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In Only Seven Days

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“Stop! Roger, you’re going too fast!” Freddie calls from over his shoulder at the piano, interrupting their recording session. Roger puffs out through his nose, rolling his eyes in annoyance.

“No, you’re just going too slow, Fred,” Roger rebuttals defensively. Brian rolls his eyes, moving his headphones to his shoulders while flipping through his notes. He hums in thought before tapping the page and making another humming sound, agreeing with Freddie.

“No, Rog. You’re definitely going too fast,” Brian turns around to face him through the window of the isolation booth for the drumset. “Well, you were on time at first, but you started rushing,” Brian adds.

Roger scowls at Brian through his sunglasses, pulling out a cigarette and sticking it in his mouth before lighting it. He takes a long drag before responding with a sharp, “well, you told me to follow you , so I indulged with your shitty idea to show you that you’re incapable of keeping proper time.” Roger twirls his drumsticks before adding a quick, “I’m a bloody metronome, so why don’t you shut the fuck up and just let me do my job, yeah?”

John ignores their bickering as he plays the song’s bass riff to himself, deciding to get some practice in. They usually tend to go like this for thirty minutes if John doesn't interfere. Brian fights Roger back with some unimportant comeback that John doesn't hear. John sighs, rolling his eyes impatiently.

“As much as I love standing here, listening to you bicker like children, I’d rather just get this bloody album done, yeah?” John pipes in with a disinterested frown towards his fighting bandmates.

Freddie smiles, turning around to face his piano again. He waves to the sound engineer and says, “alright, let’s try it again!”

Roger’s scowl deepens. “Are you going to follow me this time?”

“Fine, whatever,” Brian replies before shoving his headphones over his big head of hair.

The four of them did another take, staying in Roger’s tempo this time. They managed to make it through the whole song, and Roger smiles proudly to himself when they cut. “Well, well, well. Look at that, we sounded much better when we just followed my own bloody time.”

Brian rolls his eyes, ignoring Roger as he shifts his headphones a bit. “Should we do another take, or should we move on?” Brian asks Freddie with a raised eyebrow.

Freddie rubs his chin in a ponder. “Maybe we should try another take.”

Everyone collectively groans or rolls their eyes in response before John takes his bass off of his shoulders. “We should take a break. I’m starving.”

Freddie frowns. “What? Come on, we’re so close to getting it! I just know it!”

“We won’t get anything decent accomplished while we’re hungry, Fred. Roger gets especially irritable while hungry, and I’d rather leave out another unnecessary argument about who's following whose bloody tempo,” John replies while putting his bass on its stand.

Roger emerges from his drum booth, running his fingers through his long hair. “So, are we getting takeaway, then? If so, I vote Japanese or Chinese.”

“We had that last time, darling,” Freddie groans while standing up. “I say we should try something else! Maybe eat at a restaurant, get away from the studio and clear our heads, yeah?” Freddie suggests with a grin.

“Sure, whatever gets us closer to actually eating,” John replies flatly. ‘Roger’s not the only one who gets irritable while hungry,’ Freddie thinks to himself with a smirk.

Despite Freddie’s protests, the four of them ended up at their favourite Japanese restaurant. Freddie didn’t really mind, but he still sat with his chest puffed out and purposely avoided Roger’s glance as an act of rebellion.

“Stop being so dramatic, Fred. You love it here,” Roger says while rolling his eyes. Freddie huffs before he moves to pick up his drink. He accentuates every movement of putting the straw between his lips before slamming the cup on the table. Freddie gives a toothy grin at everyone as they roll their eyes at his sassiness, however, he quickly covers his mouth habitually.

“Are you done? Or do you need to do anything else over the top, tonight?” Brian asked with a hint of a smile.

“I’m never done being over dramatic, darling,” Freddie rebuttals with a sly wink.

The group ordered their food, and the rest of their supper was relatively normal for them. Then Roger started talking about the album.

“I still think In Only Seven Days is not strong enough,” Roger comments with a shrug. “I feel like it’s missing something.”

John scowls. “Like what, exactly?” John asks slowly with a lifted brow.

Roger lifts his hands up defensively. “Hey, hey. I’m not saying it’s bad, or anything. I’m just saying that something feels like it's missing. Something that'll make it pop! That’s all.”

John crosses his arms over his chest. “What do you propose we do, then?” John asks. “I'd love to hear your ideas, Rog.”

Freddie stands up, excusing himself from the table. “I need to use the toilet,” Freddie speaks quickly before walking away from the thick tension growing between the bickering bandmates. Brian frowns at Freddie, his squinted eyes screaming ‘traitor’ as Freddie walks way with a sheepish grin and a slight shrug.

Freddie watches a woman - who he assumes is an employee - switch out the bowl of fortune cookies as he approaches the back hallway. Freddie walks passed the fresh batch of fortune cookies as he paces towards the washrooms. Freddie abruptly stops and backtracks to the bowl, glancing around sneakily. He nonchalantly watches the woman walk through a kitchen door before swiftly swiping a fortune cookie and shoving it in his back pocket. A hint of a smirk plays on his lips before he enters the men's washroom. He locks the door and leans against it. He doesn't actually need to use the toilet, but he figures he could eat a cookie while waiting out the Deaky storm that Roger has caused.

Freddie cracks the cookie in half and puts one half in his mouth. Freddie pinches the small slip of paper in the centre and pulls it out. Freddie finishes chewing the first half of the cookie, swallowing it before shoving the other half in his mouth. Freddie lifts the small paper with his fortune and lucky numbers to read it closely.

Freddie silently reads the lucky numbers: 5 13 23 42 11 18

Freddie flips the paper over and reads his fortune passively. They’re usually not a real fortune, just some dumb piece of vague advice like, ‘it is wise to be honest’,  or something.

Freddie still found these fortune cookies amusing, so he silently reads his fortune with a small, amused grin. After reading the fortune, Freddie's grin fades, and he frowns, furrowing his brows. He swallows the cookie before he re-reads the fortune out loud.

“Time is a tool in which we face, and yet it is something that we cannot trace. Life is full of choices we make, however, the choices may steal what time cannot take. Word of the wise, you're living in lies, you can only move forward, not back in time. If you want to come back, make sure there’s no ties, to tighten around your existence in time.”

Freddie's frown deepens as he lowers the slip of paper. Ever so softly, Freddie mutters, “what the fuck?” under his breath. He re-examines the slip of paper, wondering why someone printed such a lengthy piece of poetry in this cheap fortune cookie. Freddie shrugs his shoulders and shoves the paper in his pocket. “Might come in handy one day, ” he laments to himself in wonder before lifting his weight off of the door.

Just as Freddie moves to turn around and open the door, the mirrors start rattling. Freddie hesitates, leaning towards the mirror over the counter in confusion. He inspects it before jumping from the counter as it starts to vibrate under his touch. Freddie turns quickly and watches the water in the toilet bowl ripple. Freddie leans against the walls when the vibrating in the room intensifies into a violent rumble.

Freddie slides down the wall and crawls under the countertop when the paintings start to fall off of the shaking walls. Freddie's heartbeat picks up its pace when he comes to the horrid realization that this must be an earthquake; a very powerful one, at that.

Freddie covers the back of his head with his hands and curls his knees up to his chest when a loud crash causes the building to rumble harder. The dust falling from the ceiling looks like snow to Freddie, and it lands on the floor, not doing a good job in covering the obvious cracks forming in the tiles. Freddie pulls himself further into the corner under the sink with wide eyes as the crack seems to follow him.

The ceiling starts falling in chunks onto the floor, causing Freddie to flinch with every crash. Freddie blinks rapidly, trying to rid himself of tears. He keeps his head covered, and his legs pressed tightly against his chest as he tries to calm his breathing.

Freddie closes his eyes as the dust becomes too thick to see anything beyond himself, and his tears seem to pour out harder as they try to flush out the dust in his eyes.

The rumbling was much louder than Roger's drumming, and another loud crashing sound causes his ears to start ringing painfully. Freddie sucks in a quick, painful gasp as the ringing in his ears pierced louder than anything around him. He's left alone with the deafening sound of the humming in his head.

The frequency is shrill and loud, causing Freddie to hyperventilate as his head throbs with a dull pain. ‘Maybe the counter collapsed over my head and I have a concussion now, Freddie wondered silently. Freddie also starts to think about his bandmates, and his sobbing intensifies as he has the horrific epiphany that they are all still out in the dining area. Are they hurt? Did they escape? Did they worry about Freddie just as much as he worried about them?

Freddie grows dizzier as he sits stiffly, still with his hands covering the back of his head. Freddie feels himself fall over, hitting the floor like an anchor. Freddie tries to force his body up so he can go back into his safer position, hidden under the counter, but all he could do is open his eyes.

They peel open to reveal nothing but a thick white fog surrounding him. Freddie groans as the ringing in his ears worsen. He soon realizes that the counter and sink have collapsed, and he was laying under the rubble. He lifts his right arm from the rubble, groaning at the heaviness of his nearly deadweight limb. Freddie whimpers silently when his trembling fingers dip into something warm and wet on the top of his head.

Freddie wipes it away before it gets in his eyes, and he examines his hand carefully, studying the dark, velvety blood that now coated his fingers. That must be why his head hurts and why his ears are ringing. He must've gotten a concussion from the counter hitting his head.

Freddie fights the lingering urge to close his eyes again, knowing that he may pass out. ‘If I close my eyes, I may not wake up,’ Freddie explains to himself in his head. ‘Stay awake, Freddie. Stay awake. Stay awake…’ Freddie repeats this thought like a mantra in his head as he struggles to roll over. Freddie cannot see or hear very well with the dusty fog and ringing in his ears, but he is determined to get out of the building before it completely collapses over him.

‘You have to find them…’ Freddie thinks silently. He groans before forcing himself to repeat his motivation to stay awake. ‘Find Brian, Roger, and John… You have to find them and get the hell out of here…’ Freddie continues repeating this to himself in his head as his trembling arms struggle to push himself off of the floor.

Freddie gets to his knees, but his legs go painfully stiff, causing him to topple over again. Freddie lands on the dusty floor with a soft, “oof.” Freddie feels oddly comfortable on the floor, and his eyelids start to droop. His vision grows blurry, and his body feels like it's spinning slowly on a large record player.

‘It hurts to keep my eyes open,’ Freddie’s brain whines. Freddie groans again, trying his hardest to resist the urge to fall out of consciousness. Freddie forces himself up again, moving much slower this time in fear of passing out from moving too quickly. Freddie is now sitting up, and his body sways back and forth. Freddie leans against the wall to take a minute to gather his centre of balance again.

As Freddie gets more comfortable sitting there and breathing slowly, his eyelids flutter shut automatically. Freddie sits there for a minute before he snaps his eyes open, and his heart pounds heavily in his chest.

Freddie blinks rapidly, feeling alert as he looks around in a short panic. Freddie's heart pounds as he grips into the couch cushions below him. He's in the old flat that Queen shared together in the early 70s. Something about all of this feels off, though.

Freddie slowly examines the room, attempting to focus on anything, but everything seems… out of focus and dark. The window across from him is open, but all he can see is white; like there's a harsh light shining through to cover up whatever is behind it. Freddie gets the odd feeling like there isn't anything beyond this room, and he loosens his grip on the cushion below him.

Freddie doesn't seem to feel the fabric or the temperature. Suddenly, Brian emerges from the kitchen, causing Freddie to whip his head around to face the man. He is walking to the kitchen table where Roger and John are sitting with a scrabble game in front of them.

“Careful, the mugs are hot,” Brian instructs as he places the tray of mugs on the table. He passes everyone their mug, and then places two in front of the only empty seats.

“You coming, Freddie?” Roger asks as he helps John finish setting up the scrabble game. Freddie doesn't respond right away, but he feels himself nod. The younger versions of his three bandmates - maybe it's 1973, Freddie wondered - are all at the table, waiting patiently for him to play Scrabble like it's the only thing that matters.

Freddie stands up slowly and walks around the couch to join them at the table. Freddie sits and examines the tea in his mug. It's steaming, but he doesn't feel the heat emanating from it. Freddie takes an experimental sip, and it's suddenly piping hot. He hisses under his breath, nearly dropping the mug on the table.

Freddie is hit with the feeling of Deja Vu, like he's been here before, in this exact scenario. When Brian sits down, Freddie gets the epiphany that this must be a dream about a memory. He's never had dreams that were memories before.

Freddie tries his hardest to recall the last thing he remembers before he woke up in this apartment. Where was he? How did he get here?

Freddie feels the table rumble, but his three bandmates seem to ignore it as they play their turns. To them, it's like the table didn't shake violently just now. Freddie looks at the Scrabble board when he realizes it is now his turn, and he frowns in confusion. The letters on the board are all gibberish, and when he looks at his own letters, he sighs at the realization that they, too, are also gibberish.

Freddie experimentally lifts a few random tiles, pretending to move them onto the board with purpose while his friends watch him play his turn. Roger groans and yells, “not fair!” While Brian laughs, shaking his head playfully as he takes a sip of his tea.

John scribbles gibberish on their scoreboard and mutters, “good play, Fred, " with a smile.

Freddie's wide eyes blink quickly as he stares at them dumbfoundedly. Shouldn't his subconscious not attempt to continue encouraging the dream like this when the person sleeping becomes lucid? How does this even work? Freddie rubs his face in frustration, but pulls it away like he touched a hot pan when he feels a distantly familiar warm wetness on his forehead.

Freddie examines his fingers, staring at the blood coating them with wonder. Freddie remembers now. The earthquake and the dust. Then he remembers the crumbling counter hitting his head and giving him a concussion. Freddie feels panic rise in his chest when he remembers that he was struggling to stay awake during a dangerous earthquake. ‘Oh, fuck-oh shit… Am I in a coma, now? Is that why I'm still in this goddamned dream?’ Freddie wonders to himself silently.

“You're not in a coma, Fred,” John comments passively before playing his turn in Scrabble.

“What?” Freddie asks, his frown intensifies and his brows furrowed as he wonders to himself if he said that side comment out loud.

“We can hear your thoughts, dipshit,” Roger says before sipping his tea. “We are just your subconscious, after all,” Roger adds before placing tiles on the board.

“Am I dead?” Freddie asks his friends in a soft voice.

“Not yet,” Brian answers with a shrug. He rubs his chin in thought before deciding on his word and placing it on the Scrabble board.

Freddie's breath hitches in his throat as he mutters out, “am I dying?” weakly.

“Technically, we're all dying slowly,” Roger replies with a cheeky smirk. John smacks his arm, and Roger rubs it with a frown and a low, “ow.”

“It's your turn, Freddie, ” John says with a lifted brow.

Freddie's lips tug into a confused frown. “Does this Scrabble game even matter at this point? It's all gibberish.”

“Not everything is just gibberish, Freddie. Some things will make more sense if you look at them more closely,” John elucidates casually with a shrug.

Freddie looks down at the scrabble board again, and suddenly, the gibberish is no longer gibberish. It's clear as day English, and he studies the words closely just as John instructed.

Time. Past. Everlasting. Death. Chaos. Traveller. Wake Up.

Those are all the words on the board in front of Freddie. He looks down at his own letters and sees a word perfectly spelled out in front of him. In fact, it's not one word at all; it’s three words: Look For Them.

Freddie looks up at the Scrabble board again, and all of the words are replaced with: LOOK FOR THEM.

Freddie’s gaze flicks up at his friends, and they are all the 1978 versions of themselves again, but they're covered in dust, bruises, and open wounds. They don't seem to be phased by their sudden change in appearance. “Wake up and look for them,” Roger says with a gravelly voice.

Freddie gasps loudly as he sits up in a jolt, his eyes wide open and his mind wildly alert. Freddie is now awake. The only phrase buzzing through his mind like a mantra is simply, ‘Wake up and look for them.’

Chapter Text

Freddie examines his surroundings with a hazy head. His eyes become moist as he blinks rapidly, trying to clear his vision. Freddie breathes heavily, feeling the trepidation sink in when he soaks in the room. It’s the same washroom - he assumes - however, it seems… different. It isn’t crumbled to bits like before; it looks cleaner, somehow, and it looks like it was completely remodelled. Freddie starts to panic. He slowly stands up, grunting from his stiff limbs protesting at the movement after having been still for so long.

Freddie examines himself in the mirror and sighs. His forehead has a hideous gash on it. Freddie moves his hands to turn on the tap, but freezes when he realizes he can’t find the knobs. Freddie examines the sink, realizing that there are no knobs to turn on the sink.

Freddie squints in utter confusion as he pats around the sink moronically, wondering why there’s no bloody knob to turn on the tap. Freddie’s glossy eyes examine the room behind him in his horrid reflection, wondering why the dark floral wallpaper was replaced with these strange white glossy tiles. The paintings are abstract, and the toilet - Freddie whips his head around in astonishment, now examining the toilet when he realizes that this is also missing the major component to flushing the thing.

“What the fuck?” Freddie mutters under his breath, no longer being able to contain his complete and utter confusion. Freddie turns around again and starts smacking the tap in desperation.

“Just turn on - oh, for fuck’s sake!” Freddie hisses, waving his hands frantically under the tap in frustration. Suddenly, as if some miracle or God decided to kick into gear and respond to his desperation, the sink turns on abruptly under his waving hands, and Freddie stares at it with astonishment.

Freddie experimentally pulls his hands back and watches the water instantly stop. He waves his hand under the tap again, and it turns on.

“What...the… fuck… ?” Freddie whispers in bewilderment as he continues to pull his hand out and stick it back under the tap, watching as it turned on and off at the appropriate times.

Freddie stares at his hands with wonder - but mostly confusion - before deciding to worry about it later. He needs to clean his wound now before it could get infected. Freddie cups his hands under the tap, still gasping a little as it turns on automatically for him, and he scrubs his gash with the lukewarm water.

Freddie searches the counter for soap, and finds a thing that's mounted on the wall; it was labelled: ‘Automatic Soap Dispenser.’ He experimentally waves his hand under it, and he jumps back when it makes a strange mechanical sound before squeezing out a few drops of foamy soap onto the counter. Freddie puts his hand under it again, this time leaving it there to catch the soap. Freddie pulls his hand to his face to examine it closer.

“How the hell…?” Freddie trails off, quickly moving to inspect the soap dispenser.

He moves his head under the strange contraption but immediately regrets it when the thing dispenses soap into his eye. “Fuck!” Freddie seethes in pain, moving his hands blindly under the sink to get water to rinse his eyeball out. “Bloody hell!” Freddie adds bitterly under his breath while testing his now bloodshot eye, blinking a few times to let it flush out the soap.

Freddie quickly finishes washing his face and sighs at his beaten-up state. ’At least I'm not all bloody anymore,’ Freddie thinks to himself before hesitantly opening the washroom door and stepping out of the room, trying to act casual. He already knows he is not where he should be by seeing just the washroom alone, but the real question is; where is he, exactly?

Freddie looks out into the dining area, and his breath catches in his throat when he realizes that he is in the same restaurant, but it looks completely redecorated. Freddie stares in awe, wondering why the air isn’t fogged with a thick layer of smoke - his eyes suddenly linger on a sign. It has what appears to be a cigarette with a red circle and cross through it; the words underneath it reading: NO SMOKING

“What crevice of Hell have I fallen into…?” Freddie whispers to himself as he looks around in a silent panic. His eyes are wide, and his posture is crooked. He can’t bring himself to stand comfortably when he’s clearly died and entered either some strange purgatory or Hell. Freddie is startled when a hand grabs his shoulder, and he hops back half a metre from the person.

“Sorry, sir - did not mean to startle you! Are you okay?” the small Asian lady asks him with furrowed brows and a pouty frown. Her head is tilted slightly to the left, and her hand is cautiously still reaching out where she originally touched his shoulder.

Freddie decides to pretend like everything is normal and that he hasn’t gone completely mad. “I’m fine, darling. You just gave me a fright,” Freddie responds, an easy smile slipping onto his lips. “I just couldn’t find my date. I believe I might have been stood up,” Freddie added for good measure.

The lady’s concerned face contorts into a gentle, welcoming smile, and she nods with a widening, squinty smile. “Ohh, sorry to hear that, sir. Would you like to eat, anyway? By yourself?” Even though the woman is smiling at him, he can tell she's still concerned when her gaze flicks up at his wound on his forehead. Freddie can feel that the wound has started bleeding again.

Freddie chuckles nervously, trying to think of a decent excuse to get out of this situation. He can't accept to eat there since he left his wallet at the studio. Roger said he was going to cover the bill when they decided to eat there. That man was so desperate for Japanese food that he was willing to pay for everyone's meal just to get Freddie to stop whining about it. Freddie smiles at the thought of Roger, but then it slips away when he realizes that he has to find them; his bandmates.

Freddie shakes his head. “No thank you, darling. I think I’ll just head home. Maybe I'll come again some other time.”

Freddie leaves that restaurant like a bat out of hell and stumbles onto the sidewalk with his eyes widening at the sight of London. He stares in bewilderment at the strange cars, wondering why on earth they look like…that!?

Freddie feels someone bump into his shoulder, and he swiftly turns around to see a man with dark skin and a strangely groomed beard and head of hair. The man frowns, his big round glasses slipping down his nose a bit.

“Watch where you’re going, mate,” the man grumbles before continuing on his path.

Freddie ignores the man, too busy examining all of the people and starring in utter confusion at their strange appearances.

Freddie notices a newspaper box and hurries to it. He pulls out the paper and stares wide-eyed at the date at the top. Freddie blinks rapidly, not believing his eyes. It reads: Saturday, 27th of October, 2018.

Freddie blinks, rubs his eyes, and even starts looking at other papers to make sure his eyes aren't tricking him. Freddie even wonders if it might’ve been the soap in his eyes before turning around at a bewildered looking young woman. Her eyes are wide as saucers, but then she shakes her head, chuckling.

“Sorry, sir. You just… you look…uhh, familiar...” the woman shakes her head again, laughing. Freddie just smiles at her, deciding that maybe he can get information out of this seemingly nice young woman.

“It’s alright, dear,” Freddie straightens up his posture. “Is this really the date?” Freddie asks as nonchalantly as possible.

Freddie hands her the newspaper, and she lifts a brow up at him. “Uhh, yes?” she replies like it’s a question. The woman pulls out a… Freddie stares wildly at the strange contraption in her hand. She presses a button on the side of it, and it lights up, showing the date and time with an image of what looks like her and a dog behind the information on the small screen.

She looks up at him and smiles, tilting her head. “Did you need to call someone?”

Freddie considers her question. He can’t call his friends. If it really is 2018, then he may not have their numbers anymore. Freddie responds with a warm smile. “Oh, no, darling. I just forgot it was Saturday,” Freddie punctuated the end of his statement with a hearty chuckle, and the woman giggles in return. Then she frowns, eyeing his forehead. “I fell the other day. Did the wound re-open?” Freddie lies too easily, lifting his hand to his head in feigned confusion.

The woman nods, then chews her lip, looking back at the weird thing in her hand. “Are you sure you don’t need to call someone? You seem lost - sorry, no offence. I’m just concerned,” the woman spoke quickly, and Freddie grows more worried. He doesn’t want to draw any more attention to himself.

“No, it’s fine, darling.” The woman looks up at Freddie with a puzzled look as he speaks. “I understand. Thank you for your help, but I must be going,” Freddie finishes by sliding passed her with a tight smile. Freddie books it out of there, trying to avoid turning back at the woman, who he knows is burning a concerned look into the back of his head.

Freddie knows the public library is not too far from this restaurant, so he walks there in record time. He makes a b-line for the washrooms when he enters the building, and locks the door behind him.

Freddie sees a box labelled First Aid Kit, and opens it greedily. Freddie pulls out the necessary items to patch up the gash on his head and gets to work on cleaning it up. After bandaging his wound and cleaning up the mess, Freddie washes his hands. ‘At least this sink has a bloody knob for the tap,’ Freddie thinks bitterly to himself when he turns to dry his hands with paper towels.

Freddie enters the library, and hesitates in his spot, realizing that he has no idea what he’s doing. ‘Okay, breathe. You might either be in a coma, dead, or in the future. For now, let’s assume it’s the latter, and figure out how to find Roger, Brian and Deaky…’ Freddie turns when someone clears their throat behind him. It looks like the librarian behind her desk, giving Freddie a strange look.

“May I help you, sir?” the woman asks with a slight smile and a raised brow.

Freddie leans over the counter and asks, “do you have any phone books that I can look at? I’m trying to find a friends number. I, uhh, misplaced it…”

The woman’s brows furrowed, and she tilts her head. Why are so many people looking at him like that? ‘Probably because I look like I’m off my rocker,’ Freddie responds to the voice in his head silently. Freddie tries to smile, not wanting to ruin his facade.

“Um, we don’t have any phone books…” the woman points over to Freddie’s left, and he follows her hand, looking at people sitting at tables, and looking at what appears to be strange looking televisions. “We do have computers available for you to use for free, though. I’m sure you can find what you’re looking for on Google, perhaps?” The woman explains.

Freddie looks at her with his brows knitted together in confusion. ‘What the fuck is a Google?’ Freddie asks her in his head, but he feigns a smile before simply saying, “thank you,” and walking in the direction of the… ‘What was it she called them? Computers…? What the fuck is going on?’

Freddie sits down in front of the strange machine, and stares at it, feeling his lungs summersault and fall into his gut. Freddie’s hands start trembling as he lifts it up, not knowing what to do to get this damn thing to work. He looks over at the teenage boy sitting beside him, and he watches in awe as he leans over and grabs the weird thing beside what looks like a typewriter. He shakes it a bit on the table, and the screen lights up, revealing its secrets. Freddie mimics what the boy did, and nearly jumps out of his seat when his screen lights up. Freddie immediately notices a little colourful circle on the screen that says: GOOGLE CHROME.

‘That must be the Google thing,’ Freddie wonders. He pauses, not knowing how to use the thing. He nonchalantly looks over at the boy beside him again and watches him move the small thing-a-ma-jig around and click the left button on it. He realizes that it is moving a strange little white arrow thing on the screen. Freddie looks back at his screen, and moves the thing beside the typewriter, and smiles when a little white arrow moves on screen. He swipes his arm across the desk, and the boy looks over at him with a confused frown and lifted brow when Freddie nearly knocks everything on the desk over.

Freddie finally gets the arrow on the Google Chrome and clicks it with the button. Suddenly, the screen changes pictures, and he’s left with a white bar that says ‘GOOGLE SEARCH’ underneath large colourful letters spelling out ‘GOOGLE’. Freddie glances over at the teenage boy and watches how he clicks the white bar, and whatever he types on the typewriter, it appears on the screen. ‘Incredible,’ Freddie thinks as he clicks the white bar and types out: “ where is brian may roger taylor john deacon”

Freddie clicks the ‘ENTER’ key just like the boy did, and the screen changes again. The first thing that pops up are photos of Queen that Freddie recognizes, and some that he doesn’t recognize. He sees an old man with that infamous head of curly grey hair - he knows it’s Brian, but he looks older. Very much older, indeed. He clicks it, and it opens another screen with what appears to be a news article and a map, and a picture of old Brian and another old man. Freddie looks closer. Recognizing those blue eyes is not difficult for him, even when his face has changed immensely; it’s Roger.

The article explains how Brian May’s address has been public for many years, and that the map below shows his address information. Freddie typed the address on the white search bar above the article and clicked enter again.

This time results for what was called ‘GOOGLE MAPS’ appeared, and Freddie let out a quiet gasp in amazement. ‘This Google thing is fucking magic!’ Freddie exclaims in his head as he clicks the Google Maps, and it opens an image of a map. Suddenly, there is a path marked from Freddie’s current location at the library, all the way to Brian’s house. ‘Why was this so fucking easy? Why don’t we have this Google thing in 1978!?’ Freddie wonders to himself in amazement as he gawks at the screen. ‘This Television-Computer-Google thing gave me all the answers I needed! I could probably get any answer I need in this machine! But alas, I need to focus on my mission.’

Freddie’s excitement soon faded when he realized that he doesn’t know how to bring this map with him. He can’t steal the computer contraption from the library. That would definitely set off red flags. He looks over at the boy beside him and decided he should just ask for help.

“Uhh, sorry to bother you, darling, but-” the boy looks at him with a disinterested look, “-is there a way I can have a physical copy of this map?” Freddie asks in a quiet, meek voice.

The boy looks at the screen, and then back at Freddie. He sighs before leaning over Freddie’s typewriter to grab the button-arrow-controller. He clicks the right button, and a list appears. He moves the arrow over the word ‘PRINT’ and then clicks it with the left button. “Here you go, man,” the boy says casually in a deeper voice than Freddie was expecting, and the boy goes back to his own computer-thing.

“Thank you, darling,” Freddie says with a small smile.

“No problem, mate,” the boy replies dismissively, still typing something. Freddie turns to look at his screen again. There is a moment of silence before Freddie turns to the boy again with a bashful look. “Uh, what am I supposed to do now?” Freddie asks with a nervous chuckle.

“Dude, have you never used a bloody computer or something?” the boy asks grumpily. Freddie just nervously shakes his head no. The boy’s eyes widen before they soften a bit. “Oh...sorry, mate…” the boy clears his throat before thumbing over his shoulder at the front desk. “Go to the front desk, and the librarian will give you your page. It costs money, though…” the boy glances at Freddie's screen and then examines Freddie’s face. The boy sighs. “Do you have any change?”

Freddie smiles, immediately digging in his pocket, and pulls out some chump change he usually kept for the vending machine at the studio. It roughly adds up to being eighty-five pence.

“If you want your map in colour, it’ll cost forty pence, but printing it in black and white costs twenty,” the boy explains, and Freddie nods thankfully.

Freddie gathers his change and walks over to the front desk after thanking the boy again. He smiles at the librarian and simply says, “Hello, I’m trying to print a map from your Google machine. I was told it costs forty pence to get it in colour?”

The woman stares at him and mutters, “Google machine?” under her breath in confusion. She puts on her best customer service smile and looks over at some giant, sleek looking grey box that could probably fit twenty cats inside of it; Freddie observes this silently.

The woman looks back at Freddie and says, “Yes, it seems we have one print request here. You were computer seven, correct?” Freddie’s eyes widen, and he flinches awkwardly. He looks over at the boy again, and squints, realizing there is a number on the top of his screen.

Freddie nods, looking back at the woman. “Yes, it is number seven,” Freddie replies while placing forty pence on the counter. “Forty pence for my map in colour, please,” Freddie adds with a wide grin.

The woman takes the change and then turns around to face the strange machine behind her. Freddie sees her roll her eyes as she turns, and she presses some buttons. The machine makes a loud noise before spitting out a sheet of paper. The woman grabs it and hands it to Freddie. It has the map on it, just like on the screen. ‘Absolutely amazing,’ Freddie thinks to himself in awe as he closely examines the paper that somehow has his map on it now. The woman just stares at him with a befuddled expression before shrugging at the other person behind him. Freddie thanks the woman and exits the library, leaving a few people who witnessed the whole scene scratching their heads.

Freddie follows the instructions off of the map carefully, and arrives at his destination in what he assumes is the same estimated time written on the top of the map - about forty-five minutes or so. It is now dusk as Freddie looks up at the gates in front of him. He reads the golden numbers on the brick wall and smiles to himself when they match the numbers on the address from his Google map.

Freddie folds the map and carefully shoves it in his back pocket. He explores the gate carefully, not really knowing what to do next. If he’s really in the future, Brian might freak out to see a younger version of his friend and bandmate. Freddie wonders what he might look like in 2018, and the thought of meeting a much older version of himself sends shivers down his spine. Freddie is grateful for not attempting to find images of himself on the Google machine.

Freddie notices a tree right up against the brick wall surrounding Brian’s property, and he gets a mischievous idea. Freddie approaches the tree and starts to climb it clumsily. He makes it to the top of the wall and perches himself on the top to examine the large yard. Freddie notices another tree on the inside that might be close enough for him to reach, but he has to crawl a bit to get near it. Freddie groans before leaning over the cement on the top of the wall, and starts crawling slowly. His joints are still stiff and sore, and his head is throbbing painfully, but he pushes on.

Then he falls.

Freddie hits the grass, letting out a low, “oof,” as he becomes winded from the sudden impact. He wheezes a little, trying to regain his breath again. He hears a deep, bellowing voice call out, and a flashlight shines in his eyes. Freddie squints uncomfortably, slowly lifting his hand to shield his eyes. What appears to be a security guard approaches Freddie, and the man frowns at him in disinterest. “Ple-heeease,” Freddie wheezes out quietly. “Bri….I need….to see...Bri…” Freddie wheezes again softly, and his vision grows darker and blotchy.

The security guard's features twist into an unreadable emotion as he becomes more blurry to Freddie. There’s another voice in the distance. It’s male but gentle, and much older. Freddie can’t make out what the voice is saying as he falls in and out of consciousness.

“He’s hurt,” the security guard responds to the voice in the distance. “He might be a fan… but…” the security guard pauses. “You should come see this, Doctor May...” is the last thing Freddie hears the guard say before he passes out.

Chapter Text

Freddie lifts his head off of the back of the couch, staring at the bird on the open windowsill. He watches it fly away further into the streets of London. Freddie examines all of the trinkets on the shelves, but his attention is stolen by Brian as he emerges from the kitchen with a tray of four mugs.

“Careful, the mugs are hot,” Brian instructs as he places the tray on the table. He passes everyone their mug and then places two in front of the only empty seats.

Freddie sits down at the kitchen table as Roger and John finished setting up their Scrabble game. Freddie takes a sip of his tea, and nearly drops his mug when he flinches in pain; it’s boiling hot.

“Fuck,” Freddie hissed while placing the mug to the table.

“I warned you that it was hot,” Brian laughed.

“So, who’s starting?” Roger asked as he passes the bag of tiles across the table to Freddie.

John runs a hand through his long hair and sits back in his seat, and Freddie greedily shoves his hand in the tile bag. Brian shrugs and replies, “Deaky won last time, so maybe he should go first?”

“Oh, nice,” Freddie passes the bag to Brian, “what a great way to rub in our faces that Deaky obliterated us last game.”

Roger chuckles and John shakes his head with a sneaking grin growing on his lips. John lifts his hands defensively, quickly saying, “hey, I don’t have to go first if you honestly can’t handle the reminder that you’re a sore loser, Fred.”

Freddie scowls at John, but the others chuckle at his pettiness. “Go ahead. I don’t care,” Freddie lets out an exasperated sigh after he speaks, and Brian pinches the bridge of his nose.

John goes first, and then it’s Roger’s turn. He hums in thought, making a show out of rubbing his chin in deep contemplation. Freddie groans after a minute, dramatically flicking his wrist right under his nose to look at the time.

“We should really get a timer for this bloody game,” Freddie grumbles impatiently.

Roger lets out a loud, “ah-ha!” and places a few tiles on the board. Freddie squints at the word that Roger has placed down on the board - CUBOID - his lips tugging into a suspicious frown.

“That can’t possibly be a word!” Freddie exclaims with a pout and a lifted brow towards Roger.

“Unfortunately for you, Fred,” Roger crosses his arms and smirks playfully, “it’s a bone in the arch of the foot - making it a very real word.” Roger’s smirk doesn’t fade as Freddie demands Brian to get the dictionary.

“You know you’ll lose points if you question the legitimacy of Roger’s word, and you turn out to be wrong,” John warned with his lips in a thin line.

“I don’t have any points to lose!” Freddie replied, flailing his arms in the air. “I haven’t even had my turn, yet!”

“Then you’ll start your turn with negative points,” Roger replied with a shrug.

Brian opens the dictionary and searches through it. He sighs, pointing his finger on the page. “Roger’s right. Cuboid is, in fact, a word - it’s a bone in the arch of the foot, just like he said,” Brian passes the book to Freddie and adds, “sorry, Freddie. You lose two points.”

Freddie’s face drains of colour as he reads the word. Roger’s smirk only widens in amusement as he watches Freddie, who closes the book quickly, slamming it shut hard enough to make the table shake almost violently and rattle their mugs.

“No need to be a sore loser, Fred,” Roger said with a hint of a frown, but his amusement is too strong to wipe away his shit-eating grin.

Freddie lifts his hands in surrender - albeit very theatrically - and John writes Freddie’s negative two score on their makeshift scoreboard on the back of Roger’s long forgotten homework from a year prior.

Freddie has a sudden epiphany, leaping over the table to rip the paper from under John’s pencil, and flips it over to scan its contents. Freddie flips the page to his fellow bandmates, his index finger tapping on a familiar word: Cuboid. John and Brian frown and Roger blushes, his smile melting from playful, to sheepish.

“You cheated!” Freddie yelled, slamming the page on the table with a scowl.

“Oh-fucking-well! It’s just a bloody game, Fred!” Roger sniped back with a deep frown, his cheeks still dusted in crimson.

“It’s no fun when you cheat!” Freddie bites back, his frown intensifying enough to worry Brian.

“Okay, guys. Let’s calm dow--”

“I did not cheat! I knew that word already! Just knowing that used to be my homework reminded me of it!” Roger replied, his voice rising in volume to match Freddie’s.

“Guys, seriously. Let’s not make--”

Freddie interrupts John by standing up, his chair falling over behind him, and his tea spilling over the Scrabble board. John curses under his breath as he quickly moves to clean up the mess.

“Oh, look what you’ve done, Fred!” Roger stands up now, his eyes narrowing at him. “Why couldn’t you just leave it alone and just play the goddamned game?”

“Because I’m sick of your shit!” Freddie snapped in return, halting Brian and John’s movements. Roger’s eyes widen in shock before narrowing again. Roger bites his bottom lip, resisting the urge to respond to Freddie. His fists ball up, the veins in his forearms popping from the tension.

“I thought you two got over this?” Brian asked, sounding more annoyed than disappointed.

“Clearly not,” Roger replied without breaking eye contact with Freddie.

 


 

Freddie wakes up, gasping desperately for air. He sits up quickly but groans and falls back down when his entire body refuses to move. He’s drenched in sweat, and his breathing is erratic; he was having a nightmare. Freddie examines his surroundings and feels the panic rise in his chest when he doesn’t recognize anything inside the bedroom he’s currently in.

The sheets underneath him are soft, thin, and silky. They feel cool in temperature, yet Freddie is burning from the inside out, completely coated in his own sweat. Freddie finally sits up, slips out of the bed of silk, and stumbles across the bedroom. He ponders the idea of how he might have gotten here while he snoops the dresser-tops. Freddie runs his index finger across the surface; inspecting it to find not a speck of dust on it.‘Immaculately cleaned...perhaps the bloke who owns this place can afford at least a dozen cleaners,’ Freddie pondered whilst moving to explore the framed photographs.

Freddie feels his blood run cold when he stares at a photo of himself, Brian, Roger, and John. ‘Oh, this must be Brian’s house…’ Freddie soon realizes. Freddie squints at himself, frowning at the short hair and moustache he seems to be sporting in the image. He looks happy; they all do. Freddie smiles and softly whispers, “interesting look, me. I’ll consider it.”

Freddie’s eyes flicker over to the next photograph, and it is of a much older Brian with greying hair, as well as Roger and John who has a bit of silver starting to show in their hair as well. Their smiles are punctuated with wrinkles, a horrid reminder of time catching up to all of us - and also that Freddie is not where he belongs. Freddie looks at another image beside it. A family portrait of an older Brian with grey hair, a wife that Freddie notes looks nothing like Chrissy, and Brian’s grown up children.

Freddie keeps staring at each photograph, feeling himself become lightheaded as he does so. Freddie’s eyes linger on that photograph of Roger, and he feels his gut churn in the most horrible way. His hair is short, he has a bit of stubble, and yet he still looks soft and pretty - a lot like a girl. Freddie chuckles at the multiple memories of men walking up to Roger in pubs, thinking he was a woman with his long blonde hair and silky floral shirts. Roger’s voice was always soft; there was always a slight rasp to it, but Freddie always teased Roger for sounding like a boy who didn’t properly complete puberty.

“You can’t be serious! Why on earth would you put that psychotic fan in your bedroom, Brian!?” Freddie’s head snapped to the door - he can recognize that voice anywhere, or in this case, any time. It sounds raspier, but it’s still very soft and higher in pitch. It’s Roger’s hushed arguing from downstairs, but the higher frequency in his voice allows Freddie to hear him from upstairs.

Freddie tries his hardest to listen to what he assumes would be Brian’s response, but Brian’s voice is more muffled than Roger’s. Good old Roger. Even when he’s older, he still knows how to speak the loudest of them all. Freddie shakes his head and moves to the bedroom door. ‘They couldn’t have possibly left me in here without locking the door, surely?’ Freddie asks himself in his head. He turns the knob and pulls the door open, letting a grin spread across his face.

Freddie slowly tiptoes towards the sound of Roger’s voice, feeling his heartbeat pound harder with every step he takes. What would he say to them? They must obviously think Freddie is not who he will claim to be, right? With what Roger is spewing out of his mouth right now, he currently believes that Freddie is just a “psychotic fan”. Freddie hesitates at the top of the stairwell, realizing that he has no idea how he can prove his innocence. How can he prove he is their fearless frontman whilst looking like he was swallowed up and spat out from the past?

“Regardless of whether or not he’s just a fan who has a similar face,” Brian’s voice echoes up the stairwell, “he is badly injured, so the least I could do is offer some hospitality until the police and ambulance could arrive.”

Freddie feels himself smile at that. Lovely old Brian, still the man with the biggest heart. Then Roger speaks, wiping away Freddie's smile.

“But you didn't call the police! You called me !” Roger snapped. “Do you honestly believe that man upstairs is really Freddie fucking Mercury? Because if so, you’ve really fallen off your rocker this time, Brian.”

“I honestly don’t know if it’s him, Rog,” came Brian’s calm response. “That’s why I called you first.” Brian went quiet for a moment too long, and Freddie holds his breath in anticipation. “You have to see him to understand, Roger. It…” Brian goes quiet again, “that man upstairs looks exactly like Freddie. It’s quite eerie, to be honest.”

“Well sure, I believe he looks like him, why else would I be here if he didn’t--”

“--No, Roger, you're not understanding what I’m saying!” Brian cuts Roger off. He doesn’t sound angry; he sounds desperate and concerned more so than anything. “He looks exactly like Freddie,” Brian repeats his statement in a lower tone. Freddie creeps down two steps to hear better.

“You’ve already said--”

“--Roger, he has the same teeth, the same eyes,” Brian pauses, and Roger stays quiet. “Roger, he was wearing one of your old shirts. You know the one - it’s that bloody ridiculous multi-coloured wool long-sleeve sweater. The one you so dearly kept after--” Brian cut himself off. Freddie could swear he sounded choked up about something.

Freddie’s pulse is loud and painful as he anxiously sits on the step, listening to their silence. Freddie looks down at himself, examining the shirt that Brian was describing in perfect detail. It’s just a stupid wool shirt that Freddie stole from Roger. He'd taken it a few weeks ago; Roger left it on the floor beside his drum kit, and Freddie just grabbed it. Roger didn’t really mind that he took it - they always “ borrow” each other’s clothes. Freddie doesn’t understand why Roger would still care about this old shirt after… ‘Holy fuck, it’s been forty years!?’ Freddie realized silently when he remembers the date on the newspaper, and the bloody confusing, ‘but-also-kind-of-a-miracle,’ Google Machine.

Freddie feels the staircase creak underneath his shifting weight, and his blood freezes, his whole body going stiff. He wishes that he could just evaporate from existence at this moment because he knows that they heard him. He hears soft footsteps getting closer to the stairs, but they hesitate, leaving a shadow of two familiar silhouettes stretching across the floor in front of him.

“Did you at least lock the bloody door?” Roger whispered harshly. There was no response. Freddie sighs, knowing he has to come clean since they know he’s there, eavesdropping on their conversation. If he wants to get them to believe him, he has to be brave and say the first word, and most importantly - be honest.

“Sorry,” came Freddie’s meek voice from up the stairs. He gulps painfully, wincing at how fragile he sounded. Freddie stands up slowly and takes each step down the staircase like he’s trapped in slow motion. His hands are trembling, and his heart feels like it could leap out and splat on Brain’s lovely white marble flooring. Freddie keeps his head down, eyes focused on the stairs to avoid looking at his friends. He’s only seen their photographs, but he hasn’t seen their faces in person. Freddie stops at the bottom of the stairs, and he hears a soft gasp. His eyes betray him, flickering up to make direct eye contact with those familiar wide, blue eyes.

They all stare at each other in silence, seemingly not even taking in a breath of air. Brian looks slightly overwhelmed, but he doesn’t look as utterly baffled and surprised as Roger. Roger’s eyes roam up and down Freddie’s body, making the singer blush anxiously as he’s thoroughly examined by the old drummer standing roughly ten metres away from him. Freddie looks back down at the floor, trying to think of what to say.

“I love this flooring, darling,” Freddie comments off-handedly, breaking the silence with a sheepish chuckle. ‘Wow, fantastic start,’ Freddie thinks to himself sarcastically. Roger gasped again, this time louder, and Freddie watches Brian look at Roger and shrug, gesticulating wildly in Freddie’s general direction.

“See!? He even sounds like him, too!” Brian bursts out drastically, his voice somehow still sounding gentle.

“Who the hell are you?” Roger hisses at Freddie, ignoring Brian’s comment, and his eyes narrowing suspiciously at the younger man in front of him.

“Uhh,” Freddie gulps nervously, feeling rather small under their intense gazes. “Roger, darling, you’re not gonna believe this--”

“--Yeah, you’re damn right, I’m not!” Roger snapped back, cutting Freddie off. Roger crosses his arms, and Brian sighs, pinching the bridge of his nose.

“Roger, let the poor lad speak--”

“He’s an imposter! He should be arrested for sneaking onto private property,” Roger interrupts Brian, his voice loud and aggressive, and his arms waving about wildly in Freddie's direction. It makes Freddie flinch. “ -And for causing us mental and emotional distress!” Roger adds whilst re-crossing his arms firmly across his chest.

“I am not an imposter!” Freddie bursts out desperately, trying to sound more offended than nervous. “It’s me, Roger! Brian, please, you both have to believe me - the strangest thing--”

“No, you need to stop now. It was all fun and games at first, but...please, you need to stop now,” Roger says, his voice soft and sorrowful. Freddie bites his lip when Roger rubs his face stressfully. He looks pained and absolutely distressed, and Freddie feels awful for making him feel that way. “Congratulations, mate, you really did us a number for sure. You sure look like Freddie’s doppelgänger, but we’re still calling the police on you for breaking and entering--”

“--Actually, he didn’t break anything other than possibly a bone in his own body--”

 --Wait!” Freddie cuts both men off, dramatically flailing his arms up. The two old Queens look at him, lifting a brow each as if they might humour Freddie for two more seconds. Freddie fumbles through the filing cabinets in his brain, trying to figure out how to convince them that he’s really who he says he is. His concentrated frown slips away when the cliched, metaphorical light bulb in his brain finally finds something useful.

“Nineteen-Seventy-Five, Ridge Farm,” Freddie starts, and Roger rolls his eyes, groaning. Freddie keeps going, speaking over the older man with a louder voice. “You wrote that god-awful car song, and locked yourself in the bloody tape cupboard when none of us would agree put it on the B-Side of Bohemian Rhapsody,” Freddie finished, ending his statement with a curious expression. Roger sighs, seemingly unconvinced; if anything, Freddie is just pissing him off more.

“Everyone in the bloody world knows that story, mate. Sorry, nice try--”

“Do they know the conversation you and I had whilst you were locked in the cupboard?” Freddie interrupts quickly, looking at Roger with a quirked brow. Roger blinks with a deadpan expression, utterly unfazed.

"You know, besides me screaming till I was blue in the face, begging you to not accidentally destroy our master tape recordings?" Freddie adds with a quick eye roll when Roger doesn't seem to be immediately impressed. Brian and Roger freeze at this statement, however; seemingly more interested all of the sudden. Brian looks over at Roger quizzically whilst Roger stares at Freddie in shock, silently waiting for him to elaborate.

“I asked you why you wanted that ridiculous song on the album, and you refused to explain it to me - using my own words against me and saying that every song’s meaning shouldn’t be explained. I told you that I must have some sort of explanation, and then you told me it was about someone being gay. You told me you wrote the song about me, and my reaction to the song is reflecting how society will look at me, a gay man. I was so touched that--” Freddie pauses, feeling himself choke up, “-- that I finally gave in, and let your bloody song take the B-Side of our single. Afterwards, when you finally crawled out of the cupboard, you hugged me, and you told me you loved me for the first time that night. That was when I knew Queen was so much more than just a band of friends --” Freddie sighs, feeling his tears stream down his cheeks, “-- we are a family.”

Roger and Brian stay quiet for a long time, and Freddie wipes his eyes. He sniffles and rubs his nose, huffing dramatically. He mutters out, “look at me - I’m hideous now, darling. I hope you’re happy you made me tell that bloody story…”

There’s another dreadful pause.

“...Fred…?” Roger whispers softly. Freddie looks at him and feels a needle in his heart at the sight of the old man. He looks completely distraught, his blue eyes are now a hideous shade of crimson, and his cheeks are red and irritated from his salty tears. Brian’s eyes are wide as they flick back and forth between Freddie and Roger.

“Fred, is that… Are you really…? How …?” Roger can’t finish any of his sentences; he continuously cuts himself off with harsh sobs.

“How could one story convince you so quickly?" Brian asks Roger, though his voice holds no grudge or malice. He seems genuinely confused.

“Because I’ve told everybody that the song was about something else my whole life. Only Freddie knew what the song was really about,” Roger replies quietly. He doesn’t even bother wiping away his tears as he quickly paces towards Freddie, startling the younger man for a moment before grabbing him in the tightest hug Freddie has ever experienced. Freddie wheezes out as Roger squeezes him closer to him, holding him like he’s afraid Freddie will be swept away by a tornado.

“Can’t...breathe...darling…” Freddie wheezed out softly, and Roger loosens his grip immediately like he’s touched a hot pan.

“I’m sorry… I’m sorry… I just…” Roger finally wipes his eyes, laughing nervously now. “I just can’t believe it. It’s really you.”

Before Freddie can respond, he’s pulled into another tight embrace, this time by Brian. Freddie is able to move his arms in Brian’s hug, allowing himself to return it fondly. He hears Brian sniffle in his neck, and his shoulders shake as he sobs into Freddie. Freddie coos at Brian, petting his hair with a gentle smile. Roger joins in the hug, creating a long, bittersweet group hug. Freddie wonders why they’re sobbing so aggressively. Maybe it’s the shock of seeing their fellow bandmate look so young. Freddie decides that must be it, and he pushes that confused thought aside as he hugs them back tighter, grateful that they finally believe him.

After everyone separates and gathers their composure, Freddie clears his throat awkwardly. “So…” Freddie trails off, not really knowing what to say after… whatever that was.

“How are you here, standing in front of us right now?” Was Brian’s question.

“Uhh, that I was hoping you could help me with, Bri,” Freddie replies with a sheepish grin.

“What’s the last thing you remember?” Came Roger’s question and Freddie rubs his chin in thought.

“Um, we were recording In Only Seven Days - for our Jazz album - and we all got hungry, so we decided to take a break and head out to our favourite Japanese restaurant,” Freddie explains, slowly recounting his steps. His eyes seem to search around frantically as he squeezes his brain for information. Freddie makes sure to specify which restaurant, just in case they’re somehow not convinced it’s really him yet before continuing. “I went to the men’s room when you and Deaky were arguing, and I read this strange fortune--” Freddie’s eyes light up when he pulls the slip of paper out and hands it to Brian.

Brian reads it quickly, and his face contorts awkwardly before looking up at Freddie. “Yes, I know - I thought it was strange too, darling,” Freddie responds to Brian’s silent question. “Oh, and immediately after I read that thing, there was this massive earthquake and the counter crumbled above me, hitting my head,” Freddie lightly taps the poorly patched up gash on his head. “--Oh! And then when I woke up, the bathroom had this strange tap that had no knobs on it!” Freddie exclaimed.

Brian and Roger give each other a strange look before looking at Freddie again. “It was automatic! Isn’t that incredible? -- Although, the soap dispenser was automatic as well and I got it in my eye--” Freddie rambled on, waving his hands wildly as he spoke. “It worked if I did this underneath it!” Freddie added, waving his hands exasperatingly, demonstrating what happened. “--And the water just --anyways, I found the newspaper and saw the bloody date! It’s not Nineteen-Seventy-Eight anymore! It’s Twenty-Eighteen!? -- What the fuck is that about, anyway? -- I’ve somehow travelled to the future!” Freddie continues rambling, and Roger and Brian’s eyes blink vacantly as they struggle to retain all of the information he’s spewing out at them all at once. Brian sighs, deciding he’s too old to keep up with his dear old friend, Freddie, right now.

“Okay, calm down, Fred,” Brain interrupted Freddie with gentle hand gestures and rested his hand on his younger friend’s shoulder. “How did you get to my house?”

“Oh, yes, the Google Machine!” Freddie spoke wistfully, and Roger furrowed his brows in confusion, repeating the odd phrase under his breath.

“It was at the library, and this young lad helped me use it. It was incredible, it just gave me the information I needed to find you!” Freddie explained, pulling out his map out of his back pocket. “Did you know you can print maps out in colour for forty pence at the library? Isn’t that crazy? Look at it, it looks just like it did on the television screen at the Library! Incredible! --Why don’t we have Google Machines in nineteen-seventy-eight--”

“Okay, okay, we get it, Fred,” Roger spoke up finally, interrupting the erratic young man. He looked over at Brian with a pained face, and Brain responded silently with another pained face, as well as a small shrug.

“Nineteen-Seventy-Eight, you say?” Roger clarified, and Freddie nodded. Roger sighs in thought, not knowing what to do with all of this information.

“I need a drink,” Roger finally says after a long moment of silence, and he walks away into another room.

“I second that,” Freddie adds, following Roger’s trail. Brian looks at the entryway, watching Roger pull out a bottle of whiskey out of Brian’s liquor cabinet, and pouring two shots. Brian feels his throat squeeze shut, and his heart doing somersaults. Brian ponders what he should say to Freddie, and what he should keep a secret.

Chapter Text

Freddie examines his two dearest friends, staring at the laugh lines, and their silver hair. The only thing that hasn’t changed is their eyes - however, the look they hold is very much different than what Freddie is used to. Brian and Roger both seem to be more nostalgic and wiser. Freddie never would have thought that Roger would ever be this way, but forty years is a very long time, and a lot could have happened in forty years.

“You never cut your hair,” Freddie finally says, breaking the long silence in the room. Freddie and Brian had each downed a shot of whiskey, but Roger is now downing his third.

Brian gives Freddie a warm smile, chuckling softly; he reminds Freddie of a gentle teddy bear, and of Brian’s own father. “Didn’t I always tell you I’d never cut it?” Brian replied, still chuckling.

Freddie lets a chuckle escape his lips, and he shakes his head. “And it seems you’ve gone for a shorter style, Rog,” Freddie adds, looking over at the other man in the room. ”And you look like Father Christmas with that beard!”

Brian is giving off a nervous, but polite and controlled vibe, letting out a hearty chuckle at Freddie's comment. Roger, on the other hand, has forgone the glass, and is guzzling straight from the whole whiskey bottle at this point; he takes a long swig out of it as his response. Freddie’s lips tug into a frown, and he looks over at Brian with concerned eyes.

“Roger, be careful. Your liver is not the same as it used to be,” Brian warned with a worried tone. Roger just scowled at Brian, taking another sip out of the bottle.

“I’m sorry if I made you uncomfortable...” Freddie trailed off, scratching the back of his neck nervously. Roger’s eyes light up as if he just recalled a series of long lost memories in a span of a second.

 


 

“I’m sorry if I made you uncomfortable, but quite frankly, darling - I don’t give a damn,” Freddie spat at the man, his scowl deepening. The man shoved Freddie backwards, causing him to knock Roger into his drink. The drink spilled over the girl he was with at the bar, and she whined with a pout. Roger turned around to see the entire pub’s attention on the scene unfolding in front of him. He narrowed his eyes at the man who shoved Freddie, and he stands up firmly.

“Hey! Keep your fucking hands off him!” Roger hissed, storming up from behind Freddie.

The man smirked down at Roger before snorting out a chuckle. “Oh, you his boyfriend or somfin’? What are you gonna do about it, faggot?”

All Roger saw was red. He felt his fist make contact with the man’s throat, causing the man’s eyes to widen as he stumbled backwards. The man rubbed his throat gently as he choked. Roger grabbed Freddie’s forearm, storming out of the pub with him.

The air was crisp, and the breeze made it worse, but Roger was too busy fuming about what just happened to really care. “Roger, darling, slow down. You’re gonna dislocate my bloody arm if you don’t let go!” Freddie squeaked out, tugging Roger’s arm to halt the man.

Roger loosened his grip on Freddie’s arm, lifting his hand to rub his friend's arm soothingly. “Sorry, Fred,” Roger mumbled, turning his gaze toward his shoes. Freddie slipped his hand into Roger’s, smiling at him. His moustache lifted as his smile turned into a toothy grin. Roger smiled in return, examining Freddie’s face. Freddie’s short hair was sweaty and sticking to his forehead, and his partially unbuttoned Hawaiian shirt had a beer stain on it. Freddie looked outright shitfaced, and yet, he looked so endearing with that grin on his face.

Roger’s breath caught in his throat when their eyes locked, and their smiles faded. Roger's heart was pounding, and Freddie opened his mouth to say something. He was soon interrupted when Roger was ripped away from him and thrown into the brick wall of the pub. Roger’s breath was visible when he exhaled weakly on impact and looked into the eyes of the man he punched in the throat.

“We don’t want your filthy-lowlife-homosexual-piece-of-shit-self showing your face here ever again,” the man spat in Roger's face before giving him a few blows to his face. Roger groaned in pain as he was kicked in the gut, and he sluggishly slid down the wall. He was whimpering as the man spat down at him before storming back into the pub.

“Roger!” Freddie called, sounding startled and concerned as he hurried to the blonde’s aid. “I’m so sorry, Rog,” Freddie babbled apologetically as he cautiously helped Roger to his feet. He draped Roger’s arm over his shoulder, looking at him with wide, sorrowful eyes.

Roger just gave Freddie a gentle smile. “What’re you sayin’ sorry for?”

Freddie frowned at Roger. “If it weren't for me, you wouldn’t have gotten beaten up.”

Roger chuckled but began coughing into his fist. He spat out a bit of blood and shrugged it off. “It was worth it. Nobody can get away with treating you like that,” Roger replied.

Freddie shook his head, his frown only deepening. “No, I--”

“Freddie, relax,” Roger gave his friend another genuine smile, “you can’t argue with me on this. What’s done is done. I don’t regret punching that areshole in the neck.”

They begin walking slowly in silence, before Freddie sighs. “I’m sorry that he called you a--”

“Doesn’t matter,” Roger cut him off, leaning into Freddie as he helped him walk to their car. Freddie stopped them immediately, right outside the back door of their car.

“No, it does matter,” Freddie replied, lifting Roger’s chin when he rolled his eyes to the sidewalk, forcing those blue eyes to lock with his brown ones. “You don’t deserve to be called such horrible things when you aren’t even…” Freddie worried his bottom lip between his teeth, unable to finish his sentence.

“And you don’t deserve to be called such horrible things when you are gay,” Roger replied with a lifted brow. Freddie sighed, looking down at his own shoes. This time it was Roger who was forcing Freddie’s face up to look at him. “Don’t ever feel like you have to apologize for being who you are, Fred. I chose to beat up that areshole, and you didn’t choose who you are,” Roger said, the corner of his mouth quirking up ever so slightly. “Me getting beaten up was my own damn fault, and I wouldn’t take it back for anything in the whole world.”

Freddie finally smiled at Roger and pulled him into a tight embrace. Roger returned the hug, repressing a pained groan so he can hold Freddie just a little longer. He felt his heartbeat pick up its pace as he held Freddie against his chest. Freddie pulled back, almost urgently, and he scratched the back of his neck; he seemed nervous all of the sudden.

“What’s the matter, Fred?” Roger asked, feeling worried that he somehow messed everything up.

“I’m sorry if I’ve ever made you feel uncomfortable…” Freddie spoke softly and bashfully. Roger looked at him quizzically before pulling him back into another hug.

 


 

“You could never make me uncomfortable. Not in a million years, Fred,” Roger replies, his face falling into a neutral expression. He places the bottle of whiskey down on the table, not breaking eye contact with Freddie.

Freddie let out the breath he was holding in, smiling at the old man sitting across from him in Brian’s study. “I’m sorry. This is all so... strange,” Freddie said whilst staring at the pattern in the rug below him.

“Don’t worry, we’ll try to figure out why and how you got here, and hopefully figure out how to send you back where you belong,” Brian replied gently. Roger took another swig from the whiskey bottle at that and placed it back on the side table beside his chair.

Roger has had a long life so far, and he was used to almost anything that could be thrown his way. He'd survived horrible things and always found a way through it all. This is different, though. To Roger, this is both the absolute best and worst thing that could happen to him. He wishes so desperately that he could tell Freddie everything he would need to know to not let what happened to him, happen. If Freddie had a heads up about that horrible, and dreadful…

“Where's Deaky these days?” Freddie asks meekly after another moment of silence. Roger sighs and takes another sip out of the whiskey bottle. If he just keeps drinking, he can numb the pain enough to stop caring so much - or so he hopes.

“He’s...at home. It’s very late, Fred, we - um, we didn’t want to disturb him,” Brian replies slowly as if he’s choosing his words carefully.

There’s another awkward silence before Freddie clears his throat. “You called Roger, but not Deaky?” Freddie asks with a lifted brow.

“As I said, I didn’t want to disturb him. Roger was much closer…” Brian trails off.

“Darling, you know that I know you too well, right?” Freddie’s eyebrow quirks up again. “I know you’re full of shit right now. Why didn’t you call Deaky--”

“Because we don’t want to bother him!” Roger practically growls, his eyebrows furrowed and his teeth gritted together.

Freddie huffs. “Well, seems you haven’t done anything about that temper of yours, darling,” he snaps back. “I was just asking a simple question. You don’t have to get mad.”

“Piss off,” Roger grumbles drunkenly, his body swaying like a weight has been placed in his head and is messing up his centre of balance. “Why'd you have to come ‘ere and ruin everything…” he slurs, the alcohol starting to buzz his brain and numb his body.

“Okay, that’s enough,” Brian spoke softly. His furrowed eyebrows show pure annoyance, but his eyes show nothing but concern. Freddie watches as he gets up and goes to grab the whiskey bottle, but Roger hugs it tightly against his chest like it’s the most precious object to him.

“No!” Roger whines, leaning over to block Brian’s pestering hands from taking the bottle away.

“Roger, this is not how you should be dealing with this right now. You’re not a child,” Brian says firmly.

“You can’t tell me how I should react!” Roger snaps back harshly. Freddie watches in silent horror. ‘Oh god, Roger is actually having a mental breakdown right now,’ he thinks, horrified, as he watches the old man shed tears whilst cradling the whiskey bottle. The scene looks rather pathetic, but all Freddie can feel is guilt and remorse. He knows he's the reason why Roger is reacting this way, but not having any answers as to why makes it very difficult to be here right about now.

“I should go--”

“NO!” Roger and Brian cry out in unison, their faces drained of colour as they grasp out desperately into the air in Freddie’s direction.

“Don’t go! Please don’t go!” Roger begs, his voice cutting out as he begins sobbing again.

“Roger, please, you have to pull yourself together, mate,” Brian says gently. He rubs soothing circles on Roger’s back, and Freddie gulps. He can’t stand to see his friends like this, and he has no idea why they’re reacting so intensely right now. It’s almost like he…

“Where am I?” Freddie asks, cutting off his own thoughts and catching the attention of the two older men.

“I don’t… pardon?” Brian asks, tilting his head like a confused puppy.

 Me - older me. Where is he? Where am I?” Freddie asked again, making sure to be more clear this time. Roger’s face pales as panic settles in his gut, and Brian’s eyes widen in trepidation.

“Um, you, uh - you are…” Brian stumbles over his words.

“Don’t lie to me,” Freddie warns, his eyes prickling as tears started to poke and prod their way out.

“No, we’re not telling you a thing,” Roger snaps back, his eyes narrowing. Freddie blinks rapidly, his eyes bulging in shock at Roger’s reaction. This was definitely not what he was expecting.

“Why not?” Freddie asks defiantly, placing his hands on his hips. Roger stands up, practically shoving Brian off of him as he sways in his spot. He curses under his breath as he struggles to stand, grabbing his back and stretching it out before pointing a threatening finger at Freddie.

“We can’t fuck up the past. We jus’ need to get you back where ya belong without the threat of ruinin’ the timeline - which means you shouldn’t know anythin’ about your own future,” Roger rambles. He looks over at Brain for approval. “Am I wrong?”

“Well, you have a good point, Rog,” Brian replies with a small shrug.

“Not fair, I already know about Google machines and your weird cars, and style - and I know about you two!” Freddie replies harshly.

“Yeah, you already know too much,” Roger answers softly, wiping away the tears that still linger on his face. “Let's not fuck it up more.”

Freddie’s frown deepens as he glares at Roger, trying to put the puzzle pieces together in his head. His brain runs frantically through every possible scenario as to why they wouldn’t want to tell him about his future whilst reacting the way they did, then lets out an exasperated sigh when he finally reaches a conclusion.

“When did the band split up then?” Freddie mumbles, his head ducked down solemnly. Roger and Brian give each other odd looks before turning to Freddie again.

“What do you mean? The band isn’t -” Roger stops, and Freddie quirks an eyebrow. Brian rolls his eyes.

“Why did you call Roger, but not Deaky?” Freddie asks again, then adds, “and why didn’t you call me ?” Before either of the men can speak, he goes on: “- and I don’t want to hear none of that ‘so-and-so was closer, I didn’t want to disturb him’ bullshit. Tell me the truth !”

“You want the truth?” Roger slurs with a scowl. Brian shakes his head at Roger.

“Roger, don’t do this--”

“No, no, Brian. Freddie really wants this, so let’s give ‘im what he wants.” Roger's voice is harsh and pinched.

“Roger, you're drunk. You need to stop--”

“You can’t handle the bloody truth, Fred,” Roger roars, taking a step closer to the younger man. Freddie takes a step back, feeling a whole force-field of past repressed emotions seeping off of the old man in front of him. Freddie bites his bottom lip, having the dreadful epiphany that he might not know these two as well anymore and that maybe he should stop this.

“No, you’re right, Rog. I’m sorry I pushed you,” Freddie replies calmly, just wanting to cool the situation down. “This is all just confusing and scary, and I just want to know what’s going on around me. I just want something - anything - to make me feel like I haven't fallen off my bloody rocker. I’m going completely mad, and I don’t know what to do!” Freddie burst out dramatically, gesticulating wildly before gripping his hair in frustration.

Roger breathes heavily through his nose, glaring into Freddie’s eyes as his heart thumps quickly in rage. Freddie’s glossy eyes send a chill down his spine, and he slowly cools down, sighing deeply, and nodding. “I’m sorry,” he mumbles solemnly. “This is confusing for all of us, Fred.”

Brian nods in agreement, sighing with relief that the situation has simmered down. He pinches the bridge of his nose in thought before looking over at Freddie. “Maybe we should just sleep on it, clear our heads, and figure this all out tomorrow,” he says, his voice soothing. “I have a few books on the theory of time travel, so we can study that and work on getting Freddie home.”

Roger and Freddie nod in agreement before they each stare at the floor, purposely avoiding each other’s gazes. “I don’t know if I should sleep. I might have a concussion,” Freddie says, rubbing the bandaged wound on his head.

“We had someone look at it earlier - they switched the bandages for you. You don’t have a concussion,” Brian replies, a weary yet gentle smile appearing in the corner of his mouth.

“Oh...okay,” Freddie replies, his eyes finding his shoes again.

“You can sleep in my room if you’d like. I don’t mind,” Brian says, walking over to Freddie and grabbing his shoulder to give him an encouraging pat. Freddie opened his mouth to protest, but Brian shakes his head and starts leading the way before Freddie can say anything.

“Am I staying as well, then?” Roger askes as they reach the door of Brian’s study.

“Of course you’re staying,” Brian replies matter-of-factly. “You are not driving home impaired. You nearly drank that whole bottle,” he adds.

Once Freddie and Brian exit the study, Roger collapses on the chair again and rubs his hands through his hair. His breathing becomes erratic as he silently panics by himself, and he works to steady it, not wanting to give himself a bloody heart attack.

Roger waits for eons until Brian finally returns, lingering at the doorway and staring at the carpet with a neutral face. Roger looks up at him, tears already forming in his eyes again as he simply says, “Bri, what the fuck do we do?”

Brian sighs for the umpteenth time tonight, rubbing the palm of his hand against his forehead. “I don’t know.”

Roger looks down again, his hands clasped together tightly as he leans on his legs, letting one bounce anxiously. “A part of me wants to tell him everything, and warn him of that horrible disease…” He breaks off, swallowing thickly. Brian looks up at him, listening silently. “Another part of me doesn’t want to let him go at all,” he adds softly, letting his tears fall to his legs and the floor.

“Me too,” Brian admits quietly, leaning against the doorframe whilst exhaling through his nose.

“I can’t believe he’s here. I’m afraid to go to sleep and wake up to no more Freddie,” Roger admits, still staring at nothing in particular in front of him.

“That would solve this time travelling issue nicely,” Brian replies with a small smirk, trying to be somewhat positive.

“I don’t want this to be a crazy dream. I want to spend time with him, listening to his bright, over-dramatic voice talk about literally anything. I’ll do anything to make sure he gets back where he belongs, but I want that journey of getting him there. I don’t want this problem to be solved right away. I want the struggle, I want the arguments, and I want…” Roger rubs his face again, choking out a soft sob. Brian stares at Roger with concern, waiting patiently for him to finish, but Roger doesn't speak. Brian knows Roger would never say any of this sober, and a part of him is grateful he’s finally opening up. What concerns him still is how much this seems to be hurting Roger, so he approaches him and sits on the arm of the chair Roger’s sulking in. Brian pulls Roger towards him, and hugs him, letting himself join in with the tears.

“He said nineteen-seventy-eight…” Roger mumbles after they've both calmed down. Brian pulls back from the embrace, giving Roger a confused look.

“What?”

“Freddie, he said he’s from nineteen-seventy-eight. He mentioned that restaurant, and ‘In Only Seven Days’ from our ‘Jazz’ album, and that… earthquake… ” Roger continues, exhaustion eminent in his voice.

Brian nods, and his eyes light up in realization. He pulls the fortune out of his pocket - the one Freddie gave him - and hands it to Roger. “He said he got this fortune and read it out loud before the earthquake. Maybe it has something to do with it?” Brian proposes as Roger examines the fortune. “You know, possibly connected to the time travelling,” he adds.

Roger’s eyes were squinting occasionally, trying to focus on the words and humming in thought. “This is weird. Who would print this on a bloody fortune?”

“Yeah, I thought that too. It’s definitely suspicious,” Brian replies with a nod.

“Should we interrogate the people at the restaurant?” Roger asks, looking up at him.

“It is a good place to start, I suppose…” Brian replies with a shrug.

“I mean, now that I think about it - I highly doubt anybody working there would know anything about this. This was over forty years ago now,” Roger muses thoughtfully.

“Well, it’s a good place to start, either way. We might as well rule it out in person instead of waiting it out,” came Brian’s response.

“Or we could wait,” Roger says quick and firm.

Roger stares at Brian. Brian just stares back at him. Finally, Brian sighs. “Look, I really want him to be here longer, too,” he says, rubbing his face, “but we can’t purposely sabotage this. That’s just cruel.”

“No, no - you’re absolutely right,” Roger sighs. “I honestly don’t know what came over me when I said that. Just an impulsive thought.”

“No, it’s...It’s fine. I get it,” Brian says, giving Roger a weak smile.

There’s another deafening silence.

“We can’t tell him,” Brain whispers softly.

Roger lifts his brow at Brain. “But we could stop it--”

“I said, we’re not telling him anything,” Brian repeats, his voice slow and firm. Roger covers his mouth, leaning on his bouncing knee, and mumbles his response into his hand.

“What was that--”

“I said fine,” Roger bites back, lowering his hand to reveal his frown.

“Good,” Brian says gently. He pats Roger’s shoulder and adds, “come on, let’s get some sleep.”

Roger nods feebly and Brian helps him stand up. He stumbles out of the study with his arm draped over Brian’s shoulder. His stomach flips at the memory that had resurfaced earlier, Freddie’s voice echoing in his buzzing brain. ‘I’m sorry if I’ve ever made you feel uncomfortable…’ He decides it must be the alcohol and shoves that feeling down in its dark crevice, where it’s been sitting for over fifty years.

Chapter Text

Brian Harold May was many things. A father? - Yes. A rock star? - Yes. An animal activist? - Of course. An astrophysicist? - Yes. A time travelling expert? - Absolutely not.

Brian wakes up the next morning feeling dizzy and confused, wondering why on earth he’s sleeping in one of his guest bedrooms - and immediately rolls over into a person who groans on impact. Roger forces his eyes open and scowls at Brian, shoving him away and cuddling into his pillow again. Brian’s fuzzy brain slowly begins to clear up. He remembers how exhausted he and Roger were last night, and how he just tumbled into the same bed as Roger to save himself the energy of trudging into another guest room so late at night.

Brian forces himself up and stretched, feeling every bone in his body pop back into place - for the most part. He still has a nick in his right shoulder that he can’t get loosened up, and he rubs that spot tenderly whilst standing up and pacing around the bed.

“Come on, Rog. We have to get up and deal with our... predicament,” Brian says softly whilst shaking Roger out of his slumber.

“What bloody predicament--” Roger grumbles before freezing in his spot. He groans, rubbing his face and mumbling, “ohh… right ...”

Roger gets up, rubbing his stiff joints while Brian opens the door and steps into the hallway. He huffs in pain, rubbing his throbbing head for a minute before stepping out of the bedroom. He wishes that he didn’t drink as much as he did last night. He hasn’t had a hangover like this in years.

They both glance over at Brian’s bedroom door before exchanging a look. Brian nods his head in his room’s direction while he shifts towards the staircase, not breaking eye contact with Roger. Roger’s eyes widen and he shakes his head profusely, pointing at Brian before aiming his index finger in the direction of the bedroom.

They stay silent as they continue to give each other odd looks in protest to each other’s requests. Roger holds out his hand for Rock Paper Scissors, and Brian rolls his eyes with a frown. He sighs before relenting and holding his hand out. They go through the motions of the game three times, and Brian smirks at Roger when he wins a two out of three games. Brian shuffles passed Roger and goes down the stairs, leaving the other man alone with his thoughts and that dreadful door.

Roger takes a deep breath before opening the door and peeking his head in. His hangover is buzzing uncomfortably in his head, and he tries his best to focus on the lump in Brian’s bed. He squints while leaning closer, his head swimming in waves. He lets out the breath he was holding when he sees Freddie laying there, peacefully sleeping, and all bundled up in Brian’s silky sheets. Roger smiles, endeared, not wanting to disturb his dear old friend for just a few more moments.

Freddie mumbles incoherently while shifting a little in his sleep. Roger clears his throat and places a gentle hand on Freddie’s shoulder to lightly shake him from his slumber. “Fred, wake up.”

Freddie smiles, his eyes still closed. “Roger, is that you, darling?” he mumbles tiredly.

Roger just chuckles before replying. “Yeah, it’s me.”

“Oh, Roger, I had the most peculiar dream…” Freddie dozes off a little, rubbing his face in the pillow as he struggles to fully wake up. “I went into the future, and you and Bri were a couple of old geezers!” Freddie exclaims tiredly, giggling into the pillow.

Roger huffed out dramatically, crossing his arms and cocking an eyebrow at his friend. “ Old geezers? Really? That’s just rude, Freddie,” he replies with a low chuckle.

Freddie’s eyes snap open in horrid realization, and he sits up quickly, staring at Roger who is still very much old. “Oh no. It’s real,” Freddie mutters with a pout.

“Unfortunately, so,” Roger replies with a frown. “Come on, we’re gonna prepare breakfast. Brian’s waiting for us downstairs.” Roger unfolds his crossed arms to open the bedroom door. He stops and looks over at Freddie with a hint of a smirk. “We’re gonna need your help since we’re such old geezers .”

Freddie’s eyes widen in horror as he babbles out, “sorry, I didn’t mean it like--”

“You coming or not? We’ll need some nutrition to work on getting you back where you belong, yeah?” Roger interrupts with a smile.

Freddie nods in agreement, smiling in return before sliding out of bed.

The two of them walk through the hall and down the stairs, but Freddie is quick to support Roger as he sways a little in his walk. “I’m fine, Fred--”

“You’re swaying like you’re on a bloody boat. I don’t want you falling and hurting yourself, Rog,” Freddie replies quickly with a stern glare. Roger’s eyes widen as memories from last night and from many years ago flood back, and he hurries out of Freddie’s arm.

“I said I’m--” Roger nearly slips off of the step, and Freddie catches him before he can fall down the flight of stairs. Roger sighs hoarsely and allows Freddie to drape his own arm over his young friend’s shoulder.

“You’re still shitfaced, darling,” Freddie chuckles light-heartedly. “It’s the least I can do. I’ve helped you enough times already to deal with your stubborn nature - and I won’t have any of it. Doesn’t matter how old you are now, you’re still a big baby who needs my assistance.”

Roger snorts out a chuckle, shaking his head and smiling down at Freddie after they make it to the bottom of the stairs. They enter the kitchen to see Brian pulling out ingredients for breakfast. He turns around at the sound of the chairs being pulled from under the table, and he smiles at the scene. Freddie helps Roger sit down as he just grumbles out curses and protests, but Freddie ignores it. Freddie walks over towards Brian and smiles at him.

“Good morning, Bri,” Freddie greets tiredly. “Where do you keep your cups?”

“Uh,” Brian points dumbly at the cupboard behind Freddie, and the man just nods in response before turning to grab a glass. He fills it with water from the sink and pauses for a moment to stare in awe at the fancy sink Brian has.

“This is the prettiest sink I’ve ever seen. We should have more sinks like this in seventy-eight,” Freddie comments to himself with a smile before grabbing the cup and walking back towards Roger.

Brian finds himself smiling at Freddie as he hands Roger the glass of water. Freddie sits beside him and watches Roger gulp it down greedily. Brian suddenly feels a dagger in his gut, and tears threatening to prick behind his eyes as he watches Freddie take care of Roger during his hangover; something he thought he would never get to see again in his lifetime before last night. Brian suddenly feels dizzy, bending over and grabbing the counter to catch his bearings as the world grows dark and blurry around him.

His heartbeat is thunderous, and his breathing is shallow as he keeps his head resting against the cool countertop between his outstretched arms. “Brian, darling, are you alright?” Freddie asks worriedly, quickly standing up to aid his old friend.

Brian waves Freddie off, mumbling, “ I'm fine - fine. Just give me a minute. I just got a little light-headed, is all.”

“You sure?” Freddie asks meekly whilst rubbing his hands nervously. Brian gives himself another moment before standing up straight again and smiling down at his friend.

“Yes, I’m fine. Sorry, I suppose I didn't sleep well last night.”

Freddie’s frown intensifies, and Brian clears his throat. He gestures towards the counter and smiles again, knowing it probably looks strained. “I’m making blueberry pancakes. Would you like to help?”

Freddie just nods, giving Brian a weak smile, and allowing the subject to be dropped for now. He has affected them in a much worse way than he ever thought. Something about all of this is making Freddie wonder what could have happened in all of these years to make his old friends react like this to his presence. ‘It might honestly just be the shock of me time travelling - yeah, that has to be it. What else could it be?’ Freddie wonders silently as he helps Brian make the pancake mix. He does all of the stirring since Brian seems to be rubbing his shoulder often enough to worry Freddie.

“What happened to your shoulder, Bri?” Freddie asks after a while, trying to make some conversation with his friends that just feel like strangers to him, now. “If you don’t mind me asking?” he adds.

“Oh, nothing, really. It just happens with age, Freddie…” Brian replies with a gentle smile and a light shrug. “I might have pulled something not too long ago, it’s - it’s nothing.”

Freddie nods in understanding, giving Brian a soft smile for a split second before it drops from his face. He focuses on his task at hand, and occasionally steals glances of his two friends. He’s really starting to feel uneasy at how different they look, and he feels like he’s being rude, but he can’t stop staring at them in wonder.

“Like what you see, Freddie?” Roger asks cheekily after a while, and Freddie blushes bashfully, ducking his head down to avert his gaze back to the task at hand.

“Sorry. I didn’t mean to - you just look so - I’m sorry,” Freddie babbles nervously.

“I’m just joking, Fred. It’s alright,” Roger replies with a soft smile. “If it means anything, I’ve been staring at you too,” Roger admits with a sheepish grin.

Freddie’s toothy grin splits his face, and he raises an eyebrow at Roger. “Not used to seeing me like this, darling?”

Roger stares silently at Freddie’s wide, toothy grin with a dreadful feeling in his gut. Is it the hangover making him feel nauseous? Definitely. However, something about the way Freddie is acting so carefree around them and is young and healthy again, but they can’t keep him here; it just makes Roger want to curl up and die.

“No,” Roger replied coldly. “Not at all.”

Freddie clears his throat awkwardly, and the silence in the room becomes thicker than before. Roger kicks himself for replying like a depressed old man, but he can’t find it in himself to continue playing along anymore, even though he started it. Brian gives him a cold, stern glare, and Roger shrugs apathetically as he cradles the empty glass between his crossed arms leaning on the table.

“So, I was thinking about going to that restaurant today to question the employees about your fortune. Just to rule some old ancient Japanese curse out of the equation of your sudden time travelling,” Brian breaks the ice whilst pulling out a pan and placing it on the oven. Freddie and Roger nod silently, not looking up from the things in their grasp; a cup for Roger, and the bowl of pancake mix for Freddie.

“I have a few books in my study about time travel. You two should stay here and read through them. Maybe you can find some answers in one of those old books,” Brian continues, speaking in a soothing tone. No verbal responses, but he notices Roger flinch and freeze his actions of spinning the cup absentmindedly on the table. “My house will be empty all week, so we can hide Freddie in here for now. Hopefully, we can figure this all out in only seven days…” Brian adds.

Freddie snorts, shaking his head as a sudden idea flashes in his head. Roger and Brian look at him with quirked eyebrows. “What’s so funny, Fred?” Brian inquires with a raised brow.

“In only seven days… That’s the song we were working on before this all happened…” Freddie replies with a smile as he shakes his head again. “Interesting coincidence, huh?”

“Huh, that is an interesting coincidence,” Brian agrees, looking over at Roger with wide eyes and a shrug.

“Yeah, I don’t think I believe in coincidences anymore,” Roger grumbles as his response before giving his cup all of his undivided attention again.

Another silent moment passes before Freddie perks up sheepishly. “It is Deaky’s song… Maybe Deaky can help us? Maybe it’s a sign?”

Roger and Brian stay quiet and hyper-focused on the objects in their hands. Freddie pouts, turning to hand Brian the bowl of pancake mix and putting his hands on his hips. “Someone has to tell Deaky what happened. He deserves to know - no matter what the hell happened in the past forty years or so.”

Brian gives Roger a sad look that Freddie does not miss, and he sighs sorrowfully before facing Freddie. “I don’t think we should bother him, Fred. You don’t know what’s happened all these years. You don’t know Deaky, anymore.”

“No, you’re right. I don’t know him, or you, or Roger. Yet, you and Roger are pushing whatever is bothering you down to help, so why can’t Deaky do the same? What makes him so different from you two, hmm?” Freddie snaps back with a scowl. He feels awful for saying such a thing, but he just needs to understand why John can’t come by and help them through whatever this is. “Did John and I have a falling out or something? Does he hate me? Is that it?”

“No! Nothing like that! Quite the contrary, Fred --” Brian cuts himself off and pinches the bridge of his nose, choosing his next words carefully. “We don’t want to upset him, okay? We don’t know how he’ll cope with all of this .”

“He can’t possibly react any worse than Roger,” Freddie whips his head towards Roger, “no offence, Rog,” and looks back at Brian. “What the hell happened? What am I missing here, Brian?”

“Fine,” Brian sighs, lowering his hand and looking Freddie firmly in the eyes. “I’ll call John, but I can’t make any promises that he’ll agree to come, alright? I’m not forcing him to do anything he doesn’t want to do.”

“Okay,” Freddie lets out the breath he was holding in, feeling his temper simmer down. “Alright. I’m sorry. If he doesn’t want to come by, then that’s fine. I just don’t want you making decisions for him.”

Brian nods in understanding before turning to make the first batch of pancakes. “Alright, then. I’ll call him before I go.”

 


 

John Richard Deacon was many things. A father? - Yes. A retired bassist for a famous rock band? - Yes. A good friend? - Of course.

John is sat at the table, enjoying a large breakfast with his wife Veronica when the phone rings. She gets up to answer it, and he watches her with a large grin. John’s life is good and calm. He loves his family, and he loves moments like these when he can sit back and watch his wife twirl her hair as she picks up the handheld landline phone. Her smile contorts for a moment before it brightens a bit. She tucks the phone against her chest as she looks over at John and simply says, “It’s Brian. He wants to speak to you.”

John lifts an eyebrow but places his napkin on the table before standing up to retrieve the telephone from his wonderful wife. He steals a peck on the cheek before she walks back to the table, and he presses the phone against his ear.

“Hello?” John asks.

“John, is that you?”

“Speaking,” John replies while turning to look out the window.

“It’s Brian,” he responds over the phone, sounding like he’s whispering. John feels concern etching in his heart, but he puts on a smile anyway.

“How are you doing, Brian?” John asks politely, smiling to himself as he watches a bird in his garden fly into a tree.

“Uhh,” the man’s voice trails off, and John hears him harshly whisper something unintelligible on the other end. John’s concern is evident now as he furrows his brows and tucks himself into his study by the kitchen for some privacy.

John shuts the door to his study and walks further inside. “Brian, what’s the matter? Is everything alright?”

“Uh, I don’t really know how to answer that, John,” came Brian's worrying response.

“Is it your wife - kids?” John paces the study, leaning against his desk. “Is it you or Roger?”

“No, no - um, maybe Roger might not be fine, but that’s just a symptom to the real issue,” Brian replies, sounding rushed and distracted.

“Brian, you’re scaring me,” John says, his voice low and deliberate. “Spit it out,” he adds quietly, looking over at his closed study door in hopes that his wife can’t hear him.

“Can you come over? I know it’s last minute, but we have a bit of an emergency,” Brain’s response is hushed, hurried, and very panicked.

John sighs, pinching his nose in frustration. “I...I don’t know…” John rubs his face as he listens to Brian’s clearly uneven breathing on the other end. He flicks his wrist in front of his face to look at his watch and sighs again. “I can be there in twenty minutes.”

“Thank you,” Brian sighs in relief. “I’m sorry again to bother you, but this...is quite urgent.”

“Of course. Anything you need, I’m always willing to help,” John replies with a gentle smile - even though he knows Brian can’t see it.

“Thank you, and sorry again,” Brain babbles quickly.

“No need for apologies. I’ll be there as soon as I can,” John replies before hanging up the call. John’s heart is pounding now, and he takes a moment to steady his breathing and rushing heart rate before leaving his office. He puts the phone on the receiver and kisses his wife’s temple in a hurried manner.

“What’s the matter, sweetheart? What did Brian say?” Veronica asks worriedly as John grabs his coat and heads to the front door. She follows him down the hall, and he stops before stepping outside.

“I don’t know. He said it’s an emergency. I’ll call you when I know what’s going on, okay love?” John replies with a forced smile. Veronica just nods feebly, waving off her husband as he hurries out the door and to his car.

 


 

Brian paces back and forth nervously while Roger sits on the chair with his head resting in his palm, and Freddie sits across from Roger with his knee bouncing anxiously. They wait nervously for John’s arrival whilst Freddie looks over a few books that they’ve pulled from Brian’s collection to distract himself.

“I can’t believe you just said it’s an emergency and nothing else,” Roger grumbles.

“How else could I convince him to come over without sounding like I’ve gone completely mad?” Brian rebuttals, waving his arms dramatically above his head.

“He has a good point, Rog, “ Freddie pipes up with a shrug. “Besides, he wasn’t entirely off by calling this an emergency. We kind of are in a state of emergency at the moment.”

“Still, we don’t want to give the poor old cod a bloody heart attack,” Roger replies gruffly before leaning over to grab the bottle of whiskey from last night. Brian swipes it away quickly and frowns at Roger.

“No more drinking! Stick to your water, please. We need you sober when John gets here,” Brian scolds Roger with a deep frown.

“Sorry, mum,” Roger replies, lifting his hands defensively and whining like a child. He grabs the glass of water supplied to him and takes small sips before placing it down again. He leans back but jumps in his seat when the doorbell rings.

“He’s here,” Brian whispers nervously, twiddling his thumbs anxiously.

Brian doesn’t move, and Freddie stares at him with a frown. “Are you gonna let him in, or…?”

“Just...give me a minute, Fred,” Brian replies calmly, closing his eyes and gathering his bearings.

After a moment, he turns around and mutters, “behave, you two,” before heading down the hallway in the direction of the front door.

Brian takes a deep breath and opens the door to see John standing there, looking skittish. “Brian, what’s wrong?” John asks immediately, not wanting to beat around the bush.

“Uhh, it would be easier if I just showed you,” Brain replies whilst scratching the back of his neck nervously. He invites John into his home before closing the door behind him and leading him to his study. “Please have an open mind and try not to freak out,” he babbles nervously as he leads the way through his home. They stop in front of his study, and John gives Brian an odd look.

“Uhh, what do you mean an open mind--” John cuts himself short as he turns his head and makes direct eye contact with none other than Freddie Mercury. The man is young - maybe in his early thirties, John marvels. He’s sitting in an armchair across from Roger, who looks like he’s seen better days, and he has a book about the theory of time travel opened in his lap.

“Deaky, darling, I can explain,” Freddie says quickly as he stands up and holds his arms out in a defensive manner.

John just stares wide-eyed, blinking, but unmoving. His fingers twitch, and his breathing becomes shallow. He furrows his brows in concentration as he lets the moment sink in.

John takes a deep, shaky breath, and simply says, “no.”

Chapter Text

'I long for peace, before I die.'

That line always stayed with John, even to this day. Another thing that he can’t erase is the goddamned AYY-O from his brain. The crowd-pleasing vocal exercises that he wishes he sang along with to improve his own voice and spirits, but he didn’t feel like it back then. If he had the chance to change one small minor detail, he would tell himself to sing with Freddie when he did his vocal ad-libs. That’s all he wants to change; how much he took one of his dearest friends for granted.

He always thought that if he could see Freddie now, he would tell him so much, but when he is presumably faced with that very situation, he just finds himself frozen in his spot. Like a statue he stands, gazing at the very man he never got a chance to say goodbye to.

So why are his first words, “no ”? Why does he have to be this way? Even when he claimed for the past twenty-seven years that he would say literally anything but “ no ” to his dear old friend, Freddie Mercury.

“Deaky, I know this is a lot to take in, but I swear - it’s really me,” Freddie explains slowly, standing painfully still, and too far from John’s grasp.

John just shakes his head slowly, his blinking eyes forming a new tear. His lip quivers, and he chews on it to hold back the painful sob fighting to escape his throat. He glares at Brian and gives him a quick shove since he is closest, and everyone’s eyes bulge as Brian stumbles backwards.

Brian stares at John, completely dumbfounded. “What the--”

“How dare you call me here and say, ‘oh, it’s an emergency!’ when there clearly is not! How dare you bring your pathetic PR stunt for your stupid movie here and attempt to trick me like this? What did you hope to gain out of this, huh?” John snaps harshly at Brian and Roger, his eyes narrowing dangerously as he gives them the look of a predator about to pounce. “I told you I wanted nothing to do with your shitty film!” John adds sharply. Freddie stares with a mixed feeling of awe and terror when he hears John curse. John rarely cursed, even when he was mad. He has before, but it is rare enough to shock even the other two older Queens in the room as well.

Freddie’s eyebrows furrowed in confusion. ‘PR stunt...for a movie?… What the fuck is Deaky talking about…?’ Freddie ponders silently as he watches the two older Queens attempt to feebly calm down their sweet, old bassist.

“No, no - John, we swear, this is not what you think it is,” Roger waves his hands defensively. “Be careful what you say around him, John… Deaky - it’s really him. It’s Fred,” Roger adds in warning.

Enough. This isn’t funny anymore…” John sighs. “It never was to begin with.”

“I-I can prove it!” Freddie blurts out, catching all of their attention, and wanting to simmer John’s discomfort. “Please, let me prove it to you, and then you can come to your own conclusion after, alright, darling?”

John squeezes his eyes shut, and shakes his head.

“Please. I can tell you something only I - the real Freddie Mercury - would ever know,” Freddie says, still trying to get his dear friend to listen. “Please, just give me a chance…”

John’s eyes are pinched shut, yet they still cannot contain his tears as he struggles to breathe heavily through his snot-filled nose. His face is red, and his shoulders are tense. He exhales and slowly forces himself to nod in response. Even if it’s all fake, he swore that if he were given the slightest chance to see his friend again, he would never say no to him. He wants this all to be real, but he’s starting to question if he’s even woken up this morning. Maybe it is Freddie, but why would the real Freddie be here if this wasn’t a dream?

Freddie takes a deep breath before simply saying, “Nineteen-seventy-four, Ridgewood Farm…”

John rolls his eyes, but Roger clears his throat. “Just listen to him, please?” Roger says firmly.

John exhales through his nose, releasing a slight whistling sound before nodding. “Alright. Go on…” John slowly gestures towards Freddie, urging him to go on. All three of them give the man their full, undivided attention as he begins his tale.

 


 

The air in the farmhouse is dusty and moist, but the thickness from the earlier argument still lingers in the air with it all, making it ultimately difficult to breathe.

John explores the trinkets in the lounge room on that cloudy afternoon. He runs his fingers across the books and old board games on the shelf before stopping at a familiar game. He smiles, endeared, as he pulls the game out, blowing off the dust on the box and giving a satisfied grin at the Scrabble game in his grip.

He studies the old wooden board game in awe, quickly coming to the conclusion that he’s likely holding an extremely rare antique Scrabble board. He studies the elegant engraving in the wooden box, tracing the words with his index finger. He reads the date and nearly gasps at it in wonder: Scrabble™ ©1940.

This must be one of the original board game sets since the game was invented in 1938. John smiles in wonder, and carefully places it on the floor. He calls out loudly to his friends and bandmates. The three remaining members of Queen emerge from different areas of the farmhouse moments apart from each other, their faces filled with curiosity towards their bassist as they enter.

“I found an old Scrabble board. I was wondering if you’d all like to play with me?” John asks with a timid smile. They all exchange quick disapproving looks before finally sighing and sitting down to join him without question. Scrabble was the one thing that could bring them back together after a thick falling out. John always knew how to fix things - mostly with electronics - and every member of Queen appreciated him for it. If they didn’t have John, they might have split up long before recording their first album.

Not too long into the game, they’re all laughing as if they didn’t argue until their faces turned blue an hour prior. The argument felt so pointless that John already forgot what it was even about. He watches his friends playfully bicker and banter with each other as they play the game; each playing large words that immediately has Roger or Freddie questioning the existence of such ridiculous words.

“Aha!” John exclaims as he has the sudden epiphany of how he can make his play. He places his tiles strategically on the board and spells out: RIDICULOUS. He receives two sets of bonus points for his play, and he grins widely as he marks off his score.

“Oh, come on! Not fair!” Roger whines when they all realize the game is now over, leaving John as the champion, and beating Roger by only three points.

They all chuckle whilst packing the game up, and Freddie pats John's shoulder as Brian and Roger get up to put the game away, bickering about how the bonus points functioned, and if it was fair to go ‘double-whammy’ - or something or other.

“Hey, uhh... Deaky?” Freddie asks timidly, catching the bassist’s attention. He hums in acknowledgment, and Freddie scratches the stubble starting to grow on his jaw nervously. “You’re always the first one to fix things when everything goes to shit, and I just wanted you to know that,” Freddie smiles before adding a soft, “thanks.”

John smiles at Freddie in return, and Freddie slides his arm around him to pull him into a tight embrace. John feels his heart sputter as he nuzzles into Freddie’s neck. He releases from the hug, and before he knows it, he’s left alone in the lounge room again after sitting there for a few minutes.

He hears them all laughing loudly at something in the kitchen, and John chuckles, leaning over to grab his notebook before joining them. He sits at the table beside Freddie as Roger and Brian attempt to make lunch - what’s really happening is they’re just occasionally throwing a piece of cheese at each other.

Roger throws Brian quick witty lines of, “what? I just think you’re so sweet like you’re some kind of cheese.”

Brian rebuttals with, “well, at least it’s better than getting my hands all dirty on my car’s grease gun.”

John watches his friends with an endearing smile before his gaze shifts to Freddie, who seems to be watching them as well. He has a wistful look in his eyes, and John suddenly gets an idea. He opens his notebook and scribbles something quickly.

 

You’re my best friend,

You make me happy--live ?

You’re always the first one to fix things when they go wrong.

You know I’ll never be lonely with you by my side.

John’s eyes flicker up to catch Freddie watching him scribble his notes, and Freddie gives him a wide toothy grin when he catches John’s eyes.

 


 

John sighs after Freddie finishes recounting their Scrabble story from the farm. He opens his eyes to look at the young man in front of him, and he shakes his head. “Brian or Roger could have easily told you to tell this story. They were there when it happened...”

“They weren’t there for this next part, darling,” Freddie adds in a low tone. “I didn’t get the chance to finish the story - why, it’s my favourite part, you see,” Freddie smiles cheekily.

John’s frown contorts into a baffled expression as he tilts his head at Freddie. “Before we left that farm,” Freddie begins, “I packed that antique Scrabble board in my carry on and gifted it to you when we got back home. Brian and Roger never knew of this exchange. They thought you took it yourself, but I grabbed it for you because you were too kind to steal it yourself.”

John’s eyes widen, and Freddie continues. “That board game was only collecting dust at that farm. I knew we would always use it - and we did. Every tour, we brought that antique Scrabble board with us, and we played it like there was no tomorrow. You’ve kept it ever since I gave it to you, darling,” Freddie finishes his story with a sigh. He tugs his lips in a thin line as he looks up into his thoughts. “Or… I mean - you kept it at least until nineteen-seventy-eight. I wouldn’t know if you kept it after that,” Freddie adds thoughtfully, mostly to himself.

John stares at Freddie, his whole body buzzing with every emotion he could humanly feel - all in this one moment. He leans backwards, his back hitting the wall harshly as he slumps against it. He leans all of his weight on the wall of Brian’s study, staring at the floor in a deep ponder.

“John?” Brian asks slowly, reaching his arm out to touch him, but stopping mere centimetres in fear of startling the old man.

Roger rubs his face, clearly stressed, and Freddie starts rubbing his hands and wrists anxiously as he awaits John’s response to his ‘proof’ that he is who he claims to be. John just stares at the carpet, wondering how he can remember such an old memory so vividly that he can still smell the moist and dusty farmhouse air.

The air feels just as thick as it did that day, and he knows he has to fix it. To cut that thick tension once and for all. “I still have it,” is John’s meek response. His voice is so soft, that the two older Queens in the room couldn’t hear him, but the one with young ears caught every syllable. Freddie hangs on every word, his face contorting awkwardly as he deciphers what John is thinking.

“I never… I still have that Scrabble board in my closet, hidden in a chest that only can get into…” John adds whilst looking up into Freddie’s eyes. “I haven't played with it since…” John bites his wrist, in fear that he may say too much - now that he knows. John’s salty tears sting his soft, wrinkled cheeks that show many years of experience and feelings. His eyes are soulful, and his heart sputters quickly as the floodgates finally open. ‘It’s him,’ he thinks. ‘It’s really him. He’s really back…’

John bursts into a fit of violent sobbing, grabbing the door frame with a titanium grip. His nails dig into the paint and chips it as he presses his head against the wood. Brain and Roger exchange looks of sorrow, and Freddie stays still in his spot, watching in horror as he witnesses John have a mental breakdown of his own, now.

John looks over at Freddie, and he shoves himself away from the doorframe sluggishly as he stumbles to the younger man. Roger and Brian step closer subconsciously as John pounces Freddie in the tightest embrace either of them has ever experienced.

“Who would have thought that damn Scrabble board would bring us together again…” John mumbles into Freddie’s neck. Freddie rubs soothing circles in the trembling man’s back, cooing him softly. His eyes are closed and content as he holds Deaky close to his heart.

“Shh, it’s alright, darling…” Freddie coos softly as John’s sobbing grows in volume, and his trembling shoulders shake more violently; he holds Freddie’s shirt in white-knuckled fists.

“You’re even wearing this stupid sweater,” John mumbles incoherently in Freddie’s shoulder, not entirely sure what he’s even saying anymore. After raking in his harsh sobs, Roger and Brian join in the hug as well, crying themselves as they finally have what they’ve all dreamed of - a full band reunion once again.

They relish at the moment, each old Queen soaking up Freddie’s warmth and vibrant personality. Each of them steals a whiff of his scent, and they hold onto him like he might evaporate into thin air any second now.

“Uh, sorry to be a drag, but I...can’t...breathe,” Freddie wheezes softly as he feels himself suffocate from their tight grips. They all pull away like they’ve touched a hot burner, and they pet his arms and back soothingly as they whisper apologies to him.

Freddie smiles at them, feeling warm and fuzzy at their undying love and gratitude they’re showing him. Freddie chuckles lightly to himself, wondering why he can’t get this kind of attention from his friends back in nineteen-seventy-eight.

“Who died and made you all decide to treat me like the Queen that I am?” Freddie jokes in a feeble attempt to lighten the mood. The air grows thicker, however, and they all exchange wide-eyed, worried glances as they silently converse with each other. Freddie's smile drops instantaneously as he stares in terror at the implications on what his sentence really means.

‘Who died and made -- ...who died...where is the older me? Why are they so sad?...Where is the older version of me? Who...died?’ Freddie’s eyes widen in horror as he comes to the horrid epiphany that he has been subconsciously suppressing.

They all look at him with concerned expressions as Freddie backs away from them in trepidation. “No…” Freddie whispers under his breath as his eyes slowly glaze over. His back hits the desk of the study, and Freddie grips it in hopes for some semblance of an anchor. “No…” Freddie says louder this time as the realization sinks deeper into his gut, making it churn painfully.

“Freddie, breathe,” Roger instructs softly as he places a gentle hand on Freddie’s shoulder.

“Don’t touch me!” Freddie hisses like a rattlesnake, snapping his head harshly in Roger’s direction. Roger jumps away, startled by Freddie’s sharp reaction.

“Freddie, you need to breathe slowly before you start hyperventilating,” John instructs in a gentle tone, ignoring his own emotions for this moment to take care of his clearly disturbed friend. “It’s gonna be okay. Just breathe--”

“How the fuck am I gonna be okay!?” Freddie snaps, his voice is loud and shrill as it cracks with emotion. He grips his hair stressfully and begins hyperventilating. “I… When do I die?” Freddie asks with wide eyes as he bores them into the patterned carpet.

“We can’t tell you that - we won’t tell you that,” Roger replies quickly, his voice cracking horribly as he begins to cry again. “Please, Fred, we need you to calm down. Breathe .”

“How do I die?” Freddie asks again, ignoring Roger’s pleas.

“We’re not telling you, Freddie!” Brian scolds in a deep, bellowing voice, startling the singer enough to get a chill down his spine. Everyone stares at Brian with cold blood in the aftermath of his demanding tone. ‘Brian was never loud and demanding, especially not now as an old softie, ’ Freddie ponders silently.

Brian grabs the back of the armchair and slowly sits down. He carefully pulls his face into his hands as he begins sobbing violently. Much more violently than he has since Freddie’s arrival. They all watch him in despair as Brian struggles to calm his excessive sobbing. Brian has finally snapped. Freddie silently gives him credit for keeping his composure for so long.

Freddie paces towards the old man and places a gentle hand on his shoulder, soothing the man ever so slightly. Freddie rubs Brian’s sore shoulder until his breathing is no longer laboured, and he sighs in relief.

The silence is heavy, and everyone worries that either themselves or another may snap again.

Freddie rubs his eyes as he sits in the chair beside Brian. “Can I at least know how long it's been since you’ve last seen me?” Freddie asks weakly.

They all look at each other, and finally, Roger speaks up. “Twenty-six years and five weeks.” Freddie’s eyes widen at how specific his response is.

John gives Roger a sharp glare. “What the hell are you doing? You can’t tell someone from the past this kind of information!”

Roger’s scowl deepens as he crosses his arms. “He already figured out he’s no longer here with us, so why-the-hell-not tell him everything he needs to know to prevent it from happening!?”

“I thought we agreed that was a bad idea, Rog,” Brain says in a slow, challenging tone - sounding like a pit bull growling at its prey.

“I just got here and even know that’s a terrible idea!” John agrees, waving his arms passionately. “You can’t tell a man his own fate!”

“Well, he’s already here, so maybe it’s a bloody sign that we have to prevent this from ever happening!” Roger snaps back.

Freddie feels himself starting to hyperventilate again as he watches his three older friends rip each other apart.

“Please, stop arguing!” Freddie cries out. “It’s the last thing I heard all of you do before I got here - I don’t wanna hear the old man edition of your bloody arguments! Please,” he adds feebly, hanging his head low in defeat.

“I’m sorry, Fred. You’re right,” John starts, “we need to cool our heads and figure out what is going on.” Brian nods in agreement, and Roger frowns. He takes a few seconds to breathe and wave his palms in defeat, agreeing to be civil for now - even though he’s clearly still fuming with anger. “Good,” John looks over to Brian, “so, can someone please catch me up? What the hell is going on, and why do we have a time travelling Freddie Mercury in our company?”

Freddie takes in a deep breath, standing up and dusting off his clothes. “You may wanna sit down for this, darling. I have quite the tale to share with you,” Freddie says with a hint of a smirk playing on his lips. Freddie shoves his fears of death aside, for the time being, knowing John is absolutely right. They need to focus on the task at hand. They will have to shove a pin in this issue to explore it at a later date. For now, they need a game plan so they can figure out how, and most importantly, why Freddie has travelled into the future.

Chapter Text

“That can’t possibly be a word!” Freddie exclaims with a pout and a lifted brow towards Roger.

“Unfortunately for you, Fred,” Roger crosses his arms and smirks playfully, “it’s a bone in the arch of the foot - making it a very real word.” Roger’s smirk doesn’t fade as Freddie demands that Brian gets the dictionary.

“You know you’ll lose points if you question the legitimacy of Roger’s word, and you turn out to be wrong,” John warns his lips in a thin line.

“I don’t have any points to lose!” Freddie replies, flailing his arms in the air. “I haven’t even had my turn yet!”

“Then you’ll start your turn with negative points,” Roger answers with a shrug.

Brian opens the dictionary and searches through it. He sighs, pointing his finger on the page. “Roger’s right. Cuboid is, in fact, a word - it’s a bone in the arch of the foot, just like he said.” Brian passes the book to Freddie and adds, “Sorry, Freddie. You lose two points.”

Freddie’s face drains of colour as he reads the word. Roger’s smirk only widens in amusement as he watches Freddie, who closes the book quickly, slamming it shut hard enough to make the table shake almost violently and rattle their mugs.

“No need to be a sore loser, Fred,” Roger says with a hint of a frown, but his amusement is too strong to wipe away his shit-eating grin.

Freddie lifts his hands in surrender - albeit very theatrically - and John writes Freddie’s negative-two-score on their makeshift scoreboard on the back of Roger’s long forgotten homework from a year prior.

Freddie has a sudden epiphany and leaps over the table to rip the paper from under John’s pencil, flipping it over to scan its contents. He turns the page toward his fellow bandmates, his index finger tapping a familiar word: Cuboid. John and Brian frown and Roger blushes, his smile melting from playful, to sheepish.

“You cheated!” Freddie yells, slamming the page on the table with a scowl.

“Oh-fucking-well! It’s just a bloody game, Fred!” Roger snips back with a deep frown, his cheeks still painted crimson.

“It’s no fun when you cheat!” Freddie bites back, his frown intensifying enough to worry Brian.

“Okay, guys. Let’s calm dow--”

“I did not cheat! I knew that word already! Just knowing that used to be my homework reminded me of it!” Roger replies, his voice rising in volume to match Freddie’s.

“Guys, seriously. Let’s not make--”

Freddie interrupts John by standing up, his chair falling over behind him, and his tea spilling over the Scrabble board. John curses under his breath as he quickly moves to clean up the mess.

“Oh, look what you’ve done, Fred!” Roger stands up now, his eyes narrowing at him. “Why couldn’t you just leave it alone and just play the goddamned game?”

“Because I’m sick of your shit!” Freddie snaps in return, halting Brian and John’s movements. Roger’s eyes widen in shock before narrowing again, and he bites his bottom lip, resisting the urge to respond to Freddie. His fists ball up, and the veins in his forearms pop from the tension.

“I thought you two got over this?” Brian asks, sounding more annoyed than disappointed.

“Clearly not,” Roger replies without breaking eye contact with Freddie.

Freddie is absolutely fuming now as he clenches his fists in rage. “You knew that was my favourite jacket. You saw me wearing it and showing that girl at our stall earlier, and yet you still somehow sold it by accident,” Freddie slams his fist on the table and points at Roger accusingly. “Accident my ass!”

“I swear, I didn’t know!” Roger pleads desperately, his face now red with rage, and he gesticulates wildly as if something in the air will prove his innocence. “Come on, it’s just a bloody coat - besides, you got it back,” Roger adds.

 Just a --” Freddie scoffs, pinching his nose in disgusted defeat “-- I got it back by paying more than what the bloody customer paid for it originally. We literally lost money because of your fuck up.”

“Well, you didn’t have to buy it back,” Roger snaps back.

 Guys, calm down --”

“Yes, I did have to buy it back! I love that fucking jacket, and you knew that!” Freddie exclaims dramatically, cutting off John’s feeble attempt to cool down their argument. “You’re the bloody moron who bought it for me in the first place! I assumed that you’d know that I would want to keep your fucking gift!”

“I got that coat for you three years ago!” Roger yells in retaliation. “I’m sorry, I honestly didn’t know that you wanted to keep it. We do sell our own bloody clothes at that stall, Fred. I thought you were just getting rid of an old coat that doesn’t fit anymore…”

“I would never get rid of that coat, even if it doesn’t fit, and you should have known better!” Freddie snaps back. He huffs indignantly and storms off to his bedroom, slamming the door after disappearing into its sanctuary.

Roger’s jaw twitches when he hears the lock click, and he strides over to slap the thin wood with the heel of his hand. “We share a bloody room, areshole! You can’t lock me out!” Roger attempts but fails, to open the door with his other hand.

“You’ve locked me out plenty of times to shamelessly shag multiple women! You can sleep on the bloody couch!” Freddie replies, his voice faint and muffled through the door.

“Well then fuck you, too, mate!” Roger spits out like a moody teenager, kicking the door for good measure before stomping to the faded Chesterfield and flopping down on it. His arms are crossed over his chest as he stiffly lays there, pouting like a child in the time out corner.

“It’s literally one in the afternoon. Freddie can’t possibly spend the entire day in there…” John mutters to Brian, leaning over ever so slightly with his arms crossed.

“I don’t know. Freddie can be rather... persistent,” Brian replies in a stage whisper, mirroring John’s actions without even looking at him.

 


 

“Wow, you sure are persistent, Fred,” John says with a lifted brow and folded arms.

“You’re damn right I am,” Freddie replies with his hands on his hips. He glares at the elderly Brian and John with a pout.

“You can’t be out in public. We can’t have people seeing a young Freddie Mercury strolling about London,” Brian replies to Freddie’s earlier plea of wanting to go with him to the restaurant, waggling a stern finger at the younger man.

“Oh come on, I’ve already been out there -”

“Yeah, and we’re lucky nobody noticed you...” John frowns, “...nobody noticed you...right?”

“Nobody recognized me,” Freddie reiterates with furrowed brows.

“Did you interact with anyone other than us?” John asks with a lifted brow.

Freddie chews his bottom lip. “I did, but none of them recognized me, okay!”

“Are you sure that nobody -”

“I am positive, John! I already told you everything that happened! There was the waitress at the restaurant, the librarian, and the boy at the library - none of them knew who I was -” Freddie made an uncomfortable face, “- err, well, they gave me weird looks when I didn’t understand their Google Machines, but they didn’t seem to suspect that I was Freddie Mercury.”

John rolls his eyes and rubs his face. “Right, right. The Google Machine...where you got the map,” John squints with a puzzled expression when something doesn't add up in his head. “Wait, you said you saw a girl outside of the restaurant. You asked her if the date on the newspaper was correct.”

Freddie nods. “Yeah, sorry, right - there was the girl outside of -”

“You said she was very concerned and wouldn’t leave you alone. Did she recognize you?” John inquires in a low voice.

“I don’t -” Freddie freezes when he remembers what she said to him “- oh, wait. She mentioned that I looked familiar, but then dropped it immediately,” Freddie reiterates with a wave of his hand. He smiles nervously. “You don’t think she thought I was…”

“She might have,” Brian pipes in with a nod. They all collectively groan whispered obscenities before Roger speaks up again.

“I can stay here with him, and you and John can go to the restaurant,” Roger says slowly. “We don’t have to dismiss our plan immediately. If that woman truly thought he was Freddie, she would have posted something on social media by now and causing a ruckus online,” Roger explains.

“What the hell is a social media ...?” Freddie squints, “and what the hell is an online... ?”

Roger opens his mouth to respond, but Brian cuts him off. “Nothing that concerns you, Fred,” Brain turns his attention to Roger, “by the way, you’re coming with me, and John is staying here with Freddie.”

Roger’s eyes widen, and his mouth is agape. “ What!? Why?”

“Because you are impulsive and can’t keep your mouth shut about the future,” John snaps back with a frown.

“And besides, we should let John catch up with Freddie. We had him to ourselves last night and all morning,” Brian adds with a soft smile.

“That’s bollocks. I won’t tell him anything!” Roger cries out with a pout.

“Come on, just let him stay!” Freddie pleas along with Roger while Brian and John frown.

“No. Roger is coming with me to the restaurant, and John is staying here with you to study everything you can gather on time travel,” Brian scolds like a father, and Roger rolls his eyes.

 Fine, ” Roger bites back harshly before shoving past Brian and John to leave the study. “I’ll be outside!” Roger calls from the hallway. Brian opens his mouth to say something, but he is cut short when the front door slamming shut echoes through the house like thunder.

Brian exhales deeply before apologizing. “My house will be empty for the week, so don’t feel like you need to lock yourselves in my study,” he says with a smile. “Make yourselves at home,” he adds quickly. He gives John and Freddie quick hugs and hurries after Roger.

John sighs before turning to face Freddie.

“Roger’s still a child - even as an old man,” Freddie jokes with a grin. John chuckles at his comment and sits down in one of the armchairs.

“Right, so you read that pile, and I’ll read this one?” John suggests as he points at the piles of books. Freddie nods, putting the pile closest to him on the table beside the chair across from John. They both begin to read the theory of time travel books that Brian provided them with.

John looks up at Freddie every now and then, too distracted to focus on reading these sodding books that don’t make a lot of sense to him. When John isn’t looking, Freddie catches a few glimpses of the old man, his eyes trailing up and down the old man’s figure like the curious cat he is.

 


 

Roger wakes up from a nap he doesn’t remember taking, and his eyes scan through the dark expanse of the apartment in search of the shrill ringing of the telephone. He begrudgingly rolls off the couch with a groan and stumbles over the pooled blanket at his feet and whatever else is laying there, lurking in the dark void of the living room. Roger offhandedly thinks they should really clean up, whispering curses under his breath until he finally reaches the telephone. He picks it up moments before the final ring and groggily presses the receiver against his ear. He mumbles “hello?” in a low, raspy voice, comprehending somewhere in the back corner of his mind that it must be late.

“Uhh, is this the residence where Queen is staying?” a meek, nasally male voice squeaks from the other end of the line. Roger hums in response, rubbing the sleepiness out of his eyes. He already can’t see well in the daytime, but it's infinitely worse at nighttime; everything is just an expanse of dark colours blurred together like a Picasso painting.

“Yeah, speaking,” Roger replies after a moment, realizing the man on the other end wouldn’t understand his tired humming.

“Mister Norman Sheffield was wondering if you would be able to fill in for a band tomorrow night? There’s a show at the, uhh...” the nasally voice was quickly tuned out from Roger’s brain, and he immediately responded.

“Yes, of course!” Roger exclaims, albeit tiredly. “What time, and where?”

The man exchanges the information with Roger, and he clumsily grabs his old homework that they used as a Scrabble scoreboard earlier that day, along with the pencil laying on top of it, to scribble down the information. He thanks the man and proceeds to hang up the phone.

“Guys! Wake up! We have a gig tomorrow night!” Roger yells into the apartment, and the responses from the two bedrooms sound like ghosts moaning in despair.

“It’s three o’clock in the bloody morning, Roger!” comes John’s voice behind one door.

“Tell us again when it’s not the dead of night!” Freddie adds from the other door. Roger just rolls his eyes before trudging his way to his and Freddie’s shared bedroom. He wiggles the doorknob, but his blood runs cold when he remembers the argument he and Freddie had nearly sixteen hours prior. Roger softly knocks on the door, resting his head against it. “I’m still mad at you!” Freddie snaps tiredly from the other side of the door, his voice is muffled and distant.

Roger groans before turning to drag his legs to the couch again. He falls on it and cocoons himself in the blanket laying on the floor, falling asleep almost immediately.

 


 

Brian and Roger are silent as they drive to the Japanese restaurant. Brian has his glasses perched just below the bridge of his nose as he examines the fortune whilst Roger is sporting his normal prescription sunglasses, keeping his face neutral as he grips the steering wheel tightly. Brian looks over at Roger, removing his spectacles and staring at his friend silently.

“I’m sorry, Roger,” is all Brian can manage to say. The air is thick, and Roger’s knuckles turn white as his grip tightens on the wheel.

“Why couldn’t we all go together?” Roger mumbles under his breath, his teeth gritting with fury.

“Roger, stop it. You’re acting ridiculous,” Brian scolds impatiently. “What the hell happened to you? You’re acting even more immature than usual today.”

Roger’s jaw twitches and he glares at Brian through his dark glasses. “I don’t know, Brian. I wonder what on earth could possibly be bothering me today,” Roger says in a loud, shrill voice, his tone raising an octave as he speaks. “Maybe we should ask our dear friend Freddie fucking Mercury, who dropped by last night from fucking nineteen-seventy-eight! ” Roger finishes his exclamation with a permanent scowl towards the road.

“Look, I’m just as shocked as you are,” Brian replies patiently. “I need you to clear your head for a minute and actually consider the consequences of your actions. What you said to Freddie this morning was wrong. Nobody should ever know about their own death.”

“I never told him he died, he figured that out on his own,” Roger hisses in return.

“I meant telling him how long it’s been since he’s died -”

“Actually, he said, and I quote, ‘When was the last time you saw me?’ That could mean literally anything, Brian. For all he knows, he died two fucking years ago, and that I just haven’t spoken to him in twenty-seven years!” Roger rages with a burning face.

Brian frowns at Roger, disappointed. “You and I both know that he’s smart enough to figure out the implications behind your response.”

“He wasn’t smart enough to pick up on a lot of my bloody implications over the years, so I highly doubt he picked this one up,” Roger snaps back in retaliation. He bites his lip in horrid realization at what he just revealed to Brian, and he quickly averts his gaze back to the road again.

Brian quirks his brow curiously at Roger. “What implications, Roger? What do you mean by that?”

“You’re smart, figure it out yourself,” Roger grumbles, keeping his eyes glued on the road.

Brian stares at Roger for a moment longer before directing his gaze to his window. He racks through the many filing cabinets in his brain, trying to put all of these jumbled puzzle pieces together. They were all very close over the years, but their closeness was rippled with Freddie’s passing. Brian was greatly depressed after Freddie passed, as were the others, and he refused to work on Made In Heaven with Roger and John. They had a falling out because of that, and he tried to make amends by helping them finish it off. He had to sing the last verse of his own song, Motherlove, because Freddie died before he could even finish it.

Brian can feel his heart throbbing and his eyes stinging while tears from the past come flooding back as a painful reminder of what had happened. Death was a normal part of life, and yet, humans haven’t figured out a way to stop it from affecting their emotional state in the aftermath. Brian cannot comprehend why humans haven’t mastered these kinds of things yet, seeing that death has been a normal part of a person's life since the beginning of humankind. Perhaps the secret is to stop caring about other people, but how could Brian ever stop caring about those around him? He cares way too much about others - to the point of having nearly none left for himself.

Roger parallel parks in front of the restaurant, across the street. The two of them put on baseball caps, and Brian puts on a pair of sunglasses from Roger’s glove department. “Fuck, I keep forgetting these are prescription,” Brian hisses when his eyesight grows blurry from Roger’s prescription sunglasses.

“You should be more prepared for sneaking around in public by now, Bri,” Roger replies with a smug grin. “Bring your own bloody sunglasses next time.”

They exit the vehicle and stroll across the street towards the Japanese restaurant, keeping their heads low and hoping they aren’t drawing any attention to themselves. Roger glances at the bus as it drives by, staring at the poster on the side of it with a fictional Freddie Mercury and the words “Bohemian Rhapsody” along the entire side of the bus. Brian and Roger exchange a quick glance with each other before entering the restaurant.

The place is relatively quiet since the lunch rush usually starts in a half-hour or so, at about eleven-thirty. There are four tables occupied, and the hostess at the front gives the two old men a bright, lively smile.

“Good morning! Table for two?” The woman asks cheerily.

“Uh, no, actually, we just, um, we were wondering if we can speak to anyone who worked here yesterday? We’re looking for a friend who might have been here,” Brian says with a tight smile.

“Oh, I was working yesterday, maybe I can help?” the woman replies, giving an encouraging nod.

“Have you seen a man in his, uhh -” Roger’s face contorts awkwardly as he tries to remember how old Freddie was in nineteen-seventy-eight, “- um, thirties - in his thirties?”

“He’s about this tall,” Brian lifts his arm at an approximate Freddie height, “was wearing a multi-coloured wool sweater, and has short, fluffy brown hair?” Brian adds. Roger snorts quietly at Brian’s description, mumbling ‘fluffy’ under his breath whilst attempting to hide his grin.

The woman rubs her chin in thought, scrunching her eyebrows and nose as she searches her memories. Suddenly, she snaps towards the two old Queens with a smile and a light bulb figuratively lighting up above her head.

“Did he have a cut on his head?” she asks, rubbing her forehead in the spot where Freddie’s cut is.

“Yes!” Brian exclaims.

“Oh, you must be the date that stood him up, then?” the woman asks with a quirked eyebrow and a knowing glance.

“Yes, we were supposed to have supper together but we were terribly busy. We were just wondering if he made the order we requested?” Brian asks, slyly trying to scramble a fake front for why they might be there.

“Oh, no, he did not,” the woman replies with a frown.

“Ahh, that’s quite alright, sweetheart. Can we get a takeaway order now? We’re willing to wait,” Roger inquires, playing along with Brian’s story.

“Oh of course, of course. Come with me, I can take you to the takeaway counter,” the woman explains with a huge grin, waving for them to follow.

Roger and Brian exchange nervous glances before shrugging and following the woman. They decide since they’re hungry, they might as well eat.

 


 

“I’m starving!” Roger whines as they pack their gear into the van. “We should get something to eat before playing.”

“We have an hour drive to a gig that starts in two hours, Rog. Go inside and make yourself a sandwich - we don’t have time to stop and get anything else on the way,” John instructs with a frown.

“Aren’t you guys hungry?” Roger asks with a frown.

“We already ate, you wanker. Now shut up and make your sandwich quickly. We’ll finish loading the van ourselves,” John snips back with furrowed brows. Roger waves his hands in defence before turning around to enter their flat.

Roger brushes passed Freddie as the singer leaves the building with some equipment, and he doesn’t spare a single glance to Roger. He sighs, turning away from Freddie, and walking into their apartment building.

Brian takes note of this exchange and gives Freddie a stern look whilst placing his hands on his hips. “You have to speak to him eventually, Fred.”

Freddie lugs the equipment into the back of the van, ignoring Brian and grunting as he stands up straight again. He pats his hands. “I think I can avoid him a little longer,” Freddie replies without looking at Brian.

Brian rolls his eyes, and John closes the back of the van. “That’s everything, then?” John asks, checking with Freddie since he was the last to bring out equipment.

“Yes, darling, now let’s go,” Freddie exclaims excitedly.

“We can’t without Roger,” Brian says, looking up at their building. “He’s just making himself a sandwich for the drive.

“Oh, screw him. Let’s just go without the old codfish,” Freddie grumbles whilst sliding the van door open to climb into the backseat.

“It’s his van, Freddie,” Brian replies with lifted brows. “He’s the bloody driver.”

“And the drummer,” John adds with his lips in a thin line. Freddie rolls his eyes, and John nudges Brian. “Shotgun,” John whispers with a smirk.

Brian sighs and climbs in the back with Freddie. Roger hurries out of the building moments later with his wrapped up sandwich and slips onto the driver’s seat. After everyone is settled in the vehicle, they drive off, pulling out small activities to distract themselves from the long drive.

After about thirty minutes of driving, however, the engine starts to sputter, leaving the four Queens on the side of the road. John is attempting to fix the flat tire whilst Freddie sits in the back writing, Brian watches, and Roger paces around, eating his sandwich he prepared.

“It’s, ahh, counter-clockwise, I think you'll find, John,” Brian says, pointing vaguely at the tire and the wrench in John’s grip as he passes by.

“Oh, really. You don't say? Would you like to do it, Brian? By all means, go ahead,” John quips back sarcastically.

Brain waves his hands defensively. “No, no, you’re doing great.”

“I can’t believe I’m stuck on the side of the road, eatin’ a ham sandwich!” Roger whines with a mouthful of said sandwich. “We can’t keep doing these bloody pub gigs like this, driving hours just to make a quick buck! You said this album was going to help us, Fred!”

“These things take time,” Freddie replies tiredly. “We have no choice. We have to just keep trying.”

“Yeah, yeah, alright,” Roger grumbles before taking another bite of his sandwich.

The breeze carries the tension away, and they continue doing what they were before. Brian has his hands on his hips, staring at the gravel with wide, contemplative eyes. He tugs his lips into a half frown as he considers even bringing it up. “Hey, now that I have a moment, I wanted to ask you guys something,” Brian breaks the silence, catching everyone’s attention. “There’s this...meteor shower later tonight, and I really wanted to see it -” Brain speaks timidly, scratching the back of his neck nervously, “- before Roger accepted this gig for us without our permission,” Brian adds with a frown in Roger’s direction.

“Hey, at least we got a bloody gig!” Roger whines in protest.

Freddie lifts his hand, dismissing Roger as his gaze is transfixed on Brian. “Meteor shower, you say? What time is it at, darling?”

Brian’s face burns a bright red, and he chuckles nervously. John stops tightening the bolt of the tire to lean back on his heel and furrow his brows in Brian’s direction. “I don’t like that face,” he says slowly. “How late is it?”

“Um, roughly around, uhh, four-sixteen in the morning,” Brian replies quickly, his words rolling over each other as he speaks.

“Bloody hell,” Roger groans with the last mouthful of his sandwich. He swallows, then adds, “we all have work in the morning!”

Brian nods feebly, keeping his head ducked like a scolded puppy. “I know, I know - it was a stupid suggestion, I shouldn’t have brought it up - I’m sorry,” he replies too quickly for any of the other members to comprehend before shoving himself in the passenger seat of the van. Freddie stares at the back of Brian’s head with a frown tugging at his lips. His gaze flickers to Roger for a moment, and then to the gravel as he becomes overwhelmed with too many thoughts and ideas.

 


 

Roger’s leg bounces anxiously as they wait for their food. None of them have been in this restaurant since the - Roger shakes his head, deciding to pull out the cryptic fortune to distract his racing thoughts. He stares blankly at the fortune, not really taking in any information as his mind and emotions go numb again. He glances up at the washrooms down the hall from the waiting area, and his eyes catch the sight of a bowl of fortune cookies.

“I’m going to the washroom,” Roger whispers to Brian, and he nods in reply, not looking up from his phone. Brian seems to be just as anxious as him, probably trying to drown in his Instagram comments to distract himself from the painful memories of this place. Roger offhandedly reminds himself mentally to have Freddie’s head double checked just in case.

Roger strolls down the hall and nonchalantly scoops up a fortune cookie as he walks by, slyly slipping it into his back pocket before entering the washroom. He pulls the cookie out of it’s wrapping and cracks it open. He places the cookie on the counter and lifts his new fortune and Freddie’s up to compare them. The first thing he notices is the font difference. Roger was never very good with eyesight, but he can tell one font from another when one looks curvy whilst the other is hard-edged. His fortune has the curvy font, and the fortune itself is one small sentence; ‘It is wise, to be honest.’

There is definitely something rather suspicious going on with this fortune, but it can’t possibly be the restaurant. If they were involved, they aren’t anymore. Roger slips Freddie’s fortune in his right back pocket, and his in the left pocket. He tosses the cookie into the bin and exits the washroom.

As Roger approaches Brian, their takeaway order is ready, and they quickly grab it and go. Roger feels like he can finally breathe again the moment they leave the building. He and Brian don’t exchange a single word as they walk to the car and drive away.

Meanwhile, back at Brian’s house, John and Freddie are skimming through books on time travel, just about halfway through their piles when something starts to buzz in John’s pocket. Freddie gives him an incredulous look as John pulls out that same odd contraption that woman - who may or may not have recognized him - had in her possession as well. John slides his finger on the screen, and lifts the contraption to his face and says, “Hello, Veronica, sorry I forgot to call,” John trails his sentence off as he nervously looks at Freddie. He stands up and paces to the doorway of the study. “I’m just helping Brian and Roger with something, I’ll most likely be at Brian’s place for most of the day,” John explains to his wife.

Freddie stares in awe as he realizes that John is using a pocket telephone. John’s voice becomes harder to hear as he walks further down the hall, and Freddie allows John to have his privacy, lowering his gaze to the book again. Freddie stares at the page, not really taking in any new information as he hears John’s voice echo down the hall. He can’t make out what he’s saying, but from what he can gather, he’s making up a bullshit story to his wife to explain why he’s at Brian’s house without worrying her. Freddie smiles, remembering Veronica fondly from nineteen-seventy-eight, and he’s glad John is still married to her after all these years. Freddie vaguely wonders if he ever found someone like that - that he could settle down with and raise a bunch of cat babies together - or even human babies. As much as he enjoys a good, shameless shag, he still wants to settle and find someone to possibly marry and have a family with. Freddie sighs longingly, his fingers curling over the top edge of the book as John re-enters the office.

“Sorry about that,” John mumbles whilst sitting in his chair again.

“Is that a telephone? It looks strange,” Freddie asks, looking at the thing that John is about to shove back into his pocket again.

John stares at it with wide, worried eyes, and he whispers a soft, “fuck,” under his breath. Freddie chuckles and waggles his eyebrows at his old friend.

“I’ve already seen it. You have no choice but to just tell me you weren't just speaking to yourself in a strange metal box that’s thinner than my thighs will ever be,” Freddie says with a playful smirk.

“Yes, it’s a telephone,” John replies before shoving it in his pocket. “Let’s get back to studying time travel, yeah?”

“Alright, fine - but first, can you tell me one thing?” Freddie asks with a puppy-like smile.

John frowns at him but sighs in defeat. “You can ask, but I won’t promise any answers.”

“Was your song about me or her?” Freddie asks with a smile.

John blinks dumbfoundedly. “Pardon?”

“Your song, You’re My Best Friend,” Freddie says matter-of-factly. “Was it about me, or your wife?”

John chuckles, shaking his head with a smile. “You already know, Fred.”

“Do I? Because I’m still convinced it’s about me,” Freddie replies cheekily, and it causes John’s laugh to grow louder.

“You helped inspire some of the lyrics, but it is and always has been about Veronica,” John replies with a wide, dopey grin. Freddie smiles brightly at John, silently noting that his squinty grin is ten times more adorable when he’s old and wrinkly. He looks precious and innocent, yet wise beyond his own years.

“Alright, you keep telling yourself that,” Freddie mumbles with a smirk, looking back at the book in his lap.

John’s grin softens, but it stays warm and bright as he admires his friend whilst he reads. John leans back into his seat. “For the record, the song is also about you - but not just you, alone,” John says, causing Freddie to look up at him. “It’s also about Queen, and how we’ve always been more than just a band. You all were like a second family to me.”

Freddie smiles endearingly at John, and the old man blushes in return. He clears his throat and looks down at the next book he grabbed, but Freddie continues to stare at John. Freddie smiles softly before going back to his own reading.

 


 

“Roger, can I talk to you a minute?” Freddie asks the drummer as the man in question puts the last of his drum kit in the van. Roger closes the back doors of his van and leans on it, looking at Freddie with furrowed brows.

“Oh, you finally wanna speak to me, huh?” Roger growls under his breath as he pulls out a fag from his jean pocket and lights it in his mouth. He takes a long needed drag before adding, “what do you want? To remind me again of how much of an idiot I am?”

“No, this isn’t about you or me,” Freddie sighs, folding his arms and leaning beside Roger. “We should go watch that meteor shower with Brian. We all know he can’t see it well in the city - we have to be out in the country to watch the skies,” Freddie explains whilst pulling out a cigarette for himself.

“No way in hell am I staying up till four in the fucking morning to watch a meteor shower,” Roger bites back coldly.

“Look, I’m sorry about earlier,” Freddie admits lowly, finally catching Roger’s attention. “Sure I was upset that you sold the jacket, but I was very hurt when you didn’t realize how much it actually means to me,” Freddie explains in a low, timid voice. “I shouldn’t have avoided you for hours just out of spite. I’ve realized throughout today that you may not have really known, and that’s not entirely your fault, so I apologize for acting like a child today.”

“No, Fred, I’m sorry,” Roger pipes in, feeling calmer and relieved. “I hate it when we fight, and I hate not being able to talk to you, mate,” Roger adds quietly. “I’m sorry I’m such a bloody moron.”

Freddie looks into Roger’s eyes and smiles at him. “I’ll forgive you if you drive us to a good stargazing location.”

Roger’s mouth opens and closes like a trout before clamping it shut to nod slowly. “Alright, fine.” Roger absent-mindedly rubs his shoulder, and Freddie tilts his head at him.

“You alright darling? Did you pull a muscle or something?” Freddie asks with a pout.

Roger shrugs, “maybe,” and brushes it off, rolling his shoulder as he walks around the van.

 


 

Brian and Roger enter the mansion with the takeaway and walk straight to the kitchen. They find Freddie and John in there, scouting the fridge and cupboards for some food. John is the first to notice Brian and Roger and sighs in relief. Freddie whips his head around and grins widely at the Japanese takeaway on the table.

“Oh, good, you brought food. We’re absolutely starved,” Freddie exclaims excitedly as he runs up to the food. He digs through the bag and pulls out the containers. Brian opens the cupboard to retrieve plates whilst Roger and John help Freddie organize the food at the table.

As they set them up on the dishes Brian provides them, Roger pulls out the two fortunes in his back pockets. “Hey - John, Freddie, take a look at this,” Roger says softly as he hands them the fortunes. “I showed Brian in the car. It’s strange, right? The font they used is different, so I don’t know what that means.”

John examines them closely whilst Freddie looks over his shoulder. “Yeah, very peculiar,” John comments with a lifted brow.

“Did you get more fortunes with the takeaway?” Freddie asks, retrieving the to-go bag to scavenge the bottom. He lets out an “aha” as he pulls out a few packets of soy sauce and four fortune cookies. He opens one quickly, and compares it to the other fortune he got in nineteen-seventy-eight.

The other three Queens do the same with the other fortunes, and they stare in bewilderment as they conclude that Freddie’s fortune is distinctly different than the other five they received.

“Do you think the font is different because they changed it over the years? I mean, we do have to remember Freddie got his fortune in nineteen-seventy-eight,” Brian wonders aloud, asking nobody in particular.

“That is possible, but we have to also agree that Fred’s fortune was written like a cryptic poem, I mean, listen to it,” Roger explains, lifting Freddie’s odd poem-fortune to his face to read it.

“Time is a tool in which we face, and yet it is something that we cannot trace. Life is full of choices we make, however, the choices may steal what time cannot take. Word of the wise, you're living in lies, you can only move forward, not back in time. If you want to come back, make sure there’s no ties, to tighten around your existence in time.”

Roger finishes reading the poem and makes a disgusted face at it. “Fuck, it’s almost like this is a warning or a threat of some sort,” Roger looks over at Freddie, “- you said you read this moments before that earthquake, right?” Freddie nods his head in response and the other three frown.

John rubs his chin in thought. “That earthquake was rather suspicious when it happened. I mean, it-” John cuts himself off, realizing he’s saying too much.

“Wait, there really was an earthquake, then? It wasn’t just for me that the world was tearing itself apart?” Freddie inquires nervously.

“Yeah, it was a real earthquake,” John taps his own head where Freddie’s bandaging is, “you have the bump to prove it. What I wonder is if that earthquake has something to do with it,” John explains quickly. “A few of your books talked about wormholes, Brian,” John says, getting up from his seat to hurry into the study. He comes back moments later with a book opened, placing it in the centre of the table to show Brian and Roger what he’s talking about.

“Hmm, that is a possibility -” Brian rubs his neck in thought, “maybe a rift opened up and Freddie fell through it?”

“This sounds absolutely ridiculous! That can’t possibly be real!” Roger explains, throwing his hands up frantically.

“It sounds ridiculous - but in case you forgot, darling - I’m sitting here with you right now when I shouldn’t be.” Freddie’s face is deadpan as he speaks. “It’s the most logical thing I’ve heard in the past twenty-four hours if I’m being honest,” he adds with a subtle shrug.

“That’s fair, I suppose,” Roger mumbles, rubbing his forehead. “How exactly can we send Freddie home if he slipped through a bloody wormhole? I don’t know much about them, but that sounds like you can’t control them.”

“Well…” Brian trails off in thought. Everyone leans in with anticipation. “It could theoretically be controlled, but you would need a very large energy source and the proper technology to do that,” Brian explains as he closes the book. “We’re just not there yet in terms of technology to build a proper ‘time machine’ .”

“I don’t know, maybe there’s a DeLorean laying around somewhere,” Roger adds cheekily, trying to make some attempt at a lame joke to lighten the mood.

“The fuck are you on about with this ‘ lacking in technology’, bullshit?” Freddie exclaims with a baffled expression. “I just saw John speak to his bloody wife on a telephone that he pulled out of his pocket - his pocket!” Freddie exclaims, exasperated. “I used a bloody Google Machine to print a map to your house, for fuck’s sake! - Oh, and don’t even get me started on your automatic sinks!” he adds wildly.

“Yes, technology has advanced, but not enough to build time machines,” Brian explains with a frown. “Trust me, if we had time machines at our disposal, you would know,” Brian adds with a sigh.

“Well, what about that DeLorean thing that Roger mentioned?” Freddie asks with a tilted head.

“Ignore him, he’s just being an idiot,” John replies with furrowed brows and taking a long-awaited bite from his meal.

“Hey, maybe we should watch Back To the Future - maybe that will help us figure this out?” Roger suggests with a grin.

“No!” Brian and John reply collectively with stern frowns. Roger pouts, rolling his eyes before digging into his meal.

Brian gazes at Freddie as they all eat, and he smiles fondly, remembering something briefly that still warms his heart to this day. He looks over at Roger and notices the man staring at Freddie for long periods of time, trying, but failing to be subtle. He seems to have tunnel vision for the singer, and Brian suddenly figures out the implications Roger was talking about before. Brian squints at his food contemplatively, registering his memories with a new lense now.

 


 

“Brian, wake up, we’re here,” Freddie coos softly, waking Brian from his slumber. The man lifts his head up and blinks, feeling it wobble as he tries to balance himself in the world. Brian tiredly climbs out of the van and feels himself wake up immediately when he sees nothing but fields and trees for yards.

“Uh, is this some kind of sick joke? Are you planning on murdering me here?” Brian asks dumbly.

“No, dipshit - we’re here to watch your stupid meteor shower,” Roger groans tiredly.

“Wait, what?” Brian asks incredulously as John and Freddie pull out blankets to lay on the grass.

“While you slept we picked up some food and other necessary materials to camp out here for the night,” John explains as he flattens the blanket on the grass.

“When did you say it started, again, darling?” Freddie asks with a small smile.

Brian stares at the three of them with wide eyes before shaking his head, realizing they’ve asked him a question. He lifts his wrist to check the time, and replies, “not for another four hours, or so.”

“I’m taking a nap then, wake me up when it’s time,” Roger announces as he curls up on the blanket beside a sitting John. Freddie sits down in front of John and pats the spot beside him with a welcoming grin.

“I think it would be horribly uncomfortable to stand for four hours, wouldn’t you agree?” Freddie says with a quirked eyebrow. Brian smiles endearingly at his friends before sitting down on the blanket with them.

“You all didn’t have to do this for me,” Brian says timidly.

“Thank Fred, it was his bloody idea,” Roger grumbles tiredly, his back facing his bandmates.

Freddie leans closer to Brian and whispers, “I agreed to forgive him about the jacket if he agreed to take us out here to watch the meteor shower.”

Brian smiles widely at Freddie, and John chuckles. Roger just huffs loudly, mumbling a soft, “I can’t see, but I’m not fucking deaf - I can hear you,” which causes the three other members to erupt into fits of laughter.

For the whole night, they nap in intervals and occasionally eat, talking about everything and nothing all the while. None of them really get more than maybe thirty minutes each out of every nap they take, but they don’t really mind. Roger’s grumpiness goes away immediately after his first nap, and they’re all laughing at some story he told when Freddie catches sight of something in the sky.

“Woah, something just shot across the sky!” Freddie exclaims excitedly, jumping up and pointing at the starry night sky. They all stand up quickly and stare at the sky in awe as more shooting stars can be seen cutting across the starry expanse above them.

They all stay silent and transfixed as they watch the meteor shower at its peak, shooting stars all across the sky in various places. Once they’re no longer appearing as frequently, Roger and John sit back down to chat, occasionally looking up at the sky. Freddie and Brian stay standing still, watching the sky in awe.

“I wanna fly as high as a shooting star someday,” Freddie mumbles whimsically as he watches the sky. Brian peels his eyes away from the sky for the first time since the meteor shower began, and he watches Freddie, who’s still completely hypnotized by the sky. Brian can see a shooting star in the reflection of Freddie’s dark eyes, and everything just feels right to Brian at this moment. Brian leans in and pulls Freddie into a tight embrace, and the man just folds his arms around Brian in return, not saying a single word.

“Thank you,” Brian mumbles into Freddie’s shoulder and he hears his friend hum whilst rubbing circles in his back.

Chapter Text

Roger leans back in the swivelling seat behind the soundboard, watching Freddie and John behind the thick glass discussing the next song they’re about to record. Roger watches as Freddie leans over John’s shoulder to point at something on the page, and John looks over at him with a large grin plastered on his face. Roger watches Freddie smile back at John and say something that hasn’t been picked up by the microphones. John’s laughter can be heard through the sound booth as it’s frequencies are picked up by the mics, and Roger takes another long drag of his cigarette with a permanent scowl etched on his features, watching them bitterly. Roger's been in a strange mood recently, and he knows it has something to do with Freddie, but he continues to repress those thoughts. Roger doesn't want to deal with unpacking whatever is bothering him whilst being stressed about this new album. Roger never really forgave Freddie for what he did the other night, but he also knows the man was completely drunk out of his mind. Brian looks at Roger through the glass and silently waves him over after setting up his guitar, completely snapping Roger out of his muddled haze. 'Let it go, Rog. Let it go.'

Roger crushes his cigarette and nods to their sound engineer before standing up and shoving his hands in his pockets. He trudges over to the recording booth and avoids all eye contact with everyone as he pulls his drumsticks off of the table and makes a beeline for his drum booth sanctuary.

“Alright, so, you all know what you’re doing for this track?” John inquires whilst picking up his bass. Everyone is now situated with their respective instruments.

“We’re doing ‘In Only Seven Days’ now, right?” Roger confirms before lifting his headphones to drape them around his neck.

“Yeah,” Brian replies offhandedly whilst readjusting the amplifier levels on his guitar. “Oh hey, you read the notes on my timing for the tempo, right Rog?” Brian asks over his shoulder. Roger rolls his eyes, placing the headphones on his head and giving Brian a thumbs up.

“You weren’t just dozing off in there, were you? You were supposed to read the notes, Roger,” Brian grumbles.

Roger scowls. ‘I wasn’t dozing off,’ he replies in his head. His eyes flicker over to Freddie, watching him play a few warm-up notes on the piano. Roger catches himself, blinking and shaking his head. “Yeah, yeah, I read them, alright?” Roger retaliates. “Let’s just get on with the bloody song now, okay?”

“Alright, we’re ready to go, Geoff,” Freddie calls out to their sound engineer after putting on his headphones, giving him a thumbs up.

After getting the returning thumbs up from their engineer, Roger counts them in, and they begin to play. Roger plays in Brian’s time, just as he promised, but his mind keeps growing more and more distracted as he watches Freddie. He swallows thickly, not understanding why he can’t keep himself focused today. They play through the song for approximately a minute before Freddie stops playing and shakes his head.

“Stop! Roger, you’re going too fast!” Freddie calls from over his shoulder at the piano, interrupting their recording session. Roger puffs out through his nose, rolling his eyes in annoyance.

“No, you’re just going too slow, Fred,” Roger rebuttals defensively. Brian rolls his eyes, moving his headphones to his shoulders while flipping through his notes. He hums in thought before tapping the page and making another humming sound, agreeing with Freddie.

“No, Rog. You’re definitely going too fast,” Brian turns around to face him through the window of the isolation booth for the drumset. “Well, you were on time at first, but you started rushing,” Brian adds.

Roger scowls at Brian through his sunglasses, pulling out a cigarette and sticking it in his mouth before lighting it. He takes a long drag before responding with a sharp, “well, you told me to follow you, so I indulged with your shitty idea to show you that you’re incapable of keeping proper time.” Roger twirls his drumsticks before adding a quick, “I’m a bloody metronome, so why don’t you shut the fuck up and just let me do my job, yeah?”

John ignores their bickering as he plays the song’s bass riff to himself, deciding to get some practice in. They usually tend to go like this for thirty minutes if John doesn't interfere.

“What’s the matter with you today? You’re acting so distant and strange,” Brian says with furrowed brows.

Roger frowns. “Nothing’s wrong! You’re just being an areshole --”

“-- As much as I love standing here, listening to you bicker like children, I’d rather just get this bloody album done, yeah?” John chimes in with a disinterested frown at his fighting bandmates.

Freddie smiles, turning around to face his piano again. He waves to the sound engineer and says, “alright, let’s try it again!”

Roger’s scowl deepens. “Are you going to follow me this time?”

“Fine, whatever,” Brian replies before shoving his headphones over his big head of hair.

The four of them do another take, staying in Roger’s tempo this time. They manage to make it through the whole song, and Roger smiles proudly to himself when they cut.

“Well, well, well. Look at that, we sounded much better when we just followed my own bloody time.”

Brian rolls his eyes, ignoring Roger as he shifts his headphones a bit. “Should we do another take, or should we move on?” Brian asks Freddie with a raised eyebrow.

Freddie rubs his chin in a ponder. “Maybe we should try another take.”

Everyone collectively groans or rolls their eyes in response before John takes his bass off of his shoulders. “We should take a break. I’m starving.”

Freddie frowns. “What? Come on, we’re so close to getting it! I just know it!”

“We won’t get anything decent accomplished while we’re hungry, Fred. Roger gets especially irritable while hungry, and I’d rather leave out another unnecessary argument about who's following whose bloody tempo,” John replies while putting his bass on its stand.

Roger emerges from his drum booth, running his fingers through his long hair. “So, are we getting takeaway, then? If so, I vote Japanese or Chinese.”

“We had that last time, darling,” Freddie groans while standing up. “I say we should try something else! Maybe eat at a restaurant, get away from the studio and clear our heads, yeah?” Freddie suggests with a grin.

“Sure, whatever gets us closer to actually eating,” John replies flatly. Roger hums in agreement, taking another drag of his cigarette to distract himself from his racing thoughts. He stares at the floor as everyone walks out of the studio, trying to keep his roaming eyes from going places he doesn’t want to think about.

 


 

“Roger, you doing alright, darling?” Freddie’s voice snaps Roger from his daze, and he looks up at the young singer with wide eyes. “I don’t think staring at your food is going to give you any nutrients.”

“Yeah, sorry. Just a bit tired,” Roger replies feebly before toying with his Japanese food again.

“You haven't eaten more than two bites of your meal this whole time,” Freddie comments worriedly. “I know you’re obviously panicked over all of this, but you must eat, darling.” Freddie frowns.

Roger looks up at John and Brian, and they give him silent glances that speak loud volumes. They’re basically screaming at him to behave and eat his food to not worry their time-travelling friend, but Roger can’t seem to focus on anything all of the sudden. Freddie places his fork and knife down before standing up, excusing himself from the table.

“I need to use the toilet. I’ll be back,” Freddie says flatly as he walks to the kitchen’s exit.

“Just down the hall, second door to your left,” Brain instructs Freddie’s silent question, and the younger man thanks him before walking out of the room. They all stare at the hallway and wait for the sound of the doorknob clicking shut.

Brian immediately snaps his intense gaze at Roger, his eyes narrow in warning. “Come on, Rog, you need to get it together, mate.”

Roger scoffs, dropping his fork and leaning back. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to be so inconsiderate to your feelings. I’m not a bloody robot, Brian. I’m sorry I can’t pretend that this isn’t bothering me,” Roger argues quickly, his fists already clenching tightly.

“Look, it’s not easy for any of us,” John sighs, staring at his own food contemplatively now, “- trust me, god knows I’m not taking any of this well.” John rubs his forehead tiredly. “I think I almost cried ten times today whilst sitting alone with him. As much as I love him, I couldn’t handle being cooped up with him, all alone.”

Brian and Roger nod and grunt in agreement, a thick silence looming over the lot as they all stare at their food. Roger glances over his shoulder briefly and sees no sign of Freddie. He looks back at his friends and frowns. “We have to discuss it.”

“No,” John says sharply. “He could walk in at any minute.”

“I can’t keep my mouth shut, I have to say something to him,” Roger growls in response.

“None of us are saying anything else to him, alright?” Brian warns in a low voice.

“We don’t know what the hell is going on. There is clearly a reason why Freddie’s here, and I think that reason is to change the past,” Roger says firmly.

“Or it was a coincidence that Freddie just happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time,” John says with a lifted brow.

“Come on, we all know that was not a coincidence that Freddie Mercury time travelled to the future!” Roger cries out desperately.

“Maybe it was. We all mean nothing to the universe. Could just be a wrong place, wrong time situation…” Brian muses, agreeing with John.

“Do you not remember that night? Because I can’t stop thinking about it,” Roger says with a frown. “You remember how strange that night was, right? The earthquake, those people --”

“Shush!” John hisses harshly at Roger. “Stop it, Roger.”

“I’m just trying to solve the mystery! That night was fucked and the both of you know it! We have to at least tell Freddie what happened after that earthquake!” Roger pleads desperately.

 


 

Despite Freddie’s protests, the four of them end up at their favourite Japanese restaurant. Freddie doesn’t really mind, but he still sits with his chest puffed out and purposely avoids Roger’s glance as an act of rebellion.

“Stop being so dramatic, Fred. You love it here,” Roger says while rolling his eyes. Freddie huffs before he moves to pick up his drink. He accentuates every movement of putting the straw between his lips before slamming the cup on the table. Freddie gives a toothy grin at everyone as they roll their eyes at his sassiness; however, he quickly covers his mouth habitually. Roger frowns when Freddie covers his face, glancing back at his drink in silence.

“Are you done? Or do you need to do anything else over the top tonight?” Brian asks with a hint of a smile.

“I’m never done being overdramatic, darling,” Freddie replies with a sly wink.

The group orders their food, and the rest of their supper is relatively normal for them. Then Roger starts talking about the album.

“I still think In Only Seven Days isn’t strong enough,” Roger comments with a shrug. “I feel like it’s missing something.”

John scowls. “Like what, exactly?” John asks slowly with a lifted brow.

Roger lifts his hands up defensively. “Hey, hey. I’m not saying it’s bad, or anything. I’m just saying that something feels like it's missing. Something that'll make it pop! That’s all.”

John crosses his arms over his chest. “What do you propose we do, then?” John asks. “I'd love to hear your ideas, Rog.”

Freddie stands up, excusing himself from the table. “I need to use the toilet,” Freddie speaks quickly before walking away from the thick tension growing between the bickering bandmates. Brian frowns at Freddie, his squinted eyes screaming ‘traitor’ as Freddie walks way with a sheepish grin and a slight shrug.

Brian turns his attention back to his bickering friends with a frown. “Alright, calm down. Roger wasn’t trying to slander your song. I agree, It’s definitely missing something, but I’m sure we can figure it out after we eat our damned meals, alright?”

John’s frown stays evident on his face, but he nods in agreement. “Fine,” John and Roger both reply to Brian in unison before distracting themselves with their supper. After a few minutes of silently eating, Roger goes to grab his drink. He hesitates, however, when he notices the liquid rippling ever so slightly. He frowns in confusion before placing his palms on the table. He feels it vibrating, and he looks around the restaurant with a baffled frown.

“What’s wrong now?” John snaps with a frown of his own.

“Do you feel that?” Roger asks softly with a lifted brow. Brian and John wipe their frowns immediately and they place their hands on the table, mirroring Roger’s actions. John’s eyes narrow in confusion, and he nods.

“Yeah, the table is vibrating,” John comments off-handedly. Brian nods in agreement, and they all exchange confused glances.

Just then, the dishes start clattering across the restaurant, and everyone’s murmuring in the dining room immediately hushes as the vibrating morphs into soft shaking. Roger stares wide-eyed at his drink as it sloshes around, spilling out of the cup as the table starts shaking more violently.

A woman screaming causes sudden panic in the room as the shaking worsens, and the ceiling starts raining dust on everyone’s heads. Roger, John, and Brian immediately slip under the table as the building’s shaking grows more intense and violent. Their heartbeats pound harder as things start to fall off of the tables, smashing loudly and shattering as they hit the floor.

“Holy fuck!” Roger yelps as a chunk of the ceiling falls on the table next to them, and he stares in frozen horror at the stranger's faces as they stay huddled under their table.

 Earthquake! We need to evacuate the building!” A deep, bellowing voice calls out over the cries and screams of terrified patrons huddling underneath their dining tables. Roger looks into his bandmates eyes, and they all return the same look of terror as they silently nod to each other. Roger is the first to crawl out from under the table, and he gets up to help the people at the next table over. The woman, man, and child stand up with the help of Roger, Brian and John. Roger swiftly huddles himself over the young girl as another piece of the ceiling crumbles over them, hitting him in the head and making him wobble dizzily as he leads the little girl out of the building.

The ground quakes again underneath their feet, causing everyone to collapse onto the floor. Roger quickly curls himself over the little girl again as more of the ceiling crumbles onto them, and he groans in pain as a piece of wood bounces off of his lower back. The little girl cries, and Roger’s throbbing head worsens.

“It’s okay. We have to move!” Roger cries out, and they all start moving again, crawling frantically like toddlers towards the restaurant's exit.

They make it to the doors, and Roger stands up, picking up the child and running out of the building quickly. He places her on her feet across the street, and he looks over his shoulder at the building. The roof is nearly gone, and he watches in horror as he sees John with the man and woman from the next table, helping Brian limp out of the restaurant. The woman emerges from behind the three of them and urgently rushes to her daughter, hugging her and crying.

“Thank you!” she sobs up at Roger, and he smiles weakly down at her. Roger sways a little as he stands, and he turns his attention back to his friends as they make it over. The man and John place Brian on the curb, and the man shakes Roger’s hand quickly, thanking him for watching out for his daughter.

“Roger, your head!” John exclaims worriedly as he reaches out to Roger’s head cautiously. Roger blinks, feeling his body buzz as he sluggishly lifts his deadweight arm to touch his head. He pulls his hand in front of his face and stares at the blood dripping from his hand, coating it like a shimmery crimson glove. The little girl cries, and Roger sways again, falling over a bit as her screaming pierces his ears and worsens the ringing in them. John catches him, holding onto him firmly so he doesn’t fall over again.

“Did everyone make it out?” A policeman calls out after the last two people exit the collapsing building. The earth erupts again underneath their feet, causing a giant crack to form in the road. Everyone loses their balance, swaying with the moving earth and screaming as the crack grows dangerously large. Car alarms start going off, causing people to squirm and grab their heads in horror.

“Back up, back up!” A few policemen call out to the people on the street. Roger glances over at his three friends, and his eyes grow into large saucers as he looks back at the restaurant with a horrid epiphany.

“Freddie! Where’s Freddie!?” Roger yells frantically, worming his way out of John’s hold. “He’s still in there!” Roger cries out when he can’t find him in the crowd. Roger hurries towards the building but starts to stumble over his own legs. His ears are painfully ringing, and his vision becomes spotted and blotchy as he blinks weakly at the restaurant. He watches a group of people in dark uniforms hurry into the building, and he feels the world flip on him as he falls flat on his face, unable to keep his eyes open anymore. His cheek stings as he lays on the asphalt, his vision barely there anymore as he feebly fails to croak out Freddie’s name in agony.

“Roger!” Is the last thing he hears being distantly called to him before he falls out of consciousness.

 


 

“Nothing much really happened that night,” Brain shrugs. “Besides the chaos of an earthquake, there isn’t much I can recall being too out of place.”

Roger stares at Brian, wide-eyed and baffled. “That’s clearly not the bloody case now, is it? We now know that Freddie fell through a wormhole that night, and we have to tell him what happened!” Roger exclaims.

“There isn’t much we really know,” John replies, his voice tired. “My memory has gotten fuzzier over the years, but from what I recall, we still didn’t learn much. It was honestly just a confusing event.”

Roger sighs, rubbing his face again. “You have to admit that this is all way too convenient, right? That year was the year Freddie started to get very... active ...with partners,” Roger explains slowly, causing Brian and John to quirk a brow at him.

“What are you saying, Roger?” John inquires in a low voice.

“Someone had to have sent him here before he could have contracted that god-awful disease! This can’t be a bloody coincidence!” Roger whispers harshly in return.

“Roger, stop getting your hopes up. There’s no such thing as fate --”

“I’m not saying fate. I mean someone must have created a controlled portal-thing that night!” Roger bites back with a frown, cutting Brian off.

“It’s called a wormhole -” Brian pinches the bridge of his nose, “- either way, it’s impossible,” Brian replies, shaking his head in disbelief.

“Yeah, and yet, Freddie Mercury is taking a piss in your bathroom right now, so I think we should stop fucking around and saying everything is impossible,” Roger replies with a raised eyebrow and his lips pulled in a thin line.

John stares at the table and folds his hands. “Roger has a point.” Brian and Roger shoot John baffled glances, and he looks up at them. “Maybe it wasn’t a coincidence or fate. Maybe it was all planned?”

“Who would plan something like that?” Brian asks incredulously.

“I would,” Roger replies too quickly. He clears his throat, coughing in his fist awkwardly. “I mean, a lot of people would. He’s Freddie Mercury.”

They all nod, silently contemplating the options. “For now, we must keep this to ourselves. There’s no reason to scar Freddie’s life with this kind of information until we know for certain how and why he is here,” Brain concludes. He gives Roger a harsh glare. “Alright, Rog?”

Roger pouts before finally nodding solemnly. “Fine, but when we find out I’m right, we’re telling Freddie everything.”

John and Brian nod in agreement before busying themselves with their lunches to not seem suspicious when Freddie returns. Little do they know, said singer was standing just out of view, leaning against the wall with wide eyes and a palpitating heartbeat. Freddie doesn’t have many regrets in life, but now he has one; eavesdropping on his friends when all he wanted was to ask Brian how to use his goddamned toilet.

Chapter Text

Roger hasn’t felt the need to break speed limits since his college years, but this is urgent. Roger drives a healthy amount above the speed limit, not to get pulled over, and still be at his destination in a short amount of time. He can’t be late, he refuses to be late. He isn't running behind as per usual, but he feels that his best friend for the past twenty-odd years deserves a good surprise. He doesn’t deserve to wait any longer in his remaining, wilting life.

Roger’s hands squeeze the wheel tighter, his palms growing more clammy as he presses his foot down closer to the floor of his car. His face is scrunched up in a hyper-focused state as he stares at the road ahead of him. He wants to be early for him. He wants to make him smile and laugh. He would probably say something along the lines of, “Oh, darling, you’ve never been this poignant in your life. You deserve an award,” or something like that. The corner of Roger’s lip twitches upwards at the thought, and it grows when he catches a glimpse of the street sign, indicating which street he is on. ‘Almost there. Almost--’

Roger’s thoughts are soon interrupted when the phone in his car starts to ring, and he glances at it with a paled face. He can’t stop now, so he picks it up and answers the call whilst still driving. ‘Almost there…’

“Roger? Where are you?” Came a familiar voice on the other line; Peter Freestone. Roger’s heart flips when he hears the obvious distress in the man’s voice.

“I’m nearly three-hundred yards away from Garden Lodge. I’m almost--”

“Don’t bother coming…” There was a long, dreadful pause. “...Because he’s gone,” came the solemn voice on the other end.

Roger didn’t respond. He pulls his car over to the side of the road, his eyes glazing over as his trembling hand struggles to hold the receiver to his ear. “What?” Roger croaks out, putting the car in park on the shoulder of the road.

“Freddie, he…” the man on the other end of the line stops speaking, and Roger can hear weeping in the background.

“No,” Roger says quietly. “We just spoke this morning. We were supposed to have tea -” Roger cuts himself off, biting his knuckle as his eyes start watering up. His shoulders shake as he stares straight ahead. Roger drops the phone as the voice whispers “I’m sorry…” and he crosses his arms over his steering wheel. He rests his head against his arms and stares at his lap with wide, tearful eyes as he processes this information.

‘That bastard! I was going to be early. I was…’ Roger wipes his eyes and switches gears. He presses his foot on the gas pedal and swerves as another car almost collides into his. He drives faster than before and keeps his attention firmly on the road. He drives until he sees the gate to Garden Lodge, and he pulls up to the entrance with a quick, sharp turn, causing his wheels to squeal.

He rolls his window down and pushes in the code to open the gates, and taps his fingers impatiently as they open slowly for him. He starts driving sooner than usual and speeds down the driveway, slamming on his brakes to pull his car to a screeching halt in front of Freddie’s front door. Jim opens the door, tears in his eyes and Oscar in his arms.

Roger’s vision goes blurry as he steps out of the car and storms towards the entrance, not caring to close his door or even shut off his car. “I need to see him -”

“He’s gone -”

“Let me in!” Roger cuts Jim off, stepping into his personal space and slamming his fist on the doorframe. Jim doesn’t move, so Roger shoves him out of his way to storm into the mansion.

“You don’t want to see him, Roger!” Jim pleads, putting Oscar down to grab onto Roger’s arm.

“I came here to see Freddie, so dammit, that’s what I’m gonna do!” Roger hisses in return, his eyes and cheeks red from his tears. Jim lets him go, and Roger skips a few steps on his way up, gripping the railing tightly as he hops his way up. He sees everyone surrounding Freddie’s room with their heads down and giving each other condolences. One man quickly grabs Roger as he steps into the room, and he holds Roger at the doorway.

Roger stares at the blanket covering Freddie. He stares at the bed for a long time, thinking about the lively man he grew rather fond of over the years. He thinks of a memory, one that blurs into the next, and so on. They all show Freddie, his face glowing and his smile ever so bright until the last time he saw him. Freddie could barely stand up, but Roger still managed to make him laugh. Freddie laughed so hard he began to cough hoarsely, sitting down and covering his mouth with the tissue that Jim had on-hand for him.

Roger feels his own body collapse to the floor, thinking of Freddie as he cursed Roger for telling such a killer joke. Roger can still hear Freddie’s voice. “You were close to killing me there, darling. However, I refuse to give you that satisfaction, so I’m here to stay, unfortunately…”

He feels someone rub his shoulder soothingly as he finally begins to sob, covering his mouth with his hand as he whips his sunglasses off of his face, not wanting to see anything anymore. They clatter on the floor by the head of Freddie’s bed, and Roger stares at the blur of colours in front of him, refusing to squint to even get a glimpse of what could be behind those shapes. “Late again, darling? You’re worse than I am!” He can hear Freddie’s playful tone echoing in the back of his brain.

Roger smiles shakily through his racking sobs, shaking his head in sorrow. “I’m sorry,” Roger mumbles through sobs. “I was late again…”

 


 

Roger looks up from his seat, watching Freddie help Brian clean up their lunch. He hears John clear his throat and looks over at the man with a lifted brow. John gives him a sympathetic smile, and Roger suddenly realizes he is beginning to cry. Roger wipes his eyes quickly, sighing tiredly as he rubs his head in thought. He stands up abruptly and walks out of the kitchen, locking himself in the first room he comes across as he begins to hyperventilate, leaning on the bathroom counter and staring into his own eyes as panic settles in his chest.

That dreadful day has been playing on a loop in his head since last night, and he wishes he could repress it further. Roger frowns at his reflection and splashes some water on his face. “Keep it together, Roger,” he instructs himself firmly, wagging a stern finger at his reflection. “For Freddie,” he adds softly. His brain keeps screaming at him to warn Freddie before it is too late, but he has to keep his mouth shut for the sake of his friend’s sanity. ‘Telling Freddie now will only make things worse,’ he repeats like a mantra in his head until he can get his laboured breathing in check again. Roger startles when he hears soft knocking on the door.

“It’s just me, Rog…” Roger sighs when he hears John’s quiet voice. He opens the door and meets John’s concerned eyes. He glances over John’s shoulder towards the kitchen, and the man quickly holds Roger’s shoulders in a soothing manner. “Relax, Freddie and Brian are still washing the dishes -” he slips his hands away and crosses his arms, “- how are you holding up?”

“Not well,” Roger replies with a horrid voice crack.

“What’s on your mind, Rog?” John asks calmly, his smile warm and soothing to Roger.

“I can’t stop thinking about that damned day…” Roger mumbles quietly, looking down at the white marble flooring. Freddie was right, it is a lovely flooring.

“That was a difficult day for all of us,” John says, nodding in understanding. “The funeral has been on my mind as well -”

“No, not the funeral,” Roger quips in quickly, catching John off guard. John’s confused expression slowly morphs into a baffled look, before going soft and sympathetic again.

“Ohhh,” John drags the word, looking at the floor as well. “You mean that day… The day…” John looks up at Roger and grabs his shoulder with a sad smile. “I nearly forgot you were there when it happened. I’m so sorry, Rog.”

Roger lets John loop his arm around his neck and pull him into a tight embrace. Roger sobs in his shoulder, sniffling frequently to avoid getting snot on his friend’s dress shirt. “I wasn’t there when it happened, though. I was too late, John,” Roger whispers. “I didn’t get to say goodbye...”

John hushed Roger, cooing him as a father would to a child, and rubbing gentle circles in Roger’s back. Roger repeats himself, mumbling into John’s shirt this time, but John knows what he’s saying. “I know, I know… None of us got to say goodbye, and it’s cruel, but maybe you were right -” John pulls back to look into Roger’s eyes, ”- maybe this is our second chance. Maybe we can save Freddie.”

“How?” Roger rubs his nose with his wrist, sliding his arm up to wipe away his tears as well. “How can we save him without telling him everything?”

“We will find a way. I promise,” John replies firmly. “You, me, and Brian will save him - don’t worry. For now, we must focus on figuring out how to send Freddie back to where he belongs and finding a way to warn him without traumatizing the poor man,” John explains with a firm nod, not breaking eye contact with Roger for one moment.

“He’s already traumatized. He hasn’t been right since he found out that he’s not with us anymore…” Roger trails off when he hears someone clearing their throat. John and Roger snap their head in the direction of the sound, and they catch sight of Freddie, standing like a shadowed angel, his outer frame glowing from the kitchen light behind him. Roger stands up taller, rubbing his nose with his sleeve again and rubbing his cheeks furiously in an attempt to look presentable in two seconds. “Freddie!” Roger says a little too loudly. “We didn’t see you there,” he adds, his voice going up an octave and cracking horrendously.

“It’s fine,” Freddie replies in a quiet voice. His face is neutral and his arms are hanging numbly at his sides. Roger notices one of his fingers twitch as Freddie stares back at him and John, looking rather intimidating. Roger gulps, and John scratches his arm nervously.

“How are you doing, darling?” Freddie asks, stepping out of the kitchen to approach Roger. John steps back to allow Freddie space to reach out to Roger, and the older man continues to stare at his young friend like a deadweight statue. Roger’s heartbeat picks up speed as he feels Freddie’s hand on his cheek, wiping a new stray tear that slips out of his eye.

“I’ll be fine now that you’re here,” Roger whispers under his breath, his eyes as wide as an owl’s as he stares into Freddie’s. Freddie keeps his neutral expression, but his eyes reveal his deep sorrows and concerns as he stares back at Roger, nodding slightly. Freddie’s lips tug upwards, and Roger can swear he notices a hint of pink dusting the man’s cheeks. Freddie turns around and waves for him and John to follow, and they oblige without saying another word.

“Brian and I were discussing wormholes and we felt you two should be here for this,” Freddie elaborates for them before they can ask why he’s acting so strange. Roger swallows painfully, lifting a brow at Freddie before looking over at Brian. The astrophysicist has situated himself at the table with a book in his hands. He looks up and smiles at Roger and John, leaning back a bit in his seat.

“I think I’ve figured out how to collect enough energy to send Freddie back,” Brian says whilst folding his hands over the book.

Roger and John blink dumbly, staring at Brian in awe. “Wait, you already figured it out?” John asks, completely amazed, but mostly baffled.

“Well, it’s just a theory, but Roger said we should stop dismissing any viable options,” Brian says, nodding at Roger with a hint of a smile. “We now know that time travel is possible, and I think I know where to go to get the tools we need,” Brian explains, his smile growing wider.

“Where exactly are we -” Roger is unable to complete his sentence when he hears the front door to Brian’s mansion open. The four men’s eyes grow wide, and they stare at each other in timid silence as they hear clicking heels echoing through the hallway.

“Brian, honey, where are you, love?” Anita’s voice chimes through the hallway like a bell. Brian stands up slowly as they all silently shuffle uncomfortably in their spots. Freddie looks over his shoulder and then back at Brian with wide eyes as the clicking of heels grows louder. Roger’s eyes scout the room in search of an escape route.

“Who the fuck is the--” Freddie hisses, but Roger covers his mouth and drags him into another room. John goes to follow him but opts out to shut the door behind Roger and Freddie when he notices Anita entering the kitchen.

“Anita, darling!” Brian greets way too cheerily as he grabs the back of his chair, leaning on it and trying to avoid looking at John.

“Oh, hello John,” Anita greets John with a surprised, but pleased smile. “My, it’s been a while. How’ve you been?”

John looks at Brian and sees him silently jerk his head forward, his eyes wide and horrified. John coughs in his fist and leans on the door he closed Roger and Freddie into. “I’ve been well. Veronica and I are doing wonderful, actually.”

“Oh, that’s amazing to hear, dear!” Anita says with a large grin. She approaches John with open arms, and the man gulps nervously before leaning forward to accept the awkward embrace. He pats her back in an odd, choppy motion as he lifts a brow at Brian over her shoulder. He mouths out, ‘What the hell, Brian?’ ’ before covering up his facade with a warm, welcoming grin towards Anita as she pulls back to look at his face again.

Brian clears his throat and slowly steps around the table, nonchalantly closing the book on the table. “What happened? I thought you were going to Paris with your theatre?” Brain asks as unsuspiciously as possible whilst picking up the book and holding it conveniently out of sight behind his leg.

“Can you believe it, the bloody flight was cancelled. I have to wait another two days before I can go back,” Anita replies, clearly not catching on to Brian’s painfully obvious suspicious manner. Anita finally takes note of his odd behaviour and turns to face John again, startling the man to stand up straight again.

“Was I...interrupting something?” Anita asks in a slow tone, trying to put the puzzle pieces together.

“Oh, no no no no no,” John says quickly, waving his hands defensively. He notices Roger and Freddie stumble out of a door in the hallway behind her, and Brian is quick to take notice as well. Anita moves to turn around, noticing John’s odd expression, but he swiftly grabs her wrist in a moment of panic. Roger and Freddie freeze and stare with wide eyes, looking like deer caught in the headlights. Brian waves them off as inconspicuously as possible.

“I, uh - what a lovely bracelet. Where did you get it? I was thinking of a gift to get for Veronica, and I think she would love this,” John says, lifting her wrist to stare at her golden charm bracelet with false interest.

Roger and Freddie sigh with relief when Anita begins talking about how she received the bracelet, and Roger quickly ushers Freddie into Brian’s study around the corner. Roger closes the door as quietly as possible, and carefully presses his ear against the door to listen. Freddie fumbles with his hands nervously as he watches Roger’s eyes search the floor as he listens. Roger presses his palm to the door as he hears their muffled conversation slowly grow louder.

When they stop outside of the door, Roger and Freddie look into each other’s eyes worriedly, and Roger panics. He grabs the door handle and quickly locks the door, backing up slowly. The knob jiggles lightly, and they hear more muffled words being exchanged. Freddie and Roger pant heavily, both leaning against Brian’s desk as they watch the knob jiggle every few seconds. They both strain their ears, but Roger cannot hear anything. Freddie, however, steps slightly closer, his features contorting as he vaguely understands what’s being said.

“...Roger’s car outside. Where is he, anyway?” Freddie hears the second half of the question, but he knows enough to look over at Roger to silently notify him of his findings. The man sighs nervously, and Freddie lowers his gaze, attempting to think of something to do.

Freddie’s eyes light up with an idea, and he quietly walks up to Roger. “She knows you’re here,” Freddie whispers softly into Roger’s ear. “Open the door. I’ll hide.”

Roger looks over at Freddie with wide eyes, shaking his head frantically as the younger singer maneuvers his way around Brian’s desk. Freddie brings his finger to his lips and slowly lowers himself down until he’s on all fours on the floor. He crawls under the desk and curls up under there. Roger gasps exasperatedly, grabbing his hair and pacing back and forth, trying not to panic.

Roger quickly moves to the door, grabbing the whiskey bottle on his way and unlocking the door. He opens it impulsively, and Brain nearly falls backwards as his hand on the knob is pulled with the doors behind him. The three men stare at each other, and Anita smiles at Roger.

“I found the whiskey!” Roger says, lifting the bottle with a wide grin plastered on his cheeks. Brian wastes no time in flicking the book behind his back into the study and pulling Roger out. Before Anita can get a good look of the mess of books all over the place, Brian closes the door quickly and leans on it with a wide smile that says, ‘I am trying not to look suspicious at all.’

“You alright, dear?” Anita asks when she takes notice of Brian’s odd behaviour.

Brian gives her an even tighter smile. “Yes, everything is fine. I just, uh, the three of us were catching up and we’re all just a little surprised, but grateful, to see you.”

Roger and John nod quickly. Roger gives Anita a quick hug and kisses her cheek. “It is very lovely to see you, Anita. Why on earth are you here and not in Paris performing on stage?”

“Flight was cancelled. There was an awful storm last night,” Anita explains with a frown. The three men all exchange an odd look with each other, not remembering a storm in London last night. “I’ll be going away again in two days time. It’s really no fret dear - oh, hey, how’s Sarina?” Anita says, changing the subject quickly.

“Oh, she’s in America right now. Gone for a week or so -” Roger immediately cuts himself off when he gets an idea “- Actually, I’ve been meaning to show John the place. He’s been so busy, he hasn’t gotten the chance to see it yet!” Roger says, looking at John with a stern stare. John squints at him in confusion, his brain slowly calculating what the old drummer is up to. Then he smiles, suddenly realizing what he’s doing.

“Oh, right, of course! We were just about to head over there soon, were we not?” John says, playing along with Roger’s scheme. Brian finally catches on and nods enthusiastically.

“Ah, yes, of course. You two lot go on ahead without me. I’ll just stay here with Anita for a short while, let her settle in, and I’ll join you later, yeah?” Brian says, his voice growing louder as he leans against the door of his study.

“Oh, well, alright then. It was good to see you, John. I hope to see you again soon, yeah?” Anita says, giving the old man a quick hug.

“Yes yes, of course,” John replies with a smile. He and Roger stroll towards the front foyer, and John leans towards Roger, raising his voice. “Oh hey, you know what I just remembered, Rog?”

“What is that, John?” Roger replies, his voice loud as well.

“Remember at your fortieth birthday party when you climbed out of your study’s window and fell into the garden?” John says, his voice growing obnoxiously loud now. Anita frowns in confusion. “I just thought of it when you walked out of the study with that whiskey bottle!”

“Ah, yes, I recall. That was such a fun time!” Roger replies, laughing as they open the front door. “Goodbye, Anita! It was lovely seeing you again!” Roger says with a slight wave.

Anita waves reluctantly, her eyebrow lifted in confusion. “Uh, likewise, Roger.”

After they step outside, John looks over and waves back as well. “We’ll see you later, Brian? Continue where we left off?” John says with a forced smile.

“Yes, of course. Drive carefully!” Brian says as he waves back. They close the front door, and Anita immediately looks over at Brian with a baffled expression. Brian smiles and wraps his arm around her shoulder. “Roger’s hearing is getting worse these days, you know? It’s quite a shame really, that we have to start raising our voices to speak to him,” Brian says nonchalantly, and Anita sighs, rubbing her forehead and nodding.

“Right, of course. Poor lad,” she responds sympathetically. “You don’t have to stay here too long, sweetheart. Go, spend time with your friends. It’s been a while since the three of you spent time together,” Anita says with a smile.

“I will, in due time. Let me say hello to my wife, first,” Brian says, leaning in for a kiss. She smiles up at him and tilts her head, welcoming the kiss. Just as their lips press together, they hear a loud thud coming from Brian’s study, but before she can say anything about it, Brian goes in for the kiss and pretends he didn't hear a thing. Anita shrugs and returns his kiss, wrapping her arms around his neck with a wide grin.

Meanwhile, outside, Roger and John are covering their mouths as they chuckle softly at Freddie as he falls out of the window. He wobbles a bit in his spot as he stands up and he quickly brushes off his clothes before trudging towards Roger’s car with a pout.

“You’ve got something in your hair,” John notes with a snort, moving to pick out a twig from Freddie’s hair. Freddie smacks his hand away and ruffles his hands through his hair to clear it of any plants.

“Shut up and get in the bloody car,” Freddie grumbles under his breath as he moves to enter the passenger door. John taps his hand and waggles his finger at Freddie.

“Ah-ah-ah, not so fast. You’re going in the back where the windows are tinted and nobody can see you,” John scolds with a grin.

Freddie rolls his eyes and pulls the back door open, seating himself on the bench and slamming the door closed before crossing his arms. Roger and John enter the car, and Roger quickly shifts gears. Freddie looks through the back window as they drive away from Brian’s house. Freddie turns around again and notices Roger’s eyes flicker back to the road in the rear-view mirror. He sighs, looking out his window and wonders what Roger’s mansion might look like as a way to distract himself from all of this mess.

Chapter Text

The ride to Roger’s mansion is surprisingly quiet and uneventful. It gives Freddie time to sit in a deep, silent ponder. He wonders about everything and nothing, giving all of his unorganized thoughts a chance to scream at him whilst his bandmates are distracted. He keeps his head down, not bothering to pay attention to where they are going as a promise to not look at the futuristic world. They didn't even ask him to do this, he decided for himself that he doesn't want to know anything else. He never really wanted to know his own fate or the future. Sure, people like to imagine what the future would be like, but he cannot stand actually knowing about it.

Freddie keeps his eyes trained on his shoes, staring at the specks of dust on them, giving him the vague reminder of the dull pain and cut on his forehead. He leans back and closes his eyes, envisioning what his friends could be doing now in his own timeline, but then he realizes that they might not even know he is gone. If he were able to go back to where he came from, it would probably seem like no time went by for them, and the idea of that seems utterly unfair. Freddie wonders why he, of all people, got to experience something no one has ever experienced before. Why does he have to endure this actual hell on earth? A part of him starts to consider the other possibility now that he has a moment to breathe - that this is all some intense comatose dream.

Freddie takes this moment to focus on his surroundings and try to feel the things around him. He can feel the texture of the cool leather seat on his fingertips, and he can feel the car sway and hop on every little pothole. He scrunches his eyes tighter, trying to imagine a heart monitor beeping in the distance, or even feel the damn dust from that restaurant, but he doesn’t feel any of it. If he’s dreaming, he’s nowhere near being conscious. For all he knows, he could be a damn vegetable in the hospital, and this is what happens moments before you die.

‘But isn’t your life supposed to flash before your eyes when you’re near death?’ Freddie wonders silently, loosening his eyelids to appear asleep in the backseat. He waits for John or Roger to start talking about his supposed future illness, but they continue to stay utterly silent. He knows why they can’t tell him, but he feels somewhat selfish, wanting to avoid his inevitable demise. ‘How do I die? Just tell me, dammit…’

Just then, he feels the car slowly stop before being shut off. He hears soft whispering for a moment before one of the front doors open and closes. He decides to open his eyes, and he watches Roger walk up to the entrance of what he assumes is the drummer’s mansion. John is still in the passenger seat, and he hasn’t taken notice of Freddie’s awareness quite yet, his eyes focused on watching Roger enter his home.

“What’s he doing?” Freddie asks quietly, startling John ever so slightly. The old man looks back at the singer and pulls his lips in a thin line.

“He’s checking the mansion to make sure nobody is home before bringing you in. We decided I should sit here with you in case you woke up before he was done searching,” John explains in a low voice.

Freddie nods in understanding, and then their attention turns towards the house. Well, Freddie’s eyes are on the house, but his mind falls elsewhere again. He wonders about the wormholes that he read about and considers what Brian has in mind. How could he send Freddie back without the right technology? Are they all expected to invent the time machine out of thin air? What could have made Brian believe he found a way to figure it all out? What could have changed whilst they finished eating their lunches?

Freddie watches Roger escort two people out of the mansion, handing them some cash and waving them off politely. Freddie soon realizes that they look like housekeepers. After waving their company vehicle off, he slowly makes his way to the car and opens the door for Freddie.

“It’s clear now?” John asks with a lifted brow.

“Yeah,” Roger says as John and Freddie exit the vehicle. “Come on in. Make yourselves at home.”

Freddie follows John and Roger into the mansion, and he gives the front foyer a long examination with wondrous eyes and a large smile. Queen is successful and rich in seventy-eight, but Freddie is still rather blown away with how fascinating homes look in the future. Roger’s place has a homier feel to it, somehow. Freddie can’t figure out why until he notices all of the photos down the hallway. They are all photographs of Queen through the years. Freddie smiles fondly at the photographs he recognizes and finds himself losing his grin when he reaches photos he doesn’t recognize.

Freddie stares at two photographs of him and Roger with large sombreros at what looks like some party. Freddie’s older self is sporting shorter hair and a mustache, and Roger’s hair is noticeably shorter here as well. They look like they’re having fun, and Freddie smiles at that thought. He glances over at Roger and John who also seem to be looking at the photos with more nostalgia in their eyes than Freddie has ever seen in his life.

He steps away, giving them a moment alone, and he explores the home a little more. That’s when Freddie takes notice of what he sees outside through the back window. He goes closer and stares in bewilderment at what appears to be a seven-metre tall statue of himself in Roger’s garden.

“Uh, Roger, darling. Could I ask you something?” Freddie asks, not daring to peel his gaze away from the monstrosity in his sights.

“Huh?” Roger snaps his head over towards Freddie. “Yeah, what is it?”

“Why the fuck do you have a statue of me in your back garden?” Freddie questions with a baffled frown.

That’s when he hears John’s chuckling and Roger’s low curses as they hurry over to Freddie. “Fuck, you were not supposed to -” Roger stops in his tracks, grabbing his hair in horror when Freddie opens the back door, his eyes transfixed on the statue of himself.

Freddie walks up to the thing, staring up at it in utter amazement. He has short hair and a mustache on the statue, and it makes Freddie wonder if this was the last look he sported before his untimely demise. He folds his arms over his chest, feeling the cool afternoon air gives him a sudden chill as he stares at the seven-metre tall statue.

“There’s a very good reason why it’s here,” Roger says after a long pause. Freddie doesn’t look away, but he hums in recognition, quietly urging Roger to go on. “If I didn’t get to it first, it would have been in Brian’s garden,” Roger adds in a low tone.

Freddie finally peels his eyes away from the statue to look at Roger, and the old bastard has the cheekiest grin on his face. Freddie lifts a brow. “This was somewhere else, first? You didn’t have it made?”

“No, it was sitting in front of the Dominion Theatre for twelve years,” Roger looks up at the statue with a fond smile, suddenly looking lost in his memories yet again. “A man named Ben Elton wrote a musical based around our songs and called it We Will Rock You,” Roger continues, and John moves to stop him, but decides against it, allowing Roger to proceed. “They were gonna toss the giant statue of you away, and I heard that Brian considered taking it off their hands, so one night I just kind of...took it.”

Freddie’s eyebrows lift animatedly high, and he snorts out a chuckle. “Wait, so you stole it?”

“Yeah, I guess you could say that,” Roger says with a shrug. “I was almost sued since apparently, I wasn’t allowed to have it here, but I made a deal to keep it - so long as I make sure to take it with me if I move away,” Roger explains, then looks over at Freddie with a wide grin. “I technically stole it from Brian since he was the one given permission to take it from the theatre. When I showed up with the crane, I told them I was just there making sure everything went smoothly for Brian. Poor old cod was pissed at me, but he eventually moved on.”

“That is the most absurd thing I have ever heard in my entire life -” Freddie furrows his brows seriously at Roger, “- and I’ve travelled through time…”

John and Roger both chuckle, and they all look over at the statue together in silence. When the thunder starts to roll through the sky with dark clouds, they decide to go inside. Roger locks the back door and heads into the kitchen with the two men, offering them all a cup of tea. After preparing their tea without even having to ask how they want it made, they venture off to Roger’s living room.

“I’m surprised you knew how I liked my tea?” John says quizzically after taking a few sips, breaking their silence.

“I lived with you lot for a few years, and even after that, you all took your tea strictly the same way,” Roger replies with a shrug.

“I’m honestly surprised you even remembered how I take mine,” Freddie chimes in with a shocked, but amused smile.

Roger stares at Freddie for a moment too long, which the singer catches with furrowed brows. Roger clears his throat and shrugs, muttering some nonsense excuse that goes right over Freddie’s head. Roger is hiding something, he can tell, and yet, he isn't sure what the old drummer might be trying to hide.

There’s another long moment of silence between the three, and Freddie ventures a curious look around the room. He notices a strange remote and picks it up, experimentally pressing the red button on the top corner of it. Just then, something emerges slowly from the floor, and Roger immediately panics, running over to Freddie and grabbing the remote out of his hand. Freddie stares in awe at what looks like a large, wide television screen emerging from the floor, and it stops after a while, capturing Freddie's full attention.

“Is that a television?” Freddie asks, utterly bewildered. “It looks like a bloody theatre screen!”

“It’s not nearly as large as a theatre screen.” Roger coughs awkwardly when John gives him a pointed glare. “Uhh, sorry, we can’t watch anything. I don’t want to risk you being exposed to anything else from the future…”

“Oh come on! We can watch something I know already! I just wanna see it on your futuristic television!” Freddie begs, playfully batting his eyelashes.

“No,” Roger says firmly, pressing a button and aiming the remote at the television. The screen starts to go into the floor again, and Freddie pouts, crossing his arms over his chest with a low huff. “Besides, we have work to do. No time to spare - we need to figure out how to send you home. We can’t keep running around and lying to our families like this for much longer,” Roger explains after tossing the remote on the table beside him.

“Well we can’t discuss much without Brian, who I believe, dear, was the one with the master plan,” Freddie grumbles in response.

“That’s a fair point, but we can still tell Roger what we learned about wormholes until Brian shows up,” John says, leaning forward in his seat to place his mug on the coffee table.

“Alright,” Roger takes a sip of his tea before placing it beside John’s mug, “tell me about these wormholes. How do they work?”

“Well, they’re all theories, so we aren’t actually sure which scenario is ours,” Freddie starts off with a shrug. “However, they usually all fall under one idea - and it is that wormholes are essentially these types of portals or doorways into another dimension or time. When they open, someone could theoretically slip through and land into a new place that seems the same, but is different,” Freddie explains whilst gesticulating wildly to prove his point. John and Roger nod along silently, Roger slowly understanding how this all works, now.

“But it’s not theoretical, is it? Since you’re here,” Roger affirms with a lifted brow as he gestures vaguely at Freddie.

“I suppose you’re right,” Freddie replies whilst scratching the back of his neck, rubbing his hand along the side until he is rubbing his bandage on his forehead. John leans forward and slaps Freddie’s hand away, pouting at him with a frown.

“Stop touching it,” John scolds like a father, “you’ll only make it worse.” Freddie frowns with a hint of playfulness in his eyes, finally obliging to remove his hand from his bandage.

“Is it bothering you, Fred?” Roger asks quickly, moving to shuffle over to his friend’s aid. “I have a first aid kit around here somewhere. I can change the bandages if you’d like,” Roger adds while leaning towards Freddie with worried eyes.

Freddie’s heartbeat picks up speed when Roger leans closer, and he leans back a bit, causing Roger to freeze and frown at him in concern. “No no, I’m fine, darling. Thank you, though,” Freddie says in a low voice with a nervous smile.

“Oh, alright, then,” Roger leans back, clearing his throat awkwardly before grabbing his mug. Freddie notices Roger drumming his fingers on his knee anxiously, and he gulps when Roger’s jaw twitches as his lips make contact with the ceramic mug. Freddie sips his own tea as a way of distracting himself, and he shivers violently when lightning flashes outside. It begins to downpour outside, and Freddie takes another sip when he finally hears the thunder ten seconds later.

“Your nose,” John says after another dreadful pause. “Fred, your nose is bleeding!” John says urgently.

Freddie wipes his thumb over his nostril and frowns in confusion as he stares at the blood now on his thumb. Freddie shrugs it off, leaning over to the tissue box and using it to wipe his thumb and nose absentmindedly. He stares at a small animal statue of what appears to be a lion sitting on top of where the television emerged from the floor.

Freddie’s ears begin to ring when the front door opens, revealing Brian drenched from the rain. It is much darker outside, and Freddie glances at the clock, realizing that a lot of time has passed since their arrival at Roger’s house. Freddie squints into his mug, wondering why time has seemed to escape him. Where did all of that time go? They couldn’t have possibly been sitting there waiting for Brian for that long, surely?

“Sorry I took so long,” Brian says after shaking his coat off. “Anita was, um, eager to see me,” Brain coughs with a slight blush, and the three other Queens smirk with lifted brows.

“Wow, still getting busy, huh Brian?” Freddie says with a knowing smirk, and Brian rolls his eyes, scoffing at his chuckling friends.

Anyways, I’m here now, and I have a plan,” Brian says, cutting to the chase and joining them in the living room.

“Right, right, of course, our plan that your wife so rudely interrupted,” Roger says with a quirked brow.

Brian glares at Roger for a moment before coughing and changing the subject. “So, at my workplace, we have a large warehouse where we keep farms of machinery. I think we could harness that energy and use it to possibly create a wormhole big enough to squeeze Freddie through,” Brian explains in a low voice.

“Brian, that is the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard,” Freddie says with a frown. “Wormholes are unpredictable! How do we know where we’re even sending me?”

“That’s a good point,” John says with a nod. “We can’t just throw him in the first wormhole we see. They could lead him literally anywhere.”

“We’re doomed, then,” Roger sighs, standing up and waving his arms in defeat. “As far as we’re concerned, Freddie is trapped here unless someone has a secret time machine lying around."

Freddie stares at Brian as something buzzes in his pocket, and he pulls out a telephone just like John’s. Brian’s features go from disgruntled to horrified in mere seconds, and the three lot of Queens looks at him worriedly.

“What is it, Bri?” Roger asks with a frown. Lighting strikes outside again, and thunder rolls as Brian slowly turns his pocket telephone around to show his friends the contents on the screen. Freddie smiles at the photo of Brian’s wife, Anita, and reads the message out loud.

“Just landed in Paris safely. Love you, darling…” Freddie trails off when he realizes the implications of that sentence, and he looks at the others with wide eyes. “Um, correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t she at Brian’s house right now?” Freddie asks slowly. “I thought her flight was cancelled?”

Before anyone can say anything, another strike of lightning brightens up the dark skies just as a key is heard unlocking the front door. Thunder rolls when the door slowly opens, and the four of them immediately hurry into the kitchen in a moment of panic.

“Roger, hunny!” comes a woman’s voice from the front foyer. Roger looks over at his friends with wide, worried eyes, silently lifting his index finger to his lips. He gently shoves Freddie and John towards Brian, and they stay back as Roger walks up to the front of the house.

“Sarina, dear, you’re home early,” Roger says loudly. He smiles at her, and she pulls him in for a quick kiss. Roger’s phone buzzes in his pocket, and he pulls from the kiss to hug her.

“Yes, I’ve just missed you so much, so I came home early!” Sarina says, holding Roger tightly. Roger feels his phone vibrate again, and he pulls away from her with a forced, wide grin.

“Well, I’ve missed you as well, darling,” Roger replies nervously. She sighs, pushing her hair out of her face and walking to the closet whilst removing her coat. Roger pulls his phone out to check his notifications, and his face pales when he sees a photo of his wife in a restaurant with another woman with a text below it saying; ’Just ate at this lovely place with this lovely lady down in LA. Miss you so much! Can’t wait to see you next week!’

Roger looks up at Sarina as she leans into the closet to put her coat away, and back at his phone with wide, terrified eyes. Something is clearly not right, and Roger begins to internally panic as he carefully turns his phone towards Sarina. “How did you just send this text now when you’re standing right here?” Roger says in a low tone.

Sarina looks over at Roger, then at his phone, before dropping her coat on the floor. “Oh, that must have just taken a while to send.”

“But, I can see the date in the background on the restaurant's special board,” Roger points at something behind Sarina in the photo. “That is today’s date, Sarina,” Roger steps back slowly, realizing that he may not be speaking to his wife. “Who the fuck are you?”

Sarina’s demeanour shifts immediately and she growls lowly, lifting her wrist to her mouth and simply saying, “he didn’t buy it. Commence Plan B.”

"What the fuck -”

Sarina - or what looks like Sarina - pulls out a gun, interrupting Roger and causing his eyes to widen. Roger nearly slips as he turns around and runs towards the kitchen. Just as he turns around the corner, a gunshot is fired, and his left arm is grazed. He falls onto Freddie, and the man catches him with wide, horrified eyes. Roger regains his balance and shoves them all forward. “Run!”

They all don’t have to be asked twice, running quickly towards the back door. Just as they approach the back door, they see Sarina in the reflection, and they all duck when she aims her gun and fires at the four of them. They all scurry towards the living room as more shots are fired at them, shattering the glass doors. They hurry through more rooms, and she breaks nicknacks and trinkets near their heads with bullets. As they feebly attempt to outrun her bullets, they each slip or nearly fall on multiple occasions, but another is readily available to help them up before the woman who looks like Roger’s wife can attack them.

Fake Sarina runs out of bullets but catches up to the three men in the foyer. “I didn't want it to come down to this, but you’ve left us no choice,” she reloads her gun, “hand me Mr. Mercury and we can walk out of here without anyone getting hurt.”

Roger’s eyes widen in shock and anger as his hand squeezes his bloodied arm tighter in fury. “It’s a bit late for that, don't you think?”

“Nonsense. Just hand Mr. Mercury over and none of you will die,” she says in a low, monotone voice. Freddie’s heartbeat is nearly crushing his rib cage as he stares at everyone in absolute horror. He looks at Brian first, who looks scared out of his mind, and then Roger who looks more angry than scared. When Freddie turns to look at John, he quickly realizes that he isn’t beside Freddie at all. Just as Freddie looks at the woman wielding the gun, he sees John with one of the small lion stone statues from Roger’s living room in his grip. The woman and Freddie make eye contact for a split second, but John is too quick for her. She turns just as he swings the statue against her head, and she falls over onto the white flooring with a loud thud.

They all stare in silent horror as red pools under her head, and John drops the statue with wide eyes. He begins hyperventilating and looks up at his friends with a paled face.

“I’m sorry!” John bursts out shakily whilst grabbing his head in trepidation.

“That wasn’t my wife, just like how that clearly wasn’t Anita at Brian’s place,” Roger says in a deadpan tone, refusing to look at the body on the floor.

“Doesn’t matter who it was - I killed a person!” John freaks out, bursting into tears as he covers his face in agony.

“She was going to kill you all if you refused to hand me over,” Freddie says slowly. He looks over at Brian and Roger and simply says, “I don’t think we’re the only ones who know that I’m here…”

“Yeah, no shit, Sherlock,” Roger bites back before groaning in pain. “Fuck, she got me right in the bloody arm!” Roger groans angrily.

“We have to go,” Brian says in a soft voice. “Roger, grab your first aid kit,” he turns his attention to Freddie, “Fred, grab any food and drinks you can find in the fridge,” says Brian, then walks up to John and rubs his back soothingly. “John, you and I are gonna clean up, alright?” Brian looks solemnly at everyone and mutters, “we will meet here in ten minutes. We don’t know who these people are or what exactly they want, but we do know they’re dangerous and that they want Freddie.”

“Why do they want me?” Freddie asks with a shiver as he hugs himself, staring at the woman on the ground with wide eyes.

“Maybe we just found whoever brought you here,” Roger says lowly. “Or at least someone who works for them,” Roger adds with a huff.

“Oh my god,” John suddenly shrieks in horror, watching the woman with wide eyes. “She’s still breathing!”

Chapter Text

“What do we do!?” John says in a panicked tone, grabbing his hair in a tight grip.

“Roger, do you have any chairs we can use? And any rope?” Brian asks with a lifted brow. John, Roger and Freddie’s eyes all widen at the implications of Brian’s sentence.

“Woah - Woah, what the fuck, Brian!?” Roger gasps, his eyes wide in horror, and still gripping his arm in pain. “We’re not tying her up if that’s what you’re insinuating! Have you gone mad!?”

“She tried to kill us and take Freddie away!” Brian retaliates firmly. Freddie steps closer to Roger subconsciously, staring at Brian in trepidation. Freddie feels like a switch has been flipped in Brian somehow, but he quickly convinces himself that they are all just panicked and in a strange situation they have never been in before. Brian is Brian, he couldn’t have possibly changed, right? He is older now, as well. He’s just trying to be logical, and Freddie feels calmer after realizing this.

“He does have a good point, actually,” Freddie admits in a low voice. “As much as I hate it, we can’t leave this woman free to attack us when she wakes up. The least we could do is tend to her wounds while she is unconscious, though,” Freddie says while folding his arms over his chest.

John nods feebly. “Oh-okay, you’re right. I’ll grab a chair from the kitchen and some cleaning supplies,” John says, looking nervous and acting equally as skittish.

“I’ll grab the rope and my first aid kit,” Roger says before turning his attention to Freddie. “Fred, go to the kitchen with John and get some water bottles out of the pantry and anything else you think we should take with us on a long journey,” Roger walks up to the closet that was left open, kicking the woman’s jacket aside to lean over and grab a bag. He groans in pain, grabbing his lower back, and stands up slowly before lazily tossing the bag to Freddie. “Fuck, I miss my younger back,” Roger hisses to himself. Freddie catches the bag and frowns sympathetically at Roger.

“Alright, I’ll stay here and make sure she doesn't wake up,” Brian says, rolling up his sleeves and setting off some strange alarms in Freddie’s brain again for some reason. Freddie wants to ignore them, knowing this is his friend, but he speaks before he can stop himself.

“Actually, Brian, can you come with me while Deaky stays here?” Freddie suggests in a small voice.

“Why?” Brian asks with a tilted head, and it causes a chill to run down Freddie’s spine. John seems to catch on to Freddie’s discomfort and clears his throat.

“I’m the one who knocked her out. It’s the least I can do - make sure she’s okay and all,” John says, looking over at Freddie and Roger for a second before kneeling beside the woman. “Besides, I learned first aid training recently. Once Roger gets back with the kit I can easily patch her up.”

Brian stares at John for a minute before nodding. “Alright, that’s logical. I’ll get the chair and the cleaning supplies,” he smiles at Freddie before walking up to him.

They disperse through the house, Roger leaving to get the rope and a first aid kit, Brian and Freddie walking to the kitchen, and John staying behind to watch the woman. Freddie drops the bag on the kitchen floor and opens the tall pantry, smiling to himself when he sees the food and case of water bottles. He grabs the case and dumps 70% of its contents in the bag before grabbing crackers and granola bars. Freddie looks over at Brain, and the man smiles at him before walking out with a chair and a mop.

Freddie sighs bitterly to himself, not knowing what to do. He considers what the woman said; she won’t hurt his dearest friends if he just complies. Freddie fills the bag until it is almost too heavy to hold, deciding to close the cupboard and zip it up, just in case he has to run with this damn bag on his shoulder at some point. He doesn’t want it any heavier or he would probably collapse with it.

Freddie lugs it over his shoulder, and stares at the floor in thought, wondering what he should do to protect his friends. He doesn’t want any of them to get hurt, and Roger has already been shot in the arm! Freddie startles when he bumps into Roger in the hallway, and he smiles sheepishly at him. The older man nods at Freddie, and they silently walk back to the foyer with their collected items.

The woman is sitting in the chair, her head craning over her shoulder, and her arms hanging by her sides limply. Roger gasps under his breath, causing Freddie to lift a brow at him in concern. Brian and John notice the two other Queens entering the foyer, and Brian outstretches his arm for Roger to hand him the rope. Roger reluctantly hands it over, Brian grabs it, and his hand returns to his side as he stares wide-eyed at the sight in front of him. Brian meticulously ties the woman up, and Roger bites his knuckle, dropping the first aid kit and wiping a sudden tear from his eye.

“I can’t watch this,” Roger mumbles, turning around to leave the room.

“Roger, wait!” John calls after the drummer sadly. Freddie looks back at the woman and when the epiphany clicks in his brain, he feels awfully stupid for wondering why Roger seemed so uncomfortable at the sight. She looks like his wife, but she is not his wife. However, Freddie can still understand what the sight of what looks like your own wife being tied up like that can do to a person.

“I’ll take care of him. You and Brian take care of her. Make sure her head is alright,” Freddie says with a gentle smile, leaning over to pick up the first aid kit. He pulls out what he will need from it to tend to Roger’s wound, and then hands the kit over to John. John smiles at him, giving the singer a single firm nod before they split off.

Freddie finds Roger in the bar beside the kitchen, guzzling straight from a whiskey bottle. Freddie clears his throat, and the drummer stops, pulling the bottle from his lips and wiping away the excess alcohol with a small gasp, trying to catch his breath after drinking for too long. Freddie lifts the supplies in his hands, giving Roger a small, forced smile and not saying a single word. Roger makes a growled huffing sound before sitting down on the barstool. Freddie walks closer, settling himself on the seat beside Roger near his wounded arm, and placing his supplies on the counter in front of him.

“You should be careful with the alcohol. I don't want you to get sick,” Freddie says, his voice passive as he organizes his supplies, assessing what he should do first. He leans over and grabs Roger’s sleeve, causing the man to flinch away suddenly. Freddie frowns in confusion. “I haven’t even touched the wound yet, Rog.”

The drummer sighs, leaning towards Freddie again and taking another silent gulp of whiskey. Freddie takes in a short breath, feeling his fingers tingle as he reaches for Roger’s sleeve again to roll it up. He can’t get it high enough without making it too tight, and he looks at Roger with a lifted brow, silently asking with his eyes. Roger huffs quietly before he shuffles under Freddie’s grasp, causing the singer to let go and watch, wide-eyed, as Roger unbuttons his dress shirt. His nimble fingers struggle after the third button, and Freddie silently offers to help, hovering his hands over the buttons as an open suggestion. Roger gives up, letting Freddie unbutton the rest of the old man’s shirt. He slides the one sleeve off, leaving the shirt half on and focusing his attention on the wounded arm. Freddie blinks in bewilderment when he sees the tattoos on Roger's arm. His gaze trails up his arm in pure astonishment, his eyes following the patterns until his gaze reaches the wound, cruelly slicing through the art on the old man's skin.

Freddie clears his throat, realizing he's been staring for too long. “You’re lucky. The bullet merely grazed your arm,” Freddie says quietly, leaning over to grab the peroxide and a cotton wipe. "I never thought you were the tattoo type, darling," Freddie pulls his lips in a thin line, "- I, uh, I mean, they look nice on you, but, I just never thought you would get any..." Freddie rambles on as he fumbles with the supplies in his hands, pouring the peroxide onto the cotton wipe with trembling fingers. Roger begins to grumble something incomprehensible as his response before flinching at the contact of the peroxide bubbling his open wound.

“Fuck,” Roger growls under his breath before taking another sip from the bottle of whiskey. Freddie ignores his whining, too focused on cleaning out the wound until it looks satisfactory. Freddie gives one last wipe for good measure and nods at his handy work before moving on to grab the gauze.

“It’s not really her, you know,” Freddie says whilst wrapping Roger’s arm carefully.

“I know,” Roger replies in a gruff tone, staring intently at Freddie’s face as the man wraps his wound. “It still hurts to look at her, though. She looks exactly like her…”

“I know,” Freddie finishes wrapping the older man, leaning back and nodding in triumph at his handy work before collecting the items. Roger pulls his arm in the sleeve again, struggling to avoid gazing at Freddie whilst straightening his shirt. He looks down at himself to re-button up his dress shirt, and Freddie stands up, nonchalantly grabbing the whisky bottle and moving it away from Roger.

“Come on, we can go sit somewhere else if you’re not ready to go back in there,” Freddie suggests with a soft, gentle smile that soothes Roger.

The old drummer sighs, shaking his head and standing up. “I’ll never be ready for any of the shit that has occurred in the past twenty-four hours, so let’s help John and Brian out, yeah?”

Freddie nods, and they walk out together, both silently gulping in the face of the unknown that is upon them.

 


 

Roger wanders through the corridors of the building, finishing off the contents in his flask, and groaning grumpily. He tucks it in his coat pocket and stumbles into a large room where nobody is, trying to get some air. He isn’t able to go outside since the press is surrounding the place - this room will do, he decides. Roger quickly realizes where he is when he sees the large photo of Freddie at the end of the room with an obscene amount of flowers in the centre. Roger sits on one of the benches, leaning back and staring at Freddie’s photograph with furrowed brows. He blinks rapidly, realizing he can’t see well, so he puts on his sunglasses to get a better look at the man’s face from where he sits.

“So, here we are, alone at last old friend,” Roger grumbles to himself, lifting a brow at the large photograph on display. “Fuck, how many years has it been now? Twenty…? Who the fuck knows…?” Roger stands up, staggering in his step as he sluggishly approaches the display picture. He removes his sunglasses, holding them loosely between his fingertips as he wobbles in his spot, boring his eyes through the image of his deceased friend.

“You had to go and die before I could -” Roger blinks, feeling tears stream down his cheeks, “- could tell you… I don’t know…” Roger pinches the bridge of his nose, scrunching his eyes closed, trying to focus. “That’s the problem, isn’t it? I had no chance to tell you what’s been on my mind lately, and I don’t have you here to tell me that I’m just being ridiculous. It’s hard to convince yourself that everything is normal when the world comes crashing down, huh?” Roger’s words are mumbled and slurred, and he can barely stand up straight at this point.

“We already had the damn eulogy, but I never got to say what I really wanted to say. I can’t say this shit to anyone but you, Fred. I need you... your help…” Roger sighs before abruptly kicking the bench behind him. He yelps in pain, grabbing his foot and cursing under his breath. He wants to break everything around him but refuses to ruin Freddie’s display. He can’t do that to his friend. “But you’re dead, so you wouldn’t even care, right? You wouldn't even fucking care if I broke everything in this damn room because you’re not here to yell at me and call me a big baby! And you aren’t here to…” Roger sniffs, realizing he’s sobbing now.

Roger throws his sunglasses at the display photo aggressively, yelling in pure boiling rage as he does so. They feebly bounce off of the photo, completely unaffected as they land thirty centimetres from his feet. “You bastard! You left before I got the bloody chance to tell you!” Roger rubs his hands through his hair stressfully. “I’m confused, Fred, and I just need to hear you call me a bloody idiot so I can move on with my life, but I can’t. I can’t move on, because I never got to say it out loud…” Roger exhales deeply through his nose. “I never told you how much you mean to me enough times while you were here. I wish I could have saved you, but I don’t know how… I need a damn DeLorean to save you at this point, but how do I stop a disease? How can I possibly revert those effects if I don’t know when it all started? And what the fuck do I even do to stop this from ever happening? What could possibly save you?”

Roger suddenly collapses to his knees, wiping the snot dripping from his nose. He sits like this for a while, letting his shoulders shake as he finally cries for the first time since the actual day of Freddie’s death. He felt so numb for a few days, but now his life is flashing before his eyes. All of those years are suddenly meaningless, and the end to his best friend’s life was abrupt and completely unfair. “I could have saved you if I wasn’t such a bloody idiot, Fred. I should have told you years ago -” he sighs, “- but I do swear that I was going to say it that day. I was going to tell you because I knew you didn’t have much time, but I waited too long… I’m sorry, Fred...I’m sorry…” Roger wipes his eyes and grabs his sunglasses. He stands up, dusting off his pants and putting his sunglasses back on. He walks up to the display and presses his hand on Freddie’s image, gently stroking his fingers down the flat image of the man’s cheek. Roger sighs again, shoving his hands in his pockets and turning to leave, never looking back as he exits the room.

 


 

Freddie doesn’t know how long they were sitting in the living room, watching this woman for hours before she starts to groan in pain. They all immediately jump to their feet, ready to defend themselves with various objects collected from Roger’s house to use as weapons. The woman flutters her eyes open, squinting and groaning in pain. She moves her arm, but suddenly widens her eyes when she realizes that she is tied up.

“You’re awake,” Brian says in a deadpan tone, causing Freddie to get that odd chill again. “Who are you?”

The woman rolls her eyes before looking over at Roger. She smirks at him, and he grimaces, looking away from her. She lifts an eyebrow at him and chuckles at him lowly, causing a chill to run down all of their spines. “No bullshit, huh? Just cutting to the chase… I like the enthusiasm...” she says, trailing off with a smirk.

“Why pretend to be his wife? And I’m also assuming my own wife wasn’t herself, either?” Brian asks with a lifted brow and a deep frown, ignoring her previous statement. Freddie scowls at the woman, finally understanding why Brian is acting so cold and mechanical.

“Wow, congratulations, you figured out the secret! You should be Detective Brian May,” the woman says in a low, mocking tone before chuckling to herself again. “Hope you had a great time with my colleague, Doctor May. Cheating on your wife sure isn’t something new for you, isn’t it?”

Brian’s jaw twitches and Roger suddenly charges at the woman with glazed over eyes filled with rage. John is quick to grab his arm and hold him back, and Freddie grabs his other arm just before Roger can swing a left hook at the woman. Her laughter grows as Roger’s growl of fury rumbles louder. Freddie presses his palm on Roger’s chest and shoves him backwards out of earshot from the woman, looking over his shoulder briefly before looking into Roger’s eyes.

“You can’t let her get to you. She wants you to get mad. We need to get information from her - find out who she works for and why I was brought here,” Freddie explains in a low voice.

Roger looks back at the woman and then at Freddie, keeping his jaw clenched, but he nods in understanding; a silent promise to stay back. They both walk back into the group again, and the woman grins widely at Roger, almost looking genuine if not for the wicked look in her eyes.

“Welcome back, Mr. Taylor. Glad we don’t have to put you in the time out corner. You should really get that temper of yours checked out before you have a heart attack or something, sweetheart,” the woman says in a sarcastic, mocking tone.

“Answer the damn question. Who are you?” Roger bites back through clenched teeth. “No more funny games. Just answer the questions we ask.”

“Or what, you’ll kill me? Johnny boy over here almost did that earlier, didn’t he?” She turns her attention to a horrified-looking John. “That was you who knocked me unconscious, wasn't it? You hit me pretty good. You could’ve probably killed me with one more blow.”

“I never wanted to kill you. I never wanted to hurt anyone, ever!” John replies, nearly bursting into tears.

She pouts at him with false sympathy. “I know, honey, but unfortunately you whacked my head, and you can’t take that back,” she says in a sarcastic baby voice. “You’ll have to live with that for the rest of your pathetic little life -”

“That is enough!” Freddie hisses, swinging the golf club in his hand against the floor and cracking the marble. He points the club at her threateningly and nearly snarls at her in pure rage. “You listen here, you motherfucker. Come at me all you want, but don’t you dare attempt your pathetic mind games on my friends. Just tell me who you are and what you want with me, and maybe we’ll untie you.”

John, Roger, and Brian all look at Freddie with wide eyes, opening their mouths and nearly cringing with disgust at his unplanned promise to the woman. The woman smirks again, lifting her brow and tilting her chin up to get a better look at Freddie from her angle.

“You aren’t hearing a peep outta me, Mr. Mercury,” she pauses to lick a bit of blood off of her lips. “But I do suggest that if you don’t want to get caught when you least expect it, you should probably start fleeing now while you still can. Consider this my generous warning,” she says in a suave tone, not having a single care in the world.

Roger looks at the others, feeling paranoid out of his mind as he ruffles his hands through his short white hair. “Fuck, we have to go! I told you we should just run! We don’t know who the hell is after us!”

“Exactly,” Brian says darkly before turning his attention to the woman. “We don’t know who is after us, which is why she is going to tell us.”

“Brian, you’re being stupid right now,” John pleas desperately, already halfway out of the room with Roger. “We can discuss this later, but we have to go!”

“No!” Brian roars, leaning in and grabbing the woman by the neck. Freddie’s red flag alarms go off again, and he backs away slowly towards John and Roger, feeling his cold sweat roll sluggishly across his steaming skin. “Tell us, what do you want with Freddie!” Brian growls into the woman’s face, and the three other men stare at the scene, their mouths agape, and their bodies are frozen in absolute shock and horror.

“Uhh, Brian -” Roger tries, but his quiet voice is immediately cut short when Brian slaps the woman. Freddie nonchalantly leans over to pick up their getaway duffel bag and presses into John with the bag cradled against his chest.

“Tell us right now!” Brian hisses in anger. The woman chokes, her body wiggling as tears begin to stream down her cheeks, and she nods feebly. Brian releases his hold on her neck, and she coughs.

“It was just a bloody experiment, alright?” she mutters in a hoarse tone, her voice still raw from being strangled.

“An experiment?” Freddie asks with a shaking voice, his whole body trembling in absolute fear.

“Yes. There are so many of us, and you’re all royally fucked, so you better start running,” she says, flickering her gaze toward Brian and then back at Freddie again. Freddie takes her silent cue and shoves Roger and John towards the exit in a hurry. Before the others can really comprehend what’s happening, Brain chases after them, shoving Freddie into the door, causing the singer to fall over. Just as Brian is about to bend over Freddie, Roger clocks him in the jaw, causing the man to stumble away, rubbing his face. The three men nearly gag in horror as Brian’s face is mangled up, and he peels his skin away to reveal a much younger face of some unknown stranger.

“Holy fuck!” Freddie shrieks as he stumbles to his feet. John throws the door open, and the three men run out of Roger’s house, the strange man running after them with an empty glare in his eyes.

“Shit shit, shit, shit, fuck, oh fuck!” Freddie shrieks on a loop as they scurry to Roger’s car, and practically throw themselves into the vehicle. The doors lock just in time as the man approaches the vehicle, slamming his fists on the window in pure rage. They all scream as Roger starts the car, and the man steps in front of it with a quirked brow, silently challenging Roger. Roger narrows his eyes and switches gears before adjusting his grip on the steering wheel.

“Run him over!” Freddie shrieks from the backseat, and John covers his eyes as Roger slams his foot on the gas pedal, driving straight towards the man. Roger turns his wheel around as the man leaps out of the way last second, and Roger peels the car towards the front gates.

“Open the gates - open the gates!” Freddie yelps quickly, pointing at the closed gates in front of them with a wobbling finger.

John is quick to react, pressing the button on the roof of Roger’s car, and the mechanical sounds of the gates pierce their ears. Roger narrows his eyes, not slowing down while John and Freddie brace themselves for impact. The car scrapes between the partially open gates, and Roger jerks the wheel before speeding down the street. All three of them are panting heavily as the weight of the entire situation finally hangs over their heads, and Freddie is the first to speak after a solid five minutes of painful silence.

“Well, we’re absolutely fucked…” Freddie mutters with wide eyes and trembling hands still gripping onto the duffel bag for dear life.

Chapter Text

The heavy rain pelts against the car as it moves down the street. The wheels splash puddles of water onto the dark sidewalks that are periodically illuminated under the streetlamps. Freddie shifts uncomfortably in the back seat, shivering slightly from his cold, heavy, and damp clothing causing an uneasy weight to be crushing him after everything that has happened. The two old men in the front seat shiver ever so slightly as well, the rain still evidently dripping from the scraggly tips of their hair as they stare vacantly at the dark roads ahead. The sun has fully set, and they’re driving to nowhere without letting a single peep escape their lips. Freddie squirms in his seat again, cringing when the leather squeaks under his weight. His shoes are soggy, and his skin is coated in a silver layer of London rain, but his spine is still chilling from the sight of an imposter pretending to be Brian and actually convincing them it was really him. How long was he an imposter? Freddie silently wonders this as the sound of rain and squeaky windshield wipers buzz like white noise in the background.

“Where are we going?” John croaks out before coughing into his fist to clear his dry throat.

“I -” Roger begins, pausing to look at Freddie through the rearview mirror, “- I don’t know,” he grumbles, flickering his gaze back to the road. At some point, while he drove, he had slipped on his spectacles to see better, and Freddie determines that Roger looks even more like Santa Claus with his glasses on.

“We need to find Brian,” John says matter-of-factly, keeping his gaze somewhere on the dashboard in front of him.

 Maybe - and I know this is going to sound stupid…” Freddie begins, gulping nervously when John looks over his shoulder at the singer in the backseat. “... Maybe he’s still at home? Maybe he was being distracted by Anita, and they’re fine, and the imposter at Roger’s place wanted us to believe he is not okay so we can give up on him?” Freddie sighs apprehensively as he scratches nervously at his hangnail. “I think we should go back to Brian’s house.”

“You’re right, that does sound stupid,” Roger replies in a low voice. He flickers his gaze at Freddie through the rearview mirror and smirks. “It’s so stupid that I actually think you’re onto something.”

“Oh god,” John sighs, rubbing his face stressfully. “I just want to go home and sleep and wake up knowing none of this is real,” John mumbles tiredly into his hands.

“You can’t go home,” Freddie says in a sombre tone. “I think it’s best that once we find Brian, we all hide somewhere and figure this all out. We know these people are dangerous, who knows what they could do to your families,” Freddie says before he worries his lip between his teeth.

John sits up straight at that word: family. “That’s precisely why I have to go home!” John whips his head around to face Roger. “I need to protect my family from these psychopaths. Please, take me home. I’m done with this, all of this,” John starts hyperventilating, reaching desperately for the window button to crack it open for some fresh air.

“None of us can go home now, John. We’re in too deep,” Roger replies stiffly, keeping his attention on the road as he redirects his route.

“Why the fuck did you call me this morning!? I was fine, I was happy!” John yells in fury. He whips his head around and points at Freddie. “And then you had to show up and ruin everything I had going for myself!”

Freddie leans back, completely aghast at John’s reaction. He quickly furrows his brows in anger and points back at John threateningly. “I didn't choose to come here! I was perfectly fine living my life in nineteen-seventy-eight, having a grand meal with my bandmates when an earthquake happened and I slipped into some time-portal to the future! I would love to just wake up where I belong and pretend none of this ever happened as well, but life’s not fair, so deal with it!” Freddie roars. John opens his mouth to respond, but shuts it immediately, staring wide-eyed at Freddie. He dips his head down and sighs, wiping a stray tear slipping out of his eye.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t… I didn’t mean it like that…” John mutters tiredly. “I just want everything to be normal again…”

Freddie nods in understanding, immediately feeling calmer again. He leans forward and rests his hand on top of John’s that is gripping the back of his seat. John smiles at Freddie, feeling his eyes begin to water again at the feeling of his friend’s warm hand resting on his in support; something he hasn’t felt in many years.

It isn’t long before Roger pulls onto Brian’s property and nervously changes gears to park as they all stare at the brightly lit mansion in front of them. John’s car still sits in the driveway where it was left earlier today. Freddie picks up the window scraper from the backseat, ready to use the rubber-covered plastic as a weapon. They all silently exit the vehicle, and they ease their way to the front door. Roger hesitates at the door, noticing that it’s been left slightly ajar.

“This is a fucking terrible idea,” Roger whispers with an exasperated expression.

“We have to save Brian,” Freddie replies in a harsher whispered tone, giving Roger a pointed glare.

John is the one to push the door open, and they all step inside wearily. John softly closes the door behind them, and Roger immediately hurries to the front closet to grab the first thing he can get his hands on, which happens to be an umbrella. He passes John a smaller umbrella, and the three of them hold their makeshift weapons up.

“Wish I didn’t drop that goddamned golf club,” Freddie whispers as they each tiptoe through the mansion, checking every room they pass as cautiously as possible.

“I wish a lot of things that happened tonight didn’t happen, but that’s life, I suppose,” Roger replies in a softer tone before leaning against a wall and urging the other two to do the same. They all hold their breaths, pressing up against the wall as Roger pokes his head around the corner. They wait until he gives them a firm nod and they enter the kitchen.

They all suspiciously circle around the table that has a note and two sealed envelopes laying on it. They stare at them with wide, confused eyes, and silently ask each other what to do with them. Freddie leans over and grabs the note, clearing his throat as he begins to read it out loud in a soft whisper.

“If you’re looking for Brian, he is no longer here. We have him, and we will take your other two friends if you continue to not cooperate with us, Mr. Mercury. We are watching your every move, so we know where you are at all times. You have to decide to either let us take you to our facility, or suffer the consequences of not obliging to our orders. We apologize greatly for your unsteady landing as our calculations were a bit... off, and we were not there to pick you up in time. We promise to release Brian and let your other friends go free so long as you agree to come with us and they agree to forget any of this ever happened. We highly recommend you consider our offer…” Freddie lowers the note and furrows his brows. “P.S. There are two envelopes addressed for Mr. Deacon and Mr. Taylor. I’m sure they will agree to let us take you after reading our little messages for them…”

Freddie looks over at John and Roger, and they both stare at their respective envelopes with wide eyes. John sighs before leaning over and placing his umbrella on the table before grabbing his envelope. Roger watches John open his, and finally decides to put his own umbrella down and pick up his own envelope as well. Roger and John open their letters and read silently, causing Freddie to squirm uncomfortably as he silently watches for their reactions.

John’s eyes widen, and he immediately folds the letter with a panicked expression. Roger’s grip on his letter tightens, and he begins to tremble as he stares into the paper with glassy eyes. His body is shaking as he crumples the letter in his fists, his eyes unmoving as his stare becomes distant and empty. Freddie feels his heartbeat pick up when he watches their reactions.

“Wha-what the fuck did they say?” Freddie asks breathlessly, leaning forward to hold Roger’s arm. Roger flinches away, shaking his head as tears silently stream down his cheeks. Freddie isn't having any of it, however, and he immediately leans over to snatch the letters out of their trembling hands before they can fully realize what he is doing.

“Freddie, no! Don’t look at those!” John shrieks, grasping feebly at the notes Freddie is holding away from them.

“Please, you can’t -” Roger stops talking when Freddie opens John’s letter first and stares at it for a long while. He simply drops it on the table and begins to uncrumple Roger’s as if he were possessed. Roger cowers away as Freddie straightens out the paper, and Roger slams against the wall and slides down as Freddie reads it with wide eyes.

The three of them stay silent as Freddie sits down at the table slowly, silently considering what each letter means. Both letters, lying exposed on the table, and they each only have one sentence printed on them. One sentence each that all of them thought they forgot but knew they only just repressed for years.

On John’s paper, it simply says: She isn’t the first person you nearly killed. Don’t forget her...

On Roger’s paper is a name; one that they all thought that they managed to forget: Sylvia.

Freddie leans over the table, resting his face in his hands as he suddenly remembers what happened all those years ago. How could he have been so stupid? Freddie remembers his dream during his unconscious state in the earthquake, and he finally understands why he had that strange dream, now. That lost memory is not forgotten but rather repressed deep within his psyche. Freddie dreamed of the day before he nearly died, and a part of him wonders how he repressed this memory so well. Freddie looks at Roger and John, his eyes big and full of pure compassion for his friends as they, too, remember that dreadful memory.

 


 

They drove for an hour, finally making it home at around five-thirty in the morning. John laughs about something he can’t even remember as he stumbles out of the van, knocking over some of his beer bottles. Brian is quick to support his friend, chuckling to himself as John nuzzles into his shoulder.

“You sure can drink, Deaky,” Brain comments as he helps the bassist to their apartment building. Roger grabs Brian’s Red Special out of the back and hands it to Freddie before leaning over to grab John’s bass. Roger shuts the back of the van and locks it up for the night.

The four of them stumble up the stairs, laughing drunkenly about their picnic under the stars, and laughing at Brian nerding out over the meteor showers. They finally make it to their flat, and Brian pulls John closer to his chest. “Thanks again for taking me to see the meteor shower. I had a lot of fun,” Brian says endearingly, his cheeks dusted with shades of crimson from the alcohol buzzing in his system. Roger waves him off before unlocking the door, his stance more firm than the other three since he drank a considerably less amount of alcohol than the lot.

“I had a grand ‘ol time. Let’s do that again,” John slurs tiredly, and the rest of them nod in agreement, chuckling drunkenly at John’s battered grin.

“You’re absolutely shitfaced, darling,” Freddie coos, pinching John’s cheek with a smile. “You know, you are absolutely adorable when you’re drunk, Deaky.”

“I know,” John replies with a proud smile, his eyes crinkling with his grin. They all laugh, and Roger shoves the door open finally, rubbing his shoulder and squinting into the dark flat with utter confusion.

“There’s something blocking the door…” Roger trails off as he flicks on the light and reveals the apartment completely in shambles. Furniture flipped over, and clothing was strewn about the floor. “The fuck?” Roger grumbles with furrowed eyebrows as he squints at the mess in front of him.

Brian and Freddie feel sober all of the sudden as they enter the room, dragging a nearly unconscious Deaky with them as they step over the chairs blocking the front hallway. Roger freezes in his spot, his grip on John’s bass tightening as he stares at the hunched over person sitting at the open window. They forgot to close their window before leaving for their show.

The hair of the hunched over person is long and brown, and it flips over when they turn around, revealing a woman with blotchy skin and tears streaming down her eyes. Roger drops the bass guitar in his grip, causing Freddie to jump at the sound echoing through the silent apartment.

“Sylvia, what the fuck are you doing here?” Roger whispers with a raspy voice.

“Where the fuck were you?” Sylvia replies, standing up and slowly approaching Roger. He gulps nervously, stepping back subconsciously as she gets closer to him. She stops when she sees him step back. Brian and Freddie look back and forth between the two of them, eyes wide and utterly confused.

“We went to a gig - I told you that yesterday afternoon,” Roger replies with a cracked voice, sounding like he’s about to burst into tears. Freddie notices the drummer's hands shake at his sides.

“Yeah, until eleven. It’s five-thirty in the morning! You haven’t called me or anything! I was worried sick, Roger!” She snaps back, her shrill voice causing all of the men to flinch uncomfortably. The air feels tense and thick, and even John starts to slowly sober up as he watches the scene unfold with furrowed brows.

“Right,” Roger laughs nervously, animatedly slapping his head as if he just recalled a funny memory. “We all had a little spontaneous trip tonight to surprise Brian! You see -” Roger is cut off by Sylvia grabbing the snowglobe from the shelf beside her and throwing it towards Roger’s feet. He flinches backwards, his whole body trembling as the glass shatters mere centimetres from his shoes. The other three band members suddenly feel sick to their stomachs as they watch his girlfriend sneer at him with pure disgust and rage.

“So you went out drinking again, huh?” She hisses at him. “You went to the pubs and shagged a few girls, is that it?”

Roger’s eyes widen and he shakes his head, waving his arms defensively. “No-no-no-no, god no, that didn’t happen! We were just -”

“Don’t lie to me, Roger!” Sylvia screams with fury, stomping towards him with her fists clenched.

“We didn’t go to any pubs, I swear!” Brian steps in, literally stepping between them before she can get closer to Roger. “We just went to a field and stayed up all night to watch a meteor shower. We did have a couple of beers, but Roger only had two or three since he was driving. I promise - that’s all we did!” Brian says with desperation.

She frowns at Brian, and Freddie steps in as well, nodding and lifting his hand in a scout’s honour pose. “I can vouch for it as well, darling. We swear that’s what happened. Roger didn’t even bat an eye at anyone tonight. We played a good show and spent the night in an open field together. That’s all, darling.”

Sylvia pinches her nose in frustration and sighs. “Can you three go to your rooms, please? I need to speak with Roger… alone,” she says with a pointed glare at Roger.

Brian nods feebly, stepping away and leaning over to pick up John’s bass and his own guitar from Freddie’s loose grip. Freddie steps back, but freezes when he notices Roger rub his sore shoulder subconsciously and chew his lip so hard he draws a little blood. Freddie remembers Roger rubbing his shoulder after the show, and he finally notices the horrendous purple mark slightly revealed under his loose shirt. Freddie gets the sudden urge to run, but can’t find it in himself to move a muscle.

“Hey, uhh, why are you still standing there? Can you go ?” Sylvia asks again, more rudely this time as she glares at Freddie. Roger looks at Freddie with wide, glossy eyes, and something inside of him snaps.

“No,” Freddie says firmly, causing Brian and John to stop in their tracks and turn around.

“What?” Sylvia asks, aghast and throwing her hands on her hips.

“You broke into our flat in the dead of night and destroyed half of our shit,” Freddie points vaguely at the snowglobe, “that was my fucking snowglobe you just shattered, by the way.”

Brian and John stand more firmly now and Roger lets a hint of a smile appear on his lips as Freddie crosses his arms sassily. “Get the fuck out now before I call the police on you,” Freddie says in a deadpan tone.

“Excuse me, you can’t -”

“And another thing, darling,” Freddie interrupts her, pointing his finger in the air. “Roger here is an adult that can do whatever the fuck he wants, and you cannot make decisions for him, got that?”

“But -”

“Roger has been faithful to you since day one, and I am sick and tired of your bullshit. You have done enough damage, so why don’t you get the fuck out now before I have you arrested?” Freddie interrupts again, having no more patience for this woman.

She looks over at Roger, her eyes wide and her mouth hanging open in shock. “Are you going to let him talk to me, your girlfriend, like that!?” She asks with crossed arms and a lifted brow.

Roger just blinks vacantly at her, balling his hands into white-knuckled fists before releasing them again. “Actually, I would never let Freddie speak to my girlfriend like that, but I don’t see my girlfriend.”

Everyone's eyes widen, and something snaps in Sylvia. She bursts into tears and falls on her knees, right onto the shattered glass of the broken snow globe. Roger stares down at her with wide eyes, and Brian hurries to the telephone.

She continues to sob and beg Roger to admit he was just kidding as Brian speaks to the police on the phone, trying to keep his voice as steady as possible whilst watching the scene unfold in front of him. Freddie slowly grabs Roger’s hand and silently urges him to walk away from her, and Roger nods silently. Just as he steps on a piece of glass, she lifts her head and scowls at him.

 


 

What happened next was a blur. A blur that used to be repressed, but now is not. Sylvia was quick to charge at Roger with a piece of glass, but Freddie pushed him out of the way just in time. The singer rubs his faded scar on his abdomen as the painful memory flashes behind his eyelids, and he looks over at the two older men with watery eyes.

Roger is beyond tears at this point as he recounts every day after the incident. He remembers how he used to wake up from nightmares and had constant panic attacks for years. He would get furious, snapping at his friends and throwing the nearest objects when the pain became too hard to bear. He felt he never deserved his friend’s patience, but he received it, and he is forever grateful for it. He hasn’t spoken her name or even thought of her name since he wrote his song, Surrender. Roger blinks back tears, slowly rubbing his head, trying to rid himself of the headache beginning to form from terrible memories.

John nearly collapses as he recalls drunkenly shoving her away after she attacked Freddie, and cannot blink away the sight of pure red glistening in the moonlight. John shakes his head, trying to rid himself of the horrid memory, and Freddie’s soothing hand is immediately resting on his shoulder. John and Roger look up at Freddie as he kneels beside them, his hands on their shoulders and smiling at them with pure sympathy.

Sylvia is the simple name in Roger’s letter. Sylvia is a painful reminder. Sylvia is the threat, speaking loud and clear. None of the men speak, but they all fully understand what these cruel people are capable of. Sylvia is a reminder of mortality and pain. Sylvia is a reminder that if they get in the way, things can go horribly wrong not only for them but for Freddie as well.

Roger stares into Freddie’s eyes and finally finds that his previously dried tears come rushing back. He's grateful that Freddie is here to comfort him as he cries his pain away. John cries too, and Freddie pulls them into a group hug, keeping their eyes closed and letting themselves feel something for a fleeting moment.

“You only tried to protect us, Deaky, and we are forever in your debt for stopping it,” Freddie mumbles through his tears, sniffling and smiling at the old man with nothing but compassion and love.

“And it’s not your fault, Roger. You were trapped, and I’m still proud of you for ending that god-awful relationship right then and there,” Freddie says with glassy eyes and a wide, genuine smile showcasing his large teeth.

Roger sniffles and pulls Freddie into a titanium grip, smiling into the man’s neck and feeling nostalgic over his familiar musky scent from being in the rain. John joins in as well, hugging them in return, and not paying attention to their surroundings.

“So, I gather you three understand the terms of our deal?” comes a familiar feminine voice. They all pull away from each other abruptly, and Freddie whips his head over his shoulder to see none other than Anita - or what appears to be Anita - standing there with a gun and a smug grin on her face. “As long as Freddie agrees to come with us, nobody will get hurt. That is a promise,” she says in a deadpan tone.

“What do you want with me?” Freddie asks shakily, slowly turning as he rises to his feet cautiously.

“It’s not what we want, so much as what we need from you, Mr. Mercury,” she gives him a strained smile. “I can assure you that when we have completed our mission with you, you will be sent home safely, and nobody will get hurt. We can also wipe away all of those painful memories. We can be the good guys, here. However, you can so easily make us the bad guys just like that,” Anita says, snapping her fingers at the end to accentuate her point. “What’s it gonna be, Mr. Mercury? Are you going to cooperate and save your friends? Or are you gonna be Mr. Bad Guy today?” Anita challenges with a low chuckle at the end, enjoying her wickedly cruel joke.

Freddie considers her offer, looking over his shoulder at his friends who are now standing behind him. His eyes flicker towards the papers on the table and sighs. He protected them many times before, so he sure as hell is going to do it again. “They’re my family,” Freddie begins, his eyes still on the letters laying on the table. He sluggishly cranes his neck to Anita, his features remaining stoic. “Of course I’ll cooperate. As long as you keep your word.”

Roger and John open their mouths to protest, but Freddie waves his hand, dismissing them and solemnly shaking his head at them. “Look, they can send me home. You should never have gotten involved, and I apologize for interrupting your lives.”

“Freddie, I didn’t mean what I said earlier,” John says with sad eyes. “I care about you so much, Fred.”

“Freddie, please,” Roger pleads, putting his hand on the singer’s shoulder. “Think about this.”

“I have,” Freddie sighs. “They’ll free Brian and let you all go.”

“How do you know they aren’t lying to us?” Roger whispers, looking up at the imposter in front of them. “They lied about being mine and Brian’s wives…what else could they be lying about?”

Anita’s lips tug into a hint of a smirk, and she gives him a slight nod. “Don’t you worry your pretty little heads. We plan to keep our promises…” she replies almost robotically.

Freddie looks back at Roger and John and nods, grabbing Roger's arm and lifting it away from his shoulder. “I’ll be fine. Don’t you worry about me…I’m technically already dead anyway, so what difference will it make? Your life will be unaffected with my lack of presence…”

Something inside of Roger snaps, and his jaw twitches. He is quick to react impulsively, swiftly grabbing the nearest chair and throwing it at the woman before she has a chance to react. She fires the gun as the chair disarms her, and they all duck, covering their ears as they ring from the loud echo. Freddie reacts quickly, running at the woman, and pulling her away from the gun by grabbing her shirt, and turning her quickly to punch her square in the jaw. The action immediately knocks her unconscious, and Freddie kicks the gun far away from her. He looks up at Roger with wide eyes, and the man is already approaching her and digging through her pockets.

“What the hell are you doing? We have to go!” John yelps in horror as he grabs his head stressfully.

Roger keeps searching until he pulls out a laminated badge, showing it off to Freddie and John with a frown. “We have our first clue. Wherever she works, we can most likely use this to sneak in and save Brian.”

“Great, now can we go hide somewhere before we get caught and killed!?” Freddie says exasperatedly, his eyes wide as he stands with John halfway out of the kitchen. Roger nods and stands up tall. The other two begin running, but Roger picks up the woman’s gun and shoves it in the back of his trousers before hurrying after them. As they exit the house and run into the rainstorm, Freddie hyper focuses on entering the car with one thought in mind; ‘Roger is such a bloody impulsive idiot, and now we’re all going to die...’

Chapter Text

The heavy rain appears to be a foggy silver blanket surrounding the car, the darkness illuminated in the empty streets by a few lonely streetlights. The windshield wipers are switched to their highest setting, but they still struggle to keep the windshield clear. Roger drives with his eyes focused on the road, but his mind wandering elsewhere, drifting away with the rain they drive through on this dark and stormy night. He thinks about the cool metal of the gun pressing into his lower back, and the younger version of the deceased singer he was best friends with sitting in his back seat. He thinks about John and his family, and he begins to think of his own family - his wife, his kids, heck, even his ex-wives. Roger blinks away the intruding thoughts when oncoming headlights blind his vision for a moment.

Roger stretches his fingers and re-adjusts his grip, suppressing himself from rolling his neck in pain. His arm is throbbing from the gunshot wound, and his entire body is screaming at him to lay down and sleep. He flickers his gaze at the blue glowing digital clock on his car’s dashboard, and he sighs bitterly at the time; 21:13 PM.

Roger is, frankly, too old for this; he should be in bed sleeping right now. This was supposed to be the week where he took a much-needed break, catching up on his sleep and spending recreational time with his children. Roger feels his heart leap into his throat when the Bluetooth in his car starts to play a ringing tone and announcing that ‘ Lola Daisy May’ is calling him. Roger immediately panics. ‘Shit, shit, fuck!’

“Who’s Lola?” Freddie asks with furrowed brows, and John looks over at Roger with wide eyes.

“Don’t pick it up!” John says in a quick, panicked tone.

Roger feels his sweat pooling up on the back of his neck, and he rubs it uncomfortably, cringing at the name displayed on the screen. “I can’t just ignore her, she’ll worry! I don’t want her attempting to come home to see me if I don’t pick up!” Roger replies with a horrendous voice crack as his octave tone rises in fear of the unknown. Freddie and John open their mouths to protest, but Roger cuts them off. “Stay absolutely silent, you two,” Roger says before leaning over and pressing the button.

There is a beep, and suddenly the car is filled with a distorted background noise of what sounds like a party. Roger clears his throat and forces out a smile to put on a normal facade. “Lola, darling, how are you?” Roger says in a scarily believable cheery tone. Freddie tries to hide a smirk at how impressed he is with Roger’s acting skills. Although, if this Lola girl can see Roger’s face, she would immediately know something is wrong.

There’s a pause on the other end before a mumbling voice of what sounds like a teenage girl speaks over the phone. “Mmmm, dad?” the girl slurs tiredly, and then she giggles a bit. “I’m a bit knackered, dad.”

Roger sighs and pinches the bridge of his nose. Freddie’s eyes widen when the epiphany strikes. Lola is Roger’s daughter. Roger exhales deeply and then refocuses his gaze on the road. “Where are you, darling?”

“I’m at my friend’ssss -” she hiccups and giggles, “- I’m at my friend’s flat. They live in a house together, and there was a lot of alcohol that I have consumed...and nobody here is sober...and it's raining…and I forgot my wallet at home...”

Roger gulps nervously and glances over at John with wide eyes. “Could you pick me up? I’m sorry to bother you - I know how busy you are, dad…” Lola says in a slow, sad tone.

Roger worries his bottom lip between his teeth and tightens his grip on the steering wheel. Roger is reminded of the feeling of the cool metallic gun resting against his lower back, and he glances at Freddie in his rearview mirror. His heartbeat picks up speed, and he starts panting heavily, realizing he’s beginning to hyperventilate. John puts his hand on Roger’s shoulder and rubs it soothingly, immediately noticing the oncoming panic attack.

“Um, Lola, sweetheart, I really wish I could -”

“We’ll be there soon, Lola. What’s the address, dear?” John says, cutting Roger off.

“Oh, you’re with…”

“It’s uncle Deaky, honey,” John says with a glowing smile. Lola giggles.

“Oh, uncle Deaky, hello...sorry about this,” Lola mumbles drunkenly, her nervous laughter echoing through the car.

“Don’t fret dear, just give us the address and we’ll be right over. We were driving somewhere for work, but we don’t mind making a few pit stops along the way,” John says, trying to avoid Roger’s pointed glare.

Lola gives the address, and John puts it into Roger’s GPS. Freddie feels his heart attempting to leap out of his throat as the two old men in the front seat say their farewells to Lola and hang up the phone. Then Roger smacks the back of John’s head.

“What the fuck, Deaky!?” Roger snaps angrily, frowning deeply and glancing at the man beside him for a moment before looking at the road again.

“Being a father comes first, Roger -”

“I know that!” Roger bites back furiously. “In case you’ve let a screw loose in your head in the past twenty-four hours, may I remind you that we have a bit of a predicament happening right this second that I do not want my daughter involved in!?” Roger gesticulates his right hand vaguely in Freddie’s direction, and John sighs.

“She’s drunk, and she needs a ride home, Roger -”

“I was going to tell her to message one of her siblings -”

“Don’t you think she’s already tried that? I know my kids only call me for something like that if their siblings are busy. She needs you right now, Roger -”

Freddie feels his ears ringing painfully as the two argue in the front seats, and he rubs his head with a low groan. The dull pain in his skull becomes sharp, and his nose begins to bleed as all noise turns into static. Freddie becomes utterly disoriented, and grabs his head with vigour, not realizing he started groaning loud enough to stop the argument between the two old men.

“You alright, Freddie? Fred!? ” Roger calls worriedly, glancing at the singer through his rearview mirror periodically. John turns himself around to directly face Freddie, and his eyes widen in horror.

“Roger, his nose is bleeding!” John says nervously, nearly shouting. Freddie’s eyes roll to the back of his head and he falls over when they drive over a pothole. The bandage on his head goes loose, and John sees part of the gash on his head slightly exposed. The wound reopens as Freddie’s head bounces off of the window, and the gauze on his head starts to slowly stain with red.

“Fuck!” Roger hisses, quickly pulling over onto a dirt road between the trees. Roger puts the car in park and is quick to remove his seatbelt and shove his door open. He opens the back door, lifts Freddie’s head, and rests it on his lap. “Freddie? Fred, wake up!” Roger says urgently, lightly tapping the singer’s unconscious face. He wipes the blood from his friend’s nose and looks up at John with wide, worried eyes.

“John, open my glove department and grab the tissue box and the flashlight!” Roger says in a controlled tone, and John swiftly follows his orders. John fumbles through the items in the glove department, quickly stopping to turn on the light in the car before looking in again. He grabs the tissue box and the flashlight just as Roger asked, and he carefully hands them to the drummer. Roger takes a tissue and uses it to wipe away the blood from Freddie’s nose and what dripped down his forehead. He then uses his thumb to lift Freddie’s eyelid up to reveal his lazy brown eye staring vacantly at nothing. He uses his index finger to open Freddie’s other eyelid and examines his eyes carefully. Roger puts the flashlight on the lowest setting and shines it in Freddie’s right eye, watching carefully to see if his pupil will shrink. He moves the light over to the left eye, watching with a frown.

Freddie is still unresponsive, but his pupils luckily shrink from the light. Roger feels his blood run cold when Freddie's eyes fall shut again, not even moving a muscle in his lap. “I think his concussion is worse than we suspected,” Roger says quickly, looking over at John with a pained expression. “He might have a serious brain injury. We have to take him to the hospital!”

“We can’t do that, Roger!” John says quickly, grabbing his head stressfully. “There will be too many questions, and those horrible people will find him! We need to hide him!”

“Fuck, I don’t know what to do!” Roger bites his bottom lip as he looks down at Freddie. “Maybe I was wrong...maybe we should have let Freddie go with those people…” Roger says sadly, refusing to look away from his unconscious friend resting in his lap. “They can probably help him -”

“We can’t get their help now,” John points out with a raised brow. “Besides, we have to pick up your daughter first.”

“What the fuck do we do, John!?” Roger says in a hurried tone, looking down at Freddie before looking back up at the old bass player with wide, worried eyes.

John stares at Roger and Freddie for a moment and then looks over at the GPS map trail leading to the apartment of Lola’s college mate. He frowns, his eyebrows knitted together in deep thought as he ponders the situation. Then he looks over at Roger and simply says, “put Freddie in the boot.”

Roger’s eyebrows shoot up in shock at that statement. “I’m sorry, what? 

“You heard me. We have to put Freddie in the boot of the car,” John replies matter-of-factly.

“You must be joking,” Roger says firmly with lifted brows. John’s expression doesn’t change. “We can’t dump him in the boot of the car like he’s a bloody corpse!” Roger adds in a sharp tone.

“Well, we have no other choice. We can figure out what to do with him after we pick up and drop off your daughter. Right now, he has to go in the boot.”

Roger stares at John in bewilderment before looking down at Freddie. “You’ve gone mad, Deacon…”

“This is the only practical thing I can think of at the moment,” John replies sadly. “I’m sorry, this is a bloody confusing situation.”

The next thing they know, they’re carrying both ends of Freddie, being as gentle as possible while they move him around the car in the pouring rain and in the dead of night. They carefully place him in the open trunk, groaning and gasping for breath as they rub their old backs in pain. Roger gives Freddie a once over before slamming the trunk closed.

 


 

Freddie wakes up in a field, sitting up with a gasp. It’s nighttime, and he’s laying on a blanket next to his three closest friends and bandmates. He looks over at them and studies Roger as he steps out of the open van with some beer bottles. He hands them out to everyone, and hesitates at Freddie, holding the bottle out to him expectantly.

Freddie slowly grabs it, and Roger smiles, sitting down cross-legged beside the singer. Freddie watches the three of them play a game of scrabble under the stars and talking about something insignificant. Freddie sits up straighter as he hears thunder in the distance, and he looks up at the skies. In the distance, resting along the horizon of the seemingly endless field, are dark crimson clouds that light up with sharp lightning bolts shooting through them.

“I’m dreaming,” is what Freddie says, causing their conversation to fall short. He looks at them, and suddenly feels like they are more vivid and in more detail like someone turned up the saturation and sharpened the picture.

“You’re bloody observant, aren’t ya?” Roger says with a playful smirk.

“What’s going on? Why am I asleep?” Freddie asks, sitting up tall and staring with wide-glassy eyes at his brain’s rendition of his friends when they were all in their early twenties.

“You’re not sleeping. You’re unconscious,” Brian says matter-of-factly, mindlessly placing some Scrabble tiles on the board. Freddie grabs the board and tosses it somewhere behind him, causing his friends to frown.

“Well, that was unnecessarily rude -”

“- Enough bullshit. I need answers. Where am I? Where’s John and Roger?” Freddie asks, cutting off Roger with a scowl.

“We’re right here, gorgeous,” Roger says, leaning back with his arm stretched out behind him and playfully batting his eyelashes. Freddie’s frown only intensifies.

“I mean the real ones, asshole,” Freddie replies bitterly.

Roger’s playful look slips away instantly, pouting at Freddie with a raised brow. “Damn, not even in the mood for your wildest fantasy?”

“We only know as much as you do, Fred. We are only just your subconscious, after all…” John says with his lips pulled into a thin, straight line.

Freddie frowns at Roger, tilting his head at him. “What wildest fantasy? Playing Scrabble with my bandmates as an ominous looking storm eerily rolls in,” Freddie gestures vaguely at the crimson clouds behind him, his unimpressed frown only growing deeper. “Every person’s wet dream, for sure,” Freddie adds sarcastically with a lifted brow.

Roger rolls his eyes, leaning over to pull out a smoke from his pocket and shoving the cigarette between his lips before lighting it. “You know, you have some seriously messed up issues if you have to hide what you truly want from your own fucking subconscious, mate.”

Freddie pouts at Roger in confusion. “What do you mean?”

Roger takes a deep inhale, and exhales slowly over his shoulder, not breaking eye contact with Freddie. “Come on, you’ll feel better if you just admit it already instead of keeping it bottled up forever,” Roger takes another drag. He blows it out, still holding his intense gaze on Freddie. “Admit it now while you’re safe in your own head.”

“No, I...I don’t even know what you want me to admit?” Freddie says, suddenly feeling small and confused.

“You’re gonna spend the rest of your damn life silently wishing you could be with someone that you know you can’t be with,” Roger looks over at Brian and John. “Am I wrong?”

Brian and John shrug, looking over at Freddie with sad eyes. Freddie feels his face flush and his gut twirl his organs into an uncomfortable puree smoothie. “What am I not admitting to? Just say it if you think you know me so bloody well,” Freddie challenges with a frown and crossed arms.

Roger leans forward into Freddie’s personal space, inhaling his smoke before blowing it into Freddie’s face slowly. Freddie doesn’t feel or smell the cigarette smoke, but something in the back of his head can almost remember the smell as if he is aware his brain is giving him memories of certain sensations to prove its point. Freddie blinks at Roger slowly; his face is perfect - too perfect, in fact. Brian and Deaky have somewhat muddled features, which is understandable for his subconscious to not get every detail right. Roger, however, has every feature exactly right; all the way down to the unique pattern in his blue irises. Freddie gulps nervously, and Roger smirks playfully at him before leaning back and taking another agonizingly long drag of his smoke.

Brian and Deaky appear to be more like a strange mixture of what they looked like in the early seventies, but Roger looks exactly as he remembers seeing him last in nineteen-seventy-eight. Freddie looks at his hair and touches it, feeling a distant reminder of how soft it is.

“I know you’ve been talking about chopping it all off since people keep mistaking you for a woman, but I like it like this…” Freddie mumbles absentmindedly as if he is hypnotized into reenacting a memory. A not so distant memory, in fact; something he remembers happening a few days prior to this whole earthquake and time travelling chaos.

“Really?” Roger says, tilting his head with a somewhat uncertain look in his eyes. “You think it’s alright like this?”

“Yeah,” Freddie says, more breathlessly, and with a warm, genuine smile. He wants to move his hand down to the drummer’s cheek but doesn’t.

“It’s a dream, Freddie. You can do whatever you want,” Roger says with a gentleness to his tone that soothes the singer. A kind reminder that eases Freddie of all of his nerves. Freddie slides his hand down to the man’s cheek and imagines that it might be slightly rough and scratchy from an evening peach fuzz starting to grow in. Roger smiles at him, and Freddie smiles back, feeling his face heat up, and his heart thumping louder and quicker.

“I… I don’t think I should…” Freddie warns Roger, feeling the world around them slowly darken so that it is just the two of them.

“I think you should. You see how unhappy I become without you in my life, Freddie…” Roger says slowly. Freddie’s eyes slip down to Roger’s lips for a second so brief, he isn’t sure if he imagined doing it. He stares into those big blue eyes for too long, still holding his face and trying to remember in the back of his head what the warmth of a person’s face feels like.

“Just do it,” Roger whispers, his gravelly tone soothing Freddie. Freddie feels like he’s sliding through a river of gold, his rubber arms moving to get a better grip on Roger’s face; feeling indecisive on the details of how his cheeks and jawline would feel in this moment. The dream feels unstable like he’s barely holding on. Freddie feels panic rise in his chest, and he attempts to lean into Roger as quickly as he can, but he moves in slow motion, unable to regain his control.

Freddie feels himself slipping away before he is lost in the inky black void of his mind, feeling completely and utterly numb.

 


 

Freddie groans in pain, rubbing his head where the dull pain lingers as he attempts to stretch. When he can’t move his legs out too far, he slowly blinks his eyes open, only to find himself in pure darkness. Freddie blinks again, quicker this time as panic begins to settle in his gut. The last thing he remembers is Roger and John arguing in the front seat, and now he appears to be in the boot of a moving vehicle. What happened? Were they in a car accident? Did those people take him away and shove him in the boot of a car?

Freddie feels the car slow down, the wheels rolling on gravel as it comes to a gentle stop. He can still hear the rain from earlier, pelting against the car as hard as ever. He hears a brief siren sound, and from the keyhole, he can see blue and red lights shining through. He listens as another car door in the distance closes, and he listens to the crunch of someone's shoes against the gravel as the mysterious person approaches the car. Freddie strains his ears to listen to the muffled conversation, but he can’t for the life of him figure out what they are saying.

The singer puts two and two together and figures that whoever is driving the car was pulled over by the police. This might be a bad time - literally - to cry for help since he is trapped in a future where he is supposed to be long dead, but Freddie has to survive and get back to where he belongs, no matter what it takes. He also needs to find Roger, John, and Brian, and maybe this unknown police officer can help him with this. Freddie decides to start punching and kicking the inside of the trunk and screams bloody murder as he begs whoever is outside to help him.

Freddie doesn’t give up when he hears their muffled conversation come to a halt - instead, he bangs louder and yells louder, hoping the officer has heard his desperate pleas. He continues to bang desperately at the closed trunk as he hears footsteps walk closer to him, and then he is suddenly exposed to bright headlights and heavy rain pelting on his face. He stares wide-eyed at the officer, immediately recognizing this woman. It was the same girl who offered to help him right outside of the Japanese restaurant the day before. No wonder she seemed to be the only one who cared about his well-being - she’s a bloody cop.

She stares, wide-eyed at Freddie, also remembering him. She opens her mouth to say something to him, but Freddie sees something swing up behind her quickly. Before he can warn her, she is knocked out cold, and Freddie blinks wildly at Roger, who is soaking wet, panting, and holding what looks like a large, wet stick. Roger stares down at her with a panicked expression and turns to face Freddie who suddenly blushes nervously.

Roger wordlessly offers his hand to Freddie, who takes it meekly. Freddie is pulled from the trunk, and he wobbles in his spot dizzily for a moment before looking down at the unconscious policewoman.

“You...You hit a police officer in the head with a bloody stick!” Freddie screeches as he grabs his head in exasperation.

“I wouldn't have had to if you weren't screaming bloody murder in there!” Roger bites back furiously.

Freddie squints in confusion at Roger before hearing two doors open, and he snaps his head at the car. John steps out of the passenger seat, and a young blonde woman steps out of the seat behind the driver’s seat.

“Dad?” She says with a tilted head as she squints in confusion at Roger and Freddie. “Who...who the hell is that? 

Roger gulps nervously, looking over at Freddie and then back at his daughter like a deer caught in the headlights. She looks at the unconscious policewoman and stares in shock. “Uhh…” he stutters, letting the stick fall loose out of his grasp as she begins to cry in confusion, grabbing her head in horror.

“Dad, what the fuck did you do!?” She yells, her voice cracking as she stares at the confusing scene in front of her.

“We can explain,” John says slowly, walking around the car to meet Roger’s side. She stares at Freddie, and the confusion becomes even more evident as she looks at the man like he is an unsolvable puzzle.

Freddie smiles and waves at her awkwardly. “You must be Lola. I’m Freddie. Wish I could say it’s a pleasure to meet you…” Freddie says, chuckling nervously to himself. Lola stares for a moment longer before her eyes roll to the back of her head. Freddie reacts in a flash, hurrying over to Lola before she can fall on the pavement. She passes out in Freddie’s arms, and the singer struggles to hold her up. He glances up at Roger with wide eyes.

“Well, looks like our situation just got more complicated…” Freddie says with a nervous smile.

Chapter Text

They are all utterly screwed. John Deacon is a simple man who used to be the bassist in a rock band, and is now dealing with a time travelling Freddie Mercury, a passed out teenage girl, and an unconscious copper that his dear friend Roger Taylor hit in the head with a bloody tree branch. John has had better nights, to say the least. John sighs stressfully, grabbing his head and staring wide-eyed at the woman laying on the wet ground in the pouring rain. It’s cold and wet, and John just wants to be at home, snuggled all warm in his bed with his beautiful wife by his side. Now he’s not so sure he will ever be able to do that again.

“You knocked a police officer unconscious!” John says in a low, panicked tone. His eyes peel away from the woman to stare at Roger exasperatedly, and the old man just stares back at him with wide, owl-like eyes.

“I panicked!” Roger says with a gasp. “What the hell was I supposed to do? She saw Freddie in the bloody boot of my car!”

“Boys, please, we have more urgent issues on our hands at the moment -” Freddie interrupts the two old men, causing them to look at him, struggling to hold up Lola, “- Literally …”

Roger hurries to Freddie’s aid, opening the back door for them to gently lay Lola down on the back bench seat of the car. Freddie carefully lifts her legs into the car, placing them on the floor whilst Roger sits her up ever so slightly before gently closing the door. She falls over limply in the seat with a thud, and the three men circle around the policewoman.

“This isn’t just any regular civilian,” Freddie says, leaning on the back corner of the car with his arms crossed. “This is the same woman I bumped into outside of that restaurant. You know, the one we think is the only person who recognized me.”

John looks from Freddie to the woman again, chewing his thumbnail nervously. “We can’t leave her here like this. Maybe we should put her in her car?”

“Are you mad? We can’t leave her here in her car. Whether she recognized Freddie or not is beyond our worries at this point!” Roger exclaims, lifting his arms in the air to gesticulate his point. “She’ll probably call for backup and have me arrested! She has my bloody information, Deaky!”

Freddie lifts himself off of the car, shifting his crossed arms to hug himself as he shivers in the cold rain. His eyes never leave Roger, and he furrows his brows at the old man in question. “Why were you pulled over, anyway?” Freddie places his hands on his hips, suddenly feeling angry. “ - and another thing, whose genius idea was it to put me in the bloody boot of the car, hmm?”

“Sorry, we had to pick up Lola, and you were passed out. We were gonna suggest you go in the boot anyway, but...” John trails off with a shrug.

“Not we, it was only his idea,” Roger replies quickly, pointing at John with furrowed brows.

Freddie waves his hand dismissively. “How the fuck did you manage to get yourself pulled over, Roger?” Freddie asks with a frown.

Roger sighs, looking over at Freddie with a shrug. “That’s the thing, I didn’t do anything wrong. We picked up Lola, I was driving below the damn limit by five kilometres, and then this copper shows up in my rearview mirror, flashing her lights and sounding the bloody siren at me. I even asked her what the problem was, but before she could answer, that’s when you started banging and screaming bloody murder in the boot, you dickhead!” Roger replies with a frown and folded arms.

Freddie blushes bashfully, clearing his throat and mumbling a soft, “sorry,” under his breath.

“What do you propose we do with her if we can’t leave her here?” John asks with a worried frown as he chews on his thumb’s hangnail.

Roger’s eyes flicker to the open trunk of his car before looking back at the cop. He looks up at John and Freddie, chewing the dry skin off of his lower lip with a shrug. John’s eyes widen in horror and he shakes his head when he puts the puzzle pieces together in his head.

“No! Do you realize how much more trouble we can get in for kidnapping a bloody cop?” John yelps in exasperation. Freddie shivers, rubbing his arms before pushing his soaked hair out of his face with a sad pout.

“Are you suggesting we throw her in the boot of your car and drive off?” Freddie says, squinting at Roger. “You do realize how stupid that is, right?”

“We have no other choice! She’s already seen you twice, Freddie!” Roger replies angrily. “If you were just quiet, we wouldn’t be in this bloody situation, now would we -”

“Hey, don’t blame Fred. I’m the one who said we should put him in the boot whilst he was unconscious. He didn’t know. For all he thought, those terrible people could have gotten him and he was doing everything in his power to escape,” John explains in a calm tone. Roger and Freddie look over at John, and then at each other before sighing, nodding solemnly in agreement.

“I’m sorry Fred -”

“No time for apologies, Rog,” Freddie cuts the old man off, bending over to grab the woman from under her shoulders. “Let’s just put her in the boot. You're right, we can’t risk leaving any witnesses behind.”

“Wait, what about my daughter?” Roger asks as John leans over to grab the woman’s legs. Roger helps by holding her lower back, and they gently place her inside the trunk of the car. Freddie removes her hollister and slings it over his elbow before John closes the lid of the trunk.

“I don’t know. Maybe we should just drop her off quickly, put her to bed, and hopefully, she’ll just think it’s all but a dream,” John suggests with a shrug.

Freddie searches through the policewoman’s items in her holster. He finds an ID badge, a radio, and a… “Holy shit, she has a bloody gun!” Freddie exclaims with wide eyes. He looks up at Roger, and the old man leans in, examining the gun carefully.

“Wait a minute…” Roger reaches to his lower back, lifting his button-up to reveal the gun resting in the waistband of his slacks before pulling it out and holding it beside the gun in Freddie’s hand. Roger points to an engraving on the two guns, keeping his eyes trained on them with a focused frown and knitted brows. “These are the same type of gun. My guess is these engravings mean that they come from the same place,” Roger looks at Freddie and John. “I think this policewoman works for whoever is after Freddie.”

“Where the hell did you get a bloody gun?” Freddie asks with wide eyes.

“The woman pretending to be Anita - Brian’s wife - she had this gun on her, and I grabbed it before we left,” Roger explains with a neutral expression. “Good thing I grabbed it, too. Didn’t even realize it would be a useful clue to help us figure out who the woman in the boot of my car really is,” Roger adds whilst looking over at the sealed trunk of his car. John and Freddie follow his gaze before their eyes catch sight of Lola sitting up slowly in the back seat.

“Well, so much for John’s brilliant plan,” Freddie mumbles, none of them looking away from Lola through the rear window. As she turns her head, Roger and Freddie move their hands behind their backs, hiding the objects from Lola’s sight as she looks at them through the back window with unfocused eyes. She looks completely inebriated, barely able to sit up straight without swaying and squinting at everything.

“Fuck,” is all Roger says, the only other sound being the wind and rain pouring down on all three of them.

 


 

Roger wakes up when he hears a rumbling noise from somewhere behind him. Somewhere in the back of his mind, he could swear someone was rummaging through the closet, but he just lets out a low, guttural moan instead of moving to investigate the noise. He lays there long enough to forget what even woke him up in the first place.

“Fuck…” Roger groans tiredly as he slowly sits up, rubbing his sore head. He blinks away the sleepy fog and squints around the room, silently cursing at his horrible eyesight. Roger palms around him, but accidentally slaps cool flooring and then Freddie in the face. The singer groans in response, and Roger mumbles a feeble apology as he rubs his eyes. Roger realizes his legs are tangled with Freddie’s on the floor, and they have a thin bed linen draped over them. Roger pulls the sheet off quickly, feeling panic bubble in his gut, but sighs when he sees they’re both still wearing their clothes from the night before. Freddie seemed to lose his shirt at some point, and Roger’s button up is open and exposing his smooth chest. One sleeve is rolled up to his elbow whilst the other is hanging open and unbuttoned at his wrist; he uses it to wipe at his eyes.

Roger stretches, arching his back and pushing on his lower back until he feels a satisfying pop. Roger sighs, deciding he should stop falling asleep on the cold floor; at this rate, he will have a horrible back when he’s fifty. Freddie pulls the sheet over his shoulders, shivering a little as he rolls over and away from him. Roger chuckles, coughing it away when he hears how hoarse his voice is. He slowly stands up and looks around the hotel room. He sees at least ten other people, strewn about the room in various places, and he doesn’t recognize any of them. Then he stops and smiles when he sees Deaky and Veronica, laying in the cozy bed. Roger trails his eyes away and stops at the sight of himself in the mirror. He winces, staring at his messy hair, dark circles around his eyes, his pale skin, and some odd dried out stains on his open button up that is partially tucked into his jeans.

Roger sighs and stumbles towards the kitchenette area, his feet pitter-pattering across the floor. He slowly starts waking people up on his way over, and politely asks them to leave. Seeing some of their costumes vaguely reminds him of what happened last night. His memories are dull and hanging somewhere in the back of his mind, but all he can gather was that Queen must have attended a great Halloween party last night.

After all the people leave groggily, he pulls out a water bottle from the mini fridge and opens it, taking a long and greedy gulp from it. He finally pulls it away, gasping for air and sloppily wiping at the excess water on his chin with his sleeve. He looks at the empty bottle and groans, crumpling it up and tossing it in the bin. He starts scavenging through the room, remembering somewhere in his mind that this is his own hotel room. He smiles when he finds what he’s looking for in his clothes, and pulls out the aspirin bottle. He grabs another water bottle and swallows a pill with it. John groans then, waking up slowly as he rubs his head. Roger grabs another water bottle and walks over to John, handing him a pill and the bottle.

“Take this, mate,” Roger instructs, his voice raspier than usual. John nods, humming in an acknowledgement, and shoves the pill in his mouth before swallowing the water in loud gulps. Roger grabs his own water bottle and sits down beside Freddie again, slightly shaking him awake. “Wake up, sleepy head.”

“No,” Freddie mumbles into the throw pillow under his head. He hisses in pain, grabbing his head and grumbling mumbled obscenities at no one in particular.

“Here,” Roger puts a pill in Freddie’s hand and puts his water bottle in the other. Freddie quickly takes the pill and a sip and hands the bottle back to Roger. Roger gulps some water down before handing it back to Freddie and standing up. Freddie slowly sits up to drink more of the water, and John slides out of the bed.

“Where’s Brian?” John mumbles whilst rubbing tiredly at his right eye. Roger frowns, looking around slowly. He wasn’t any of the people in the room, and the only ones left are himself, Freddie, John, and Veronica.

“I have no fucking clue,” Roger replies with a shrug. “Maybe he retired in his own room last night?”

“Yeah, maybe,” Freddie growls as he leans over and cradles his head in his hands with a soft whine. “What the fuck happened last night?”

John and Roger look at each other, and neither of them speak up. Roger looks over at Freddie and shrugs again. “Don’t know. M’head’s a little fuzzy.”

John nods in agreement, and Freddie sighs. “Let’s get Brian and head downstairs for breakfast, then. I’m sure management is pissed at us. Who knows what time it is,” Freddie rambles tiredly, slowly standing up and groaning in pain, but then immediately regrets the action.

Roger looks over at the clock and points at it dismissively. “Twelve past noon.”

John moans in pain before shaking his wife awake. The four of them head out of the hotel room after making themselves more decent with some of Roger’s clothes, and Roger is the one to knock on Brian’s door. He waits and knocks again, but frowns when there’s no response. Roger experimentally turns the knob but sighs when it doesn’t budge.

“There isn't any ‘do-not-disturb’ signs. Maybe he’s awake and went down for breakfast already?” John suggests with a lifted brow. They all nod, and head to the elevators. When they make it to the ballroom, they see the last of what looked like a big party being cleaned up whilst the breakfast buffet is served on the other, cleaner half of the banquet hall. They all squint at each other before stumbling their way to the food. Their stomachs all growl hungrily, and they each grab a safe amount of food before sitting down and looking around curiously.

“So, did you have fun last night?” John Reid says with a tired smile as he stops beside their table with his own breakfast in hand. He looks just as hungover as them, and Roger squints in confusion at this.

“Uhh, can’t remember a bloody thing, to be honest,” Roger says in a huskier tone than intended, and he clears his throat before siping some of his OJ. Freddie stares at Roger’s Adam's Apple bobbing as he drinks, and he quickly averts his gaze to his plate after realizing he is staring.

“I bet. You boys sure know how to party,” Reid says before letting out an amused chuckle. He begins to walk away, shaking his head a little. “Oh, before I forget,” Reid stops walking and looks over at them again. “Have any of you seen Brian? He wasn’t in his room this morning, so I assumed he would be with you lot.”

The four of them all exchange nervous glances, and John is the first to speak up. “We honestly don’t know. Thought he would be down here.”

Reid’s eyes narrow and he frowns at them. “Well if he isn’t down here on time for us to go to soundcheck in two hours --”

“-- he will be, don’t fret, dear,” Freddie says, waving his hand dismissively at Reid. “We’ll find him.”

“I sure hope so. We can’t lose our guitarist in New Orleans, now,” Reid says with a deeper frown before retreating to another table across the dining hall where the rest of management is sitting.

“Where do you think Brian could have gone? I hope he’s okay… He must still be at the hotel, surely?” Veronica asks worriedly.

John places his hand on top of her’s and smiles endearingly. “Don’t worry, dear. I’m sure we’ll find him. As you said, he couldn’t have gone far.”

 


 

Lola catches Freddie’s eyes, and hers widen when realization dawns on her. She scoots herself out of the car, not looking away from Freddie as she does so. She leaves the door open as she stands in the rain, staring at the men who are drenched and shivering.

“Wha... - Dad, what’s going on?” Lola asks with a timid voice.

“Uh,” Roger looks over at Freddie, and then back at his daughter again. “Honestly, I don’t know how to explain this to you without sounding like I’ve fallen off my rocker.”

Lola narrows her eyes at Freddie for a moment before looking back at her father, lifting an accusing brow at him. “Try me,” she says whilst crossing her arms.

“Lola, this is Freddie,” Roger says, swallowing painfully before adding a soft, “Freddie Mercury…”

Lola stares at Freddie, and he gives her a little wave, his smile wide and bashful. He quickly pulls his lips over his teeth out of habit, and Lola squints at him in utter confusion. “Freddie... Mercury …?” She asks slowly, her eyes squinting in bewilderment.

“I know, I know - I didn’t believe it at first either, but it’s him, Lola - it’s really him,” Roger says in exasperation, spreading his arms wide open in a pleading manner.

Lola looks at John, and he gives her a quick smile. She looks back at her father, crossing her arms and lifting her brow. “Where’s Uncle Bri?” Lola asks with a small pout. Roger sighs and looks at John and Freddie, not knowing how to answer her.

“I hate to do this, but we really need to start driving,” John says, ignoring her question. “We don’t have much time.”

Roger walks to the driver's seat, and places his hand on Lola’s shoulder, nudging her towards the car. “Just get in, sweetheart. We can explain everything, but John’s right - we really must be going.”

“Where are we going?” Lola asks after they all step into the car and close their doors. “What the hell is happening?”

“No need to beat around the bush,” Freddie says with a shrug. “I’ve travelled to the future, and there are awful people after me, and they took Brian, and now we have one of those bad people in the boot of the car,” Freddie explains while Roger starts the car. Lola just stares at Freddie, wide-eyed before snapping her head in her father’s direction, suddenly feeling a little soberer than before.

“Dad?” Lola’s voice cracks as she leans forward, affirming with him that she isn’t going crazy and that this is all actually happening.

“Yes,” he replies as if reading her mind. He looks back at her with sad eyes before turning around and switching gears to start driving. “It’s all real, unfortunately.”

“I want to go home,” Lola says with a shaking voice. Freddie and John look at her sympathetically.

Roger just sighs, his eyes still trained on the road ahead of him. “I’m sorry, but you’re involved now,” he glances at John, “no thanks to Deaky.”

“I just wanted to make sure she could get home safely - sorry,” John says with saddened eyes.

“Yeah, I’m with Roger on this one, darling. It was stupid to pick up Lola. Poor girl is drunk and confused, and now her deceased uncle Freddie is sitting beside her in the backseat of Roger’s car,” Freddie says with his lips tugging into a straight, thin line.

The blonde teen beside Freddie takes a few slow, even breaths before speaking again. “How...how do we find Uncle Bri? Where was he taken? Do you know?” Lola asks in a surprisingly calm manner.

Freddie looks over at her and frowns. “No, we have no idea. Maybe the copper in the boot can help us obtain that information, though.”

“That is -” John cuts himself short before turning around. “Are you suggesting we tie up that woman and interrogate her?”

“It’s not like we haven't done it before,” Freddie replies with a lifted brow.

“I’m too old for this shit,” Roger grumbles tiredly while pinching the bridge of his nose.

“I’m too drunk for this,” Lola adds, rubbing her temples in slow, circular motions. Freddie moves to pat her shoulder reassuringly but hesitates. He pulls his hand back awkwardly and just stares sadly at her, realizing that he is a stranger to her. She looks at him and squints, her eyes trailing up and down Freddie’s body. He shivers under her eyes. “So, you...you’re really Freddie Mercury?”

Freddie sighs and shrugs. “I wish I could say it’s a pleasure to meet you, darling.”

“Likewise,” Lola replies with a fond smile. Freddie can’t help but smile in return. He studies her face, noticing her blue eyes and straight blonde hair hanging at her shoulders. Freddie suddenly feels reminded of his friend back in seventy-eight, and he opens his mouth to speak automatically.

“Wow, you look so much like your father…” Freddie says in a low voice, barely above a whisper. She blinks vacantly for a moment before her lips tug into a warm smile.

“Yeah, I suppose those genetics worked the way they were supposed to, huh,” she replies with a lifted brow. Freddie chuckles at that, and Roger can’t help but smile fondly at the two in his rearview mirror.

Freddie reaches his hand out, and Lola immediately grabs it, shaking his hand. “Besides these dreadful circumstances, it is an honour to meet you, Lola.”

“You too,” she replies with a wide, silly grin. Her cheeks are tinted pink, and Freddie remembers that she is still most likely drunk.

“Why don’t you try to get some rest, darling,” Freddie suggests after he releases her hand.

Lola looks over at the back of her father’s head and then nods. Roger keeps his eyes on the road, his muscles tense. His eyes flicker towards the road signs as he passes them, and he remembers something offhandedly. His eyes shift to the rearview mirror and smiles fondly at his daughter who has since passed out in the back seat, her head resting on Freddie’s shoulder. The singer has his arm wrapped around her protectively, and his eyes are trained on the window to his right.

Roger suddenly feels that hole in his gut take over again, and he sighs, looking back at the road in frustration. Freddie should be here, right now, and he should be alive as an old man to watch all of their kids be born and grow up. Freddie should be able to have kids of his own, whether they’re kitten babies or human babies, it doesn’t matter. Freddie should be here, living his life and dying an old man. Roger wonders why he was allowed to grow old, but Freddie wasn't. Why do the good people always die young?

Roger remembers their infamous New Orleans party - or rather, the morning after - with a fond smirk playing at his lips. He remembers searching the whole damn hotel with Freddie, John and Veronica. They were starting to freak out, but knowing what he knows now, Roger actually chuckles out loud in complete in utter bliss at the memory.

John looks over at Roger with a lifted brow. “What’s so funny?”

Roger glances at him for a moment, his smile still prominently on his lips before looking back out at the road. He shakes his head and sighs. “If only Brian was just locked in the cupboard. Why can’t we find him as easily as we did then?”

John’s brows lift higher in confusion. “What the hell are you on about, Rog?”

“The New Orleans Halloween party, in October of seventy-eight,” Roger looks over for a moment and sees John’s confused features morph into general fondness as he remembers.

“Ahh, I remember,” John says after a moment, nodding to himself and chuckling. “You locked Brian in the cupboard because he made fun of your car song, and we were tearing the whole damn hotel apart the next morning because we forgot that you did that!”

“Yeah,” Roger says, snorting a little as he laughs a little harder now. “We were all still pissed, and he was furious. He complained that his legs were sore for the rest of the day - during sound check, and after the damn show.”

John laughs, looking down and smiling bashfully into his lap, his eyes squinting as his smile grows wider. He nods, tears beginning to stream down his cheeks. His laughing turns into hiccups, and Roger feels coldness run through his blood as he looks over at John, realizing the old man is now crying. Roger pats his arm reassuringly, and John wipes his eyes, sniffling and trying to even out his breathing.

“We will find him,” Roger says firmly before looking out the windshield again. “It may not be as simple as him being locked in a cupboard, but we will find him, I know it.”

“Why couldn’t Freddie come back without these painful repercussions?” John says lowly. Roger flickers his gaze into the rearview mirror and notices the singer is fast asleep, his head resting against Lola’s. Roger smiles at them, a tear rolling down his cheek as a painful reminder. Roger wipes it away and looks back at the road.

“That’s why I want to tell him, John,” Roger replies in a low tone. “I think we finally have a chance to save him, and we’re ignoring it for what? The greater good? Fuck the greater good.”

Roger -”

“I’m done doing the right thing. I want to be a little selfish for once and save him, dammit,” Roger looks over at John, his blue eyes flaring with burning rage. “I’m sick of all of this natural order bullshit, and I want to save him. I need to save him,” Roger tightens his grip on the wheel, feeling his heart thud a little harder as he speaks each word out of impulse, not being able to hold it in any longer. “I love him, John, and I refuse to let him die when I know that I can save him now.”

John sighs, nodding solemnly in understanding. “I love him too, Rog. However, I don’t know if -”

“- No, John, I love him,” Roger says again, feeling completely out of control now. His arms start to tremble, and he looks at Freddie and Lola in his rearview mirror. “I never understood what it was before, but now I do, and I can’t just… I refuse to...to ignore my feelings any more. I’m too old to care at this point, so I’m going to do whatever I can to save him.”

The car is silent, besides the sounds of it moving along the wet asphalt, and the rain pelting against the frame of the car. Roger doesn't dare to look over at John, feeling his body heat up. He wonders offhandedly if he is catching a fever from standing in the cold rain for so long without a coat, but the heartbeat in his ears remind him that he isn’t ill, he’s just - he cannot find the right word. Embarrassed? Scared? Roger finally steals a glance at John, and the man is staring back at him with wide eyes and a confused frown.

John’s doe eyes are still red and rimmed with glossiness as he stares at Roger like he’s some kind of puzzle. Finally, he speaks, but his voice is so low, Roger isn’t sure if he imagines it. “I think I’ve always known, but -” John sighs, looking at his hands in his lap, “- I don’t know, hearing you finally say it out loud is...unexpected…”

Roger looks back at the road and exhales slowly through his nose. His eyes flicker to the two people in his back seat, and he prays to some higher being that Freddie wasn’t awake and that he did not hear any of this.

“Don’t breathe a word of this to him, please. He can’t ever know,” Roger says in a low voice, and John nods.

“Of course,” John replies once he realizes that Roger can’t see him nod with his eyes hyper-focused on the road.

The two of them stay silent, and neither of them notices the small trickle of blood slipping out of Freddie’s nose, and slowly falling on Lola’s shoulder as they both sit unconsciously in the back seat. Freddie's arm around her shoulder has fallen loose, and his head rolls awkwardly with hers as they drive over a pothole. His second nostril begins to bleed as they pass a sign indicating that they have left London, and are headed into the countryside.

Chapter Text

Lola's conscious mind awakens before her eyes open, and the first thing she notices is the warmth of a body she is resting against, the swaying of a car, and the sound of a heavy rainstorm outside. She feels her damp clothes hanging from her skin, and she squirms in her spot with a low chill coming from her lower spine. She peels her eyes open and stares at the dark countryside through the windscreen; the wipers are moving quickly, but not fast enough to keep up with the rain. She notices her father shift in his seat, and she closes her eyes again, not really understanding why she doesn't want him to know that she is awake yet.

"This is absolute bollocks," Roger hisses grumpily. "It's raining bloody golf balls out there."

"At least it's not hail," John muses in response, and Lola curls herself closer to the comfortingly warm breath blowing onto her hair.

"It's close to being that real soon if this rain keeps up like this," Roger replies bitterly. "It shouldn't rain this hard for this long. Something's not right."

"Maybe it has something to do with Freddie being here?" John wonders with a shrug, and Roger hums in thought.

"Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if that were the case. However, it didn't start raining until today, and Fred's been here since last night..." Roger says in a low voice.

"What about his nosebleeds? When did those start?" John asks quieter than before, barely above a whisper.

There is a long silence before Roger slowly replies, "honestly, first noticed them when the storm started..." There is another long, dreadful pause, and Lola holds her breath in anticipation. "You don't actually think that...it actually has something to do with this rancid weather, do you?"

"I don't know what to think, Rog. What I do know is he isn't getting any better, and neither is this weather," John replies with a long sigh, sounding utterly tired. "It's all too strange to properly decipher."

Lola lets out the breath she was holding in, and slowly opens her eyes again. She slowly pulls herself away from the body she was leaning against, but it only follows her, and she stares in awe when she realizes that it is Freddie Mercury. He is sleeping soundly on her shoulder now, and she adjusts him so they're both more comfortable. She notices the blood coming from his nostrils and most of it pooling on her shoulder. She doesn't want to seem rude, but she immediately freaks out, shoving him away and screaming in horror.

The car swerves when she screams, and John snaps his head around to see an unconscious Freddie being flung towards the window, and Lola shoving herself against the opposite window with wide eyes.

"Lola, what happened!?" John asks loudly, and she calms herself enough to shakily point at her bloody shoulder and then at Freddie. John's eyes widen in horror, and he unbuckles himself to lean back and grab Freddie's face. "Oh, god. Rog, both of his nostrils are bleeding - very, very badly."

Once Roger has regained control over the car, he briefly glances in his rearview mirror to look at Freddie, and his face pales at the sight. "We're almost at the house. Just five minutes tops."

"House? What house? We're in the middle of fucking nowhere, dad!" Lola snaps angrily, her eyes wide and her lips tugging into a frown.

"The summer home, sweetheart. We're hiding out there for a little while. At least until we can get our bearings and figure out how to send Freddie home and find Uncle Brian," Roger explains calmly. He huffs through his nose before adding a soft, "and no cursing in my car."

Lola rolls her eyes but then shivers uncomfortably when she catches sight of the blood on her shoulder. "He...he bled all over me, dad!"

Roger looks over at John, and the man quickly digs through the glove compartment and pulls out some tissues. He hands them to Lola, and she wipes off the offending blood with shaking hands. Lola squirms as she wipes what didn't soak into her sleeve off and holds the tissue away from her like it's toxic waste. John grabs it and discards it with the other garbage in the bag in his door.

"Is he...does he have..." Lola can't even finish her sentence as she looks over at Freddie with wide, glossy eyes. Roger whips his head back at her with an intense frown.

"No," Roger replies sharply before returning his full attention to the road. "We'll clean you up at the house - don't worry about that. He's not sick yet if that's what you're wondering..."

"How...how do you know?" Lola asks with a sad frown. John looks over at Roger, and they exchange a sad look before looking out the windshield again.

 


 

Freddie is immediately met with contemporary jazz music as he opens the door to the restaurant, and he holds it for his friends. Dominique, Mary, and then Roger all thank him with smiles as they enter. Freddie's gaze follows Roger as he takes one hand from his pocket and wraps it around Dominique. Freddie follows them all inside, and Mary gives the hostess their name as Freddie shakes the snow from his shoes.

"Smoking or non-smoking?" The woman asks with a polite smile.

"Smoking," Roger and Freddie both say in unison. The blonde desperately reaches for a cigarette from his coat pocket as they follow the hostess into the dining room.

The four of them hang their coats on the wall beside their table and they sit. Freddie grabs his menu and slides his thumb along the plastic corner of it, trying to distract himself with the menu items as Roger and Dominique share a quick kiss across from himself and Mary.

"So, it sure is cold out there, huh?" Roger says conversationally, and Freddie suppresses the urge to throw himself off of the London Bridge. He forces a placid smile onto his cheeks as Mary responds accordingly. Freddie looks at her gratefully, feeling lucky for having her nearby, even after he broke her heart a few years ago.

Roger seems just as nervous as Freddie for some reason, and Freddie quirks a brow at him as he runs his fingers through his blonde locks for the fifth time this evening. They only just sat down. They haven't even seen their waiter yet.

"I should just chop it all off, bloody hair gets in my face too often," Roger says with a low chuckle. "Men also keep confusing me for a woman at the pubs and it's driving me mad."

"You should keep it like that - I like it long," Freddie says with an easy grin, and Roger's blue gaze pierces into Freddie's for a moment too long.

Roger lifts a questioning brow at the singer. "You sure?"

"Yeah, it suits you, darling," Freddie says, leaning over to brush Roger's hair from his face. Freddie wants to run his hand down Roger's cheek and feel the stubble beginning to grow in, but stops himself. He clears his throat and tugs his hand away too quickly, looking around at the distracted patrons and his friends with a deep lingering fear of being caught boiling in his gut. Nobody seems to take notice of his nervous outburst; if they do, they don't say anything about it.

With their drinks at the table and their food ordered, the four of them have finally eased into comfortable conversation. However, every time Freddie wonders why he ever felt nervous to begin with, he notices Roger's nervous ticks - which, in turn, makes him nervous all over again. Freddie doesn't know if he should just ask why Roger is so nervous, or if he should just ignore it. There isn't any real reason for him to be nervous since they're all friends.

Just as Freddie starts to convince himself everything is fine, he takes a long sip of his wine. Something glimmers in his eye, and he looks over at Dominique, nonchalantly taking a sip of her own wine, with her hand on a perfectly open display to reveal...

"Is that an engagement ring?" Mary asks incredulously, which causes Freddie to choke on his wine, resulting in him spitting most of it out on the white tablecloth. They all look worriedly at Freddie as he hacks his lungs out, trying to clear them of wine as he stares wide-eyed at nothing in front of him. His throat feels raw and sore, and a waitress is quick to react, bringing towels and a glass of water for Freddie. He catches the attention of a few of the surrounding tables, and he slowly takes a sip of water to soothe his raw throat. Mary rubs soothing circles in his back as he coughs a bit more, and Roger pulls out his third cigarette of the night.

"Sorry," Freddie croaks, coughing a bit more when he hears how hoarse and raw his voice sounds. "Suppose it went down the wrong pipe," he adds with a nervous chuckle. Mary and Dominique chuckle light-heartedly as well, but Roger stares wide-eyed at Freddie, still worried.

"You okay, mate?" Roger asks in a calm, gravelly tone. It causes an energy surge to course through Freddie's veins, and the man nods his head, waving his friend off dismissively as he takes another sip of his water.

"I'll live, darling," Freddie replies with a smirk.

"So, you two are getting married," Mary says after Freddie has stopped coughing, and the singer wishes he could avoid this conversation a bit longer. 'Should have just choked to death right then and there,' Freddie laments silently to himself as he gulps nervously, looking up at Roger and Dominique through his lashes. He forces a smile on his face, and Mary gives Freddie a strange look.

"Yeah," Roger runs his fingers through his hair for the umpteenth time tonight. Freddie watches as the cigarette dangles from Roger's lips, and he desperately hangs on every word the blonde speaks. "We plan to marry early next year after our upcoming tour," Roger says with a nervous, but proud smile towards Mary. Dominique grabs Roger's hand and they smile endearingly at each other, and Freddie suddenly feels like he might vomit on the table.

"When did it happen?" Mary asks excitedly, grabbing Dominique's hand to get a better look at the ring with giddy joy.

Roger and Dominique share a look, and they smile at each other. "About two weeks ago," Dominique replies with a dreamy look in her eyes.

Freddie squints, thinking about where he was two weeks ago. "Wait, didn't you, Brian, and Deaky have a get together about two weeks ago?" Freddie asks with a slight frown.

"Uh, yeah," Roger frowns at Freddie. "You were invited as well, but you didn't show up. I wanted all of you to be there since it was the day after I proposed to her," Roger explains, his frown slowly intensifying.

"Oh," Freddie stares at the wine-stained tablecloth, "I see... So, Brian and Deaky know, and I'm the last one to hear about it... two bloody weeks later..."

"Well, it's alright, we know now. Right, Freddie?" Mary says with a smile, clearly trying to keep everyone civil. She knows these two men well enough to know when they start to get angry.

"You told them first - without me?" Freddie asks as if clarifying his suspicions are true.

"Yes, because you weren't there, Fred --"

"Easy, now," Dominique says sternly, placing her hand on Roger's gently. Freddie looks at the ring on her hand that's covering Roger's, and an ugly feeling burns in his gut at the sight.

Freddie looks up at them and pulls his lips in a tightly forced smile. "Congratulations, you two -" Freddie lifts his wine glass and lifts his brow with a playful smirk, "- a toast to the newlyweds. May your bedsheets at home stay cleaner than Blondie's hotel sheets --"

Roger kicks Freddie's shin under the table, cutting him off. He glares at Freddie with burning rage, and Dominique quirks a brow at Freddie before looking at him, trying to understand what was being said.

"What does that m --"

"Freddie is just a terrible joker," Roger replies to Dominique quickly, giving Freddie the stink eye. "Always teasing me with crude humour, isn't that right, Fred?"

Freddie's frown intensifies before he nods. "Yeah, of course. I really am happy for the both of you," Freddie says before taking a sluggish gulp from his wine, looking up at the ceiling to fight away the burning tears beginning to form in his eyes. Mary watches Freddie with worried eyes, and the waitress comes by with their food, quickly civilizing the tension for now with silent eating.

 


 

Freddie slowly flutters his eyes open, groaning and rubbing his head with the heel of his palm. A warm and damp cloth is gently placed on his forehead, and he blinks a few more times to clear his blurry vision. He is met with big blue eyes and long golden locks and a sweet smile. Freddie gives a lazy smile and closes his eyes, leaning into the cloth with a satisfied grin.

"Mmm, Roger, thank you..." Freddie mumbles tiredly. He hears someone clear their throat further behind the man in front of him, and he opens his eyes again.

"Try again," Lola giggles with a raised brow. Freddie's face immediately reddens when he sees Old-Man-Roger standing behind Lola with his arms crossed and a strange frown playing on his lips.

"Did you seriously think that was me?" Roger huffs in question, absolutely miffed.

"I just woke up, darling," Freddie says defensively with a nervous smile. "My eyes were blurry and I thought it was you - back in seventy-eight. I thought for a moment that the future was me just having some crazy comatose dream."

Before Roger can respond, a loud muffled yelp from the other room echoes through the house, and John emerges in the doorway moments later. "She's awake."

Roger nods at John and then places a gentle hand on Lola's shoulder. "Stay with Freddie. Make sure he doesn't pass out again."

Lola stands up at attention when they begin to leave the room. "Wait, why can't I come, too? I wanna help you two!"

Roger looks back at her with squinted eyes. "Seriously? You really wanna know the answer to that question?" Roger replies in a harsh tone. Lola stands her ground, lifting a challenging brow at her father, and Roger forcefully points his index finger at her. "Watch Freddie. Make sure he doesn't pass out again. That's how you can help us."

Lola pouts and crosses her arms. "I'm not Rory, dad. How the hell am I supposed to take care of him? I'm not a fucking doctor!"

Roger sighs, pinching the bridge of his nose. "Just keep him awake. Give him water, food - anything he asks for. Just sit with him, chat - I don't care. If anything seriously goes wrong, give me a shout, okay?" Lola sighs in defeat and sits down on the sofa beside Freddie, nodding at her father obediently. "And what did I say about the cussing!" Roger adds quickly with a raised brow. Lola rolls her eyes and mumbles a lame apology that she doesn't really mean, and Roger huffs defeatedly. Roger and John close the glass-paned doors to the living room and walk out of sight through the foyer.

"What the hell is going on?" Freddie asks after a moment of awkward silence.

"That cop lady is tied up in dad's study. They're interrogating her - trying to find out where Uncle Bri is and I suppose asking about you as well," Lola explains with a slight shrug before dabbing Freddie's head again with the cloth.

"Are we at Roger's house again? This lounge room looks different," Freddie says as his eyes roam the dark living room, only lit up with the lamp on the small table beside the couch.

"We're at my family's summer home - in the countryside," Lola replies in a low tone.

Freddie shifts uncomfortably in the reclined sofa seat. He reaches his hand down the side of the couch, in search for the lever to un-recline the seat, but his palm just slaps the leather siding. "How do I --" his sentence is cut short when a strange mechanical humming sound interrupts his train of thought. He is being lifted up slowly, and then notices Lola is holding a button on his armrest. "Is this a..." Freddie can't finish his sentence as he stares at the strange remote built into the armrest. Lola lets go of it, and Freddie experimentally presses a button. The recliner goes back a bit, and Freddie laughs.

Lola lifts a brow at Freddie as he presses the buttons like a five-year-old, giggling to himself as the recliner moves forward then back in quick, jerking motions. Lola quickly grows tired of Freddie's odd shenanigans, not wanting her father to barge in and get angry at them for making too much noise, so she stands up and walks around the couch. She bends over and unplugs the sofa from the wall, and the recliner immediately stops responding to Freddie's button pushing.

"You're gonna break my dad's couch if you keep doing that," Lola says with an amused smirk when Freddie flounders around in confusion, trying to get it to work again.

"How - what --" Freddie stops talking when he sees Lola holding the plug in her hand. She chuckles at him and drops the plug on the floor before sitting down in the seat beside Freddie's.

"Sorry," Freddie mumbles apologetically. "I've never seen an electric sofa before."

Lola's eyes widen for a moment as realization dawns on her. "Right, you're from the past. I keep..." she clears her throat, "...forgetting that..."

Freddie stares at her for a moment before he scratches the back of his neck nervously. "Sorry about all of this," Freddie says solemnly.

"It's alright," Lola smiles endearingly at him. "It's not really your fault."

Freddie smiles at her in return, and they sit like that for a short while. Lola fidgets with her hands and tucks her hair behind her ear, finally feeling giddy and nervous. "So...you're the famous Freddie Mercury..."

Freddie smirks at her and raises a brow. "In the flesh, darling."

"So, uhh.." Lola chuckles nervously to herself, trying to gather her bearings. "I've always wanted to meet you. My dad has told me and my siblings so much about you."

Freddie's smirk melts into an endeared grin, and he blushes, feeling bashful all of the sudden. "Well, what did he say about me?"

Lola chuckles nervously again, shifting her weight to sit closer to Freddie. "He told me that you were very kind and funny - so full of life, but also very private."

Freddie furrows his brows. "Private? I'd like to think of myself as an eccentric peacock flaunting about everywhere I go."

Lola laughs comfortably this time, shaking her head with a large grin on her face. "You are funny."

Freddie smirks playfully at her and leans forward. "So, tell me about your dad. I've never known Roger as a father, so I'm curious to know what he's like."

Lola smiles and shrugs. "I dunno. He's a good dad. He travels a lot and it used to bug me a bit growing up, but as I got older I just sort of learned to accept that as part of our life. He is a rock legend, after all. As are you and the rest of Queen."

Freddie's eyebrows raise. "Rock legends? Really?" Freddie smiles dumbly to himself but quickly shakes the giddiness away. He looks at her with a sympathetic frown. "I - uh - I'm sorry you didn't get to see your dad a lot when you were growing up. Must have been difficult."

"Ah, I'm okay. My brothers and sisters are okay," Lola's gaze drops to the floor. "I haven't actually told any of my college mates that Roger Taylor is my father. I don't want to be stuck under his shadow, and he didn't want that for me either. He never took us on tour with him because he wanted to protect us from that life. He wanted us to be normal and grow up being who we want to be - you know, no pressure to get into music like himself. He encouraged all of us to go to college."

Freddie nods, smiling widely before adjusting his lips to cover his teeth. "Wow, that's...that's good, then. I'm glad to hear that," Freddie shifts in his seat, rubbing his neck awkwardly again. "Roger's a good man. I'm grateful that you have him as a father and that he is lucky enough to have you as a daughter."

Lola blushes and waves Freddie off, laughing nervously again. "Thanks..."

Freddie leans back and opens his mouth to speak, but his stomach rumbles greedily for food. He blushes and smiles at Lola with a quirked brow. "As it turns out, I haven't eaten in a while. I'm assuming you have a kitchen with food in this place?"

Lola smiles in response and nods, standing up and holding her hand out towards Freddie. "We've got whatever's in the pantry and packed in that duffel bag. We usually empty the fridge before leaving the house for the winter. Don't want anything to spoil."

Freddie's face twists uncomfortably at the thought of rotten milk sitting in the fridge, and Lola mirrors his face as if the same thought zapped into her head as well. They both chuckle lightly and walk towards the kitchen, in the opposite direction of the study.


A/N: I found this picture while editing this chapter and it really fits with what I wrote, so I had to put it here for you guys to see. (Freddie is such a big mood, omg):

Freddie, Roger, and Dominique

 

Chapter Text

Cutlery clatters against porcelain dishes across the dining room, and Freddie focuses on the sound to ease the thick tension growing at his table. He avoids looking at Roger most of the night; Mary and Dominique are holding a pleasant conversation, seemingly ignoring the rage building up between Roger and Freddie.

Freddie’s stomach turns at the sight of that godforsaken engagement ring, and he drops his fork on the table in defeat. He sips his wine and steals a quick glance at Roger, but averts his gaze when those blue eyes lock with his own brown ones. Mary’s eyes shift ever so slightly, watching as the two men try to not look at each other and fail miserably. Roger gazes at Freddie for a long time and then averts his gaze when Freddie’s eyes fall on him. Freddie gazes longingly at Roger in return as Roger smiles over at Dominique, laughing at something she said.

Mary squints at the two men and frowns when Freddie’s jaw tenses at the sight of Dominique pecking Roger’s cheek. Freddie’s cheeks practically spasm at the sight, and his eyes avert to his food. He shoves his food into his mouth and chews slowly as if he's suddenly regressed into autopilot mode.

Mary considers their body language and grows increasingly annoyed with their intense gazes and thick auras. She clears her throat and forces her lips into a thin smile. She grabs her purse and politely excuses herself from the table, announcing that she is heading to the lady’s room. She stands up, she runs her hand along Freddie’s shoulders as she passes him from behind, and leans down to fix the strap of her shoe. Her lips brush against Freddie’s ear and she whispers, “follow me, and be discreet. We need to talk,” before lifting herself up and flattening her dress. She sways her hips as she walks towards the ladies room, and Freddie watches her with large, focused eyes as he contemplates what she wants from him.

Freddie feels panic bubble in his chest and he looks back at his food. He puts two or three - he loses count - forkfuls of food into his mouth before excusing himself from the table. Freddie feels grateful when Roger and Dominique don’t seem suspicious of him, and he averts his gaze from them and hyper-focused on the washrooms sign. He adjusts his collar, loosening it and gulping desperately for air. He feels the thick tension dissipate as he puts more distance between himself and the table.

 


 

John and Roger enter the study and stare at the woman tied up in the chair. She looks up at them with wide, worried eyes and a frown. She gulps nervously as the two old men close the door behind themselves. She tugs on the rope but hisses between her teeth when they don’t budge from her wriggling. She cranes her neck to see gauze wrapped around her wrists underneath the rope, then she quirks a brow at them.

“We don’t want to hurt you,” Roger says in a gentle voice. “We just want to talk.”

“Untie me, then,” she says with a hopeful smile, “and then we can be fully civilized, here.”

“Can’t do that until you tell us who you are, who you work for, and what you want with him,” John replies whilst folding his arms across his chest and quirking a curious brow at the policewoman.

“My name is Grace Murphy. Please, I’m only twenty-eight years old,” the woman begs with wide, pleading eyes.

“You’re an officer of the law, correct?” Roger asks with a frown playing at his lips.

“Yes,” she replies firmly.

“Are you sure about that? A typical copper usually does not have firearms on their person,” Roger says, slowly lifting her gun from behind his back and waving it at her.

“Careful with that, Mr. Taylor,” she says with wide eyes, “it’s not a toy!”

Roger sighs, rolling his eyes and opening the trigger group to reveal that it is empty. “I need you to be honest with us now, Grace. Who do you work for?”

“I work for the British government. Who else?” Grace replies with furrowed brows and a frown.

“You aren’t a regular police officer, though, are you?” John asks whilst shifting his weight from one foot to another.

Grace looks up at the both of them, her stare losing its intensity as she sighs in defeat, finally dipping her head down in submission. “You’re correct. I’m not your typical run-of-the-mill copper. I had an assignment and I failed, and if I don’t fix my mistakes, we’ll all be in trouble.”

Roger and John exchange a silent look between each other before Roger places the gun on the desk. His attention returns to Officer Murphy and he leans on the desk with a concerned frown. “So Freddie - he is your assignment?”

“Yes. I… Look, something went wrong, and he showed up in the wrong location at the wrong time. I was on my way to meet him when I quite literally bumped into the man on the street,” Grace explains, trying to nonchalantly loosen the ropes. She feels the gauze rubbing against the rope and lifts a questioning brow. “Why’s there gauze on my wrists?”

John sighs, rubbing his face. “As we said - we don’t want to hurt you. You would’ve gotten rope burns if we didn't wrap your wrists up.”

Grace smiles a little, but quickly wipes it away, nodding in solemn understanding. “Look, you’ve got me quite literally tied up, and you lot have also got yourselves metaphorically tied up since they’re all looking for Freddie. I'm sure we can come to some sort of agreement, here?”

Roger’s features scrunch and distort into something between anger and confusion. “What do you think this is? We’re not making a deal with you--”

“Please, I promise I will tell you everything you want to know, and in return, you have to let me go with Freddie,” Grace begs with wide, glossy eyes. “After hearing what I have to say, you’ll want me to go with Freddie…”

“Really,” Roger scoffs, “you think you can convince us to do something like that?”

“Look, we don’t have time for this,” Grace looks between both of them, “ Freddie doesn’t have much time left. We need to get him to where I work. They can save him. You have to trust me.”

“No offence, but your coworkers haven’t really done anything that would earn our trust. They lied to us, took Brian, and threatened us in multiple ways that triggered some dark, repressed memories,” Roger roars in response. “Why should we believe anything you say, now?”

Grace breathes heavily, starring Roger straight in the eyes. “Look, I agree that they went about this in all of the wrong ways. I never wanted to threaten you. I may not be able to convince you to trust me now, but I need you to listen -” Grace sits up taller, “- Freddie, you noticed something has been off about him recently, right? That storm outside, the nosebleeds, the headaches…”

Roger and John look worriedly at each other before looking back at Grace, suddenly loosening their stiff postures.

“Freddie is dying, and not in the way you think. All I know is that my boss believes if we cannot get Freddie to our facility as soon as possible, he may crumble and die, which is not ideal since he is technically supposed to live until nineteen-ninety-one,” Grace explains slowly. “You getting what I’m saying? Our lives may cease to exist if Freddie dies here. We may destroy the space-time continuum if we don’t send him back to where he belongs.”

Roger and John’s eyes widen, and they look at each other again. John clears his throat, looking at Grace again. “Okay, so what you’re saying is that our universe is quite literally destroying itself because Freddie’s here?”

“Yes, that is exactly what I’m saying,” Grace replies with a firm nod. “Glad we’re on the same page, boys. Now if you’ll just untie me--”

“Wait,” Roger interrupts, stepping between John and Grace. “Why take Brian? Why lie to us? Why not just tell us the truth from the get-go?”

“I don’t fucking know - I work with a bunch of sociopaths!” Grace exclaims with an eye roll. “I only agreed to take this job because I’m a fan.” Roger and John give her a strange look in confusion. “I was just a regular copper when they approached me, and I took the job because it had a better paycheck and benefits -” Roger scoffs, “- Later on, they finally told me that I was to escort Freddie Mercury to their offices. I love Queen, and I never wanted any of this to happen. I was stupid, okay? I’m sorry,” Grace cries out with a trembling voice.

John and Roger stay silent for a long time, and John gives Roger a pleading look as if he has finally been convinced that he can trust this woman. Roger frowns at him, shaking his head slightly, not entirely convinced quite yet.

“One last question,” Roger begins, turning to look Grace in the eyes. “Where is Brian?”

“He’s at the offices or whatever the hell it’s called - the building where they were running the experiment. I’m sure they wanted his help since he’s an astrophysicist and he apparently had an idea on how to send Freddie home or something,” Grace replies with a sad pout. “I pulled you over because I wanted to tell you all the truth - even though I’m not allowed to. Their psychotic ways clearly weren't working, so I had no choice but to just do this myself. It was my job to escort Freddie to the facility, and so that’s what I’m gonna do, dammit!”

Roger and John exchange another brief look before Roger sighs. “Give us a minute,” Roger grumbles before stomping out of the study. John follows behind, and Grace’s eyes widen.

“Woah, wait, you can’t leave me in here like this! I told you everything, I swear! We’re running out of time! Freddie will die--” she is cut short when Roger slams the door closed. He rubs his face stressfully and groans, trying to ignore her muffled yelps and pleas from his study.

“What do you think, Rog?” John asks timidly, rubbing his neck and frowning.

“I…” Roger looks towards the kitchen and watches Lola and Freddie open the pantry. “I don’t know what to think, John. We should talk to Fred about this first before making any rash decisions.”

John nods in agreement before they walk into the kitchen. Roger and John watch Freddie and Lola opening cans of soup and laughing about something they didn't hear. Freddie looks up at the sound of the floor creaking, and he smiles at his two older friends.

“So, what’s the word on our psychopathic friends? You find out what they want with me?” Freddie asks with a quirked brow.

John and Roger look at each other before Roger rubs his jaw. “Lola, why don’t you go into the bathroom upstairs and get Freddie the first aid kit. His bandages need to be changed,” Roger instructs with a gentle voice.

Lola doesn’t move right away, but Freddie places a hand on hers and smiles at her. She nods and walks out of the room, leaving the three men alone. Freddie grabs a small pot from the cupboard and places it on the marble island counter beside his can of soup.

“I take it you have bad news,” he says as he pours the soup into the pot, not daring to look them in the eyes.

“Yes and no,” John replies cautiously. Freddie looks up at that, raising a questioning brow at the old bassist, silently urging him to go on. “Good news, she wasn’t hesitant to talk.”

There is a short pause before Freddie waves his hand, muttering, “well, go on. What’s the bad news?”

John and Roger exchange a sad look before John clears his throat. “The bad news is...you’re dying.”

Freddie lifts a confused brow at them, folding his arms and pulling his lips in a thin, straight line. “Uh, I’m pretty sure we’ve already established that, yes, since I am dying of some strange unknown disease you won’t tell me about--” Freddie stops talking, widening his eyes in horror. “I mean, uhh…”

Roger and John squint at him. “Wait a minute,” John says, “you...you heard us...earlier today, you heard us talking about you.”

Freddie sighs and rolls his eyes as he grabs the pot handle and walks to the stove. He places it on a burner and turns the switch, hopping back in surprise when a flame bursts quickly. “Very efficient gas stoves you have in the future,” he comments offhandedly as he turns the heat down. He rummages through the drawers and finally smiles to himself in victory when he finds a spoon. He continues to ignore his two friends as he begins stirring the soup.

“Fred?” Roger asks with a small voice, and Freddie freezes in his spot, halting his sturring motions and just holding the spoon in place. “We’re sorry, we...we didn’t want you to find out this way…”

“Yeah, well,” Freddie sighs, tapping the spoon on the pot before placing it on the counter, “I’m sorry, too.” Freddie turns around and leans against the counter, his knuckles turning white as his grip on the countertop tightens. “So, is that what you were gonna tell me? That I’m dying slowly from some horrible disease and there’s nothing we can do about it?”

“What, no -” Roger shakes his head incredulously, “- we were talking about right here, right now,” Roger explains quickly. “Your nosebleeds and headaches are side effects to you travelling through a wormhole,” Roger continues with a frown. “It’s killing you slowly, and if we don’t let you go with that copper tied in my study, you will die and our whole timeline will cease to exist since you aren’t supposed to die on the date of that earthquake.”

Freddie’s brows lift and he presses himself forward, leaning against the island counter and staring at the soup can with wide eyes.

“You and the storm outside are getting progressively worse because you’re here, Fred,” John says as he walks around the counter to approach Freddie. He places a gentle hand on his shoulder, and Freddie slips away from him, staring at them with glossy eyes.

“You,” Freddie points a trembling finger at Roger, “should have let me go with them.”

“How the hell can we believe anything these people tell us? Why should we trust this woman now?” Roger hisses in retaliation.

“I think she’s telling the truth, Roger,” John replies sadly, looking over at Roger with a shrug. “How else could she have known about Freddie’s nosebleeds?”

“They said they were watching us,” Roger replies with wild eyes. “Come on, John, you can’t seriously believe that woman was telling us the entire truth. She’s still hiding something from us - telling us what we want to hear to convince us that sending Freddie off to who-knows-where to do god-knows-what to him is the right thing to do!”

“You just can’t accept the fact that these people can send Freddie home because you refuse to let him go!” John barks back out of pure rage, causing all of their eyes to widen. “Can’t you see that we're killing him the longer he stays here with us?” John adds in a lower, gentler voice. He vaguely gestures to Freddie, and Roger stares at him, looking at the bloodstains on his nose and the blood seeping through the bandage on his head. Freddie looks torn up, his eyes watering and his lips quivering as he fights the urge to cry.

Roger screams with rage, quickly swiping everything on the counter onto the floor, causing John and Freddie to flinch. He turns to throw one of the stools towards the other end of the room in pure rage but stops when he catches Lola watching him in dismay.

“Dad…?” Lola mumbles in trepidation as she stares at Roger with wet eyes. She quickly rubs the tears away, and Roger places the stool down, suddenly feeling calmer and anxious.

“Lola, I...I asked you to--” Roger stops talking when she meekly lifts the first aid kit into view, her tears streaming down her cheeks, and her voice cut short with sobs and hiccups.

“Just take it,” Lola chokes out, shoving the first aid kit into her father’s chest. Roger feebly grabs it with wide, worried eyes as she turns around. Lola sniffles as she stomps away towards the stairwell. The three men stare towards the staircase as she stomps all the way upstairs, their eyes following the sound of her stomping feet. They all flinch at the sound of a door slamming shut, and their hearts beat louder in the bitter silence. Roger gently places the first aid kit on the counter without looking at Freddie and John and quietly exits the kitchen.

 


 

Freddie clears his throat awkwardly when he approaches the washrooms. He stares at the women's washroom door, burning the sign with his eyes, and dreading the inevitable. He exhales slowly and pushes the door open, immediately meeting Mary’s gaze in the mirror. She’s reapplying her lipstick, and she quirks a knowing brow at him, popping her lips together before putting her lipstick tube into her purse. A woman walks out of the bathroom stall and gawks at Freddie, her eyes wide and her mouth opening and closing like a trout.

“You can’t be in here, this is the lady’s room!” The woman exclaims in annoyance.

Mary rolls her eyes and waves dismissively at the woman. “Get out. We need privacy,” she replies with a lifted brow. Freddie smiles bashfully at the woman, and she huffs in astonishment before stomping out of the washroom. Freddie quickly searches the stalls for anyone else before swiftly locking the door and approaching Mary.

“So, what did you wanna talk about, darling?” Freddie asks as he lifts a questioning brow at her in the mirror. Mary frowns at his reflection before turning around to face him.

“You, Fred. We need to talk about you,” Mary replies whilst leaning against the countertop, “and Roger…”

“Oh?” Freddie crosses his arms and sticks his hip out, staring at Mary in question. “What is there to talk about? Roger’s engaged now.”

“Yes, exactly, and you’re being a -” she clears her throat, “- a dick ” she whispers, “- about it.” Mary finishes her statement, crossing her arms and giving Freddie an accusatory glare.

Freddie’s eyes widen in shock at Mary’s statement before he quickly scoffs at her. “I am not being a dick! I’m just surprised,” Freddie releases his arms and waves them around in exasperation. “We’re best mates - I just like to joke around from time to time, so sue me!”

Mary just lifts her brow at him, still standing her ground. “If you were his best mate, you would be happy for him, not jealous .”

“I am happy for him! What are you going on about--”

“--Oh, please,” Mary interrupts. “Freddie, the way you’ve been looking at him all night tells me otherwise.”

Freddie scoffs again, this time more dramatically as he shakes his head in disbelief. “I am not jealous!” Freddie says exasperatingly, pacing back and forth and gesticulating wildly.

Mary raises a brow at him and lets a tiny smirk tug at her lips. “Are you trying to convince me or yourself?”

Freddie stops pacing and whips his head around to look at her. “I just -” he adjusts his clothes and sighs bitterly, re-crossing his arms at her, “- I just worry about him, okay. I don’t want either of their hearts to be broken.”

Mary exhales slowly and releases her arms to dangle by her sides. “No, Fred. You just don’t want your heart to be broken.”

“I -” Freddie squints at her in confusion, ”- what do you mean?”

“Stop lying to yourself, Fred,” Mary replies, sounding tired and nearly out of breath. “You’re in love with him, aren’t you?”

Freddie’s eyes nearly bulge out of his skull and he steps back, gawking at Mary in bewilderment. “In... love ?” Freddie laughs, loudly, and bends over as he lets it out. He wipes a fake tear from his eye and breathes out cooly, immediately calmed down all of the sudden. “Mary, you sure are funny.”

“I’m not joking, and neither are you,” Mary replies firmly. “Fred, it’s okay. You can tell me anything. I promise I won’t tell a soul.”

“There’s nothing to tell, Mary,” Freddie says solemnly. “I am not in love with Roger, okay?” Freddie snaps angrily, huffing and stomping towards the door. “He is my friend, Mary.”

“Then why don’t you remind yourself of that the next time you decide you want to be bitter and cruel towards him and Dominique, okay?” Mary replies coolly, grabbing her purse from the counter and sliding past Freddie to leave the washroom first. Freddie stares at her in astonishment as she opens the door, suddenly pausing her movements and staring at nothing in particular. “If you want to be his best mate, then act like it. Be respectful of his choices and don’t be cruel about it. If you love him, you’d be happy for him.” At that, Mary leaves Freddie alone in the ladies' washroom to ponder her words, and he stares bitterly at himself in the mirror. He sighs in defeat before adjusting his appearance, then exiting the washroom to rejoin his friends at the dining table.

 


 

Roger lifts his hand to knock on his daughter’s door but hesitates. He sighs, rubbing his face, and groans pitifully. He finally knocks softly on her door and awaits her response. Silence. Roger knocks again. “Lola?” he asks in a low voice, not wanting to startle her.

“Go away,” comes her muffled reply.

“Please, don’t shut me out,” Roger pleads quietly, resting his forehead against the wooden doorframe. “Can we talk?”

“About what?” Lola replies bitterly, her voice soft and distant-sounding from the other side of the door.

“I’m sorry,” Roger says with dread and guilt. “I shouldn’t have done that, and you shouldn’t have seen that side of me.”

“You’ve always been so angry and I’m sick of dealing with it,” comes Lola’s muffled response, her voice sounding firmer and frustrated.

“I’m just...confused, Lola...and sad,” Roger replies, turning to lean against her door. His head rolls back, resting against her door and his eyes scan the walls as he searches through his thoughts. “I’m afraid to lose Freddie again,” he admits in a low voice, starting to feel his throat tighten up. “I’m afraid of losing you,” Roger continues. “I don’t know what I’m doing, and I just wish this all happened differently.”

There’s a long, silent pause, and then Roger stumbles as the door begins to open. He finds his balance and quickly turns around to face his daughter. She looks up at him with watery eyes, and he sighs, allowing the tears to fall down his own cheeks. He pulls her into a tight embrace, and she buries her face in his chest, holding onto him for dear life and shaking in his arms as she sobs quietly.

Roger strokes her hair and rubs soothing circles into her back, resting his chin on her head and cooing softly to her. He hears a creak in the floorboards and looks over his shoulder to see Freddie standing there with sad eyes and a worried frown etched into his features. His bandage has been replaced, and his nose has been wiped clean of any remaining bloodstains. Roger closes his eyes and pulls Lola closer before letting her go.

“Why don’t you get some sleep. It’s been a long night,” Roger says in a low, raspy voice. Lola nods and smiles at her father, giving him another brief hug before grabbing her door to close it.

“Don’t worry too much, dad. I know you’ll figure out what to do,” Lola says with a hint of a smile. She looks over at Freddie and smiles at him, muttering a soft, “goodnight.”

“Goodnight, darling,” Freddie replies with a warm grin. She closes her door, leaving the two men standing still until they hear the soft click.

Roger turns around and faces Freddie. “We should all get some rest. We’ll figure everything out in the morning.”

Freddie nods and retreats down the stairs. Roger notices John at the bottom of the stairwell, and Freddie whispers something to him before turning towards the kitchen. John trudges up the stairs and stops in front of Roger, folding his arms over his chest.

“So, Fred’s gonna eat his soup and then sleep. We should take turns watching Officer Murphy - make sure she doesn’t escape overnight,” John says in a low voice.

Roger nods in agreement and pats John’s shoulder. “I’ll take first watch. You get some rest.”

John retires to a guest room, and Roger descends the stairwell. He grabs a dining chair and drags it towards the study. He opens the door and meets the young woman’s eyes, sighing in defeat before walking over to her. She flinches at first, and he silently lifts his hands up in surrender, giving her a sad look. He waits a moment before he leans over and unties her carefully; she doesn’t move a muscle as she stares at him. Roger drops the rope on the floor and helps her stand up, then gesturing vaguely at the small leather couch. “Get some sleep. We’ll figure it all out in the morning, alright?” Roger says in a low, gruff voice. Grace nods feebly before curling herself on the sofa and staring at the painting on the wall across from her.

“You’re a kind man, Mr. Taylor,” Grace mumbles as he walks towards the door. He stops in the doorway. “You could have thrown me out of your home or done worse, but...you didn’t. So, uh, thanks.”

He stays frozen, not looking back as he replies. “You can just call me Roger…and you’re welcome.”

A few hours tick by and everyone besides Roger has fallen asleep by now. He lifts his wrist and gazes at his watch; 03:26 AM.

Roger groans tiredly and steals a peek at the stairwell, but sees no sign of John. He wonders if the old bloke forgot to turn on an alarm for himself since they agreed to take turns watching the mysterious woman.

Roger begins to nod off in the chair outside of his study. He blinks rapidly every few seconds, urging his eyes to focus on the sleeping woman sleeping soundly on the couch. Roger’s eyelids begin to grow heavy until he sees a dark vignette framing his vision. His ears start ringing, and he soon realizes it’s actually just his hearing aids. He squints in confusion, looking around until he sees the police holster with the walkie-talkie hanging off of it on the table in his study. Roger stands up and waddles over to it, realizing it is on, but the volume is low. He shuts it off, and the ringing in his hearing aid stops. Roger sits back down again and tries his hardest to not immediately fall asleep. He checks his watch again; 03:45 AM

Before Roger can feel too concerned about all of that time that has seemingly slipped away from him, a creak on the stairwell snatches his attention. He turns around, expecting John ready to watch the policewoman, but he sees Freddie meekly standing there instead.

“What are you doing awake?” Roger asks with a lifted brow.

“Can’t sleep,” Freddie replies in a low voice. Freddie’s hand stays resting on the railing as he stares anywhere but at Roger, trying to form a sentence in his brain. Roger’s stomach growls, and Freddie feels relief, finally finding an excuse to speak to Roger. “Maybe you should eat something,” Freddie suggests in a low voice.

“But I’ve got to keep watch--”

“--Don’t worry about her. We can lock the door and sit in the kitchen for five minutes. She’s fast asleep,” Freddie says, gesturing vaguely at the door.

Roger looks at her and then nods, standing up and closing the door carefully. He gives her one last once-over glance before letting the door close completely, and he locks the door before he follows Freddie into the kitchen. They turn a light on, and Freddie sits down at the island counter as Roger pulls out a granola bar and water bottle from the duffel bag. He lifts them up at Freddie with a quirked brow, and the singer nods. Roger slides the items across the counter before leaning over to grab more for himself.

“So…” Freddie begins as he awkwardly opens the water bottle. “Being in the future is killing me slowly?”

“That’s what Grace Murphy says,” Roger replies as he sits down beside Freddie, opening his own water bottle and drinking greedily from it.

“And apparently a fatal disease is also killing me slowly,” Freddie adds meekly, stealing a sip of his water to avoid saying anything else.

“Not necessarily,” Roger replies in a gruff tone. He shrugs at Freddie before opening his granola bar and takes a bite.

“But, you said--”

“--No,” Roger cuts him off, “I can’t say…you shouldn’t know…”

Freddie scoffs, slamming his water bottle on the counter and staring at Roger firmly. “Look, I’m not a child, Roger. Maybe to you, I seem like a child because I’m younger than you right now - but in case you’ve forgotten, I am older than you. I’m a big boy. I can handle it.”

“No, you just - you don’t get it, Fred,” Roger replies tiredly, rubbing his face stressfully.

“Exactly! I don’t get it,” Freddie hisses. “I just want the truth, dammit!” Freddie adds furiously.

“You want the truth?” Roger asks, cocking an eyebrow at Freddie as he turns in his stool to face him better. “You’re messing with my head and confusing me. It’s hard to mourn the death of your best mate when he comes back to you in a younger form…” Roger sighs, casting his sad gaze to his folded hands resting on the counter.

“I…I’m sorry--”

“--And you’re ruining my life because of it,” Roger cuts Freddie off, not even looking at the man. His eyes stay trained at nothing in particular in front of him, a glassy look in them, causing the blues in his irises to shimmer in the low light. “I mean, you show up and put me in this criminal position, and after you get sent home, I’m left with the consequences. I might go to prison after this. I might never see my family again because of this… and it’s all your fault…” Roger sighs, leaning back and shaking his head. “But it’s also my fault since I agreed to help you…because I love you - like a brother -” he clears his throat, “- and I’d do this all over again because you mean everything to me, and I’m willing to make that sacrifice.” He looks over at Freddie with tears threatening to escape. “I would save you if I had the chance to re-do it all, Fred. I mean it.”

Freddie gulps nervously, feeling his blood simultaneously run at freezing and boiling temperatures. He feels his heart punch his lungs clear of air; he feels dreadful for being compared to nothing more than a brother to Roger. He fights his brain again, wondering if he should keep his thoughts to himself, but the look in Roger’s eyes puts an abrupt halt on the war in his head. Freddie breathes in through his nose and exhales a long, shaky breath. “I love you too, Roger, which is why I can’t bear to see you suffer any longer,” Freddie stands up, never breaking eye contact with the old drummer. “I’m turning myself in and demanding that they find a way to give you, Brian, and Deaky your lives back.”

“But you--”

“--If you try to stop me, I’ll grab one of those guns and so help me , I’ll shoot you in the bloody foot if that’s what it’ll take to stop you from doing something stupid again,” Freddie says in a sharp tone; not a threatening one, but rather demanding, like an older brother or father would use to scold a disobedient child. Roger scowls at Freddie, but the singer holds his stern glare on the old man, not backing down.

“Don’t make any rash decisions in the dead of night, Fred...” Roger warns in a low voice.

“I’m not, Roger!” Freddie replies, moving towards the foyer. Roger stands up quickly and grabs Freddie’s wrist and stops him, staring directly at him.

“Look at me, Fred,” Roger orders, and Freddie obeys, finally looking into Roger’s blue eyes. “We don’t know if we can trust them yet. Can’t you just trust me when I beg you to wait?” Roger pleads desperately.

Freddie loosens himself from Roger’s grip and sighs at the old man, deflated. “You just don’t want to lose me again. It’s okay, I understand, but I have to do what’s right. I just want everything back to normal--”

“--And I don’t!” Roger replies. “Don’t you get it, Fred? I don’t want everything to go back to normal. It needs to be different.”

“How, Rog? Different how?” Freddie asks quietly, not daring to break eye contact with Roger.

Before Roger can respond, he hears cars parking outside and sees headlights shining through the front windows. Roger and Freddie frown in confusion at each other before the door is suddenly broken down. Their hearts begin to beat rapidly when they see a team of people in dark uniforms and masks force themselves inside, splitting into different areas of the house. Freddie and Roger slowly lift their hands up in surrender, and two men yell at them to get on the floor.

Roger and Freddie kneel on the floor and they’re forced into cold handcuffs. They stare at each other with wide, worried eyes as they’re dragged to their feet. They watch as a man emerges into the doorway, his figure haloed with a blue and red glow. They stare in shock when he steps deeper in the house, his face eventually lit up from the dim kitchen lights. Their eyes widen in bewilderment; they recognize him as the man who pretended to be Brian, and he greets them with a silent, sinister smirk.

Grace is suddenly escorted out of the study, and they watch her carefully; Roger’s eyes are narrowed whilst Freddies stay wide. She looks at them apologetically with a walkie-talkie pressed against her chest, held in a titanium grip with her trembling hands. “I had no choice,” Grace says in a sad tone. “I don’t know how much longer Freddie can wait.”

As Grace is nearly dragged out of the house, there is are two loud crashes upstairs. John and Lola’s screams can be heard, and Roger whips his head around at the sound, staring in horror as the two of them are dragged downstairs in handcuffs.

“Let her go! She has nothing to do with this!” Roger roars desperately, wanting to sound demanding, but instead sounds meek and scared.

“I'm sorry,” the man in the doorway sneers at them, his tone suggesting that he is very much not sorry, “but she is involved, and we suggest you all don’t struggle. We promise that no one will get hurt, so long as you all stay obedient. Understand?”

Roger looks at Freddie, John, and Lola; all of them are pale-faced and petrified. They all solemnly nod in submission, and they’re each escorted out of the house by a soldier, their heads ducked down as they step into the pouring rain.

Freddie shivers as he walks through the dark and frigid rainstorm, his eyes squint as water dribbles down his face. He sighs in trepidation, watching his foggy breath blow away in the wind as his damp clothes cling to his skin uncomfortably. Freddie looks back at the summer home one last time before locking his gaze with Roger’s. Freddie never wanted this to happen this way, and all he can do now is inevitably blame himself for not listening to Roger. Now he has to fix all of this before it’s too late.

Chapter Text

The rain is still heavy, and it’s all that Freddie can hear from inside the truck while he absentmindedly rubs at his wrists. His gut clenches whilst his eyes roam the inner mechanisms of this modern vehicle, feeling like he’s in something from Disney’s Tomorrowland with the sleek metal coating on the walls, roof and flooring. Freddie leans back and rests the back of his head against the wall, feeling the truck sway over minor potholes while eyeing Roger conspicuously through his lashes. The old man is staring at what appears to be Freddie’s shoes, looking tired, lost and pensive. Not a speck of anger seems to be pumping through his veins; instead, he seems timid as he rubs his wrists like Freddie does, looking like he’s just about given up on everything.

Freddie looks over at Lola, who is leaning against her father, her yellow hair dangling over Roger’s shoulders and her blue eyes rimmed with glossy tears and an overall red-puffiness. Her eyelids are heavy-looking, and she suppresses a yawn, lifting both of her handcuffed hands to cover her mouth. She nuzzles closer to her father, and Roger leans into her, his eyes unmoving, and his expression unfocused.

John shifts beside Freddie, and he watches the old man wearily, feeling the pit in his stomach grow sharp and painful as he watches John shimmy every few seconds, unable to find comfort in the cold and hard metallic benches. Freddie stares at John's snowy hair, wet and sleek as water dribbles down his neck and forehead. Freddie never knew the man had freckles on the top of his head, but they also could have formed once it started going bald and his head was exposed to the sun.

Freddie is tired of it all and inwardly prays to some powerful sentient being out there - if there even is one - to spare his friends and to just send him back where he belongs. Freddie eyes the guards sitting on the far end of the truck, their backs resting against the gated window that distorts the view into the front seats of the truck. Freddie can vaguely see the silver rain pelting against the windscreen, and listens intently to the tune of the windscreen wipers swiping at their highest setting. A distant melody rings in the back of his eardrums, and he looks over at Roger as he recalls a memory.

“Hey, blondie -” Roger looks up at Freddie, “- what was the song you ended up using as your wedding song?”

Roger squints at that, tilting his head at Freddie in bewilderment. “What?”

“Your wedding song - the wedding with Dominique,” Freddie muses with a lifted brow. “What was the song you two settled on? Was it Crimson and Clover? I remember you saying that was one of her favourites,” Freddie adds softly. John flickers his gaze at the soldiers before looking at Roger and Freddie. Lola does the same, which adds to the already thick and unsettling tension.

Roger’s brows furrow as his befuddled expression deepens. “Uh, we never - why would you want to know about that?”

“Hey,” one of the soldier's booming voices interrupt their conversation, “stop talking, you two.” Freddie gulps nervously, nodding his head feebly in timid submission.

They all fall into an arduous silence again, feeling like their skin is falling loose as the tension cuts through them like a cheese slicer; slow and steady, and it makes Freddie uncontrollably shiver. The melody in Freddie’s head takes control of the stormy sounds from outside, and he feels himself drift as he looks up in Roger’s direction again.

 


 

January 1979

A mediocre cover of Crimson and Clover plays over the loudspeaker as Freddie stares into his wine glass with a constipated aura. The wedding singer’s voice is nasally and it causes discomfort in Freddie every time that man holds a note for a moment too long. Freddie wonders why Roger agreed to this awful band playing at his wedding, but then he remembers the dreadful singer is a friend of Dominique’s. He breathes in, his shoulders broadening as he gulps in a breath, and then exhales through his nose, his shoulders shrinking as he does so. He shrivels around his cup again as he brings the wine glass to his lips.

Freddie’s eyes peer in the direction of the newlyweds, dancing in the dark ballroom with a white and purple light shining on them. Freddie feels like he has been hit by three busses, a train, three very large birds, and tossed off a cliff for good measure. His head aches and his stomach twists as the blonde-haired drummer with vibrant blue eyes twirls the dark-haired woman. Freddie pictures himself as the dark haired woman for a moment, too drunk to stop himself from indulging in his fantasy. He imagines those blue eyes are only looking at him and nobody else in the world. He imagines himself being dipped and twirled and loved with such passion that his heart starts to ache at the mere thought. Freddie guzzles the rest of his wine in one gulp and wipes his lips with the back of his hand as he watches on in bitter silence.

‘I have to be a supportive friend. That’s what I’m here for,’  Freddie muses to himself as he waves the waiter with the wine over to his table. ‘I must stay strong for him and stop being a selfishly jealous little shit as his best mate.’

As the song comes to an end, and people begin to clap, the newlyweds walk back to the table. Freddie straightens himself up as Roger and Dominique take their seats beside him. First, it’s the parents, giving a toast and a small speech, telling embarrassing stories to make the crowd chuckle nostalgically. Then it’s the bridesmaid, giving a fun speech about Dominique and her relation to her. Then the nightmare begins when it is suddenly Freddie’s turn as Roger’s best man.

Freddie gulps the last of his wine - he lost count on how many he's had - and he sluggishly pushes himself up to stagger his way to the mic stand set up by the dancefloor. Freddie straightens himself up behind the mic and gives a small smile to the crowd - a nervous one where his mouth stays closed, and his eyes barely squint with compassion. He feels a dull buzz in the back of his skull as he sways in his spot and grabs the mic.

“Roger Meddows Taylor...where do I begin?” Freddie slurs with a dopey grin. Roger’s easy grin appears as he watches Freddie, placing his arm around Dominique and lifting his wine glass to his lips. Freddie hesitates, staring at Roger’s arm around his girlfriend's - no - his wife’s shoulder. He clears his throat, eyeing Mary for a moment, who bores a firm look into him as he steadies himself behind the mic stand again. She seems bold, but compassionate, silently asking him to go on and be a supportive friend. ‘It’s the right thing to do.’

“I met you in sixty-eight. I saw a Smile show, and when I met you, Brian and Tim afterwards, I knew we were destined to be best mates. I could feel it,” Freddie says with drunken passion. Roger’s easy smile slips for a moment before it widens a little. He nods at Freddie, silently urging him on. “We ran a stall at Kensington market together, and this bloody idiot right here,” Freddie points at Roger, “sold my favourite jacket to some bloke, and I had to run after that man and buy it back for more than he sold it for!” The room chuckles at that.

Roger rolls his eyes, smiling and chuckling bashfully. “It was an accident!” Roger calls out, and Freddie feigns offence, playfully frowning at Roger.

“Yeah, it was an accident,” Freddie repeats in a mocking tone. “I was so angry with Roger that I locked him out of our bedroom that night and he had to sleep on the bloody couch!” Roger joins the crowd in laughing, shaking his head and smiling widely at the memory.

“I don’t know how you figured out how to deal with this ball of chaos called Roger, darling,” Freddie says, looking at Dominique, “but I’m glad he found someone who can deal with his...whatever it is he has.” Dominique smiles, lifting her glass and looking at Roger with so much love in her eyes that it steals Freddie’s breath away for a moment. He suddenly feels like such a fool, standing here and being secretly jealous of a perfectly happy couple.

Freddie sighs in defeat before he continues. “I will admit that I don’t really have a formal speech planned - you know me, darling, I just wing it,” a few people chuckle, and all of the members of Queen laugh the loudest. “All I can say, honestly, is that I wish you both a long and happy marriage.” Freddie goes to lift his glass but frowns when he realizes his hand is vacant. “Bloody hell, I forgot my glass!” a few people chuckle, “I’ll just have to make do with my fist,” Freddie says as he balls his hand in a fist and lifts it high up above his head. “To Roger and Dominique. I love you and wish for happiness and good health!” Everyone cheers, clinking their glasses together, and Freddie stares at Roger a moment longer, watching as he leans over and kisses Dominique on the lips. Freddie stumbles towards the table, trying to keep his eyes trained anywhere but at Roger, but that continues to be more of a daunting task the drunker he gets.

 

Later that night,

Freddie finds himself wandering the streets of London, completely pissed, and stumbling into a nameless bar around midnight. He feels awful for leaving the reception earlier than everyone else just to go to a bar, but he also can’t stand to look at Roger any longer without wanting to drink himself unconscious. He just needs to sit somewhere and breathe, and places like these tend to calm his nerves. He knows he can be himself in here, and he sighs with a melancholy feeling as he sits on the bar stool and leans on the counter.

“Give me a shot of vodka,” Freddie grumbles hoarsely as he leans on his palm and loosens his tie with his other hand. The bartender nods at him and turns to grab the vodka. Freddie struggles enough with the tie that he eventually rips it right off and places it on the counter beside the shot glass. He watches as it fills up, and he slides a few notes over the counter, mumbling, “keep the change,” as he lifts the glass to his dry lips.

Freddie swallows the clear, burning liquid, ignoring the bartender’s thank yous, and turns his attention to the person occupying the seat beside him. Freddie growls as he slams the cup on the counter, and he examines the man with a glazed over look in his eyes. He licks his lips and lifts a brow when the man looks back at him curiously. He is roughly around Freddie’s height, but more firm looking. The man’s hair is short, and he is sporting a mustache that reminds Freddie vaguely of that one member of The Village People. He cannot recall the name of that band member in his inebriated state, but he doesn’t care. He finally feels warm and numb enough to stop caring about minute details.

Freddie wants to smirk at him, wink, or even flirt a little, but he feels exhausted; emotionally and physically. He probably shouldn’t have taken that shot of vodka, but it put him in a neutrally buzzed state. Freddie nods at the man and turns his attention to the alcohol on display, trying to read the labels by squinting and moving his head to stop everything from moving around so much.

“I don’t mean to overstep my bounds, here, but are you alright?” The gruff man beside Freddie asks rather timidly, and the singer looks at him exasperatingly.

“Pardon?” Freddie asks, not sure if he actually heard the man or if he was just imagining that someone was noticing his obvious cry for help.

“You seem sad and lonely,” the man comments offhandedly; he looks concerned as he cradles his pint and tilts his head curiously at Freddie.

Freddie grins dumbly, shaking his head and sighing bitterly. “Aren’t we all a little sad and lonely?”

The man considers what Freddie said, searching the pattern on the countertop while he thinks. He looks back at Freddie and shrugs. “I suppose you’re not wrong about that - however, you seem different than the rest here tonight. Everyone here is looking for someone, but you look like you’ve already found that person and got your heart broken.”

Freddie snorts at that and smiles. “I never had him in the first place. I was his best mate at his wedding tonight,” Freddie says with a listless shrug.

“Ah, I see,” the man muses, nodding in understanding. He looks into Freddie’s eyes with pure empathy and smiles warmly at the drunk singer. “Fell for your best mate, huh? I’ve been there before.”

Freddie squints suspiciously. “You have?”

“Oh yeah,” he replies, taking a sip before nursing his beer close to his chest as he leans over the counter, mirroring Freddie’s posture. “I mean, he wasn't getting married, but he found a nice girl and moved away with her. We speak sometimes over the phone, but it’s always mindless banter - how's the weather, how have you been doing - you know.”

“I see,” Freddie says, looking into the empty shot glass with deep concentration. “How did you move on?”

“Well, I suppose it was simple for me to move on since I didn’t have to see him all the time,” the man replies, taking another sip of his dark brew. “Do you see him every day?”

Freddie scoffs. “I work with the bloody wanker,” Freddie grumbles bitterly.

The man shakes his head, sighing in defeat and mumbles, “sorry, mate.”

“Yeah, me too,” Freddie adds quietly. “I was such a fool to think we could ever be something more, you know?” Freddie rambles, his thoughts flowing out in the form of word vomit. “The whole time I gave my speech, I was so jealous, watching him look at her with such adoration in his eyes. I knew I had to be there for him, though, because it was the right thing to do,” Freddie says, “but I don’t want to do the right thing, dammit.”

The stranger nods, listening intently to what Freddie is saying. He takes a small sip of his beer and turns in his stool to face Freddie a bit more. “Tell me about him. What’s so special about this bloke?” The man asks curiously, sitting up taller and taking another tiny sip.

Freddie dwells on the thought, thinking deeply about his response. ‘What is so special about Roger, anyway?’ Freddie thinks with a sigh, tilting his head and staring ahead of him. “Well, I trust him with my life, and he’s funny, kind - and even if he is short-tempered, I know he isn't afraid to feel his feelings, you know?” Freddie looks over at the stranger, and the man nods in understanding. “And he has these gorgeous blue eyes - god, he’s not even my type when I think about it. He’s very feminine looking if I’m being honest,” Freddie adds, his eyes searching his thoughts as they flicker back and forth. “It’s not really about that though. There’s just a strong bond there, you know? I mean, he’s my best mate for fuck’s sake, of course we have a bond,” Freddie rambles on, waving his hand and shaking his head as he struggles to organize his thoughts. “I don’t know. I used to push these thoughts aside for the longest time but now that I’m saying it out loud, it sounds messy and not making a lick of sense.”

“It sounds to me like you love him,” the man says, and Freddie looks at him, feeling like he has been snapped out of a trance. He feels a bit more alert and sober as his stomach drops.

“Love is an awfully large word to be tossing around, darling,” Freddie replies slowly.

“Yes it is, and that’s because love is such a complex and messy thing,” the man looks over at Freddie again, “which sounds like your thoughts on the whole matter.”

“I can’t be in love with him - that’s preposterous!” Freddie exclaims offendedly, frowning at the stranger.

“How long have you known this bloke?” The stranger asks with a focused furrow in his brows.

“Just over a decade now,” Freddie replies with squinted eyes.

“And you were friends this whole time?” The man inquires.

“Yes?” Freddie replies, sitting back as he stares at the man with a baffled expression. “We basically became friends at first sight for fuck’s sake. We got along immediately after speaking for the first time.”

“When did you realize you fancy him?” The man asks, nearly cutting Freddie off.

“I beg your pardon?”

“Answer the question. I know you heard me,” the man states with a lifted brow.

“I don’t know - about a year ago when he announced his bloody engagement to his wife, I suppose,” Freddie answers, exasperated.

The man lifts a suspicious brow at Freddie and pulls his lips in a thin line; his mustache deliberately shifting with the movement of his lips. “Really? Are you sure about that? I’m not judging you mate, I’m just trying to--”

“--fine, okay, I think I’ve liked him nearly the whole time,” Freddie replies nearly out of breath. “Why is this important?”

“You never once told him how you felt?” The man asks, making Freddie suddenly feel like he’s in an interrogation and not in some back-road alley gay pub.

“Of course not! He’s very much into women, he made that perfectly clear when I met him,” Freddie replies bashfully.

“Did he tell you that with his own words, or did you just assume this?” The man’s eyebrow lifts comically high when Freddie stares at him, utterly speechless. “Come on, we all made it clear at some point that we liked women when we knew deep down we were lying to ourselves…” the man adds in a gentle tone, gesturing vaguely towards the other bar patrons.

“Are you suggesting he’s secretly into blokes? Because you’re wrong. You don’t know Roger like I do!” Freddie hisses in response, feeling utterly offended.

“Hey, sorry, I’m not trying to offend you. I’m just asking you the hard questions you’ve clearly been avoiding -” the stranger waves his hands defensively as he speaks, “- look, we all need an honest friend sometimes, right? I’m just trying to help, mate.”

Freddie sighs and nods feebly. “You’re...you’re right. Sorry, I just…” Freddie groans out in frustration, covering his face in his hands. “What the fuck do I do? He just got married. It’s not like I can say anything to him now.”

“Maybe just start with admitting your feelings out loud in a safe environment, and we can call it a night?” The man suggests gently, his smile warming Freddie’s heart.

The singer groans, looking away from the stranger for a minute before finally muttering, “okay, maybe you’re right. Maybe I’m utterly and hopelessly in love with him…” The man pats Freddie’s shoulder endearingly, and Freddie smiles bashfully at him. “I’ve never been able to talk about this with anyone before,” Freddie muters quietly.

“Well, like I said,” the man smiles, “sometimes all we need is a friend.”

Freddie smiles at the man and nods. The man turns to cradle his pint again and sips it slowly. Freddie suddenly feels his bones starting to ache, so he moves to stand up. He pats the man’s shoulder in farewell and thanks him before turning around.

“Oh wait,” Freddie stops himself, turning to face the stranger again, “what’s your name? I just realized we never introduced ourselves.”

The man smiles, holding out his hand. “Jim. Jim Hutton.”

“Freddie,” Freddie replies, shaking it and smiling bashfully at Jim. “Thank you, Jim. You’re a kind man.”

“You’re welcome,” Jim replies, letting go of Freddie’s hand and turning around again. “I’ll see you around, Freddie…”

Freddie nods, and shifts to turn, but can’t stop staring at Jim. “Wait, I feel...I feel like I’ve seen you before,” Freddie says slowly, crossing his arms and frowning in concentration. “I know you look familiar…”

“Freddie Mercury, right?” Jim says with a raised brow.

Freddie’s face pales. “Oh, uh --”

“I worked at your New Years Party a month ago. I was a waiter,” Jim says with a lifted brow.

“Oh,” Freddie says slowly, rubbing his neck nervously. He suddenly feels incredibly foolish. ‘I think I said Roger’s name, didn’t I? Fuck, this is it. This is the end to our career--’

“Don’t worry, Freddie. Your secret is safe with me,” Jim says with a genuine smile. Freddie exhales nervously and nods his head shakily. All of this feels so surreal to him, but he thanks Jim again, receiving a genuinely pure and humble vibe from the man. Freddie stumbles out of the pub, curling in himself as the bitter coldness of January bites his skin. He buttons up the top buttons of his dress shirt and tugs his suit jacket around himself tighter, realizing that he left his overcoat somewhere - and his tie is also nowhere to be found. Did he leave it at the bar? Freddie hears someone call him some homophobic slur, and he ignores the bloke, deciding to focus on getting himself to the bus stop since it is the quickest way home at this ungodly hour. What time is it anyway?

 


 

Freddie opens his eyes when the truck drives over a large bump, and he realizes they are moving much slower now. He blinks a little and searches the truck, realizing that Lola has since fallen asleep. Roger looks up at Freddie and nods at him in recognition but doesn’t say a word. Freddie cranes his stiff neck to look passed John through the mesh cage to see that the cloudy skies are dimly lit with what Freddie presumes is dawn. They must have been driving for a while.

Freddie looks straight ahead at Roger again but lowers his gaze to stare at the man’s hands that are neatly folded over his lap. He steals a glance at Roger’s features and feels himself frown when he notices the prominent bags under Roger’s eyes. ‘Poor old Rog looks knackered - scratch that - he looks utterly exhausted,’ Freddie thinks to himself pensively. Freddie thinks about his own time again, nineteen-seventy-eight, and then he remembers the conversation he had with Roger before he fell asleep. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but Freddie knows that he is dying anyway, so what’s the point. He really wants to know about his immediate future - about Roger and Dominique.

“Psst, Rog,” Freddie whispers, lightly kicking the old man’s shoe to catch his attention. Roger looks at him again, his brows furrowing in puzzlement. “Did you and Dominique ever end up getting married, or no?” Freddie asks in a whisper.

Roger frowns in confusion. “What? Fred, how would you even know about--”

“--Alright, we’re here,” one of the soldiers say loudly, interrupting their conversation again. The vehicle slows to a stop, and Freddie feels panic bubble in his gut again.

“Rog, you and Dominique were engaged no more than a week ago - in seventy-eight. What do you mean how would I know about it?” Freddie asks quickly as the soldiers open the back of the truck. The rain is still heavy and the clouds are dark, but Freddie can tell there is sunlight now. Freddie realizes that it might be passed sunrise, not dawn.

Roger’s bewilderment worries Freddie, and the old man blinks, utterly baffled. “Dominique and I were never engaged, Fred. We eloped in eighty-eight--”

“--That’s enough, you two. Let’s go,” the soldier interrupts again, lifting Freddie up harshly by the elbow and dragging him out of the truck.

“Wait!” Freddie shrieks as he’s dragged away from the truck. He looks back at Roger who is being held down by another soldier. He watches as Lola wakes up and cries out to Freddie. John struggles with another soldier, screaming foul obscenities at the masked man as he claws towards Freddie desperately. Freddie shivers in the pouring rain, trying to pull himself away but his weak, nimble muscles don’t help him in the slightest. Freddie pushes onwards, wanting to be nowhere that is away from his friends. He wriggles himself free from the soldier's grasp and stumbles to his knees on the wet cement.

“Roger!” Freddie yells desperately as he struggles to get up. He feels a dark looming presence hovering above him, and he tilts his head up, squinting as rain pours down his forehead and into his eyes. The man from the summer home, and who also pretended to be Brian, stands there with his arms crossed and his lips pulled into an unimpressed frown. He looks at someone behind Freddie and nods subtly.

Freddie feels a sharp pain on the back of his neck as electricity jolts through his body. He distantly hears the screams of his friends as he spasms with the forced electricity coursing through his veins. The pain becomes white hot and bleaches his vision to nothing but whiteness before there is nothing but comfortable numbness and darkness.

Chapter Text

Sunday 28th of October, 2018

 

John and Roger stroll towards the front foyer, and John leans towards Roger, raising his voice. "Oh hey, you know what I just remembered, Rog?"

“What is that, John?” Roger replies, his voice loud as well.

“Remember at your fortieth birthday party when you climbed out of your study’s window and fell into the garden?” John says, his voice growing obnoxiously loud now. Anita frowns in confusion. “I just thought of it when you walked out of the study with that whiskey bottle!”

“Ah, yes, I recall. That was such a fun time!” Roger replies, laughing as they open the front door. “Goodbye, Anita! It was lovely seeing you again!” Roger says with a slight wave.

Anita waves reluctantly, her eyebrow lifting in confusion. “Uh, likewise, Roger.”

After they step outside, John looks over and waves back as well. “We’ll see you later, Brian? Continue where we left off?” John says with a forced smile.

“Yes, of course. Drive carefully!” Brian says as he waves back. They close the front door, and Anita immediately looks over at Brian with a baffled expression. Brian smiles and wraps his arm around her shoulder. “Roger’s hearing is getting worse these days, you know? It’s quite a shame really, that we have to start raising our voices to speak to him,” Brian says nonchalantly, and Anita sighs, rubbing her forehead and nodding.

“Right, of course. Poor lad,” she responds sympathetically. “You don’t have to stay here too long, sweetheart. Go, spend time with your friends. It’s been a while since the three of you spent time together,” Anita says with a smile.

“I will, in due time. Let me say hello to my wife, first,” Brian says, leaning in for a kiss. She smiles up at him and tilts her head, welcoming the kiss. Just as their lips press together, they hear a loud thud coming from Brian’s study, but before she can say anything about it, Brian goes in for the kiss and pretends he didn't hear a thing. Anita shrugs and returns his kiss, wrapping her arms around his neck with a wide grin.

Anita deepens the kiss, running her fingers through Brian’s curly grey locks and tilting her head to the side. Brian responds immediately, pulling her closer and brushing his fingers up and down her arms affectionately.

Brian pulls away from the kiss and smiles endearingly at her, chuckling lowly. “So, shall we have a drink?” Brian asks with a lifted brow and Anita giggles, raising her brow suggestively.

“Yes, but I think I’d rather just go upstairs, lay down a while?” Anita suggests with a playful smirk. Brian’s grin widens and he takes her hand, leading the way to the stairwell. Once at the bedroom door, Brian is quickly shoved into it, and he turns to look at her with wide, wild eyes. She leans in to press her lips against his more passionately this time as she roams her hands across his broad shoulders.

“You’re acting rather fierce today, sweetheart. What’s gotten into you?” Brian asks between kisses, barely able to catch his breath at the sudden excitement blooming between them.

Anita smirks at him and opens the door, shoving him backwards. “Are you complaining, dear?” She asks with a lifted brow before shoving him back again. Brian falls on his arse, landing on the bed and bouncing slightly with his landing, laughing.

“No, not at all,” Brain replies, mirroring her dark smirk before pulling her onto his lap. Brian grabs the back of her neck and pulls her into another passionate kiss, running his other hand up her thigh and tilting his head to deepen the kiss. He feels complete and utter bliss, floating on cloud nine with his eyes closed as he kisses what he can reach.

Anita stretches out her neck, letting Brian trail kisses down to her collarbone. She pulls her hand behind her back, curling her fist around a hidden object as she allows Brian to kiss a trail up her neck again. She places her palm on his cheek and he opens his eyes to look into hers, smiling warmly with nothing but love and passion. Anita’s smile wipes away, her expression suddenly neutral and seemingly unfazed. Brian furrows his brows, tilting his head ever so slightly in confusion. Before he can react any further, however, Anita’s hidden hand swings around from behind her back, and she sticks a syringe needle into Brian’s exposed neck. His eyes widen in horror as she presses the mystery liquid into his system quickly. Brian shoves her away and she roughly falls onto the floor. He grabs the syringe and pulls it out of his neck with a trembling hand.

Brian looks at the now empty syringe before attempting to stand up. His limbs are too heavy to move, though, and his arm holding the syringe falls to his side limply. His vision goes blurry, and he sees two of Anita as she slowly stands up, watching him with dark, looming eyes as he sways back and forth on the bed.

“Wha-did-yew-do?” Brian slurs, his eyelids drooping as he struggles into a crawling position on the mattress. The syringe rolls closer to him as his weight shifts on the mattress; he attempts to crawl but collapses instead. He falls on his face, his eyes rolling to the back of his head as he does so. He feels frozen and tired, and he watches as a blurry Anita pulls something out of her pocket and speaks what sounds like gibberish to him. He finally closes his eyes, succumbing to the numb, unconscious state that's been forced upon him.

 


 

Brian feels cold as he starts to become consciously aware of his surroundings. He attempts to open his eyes, but realizes that it is nearly impossible. He gives himself a minute to wake up, slowly wiggling his fingers and his toes to gain some form of control over his body again. His head feels fuzzy, but he remembers everything in a flash. Anita, the syringe, and then passing out.

Brian is finally able to open his eyes, but his vision is blurry and unfocused. He blinks a few times and rolls his head to the side to look around. He squints when the light becomes too unbearable. The walls are white, and he is laying on a cold cot that has no pillow or blanket. He finally groans, slowly lifting his arm to rub his face. His whole body feels weighed down by an invisible force, but the effects seem to be sluggishly dissipating.

Brian sits up after a while, grunting and blinking quickly until his vision clears up enough to see his room better. There are unknown light sources lighting up the white room, the brightness causing him discomfort as he squints and shields his eyes for another minute. He stands up slowly, wobbling and stumbling as he walks to the large metallic door. He smooths his palm over the door, staring in awe when he realizes it is completely flat with no sign of a doorknob or a window of any kind. He leans his back against the wall beside the door, and his eyes roam the room frantically. He determines he is in a roughly six by eight foot room that contains nothing but a cot, a toilet, and a sink.

Brian looks up at the ceiling and squints, realizing that there is a camera on the one corner, staring down at him. He gets an uncomfortable chill through his spine when he has the epiphany that he's in some sort of prison cell. Who could have trapped him? He considers what has happened in the past twenty-four hours, and determines it must have something to do with Freddie travelling from the past. Maybe it wasn’t an accident after all? Or maybe it was, and the government is trying to cover it up. Either way, Brian is terrified, and wonders if his friends made it out and didn’t get captured like himself.

He jumps as the metallic door makes a loud mechanical sound, and he watches it open slowly, revealing a masked soldier armed with a firearm standing at attention. Brian stares at the guard with wide eyes, unable to open his mouth to say anything. The soldier eases their position and waves Brian over. Brian subconsciously takes a step back, shaking his head in trepidation for what may come after he leaves. The guard lifts their arm, and another two soldiers charge in seemingly from nowhere, one with what appears to be a long staff and another with handcuffs. Brian stumbles backwards until his legs hit the cot, and he raises his hands in surrender, watching in horror as the staff lights up and buzzes.

The guard presses the staff to Brian’s arm, and he yells in pain, his muscles spasming with the electrical current coursing through him. The other guard grabs his arms and roughly handcuffs him. Brian sighs with relief when they pull the electric staff away from him. The guard holds his elbow after he is handcuffed, and his legs stumble awkwardly when he is shoved forward.

Brian walls through the hallway, feeling disoriented as he watches the door close behind him before being shoved forward again. Brian looks around with a muddled expression, wondering where on earth he could possibly be. The hallways are bright and white like his cell, but there are no windows, and it is lined with metallic doors like the one from his cell. The doors are smooth with no signs of a latch of any kind, but there seems to be a keycard scanner on this side of the doors, all glowing red. The one at the end of the corridor is opened, the light on the keycard sensor glowing green as it does so. Brian is pushed forward again, feeling dizzy and confused, unable to focus on one thing happening at a time.

The guard shoves him into another room, and he is forced to sit in one of the metal chairs at the lone table. He sees a large mirror on one wall, and there is also one metal table and two metal chairs to match. The guard handcuffs him to the table, and he tugs at the cuffs after the guards walk away.

Before he can say anything, he flinches at the sound of the door being closed and locked, and he shivers, wondering what the hell is going on. ‘Okay, breathe. Where are we, Brian?’ he thinks to himself as he looks around again. ‘An interrogation room. Maybe at a police station, but I’ve never seen a police station quite like this before,’ he muses silently to himself, looking at the upper corners and stopping when he finds the camera. ‘What the hell is this place? What are they gonna do to me?’

Brian sits in silence, looking at the large mirror. He furrows his brows, remembering that this is not a typical mirror. Someone is definitely watching him through there, he can feel their presence. He looks away from the one-way glass and stares at the blank white wall ahead of him, his frown intensifying as the clock ticks louder and louder. ‘Was there an analog clock in here when I was brought in?’ Brian wonders silently as the minute's tick by.

Just as he starts to feel the edginess of waiting creep up on him, the sound of the metallic door opening startles him again, and he keeps his head forward as he listens to the stranger enter the interrogation room. He listens to the enhanced sound of footsteps as the person walks deeper into the room, and shivers when the door closes on its own.

A tall man enters the room, his hair a dark brown and his eyes an impossibly light shade of seafoam green. His smile is unnerving and incomplete-looking; it doesn’t quite meet his eyes. This man gives off a more mechanical vibe than the doors of this place, and Brian gulps, giving the man a firm nod in recognition out of habitual politeness.

“Doctor May, I wish I could say it is a pleasure to meet you, but given these -” he adjusts his tie and clears his throat, “- unsatisfactory circumstances, I’m afraid we don’t have any time to be friendly with one another. I’m just going to ask you some basic questions, and I hope you are going to be obedient and respond accordingly so we can breeze through this as quickly as possible,” the man says, his voice lacking any and all emotion.

“Of course,” Brian replies meekly, nodding as the man sits across from him. He haphazardly lifts his hands, the chains of his handcuffs clattering as he does so. “Are these quite necessary?”

“Quite,” the man responds firmly, his expression unmoving but focused. He opens the folder in his hand and glances down at it. “Just a precautionary thing, really. You understand?” The man flickers his eyes up at Brian again. “As I said, if you cooperate, there will be no issues to fret about.”

Brian furrows his brows in confusion but neatly folds his hands on the table and nods obediently. The man smiles again but it sends a shiver down Brian’s spine; the man’s bright eyes are rather piercing and intimidating, and they do not crinkle in the slightest, leaving his smile looking tight like a ventriloquist doll.

“Alright, first question. Very simple. What is your full name?”

Brian resists the urge to chew on the inside of his cheek. “Brian Harold May.”

“Good. Second question,” the man doesn’t release his intense gaze from Brian, “what is your date of birth?”

“Um, wouldn’t you already know this info--”

“--Cooperate, Doctor May,” the man snips back, cutting off the old man.

Brian sighs, slacking his shoulders when he realizes how tense he is. “I was born on the nineteenth of July, nineteen-forty-seven.”

“Very good,” the man says, flickering his gaze back at his folder before looking up at Brian again. “Another easy one. What is your occupation?”

Brian moves to scratch his neck but flinches at the resistance from the handcuffs looped through a circular metal clasp on the wide metallic table. He suddenly feels very cold and aware of his heartbeat. “I am an Astrophysicist and the lead guitar player, singer, and songwriter for a band called Queen.”

“Good, very good,” the man says, nodding to himself. “Next question. When did you cheat on your first wife, Chrissy?”

Brian’s eyes widen at that, wide like an owl it seems. “I beg your pardon?”

“Cooperate, Doctor May --”

“-- No, this is ridiculous!” Brian raises his voice. “What the hell am I in here for? What crimes did I commit? I wish to speak with my lawyer!” Brian says sternly with a deep frown.

The man laughs humorlessly. “You think this is, what, a police station? You’re not under arrest, Doctor May,” the man explains with his posh, snide voice that pisses Brian off further. “I’ll be frank with you and jump straight to the questions we actually need answers for, how about that?” The man offers with a lifted brow.

Brian just narrows his eyes but gives one firm nod. The man continues. “Tell me about the night in nineteen-sixty-nine, where Roger and Freddie took you to see a meteor shower in the countryside after Tim Staffel quit Smile?” The man asks with a lifted brow.

Brian blinks, leaning back and tilting his head, aghast. “How do you expect me to remember that night? That was a long time ago!”

“Okay, fine. Tell me what you recall. Any details you can remember,” the man negotiates, lightly gesticulating his hand in circular motions.

Brian looks up, squinting as he reminisces on those memories. He searches his brain for his thoughts and starts listing any detail he can remember in his head. Before he says anything out loud, he glances at the one-way-glass and then at the interrogator with furrowed brows. “Why do I have to answer such an absurd question? What do you want with me?”

“Answer the question--”

“--tell me what I want to know and I’ll answer your bloody question--” Brian screams in pain when he feels a sudden electric jolt surge through his body. He spasms with the surge and then goes lax again, panting heavily with his eyes wide; beads of sweat begin to sluggishly roll down his temples.

“Cooperate and that won’t happen again, Doctor May,” the man says in a monotone voice, his expression is one of boredom. That bastard!

“Fine,” Brian says after catching his breath, realizing that he may not be able to take another electric shock at his age. He bows his head in submission and closes his eyes as he struggles to recall the list of details he made in his mind before the shock. “I remember being upset for a while - our EP didn’t do so well, and Tim was dwindling away from us slowly. I didn’t want to admit that our band was failing. I really wanted it to work out.”

“And the night Tim left Smile?” The man asks. Brian flinches when a strange tone in the back of his eardrum rattles his brain. He struggles to refocus his memory, feeling dizzy before it subsides. He sighs in frustration and then finally finds his train of thought again.

“I was frustrated, angry, sad, and mostly tired. I was ready to quit music altogether, but then Freddie convinced Roger to take us to the fields about three-hundred yards from where our last gig was. Freddie remembered that I spoke about the meteor shower briefly in conversation - or something like that. It’s a bit fuzzy, but he remembered and it surprised me that he did. I was awestruck and Freddie told me to not give up. He asked us what could have been the millionth time to become our lead singer. After all of the rejections we gave him, I decided when I looked into his eyes that I knew I had to say yes. That man has done so much for me, and he was my only option at the time. For the first time in months, I began to feel hopeful again,” Brian says with a bittersweet smile.

“Would you agree that if any one thing went differently that night, that Queen would not have existed?” The man asks in a quieter, but still firm tone.

Brian laments on the question for a few moments before looking into the man’s eyes and simply saying, “yes. If Tim never left or if our EP did better or even if Freddie didn’t ask to be our frontman again that night, things may have been much different. If he didn’t do that for me after Tim left, I would have given up on music. So yes, I believe Queen would not exist, or at least it would be different.”

“Do you believe in The Butterfly Effect, Doctor May?” The man asks, seemingly out of the blue, but Brian also realizes it is not entirely off topic.

Something suddenly clicks in Brian’s mind - like an epiphany - when he is asked this, and he frowns. “Wait,” Brian says, “Freddie coming here...it was no accident, was it?”

The man stays silent and pulls his lips in a thin line. “Answer my question, Doctor May,” he states firmly, inciting another cool sensation that causes Brian to shiver.

Brain feels the phantom electrical shock and immediately obeys. “The Butterfly Effect, you say? Do I believe in it?” Brian clarifies, to which the man nods in response. “Honestly, before last night,  I might have said no or even maybe . Right now, though, I think I do. Believe in it, that is.”

“So, you understand that if one thing happens differently, that could change the whole course of time, correct?” the man asks. Brian nods.

They both stay silent, and then Brian tries to ask another question again. “You...you’re trying to change Freddie’s fate, aren’t you? You’re trying to save him?”

The man doesn’t respond at first. He just gathers his folder and taps it on the table, straightening it out before standing up. As the man begins to walk away, Brian feels anger bubble in his gut, overpowering his fear of being shocked again. “Hey! I think I’ve earned at least one answer,” Brian yells as he struggles to turn around to look at the man.

The man pauses at the doorway after opening it, not looking over his shoulder. The air feels cold, and Brian feels dizzier from the humming sound growing louder in the back of his head. “To answer your first question... Yes…” The man simply says before leaving the room.

Brian struggles to remember his first question as the frequencies in his ears go louder. They become unbearably loud, and he winces and moans in pain, swaying like a drunk and blinking to clear his vision. He feels his face impact with the metallic table as he begins to lose consciousness…

 


 

 Brian wakes up with a jolt and a dry mouth. He attempts to rub his palm against his temple, to ease the dull pain in his head. He feels his stomach drop when his arms don't move. He blinks rapidly to clear his vision enough to stop it from skewing so much as panic begins bubbling in his abdomen. He tries to pull his arms but feels something clasped around his wrists, resisting his motions. He tries to move his legs as he becomes more frantic, but his legs do not budge either. He realizes that there are cool wires stuck to various places on his forehead.

Brian hears beeping from a machine behind him and he attempts to roll his head around, but can’t move it since his head has also been restrained. His eyes widen when he sees those familiar green-eyes popping into his line of sight, but his eyes widen further when he realizes that the man looks like himself.

“I just wanted to thank you, Doctor May, for your useful intel and cooperation,” the man says, and Brian tries to scream, but his mouth is covered and gagged with what he assumes is a plastic retainer and tape. “Your friends will be fine as long as they cooperate. We don’t want them getting too worried about you, so I’ll have to take your place and learn what I can by using your face. I hope you understand.”

Brian’s eyes widen when the man begins putting in coloured contact lenses, blinking before looking down at him again with brown eyes like his own. Brian struggles to yell and scream but to no avail. He struggles against his restraints, not caring that the leather cuffs are starting to burn his skin.

“I will see you again soon, Doctor May,” the man repeats, but speaking in Brian’s own accent. Brian’s eyes widen, feeling like he's helplessly staring at his own evil twin. “Now, you rest,” the man says before leaning back and nodding at someone behind Brian. The old man begins to pant as the sounds of a machine powering up becomes prominently loud. The man takes a step back, and before Brian can think another thought, he is met with white-hot pain coursing through his brain. His eyes bulge out of his sockets, but his vision goes white and foggy as his whole body tenses with a powerful surge of electricity. For a brief moment, Brian wonders if he may die before the white fogginess dissolves into nothing but inky blackness.

Chapter Text

John Deacon has lived a relatively long and eventful life so far. However, nothing truly compares to the complete and utter fear he feels in this moment. He wakes up in a jolt, practically leaping off of the bare cot and gasping desperately for air. The last thing he can recall is seeing Freddie being dragged away and electrocuted. He and Roger were quick to fight, trying their damndest to go after their dear friend, but a syringe was stuck into his neck and he saw nothing but dark fogginess take his vision away. He watched as Roger and Lola collapsed beside him, and then everything melted into a dark abyss.

John looks around, panting desperately as he struggles to figure out where he is. The room is brightly lit with white walls and a windowless door; he notes that it appears to have no knob or latch to open it either. He must be in prison, but he has never imagined a prison cell looking so immaculately cleaned and brightly lit like this one.

The door opens, and John stands up, staring at the masked soldier, armed with what appears to be a machine gun. The soldier waves to him, urging him to move forward. John obliges, walking out meekly as his eyes search the environment for any clues as to where he could be. He jumps when his door closes behind him and he stares at it, too distracted to realize he is being handcuffed. He hears the click of the metal cuffs, and he suddenly panics, resisting the cuffs holding his arms around his back. He is shoved forward and stumbles through a series of hallways, too startled to even notice what is happening around him. ‘I just want to go home…’ John thinks to himself as he is shoved into what looks to be an interrogation room. It contains a lone table and a one-way glass mirror overshadowing the brightly lit room.

John is cuffed to the table and then left alone to nothing but the sound of the ticking analog clock on the far end of the room and his own intrusive thoughts. John thinks about nothing and everything at once, his eyes wandering the room and hesitating to look at the one-way-glass. He tries to act as casual as possible but he knows it’s futile.

Lingering dread inside of him deepens as he hears the door open. John really starts to inwardly panic as he watches the man who electrocuted Freddie walk around the table and sit across from him. ‘Did he have blue eyes before? I could have sworn they were brown.’

“Hello, Mr. Deacon. We would just like to ask you a few questions,” the man says with a tight-lipped smile that doesn’t quite reach his eyes.

We? ” John says, bewildered. The man just hums and nods, reading something from the folder in his hands. It sends a chill down John’s spine. “Okay, so I answer your questions...and then what? Are you going to kill me?” John asks, his voice shaking more than he would like to admit.

The man just smirks before looking up from his folder. “You will not get hurt if you cooperate,” the man replies. John just holds his stare on the man, his eyebrows narrowing in a challenge. “First question, nice and simple. What is your full name and date of birth?”

“Why don’t you Google it, I’m sure you can figure it out,” John replies sarcastically, his frown deepening and his right brow raising with confidence.

The man’s features remain deadpan as he stares at John. He patiently folds his hands over each other on the table, waiting for a proper response. John doesn’t give it to him, though; he holds his ground. John’s snarl deepens as he mutters, “just kill me now. I’m not telling you anything, you piece of shit.”

The man’s lips curl up at that, almost resembling the Grinch animation as he smirks at John with a lifted brow. “Oh? You don’t say,” the man chuckles darkly, causing another chill to run down John’s spine. He closes his folder and straightens his posture, which almost seems to be impossible since he’s already sitting with near-perfect posture. John tries to mirror him, realizing he is slouching.

“Alright, so you wanna play that way, huh? Fine--” the man adjusts his tie, “--you’re a family man, correct?” John doesn’t reply. “You have your lovely wife Veronica, and you two bred like rabbits.” John doesn’t budge but he feels his forehead begin to dampen. “You had all kinds of women swarming you back in the day and yet you didn't tell a single one of them to bugger off, now did you?”

John stares wide-eyed at the man, completely flabbergasted. “What?” John finally says, feeling aghast and flustered.

“And you like to pretend that you are the calm and collected member of the group when you have thrown the scariest fits out of everyone. Remember in eighty-six when you whipped your bass off stage?” The man says, completely unfazed.

“I don’t--”

“--and another thing, Mr. Deacon,” the man interrupts. “You seemed to get the most intoxicated out of everyone. You got so drunk and dizzy with booze and cocaine that after going out for pizza, you forgot the bassline for Under Pressure. Roger luckily remembered it, though, didn’t he? You forgot a lot of things after getting too drugged and drunk, didn’t you?” the man asks with an innocently questioning look.

John begins to feel anger in the form of a thorn in his throat as he struggles to keep calm, boring his eyes into the table to focus on anything but the words coming from the man’s mouth.

“You think you can ignore me like you ignored your family, Mr. Deacon?” John’s head snaps up at that, his eyes wide and worrisome.

“I...I never--”

“--You never, what, Mr. Deacon? You cheated on your wife with groupies in Japan and you were too busy on the road with your band to ever spend quality time with your kids,” the man leans back, “you retired, hoping you could fix all of those missed years...but you can’t, Mr. Deacon. You’ve wasted all those years with your family and you are failing as a father and husband even to this day, feebly attempting to make up for past mistakes…”

John’s mouth stays shut as he stares wide-eyed at the table, tears threatening to escape. He sniffles and hunches himself over the table, completely giving up. “Okay,” John mumbles, “okay, that’s enough…”

“Enough?” The man leans closer. “Oh, Mr. Deacon, we’re just getting started…”

John lets out a shaky sigh, struggling to hold back his anger and sadness as his pain resurfaces like a parasite. “Fine, what do you want to know.”

“State your full name and date of birth, to start with,” the man states firmly.

“John Richard Deacon, born on the nineteenth of August, nineteen-fifty-one,” John says, his teeth clenched and his voice low and cracking with bottled-up rage.

The man scribbles something in the file, nodding. He looks up into John’s hazel eyes and keeps his stoic features. “Now, tell me about that night in January of nineteen-seventy-eight…the night of the earthquake…”

John frowns, lifting a brow. “Why do you want to know about that?”

“Just tell me what you can recall. Any detail will help,” the man replies.

John is reluctant to respond, leaning back and holding his firm glare on the man. “You’re an arsehole with a stalker-level of intel on my life, so figure it out yourself, you bloody wanker.” John spasms abruptly, his body tense and twitching with electrocution coursing through his veins. It goes away as quickly as it came, and all it accomplished was pissing John off even more. “You can shock me all you want, you prick," he spits, "I’m not saying a damn thing. You can just kill me slowly for all I fucking care.”

The man tilts his head, his features still eerily emotionless. “What if you watched your family die? Would that change your mind, Mr. Deacon?”

John’s face pales and his blood turns into ice. He begins to tremble in trepidation, his fear now dominating his anger. “You’re pure evil, you know that?”

The man doesn’t even physically react to John’s response. “Tell me what I want to know, Mr. Deacon, and your family will be safe. I am a man of my word. You give me what I want, I will return the favour,” the man negotiates with a lifted brow.

John sighs in defeat; he leans back and looks up at the ceiling. “Alright, fine. What do you want to know?”

“Everything. Every little detail you can recall, you share it all,” the man replies, lifting his pen, ready to scribble notes.

John breathes in through his nose, then out of his mouth, finally submitting to the interrogator. “We went out for supper whilst recording for our Jazz album…”

 


 

Despite Freddie’s protests, the four of them end up at their favourite Japanese restaurant. Freddie doesn’t really mind, but he still sits with his chest puffed out and purposely avoids Roger’s glance as an act of rebellion.

“Stop being so dramatic, Fred. You love it here,” Roger says while rolling his eyes. Freddie huffs before he moves to pick up his drink. He accentuates every movement of putting the straw between his lips before slamming the cup on the table. Freddie gives a toothy grin at everyone as they roll their eyes at his sassiness; however, he quickly covers his mouth habitually. John frowns sadly when Freddie covers his mouth.

“Are you done? Or do you need to do anything else over the top tonight?” Brian asks with a hint of a smile.

“I’m never done being overdramatic, darling,” Freddie replies with a sly wink. The group orders their food and then they later begin to eat.

“So, what do you all think about the album so far? You think anyone will like it?” Roger asks conversationally with a mouth full of food.

John rolls his eyes at the drummer. “Swallow your food first, you wanker--” Roger swallows and gives John a cheeky grin, “--and yeah, I’m sure people will enjoy it. We have some strong songs on there.”

Brian nods in agreement, and Freddie lifts his drink, taking a sip before placing the cup down. Freddie checks his watch then taps on the table impatiently. “Speaking of which, we should really get back to it soon…”

Roger rolls his eyes, stuffing his mouth with noodles. “Yew know,” Roger says with a mouthful of food, “yew wreally neen to learb ‘ow to take a fucken bwreak.”

John narrows his eyes at Roger, silently scolding him like a father for speaking with his mouth full of food again. Roger swallows his food with a sheepish grin. Freddie rolls his eyes and mutters, “yeah, well, we are on a deadline, darling. You know how much shit we all got in last year for A Night At The Opera, right? We took way too long for their likings,” Freddie sighs, “I just don’t want us to lose our record deal because we pissed them off.

The bandmates all nod in agreement and Roger sighs. “Okay, fine. Just let me finish my bloody food, will ya?”

Freddie nods and waves to Roger, urging him to continue eating. As the waiter walks by, Brian asks for a check. Roger begins eating faster as a race against the waiter, watching the man scurry to the kitchen to retrieve their check.

“You’re paying, remember?” Freddie clarifies with Roger and the man waves dismissively, shoving more noodles into his mouth.

“ ‘Ere,” Roger whips his wallet on the table, still shovelling noodles in his mouth.

John rolls his eyes at Roger again and grabs his wallet, opening it and pulling out a few notes. “You’re unbearable, Roger.”

Roger smiles cheekily at John and the bassist sighs, looking away, but a hint of a grin tugs at his lips as he places the notes on the table. Freddie groans before whining out, “come on, you eat like a fucking snail!”

Roger flashes the bird at Freddie, ignoring him as he finishes stuffing his mouth. The waiter returns as Roger slurps up the last noodle and he cheers in victory. John hands the waiter a small tip and money for the bill and the man smiles gratefully at him, thanking John before leaving.

“Did you just tip the bloody waiter with my money?” Roger grumbles in annoyance as the four of them stand up to leave. John doesn’t respond and hands Roger his wallet back with a smirk. They all grab their coats and Roger mumbles, “dick,” bitterly to himself as they exit the restaurant.

Just as they walk out to the street, the earth begins vibrating. Freddie stops walking, causing a distracted Roger to bump into him. “Oi, watch where you’re--”

“--Do you feel that?” Freddie asks with a lifted brow and a frown. They all frown and furrow their brows as they feel the ground beginning to shake a little harder. Roger suddenly shoves the three of them as the road below them begins to crack. They all nearly fall to the opposite sidewalk as they watch in horror as the street begins cracking and the buildings rumble violently. People scream in terror from inside the buildings, all of them running out in a panicked frenzy. The four band members watch the scene with wide eyes as people scurry out of each building, covered in dust and blood.

“Holy shit!” Roger hisses in horror, his eyes wide.

The crack in the street splits open, shaking everyone on the road and causing everyone to wobble as their centre of balance is obstructed. Freddie holds his arms out over Roger and Brian’s chest, backing up and staring wide-eyed at the hole that has formed in the street.

Just then, the restaurant completely collapses and the four of them shudder. Brian is the first to speak up. “Oh my god,” Brian says with a dazed look in his eyes. “We...we could have… We were just in there!”

John watches on, holding onto Brian’s upper arm for some form of grounding as he stares at the horrific scene, his blood simultaneously running through lava and ice. There’s dust everywhere, people are panicking, and suddenly John doesn’t care about the album anymore. With the putrid stench of broken wood and cracked open asphalt, John suddenly feels nauseous and hunches over, heaving heavily, but nothing comes out. He feels someone rubbing soothing circles into his back as he stares at the road, wondering what could have happened if they were still inside of that restaurant.

 


 

“So,” the man interrogating John says after he finishes speaking, “if you four were still inside of the restaurant when the earthquake hit, do you think one or all of you would have died?”

John looks up, his eyes bloodshot and encircled with heavy crimson bags. He feels like he was sitting in this room for a year. “Yes,” he croaks out sadly. “I think so…”

“Hmm, interesting--” the man says, scribbling something down before closing the folder, “--because we already calculated that outcome, and you all still survived...for the most part...”

John’s eyebrows raise up at that. “What?

The man’s features stay unnaturally still. “Oh, you didn’t know? That was the night we used to find Mr. Mercury and bring him here.”

“I know that,” John tilts his head in confusion. “What do you mean by everyone survived for the most part?

“Well, you all were still inside of the building when the earthquake hit - from our understanding of Mr. Mercury’s version of the story,” the man explains matter-of-factly.

John stares at the table, searching his brain for his memories. “That makes no sense. We weren't--”

“--that is all for today, Mr. Deacon. Thank you for your cooperation,” the man says, straightening out his folders and standing up. The door opens and John is suddenly separated from the table, being re-cuffed and dragged out of the room.

“Wait!” John cries out from the doorway, resisting the guards as best as he can. “Let me ask one thing!” John says hurriedly. The man lifts his hand and the guards stop pulling John, but they keep their hold on him.

“One question,” the man says with an empty expression.

“What are you trying to accomplish with all of this? Change our fate?” John asks with wide eyes.
The man stays stoic as he simply says, “yes,” before waving John off. The guards begin pulling the old man away, and he stares in horror at the interrogator, still looking in his direction even after the door closes in front of his face. What could this mean for all of them? Most importantly, what could this mean for Freddie?

Chapter Text

Roger paces around the perimeter of his cell, exploring every corner for any answers or clues. He has been doing this for the past indistinguishable amount of hours, worrying about his friends, and most importantly, his daughter. He hopes she is okay just like he is, but he also wishes that she was never involved. She should be at home right now, possibly waking up with a mild hangover from her party last night and maybe meeting up with one of her mates or siblings to have a pleasantly bland day. Roger never thought he would grow up to beg for a plain life, but he feels he wants it more than ever now after everything that has happened over the past thirty-odd hours or so.

Roger sits down with a loud huff, running his fingers through his short white hair. He feels its damp stringy texture from hours of sweat and the rain soaking into it without a single shower. He longs for a shower, to stand and breathe easier through the steamy air and allow himself to get lost in meaningless thought. Instead, he is trapped here, lost in a painful circle of repetitive, anxiety-ridden thoughts, worrying about John and Brian, his daughter, and Freddie.

The metallic door beeps and opens, and Roger stares vacantly at the masked soldier in the doorway. Roger feels himself float with the dust particles and watches himself stand up and follow the masked men down endless hallways until he is inside an interrogation room. Roger finally feels his eyes blinking again as a man enters the room, a man he recognizes. His jaw tenses as the man sits down and straightens his posture across from him, and he digs his fingernails into his palm as he attempts to ground himself into reality.

"Mr. Taylor, how are you feeling?" The man asks with a tilted head, feigning innocence and concern.

" 'Mm fine," Roger croaks out in a low, gravelly tone. "You know, for being kidnapped and worrying about what the fuck you've done to my friends and family - considering the circumstances, I'm surprisingly..." Roger blinks slowly, "...fine..."

The man gives one curt not. "Good. I'm going to ask a few questions, and if you cooperate, we will let your daughter go."

Roger cocks his eyebrow. "You will? Or are you joshing me?"

"We don't josh around here, Mr. Taylor, mainly because my name isn't Josh," the man clears his throat, "do we have a deal?"

Roger leans back and shrugs lifelessly. "You're not very funny."

"I know," the man responds firmly. "I'm not one for humour, but I thought I'd give it a shot since you seem to be the funny one of the bunch."

"That's not much of a compliment coming from you since your sense of humour is fucking stale," Roger replies with an empty look in his eyes.

"I'll take that as a yes?" The man says in clarification, lifting his brow.

"I'd appreciate you not treating me like I'm some doormat that jokes around and only speaks in riddles. I'll answer your goddamn questions if you promise you will let Lola go," Roger says bleakly.

"You have my word, Mr. Taylor--"

"--another thing - don't call me Mr. Taylor. Roger is fine, thanks," Roger cuts the man off with a lifted brow.

"Why don't you like being called Mr. Taylor?" The man asks curiously.

"Just get on with the bloody questions you originally had planned for me, alright?" Roger bites back with a deadpan expression.

"You seem...upset," the man notes with a tilt of his head. Roger wonders why he keeps tilting his head like that. Maybe to appear smaller than he really is to ease one into answering his questions. Then Roger shakes the thought out, not wanting to give the emotionless man credit for trying to empathize with others.

"I'm tired, hungry, and waiting for this bloody day to end already so I can go home and pretend none of it ever happened," Roger replies gruffly.

"Is it because of your father? You seem to be distancing yourself from anything that could affiliate yourself with him--"

"--nice guess, but no. My father was a lovely man," Roger replies with a roll of his eyes. "I know what you're doing. You're trying to get me to crack - you're gonna keep saying shit like that until it'll make me break and crumble before you."

"Okay, you wanna play that game? I'll play along if you'd like," the man says, standing up and straightening his tie. Roger furrows his brows at the man when he leans over the table, pushing forward until he is all up in Roger's personal space. "Let's talk about Sylvia, then, shall we?"

Roger feels his stomach leap into the void, and he swallows a painful amount of saliva. "What do you wanna know?"

"Was her name Sylvia Wilkins, born the twentieth of August, nineteen-forty-nine?" The man asks with a quirk of his brow.

Roger snorts out a low chuckle, and the man leans back, baffled. "You know her name wasn't actually Sylvia, right? It's a fake name the band and I made up to protect her identity from the press in case they ever found out about her, which was inevitable at some point."

"A...an alias?" The man clarifies, to which Roger nods. "Fascinating," the man sits back down and opens his folder, "because that is not what Mr. Mercury told me."

Roger sits up, now being the one to tilt his head in confusion. "Why--what did Freddie say to you?"

The man pulls out a tape recorder from his jacket pocket. "Tell me, Mr. Ta-- I mean, Roger," the man clears his throat, "what year did you and Dominique Beyrand marry?"

Roger blinks dumbfoundedly. "Uh, nineteen-eighty-eight." Roger leans back, furrowing his brows. "Why do you--"

"-- listen to this, Roger," the man says as he places the tape recorder on the table. He presses the play button and folds his arms over his chest as room noise begins to play.

"So let me clarify with you, Mr. Mercury--" the man says, his voice slightly distorted on the tape, "--you all went to see the shooting stars in nineteen-seventy-three a month after the release of your first studio album?"

"Yes," Freddie replies, his voice grainy, but clear.

"And later that night was the incident with Sylvia Wilkins?" The man asks, looking up from his folder; the papers being adjusted and crinkled is heard prominently through the grainy recording.

Freddie sighs. "Yes."

"And Mr. Taylor was engaged to Dominique Beyrand before you travelled here?" The man clarifies with a lifted brow, his fingertips pressing onto a marriage certificate with the year nineteen-eighty-eight printed on it.

"Yes," Freddie replies with another sigh.

The man stops tape recording and tucks it into his jacket pocket again; Roger's eyebrow raises. "What the fuck was that?" Roger asks incredulously.

"I was speaking with Mr. Mercury before I spoke to you, and I am honestly flabbergasted."

Roger scoffs. "Well, no shit. What the fuck was he going on about?"

"That's just it, Roger. We have no clue what is going on. We know he was telling the truth, so the real question here is why his truth is different from yours, John's, and Brian's."

Roger stares wide-eyed at the table in contemplation. "Why does Freddie remember things differently than us?"

The man replies, "It's not that he remembers things differently, Mr. Taylor," the man licks his lips, "it's that he just has different memories than you do..."

Roger is taken aback, utterly baffled. "But... why? What's wrong with him?"

The man smirks, and Roger is abruptly lifted from his chair. Roger snaps his head from one man to another and struggles against their tight grip. "Wait! You promised you would let her go! Let her go! Let Lola go!" Roger yells as he is dragged out of the room.

"I am a man of my word, Roger," the man replies with a firm nod before the door is closed in front of Roger. He is dragged back towards his cell, uncertain if they will truly follow through with their deal. Roger also wonders about Freddie, and his anger blurs his vision as he quickly elbows one of the masked guards in the chest with brutal force.

The soldier collapses as they grab their chest, and Roger grabs the other's gun, fighting them for it until finally grabbing it and whacking it against their neck. Roger whacks both of them with the gun until they stop fighting back and fall limply to the floor. He checks for their pulse, and then drags one into a nearby closet.
'I'm fucking crazy,'  Roger repeats in his head like a mantra as he strips the uniform from the guard and puts it on in a daze.

'Fuck-shit-fucking-mother-fucking-shit,'  Roger trembles as he finishes suiting up, then pockets the keycard before leaving the closet in search for his daughter and friends.

Chapter Text

Roger immediately rushes down the hall until he finally slows his pace to a purposeful walk. He reads the signs on each door as he passes by until finally reaching a room labelled: ‘ SECURITY ’. Roger has no idea what he is doing, but he goes with the flow. He enters the room with the keycard and freezes when he comes face to face with a security guard holding a to-go-cup in his hands. Roger shoves the man on an impulsive whim, causing the man to fall backwards and hit his head off the console controlling the screens.

“Fuck,” Roger mumbles under his breath as he checks the man’s pulse. “That was surprisingly easier than I thought it’d be,” he adds whilst pulling zip ties from the cupboard and tying the man’s hands behind his back. He then proceeds to drag the man into the cupboard and struggles to shut him inside of it.

Roger pants for a moment as he sits in the swivelling office chair, attempting to catch his breath. Something catches his eye on one of the monitors, and he leans in to see better. It’s Brian, pacing his cell nervously whilst tapping his chin like he always does when he’s nervous.

Roger reads the label on the screen: 0702 . Roger looks down at the console and finds buttons with labels matching the ones on the screen.

“Well, I suppose I’m already fucked. Might as well give it a go,” Roger mumbles to himself before pressing the button matching the numbered code on Brian’s monitor.

Brian flinches on the screen, looking at the door with a tilted head. He waits before hesitantly walking to the door and pushing it open.

“Bloody ‘ell, I got him out!” Roger watches Brian go from one monitor to the next as he walks into the hallway. Roger follows the monitors until it leads to the security room. He turns around and opens the door, looking left before turning right and seeing Brian down the hall a bit of ways.

“Pssst!” Roger hisses quietly, attempting to get Brian’s attention. Brian can’t hear him.

“Brian!” Roger whisper-yells, trying his hardest to be discreet. Brian doesn't look his way, instead opting to walk down the hallway in the opposite direction. Roger rolls his eyes and closes the door before returning to the console.

He scans the monitors, squinting as he does so. “Wish I had my blasted glasses with me,” Roger grumbles as he struggles to look at the screens. “Aha, there you are, you bastard!” Roger says with a wicked smirk as he presses the button correlating to the code on the screen.

Roger hurries to the door and pops his head out again to see Brian looking in his direction at the door that just opened. John walks out looking utterly baffled until he finds Brian.

“What the - did you get me out, Brian?” John hisses in annoyance.

“No, I--”

“--Hey, morons!” Roger hisses at them from down the hall, finally catching their attention. “Get over ‘ere before you assholes get yourselves caught!”

They all scurry into the security room, locking the door behind them and huddling around the console. Brian stares at the monitors before looking at Roger. “Roger, what did you do?”

“I fought back,” Roger shrugs noncommittally. 

“Is that someone’s uniform you’re wearing?” John asks with a lifted brow as he points at Roger’s outfit with a frown. “Did you steal it?”

“No, I bought it at the store,” Roger deadpans. “Of course I fucking stole it you--” they all turn their attention to the ruckus emanating from the cupboard.

“Yeah...about that,” Roger scratches his beard nervously. “There may or may not be a man locked in that cupboard over there…”

Brian and John’s eyes widen at that. “Roger!” Brian scolds, stomping to the cupboard, “we must let him out immediately!”

John exhales deeply. “If there’s still time, we could make a deal with them and apologize for--”

“--No!” Roger cuts John off with a scowl, grabbing Brian’s arm to stop him. “We can’t just expect these people to actually follow through with what they promised us!” Roger says angrily.

“We have families to worry about, Roger,” John replies in a warning tone.

“Freddie is also our family!” Roger snaps back, causing Brian and John to blink vacantly. “What the fuck do you think they’re going to do to him? What will they do to us?”

“I…” John sits down, defeated, “I don’t know, Rog…”

“Well if anyone has a theory about all this, we might as well discuss it now that we have some time,” Brian suggests with a pondering gaze at the monitors. “I don’t think anyone noticed that we escaped quite yet.”

They all look at various places in the room, deep in thought. John waves his arm as he notices something on one of the monitors. “Hey, lads. Look at this.” John points at the codes on the monitors. “You see how the numbers follow a pattern?”

Roger and Brian lean in to get a better look. “It starts from oh-seven-oh-one, right? Then it goes to oh-seven-oh-two and so forth…” John elucidates as he drags his fingers along the codes.

Roger shrugs. “Yeah, nothing strange about that, Deaks. Makes sense to have the numbers--”

“--No, Rog, look. The pattern breaks here!” John exclaims as he points at two monitors. “Here it goes from oh-seven-two-three to oh-seven-two-five.”

“Where’s room oh-seven-two-four?” Roger asks slowly, finally on the same page. The three of them all look at each other before looking back at the monitors.

“Something is rather odd about this place,” Brian says while rubbing his chin.

“No shit,” Roger groans. “It’s a hidden facility that uses unknowing people as their time-travelling lab-rats.”

“Well, that strange man told me there was a mistake,” John explains.

“Oh, you mean that creepy man with no emotion?” Roger asks, and John confirms with a nod. “Yeah, pretty sure that bloke’s a robot--”

“--wait, he told me that, too,” Brian intervenes. “Was he asking you all strange questions about the past?” Brian inquires, to which the other two nod.

“Yeah, it was really strange. They knew about Slyvia,” Roger replies with a frown. “Apparently Freddie thought that was her actual name. The man said something about how Freddie has different memories than us.”

“That’s...odd. Why would Freddie remember things differently?” John raises his brow.

“I mean, we’re all old. Maybe he just has a clearer recollection of the past than we do,” Brian suggests with a shrug.

“Did you not just hear what I said, Brian?” Roger frowns. “Freddie remembers things differently. He thought ‘Sylvia’ was Sylvia’s actual name, for one. We all know that’s not true.”

They all nod silently. “Then...what is all this? If Freddie’s from our past...then why does he have different experiences than we do?” John ponders aloud.

“Maybe Freddie isn’t from our past at all?” Brian suggests with a frown.

“It’s just like those Back To The Future films,” Roger pipes in.

“Roger, come on, this is serious,” John groans whilst rubbing his face tiredly. “Stop bringing up those ridiculous movies--”

“--No, no, listen, I think I’m actually onto something, I swear! Hear me out!” Roger pleads, waving his arms desperately.

“Okay, what is it?” Brian asks, sounding as disinterested as John.

“You know how in Back To The Future Part Two they go into the future, but then when they go back to their own time, they realize something went wrong and they ended up in an alternate version of their timeline?” Roger asks.

“Yes?” John says with a lifted brow. “What’s your point, Roger?”

“Remember when the doctor was explaining to the kid about how that all may have happened on that chalkboard, explaining how something different occurred in their past which created an alternate timeline and they were no longer in their own timeline?” Roger says with enthusiasm.

John pinches the bridge of his nose. “I don’t see how any of this is relevant, Roger--”

“--Deaky, for fuck’s sake, just listen to me!” Roger pleads. “Humour me for five fucking minutes, I will get to my point!”

“Okay, okay, yes. I remember that scene. Please tell me what it has to do with Freddie,” John says, finally indulging in Roger’s seemingly pointless rant. John and Brian think he is wasting valuable time, but he seems to believe he is onto something, so the old guitarist and bassist listen.

“What if Freddie is from an alternate timeline like in that film?” Roger asks, causing both Brian and John’s eyes to widen.

“What the hell?” John asks incredulously. “What makes you say something so absurd?”

“Someone went back in time, like that old man Biff in the second movie, and grabbed Freddie, then came back here with him, thus switching the timelines!” Roger says.

“Okay, you’ve lost me. How the fuck could that even--” John grabs his head in frustration, unable to cope with the thought of alternate realities.

“Wait, I think Roger is onto something…” Brian says slowly, rubbing his hand on his chin as he thinks about the old drummer’s theory. “It would explain why Freddie remembers things differently than we do…”

“But in Back To The Future, the alternate timeline didn’t coexist with the real timeline. It changed because someone went back and screwed with everything! The whole point of the second film was that they had to go back and fix that by stopping it from ever happening!” John exclaims, waving his arms above his head.

“Okay, John, it’s literally just a movie,” Roger deadpans, “I think things happen a bit differently in real life…” John glares at Roger with the most unimpressed look on his face that Roger has ever seen.

“Well, John does make a fair argument,” Brian pipes in. “Since we are using this film as a way to understand what is happening, we could use it to our advantage to figure out why this is happening to us and what these people want,” Brian explains. “Roger, what did the villain in that movie want?”

“Well, the asshole in the film changed everything for his own personal gain. He went back and gave himself, uh, what was it--” Roger waves his hand until he points up, remembering, “--oh, right, the sports statistics. He gambled on the winning games to become a billionaire and marry the kid’s mother.” Roger shudders at the reminder of the plot. “Guy was nothing but a fucking creep.”

“In our analogy, is that wanker who interviewed us all the Biff Tannen of our situation, then?” John clarifies with a lifted brow.

“That’s it!” Brian exclaims. “Roger, you’re a genius!”

Roger smirks, standing with his chest puffed out proudly. “I know,” he boasts with a cheeky grin.

“Sorry, I’m not entirely following,” John says with a lifted brow and a baffled pout. “Why is Roger a genius?”

“These people, they brought Freddie here for their own personal gain. I think they’re trying to change the timeline by screwing with us , specifically!” Brian explains with wide eyes.

“What do you think they’re trying to change? We’re just one rock band out of thousands. What makes us so special?” John asks with a tilted head.

“I don’t think it has so much to do with us . Maybe it’s more about Freddie,” Brian replies, rubbing his chin in thought again.

“Well, not to downplay Freddie, but behind all of that talent, he’s also just another person on this planet,” Roger says with a shrug.

John points at him. “Roger's right. We’re all just people. There's nothing special about any of us besides the fact that we were a part of a rock band - but so were lots of other people. Why create the threat of destroying the universe for us?”

“Maybe it’s not for us, but instead they are using us - like what Roger said earlier. Lab rats. I think they’re experimenting with us to test their theories,” Brian says with a shrug. “I think we are like you said - was it yesterday? - just unfortunate people chosen for something greater than any of us could have ever possibly imagined. I’m sure that because we’re Queen, that may have helped their choosing of us, but beyond that - we’re just…” Brian sighs, leaning his back against the wall and rubbing his head.

“Fucking experiments…” John groans, finally on the same page as the rest of them.

“All for their personal and scientific gain,” Roger adds meekly.

 


 

“One last question, Mr. Mercury,” the man with the documents asks, monotone as per usual. “Was Mr. Taylor in an automobile accident in nineteen-sixty-seven?”

Freddie furrows his brows. “What kind of ridiculous questions are these--”

“--Just answer and then we are done here, Mr. Mercury.” The man slightly lifts a brow.

“No, Roger was never in any automobile accident. I think he’d tell me something of the sort if he were,” Freddie replies with a huff.

“I see--” the man writes something in his notes before standing up, “--I’ll have someone see you back to your room momentarily, Mr. Mercury. Sorry to drag you back in here for more questioning, but as I said, there are some... anomalies we have to work out.”

“Yeah, about that,” Freddie stands up, halting the man from leaving. “What anomalies are concerning you, darling? Is the universe going to cease to exist or something?”

“No, nothing like that,” the man reassures in a deadpan tone. “Just wait here.” The man exits the room and Freddie sits back down with a loud sigh. He rests his chin on his palm and stares at the door, waiting silently.

Freddie startles at the sound of the door unlocking, standing up and ready to leave with a guard. He sees one of the masked guards enter and nodding to Freddie, silently urging him to follow. Freddie begrudgingly follows the guard down the halls until they suddenly stop in front of a door labelled ‘ SECURITY ’.

The guard pulls out a keycard and opens the door, gesturing to Freddie for him to enter first. Freddie lifts his brow comically high, not entirely sure why he was brought to a security room of all places. Freddie enters the room and immediately smiles at his two old friends watching him with grins on their faces.

“It’s good to see you, Fred,” John says, sitting on the office chair and leaning on the console casually. Brian is hovering his shoulder, leaning on the back of the chair.

“Where’s Rog--” the door closes behind Freddie and he turns around to see the masked guard taking their helmet off; it’s Roger with one of his trademark shit-eating grins.

“You’ll never believe what we’ve learned, Fred,” Roger says as he paces past him to get a better look at the monitors. “We think we found out why you’re here and how to get you home.”

Chapter Text

Freddie has dealt with a lot of crazy in his life, but nothing compares to what he has just been told by his friends from the future.

“Wait, you’re saying that I’m from an alternate universe?” Freddie asks, baffled.

“Yeah, pretty much,” Roger replies with a shrug.

“Well, theoretically, of course,” Brian pipes up, his index finger pointing up as he makes his statement clearer.

“I don’t know…” Freddie mutters with a lifted brow.

“Okay, we’ll compare another memory,” Roger says, rubbing his upper arm absent-mindedly. “You said you were recording Jazz, right?”

“Yes,” Freddie replies.

“What month was it right before you travelled here?” Roger asks with a tilted head.

“Uhh, I think--” Freddie frowns, wondering why his memory seems to be escaping him, “--March? Or was it February?” Freddie gesticulates as he speaks. He nods affirmatively. “It was the last week of February.”

We didn’t start recording Jazz until June of seventy-eight,” Roger explains with a deadpan face.

“Okay…” Freddie rubs his chin. “As astoundingly absurd as that all is, I suppose with everything you’ve said, then I agree that I might not be from your timeline.” They all nod in agreement, finally on the same page.

Freddie leans against the wall, folding his arms across his chest as he ponders all of the new information thrown at him in the past five minutes or so. He looks up at Roger and furrows his brows as he sees him absently rubbing his upper arm and wincing as he does so. Freddie tilts his head at the old man. "Are you alright, darling?"

Roger pulls his hand back, revealing a bloodstain beginning to seep through his sleeve. "Fuck, I think the wound reopened."

"Oh right, I almost forgot you were shot," John says. "Let me take a look at it."

"Wait, what!?" Brian nearly shrieks in horror. "When were you shot!?"

"Oh shit, that’s right - that wasn't actually you with us back at Roger's place. It was that areshole," Freddie recalls with a frown.

“Ow, fuck -- careful, Deaky!” Roger yelps in pain as John removes the soiled bandaging.

“Well, the good news is that it doesn’t look infected,” John comments with a satisfied shrug.

“I’m sorry, can we go back to how exactly Roger was shot at and how I didn't know about it until now!?” Brian asks hurriedly, attempting to re-steer the conversation.

“A woman pretended to be Sarina at my place and she tried to kill us,” Roger explains. “She wanted us to hand over Freddie or else we’d die.”

“Not a very pleasant woman,” John adds offhandedly.

“--Let me find a First Aid kit for you, Rog,” Freddie says, ignoring the conversation; he’s more focused on helping Roger. “Do you think they’d have some in this cupboard?--”

“--Wait, Fred, don’t open--” Roger stops talking as Freddie opens the closet door. An unconscious man slumps over, falling by Freddie’s feet. His arms are tied behind his back with a zip-tie.

“Why is there a man tied up in the cupboard?” Freddie asks, aghast. He whips his head around to give Roger a scolding look. “Roger, what did you do!?”

“I panicked!” Roger exclaims, his features pouting like a scolded puppy.

“--What happened to the woman? Why was she trying to kill you?” Brian yelps at John, still urgent on being caught up and ignoring the cupboard altogether.

“Don’t know, but I assume she works here,” John replies offhandedly, his focus too distracted on the unconscious man in the room. “Fred, there’s a First Aid kit behind that man,” John adds whilst pointing at the object in question.

Fred grabs the kit and passes it to John. Brian rubs his chin anxiously as he watches the scene unfold. “How did you get away from her?”

John pauses his rummaging in the kit, staring at his hands with a far-off gaze. Roger looks over at Brian again. “Deaky saved us. After that we interrogated her and then we found out that we were with an imposter pretending to be you,” Roger explains whilst John gets back to work on bandaging Roger’s wound.

“I just realized you’ve tied up three people tonight, Roger,” Freddie comments with a smirk. “ Kinky…

“Fuck off, Fred,” Roger replies through his teeth.

“What the fuck…?” Brian mutters to himself, staring at them with wide eyes.

“Yeah, it’s been a fucked-up couple of nights,” Freddie sighs in response to Brian. “So, what shall we do with this man?”

“Just put him back in the cupboard,” Roger says with a noncommittal shrug.

“Hold still,” John scolds Roger under his breath. Roger rolls his eyes at John.

“Fuck me,” Freddie groans as he rolls the man up and back into the cupboard before closing it. “Can’t my life be normal for one fucking moment?”

“Apparently not,” Brian replies while exhaling through his nose. Freddie walks over and leans on the wall beside Brian, patting his shoulder sympathetically as he stares at the monitors. He blinks when he catches a glimpse of--

“--Holy shit, is that live?” Freddie asks quickly. “You said these are monitoring all of the rooms right?”

“Oh yeah, about that - we wanted to mention that the--”

“--Is that Lola?” Freddie asks, cutting off Roger and pointing at the monitor with Lola on it. They all lean in and simultaneously widen their eyes.

“Fuck - it is!” Roger hisses furiously. “Where is she? We have to get her out!”

“There are guards all around her cell,” John explains sadly as he points at all of the monitors with guards in them. “Even with your suit, I don’t know if we can get her out. We got lucky with Freddie since nobody was near him when we got him out.”

“I think it’s too risky to get her right now,” Brian says, agreeing with a solemn head nod.

“Wait,” Freddie says, pointing at a woman walking down a hallway in one of the monitors. “I know her. It’s the cop we kidnapped!”

“Woah, wait a minute, you kidnapped a cop as well and didn’t think to mention it!?” Brian asks, nearly hysterical at this point.

“Sorry, a lot has happened and we have little time to explain,” Roger says quickly. “I...I think we should ask her for help.”

They all look at him with baffled expressions. “What the fuck, Roger? She’s one of them!” Freddie yelps with a frown.

“I actually agree with Roger, surprisingly,” John says slowly. “I think she was telling us the truth back at Roger’s summer home. She said she wanted to save Freddie.”

“The notion is sweet, but I don’t see why we should trust her--also why is your daughter here, Roger?” Brian sighs, rubbing his head. “You know what, nevermind. Long story, long night, little time to explain.”

“Looks like we don’t get to decide if we should trust her or not because I’m pretty sure she’s outside the security room listening in on us as we speak, my dears,” Freddie states bluntly as he points at the monitor. They all turn towards the door with owl-like eyes.

“I need you all to know you’re being extremely loud in there,” Grace Murphy mumbles through the door. “If you want to sneak out you have to be more inconspicuous than that.”

Roger rolls his eyes and opens the door against Freddie and Brian’s protests. “Get in,” Roger instructs, to which she obliges.

“Let’s all agree to whisper from now on, yeah? It’s a bloody miracle you made it this far,” Grace whispers with a lifted brow.

“Well, since we’ve been caught,” Freddie says, his voice low, “I suppose it’s time for us to beg you to help us?” He shrugs with a sheepish smirk.

“No need to. I plan on getting you home Fred--” she coughs, “--I mean, Mr. Mercury,” Grace says with a grin.

“Freddie is fine, darling,” Freddie replies with a tight-lipped grin.

Grace smiles in return. “Yes, well - anyway--” she walks up to the monitor, “--what exactly are you lot doing in here? Like, do you have any idea where you should be going?”

“Well, earlier we realized there is a room with no monitors in it,” Roger explains slowly. “Do you have any idea what that room is?”

“It’s the room with the time machine, obviously,” Grace replies, deadpanned. “I can also get you all in there, but I’ll have to stay back here and guide--”

“--Wait, what about Lola?” Freddie asks curiously, tilting his head. “We can’t leave her like that.”

“What I suggest we do is get you home and hope that you erase this timeline,” Grace explains with a shrug.

“What? But I’m from another universe! How can I change this future if I’m not even from your past?” Freddie asks.

Grace blinks vacantly. “I’m sorry, what?”

“Yeah, he’s not our Freddie. He’s from an alternate timeline.”

“Of course…” Grace says to herself with a grin. “Us opening the wormhole must have created a temporary pocket universe where Freddie comes to the future, thus intertwining the two after he is sent back…” Grace begins to pace as she theorizes, which just causes the band to stare at her with baffled looks. “No wonder they’re going haywire out there,” Grace elucidates, “they’re worried about our universe ceasing to exist once we send Freddie back. Fucking morons.”

“I’m...confused,” Freddie grumbles tiredly. “Can I go back or not?”

“It’s complicated, you see,” Grace starts. “You are from our world, but the longer you stay here, the more unreliable all of your memories become because you’re altering the course of history by being here. I bet that’s why you’ve had those blackouts and nosebleeds - your body can barely handle the quadrivial shift.”

All of Queen stares at her blankly. Grace sighs. “Basically what I’m saying is that the world as we know it - this future - may cease to exist. When Freddie goes back, he will then be set back in the world like normal and might possibly still change the course of time, thus causing all of our memories to jumble up as we are slowly merging into a new reality.” They all tilt their heads, their expressions openly gawking as they barely retain the information. Grace groans. “Freddie will erase what we have now because he’s going back to our past with knowledge on where his future is headed. It’s just like Back To The Future Three. The future is unwritten. Freddie can change our lives as we know it.”

“I fucking told you it was like Back To The Future!” Roger cheers, pointing in John’s face with a cheeky grin. John smacks Roger’s wounded arm he has wrapped up, causing the old drummer to groan in pain.

“Oh shit,” Freddie breathes out with wide eyes. “None of that makes a lick of sense, but I also think I understand…”

“So, Freddie’s alternate memories is just a side effect to time travelling?” Roger clarifies, to which Grace gesticulates her hand in a tilting motion.

“More like your memories are starting to fade as we are the ones ceasing to exist. We basically fucked the whole timeline and now all of your memories of the past are changing since it’s all slowly trying to rebuild itself,” Grace explains in a slow, patient tone.

“How do you know about all of this?” Brian asks, befuddled.

“I had to learn about all of this to do the job,” Grace elucidates with a sheepish grin, shrugging. “It was a lot of training, but they did pick me because I was the top of all of my classes growing up. I’m…a bit of a nerd…”

“Okay,” John starts slowly, “when Freddie gets sent back, we will cease to exist?” John asks.

“I think so, yes,” Grace replies.

“What will happen if I don’t leave?” Freddie asks cautiously.

“It might be much worse. That’s probably what will break the space-time continuum,” Grace replies nonchalantly.

“Wonderful,” Roger drawls sarcastically. “So, I guess we’d better get Fred back where he belongs, huh?”

“Let’s get Lola first,” Freddie says, crossing his arms and standing his ground.

“Are you sure?” Grace asks with folded arms. “It’s gonna be risky trying to get Lola out of her cell…”

“It’s a risk I’m willing to take,” Freddie replies bluntly. “I refuse to go without seeing her one last time.” 

Roger puts his arm on Freddie’s shoulder and smiles. He mouths the words ‘thank you’ before patting Freddie’s shoulder and standing up straight. “Alright, what’s the plan, then?” he inquires, rubbing his hands together with a playful smirk tugging at his lips.

 


 

Lola stares at the bleach-white floors of her cell, praying that she can go home soon. Her head lifts at the sound of the door opening. She stands at attention when she sees a woman and a masked soldier standing in the open doorway.

“Hello, Lola,” the woman says, deadpan. “Sorry to keep you all cooped up in here for so long. We’re ready to have you for questioning, now.”

“Oh-okay,” Lola replies meekly, nodding frantically as she scurries to the door. The woman starts walking, and the masked guard gestures for Lola to go first. She obliges, walking down the hallway and following the woman. They pass a few guards standing at attention before turning down two empty hallways. Lola’s heart begins to pound and she wipes at her face, realizing she’s starting to cry. 

They come to an abrupt stop, and Lola frowns at the door labelled ‘SECURITY’ . The woman opens the door and gestures for Lola to enter first. She cautiously enters the room, only to come face to face with John, Brian, and Freddie Mercury.

“Oh my god!” Lola shrieks as the door closes behind her. She hurries over to Brian, to which he immediately pulls her in for a hug. “Uncle Bri, you're okay!”

“Yes, I’m fine,” Brian says as he pulls back to hold her at arm’s length, looking her up and down. “It’s been too long, sweetheart. I’m glad you’re okay but how on earth did you get involved in all of this?”

“That was John’s fault…” says a familiar raspy voice behind Lola. She whips around to see her father in the guard uniform, dropping the helmet to join her as they practically leap into each other’s arms. Roger holds onto her tightly, burying his face in the crook of her neck as she sobs into his chest. He coos her gently, smiling as he begins to cry himself.

“Fuck, I’m gonna cry, now,” Freddie whispers with a  wavering voice. He sniffles, waving at his face in an attempt to dry his tears. Lola pulls back from her father to wipe her eyes and look over at Freddie. She chuckles at the sight of him struggling to keep his composure. “I’m a mess!” Freddie says with his usual dramatic flair. Lola immediately pulls Freddie into a hug, which he returns right away. Freddie gives her one last tight squeeze before he pulls away, wiping his face.

Lola hugs John as well, and he eases into the hug, smiling larger-than-life; just like how Freddie remembered seeing him back in the seventies. Freddie frowns, realizing he hasn’t seen any of his dear old friends smile very often and he slumps against the wall, remembering one of the reasons why they might be more bitter than they were back then.

“So, what are we all doing in here?” Lola asks, looking at all of the monitors curiously.

“We’re gonna send Freddie back to the seventies where he belongs,” Roger replies with a grin.

“You see how there’s a missing number here?” John points to the monitors in question, and Lola nods. “We think that the guarded door there is the missing room.”

“So you think that room has a time machine in it that can send Freddie home?” Lola asks with a  lifted brow. John nods, smiling at her. Lola turns around to face the rest of the group. “Okay. I guess you’ll need someone to stay here and walk you through the halls - make sure nobody is near you.”

“That works out well because I can go with you lot while Lola stays here and informs us on any guards walking by,” Grace says with a smile. “It’s a perfect plan.”

Roger walks up to Lola and pats her shoulder. “You sure about this?”

“Yeah, dad,” Lola says with a smirk. “Go send Freddie home so we can go home.”

“I’m so proud of you,” Roger says as he pulls her into another tight hug. She rolls her eyes but smiles anyway, hugging him back. “I love you. Keep the door locked when we leave,” Roger explains with a firm nod. “Oh, and no matter what you hear, don’t open that cupboard over there.”

Lola frowns, furrowing her brows but she nods anyway. Lola hugs Brian and John one last time before approaching Freddie. “I’m gonna miss you, Freddie,” Lola says with a sad smile.

“I’m going to miss you more, my dear,” Freddie replies with a solemn grin. He doesn’t bother hiding his teeth with his lips as he pulls her into a hug and smiles widely. His eyes become glossy with tears, but he doesn’t resist them this time. “I am really going to miss you, darling.”

Lola nods into Freddie’s shoulder, finally crying again as well. The others in the room all sniffle, trying to keep their composure. Grace covers her mouth with her hand, looking at the floor and struggling to avoid crying at the sight. ‘It’s not fair!’ is all Freddie can think at this moment as he hugs Lola Daisy Taylor. He wishes this isn’t the last time they will see each other again. He wishes so hard that he squeezes his eyes shut and scrunches his nose. He doesn’t even know if Dominique is her mother, but he knows Roger has to be with her to have all of his children. Freddie needs them to exist.

He needs John to have a happy retirement with his wife and kids. He needs Brian and Roger to be happy with their families and living in peace. He’d give anything to make sure they have this life, and if he has to let himself die to make that happen, then so be it. Freddie pulls back and wipes his eyes, smiling sweetly at Lola. “Alright, let’s fucking do this!”

Grace provides Lola with a walkie talkie so they can keep in contact, and then they’re off to the races. Queen, with the guide of Grace, wander through the hallways with purpose, all of their hearts pounding with anxiety and dread for possible failure. 

Lola’s whispered voice comes crunching through Grace’s radio. “Stop. You guys have company around the corner.”

“Shit,” Roger hisses under his breath.

“No worries, lads,” Grace says, waving her hands, “Wait here, I’m gonna get rid of the guards. I’ve got this covered.” Grace turns on the walkie-talkie. “Lola, I’ll signal you on the monitor to let you know when you can tell them to go, and Freddie--” she hands Freddie the walkie talkie, “--you will go straight to the room when you get the signal from Lola.”

“Okay,” Freddie and Lola say simultaneously. Grace disappears around the corner and the boys wait with bated breath.

What feels like eons is five minutes. Lola tells them the coast is clear and they hurry down the hall. “Where is she?” Freddie asks when they realize Grace isn’t waiting for them at the door.

“She left with the guards on the monitor. I guess it’s just you four going in,” Lola explains in a low voice.

“Fuck, we brought her because she knows how to use the time machine!” Freddie hisses frustratingly as he slumps against the door. “There’s a bloody passcode needed to get in and we don’t have it.”

“Surely Officer Murphy wouldn’t leave us here to do this alone if she didn’t think we already have the code for the door, right?” John says, shrugging as he approaches the number pad beside the door.

“We don’t have anything with a numbered code on it,” Brian says sadly whilst rubbing his chin anxiously.

Roger’s dim eyes suddenly light up as he stands up straight and scrambles his hands in his pockets. He pulls out a fortune from one of the fortune cookies yesterday, but throws it away, grumbling as he digs through his other pocket. John, Brian and Freddie all lift curious brows at the old drummer as he pulls another fortune out of his pocket and examines it.

“Yes! I still have it!” Roger cheers, waving the fortune around like a giddy child holding a new toy. “I’ll bet you a million pounds that the number on here is the passcode to get in,” Roger says with a snarky grin while handing the fortune paper to John.

“You’re on,” John replies, taking the fortune and turning to put in the numbers on the fortune. John cautiously types in the numbered code: 51323421118

Freddie rubs his temples as a strange dull pain appears, but just as quickly as it came, it goes away. John leans back after punching in the whole code and they watch the door with bated breath. The door beeps and the red light over the number pad switches to green. Roger laughs and slaps John’s shoulder. “Ha, now you owe me a million pounds,” he boasts as they enter the room.

John rolls his eyes and shakes his head. “That won’t happen because our universe will cease to exist after we send Freddie back,” John replies with a tiny smirk.

“Freddie, remember that John owes me a million pounds and make him pay it off,” Roger whines, which Freddie just laughs in response.

“Why is it so dark in here?” Brain asks after they shut the door, standing in nothing but inky blackness. “Do you think she tricked us?” Brian adds wearily.

As if on cue, the lights in the room power-up, showing a single spotlight on what appears to be a large metal box. “That looks like the fucking wardrobe to Narnia, but it’s made of metal instead of wood,” Roger groans with a pout. “These people are extremely unimaginative. I was hoping for something...I don’t know... original after all of this.”

“Says the man who used Back To the Future as a way to explain time travel,” John mumbles as he passes Roger to approach the metal wardrobe. “So I guess this is it. This is the time machine,” John says as he examines the keypad. “Great, this also requires a blasted code. I highly doubt it’s the same code as the one leading into the room.”

“Maybe try it anyway,” Freddie suggests. “How fucking awful would it be if we fail only to realize it was the same code the whole time.”

“Fair point,” John nods, turning and typing in the code. The light blinks red. ACCESS DENIED.

“Did you type it wrong?” Roger asks, folding his arms and leaning over John’s shoulder. John shoves him back.

“Fuck off. I typed it right. It’s clearly a different code...” John hums. “--but what is it?”

Brian paces, rubbing his chin as he always does under pressure. “Okay, since Officer Murphy knew we could get here by ourselves - which we did - that means she must know that we can easily figure out the code for the time machine. It must have to be related to us somehow? Maybe a date, perhaps?”

“Or she underestimated how dumb we can actually be and we’re royally fucked,” Freddie replies with a shrug.

“That’s the worst-case scenario, Fred,” Brian says calmly. “Let’s try out a few dates and if those don’t work, then we can panic.” Freddie absently rubs the side of his head as he nods in understanding.

“Maybe it relates to all of the memories we had to recall in those interviews?” Roger suggests with a pout.

“I highly doubt they made us recall the same memories,” John replies bitterly. “I don’t know about you, but that man asked me questions that were privately my own business. Had nothing to do with you lot...except for the earthquake…”

“He asked all of us about the earthquake, right?” Roger says. “I mean, I think I was asked about it at some point. I was asked a million questions a minute.”

“When was the earthquake?” Brian asks, stopping his nervous pacing.

“February... something …” Freddie laughs nervously. “I don’t remember the actual date. I was very, um, preoccupied. You know, recording the album, trying to avoid an argument between Deaky and Roger while Brian glares at me for leaving him alone with you lot...”

“That sounds about right,” John says, chuckling light-heartedly. 

“Wait, oh my god, I hope the three of you are okay!” Freddie gasps in horror. “Last time I saw you three in seventy-eight, you were all still in the restaurant's dining room as I went to the loo.”

“Well, fuck. The only reason we’re all okay is because we weren't in the restaurant when the earthquake hit,” Roger replies, his lips tugging into an intense frown. He suddenly rubs his head self-consciously. “Or... did we…?”

“We did,” John assures with a firm nod.

“No, I…” Roger sways a little. “I think Grace wasn’t kidding about the memory and timeline mixup. I remember it happening in both July and February… I think I remember getting hit in the head by a chunk of the ceiling, but I also remember that not happening…” Roger says slowly, looking at the ground with furrowed brows.

“Wait, yeah, you’re right,” Brian agrees with a slow nod. “I remember breaking my leg. I remember recording the rest of the album sitting on a stool. It took us nearly a whole year to make the album because we were all injured in the accident,” Brian explains slowly. “But I also remember what I remembered before - we recorded it in two months with no issues.”

“That’s so strange,” John adds meekly. “This makes no sense. Why are we getting these other memories now? We didn’t time travel…” John asks while looking up at his friends with glossy eyes.

Freddie abruptly grabs his head, hissing in pain. “Fuck!” he groans in agony. He bends over as his headache worsens and his friends immediately go to his side, holding onto him in case he passes out. Freddie wipes a small blob of blood from his upper lip and sighs.

“We have to get him out of here!” Roger says urgently.

“We know, Roger! We still don’t know the fucking code, you dick!” John bites back angrily. Freddie stands up straight and waves at them defensively.

“Calm the fuck down. I’m fine...for now. Let’s just figure out the code - but to do that we need to stay calm, alright?” Freddie instructs with a firmly lifted brow. They all nod in silent agreement. “Okay, good. Now let’s think of important numbers. Anything that might relate to the time travelling.”

“I’ll try the July date of the earthquake we experienced. I surprisingly remember it,” John says before quickly turning around to type it in. The light blinks red. ACCESS DENIED.

“Wait, what if--” Roger breathes in deeply, “--what if it’s the date of Freddie’s death?”

“Are you fucking mad!?” John barks back at Roger.

“Just fucking try it!” Roger roars in return, to which Freddie meekly nods in agreement.

“I won’t look. I swear,” Freddie lifts his hand in a ‘scouts honour’ pose. John sighs, looking over at Brian with a lifted brow.

“Yeah, do it,” Brian says noncommittally, sighing and rubbing the bridge of his nose stressfully. John breathes deeply before punching in the code. Freddie doesn’t mean to, but he sees the numbers: 24111991

The lights turn green and it beeps. ACCESS GRANTED.

“Son of a bitch…” John mumbles as he backs away, all of them watching the machine power up in awe. “It actually fucking worked.”

They all back up a bit further as the machine starts up. Freddie’s heart practically leaps out of his chest at the sight. The machine finally opens the door, revealing an opaque blackness that Brian thinks looks eerily similar to a black hole.

Freddie gulps, his fingers twitching with anxiety as he takes a step closer to it. “Holy shit. I guess…” Freddie turns around to look at his bandmates with a frown. “I guess it’s time for me to go, then...?” 

Roger blinks once and immediately tears start pooling in the corner of his eyes. He watches as the slight draft from the black portal behind Freddie blows the young singer’s fluffy black hair ever so slightly. Freddie looks like an outright mess, with the cut on his head and the red bloodstains on his face and clothes. He looks like shit, but he looks alive . Roger shakes his head slowly before looking at Brian and John. “Fuck it, I’m gonna tell him.”

“Roger, don’t you dare,” John hisses in rage, his eyes squinting.

“Roger, don’t!” Brian adds, his frown intensifying as well. His voice is no longer smooth and soft. It bellows from within as he practically growls the words at Roger.

Roger ignores them and he approaches a confused Freddie, grabbing his hand to stop him from backing away nervously. “You die because you contract--”

“--Shut the fuck up, Ro--”

“--You contract something called HIV AIDS,” Roger states, cutting off Brian and completely ignoring him. “We don’t know when you catch it - or if you caught it already. Until then, you must stop it with the random hookups - it’s contracted through sex--”

“--Roger, stop!” John yells in horror.

“You need to be cautious. I’m not saying to stop entirely, but you have to be fucking careful, do you understand?” Roger instructs Freddie in a firm and pointed tone.

Freddie swallows the lump in his throat, nodding frantically as he does so. “Oh..okay…I’ll be careful, Roger.”

“What the fuck, Roger?” John growls frustratingly. “I thought we agreed we weren't going to tell him?”

“Well I changed my fucking mind after I learned about pocket dimensions and alternate universes, and the fact that he’s gonna change the course of time,” Roger explains, gesticulating wildly as he does so. “I figured at that moment, seeing him in front of the time machine, that we can really save him. The universe is fucked anyway, so we might as well try.”

Brian and John both share uncomfortable glances at each other, but they cave in, sighing and looking back at Roger and Freddie. “You’re right. We can save him,” Brian says, back in his calm tone again.

“In that case, is there anything else I need to know before I go back?” Freddie asks with a playful smirk, trying to bury the dread he feels at the information Roger has given him.

Brian, John, and Roger all exchange looks. “Never stop being you, even though you know what happens, we need to know you will stay the same - especially if you have already contracted the disease,” Brian replies with a small grin.

“Of course. You can never change me, darling,” Freddie says, his voice hiccups as he begins to cry. “Even though I’m about to go back to you three in seventy-eight, I really am going to miss you.”

“If history changes, maybe you’ll see us again as an old man, yourself…” John replies with a playful smirk.

“I never thought I’d say this, but I can’t fucking wait to be old and wrinkly with you three,” Freddie says, laughing through his tears as he pulls them into a tight group hug. Queen cries and hugs each other for a long time. As a famous quote once said, ‘parting is such sweet sorrow’ for them.

They all sniffle and attempt to smile at Freddie. He shakes the nerves out of his hands and breathes slowly as he turns around. “Okay...This is it…” Freddie mumbles nervously. He looks over his shoulder at the old Queen, trying his damndest to memories their elderly features. “Goodbye.”

“It’s not really goodbye,” Brian says with a gentle, fatherly-like smile. “You’ll see us again.”

“I still fucking hate it,” Freddie replies with nervous laughter and more tears. His cheeks and eyes are beginning to sting from all of the excessive tears he has accumulated in the past five-or-so minutes. “I...I need you to know that I love you all very much,” Freddie whispers with a sad grin.

“We love you, too,” the boys reply nearly in sync as they go to him for another group hug. They laugh away some of the nerves and Freddie wipes his eyes with his thumbs.

“Okay, okay, I’m really going now. The last thing we want is a long, convoluted battle sequence with the people who work here before I can even get through the fucking time machine,” Freddie says lightheartedly. They all chuckle, looking over their shoulders to double-check that the door to the room is still closed before looking back at Freddie.

Freddie turns around and cautiously approaches the portal. He feels his nerves and adrenaline pumping harder with every step he takes. He breathes in through his nose and out through his mouth. He closes his eyes.

“Wait!” Roger yells, causing Freddie to quickly back up and turn around.

“Fuck! What?” Freddie replies harsher than he intended, feeling like a prematurely deflated balloon.

Roger visibly gulps, suddenly feeling like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming transport truck. “I, um, I need you to know one more thing before you go,” Roger says, his voice wobbling nervously as he speaks.

Freddie lifts a curious brow at the old drummer, feeling anxiety and concern bubbling up inside of him. “What is it, darling?”

Roger moans - actually moans - nervous and skittish as he internally struggles to build up the courage to say what is bothering him. “I…” Roger coughs, feeling his throat closing up and feeling his intestines ready to fall out of him. “I love you, Fred.”

Freddie’s lips twitch awkwardly as he smiles. “I love you, too, Rog--”

“No, no, Fred,” Roger waves his hands as he approaches the singer. He looks Freddie dead in the eye. “Freddie, I love you. I’m really - honest-to-god - in love with you. I have been for a long fucking time and I honestly never thought I’d get the chance to tell you. I was too scared to admit it back then, so I have to let you know now because I know the younger me won’t tell you.” Roger sighs with relief after saying his long-overdue confession and Freddie blinks vacantly. His brain has short-circuited and is currently rebooting as he attempts to process Roger’s long-winded confession.

“You’re...in love with me?” Freddie finally says after a long pause. “How long for, exactly?”

“Honestly, I don’t know. I'd say I started to acknowledge it in the mid-seventies,” Roger replies sheepishly.

“Oh…” Freddie stares at Roger with wide eyes. “Okay.”

Roger frowns. “I’m, uh, I’m sorry if I made you uncomfortable--”

“You never make me uncomfortable,” Freddie replies quickly with a small, self-conscious grin. “I need you to know that the feelings are mutual, my dear.”

Roger smiles widely and they both embrace one last time. John and Brian smile at the scene and the two of them release from the hug after a short time. Roger slips something in Freddie’s pocket before he holds Freddie’s hands. He backs away, finally putting enough distance between them. “Any other confessions before I go?” Freddie asks, trying to lighten the mood. “Are all of you in love with me?”

“Oh, yes. Deaky and I are madly in love with you,” Brian says with a smirk. Roger rolls his eyes while Freddie and John chuckle.

John smiles. “Yeah, my confession is that I hate Roger.”

“Tell me something I don’t already know,” Freddie replies with a cheeky grin as he rolls his eyes. Roger lightly shoves John and John smiles back at him in return. John puts his arm around Roger and Brian’s shoulders as he looks back at Freddie. 

“Goodbye, darlings,” Freddie says, wiping his eyes again. They all wave goodbye before Freddie turns around to reproach the time-machine.

Freddie stares at the inky blackness in front of him and breathes slowly. He closes his eyes, focusing on his breathing and the energy emitting from the portal in front of him. Freddie opens his eyes hearing nothing but the pulsing in his ears and every breath he takes. He takes a leap of faith into the dark void.

Chapter Text

Freddie suddenly gasps in a deep breath as if he were drowning underwater and flutters his eyelids open. He slowly sits up with a low groan, looking around himself in a disoriented manner. “What the…” he trails off as he gets dizzy. He shoves a piece of rubble off of his leg and moans in pain. “Fuck!” Freddie croaks out, his voice is hoarse and brittle. His head is throbbing with immense pain and he rubs it to soothe it. He blinks quickly as he feels something wet on his head. His anxiety skyrockets as he pulls his hand down to see the blood now coating his fingers.

He finally looks at his surroundings when he hears rummaging outside the room. He’s in the bathroom from the Japanese restaurant, but it’s battered from--

“Is anyone in here? Can anyone hear me!?” A bellowing voice echoes from somewhere outside the bathroom.

“Hello--” Freddie flinches at how awful his voice sounds, “--please, help! I’m trapped!”

“Don’t worry,” the voice replies, sounding louder as the person comes closer. “Where are you!?”

“I’m--” Freddie coughs hoarsely. “I’m in the toilets!”

Freddie leans back against the wall again, sighing in relief as he hears the door being broken down. He dazedly watches as men in uniforms enter the room and struggle to help him walk to the gurney in the hallway. Freddie lays down and blinks slowly, feeling himself fading in and out of consciousness.

“Try to stay awake, mate. You hit your head real bad,” one of the men instruct the singer as they wheel him out of the restaurant. Freddie coughs as they roll down the street. He hears sirens and a crowd of people conversing amongst themselves. He can’t stay awake any longer and passes out at some point while they rush him to an ambulance.

 


 

...Beep….Beep….Beep….

Freddie groans, his mouth feeling extremely dry. He hears rustling around him and whispers. He forces his eyes open to see none other than Mary sleeping in the chair beside him. He looks over to see John reading a book and Roger and Brian discussing something by the door.

“Mmm,” Freddie moans, catching all of their attention immediately; except for Mary who is still sound asleep.

“Freddie?” John asks, his smile growing bright. His eyes always crinkle when he smiles…’ wait, his face looks different.’ Freddie blinks again as his friends surround him.

“Fuck, Fred!” Roger exclaims with a relieved smile. “We thought we were gonna lose you, mate.”

Freddie stares at the three of them, soaking in the colour in their hair and their smooth skin. Brian’s hair is dark-brown, John’s hair is long and chestnut again, and Roger’s shoulder-length blonde locks are an absolute windblown mess; just like how Freddie remembered them looking. 

Freddie’s voice is hoarse as he begins to speak. “You’re...you’re all so…” Freddie inhales then exhales through his nose. “... Young...

They all exchange curious glances at each other before looking back at Freddie. “I wouldn’t say we’re young, Fred,” Brian says. “You and I are over thirty, now,” Brian adds with a light-hearted chuckle, to which the other two join in. Freddie, however, is staring at Roger bewilderingly.

“Fuck, Roger--” Freddie says gingerly, “--your daughter looks just like you…” Freddie mumbles, wide-eyed as he takes in Roger’s youthful features. Roger’s brows furrow as he frowns.

“What?” Roger gently rubs Freddie’s shoulder patiently. “Fred - mate, I don’t have a daughter…” Roger replies with a perplexed frown.

Freddie blinks. “Right,” he says, looking at his lap as it suddenly hits him. “What year is it?”

They all exchange a look again, this time looking more worried. “I’ll go get the doctor,” Brian says firmly before shuffling past Roger to hurry out the door, noticeably limping as he does so.

“It’s the twentieth of February, nineteen-seventy-eight,” Roger replies to Freddie’s question with a frown. Freddie smiles. ‘I’m back…’

“How’s your head?” John asks, grabbing a cloth and cautiously dabbing it on Freddie’s head.

“Hurts like a fucking bitch,” Freddie responds hoarsely. 

“Need anything?” Roger asks with a tilted head.

Freddie coughs. “Mmm, water would be nice.”

Roger leaves the room quickly to get Freddie’s water and Mary stirs in her chair. She stretches a bit before realizing that Freddie’s awake. “Freddie!” Mary coos as she stands up to grab his hand. “Oh, you’re awake. Thank god…”

“How long was I…” Freddie falls into a coughing fit. Roger re-enters with a cup of water and Brian trailing behind him with the doctor.

“Here,” Roger hands Freddie the cup. He greedily guzzles it down.

“So, how are you feeling today, Mr. Mercury?” The doctor asks in a chipper tone.

“Everything hurts,” Freddie replies after handing Mary the paper cup. She retreats the room to refill it.

“That tends to happen when a building collapses on you,” the doctor responds, oddly upbeat. “You have a concussion, so we’re going to keep you awake as long as possible. Can you answer a few basic questions about yourself so we can make sure your memory is still intact?”

“Yeah, sure.”

“What is your name?”

“Freddie Mercury.”

“What is your date of birth?”

“The fifth of September, nineteen-forty-six.”

“Can you tell me what year it is?”

“He had to ask us before you came,” John pipes in.

“Do you remember what they told you?”

“Yeah, it’s…” Freddie smiles, “Nineteen-seventy-eight…”

 


 

Several Months Later…

 

Freddie smiles to himself in his bathroom mirror, adjusting his shirt. He smoothes it down and quickly grabs the small laminated piece of paper in his pocket - double checking it’s still in there - before exiting the room and sauntering down the hallway. He approaches the stairwell to his home and waves at his party guests. They all cheer, clapping and waving him down with larger-than-life smiles.

“Two hours till midnight!” Jer Bulsara announces from the lounge room and they all respond with more cheers.

Freddie tickles baby Jimmy in Chrissie’s arms and the six-month-old baby giggles in response. Freddie high-fives three-year-old Robert as he runs by towards his mother, Veronica; she sways and coos baby Michael in her arms. Freddie pulls Brian, Roger, and John into a tight embrace. They all chuckle, hugging him in return before releasing.

“I’m surprised you didn’t go for the biggest New Year’s blowout this year, Fred,” Brian comments before taking a sip of his beer. “And the lack of alcohol in your hand tonight is admiring. You’ve really changed this year.” The party-list is very limited. Only Freddie’s bandmates, their families, his own family, and a few friends they work with have attended his party tonight.

“Well, when you have a near-death-experience like what happened earlier this year--” Freddie clears his throat, patting Brian’s shoulder encouragingly to ease his tension, “--honestly, that type of shit can really change a person. All I care about is making good music and spending time with the people I love.” 

Roger snorts in his cup. “Sap,” Roger mumbles. Freddie rolls his eyes, playfully shoving the drummer.

“I’m proud of you, Fred. You’ve honestly been doing much better this year,” John applauds with a friendly smile. “I just wish you didn't have to go through all that to get where you are today.”

Freddie has not been much of a partier since the earthquake incident. After his hospital visit, he was instructed to avoid any drugs or alcohol in his recovery stage, but Freddie never went back to it after he was given the all-clear by his doctor. Freddie smiles at his friends, but a distant image of them looking much older reminds him of his inevitable demise. Freddie grabs a cup of fruit punch, pouring it into the sippy-cup that the little rascal nudging his leg hands him before grabbing another cup for himself.

Queen assumes he has stopped drinking initially because he was instructed not to after getting a concussion and just never got back into it, but Freddie has deeper reasons why he has stopped partying altogether. Reasons he still has nightmares about even to this day. Images of imposters with guns and people in masks giving him electric shocks. Freddie forces another smile as if the motion itself will erase the trauma he has experienced several months ago. The worst part about it is that he can’t talk about his experiences with anyone. When he tried to back then, his friends and the doctors all assumed it was all just a dream he had after being knocked out in the earthquake.

Freddie sips his drink, sticking his free hand in his pocket to grab the small laminated piece of paper that he keeps as physical evidence that it wasn’t all just a dream.

“Hey, I just got off the phone with the label,” John Ried says as he walks around the corner with a massive grin. “Don’t Stop Me Now hit number one tonight! It is officially the best song of nineteen-seventy-eight only a few hours before the new year!”

The room cheers, everyone tapping their solo-cups against each other and drinking in celebration. Freddie grins widely, shoving his spiralling thoughts aside to celebrate with his friends and family. Roger stumbles over, nearly knocking over the three-year-old running by. Freddie feels his muscles tense-up again.

“I can’t fucking believe a song we released three months ago became the best song of the whole year!” Roger yells, slurring his words horrendously. He sways a little as he raises his cup and Dominique shakes her head disapprovingly before walking off to sit by Mary in the kitchen.

“Hey, Roger - darling, ” Freddie coos, smiling sweetly at Roger. “Let’s take a break from the alcohol for now, hmm?” Freddie cautiously reaches for the cup but Roger pulls away.

“I’veee-only a few drinks. ‘Mmm fine, Fred,” Roger replies sluggishly.

Veronica and Chrissie remove the children from the lounge room as John and Brian join Freddie. “Hey, Rog - you’ve got to cut it out, mate. We have our families, here. Just take it easy, yeah?” Brian says with a concerned expression.

“Fuck off,” Roger slurs frustratingly, swaying away from his friends as they attempt to reach for his cup.

“Roger, stop it!” John hisses, trying to keep his voice low so as not to alarm the others in the house. “You’re acting ridiculous right now.”

“Fuck off, I’m here to party!” Roger slurs angrily.

“It’s only ten at night and you’re already shitfaced, darling,” Freddie states with a frown.

“Oh, and you’re so high and mighty, huh, Fred?” Roger growls with boiling rage. “All celibate now and sober. Should I be bowing before you, Lord Mercury?”

Freddie leans back, scoffing. “What the fuck are you going on about?”

“You think you’re better than all of us now, right? By being a goddamn saint after your near-death-experience, or whatever?” Roger grumbles.

“I don’t think I’m better than any of you,” Freddie replies patiently. “I just decided to start taking better care of myself. I honestly wish you would do the same.”

“Fuck off,” Roger breathes out in Freddie’s face. Freddie’s nose scrunches up at the odour reeking from his friend. Roger stumbles backwards, falling on the sofa behind him. The remaining contents in his cup spill all over the carpet and the three other bandmates just watch the scene in horror.

“Fuck, I’ll get some towels,” John grumbles frustratingly.

“I’ll get him a cup of water,” Brian adds, following John into the kitchen.

Freddie picks up the cup off the floor, placing that and his cup on the table while he sits beside Roger. “Are you alright, darling? I’m worried about you…” Freddie says lightly. Roger scoffs, rolling over and Freddie sighs, his patience running thin. “I care about you too much to let this slide, Roger. I’ve seen this before - drinking yourself numb. I’ve been there. What’s bothering you?”

Roger sniffles, keeping his back on Freddie. “Dominique and I fought again today. She said I’ve been distant all year and she thinks I don’t want to commit to our marriage next month,” Roger replies in a low voice, sounding vulnerable.

Freddie rubs soothing circles on Roger’s back, frowning. “What happened to us earlier this year was traumatic, darling. You can’t keep repressing your issues anymore. Trust me when I say that bottling things up will eventually kill you,” Freddie replies softly. “I don’t want to see you waste away. Next time you should talk to her instead of just drinking yourself into oblivion.”

“I can’t,” Roger mumbles. “She won’t understand… I thought we were gonna die in that earthquake, Fred...”

Freddie pulls Roger into a tight embrace and the drummer lets him, finally giving in. Freddie pats Roger’s hair, soothing him with incomprehensible mumbles and assurances that everything will be okay. “I love you, Roger,” Freddie whispers lowly in Roger’s ear. “You’re my best--”

Freddie isn’t entirely sure what is currently happening. He has dealt with travelling to the future and coming back, recovering from that trauma, going sober and celibate - but none of that impacts him the way this does. Roger is sloppily kissing him and Freddie stares at Roger’s nose with wide eyes. He wants to indulge in this but he also can’t let this happen; it’s unethical. Freddie gently and reluctantly pushes Roger away. “No, I can’t…Roger, not like this…”

Roger self-consciously leans back, rubbing his mouth and staring at the stain on the carpet. John finally enters again with a towel and cleaning supplies and Brian is trailing behind with a cup of water. Roger shuffles farther away from Freddie, shamefully staring at the floor with a far-off look. He seems to have somewhat sobered up from the shock of the situation.

Freddie doesn’t say anything, he just grabs a cup off of the table and takes a sip from it. He chokes, spitting the drink back into the cup when he realizes he grabbed the near-empty cup with booze and not his cup of juice. Brian looks at Freddie with concern as Freddie puts the cup down and picks up the other one, sniffing it before taking a sip.

The night carries on without any more outbursts. Roger is calm and quiet, keeping to himself while drinking water and eating food. Freddie feels an odd pit in his stomach as he watches Roger throughout the night, catching the drummer looking at him and then proceed to avert his gaze like a schoolboy.

New Year’s Eve means nothing to Freddie anymore. He starts thinking about the future and how he is capable of changing it. The last thing he wants is for Roger to take his place and spiral. Freddie watches Roger intently as the countdown begins. Everyone is crowded around the television, the children all sleeping in the other room by this point. Roger is holding Dominique’s hand, her attention on the television as they count to midnight.

7

Roger is staring at Freddie dead in the eye from across the room.

6

Freddie can’t tear his gaze away no matter how much he desperately wants to.

5

Freddie doesn’t want to look away, though. He just stares intently into Roger’s blue eyes.

4

Roger’s tongue grazes his lips, and Freddie’s eyes follow the movement.

3

Freddie feels something inside of him ready to burst.

2

Freddie feels a magnetic pull attempting to drag him to Roger. He can see it affecting the blonde, too, since he’s very visibly leaning towards Freddie, his arm outstretched as it becomes loose in Dominique’s grasp.

1

“Happy New Year!” They all cheer. John pulls Veronica in for a kiss, Brian pulls Chrissie in for one, and Freddie’s parents share a kiss as well. Roger is pulled back into a kiss with Dominique, but he continues to stare at Freddie. Freddie feels his face burn and he attempts to hide it by sipping his drink nervously.

Freddie places the cup on a nearby table and hurries up the stairs. He ends up on his balcony, leaning on the railing and breathing heavily in the crisp winter air. He looks up, watching distant fireworks going off, seeing his neighbours cheering out their windows.

“Hey,” a raspy voice speaks from behind, “Happy New Year…”

Freddie turns around and looks sadly at Roger. “Happy New Year,” Freddie deadpans.

Roger takes a casual step forward, looking up at the fireworks. Freddie leans back on the railing, his hands gripping it tightly behind his back as Roger approaches him. Roger lifts his hands defensively, waving the metaphorical white flag in surrender. “Relax. I came ‘ere to apologize. I shouldn’t have done what I did.” Roger’s voice is slurring considerably less now that he has spent the last few hours sobering up.

Freddie gives Roger a tight-lipped smile. “It’s alright, my dear.”

Roger stands in front of Freddie, lifting his hand to offer a handshake. Freddie grabs it but immediately pulls Roger in for a hug. He feels Roger clinging on tightly to Freddie, and the singer tightens his grip on the blonde drummer. His heart is pounding and his lungs feel constricted. Freddie leans back but stops, his gaze now trapped in Roger’s eyes. He sees Roger’s eyes flicker to his lips, and Freddie does something incredibly stupid. He grabs Roger’s face and pulls him in for a kiss. Roger reciprocates immediately, carding his fingers through Freddie’s hair. Freddie moans into the kiss, feeling himself being shoved into the railing behind him as Roger deepens the kiss.

Freddie starts to remember the old men in the future and the teenage girl who looks just like her father -- Freddie pushes Roger away, gasping for breath as he does so. Roger is panting as well, his eyelids low and his pupils blown with desire as he stares at Freddie.

“We can’t,” Freddie says in a low voice. “You have to get married to Dominique.”

Roger blinks, frowning. He leans closer to Freddie again, sliding his arms up Freddie’s. “I can’t, Fred. This past year has been a bloody nightmare. I need you.”

Freddie closes his eyes and shakes his head slowly. “I love you, Roger…” Freddie pulls back further, distancing himself from the drummer. “But we can’t. You need to get married and you need to have kids. You can’t have that with me.”

Roger’s frown deepens. “I don’t understand?”

“I know how hard this must be for you to confess your feelings,” Freddie closes his eyes, “but it just can’t be that way. I’m sorry.”

Roger nods in understanding. “No, you’re right...We..we can’t.”

They’re both silent for a moment. “You’re still my best mate, right?” Roger asks timidly.

Freddie grins widely. “Always, my dear.” They embrace again and hold it for much longer this time. When they finally let go, there is a silent agreement in their eyes as they watch each other. They go downstairs again and Freddie smiles at everyone, the balcony already a thing of the past. He sees Roger approach Dominique, and by the looks of their conversation, they seem to be clearing things up already. Roger looks over his shoulder at Freddie, and the singer gives him a supportive thumbs up.

Freddie is willing to give up whatever it takes to make sure Brian, John, and Roger have their future families. Besides, he isn't too upset about it since he met a very kind man at a bar a few weeks ago after Roger’s bachelor party. Freddie feels like his life is on a new path and one with a bright future.

Maybe he will live for one more year, or ten years, or even seventy more years. All that matters to him is making sure everyone around him stays happy and that he finds his own happiness. He can’t wait for Roger’s wedding next month, and he definitely cannot wait for their Jazz tour and the inevitable recordings of their next albums to come.

~ Time is a tool in which we face,

and yet it is something that we cannot trace.

Life is full of choices we make,

however, the choices may steal what time cannot take.

Word of the wise,

you're living in lies,

you can only move forward,

not back in time.

If you want to come back,

make sure there’s no ties,

to tighten around

your existence in time. ~

~ THE END ~