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Love of the Ages

Chapter Text

July, 1987

    Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin

 

Tour was always the most grueling part about being a recording artist, the only thing to come in at a close second being the actual recording. In the studio, the entire band had to be in early in the Morn, like it or not, or risk losing the Time they paid quite a hefty sum for. On the road, they’d a rigorous schedule to keep, lest a venue try to back out on their contract for supposedly being a no-show or somebody get left behind.

    Poison bassist Bobby Dall found that out the hard way after a grueling eight–or was it twelve?–Days in the studio to record his band’s debut album. If he’d thought having to all but drag three other party boys outta bed by their pubes and get them into the studio before they lost their recording Time was nuts, he’d been sadly mistaken. Even their so-called tours around the club circuit before getting signed to Capital Records was a piece of cake compared to this misery. But this was what they’d wanted, and this was what they’d to deal with, if they wanted to keep this band afloat and actually make it.

    Over the last fifteen or sixteen months, this baby band had worn itself down to a nub–or at least, something that felt more like a nub than it didn’t. Between all the booze and chicks, not to mention their guitarist’s coke problem, things were beyond crazy for them. When they added their frontman’s diabetes–which he’d been diagnosed with as a child–to the mix, they got even crazier.

    For one of them to get sick while they were on the road wasn’t exactly a big surprise, considering it was just part of Life. After all, they were crammed into close quarters around tons of other people, and when they were in more open Spaces, they were still exposed to folks who might be sick. The occasional cold was nothing for them, ’cuz they’d still get out on stage and rock the crowd’s socks off. Only being unable to keep their dinner down was gonna stop them, but since they were used to puking from being hungover, they didn’t even let that serve as an excuse. They couldn’t afford to let anything short of near Death–such as when frontman Bret’d to be hospitalized–keep them offstage.

    “Hey, man–ya okay?”

    Looking up from where he’d curled up on a couch in their dressing room, Bobby saw his band’s drummer.

    “Yikes, Bob–ya don’t look so good,” the tallest blonde said with a wince.

    “Gee, thanks,” he muttered, almost immediately having to sit up. The barking cough he let out just made his friend wince again, and almost as hard as he did, himself.

    “Ya sure ya wanna go onstage like this?” Rikki asked. “Ya look and sound horrible, and it’s been getting worse for the past week or so.”

    “I’m sure, Rik,” the bassist managed to answer. “Besides, it’s the last show of the tour–we can’t let the fans down now. If it were Bret and his diabetes acting up again, that’d be different, but we’re talking about me just catching a Summer cold.”

    “If you’re sure,” he acquiesced. “I don’t care whatcha think–you’re still an integral part of this band. If it weren’t for you making us get up and get in the studio, we’d never’ve gotten the album recorded so we could even come out on this tour.”

    “Yeah, well–the fans seem to think differently when faced with me and Bret both,” Bobby sighed. “They always seem to pick him as if none of the rest of us, especially me, even exist.”

    “Don’t talk like that,” the drummer told him. “You’ve still got your own lil sect of fans who’d be totally lost withoutcha being part of their favorite band.”

    “I dunno, maybe,” he sighed, laying back down. “Just lemme at least try to catch a nap before the show.”

    Nodding, Rikki told him he’d make sure the guys stayed away from the dressing room till they absolutely had to start getting ready. Both knew how noisy and obnoxious they–especially their guitarist, CC–could be more often than not, and how any of them got when they were sick. The last thing the lone brunette of Poison needed right now was to be kept awake so that he was cranky at best, unable to storm the stage and perform at worst.

    Left alone in the Peace and quiet of the dressing room with a blanket draped over him, said lone brunette readjusted the throw pillow he’d claimed. He refused to admit to the drummer that his throat was so dry and scratchy from all the coughing that he felt like he could barely breathe from how bad it burned. He also refused to admit how his chest felt like it was both on Fire, as well as growing heavier like there was fluid building up in his lungs. No matter what the price was in the End, he was determined to get out there and play that last show, ’cuz then he could go home and get some real rest.

*         *         *

After the show that Night, the musical quartet headed backstage once they’d played an encore and taken a group bow. They were all hot and sweaty, but that was typical after running around like maniacs under the hot stage Lights for an hour and a-half, two hours. Grateful for the cool, wet towels that were thrown at them by their techs, they started eagerly wiping themselves down, glad it was over till the next Time they headed out on tour.

    What none of the blondes who made up three-quarters of the band realized was that their friend was doing way worse than he let on. He could barely breathe at this point, which they just attributed to how nuts he usually went during a performance with all his running, jumping, and spinning around. And that never included when he got a Wild Hare up his ass and decided to go crowd-surfing or something similar. They still hadn’t figured out how he managed to get away with such shenanigans without getting mauled, but he always made it back to the stage in one piece.

    Flopping on the same couch he’d managed to nap on earlier, Bobby was grateful for the medic that actually noticed his distress. The guy knelt down next to him and handed him a mask, and he was glad to see it already connected to a green tank topped by a valve. Greedily taking the mask, he held it over his face and gasped in as much Air as he could, too weak to fight back as the guy started wrapping something around his upper arm. That caught the rest of the guys’ attention, and they were immediately worried as the medic fitted something under whatever he’d wrapped around his arm.

    Unfortunately, the oxygen flowing from the tank did nothing to help the delirium, which was brought on by a combination of dehydration, the heat of the stage Lights, and the fever he’d already been running. Before the medic could even get his blood pressure, the bassist’s eyes rolled up in his head as he went forward, already out cold.

    “BOBBY!”