Bodhi’s hands are shaking, and he tries to convince himself it’s a good thing, because now is really not the time for his anxiety to make itself present. The last thing he needs right now, as he’s standing backstage in a club he’s about to perform in, is for his sorry excuse for confidence to be overcome completely.
He takes a deep breath and shoves his hands in his pockets. Perhaps ignoring his nerves will make them go away.
He leans heavily against the wall behind him, watching technicians milling around before him, ensuring the lighting is bright enough and that the speakers are all plugged in. A part of him wishes that he was only here as a backstage observer, that he didn’t have to go onstage in less than five minutes and perform in front of a crowd of people that he’s sure will hate him.
Suddenly Cassian is leaning on the wall next to him, sipping from a can of beer and looking impossibly suave in his leather jacket and skinny jeans. Bodhi has to force himself to look away.
“Are you nervous?” Cassian asks, voice easy and light, completely undeterred by the fact that they are about to perform. In front of people, no less.
“Is it that obvious?” Bodhi settles for answering. He doesn’t want to outright say ‘yes,’ but he’s sure that Cassian already knew before he asked.
Cassian shakes his head, smiling. “Nah, not really.” Bodhi gives him a look. “Well, maybe.” Bodhi raises an eyebrow. “Fine! Okay, it was kinda obvious,” he concedes, raising his hands in surrender, now grinning. Bodhi can’t help but smile along with him.
“I don’t get why, though,” Cassian continues. “I mean, we’re gonna kill it out there!” He keeps talking despite Bodhi’s disbelieving look. “Seriously, Bodhi, we are. You’re gonna drum your little heart out, and I’m gonna sing so beautifully everyone is gonna swoon. And then they’ll start chanting our name!” He starts whisper-shouting “Sniper Pilot! Sniper Pilot!”
Bodhi feels heat rising to his cheeks and he pointedly looks away. He sometimes doesn’t understand how someone like Cassian- confident, loud, drop dead gorgeous- can be best friends with someone like him.
“I doubt half of them have even heard of us,” he replies, looking down at his boots.
Cassian steps in front of him then, forcing him to look up with a gentle finger underneath his chin. “Well then we’re just gonna have to make them listen, aren’t we?”
The club owner is announcing them then, and a stage director is gesturing at them to get ready. Cassian grabs his guitar and saunters onto the stage, leaving Bodhi with a fleeting grin. As Bodhi picks up his drumsticks, he realises that his hands have stopped shaking. He smiles to himself as he joins Cassian onstage.
The show isn’t perfect, but it’s better than Bodhi ever dreamed it could be.
Cassian is a natural at talking to the crowd; his easygoing attitude combined with his captivating accent have the audience members nodding at each other approvingly, whispering ‘hey, these guys are actually alright.’
And that’s just during the introduction, before they’ve even started performing, and it gives Bodhi some sort of confidence. It definitely helps that he’s not standing front and centre like Cassian is. No, he’s completely content sitting behind the drumkit, slightly hidden by the crash cymbal. He knows that if he had all the attention on him, all of those judgemental stares, he’d probably faint. In this moment, he’s never been more thankful to be a drummer.
Once they start performing, however, all of those thoughts drift away, and Bodhi allows himself to completely immerse himself in the music. Being a drummer also gives him a sort of control, because while Cassian is up there singing with everyone’s eyes on him, Bodhi is the one keeping the beat, deciding how fast or slow he wants them to be. It’s this sort of power that comforts him while also providing him with some sort of confidence, and it’s in these moments where he can convince himself that he’s just as important as Cassian.
It helps that, whenever there’s a gap between singing, Cassian turns to him, breathless and grinning, illuminated by the spotlight. He looks at Bodhi with such appreciation and pride, like he just wants to show him off to the world, and Bodhi feels his cheeks heat up as he looks down at the snare, trying not to get distracted and miss a beat.
The end of their final song is met with applause, which is simple common courtesy for all acts but Bodhi can’t help but feel like it’s special. As soon as they get backstage, Cassian is whooping, and he hurries to hand his guitar off to a stagehand before he engulfs Bodhi in a hug. Bodhi almost drops his drumsticks.
“That was amazing, Bodhi! You were amazing!” he enthuses, and Bodhi lets out a breathless laugh as he brings his arms up to return the hug.
He’s completely content to stay here forever, even as the post-performance thrill begins to wear off and his ears start to ring. But then Cassian pulls away, and suddenly they’re holding hands and Cassian is dragging him to the exit. Bodhi just has enough time and sense of mind to leave his drumsticks on a table before Cassian tugs him out into the night.
The cold air hits Bodhi like a punch in the face, but he’s never been more relieved to be out in the fresh air, away from bustling crowds and high expectations. By the time he realises Cassian is still holding his hand, he’s already being pushed gently against the building wall, and Cassian’s other hand is cupping his cheek. Bodhi suddenly can’t breathe.
“Wha-?” he manages to get out before Cassian is kissing him, so gentle despite the energy thrumming around them. It takes Bodhi a second before he has the sense to close his eyes, and another to start kissing back. He feels Cassian smile against his lips.
Cassian untangles their hands and then he’s pushing away Bodhi’s stray hairs, ignoring the fact that they’re probably sweaty and gross.
And, just as suddenly as it began, Cassian pulls away. They lean against each other, breathing slightly laboured, and as Bodhi’s mind clears he begins to think that this was a mistake, Cassian doesn’t actually like him, he only kissed him because he’s high on excitement and there’s no one else around and-
“This is okay, right?” Cassian’s soft voice interrupts his thoughts. Bodhi can only stare up at him, wide-eyed, trying to comprehend the fact that Cassian is asking him for permission, like he genuinely cares, like he actually wants to kiss him.
Bodhi has enough sense of mind to nod, and then Cassian is grinning and kissing him again, and the rest of the world melts away completely.