One More Time For Me Pt. 12
Notes: A massive massive fic that took me over a year to write. I've divided it into parts to make it easier to read.
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12
Friday 4th August:
Brian looked nervously past the curtain at the small, but packed out room. It was their first gig since their last tour, and a kind of pre-album release showcase. There was an equal mix of fans and journalists in the room, as everyone had turned up to see what their new material was like.
The band had decided on only one support act as they wanted to get into the gig as soon as possible. They had ended a while ago so the only thing Brian was waiting for now was the roadies to finish setting up. He felt a mixture of excitement and nervousness, and was so lost in his thoughts that he jumped when someone squeezed his shoulder. He turned around to see Stef smiling down at him.
“It’ll be fine.” He said encouragingly, as Steve appeared by his side.
“It will.” Steve agreed as the lights went out in the venue. “Now lets go kick some arse.”
They all walked on stage together to a loud screaming and clapping from everyone in the room. Brian swung his guitar over his shoulder and they launched into the first song from the new album. The applause was tumultuous at the end, and Brian felt really encouraged to continue.
They played a storming set of about 20 songs, ranging from the new album to their first. The crowd eagerly accepted it all, screaming and chanting for more when the band went off just before the encore.
Brian stood backstage, drenched in sweat and gulping down a bottle of water. No one was saying anything, but they all had large grins plastered on their faces. It was most definitely a brilliant show, and the perfect welcome back onto the music scene. Now all that remained was the encore. They had chosen a few classic hits to play, just to remind the crowd of the true Placebo spirit. Just as Brian was changing his shirt over, the “Taste in Men” loop started to play on the stage. He smiled as his two band mates went back on. Steve started drumming as the crowd went wild again, and Stef began to dance with a mischievous grin on his face. He waited until they had repeated it a few times before joining them onstage himself with his guitar.
The encore went flawlessly, with the crowd still loving every second. But towards the end of “Twenty Years”, when the bright spotlights were illuminating the crowd, Brian spotted a flash of something familiar. His eyes quickly scanned the heaving mass of bodies until he saw it again. A face with black hair, blue eyes and an unrecognisable expression. Ben.
Brian blinked and looked again, missing a chord as he continued to play. It was him, there was no doubt about it. A sudden feeling of panic rose inside him as he struggled to finish the song. Stef was casting worried glances his way as he continued to mess up the chords, until finally the song was over. Brian quickly gave his guitar to the waiting roadie and fled the stage. He sat down at the side, gasping as if his lungs couldn’t remember how to function. Stef and Steve quickly followed him and looked down with concerned expressions.
“Bri, are you ok?” Stef was the first to speak.
“Yeh yeh, I’m.. erm..” Brian muttered, “I need to change the last song.”
“Um ok. You wanna change it to-”
“Yes.” He replied, his gaze flickering between the pair above him. “I just need to.. you know.. exorcise some demons.”
Stef nodded at him.
“We understand. I’ll ask the roadies to find your acoustic.” He said before wandering off backstage. Brian stayed on the floor for a bit longer, trying to calm his breathing and stop his heart pounding like mad. Steve just sat down next to him, and although they didn’t speak the presence was comforting. Eventually Stef reappeared with one of the roadies clutching an acoustic guitar. Brian gratefully accepted it and gave his band mates one last fleeting smile before stepping back onto the stage. A stool had already been set up for him in the middle so he took a seat in front of the microphone.
“Um, we were going to play Nancy Boy right about now, but a change of circumstances has led to a change of setlist, you know. This is a very special song off the new album. It’s very personal to me and is dedicated to someone. They know who they are.” He said as he gazed meaningfully into the crowd.
“It’s called Then The Clouds Will Open For Me”
Brian started to strum, and the crowd fell silent, all of them hanging on his every word. All the time he was playing, he was searching the crowd for Ben. Brian knew he was there somewhere, watching. He could feel it. As he played his mind came alive with images of France, with each word bringing back more memories and emotions. He became lost in the music, although his eyes continued their desperate search. Then just as he reached the final chorus, something tugged at his heart and he knew Ben could feel it too. It suddenly felt as though they were the only two people in the room, and although he couldn’t see him, it was as if Ben was standing right in front of him.
Then the song was over and the crowd were clapping and cheering madly. Ben was no longer stood in front of Brian, but at the back behind some fans and reporters, out of sight still. Stefan and Steve were dragging him off stage, beaming broadly and clutching alcohol in anticipation of the after party. Brian shook them off him, thinking to himself that time was going suspiciously quick as he darted through a door and into the main hall. The crowds were gathered towards the back, all waiting impatiently to pass through the small set of doors and back into the fresh air. He quickly made his way through them, searching for the tall figure. No-one noticed him as they were all too busy trying to get outside. The crowd was thinning quicker now and Brian was getting more frantic with his search. Every time he saw a lock of black hair or a flash of blues eyes he turned in their direction, only to be disappointed.
Eventually there were a dozen people left inside the hall and Brian realised his hunt had been fruitless. He made his way solemnly backstage again, ignoring all the celebrating roadies and people offering him congratulations on the successful gig. He went into his dressing room, closed the door and sunk into a chair in the corner of the room. He buried his face in his hands, just sitting in silence for a while, content with just his own thoughts for company. Ben was gone, it was over, Brian could move on. But it didn’t quite feel right, it felt unresolved in a way. Why had Ben been there tonight? Was he exorcising some demons of his own? It seemed a long way to come just for that. Brian couldn’t help but still cling to what was left of his hope.
A soft knocking on the door brought him out of his thoughts, and as he turned his head to face it something on the desk caught his eye. He turned back round and saw something silver laying on the otherwise immaculate surface. A small, spiral design pendant attached to a thin leather cord. He picked it up gently in his hand as the knocking on his dressing room door continued. Ben had returned his necklace. There was a significance so simple and yet so deep about the gesture. They now had nothing to remind them of each other, except for memories. There was nothing left binding them together. Nothing for one of them to find months, even years later hidden in a drawer and bring back painful recollections. As Brian held the pendant in his hand, he knew it was finally over. They could both try to move on. And he knew that was the last he would see of Ben, at least for a very long time.