Slash has committed to recording with someone else, and Axl is jealous.
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Author's Notes: One shot. Much thanks to my beta. It's an old one, the first story I wrote after a twelve year dry period. Cross-posted at another archive.
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"Axl, Lenny's...we went to high school together. There's nothing going on!"
Slash sprawled on the sofa, eyes half closed as he tried to reason with his lover's irrational outburst.
"How come you didn't save that song for Guns?" Axl demanded, pacing the room and appearing to be one step from throwing things. Slash shook his head and lit another cigarette, trying to keep his own temper in check.
"It didn't suit Guns. You said so yourself."
"You're mine, Slash, no one else's."
The guitarist rolled his eyes, "Babe - "
"How do I know he's not prowling for another guitarist?"
"He doesn't need one. Axl, I swear, it's only one gig!"
"Oh really? 'Just one gig,'" Axl sneered, his face twisting up with anxiety. "Why are you doing this? What is it with working for other people? Isn't Guns enough? Aren't I enough?"
Slash finally pulled himself upright in his seat and gave Axl a long, considering look before sighing gustily. "Guns is my first priority, you know that. I'm just doing an old friend a favor. I thought it would be fun. You know me, babe, always got to be doing something!"
He smiled but it didn't reassure the singer.
"I don't like it, " Axl said, slamming his fist in the wall. "Why him, Slash? Why New Jersey? Why can't you do this thing in L.A., huh? Why do you have to fly across the fucking the country to record one fucking song?"
Actually it was two, but Slash didn't think it was politic to mention that right now.
"Well, that's where Lenny wants to record it," he said instead, taking a drag off his cigarette and flicking it over the ashtray. "I'll only be gone a week."
"The way Lenny wants it," Axl sneered. "Oh, we are just fine with giving Lenny what he wants! Lenny is an old high school friend. Lenny goes way back, we'll just do anything for Lenny, won't we? Lenny's another one of your old hommies, can't let a homey down - "
"Axl - " Slash warned, but the redhead didn't listen.
"What about me, Slash? What about me? I guess I'm nothing to you am I? I only put your fucking name on the map, unlike Lenny. Fuck, if anyone should be dictating where you do this thing, it should be you not Lenny!"
"Oh Christ, now you're being ridiculous!"
"Did you fuck him?"
"You heard me. Did you fuck him?"
An image of how Lenny looked in high school suddenly popped into Slash's head and he broke out laughing.
"Fuck Lenny Kravitz?" he gasped out, tears starting to pour down his face. "Are you out of your fucking mind? Axl, the guy dyed his hair blue! He ran around aping Prince all the time and shit. Fuck Lenny Kravitz. You're fucking nuts!"
It was the wrong thing to say. Before Slash could react, Axl leaped across the room and grabbed a fistful of his hair, jerking his head back hard. It all happened so fast that Slash barely registered that he even moved.
"Don't laugh at me!" the singer snarled, a crazy look burning in his green eyes.
Slash held himself very still. Forced himself to speak calmly, "Axl. Let me go."
The singer hesitated and Slash barely breathed as he watched the look of madness slowly fade from his eyes. He let him go, turned and walked away, his shoulders slumping with dejection. Slash watched him, rubbing at the spot where his hand had been.
"You're leaving me for that fucker, aren't you?"
"Fucking hell, when did you get so -" Slash stopped. Paranoid wouldn't go over very well right now, given Axl's earlier reaction. He thought furiously for a moment.
"You're overreacting. " he finally said, praying that Axl would accept it and calm down.
"Am I? I just find it strange, that's all," Axl ranted, spinning around to face Slash and gesturing wildly. "We're band mates, Slash. We're together. You and I! We should stick together but some fucking nobody you happen to know from way back when snaps his fucking fingers and you go running! And I have to wonder why? I mean, Lenny is a pretty fucking good looking guy and you two have a fucking lot in common, don't you? And what am I? Just a skinny redhead from Indiana, not some Hollywood glamour boy. Is that all I am too you Slash? A bit of tail on the side? Something to pass the time until something better comes along?"
Instead of getting angry, Slash saw the insecurity underlying the resentful words. He stood up and took Axl in his arms, kissing him on the temple and rubbing his hands soothingly across his back.
"Babe, listen to me," he reassured the singer, letting his lips brush gently against his ear. "It's only a gig. A one shot deal. There's nothing going on between Lenny and me and there never was. You know that I love you. I promise you, you won't even notice that I'm gone. And you know something? It may only be a week, but I'll miss my redhead. Your not just a "bit of tail" to me, believe me."
Axl permitted himself to be reassured and yet, he still couldn't shake the feeling that there was some sort of threat. He didn't like it. He didn't want it. He wanted Slash to stay home with him and work only with him. Play only with him. Sleep only with him but that wasn't going to happen. At least as far as the music was concerned. When it came to the music, Slash answered to no one, not even him and he hated it. However, there was nothing he could do about it and instinctively knew that to try was to court disaster. All he could do was accept what his lover was telling him and let it go.
Trouble was, Axl Rose didn't know how to let go.