You know it would have made sense for it to be Scott. They had been best friends practically their entire life, had played music together as kids long before even the idea of a band, had spent the last nine years going from obscurity to if not world domination at least relative non obscurity, had been living in each other’s pockets, sleeping in tents, wrapped up in a shared sleeping bag curled together for warmth before progressing to campervans and now a tour bus. So yeah it would have made sense for their fans to think that they were fucking like bunnies. But always buried deep at the core that was them there was something, an indefinable something that broadcast to the world that they were brothers, family.
Then of course there had been Danny, the guy Stiles had spent the better part of the last few years practically making out with on stage their antics making the crowd go wild, especially the kiss at the Pitchfork but there had again always been a line, a space where everyone knew that it was a fantasy, part of the lights and noise and illusion for the crowd.
So no, although it had always been an audience pleaser no one had ever read anything more into it, into Stiles slight over enthusiasm at molesting his fellow band members during a show, at least not until now.
Not until some crazy half formed idea in Stiles head had convinced him that it was a good idea to basically leg hump their new lead guitarist in a bizarre bid to finally get his attention, and now people had finally decided to take notice, and every magazine in what seemed like the US of A had that picture and the world had decided unilaterally that Stiles Stilinski, lead singer of Obliteratus was totally fucking the bands new lead guitarist Derek Hale, a man who off stage barely acknowledged Stiles existence with more than a grunt or a growl.
How the fuck was this his life?
It was never supposed to have gone this way of course, they had just finally started to get some recognition, were finally playing to the big crowds, their years of hard work paying off and Stiles had been more than happy with the thought of simulating lewd sex acts on stage with the always awesome Danny Mahealani for the next twenty years. But then Danny had left, just up and left with mumbled apologies of too much, too soon, leaving behind pain, horror and the disbelief that only happens when your family has been torn apart.
They had been without a lead guitarist for three weeks before it sank in, before the dull wave of pain at Danny’s defection turned into blind panic. Danny was pretty much heart and soul of the band, not only a fan favourite but the glue that had held them altogether, hell he was the reason the band existed at all.
He had been in Stiles chemistry class and had overheard Stiles singing a Foo Fighters song under his breath one day, his face open and impressed as he mentioned that he wanted to form a band, Stiles had nodded happily, and dragged along Scott, because everyone had learned a long time ago that where there was a Stiles there was a Scott. Danny had been hesitant at first, the only instrument Scott could play was keyboards that totally didn’t fit in with Danny’s grunge rock feel, but then Stiles had unleashed their hidden weapon. Although Scott wasn’t brilliant at keyboards, what he was a genius with was music. Lyrics, chords, notes beats, they spoke to him in a way that even Stiles couldn’t fully understand. It was like all the other stuff that couldn’t fit in Scott’s head had been pushed away for music.
After debuting a couple of songs of Scott’s that Stiles knew were better than anything Danny had come up with, Scott was in and their indie grunge band had slotted into alternative rock and Obliteratus was born. Not long after that Danny had invited in Issac, a quiet kid from English who spoke so rarely for the first six months Stiles actually wondered if he was mute to play drums. It was an odd mix but behind the drums the kid turned into a machine, arms flailing, catching beats and riffs at a speed and a pace that shouldn’t technically be possible for a human being with only one set of arms.
After that Stiles thought they were pretty set, all that was missing was bass and then had come Jackson, the first real bone of contention among the small group.
Although Danny’s friend, Jackson Whitmore was everything Stiles, Scott and Isaac hated about school. The jock bully with the money, arrogance and confidence that left him little to do with his life but make everyone else, especially other kids miserable. He had shown up for their first practise with a new guitar and a stinking attitude causing everyone to go home within thirty minutes. It had taken some cajoling but Danny had gotten them all back together the next day and each day after that it had gotten a little easier.
It had taken them a couple of years to see what lay behind Jackson’s exterior, to realise that beneath the arrogance a totally different person existed. In fact it had taken them finding out about Isaac’s father to be exact, the day they finally confronted their friend about what lay behind the cuts and bruises and learned a truth buried in a basement even worse than anything they could have imagined.
Stiles would never forget seeing Jackson storm towards Mr Lahey, fire and vengeance burning in his eyes as he had punched Isaac’s dad square in the jaw, warning him that if he ever touched Isaac again he would kill him.
It had taken Stiles dad and Jackson’s dad every favour they had to get both Jackson out of trouble and Issac away from that house. Terrified at the idea of foster care, Isaac had ended up at Mrs McCall’s and had never left.
As amazed as Stiles had found Jackson standing up for Isaac the memory that would never leave him had happened afterword’s, just as he was feeling good at the idea of his friend being away from the pain and suffering, the smile on his face had been wide and broad as he headed towards Jackson to deliver the mother of all bear hugs on the guy, only the small shake of Danny’s head as he stood to the side of Jackson and his father had stopped him moving any further, and he had watched, helpless at the look of pain on Jackson and his fathers face as Jackson pulled away from his dad touch and told him loudly, no inflection in his voice that they weren’t ‘family’, that he had a family now, one that had never lied to him. The look on Jackson’s father face as he watched his sons retreating form had never left Stiles and had left him both scared and speechless as he realised just how much the band had come to mean to Jackson and how irrevocably broken Jackson’s relationship with his family was.
It was why it hadn’t surprised him as much as everyone else when Jackson didn’t follow Danny when he left. He might have started as Danny’s friend but he had taken the band on as much more. They were family now, and Jackson wasn’t quitting another family, although he had taken Danny’s defection harder than most, he had turned it to anger, ignoring Danny’s repeated calls and texts, branding his reasons, his apologies of too much, too soon as bullshit.
Stiles had known it was bullshit the minute Danny had started spouting it the excuses that this wasn’t what he had expected, that he had just wanted to make music, this, this whole fame thing had never been it for him. He didn’t want to play for audiences in their thousands, he wanted to go back to making music in their basement, leave the gruelling tour of night after night of playing at any and every venue the management team got them signed for. He had seen Danny’s face when they performed, knew he loved the thrill of the crowd, the noise, the adrenaline, there was something more to it all but it was Danny’s secret to keep, as a friend he had to respect that.
Now all that had mattered was that he was leaving and their band, the last eight years of work, blood, sweat and tears had paid off and they were on the cusp of greatness, three weeks away from their first European tour and they were without their lead guitarist. Sore, hurting and pretty much terrified at what it would mean to a band that had just started to make it to lose what was arguably one of their most popular band members, they hadn't hoped for much.
To fulfil the tour conditions they just needed someone who could play under pressure and hold the stage well enough that they didn’t get booed off every stage from here to Paris.
And then their prayers had been answered, as Scott arrived at practice, grinning from ear to ear with Derek Hale in tow. He had come on the recommendation of Alison Argent, the bass player for Lydia Martin’s band Girls Love Punk Pardon, which pretty much meant Scott was already sold, Alison could tell him the sky was yellow and Bon Jovi rocked harder than Led Zepplin on occassion and the kid would believe it.
However on this one occasion she had been right. Having just recently left a band that was pretty well known on the American circuit, citing differences with the ‘lead singer’ who also happened to be Alison’s cousin, he was used to touring and the man’s fingers were legendary. He played with a grace that seemed effortless, making the guitar sing under his fingers, and even in their sound stage the guy had charisma, so much so that Stiles found himself bouncing over on more than once occasion to try and interact, his enthusiasm dipping slightly at the glare he got in return, way less fun than Danny and although Stiles would miss having someone to jump on during performances and a friendly neck to lick, the guy was too good not to snap up.
But then had begun the real problem, in practise it was alright, Stiles would jump through the set, picturing the crowd in front of him and playing off the bands energy and if it did kinda sting that Derek acted like he was invisible well then he could live with it, he didn’t need the guys freaking attention.
The real problem began at their first show, the buzz of the crowd making Stiles stupid and reckless as usual his skin tingling with adrenaline as they played what seemed like the set of their lives and so he had bounced over to Derek, his fingers looping in Derek’s waist band, pulling him towards him, leaning forward as he shared the microphone with him as he had done so many times before with Danny, his index finger looped in the denim his other fingers splayed across Derek’s back.
If his brain had time to catch up it would have warned him that what he was doing would not end well, but fortunately for him and of course the crowd in Norway his brain on this occasion would have been wrong. Derek had moved towards him, his thigh sliding between Stiles legs, his breath warm smelling of mint, beer and cigarettes as he sang with Stiles into the shared microphone, his voice warm and deep, mixing perfectly with Stiles smooth vocals, all the while his fingers working some kind of magic on the guitar. After that it had been like slipping into a new skin, tight, scratchy but feeling oh so right and each song in their eight list set became almost foreplay as they sang to the crowd and each other.
As their last song reached its crescendo, Stiles leaned back into Derek’s body as Derek pushed the guitar behind him, his forehead resting on Stiles as their voices screamed into the microphone the screams and noise from the crowd almost drowning them out and Stiles swore his heart stuttered as Derek licked a slow deliberate path up Stiles neck, ending at his ear, his breathing harsh against Stiles ear as the set finished.
His heart beating with adrenaline and something else he had never felt in all the years of playing with Danny, Stiles had looked over the screaming crowd, his heart pounding and breathing hard and harsh as he thanked the crowd.
It was that exact moment that Stiles realised he was fucked.