Nikki had done it. Mick honestly had no idea how he had, but he had managed to get both Vince and Tommy back in the studio, together . Mick was sure that Motley Crue was finished when Tommy threw down his drumsticks and released a solo album in 2002. He had stormed away, leaving nothing behind but a string of curse words and a brokenhearted bass player. At least when Vince left, they could still get a decent following with John Corabi, despite their fans missing the blonde haired singer. Their replacement drummers weren’t bad by any means, but Tommy leaving took a bit of the spirit and energy out of the band- especially out of their bassist. The joy and energy that Nikki brought to every performance had fizzled out and left behind nothing but a yearning for the way things used to be.
But they were back and god damn, they sounded amazing, none of them were too modest to admit that. It was like they had never quit playing together. Everyone was in sync, no one was threatening to quit. Aside from Tommy’s cough that came and went, everything was perfect, but it was dusty as hell in there and the pollen count was pretty high. It wasn’t enough to mess up anything, and nothing could bring down the upbeat mood in the studio.
There were no drugs, no fighting, just four guys and their music.
“Damn, that feels good!” Vince called out, playing with the cord to the headphones around his neck. “We fucking kick ass!”
“Hell yeah we do!” Tommy smiled over at Nikki, his heart stuttering in his chest as he looked at the bassist. The thing Tommy had missed the most was being in the studio with him. His departure from Crue had fractured their relationship into a broken shell of what it had once been, and he was so happy to have Nikki by his side again.
Tommy cleared his throat and swallowed, trying in vain to relieve some of the dryness that seemed to always present in his throat these days. It hurt from coughing. He really needed to get out of smoggy Los Angeles and find some clean air sometime. But as he thought about that, he lit up another cigarette and took a drag. The cigs probably weren't helping, but they surely were a lot healthier than the felony amounts of cocaine he used to do on a daily basis, so he took what he could get in that regard. It was always a curious thing to Tommy, how he could quit illegal narcotics fairly easily, but the legal nicotine was something he could never quite kick.
“Well, I don’t know about you kids, but I’m ready for lunch,” Mick put his guitar down. “Glad we made it through a run through without trying to kill each other.” Nikki glanced over at Tommy, who had that big grin on his face before he took a puff off his cigarette.
“I know a great place, and I'm fucking starving” Vince told Mick. The two turned and started to head out, Vince stopping to look at Tommy and Nikki. “You guys coming?”
“In a minute. We’ll catch up,” Nikki told the singer. Vince nodded and left, a knowing smirk on his face, leaving Tommy looking confused with a nervous feeling pulling at his gut, and Nikki waiting until he was sure they were gone, bouncing on his heels in his anxiety.
“Nik?” Tommy asked. “What’s up?”
“I, uh, I wanted to talk to you. Alone.” Nikki told him. Tommy gulped, and looked down at his shoes. He was more than a little nervous about what Nikki wanted to talk about, it had to be about them- about their relationship. A relationship that hadn’t exactly been on steady ground the past few years. They had called for a break, Nikki suggesting they see other people for a while, not long before Tommy stormed out and sent the letter via his lawyer to dissolve his partnership with Motley Crue. The separation only made things worse, not better, and Tommy knew Nikki felt betrayed by his decision to leave, something the drummer couldn't really blame him for.
“Oh,” Tommy nodded, taking another nervous puff off his smoke. “What about?”
“I wanted to talk about us,” Nikki told him. Tommy closed his eyes. Yup, he saw that shit coming. This was going to be the big talk . The “what we had was nice, but I’ve fallen in love with someone else” talk. The "I love you, but I'm not in love with you anymore" talk. The talk he was hoping he could avoid, if he was being honest. Maybe if he avoided the topic long enough, he could continue to exist in blissful ignorance with the hope of getting back together with the only man he had ever truly loved.
“Nikki, do we have to do this now?” Tommy asked quietly, opening his eyes to look up at those shining green ones. He could see the love in his eyes, but he knew it wasn’t for him. There was no way, after everything, that Nikki Fucking Sixx was still in love with him. Not when he's standing there about to break the drummer's heart. Not when he had left Nikki and the band without a drummer for a year, and couldn't get over his pride enough to just pick up the phone and fucking apologize.
“I...I wanted to tell you I’m sorry,” Nikki told him. Tommy nodded, eyes downcast and waiting for the “but”. He knew Nikki was sorry. Nikki had been an asshole, they both had, but their emotions got the best of them. That happened a lot throughout their lives, but they weren't bad people. “And, I want to try again.”
That took Tommy back slightly. “Wait...what?” Tommy asked. He couldn't have heard that right. There was no fucking way he had heard that right. “I thought this was going to be the “what we had was fun and all, but I met someone else” talk.”
“No,” Nikki frowned. “Why? Have you met someone else?”
Tommy chuckled slightly at that. He hadn't been able to think of anyone else in years, not since the raven haired man entered his life and stole every piece of his heart. He had left him with a thirst that only he had been able to quench no matter how often he had tried to deny it, even try to cover it with other people. It had never worked. It had always been Nikki. “There’s never been anyone else. Not since Heather, anyway, if you even count that".
Nikki nodded softly, staring at Tommy with a certain softness that the drummer had not seen in far too long. Nikki seemed to hesitate for a moment, taking a few steps forward, invading the drummer's space. He took the cigarette from Tommy's mouth and smirked, pressing his lips to the drummer's just slightly. Tommy gasped a little but closed his eyes and leaned into the kiss, pressing harder, moaning softly. Tommy let his hand reach up and cup Nikkis jaw. The familiar jawline felt perfect under Tommy's fingertips.
When Nikki pulled back, he smiled at Tommy, tilting his head and searching his brown eyes for the love he knew was there.
“You still have some stuff at my place,” Nikki told him. “I know it's kind of sudden, but we were together for so long already, and you already kinda were living there and…”
“Nikki,” Tommy said, stopping him from talking.
“You’re rambling,” Tommy chuckled.
“Right. Sorry,” Nikki’s cheeks were red, and the thought made Tommy's heart lurch. Nikki fucking Sixx was still blushing at him, after all these years, he had to be the luckiest bastard on the planet. Tommy took the cigarette back from Nikki and threw his arms around Nikki's shoulders, kissing him again.
“It’s cute,” Tommy beamed at him. Tommy always seemed to smile around Nikki, and when he thought about it, he smiled even harder because Nikki had always told Tommy that his smile was his favorite part about the drummer.
“I just...I didn’t think you’d…” His sentence trailed off as a cough erupted from deep in his chest. Nikki rubbed his back, giving it a few soft pats, frowning at how deep the cough sounded.
“How long have you had that?” Nikki asked, concern bubbling up in his gut.
“Since the smog levels started rising,” Tommy managed to croak out. “I’m fine.”
“It sounds like it hurts though...” Nikki pointed out, his sentence trailing off as he debated how far he should push this. Should he be as worried as he was?
As much as it touched Tommy to have Nikki be so worried about him, they had much more important things to focus on in this relationship than a little cough. LA just wasn't friendly to his lungs, and Tommy hated seeing the worry lines that crinkled Nikki's forehead.
“Nah. Just annoying. Promise” He reached over to a bottle of water he had sitting by his kit and took a big drink. His throat was happy for the moisture. “Nik, you can stop looking at me like that. I’m fine.”
“It just sounds bad,” Nikki told him. “But if you say you’re okay…”
“I’m fantastic now,” Tommy told him. He had missed Nikki so much while he was away, but he was too hard-headed to admit it. Honestly though, he was surprised that Nikki missed him. He had been a real asshole.
“So, when do I get to move my drum kit back in?” Tommy laughed. Before everything, him and Nikki had been slowly moving in together. Tommy liked Nikki’s house better than the one he was living in. It was more spacious, and Nikki had dogs. And anyone that knew Tommy knew how much he loved animals, and the dogs loved him right back. Nikki would always watch Tommy play with them and joke that they loved Tommy more than they loved him.
And if Tommy was being honest, any house could be home as long as he was sharing it with Nikki.
“Tonight if you want to,” Nikki smiled at him, shrugging his shoulders.
“Wait, really?” Tommy asked. “That’s a little fast, isn’t it?”
“You’ve known me for almost thirty years. When have I ever done anything slow?” Nikki asked with a laugh. Tommy smiled, a real, genuine smile. This day had turned out much better than he could have anticipated.
They ate lunch without so much as an argument. They hadn’t actually all four enjoyed the company of one another since well before Dr. Feelgood. Hell, Tommy was sure that they last decent meal they had together was even before Theater of Pain. Before drinking, and drugs, and Razzle.
“Hey, are you okay?” Vince asked when Tommy coughed.
“Fucking smog,” Tommy told him. “Air quality is shit today.”
“I didn’t think it was that bad today,” Vince shrugged. “But being in that studio all day probably didn’t help much either. Ventilation was shit.”
“Ma'am? Can I get another water?” Tommy asked the waitress as she walked by. She smiled and went to get it for him, winking as she left.
“No beer?” Mick asked. “Who are you and what have you done with our drummer?”
“It just kinda burns my throat and shit,” Tommy admitted with a sigh. “The cough has torn the hell out of everything.”
“Well, good thing you’re not the singer then,” Nikki smiled at Tommy, watching him carefully. He had his arm resting on the back of Tommy’s chair, and he could feel it shake with each bone-rattling cough. “Maybe you should get like an inhaler or something for these air quality days or something… you shouldn't have to just suffer like this, T-bone”
“If it gets worse, I’ll look into it,” Tommy smiled over at Nikki and leaning into the arm around his shoulders.
“Oh, get a room you two,” Vince rolled his eyes, but couldn't totally hide the smirk on his face. As much as he pretended to get annoyed with the terror twin's constant overly affectionate and playful behavior, he had been rooting for the two as a couple from the very start. He was fairly certain he knew they loved each other before they did.
“Leave them alone Vince,” Mick shook his head. “I’m taking it that you two worked things out.”
“Of course,” Nikki took a drink of his lemonade and smiled. “I figured that if we could work together as a band, fix our shit and all the drama that went with it, I owed it to him.” Tommy laughed a little, because Nikki wasn’t the only one who had been an asshole in that relationship. He knew it would take much longer for him to forgive himself than it ever would to forgive Nikki. But the laugh quickly warped into yet another cough.
“Son of a bitch, Tommy,” Vince watched him. “Maybe you need to go home and just relax for the rest of the day.
“I'm fine…” Tommy groaned as the sore throat that came with coughing so much. It was getting a bit annoying.
“It’s okay. We rehearsed quite a bit today. We have nothing lined up yet because it hasn’t gotten out to press that the Crue is back,” Nikki told him. "You sound horrible, you need to go home."
“Yeah, okay,” Tommy agreed. He paid for his share of the meal and headed towards his car. Nikki wasn’t too far behind him, Vince and Mick following behind.
“Well, I guess I’ll see you guys tomorrow,” Vince said as he and Mick waved goodbye. Nikki waved back and watched them leave side by side with Tommy.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” He asked. “You look miserable.”
“It’s just hard to breathe. The air feels thick,” Tommy admitted. He closed his eyes and leaned against his car for a second. “I’m just gonna go home for a bit.”
“Or, you could come to my place,” Nikki told him. “I mean, I already told you that you could move back in.” He gave Tommy one of his half grins that somehow always made Tommy melt, after all these years. Nobody had a smile like Nikki's. “And the AC is brand new and works amazing.”
“You know what, I think I’ll take you up on that offer, baby” Tommy told him. Nikki leaned in and kissed him, smiling against his lips.
“God, I missed that,” He laughed. His fingers were bunched into Tommy's shirt, as if he were clinging to the most important, precious possession he had ever owned, and in a way he was. Nikki didn't ever want to relinquish the fabric, if he did, Tommy might slip away again, slipping somewhere where Nikki couldn't reach, and this time it would truly kill the bassist.
“Me too,” Tommy smiled at him. “I’m gonna run home and grab some things before I come over, okay?”
“Of course,” Nikki cupped his face. “I’ll meet you there.” He let go of Tommy with a quick peck to his lips and headed to his car, letting Tommy get in his own car. Tommy drove home to get a bag of things to take over to Nikki’s. He couldn’t believe that the band was back together, and he was back with Nikki. He had his band back, the love of his life back, and he felt like he was on top of the world.
He actually felt a rush from the feelings that had been bubbling inside him, he felt high. Is this what people meant when they said they got high on life? He never understood that phrase until now.
He was rushing around, trying to get everything he needed. It was taking too long, when he knew Nikki's tattooed arms were waiting for him just a couple miles away. He was forced to pause, however, when yet another cough ripped through his chest.
If he could get rid of this fucking cough , then everything would be perfect.