" Slash asked. "We've been dying to start this tour. I'm so stoked, my bags are already packed."
"I know, I'm stoked, too." Izzy continued. "It's just....you know. This is our first real tour. This could make or break us. We're already the biggest band in L.A. I don't know how big we're gonna be out there.." He indicated outside. Axl just sighed.
"Big fish, little pond, Iz." He said. "I don't wanna be stuck in L.A. I wanna be out there, all over the fuckin' world."
"Maybe..." Izzy said. "I just hope this doesn't prove to be our undoing."
"I think we're stronger than that." Axl said. "The world's not gonna kick our ass, we're gonna kick it's ass." He punched Izzy in the shoulder. "Don't be such a downer. Open your mouth and say 'ah'. Taste what the world's gotta offer." Izzy laughed. He downed the rest of his beer and stood up.
"I hope you're right, man. Anyway, the real reason I came over here was to give you this." He took out a folded sheet of paper from his back pocket, and tossed it on the coffee table. "It's the list of cities that we're gonna be touring." He walked to the door, and looked back. "Hey, Axe....we're goin' home man." And with that, he left.
"What's that mean?" Slash asked. Axl just shrugged, and picked up the list of cities. Slash watched as his eyes scanned the paper. They stopped halfway down, and darkened. His eyebrows came together, and he put the paper down. Slash picked it up, and read. A few major cities, nothing too surprising. Then he noticed they would be going to Indianapolis. Less than a hundred miles from Axl's hometown of Lafayette. Slash looked back up at him. He was shaking his head slowly.
"Doesn't mean I have to see them." He mumbled to himself. Axl had never gone into any real detail about his family. He talked about his friends, and stuff that had happened to him growing up, but no specifics. He'd heard some things here and there from Izzy, enough to know that Axl had'nt had the easiest of childhoods. He'd never pushed Axl for information, but rather let him offer it up freely, which he rarely did. The only things Slash knew for certain was that Axl was not on good terms with his parents. In fact, Slash didn't think he'd ever seen Axl even call them. He walked around the coffee table, and put his arm around Axl.
"Hey..." He said. "It's gonna be a fun tour. Like you said, open your mouth and say 'ah'." Axl didn't seem to have heard him. His eyes still clouded in a misty green. That was a color of concern for Slash. It meant bad times ahead....
"Where the fuck is my microphone?!" Axl yelled from centerstage. "How am I supposed to sing with no fucking mic?" They were onstage for soundcheck in the theater in Chicago. Slash watched Axl prowl around the stage, like a caged animal. They were almost a month into touring, and so far it had gone pretty well. There had been some minor slip-ups, but nothing major. Slash's main concern was always for Axl. He knew that these days the singer was just a small degree away from total meltdown. And the closer they got to Indiana, the worse it got. Slash would be on full Axl-watch for the next forty-eight hours, seeing as how Indiana was their next destination. Just get through the next two shows, and everything will be alright.....just survive....Slash kept thinking over and over. He heard a crash, and looked over. Steven was standing over his drumset, attempting to retrieve the high-hat he'd just knocked over.
"Sorry, dudes." He said. Slash knew he was drunk. These days, Steve was always drunk, but he wasn't one to judge.
"Get your ass together, Steve." Axl said. "You think this is a joke?" Steve just smiled at him.
"No, but I got a good one for you..." Steve said. "A priest and a rabbi walk into a bar, and.." He flipped Axl off. "There, how'd you like it? Funny, huh?" Axl started walking toward him, which Slash took as his cue to interject. He stepped in front of Axl, grabbing his shoulder.
"C'mon, Axe. Not today, huh?" He pleaded. "We're all tired and stressed out. Let's not make it any worse, okay?" Axl didn't look at him, but continued glaring at Steve, who by now had drifted into a daydream. Duff and Izzy were talking, their backs to Slash and Axl.
"He pisses me off so much." Axl said. "This whole fuckin' tour, man..." Slash stroked his arm. He leaned his head in, nudging Axl's cheek with his nose.
"Let's just get this practice over with, and we can hang later. Just you and me?" Slash whispered in his ear. He felt Axl relax as some of the tension left him. He looked at Slash, giving a hesitant smile.
"Yeah." He said. "Okay." Slash smiled into his hair, and stepped away quickly. He slung his guitar over his head, walked over to Steve, and banged his hand against the cymbal.
"Let's practice, ladies!" He called to them. It went surprisingly well, and they finished early, giving them a couple of hours before they were due to go on again.
Slash met Axl backstage after the others had left. He grabbed his hand, intertwining his fingers through Axl's. Axl looked over Slash's shoulder, making sure no one was around, and kissed him hard on the mouth. Slash savored it, as he did all of his alone time with Axl. Sitting for hours at a time on a bus with four other smelly guys gave them rare time to spend alone. Slash ran his fingers through Axl's hair, resting them on his back. He pulled Axl closer.
"Let's go back to the hotel." Axl whispered. Slash needed no second bidding. They took the rental car Geffen had given them. Axl tackled Slash the minute they stepped into their room. They were on the bed, half naked in less than twenty seconds. Axl dug into Slash, grinding against him. Slash craved Axl with such an intensity that it scared him sometimes. He had an inexplicable urge to be near him, wherever he was. Even their stage show had changed because of it. Slash found himself more and more often following Axl during performances. Wherever Axl was, Slash wasn't far behind.
"Uh, fuckin' zipper..." Axl was having trouble unzipping his jeans. Slash pushed his hand away, and replaced it with his teeth. He gripped Axl's hips, pulling them toward him. It had been a while since they'd been alone like this, and they were gonna take it to it's fullest advantage. Axl sat up, propped on top of Slash, and discarded his pants. He looked down at him, his hair falling in his face, and smiled.
"Fuck, your sexy." Slash moaned. Axl's smile widened, and he fell onto Slash. Their lips crashed together as Axl gripped Slash by his neck. For the next few minutes it was nothing but lips, tongues, and writhing limbs as they both fought to take control. Slash was finally on top, his mouth working it's way down Axl's stomach when the phone rang.
"Fuuuuuck!" Slash said. Axl looked at it. "Let it ring, the fucker's can wait!" Slash said. Axl bit his lip as it rang twice.... three times....four times....five times....
"Dammit!" Axl picked it up. "Hello?" He listened for a second, then sat up. Slash was immediately aware of his mood shift. Axl's eyes clouded, and he leaned forward. "Hello." He said. His voice lacked all emotion. Slash sat behind him, listening to the one-sided conversation. "How'd you get this number?.....oh.......yeah, I guess.......uh huh...........ok, mom." Slash stiffened. Axl was talking to his mother? Slash had never heard him talk to either of his parents. "Um.....ok....." Axl continued. "Put him on." Axl pulled the bedsheet around his shoulders, and swallowed. Slash was startled by this reaction....Axl seemed almost nervous....scared, even.
"Hello, sir." Axl said with, if possible, even less emotion. "I'm well. How have you all been?........Good...........Yes......" His eyebrows came together, and his grip on the receiver tightened. "Not if it's too much trouble.........I guess I can see if I can......alright. Yes, sir. Goodbye." He sat for a second, holding the phone, then hung it up. He didn't say anything, just sat there. Slash moved in front of him, and brushed his hair out of his face.
"What was that about?" He asked. Axl got up, and began putting his clothes back on. "Axe?" Slash asked.
"Parents are coming to see the show tomorrow. Driving down from Lafayette...." He pulled his shoes and socks on. Still not looking at Slash, he sat on the bed.
"You don't want them there?" Slash asked. Axl shrugged his shoulders.
"Don't know...." He said. "Haven't really spoken to them in a while." He got up, walking to the door.
"Where are you going?" Slash asked anxiously, following him.
"For a walk, or something." Axl said. "I gotta get out of here...." He was getting that nervous twitchy look that meant claustrophobia. Slash had only dealt with it on two occasions before, but had learned that Axl had a severe case. Once when Axl had accidentally been locked in Vicky's apartment closet. It had a broken latch, and could only be opened from the outside. Axl had freaked out, banged on the door, and screamed for fifteen minutes until Slash had come in. He'd held him for almost an hour, until Axl finally calmed down. The other time, they had been backstage at a show, and as a joke, the band before them had grabbed Axl from the bathroom and shoved him into the custodian closet. Guns had taken the stage, minus a singer. It had taken Slash over two hours to find him. When he finally did, Axl was sitting on the floor, his hands wrapped around his knees, rocking back and forth. When Slash had knelt down to get him, Axl's eyes went wide, and he started punching at Slash as if he didn't even recognize him. For that reason, he didn't stop Axl now from leaving the hotel room. Slash threw his clothes on and followed.
"Axe!" He called after him, catching him as the elevator doors closed. Axl closed his eyes, and took deep breaths as they descended. Slash grabbed his hand, holding it close to his chest. Axl didn't do well in elevators.
"I didn't ask him to come." Axl said through gritted teeth. "He offered." The doors opened, and Axl hurried out. Slash followed him outside.
"What are you talking about? Was that your dad on the phone?" Slash asked, trying to decipher Axl's expression. He continued to stalk down the street. "Axl, talk to me."
"He doesn't have to come if he doesn't want to!" Axl said. Slash grabbed his arm, forcing Axl to look at him. Axl sighed, and took a breath. "Yeah, it was my father. My mom apparently got the number to the hotel we're staying at from Izzy's mom. She wanted to know why I never call.....as if she doesn't know. They know we're playing Indianapolis tomorrow. My father said 'suppose you're expecting us to come down'. Like, it's their fucking obligation. I don't give a fuck what he wants to do. He told me to get him tickets, and backstage....all that shit." Axl continued walking. Slash had never dealt with Axl's parent issues before. He was treading new water, and had to be careful.
"Do you want them there?" He asked. Axl swung around, looking intense.
"I don't care." He said. "I left that place, and them...." He mumbled something incoherently. Without warning, he ran into the street, stopping a taxi. He jumped in before Slash could follow, and drove away.
"Axl!" Slash called. He didn't know what to do. Usually when dealing with a new Axl problem, he had at least some idea as to how to handle it. Axl would at least help him, usually. He was left standing on the sidewalk, feeling completely powerless.
Axl didn't show up again until right before they were due on stage. He came out a different entrance than the rest of the band, so Slash couldn't even talk to him. He had to settle for the confusing and often misinterpreted version of assessing Axl's mood from his performance. He seemed angrier than usual, but Slash already knew that. He talked a bit before Mr. Brownstone.....but he always did that, too. Slash was frustrated, and had to wait until after the show to talk to him. He tried to get his attention throughout the entire performance, but Axl wasn't having it. He left the stage, not bothering to do an encore.
They packed up, and were on the bus in less than an hour. Slash found Axl in his bunk, the curtain pulled closed. He shut the door, separating the sleeping area from the rest of the bus. Opening the curtain, he nudged Axl's cheek with his nose.
"Hey, you." He said. Axl just turned his head away. "What's goin' on with you, huh?" Axl held his hand out, and Slash filled it with his own. He pulled it to his mouth, holding Slash's fingers against his lips for a few seconds.
"Sorry I'm being so pissy." He said. Slash moved closer, putting his arm around Axl.
"Hey, I love your pissyness." Slash comforted him. "It just means that I get the chance to make you feel better." Axl smiled. Slash kissed his forehead.
"I think I'm just gonna crash." Axl said after a minute.
"Okay." Slash said. "We'll talk tomorrow?" Axl nodded, and rolled over. Slash pulled the curtain closed, and left. He joined the other's in a game of poker, his mind still on the sleeping singer.
Later that night, Slash was awoken by a tapping on his arm. He was on the top bunk, so all he saw was Axl's head in front of him. He could hear his other bandmates snoring in their respective bunks. Without a word, Slash scooted over, making room for Axl to climb up and lay next to him. He pulled the curtain closed behind him, and cuddled with Axl. A few minutes later, he heard Axl's light snoring, and was himself asleep not too long after.
The next day, Axl was at the venue before everyone else, making sure that he could get a couple of extra backstage passes for his parents. Slash followed him around for a while, then went to the stage to practice. Duff was there, and he and Slash hung out for a while, jamming and talking. Izzy and Steve showed up after that, and they all chilled. There wasn't much to do before the show, so they all found a bar. Axl didn't accompany them, but Slash wasn't too worried. He seemed to have relaxed somewhat.
Later, Slash found Axl backstage, bustling around. He was cleaning up the many bottles and cigarette butts that were covering the floor. Slash walked over to him.
"Hey, what's up, Axe?" He asked.
"Nothing." Axl replied, obviously distracted.
"You know, they probably have someone that does this kind of thing." Slash said, and held Axl's arm. "You need to relax, okay? It's no good getting worked up like this." Axl looked at him.
"I haven't seen them in a while." He said. Slash stroked his hair.
"It's gonna be fine, okay?" He said. "I'll be here, right here with you." Axl smiled, and put his arms around Slash. He brushed his lips against Slash's neck.
"They're not here yet. We go on in less than fifteen minutes." Axl said.
"They'll be here." Slash said. "They said they were coming, didn't they?" Axl nodded. "Okay, so it'll be fine."
It wasn't fine, though. Fifteen minutes later, they still hadn't come, and Guns was due to go on. Axl delayed his entrance for as long as he could until the crowd started to get restless.
"Axe, we gotta go." Slash said. Axl was staring at the door. Finally he turned around and headed for the stage. He did the show, not putting a whole lot of energy into it. Slash and Duff ran around the stage, making up for Axl's apparent lack of interest. Afterward, Slash followed as Axl headed backstage. His parents had not shown.
"I'm gonna go for a drive." Axl said, not looking at Slash. He headed for the door.
"You're not going anywhere without me." Slash said. He hopped in the car as Axl turned it on.
"You don't have to come." Axl said. "Go hang out with the others, have fun." Slash grabbed Axl's hand, and glared at him. Axl gazed back, and shrugged. "Okay, suit yourself." The back door was suddenly pulled open by Steve.
"What, Steven?" Axl said.
"In case you didn't know, Axl, this car is supposed to be for all of us." Steve said. "You can't keep taking it and not even tell us where you're going."
"Fine, get in." Axl said. Steve hopped in, calling to Duff and Izzy. Soon the whole band was driving down the road. Slash kept looking at Axl, but the he just stared straight ahead.
"Turn some fuckin' music on, bitches." Steve said. Axl punched the button, and the radio came on. Duff, Izzy, and Steve were in the back seat, talking and joking around when Axl suddenly pulled the car around, and headed the opposite way. He pulled onto the highway.
"Where are we going?" Izzy asked.
"Lafayette." Axl answered.
"Whoo hoo, road trip!" Steve said. Izzy looked at Slash, worried.
"Why are we going to Lafayette, Axl?" Izzy asked.
"Gotta see my parents." Axl simply said. Slash put his hand on Axl's, who moved it away. "I'm doing this." He looked at Slash. His eyes were greenish-blue, clouded, and his face was set in a frown. Slash nodded.
"I don't wanna go home, Axl. I hate that place just as much as you do." Izzy said. Axl didn't answer, but kept driving. Izzy rolled his eyes, and sat back. Steve and Duff started a game of twenty questions not long after that.
"Is it a book?" Duff guessed after a few questions.
"You know Steve doesn't read." Izzy said. Duff laughed, and Steve punched Izzy. They settled into a conversation debating about different bands.
"Okay, Faster's great, no one's denying it, but Hanoi's got a better sound." Steve said.
"I'll give you a sound." Duff said. He waited a second. "Okay, maybe it didn't have a sound after all...." They looked at him.
"Oh, gross, man!" Izzy said, opening the window. Duff just laughed. That was basically how it went for the next hour until they drove into Lafayette. Izzy was looking around.
"I so don't want to be here." He commented. They kept driving until Axl pulled onto a small street. He stopped in front of what Slash assumed was his parents house.
"Okay, you've had your fun, man." Izzy said. "Let's get the hell out of here....shit!" They all looked up and saw a woman coming out of the house. She noticed them, and walked over.
"Bill?" She asked, looking at Axl. "Is that you? And Jeffery." She said, noticing Izzy. "Well, you might as well come in." They all got out of the car.
"Uh, as much as I'd love to chat, I think I'm gonna go...." Izzy said. He grabbed the keys from Axl, who just stood there looking at his mother. "Guys?" Izzy said to them. Duff and Steve hopped back in the car.
"Where can we find a bar around here, Iz?" Steve asked. They drove off, leaving Slash and Axl standing on the front lawn.
"Why didn't you come tonight?" Axl asked.
"Don't start with me, Bill. I've had a very stressful evening." She said. Slash looked at Axl, and back to his mother.
"Well, come in. Your father's in there. I'm sure he'd like to see you." She said. Not waiting for them to follow, she headed back into the house. The first thing Slash was aware of was the awful gospel music filtering through the living room. He'd never liked that kind of music. Axl's face scrunched up.
"Haven't heard this music in forever." He whispered.
"Stephen, Bill's here." Axl's mom called. Stephen Bailey walked out. He was shorter than Slash had thought he'd be. Axl backed up a few steps, an unconscious move that Slash was sure he wasn't aware of.
"Hello, William. What brings you here?" Mr. Bailey said. Axl blinked, and looked around.
"I just wanted to know why you guys didn't come to the show?" He said. Slash was thrown completely off guard by Axl's tone and stance. This was the guy who had gotten into fights at bars with guys twice his size, and never backed down. Axl wasn't afraid of anything, or so Slash had thought. He didn't like the fact that someone could cause this reaction in Axl. He felt instantly protective.
"You said you'd come see us play, and you didn't" Slash said. "Why is that?"
"Who are you, who is this guy, Sharon?" Mr. Bailey said. Mrs. Bailey just shrugged.
"I'm the guitarist in your sons band." Slash answered. "You'd know that if you had kept your word."
"I'll have you know, young man that-"
"Don't 'young man' me." Slash interrupted. "Just talk to your son." He left the house, and stood on the porch. If he'd stayed any longer he was afraid that he might punch that guy in the face. He honeslty hoped that Axl would...
He was on the porch for less than ten minutes when he heard shouting. He went back inside, and walked into the living room.
"Not my fault you're such a screw-up!" Mr. Bailey was saying. "You should've finished school, made something out of yourself."
"I hated this place, in case you didn't know!" Axl said. "All of your crazy rules...."
"Get the hell out of my house, boy!" Mr. Bailey said. "I threw you out once, and I'll do it again right now." He walked toward Axl, but Slash stood in front of him.
"If you want to touch him, you better be prepared to loose your teeth." He said. Slash was too close to loosing it with this man. He grabbed Axl by the wrist and pulled him out the door.
"Slash." Axl said. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have dragged you up here." Slash walked down the street, fuming.
"Why didn't you tell me that guy was such an asshole?" He asked.
"I don't even know why I came." Axl said. "What did I expect, anyway? I don't know..." He sighed.
"Hey, you shouldn't have to answer to them." Slash said.
"Thankyou, by the way." Axl said. "For what you did. I know my father can be a real ass." Slash smiled at him. They continued walking for a while.
"Where do think Izzy went?" Slash asked.
"The only bar he ever went to." Axl said. "It's not far from here." They turned onto another street. They walked for another ten minutes, and were stopped by a police cruiser.
"Oh, hell." Axl said. "You've gotta be kidding me." The officer stepped out of the car, and shined his flashlight at them.
"Well well well....if it isn't Bill Bailey." He said. "I thought I recognized that cocky strut." Axl just stared at him. "Maybe you don't remember me, boy, but you busted in the window of my cruiser a few years back."
"No, I remember." Axl said. "I also remember that it was my friend who did it, and not me. But, you arrested me anyway." The officer chuckled.
"Well, I'm sure you weren't all that innocent in the matter." He said. "So, why are you back here? I thought we scared you away years ago." Axl glowered at him.
"Guess I'm feeling nostalgic." Axl said.
"Oh, is that right?" The officer continued. "Maybe you wanna see how we reconstructed your favorite cell."
"Is there a reason your standing here?" Axl asked. "What did we do?"
"I'm not sure yet, but I'm sure it's something." He said.
"Well, when you figure it out, come and find me." Axl started walking away.
"Whose your friend?" The officer asked, stepping in front of Slash.
"Hello, officer." Slash said, putting on his favorite 'cop character'. Having dealt with the L.A.P.D. on a regular basis, Slash had developed a character for himself when dealing with cops who were just looking for a reason to arrest you. "Lovely night tonight, don't you think?" Axl tried to hide a smile. "Boy I sure hope the weather's like this tomorrow. I've got a job interview over at the Stop 'n' Shop. They're lookin' for new bag boys. You ever been to the Stop 'n' Shop?"
"Uh-" The officer looked at him.
"It's a mighty swell place. My old mama used to go there and do all her shopping. They got a swell price on a dozen eggs, if you're lookin' to save some cash." Axl turned his head away, unable to hold his expression any longer. "Say, how's about I tell you what? I'll give you a dozen eggs free the next time you come into the Stop 'n' Shop? I'm sure they won't mind, you being an officer of the law and all." The officer just stared at him.
"Okay.....Bailey, take your nutty friend and get the hell out of here." He said. They watched the officer drive away, and Axl cracked up.
"Oh my god, that never gets old." He said. "He probably thought you really were crazy, because there's no store here called the Stop 'n' Shop." They laughed and joked on their way to the bar. Slash looked at Axl.
"Are you okay?" He asked. Axl's smile faded.
"Yeah." He said. "I really don't know why I expected anything different. I left this place to get away from them...from everyone. I've never gotten along with my parents. Especially my dad. But, hey, no one has a perfect relationship with their parents." He smiled. "I'm really glad you came, did I tell you that yet?" Slash smiled back at him.
They found the bar, and saw the car in the parking lot. Everyone was already drunk, so Slash sat next to Izzy at the bar and ordered a beer. Axl went to hang out with Duff and Steve by the pool table.
"So, did he hit him?" Izzy asked.
"No, but I almost did." Slash said.
"What?" Izzy looked up, confused. "No, I mean Mr. Bailey. Did he hit Axl?" Slash frowned.
"Why would he hit Axl?" He asked.
"I don't know, it's just what he does...used to do." Izzy said. His head was nodding in a drunken daze.
"He used to hit him?" Slash asked. Axl never talked about his father....The way he backed away from him unconsciously.....Axl's dead tone of voice when he spoke to him over the phone.....Slash had no clue as to why Axl was so afraid of his father. This started to make sense.
"He'd come to school with bruises." Izzy continued. "Billy's banged up again...that's what the kids used to say." He rested his head on the bar top. "I didn't want to see that psycho. Came here instead. You know he has a room in his basement, like a little closet thing? Used to make Axe sit in there for hours....just make him read the bible and shit. Fuckin' psycho...Axl had a gash on his forehead once....said he'd fallen out of bed. I knew the truth." Izzy turned his head over, too drunk to continue.
"I didn't know..." Slash whispered. He looked over at Axl, who was playing pool with Duff and Steve. He looked up, and smiled at Slash, who smiled back. Axl's problems went a helluva lot deeper than Slash had thought....
The drive back went quickly. Duff, Iz, and Steve were passed out in the back, and Slash sat with Axl up front.
"Okay, why do you keep looking at me?" Axl whispered. Slash just took Axl's free hand, and held it against his chest.
"You know I love you, right?" Slash said. Axl looked at him. "And I'm not going anywhere, okay?"
"What's going on?" Axl said. Slash just shook his head.
"Nothing." He said. "I just need you to know that. Wherever you go, I'll never be far behind." Axl put his hand against Slash's cheek.
"I do know that." He said. "You are the best thing in my life. I wake up every day grateful to have you." Slash slid closer, and put his head on Axl's chest. He could hear his heartbeat, and felt so lucky. Whatever problems Axl had, Slash knew that nothing could ever diminish his love for him. He settled against Axl, and watched the sky as they made their way back....
The next few weeks passed pretty quietly. They finished their tour, and had a month off before they were due to fly over to Europe. Axl dropped his bags on the floor when he walked into his house. Slash went to the bedroom to make sure Clyde was alright. He'd asked a friend to feed him while they were away.
"That nasty reptile still alive?" Axl called.
"Alive and hoppin'." Slash said. Axl followed him back.
"Please don't put an image into my head of a snake jumping." Axl shivered. "It's bad enough the way they slither around." Slash just pecked him on the cheek, and headed toward the kitchen.
"You hungry?" He asked. Axl called an affirmative, and Slash grabbed some eggs from the fridge. He noticed a few pieces of paper with writing on them next to the phone. The friend had also taken phone messages. Slash picked them up, reading through the first few.
"Tommy's gonna be in town....Nevermind, this was dated a month ago." Slash said. Axl came out, and Slash went back to his eggs. Axl read the rest of the messages, and threw them in the trash.
"Nothing important?" Slash asked. Axl shook his head, and went to the living room.
That night, the band came over with their assorted rabble of friends and girlfriends. Axl had wisely made sure to put the television and sterio in the closets, since those things were usually the first to be broken at these types of get togethers. There was plenty of booze and drugs going around, and Slash didn't restrict himself from partaking. He knew Axl didn't do hard drugs, or drink all that much. But Slash had more than gladly given up a lot of things when he'd began taking their relationship more seriously. He found Axl's company infinitely more important and satisfying than being stoned or drunk all the time. But, it was a party, after all...
About two hours in, the cops unsurprisingly showed up to tell them to keep the noise down. Having dealt with Guns parties before, they sensibly left after a few warnings. Slash was in the middle of drinking Steve under the table when he saw Axl saunter by, accompanied by a very pretty little stripper friend. He watched through blurred vision as they headed for the bedroom.
"Hey, where you goin', man?" Steve asked as Slash got up to follow them. He opened the door just as the girl was taking off her shirt.
"What the fuck?" He said, incredulous. Axl was seriously doing this, right under his nose, thinking he could get away with it? Slash couldn't believe it. "Axl, what the fuck are you doing?"
"Oh, hey Slashy." The girl said. Axl was holding a shirt of his, and the girl took it. "Just spilled shit all over my fuckin' shirt. I'm such a klutz." She laughed. She put Axl's shirt on, and kissed his cheek. "Thanks, doll." Still laughing, she left.
"What the hell did you think was going on?" Axl asked, closing the door and locking it behind Slash. The noise of the party faded somewhat, and Slash was aware of the look in Axl's eyes. "Slash?"
"I, guess I just thought....I don't know. I mean, you came back here alone, and..." Slash was no longer sure what he was thinking.
"And what? You think I wanted to fuck her?" Axl asked. "I don't fucking believe you, man. How could you think that?"
"I don't know....I mean, you don't ever miss it?" Slash asked. "You know, being with a chick?"
"I don't miss anything, Slash." Axl said. He grabbed Slash's head, holding his face between his hands. "I have you. How could I miss anything that isn't this?" He held onto Slash, who couldn't break his gaze away.
"I'm sorry." He whispered. "I just thought..."
"Well, stop thinking." Axl said. "You're it for me, babe. You've ruined me for anyone else, you know that?" Slash smiled. Axl placed his mouth over Slash's. Slash could taste the booze on Axl, and was glad he hadn't been the only one drinking. They moved to the bed, and Slash fell on Axl. They were both aware that this probably wasn't the best time to do this. There were at least eighty people running through the house, but neither one of them wanted to be the first to stop.
Slash was wearing his leather pants, which were becoming increasingly uncomfortable and restricting. He pulled them off, as Axl pulled his shirt off. Slash yanked Axl's pants down, his eagerness getting the better of him. Axl sat up, and pulled Slash on top of him. They twisted and rolled over eachother until the blanket was so knotted up between them they had no choice but to stop, and discard it. Slash bit Axl's shoulder. He moved down Axl's torso, lingering on his stomach while his hands moved up his legs.
"Just do it already." Axl groaned. Slash smiled, and obliged. He took Axl in his mouth, drawing a long suppressed moan from the singer. He loved pleasing Axl this way, knowing that he was the only one who could. No one else could make Axl produce the noises Slash could bring out of him. The only thing that even came close was the sounds he made while on stage. More than once at a show, Slash had been immensely grateful that he had a guitar covering certain parts of his anatomy. They continued on, Axl pulling at Slash until he let him on top.
Half an hour later, they returned to the party, both out of breath. Slash let Axl go first, waiting a few minutes before following.
"Dude, where've you been?" Duff asked, coming down the hall. "Stevie's gotten into a fight....again!"
"Oh, I uh-" Slash started.
"How did you miss that, it was fuckin' priceless!" Duff was cracking up, and pointed Slash in the direction of the kitchen where he found Steve on the floor, surrounded by girls. His nose and mouth were bleeding, but there was a distinct smile underneath the blood.
"Oh, does it hurt, Stevie?" One of the girls asked. "Let me get you a wet towel." Another one said.
"I'm okay, ladies, really." He said. "But, I could use another beer." Four girls ran off in four different directions. Slash picked him up, and Steve gave him the thumbs-up.
"Great party, dudes!" He said. "Time of my fuckin' life." He walked off, leaving Slash shaking his head. Steve, party, fight...they all seemed to go hand-in-hand. After that, things started to wind down. The last person left around four a.m. Slash dragged himself back to where Axl had crashed on his bed a few hours before. He lay down next to him, not bothering to change out of his sweaty beer-stained clothes.
It seemed he had only been asleep a few seconds when he was awoken by a voice next to him. Opening his eyes, he saw Axl trembling. He was muttering something, still obviously asleep. Slash wasn't sure whether to try and wake him up or not.
"Not you..." He murmured. "Can't let you in...Stop!..." He started whimpering. Slash decided to wake him, but right as he touched his shoulder, Axl screamed. His entire body started seizing, and he fell on the floor. Slash dove after him, terrified.
"Axl!" He yelled, unsure of what to do. He grabbed his shoulders, trying to hold him still, but Axl kept shaking. Remembering some random fact he'd heard about people who have seizures, Slash grabbed his belt from the floor and shoved it between Axl's teeth. He continued to shake for a few more seconds, which seemed like long drawn-out minutes to Slash. He finally stopped, and lay still, his eyes rolled to the back of his head. Slash grabbed for the phone on the bedside table, and dialed 9-1-1.
"I need an ambulance now!" He cried into the phone. He gave the address and sat with the unconscious Axl until they arrived. The EMT's came in, and rolled him onto a stretcher.
"Sir, do you know if he's on any type of medication?" One of them asked. "Or if he's ingested any drugs or alcohol?"
"I don't know...he had some alcohol last night, but nothing major....he wasn't even drunk." Slash said truthfully. He watched helplessly as they put him in the ambulance and drove away. He ran back into the house, and dug around for the keys to his car. He found them under a pile of broken glass where the coffee table had been, and raced back outside. Once in the car, he took a deep breath to try to calm down. He looked in the rearview mirror, and was surprised to see he was crying. Taking another breath, he started the car, and headed for the hospital.
Running up to the front desk, he asked where they'd taken Axl. The nurse told him he'd have to wait until the doctor came out. Rather than grab the clipboard she was holding and beat her over the head with it, he decided it would be in his best interest to wait. He sat for a good three seconds, until he had to get up and pace back and forth the length of the waiting room. A hundred thoughts wreaked havoc through his head. His first assumption was that someone had put something in one of Axl's drinks. If that were the case, well....he didn't even think about the unholy hell he would reign on that person if he ever found them. Then he thought Axl had taken something by accident, but was quick to discard that idea. Maybe he was sick....But Slash hadn't noticed a fever or anything to indicate what had happened.
The doctor came out not too long after, giving Slash's overactive brain a reprieve.
"What happened?" Slash asked, anxious. The doctor was looking at the papers in his hand.
"Well, apparently, he had a seizure." The doctor said. Thank you, you fucking idiot! I could've told you that, you shitface! Slash yelled in his head. But instead of saying that outloud, he just asked, "Do you know what brought on the seizure?" The doctor continued looking down at his charts.
"We're not quite sure yet, but we think it may have something to do with stress. An existing case like this can be due to many factors-"
"Exsisitng case?" Slash interrupted him. "What do you mean by that, Axl's never had a seizure before." The doctor looked at him now, bemused.
"Of course he has." He said. "Mr. Rose explained to us that this is a pre-existing case since childhood. Now, we've got a few more tests we'd like to run, but you can go see him if you'd like." The doctor told him what room Axl was in, and walked away. Still perplexed, Slash went to the elevators.
He found Axl with tubes coming out of his arm attached to different machines. He covered his mouth, surprised at how frail Axl seemed.
"Get your ass in here." Axl said, his voice hard as nails. Slash obeyed, taking the chair next to the bed. "Now, don't ever let me see you look at me that way again, do you understand?" Slash composed himself, and nodded.
"What happened?" He asked. "You were sleeping, and then you...I don't know, just started shaking. I couldn't get you to stop....I thought....I ..." Slash felt himself starting to break down. He took a shaky breath. Axl put his hand on Slash's face.
"I'm so sorry you had to see that." Axl said. "I know it must've been kinda freaky. But, I have this thing where sometimes I just.....seize up. It hasn't happened in years, though. I really thought I was over it." He grazed Slash's chin. "Hey, I'm okay." Slash nodded, looking at him. He bit his lip, unsure of what to say. He was so used to Axl being the strong resilient leader. Now he looked so....vulnerable. Slash felt an overwhelming need to protect him.
"How's everyone doing in here?" A nurse walked in then, holding a tray. She didn't look any older than nineteen. "I just have a few little pills here for you Mr. Rose." She handed him the small paper cups of pills and water. She watched as he swallowed both. She kept looking from Axl to Slash, as if nervous. When she was about to leave, she stalled, then turned back to them. "I'm so sorry to bother you, but I'm just such a big fan." She said. "I used to watch you guys when you played the Strip. You guys are incredible." Axl smiled, and Slash blushed. He hated how shy he became around people. "Could I bother you for an autograph?" She held out a pen and piece of paper. They obliged, and she left grinning. Axl smirked at Slash.
"See?" He said, polishing his nails on his chest. "Doesn't matter if I'm strapped to a gurney, I'm still one sexy fucker." Slash laughed. "Yes, you are." He agreed.
They left the hospital a few hours later, after Axl had been released. The doctor had prescribed him some anti-anxiety pills, saying that the episode had more-than-likely been brought on by stress. They filled the prescription at a local pharmacy and went home.
"Holy hell!" Axl said when they drove up to the house. There was broken glass on the driveway, a chair sitting sideways on the lawn, and beer cans everywhere. The front window was busted, and the curtains were hanging by threads. "I knew we should've had the party at Steve's house."
"We used to do this stuff all the time." Slash reminded him. "I don't think there was a night that something didn't get broken."
"Yeah, but that was someone else's shit, hon." Axl said. "Now it's like, 'oh, this is mine, I gotta take care of it'." They walked in and assessed the damage. Tables were overturned, the couch was on the opposite side of the room, there were stains on the walls, and the floor was littered with an assortment of debris.
"I'll get the garbage bags." Slash said. He went into the kitchen. "And don't even think about trying to help clean up. You just go and rest. I'll take care of this mess." He called back to Axl. The kitchen was in worse shape than the living room, so Slash decided to start there. He picked up the garbage can, and began refilling it with the trash that had fallen out. He noticed the pieces of paper the phone messages had been written on from the day before. He tossed them away when he recognized the name on one of them.
'Axl, some guy named Stephen Bailey called. Call him back pronto.....sounded like a real jackoff.' The note said. Axl hadn't mentioned that his father had called. And Slash was certain he hadn't returned the call. He read the note again, and threw it away. If Axl didn't think it was important enough to mention, Slash wasn't going to bring it up. He figured Axl's stress level was high enough. Going back into the living room, he caught Axl with an armful of trash.
"Drop it!" He said. "Axe, you just got back from the hospital. You're not doing anything right now but resting."
"I feel fine, Slasher." He said, rolling his eyes. "I used to have episodes like that all the time.....Nothing new." Somehow that didn't make Slash feel any better. It just meant that Axl was beginning to go through a whole new mess of trouble. But, Slash reassured himself, Axl hadn't had him the last time. He wouldn't be alone this time. Axl continued picking up.
"I said drop it." Slash warned. Axl smiled mischievously at him.
"And what if I don't?" He asked. Slash took a few steps toward him.
"I'm just going to have to make you..." Axl let out a yelp as Slash chased him around the living room. He picked up random bits of garbage and hurled them at Slash, who dodged them. Slash caught him around the waist and pulled him down. He was laughing hysterically. Axl grabbed Slash's arms and wrestled away. Slash captured him again, and this time Axl let him. Before Slash knew it, they were making out, headed for the bedroom. If anything could de-stress Axl, this was it. Slash grasped his legs, and Axl hopped up, wrapping them around Slash's waist. He carried him to the bed, falling on top of him. Axl was laughing.
"How are we gonna clean up the house?" He giggled. Slash gazed at him.
"Uh....hire Stevie to do it? You know he's always strapped for cash." Slash suggested. Axl snorted.
"He's the one who made half that mess." Axl said. Slash laughed, and Axl pulled him in. Slash ran his hands through Axl's smooth hair. Axl sighed, and pulled Slash closer. The mess would still be there later, Slash told himself.
An hour later, they were both asleep. Axl's head was on top of his pillow, and Slash's head was underneath his. Slash was covered by the blanket, and his right arm rested on Axl's exposed chest. If anyone were to walk in then, all they would see was Axl with an arm on his chest that they might mistake for his own....which is exactly what Duff did. He'd never really bothered with knocking when it came to his bandmates....he'd seen them doing every possible embarrassing thing when they'd lived in the hellhouse, after all.
"Hey, Axe, you here?" He called walking in the house. "I tried calling earlier, but no one picked up....Axe!?" He wandered back to the bedroom. "Oh, hey Axl." Axl woke up, remembered who was next to him, and froze. "So, anyway, I needed to talk to you." Duff continued. Axl nodded, careful not to make too much motion. "Oh, and by the way, have you seen Slash, cuz I haven't spoken to him-"
"What-" Slash's groggy head appeared out from under the pillow. It took Duff a second to grasp what he saw. Slash and Axl in the same bed....apparently without clothes....in the...same....bed.....Duff's jaw dropped as he finally understood.
"Oh...hey, sorry!" He said, backing out quickly. "Didn't mean to...I mean, I don't know.....you just......I'll come back later!" He quickly left, Axl and Slash gaping after him.
"Duff!" Axl finally called. But he was already gone. Axl put his hands over his face and lay back. "Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!!!!" He groaned. "Now what?" Slash shook his head.
"Great......" He said. "How the hell are we supposed to explain this?"
"We were drunk?" Axl suggested. "Like, smashed out of our minds." But they both knew Duff wouldn't believe that. He'd seen what he'd seen. Now they were gonna have to deal with the consequences.
"How do you think he'll take it?" Axl asked.
"Honestly?" Slash said. "Probably better than the others will." He'd actually thought about this on many occasions, and was certain that Duff and Izzy would get used to the idea, if not at least put up with it. Steven on the other hand.....Slash could hear the teasing already. He groaned, and lay back with Axl.
"Had to come out sometime...." Axl said. Slash nodded. But now that it had, Slash wasn't so sure he was prepared. And, he remembered with a shudder, they still had to tour....on the same bus as them....for another three months....Well, Slash thought sarcastically, this should be interesting.
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