Killian's smell settled inside Axel like warm milk. His skin soft under Axel's lips and his body pliant in Axel's arms and all the big bad fighter could feel was worry. He'd felt this emotion before, it ran in his veins and bubbled under his skin.
"I had this friend once, and she was a spitfire, you shoulda seen her. We lived in a half-way house with another friend. They got me into music you know? They got me started at first, because I didn't want to. Music was weak yeah? For men who weren't men, so I was told. But I was strong, I could fight and protect myself, could fight and protect them. So she told me that since I was already strong, I could play music and still be a man. So I started with the piano we had in the house. Ms. Angela taught me. The Angel we used to call her, she was all light laughter and bright smiles. I don't remember what happened to her. She was the one who taught me, who taught all three of us."
Axel wasn't sure why he was telling Killian all this. He wasn't sure why this is what had to come out of his mouth, but once he started it didn't stop. The words came out of him like a leaky faucet and he wasn't sure how to properly close it.
"I had a good memory, yeah? She saw that. It took me almost no time to learn the piano, to learn the pieces and the movements, but The Angel told me my music had no soul. I didn't know what she meant, I always played the pieces right, every single note. I was always proud of that, of how I caught on to things so quickly. She told me that it doesn't have to be right, it has to feel right. I didn't know what she meant, didn't know what she was talking about until I heard my friends play. They were amazing, baby. Both of them. They played like something was on the line, like everything was ending, like the whole world was on fire. They played music the way I fought. That's when I realized that that was exactly what it was. Music was fight. You put yourself out there yeah? Put your soul into the notes so that every one of them packs a punch. You want to make the people listening feel it, your pain, your hurt, your happiness everything. I understood yeah?"
God why was he saying all of this? It was so stupid, he'd never told anyone these things. Not anyone.
"When we all went to high school, we decided to start a band. It was easy, playing music, for us it was like breathing, like fighting. So we made Burning Flame. We got some fake IDs and we went to bars and clubs and we played. Violet, she was so pretty, baby. Not beautiful like you, but maybe she could have been. But she was wild, a free soul she'd say. She got addicted. Hard stuff. It messed her up inside. It turned her inside out. During the summer of our senior year, we were performing at this bar in P-town, and some of the guys slipped her something. Me and Thomas, we didn't see it. She always went off after the show and so me and Thomas went off together, but that night she...she didn't come back, baby. The guy drugged her, raped her, and left her there. She died in the ally by the bar. We didn't see it, we didn't know, we never helped her we didn't..."
Oh god he couldn't do it. He couldn't say anymore.
"Ye couldn't fight for her."
Killian's soft words made Axel tense, but soft lips kissed the fuzzy skin of his forearms. Slow and tender little kisses meant to bring Axel back. Lian had heard him. How much of it though?
"Yeah." Axel chocked out. The story no longer coming out as smoothly as it had when he was just mumbling it into the skin at the back of KIllian's neck.
"Ye think maybe if ye'd fought for her, fought with her, she'd still be livin'." Lian pressed.
"Yeah." Axel whispered, closing his eyes against the onslaught of emotion. "I've been a fighter all my life, yeah? Fought off the people who wanted to hurt me, fought for the people I cared about, fought against myself to learn music, fought even inside my music. Sometimes I feel like all I do is swing, even inside of me. I fought to make it into college then I fought to drop out. I fought to take care of Nathan, now I fight for his dreams."
"What about your dreams?"
Axel's forehead fell gently onto the back of Killian's head. His nose buried in the spring scented black hair.
"I think my dreams died when Violet did." He said honestly. He would never be anything but honest with this beautiful creature. Something inside told him that if he ever lied, he'd never be allowed this close to Lian again.
"What about music?" Killian asked quietly, the kisses to his arms coming once again. Axel started to count them.
"It's never been my dream. Just another fight. I don't wanna play in front of millions, don't want to be famous, I just want to help people. After Violet...Thomas couldn't handle the guilt. Couldn't live with it. She was ours you know, just like we were hers."
Killian stopped kissing, twenty nine. "Did he...he died too? By his own hand?"
Axel almost swallowed his own tongue. Unconsciously his arms tightened his hold around Killian. "Yeah." He struggled to say the word. One word.
"So ye went to college to learn how to help people. People like Violet and Thomas?"
Axel wasn't sure how Lian was taking any of this, but part of him didn't care. He'd never said these words, never admitted any of this out loud, but for the beautiful creature who was surly as broken as he was...he allowed himself to tell this story.
"But then Nathan came. And ye thought that this was yer chance. Ye had a person to protect, a person to care for like ye didn't with yer Violet and Thomas. So ye dropped everythin', everythin' that mattered to ye, and now ye fight for 'em."
Killian understood. At least on some level, Killian got it. Axel felt like crying, but he hadn't done something like that in a very long time.
"Yeah." It was so low, so soft he wasn't sure he actually said it.
"Ye're a bloody fool."
A sharp bark of laughter was out of Axel's mouth before he could stop it. He shook a little as his emotions rode over his laugh.
"I know." He admitted.
"Ye ever think he never wanted ye to, for them. None of them. Ye aren't Atlas, carryin' the world on yer shoulders. Ye aren't perfect, A ghrá. Nobody is."
Axel knew, of course he did, but he almost couldn't stop himself. So he focused on the one thing Killian had said that he hadn't understood.
Killin's body stiffened for just a second before relaxing again. Axel was sure whatever the word meant, Killian hadn't said it consciously.
"I'll tell ye what it means someday." Killian promised softly.
"Okay." Axel agreed, because someday meant a future. He was fine with any future where he had Killian O'Connell in some way, shape, or form.
"If ye two are done being quiet lovers over there, Tania wants us headed to the hotel in ten minutes or she'll be calling the cops." Conner's voice poured ice water on Axel's warm moment with the beautiful creature.
Reluctantly he allowed his arms to fall away, but Killian didn't move, his back still pressed to Axel's chest.
Killian's hands reached back until he found Axel's, then he twined their finger together before finally looking up at his brother.
Conner's expression flickered from surprise to weary joy as he took in Killian's expression.
"Okay." Killian said, and Axel could hear the smile in his voice.
"Ye know ye just met the guy, right boyo?" Declan asked, curiously disgruntled with this strange dynamic between Killian and Axel.
"I know." Killian replied, the simple answer making Axel chuckle.
"I like 'em." The beautiful creature continued.
"I like you too, Little Bit." Axel admitted quietly, right into Killian's ear.
The small guitarist sighed softly before taking a step forward and away from Axel's chest, his hands slow to let go of Axel's larger one.
The boy had layers to him that weren't all sweet, Axel had seen that, still. He couldn't help wanting to know more.
"Thank ye for the story." Killian spoke as he turned to face Axel, his expression a small and sad smile.
"Thank you for listening to it." Axel retorted.
Axel saw it coming the second Killian swayed forward, and so he stepped into it.
Arms came around his neck and a body, lithe and hard pressed against his chest as lips reached up for his own. He gave Killian what the creature wanted willing.
His arms encircled Killian's waist and Axel was almost certain that Killian's feet weren't even touching the floor.
The kiss was a quick and soft peck of lips, but Axel felt the beating of his heart brand itself on his ribs. Something akin to joy was simmering inside his chest and he was sure Killian could feel it too.
When they pulled away, they were both smiling.
"I will be seein' ye tomorrow, won't I?" Killian asked, apparently not ready to let go. Neither was Axel.
"Yes." Axel answered.
When Killian's arms let go, Axel's did too. As soon as his feet were on the ground, Killian pulled out his cellphone from his back pocket and pressed it into Axel's hands.
Axel grinned at him before focusing on the phone. He unlocked the thing and saw that Killian had an anime character as his background. Axel couldn't help but snort.
The cute eye roll he got wasn't bad either.
With quick smooth movements he typed in his number and pressed call, waiting with the phone in his hand until his own cell rang from within his front pocket.
It was Killian's turn to snort as the beginning half of Collard Predator played on its loudest volume. Axel merely grinned as he gave Killian his phone back. Unashamed by his awesome taste in music.
"What? I love the beginning riff." Axel defended with a teasing wink.
"Are ye gonna change it? Or will my ringtone be like everybody else's?" Killian's outrage was teasing too as he laid a hand against Axel's chest.
"I won't change it. I'll just change everybody else's." Axel told him.
Killian nodded looking pleased before he leaned up as Axel leaned down. Another innocent kiss passed between them before Killian finally found enough strength to pull away from Axel completely.
Axel watched as Killian turned on his heal and walked to Conner's side. The other O'Connell twin was smiling as he too watched Killian, and Axel was sure there was some relief there too.
Killian and the rest of Moonstruck managed to walk out of the ally way with only one glance back his way, and Axel gave a small wave before the four band mates were gone.
"To be honest man, I'm kinda disgusted with you." Vincent said from his spot by the opened back of their old piece of junk van.
"Fuck off." Axel laughed.
"I hope you know, I recorded that entire thing." Talia admitted.
"Send it to me?" He asked.
Talia laughed before nodding.
Axel found himself looking for Nathan, but his brother was already in the van. With a sigh, Axel opened the passenger's side door before sliding in and closing it hard behind him. It was the only way the door would securely close.
"I hope you know what you're getting into." Nathan said instantly.
"I don't." Axel parried. "But I think I want to."
Nathan gave a sharp nod before turning the key for the van.
It took four tries before the engine turned.
"We've gotta take her into the shop again." Vincent commented from his seat in the back, his elbows on his knees and his body pushed forward by the snare of his drum kit that hung awkwardly over the back of the seat and stabbed towards the back of Vincent's head.
"I think she's got another two rehearsals in her before we gotta do that." Talia argued.
"I'll take her in on Thursday." Axel amended, feeling the buzzing excitement of everything Killian O'Connell still echoing inside him despite the normalcy of the post-show arguments. He'd been to Captive Wolves' shows before, but this had been his first night playing, but maybe it wouldn't be is last.
"We won't ever play with anyone else! Promise me, the both of you! It's going to be the three of us forever on this, I won't take no for an answer!"
Violet's voice echoed in his head as he looked out the window, taking in the familiar buildings towering over Boston.
Forever didn't last as long as any of us thought it would.