Slash finally explains to Axl why he has always abused him.
"Oh," Slash blurted at the sight of him. He had never felt such a surge of surprise going through him in a long time.
Axl Rose could not help but give a small smile. Although Slash's long, curly hair would usually cover his eyes, he knew that his eyes had widened. Slash opened the door more to allow him to enter with his bag. The door shut close. Axl set his bag down on the floor and turned to face his boyfriend. Slash observed him and noticed that... his skin had healed. All the bruises around him were gone, including the cut and bruised lips. This had caused him to remember that night once again. The night he then sensually decided to make up with Axl, after another one of their fights, before he left.
"If you let me leave, I won't come back."
The image of Axl Rose's chin dripping with blood came to mind. This had brought up more guilt for Slash, as he only stood there, staring at the man who he had hurt so much. Axl stared back, but had some fear in his eyes-- fear in wondering if Slash would cause, yet, more and new pain to him, despite what the people he was staying with were assuring. Slash uncrossed his arms and took a step forward. Axl flinched and looked away, for he was still scared of his abusive boyfriend. But all he did was gently wrap his arms around him.
"Welcome back," he murmured, "I've missed you...so very much."
Axl, hesitantly, wrapped his arms around him as well. He calmly said, "I've missed you, too."
How long had he been gone? How many months, even?
More flashbacks occured to Slash from that night: Trapping a terrified Axl by the wall, watching him at least trying to leave, his pain... Slash had acted quite careless and unsympathetic about it.
"Hey, Axl...?" Slash had started to say after a moment of silence.
"I...I am...so sorry."
Axl's expression then showed surprise. A flashback of his ran back to that night, when he thought, I wish I had a reason for the abuse I receive from you; I’m waiting on that reason, and I’ve been waiting since 1990. I can feel your dark eyes watching my every move, but you stay silent as I pause... waiting for answer? An apology, maybe? I don’t know, but whatever it is, I’m clearly not gonna get it today.
That is when Slash got ahold of his arms and looked at him straight in the eyes.
"No, I mean it. I'm serious about this!"
Axl's eyes only widened more, and he merely stared at the man. "Wha...?" he muttered, still not knowing what his response should be. What he expected was for he himself to begin the serious conversation. Instead, it was a bit of the other way around, all starting with an apology. The apology referring to their last fight.
After a minute of silence between the two, Slash lowered his head to exhale a breath through his lips. He looked up at Axl's confused eyes and said, "Look, I think I should...explain some things."
Gently taking Axl by the hand, they walked over to the living room. This had felt like a new sign of hope from him. The last time they both walked into this room, Slash had dragged him there, away from the door. Sitting down on the sofa, Axl decided to have no choice but to listen to what his abusive boyfriend had to say.
"Okay," Slash started, before turning to face him, "you want to know...why I've been so abusive to you all these years, right?"
A slow, single nod with wide, curious-like eyes.
"Here goes," he exhaled, looking down. "Do you remember...that woman?"
"'That woman'? Which one?" he cocked his head; it seems Axl did not know who he was referring to.
"Don't you remember?" He put one hand on Axl's knee and he looked up at him. "You met her before. She seemed really nice to you at first... but, while you were gone, she made my life a living Hell."
Axl did know this woman, personally. He did remember Slash once saying how his life was Hell whenever he was with her, but not to a great, serious extent.
"Oh. Y-You're talking about--"
"No!" Slash blurted out before Axl could even name this woman. He disliked her so much, that he had rather preferred to not mention, read, nor hear her name again.
"Are you talking about..." Axl started slowly, "...that girl who you were with before me?"
This unnamed woman was someone who had dated Slash for a while before Axl Rose came into the picture. Although Slash loved her back and appreciated her company, she was also quite over-controlling.
"Now, you see," he continued, "when she and I first met, she really liked me, and I liked her, and we formed a relationship. A relationship that led to sharing this house together. Now, we had lived here for a few months... and, at the same time, I got to know you a lot better. Sure, both you and I were really great friends at the start, and you were already with someone else at the time, but, you know..."
"Yeah," Axl said clearly with a slight nod, "as soon as I broke up with my significant other and moved on, you and I just...eventually developed romantic feelings."
After Axl Rose and his other decided to end the relationship, that is also when he started hanging out with his friends and family more, Slash included. By this, whenever Slash would get to have free time away from the woman, he and Axl would have long, interesting conversations, meals together, visiting some cool places, being with other friends and/or family in a little get-together...
"Before we knew it, I fell for you, and you shared mutual interest. But, of course, I couldn't find a way to tell her, seeing how we were still together." Slash did not exactly have an affair with Axl behind his girlfriend's back-- it was more so a growing friendship leading into mere affectionate feelings. "So, as soon as I finally told her the truth that I was now in love with you, she just cracked. I remember... her just screaming, asking many questions, and threatening to hurt me."
Axl gasped, "Like how?"
"Well, I said, 'Look, I think we should talk... Over the past couple weeks, you've noticed how I've been hanging around with Axl Rose, right?' She said, 'Yeah. What about it?' 'The thing is...I believe...I've fallen in love with him. And I've never felt this strongly about my affections before.' As I continued with explaining how this all happened, that is when I saw her eyes getting big with shock and fury. Then she screamed 'What?! What is this?! Is this some kind of joke?!'"
"Wow," Axl murmured, flinching at the sight of Slash impersonating her rage.
"It turns out that she had actually forgotten me mentioning that I was bisexual when we got to know each other. That's why she didn't believe me in the first place. She then asked things like, 'What are you, on drugs?! Are you gay and pretended to like me this whole time?! Is that why we haven't had sex?! You cheated on me, didn't you?!!'" Tears started to form in Slash's eyes as he wiped his hair out of his face and looked up, shaking his head. "I tried to assure her that it wasn't that I never loved nor cheated on her, it's just that I...thought that...."
Suddenly, it occurred to Axl why he did not see Slash again for the following weeks. The woman was keeping Slash in hostile, away from him.
"Next thing I knew, she began throwing things at me. Whatever she had around in the room, she would just throw at me, and I tried my best at missing it. I knew I couldn't explain any further with her now in this state of mind. And she soon started beating me on her own. I was so scared, I was afraid she was going to go as far as to rape me! And she screamed, 'You don't love Axl, you love me!! I'll make you stay away from that guy for as long as I can!' She had such a strong grip on me, that, at one point, she almost choked me to death!"
As Slash went into further details about how the woman would treat him, scarring him psychologically, Axl Rose was now beginning to understand why he became the cruel man he is now. When Axl saw Slash again, he had noticed that he acted more resentful than usual-- not only to him, but to everyone else, too. He could not believe that the kind woman he knew and the secretly over-controlling manipulative were the same person.
"And finally," he concluded, "after, I guess, realizing that holding me captive for most of the time still wasn't going to make me stop from thinking of or seeing you, she gave up. She took all her stuff, most of my money, said 'See you for never, you bastard,' and walked out the door."
Not too long after that, Slash begged Axl Rose to come live with him, now that she was gone. After much pleading, he finally agreed. This is where they dealt with their growing love-hate relationship just about every week. And every time Axl tried to leave him, Slash would aggessively try to stop him. Or, Axl would leave the house, but then somehow change his mind and return-- if he did get to leave, it must have been no longer than how long he had been gone from now. And almost every time a fight like this would happen, they were both reminded of how much they really love each other.
"Hey..." Axl Rose said, leaning in a bit and placing one hand on his shoulder, "...how come you never told me any of this?" His expression was filled with shock and sadness.
"Because," he tried to reason, and now sobbing, "I did not want to feel embarrassed and make myself look like a fool! I just wanted to look like a mere tough man to you and everyone, that's all."
Axl slowly shook his head, his emerald eyes glistening, "But...if you'd actually told me all this, then...I could've helped you a long time ago."
This statement actually wanted to make Slash punch him. But he could not do that-- not when he just got home and basically told him the origin of his repulsion. After more crying, Slash then sobbed, head in his hands, "That's just what I'm afraid of: getting help!"
"Why? This is exactly what you need. You're not a sadist! I know this, now!" Managing to pull Slash forward, he hugged him. "And you know what?" he continued soothingly, "I'm not mad at you for keeping this a secret from me. I've always loved you, and so, I'm not mad. Because I still love you."
Hearing these words, Slash tried to make his crying slow down, and he lifted his head with a surprised expression. Axl Rose, a man who always had to deal with someone as aggressive as him, taking every beating and every make-up, still loved him to this day and moment. He tightened his arms around Axl a little, but not enough to crush him.
"Yes," Slash said through his tears, "this is exactly what I wanted." A smile came across his face. "Thank you," came the relieved whisper.
"No, thank you," was the reply. "You had the courage to finally apologize and explain what has been bothering you all these years. I guess you tried to drive those bad, painful memories away by abusing me. But guess what? I've never left you for good. In fact, now I know that I want us both to get help. Does that sound good to you?" His voice broke slightly.
Help..., Slash thought before nodding.
For the past months, his negativity got the best of him, making him believe that everybody he knew and loved had come to hate and not care about him anymore for his new personality.
He then heard a sniff. Axl Rose was crying. Slash pulled Axl back to face him, and tears began to well in his own again.
"Oh, my dear," Slash choked, hanging his head down, "I never, ever wanted you to see me like this."
"It's okay," Axl whispered, wiping a hand down Slash's wet cheek, "this is exactly why I came back. One of the people who I was with suggested we'd open up, so, I followed his advice. And, look at us now!"
Slash knew this was the truth-- his love had come back, acting more positive and no more bruises seen on his pale skin. Everything was sure to be better.
"Hey," Axl continued after a couple minutes, wiping away his own tears, "what happened to...that...gun?"
Then, Slash remembered the gun. The gun which Axl also found the night before he left, learning that his boyfriend, no matter how troubled he was, was not stronger than suicide. The truth is, Slash thought about killing himself, in front of Axl, even; but that thought now seemed to be fading away much further.
"It's in the couch pocket. I put it in there not long after you left," was the answer. "It's all right, though, since I'm not dead!" Some laughter.
"Okay, that's good," chuckled Axl.
Then, came the unexpected: Slash leaned in and gave him a kiss on the lips.