Chapter 1: a pill to make you numb
Robert was sick with loneliness and cocaine. He was supposed to be drugged up, high powered, euphoric, whatever, but he was really just aware of his system being pumped full of exogenous substance. He couldn't stop looking around the room, convinced he could see things in the corners. He wished he'd just stayed sober this night; he just had wanted to feel less alone, and getting high hadn't helped at all. All it had done was make Robert feel the absence of the man he was missing even more. He was alone now on this tour, stranded away from home, and now pulled away from the person he relied on most, especially on tour.
Simon was Robert's best friend. He hated to think little cliches like that, but Simon had been his best friend since he was a kid, and Robert had stupidly took it for granted that Simon always would be. Robert desperately wished his eyes would get heavy and that he would fall asleep, but instead he lay awake perpetually from the cocaine, staring at the ceiling, wishing he had the balls to cry.
He could shut his eyes, but he couldn't fall asleep. Robert was stuck reliving memories. He was stuck thinking of all the times he'd spent with Simon; from stupid bar trips, to rainy days inside, to days in the studio, to blow out fights that ended in a tight hug and a teary apology, to shy touching in the night that was never spoken of the next day, to smiling at eachother in the hallway.
Chapter 2: all you have got to do is call my name
It was the summer, and it was far too hot of a summer. Robert was flushed with that signature mixture of euphoria and tiredness after giving a particularly good performance to a particularly excited audience. He had just turned 19 a week ago, and had not yet established a perfect grip on his alcohol tolerance.
"Good fucking show!" Simon clapped Robert on the shoulder hard as Robert laid his guitar gently against the wall, then stood up, wiping a few strands of dark hair off his sweaty forehead.
"Thanks, Si, you too." Robert smiled tiredly at Simon, whose cheeks were as flushed and eyes were as tired as Robert suspected he himself looked.
"Your eyeliner's runnin'." Simon spoke shortly, leaning forward to wipe up Robert's sweaty cheek, his lip curling down, "Fuck, I've made it worse."
"We've got to find water proof makeup so I don't look like a depressed 12-year-old after every performance." Robert sighed.
"We kind of all look like depressed 12-year-olds right now." Lol pointed out, walking over to his two band mates.
"Yeesh, you're certainly right." Simon said, looking at the mess of eyeliner dripped down Lol's cheek in a sweat droplet.
"Hey, don't "yeesh" me, Si, you look just as worse-for-wear." Lol pointed out.
"Oh, stop it, you two sound 76, let's go get drinks."
That night, Lol met a girl within the first 15 minutes. He tended to get shellshocked with happiness when he met a girl, and he dissapeared. Robert couldn't remember whether he dissapeared to the dance floor and danced all night, or went home with the girl. Robert wasn't even sure he knew at the time, and things do blend together with time, girl after girl, and night after night. The standout thing on this night was about Simon, and this Robert would never forget.
Simon and Robert were doing tequila shots. Simon certainly had the higher tolerance, something he'd learn to tease Robert about almost constantly when they got a little bit older. It hadn't been enough time yet on this night for the copious amount of alcohol both boys had ingested to hit hard. Simon and Robert were laughing and joking when Robert felt what he would later grow to understand as the first wave of drunkenness flow in.
"Fuck." Robert whispered, the thrill of getting drunk, really drunk, still a newer pleasure to him.
"Drunk yet?" Simon giggled in response.
"Most definitely." Robert said, squinting to make out the bar properly in front of him.
"Me too," Simon said, "Though not as much as you, I think."
Robert must have looked ridiculous to Simon, his hands up on the bar, his eyes squinted with the utmost concentration to make out what precisely was going on. Then he stood, almost losing his balance, but catching himself in time.
"What are you doing?" Simon asked.
The music playing on the stereo was loud, Robert remembered distinctly that it was something played often in clubs at the time, but he didn't remember the song.
"Dance with me." Robert said softly.
"What?!" Simon responded loudly, unable to hear over the music.
"I said," Robert shouted, grabbing Simon roughly by the hands, pulling him out of his barstool and to his chest drunkenly, "Dance with me!"
"No-" Simon began petulantly, but Robert grabbed his hands tightly, pulling him in the direction of the dance floor, his large blue eyes staring into Simon's pleadingly, "Fine."
And so they danced. They looked quite the mess, but the room was dark and full of people pressed together; bodies smelling of sweat and perfume and alcohol. Nobody noticed Simon and Robert except for eachother, which was how they liked it. Robert's memories from this night were disjointed, but he remembered the clamor of bodies and the comforting warmth of Simon's hands.
Robert began to stumble, and he dimly realized he'd drunk far too much. He buried his nose in Simon's hair, which was warm and comforting just like Simon's hands, and whispered in his ear.
"Si, I drank too much." Robert said sheepishly, expecting Simon to react by teasing him about it.
"You gonna be sick?" Simon inquired.
"Probably." Robert buried his face in Simon's neck, hugging him close, too drunk to care that he was being pathetic.
"C'mon, we're going to go home." Simon murmured comfortingly, putting a hand on Robert's back gently.
"What? You don't want to stay out?" Robert asked shockedly into Simon's hair.
"Not if my best friend is about to throw up all over himself." Simon grunted, wrapping a strong arm around Robert's waist, "Let's go."
His best friend, Robert remembered thinking, I'm his best friend.
And so Simon hoisted Robert out through the dancing people, out the door, and over to the horrible old car that Simon's mum had given him when he'd turned old enough to drive.
"I'm going to need you to hold yourself up for one second, okay?" Simon grunted, out of breath, helping Robert stand against the car, "Is that okay? Are you balanced?"
"Yeah." Robert said muffledly.
Simon unlocked the passenger's seat and wrapped his arm back around Robert, helping him into the car. He shut the door after Robert and quickly walked to the other side of the car, opening the door and getting inside.
"I hope I'm not too drunk to drive." Simon said, revving up the ignition.
"Love you." Robert said, shyly.
"I love you too, you fucking twat." Simon's dark hair was saturated with moonlight and streetlights shining through it from behind him, and his dark eyes were surrounded by creases from the gentle smile he was giving Robert. The sight would be permanently emblazoned in Robert's mind.
Then, the moment was broken and Simon was driving up the street. Robert didn't remember the details of the drive all that well, except that he felt very, very ill the entire time and Simon crashed into a trashcan at one point. Both of them were entirely intoxicated and should not have been anywhere near a car in retrospect, but it was a bit late now.
Simon rounded the corner to his house, getting out of the car, coming around, and helping Robert out again. He threw one arm around Robert's waist, holding him tightly, their hips pressed together. The edge of Simon's boot would hit Robert's ankle when they stepped up the stairs of Simon's house. Cursing softly, Simon took his keys out with his left hand and fumbled to get the main key into the doorway. He nearly dropped it, but caught it by the ring on the tip of his middle finger. Finally, after what felt like years to nauseated Robert, Simon unlocked the door successfully. He helped Robert up over the raised platform at the bottom and slammed the door shut behind him.
"Thank god my parents are out." Simon murmured, causing Robert to laugh a little.
"I don't think I'm going to throw up, I think I'm going to pass out." Robert mumbled out.
"Okay, it's going to be okay." Simon said measuredly, as if he were trying to convinced himself, because Robert was supporting his own weight less and less and beginning to make it near impossible for Simon to pull him along.
Simon made a command decision to not pull Robert upstairs and risk getting the boy's sick on his own bed down the hall.
"C'mon, just down the hall." He grunted.
"Okay." Robert said softly.
Simon managed to get Robert through the door and drop him on the bed.
"Give me your jacket." Simon requested softly.
"I..." Robert began to attempt to unzip it, but was obviously going to go nowhere.
"Stop that." Simon kicked his own shoes off and sat on the bed next to Robert, gently grabbing the zipper and unzipping the jacket for him.
He reached an arm under Robert's torso and held him up in a sitting position to pull his jacket off, then throw it aside. Simon pulled the bed's pillow down under Robert's head. For once, he found himself relieved that he'd been too lazy to pull the sheets up over the bed properly in the morning. Simon got down lower, unlacing Robert's shoes and pulling them off, throwing them to the floor, then getting off the bed to pull the sheet up over him.
"Why d'ya bother?" Robert inquired.
Simon looked down at Robert, the light on the ceiling creating a similar effect when backlighting his hair as the moon did, though yellower in color. The same sweet smile was on Simon's face.
"Because I love you, idiot." Simon said, sitting down on the bed next to Robert, far too drunk and tired to turn off the overhead light.
"Love you too." Robert said softly, closing his eyes.
Simon looked at Robert's face, watching him descend into a state of tranquility. He seemed to be asleep, and it made Simon tired, too. He lay down next to Robert on the outside of the sheet and fell asleep just as quickly.
Chapter 3: shine for me
"I'm so proud of you!" Simon had cried out to Robert after their first performance on Top Of The Pops.
"Why me? You did it too?" Robert asked in response.
"I'm proud of me too, but it's ridiculous to spend so much time on oneself." Simon smirked, and then pulled Robert into a hug.
"Oh, Si." Robert sighed, hoping it wasn't too far to do while sober, then buried his nose in Simon's soft, dark hair, his lips
Simon showed no sign of desiring to pull away. Instead, he planted a gentle kiss on the top of Robert's head.
Later that same night, Robert and Simon found themselves walking home together, as they so often did.
"Why didn't you push me away?" Robert asked.
"When?" Simon furrowed his eyebrows.
"When you hugged me and I buried my face in your neck... your hair..." Robert trailed off.
"Take good things as they come." Simon turned away a little.
"Simon, why did you not push me away?" Robert asked again, harsher this time.
"For the reason I kissed your head." Simon responded measuredly.
"And what was that?" Robert inquired.
Simon looked Robert in the eye, biting his lip nervously, then slowly slid his fingers into Robert's, their hands linked together now. He rubbed his thumb in a slow, circular motion around the bony part of Robert's upper thumb where it sat.
"You're my best friend," Simon said slowly, looking at the sidewalk, "And I love you, and I've got no reason to be afraid of touching you."
"And that's okay." Robert interjected, "I mean, I'm okay with that, I love you too, I just wanted to know."
Simon squeezed Robert's hand tightly, lifting his glance up from the sidewalk. The street was deserted and the moon shone down, glowing magically like something Robert would try to describe in a lyric. Slowly, he pulled Simon closer by his hand, and put his arm up around the back of Simon's neck. Robert stood on his toes and pressed his lips firmly to Simon's, not in the fashion of a gentle, romantic kiss, but a kiss of assurance. Simon shut his eyes slowly, reaching foward and wrapping an arm around Robert's back in a way reminiscent of his caring that night now a few years ago when Robert was drunk out of his mind.
"What about Mary?" Simon asked softly after their lips separated.
"We're friends." Robert responded, and he genuinely meant it.
Love takes many forms.
Chapter 4: I can feel my soul on fire
Out of memory lane.
t had been months now, and Robert's loneliness had not lessened. He had not passed the point of intending to tell Simon something, then experiencing the sinking feeling of memory reminding him that Simon was not there. Memories were sweet and bitter for Robert; he could remember vividly how Simon's face and hair had shown in the light of every night, but he could also remember how royally they had fucked their friendship up. He wanted Simon back; he wanted to dream about him and know he could wake up to see him the next day and flash him a knowing smile.
Robert had been so quiet lately that Mary hadn't known what to say to him, so she'd done her best to make him feel better. They'd gone to movies together and she'd take his hand gently and squeeze it in the dark. Mary always knew when Robert was starting to feel lonely, and she was truly the kindest support, but the fact remained that in one night, over one stupid argument about paying for drinks, Robert had lost the most important friend of his entire life and half of the love he could feel was ripped from his heart. Each night, it took all Robert had to restrain tears. He didn't want to cry in front of Mary about it; he didn't want her to worry out of her mind about him.
Robert wrote lyrics, but they were all heartsick and sad. His heart screamed for Simon to come back, but he knew quietly wishing wouldn't get him anywhere. Robert also, unfortunately, was well aware of the fact that Simon was probably ridiculously angry at him and would not so easily accept a request to reinitiate their friendship.
When he lay awake at night, long after Mary had gone to sleep next to him, Robert wondered if Simon laid awake, pondering the past. He wondered if Simon remembered every detail of the looks he'd given to him. He wondered if Simon could remember the exact way the moon shone through Robert's hair; the exact way eyeliner used to drip down Robert's face when he sweat on stage. Robert was suffering away from Simon, and if he was to suffer this loneliness, he hoped Simon was too, so he could have him back.
One night, Robert would call Simon. One night, he would end this. One night, he would find out the answer to whether Simon was thinking about him in the same way. But for now, Robert had surrendered to pain he knew he couldn't out race nor fight away. He knew he should be feeling this pain; at least it showed how much he could love, and even if he could never have Simon back in his life, Robert was sure he would do it all again in a heartbeat.
Chapter 5: you don't have to knock on the door, kick it right down
sorry I wrote this whole thing in one sitting drop a kudo/comment below for DEPRESSING ANGST am I RIGHT BOYS
Simon's phone was ringing, and he was completely sure it was telemarketers. He was at the kitchen table, eating a lunch of dry cereal and a couple of slightly old strawberries.
The phone rang again, and Simon sighed, deciding that it was possible that it wasn't telemarketers. He walked over and picked the phone off the hook, expecting it to be somebody equally as uninteresting like his great aunt Maggie, asking him if he needed her to make him more jam, as if he didn't already have plenty.
"Hello?" Simon asked.
"Hi, Simon." Came an extremely familiar voice that shook Simon's heart in his ribcage.
"Robert?" Simon said loudly, hardly believing it.
"I've missed you so very much." Robert said softly, drawing tears immediately to Simon's eyes, "And I've been thinking-"
"Shut the fuck up with your thinking." Simon interjected, "I've missed you too."
"Oh god, why did we do this? This was so stupid." Robert sighed, the quality of his voice reminding Simon of quiet, midnight conversations where he and Robert sat on the bed together, moonlight coming through the blinds in streaks which reflected silver in Robert's blue eyes.
"It really was stupid." Simon agreed.
"Want to get dinner together?" Robert asked shyly.
"Absolutely fuck dinner." Simon responded.
"Are you home?" Robert asked tentatively.
"I'm coming over now." Robert said excitedly.
"Please do. We've got so much to catch up with." Simon responded, grinning into the receiver.
"One last thing, Si." Robert said, the softness in his voice returning.
"You're my best friend." Robert said firmly, "You always will be, and I love you."