The second Lian woke up, he knew it wasn't going to be a good day.
Darkness shrouded the room, the black out curtains only allowing the thinnest sliver of soft blue light into the cool and spacious hotel room.
He didn't want to open his eyes. Hell, he wasn't really sure if he could open them. His limbs were heavy and his mind was wondering even as he tried to think about the concert the night before.
Tania had picked the whole band up a few blocks down from the bar and taken them to the hotel, talking about the arrangements for both Captive Wolves and Moonstrucks practices. They had free rein of the concert hall for the next few days until the concert, and after that they'd be on their way to New York.
But Axel would stay in Boston.
Lian couldn't help but panic a bit at just the thought of the man. He felt his heart beat flutter like the wings of a hummingbird and the dread creeping up his stomach.
It had been so easy to feel good when he was around Axel. So easy to get lost in the man's beautiful eyes and soothing voice. The warmth of his arms and the feel of soft wet lips against his own. Yet now, in the dark with only his own mind for comfort, he felt his anxiety returning.
What had he done last night? Why had he done any of it? Going up on stage with a band he didn't know, talking so intimately with a man he didn't know, kissing that same man.
"Oh god." Lian whispered into the room.
He still couldn't move. It was like he was trapped inside his own body and the feeling was uncomfortable but it wasn't anything Lian hadn't felt before. He couldn't panic, if he began to panic the paralysis would only last longer.
He focused instead on the soft breathing of his twin on the bed beside him.
Conner was facing away from him, his shoulder rising and falling with each breath.
No one had said anything about Axel after they'd all left that ally behind the bar, but Lian wasn't stupid. He knew it was coming. Everyone was waiting for a time when he'd be okay, for a time where all of his fears and voices quieted long enough for him to feel normal. Too bad that wouldn't be today.
It took a long time for his limbs to begin to work again. Slowly and rough at first, like he was moving through thick mud, Lian was able to raise his hands so he could cover his face.
He felt like crying. The frustration of losing control over his own body was rolling in hard but he knew he couldn't let it consume him. It would be a downward spiral if he allowed himself to fall to deep.
By the time he had enough movement back to grab his phone on the nightstand on his side of the bed, the soft blue sliver of light from between the window curtains had turned bright orange. Probably late morning now. When had he even woken up? Did it matter?
Without really thinking about it, Lian brought up his texts, pressing on Axel's name before he could think better of it.
Scrolling up to the top, Lian read through the messages they'd exchanged the night before.
Axel: Hello, beautiful.
Killian: Hi Axel :)
Holy fuck, I used a god damn smiley face!
Axel: How do you feel?
Killian: I don't really know. Light I guess, like air.
Axel: Do you think it's going to last?
Axel: Are the come downs hard for you?
Killian: Sometimes. Usually I don't really know what will happen. I know the situational triggers to avoid anything bad during the okay days. I'm not sure if tomorrow will be an okay day.
Axel: Will I be able to see you tomorrow?
Killian: I never miss practice. No matter what I feel, I can always play.
Axel: I don't think I like the sound of that.
Killian: Conner didn't either in the beginning. But with music...I'm okay.
Axel: I understand that. I'm glad you had a good time tonight though.
Killian: It won't matter soon. Good times never really last.
Axel: Ah, I see the come down is already happening.
Axel: And don't be stupid. Life is worth living only for those good moments.
Killian: Is that why life is worth living?
Axel: It is.
Axel: I haven't seen you at your lowest, but you've gotta hold onto the good times especially when you're at your lowest.
Killian: My therapist usually says that.
Killian: That the happy times are a weapon to battle away the bad times.
Killian: It never worked when she said it.
Axel: Not a weapon.
Axel: A shield.
Axel: Those happy memories protect you when you're on the ground. If you beat your way through the bad times, there will be happy ones again.
Killian: That isn't as comforting as I think you think it is.
Axel: Then think about what you want to do when you come out of the dark.
Axel: If you had one day, one full day to do everything you've ever wanted to do, what would they be?
Killian: I don't know....I've never really thought about it.
Killian: Go to Disney World?
Axel: No, I don't accept that answer. Everyone says that, I want something original. I want something Killian.
Killian: Okay, let me think.
Killian: I think I want to sing.
Killian: Not on stage or anything like that, but to someone, or a small group of people.
Axel: Why singing?
Killian: I don't know.
Killian: I used to do it all the time for my mother.
Killian: My brother always loved to sing, and my parents loved to listen to him, but I was never as open with my voice.
Killian: So when my mom would put us to bed, she'd always ask me to sing for us instead of her. She always said she didn't like her voice, but she loved mine.
Axel: Then think about singing for me.
Axel: Acoustic. No drums, no piano, no violin or cello. An acoustic guitar and your voice.
Killian: Ah, I take that back, all that thought does is give me anxiety.
Axel: Really? But how would you feel if I was there, face-to-face with you begging you to sing something for me. Something slow and sweet.
Killian: How about something slow and sad?
Axel: If that's what you want to sing, so be it.
Killian: Would you sing with me?
Axel: If you asked me to, but I'm not as good at it as Nathan.
Killian: I don't think it would matter to me.
Axel: Then I would.
Lian sighed as he shut off the screen of his phone, resting his arm over his eyes as he thought about the messages.
He'd spent a good part of the night just talking to Axel. Even after Conner had fallen asleep, Lian had stayed up for as long as he could. After Axel's last text, he'd fallen asleep and his anxieties had awakened.
Then think about singing for me
Could that work?
Lian thought about it for a moment. A quiet empty room with two stools side my side. He sat on one and Axel sat on the other, acoustic guitars in both their arms.
He thought about allowing himself to sing in front of Axel. How would the man react?
Lian knew that all things considered, he sounded a lot like his brother. Lian accent was always more pronounced when he sang than Conners, and his voice was also slightly lower. Would Axel notice those differences?
Sharply turning his head to face his brother, Lian took in the bleary eyes and the worried look on his face.
"I'm okay." He reassured quickly, not really knowing if he was telling the truth.
"What time is it?" Conner asked, not moving from his sprawl on his stomach. When had his brother moved?
"Fuck." Conner turned his face into the pillow and moaned low in his throat, giving a full body stretch.
Not really wanting to be questioned, much less hear his twin's commentary on the happenings of the night before, Lian rose from the bed and made his way into the hotel bathroom. It huge and completely unnecessary but Lian ignored everything but the large shower.
He spared a moments thought to the difference of his movements. This morning, he couldn't even move his arm, but he was actually walking without holding onto the walls or forcing his body to cooperate with his mind.
Did Axel's crazy idea actually work for something?
Lian allowed himself to think about the events of the night as he showered. The feeling of being on stage and really feeling the music in his bones. The high of riffing off of someone else. Playing beside Axel and no longer caring about the crowd around them.
Warmth flooded Lian's chest as he mulled over that last memory.
Music had always allowed him to forget about the cracks on his soul. To feel the vibrations, to understand and cultivate the lyrics, to figure out and then finally hear what it's like when the music comes together.
Lian had always had a very classical sound when he played, it had been Conner that made him branch out into alt and rock and grunge. And then he found out how to mix those two worlds together.
"Lian! Tania called, we've gotta be at the concert hall in two hours!" Conner yelled through the door, a soft knock underlining his words.
"Got it!" Lian called back. The trepidation he'd woken up with hadn't disappeared completely. He knew that it was still bound to be a bad day, but he'd pulled himself out of the worst of it. Or actually, Axel had.
The band arrived at the concert hall around three in the afternoon.
"Do you know when the other band will be here?" Declan asked Tania, his eyes flicking to Lian as he sat at the edge of the stage with an acoustic.
"Most of them still had work this morning. They should be here at around six." Tania commented absentmindedly, her full attention on the tablet in her arms.
Declan nodded, watching Lian pause in the strumming and pull out his phone. Lian was facing away from him, so Declan couldn't see what he was pretty sure was a smile, but it didn't matter, he saw the younger boy's tense shoulders relax.
Worry clouded his mind.
"You're thinking about Axel." Conner appeared beside Declan, startling the older Irish just a bit. "It seems like everyone is thinking about Axel today."
"Did you have Ethan look into him?" Declan asked softly.
Conner snorted. "Of course I did. Pulled up just about everything the system had on the man. Axel St. John, orphaned at the age of five, passed around from foster home to foster home until he landed in Green Garden an orphanage outside of Springfield MA. He was a prodigy of sorts, some memory thing. He graduated high school with a 4.0 and managed a full ride to any school he wanted. He ended up going to Yale for two years. Then he dropped off the face of the earth. Left his graduate program in Musical Therapy and Psychology. There's a note from one of his teachers saying that Axel is one of the greatest minds in the United States, if he'd only apply himself to something."
Declan nodded after Conner's speech. He'd heard as much last night when Axel had been speaking to Lian. He'd never admit to overhearing any of it, but it was good to have most of the information confirmed.
"Do you think he's a danger to Lian?" Declan asked.
Conner's eyes traced over his twin's back. Smiling a bit when he started to chuckle silently.
"I don't want to believe so. We don't know the guy, but this is the first time Lian has responded so much to one person."
"So what are we going to do? Moonstruck still has four months left of this tour and we'll be going to New York in three days."
Conner worriedly laid a hand on Declan's arm.
"Maybe we can get Captive Wolves as an opening act for the rest of the tour."
Declan scoffed. "If we do that, then we have to explain to Tania why we're doing it. You were the one that insisted on having local bands open for us."
"Yeah well, that was before my twin brother fell in love."