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The Kid Is Alright

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As he rang the buzzer outside his sister’s block of flats for what felt like the sixth time in a row, Brian May was beginning to get annoyed. They had talked over the telephone less than 24 hours ago to confirm that she’d be ready to go by 10:00. Well, according to his watch, it was 10:08, and she was still nowhere to be seen. If this were typical of her, he probably wouldn’t have felt so frustrated. But because she was always so bothered when others were late to engagements, it seemed only fair to Brian that he be annoyed by this double standard.

Y/N, three years his junior, had begged to tag along to the gig he and the boys were playing later that day, but didn’t have a reliable vehicle to get there. Roger had offered to pick her up, as he lived nearby. But after noticing the way his bandmate was ogling his sister, there wasn’t a chance in hell Brian was going to let that happen – so he offered to drive her himself, even though every other member of the band lived closer to her flat than he did.

Glancing toward the street, Brian saw that the red telephone box outside the block of flats was unoccupied. If she was asleep and just couldn’t hear the door buzzer, the phone ringing might do the trick. He hurried down the short staircase, his heeled clogs clacking against the concrete as he went. Once in the telephone box, he dropped in a coin and dialled Y/N’s number. As he had hoped, she answered after a single ring.

“Good morning, sunshine,” Brian said sarcastically, tugging at his collar, which was rubbing uncomfortably against his Adam’s apple. “You awake yet?”

“Blimey, what time is it?” she asked, her voice heavy with sleep. HIs sister had a clock on her bedroom wall, he knew, so he just waited for her to use her eyes and read it herself. “Oh, shit,” she cursed, realizing that she’d overslept. “Sorry Bri, just give me two seconds. I’ll unlock the door for you when I see you from the window, and you can just come right in and take a seat at the table. I’ll be ready in 10 minutes, tops.”

“See you in a moment,” Brian monotoned, wanting her to feel bad for not having woken up to her alarm. After all, it meant he had less time to tune his guitars and run through the set with the boys once they arrived at the venue. When he reached the front step, the door lock produced a loud, nasally buzz, admitting him into the building. He bolted up the staircase to the second floor two stairs a time, his long legs easily scaling the steps. As promised, the door was unlocked when he arrived, so he let himself in and settled into a chair at the kitchen table.

The water was running in the bathroom, so Brian assumed his sister was taking a quick shower. A container of breakfast pastries, some sort of sweet Danish or something, was set out on the counter, which Brian helped himself to once he’d seen them. Before he could sit back down, he remembered Y/N saying in their phone conversation the day before that she had finished the book he’d loaned her. It didn’t appear to be sitting on the table, where she often left such things, so he decided to check the bookshelf in her bedroom.

He stuffed a bite of pastry into his mouth, enjoying the sweet icing and jam in the centre of it. It was very sticky, and he’d already managed to get a bit of jam on his chin. Brian used his clean hand to twist the doorknob of Y/N’s bedroom and open the door. Much to Brian’s surprise, his book was directly in his line of sight – held in the hand of a somewhat scruffy, half-dressed man, who was sat up in bed, reading it.

“Christ,” Brian exclaimed, nearly dropping his pastry onto the floor. The man snapped his piercing blue eyes up to meet Brian’s, slamming the book shut as he did so. With his wild mane of curls that closely resembled his sister’s much tidier do, the fellow instantly recognized the intruder to be Y/N’s brother, who he’d not yet been introduced to.

“Well, fuck,” the man muttered awkwardly, pulling the blankets higher up over his exposed abdomen and chest. “Sorry, mate. I didn’t realize you’d actually come in here or I would have, um…gotten dressed.” As Brian got a better look at the man’s face, he recognized him in an instant. But this wasn’t possible – what was he doing in his sister’s bedroom at 10:00 on a Saturday morning?

“You’ve got to be joking me,” Brian groaned through a mouthful of sweet pastry, his eyes wide. “You’re Pete fucking Townshend.”

“Yes, that would, um…that would be me,” the dark-haired fellow nodded, shifting his gaze downwards. It was difficult enough to meet a girlfriend’s brother for the first time at a family dinner, but to meet him while only partially clothed after staying the night was another thing entirely.

“This is a dream, right?” Brian asked, biting his lip hard to test the theory. “The guitarist for The Who isn’t actually in my sister’s flat, it’s just…a dream.”

Pete’s hair, which he had been growing out as of late, was dishevelled in typical bedhead fashion, and had several days’ worth of unshaved stubble on his chin. Based on his general state of undress, Brian presumed that his sister had slept with this man (his rock guitar idol, nonetheless) and had decided not to say a bloody word about it to her brother. A guitar case was leaned against the wall of Y/N’s bedroom, and a white boiler suit was thrown over the back of the desk chair, both belonging to her guest.

“Sorry, I’m going to, um, step out now,” Brian stammered awkwardly. He retreated from the bedroom and pulled the door shut behind him, still blinking in confusion. How was this even possible? His sister, his baby sister who had just turned 22, had shagged the Pete Townshend of The Who, one of the most famous rock groups England had ever produced?

Brian parked himself at the kitchen table again, setting aside the pastry he had effectively crushed in his surprise; he no longer felt able to eat. He was dumbfounded; his sister told him everything. At least, he thought she did. Maybe this was a one-time thing, just a hook-up. That would explain why she hadn’t mentioned it yesterday. It could have happened after a night at the bar and a chance encounter. This idea comforted Brian. Townshend was handsome in a rugged sort of way, he supposed; maybe Y/N fancied that sort of thing.

Two minutes later, the shower stopped running, a sign that in a few short moments, he and his sister would be forced to discuss the elephant in her bedroom. Before she could exit the toilet, though, the bedroom door swung open to reveal her now fully clothed guest. He had thrown a jumper on, as well as a pair of tartan flannel pyjama trousers, which hung loosely from his lanky frame. If Brian had been standing, he would realize that this man, who seemed an absolute giant to him at the moment, was the same height as him.

“Mind if I sit down?” Pete asked softly, tapping the wooden back of the chair directly across the table. He reached across the table for the box of pastries, glancing momentarily at Brian to ensure he wasn’t about to lose his hand.

“Why not,” Brian shrugged. Pete hummed in response, wandering away from the table and into the kitchen to grab a plate from the cupboard.

“Did you want a glass of juice, or some water, Brian?”

As if he knows my name, Brian thought, surprised. Y/N must have mentioned it when she told him she’d have to leave soon. And as if he’s offering me a drink in a place I’ve been a hundred times.

“That’s alright, thanks,” he declined, smiling politely in Pete’s direction. He was quiet for another minute, trying to decide whether to make an attempt at being less awkward about the entire situation. In the end, he decided to treat it as an opportunity; when else would he have the chance to talk with such a brilliant guitarist? For all he knew, this could be a one-night thing his sister hadn’t intended to have happen.

“So, Pete,” Brian began, sitting up a bit straighter in his chair to increase his height, “how d’you like that book you were reading? Any good?”

“Brilliant, yeah,” Pete nodded enthusiastically, pouring himself a small glass of orange juice. “Y/N said she was borrowing it from you, but that if I could finish it before she had to give it back, you wouldn’t mind. I started it last week, but I’m almost done. I’ve had some time to read between our recording sessions the past little while.”

So this wasn’t a one-night occurrence, Brian surmised. Pete Townshend was a regular bed guest at Y/N’s flat.

“You can borrow it, if you like,” Brian offered, not really thinking things through. He didn’t need the book back right away, it was just a bit of fun, intellectual reading he’d picked up at a bookshop while on tour. However, he didn’t even know this man – why was he lending his books to him?

“Thanks,” Pete said appreciatively, reaching out to shake Brian’s hand across the table. “I’m always on the lookout for decent reads for when we’re on the road, so let me know if you can think of others you’d recommend. Y/N says you’re a real academic.”

“No problem,” Brian nodded, wondering what else his sister had mentioned about him to her friend. “So, uh, where did you and my sister meet?”

“A mutual friend introduced us about six months ago at a party,” he shared, sipping at his juice to wash down a bite of flaky pastry. “Well, introduced her to John, our bassist, actually, but he knew right away that she’d like a bloke like me better than him.”

“Lovely,” Brian nodded, pasting a smile over his face. “So you’re uh, staying here often, then?”

“Relatively often,” Pete answered, his throat flushing red at Brian’s bold question. He hadn’t really anticipated discussing his and Y/N’s relationship with her brother, especially not without her beside him. “Y/N doesn’t like my place much.”

“Oh!” a shrill voice squeaked from across the room, interrupting the conversation. Brian’s sister, garbed in only a towel, was standing in the hall. She had just walked in on a meeting she hadn’t anticipated happening quite yet.

“Brian, I didn’t, um…” she trailed off, unsure of what to say to neutralize what she could already tell was a tense situation.

“Good morning, sis,” Brian replied, smiling sweetly. “Just having a nice chat with Pete here. Take your time.” She clutched the edge of her towel tighter and shot a sharp look at Pete, jerking her head toward the bedroom door.

“Be right back,” Pete croaked, standing up from the table and quickly following Brian’s sister, who slammed the bedroom door once he’d entered the room behind her. Brian could hear them as they whisper-shouted at each other, doing a poor job of making the conversation private.

“Why the fuck would you go out there?” his sister demanded. “I told you he was coming over, Pete. Why would you think this was a good way to meet him?”

He opened the bedroom door, love,” Pete hissed back, defending himself. “What was I supposed to do, hide beneath the blankets and pretend he couldn’t see me? He thought you were in the shower, and obviously came looking for something.” Brian bit his lip, wishing above anything that he had allowed Roger to drive Y/N to the gig. He probably would have kept his hands to himself, Brian reasoned.

“Did you have clothes on?”

“Of course not! I didn’t think anyone was going to come in and see me!”

Glancing down at his watch again, Brian saw that it was now nearing 10:30. They really needed to get going if they were going to make it in time. The gig was a few hours’ drive outside of London, and he still had to run through a sound check and run through the set list with the boys. Feeling no other solution, he walked to the bedroom door and knocked firmly, clenching his teeth in embarrassment. The voices of his sister and her guest cut out quickly, and after a bit of rustling, Y/N opened the door.

She was now fully dressed, wearing a denim jumpsuit, the sleeves rolled to her elbows. The trouser legs flared at the bottoms but were kept off the floor by a pair of wedge heels. Brian thought that if the outfit were white, it would look remarkably similar to the boilersuit made famous by Pete himself, who commonly wore the garment onstage at shows.

“I’m sorry, Bri,” she apologized for the second time that day, standing in front of the mirror beside her door as she attempted to slide an earring into each earlobe. “I’m trying to hurry here. Just let me grab a piece of fruit from the kitchen, and we’ll be set.”

“I put some bread in the toaster for you, love,” Pete informed her, now sitting perched on the edge of the bed. “I’ll put some jelly on it quickly so you can take it to go.” Brian stepped out of the doorway, allowing Pete to pass by. As soon as the man was out of earshot, Brian leaned into the room and gave his sister an incredulous look.

“You’re shagging Pete bloody Townshend?” he seethed, keeping his voice down. “When were you planning on sharing that bit of information with me, Y/N?”

“We’ll talk about this in the car, Brian,” she replied, glaring at her brother. After a moment of thought, though, she apologized. “I’m sorry you had to find out this way, I’m sure it’s a bit of a shock.”

“A bit?” he spluttered. “That’s the understatement of the millennium, Y/N. He’s only been one of my idols since I was a teenager.” Y/N rolled her eyes, feeling that her brother was being a bit too dramatic about the whole thing.

“As I said, we’ll talk about this later,” she reiterated. “Right now, just let’s focus on getting out the door and on the road.” She stomped past, heading towards the kitchen to grab the simple breakfast Pete was preparing for her, which he stacked on a paper plate and pressed into her hands.

“Toast and fruit for you, my dear,” Pete smiled, leaning in to plant a quick kiss on Y/N’s lips. His nose, which Brian acknowledged to be even larger than his own, somehow fit against his sister’s face; ew, he thought. He glanced away, realizing that this probably wasn’t something he should be watching.

“Cute lipstick,” Y/N giggled, using her thumb to wipe the pink-red colour from Pete’s lips. “Thanks for making me toast.” Pete reached out an arm and caught Brian’s sister around the waist, drawing her in for a hug.

“Have fun, and drive safe,” he encouraged, resting his chin atop her head. Clearly, she hadn’t received the genes for height as Brian had; she was a good eight inches shorter than her boyfriend. “See you tomorrow, alright?”

“Lock up when you leave, please,” she requested, pulling him in for one last kiss. It lasted much longer than the first, and Brian almost felt compelled to clear his throat to remind the two that he was still in the room.

“Love you,” Pete whispered, resting his forehead against Y/N’s. His striking blue eyes met hers, holding her gaze for a few seconds before she responded.

“Love you, too, Pete,” Y/N smiled, nuzzling her nose against his. This time, she left her lipstick on his lips, and he made no move to wipe it away.

Hearing his sister use such strong words shifted something in Brian; he’d never known her to throw around “love”, even with family. If Pete was dear enough to her heart that she was comfortable with “those three little words”, as Roger referred to them (usually in the context of shagging some girl he’d known for a few hours), then Brian would probably have to choke down his feelings of discomfort and betrayal at not having been told sooner about the relationship.

Brian stepped out of the bedroom doorway and made for the shoe rack, where he had taken his clogs off upon his arrival. Y/N met him at the door, a wistful smile brightening her face. She was excited to see her brother’s show, but it was obvious that leaving Pete behind didn’t sit happily on her heart.

“Good god, Bri,” Y/N grimaced, nudging one of his clogs with the heel of her shoe. “How can you wear these things? They look terribly uncomfortable, what with those wooden soles.”

“You’re one to talk,” he scoffed, pointing at her shoes. “Your feet’ll probably fall off if you keep wearing such silly shoes.” Y/N stuck out her tongue in response, annoyed that Brian seemed to have a point. She grabbed her overnight bag, which she had packed and set beside the door yesterday, and nodded at her brother, indicating that she was all set to go.

“It was good to meet you, Brian,” Pete called out before Brian could walk out the door after Y/N. “Hopefully, you can come over for dinner sometime, and we can get to know each other when we’re both properly dressed.”

“Sounds like a plan,” Brian nodded, forcing a grin as he waved his farewell and pulled the door shut behind him. The two siblings descended the staircase and exited the building, stopping beside Brian’s 1962 Chevrolet Nova, a vehicle he’d purchased from a college acquaintance earlier that year. It was 10 years old now, but because it had been kept in good condition, it still worked just fine. A variety of stains had been made on the upholstery, most a result of Roger’s inability to not spill while drinking coffee in his mate’s vehicle. Another spot on the backseat looked suspiciously like someone had used the vehicle as a makeshift bed during a hook-up, but Brian didn’t like to think about that.

“Let me take your bag,” Brian told his sister, unlocking the boot of the car. “Anything you need for the drive in there?” His tone was civil, and no longer accusatory as it had been in her flat. He was going to make a genuine effort to repair the damage he’d done upstairs, beginning with his attitude and tone of voice. It was the least he could do.

“I’ve got all the important bits in my handbag,” she shook her head, passing the overnight bag to him. He stowed it beside his own bag, tucked up against his guitar case. Roger had taken all the amps and cables they would need in the van, as Brian hadn’t any space in his small vehicle. So long as Brian remembered to bring his guitar, they would be set.

Brian closed the boot and clambered into his seat, which was positioned as far back from the steering wheel as it could go. Y/N removed her heels and tossed them on the floor behind the driver’s seat, wanting to be comfortable for the ride. Sliding the key into the ignition and starting the engine, Brian made ready to leave the car park. From Y/N’s balcony, he glimpsed Pete, still in his pyjamas, who had stepped out for a smoke. The tall, lanky man pressed a hand to his lips and blew one final kiss towards Y/N in the passenger seat. His eyes followed the car until it was out of view of the building.

“I’m sorry if I made things awkward for you,” Brian swallowed hard, glancing over at his sister. Her mouth was set in a hard line, and she was picking at her fingernails, as was her habit when she was nervous. “I should’ve just kept my mouth shut.”

“’S’fine,” she shrugged, meeting his eyes for a moment. She looked as if she wanted to say something, to explain things to him, but she didn’t seem to have the words quite yet. She and Brian had always been very close – this was the first time she had genuinely felt as if she couldn’t tell him something about her life, and it hurt.

“We don’t have to talk about it,” he assured her. “Only if you want to.” Brian reached over to ruffle her brown curls, which hung in long, tight ringlets like his own. Y/N rolled her eyes, but didn’t pull away from his attempt at brotherly affection. It had been a while since they’d seen each other in person, because Brian had been touring semi-regularly, and she had been busy at college, so she appreciated his effort at making her feel better. Really, she had missed him dearly, and had been really looking forward to their trip up to Leeds.

“Just give me a few minutes,” she requested, her voice soft. “I need some time to gather my thoughts.” Brian nodded in agreement; he knew already in his head that he had been unfair to her. He could date whomever he pleased and never expected her to have any say in the matter, but hadn’t extended her the same courtesy. Freddie would give him a smack upside the head when he told him later that night, he was sure. Freddie had a sister who was still in upper school, and had always insisted that it was a brother’s duty to protect his sister, but also his responsibility to respect her individuality; Y/N had just as much right to enjoy life as Brian did.

Once the road out of London merged with the M1, Brian turned on the radio, switching to some pirate station playing the only music he and his sister would agree on: rock. Their other musical interests were completely opposite, and both were stubborn enough to argue until the station or record was changed to something they could tolerate.

While Brian preferred the likes of Hendrix and Zeppelin, his sister enjoyed funk and soul music. In fact, Y/N and John had regularly gone to the disco together prior to the start of Queen’s tour, having recognized their mutual interest in the Motown sound after she had attended one of their jam sessions at Imperial College. She and John went dancing just as friends, leaving behind her brother and some other members of their social group who were less inclined to dance the night away at the discothèque.

Trees and fields rolled past as they drove on, and for nearly an hour, they remained in complete silence but for the occasional hum in response to whatever the disc jockey had decided to play next. Around Luton, though, Y/N adjusted her position in her seat, turning to look at her brother. He gripped the steering wheel tighter, bracing himself for whatever she had to say.

“More than anything, Brian,” she started, regarding him with a hard-set expression, “I just need you to keep your mouth shut. Let me tell my story, and you can ask questions after. Deal?” Brian pulled past a car going much slower than the limit and moved out of the passing lane before he was willing to give her his full attention, in the interest of their safety.

“Deal,” he agreed, reaching over to pat her knee. “Give me a smack if I forget, alright?” A smile crept over her face, and she nodded in reply. She rested her head against the back of the seat, and a dreamy look overcame her as she recalled the night she had met Pete.

“I was out with a girlfriend, who had been invited to the after-party for The Who; they had done a concert in London earlier in the night, and were hosting their party in an upstairs room at some posh hotel.” She laughed at the memory, skipping over details she was sure her brother didn’t need to know, such as how her friend had secured tickets to the private event.

“As I’m sure you can imagine, things were pretty hectic, and there was a lot going on there that I wasn’t really interested in getting involved with. But one of the band’s roadies invited me to sit with John Entwistle, who had seen me across the room. We hadn’t been talking long when the fellow decided I wasn’t quite as interested in him as he’d hoped, so when I asked him to point me towards the loo, he was more than happy.”

“Sorry to interrupt,” Brian apologized, “but speaking of the loo, we’re two minutes from a petrol station. Do you want me to stop?”

“That would be fantastic, actually,” Y/N nodded, reaching behind his seat for her shoes. “Pete was up early, and he made me some tea, which I managed to suck down after my shower.” When the opportunity came, Brian pulled up to the station, filling up the car with petrol while Y/N ran in to use the toilet. She also bought a package of his favourite sweets, which she slapped into his hand once she’d returned to the car.

“You remembered,” Brian grinned, offering her a handful. She accepted gratefully, secretly having hoped he would share.

“Of course I remembered,” she frowned, raising an eyebrow. “I didn’t forget everything about you just because I haven’t seen you in a few months, silly.” Brian tossed a sweet at her face, striking her cheek. She swatted at his arm, but ate the candy anyways. More for her, she figured.

“Anyways, continue with your story,” he invited. “You’re at the party, Entwistle thinks you’re a prude, and you’ve got to have a wee. What’s next?” Y/N chuckled at his synopsis, happy that he was at least following along.

“Well, I may have had a bit too much to drink by this point,” she admitted, “thus the reason for asking after the loo. So I teetered across the room and, in typical Y/N fashion, wandered into the wrong toilet. The urinals didn’t tip me off for some reason, not sure why not. Anyhow, Pete was standing at the sink, absolutely off his head by this point. He only heard my footsteps as I walked in, so he yelled at me to leave.” She went quiet for a moment, trying to decide how to describe those first moments.

“I ignored him, of course. You know me,” she laughed, acknowledging her propensity for marching to the beat of her own drum. “He looked absolutely knackered and was on the verge of tears. Something inside me told me to ask if he was alright, so I did, and he just lost it. Sat right down on the floor and started to cry. I locked the door and sat down beside him, just waiting quietly for him to calm down. Neither of us said anything for a while, but eventually, he asked my name, and we got to talking.”

“When I asked him this morning how you’d met, he said John had introduced you,” Brian told her, trying to suppress a smile. “I can see why he might not have wanted to go into the details. Not all men are so open with their emotions.”

“Probably didn’t want your first impression of him to be that he’s a drunk crybaby,” Y/N grinned. “He is, but he doesn’t want everyone to know that.”

“So what, you took advantage of the poor boy in his sorry state?” Brian inquired, giving his sister a look of concern. “I know you haven’t got a conventional personality, Y/N, but I’m sure you can get a fellow into your bed without having to get him drunk first.”

“No, no, that’s not what happened,” she corrected him. “Who do you think I am, some sort of predator? No, I ended up sitting with him for the remainder of the night, just talking. He sobered up after a while, which made the talking part easier. And we ignored the shouts of all the poor blokes who needed to piss, because I figured they could just use the ladies’ room instead. Half of them had shagged some bird in a stall by the end of the night anyway.”

“This is the most romantic story I’ve ever heard,” Brian teased, ignoring the way his sister scrunched her nose at him in displeasure. After all, what good was a brother for, if not to keep his sister honest with a bit of light-hearted mockery?

“So after the party had come to an end, Pete asked if I wanted to go for early morning coffee, which I did,” she explained, nearing the end of her tale. “We went to some dodgy little diner he likes because nobody ever pays attention to you there, so he never gets recognized. He didn’t want to go back to his place or take any calls, so I suggested that he come and have a rest on my sofa. He agreed, and…well, the rest is history,” she finished.

“At least you waited to shag him until he was sober.”

“You’re disgusting,” Y/N rebuked him. “That didn’t happen until much later, and by that point, he’d been staying on my sofa so often after gigs that I couldn’t bear to make him sleep on that lump of a couch any longer. I just told him to get into the bed.”

“Alright, that’s quite enough of that,” Brian thanked her. “I’ll leave the rest to the imagination. I’m sure he’s lovely in bed, but I’d rather not hear that from my sister.” Y/N flashed him a mischievous grin, and he hoped dearly that she wouldn’t share anything more on that subject. “Is he sober enough of the time to be a normal boyfriend? Takes you out for dinner and to the cinema, that sort of thing?”

“Of course he is,” she replied, kicking her feet up on the dashboard. “Really, he’s been doing a lot better since I’ve met him. That’s what Roger says, at least.” The mention of the famous vocalist of The Who made Brian’s head spin. He’d been able to dissociate Pete from the group because of the way Y/N humanized him in her descriptions, but he suddenly remembered that his sister was, in fact, intimately connected to one of the most important bands in the rock world.

“Does he play guitar for you, or does he stay away from it all when you’re together?” Brian wondered. “I mean, it’s his life, so I can’t imagine how he’d be able to keep his music and the rest of his life from overlapping.”

Y/N’s ears perked up as one of Pete’s songs came on the radio. She reached for the volume dial, turning it up to hear the synth-heavy opening of “Won’t Get Fooled Again”. Brian listened carefully, marvelling at the unique tone of Townshend’s guitar, and the complex bass line constructed by Entwistle. They really were a fantastic band, even if they got off their heads in their time offstage.

“He has an acoustic guitar, a Gibson J-200, that he leaves in the cupboard at my flat,” Y/N answered. “He takes it out if he’s there for an afternoon, works his way through whatever he’s been writing that day.” Brian’s jaw dropped.

“Are you telling me that he keeps a £1000 guitar in the cupboard at your flat, just for mucking about when he’s staying over?” he demanded, his eyes wide with disbelief.

“I haven’t any idea how much it’s worth,” Y/N shrugged, not seeming to care. “Pete leaves all that at the door when he comes over. I made it clear when we he started staying over more often that I didn’t want anything to do with his money. That’s his own business.”

“He mentioned that you won’t stay over at his place,” Brian told her, hoping he hadn’t said anything Pete had intended to keep private.

“His place is too big,” she complained, crossing her arms over her chest. “I stayed over a few times, just because I felt it was only fair that he be allowed to show me his place. But I noticed that whenever we were there, he tended to get worked up easily. I want our time together to be a way for him to relax, step away from all the shit he deals with the rest of the week.”

One niggling thought had been bothering Brian throughout the conversation. He thought he recalled something he’d heard on the telly about Townshend and his family. Children, maybe? A wife? Based on what his sister had told him, she and Pete weren’t living together; it certainly didn’t seem like a conventional relationship. Did that mean she was some sort of mistress?

“Sorry to ask this, sis,” Brian ventured, glancing at her from the corner of his eye. He felt a sudden dryness in his throat, as if his body was trying to keep him from asking the question looming at the back of his mind. “But, um…are you and Pete…exclusive? Or is he, uh, seeing other people?”

“Dunno,” she admitted, shrugging her shoulders. To his surprise, she seemed unfazed by the question. “I’ve thought to ask, but I don’t know that I’d really want to know. What I do know is that I love him, and I enjoy the time we have together. He does everything he can to show me the same love, and that’s all I’ve ever asked of him.”

“And has he got a family? An ex, children?”

“Two girls,” Y/N nodded, a smile playing about her lips. “Emma is four, and Aminta’s just turned two; sweet little things, those girls.” Brian’s brows furrowed at the idea of his sister being a stepmother of sorts, at only 22 years old.

“Have you met them?”

“I see them every few weeks,” she told him. “Pete and I pick them up from his ex’s place and have them for the day. We go to the park, or spend time at the house. I don’t have much by way of toys at my flat, so it doesn’t make much sense to bring them there.”

Everything she was saying was utterly foreign to Brian. He’d gone on a few dates in the past year, none of them amounting to much. He had a friend who called him every now and again when she was lonely, and he would spend the weekend laid up in her flat. Freddie had actually started a relationship with a girl Brian had taken out a few times, with his blessing, of course. But this – Brian was almost at a loss for words.

“Well,” he finally managed after a few minutes of contemplative silence, “I’m glad that Pete makes you happy. So long as he treats you well, and you love him, I’m happy for him to be around.”

"Thanks, Bri," she said appreciatively. "I'm glad to hear you say that. I'm sorry for not telling you before. I think I just didn't quite know what to tell you...I guess I just didn't want my big brother to worry about me, or be disappointed." She looked vulnerable now, having bared her heart for Brian to see.

"I don't think I'm worried, so much as just...surprised," he said awkwardly. "I guess I don't know what your type is. But Pete...he's got quite a beak, hasn't he?" Brian tapped the centre of his face, referring to what Y/N knew to be one of Pete's lifelong insecurities - his particularly prominent nose.

"Brian!" Y/N cried, giving him a dirty look. "You're certainly not one to talk. What would you call this?" She tweaked the end of his nose, making her point.

"But he's a bit old for you, isn't he?" he tried again.

"He's only 28, Bri," she informed him, deflecting his petty attempt at concocting any legitimate concerns. "He's not ancient by any means. Just older." By the twitching at the corner of her mouth, Brian could tell that she was trying not to grin. Clearly, she found Pete to be quite attractive, despite his comment about the man's nose, and his being 6 years older than her.

Y/N noticed his eyes crinkle at the corners as his mood shifted from serious to playful, and waited for him to make some sort of smart-ass comment. Not one to disappoint, Brian reached for her hand and gave it a quick squeeze.

“I’ll certainly take Pete up on his offer of dinner at your place sometime soon,” he grinned. “I’ll finally have a reason to visit you, now that I know you’ve got a fancy guitar and a rock star boyfriend.”

“Oh, is that what it takes to get you to drive a half hour across town?” she inquired, reaching over to jab her fingers into the soft skin below his ribs. He let out a high-pitched shriek, nearly swerving into oncoming traffic as he tried to scoot away from her.

“Get away from me, you horrid woman!” he exclaimed, trying to keep his attention on the road ahead. “You’ll kill us both and send Pete into a horrible depression. He’ll write songs about it for ages, and never leave his house again but for to get pissed at the bar with Keith Moon.”

This comment nearly brought his sister to tears, she was laughing so hard. She struggled to catch her breath, as every subsequent comment Brian made sent her back into a fit of giggles. When she’d finally calmed herself enough to speak, she shook her head and tugged at one of her brother’s curls.

“Once Queen hits it off with your new album, I’m certain you’ll be absolutely insufferable to be around,” she predicted. “Not that you aren’t already, but by the time all’s said and done, even Roger won’t be able to put up with you.”

“Once we hit it off,” Brian repeated, hoping against hope that such a day would come soon.