Waking up cradled in Ashley's arms, it took a while to remember exactly why they weren't in their usual position and why his head felt like it had been tied to a wrecking ball and made to demolish houses. When he did though, he quickly tried to scuttle away from his boyfriend. Ashley was jolted awake by the sudden movement and seeing the scared look on Andy's face, his heart broke. He moved towards him, palms held up in a sign that he meant no harm, but the younger man whimpered in fear, cowering at the end of the double bed.
"Andy, I'm so sorry," Ashley whispered, his voice cracking as his eyes filled with tears. "I'm s-so sorry
Andy paused, and then suddenly felt silly; it wasn't like this was a usual occurrence. Yes, Ashley had hid him, but he doubted he'd meant to knock his brains out or burn him. And
he supposed he'd deserved it. He couldn't exactly remember what he'd been doing last night. He remembered his mind was wandering and the places it had been wandering had scared him and put him into a strange mood, full of strange thoughts, but that was all he could properly recall. Maybe
maybe he'd done worse to Ashley
He hoped that wasn't true, he would've prayed for it not to be if he were a religious man.
He moved back towards the elder of them, who now had tears spilling down his cheeks and crawled into his lap, burying his head in his shoulder. "I'm sorry," he sobbed. "Ashley I'm sorry."
Ashley said nothing, just continued to cry. The two held each other for a timeless period, sniffling and shaking and wanting nothing more than to rewind time and take last night back. The weak morning light streaming through the cracks in the blinds slowly grew into that of a strong Californian midday sun. The minutes of the clock ticked by, but neither noticed, so engrossed were they in how much pain they'd caused the other.
Eventually, when the day had turned as hot as it was likely to get and the two calmed down enough to realise how stiff and uncomfortable their position actually was, Andy croaked out "I love you Ashley."
Ashley pushed the boy back from him and stared into those blue diamond eyes. "I'm never going to do that to you again Andy. I'm never going to forgive myself, and don't try and make me. I love you; you're the most important person in my life. I will never hurt you again."
Andy nodded, and then kissed his love, before gently easing himself out of bed; his head still pounded and he knew if he moved too quickly he was likely to vomit. He tottered over to the dressing table and started working with powders and lotions. Ashley bit his lips, a new wave of guilt washing over him when he realised just how unsteady Andy was, combined with his paler than usual complexion, which is pretty damn pale, and tinged green. The burns at the back of his neck and his arm weren't so bad, but his concussion didn't seem like something to be easily shaken off.
"Don't tell anyone," he whispered. Andy said nothing, but paused in his applications for a moment and then nodded.
After a few more minutes, Andy turned round and smiled. He'd hidden the bruise on his face completely; you couldn't even see where the makeup ended and naked skin started and there was no long ever a shadow of Ashley's handprint.
"Good as new," he said happily. "It's forgotten."
Ashley moved swiftly to him, picking him up in his arms and planting a kiss on his plump lips. Andy giggled as he was carried down the stairs honeymoon style to breakfast. Ashley couldn't forget it so easily though. And later than evening, when Andy started getting into a strange mood again, he wasn't so sure he'd be able to keep his promise either.
And he couldn't. That was by no means the last time Andy had to wear excess make up or cover himself up in other ways. His friends noticed he was dressing more conservatively, but when they asked they were never given a decent answer; Andy was keeping his promise, for now anyway.
Almost three months later, when the beatings were getting far more violent and far more frequent, Andy broke his word. He was hanging out with Sandra, just the two of them, one Saturday around the town. She'd just come back from tour, and the two hardly saw each other anymore what with respective lives and bands.
Despite this though, she noticed almost immediately that her young friend was limping badly. After much pressuring and persuading, Andy told her in a shaky voice in an empty coffee shop what had happened. That Ashley, in a fury at his younger partner for saying some things Andy couldn't even remember thinking let alone voicing, had kicked his legs out from under him and sent him sprawling across the floor, twisting his ankle on the step out of the kitchen in the process.
Sandra had been furious and ranted for ages about how no one got to treat her little brother like that. She demanded that Andy stop this now, and leave Ashley, but Andy had refused. She'd gotten so mad then that Andy had fled the café and had avoided her ever since. He'd told no one else what had been going on and since he wasn't asked any in depth questions about his limps, moans of pain, accumulation of long sleeve shirts or frequent polite declines of invitations to hang out, he allowed himself to believe that Sandra had said nothing either.
Andy stared at Ashley, stiffening. Bennett tightened his embrace on the slight man in his arms, an act of comfort but also a signal of ownership not to be challenged. Ashley surveyed the two lanky men, curled up together, safe and happy and unharmed. He sighed. He nodded.
"Right," he murmured, waving his arm in a dismissive gesture. "Right." He turned to leave. "Sorry to
He cast his gaze down, not wanting to have to witness anymore of Andy's happiness. It was supposed to be him that made Andy happy, not some Brendon Urie lookalike his baby hardly knew. It was stupid. He'd been holding on the tiny hope that Andy may forgive him, that he could take him in his arms again and keep him there. He had not right to that he knew but
one last chance
no. He'd been given too many chances. This was just the universe's way of kicking him in the nuts and letting him know he'd lost the one person he would have actually considered spending the rest of his life with. Hot tears started coming to his eyes and he all but ran up the stairs he'd come down so full of hope and expectations. He skirted around Sandra in the doorway, who gave him a knowing look before going into the basement herself.
Ashley strode into the kitchen, where Chance stood awkwardly. He had never really known Andy's high school friend, but he'd always seemed a nice guy. He wondered how much he knew.
"Do you have any whiskey?" he asked his voice husky from trying to keep his sorrows in.
"I, uh, maybe," Chance really was an awkward creature. "But
it's so early
are you sure? Why?"
"I'm a terrible person," Ashley gulped. Chance but his lip, nodded, and handed him the bottle.
Not yet over his initial shock of seeing Ashley, Andy felt he'd gotten a double sucker punch when Sandra Alvarenga appeared on the stairs, grinning. He had not seen his friend since he had ran away from her in that backstreet café, his coffee unfinished and his fear increasing rapidly. Now, for reasons he wasn't quite sure of, the sight of her filled him with dread.
Sandra simply continued to smile and said "when you're quite ready, we'll all have to have a chat" and turned back the way she'd come.
Andy stared after her, ignoring the small nudges and stares be was receiving from the doctor. He frazzled mind could only come up with one easy to decode train of thought: if Sandra was here, than that meant Ashley knew he'd told. But if Ashley knew
what did that mean? He buried his head in Bennett's chest, fear creeping back into him from where it had been beaten back for a short time. This, he could tell already, was going to be nothing good.
Soon after, the five occupants of the house were seated in the kitchen, the dull light of the clouded Cincinnati sky trying to penetrate through the curtains that had been drawn as a precaution for Andy's 'Most Wanted' status. He and Bennett held hands on top of the table; the latter was keen eyed and paying close attention, the former staring at the table, regretting his life choices and stealing nervous occasional glances at the lover he'd both hated and adored. The lover in questions was holding onto the whiskey bottle as though it was a life line and fuming on the inside, trying to keep himself expressionless on the out. Chance had been bustling round the kitchen, until Andy had snapped at him to sit down and now he wasn't sure what to do with himself. As he looked around his small kitchen and the sinister people occupying it, internally bemoaning the surreal experience, he decided this was the last time he helped Andrew Fucking Biersack.
"As we know," Sandra was saying, "Andy is wanted for attempted murder all over the country. His face will be everywhere, and his fame will just add to both how easy it will be to find him and how much people will bay for his blood.
"We need to keep him safe." She surveyed the four men gathered around her at the kitchen table over the rim of her glasses; if she could've asked for a more useful bunch, she would have. Bennett nodded, Ashley gave her a no shit look and Chance continued to bite his lip and hover awkwardly half on half off his seat.
"How do we do that?" Andy asked, picking at a loose thread on the back of the chair he sat in.
"The best option would probably be to get you out of the country, but we can't afford to do that." She gave him a cold look that said he wasn't taking this seriously enough.
"Yes we can!" Ashley burst in. He'd kept quiet so far through the discussions, knowing he was slightly drunk and that when he was inebriated he was like to say things he should keep in his head. Right now, most of the stuff in there was about how that bitch holding his Andy's hand should go die in a hole with a small portion being about the bad vibes he was getting from his former drummer. "Two of us here are in an internationally successful rock band, and I'm pretty sure doctors make a lot, right Brendon?"
"Bennett," the taller glared.
"Knew it was something to do with horses
"That's not what I meant," Sandra groaned, frustrated with what in her mind she called 'drunks and children'. "I need Andy in the country."
"Why?" Andy asked, studying her with those penetrating eyes.
Sandra met their fierce gaze and sighed. Was it safe to tell him yet? Or at all for that matter? There was so much he didn't know, that he should've known a long time ago, but at his childhood friend's kitchen table in his hometown
was that really the place? When the law of mortals was the most pressing matter, was that really the time? She stared deeper into those eyes, the bluest of blue. And flinched.
There, but for a second, beyond the cool crystal, was just the softest, quickest flash of blood red. And that's what made her mind up for her. It didn't matter if now was appropriate or not, the boy needed to know. She sighed.
"It's a long story. You see-"
There came a fierce knock at the front door, as though the person at it had the whole world about to converge down upon them. Chance, glad of an excuse to leave the discussion, quickly went to answer it. It was Ashley, even in his tipsy state, who first realised the stupidity of this.
Jumping up without explanation, he grabbed Andy by the shoulders and forced him under the table. It wasn't a good hiding place, but it was the best at such short notice. Andy gasped, the rough contact with his bullet wound turning his world a painful red before it became a wash of memories. Bennett jumped up and looked as though he were about to start shouting, before Ashley punched him in the face.
There was a stunned silence, where not even Sandra smirked or made a comment. Bennett blinked from where he had stumbled back to lean on the counter top. Andy shook in terror where he squatted, watching between chair legs. Ashley himself shook from built up rage, for once not regretting an act of violence. He felt maybe he should say something, but no explanation was really needed.
This was the still scene that Craig Owens walked into, followed by an even more confused Chance Kilgour.
" Craig blinked. "Should I ask?"
Sandra glared daggers at him, though it may have been hard to tell. "What are you doing here?"
Craig tripped over his own tongue. "M-matt
Matt told me to come. He wanted
I've got to help keep Andy safe
.oh there you are," he had just spotted the wide eyed young man peeping out from his hidey hole.
"Where is Matt?" Andy asked struggling to keep his voice steady after all that had happened in the last thirty seconds.
" his eyes welled with tears, but he didn't allow himself to break down in the middle of all this madness. "He's been arrested. He took all the blame for rescuing you, saying he blackmailed me." He fiercely rubbed at his face, trying to get rid of all evidence of his upset.
Andy blinked. His best friend had thrown away his life. For him. Now others were offering to do the same. And he was hiding under a fucking table. Well no more of that, he was done with this. "Well there's no fucking way I'm getting caught now." He stood up from under the table. "Craig, do you think you were followed?"
"I'm part of a trial involving the assistance of an attempted murderer," he rolled his eyes. "Of course I was followed."
"Excellent," Andy grinned. "That makes it twice as fun."
Everyone was staring at him, but Ashley was smiling. He knew this Andy. This was the kid who had walked into Hot Topic and got them to sell Black Veil Brides merchandize before they had songs or members. This was the boy who had grown a world infamous band from hopes, dreams and KISS trading cards. This was the man who had set the world on fire. This was the Andy Biersack he had fallen in love with.
"Hey Brendon," he smirked over at the man who wasn't so perfect when he was glaring and spitting blood. "That fancy ass Jeep outside, is it yours? Because I think we're going to need it..."
An hour later, all things with excessive Andy markings had been bundled up and thrown on top of the boy in question in the back of the large black four by four. Chance had supplied them with all the necessities before politely declining the offer of accompanying them.
Bennett was sat in the driver's seat. He had wanted to go in the back with Andy, but Sandra had told him Ashley was to go in the back, for reasons really only known and enjoyed by herself (though Ashley was secretly grateful) and anyway, only he could reach the pedals. Craig had said he could reach the pedals before finding his foot being stamped upon. Therefore he was now stuck shotgun with an irate Brendon Urie lookalike. It worried him when he realised this wasn't exactly new territory for him.
Andy huddled as far away from Ashley as he could get, still not wanting to be anywhere near the man who'd caused him so much pain. It hurt Ashley, but he accepted it, just sitting as close as this was enough for now. He was going to get him back though, he vowed that he would. Somehow
Sandra sat in the middle row of seats, reading a book, glasses for once placed on her forehead in the dying light of the day. She was perfectly calm and in control and giving nothing away. So far, everything was going more or less to plan with minimal explanation.
Bennett started then engine and it purred into life, then they were off to pastures new. The lives of other people with other adventures whirred past unnoticed and gathering clouds turned the world a worrisome sepia tone. Electricity buzzed in the air, setting everyone of edge.
Sandra turned her head around to grin at the two tense boys behind her. "How are we doing back there?"
Ashley just shrugged, yawned, and leant backwards, closing his eyes. Andy looked straight up at her from the pile of sheets and laundry that covered him, saucer-like eyes burning her.
"You owe me a story," he said.
She sighed. "I know I do." She still wasn't sure she was the one to tell it though.