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There was nothing trustworthy about the Swede, Skwisgaar Skwigelf, and Pickles knew that, and knew his type of smarmy, crooked European bastardry, the moment he’d walked in on the jackass in the greenroom of the Paradiso.

Pickles was not playing that night - hell, he wasn’t even in a band - but if he’d learned one thing about greenrooms in his time in Snakes N’ Barrels it was that they were woefully policed and any person looking confident enough could waltz straight in unhindered, especially if they looked like they knew what they were doing.  Furthermore, if eight years as a millionaire rockstar wasn’t enough to buy him refuge in greenrooms everywhere for the rest of his pitiful life, he didn’t know what the point of it had been.  He felt justified in trespassing.  And no one stopped him, anyway.

Besides, hanging out with musicians - even pub circuit, city-level losers like these guys - sure beat risking being recognised in the Miami clubs.  Pickles had made certain efforts to disguise himself, such as the dreadlocks, snapbacks and sunglasses, but far and beyond the most effective thing had been shaving off his beard.  He looked like a stranger to himself, clean shaven - and yeah, sure, there’d been a time in Snakes N’ Barrels without the beard, before he could grow it in properly, but it was part of the signature look so to speak.  Without it, his chin looked weak, and in certain lights and from certain angles he even looked like a woman - save for the hostile recession of his hairline, christ.  Together those two conspired to make him look nothing like Pickles, Snakes N Barrels frontman, and much more like the weirdest-looking acid freak at whatever metal concert he’d hunted down in the Florida city.  So not ideal.  But better than fans, anyway.

The band playing, Financially Raped, was good.  Heavy.  Pickles had enjoyed them, hanging off the bar with his glass of bourbon and watching the show through his sunglasses.  The barmaid had recognised him, but that kind of attention wasn’t completely undesirable, you know.  She answered his silent signals for drinks instantly.  And no, he didn’t have the money to blow on top shelf bourbon anymore.  But that barely fucking stopped him, did it?

After the band had left the stage he’d slunk to the greenroom, which was more a section of the bar curtained off from the rest of it on stage left.  No one stopped him, and he had made to talk to their hirsute lead singer cracking open a can of beer from the carton they’d obviously been paid in, when instead a pale, overly soft and complex hand grabbed his elbow and turned him away instead.

“Hey.  Youse, guy.”

It was the guitarist.  A skeezy guy with big blue eyes, long blonde tresses and a pallid Nordic complexion, far from home here in Florida.  He had a girl by his side, curled up on the couch beside him and staring at Pickles as Pickles looked back at the pair over his sunglasses.  “Yo,” said Pickles, and the guitarist smirked at him.

“You’s, ah… dat guys, you knows?  Ams you not,” he said, raising an eyebrow, and Pickles frowned at him.

“Not sure what you’re talkin’ about,” he lied, not going to fall for filling in the blanks like that for some idiot who barely even knew what he was saying.  But the guitarist had not released his arm.

Nej, I knows dat face... you sells out de Globen.  Big, uh, Skyltar… big sign, alls over Stockholm, and on him, dis, ah, TV.  I remembers, cos you am plays guitor, on dis, TV.”

Pickles held up two fingers to him, moving them gently through the air in front of the guitarist.  “These are not the droids you’re lookin’ for,” he quipped, and the Swede stared at him blankly.

“Droids?” he asked, leaning forward with a conspiratorial intensity, and Pickles gave in.

“Okay, yeah, dude, I was on TV and yeah, Stockholm, yadda yadda.  What was that, ‘92?  Did I sign your arm or - hell.  Did I cuss you out?  Sorry, or somethin’.  It’s all a blur.  Ehh, but I don’t do that no more, I don’t play guitar so, I don’t wanna talk about it, right?  Done with it.  Dead n’ buried.”

“Eugh, why?  You ams so good!”  The girl was all but forgotten, staring up at the two men as they dealt their panic back and forth.

“I just don’t wanna!  I do, uh, drums now, useta do drums and now I’m back on ‘em.  I like that hexikicks, blast beat, shit, S.O.D.  The good shit.”

“Who’ms - - ... oh.  But dat ams good dough!  Alway needings de drummers, in de bands.”

Pickles, ever the opportunist, sized the guitarist up and made a decision.  He held out his hand, the Swede clasping it and giving it a confident shake.  “Pickles,” he said, and dropped down onto the guy’s other side on the couch, opposite the girl.  “You ain’t from ‘round here, huh.”

“Skwisgaar.  I comes from Tampa, just for dis tour, thing.”  Not what Pickles had meant, but he supposed it fit.  Best get straight to the point.

“You know, eh… anyone on the lookout?  For a drummer.  Uh, but they gotta be heavy.  I ain’t here for any rock n’ roll bullshit.”

Skwisgaar thought about it a moment, the girl peering over his shoulder.  “Not in Miami.  Onlies in Tampa.  Dat’s where all de heavies bands ams.”  His fair brow furrowed as he thought harder, as if he was digging into the hard problems of life, the bottom of the barrel, rather than reeling off bands.  “Dere ams… eughh… a few bands needings dis, drummer.  But you says, hexikicks, ja… heavies...”

“Yeah.”

“Dis utter band I plays wit… Dethklok.”  Pickles felt his skin prick with the name, Yeah, like a Doomsday clock or somethin’...  “We ams lookins for drummer but, like, dey gotta be de heaviest, most brutal drummer in de whorlds.  No pussy, sayings Magne.”

“Got a pussy, ain’t a pussy,” muttered Pickles, and Skwisgaar looked at him in confusion and indicated to the girl.

Ja, I gettings pussy too?”  But Pickles just waved him off casually.  It didn’t matter.  Skwisgaar frowned at him and leaned forwards, lowering his voice. “Ams beingk... very serious, O.K.? Look.  I keep tries to get dem a drummers and every time Nat’an says, no way!  Ams not goods enough.  But we cannots do de shows til we gots one and, honestlies, it ams a pain in my ass!  Dethklok ams good, we don’ts need to waste time...”

“Gee,” said Pickles, not giving the remotest fuck, “That must be a real drag, dude.”

Skwisgaar looked him up and down for a moment, thinking deeply, remembering back over Stockholm and TV sets of his youth.  He thought, sniffed, put his arm around the girl and raised his head haughtily.  “You ams good guitorist.  I remembers.  You have, red Gibson SG... I remembers dat.  Don’ts remembers any words you say... but you ams a good guitorist.”

Pickles was about to tell him to shut the fuck up, and didn’t he say he didn’t want to talk about it, when Skwisgaar looked him in the eye and spoke again.  “If you’s anywhere near as goods as dat, on de drums, den.  Huh.”  The Swede sniffed, tossing his hair back.  “You knows what I t’ink?”

“Nope, but you’re gonna tell me.”

“Dis ams correct, I am t’inking, you need to goes to Tampa.  And you need to come plays wit’ Dethklok.  See how it ams goes.  If dey think you just pussy-ass drummer, huh.  Don’t matter.  All dem utter bands ams dere, anyhows.”

Pickles sneered at him, but said, “Sure.  Gimme your number and I’ll tell ya when I’m in town,” not meaning it at all, but Skwisgaar did – written on a coaster – and Pickles abandoned him to his girl, catching as he left to harass the lead singer her quiet, was that really...? and Skwisgaar’s shrug.

But in the cold light of morning, lying face down on his tiny apartment’s floor and regretting wasting his rent money on Wild Turkey, Pickles had a revelation.  His life was going nowhere here in Miami, had stagnated for months and months, avoiding everyone who had ever been near a needle.  If fate was giving him a lead, well.  Why the fuck not.

The next week, he fled to Tampa.  Didn’t even bother to give notice to the landlord, just cleared it all out and got a Greyhound down the coast.  It wasn’t as if he owned much anymore, having pawned it in desperation between royalty cheques.  It was important to spend all his money every time he got paid so that his ex-wife didn’t catch its scent, but not – never – on property, because she’d catch wind of that.  So booze.  He had nothing to take to Tampa except a kit bag full of filthy clothes and a skateboard he’d tried to learn how to ride, only to be humiliated by the Local Youths.

Now Tampa was a weird city, and that was coming from Miami; it was humid and full of old men smoking cigars, leering down at Pickles as he dragged his sneakers through the downtown looking for a hostel since his money was fucking gone until Friday, and it was only Sunday now.  It was the best he could do, and he set up camp in a tiny single room that smelt like a sock drawer, trying to ignore how small and sad his life was at that point.

By Tuesday, they’d kicked him out.

The audition with Dethklok eluded him a few days, the band scheduling and rescheduling and cancelling yet again before giving him a fixed date.  Wednesday, four in the afternoon.  Pickles had slept in a doorway downtown with his shoulders on his bag, no stranger to sleeping on the streets and quietly daring himself to survive it again even though he could have easily begged his way into someone’s house off his former fame, and his back screamed at him for the sacrifice.  He hadn’t eaten in over a day.  It could not go well.

He’d turned up at the apartment, Mordhaus, and been greeted by Skwisgaar and a tall, dark man who introduced himself as Magnus, much older than the others and protesting to Skwisgaar that he could not button up his shirt, as his nipple piercing had gotten infected.  Pickles raised an eyebrow but held his tongue.  They ushered him inside and he was sat on a grimy old couch under an eye-straining red light and interrogated by the band, Magnus and Skwisgaar and this shitty guy with a gap tooth called Murderface, and in the background, a looming figure addressed as Nathan, whose cool, still gaze stirred something fearful in Pickles’ gut.

Skwisgaar and Magnus both claimed to recognise him.  Murderface claimed he did not, but knew the name.  Nathan – who, as his shape became clearer in the gloom, Pickles began to realise was a lot younger than he’d first thought – growled out that he didn’t know who the fuck Pickles was, and why would he fucking care.  The only thing that mattered was if he could drum.  The huge guy pointed to a ragtag kit against the wall, frankensteined from drumkits past.  Pickles swallowed, already several beers deep into the day when Magnus and Skwisgaar had started plying him with them on the couch.  Shitty kit, shitty back, shitty dudes, shitty hangover.  There was no way this could go well.  But now it was a matter of pride.

The band plugged in around him as he got comfortable behind the kit, and then, before he could even raise his sticks, blew his fucking face off.

It was heavy.  It was loud.  Grasped by a weird ferocity, Pickles caught his bearings and the underlying structure of the song, and tore it a new one.  The further he threw himself, the more intense the band got around him; he’d never felt anything like it, even with Snakes N’ Barrels, where he’d just been a figurehead with the right look in the first instance.  Dethklok broke over him like a tidal wave, smashing his tiny skull, and when the storm finally lifted – Pickles panting and crooked over the kit, clutching a chipped cymbal – he felt like something had gone from his life.

The band appeared unimpressed.  Well, apart from Murderface, who wow!ed and oh my gaaaad!ed.  that was validating in itself, but the scowls of the others less so.  They asked him if he had any conditions, should they hire him, and Pickles stared up at them from behind the drumkit.  “Only that ya don’t shoot up,” he chirped, and they exchanged looks.

“None of us do that shit,” growled Nathan, and then retired, slamming the door to another room of the apartment behind him.  Pickles heard Magnus give a hiss as though he’d been burned, sympathising with Pickles.

“Sorry.  I guess you better leave,” he said, and showed Pickles out, the mood like a fucking funeral.

Pickles felt like something in him had died.  The terrible unfolding of the day, realising that something like Dethklok existed and then that he would never play with them again, crushed his heart inside him like a soda can onto the sidewalk.  As he roamed the streets that afternoon, the sunset bleeding out over Tampa, he realised that something awful had happened.  He’d experienced something truly unique that afternoon.  No matter what Skwisgaar told him, no other death metal band would quite feel the same.  Trust that guy to pick him up and then slam him lower than he’d been in his life.  He should never have taken the word of a Swedish bastard.

Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, he thought, and dealt with lost love the same way he’d dealt with it in all his life – via oblivion.  Tonight the path of liquor.  He took a tip off a poster and wandered, wandered, drank the shittest bathroom sink vodka he could buy straight from the bottle, and found his way to a metal gig.  Though he tried to spot the stage door or the greenroom, staggering in the doorway, he was too intoxicated to make anything out, swaying in the entrance with the doorgirl, recognising him behind his sunglasses, letting him past without paying or even saying a word to her.

Pickles tripped into the dark venue, the band already playing.  It was crammed – the band, Mammoth Fister, was a rising star in the Tampa scene.  But as Pickles’ ears were assaulted by their crass death thrash, he could hear nothing but the spaces between their riffs where Dethklok would have filled and unwound, unfurled within.  He held his trembling body, jostled in the crowd as he tried to make his way to the bar, but his small, obviated form was thrown between the bodies of the audience, drawn inexorably towards the sucking violence of the mosh pit.

Soon he succumbed.  It wasn’t the music that stirred him so much as the potential.  Like a Pandora’s Box opened inside him, ruining the music with a thousand unreached possibilities. Pickles was aware of the hands that grasped and threw him, ramming his shoulder into one of the moshers and getting brutally thrust deeper into the circle in return.  Someone grabbed his dreads, someone grabbed his shirt, someone threw him over their shoulder and let him slam to the floor, the savage memories of being devoured by Snakes N’ Barrels audiences tearing at his addled mind as he was dragged to his feet again.  Someone immediately punched him in the jaw, and Pickles did not think that was dancing.  He reeled, then sprung to his feet, ready to launch himself at the offender, but his head came skull-first in contact with someone’s face on the way up with a magnificent crack, and the next thing Pickles knew there was a guy doubled over him and gushing blood from around the hands he clutched to his face, and mortified, guilty, Pickles grabbed him and dragged him with all his strength out of the pit.

He staggered against the bar, his hand wound in the guy’s shirt, and in the dark – interrupted only by the strobing lights that accompanied the band – Pickles stared up in horror as Magnus pulled his bloody hand away from his face, the liquid from his bashed nose black down his maw in the strange light.  “Magnus,” he hissed, eyes wide, and Magnus must have seen his mouth move because he smiled, blinked, and pinched his bloody nose with a sniff.

“Shit, oh shit.  Shit shit shit.  Lemme buy you a drink.”  Pickles was already handing the last of his cash over the bar when Magnus put his hand on his shoulder, seeming concerned, but the bartender was asking what he wanted and Magnus craned over to catch what he said.  He appeared to realise he was being bought a drink, and humbly selected something cheap.  Pickles found himself with change, and Magnus smiling warmly down at him before he craned in, yelling into Pickles’ ear though he could barely hear it over Mammoth Fister.

“THESE GUYS SUCK!  WANT A SMOKE?”  Magnus mimed smoking a cigarette and Pickles nodded, watching as Magnus emptied the drink into his gullet and then made for the door.  Pickles followed in his wake, walking nearly on his heels as Magnus moved easier through the crowd with his profound height.  They passed the bored doorgirl and stepped out into the cool air and night quiet like a birthing.

Pickles leaned against the wall, the vodka still stewing in his brain as Magnus lit a cigarette beside him and then offered him the same.  “Uh... thanks,” he murmured and took one, his voice sounding too loud against the smothered sound of the band inside suddenly, and Magnus smiled at him like a cat over a rat as he put it in his mouth and – though Pickles put out his hand for the lighter – lit it for him, Pickles’ gaze lowered to the bloody hand flicking the cheap plastic lighter and holding the flame to him as he sucked life into the cigarette.

Pickles knew that move.  He looked up at Magnus as he breathed out his first lungful of smoke, and then quickly away.  “Sorry I busted ya face up in there,” he said, and Magnus chuckled at him.

“Shit happens, it’s a mosh pit.  Don’t hurt much.”  Magnus wrinkled his nose, wiping at the drying blood with the back of his hand.  “Huh, did a good job of it though.”

“Yeah, ya look pretty horrorshow,” said Pickles.  Magnus’ face was not the first he’d pummelled, and he considered himself quite a connoisseur.

“Must be all that extra surface area you got going up there.  Packs a punch.”

Pickles glared sideways at the guy, puffing away irately.  Was he being flirted with?  Because.  That wasn’t how you got someone home with you.  Then again, the nipple piercings surely stood in for the desperate howling of a starved bisexual.  And, if so, it wasn’t as if Pickles had a bed to go back to tonight...

He straightened against the wall and looked away from the other guy.  He’d been there before, he wasn’t going there again.  Never ever ever fuck your bandmate.  Pickles cast his mind back to the terrible wonderful audition, and tapped the ash off his cigarette.  Ha, as if they were going to let him in.  Magnus was pretty hard on the eyes, but it wasn’t as though Pickles was a charmer at the moment either.  It had been years, now, since he’d been with a guy; none since Tony.  He was quite keen to erase the dude entirely.  And, pennies from heaven, maybe he got a mattress to sleep on.  All he had to do was suck Magnus off and keep his pants on.  Shouldn’t be too hard.

Magnus was looking at him like he was a bloody steak and Magnus was a starving dog, and Pickles looked back up at him, crooking an eyebrow.  “Somethin’ funny?  I said I was sorry,” he sneered, and Magnus grinned down at him.

“Read on Metalsludge - - ” started Magnus, his face twisted with sick glee, and Pickles gave an irritated groan at the groupie forum’s name.

“Fuckin’ hell.”

“ - - that you got a pussy.”

Pickles puffed out the last of the cigarette, eyeballing Magnus.  “That I get a lot of pussy,” he corrected, taking Skwisgaar’s lead, and the guitarist snorted derisively at him.  “The girls misheard me.  You know what they’re like.  That I like pussy?  Whatever, man.”

“Mm, whatever.  I know what I read.”  Magnus dropped his spent cigarette, stomping out the butt with the heel of his shoe.  “I’m into it.”

“How’d I know that was comin’ next,” quipped Pickles drolly, flicking his cigarette butt into the street.  Mammoth Fister sounded like they were winding up inside, and the drummer carefully laid his head back against the brick wall of the building, closing his eyes.  “If you’re a mind reader or some shit, I was jokin’ about bein down so long as I had a place to sleep.  Just so you know.”

Magnus grinned at him, buried his hands in his jeans pockets and took a theatrical step away from the wall.  “Listen here.  I got my truck round the corner.  How’s about, you come back to my apartment... and we watch a movie,” he purred, “Smoke a coupla cones.  Talk about the possibilities... of that proverbial groupie gossip.”

Pickles took a deep breath.  He’d really put his foot in it this time around.  So, decision time: sex with this weirdo, a bong and a bed, or rats and a street corner and hopefully no sex, you know, hopefully, but being a little fag on the streets at night - - oh, fuck it.  Adios, Dethklok.

“Better be some fuckin’ good grass, dude,” he said, and stepped after Magnus, following him into the dark.

 

...

 

Magnus’ apartment was a tiny, three-room affair in a concrete block of the same, the air still and stale in the darkness that awaited them.  In the gloom, the streetlight from outside filtering through the small, grimy windows, Pickles could make out the forms of several old, overstuffed armchairs crowding the room and the bench of a kitchenette on the other side of the room, a kettle on the counter.  The gory faces and twisted forms of thrash album covers leered back at him from the darkness, adorning several metal flags that had been hung haphazardly over the walls.  One draped across a doorway which appeared to otherwise have no door.  And everything reeked, top to bottom, of weed and cigarette smoke, as though the ghost of hotboxes past possessed every piece of furniture.  There were cans underfoot, cigarette butts, empty cartons, spirit bottles.  A sharp, violent note underneath it all that Pickles recognised as the smell of burned speed, but didn’t object.  What Magnus did to entertain himself was his own deal, you know, so long as it wasn’t junk.

Magnus lead him through the dark, picking his way through the trash with dainty, skeleton steps.  Pickles had considerable trouble matching his long strides, having to dance somewhat around the piles of cans and stacked books, the discarded guitar amp, the neck of a bass which certainly wasn’t Magnus’ sticking out across the room where it had been rested in the seat of one of the armchairs.  An ashtray fell off the arm of one he brushed accidentally with his jeans leg and toppled a pile of carefully balanced beer cans with a crash, Pickles freezing mid-step, and when he looked up, Magnus was standing in the doorway and laughing at him.

“Don’t worry, bud.  I live alone,” he said, grinning, and Pickles relaxed.  “Just keep it down when it gets heavy, okay?  Nosy neighbours and all.”

Pickles smirked, wading through the empties to Magnus’ side.  “Cheh, easy peasy,” he said, and Magnus smiled down at him like a cat on a rat.

“Mm.  Last time I had a guy back here they wrote, ‘SATAN’S JEW FAGGOT ROT IN HELL’ across my door and like, metal as that is, I like to be able to come home without worryin’ if I’m gonna be a hate crime,” he said sweetly, and held aside the flag for Pickles.  Pickles knew that fear well and said nothing in rebuttal, just slinking into Magnus’ bedroom instead.

“You Jewish?” he asked, peering at the shapes in the darkness, and Magnus lurked over his shoulder and reached for the light.

“Armenian.”

“Oh.”  Vaguely he was aware that that wasn’t the answer to his question, as surely you could be Jewish and Armenian, and yet answered the question he’d been actually asking which was why aren’t you white?

In the room, barely visible in a strip of light around another black flag hung over the small, high window, Pickles could see a large single mattress laid on the floor - which took up most of the floorspace, save for about two, three feet around it.  Magnus had tried the light switch a few times to no avail, cursed at the ceiling, and wobbled across the room, dropping bodily onto the mattress with a creak of springs and turning on a bedside lamp on the floor beside it.

The yellow light burst into the room and Pickles stared about in wonder.  Yikes.  Apart from the bare mattress, spewing stuffing and adorned with a balled up pile of black blankets, a few stained pillows and now Magnus reclining on his side with the most inviting bedroom eyes he could pull off, the room had very little furniture and resembled more of a tribute to the worst shit Pickles could imagine, garish posters and piles of junk everywhere around the walls.  The only normal piece of furniture was a chest of drawers, its top littered with loose change, more cans, a stained glass pipe and the obvious stash tins enthroning a CD player and teetering piles of thrash and doom CDs, one or two discs out of their cases and strewn across the surface.  As Pickles lingered near it, Magnus said, “Turn that on, pick one,” and Pickles was surprised at his generosity before he added, “It’ll cover up the creaking.”

Right.  Pickles snorted at him and went over the CDs, running his finger down the pile thoughtfully.  Next to the chest of drawers was a stack of Peavey amps, plugged into a series of overdrive pedals and Magnus’ Les Paul leaning against them – but unplugged from the powerpoint so they laid quiet.  An electronic keyboard stood on end beside the amps, resting against a bunch of old 80s synths – looked like home repair jobs – stacked on top of each other.  A TV with built-in VHS player was sandwiched in beside the mattress, its top littered with more tins, a streaked bong, and an obvious bottle of lube.

Pickles took a step sideways to check another pile of CDs and only just caught himself as his sneaker slipped from below him on something, giving a little squeak, Magnus chuckling at him from the mattress.  Pickles looked down, fearing the worst, but the worst it was not.

Comics?” he squawked incredulously, and Magnus shrugged as Pickles bent to pick them up.  Still in their plastic sleeves, read 2000 AD, Judge Dredd.  When he raised his head again, taking in the room again, he realised that they were far from the exception – piles of them around, at the edge of Magnus’ bed, bearing titles like Punisher, Preacher, Witchblade, Sin City, just piles and piles of them, and books, science fiction books, the walls lined with towers of horror and porno VHSs, bright covers from video stores or bootlegged roughies, banned grindhouse movies, the names written on in sharpie.  Posters for them too, all over the walls – Driller Killer, The Wizard Of Gore, Gestapo’s Last Orgy.

Pickles held up Judge Dredd.  “Shit movie,” he said, cocking an eyebrow, and Magnus pursed his lips at him and pointed to one of the flags, hanging over the far end of his bed. 

“Good song,” he said, and Pickles realised that this whole fucking time, Magnus had had a giant god damn picture of the zombified Judge Dredd hanging over his bed, headlined: ANTHRAX – I AM THE LAW.  Just like him to insult something the guy held dear on a first fuck.  Pickles tched to himself as he turned away from Magnus’ bizarre packrat existence and back to the CDs.

“I’m just sayin.  You can tell ya don’t have a girlfriend,” he said nastily, and Magnus hummed up at him from the bed.

“You can tell you don’t have a place to sleep.”

Pickles gave an appreciative whistle.  “Oooh.  Low blow,” he murmured, and selected a CD apparently entitled ELECTRIC WIZARD come my fanatics..., thinking it some nerdy shit with a funny name, and held it up for Magnus’ judgement.  The man stretched on his mattress languidly, smiling back at Pickles and giving an approving nod.  Pickles could see his hard on straining against his jeans, felt his face heat, and quickly looked away to load the CD.

It was not nerdy shit.  In fact, it was the best, deepest, heaviest shit short of Dethklok that Pickles had ever heard.  He lingered by the stereo, casting a yearning glance at it, and wished this wasn’t over.  Wished he was in Dethklok instead of living on someone’s couch.  Wished his connection to them would be anything more than just fucking their guitarist – but that was all he was going to get, and he was acutely struck by a terrible, terrible feeling that this was how a groupie must feel, that made him want to vomit.

Come my fanatics, right.  He better fucking come.  Or else, what a damn waste of time.

He picked his way around the room anxiously, inspecting things out of nervous reluctance more than anything else.  Out of the corner of his eye he saw Magnus sit up, pull his shoes off, and play with the stash tins and a grinder, packing it into his bong as he waited for Pickles to come over and rubbing his erection through his jeans with the heel of his palm.

Pickles was looking up at a poster.  “What is You-rot-sucky... uh... doggy?” he asked, glancing back at Magnus, and the guy grinned savagely at him.

“You’d like it.  Can put it on if you like.”

The drummer wrinkled his nose at the poster, taking in the cartoon girl held suspended and penetrated from all sides by some twisted, demon-like monster, and then looked away.  “Maybe next time,” he murmured, weirdly timid.  It wasn’t like him to be nervous about sex, especially with someone who was down with everything, but something about Magnus put him ill at ease.  For Pickles, sex had always been so simple – and sure, maybe he liked a roughie every now and then too, a blue movie, but tentacles?  He didn’t need to pull open a chick to get off.  I mean... life was horrible enough.  But maybe if he fucked Magnus well enough, he’d reconsider about the band.

“We should watch a movie though.  If you got a pussy, y’know,” said Magnus between sucks of the bong, “Movies get chicks real wet.  Should work on you.  I got a great one, here, look.”

He walked his fingers up the stack of videos beside the TV and selected one, putting it in the video player with a whir of plastic gears and the screen lighting up the smoke he belched down his front.  When Pickles looked across at him again, sick of examining loser comics and books with a pang of envy for a boyhood he’d abandoned, Magnus was reaching out for him, the packed bong in his other hand.

“Get your ass down here,” he purred, and when Pickles strayed close enough snagged him by the arm and pulled him down onto the mattress by his side.  Pickles let himself fall, bouncing on his ass beside Magnus as the guy sort of curled around him, pushing the bong into his hand.  Automatically, Pickles reached for the lighter discarded on top of the TV – and the TV itself, flashing images of a lesbian sex scene at him from some 70s skin flick on the streaky VHS.  He lit the bong, closing his eyes for a deep hit and listening to the water bubble, and his skin prickled as Magnus ran a bony finger down his spine, murmuring, “Big boy, huh?” with admiration at the size of Pickles’ hit.

The drummer sucked it in deep and then breathed it across himself, the smoke lit up blue white in the television’s light.  He felt Magnus’ hand slide up the back of his shirt and flinched, casting his eyes back at the TV, and the other man withdrew his hand at the wince, trailing his finger in patterns over the skin at the small of Pickles’ back instead and looking up at him, zoned out, fixated on the TV.

“Not nervous are ya?” asked Magnus quietly, almost lost under the music, and Pickles flinched again, looking down at him and meeting those liquid brown eyes this time.  He said nothing, though, and Magnus smiled gently up at him, fingers trailing, tracing lace over his skin.  “Naw, really?  Pickles, ravenous frontman of the notorious Snakes N’ Barrels...”

“Quit it,” gulped Pickles, elbowing the guy but not enough to hurt.  Magnus withdrew his hand and smiled up at him, Pickles scowling in return.  “That shit, it’s all fake, dude.  You can’t believe what ya read in Kerrang, okay?”

He took another deep hit of the bong, hearing – feeling – Magnus chuckle by his side.  “Y’know, once upon a 1990, I saw this magazine with this kid on the cover... big sunglasses, police cap, bullet belt, these big black cowboy boots covered in spiked belts, with this huge leopard coat on.  Real fur.  Stunnin’ red hair.”  He closed his eyes and breathed out heavy, feeling the stone come in on him as Magnus’ gently twirled one of his dreads around a finger.  “Assless chaps, had a bottle of Jim Beam over his crotch and a gun in hand.  Shirtless... pierced nipples.  Made quite an impact on me.”

Pickles felt Magnus’ hand slide up his shirt again, and opened one eye to look down at him.  “They dress ya up, shoots like that, dude.  Ya just turned up and they dressed y’up like a Ken doll.  Sat ya where they wanted.  ‘S long as you were all weak n’ floppy they loved ya,” he explained in a soft voice, and could feel Magnus’ fingers questing up his chest.  Took a deep breath.  “’S not who I really am.  And - I took ‘em out, dude, years ago.  Seriously...”

Magnus’ hand pulled back having only brushed Pickles’ nipple with his fingertips, a look of disappointment on his face.  “They dressed you like a little whore, then,” he said with a cocky curl of his lip, and Pickles snorted into the bong.

“Yeah, I know.  Heh.  I was eighteen, dude, from freakin’ Wisconsin, I didn’t know what a rent boy looked like.”  A bald-faced lie.  By eighteen, he’d known what a rent boy was supposed to look like; he’d even fucked men for money, but not as a boy and - that had been much, much earlier.

“You were eighteen?” asked Magnus with a weird look on his face, and Pickles looked down at him.

“The Ciao shoot?  Yeah, pretty sure.  I got the Beam after n’ everything.  They let ya go buck wild in Italy, none of this twenty-one bullshit.”

Magnus clearly couldn’t believe his ears.  “You’re younger than me?” he asked in confusion, sitting up on his knees and looking Pickles up and down, and the drummer scoffed at him.

“What?  How old are you?”

“Twenty-six.”

“Ooh, then yeah, I’m twenty-five.”  Pickles grinned at him brightly, preying on his discomfort.  “Only last month – does that make ya feel better?”

“Uh, not really,” mumbled Magnus, calculating it in his head and failing utterly to work out their exact age difference before shaking it off with a cascade of his long curls.  He gave a soft smoker’s laugh, sitting back on his feet. 

“And yet here you are, slummin’ it with me.  Freaky.”  Magnus gave a short sniff, smirking at his own idiocy.  “Girlfriend of mine was a big fan, she had the magazine.  I saw you on the cover, and I wanted to fuck you so bad, buddy.  Pretty much didn’t know I had a tendency before then - - ”

“Ain’t life funny,” replied Pickles coolly, dimly amused at Magnus’ confession.  The high was beginning to settle over him in a heavy blanket, and he lay back against Magnus’ stained pillows casually, stretching out beside him with a regained confidence.  The skin film flickered next to his shoulder, the nubile lesbians now tied up by a man in a goat mask.

“Ain’t it just,” breathed Magnus, gazing down at him – Pickles felt unpicked by those dark eyes, like he was peeling off his clothes within his mind, or maybe his skin, and then Magnus leaned forward on his hands over him, pulling up his shirt with a fist and running his palm over the pale skin he exposed before ducking forward and laying a soft-lipped kiss on Pickles’ stomach.  Pickles’ breathing slowed; as Magnus drew forward and up his chest with kisses, tugging his shirt up as he went, his curls cascaded onto the bare skin, and the stimulation was insane, as much as any beautiful groupie.  Pickles could feel his long beard, too, stiff and ticklish when it brushed below each kiss, and he lazily hooked his shirt with a hand and pulled it up to his armpits as Magnus crawled over him, the bong clutched in his other palm.

He drew a deep breath in just before Magnus’ hot tongue touched one of his nipples and made him still, looking down his chest for what the guy was about to do next but unable to see for all the curls.  Magnus’ lips traced over the soft flesh, tugged at it, drew his teeth across it lightly.  Then all at once he was on Pickles’ neck, kissing and sucking across his throat, and Pickles tipped his head back at Magnus’ mercy, feeling the hands dragged across his ribs and the hard on ground against his thigh.

“Oh, damn it,” Pickles breathed, raising his head to a faceful of gorgeous curls that stank of dank weed, and twined his fingers through them as he carefully placed the bong aside on top of the TV.  Magnus had fastened to his neck, sucking the blood to the surface, when Pickles’ fingers grazed something else on top of the TV, unbalancing the little unit with a plastic clink.

“Uh, is that a camera?” asked Pickles, swallowing hard – difficult as Magnus tried to coax his jugular out through his throat.  The guitarist released him with a smack of his lips and raised his head, sensing Pickles’ alarm and knowing he’d have to talk him down.

“Yeah, it’s a... like a disposable.  I like photos...” he murmured, straddling Pickles and retrieving it, flicking open the lens guard.  He held it up to take a photo of the drummer beneath him, and Pickles slammed his hand over the lens in alarm.

“Jesus fuck, are you insane?” he squeaked, eyes wide, and Magnus lowered the camera.

“Uh, no?  It’s just a photo, bud.  Chill.”

Pickles did not chill; he snatched the camera out of Magnus’ hands.  “You cannot take a picture of this!” he declared, his heart like a drill inside him, “If – if a picture gets out, with my face, I’m dead, dude!  I only got royalties no more, I gotta keep that rep!”

“If they don’t hatecrime ya first,” said Magnus, regarding him with vague amusement, “Don’t worry, I won’t take a photo... of your face.”

He reached for the camera, and Pickles squirmed under him, holding it out of reach.  “Hell no!  Ya can’t take any pic!  You have no idea how weird obsessives get dude, they’ll work it out!”

“From what, the spots on your ass?”  Magnus frowned down at him and made one more half-hearted grope for the camera before holding his hand out for it.  “Come on.  I promise I won’t,” he said, and Pickles curled his lip at him protectively, burying the camera under the pillows behind his shoulders.

“I ain’t takin that chance.”

The guitarist rolled his eyes but gave up, taking his upright position kneeling over Pickles as a chance to shrug off his shirt, leaving him towering bare chested over him.  He was a skinny fuck, but a fit one at least, with scrawny abs stewing under the skin at his middle, the body of someone whose workouts were coincidental, part of work or his lifestyle rather than a concentrated effort.  A few weird, shit tattoos decorated his arms, and thin steel bars pierced his nipples, one looking angry and swollen from its infection.    Pickles’ breath hitched as Magnus bent over him again, moving close to kiss his lips in a slow, stoner kiss, and it had been so long since Pickles had had a proper kiss that he pretty much ignored Magnus reaching back between them to unbutton his own fly, releasing the strain on his tight jeans.

His long hand settled on Pickles’ cheek soon, encouraging the French kiss; Magnus was a good kisser with big, soft lips, but did strange, flirtatious things with his tongue like lick Pickles’ tongue in-between kisses and try to swirl it around in the space between their mouths that were weirdly gross and enticing at the same time.  He tasted like bong spit.  With his hands buried in Magnus’ hair and succumbing to the high, Pickles could feel Magnus shifting on either side of him, moving up his body, and the next time he opened his eyes, the kiss pulled away, it was to Magnus’ crotch almost on his chin and fishing his stiff dick out of his jeans, that acrid dick smell right in his face.

Pickles squinted up at him in the low yellow lamplight, the TV’s glow shedding a weird blue tint to Magnus’ olive skin, and – though, sure, his heart was in his throat with nerves – grabbed the dick in front of him, Magnus releasing his fist from around its hilt with a grin.  It was a good dick really, as dicks went, long and taut and beautifully formed with a darker ring marking the point of circumcision, the head a cute flushed pink.  “Dang,” he said with a curl of his lip, “Why does God always put the nicest dicks on the ugliest fucks?” and Magnus chuckled at him.

“Probably the same reason he puts the worst mouths on the prettiest whores,” he purred, “But I got a short-term fix for that one.”  He sank his hand into Pickles’ dreads then and gently tilted his head up so the tip brushed his lips, and though Pickles was a little pissed at his words, let it go and took Magnus’ dick into his mouth.

Tasted like dick.  Sweat and acrid and the musty slime of precum smeared over Pickles tongue as he let Magnus guide it deep into his mouth.  It had been a while since he’d given head, at least as long as the last time he’d fucked Tony, and though Magnus was a little forceful – expected more experience than Pickles had – he found the weight in his mouth familiar and pleasant, the warm flesh drawn soft over his tongue and lips as Magnus sluggishly moved his hips forward, then back again in synchronisation with Pickles leaning back on the pillow.  Balancing himself on his elbow, Pickles raised a hand to touch the root of Magnus’ cock as he closed his eyes and rolled his lips and tongue over the head, curious at its hardness, the way Magnus’ breath had slowed above him, the other man’s hand gently tangled with his dreads at the nape of his neck.

Pickles’ fingers traced blind down the soft skin and fuzz of Magnus’ balls, settling on the open fly of his jeans and curling into the denim as he swallowed back another thrust from Magnus that jabbed the back of his throat, the hand clutching hard and secure to his hair.  The deep throb of the doom metal on the stereo welled up in his head with the high and face fucking.  It was... different, without heroin.  More control, more senses; Pickles could feel the hot flesh on his tongue, the other man’s pulse beating through it as he breathed gently above, could smell Magnus’ sweat and lust and bong smoke.  Even through the oppressive drone of Electric Wizard he could hear Magnus sigh and mutter, “Fuck,” and, thought Pickles, it was a black and dreadful thing to be worshipped like that by another man.  But a good thing, an intoxicating thing.  Black like oil, full of swirling, polluting, complex rainbows, or black like the shell of a Rolls Royce Phantom, powerful, glimmering, a medal of sins and atrocities but so beautiful, so greedy, so nice.

“God, this is so fucking crazy.  Man.  I just gotta fuck the shit outta you,” groaned Magnus from on high, and Pickles let the hard cock slip out of his mouth with a pop of his lips and ran his palm over its slick skin as he fixed Magnus with a sharp eye.

“Why you wastin’ your time, then?” he asked, and the guitarist gave a husky laugh from above him, releasing his grip on his hair.

“That a challenge?” he asked, grinning down, and batted Pickles’ face aside gently as he got to his feet, teetering on the mattress.  “Ya little slut.  Get your fucking panties off then.”

Magnus was making swift work on his own clothes, dragging his jeans off and abandoning them on the mattress to stand naked over Pickles, and Pickles took a second to admire the sight in the soft blue light from the TV – the lesbians were now stripped and tied to poles, the goat-faced man teasing their white skin with a bare blade – as he unbuttoned his pants before stripping, dumping his clothes in a pile at the top end of Magnus’ bed.  Bending over him, Magnus took another huge draw on the bong, his stomach muscles, lightly furred, flexing with the bend, and then passed it back to Pickles for his own as he rummaged through the junk on and around the TV for a box of condoms.

“Lovely,” he said sweetly as he looked back at Pickles’ naked form, his upside-down face framed in his curls and lit alien by the TV light, and pulled the foil packet open in his long fingers, and the drummer snorted at him mid-bong punch, blowing smoke out his nose.

“Don’t use that word ‘round me,” he coughed, placing the bong aside once he was done, and Magnus chuckled at him, dropping down to sit on the mattress beside him. 

“Sure, bud.  Swear I only want you for your body.  No love,” said Magnus with a weird, amused smile, rolling the condom tenderly over his dick where it stood straight up from his body.

“Just shove,” quipped Pickles, eyeing him hungrily, a stray hand idly sunk into his pussy, and Magnus had only just gotten the rubber down to the hilt of his dick when Pickles added with spite and lust, “Less needin’, more breedin’.”

Magnus let out a loud guffaw and slapped Pickles’ knee, the other guy smirking viciously at him.  “Fuck, you’re a treasure!” he snapped, and clutched Pickles’ leg, wrenching it up and aside to turn him onto his front.  “Get on your knees.  Come on, dickhead!”

Pickles was not used to this pace, not with men; it had always been slow with Tony, even when Pickles was hysterical with lust, and he had felt loved.  Sure, he didn’t want Magnus to love him, didn’t want love to come anywhere near him for the rest of his life.  But it was still daunting.  He complied, though, getting on his hands and knees, his head spinning with the weed low and then his breath hitching as he felt Magnus square up behind him, hands on his hips, his dick touching the inside of Pickles’ thigh.  A long, bony finger plunged into his cunt without warning, closing in a pinch with Magnus’ thumb as it was drawn out and stringing mucus as the other guy gave an appreciative groan.

“Fuck, you’re a mess.  Told ya the movie would do it.”  The last glance Pickles cast over his shoulder, Magnus was licking it off his fingers and that was just too much.  The drummer just let out a deep breath and looked down, freezing again as Magnus’ sloppy hand touched the bare skin of his hip, the other absent.  He could feel it nudge his cunt, and bowed down in preparation, closing his eyes and putting his hands over his head.  He figured that if he was lucky, he’d be too stoned for it to hurt.  Two years was a long time to go without sticking anything up there after all, regardless of whether Magnus was smaller than Tony, and Pickles quietly chanted under his breath, Do it just do it... just do it... get it.

When Magnus did do it, he did it gently, letting the weight of his body and the suck of Pickles’ cunt draw his cock in naturally, his other hand joining the first on Pickles’ hip once he’d properly mounted and letting slip a soft moan of pleasure.  He gave one slow, tender and long pull out and then languidly pushed all the way back in, as though experimentally, trying Pickles out for size and glide, the guy raising his head slightly in disbelief.  It hadn’t hurt at all.  In fact, it felt great, freaking great, heavy and plush and swelling, and Pickles gave a soft groan as Magnus set into a gentle, short thrust, his hands roaming over Pickles’ hips and thighs as he rutted.

“That’s good,” chuckled Pickles, turning his head to the side as he uncovered it and sparing a look back over his shoulder at Magnus.  Forget what he’d said before, Magnus looked mighty handsome dick deep in him, in the soft light with that little pleasured smirk to his face, his pace changing when Pickles squeezed his cunt around him with a brief breath and eye roll and gulp, pulling back his composure, resuming.  Pickles hummed at it, turning his head to the other side to watch the television, one hand put back to rub his dick, sloppy with his juices, beneath him as Magnus dicked him, and he felt so dark and warm and deep, gazing on as the goat-faced man pierced a girl’s thigh in a spill of fake red blood on the screen. 

Damn Magnus.  This was easily the nicest fuck Pickles had had in his life – not the best, not the screaming hysterical insane best, but the nicest, and in many ways that was better.  It was weird, being lucid during sex, or at least more lucid than heroin; cannabis suited it, was lowing and lustful and heavy as... like... a really heavy thing.  Fuck.  Pickles panted and tugged at his short dick, feeling Magnus squeeze his ass and his thumb, slimy with Pickles’ juices, draw across his asshole, and with the very next thrust Pickles gave a long, idiot moan.  He knew he’d promised to be quiet but... y’see, sometimes, when they were fucking, Tony had gotten his thumb all slick on Pickles and then shoved it in his ass, and that had felt great while on heroin, in a really filthy way, and just the memory tipped him over, feeling Magnus’ dick plunge into him again.

“Fuck, Pickles,” gasped Magnus, the sweat shining on his chest as he groped Pickles’ buttocks crassly, “I really want to fuck your ass.”

Pickles’ eyes shot wide open.  He raised his head, looking back at the guy even as Magnus traced his thumb over his asshole.  “Whuh?” he asked, having not for a moment considered that that would be part of the deal.

“I really want to fuck your ass,” repeated Magnus for clarification, looking down at him and pausing in his thrusts.  “I, uh.  I just really wanna.”

Pickles thought about it, breathing deeply with Magnus’ dick still deep in him, and his eyes strayed from the TV – a girl’s breast pierced by a sharp sacrificial knife – to the auspicious bottle of lube on top, the box of condoms abandoned beside it.  He’d never been fucked in the ass before.  High out of his mind with this heavy fucking music and this gentle fucking man and a fucktonne of lube on hand seemed like a good opportunity to try.  He looked back at Magnus.

“Sure,” he said, and smiled sweetly.  “You got a towel?”

Magnus snorted and pulled out, immediately snatching up the lube.  “Fuck a towel,” he grunted, and Pickles made a concerned sound from pillow level.

“Uhhh, I don’t wanna ruin your mattress, dude,” he pointed out, letting his hips sink down slightly now that Magnus had dismounted, and the guy – poised to fucking squirt the lube out onto his hand – irately reached aside to grab one of his black sheets. 

He hastily spread it out under Pickles, shoving his legs aside as he arranged it, and snorted, “Happy?” before pulling Pickles’ hips back up against his groin and resuming pouring lube over his fingers.  No matter how Pickles had justified it in his mind, he was not ready for the lube-cold finger shoved straight into his ass a second later, Magnus’ other hand squeezing his buttock aside.

“Shit!” he squeaked, but Magnus did not waste time.  His fingers were longer than Tony’s, quickly plunging in another one as Pickles squirmed and wrung the pillow in his fists.  It didn’t hurt exactly, so much as jeez, dang dude, go a little easy !

“Bet you’re fucking used to this, you little slut,” growled Magnus lustfully, clearly determined to get through all of Pickles’ holes if he could, and stretched the poor guy’s asshole on his fingers as he leaned over him, his other hand holding him up by Pickles’ side.  His hair trailed over Pickles’ shoulders again as he nipped the back of his neck, pleased to see the hickey he’d administered blushing darkly on the smaller man’s pale skin, and then drew back upright, spreading Pickles with his fingers as he eased his dick into his slick asshole, Pickles huffing and squeaking beneath him.

“Oh my gawd,” he squealed through his clenched teeth as Magnus bottomed out, his hands spread wide on Pickles’ buttocks and grinning triumphantly over him.

“Just close your eyes and pretend I’m Geffen Records,” purred Magnus down at Pickles, and he squeezed Pickles’ ass as he gave the first little thrust and groaned.  “Aw, fuck.  This was totally worth it.”

“Worth what?” Pickles eeked, daring to open his eyes a crack and look back at the man balls deep in his ass, wondering what the hell Magnus had given up that seemed greater than him losing his anal V-plates to a random metalhead.

“Everything, fuck!  I’m fucking Pickles in the ass!  Motherfuckin, Snakes N Barrels, fuckin, holy shit!  God damn, ‘Water Horsey Blues’!  Look at me now, Ma!” crowed Magnus with sick glee, and dragged Pickles’ hips towards him, rutting hard and fast into him.  Pickles was going to yell back at him, but decided in an instant that his neighbours would do a good enough job of that tomorrow as he buried his flushed face in the pillow, focusing on the weird, full sensation of the ass fuck.  It didn’t hurt, not really, not while he was stoned; matter of fact, it wasn’t much different than the other hole, just more stretching, Magnus stabbing with a more vicious thrust.  Fucking brutal.

“You son of a bitch,” he hissed, clutching the pillow, and sank into his stone as he watched the goat-faced man on the TV spread out one of the lesbians for raping, listening to the heavy music, his body bounced on the mattress by Magnus’ thrusts.  In an instant, the dick in his ass was joined by a bony hand on his cunt, the knuckles ground into his fattened clit, and Pickles didn’t even bother to hold back his groan.  It’d be a lot easier to hate Magnus for this bullshit if it didn’t feel good.  But damn, it did.  It did, and it was getting better as he grew used to the dick in his ass and the fingers rolled hard over his clit, and every rough, nasty stab Magnus scattered in with his otherwise average rutting rang through Pickles’ body straight to his brainstem with a thrill of pleasure.  Finally, his eyelids fluttering with it and moaning grotesquely, he could help it no longer.

“Ooooh, fuck.  Fuck me.”  It just blurted out.  Magnus was chuckling down at him, Pickles could feel it through his thighs.  “I ain’t... harder.  Harder, fuck it!”

Magnus complied, his hand drawn over Pickles’ back gently.  “You better shut up, faggot, or you’ll get us both lynched,” he warned, but Pickles didn’t really feel for him at that moment, shooting a glare back at him.

“Harder.  Harder,” he growled through his clenched teeth, moving his hips to meet Magnus’ thrusts, and Magnus smirked and gave a particularly rough stroke.  “Fuck!  That’s it.  Shit.  Give it to me.”

“Fucking, slut.”  Magnus fucked him hard and twisted his clit, perhaps to shut him up, but it had the opposite of the desired effect as Pickles screwed his hands into the pillow and squirmed under the hard thrusts and moaned loudly in messy, sob-like gasps.  Then he was sobbing.  Teetering there, between the pain of it and the pleasure, was fucking overwhelming – then, suddenly, his head was jerked up off the pillow, Magnus dragging a handful of his hair up in a cruel fist as he leaned across him.

“I said, shut up!” he hissed, and Pickles sniffed back tears and sweat but could only moan awkwardly, gasping for breath.  “If you don’t shut up, I’ll make you shut up!”  But Pickles just squeaked as Magnus abruptly dismounted, giving him a shove onto his side and pulling off the soiled condom as he knelt over Pickles with a flick of his wrist and a warm spray of precum as it turned inside out, ditching it to the side of the bed.  He pushed Pickles down as the guy attempted to sit up, pinning him to the mattress with a boisterous, predatory grin as he groped for Pickles’ abandoned pile of clothes.

“If you want hard, you’re gonna get fuckin’ hard,” he snarled, and surfaced with Pickles’ t-shirt, snapping it in the air and then pulling it taught between his hands.  Before Pickles could really compute, Magnus was straddling his back and had pulled the shirt over his mouth, filling his nose with the smell of his own sweat, and was tying it tight behind his head, straining the fabric with the roughness of his tie.  Pickles gave a muffled squeak as Magnus shoved the back of his head, sneering, “That’ll shut you up,” as he retrieved a fresh condom from the box.

He could have untied it.  He could have, his hands were still free.  But, fuck, he had absolutely no desire to.

“Okay, you fuckin’ ready?” snapped Magnus, having got the condom on himself, and barely waited for Pickles to nod before getting back on top of him.  The position was awkward – Magnus just raised one of Pickles’ legs from where he was on his front and crawled between them, holding his torso up on his side and craning over Pickles’ shoulder as his hand clawed his raised leg, his body wedged between his thighs to fuck his cunt.  Pickles immediately dissolved as Magnus made good on his promise, bucking hard up into him like a punch.  Holy shit, he wanted to moan, but the shirt gagged him, curled into his mouth.  The sheet tangled beneath them, the mattress heaving with tortured squeaks.  He could hear Magnus’ soft laughter and weird growls by his ear, and then he snatched the tie on the shirt and pulled it back hard like a rein, choking Pickles as his head was dragged hard back.  A sharp nailed hand raked across his thigh, a nip and hot breath on his ear.  The hard cock rammed up into his body, slamming against the back of his cunt and into his pelvic bone with an agonising stab.  And then a muted pop sound.  A pop?

Magnus froze.

Pickles looked back at him to see Magnus’ brown eyes pin-pricked, wide open, mouth a thin line, his hand curling hard into Pickles’ thigh.  “Mmf?” he asked around the gag, and Magnus swallowed with some difficulty, tilting his head in slow agony.

“Something’s... gone wrong,” he breathed, staring through Pickles, “Really... really wrong.”

Pickles breathed out, meeting his eyes and trying not to panic.  He wiggled the shirt over his chin, letting it fall around his neck, and then slowly, so, so slowly, he lowered his leg, and Magnus hissed in pain, his eyes bugging with a grotesque grimace of terror.

“It’s your dick,” said Pickles with muted horror, “Ain’t it.”

Yeah,” breathed Magnus, nodding stiffly with his eyes wide.

Pickles stared at him a moment longer, and then determined to get out of this situation.  Gently raising onto his arms, Pickles shimmied his body off of Magnus’ dick, feeling the condom shift and reaching down to hold it onto Magnus’ erection to a sharp hiss from Magnus, and then dropped down onto his ass once he was free.  Even in the low light of the bedside lamp, he could see there was blood.  Magnus could too, staring as though he’d witnessed the void itself in place of his penis.

“Shit, that – did that come from me?” squeaked Pickles.  Neither of them were able to tear their eyes away.

“No,” whispered Magnus, his lip trembling at the sight.  “It’s... inside, the condom.”  A beat passed of wide eyes and stillness, settling sweat, the blood leaking out the bottom of the condom and rolling in a bright red line down Magnus’ spread thigh.  “It’s inside, the condom,” gulped Magnus again, as once had certainly not done it justice.

What the fuck,” breathed Pickles, and then flinched as Magnus grabbed his arm in a vice grip, looking up at him in desperation.

“Get the camera!”

Pickles could not believe his ears, but Magnus was threatening to pull his arm apart with those blunt nails of his.  “What?  The camera??” he squealed, and Magnus was staring at him in infinite wonder and fear.

“This is the most brutal thing I’ve ever seen in my fucking life!   You gotta get a photo!”

“What the fuck!  What is wrong with you!” hissed Pickles, but he scrambled for the camera anyway, lifting the pillows and tossing them aside until he found it.  He held it out to Magnus, and the guy shook his head.

“Ohhh no, you take it.  You don’t know how much this fucking canes man!”

Pickles lined up what he thought was a good picture of Magnus’ erection oozing blood through the dark condom, and Magnus flailed at him.  “Wind it!  You gotta wind it!  Fuck!”

He turned over the camera and found the film winder, turning it with an abrasive clicking and watching in concern as Magnus reached over him and picked up the bedside lamp.  “Gotta get the right light,” he explained in a wheeze, and held it over their heads, flooding the mattress with yellow light.  In the light, the extent of the damage was much more obvious, the condom stuck to Magnus’ dick with pockets of bright red blood, pooled in the collapsed reservoir at the tip.

“Okay,” said Pickles, and took the photo, taking care to omit Magnus’ face as the guy sprawled on the mattress and held the lamp at arm’s length above him. 

“Got it?”

“Yeah.”

He couldn’t even breathe as Magnus then reached with great reverence and took the condom by its reservoir, delicately pulling it upwards and off of his dick.  The blood beaded against his pubic hair and stained in rivulets down his testicles, his stomach heaving with his pained, suffocating panting and hissing, until the thing was off.  And there it was, in all its twitching, swollen glory.  Somehow still erect.  Covered in blood, which appeared to have come entirely from inside it, although it had stopped with the upright position.  Magnus lay there, the lamp by his side and clutched in his fist, the bloody condom in the fingers of his other hand, and stared at it in obliterated wonder.

“Oh, sweet merciful god,” he said, and brushed his hair out of his eyes, his forehead drenched in sweat.

Pickles took another photo.  “Shit, man.  I think I broke your dick,” he said, sitting back on his messed up pussy, but he didn’t even care to get off any more.  This was far more incredible than any sex.

“Um,” said Magnus.  He looked Pickles in the eye, looked insane a moment, and then motioned for the camera – Pickles handed it over obediently so Magnus could get a point-of-view perspective.  He took one, bare, then one, with his fist around it, hissing the whole time.  Then motioned weirdly at Pickles again.

“What?” asked Pickles, cocking an eyebrow, and Magnus looked like a madman.

“You need – I need you to lick it,” he gasped, and Pickles recoiled in disgust.

“Hell no!  I know where that’s been!  And you just wanna get my face in it!”

“No, it’s – - ” Magnus flopped back on his elbows, looking at his bloody dick with great respect.  “Look.  I promise I’ll just do a closeup.  No one will be able to tell.  I don’t wanna... waste this opportunity, you know.  Besides, you broke it.  You owe me one.”

Pickles regarded him suspiciously, but could not argue with that logic.  It was the first broken dick he’d ever seen, and he’d lived more lives than some cats.  Cautiously, he drew forwards, the smell of Magnus’ blood and precum heavy in his head as he got closer.

One last glance at Magnus, lining up the camera close, and then closed his eyes and licked it slowly up the underside, Magnus hissing sharply as he touched it.  He could feel the lump forming in it as he pulled up the length, and as the blood hit his tongue with its sharp, violent taste, he heard the camera click once, twice, three times, and then pulled back after he’d flicked his tongue over the head.  Sat back, swallowed the blood.  Both of them sitting there then, Pickles with blood on his lip, and Magnus still struck with awe at the car crash that was his groin at that moment.

After much too long, Magnus looked Pickles in the eye and said quietly, “Can you drive, Pickles?”

“Yeah.”

“Okay.  I think - you need to hand me that bong.  And then, I think we need to go to the hospital.”

 

...

 

And that was how he came to be standing in an ER waiting room with a very sheepish, drugged up Magnus sitting in a plastic chair beside him, an ice pack clutched to his crotch, waiting for the first available surgery so that they could patch up his penis.  You could only laugh, and Pickles did, leaning on the wall in a shirt that just hours before had been used to gag him in fucking nasty sex and watching the other emergencies of the night chill out in the foyer.

Magnus, who had been given morphine, much to Pickles’ disapproval, was high out of his brain and perfectly happy with the situation.  He kept talking about how great those photos were going to be, or just basking in awe that Pickles broke his fucking dick.  Pickles, Pickles from Snakes N’ Barrels, broke his dick.  That Pickles.  Holy fuck, man.  This was the most brutal evening of his life.

“Yeah, you said,” sneered Pickles, arms crossed, impatient with the way Magnus’ head went in circles on the morphine.  God, had he been this boring when he was a junkie?  He ought to send cards apologising to the lot of them.

Magnus’ Nokia went off then, at three in the morning in the Florida Hospital emergency room, and Magnus fumbled with it for a bit before he managed to answer it.  “Hi, Nathan,” he said into it, and Pickles glanced sideways at the name, curious.  “Yeah.  Mm, ER, actually.  Yeah.”  And then, simply:  “Broke my dick.”

A beat passed, and Magnus repeated, “I said I broke my dick.”

This time, Pickles could actually hear the frontman’s growl through the tiny phone handset.  How???

“I was, uh, having sex and, it turns out, right, that’s something that can happen.  Yeah.  You hit it at the wrong angle, bam.  Your dick straight up busts a vessel.  Yeah, blood everywhere.  I’ve got this huge-ass lump on my dick now.  They have to operate.  I’ve shown three strangers my genitals so far tonight; they say it’s the worst they’ve ever seen.”

A long pause, and then Pickles heard something that could only have been, ... brutal.

“Yeeeeeep.”

He couldn’t help it, he laughed, snickering rudely as he listened to their exchange.  Magnus looked up at him from the chair, smiling to himself.  “Yeah, uh, that’s Pickles.  He drove me here.”

Don’t you dare, mouthed Pickles at the guitarist, and Magnus rolled his eyes but continued speaking to Nathan.  “Long story.  Huh?” and listened a moment.

He looked up at Pickles, holding the phone aside.  “He says to tell you rehearsal is on Sunday, since you’re here and all,” he said, and Pickles stared back.

“... what?”

But Magnus ignored him, going back to his conversation with Nathan.  “Yeah, I’ll be there.  Yeah.  I guess I just won’t be fuckin’ for a while or whatever.  Here’s hopin’ it ain’t too crooked.  Right.  Yeah, I will.  See you on the other side, buddy.”  And hung up.

What?” repeated Pickles.

“Sunday,” said Magnus, looking up at him cluelessly.  “Rehearsal.”

What??

“... for Dethklok?  You play the drums?”  Magnus frowned at him.  “Didn’t Willy message you?  I told him to fuckin’ message you.  Man, that kid’s ass is grass, I swear to god.”

“WHAT???”

 

So much for never fuck your bandmate, huh.