Sitting in traffic for an hour with his entire band wasn't exactly what Killian had in mind when he agreed to go see the local bands up for opening for them in Boston, but the second Declan and Krystal heard of his choice to go they had tagged along.
"Did you read the file Tania wrote up on this band?" Krystal asked, her attention on Declan and Conner who were in the back seat with her.
"I did." Declan answered, while Conner shook his head. "They're mainly rock with a little soul thrown in, I listened to the CD Tania had one of our agents record during their last few shows. They've got a good sound, the vocals especially, but the guitarist falls apart at least once every song."
"So why are we going to see them?" Killian found himself joining in, despite not really wanting to. "If one member falls apart, the whole band does."
"Not so boyo." Declan answered. "That's what caught the agent's attention in the first place. The rest of them covered the mistakes very well, enough for a live show. The file says they have a guitarist in reserve, one who doesn't always play with them but records for them. Tania told the agent to let the band know that we want that guitarist playing. Chances are, we'll be hearing a vastly different sound tonight."
"I can't wait. Tania actually praised them, can ye believe that?" Conner chimed in, his smile radiant as he practically bounced in his seat.
Lian smiled a bit despite his lack of real amusement. He loved Conner, through his Depression and all, he loved his brother.
"I did not praise them." Tania said from her place in the driver's seat.
"Ye told us they were worth a listen. That's praise enough as it is." Conner insisted.
"He's got ye there Ice Queen." Declan teased.
"The amount of Irish in this car is staggering." Krystal commented. "I know I say this every time, but the three of you talking to each other is sort of overwhelming. Hell, when Declan and Conner get going I feel like we're in the Green Isle or something."
"Erin go Bragh!" Declan, Conner, and Killian all called out at the same time.
Killian found himself laughing along with his Irish brothers as the two girls in the car rolled their eyes.
A little bit of the old him settled itself in his chest as he allowed himself to relax into this, this comradery he hadn't felt in so long. It had been a long time since he'd spent time with both Declan and Conner at once. When his and Conner's parents went back to Ireland, everything had changed for the band. Killian's Depression consumed him completely and the press of too many people caused panic attacks. After three years recording, this was only the bands second tour. Their second year shadowed completely with handling Killian's Depression and recording their newest songs. Therapy and drugs helped Killian overcome a bit of his illness, but the apathy still remained, like a parasite he couldn't shake.
"What does that mean?" Krystal asked. "Erin go Brah?"
"Erin go Bragh." Killian corrected.
"There's a g in there somewhere." Declan explained. "It means, in basic terms at least, Ireland Forever."
Krystal snorted which made the boys in the back laugh right along with her.
Killian hoped this could last. The apathy was a ways away from him but he could feel it, just on the edges of his emotions. If silence descended on them, the apathy would strike. He needed a way to keep it away.
"The lead singer's rather handsome though, ain't he Declan?" Conner raised an eyebrow as his smile turned mischievous.
"Wouldn't know, brother." Declan replied, flicking Conner in the nose. "I did't look at their pictures like ye."
"Can't help it." Conner confirmed, unapologetic. "Need to know if they've got the look."
"What kind of look would that be?" Killian asked with a small grin.
"The 'fuck off and love me' look." Krystal answered for Conner, who gave her a high five from over Declan's head.
"What the hell does 'fuck off and love me' look like?"
"Kinda like ye." Conner answered him, the blue eyes that were iconic in their family sparking with excitement. "Ye've got this vibe on stage, like ye don't care whether ye're loved or hated. Ye're just opt to be remembered."
"Like the world could come at ye from any angle and ye'd be up to knocking them all down." Declan tried to help, but only confused him more.
"I do not." Killian protested.
"No boyo, ye really do." Declan insisted. "When ye play there's a ferocity to ye, we don't see any other time."
"We're here guys." Tania interrupted.
Liam was glad for it. He wasn't sure what to say to his band mates. He didn't know what he looked like on stage. He struggled most days just to play in front of so many people anymore. Struggled with looking like he was in the moment when anxiety ate at his stomach. He used to be so confident with his music, but it all changed for him.
"Looks like their starting now." Krystal opened her door first, taking a few wobble steps on her high heels as she got her legs under her.
"No, it's not them yet." Declan insisted. "They're on last tonight."
"Are ye sure?" Conner asked, also getting out.
Before Killian could follow them, Tania's hand on his forearm stopped him. He looked back at her, blue eyes meeting blue eyes as she stared intently at him.
"If it's too much, I'll be in the back. You look for me, and we leave. You've got it?"
Killian swallowed thickly as he nodded.
When she let him go he opened the door, but paused before he got out.
"Ye've been there for us from the beginning. Can I ask ye why? Why not just drop us when I...when I got sick?"
"You've got too much talent to let you go like that. I'm hoping someday soon, you'll realize that."
Not knowing what to say, Killian nodded sharply at her before bringing himself to take a step out of the car and close the door behind him.
"Ye know, this bands not so bad either." Declan commented as he waited in line with the rest of Moonstruck. Killian headed their way, trying his best to ignore the people in line with them.
"We'll see how they stack up to the main event." Krystal insisted.
It didn't take long for them to get in, but they didn't manage it without getting noticed.
The bouncer checking ID caught on quick and recognized them first, insisting that everyone move out of the way and let them go first. Soon enough, everyone in the line noticed too and the screaming started.
" 'ello Boston!" Conner yelled, a wide smile on his lips as he stood in front of Killian, keeping the press of bodies from reaching his brother. Krystal and Declan followed his example, boxing Lian in against the building as they tried to keep the crowd at bay.
"We're here for the band, please don't crow us. It's not our night tonight yeah?" Krystal yelled over the screaming bodies.
Claustrophobia was clawing at Killian's guts, the panic rearing inside him violently and he could feel it, could feel himself starting to slip his control.
He didn't want to. This night started off as a good one, he didn't want to feel the apathy or the panic. Just for the night he wanted to feel normal.
The voice cut through the screaming quickly as the people in line heard the mic's feedback crackle from inside the bar.
"I don't know if you guys know this, but my brother is on stage with us tonight!"
The screaming was now coming from inside and the crowd surrounding Killian and his band mates went still as the crowd whispered among themselves.
"Nathan has a brother?"
"Do you think he's as cute as Nathan?"
"Oh I bet he's older, Nathan talked about him before during their show in that pub a few weeks ago."
"Let's go in! I wanna see his brother!"
Surprisingly the screaming herd that had surrounded them not moments ago were now crowding the bouncer as he kept checking ID's and bags, everyone excited to go in and see this local band more than they were to see Moonstruck in the flesh.
"Wow." Kyristal whispered.
"They've got the locals wrapped around their finger." Declan agreed.
"That's a point in their favor for sure." Conner agreed.
Killian couldn't speak. Instead he tried his hardest to keep breathing. The crowd was still there, but at least their attention was no longer on him and his band mates. Maybe it would stay that way.
Conner's voice got Killian's attention and he looked up at his brother's eyes, taking comfort in the worry in them. The panic had driven the apathy away, and now thanks to Conner the panic was fading slowly too. Killian felt as normal as he was going to in the moment.
"I'm good." He responded, smiling weakly. "But now I'm curious. I've got to see this band who manages to get a crowd of people to forget we exist."
Conner grinned at him before turning and presenting the bouncer with his ID.
"No need guys, I know who you are." The bouncer smiled. "I'm a friend of the band's, they'd kill me if I didn't let you guys through."
Conner gave the big black bouncer a quick wink before grabbing Killian's hand and dragging him inside, Krystal and Declan following close behind.
"His name is Axel St. John. And yes, he might be just as good as Axel Rose!"
Laughs echoed in the bar as Killian struggled to see the stage behind the pack of rabid fans crowding it.
"He's the one who's played for our CD, so those who've bought it lately will be able to tell the difference between him and Tony tonight. If you haven't bought the CD but are a fan anyways, tonight'll be a surprise I'm sure."
The crowd screamed and Lian felt Conner pull him past everyone and into the back of the bar.
Empty tables were scattered around the back as everyone had gotten up to crowd the stage when the band had taken over.
Conner was quick to pick a high table and set Killian on one of the tall skinny chairs before taking his own.
The second he climbed onto the rather tall chair, Killian was able to see the band.
The people outside hadn't been exaggerating at all. The lead singer was beautiful. Short blond hair was styled up in spikes and messy while black eyeliner made warm brown eyes sparkle under the stage's spot light. Tight black jeans and a ripped up red tank top allowed multiple bracelets and chains to rattle on the singers arms as he waved them around while he talked.
Over all the boy was cute in a very punk manner, something Killian could appreciate but gladly at a distance. Killian could tell that the boy had a very draining sort of personality.
"So here you guys, a gift for everyone here tonight! Axel St. Jonh!"
The boy held an arm out to the side of the stage where a man began to climb up from his place in the crowd.
Instantly the noise was out of control, the screaming of the people crowding the stage almost deafening, but to Killian, there was only silence.
His attention narrowed down to one point, all his senses numbing instantly as his eyes landed on the man making his way across the stage.
Tall and eye-catching, Axel St. John was a vision in black.
An easy smile spread on kissable bow shaped pink lips, short and tussled brown hair and hooded eyes that crinkled attractively in the corners. Killian would put Axel at around 25 if not a little younger.
Truly the man was beautiful, more so than his obviously younger brother.
"Now this first song is something we've never played before and Axel is the reason why. He wrote this a couple years ago and now that he's up here, we finally get to perform it. Another gift from us Captive Wolves to all of you while we're already at it!"
The vocalist's turned his head and nodded to the drummer before turning to Axel with a wink.
And just like that, the band soared.
Killian felt it in his bones, his body vibrating with the dark and captivating sound as the drums started a steady heartbeat. The base bleed itself through, an agonizing depth that made Axel's singing guitar fly into the air with a startling beauty. When the vocalist opened his mouth to sing, the whole thing came together effortlessly.
Killian saw the band lay down their souls on stage. The vocalist prowling the stage like a trapped panther, the whiskey roughened voice dragging the crowd's emotions over broken glass while the drums speed up the hearts of everyone in the room. The bassist, a blue haired girl with bright green lipstick and purple eye shadow covering her closed eyes bobbed with the beat as she managed to pour cold water over every ear in the room, her steady sound creating the platform where the vocalist moved with a deadly grace.
Still his eyes would always go back to the guitarist.
Axel's eyes were closed too, but his fingers were fast, the electricity his sound created hit every person in the room until goosebumps covered Killian's arms. Axel moved like he was in pain, his chest heaving as he mouthed the words of a song he obviously knew well.
The lyrics didn't even matter because Lian couldn't hear them. His focus was solely on the sound this band had, the presence.
For the first time in a very long while Killian could feel his heart coming alive with this beat. His body thrumming with the need to move and grab his own guitar so he could put his own soul on the strings like Axel was doing, like the bassist was doing.
"Holy shite." He could hear Declan whisper, but it didn't matter.
The crowd cried and Lian wanted to do that too. He wanted to join into the sea of noise in the only way he could.