"What?" Slash pulled his best innocent face.
"You know what. What's going on with Izzy?" Her eyes and voice were fierce.
"Nothing. He isn't feeling well."
"I know you're lying to me."
"Look nothing is going on. Izzy isn't feeling well and there's been some shit in his life recently and I promised I wouldn't tell anyone."
"Because he's my friend and he trusts me enough to confide in me and I'm not going to betray his trust by revealing something private about his life--"
"Not even to your own wife?" If looks could kill, Slash would have been dead on the floor. "You're on the couch tonight." She turned quickly, marching off towards their bedroom, Slash following, trying pointlessly to smooth things over, but getting nothing but a pair of pajamas on the floor in front of the locked bedroom door.
Hours later, Slash was still awake, lying on an air bed in front to the TV with a bowl of popcorn, watching the Tonight Show.
"Slash?" A soft voice came from the hallway and Izzy appeared and lingered in the doorway. He looked so small, sad, and tired, Slash wanted nothing more than to take the older man in his arms and hug him until every trace of pain was erased from Izzy's beautiful face. He paused his thoughts, and mentally slapped himself. Why the hell was he thinking of Izzy as beautiful?
"Hey Izz." He cast the rhythm guitarist a kind smile and Izzy shyly returned it, moving into the room and sitting by the air bed. "What's up? Everything okay?"
"'M fine, just couldn't sleep." Slash could tell he wanted to say more. "What're you still doing up?"
"Perla put me out for the night cause I wouldn't tell her."
"I'm sorry." Izzy murmured, lowering his head.
"No. Not just about Perla. I'm sorry you have to deal with me when I'm like this and I'm dumping all this shit on you."
"Oh Izz..." He sat up, holding his arms open and wrapping them around Izzy when he crawled into the embrace. "Izzy, it's alright. You're my friend, I'll always be here for you."
"Thank you." Izzy whispered against his neck. Soon, Izzy was sound asleep, still holding onto him. Slash gently scooped him up, carrying him upstairs to the guest bedroom. He carefully laid Izzy down on the bed, pulling the covers over the smaller man, tucking him in.
He lingered by Izzy's bed for a moment, gently stroking Izzy's cheek and hair. It was horrible that Izzy had to go through this, and it was obvious to Slash that Izzy was truly heartbroken. Izzy very, very rarely just crawled into someone's arms when he needed care. He was a person who could normally hold on his own, but everybody needs someone at some point, including Izzy, who seemed to have chosen Slash to care for him. "Oh Izz, I'm so sorry you have to go through all this. I love you Izz." He murmured, gently pressing a soft kiss to Izzy's cheek, stroking his hair for a moment before leaving the room.
Returning downstairs, he turned the TV off and put the popcorn bowl in the kitchen before lying down on the air bed, pulling the blanket over himself. As he drifted off he could have sworn he felt someone slender crawl onto the bed beside him, curling up to him and whispering "I love you too Slash."
The next morning, Slash awoke feeling oddly alone. He looked for signs of someone else in the room, but no one was there. It must have been his imagination, he determined, surprisingly saddened by that thought. Then he noticed a wonderful smell, bacon, toast and coffee, all fresh and delicious. He rolled out of bed, scratching his crotch casually, yawning and entering the kitchen where he found Izzy standing at the stove, bacon in a frying pan, a pile of toast on a plate next to the coffee pot which was just finishing filling with fresh coffee. Izzy was already dressed, his hair damp; he must have already been up for some time. "Mmmm, that smells great Izz." He stepped closer, wrapping his arms around the smaller man. "When did you start cooking?"
"I've always cooked, you just never noticed it." Slash made a noise that acknowledged Izzy's response but neither agreed or disagreed. Izzy soon stopped what he was doing and turned in Slash's arms, returning the embrace. "Mmm..." Izzy rested his head on Slash's shoulder, Slash rocking him a little.
"I missed you, you know." Izzy nodded. "I care for you Izz, I wanna be able to help you through this." Izzy tightened his arms around Slash.
"No problem." They stood for a few more minutes, simply holding each other, Izzy resting his head on Slash's shoulder, Slash resting his head against Izzy's. Their peaceful moment was soon broken as they heard a door open somewhere else in the house. They separated, Izzy going back to the stove and moving bacon from the pan to a plate as Slash leaned casually against the counter.
"So, how do you like your eggs?" Izzy asked him, going over to the refrigerator and bending over to get the eggs off a lower shelf. Slash couldn't help but stare at Izzy's perfect, round little butt. "Slash?" Izzy turned, casting him a concerned look and Slash mentally slapped himself.
"Scrambled, please." Izzy nodded and went back over to the stove just as Perla walked in.
"Saul, you didn't make Izzy cook, did you? He's a guest."
"No, no, I was already up." Izzy said, without turning to her. "Slash is just keeping me company. It's fine."
"He could have offered to help." She almost seemed to be looking for something to criticize Slash on.
"No, I'm almost done, it's fine. So, how do you like your eggs Perla? Scrambled? Or...?"
"Scrambled it fine." She said stiffly. Izzy calmly finished making the eggs and dishing them onto plates, and adding bacon and toast to the plates before taking them over to the table. Slash poured orange juice for them and sat in the chair closest to Izzy at the table, Perla sitting across from him. "So Izzy, did you sleep well?" She said, her voice indicating she was only trying to be nice.
"Yes, thanks." His reply was almost shy and he was avoiding Perla's eyes.
"What are you planning to do today?"
"Not sure yet. But don't let me get in the way of any plans you may have." Perla was very clearly annoyed at Izzy's calmness. She spent the rest of the meal sending Izzy a death glare. Izzy calmly ignored it and when he was done eating, he rose from the table, putting his plate and glass in the sink before leaving the room.
"Why do you hate Izzy?" Slash asked the second Izzy had left the room.
"I don't hate him, I'm just not pleased with you two keeping secrets from me. I know I'll never know everything that went on in your life, whether Izzy was involved or not, but I don't appreciate you keeping secrets from me."
"He just made me promise not to tell anyone and I plan to keep that promise. I can't say that what he told me isn't a big deal, but it's not something that'll really mess with our lives or anything, you know?" Perla nodded.
"Um...one last thing." She hesitated for a moment, which was a rare thing. "Did you and Izzy ever...well, you two never slept together, right?"
"What?!" Slash's eyes looked about ready to pop out of their sockets.
"Did you ever sleep with Izzy?"
"No!" He had never even thought of doing something like that with Izzy. Well, not that he could remember off the top of his head.
"Were you two ever together sexually? In any way, even just a hand-job or rubbing against each other--"
"No! I mean, we shared a girl a couple of times but that was fifteen years ago! He came on my leg one time, but we were twenty! I have never had sex with Izzy!" Slash took a deep breath. "Where on earth did you get that idea?"
"Just how...close you two are. That little thing in the kitchen last night, you two spend a lot of time alone together...just, you seem very close."
"He's my friend and I love him. He isn't at his best; do you expect me not to give him hugs and let him know I care for him and that I'm there for him? I'm gonna be there for him when he needs me." Perla sighed and nodded.
"Okay, just...god, I don't know what to say right now."
"Are you angry?"
"No, I'm not. I just need a bit of thinking time."
"Okay." Slash rose and lingered hesitantly.
"It's fine. Go find Izzy, he may need you for something." Slash nodded and leaned over, kissing her forehead, a faint smile appearing on her face. He left the room, going to the bedroom and quickly changing out of his pajamas, before heading off in search of Izzy.