The gunners as kids...just a cute fic I thought of.
"Saul, if you're not back by dinner time, I'll wear that tail of your's out, I swear!" Ola yelled before letting the screen door slam. Slash waved a hand distractedly as he trotted down his small lawn toward the edge of his neighborhood. He was excited to show his present to his best friend, Stevie. It was the day after his birthday and his dad had sent him a new walkie-talkie, batteries included. He stuffed them into the oversized pocket on the side of his overalls, smiling. Now he and Stevie would be able to talk to eachother without being close. Slash's smile widened as he thought of all the mischief he was going to get into. This had been the best birthday yet, definitely topping last year's when he'd turned nine and had gotten nothing but new clothes and shoes. He looked down at his bare feet, glad that his mom had forgotten to get him new ones. He preferred walking barefeet anyway.
Stopping by the railroad tracks, he peeked down the edge of the trees that grew between the line of miniature houses representing his part of town, and the larger side of the town. He was on the lookout for one person and one person only. Darell Finley. The boy was two years and several pounds larger than Saul, but that hadn't stopped him from tackling him when he'd called him a 'mixed mutt' in the schoolyard the other day. Of course, Saul had gotten his ass handed to him, but he didn't care. He'd jump at the chance to fight Darell again, but today he was too concerned that he might have his new toy stolen from him.
When he was sure the coast was clear, he hopped happily onto the tracks, jumping from one board to the next. He was humming to himself, following the tracks familiar path that would lead him to Stevie's grandmother's house. He hoped she was in a good mood today, seeing as how she didn't particularly like Saul. She saw him as a bad influence. Saul was careful not to mention the fact that it was usually Stevie's ideas that got them into trouble. He jumped off the track, ready to cut through the bit of woods that lead to Stevie's neighborhood.
"Yo, Hudson!" He heard. The smile fell from his face when he turned to the voice. Darell stood twenty feet away, obviously having just come out of the woods. "You ready to finish what we started?" Saul's hand instinctively flew to his pocket, covering up his birthday gift.
"Leave me alone, Darell. I didn't do anything to you." He said, watching wearily as the bigger boy drew closer, a scowl on his face.
"Oh, you didn't?" The boy mocked. "I got switched yesterday cuz of you. My pa don't like me fightin in school, and Mr. Lanster had to go and blab about it. So, I'm thinkin' you deserve some payback." He cracked his knuckles menacingly. Slash was prepared to take the inevitable beating, but had to protect what was in his pocket. He cringed back as Darell came at him.
Stevie Adler was lost. He was always lost, though, so he wasn't as worried as a normal ten year old might be. And he was in the best part of the city, so he really didn't mind. He loved hanging out on the Strip during the day. At night, it got a bit too crowded with people, and that frightened him a little. Not that he'd ever admit it. He'd been with his mother, watching bored as she shopped for some new summer dresses. Seeing an ice-cream truck drive by, he'd grabbed some change from his mom's purse and followed it. Wondering around a few corners, he found himself on the part of the Strip he was never allowed to go. Looking at all the large buildings, he was hypnotized. Wishing he was old enough to go into the bars, he settled for staring into the windows. He looked back down the street, wondering which way he'd come, not really caring. He'd find his way back eventually, he usually did. And his mom was so distracted, he doubted she'd even notice his absence. She rarely ever did in the first place. He jumped down from the curb, and headed down the road, not realizing as he went that the buildings gradually became less impressive and more gritty. It was all new and exciting to him, and he wasn't about to turn back.
He had wondered for about twenty minutes until he started to realize he had no idea which way he'd come from. Looking around, he didn't recognize any of the street names. He looked at the small digital watch he'd received for Christmas. It read twelve twenty-eight. He knew he'd told Saul to meet him at his house at one o'clock. He sighed as he turned around, ready to backtrack his steps.
"Hey, kid." He heard someone call. "Blondie." He looked around, and saw a figure leaning against the dirty wall of one of the buildings. He was tall and very lean. A cap was pulled low over his face, so Stevie couldn't really see his eyes. He looked to be only a few years older than Stevie.
"You talking to me?" Stevie asked, walking closer. It never occurred to him that talking to strangers was not always a good idea. He had always been very outgoing, his happy-go-lucky nature always bringing out smile's in people.
"Yeah." The other boy said. He jerked his head, indicating to Stevie to come closer. Stevie hesitated. "Got something that might interest you." Stevie noticed a small box at the boys feet. He walked closer, his interest peaked. It was a shoebox, and the boy picked it up as Stevie walked up to him. "You cool?" The boy asked, holding the box to his chest.
"Yeah, I'm cool" Stevie said, not entirely sure what the boy meant by that. He nodded, and opened the box.
"Wow!" Steve's eyes rounded in gleeful surprise as he saw what was in the box. An assortment of all types of candy were stacked neatly inside. The wrappers sparkled in the sun, making them all the more appetizing.
"What's your preference?" The boy asked. "I got all kinds in here."
"Uh, I only got fifty cents." Steve said. Never having found that ice-cream truck, he still had the change from his mom's purse. The boy smiled crookedly.
"That's cool, that's cool." He said. "Let's see....fifty can get you three of these, or two of these, or six of these...." The older boy pulled out a combination of different candies. Stevie licked his lips, trying to decide what he'd have. He finally settled on two red packets of chocolate, and munched on them happily.
"Where'd you get all that stuff?" He asked around a mouthful of chocolate.
"I got a few people who sell to me." The boy said. "Why, you interested in the business?"
"Maybe." Stevie said. "You make a lot of money?"
"If you sell to the right people you can." He said. "But you gotta watch out for the competition. It can get pretty fierce." Stevie nodded, even though he didn't really understand completely. But he was intrigued by this dark haired boy.
"Maybe I'll try it." He said.
"You'd be good. You got an innocent face." The boy said. "Easy to trust. Hey, listen, I'll give you my number and you can call me sometime." He pulled out a small piece of paper with numbers scrawled across it. Stevie took it, excited to venture out on yet another scheme. Saul would be more than willing to help him, of that he was sure. He walked away happily, not sure which way he was going.
"Yo, whats you're name?" The boy called. Stevie turned back, smiling.
"Stevie!" He called. "Stevie Adler! What's yours?"
"It's Jeff!" He called back. "Jeff Isbell!"
Saul ducked out of Darell's direct path, covered his face, and prepared for the blow. He heard a whoosh of air, and the sound of footsteps running toward him. Something landed on the ground in front of him, and he peeked through his fingers.
"What the-" He heard Darell say. Saul looked up, and saw nothing but a bright red blur, and then Darell was on the ground. A small boy was attacking Darell with such ferocity that Saul was scared that the boy would come after him next. As he watched in shock the boy tackled Darell again, this time leaping up and wrapping his legs and arms around Darells throat and stomach. They flung around, Darell unable to rid himself of this wild boy. He tripped on the railroad tracks and they both fell. The boy was immediately on his feet. Saul had never seen anyone move like that. He was like a wild animal. It was all he could do to keep himself from running away. Darell stood up, and ran at the boy, who quickly sidestepped, giving him a fast hard jab in the stomach. Darell doubled over, gasping for air. The boy gave him a flying kick, making him land hard in the dirt.
"Are you done yet?" The boy asked. Darell was coughing, spitting dirt out of his mouth as he did. "I suggest you get the hell out of here!" Darell stood up, gave one last poisonous look to Saul, and ran away, still holding his stomach. The boy turned to Saul, and walked over. He scooted back several feet, afraid.
"Relax, kid, I'm not gonna hurt you." He said. Kid? Saul thought. This boy couldn't be that much older than he was. He had to be at least an inch shorter than him. "I just really hate bullies." He said. He knelt down next to Saul, tilting his head. Saul had never seen such intense eyes before. They blazed green under the sun, which only made his red hair a more prominent feature. "You okay or what?" He asked.
"Uh....I'm fine." Saul said. "Thanks, by the way. That guy would've knocked me out for sure."
"No problem." He held out his hand, helping Saul to his feet. He was a stark contrast to the barefooted, overall-wearing, corkscrew-haired darker boy. He was very pale, and wore a button-down shirt, khaki pants with a belt, and his shoes looked brand new.
"You going to a weddin' or sumthin?" Saul asked, noticing his attire.
"No." The boy looked confused. "It's Sunday." As if that answered the question. Saul just shrugged.
"I'm Saul, by the way. Who're you?" He asked, truly curious. He'd never seen this boy anywhere before.
"Billy Bailey." He said. "My parents are visiting some cousins for a few days." That answered that question.
"Whe're you from?" Saul couldn't help but notice the odd accent.
"Indiana." Billy replied. They walked together down the dirt path leading through the woods.
"How'd you learn to fight like that?" Saul asked. He had a million questions for this curious boy. Billy looked away, frowning.
"Like I said, I don't like bullies." He said quietly. Saul just shrugged.
"Where are you going?" Billy asked.
"My friend Stevie's." Saul answered. He thought it would be safe to show him his present. He pulled out the walkie-talkie's from his pocket. "My dad bought 'em for me." He handed one to Billy. He turned it over in his hand, admiring it.
"Pretty cool." He said, handing it back. "All my father ever buys me are new clothes and books."
"Boring." Saul said, rolling his eyes.
"Tell me about it." Billy replied, chuckling. "You live around here?" Saul nodded, and pointed behind him.
"Back a bit that way." He indicated. They were through the woods now, and Saul lead the way towards Stevie's grandmother's house. They crossed a few lawns, Saul not minding at all if this boy tagged along.
"You're gonna like Stevie, he's cool." Saul said. They walked up to the little house, and Saul rang the doorbell. His grandmother answered, and rolled her eyes when she saw who it was.
"Steven's not here, Saul." She said. Then she noticed Billy, and smiled.
"Well who is this young man?" She asked.
"I'm Billy, ma'am." He said.
"Well, aren't you just precious." She said. "Why don't you boys come by a little later, and maybe Steven will be back. He's out now dress shopping with his mother." Saul snorted, but Billy just nodded. They left, Saul unable to decide what to do next.
"You know this place pretty good?" Billy asked.
"Yeah." Saul nodded.
"You wanna go find a restaurant? I haven't had lunch yet, and I'm kinda hungry." Billy said. "I got some money and we could get burgers." Saul liked that idea. He nodded enthusiastically and led the way down the street.
"Ouch, quit it!" Michael yelled at his brother, who was entertaining himself by shoving Michael.
"Stop that fighting, you two!" Their mom yelled from the other room. Michael got up, and ran out the door.
"I'm going out!" He called, not waiting for a response. He wasn't going to sit around the house all day being a punching bag for his brother. He wandered down the street finding his way to the nearest record store. Riffling through all the titles, he was suddenly aware of someone watching him. Looking over, he saw a boy around his age staring at him.
"What?" He asked defensively. The boy came closer, his smile infectious.
"Hey, I'm Stevie. I was just wondering if you knew the way back to the Hills Dress Shop? I got lost a while ago." Stevie said, bobbing his blonde curls in time to the music playing.
"Uh, no." Michael said. Stevie kept bobbing his head.
"That's okay. I'll find my way back someday...." He looked unconcerned. Michael liked this weird boy immediately.
"Why'd you get lost?" He asked.
"Dunno." Stevie said. "I wanted an ice-cream, and then I just got lost." His stomach growled audibly.
"Hey, you know where there's a good place to eat around here. I just had some candy, but I'm starvin'." He said, looking around distractedly.
"You're kinda a strange kid." Michael said. He didn't mean it in a bad way, and Stevie seemed to get that. He laughed, at least.
"Well, I don't got no money, so I don't even know where to get food." Stevie said. Duff thought for a minute.
"I know. There's this place my mom goes a lot. I know the owner, and he's real nice. He maybe will give us some food." Michael said. Stevie smiled, and Michael led the way down the now-busy street. They turned a few corners, Stevie humming and keeping up a train of conversation. They found the restaurant in fifteen minutes.
"Hey, I know this place!" Stevie said. "Me and my friend Saul come here alot." They went in to find a table.
"Stevie!" They heard someone call. Looking over, Stevie saw Saul sitting in a booth with a red-haired boy.
"Hey, Saul!" Stevie skipped over, grinning. "I got lost an hour ago!"
"Whats new?" Saul laughed and rolled his eyes. He and Billy scooted over to make room.
"Who's this?" Stevie nodded toward Billy.
"I'm Billy Bailey." He said. "Saul told me about you already. We went to your grandma's house."
"Yeah, I wasn't there." Stevie said. "But I met this kid who was selling candy, and said that maybe we could sell some too, Saul. He was really cool."
"Cool, what was his name?" Saul asked.
"Who's this?" Billy asked, noticing Michael.
"I'm Michael McKagan." He said. "I know the owner here, and can probably get us some free burgers."
"Neat!" Saul said. Just then a waitress came over.
"Mike McKagan, is that you, sweetie?" She said. Michael blushed.
"Who're you're little friends?" She asked.
"Uh, I just met 'em, but this is Saul, Billy, and Stevie." Michael introduced the three. They all said hello.
"Well, I think we can get all you gentlemen some burgers. You want some malts to go with that?" They all smiled.
"Thanks!" They said. She smiled, squeezed Michael's cheek, and headed to the kitchen. Just then the door opened, and someone else walked in.
"Hey, Jeff!" Stevie said, recognizing the boy from earlier. "C'mere!" He walked over.
"Jeffery?" Billy said. "What are you doing here?" Jeff sat down, putting his shoebox on the table in front of him.
"Hustling, what else?" He said. "Got some good business from this kid here." He pointed at Stevie, who smiled.
"No, I mean, what are you doing in California?" Billy said.
"Mom's visiting her sister." He said. "I didn't know this was the week you'd be out." Billy nodded.
"Yeah." Billy said. They sat around, becoming fast friends. The waitress brought them their burgers, and brought one for Jeff, even though he insisted on paying for his own.
"Thanks, Gina." Michael said. She smiled and winked.
"Tell your brother I said hi." She said.
"Oh, I will." Michael said, already thinking of the ammo he'd have against his brother with this one.
"So, what do you guys usually do around here?" Jeff asked.
"Well, Saul usually rides his bike, and I watch." Stevie said. "But there's a lot to do when it gets dark."
"What do you mean?" Billy asked.
"You've never been on the Strip after dark." Saul said. "It's like a whole other world."
"We could show you....." Stevie said. "But that's not for a few more hours." He looked at his watch.
"We've got time." Jeff said, looking at Billy.
"What about you, Michael?" Saul asked. "You're parents care where you are?"
"Nah, they probably haven't even realized I'm gone yet." He said.
"Well, in the meantime, lets go to the school. There's always a lot of kids doing different things over there." Stevie suggested. So they all left, all looking forward to what the Strip might hold for five boys that night...