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The One I'll Always Love

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Brian’s bag matched the ones he had under his eyes as he slung it over his shoulder. He’d figured staring blankly at his textbook for four hours was long enough and headed for the library exit. But before he left, he pinned his last flyer on the bulletin board. A yellow flyer that evoked such an indescribable feeling from deep within him, he was glad it was his last. Tim and Brian had been looking for a drummer for weeks now and things weren’t looking so good. Brian could hear his father’s voice in the back of his head, telling him what a waste of time this band stuff was, he was beginning to believe it. Giving the bright flyer one last look, he started his journey home. Not noticing the blond that had walked up to the board. 

With a heavy sigh, Brian opened his apartment door, dropping his keys on the table before making his way into the kitchen. Tim stood at the counter, pouring himself a shot. 

“Hey, May! You want one?” Tim asked enthusiastically, motioning the bottle towards him. 

“No thanks, Tim.” Brian made his way across the room and put the kettle on. 

“Does this mean you’re not going out with me tonight?” He said with a pout. “Freddie and I are going on the prowl.” Wiggling his eyebrows, he threw back his shot. 

“No, I think I’m just going to stay in for the night. I’ve got a test coming up that I need to study for.” Shrugging his shoulders, Tim put the bottle away. 

“Alright. Suit yourself, May. Just don’t study too hard, do something fun for once.” Hitting his arm, Tim gave Brian a suggestive wink before grabbing his coat and heading out for the night. 

Brian made himself some tea and headed for his room. Putting on his favorite record, he laid down on his bed, staring at the ceiling. He could feel himself sinking again. Into the nothingness. Taking a sip of his tea, he hoped to overpower the sour taste in his mouth to no avail. He hated his lows, they always sucked the life out of everything around him and he didn’t know how to stop himself from drowning. He’d gotten pretty good at holding his breath and riding out the storms, but with every battle, he grew weaker. 

That’s actually why he started writing, it was one of the only things saving him from losing himself. Sure, the galaxy was his first love, but music soothed his soul like nothing he’s ever known, writing music was just…euphoric. When it worked out. As of lately though, everything was falling apart. If they didn’t find a drummer soon, Brian didn’t know what he was going to do. 

Laying there didn’t help. But that was another effect of the nothingness. Every time he tried to do something, to be productive, it just felt wrong. Everything felt off and he didn’t know how to fix it. So he’d end up wasting his time, looking off into the distance. Which only made things worse. He didn’t know how many hours he’d waisted, doing nothing. Maybe he should have just gone out with Tim. Maybe getting shit faced would help him forget it all. 

Suddenly the phone began to ring. At first, Brian thought he was hearing things. It was past eleven, anyone who was anyone was out getting hammered, who in the world would be calling? Then it rang again and Brian shot out of bed, moving faster than he had in weeks, a sudden jolt of hope ran through him.

“Hello?!” He answered, slightly out of breath. 

“Um, hi. Is this, um…Brian or Tim?” The voice on the other end of the phone asked. 

“Oh, yeah! Sorry, this is Brian speaking.” 

“Ok, good.” The voice laughed. “I thought I dialed the wrong number for a second. Um, I’m Roger. I’m calling about the flyer you put up, looking for a drummer. I’ve called to let you know I’m the guy you’re looking for.” Brian could practically hear the cocky grin on the other boys face.

“Is that so? You sound very confident that you can deliver.” Brian replied, not fighting the grin that was forming on his own face. 

“You bet your ass I can deliver. Just give me a place and time and I’ll prove it.” Rolling his eyes, Brian told Roger when and where to meet. 

“Alright, Roger. See you then.”

~~~

As he made his way to the rented out music room, Brian’s grip on his guitar case tightened. To say he was nervous was an understatement. He was trying everything not to get too hopeful, but he really needed this to work out. Stepping into the room, he saw someone crouched in front of the drum set. Their dirty blond hair covered their face and for a second, Brian thought it was a woman. That is, ‘till they turned their big blue eyes towards him. Brian’s heart skipped a beat.

“Hey, you must be Brian.” The blond smiled up at him, shaking the older boys hand before returning his focus to the drums. “I’m Roger.” Choosing to ignore the sudden pounding in his chest, Brian cleared his throat. 

“What are you doing?” The older boy asked, setting down his case to pull out his guitar. 

“I’m tuning the drums, what does it look like I’m doing?” 

“You…you’re supposed to tune them?” Brian asked, his eyes blinking rapidly. Standing up straight, Roger gave him a perplexed look.

“Yeah…of course you are. They’re like any other instrument.” 

“I didn’t know.” The older boy shook his head, shrugging his shoulders. “Everyone I’ve ever played with just started…well, they just started going at it. They never tuned them.”

“And that’s why I’m better than everyone you’ve ever played with. Hell, I’m probably the best you’ll ever have.” Roger gave him a cheeky grin, taking his seat. “But enough talking, are you ready?” His big blue eyes looked at Brian expectantly. A look he’ll later come to know well, as they glanced back at each other before beginning each set. But those blue eyes, no matter the years, will always make Brian’s heart flip like they did the first time they ever looked at him like that. 

“Ready.”  

Chapter Text

Roger was right, something Brian would never admit out-loud, he was definitely the best drummer they’d ever get. It became clear to Brian when they started playing together, the sound they made was unlike anything he’d ever been a part of, but the sudden spark of joy was blown out the minute Roger left. Brian was suddenly overcome with a feeling, something he’d later come to know as the feeling of missing the blond. 

Tim agreed, Roger was what they were looking for and within a few days, they booked their first gig as a band. An official band. Brian couldn’t be more relieved, it felt like he could finally breathe, but he couldn’t tell if it was the fact that the band was finally formed, or if it was just Roger. He didn’t want to think about it, he had enough to think about as it was, a blond-haired boy wouldn’t help things. 

Or maybe he would? No, he couldn’t think about it. Brian couldn’t think about the way the blond’s brows furrowed as he concentrated on hitting all the right notes. He couldn’t think about the way Roger’s hands looked as they gripped his drum sticks, or the way Roger would smile at him, or the way he laughed. No, he couldn’t think about it, and he most definitely wasn’t thinking about it right now. Nope. Fuck, he’d known Roger for three weeks and his stupid emotions were already messing it all up. 

“Brian! Earth to Brian!” Tim called out, snapping the tall boy from his thoughts and into the present. “I was asking if you wanted to come with.” He motioned to Freddie standing by the door, who must have arrived while Brian was busy not thinking about Roger. The tall boy raked his fingers through his hair, shifting his position on the couch, a long forgotten textbook resting upside-down on his lap. 

“Uh, no. Sorry, Tim. I just don’t feel up for it and I’ve got studying to do.” Brian replied, causing Tim to roll his eyes as he slipped on his coat. 

“Where is it you go off to, hmm?” Freddie asked Brian, a curious glint in his eyes. Brian furrowed his brows.

“Um, nowhere.” He shrugged, hoping his answer was enough. 

“Darling, every time I see you it’s like you're galaxies away.” The older boy hummed. “Just make sure you don’t get lost while you’re off exploring.” Freddie smiled knowingly, confusing Brian further. 

“Alright, we’re off.” Tim sighed, opening the door. 

“Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do!” Freddie added before the two of them slipped into the night, leaving Brian alone with his thoughts again. 

~

Splashing some cold water on his face, Brian hoped it would help pull him from his thoughts. It didn’t work. He really didn’t understand what was happening, he’d never had this kind of problem before. Brian had never been stuck on someone like this, especially not a boy. But he couldn’t stop thinking about the blond. Any time his mind drifted, it would wander back to the younger boy, like a dumb fucking moth to a flame. He knew these thoughts would only lead to bad things, but he just couldn’t help it. It almost seemed worse than the nothingness. Ok, maybe it wasn’t, but Brian definitely didn’t appreciate it. 

He’d been trying to keep his feelings under control, but the more he got to know Roger, the more he liked him. Not only was he easy on the eyes and good with his hands, but he was also incredibly smart. So Brian would disappear after rehearsals and gigs, claiming he needed to study. But truthfully he just needed to put some distance between him and Roger. Not only was his presence intoxicating, but seeing the blond flirt was like torture.   

Just as he settled back down on the couch, there was a knock at the door. Rolling his eyes, Brian stood to open it, figuring Tim had left his keys. But instead, he found Roger on the other side, almost as if his persistent thoughts had somehow conjured the boy. For fuck sake, could he catch a break? 

“Oh, Roger. Hi. Tim’s not in right now.” 

“I know, I came to see you.” The blond replied, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world, brushing past the taller boy and into the apartment. 

“Well, I’ve got a lot of studying to do-” 

“Oh, come off it, May.” Roger interrupted him, turning around to face Brian. “That’s what you’re always saying. I’m sorry to break this to you, but if you don’t know the material by now, you’re screwed. So you might as well just hang out with me.” Brian’s mouth opened to reply, but he didn’t know what to say. “Or is studying really more fun than I am?” The older boy couldn’t help but laugh at the thought. 

“No! Goodness, no!” Brian replied, plopping down on the couch. “I suppose you’re right.” Again. 

“Damn right, I’m right.” Roger smiled at him. “So come on, we’ve got hell to raise!” The blond exclaimed, picking up a glass that was sitting on the table, taking a drink. “What the fuck, this is water!” 

“Yeah, that was my water.” 

“Why the hell are you drinking water?!” 

“What, you thought it was just a glass of vodka?! Why would I be sitting here, alone, drinking a glass of vodka?” 

“I don’t know! It’s less sad than you sitting here drinking water.” Roger waved his hands. “You know what? It doesn’t matter, come on, we’re heading out.” The blond moved back towards the door. 

“Oh, are we?” Brian laughed, but got up anyway, grabbing his coat and keys. “Where exactly are we going?”

“The destination isn’t important, May. It’s the journey that holds the true experience of joy.” 

~

As they walked down the cobbled road, the night sky covered them like a blanket of stars and Brian kicked himself for getting so easily coerced into Roger’s schemes. Knowing the boy only a short amount of time was enough to find he was usually up to no good and tonight was no exception. There was a sort of glimmer in his eyes caused Brian to feel both anxious and intrigued. But the silence was becoming too much and he was dying to know what this was all about. “Roger, what are you dragging me into?” The taller boy asked, looking down at the blond.

“What makes you think I’m dragging you into anything? Can’t we just go for a nice stroll? Is that too much for me to ask?” Roger wore an overdramatic, insulted look upon his face, fooling no one.

“Rog, seriously.” Brian stopped walking. “I’m not taking another step until you tell me what this is about.” The blond sighed. 

“Fine.” Roger threw up his hands. “Heather paid me to break into Roy’s apartment and I need you to be my look-out.” Brian started blinking rapidly.

“Who the hell are Heather and Roy?” 

“Does that really matter?” 

“Well, why are you breaking in?” 

“Because Roy took some scandalous pictures of Heather without her permission. So I’m going to break in, take the pictures back and steal some shit while I’m at it. Then I’m going to swing by Heather’s to return her pictures and collect the cash. You in?” The blond looked up at Brian, biting his lip in anticipation. 

“Yeah.” The taller boy finally said, surprising Roger.

“Yeah?”

“Yeah! Fuck this guy, let’s go.” Brian began walking down the cobbled road again.

“Actually, it’s this way.” 

“Right.”

~

After Brian helped boost Roger in through the window, the blond didn’t take long to find what he was in search of. In fact, he found more than he bargained for. 

“Hey, hold this for a minute.” Roger whispered at Brian, handing him a bag before pulling out his pocketknife. The older boy opened his mouth to ask what Roger was about to do but didn’t have to. Quickly, the blond punctured all four tires on the car parked in front of the house, running back to Brian with a childish grin on his face.

“Come on, let’s get the fuck out of here before-”

“Oi! What the fuck did you just do to my car!” A man, Brian guessed was Roy, yelled at them. 

“Shit!” Roger grabbed the older boy’s arm, forcing him to start moving. The two boys began running down the dimly lit street, Brian’s heart was pounding out of his chest as his long legs carried him. He didn’t know how far they had gotten when Roger pulled them into a small alleyway, placing his hand over Brian’s mouth. A second later, two men ran past, and Roger dropped his hand.

“Fuck,” Brian’s head fell back against the wall as he tried to catch his breath.

“Yeah,” The blond laughed, leaning against the wall beside Brian. The taller boy couldn’t help but laughed with him, giving Roger back the bag.

“What all did you take?” 

“Just a few things, nothing crazy. Oh, I saw he had that Beatles record you’ve been wanting, so I nicked it for you.” Roger said, pulling it out and handing it to Brian. The older boy’s cheeks instantly reddened. “And look at this,” The blond pulled out a black box, shaking it with a disgusted look on his face. “The wanker not only has pictures of Heather, but a fuck ton of other people.” Brian shook his head, equally repulsed. 

“Is that why you slashed his tires?” 

“Yeah, and I also cut the strings on his guitar.” Roger smiled as he started walking down the street again. “Come on, May. Her place isn’t far from here.”

~

“What are you going to do with the other photos?” Brian asked as the two of them made their way back to his apartment.

“Burn them.” The younger boy replied, taking out a cigarette and lighting it. “Want one?” He motioned his pack to Brian. 

“No, thanks.” Roger shrugged, taking a drag before pulling out the cash Heather had given him a moment ago. “Here’s your half.” The younger boy spoke between puffs, his cigarette bouncing between his lips. 

“Keep it,” Brian waved him off. “You did all the work.”

“Fine.” Looking slightly surprised, the blond shoved the money back into his pocket. “Suit yourself, mate.” Roger shook his head as they approached Brian’s front door, standing in silence for a moment. “Thanks for coming along with me, May.” 

“Thanks for forcing me to come along, Taylor.” The older boy replied while unlocking his door, not noticing the small smile growing on Roger’s face. 

“And don’t study so much, you’ll go blind if you keep that up.” Roger quipped, causing Brian to laugh. 

“I don’t think that’s what makes you go blind.” 

“I’m just warning you.” Holding his hands up in defense, Roger started walking home. “Goodnight, Bri.” 

“Goodnight, Rog.” Brian shook his head before slipping inside his apartment, leaning against the door for a moment. As he looked down at the record in his hands, he knew he was screwed. 

Chapter Text

Brian looked down at his bottle as Tim slammed the door, too shocked to move. The anger inside him stifled by a familiar sorrow. Smile had only been a band for a little over a year when Tim decided they weren’t going anywhere, calling an impromptu band meeting. Apparently, he’d found a new group, a better group; they wanted him to join and he said yes. To say Brian and Roger didn’t take it well would be an understatement, as soon as he said it, there was yelling and a few choice words, but nothing was going to change Tim’s mind. They knew that their attempts were futile. Their band was falling apart and so was Brian. 

Taking a seat the moment Tim left, Brian could feel that familiar spiral of despair creeping up on him. As his breathing became labored, he could feel his chest tighten. 

“How could he do this? Without even saying a word to us, without consulting us?!” Roger was rambling as he paced the room, every step fueled by anger. “I mean,” The blond began to laugh as he walked into the kitchen, coming back with two glasses and a bottle of whiskey. “Who does he think he is? Mr. Hot Shit?!” Roger went to hand Brian his glass when he finally realized how quiet the older boy was. “Hey,” Placing a hand on Brian’s shoulder, he shook him gently, confused when his friend didn’t respond. “Bri?” 

The blond's voice was muffled by the ringing in Brian’s ears, with every shaky breath, the older boy felt like he was falling deeper into himself. He wanted nothing more than to soothe the concerned look on his friends face, to laugh it off and tell Roger everything was fine. That everything would be fine. But all Brian could do was focus on his breathing, while trying to convince himself that the pain in his chest wasn’t deaths cold hands gripping his heart. 

Placing his drink back on the table, Roger knelt down in front of the older boy. Brian’s breathing was shallow and his eyes were glazed over. “Shit, are you having a panic attack?” Roger asked, getting a slight nod from the older boy. “Ok, um, my sister used to get these a lot. Uh, here, can you move to the floor for me?” Roger asked, taking hold of Brian’s clammy hands and gently tugging the lanky boy to the floor. “There you go, now take a nice deep breath for me, ok? Five seconds in,” Roger took in a breath, counting for the older boy. “And five seconds out.” His hand gently rubbed Brian’s back. “Feel how hard the floor is, how grounded you are,” Roger spoke softly, taking one of Brian’s hands and placing his palm against the cool floor. “You’re ok. You are in your apartment, you’re ok. This will pass, I promise.” The blond tried to reassure Brian, who was counting still, in and out. “I’m here, I won’t let anything bad happen to you. Ok? I’m not leaving you.” 

Brian didn’t know when the tears started rolling down his face, but suddenly he was silently sobbing. His cheeks were flushed with embarrassment as his hand shot up to wipe away his shame. “I’m sorry.” Brian managed to choke out. 

“Sorry for what, mate? It happens to the best of us. It’s ok, you’re ok.” Roger gave him a small smile, handing the older boy the drink he had poured for him. “Are you good?” 

“Yeah, I think so.” Brian sighed, taking the drink and throwing it back. 

“I get it, Tim leaving like that was a real dick move.” Grabbing his own drink, Roger sat on the floor next to the older boy, leaning against the couch. 

“It’s not just Tim,” Brian mumbled as he poured more liquor into his glass. “I’ve been trying to make music, to have a band and make it, for so long now. This was my last hope, my last chance to prove-” The older boy stopped, looking down at his drink. “You know what, it doesn’t even matter anymore. I’m just sorry I dragged you into this mess. Into my mess.” 

“Drag me into this? You didn’t drag me into anything, if I didn’t want to be here right now I wouldn’t be.” Roger stated, taking a drink of his own. “And I don’t know what you’re going on about. Sure, it sucks that Tim just ditched us like that, but I’ll be damned if this is over. As long as there’s you and me, we’ll always have a band. Don’t you forget that, May.” The blond groaned as he stood. “Don’t get me wrong, Tim was great, but we are fucking brilliant when we play together. All we need is some vocals and a bassist. How hard can that be to find?” 

Standing up, Brian was beginning to feel a bit better. Maybe Roger had a point, maybe they could really pull through. “We are great together.” The older boy agreed, raking his free hand through his hair as he looked around the room. “Come on, I don’t want to be here anymore.” 

~~~

“Freddie? Really?” Roger asked, giving Brian a puzzled look. The two of them sat at the back of the pub, tucked away in a booth as they talked about what they would do next. That’s when Brian noticed the live band they had playing that night. More specifically, he noticed Freddie. 

The older boy had been hounding them for months now about joining their band. Why he wanted to join Smile was always a mystery to Brian, especially since Freddie had a band of his own. But now that they found themselves without a singer, Freddie looked tempting. Besides, the guy could really sing. 

“Look, I’m just saying we should give him a chance. I think he’d be a good fit for us.” Brian shrugged, taking a sip of his beer. “I thought you’d like the idea. You and Freddie get along so well, you’re always hanging out with him.” He hoped Roger didn’t pick up on the slight twinge of jealousy in his voice. 

“I know, it’s just,” Roger sighed, looking down at his drink. “If it doesn’t work out, I don’t want to ruin our…work partnership we have going.” He turned his gaze to the stage, scratching the back of his neck. 

“Ok, but think of how great we could be if it does work out.”

“Do you know how dramatic Freddie can be?” Roger laughed, shifting his eyes back to Brian. 

“Do you know how dramatic we can be?” 

“You’ve got a point.” Brian couldn’t help but return the smile the blond was giving him. Too busy staring at each other, they hadn’t noticed the music had stopped. 

“I hope I’m not interrupting something.” Both their heads turned to see Freddie, sliding in next to Brian. “You both look like you’ve had a rough night.” Roger hummed as he took a swig of his drink. 

“Indeed we have.” Brian sighed. “You wouldn’t happen to be looking for a new band to sing for, would you?” Freddie’s eyes widened. 

“What about Tim?” The older boy asked.

“He’s found someone else,” Roger replied. “So we’ve suddenly got an opening.” 

“You up for it, Fred?” A smile broke across Freddie’s face. 

“Yes, on one condition.”

“What?” The two boys asked in unison. 

“We change the name of our band.” 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Brian didn’t know there were so many aspiring bassists in England, but he was pretty sure they had gone through them all by now, yet still no bassist. It had been two months since Tim was out and Freddie was in, a wild two months. Between moving into a flat with Roger, learning how to work together and trying to find a bassist that fit their flow, Brian was exhausted. 

“Rise and shine!” Brian was awoken by a loud bang on his door and an even louder voice. “Come on, May! Let’s seize the day!” Roger obnoxiously called out, causing Brian to groan. 

Even though it was one of his rare days off, he wasn’t allowed to sleep in. No, cause that would have been too good, wouldn’t it have? Instead, everyone had to get up to go to one more audition. Truthfully, it felt like their last hope. 

Some young college kid called in the other night and Saturday morning, at 6 am, was the only time he was available. Kid’s not even in the band and he’s already calling the shots. 

After taking a shower and putting on some clean clothes, Brian stumbled into the kitchen, all without barely opening his eyes. Pouring himself some tea, he slumped down at the table. 

“You ok, mate?” Roger asked around a mouth full of toast. “You look a bit haggard.” Brian tried his best to shake off the haze, but it was no use. Besides, he was never good at hiding things from the younger boy. Well, most things. 

The truth was, a week after Tom ditched them, Brian started to fall into another black hole of nothingness. He assumed living with Roger would cause him to be flustered all the time, but after forcing his feelings down for so long, he began to use the nothingness as a crutch. A wall to hide behind instead of facing something he felt he’d never fully comprehend, or ever want to understand. 

The problem with using the nothingness, to mask his feelings for Roger, is that he didn’t know when to stop. Hiding all his feelings from the world, shoving them in a jar and locking them away, deep down inside him. To be taken to the grave, which didn’t feel too far away if he was being honest. But lately, Brian was never honest. 

“I’m doing alright.” He smiled at Roger, doing his best to impersonate himself. Knowing the blond knew better, but wouldn’t press him. “So, what’s this kids name again?” 

“John, John Deacon,” Roger replied, eyeing the older boy as he gulped down his drink. “We’re supposed to be at the auditorium in fifteen minutes.” 

“Shit, seriously!?” Brian almost spit his drink out, checking his watch. “The place is a 20-minute walk at best. We need to go.” The taller boy began to panic as he stood up. 

“You forget, May.” Roger laughed, holding up the keys to his new van. “We live glamorously now.”

“I’m just saying,” Brian huffed, messing around with his amp. “If the kid has the nerve to ask us to come in so early, he should at least show up on time. Is that too much to ask?”

“Give him a break,” Freddie sighed, tired of hearing Brian complaining. “Maybe something happened.” Just as the older boy finished speaking, the doors opened abruptly. A lanky boy with long brown hair stubbled into the room, his face was red as he tried to even out his walking but ended up tripping over his own amp. “I like this one,” Freddie whispered, causing Roger to nod, a wide smile growing on his face.

“You must be John,” Roger said, offering him a hand.

“Y-yeah, sorry I’m late.”

“Oh, it’s fine, darling.” Freddie gave him a wink.

To say Brian didn’t like this kid would be an understatement. The guy had only been in the room all of ten seconds and he already had Freddie and Roger fawning over him. Maybe Brian was being petty and jealous, and maybe he knew better than to get in a bad mood over nothing. Just maybe, he knew the only reason he was getting so upset was because he felt threatened by John for reasons unknown to him, but did that mean he was going to be the bigger man about this? No, absolutely not.

~

It didn’t take them long to realize John had talent. After a few gigs, it was clear that the boy was their missing link. He was damn good at what he did, chill enough to handle their drama and quick enough to stand up for himself. Deacon was a sassy motherfucker, you wouldn’t think that at first glance, but it didn’t take long for the other boys to find out. They loved him. Well, Roger and Freddie did, Brian was going to need some more time.

“Look,” The blond slurred, resting his elbow on the counter to hold his head up. “I don’t know what stick is up your ass, but you need to take it the fuck out. John’s a good kid.”

“Kid? You’re only two years older than him, Roger.” Brian rolled his eyes, he’d been dragged by the boys to another house party, it was the third time that week. He always wondered who’s houses they were.

“Whatever, May.” Roger waved him off, tired of talking to a wall, he turned back to the crowd in search of better conversation. That was another thing to add on the list, ever since Deacon joined the band, Roger had been giving Brian the cold shoulder.

Raking his hand through his hair, the older boy aimlessly wandered around the party. He was so bone tired, Brian felt like he could sleep for years. But he knew that was just the nothingness trying to pull him in, with the promise of sweet sleep, only to be greeted with his own privet screening of his worst moments the minute his head hit the pillow. 

Giving up on the party, Brian decided to take a step outside for some fresh air. Instead, he was greeted with a fresh cloud of smoke. John sat on the stoop of the house, writing in a worn out journal, which he quickly hid the moment he found he wasn’t alone. Letting out a sigh, Brian sat down next to him. Every ounce of him was exhausted, leaving no room for jealousy.  

“You look done in,” John said softly, taking another drag of his cigarette before pulling out his pack and offering one to Brian. 

“No, thanks.” The older boy gave him a soft smile, turning his gaze up to the night sky. Something that usually brought a sense of calm upon him. Yet, tonight was different. Tonight he knew he couldn’t shake it, couldn’t get past the darkness creeping up on him. No matter how hard he tried to distract himself. “Actually, on second thought,” Was all Brian had to say before John pulled his pack back out, leaning over to light the older boy’s cigarette. Brian watched the ambers flicker as he breathed in. The smoke filling his lungs, causing him to start coughing. 

“Have you ever smoked?” The younger boy asked, an amused tone in his voice. 

“No,” Brian managed to say between breaths. “I thought I’d start.” He stated, trying again, finding it a little easier. That is ‘till John pulled it out of his mouth. “Hey!”

“In that case,” Standing up, John tossed his old bud to the ground, stomping it out and placing Brian’s between his lips. “I’ll stop you before you get addicted, it’s an expensive habit.” He turned and began walking down the street. Brian didn’t waste time following him. 

“What were you writing in that book, before I walked out?” The taller boy asked after a moment of silence. Not paying attention to where they were headed.

“Nothing.” John shrugged, trying to keep an even tone.

“Songs?” 

“No.” The younger boy said all too fast, causing Brian to grin.

“Oh, Deaky, I didn’t know you wrote! You should play one for us at practice.” Brian said enthusiastically. Despite his bitter exterior towards the boy, Brian had to admit he was a little relieved to have another person to creatively bounce off of. But all he got in exchange for his enthusiasm was an annoyed side glance.

“I’ll share my songs when you start sharing your feelings,” John said sharply, causing Brian to stop his pace altogether.

“What?” The younger boy halted as soon as he realized what he’d said, his shoulders stiffening for a moment. Turning back to Brian, he opened his mouth to backtrack, but a flash of something ran across his face. 

“Come on, May. You heard what I said. I’ll admit, it’s not my place,” John said, throwing his hands up. “But I can’t stand to watch it any longer. Not without saying anything, that is.” 

“What are you on about?” Brian asked, confusion written all over his face, his heart began to hammer in his chest. 

“Don’t play dumb with me, Brian.” John rolled his eyes. “You may be arrogant, but you’re not stupid. It didn’t take me long to figure out you’ve got it bad for a particular blond drummer.” The moment those words left John’s lips, the color drained from Brian’s face. A plethora of emotions ran through the older boy before he could find his words.

“Fuck,” Brian whispered, his voice gradually rising along with his panic. “Fuck, I don’t- I can’t- Fuck!” Pacing for a moment, Brian decided to sit on the curb, shoving his face in his hands. “Is it that obvious?!” Sighing, John took a seat next to Brian. 

“It is to me, but I don’t think anyone else has noticed.” 

“How can you be so sure.” 

“Well, you see, Freddie notices everything and he would have asked me about it, but he hasn’t said a thing.” John nudged Brian’s shoulder. “So I figure you’ve got nothing to worry about. Your secrets safe with me.” 

“You’re not disgusted?” The older boy asked in disbelief. 

“Disgusted? No. Annoyed? Yes.” John began to laugh. “Do you know how many times I’ve caught you looking at him with stars in your eyes, making you mess up, causing us to fight? The answer is too many times.” As he stood, the younger boy held out his hand to hoist Brian to his feet. “Look, mate. I don’t care who you fancy, as long as it doesn’t interfere with my life, it’s none of my business. However, it is interfering. It took me a while to realize what had you so upset, but now I think I get it and I’d just like to say, I’m not into Roger like that. Nor do I think I’m the one he’s interested in.” Deacon stated as they began walking again, an air of silence fell upon them for a moment. 

“I’m sorry I’ve been such a dick lately,” Brian said earnestly. “Truthfully, you’re a great musician and I couldn’t ask for a better bandmate. Queen is really lucky to have you.”

“Thanks, Brian.” John smiled up at him before stopping. “This is you.” Looking at the apartments only then did Brian realize John had walked him home. “You looked like you were about ready to drop dead, so I figured I’d take you home.” The younger boy explained after noticing the confused look on Brian’s face. 

“Do you want to come up for a drink?”

“I’d like that.”

Chapter Text

In a perfect world, having a great band and living with his three best friends would have made Brian happy. In a perfect world, having their first album published would have made Brian feel like they’d made it. But in a perfect world, Brian wouldn’t be depressed, in a perfect world he could shake off his worries, his anxiety, his fear of failure and loneliness. 

This wasn’t a perfect world, he’d realized that from a young age. But what took him a long time to finally understand, was that Brian didn’t want a perfect world. If it weren’t for his shortcomings, for any of their shortcomings, the band would have never met, and Brian would never have known what an absolute twat Freddie could be. 

“What do you mean I can’t go?” Brian asked, following the older boy through the apartment. Freddie had gotten the boys into an exclusive New Year’s Eve party, but of course, there was a catch, every guy had to bring a date. 

“Look, I don’t know how else to tell you, darling. Mary just called saying Jane is sick, which means you don’t have a date, which means you can’t go to the party.” Freddie had promised Brian that Mary had a girlfriend he could take, but now here he was, New Year’s Eve, an hour till the party and all alone. Stopping to look at the tall boy, Freddie sighed, placing his hands on Brian’s shoulders. “The rules clearly state you have to bring a bird to get in. I’m sorry, I don’t know what else to tell you, dear.” And with that Freddie went to go get dressed. 

Brian couldn’t really be mad at the older boy, it wasn’t his fault, but he couldn’t help but feel dejected. He’d really been looking forward to free booze and a girl to take his mind off his true feelings. 

“Hey,” John appeared, nudging Brian. “You could always dress Roger up as a chick and see if they’ll let you in.” 

“That’s not funny, John.” Brian groaned as he made his way into his bedroom, dramatically collapsing on his bed. “Ignoring how stupid that idea is, I’m sure Roger already has a hot date or two lined up for tonight.” 

“I’m not so sure about that,” Deaky said knowingly as he began to leave Brian’s room. “Happy New Year, Bri.” 

Not noticing the smug look on the younger boy’s face, Brian sighed. “Happy New Year, Deaky.”

~

Freddie and John left not long after, having to go pick up their dates, and Brian was too depressed to think about where Roger probably was. Deciding there was no point in being uncomfortable, Brian changed into his Christmas pajamas, turning the TV on just in time to catch the beginning of ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’. He was so engrossed in the silly story he almost didn’t notice the front door open. 

“Oh fuck!” Roger yelped, almost dropping the bag in his hands. “Christ, May. I didn’t know anyone would be home.” 

“Oh...do you have a girl, I can leave-” Brian said hurriedly, getting up from the sofa, but was quickly cut off by Roger.

“No, no.” He laughed, shutting the door behind him. “You just scared the shit out of me. I thought you were going to the party?” 

“I thought the same of you.” The tall boy said, sitting back down. “My date got sick and canceled.” 

“Harsh, mate,” Roger yelled from the kitchen. “You want a drink?” 

“Might as well,” Brian replied, getting back up and heading into the kitchen. “So why are you here?” 

“Oh, um…” The younger boy began to make their drinks, pretending to be thinking. “Just didn’t feel like going out this year. Something just didn’t seem right.” Roger shrugged, handing Brian his drink as he made his way to the sofa, bottle of liquor in hand. “Why are you watching a kids movie.” He asked, changing the subject.

“I don’t know, it’s just what was on.” Brian sat down next to him, letting the old topic go. “I kind of like it.” With that they fell into a comfortable silence, not bothering to change the channel ‘till the movie was over. 

“I’m just saying,” Roger slurred, pointing at the TV. “Charlie is stupid for trusting Lucy so many times. All these characters are so mean.” He drew out the last word, causing Brian to laugh. 

“What do you mean?”

“Lucy is cruel, Snoopy is malicious, even Patty is always barking orders at that poor girl.” He replied, counting off on his fingers.  

“I guess you’ve got a point,” Brian said, still laughing at the younger boy for giving the characters that much thought.

“I think there’s a New Years celebration thing on TV,” Roger said abruptly, getting up to change the channel, sure enough, he was right. The screen filled with waves of people, all crowded around each other to celebrate the passing of time. Picking up the nearly empty bottle, Roger topped them off before sitting back down. By this point, Brian knew it took a lot of alcohol for Roger to get drunk, but Brian knew he would need to slow down before he did anything he’d regret. 

“I can’t imagine being in a crowd like that, too many people,” Brian remarked as he turned his gaze from the TV to Roger, who just so happened to already be looking at him. “Hey, Rog?”

The younger boy blinked before shifting his gaze to the drink in his hands. “Hmm?” 

“Why’d you really stay home tonight?” 

“Bri…” Roger shook his head, taking a drink. 

“I want to know,” Brian asked, feeling like he was crossing a line he could never uncross.

“Well, for one, I heard you didn’t have a date,” He admitted, scratching the back of his neck. “And I also didn’t see the point in going out if I wasn’t going to be kissing anyone that mattered.” 

“Oh…” He furrowed his brows. “So the person you wanted to go out with didn’t want to go out with you?” Brian asked, missing Roger’s meaning. 

“Something like that.” The younger boy laughed, patting Brian on the shoulder before placing his drink on the table. “Don’t worry about it, it’s not important.” 

“Of course your feelings are important, Rog. I’m sorry they didn’t reciprocate your feelings.” Brian said earnestly.

“Well...I didn’t exactly ask them...out.” Roger said, looking everywhere but at the older boy.

“What? Why?” Brian was truly confused, in all the years he’d known Roger, the boy had never shied away from girls. “I’m sure she would have said yes.” 

“You don’t know that.”

“Well, women always have in the past.” 

“It’s different this time,” Roger replied, exhaustion in his voice. “Their different from...from anything I’ve ever known.” The worry Roger was carrying had become evident to the older boy, causing him to pause a moment. 

“She means a lot to you.” Brian stated.

“They mean everything to me.” Roger corrected him, finally looking up at Brian. “I can’t afford to lose them, and I’m afraid if I ask, they’ll hate me.” 

Though Brian was saddened by the thought of Roger loving someone who wasn’t him, he couldn’t stand seeing Roger like this. “Look, Rog,” He sighed. “If she hates you just because you fancy her, then maybe she shouldn’t mean as much to you as you think she should. If your relationship is as important as you say it is, then this shouldn’t derail everything.” 

“Do you really believe that?” Roger asked. 

“Yes.” He nodded his head, giving the younger boy a soft smile. “Now, what are you doing here with me when you should be out there kissing someone that matters.” Just as Brian said that the crowd on the TV began to chant down to midnight. 

“10, 9, 8-”

“You’re right.” Roger agreed but made no move to leave.

“7, 6, 5, 4-”

“You better get going before someone else takes your place.” Brian joked, his laughter dying in his throat as soon as Roger began leaning in closer to the older boy.

“3, 2, 1-” 

“Ok.” The younger boy said before he closed the gap between them, kissing Brian tentatively at first, pulling back only slightly before Brian reached out to kiss him again. The smile growing on Roger’s face was the only thing forcing them to stop. 

“Happy new year, Bri.”

“Happy new year, Rog,” Brian replied, unable to stop himself from grinning, leaning in for another kiss. 

In a perfect world, Brian would have never needed a drummer. In a perfect world, Roger would have never seen that yellow flyer, Tim would have never left, and they would have never needed to find a new bassist. And in a perfect world, Brian wouldn’t have found himself making out with the hot blond he met because of imperfect outcomes. This wasn’t a perfect world, and for that Brian was thankful.