Categories > Celebrities > Def Leppard

Moonlight #5: Close to Midnight

by Brambleshadow 0 reviews

"It's close to midnight, and something evil's lurking in the dark. . . ."

Category: Def Leppard - Rating: G - Genres: Horror - Warnings: [?] - Published: 2013-03-17 - Updated: 2013-04-14 - 3503 words - Complete

Notes: Part 5 of the Moonlight series. Halloween one-shot. The guys are in Pueblo, Colorado, for the local GhostWalk thing we have in October. (Yeah, I live near Pueblo so naturally I have them going from place-to-place in my homestate.) Phil's trying to figure out exactly what's going on with Joe and Sav . . . and need I say MJ's "Thriller" is involved? ;)

"Close to Midnight"

Phil wasn't stupid.

He knew there was something going on with Joe and Sav—and it wasn't just the fact they were sleeping together. Considering his own relationship with Steve, he was the last one who should be complaining.

It was strange, though. Joe had always been the straightest man in the band—Casanova. Lady killer. Then he was suddenly jumping Sav's bones. Okay, yeah, Sav did look a bit feminine, but still, it wasn't the Joe Phil knew. Sure, he'd noticed the little touches and looks on Sav's end—especially when they were filming the videos for "Women" and "Pour Some Sugar on Me"—but . . .

Then there was the dynamic between the singer and bassist. Whenever they were in the same room, Sav would be a little ways behind Joe, like he was Joe's inferior. Phil had never thought of Sav as submissive—after all, the bass player was the owner of the band of sorts—and yet here he was submitting to Joe.

In fact, Phil was almost sure Joe had told the rest of Def Leppard—himself included—why this was, but the more he thought about it, the more it slipped from his mind. It was irritating to say the least.

The lead guitarist was thinking about all this while they were on the road heading down to Pueblo, Colorado. They had been in the state for a few weeks as part of a tour with Bon Jovi—the Lepps promoting Hysteria and Jovi promoting Slippery When Wet—and Joe had agreed for Def Leppard to attend something called a GhostWalk in Pueblo. (He'd later claimed it was in a moment of weakness, but his bandmates hadn't believed him.) To top it all off, today happened to be October 31st, also known as Halloween, All Hallow's Eve, or Samhain. The holiday had originated in the Lepps' native UK, but Phil didn't know much more than that.

"Are we there yet?" asked Rick from the backseat, jolting Phil out of his thoughts.

"I don't think so," Phil replied, turning his head so he was looking at the drummer. "We've only been on the road for a couple hours. I think Vail is only four hours away from Pueblo."

"We left from Denver, remember? So we should be coming up to Pueblo right about . . . now." That was Sav. The bassist was busy flipping through radio channels, stopping on one for a few measures before moving on to another—and it was driving his bandmates insane.

"Will you quit changing stations, Sav?" Joe finally snapped. "It's driving us crazy!"

The bassist stopped station hopping—finally. However, the song was Michael Jackson's "Thriller."

"Not this song again," Steve muttered, startling Phil. He'd thought his fellow Terror Twin was asleep. Apparently not.

"So, are we in Pueblo yet?" Rick asked again.

"Yeah," Joe said, slamming on the brake in time for a red light. All five Leppards were thrown forward, caught by the seat belts. They were then subsequently thrown back against their seats, thanks to whiplash.

"Hey, Joe," Sav said, "why'd you agree to do this again? I mean, none of our songs are all that terrifying."

"It was a moment of weakness!"

"Yeah, right," the other four chorused sarcastically.

"Well, the bird who asked was very easy on the eyes . . ."

Phil could have sworn he heard a low growl coming from Sav—one that sounded canine. But that was crazy. He must have been hearing things. Right?

"Where is this GhostWalk thing anyway?" he asked, trying to keep his mind off any strange behavior coming from the two men up front.

"Downtown by the Riverwalk," Joe answered. "Starts at seven, I think. Where's the bloody map?"

There was the sound of rustling papers as Sav dug through the glove compartment. He pulled out an atlas and rifled through it. "It's on Riverwalk Avenue, appropriately enough."

"So how do we get there?" Joe's voice was tense.

With Sav taking on the role of navigator, they were downtown and parking the van in ten minutes. A glance at the clock on the dashboard showed it was 5:30 p.m.

"Anybody else think we've been in this state way longer than we need to be?" Phil commented as the band spilled out into the streets.

Nobody answered, and ironically, this gave him the answer.

"Well, we have an hour or so to kill," Joe finally said. "What d'ya say we meet back here at six-thirty?"

The rest of the band made various noises of agreement and split up: Joe paired with Sav, and Rick going with the Terror Twins.

"So," Joe said to Sav, "where do you want to go?"

"I think I see a bookstore that looks promising," the bassist answered, already heading in the direction of aforementioned store. Joe smiled a little, shook his head, and followed. Like him, Sav was a werewolf—Joe had accidentally turned him backstage after a concert with Bon Jovi up in Denver. It was Richie's fault, really. If he hadn't kept teasing him about his relationship with Sav . . .

Anyway, instead of turning into a full-blown werewolf like Joe, Sav had become a wereling—a werewolf with enough humanity to temper the 'wolf nature when in the lupine state. During Change Nights—full moon nights—Joe needed an anchor to keep his 'wolf in check. His just happened to be Sav. Since the bassist was a wereling, Joe didn't know if Sav needed an anchor for when the moon was full. The problem with werelings was that, since they were so rare, regular werewolves—purebloods included—didn't know that much about them.

"Hey, Joe, come look at this," Sav said, jolting the singer out of his thoughts. The bassist was holding a little black book, reading the back cover.

"What is it?" Joe asked, coming up behind Sav so he could read over his shoulder. He briefly wondered when they had entered the small bookstore—he'd been so lost in thought that he hadn't been paying attention to his surroundings (a stupid thing for an alpha such as himself to do)—but he shook the thought off.

"A collection of horror stories by Edgar Allan Poe," Sav replied.

Joe frowned. "Who?"

"He's an American author. He practically created the horror genre. Were you not paying attention in American Lit?"

"Not really," he admitted sheepishly. Hoping to distract the bassist, he asked, "What stories are in there?"

Sav's eyes scanned the back cover. "'The Black Cat,' 'The Fall of the House of Usher,' 'The Masque of the Red Death,' 'Murders on the Rue Morgue,' 'Cask of Amontillado'—"

"I think I've read that one," Joe interrupted.

Sav rolled his eyes and continued, "'The Tell-Tale Heart,' and 'Letters in Red.'"

"'The Tell-Tale Heart' is the one where there's a chopped-up body under the floorboards, right?"

"Yeah. Looks like you did learn something in school, Elliott," Sav teased.

"Watch it, Savage," Joe warned mildly. Now he, too, was browsing along the books on display. He picked up a paperback on Southwestern legends with the words "La Llorona" on the cover in big black letters. It was accompanied by a picture of a striking raven-haired woman walking along a river, her mouth open in a plaintive cry. She sort of reminded Joe of a banshee—not that he'd ever met one. Curious, he went to the table of contents, saw the starting page of the La Llorona legend, and flipped to the corresponding page. After reading, he commented, "Well, that's creepy."

"What's creepy?" Sav asked, wandering over to the singer.

"This La Llorona legend," Joe said. "This Latina married a rich guy, bore him two kids, and found out a few years later that he was seeing another, younger, woman on the sly. In a fit of murderous rage, she drowned her two kids in the river, realized what she had done, tried to save them, committed suicide when she failed, and wasn't allowed into Heaven. So now she's doomed to wander by the river searching for her lost kids, sometimes snatching young children or misbehaving tykes."

"Okay, that's slightly creepy," Sav admitted. "What's La Llorona translate to, anyway?"

"According to this, it means 'The Wailing Woman' or 'The Weeping Woman,'" Joe said, briefly consulting the book.

"Y'think they're gonna have her at this GhostWalk tonight?"

"Probably." Joe paused. "Y'know," he said, a sly look in his green eyes, "we could pull our own trick for Samhain."

"As in scaring our bandmates?"

Joe nodded.

Sav considered the idea, shrugged. "Sounds good to me."

A wicked grin spread across Joe's face, and turquoise spun in his green eyes for a split second. Sav's own lips twitched in an answering smirk.

This was going to be fun.


Night came early to Colorado in the fall; by six-thirty, the sun was sinking behind the Rocky Mountain range. The band had arranged for their instruments—except Joe's, of course—to be dropped off earlier, and now they were performing a quick sound check, not to mention figuring out what songs they were going to play.

"We could do 'Billy's got a Gun,' I guess," Sav suggested. "That one's a bit creepy if you think about it."

"We could also do a few covers," Phil threw in, twisting the tuning key for the D string on one of his Jacksons. He flashed a sly look at Joe. "How do you feel about Ozzy?"

"Osbourne?" Joe scowled at Phil's nod. "Well, 'Bark at the Moon' I would probably do. Other than that . . . No."

"'Mack the Knife' is a good song," said Sav.

Rick frowned. "Isn't that a jazz tune?"

"Yeah," the bassist admitted, "but it's about a serial killer." A thoughtful look crawled over his face as he looked at the lead singer. "What about 'Werewolves of London'?"

Joe gave him an are-you-kidding-me look. Sav just smirked, showing a tiny bit of fang.

Steve glanced up from where he was sitting on the stone steps fiddling with his Les Gibson. "Dare I mention 'Thriller'?" He was wincing as he said it.

"God no," the other four Lepps said in unison. Joe went one step further: "We're not a pop band. Besides, how would you recreate that?"

"Good point," Phil admitted. "Where's Mutt when you need him?" he added jokingly, referring to their producer.

"At home," Sav said with a smile. Phil had to do a double-take to make sure the bassist's canines weren't really pointed. When he looked again, Sav's teeth looked the way they always had. (That didn't exactly reassure him.)

"What about 'Die Hard the Hunter' or 'Too Late'?" Rick suggested.

"That could work," Joe said thoughtfully. "What's that one Pink Floyd song . . . ?"

"Which one?" Phil asked. "Almost all of their songs are in a minor key, Joe."

"It's on Dark Side of the Moon. Or was it from The Wall?"

"Hum a few bars," Sav suggested. "Maybe we'll catch it."

"We don't need no education," Joe sang. "We don't need no thought control. . . . Hey, teacher, leave those kids alone."

"That'd be 'Another Brick in the Wall' off The Wall, Joe," said Phil. "It's protesting Britain's education system by the way."

"You would know that, Phil," said Steve, a smile twitching at his lips, "considering you're the trivia buff in this band."

"Shut it, Steve," Phil retorted mildly. His fingers started playing a riff that was instantly familiar to his mates.

Joe cocked an eyebrow. "'Barracuda,' Phil? Heart?"

"Hey, their early stuff isn't all that much different from Led Zeppelin. They're really good, actually."

Joe shrugged. "Fair enough. What d'you say we stop messing around and try performing something for once?"

Sav's grin made him resemble the Cheshire cat. "Joe, since when are we not messing around?"

The singer opened his mouth to argue, thought it over, and closed his mouth again. There simply was no argument for that one.

Mwahahahahaha, he heard Sav cackle inside his head over their pack-bond.

Seriously, Sav? That's the best you've got for an evil laugh?

Maybe. Sav's thought-speak voice took on a mischievous tone. I've been practicing. Why, you want to hear it again?

No! It's . . . disturbing, somehow. How about this: Never do that again.

Or else what?

Who said there was an "or else" attached?

It was implied.

I don't suppose saying, "You're grounded" would work.

Nope. And can't you come up with something better than that?

Okay, then. How about me tying you up for the night?

Kinky, Sav commented. You know I'm not into BDSM, Joe!

Sav, would it kill you to get your mind out of the gutter for once?

Probably. Well, where you're concerned at least.


Why, I do believe I've made Joe Elliott speechless.

S-shut up.


An hour later, they had finished performing and decided to attach themselves to a tour group. In addition to being on the Riverwalk, this GhostWalk thing was spread around the historic sites in the Steel City. What with the band being tourists, technically, they had no idea what these historic sites were. (Well, the Union Depot downtown was pretty cool. So was Mineral Palace Park, not to mention City Park.) Along the way, they'd met a 1920s flapper; La Llorona, the Weeping Woman; John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist religion; Loving, of the Goodnight-Loving Trail; and a few others whose names Phil was forgetting. The La Llorona legend had creeped him out a little, to be honest, and wasn't it just their luck that they were walking through a cemetery right now. Phil couldn't help noticing with growing apprehension that the group had gotten further away from him while he'd paused to look at the engravings on a cluster of headstones—and his bandmates were nowhere to be seen.

It's close to midnight, and something evil's lurking in the dark.
Under the moonlight, you see a sight that almost stops your heart . . .

Peering through the darkness, Phil thought he could make out two familiar shapes: one tall and broad, the other lithe and lean. He called out, "Joe, Sav, is that you?"

The dark shapes came closer, and Phil relaxed when he saw that, yes, it was the singer and bassist.

"Hey, Phil," Joe said with a smile, showing pointed teeth. "Nice night, isn't it?"

The guitarist gulped, shifted his gaze to Sav. Said bass player smirked, his already-blue eyes suddenly phosphorescent.

Phil's mouth was dry. He swallowed hard, hoping to retrieve some saliva. No such luck.

"What's wrong, Phil?" Sav asked, reaching out with a clawed hand. "Scared?"

"We don't bite," Joe added. His features twisted into something feral as his eyes, too, glowed turquoise. "Much."

Phil stepped back, out of Sav's reach, and tripped over a tiny headstone. He sprawled heavily on the grass on his back; the impact knocked the breath out of him.

Sorry, he apologized silently to the corpse whose resting place he'd disturbed. As he lay trying to catch his breath, he couldn't help watching Sav and Joe in horror as his bandmates' features began to twist and fracture.

You try to scream, but terror takes the sound before you make it.
You start to freeze as horror looks you right between the eyes.
You're paralyzed.

A scream bubbled up in his throat, but terror snatched the air from his lungs before he could give voice to it. What escaped instead was a low moan. Even as Phil stared at the nightmare creatures before him, a part of his mind was saying that this wasn't real, that any moment he would wake up in the tour bus. Because really, he couldn't believe otherwise:

Joe and Sav were werewolves.

And it looked like he was their next meal.

Cause this is thriller, thriller night,
And no one's gonna save you from the beast about to strike.

Ah, hell no, a part of Phil's brain thought. He snapped out of the paralysis, scrabbled backward, managed to lurch to his feet, and ran.

The air filled with ferocious snarls as the two 'wolves lunged after him.

You know it's thriller, thriller night.
You're fighting for your life inside a killer, thriller tonight. Yeah. Oooh.

Phil ran blindly, weaving and (in some cases) leaping over and around the grave markers. Somehow—he wasn't sure how—he ended up near a road. With a mental shrug, he turned left. Behind him, he sensed that Sav and Joe had split up in order to pursue him: He could no longer hear two sets of paw-steps, just the one. Glancing back, he saw a flash of brown fur.

Geez, Sav, what have I ever done to you?

Almost as if he'd heard Phil's thought, Sav snapped his jaws at the empty air, teeth snick-ing together. The sound forced Phil to pour on the speed. Somehow, he ended up at Mineral Palace Park.

He'd always been in decent shape, but that little run had left him winded.

I need to start running more, he thought, panting, leaning heavily against a tree.

Muffled paw-steps shuffled closer. Slowly, Phil turned, a low terrified sound in his throat when he saw Sav—still in 'wolf form—was only meters away, teeth bared in a literally wolfish grin.

Where was Joe?

Suddenly, as if the thought had called him up, the golden werewolf came slinking out of the shadows to join Sav. Now that the two of them were up close, Phil could see a subtle difference: Sav's eyes were his regular shade of blue, not glowing; Joe's green eyes were a searing turquoise and glowed in the dark. Sav's 'wolf form was smaller compared to Joe's, and it didn't look like he had the same amount of power that Joe's lupine form possessed.

I'm dead, Phil thought, eyeing Joe as the singer swept his tongue across his muzzle.

You hear the door slam and realize there's nowhere left to run.
You feel the cold hand, and you wonder if you'll ever see the sun.

A car door in the distance slammed shut. Instinctively the two lupine yelped and shied away, startled by the loud noise.

Phil seized the momentary distraction and took off again, heading for the path leading around the fenced-in pond. The asphalt path in between the pond and the fence that separated the park from Highway 50 was so narrow and cracked that the guitarist hoped it would hinder the werewolves on his tail. Unfortunately, his night vision was only that of any normal human, and there were some potentially fatal cracks in the asphalt, thanks to thick tree roots.

A wave of cold cascaded through Phil as he tripped over one of those roots and his body toppled forward. He caught himself before he landed completely on the ground, his position that of a sprinter set in the starting blocks. From there it was easy to push up and keep going.

Unfortunately, as none of the three Leppards knew the area very well, Phil took a left turn a hair too early and earned a concussion when he hit a telephone pole. All he could see for a second was a pair of glowing eyes, hulking shapes.

Then everything went black.


When he next opened his eyes, he was on the moving tour bus . . . and being shaken by a worried-looking Joe and Sav.

"Stay away from me!" he yelped, scrabbling back and wincing when his head hit the wooden headboard of the bunk bed.

"You were having a nightmare, Phil," Joe said, eyebrows knitting together as he puzzled out the guitarist's reaction. "Relax. You're on the bus."

"We left Denver hours ago and are heading to Minnesota," Sav added. The bassist stuck his hands in his pockets and leaned back on his haunches, studying Phil. "Must've been some dream for you to lash out at us like that."

Joe mirrored Sav's position, his fingers resting lightly on the bass player's jean-clad thigh. Phil decided not to comment. The blonde singer said, "I'm guessing we were in it."

"Yeah. You could say that." His voice was dry and slightly sarcastic. "The two of you were werewolves trying to eat me."

Sav and Joe exchanged glances, lips twitching, before they busted out laughing.

"Werewolves," Sav choked. "Yeah, right."

"You must have Samhain on the brain, Phil," said Joe.

At their reaction, the guitarist released the breath he hadn't known he'd been holding. He mumbled, "Yeah, I guess." For some reason, all tension in his body had drained away.

The two men facing him grinned. For a split second, Phil thought he saw fangs and a flash of turquoise in their eyes.

No, he had to be imagining it.

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