Categories > Celebrities > Guns n' Roses > Perchance to Dream

Thus Condscience Makes Cowards of Us All

by Sabine 5 reviews

It had been ten years, ten long years and still Axl suffered....

Category: Guns n' Roses - Rating: R - Genres: Drama - Warnings: [R] [V] - Published: 2006-09-09 - Updated: 2006-09-10 - 3123 words

Disclaimer: Don't own them, don't want to own them. This is just a story, it isn't real and it never happened. Ain't making money either. For entertainment purposes only.

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Um -- well? All I can say is that it is a good thing someone reviewed this thing because I totally forgot about it. I'm not begging for reviews! Seriously. It's an old story, so it's not like I was working on it, and I simply forgot to post the final chapter. My apologies.

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October, 2006 -

It had been ten years, ten long years and still Axl suffered from nightmares. He had no idea where those crazy dreams were coming from because they certainly didn't have any basis in reality. Slash was still alive, the fucker, playing around with that skinny junkie in his new group with Duff and Matt. Their second album had come out the previous spring and was looking to do better then the first, itself still on the charts. It wasn't fair. Once more, Axl Rose got screwed. If there was any justice in this world, they would be the ones who were miserable and alone. Instead they had families, success and admiration while he had nothing.

He had shaken off his dreams and Beta had made him breakfast before driving him to his meeting with the executives at Interscope. Axl knew what it was about and he didn't look forward to the meeting; hell, he never did like talking to the suits. When GNR was on top, he could afford to give them the finger. He was Axl Fucking Rose, he did what he fucking well wanted to and no one could say anything about it. He was Guns N Roses and Guns N Roses was Geffen's top selling artist. Oh, how they scrambled to kiss his ass then. He didn't have to have 'meetings' and hold his hat in his hands while the suits talked down their noses at him. Quite the contrary, in fact.

But that was before Contraband.

Contraband was a slap in the face. Everywhere he went, he saw the videos, heard those fucking songs. Slither and Fall to Pieces; Dirty Little Thing. He couldn't get away from it and people were looking at him funny, wondering what he was going to do about it. Axl knew what they were thinking. All those years of making promises and never keeping them. Millions of dollars spent and no album, no new material. Hiding from the press, staying out of the public eye and when he did show up, offering excuses as to why Chinese Democracy was still unfinished.

Ten long years he spent working on Chinese Democracy, sweating over every note and agonizing over every bit of lyric. Personnel came and went from that weird fucker Buckethead to that asshole Paul and each time, someone quit, he had to re-record what he already had done because he was going to be damned if he was going to share a cent with anyone but those who stuck by him. Axl was tired of disloyalty, tired of being stabbed in the back. They made fun of him in public, saying he was washed up, that he was a freak who had long since lost touch with reality. That he had actually driven his old band mates first to drink and drugs and then straight out of the band when in fact they had abandoned him and blamed him for their problems. The public had no idea of the lies that they said about him; it was all bullshit but nothing he could say would convince people that Axl Rose was the victim in this and not Slash, Duff and the others.

Chinese Democracy was going to be his redemption, the masterpiece that would lay to rest all doubts as to who was the real talent behind Guns N Roses. It was going to be what Use Your Illusion was supposed to be and never was, the album that finally buried Appetite and proved to everyone that his success was not just a fluke. It was going be his final revenge on everyone who ever doubted him, who ever stabbed him in the back and left him. It would make everyone regret what they had done and it would make him a legend.

For that, it had to be perfect and so what if the fans had to wait, so what if the industry changed and people grew up and wandered away. He would bring it all to it's knees, drag the industry back by the hair to true rock n roll and not this corporate pop shit or repetitive hip hop crap. He would remind everyone what it was all about; he had done it before back in '87 and he could do it again almost twenty years later. So he was late, so he didn't produce it fast enough, so what? He was always late and you never rushed fine wine.

But then Contraband came out and suddenly Axl felt the pressure to release Chinese Democracy before it was ready. Sixteen million dollars spent on it, all the promises and the hype, the delayed dates and the canceled tours, the hints and speculations added up to make him a laughing stock in the face of Velvet Revolver's success. They had come together and produced Contraband in less then two years all told while Axl was still diddling over his record after a decade; the suits started getting snotty and Axl had no choice but to finally agree to release the album.

And Chinese Democracy, after a brief surge in sales, finally tanked.

The backlash was brutal. The music was dated, it lacked balls. Who did Axl think he was, Trent Reznor? Usher? What was with all the electronic crap? Guns N Roses was once a bad ass, ballsy rock n roll band and Axl had truly turned it into the Axl Rose Freak Show. It was obvious that he couldn't produce great music without the help of his old band mates. He was advised to go crawling on his belly to Slash, Duff, Izzy and even Adler and beg their forgiveness if he ever wanted to be on a stage again, because he was clearly out of his element by himself.

And now the suits were making noises about their money. They wanted to discuss damage control with him. They hinted that they agreed with the press. He was expected to come up with sixteen million dollars by the end of the year or they would take steps...

They wanted the name along with control of the back catalog and if Axl couldn't pay them off, they would get both.

Funny enough, when he left that meeting he was in a reflective mood. He would probably get angry later but at the moment, he was just stunned. How could things have turned so badly against him? He had worked so hard. It was a good album, a great album even though it wasn't exactly what he wanted. It was certainly better then most of the shit that was getting airplay these days and yet, no one wanted it. How could he have been so wrong? Could it be that what everyone said all those years was true? That he was nothing without the others?

Was he the one that was responsible for fucking up his own life? A novel concept. Axl Rose wasn't used to taking such responsibility and he found the experience unnerving.

He didn't notice when he left the plushly carpeted domain of corporate for the more industrial area of the studios. People took no notice of him as he absently dodged equipment cases and the cables snaking through the hallway. Some of the studios were in use, their red and black Recording in Progress signs illuminating his face. He didn't know who half those people in the booths were and he didn't care. Half of them were still sucking on their Mama's tit when he first started out and most them would be washed up inside a year. At least he had a career.

Had. Who knew if he would ever have one again?

As he passed by the practice rooms, the clean, haunting song of a guitar broke his thoughts. Axl stopped and listened for a moment; it was eerily familiar though he didn't recognize the tune. He knew that style, though, knew it as intimately as he recognized his own voice; without thinking, he turned and pushed at a half-opened door, surprised at his own impulse even as he did so. Time was, he would have avoided this like the plague but times change and sometimes even someone like Axl Rose grows up.

And there he was, looking like he always did. The fucker hadn't changed in ten years. Still beautiful, still as hot and as seductive as ever, holding a guitar like his lover, fingers making it sing like few ever could. It was like they had never parted in the midst of acrimony and lawsuits. Wild hair tumbled around his shoulders, that rogue curl falling beneath the rest to drop down to his chest. The muscles of his shoulders and across his stomach filling his t-shirt and the tight ass that inflamed Axl's loins. That neck he used to nuzzle and those lips that he used to kiss; the smooth, golden skin that always drove him wild. All the same. Time and genetics had aged Axl to the point where he needed botox and hair extensions in order to pretend he wasn't getting older. Slash looked just the same.

Some sixth sense must've told him he was being watched but then, he always knew when Axl was around. He stopped playing and looked around, meeting Axl's green stare with his own ebony gaze.

"Hello Axl." Slash greeted him calmly. Even his voice was the same and the sound of it caused the singer's stomach to clench in anticipation.

"Slash - " Axl murmured, stunned. Something had changed. His eyes had softened and for the first time, Axl got the feeling he was seeing the true Slash. Not the wild haired guitarist for Guns N Roses, not the crazy drunk or the blitzed out addict, not the angry, pissed off ex-lover or the headstrong artist but just Slash. Relaxed. At peace with himself. Content and happy.

"What are you doing here?" he asked.

The corner of Slash's mouth quirked up and he turned to put the guitar down in a stand, "Doing a bit of consulting for someone. No big deal. Why? Does it bother you?"

"Would it matter if it did?" Axl asked, stepping into the room and letting the door swing shut behind him.

"Not really."

"You always did go your own way."

"Yeah, I did, didn't I?" Slash laughed, with almost a touch of deprecation.

That smile! Axl nearly fell to his knees. If Slash noticed, he didn't show it.

"How have you been doing, Axl?" he looked like he was genuinely interested and Axl dropped his eyes, ashamed of his own past behavior for a change. All the things that had once seemed so important all of a sudden turned so petty and probably for the first time in his life, Axl truly knew what it was he wanted.

"Are you really here, Slash?" the singer asked, sounding almost like a lost child, even to himself. "I'm not imagining you, am I?"

"Yes Axl," Slash smiled gently, almost sweetly. "I'm really here."

And a breath Axl didn't even know he was holding and a tight knot he didn't even know was there suddenly tore free from his chest and he almost collapsed from the relief. He had no idea why. It just seem so important that Slash confirmed his presence, that he was real and not some kind of fucked up dream.

Axl felt himself being drawn to the guitarist. Even if he wanted to, he couldn't resist the pull; it was a kind of magic Slash always had, a part of that wild, primal vibe that drew people to him like a moth to an open flame. Once Axl had been jealous of that power, had tried to control and even destroy it. He couldn't handle that he had to work so hard for people to like him and that no matter how much he tried, no one understood him; Slash never had to struggle. Quiet as he was, he always fascinated. He never explained, never whined, rarely lost his temper, facing the world as he did with a quiet "cool" and a cigarette. Sometimes Axl would want to scream, watching Slash just watch the world go by with a smirk and a bottle of Jack. Nothing bothered him. If something hurt him, he'd just shrug it off while Axl could only strike back with a viciousness that Slash never needed to display.

He found himself standing in front of his ex-lover, losing himself in those dark eyes that peered back at him with such compassion that it almost hurt. Slash never did hold grudges, he remembered, had no regrets.

"I'm so sorry," Axl murmured.

"I know."

The singer reached out, hesitated and then cupped the side of Slash's face, watching with awe and tears in his eyes as the guitarist leaned into his touch. Slash closed his eyes and nuzzled the singer's hand as if that touch was all that was left that he needed.

"I've always loved you," Axl whispered. He swallowed. "I still do."

"I know."

**They watched him carefully from behind the one-way mirror, observing his every move and listening to the one sided conversation he was having with the thin air. Occasionally, one of them would draw his eyes away from the fascinating spectacle to make a note on the chart in front of him. The subject was a difficult case; even more difficult to treat. Truth was, none of them really expected him to get any better. He was too far gone, too lost in his own delusion to ever have a chance of recovery.

They were locked in a darkened room specially constructed for the observation and study of extreme cases such as this; cases with little hope but much potential to increase their knowledge of how the human mind worked and what exactly could go wrong with it. Sound was muffled and any conversation was generally frowned upon. At best, they would speak in whispers but only when it was absolutely necessary; the people who stayed on the other side of the mirror were...fragile, easily startled. It never ceased to amaze them how reactive they could be to the slightest stimuli.

So when the three men suddenly appeared beside them, the waft of air their only clue that someone had arrived, they were not surprised. One of the newcomers, the senior doctor in charge of the case, picked up the chart and quickly scanned it.

"Any progress?" he murmured, barely audible.

The graduate student couldn't tear her eyes away from the fascinating spectacle in front of her.

"He's about the same. He hasn't gotten violent but - " she nodded at the patient, who was fully engaged with his one sided conversation on the other side of the mirror.

The doctor pressed his lips together and made a note on the chart before turning to his companions.

"It doesn't look like the new medication is working," he informed them, "and therapy is counter-indicated when the patient's break with reality is so severe that he's not even aware of where he is. Of course, Mr. Rose is an extreme example of a schizoaffective; I doubt very much that we'll ever be able to reach him."

"Odd," the pharmaceutical representative spoke up, earning a sharp look from the doctor and the hospital warden. He lowered his voice, "We've had excellent results from this drug so far. I don't understand it."

"Mr. Rose is a... special case," the warden replied laconically.

"Killed his guitarist, didn't he?"

The warden nodded. "Crushed his windpipe ten years ago. Drowned in his own blood."

The drug company rep winced.

"What dosage is he on?" he asked the doctor.

"60 mg," the doctor replied, glancing at the chart.

"Our studies have shown that the medication does not have any adverse side effects until about 150 mg, though the smaller dosages are usually best," the rep told him, looking thoughtful as he watched the scene before him.

"You're suggesting we increase the dosage?"

The rep nodded. "It couldn't hurt, even though it's still experimental; we can't entirely predict what it will do, but as I said, there is no indication of adverse side affects below 120 mg. If you increase it in small dosages, it just may have a positive effect."

He paused and shook his head." I don't understand it, we've excellent results so far. Mr. Rose is the first patient that hasn't responded as well as everyone hoped."

"Well, the results aren't a complete failure," the doctor admitted, still reluctant to commit to a chemical that had yet to be proven, "there's been some progress. His episodes of catatonia have completely disappeared and his periods of violence have been radically reduced."

"And yet he is still delusional."

"Mr. Cole," the doctor replied severely, "some patients don't want to return to reality. It's too painful for them and not all the drugs your industry produces can change that. It could be - indeed it's highly probable - that Mr. Rose is the way he is because that is the way he wants to be. With his history, with his preexisting bipolar disorder, it could be that nothing can help him. Nothing at all." The doctor shook his head. "I know that your company is proud of this drug and it has had incredible success, but the fact remains that it is not going to help everyone."

The rep's smile was a trifle smug. "It's a little early to declare it a failure, don't you think? You haven't pushed the treatment as far as it can go."

"What would be the harm, David?" the warden interjected. "It's not as if he's going to go anywhere."

The doctor stared at the two men, reluctant to give in but he couldn't deny the success they'd had so far.

"Very well," he said, making a note on the chart. He handed it back to his students. "Be sure to tell the orderlies to keep him away from any televisions or radios when they bring him back to his cell. The news is polluted with tributes and retrospectives. We don't need to set him off again. And we shall see if this drug does him a wit of any good."

And on the other side of the mirror, Axl Rose was smiling...**
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