Chapter: #1. The Gates
Summary: A group of gay college students are making their way through life - in their own eccentric ways. Smashing music, tattoos, hate and love; need I say more? SLASH M/M
Noah Yoshiro scratched yet another name off the long list of auditions, nearly snapping the lead of his pencil in his vehemence. Twenty auditions for the part of lead vocal and it seemed that this bloody city didn't have a single occupant capable of stringing two properly tuned notes together. On a brighter note, he seemed to have gone at least partially deaf, and thus did not have to listen to the screeching that was coming from that creature (which he couldn't identify as male or female) on stage. He swept ebony bangs from his face, but they stubbornly refused to stay put. Looking to his right, he could see that Adrian was equally as displeased: he'd retreated to doodling randomly on his paper instead of writing down comments. It was no wonder Emory and Sianyde had opted not to hear the auditions until he and Adrian had sifted through them...
Finally, the man-woman-thing had finished his or her song and Noah let out a breath through his nose. There were two more left: Amy Finch and Loki Odin. Noah was just about willing to let anybody in, as long as they could do more than mumble or shriek. "Thank you," he said dismissively, averting his gaze from the man-woman-thing because he didn't think he could muster another fake, reassuring smile. "We'll get back to you if you made it," he added as he-she took leave.
Adrian looked up from his scribbles, running highly dexterous fingers through choppy, brunette hair. "What do you think?" he asked finally.
"I think we're doomed," Noah dead toned.
"Oh, no, I meant of my doodle," Adrian replied. He shoved the piece of paper he'd been drawing on to Noah, revealing a little cartoon of them both looking as though they'd been electrocuted with various monsters on the stage singing into the microphone.
Noah stared unresponsively for a moment before laughing out loud, handing him back the page. "We should use that somewhere on the CD cover," he chuckled.
Adrian frowned. "Yeah right, it's crap." Noah was used to Adrian's pessimistic views of his own work; he just rolled his eyes in response.
Adrian let the pencil fall from his hand and regarded the names left on his list. "Want me to go get them? Or should we just call it quits and leave before we suffer brain hemorrhaging?"
Noah sighed, looking forlornly at the sheet of paper. "One more- but if its worse than any of the others… just have an ambulance on standby, would you?" Adrian nodded with a dry laugh before getting up and walking to the door; throwing it open, he called out for Amy Finch. Instead a boy (17 or 18, Noah guessed) walked through the door.
"Amy's not here, so I guess that leaves me," he said in a smooth, husky voice. "M'name's Loki."
Noah clenched his jaw to stop it from dropping into his lap. The boy was of average height, with dark burgundy hair and eyes that sparkled silvery grey. Lightly tanned skin, a slight frame and… Yum…
Noah was fully motivated to stamp 'APPROVED' over Loki's name on his sheet before the boy had uttered more than a few sentences.
Adrian seemed to notice Noah's reaction, though Loki remained oblivious as he adjusted the mic, looking only slightly hesitant as he did so. Adrian took his seat beside Noah and elbowed him sharply in the ribs.
"Might I offer you a napkin to mop up that giant puddle of drool on the floor?" he murmured smugly, hand proffered as though a pile of napkins should have been sitting primly on his open palm.
Noah didn't answer, sitting straight and waiting for Loki to begin, whilst secretly crossing his fingers under the table in hopes that the boy had an amazing voice.
And he began. And he was good. Good was an understatement; he was phenomenal. His voice was smooth and sensual, but at the same time it had a hard edge that was meant for a rock band like them. It was perfect, it would suit their music, it had every possibility to complete their band, and most of all it would keep Noah's dreams more than pleasant, perhaps for the rest of his life.
Noah's head dropped to Adrian's shoulder as he stared unabashedly at the singer, who was presently staring straight back at him. "Can I keep him?" he whined, provoking a small chuckle from his artist friend.
"He is good- and admittedly a sweet piece of eye candy, if I do say so myself," Adrian admitted.
"He's drop dead sexy, that's what he is."
Adrian rolled his eyes. "Next you'll be muttering something about willing to bear his children."
Noah made an indignant sound in his throat that failed to muffle the delighted purr that had arisen first.
Loki finished his song, now self-consciously pulling on the sleeves of his sweater, chewing his lip. Noah found himself wondering just what that lip tasted like.
"He's in," Adrian whispered to Noah, who seemed about to protest that Emory and Sianyde wouldn't be too pleased with that. "They'll thank us," he finished.
Noah grinned uncontrollably and sprung up from his chair, jumping onto the stage and throwing his arms spasmodically around a very startled Loki. The bass player proceeded to bounce up and down like a kangaroo repeating, 'you're in, you're in, you're in,' at the top of his lungs. After sitting still and listening to mediocre talent for two and a half hours, he was more than his usual crazed and hyper self. Not to mention he was eager for an excuse to strangle the lad in a death grip.
Loki, by this time, had turned scarlet with both embarrassment and glee. Though hesitant at first, he began to bounce around too.
Adrian watched as they finally split and started jumping like excited school girls, right before Noah tripped on the cord of the mic and fell off the stage. At this point, Adrian had burst into hysterical fits of laughter as well.
"I suppose we'll be needing that ambulance after all, won't we?" he asked.
Noah was too busy disentangling himself from the cord to answer, laughing despite his bruised rump. Loki just stood and looked bewildered.
About a half hour later found the three sitting in a small café a block from school. Noah's hot chocolate had been abandoned, and he was speaking rapidly and incoherently to Loki, trying to explain all about the band and its members. The crumbling remnants of a vanished donut sat on a napkin as testament to Noah's sugar overdose, and half the reason behind his incessant rambling. Sugar plus eye candy equals easily excitable Noah. Adrian had managed to block it out whilst scribbling on a napkin.
"Sianyde's a bit of a twerp but once you get used to his sense of humor he's really fun and he plays drums and Emory's real cool once you get over his permanent bad mood and long, awkward silences he plays guitar yeah they're scary at first but once you get to know them they're great and Dakota plays backup guitar and vocals sometimes so you'll meet her soon and she's really nice so it won't be too hard to get along with her and she's Emory's sister but you wouldn't believe it." Finally he paused to sip his hot chocolate, which by now was cold chocolate. Loki seemed to have easily followed and was staring bemusedly at Noah through warm, gray eyes.
Mmmm, he does have beautiful eyes, Noah thought flirtatiously.
Ok, so he had a crush on the guy after only knowing him in a two-hour span, in which he'd done most of the talking. Who gives a damn?
"Ok, so if I've got this right, there's you on the bass. Then there's Sianyde on the drums, Emory on the guitar, Dakota as back up and me as vocals?" Loki reviewed all the names in his head, ticking them off on slender fingers as he went. Noah noticed he was wearing fluorescent pink nail polish.
"Yup," he answered, absently stirring his cold chocolate with a stir stick
"What about you, Adrian?" Loki asked, disturbing the artist from his drawing induced reverie.
"Hmmm? I just do artsy stuff and make sure these guys don't kill each other. I have no musical talent whatsoever. The only reason I'm involved at all is because I'm this twit's best friend." He gestured to Noah, who looked mildly indignant, but shrugged it off.
"We all started off in high school as a garage band, but none of us had any singing talent except Dakota, and her voice isn't exactly what we're looking for…" Noah explained quickly. You'd think that in the span it took him to say those sentences without drawing breath that he'd die from oxygen deprivation.
Adrian leaned over and whispered behind his hand to Loki, as though Noah couldn't hear, "he isn't always like this. It's only if you give him sugar or something nice to look at."
Noah felt himself blush a little bit and consequently started stirring his cold chocolate more quickly, emphasizing the fact that there was really no purpose in stirring it at all.
Loki glanced at the donut crumbs before a small, semi-smile crossed his lips, and he whispered back behind his hand as well, "Is that so?"
Adrian opened his mouth to speak but instead his face turned stolid and with a hurried, "bathroom!" he stood and ran down the back way to the men's room.
Loki blinked, watching him go. He didn't notice when Noah set his, now empty, mug onto the table with a smile reminiscent of the devil.
"What about you, where'd you come from?" Noah proceeded to ask, ignoring Loki's curious glances towards his mug.
"Erm, I just moved here for school 'n stuff, you know. I graduated last year and I always wanted to be a part of a band so this opportunity was one of those things I just didn't want to pass up."
Noah smiled, unconsciously playing with the stud lip ring he wore. He noticed Loki's eyes following the path of his tongue and couldn't help his smile from growing larger. "Well, apart from that, tell me about yourself," he continued. He was sure to run his tongue over his lower lip after saying so.
Loki shook dark crimson bangs from his face and shrugged, playing with the beads around his neck. "Well, er, I've been singing my entire life at bars and stuff; just to get publicity and all that. I don't know," he sighed, obviously holding back key information of his past that Noah didn't want to press him for just yet.
"So, you're studying music here?" Noah asked.
"Yeah, and English," Loki finished. "I like reading and that sort of thing.
By this time, Adrian had finally returned. Noah silently wondered just how long he'd stood under the hand dryer before his pants had dried.
"I've got to get home, Noah. Need to get my stuff organized for school tomorrow." He waved; grabbing the pencil he'd been using off the table and shoving it into his khaki bag, along with the napkin he'd scribbled on. "See you around, Loki," he saluted before exiting the café.
Noah was suddenly frighteningly aware of the fact that they were both alone now.
"I should probably go too," Loki murmured, glancing at Noah as he moved to stand. Noah instinctively put his arm out to stop him, hand on the boy's wrist. The simple touch prickled his fingertips pleasantly.
"Stay for a while?" he asked, unsure of why exactly he wanted him to stay, or rather, what feeble excuse he'd use to substitute the real reason. Loki quirked a little half-smile again and sat.
"Ok," he said in that same husky voice, sitting down as Noah reluctantly withdrew his hand. His fingers felt cold all of a sudden. "I didn't really want to walk home just yet anyway, it's kind of chilly."
Noah nodded his agreement, an idea suddenly spurring him to stand. "Actually, I'll walk you home then. I've got some spare time and there's no use sitting around much longer…"
Loki raised a brow at Noah's indecisive nature but stood and followed anyway. Noah was painfully aware of how close Loki stood to him as the breaking of the threshold outside brought a cold chill over them both. Their breath clouded before them as they walked in silence, the blur of traffic and time of no consequence. Noah wasn't even sure if they were walking in the right direction. He liked this feeling…
He noticed suddenly that Loki was shaking slightly, having no jacket to protect him from the cold.
"Why aren't you wearing a jacket!?" he asked, as though the singer was crazy for leaving the house with only a thin sweater on.
Loki shrugged. "I got a drive, and I didn't know I'd be staying out this late."
Noah frowned as the boy continued to tremble. "C'mere," he murmured, opening his jacket, which hung to about mid-thigh. He pulled Loki against him and wrapped his coat about the smaller boy. Loki didn't object, and Noah was silently thankful that he'd forgotten his coat in the first place. Their mutual warmth and the feel of Loki this close was enough to make his heart pound erratically in his chest.
About ten minutes later and Loki had somehow guided them to his apartment. They stood at the end of the drive, Loki still standing close so that Noah could feel his breath misting against his throat.
"Was nice meeting you," Loki murmured, the back of his slender hand unconsciously pressing into Noah's palm.
"Yeah," Noah replied, concentrating on even breaths so that the palpitating of his heart was unnoticeable. His thumb moved of its own volition to stroke Loki's fingers and he felt himself blush slightly.
"See you, maybe in school," Loki finished, abruptly stepping away as he realized how his fingers had been unconsciously lacing themselves with Noah's. Noah closed his eyes for a second before opening them again, and by that time Loki was half way up the drive. His heart slowed, but the tingly feeling in his fingers was still there.
"Goodnight," he murmured, and began the long walk home, drowning in thoughts he wasn't sure he understood.
When he arrived at his own apartment building, he randomly decided to take the stairs to the sixth floor. When he reached the door, he found the napkin Adrian had been doodling on taped to the middle of it. There was an unmistakable sketch of himself and Loki conversing at that same café table and written underneath was 'Noah plus Loki equals a heart.'
My heart is pounding, resounding,
Screaming and crying.
Lift me up where my lungs don't need air,
Because you've robbed me of everything
And left my heart bare.