Categories > Original > Drama0 Reviews
Slash kisses Axl, like I saw in a video once.
Everyone was here, Izzy was tuning his guitar, his lank black hair falling in little spikes around his face. Duff was fiddling with his amp, his long body bent nearly double as he fiddled with the little knobs. Steven was tapping on the cymbal, making the high pitched little cymbal crash, smiling wide, his smile and his teeth taking up half of his face. Slash felt such crushing affection toward him, his cheerful ragamuffin little friend he’d been skateboarding with and playing music with since junior high. They were all here, all except one. Axl.
It was sometimes easier when Axl wasn’t here, no one else was as volatile. They were all pretty easy going guys if you thought about it, Izzy with his calm, laid back cool, Duff with his beer and his business like attitude, Steven’s easy laughter, and Slash’s ability to exist in the moment, for the moment. The moment was all there was and he could stay in its space, very Zen like, he thought. Then there was Axl. Slash didn’t always know what to make of him, and ironically it was Steven who pulled him toward him in the early days. Slash had wanted to run, seeing that concentrated anger on that somehow angelic face, translucent skin and clear green eyes.
“We need him. We need him to be our singer, then this band will really take off!” Steven had said, staring at Axl up on the stage, the microphone stand gripped in one fist like a weapon, and then he set it down and caressed its length like it was a woman, his eyes closed, and then he squeezed his eyes shut. It did draw you in, Slash could see that. It was ironic now because Axl couldn’t stand Steven.
He continued tuning the guitar and then played a few licks, and Izzy joined in, then Duff, then Steven happily tapping away on the other drums, the cymbal coming in at just the right moment. This was the band, Steven had been right, they needed Axl. He sometimes thought Axl didn’t like Steven because he wasn’t smart enough, but that had been smart.
Smart. Fucking Axl was brilliant. It made Slash widen his eyes behind his sunglasses and shake his head. They were all grimy, scrabbling musicians, drug addicts, drinkers, slackers. He was drifting, he knew that. He drifted from one drug to one shot to one woman to one gig, each thing a moment unto itself. But Axl, he didn’t talk like the skinny heroin addict he sometimes appeared to be. You could hardly understand him sometimes, the words he used, the concepts he just floated into conversation.
The rehearsal, the jam, was going pretty good. There was magic here, Slash knew that from the other bands he’d been in, how things couldn’t quite gel with those other bands. He wasn’t quite sure why this worked so well, just some luck of the alchemy of all of their skills blending together. Now, as the music climbed and dipped and they went into their already characteristic change about two thirds through the song, he wanted Axl to be here. Axl completed the magic and elevated it.
And then he was there, standing in his black leather pants and ripped T-shirt, hugging himself with his muscular but thin arms, the tattoos like paint on his biceps. He knew the song they were doing, he had written most of it. His eyes were narrowed in concentration, and he took a step toward the microphone stand. Slash looked at him, his fingers automatically playing the right notes without him even looking. The guitar was a natural extension of his hand, his fingers, his thoughts. It was something else to hide behind, but Axl hid behind nothing. During their gigs it was Axl most people focused on, it was his voice they heard.
Axl stepped toward the microphone and grabbed it like it might come alive and slip away, and he pulled it toward himself and launched into a scream that seemed to come from the center of his being, from the deep caverns of his stomach and chest, and it fit in and above the music perfectly, like this song had always existed.
After rehearsal they wandered to one of the overstuffed bars, people spilling out onto the street. There was a band playing here, and they were all right, but not as good as they were when they really got going. Slash gazed at them from under his curls.
Everyone was slipping away, Steven and Izzy finding girls and going with them somewhere, bathroom stalls, the back seats of cars, alleyways. Duff was there one moment, gone the next. It was okay. He was keeping his eyes on Axl.
Axl wasn’t always the same, not always the screaming, outgoing, opinionated lead singer. In this bar he sipped a beer and avoided eye contact with everyone, his eyes looking off to the side. That was the other side of him, his fragile, I’ll hurt you before you can hurt me side that was also a part of the appeal. Axl had to have all these things, all these contradictions and complications for the fans to relate to and obsess over. All he could do was play guitar, he couldn’t be so complicated.
At home, sitting on their ratty couch that he swore Duff had dragged in from off the street, he watched Axl write a song, mouthing certain lyrics to himself, strands of his long red hair almost touching the paper. Axl was beautiful, he could tell, and it was weird to think that about another guy, about someone who was your friend. He was the only guy he’d ever thought was beautiful. Women were beautiful, guys were…he didn’t know. Ick. Ick was the closest thing he could think of to describe guys, hairy, thick eyebrows, just…ick. There wasn’t anything attractive about guys, that’s what he always thought until he met Axl. Jesus. That long hair that looked right, not like he should go get a haircut, those eyes, the shape of his nose, his lips when they were parted and he was looking up at something. He was perfect.
It didn’t matter, Axl was homophobic as fuck. Despite looking so beautiful, tempting both males and females, he’d tense and pull away from any advance by a guy and then punch that guy. Slash almost laughed, thinking about it. He knew what had happened, some guy tried to rape him in a hotel room or something, he’d tell that story as an intro to some of their songs, and that also made him laugh. If that had happened to him he’d probably tell nobody, and Axl told a whole club full of people.
He gazed at the look of concentration on Axl’s face as he worked out the lyrics, trying to get the scrawl on the paper to match the glorious thing in his head. Slash shifted his weight, moving closer to Axl, and then laid his head on his shoulder. Axl tolerated this. He let him do it at home and on stage, leaning his head back and trying to catch his breath after all the screaming he did on stage.
They were on stage, the club lights low except for the ones that were shining in their faces. They were all pretty stationary on stage, anchored in place by their instruments, all except Axl. He was wearing a loose button up shirt open all the way to the last button, creating a V through which you could see his skinny torso. When he wasn’t singing he was moving and kind of sort of dancing around them down the length of the stage, doing that sexy little snake move he was in the process of perfecting. Slash could see it out of the corner of his eyes, that side to side movement and then the thrust of his hips like he was fucking someone. From time to time he’d catch Axl and play his guitar with his head resting on his shoulder, and sometimes Axl would put his arm around him. Slash smiled beneath his curls.
Axl would freak if a guy tried stuff with him. The almost getting raped in the hotel room story varied, but it usually ended with Axl almost killing the guy up against the door of the room, a knife or a straight razor held to his throat. Slash kept that story in mind when he was drunk and thought that Axl looked prettier than any girl ever could. He kept it in mind when people would brush up against Axl at a club or some bar and he saw his whole body stiffen.
Axl more or less could catch his breath during the guitar solos and the breaks between songs and during the drawn out intros. His teased up hair started to look a little limp by the end, and he could see the sweat glistening on him, on all of them. The crowd bounced along to most songs, swayed to others, and Axl seemed happy with them. He treated the crowd like one entity and sometimes he was pleased with their reactions and sometimes he was angry with them, yelling at one or two for fighting or looking bored, insulting them and then ordering them to sing along. But tonight he smiled at them and shook hands with those in the first rows. Then he straightened up and slithered around the stage again.
Slash had drunk more than usual, the notes seeming to just slip off the guitar, and he liked Axl’s hair like that, all teased up like a girl’s. He played a particularly tricky solo as Axl writhed and grinded his hips to it, and he wanted him. He licked his lips and his eyes followed his fingers as they grazed and plucked the guitar strings, and he could feel Axl’s movements without even having to look at him, and he wanted him.
The last notes hung in the air, and Axl stood at the microphone after he sang the last verse, and Slash went over to him, stood in front of him, his back to the crowd. Axl wore his mirrored sunglasses, but he could still see his eyes. He could kiss Axl right here and right now, and what could he do? Punch him on stage, in front of everybody? Axl would think, he knew this, he would think it was an edgy stage move, a sort of fuck you to the uptight straight guys in the audience. Axl might be an uptight straight guy himself, but he never missed an opportunity to say fuck you to any group, his own groups included.
Slash licked his lips, knowing he could do it and get away with it. He flipped his hair out of his eyes but it fell right back, and he leaned in toward Axl and kissed him, feeling electricity as his lips brushed Axl’s, and Axl closed his eyes and opened his mouth. Slash let his tongue gently explore, feeling Axl’s tongue and his teeth, his own eyes slipping shut.
He could hear the crowd behind him yelling, screaming, cheering. Did they know he was kissing Axl and wanted to do more? Could they even see the kiss, since he was standing directly in front of him, obscuring their view? He pulled away and watched Axl open his eyes, looking dazed. It wasn’t the sharp look and the quick anger he had expected, and he smiled his wide, shit eating grin at him. He stepped away from him and back to his place, turning to the crowd again.
Axl blinked a few times behind his sunglasses, and so close to him Slash could hear him swallow. Then he pulled the microphone stand toward his chest, the microphone inches from his lips.
“I like this,” he said, his deep voice always a surprise after his shrieking, demon singing. What did he like? This gig, the crowd, how excited they were? The kiss? The unexpected violation of his straight persona? Slash looked sideways at him, thinking of all the things he could get him to like.