He was here.
The amazing boy who'd written the song he'd heard only weeks ago. Axel was over the moon with the events of the night. The boy had hopped up on stage like he owned the damn bar then stood there, like he was waiting for permission. When Axel gave it, the boy had amazed him.
He hadn't known who he was, not at first.
His first clue had been the fight. The back and forth of their guitars gridding out parts of their soul until they could finally fit together. It had been perfect.
When he'd said his name, Axel realize what Lian had been short for.
Killian. A beautiful name for a beautiful boy.
Really, the boy was gorgeous. Eyes the color of a clear midday sky, black hair kept short with bangs that hung in his eyes in an almost shy way. Full pouty lips that were lovely pulled into a smile. Axel was captivated.
Killian's quick smile before launching into Breaking Chain made heat pool into Axel's belly. The sweetness of this creature who played the guitar like he had something on the line was all consuming.
As his brother and the band followed right along with Killian, Axel hung back, knowing the song well enough to anticipate his own opening. It also didn't hurt that Killian was a vision when he played.
There was a ferocious smile on his lips like he was baiting the crowd into starting a fight, when his eyes flicked to Axel, the challenge changed direction. Instead of a fight, it beckoned Axel to join him, to chase him into the high of the moment.
When Axel did join, those blue eyes glowed in pleasure before closing in bliss.
Their sound was a dance that both of them knew the steps to this time and Axel could see that Killian was enjoying that. They were blending and Killian loved it.
Holy shit. He's got me.
Axel didn't know where the thought came from, but it was there in his head as he stared at Killian O'Connell, finally in his element knowing the steps of this song like he knew his own heartbeat.
Killian was so beautiful.
Axel could hear his brother singing the words to the Moonstruck song, he could feel the beat moving him as he felt his fingers picking expertly at his guitar, but all his attention was focused on the lithe creature that moved like grace beside him.
Forget opening for Moonstruck, this performance right here would forever be his favorite. He didn't need anything else.
"Just us. Forever okay? We'll never play for anyone else, it's going to be Burning Flame until we die!"
The promised words echoed in his head and Axel closed his eyes against the sudden spike of pain that lanced his heart.
He was breaking that promise now. He was playing on a stage with people who didn't belong to him. What did he think he was doing? Why had he agreed to this at all? How dare he betray the only people who ever accepted him like he was family?
Killian's voice was soft when he said Axel's name, but despite the crowd's cheering and the band's music pounding, Axel heard him.
He forced his eyes opened and he looked into sky blue eyes. Pained sky blue eyes.
There was a hurt in them that Axel wasn't sure where it came from, a shadow in the middle of thin furrowed brows, and a downward twist to sweet lips.
Axel realized he'd stopped playing.
He struggled inside himself with a decision. He could keep playing and hope to bring a smile to this beautiful Irish Treasure, or he could lay down his guitar and apologize for suddenly being an idiot in the middle of a performance he'd already agreed to.
Forgive me guys, but I need that smile again.
As the Moonstruck song finished, Axel picked up the beginning of Collared Predator.
Killian's bright eyes widened for just a moment before a hungry grin captured all of Axel's attention. They didn't have a violin or a cello, this version of the classically edged song would be raw and unfettered, and Axel could see the joy in Killian's body.
Music was bringing this boy to life and Axel was captivated by it.
He'd been so shy when he'd tried to apologize, so nervous and withdrawn, but the music was setting him free.
Axel was setting him free.
"My cage is crumbling,
Don't close your eyes for this
The Masters fumbling,
I'm immune to all your whips.
I'm about to bare my teeth in you
You're fear will climb, nothing to do
Enjoy the ride,
The beast inside,
With our hoarse cries,
Axel's gaze was riveted on the picture Killian made. Mouthing the words to the raw-as-gravel song. Without the classical instruments creating a softer edge, the song was biting and angry something Axel hadn't noticed during his many nights playing the song acoustically. It had always sounded more like honey when done right, but this raw and sharp edge was like a lion's roar.
It felt amazing to perform it this way, this song he'd played by himself again and again.
Suddenly he felt Killian's attention on him and Axel was set on fire. His body burning under the hot gaze of the sweet creature. There was no other explanation, Axel wanted him.
It was a while before the band reluctantly ended their set.
They had played two more songs by Moonstruck before playing two of their own. Killianhad stayed on stage playing next to Axel the whole time.
The last song, one of Nathan's ballads, had required two acoustic guitars. Usually it would be him and Nathan playing while Nathan sung, but instead of taking the guitar for himself, Nathan handed the acoustic to Killian with a smug little smile.
"I don't care what you do with it. The melody is easy, that's why I play it, its Axel's harmony that goes everywhere. So just play how you want to, it'll sound amazing anyway."
Nathan's words had made the beautiful creature smile before a stool was set next to Axel's and they played the song together. Axel humming softly so that Killian could easily follow a melody he'd never played.
When everything had ended, Nathan had thanked the crowd for listening and then thanked their 'mysterious guitarist' for making the show interesting at which point the crowd had started to chant Killian's nickname.
Of course they knew who he was. Moonstruck was famous and the twins of the band more so.
Axel saw the exact moment Killian tensed, his face going blank but his eyes darting around the bar franticly. Axel had seen that look before, the look of a caged animal. Nathan had had that same look back when he'd come to live with Axel after his mother died.
Moving quickly and decisively, Axel turned his back on the crowd and crowed into Killian's space.
"Come on." He said, grabbing the beautiful creature's hand and dragging him off the stage, leaving the rest of the band to handle their instruments.
Killian followed easily, allowing Axel to roughly part the sea of people trying to touch and talk to the both of them.
Axel gave a wave to Chad, one of the bouncers, before heading into the bar's back room.
Turning around, Axel grabbed Killian's face and made the boy look him in the eyes.
"Breathe, baby. You're okay now. Just breathe for me." Axel slowed down his own breaths, keeping a steady rhythm until Killian finally started to match it. "That's it, baby." He praised with a smile.
The panic was gone, but the blankness that had crowded Killian's face was still there. There was no smile on his face or twinkle in his eyes.
Disappointment made Axel frown.
"Don't do that." He said without thinking.
Killian's blue eyes widened in surprise before he frowned in confusion.
"Don't do what?"
"Shut yourself down. Block the world out. Whatever that was just now, don't do that."
A hint of anger crept up into Killian's expression, Axel saw it in the furrow of his brows and the press of his pouty lips.
"There you go." Axel smiled a bit. He'd gotten an emotion out of the boy, no matter that it was anger. "I've got you."
Killian's wide eyes made his sweet face look innocent, a look that brought Axel to his knees after the little minx that had been on stage with him not even a few minutes ago.
"How do ye know? I mean, how can ye tell?" Killian sounded a little awed as he whispered, as if afraid to be heard and Axel wanted to wrap the boy up in his arms. There was so much fear here and he could feel it inside himself too. This boy's music had told him as much long before they'd met.
"How can I not? It's in your eyes, baby." Axel answered with a soft smile. His thumb caressed Killian's check, running back and forth through Killian's soft skin just under his eye.
The sweet creature closed his eyes and Axel felt his whole body shudder as Killian's hands fell softly on Axel's waist.
Axel noticed that he was quite a bit taller than Killian. On stage he had a tendency of slouching, so he hadn't noticed just how small the boy was until he was standing there, holding that beautiful face up to look right into his eyes. The top of Killian's head was just about to the hollow of Axel's throat. For some reason he liked that.
His hands were gentle on this boy, a gentleness Axel had only found with his guitar at home. He was a fighter, always in the midst of a war inside himself if not outside, yet here, in the back storage room of a bar he'd just played in for the first time in years, holding in his hands the most precious thing he'd ever seen, Axel didn't feel the rage in his belly. Didn't feel the fight in his head or his heart. He was a peace.
Damn...peace felt nice.