And all along I believed I would find you Time has brought your heart to me I have loved you for a thousand years I'll love you for a thousand more
“Where else would I be?” he asked turning his attention back to the front door lock
“You tell me! I’ve been looking for you all night!” Duff snapped passing Slash and collapsing onto the sofa “Where were you?”
“I went after Axl and we stayed at a hotel, we didn’t want to come and find you and Izzy again” he shrugged as Duff glared at him
“And you didn’t think to text us?!”
“To be honest Duff we were a little preoccupied” Duff fell silent at this and stared at him open-mouthed before stuttering weakly
“We were busy” Slash repeated wandering through to the kitchen
“W…well… um” The revelation had thrown the blonde completely off course and he stumbled through his sentences, heel of his hand pressed into his forehead as he tried to fully recall what he’d meant to be saying.
The guitarist glanced back at the bassist amusedly and hummed Aerosmith’s Crazy under his breath as he searched the cupboards for food before one of the utterances caught his attention
“Perla wants to see you” Duff repeated, glad that he could focus on something else rather than the thought of his ex-band-mate’s coupling. Slash sighed, cold seeping into his being as reluctance built in his mind, trying to come with an excuse, any old thing to avoid seeing his wife once more
“What does she want?” he asked distantly returning to the living room and slowly sinking to sit on the coffee table
“I think she’s met someone else” the blonde answered watching the guitarist’s reaction as hurt spiked across his face before he squashed the feeling and nodded emotionlessly “Oh and we’re to go to Axl’s for new years’” he added as Slash stood, heading for the stairs.
“Hey” Mumbled greetings as Duff wandered past the threshold and into Axl’s house, wife and daughters trailing behind, soft, slightly uncomfortable smiles in the singer’s direction. Cash and London remained close to their father as Axl and he stood awkwardly side by side in the entrance hall. “Glad everything’s back for you now” Slash told him gently encouraging the kids to go and explore as he followed the singer into the kitchen, thankfully accepting the drink Axl offered him
“Thanks” silence returned with a vengeance, since when was it so hard to talk to Axl? “Everything sorted between you and Perla?” the singer asked grasping at straws of conversation as more people entered the house, current band-mates, ex band-mates, childhood friends, all spouting partners, children or both. Noise levels rose rapidly as introductions were made in cheery voices and children were told to go and play, teenagers thrust together awkwardly based on the sole reason they were of a similar age, adults shaking hands with big false smiles, silent judgement in their eyes.
“Mostly yeh” Slash’s answer broke the singer’s observations and he took a swig of the chilled drink in his hands and nodded in acknowledgement, murmuring over the noise
“Myles?” the person in question had just entered, clearly uncomfortable with being here but unable to turn down DJ’s pleading puppy dog eyes, who he greeted with a warm hug, no signs of discomfort obvious between their younger counterparts as the elders watched on enviously, shocked at how two people could make talking to one another so hard
“Haven’t seen him since the club” Slash replied softly, tearing his gaze away when Myles glanced around, cerulean eyes searching for him after he greeted Cash enthusiastically
“Now’s your chance” Axl told him, turning away from the door and heading over to the back door, leading to the garden.
A contented sigh left him as the cold air brushed gently over his skin before it was replaced with warm breath and strong arms wrapped around his waist soft hair, free from hairspray or gel tickled his cheek slightly as its’ owner placed his chin on Axl’s shoulder “You know it’s rude to leave your guests” DJ murmured with a smile as Axl laughed, turning and wrapping his arms around the younger happily
“I don’t care, they can amuse themselves for a bit” he answered softly, kissing the guitarist’s forehead as DJ snuggled into his chest.
“You’ve got some really weird friends you know” DJ remarked after a few breaths of silence between excluding the ruckus in the house, someone had found the stereo system, Axl laughed
“Yeh that’s why I don’t see them very often” he answered just as a dyed blonde with electric blue streaks almost fell out of the door and spun round to face them, giggles erupting from her dusty red lipstick-ed mouth as she exclaimed
“Oopsie! Sorry! Didn’t mean to interrupt” another laugh left Axl’s lips at the shocked expression on DJ’s face to the infectious grin on Lauren’s
“D, this is Lauren or Loz which ever you remember. Loz this is DJ” he said gesturing between the two, arm still clamped around DJ’s waist as the guitarist extended a cautious hand and shook the one Lauren was offering as she grinned at him, showing off big pearly white teeth
“DJ it is wonderful to meet you at last! I’ve heard so much about you!” she announced loudly, her private educated accentuating certain words, engagement ring sparkling in the soft lantern lights that the singer had strung up earlier that day, with no help from the guitarist whatsoever unless you could include him running off with the string causing Axl to chase him around the house, eventually cornering the younger in the bedroom which had been DJ’s intended plan all along.
“Nice to meet you too” DJ mumbled, unconsciously backing into the singer as another woman came into the garden
“Lauren there you are!” she said thankfully, squeaking as the blonde seized her around the waist and dragged her over to the others proudly proclaiming
“William, this is my fiancé Cassii Maii, darling this is William Bailey and his partner DJ” Cassii nodded, regarding the two musicians apprehensively, her pretty face relaxing into a smile as DJ gave her a tentative one, rolling his eyes slightly as if saying ‘these two eh?’
“Wanna go get a drink?” DJ offered wriggling out of Axl’s grip as Cassii did the same, relaxing with a nod as they headed back into the house. Axl watched his boyfriend leave with a fond expression before glancing over as Lauren pressed herself up against his side
“So” she said, taking Axl’s hand and leading him away from the house “He’s cute” Axl grinned
“Yeh he is”
“Is he a keeper?” she asked, sitting on a little stone bench and stretching fishnet clad, slim legs out in front of her as Axl joined her, pulling a small leather bound box out of his pocket in answer to her question “Darling I think it’s a little late for the two of us!” Lauren teased as she accepted the item, snapping the container open.
“Oh Will! This is beautiful” she sighed, pulling the simple silver tarnished band out of the box
“You like he’ll like it?” Axl asked softly, nerves ringing clear in his voice
“He’ll love it” she replied, handing the box back and hugging the singer tightly trying to banish all his nerves with her embrace, Axl held her back drawing strength and comfort from the one woman from his past that had never and would never let him down.
“We’ve really gotta hang out more often” Axl smirked as they let go and people began to flood out into the garden, spilling onto the lawn as Beta and David herded them out of the house
“We have” Lauren agreed standing as Cassii glanced around, searching out her fiancé nervously “Let’s not leave it another 10 years shall we?” Axl laughed, for once his mood was elevated, feeling like it was unable to come off the high despite the nerves ringing around the box in his pocket as they collected flutes of champagne, joining their younger partners as the younger children played on the dewy grass and teenagers remained glued to their phones, one hand fastened around a glass as they looked pleased to be included in being given alcohol.
“Happy New Year everyone!” Axl called raising his glass when they all looked to him for a speech, there was a collective answer before an ‘Ooohhh!’ rose from all of them at the first crackled colour shower of fireworks. DJ found Axl’s hand and laced their fingers together; raising his eyes and meeting the singer’s with a soft smile, lip ring twinkling in the light as Axl leant in for a kiss; a gentle meld of mouths, with no need for rushing or urgency.
“I love you” DJ whispered amid the scattered oohs and aahs as the sky above them lit with coloured sparks
“Marry me?” Axl murmured softly as his arms rested around DJ’s waist and the guitarist’s rested around his neck, DJ looked momentarily shocked before his face split into a grin
“Of course I will” he replied, a knowing glint in his crystal blues like he’d expected the singer to ask him
“You don’t seem very surprised” Axl remarked when they parted from another soft kiss
“Well I was gonna ask if you didn’t” the younger told him taking his arm from around the singer to reach into his jeans pocket and pull out a ring shaped box, opening it to reveal a silver ring set with a sapphire happiness sparkled in the singer’s eyes as DJ’s fingers pulled the ring from the box, took his hand and slipped the band onto his finger. His smile stretching even further as Axl reciprocated the action before he found the singer’s mouth with his again; noting with satisfaction Myles and a certain curly haired guitarist getting closer as the final finale of rockets went up before being wrapped up in the happy, content loved bubble he shared with his singer; everything else fading away as the crowd around them, kissed their partners or toasted the coming of 2013, whilst a silent toast left DJ’s lips to his future with the beautiful redhead in his arms.
AN: Happy New Year Everyone!