Author's Note: Yes, I know. FINALLY it's the last chapter! I can just hear the sighs of relief... Lol.
Anyway, I apologise in advance if this is a disappointing chapter. I'm still trying to decide how I feel about it. Who knows, may be I'll touch up this entire story one day, but for now, here it is in it's completed form.
Also, I'm going to be gone until the 25th of August and without internet access, so don't expect any updates until after then! The next stories that I'm going to concentrate onare 'The Black Book Index' and 'Between the Pages', so please do read those if you haven't already!
Please note- italicised sections are flashbacks, whereas regular text is in the 'present'.
Chapter Fifty Eight
The lights cast dark shadows across the stage, falling in thick stripes that washed over the band currently playing. The stage seemed so big with just them on it, glaring pockets of empty space dotted over the hardwood of the raised stage platform. They seemed too far apart from each other, not yet entirely comfortable in their skin, not entirely sure what was expected of them. But still they played anyway, weaving between each other in a semi-rehearsed manner that they'd clearly tried to make look wholly natural. I'd seen these moves before- we'd used all these moves before- but they were the clear indication of a band new to the scene, fresh and just about to carve their own path.
My eyes were currently locked on the too-lanky guitarist who strolled into my line of sight, sweeping my eyes upwards from his twiggy denim-encased legs to his gaunt face and short, dark hair. In that quick, clandestine glance I was shot back to years ago, to a rather different guitarist and a rather different band. At first glance, there wasn't much of Dan in him, but as you watched him amble across the stage in his torn, skinny jeans, fingers racing across the strings almost over-enthusiastically, suddenly Dan appeared in front of you. Or at least the Dan from the beginning of it all did. Things were different now; there wasn't that desperation, that almost nervous racing forward in the hope that the goal would be reached. We already had that. We were there, right where we should have been.
With the loud clash of the drums, the song spilled into the chorus and the singer sashayed into the centre of the stage, oozing charm and sex with every toss of his head and swing of his hips. Just noticeably camp in his draped scarves and the feathers in his hair, he too bore the impression of practised effortlessness as he wailed into the mic and tried to flirt with the crowd- and the rest of his band. They still needed a few years, but it would happen for them eventually. I knew it would.
I couldn't call myself a veteran in this business yet, but I could recognise talent. They had talent. It probably helped that I could see a lot of us in them. Fleeting glimpses of us starting out, our first few stumbled gigs, the 'big' slots as supporting acts…I could see a lot of that. It was all there in them; unpolished and rough but just waiting to be shined. They didn't seem to have the ballsy confidence that we had stormed in with, though their singer oozed the arrogance of someone who more than knew their full worth, but you could see it there, brimming just beneath the surface and waiting for the moment when it could be let out. All they needed was the time that we'd had.
My thoughts were interrupted by a hand clasping gently onto my shoulder. I turned to see a pair of blue eyes smiling softly at me, motioning back to where the others were standing. I nodded, returning the smile and turning to follow him back. I glanced over my shoulder once more, taking one last snapshot of the figures on-stage before I made my way back to sound-check, following the slender blond figure ahead of me. He glanced over his shoulder to chuckle at me, shaking his head and rolling his eyes, just to make me grin.
How things had changed in a year.
"Right boys, I come bearing treats!"
I laughed as Matt practically leapt to his feet and rushed over to Mindy in what could only be described as desperation. He wrapped his arms around her immediately, whilst she squeaked indignantly and tried to hold the bag of baked goods away from getting crushed.
"Aww, Matty need Mindy to protect him from the big, scary band?" Dan teased, carefully placing his guitar into its stand and stretching languorously.
"Fuck off, Maddox. I'm just damned fed-up of the lot of you," Matt growled, a scowl etched deep into his features as he fished out a cookie from the bag and munched on it sullenly.
"Don't pay any attention to him, Dan- he's been grumpy all day," Mindy remarked, rolling her eyes a little as she gave Dan a small smirk.
You had to give the woman credit; perhaps she wasn't quite as bad as everyone thought she was, so it turned out. Sure, she wasn't exactly the brightest crayon in the pack, but she seemed to keep Matt placated. And was apparently polite enough not to correct me all the times I'd called her 'Cindy'.
"Cookies? You brought us cookies!?" Sam exclaimed, "What kind of a rock band do you think we are?"
"The kind that aren't quite as bad-ass as they'd like to think they are!" Mindy quipped, before removing her other hand from behind her back and revealing a six-pack.
"Right, now we're talking, woman!" Matt grinned, reaching out towards her only to have his hand slapped.
"Don't you 'woman' me, Matt!"
At that the rest of us couldn't help but burst out laughing, trying to hold back the cries of 'Pussy-whipped!' that threatened to spill forth. Of course, we knew better than to taunt Matt in that way, especially not if we still wanted to keep our drummer.
As I moved the mic aside I heard the sound of approaching footsteps and turned to see bright blue eyes staring straight into mine.
"Thanks Jake," I grinned, accepted the can he held out towards me and popped it open.
Jake smiled a little reservedly before taking a swig from his own drink, glancing back over his shoulder to gaze at a bickering Matt and Sam for a moment, turning back to look at me with a grin.
"He's so pussy-whipped…" Jake laughed, "I think we need to make sure Mindy sticks around for a while."
"Oh, hell yeah! I like this mellower Matt," I agreed, nodding a little and frowning slightly as a familiar scent, a fragrance that was ingrained firmly into my memory, wafted towards me.
"Are my two favourite boys playing nice?" purred Dan's voice as his hand settled on my hip and squeezed gently.
"Of course we are," I replied, glancing over my shoulder and reaching down to place a quick kiss on his lips.
Dan just would not have any of that and pressed his mouth firmly against mine, parting my lips with the insistent pressure of his tongue and smiling as he did so.
I pulled away when his hands clawed up my back, no doubt leaving crescent-shaped indents dotted neatly across my skin. I smiled apologetically at Jake, who only gave me a small smile in return, one that didn't fully reach his eyes but stopped just somewhere below them.
I breathed in the scent of fruit, lingering in the air like the dew of a cool morning.
I heard the sound of laughter as I approached, moving behind the heavy black door and seeing the group of figures gathered there. Still I followed the lanky blond ahead of me, who had now joined the group and was smiling along with the others there. I paused for a moment, feeling the need to observe the gathering for a second, watching the faces that had become so familiar as they laughed and talked animatedly amongst each other.
I noticed immediately when the laughter died down suddenly, and I found myself being studied by smiling eyes.
"Are you alright, Rafe?"
I nodded quickly, taking the last few steps I needed to take before I was standing amidst the group and nodding to what was being said. The faint ghosting of apples in the air caught my attention and I turned to my right to let my eyes roam.
"Perve," Dan chuckled, leaning in to kiss my cheek.
I grinned broadly and snaked an arm around his waist, gently tugging him closer to me so that I could kiss him back.
"Oh, please, man! I'm too fucking tired for this sappy shit right now!" Matt groaned exaggeratedly, making a noise of protest when Mindy threatened to throw a shoe at him.
"Ah, leave them alone, Matt… It's not too bad," Jake remarked, giving Dan and I a genuine smile that glowed through his blue eyes.
Matt wasn't given a chance to retaliate, for Mike chose that point to appear, his new play-thing close at his side and none the more likeable than the previous ones had been.
"What is this? A ladies' lunch? What the fuck happened to sound-check!?" he bellowed, turning redder than I'd previously thought was humanly possible.
Dan tried to hold back his snickers as we moved away from each other, exchanging mischievous looks before ambling off into sound-check, the others ahead of us. We walked beside each other, listening to the mild chatter of people around us before I felt the faintest brush of skin against mine. I glanced downwards to see Dan's slender fingers reaching for mine, our fingers bumping and brushing against each other. I smiled, making the small move that was needed to tangle our fingers together loosely, and continued to walk, feeling all too aware of a pair of blue eyes intently locked on the sight of Dan's fingers and mine entwined.
"Is he all right?" Dan whispered, warm breath stroking the bare skin of my neck in a way that had become comfortably familiar.
"I suppose. I guess I don't really know…I thought you could tell all that when it comes to Jake?"
Dan shrugged, keeping his gaze focused on the lone blond on the opposite side of the room.
"I guess things have changed."
To say that things were going smoothly for Jake would have been the biggest lie told by mankind to date. The selection of boyfriends and girlfriends and the collection of shattered pseudo-relationships that littered the past year were more than evidence of the shakiness and instability of that area of his personal life. I shouldn't have continually blamed myself, but it just couldn't be helped. Every time we saw him, sitting alone or staring distantly at some apparently captivating spot on the wall, Dan and I both knew that it was our fault. At least partially. There was nothing we could do, short of breaking up, that would help Jake. Though ending our own relationship would probably just have meant the wasteful sacrifice of Jake and Dan's.
It didn't matter, so he'd said. He said he was doing okay.
Then again, I guess we all say that we're 'okay', that we're all 'fine', when it couldn't be more blatantly obvious that we aren't.
"So, I guess this means that Alex is out of the picture then?"
I turned to see Sam frowning behind us, a drink in hand but with his eyes trained on our withdrawn band-mate in the opposite corner. The concern in Sam's eyes was clear from the focused gaze that lay fixed on Jake, never wavering once as he watched with us the capsule of solitude that Jake had thrown himself into for the night.
"I guess so. He didn't really say anything to me about it- just nodded when I asked if he was okay…"
Dan trailed off, looking worried. I knew the guilt he felt for landing Jake in this position. With the end of every potential relationship that Jake attempted to embark upon, I knew that Dan felt responsible for the demise, as though he had actually forced the two would-be lovers apart with his own hands.
"How long did it last this time?" Sam asked, his frown deepening as he finally tore his gaze away from Jake and turned to Dan and I.
"A month," Dan said quietly, the words escaping from between his lips in a breath that was not far from a whisper.
"That's not so bad, right? It's longer than the other ones have lasted…" I added in, attempting to be helpful and failing very obviously.
But what else could I have said? It always felt as though it wasn't in my place to say anything. I didn't know Jake as well as Dan did; I'd never been as close to him. I didn't have that capacity for care or concern as deep as Sam was capable of. All I could do was stand there, guilty and perhaps ever partially responsible for the current state of affairs that Jake found himself in.
And there was nothing that I could do about it.
Jake moved across the stage in long, lazy strides as he let his fingers amble across the strings of his bass, tossing back the strands of sweat-damp blond hair that had stuck to his skin. He glanced over his shoulder to give Dan a wide grin, before Dan's slender figure weaved its way towards him. As effortlessly as they had always done so, they arched back against each other as they played, the taut muscles of Dan's stomach exposed even more as his golden skin was stretched tightly over them.
I let myself soak in the wholly delicious sight of a shirtless, sweaty Dan moving about the stage as naturally as if he were moving around our flat, somehow managing to avoid tripping on one of the many wires that snaked across the back of the stage. He knew how to manage the stage, weaving over the hardwood until he'd covered every inch of it and had flirted his way into the favours of just about every person in the front row.
The scream of Dan's guitar trailed off, quietening into ghostly plucking that crept through the air in stealthy harmonies and merged into a haunting piece that lulled the crowd into a surprising hush. Their eyes were fixed on Dan and his movements, greedily soaking in the sight of him stood at the front of the stage, a waif-like silhouette that had captured everyone's attention.
Understandable really. After all, I'd always found it difficult to take my eyes off Dan.
He was joined by Sam a moment later, and the two played it up to the crowd. From my position I could see Sam's eyes scanning the crowd for hot women and I snickered a little- at least some things hadn't changed at all in the past year, despite everything that had happened. Some people would have been worried about Sam's compulsive need to hop from girl to girl, but it seemed to work for him. He didn't seem to want to have it any other way, and if he was happy then that was all that mattered to us. As long as he wasn't leaving a trail of broken hearts behind him, then it was all right.
The crowd responded to the stage-play as they always did- with loud cheers that roared from every member of the audience and reverberated through us as we played, fuelling us as ever. Everyone was on top form, as we had come to expect with every show. I couldn't help but grin at the screams and cries that came from the crowd as I snaked my way towards the front of the stage, kneeling down to sing as I stared straight into the hazel eyes of an enraptured fan with hot pink streaks in his hair. It had been the streaks that caught my attention; I hadn't realised until I was kneeling right in front of him that he was of the male persuasion.
Not that it mattered. Not anymore, at least.
"Fuck! Bloody, fucking bastards!" Dan exclaimed, violently hurling the newspaper at the wall before he turned to look at me.
There were tears of frustration hovering in his eyes, just waiting to fall, and he literally quivered with anger. I could see his fists clenched tightly at his sides, his knuckles slowly turning white with the tight force of his grip. I'd never seen Dan that angry before and it scared me somewhat. There was something in his eyes, an almost frenzied fury, that I had never seen in him before and it seemed so out of character. After all, Dan was the calm one, the rational one. Dan was together and cool and I was the fuck-up who couldn't control my emotions. That was just how things were meant to be and how they always had been.
He swallowed audibly and his fingers trembled as he reached a hand out towards me. I moved, just in time to catch him as he fell into my arms, burying his face into my chest. He shook in my arms and I could feel the dampness of his tears seeping through my t-shirt, wetting my skin as I held him to me. His voice was tight when he spoke, not showing an ounce of despair but a reined anger and frustration at this unexpected turn of events.
"I hate it, Rafe. I fucking hate it," he said tensely, swallowing down a knot of tears in his throat before he slowly moved back to look up into my eyes, "Have we ruined it again?"
"Babe... I don't know. I don't know what's going to happen now. But it'll be okay, I know it will. We always make it through things, don't we?"
"If we've ruined the band for real this time, I don't think we could make it through it."
I frowned, holding him close to me again as I turned his words over in my mind.
"But I think we would, Dan. I really, really do."
He didn't answer; there was no need for him to do so. I didn't really know what he was thinking at that moment but it really didn't matter. There were things we were going to have conquer together, and it didn't look as though we were going to have a moment to gather our wits for it was then that the phone chose to ring.
I sighed wearily and reluctantly moved away from Dan, whose frown deepened as he slowly wandered over to where the newspaper lay on the floor of the living-room. I curled my fingers around the receiver and lifted the phone to my ear.
"Why the hell didn't either of you tell me what the fuck was happening!? Do you know what it's like to wake up in the morning and see pictures of you two with your tongues down each other's throat plastered across the newspaper and then have to listen to the label chew my ear off for an hour? Do you? They're pissed, and rightfully so. They've been at me for an hour about the fuck-up that you two have landed yourselves in!" Mike bellowed down the phone, anger evident in the growl of his raised voice.
"Oh, fuck off Mike! How do you think it is for us?" I snapped into the phone, unable to help feeling just a little bit smug upon hearing Mike's sharp intake of breath.
"Fine," he finally muttered after a momentary pause, "We'll get this sorted out."
I knew that Dan was watching me. He always watched me as I enticed the crowd, flirting and offering them mere tastes of what they could never have. How could they, after all, when I'd already given away everything I had to offer?
However, the kid seemed to enjoy the attention as he finally managed to wipe the look of adoration off his face and settled into letting the clearly lecherous thoughts that paraded through his mind glow through his eyes. Pushing a lock of hot pink away from his face, he grinned at me in a way that could only be described as coy. Playing it up a little, I winked before standing up straight and turning around to find myself face to face with fiery green eyes.
It wasn't jealousy that flashed in those eyes. It was want and the euphoria of being on-stage, a dangerous combination but one that I'd grown used to.
I gripped my mic and smirked at Dan as I sang, leaning against him and exposing my neck as my coal-black hair fell away from my face. I continued to sing as I heard the guttural noise of his guitar slicing through the heavy air. Much to my surprise, I felt the unmistakeable damp swipe of a tongue across my neck and I grinned, pushing back into Dan just a little more before moving away to saunter across to the opposite side of the stage. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Sam chuckling to himself and shaking his head slightly at mine and Dan's antics, but he continued to play giving the crowd the attention they demanded and had grown to expect from us.
It still took my breath away, looking out from the stage and seeing a veritable sea of people, pushing and shoving forward just to try and get that little bit closer to us. Us. Two gay boys in love, a heartbroken bi, a commitmentphobe, and a teddy bear in grizzlie's clothing. Just five musicians. It still made my head spin. I couldn't really remember the moment when I truly realised that we'd 'made it'. It dawned on me slowly, as I watched our shows sell out, watched the crowds double in size, watched the increasing paparazzi interest and the strange hype that seemed to appear about us. Sometimes it didn't feel as though anything had changed, not when we had Mike on our backs or when Matt bitched us out in practise. But then one day I'd wake up and find yet another photo of Dan and I in some tacky tabloid, our attempt at a quiet weekend alone broadcasted to the world and our lives splashed across pages of print to be greedily consumed until it became yesterday's news. And it was then that I'd realise that things had changed.
Perhaps relationships like ours weren't cut out for the heartless ravaging of the media. The words could be cruel and the photos could be intrusive; it was difficult when your life was snatched out of your hands to be made into public property. Especially when there was nothing you could do about it. There had been moments in the past year when I was sure that things would crumble, but somehow we'd managed to stay as strong as we could be in the situation we found ourselves in. You couldn't really look out and plan the future when the present was still a guessing game, but that didn't matter to us. After all, we had now to work on together.
Dan rolled away from me, a sleepy smile playing across his lips as he yawned and clumsily pushed his hair away from his sweaty forehead.
"Mmmm..." he purred, stretching his limbs in an almost feline manner before slowly opening one emerald eye to look at me, "Hello hot-stuff."
I laughed and reached out to pull him closer to me, dropping a kiss onto his cheek before sweeping more of his silky locks away from his face. I leaned forward to kiss him once more, this time searching for his lips and meeting them in a sensual, languid kiss. I loved the velvety scraping of his tongue against mine, his distinctive taste flooding my senses and the familiar feel of his pliant lips overwhelming me as I was lost to him in the few minutes that we stole for our moment.
Dan sighed as we pulled apart, settling his head onto my chest comfortably and closing his eyes. He smiled contentedly and placed a tiny kiss on my bare chest before snuggling closer to me and beginning to doze. I just watched him, letting my gaze run over the soft curve of his lashes against his skin, over his sharp cheekbones and his smooth jaw as my fingers idly stroked the soft skin of his side.
"I was thinking about something the other day," I murmured, not entirely sure if he was listening or not, "But I think I'm going to try to sell my flat. Or at least rent it out."
"No one's going to want to buy that dump, sweetheart..." Dan yawned, his eyes still closed, "And you've been living there for...well, forever."
"And you're here about ninety-eight percent of the time anyway. Probably since you still keep forgetting to pay your bills..."
"I know I'm never there, I just think that may be it's time that I move out properly."
"Hmmm. Okay, sweetheart. When do you want to bring the rest of your stuff over here?"
I paused, stopping the motions of my hand against his side. Dan's eyes flickered open, turning his head so that he could look at me, a small frown of concern creasing his brow.
"...What? Did I say something wrong?" he asked, shuffling into an upright position and regarding me somewhat nervously.
"No, no. You didn't say anything wrong, babe. It was just... I wasn't really thinking about moving in here."
The confused look on Dan's face only intensified and I sighed, leaning forward to place a reassuring kiss on his cheek befoer I continued.
"See, I was wondering if you wanted to get a place together?"
The expression of concern that Dan bore was instantly replaced by surprise as he squinted at me.
"...Get a place together?"
"Yeah... Well, that is, only if you want to."
"What if we break-up?"
"Then we'll sell it and get separate places of our own. People have done it before, Dan."
"Is it too soon?"
"Why does there need to be a timeline that we need to follow? I'm only asking because I feel that it's right."
Dan's expression softened, his lips curling into a smile once more as he nodded and moved closer to me, leaning into my side and murmuring quietly, "Yeah. It does..."
We drifted into silence for a few moments as Dan seemed to contemplate my proposition, and I just sat, fretful inside but keeping it hidden beneath a cool exterior until finally, Dan spoke again, voice soft as down.
"It is right...let's do it."
The show ended without all the unnecessary fireworks and bedazzle that perhaps too many bands think are needed to ensure a spectacular finish to a gig. We ended ours with nothing more than two encore songs and some good old-fashioned rock and roll. The crowd was undoubtedly ecstatic and still dying for more when we finally had to call it a night and traipsed off the stage, sweaty and exhausted but nonetheless buzzed and excited as ever. We knew we'd done well and we knew that we deserved whatever good things were to come our way in recent times.
With Dan leaning and breathing deeply against my neck, it didn't matter that I was sore or that my limbs felt like lead. Finally, things were back to going the way that they were supposed to. Success was finally within reach; it didn't matter that we'd had to climb through hell to get to it. After all, it seemed as though it was going to be worth it.
Mike cracked open a bottle of champagne in the manner that seemed to have become a tradition of sorts, and as with nights before, the alcohol began to flow generously. The party would be kept short this time however, as I knew that in a few hours Mike would be chasing us back to our homes to rest up in preparation for the flight we had ahead of us. Thankfully, it only took a few hours to get to London, where we'd only be spending enough time for us to kick off our first ever European leg of our tour. We couldn't expect the same response over there and we'd be back down to more familiar turf, with regards to the size of our venues, more intimate in size. I knew that on the flight over, I'd once again have to listen to Dan chirruping excitedly about how strange it would be to be playing Brixton Academy when he still remembered the first time he ever went to a gig there. I could just about imagine how exciting it must have been for him, to finally be able to show off his success and talent in the place he had once called his home and in front of the people he had once called friends. He deserved that opportunity, and I was honoured that I had been given the chance to share that moment with him.
We would be seeing Pete in London, or so Dan assured us. I was looking forward to seeing him again, and only hoped that his presence would perhaps be able to put a more permanent smile on our bassist's face. With Jake between partners once again, we all found ourselves worrying and were hopeful of even momentary respite for our friend. But we would just have to see what happened with time; after all, the future was too far away to be known.
I let Dan weave his fingers into mine as he reached up to murmur into my ear. I nodded my response and squeezed his hand, following him through the crowd and out towards the back door. We passed Mike as we made our subtle escape and Dan flashed him a grin, both of us having to double-take when our money-grabbing manager gave us an unusually amiable nod, with his new plaything in his grasp. We stepped out into the street, our fingers still entwined, and slowly ambled down the darkened street in search of a cab. I could have felt nervous, knowing the likelihood of there being some photographer hidden in the shadows, just waiting for the money-shot, but I didn't need to when Dan was this happy, this confident. I could feel strong when he did, with his hand in mine and his eyes sparkling the way that they were.
I would have given up my soul if I knew that it could be like this forever. At that moment in time, that tiny snapshot between what had been and what could be, everything was so good, and so what I needed. I knew that the more that I hoped for the good to stay, the chances were that it probably wouldn't. It was a thought that kept invading my mind, a thought that terrified me to the core, but still I couldn't help but want for the good to be neverending. I wanted it so badly. But of course, I knew that it probably wouldn't be. I wanted to be able to say that we'd stay together forever, that we wouldn't ever need anyone else but each other. But that would be a fairytale, and this was real life.
Anyway, it was always better living in our reality than hidden behind our mesh of lies.
AN2: …And it's finally over. It's pathetic, really, but I know I'm going to miss writing this so, so much. And the reviews- all the lovely reviews! This story has taken over my life for years now; it's going to be strange not having to sit down and churn out another chapter full of Dan, Rafe and all their silly angstiness.
You've all been absolutely brilliant, you really have. I'm surprised at the number of people who have actually stuck with this from the beginning; you're all stars. Getting a review alert for Love Bites always made my day. Special thank you's have to go out to Zephyr Tenshi (for always, always making me smile. Thanks Kitty!), America's Dream (for never holding back on doling out con crit), Skeptic-Critic (for being the biggest Jake-fan in the world), SarryMatts (for becoming a good friend and for her Dan; you two never cease to amuse me) and of course, the 'silent' but ever-there Winterbridge (for always being ready to listen to me gripe about my Love Bites woes and for being a better friend than I deserve).
I'm currently working on another rock fiction, which I do hope at least some of you read. It's going to be different from 'Love Bites', so I do hope that you enjoy it. I'll start posting it once I've written a few more chapters of it and am in uni, so come September keep your eyes peeled. Dirty rockers, sarcasm and smut to come! Lol. Anyway, because I feel like being a tease, here's a little taste of what is to come from my new story...
Two piercingly silver eyes that have girls melting into hormone-driven puddles on the floor stab straight into me mercilessly as my brain tries to think of something- anything- that might prevent him from disembowelling me with his bare hands- gorgeous as they are- right here, right now.
"What did you say?" Chase snarls, those rosebud lips curling almost wickedly as he spits out his words in a deliciously gravelly baritone that has me debating whether to fall to my knees and beg for mercy or just fall to my knees and- well…
May be it's better to leave that thought unfinished.
Right, on to my last review responses for this fic…so sad…
PoisonxHeart – Yes, it's all over now. About time really, don't you think? I didn't want to drag it on any longer than necessary (though I suppose one could say that with fifty-eight chapters, it has certainly dragged on!) And please don't die! Instead, you could read my other fics…or hang on and wait for when I get started on my next rock fiction. ;)
diebyownhands – LOL Well, Dan didn't kick Rafe's arse for it. After all, his lips were involved too! Thanks so much for sticking with this story; I hope you've enjoyed the ride!
America's Dream – Sirius Black? Hmm…well, in my mind Rafe has always looked rather like a twiggier Joe Perry, with perhaps a smaller nose. Lol. I really do hope that you, of all people, were satisfied with this ending…though I suppose I'll find that out. I'll admit to having faffed around with this last chapter a lot as ending stories has always been hell for me. And I really, really wanted this fic to at least have a semi-decent ending, but I'll let you, oh mistress of the brilliant ending, decide. Anyway, thank you SO much for reading this fic and for all of your reviews. You have no idea how much I've appreciated them.
Fim – Aww, don't be sad! It may be the last that you'll ever see of Dan and Rafe but erm, I'm still writing other stuff? Haha, yes, I know…watch as even now I pathetically try to pimp off my other fics.
Skeptic-Critic – I had another of those sorts of blocks with this chapter, I have to admit. Thus I'm rather worried about how it's turned out, but I really do hope that you don't think it's too awful. I've loved your reviews, so thank you for reading and reviewing! It always put a smile on my face, going through the reviews and knowing that yes, a certain someone will always mention Jake… LOL
bandgeek789 – Constantine? Haha, well that's a new one… Thank you so much for reviewing the last chapter; I hope that you enjoy this chapter too!
Teragan – I hope this chapter brightened up your day a little more, once again. Thanks so much for always reviewing!
uggabugga – Yes, the flash at the end was a camera. Errr, crazy? Well, I suppose that depends on how you view my silly decision to throw in a few flashbacks and whatnot into the mix. If it turned out badly, then I suppose all the hopping about would be crazy!
ZephyrTenshi - /huggles/ Kitten, thank you so much for all the lovely reviews you've left me with this story and all the others that you've read. I dare say you've become one of my most faithful readers and you have no idea how much I love you for it. 'Love Bites' has been quite a difficult story for me to let go of, since I'm really a sentimental git at heart. After all, it was through this story that I got to know you and now, thanks to it, I have a wonderful friend whom I trust and adore. I love you so much sweets; thank you for everything! /kisses/
deepcrimsonfeenix – LOL Errr, no…there isn't going to be a sequel… Sorry to disappoint, but I hope that you'll be able to understand. After all, I don't want to continue with these characters just for the sake of it. I'm pretty sure that if I attempted a sequel, it would end up being shitty and I'd rather die than give Dan and Rafe and all of you who have been reading this, something truly shitty.
Lithium Red – Wow, thank you so much for that last review. I've always loved your observations and once again, you got it all spot on. Especially about Jake as a character. I probably sound like a broken record by now, but Jake really did turn out as an entirely different character than the one I had him pegged to be. The stubborn bugger decided to break free and just run off on his own, rather than listen to the idea of the dull, secondary character I had for him. However, I'm glad things turned out that way and that he has his own fans. Lol
Kasee Lara – Wow, you really don't need to read it from start to end again! I know it'll take you waaaayyy too long, what with the way I've rambled so. And don't you worry; nothing could keep me from writing, so there's definitely more to come from me. Thanks!
KnightSakuya – I'm so glad that this story is still one that you enjoy. Thank you so much for always trying to review; you know I really do appreciate it.
MageDudette – Aww, thanks hon. I'm glad you've enjoyed this fic and thanks for all the reviews you've left me. I'll admit that I'm sad to let this go, but well, I suppose everything comes to an end eventually and you just have to keep moving on. In the meantime, there's still lots of my stuff that you can read, and hopefully some of my other characters will capture you as Dan and Rafe have.
SarryMatts - I'm so glad a review from you turned up for the last chapter eventually. I'm sorry that I haven't exactly given Jake the happy ending that so many of you had hoped he would get, but I suppose I'm a sucker for the bitter-sweet. Wow, you get kudos for re-reading the whole thing; even I haven't been bothered to do so! Lol. I hope the ending didn't disappoint, and I'm looking forward to working on So Called Love again, once things have settled down for us both. I know we're going to have fun. ;)