Studio days were rough on everyone. Of course, it didn’t help that Dethklok always waited until days before their deadlines to start writing and recording. Nevertheless, studio days were brutal. They were basically locked in the studio for a week, only breaking for a few hours of sleep each day. By the end of the week, the boys were climbing over each other to get out of that room as soon as Knubbler let them leave.
As soon as he was free, Pickles grabbed a bottle of whiskey, took several sips, and passed out on the couch in the common area. He didn’t have the energy to make it to his room, which is why he was woken up by an intensely cold sensation on his neck. He cracked open his eyes and saw Toki looming over him, grinning like a maniac and holding a pint of ice cream against Pickles’ neck. He laughed when Pickles groaned, swatted at the coldness on his neck, and begrudgingly sat up.
“Fuckin’ hell, Toki. Why’d ya do dat!?” Toki settled in on the couch next to him, opening up a container of ice cream and handing it to Pickles, sticking a spoon viciously in the middle.
“You wouldn’ts wake up! I’s says you name a billions times”. Propping his feet up on the deadly coffee table, Toki tore off the top of his own pint of ice cream and shoveled a giant spoonful into his mouth, stomping the pedals to the TV.
“Dood, some of us don’t have AD-fuckin’HD, so we actually need ta sleep.” He had slumped against Toki’s shoulders, eyes closed again, carton of ice cream dangerously close to dropping to the floor. Toki nudged him sharply, jolting him upright as a familiar burst of music came from the TV.
“Lion King, huh?” Pickles knew for a fact Toki had seen the Lion King at least a million times. Toki knew all the words to all the songs, and could probably quote the entire movie. He knew this because Toki had made him watch it three times since they had started “hanging out”.
“Yep. Eats yous ice cream”. Toki didn’t even look at him; he was completely transfixed onto the TV screen, animation reflected in his bright eyes. Pickles took two bites, mostly stirring it around as they watched in silence, then passed the rest of the carton to Toki, who had seriously inhaled his.
Fifteen minutes into the movie, Pickles knew he had no chance of falling back asleep, at least not for a while. Toki was way too hyperactive and chatty, commenting on everything and tapping his fingers in a nervous drumbeat against Pickles’ thigh. He had tried calming Toki’s hand in his own, but Toki would eventually pull it away and unconsciously sneak back to tapping. But he slowed down and held still at the scene of Mufasa’s death, looping his arms in Pickles’ left and leaning his head on Pickles’ shoulder. The two settled into a sleepy reverie: Toki struggling desperately against his impending sugar crash, Pickles absent-mindedly stroking Toki’s tangled hair as the guitarist settled against his chest. Their eyelids fluttered lower and lower as the movie became less and less interesting, not even noticing the darkness creeping into the corners of their vision…
Nathan had spent most of the night in celebratory inebriation with Skwisgaar and Murderface. Now that sunlight was starting to blossom on the horizon, they had decided to call it a night, heading off to their respective spaces. He happened to hear something coming from the living room, though, as he trudged down the hall, and veered off to investigate who was awake or still up at four in the morning.
The screen of the TV was blinding in the pitch black living room, but the music was instantaneously recognizable.
“Lion King. Sweet”. Nathan stumbled over to the DVD player, popping the disc out and groping for the plastic case. He found it on the floor, amidst empty ice cream cartons and spoons, and a couple of spent cigarettes. He grunted with a soft chuckle at the sight of Toki and Pickles, mashed up against each other on the couch, Toki’s hair completely covering his face.
Nathan stood up, snapping stolen DVD into its place in the case, murmured “What a couple ‘a dildos” to himself and staggered out of the room, Lion King tucked safely under his arm. Before he could clear the threshold, Murderface popped out of fucking nowhere, and if he’d been sober, Nathan might have screamed. Instead, he bellowed, “JESUS Christ, Murderface, what the fuck are you doing?!?” He heard the creak of the leather couch and some kind of sleepy groan behind him.
“Jeezch Nathan, way to freak out.”
“Well you fucking came outta the goddamn shadows, you creep.”
Murderface shrugged off Nathan’s garbled rants and stepped forward. Nathan, aware of the somewhat compromising position Toki and Pickles were in, with the world’s biggest homophobe about to stumble in upon that scene, blocked Murderface’s path. Before Murderface could say anything, Nathan pushed the DVD into his hands.
Muderface stared and stared at the package in his hands.
“Lion King? Toki? Man, is he aschleep in there?” His voice dropped to a grumbly whisper, malice growing like wildfire in his grin.
Before Nathan could mumble more than a long “uhhhhh”, a long whine emanated from Toki.
“Oh, Mufasas! Crappys, we missed it!” The two Americans in the doorway watched as Toki’s sleep-rumpled figure rose from the couch, a black shadow on the giant blue TV screen. Glass bottles lurched and tinkled as his legs slammed into the coffee table, causing him to sputter out a few loud, random curse words. He fumbled with the DVD player, tossing random cases and trash on the floor as he looked for his beloved Lion King.
Nathan, bless his inebriated heart, heard Pickles groan. He immediately cleared his throat, and stepped in front of Murderface, tearing the DVD out of his hands and subsequently blocking Murderface’s view of Pickles’ head rising from the snuggly little couch.
Toki jumped and squeaked in surprise as he turned towards Nathan, took two steps and tripped over something. Even in his sleep-addled haze, he managed to catch the DVD that had been hurled towards him.
Nathan turned out of the room, mumbled “goodnight” and shoved Murderface down the hall in front of him. Toki simply formed a small ‘o’ with his mouth, realizing as he heard Murderface’s drunken squabbling, the potentially hazardous situation Nathan had just saved him and Pickles from.
Pickles laid back down, turning to face the back of the couch as Toki fiddled with the DVD player, again, skipping scenes and tossing the remote. He felt Toki prod at him, demanding that he move. Pickles groaned and dragged himself upward, wedging himself in the corner of the couch, allowing Toki to press up against his chest with Pickles’ arms around his shoulders.
“You gots to keeps awake dis time. Poor Mufasa…” Toki’s voice trailed off into a soft whisper, eyes once again hypnotized by the screen.
Pickles tried, dammit, to stay awake. But he was far too comfortable, cheek pressed against Toki’s head, arms being rubbed gently by a single callused thumb. He fell into blissful sleep by Toki’s broken rendition of “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?”, the lullaby echoing in his ears.