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12 February 2015 @ 09:14 am
FIC: Bare your Soul to Millions, 1/1  
Author: Osiris Brackhaus
Story Title: Bare your Soul to Millions
Part: 1/1
Rating: R
Configuration: /
Warnings: /
Word Count: 4800
Setting: 'Phoenix Empire' verse, see Phoenix Empire Timeline & Index or the Phoenicipedia
Characters: Bobby Dover, Vian, M'tini, B'cardi
Summary: A karaoke night out with Bobby, Vian, M'tini and B'cardi ends up with the most unexpected consequences...
Feedback: Yes, please!

---

„You fucking whiny sqet,“ M'tini snarled and grabbed Bobby's arm, yanking him with her violently. „Shut the fuck up and come with me!“

Bobby had just enough time to cast a calming glance over his shoulder, where he already saw Vian rise from his chair, his ears pointing to his sides almost horizontally, ready to do something violent. Yes, he really didn't want to go with M'tini, but that was still much preferable to Vian doing something rash and very violent that everyone would regret for the rest of their lives. At least, his glance seemed to convince Vian that no violent intervention was necessary.

And what was the worst that could happen on that stage anyway, Bobby told himself with an inward shrug. He had embarrassed himself already in so many ways, giving a bad karaoke performance was about the least of his worries. Besides, M'tini was right. She needed some way to vent her frustration. Drinking too much and belting out Youh'Kai hardrock hymns in a smoke-filled pub was not so bad a choice, considering the alternatives.

“Here!” M'tini barked and all but punched the microphone into Bobby's belly. “You take Pain.” With a growl that would have made a rabid wildebeest proud, she yelled into hers: “I. Am. RAGE!”

Bobby almost winced. 'Pain and Rage' was a classic, one of the great Youh'Kai rock songs that were popular even among the human population. One of Bobby's favorite songs, one of the very few he knew the Youh'Kai text to. It was a duet, of sorts, with two performers shouting, yelling, screaming their feelings as much against as together with each other. A great song, and bristling with raw, emotional power – but a surefire way of seeming entirely pathetic on a stage when you're not a professional.

Obviously, M'tini had no such qualms whatsoever. Hunched forward as if preparing to jump into their audience and kill a few of them, she swayed like some feral animal. When the music started, M'tini almost fried the sound equipment of the bar with a yell that was so loud it sent the whole array into a terrified feedback loop. The guy at the controls swiftly turned down her mike, but it only served to show everyone in the room that she didn't really need any sort of amplification – her anger was loud and raw enough to reach even the far corner of the pub.

When Bobby answered her yelled and screeched part, his voice was almost drowned out by the music. M'tini didn't seem to mind, lost in her own mind. There were a few sneers and laughs in the crowd, but nothing really rude. After all, he was on the stage with an intoxicated and very angry Youh'Kai, and nothing could really be worth the trouble this promised. In the rear, Bobby could make out Vian and B'cardi sitting at their table. B'cardi was slumped onto the table, hugging his beer, while Vian watched with appropriate compassion.

M'tini took over again, yelling out her anger against the world.

Bobby knew that her anger was directed at someone very particular – D'kone, the singer of her band. Or rather, the singer of her former band. Apparently, D'kone had been offered a contract by another up-and-coming act, signed up without a word to his friends and informed them this afternoon that their mutual band existed no longer. Considering just how justifiably angry she and her brother were, singing and drinking were incredibly civilized ways of dealing with this betrayal.

It was Bobby's turn again, and this time there were sneers in the audience even before he had started singing. It rankled Bobby, much more so than he would have thought possible. He wasn't a great singer or performer or anything, and he knew that. But he would be dammed if he'd give anything but his best effort, even if it was only to make sure his friend next to him didn't look overly manic. So Bobby swallowed the next line, took a deep breath and tried to remember the face of his mother when he told her that Wayne had been sold into slavery.

The image alone was enough to make his throat constrict with repressed tears of anger, and suddenly, it was rather easy to put the proper emphasis into the words of the song. Even the screaming and yelling felt natural, all of a sudden, as if Bobby had held back all these sentiments for years and was only now letting them out. It was cleansing, and the less he cared what anyone though of him, the easier it became.

With the next stanza, the two voices of the song started interweaving more and more. For the first time, Bobby felt as if he really connected to the song and its emotional background. It was exhilarating, liberating, wonderful. Even though he was singing about the raw pain he had suffered through, he felt amazing.

Suddenly, the song was over, much sooner than Bobby had thought. He was completely out of breath, his throat sore, but laughing. M'tini stood next to him, looking pretty much as if she was feeling the same. With a fluid motion, Bobby peeled himself out of his sweat-soaked skinny t-shirt and wiped himself down, ignoring the yells and whistles that came from the crowd. He merely flipped them the bird and slung his arm around M'tini, leading her off stage before she could order another song of that kind.

“You know,” she said, laughing under her ragged breath, “for a crazy softskin, you're quite alright.”

“What a luck you didn't shoot me when we first met, then,” Bobby retorted, also laughing.

Life was good. He had friends, good, honest friends, and time and money enough to spend an evening airing their miseries. And most of all, he had the most gorgeous boyfriend of the entire Empire.

“Now come here, you sexy beast,” Vian growled across the table when Bobby and M'tini walked up to them. “That was some pretty hardcore stuff you did there on the stage.”

Bobby shrugged, settled down on Vian's lap and finished his boyfriend's remaining beer in one long drought. “It felt great, just letting it out. I hope it wasn't too bad?”

“What? Have you ever seen yourself?” Vian shifted his weight under Bobby, his crotch suddenly pressing hot and hard against Bobby's thighs. “It was... very inspiring.”

“You horny bastard!” Bobby laughed out loud. Slinging his arms around Vian's neck, reveling in the sensation of his short fur against his naked arms, Bobby whispered: “So is is it back to my place or do you have to have me right here?”

Vian gave a choked laugh, shaking his head. “Your place. Less cameras.” He shivered deeply when Bobby gently touched the side of his ear “Now.”

“Guys, Vian and I are going home, is that okay with you?” Bobby asked, turning around to M'tini and B'cardi.

“I think we've had enough, too,” M'tini replied, somewhat disappointed. She grabbed her brother's head by his hair, lifted him a few inches off the table and let him drop again. “Cold out. What an embarrassment.”

“Will you get him home on your own or should we help?” Vian offered, always chivalrous.

M'tini laughed, a sinister and kind of evil sound. “Nah, don't mind us. I've gotten him safely home in other situations already. And I can smell you two have other plans. Just get out of my sight.” She snatched a pitcher off the table and angled for the remaining ice cubes. With an uncanny, trained motion, she shoved the ice into the back of her brother's pants and stepped away from the table.

Bobby and Vian didn't stay around to see how the two Youh'Kai would sort out the situation. Swiftly, they grabbed their jackets and headed out to the side of the pub where Vian had parked his hoverbike.

Vian unlocked the bike and was just about to get them their helmets from their compartment under the seat when a shy voice asked:

“I am sorry – would you mind?”

Bobby and Vian both looked up, finding a young human girl walking up to them. Her hands raised cautiously, she looked as if she already had a bad conscience for what she was about to ask.

“Would you mind if I'd take a picture with you?” she asked, a little emboldened by their calm reaction. “Just you and me, without your boyfriend?”

Another groupie, Bobby thought with a n inward sigh. Of course it was bound to happen, like every night when he was out with Vian. It was pretty rare here in Disari, though, as most fans already had a share of snapshots of Vian's family already. None the less, it was part of his boyfriend's job, and he'd better get used to it.

“Of course you can have him,” Bobby replied generously, taking a step back. “We're going home, but there sure is time for one picture.”

But instead of gleaming with gratitude, her face slipped into mild confusion. “But... I was asking for a picture with you...”

For a long moment, Bobby was at an entire loss of what to say. Was this some elaborate prank? Or a really confused fan with some particularly rare fetish on celebrities' boyfriends?

“Oh, of course you can,” Vian replied with a wide grin instead. Gently pushing Bobby forward, he added: “He's all yours.”

Now the girl broke into the familiar beaming smile. With a swift motion, she picked some tiny camera from out of her bag and stepped next to Bobby.

“Do you mind?” she asked, not waiting for an answer before she put her arm around Bobby's neck, smiled and took her picture. “You were so hot there, up on the stage, I just HAD to have your picture!”

Bobby didn't even have time enough to put any other expression onto his face than a politely confused smile. Then she put a quick, tiny kiss on Bobby's cheek and flounced off. “Awesome!” they still heard her say before she disappeared around the corner of the building, checking the picture she had just taken.

“What the fucking hell?” Bobby asked, still rather confused. “She kissed me!”

“Be grateful she did only that,” Vian replied, handing Bobby his helmet. He was grinning like stupid, so widely the fur on his cheeks started to ruffle. “Welcome to my world, honey. Welcome to my world.”

---

A weird noise startled Bobby out of his blissful sleep. For a moment, he was wide awake, his heart racing, listening for anything out of the ordinary.

But there was nothing. Only the gentle wheeze of Vian sleeping like a baby underneath him, and the slow rising and falling of his chest. Within seconds, Bobby was half asleep again, nestling his head happily against his lover's chest. At first, Vian's short fur had weirded him out, but now, it felt just like it ought to. It felt like home.

With a soft grunt, Vian settled deeper into the pillows and pulled Bobby closer towards him. Outside, the sun was already shining brightly, but there should be another hour so before either of them would have to wake up.

With a loud crunch, the bedroom door was opened.

“So here you are!” M'tini hissed, quite obviously pissed beyond any manners. “What the FUCK were you thinking?”

Bobby sat up in his bed, struggling to get his mind working. He was reasonably sure he never had done anything in his life that would warrant this kind of reaction, so he guessed it was one of her tantrums again.

“What the fuck, Tini?” His eyes were still half-asleep, but the huge, greenish shadow behind her looked very much like her brother. Not a good sign if he was here as well.

“Why didn't you tell us?!” she snapped. “You think this is funny?”

“M'tini! Shut up. NOW.” Vian suddenly growled, his head still half hidden in the pillows. His growl was quite impressive, and it wouldn't have needed the slight shaking of the floor to make everyone in the room realize who exactly was lying there. Luckily, M'tini didn't press her luck any further and remained silent for a moment, just long enough for Bobby to get his wits together.

Bobby blinked a few times, and the shapes in front of the mattress on the floor that he called his bed indeed became M'tini and her brother. She looked terrible, tired and irate like a cat who had been forced to stay out in the rain for the night. Her face was even darker green than usual, and one side of her head sported that ridiculous kind of cowlick that one got from going to bed with too much product in your hair.

“Alright,” Bobby finally said. “I am sorry if I angered you. But please start at the beginning. And PLEASE let B'cardi do the talking.”

M'tini for a heartbeat looked as if she was about to reply something caustic, but then grunted and turned around on her heels. Without asking, she opened the floor-length window that led to the roof and walked out. A moment later, Bobby heard her lighting a cigarette.

“Why didn't you tell us you were a professional?” B'cardi asked, quite obviously trying to remain reasonable.

“I... What?” Even with a lot of imagination, Bobby had no idea what his Youh'Kai friend could be talking about. Certainly, he had been entertaining a few people for cash, but he had been young and needed the money. Sure this would be nothing the two would be upset about.

“Here.” B'cardi handed him a small device, its palm-sized screen showing a paused video of last night's outing together. “It's been all over the net.”

While Bobby was still trying to make sense out of any of this, Vian next to him finally decided to move. Smoothly, he pulled himself up onto his elbows next to him, craning his neck to see what B'cardi was showing them. Only when Bobby caught himself staring at Vian's body moving underneath the thin sheet they had been sleeping under, he realized that they were both stark naked, probably smelling of booze and sex and there was very little he could do to reserve any shreds of modesty that he could have had left.

So it was that kind of morning, apparently.

With a soft sigh of resignation, Bobby hit the 'play' button and watched. It was a shaky recording of the karaoke bit he and M'tini had done together last night. 'Pain and Rage', and even though the video quality was rather shoddy, the sound was excellent. And it sounded good, damn good. Actually, it sounded way too good to be real.

“Did someone dub this with a new version of the song?” Bobby asked, incredulous.

“It's the original recording,” B'cardi replied dry as a bone.

“You're fucking kidding me. Please tell me that you're fucking kidding me.”

Quietly, the massive Youh'Kai shook his head. “It's not even the worst. Forward to three minutes in, when they show the audience.”

In stunned silence, Bobby watched until the video panned around to show the audience around the person recording. All Bobby could see were faces full with emotion, their eyes fixed on the stage as if mesmerized. People cheering every time there was a faint pause in the screaming that came from the stage.

“You really should have told us you were a professional singer,” M'tini suddenly said from the window, leaning against the frame. “I mean, it's okay if some fucking squet like you doesn't want us to know, but I really don't get why you put up such a full performance then last night.”

“That was the first time ever I was on a stage,” Bobby feebly tried to explain. “I mean, discounting the few times I was pole dancing.”

“Don't fuck with me,” M'tini snapped, pointing an accusing finger at Bobby, searching for something really nasty to say. But her finger quivered in the air like an arrow drawn but not fired for a rather long moment. “Good Lord, you really have no idea...” she finally conceded.

“He is utterly clueless,” Vian remarked smugly from the sidelines. “I can assure you that much.”

“So I put on a good karaoke rendition of 'Pain and Rage' last night,” Bobby tried to salvage the situation. “What's so bad about that?”

“M'tini's phone's been ringing all night,” B'cardi explained. “Somehow everyone's got the impression that we're a band, and now they're trying to hire us.”

“They what?”

“At least, it royally pissed of that traitor D'kone,” M'tini added with a cruel smile. “He had a total bitchy meltdown on my voicebox. I am so going to save that message forever.”

“At least three of the calls have been from some agents, asking if we already had representation,” B'cardi continued. “Seems D'kone kicking us out was the best that could happen to us.”

“It is a totally shitty, anthropocentric thing that as soon as we got ONE lousy squet in our band, we get offers from all sides,” M'tini added. “But at least we know you're not going to let us down.”

“Let you down?” Somehow, Bobby was very sure he didn't like the way this conversation was headed.

“With our band,” M'tini replied. “You're going to work with us, of course.”

“Shouldn't you be asking me first?”

“You put up an application for everyone to see, last night.” Apparently, M'tini had already made up her mind. “And damn hell, you're going to sing with us before you sing with anybody else, or I'll rip your fucking tongue out.”

Completely at a loss, Bobby turned around to Vian, a pleading look on his face. But his boyfriend only sat there, the sheet barely covering his most private parts, grinning widely.

“You are going to be a rockstar!” Vian purred, visibly thrilled by the prospect. “The PR team will LOVE you!”

“I am not - “ Bobby protested faintly. “What the hell makes all of you think I have any place among you people with real talent? I screamed on stage, nothing more. I don't even think I could do this again, like last night, you know?”

“It's not really what you did,” M'tini explained, faintly annoyed. “It's that the audience lapped it up as if it was sex on tap. They can read you, they HEAR you. If that's not talent, I don't know what is.”

Behind her, B'cardi nodded solemnly. “We should try and have some sort of rehearsal as soon as possible.”

Gently, Vian nudged Bobby's shoulder. “You know, I may be terribly biased when it comes to you, but you really were great on stage. The music's style suited you, and you looked like a million credits in the spotlight. It is really hard to describe. It is as if you bared your soul for everyone to see. You should give it a try. At least, being a rock star should beat waiting tables.”

By then, Bobby was barely listening. Vian's words had reminded him of other words spoken to him two years ago, a lifetime away. And yet suddenly it felt as if those words were hanging right there in the air with him. The smell of fresh rain and clear smoke washed over him. “You will steal the heart of a fox,” the voice in the dark had said. “You will bare your soul to millions, and you will save the life of the most evil creature in existence.”
As if sitting in an elevator that was going down to fast, Bobby suddenly had the feeling his world was sliding out from under him.

“Are you okay?”

Vian had grabbed Bobby by his shoulders, his face filling almost all of Bobby's field of vision. “Bobby, can you hear me?”

“I'm fine.”

“Good Lord!” Leaning his forehead against Bobby's, Vian gave a tiny sigh. His fur gently tickled, but it was nice sensation. “You were totally phased out there for a moment, love.”

“I am fine,” Bobby confirmed again. “I... just remembered something.”

“If you are really uncomfortable with the idea,” B'cardi suggested in the background, “we can always say it was just a one-time collaboration and try to find another lead somewhere else.”

“I am FINE.” Giggling with a sudden wave of elation that suspiciously felt like hysteria, Bobby waved away his friend's concerns. “Really. And I think there is little harm in joining you for rehearsals tonight. If only to show you how bad I really am.”

Stunned with this unexpected concession, both M'tini and her brother remained silent.

“Okay. Now that you've gotten what you came here for,” Vian stepped into the opening, “what about you two get lost to where you came from and leave me and my boyfriend alone?”

“Awesome idea, honey,” Bobby joined him. “Get lost, you beatle eaters, I'll see you at the junkyard tonight at eight.”

Still surprisingly quiet, the two Youh'Kai nodded and left. Now that the matter was settled, if only for the moment, there was nothing left to argue about. M'tini in particular looked as if she was going to keel over into her bed the very moment she arrived at home. They even had the decency to close the bedroom door behind them.

“Now what was that about?” Vian asked when he was sure they were gone, his voice tinged with concern. “Are you really okay with this?”

“I... yes and no.” Collapsing against his boyfriend, Bobby groaned deeply before he explained. “I don't want to, right now. I don't think I am talented, and I really don't think I should pretend to be. Especially so with people like M'tini and B'cardi, they worked so hard on their band, and it means so much to them.”

“But...?”

“But I... I think it is the right thing to do. It is meant to be.”

“That...” Vian hesitated. “That last bit very much didn't sound like the usual you.”

Bobby snuggled up closer to his boyfriend, taking in a deep breath along his neck. Maybe it was a little bit embarrassing, but the scent of his lover calmed him like nothing else.

“Do you believe in Gods?” Bobby finally asked.

Vian gave a funny sound, somewhere halfway between a chuckle and a scoff. Slipping back into bed, he pulled Bobby with him with gentle insistence, settling him on top of his chest. For a moment, he seemed to be thinking about Bobby's questions, his fingers playing with Bobby's red curls.

“That is a very difficult question,” Vian answered in the end. “I mean, gods are a very real thing in our household. So I don't know if I believe in them – I know they exist like you and me.”

“Good.” That would make the next step a lot easier. Bobby gathered his courage for another moment before he continued. “A few years ago, on Espen, Nach'Tarr spoke to me about my future.”

“Really?” Surprise, but not a trace of disbelief in Vian's voice. “He usually doesn't meddle in the lives of us mortals.”

“I don't think he meddled. It was more... I think he wanted to be nice, if that makes any sense.”

“He IS nice, as far as I have heard. Though that doesn’t explain why he was talking to you in the very first place.”

“How the hell should I know?”

“Huh? Not at all. It’s a good thing, not knowing why gods do anything. It means you kept a healthy distance.” Chuckling, Vian added with a throaty purr: “But I am SO gonna enjoy you being more famous than me.”

“Oh, don’t say that,” Bobby whined. “I don’t even want to think about this right now.”

“Do you?” Vian wriggled his eyebrow and smiled wickedly. “Well I sure know a perfect way to take your mind of things.”

“Huh? What are you talking of?”

Instead of an answer, Vian pulled Bobby closer against him, until Bobby could feel his boyfriend’s cock pressing against his thigh. Again, Vian purred deeply.

“Not again! Don’t tell me you’re still horny after last night!”

“What? I am a healthy young man, of course I am horny. Don’t you tell me you are not.”

“I am not.”

“Really?” Vian’s voice dripped with sarcasm, and just to prove his point, he started massaging Bobby’s butt. “Not even a little?”

“No.”

Vian took Bobby’s hand and put it on his chest, cupping his muscles, gently burying Bobby’s fingers in his fur. “What about now?”

“Nothing…” Taking a deep, sensual breath, Bobby insisted: “Absolutely nothing.”

Moving up Bobby’s hand even further, Vian brought it up to his lips and kissed Bobby’s findertips.

“Now?”

“Uh… nothing…” Bobby whispered, his voice husky.

Vian took Bobby’s index and middle finger, suggetively licking along them, smiling at the gently rasping sound of his tongue against human skin.

“And now?”

Bobby’s reply was nothing but mumbled nonsense, but the way his body arched against Vian’s was all the answer he had been waiting for.

“Just as I thought,” he said when he rolled Bobby to the side so he could lie on top of him. “Just as I thought.”

---



 
 
 
talomor on February 12th, 2015 10:13 am (UTC)
Yeah! More PE! On a Thursday. Is there a special occasion, or is it simply that Thursdays are the new Mondays?
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on February 12th, 2015 10:24 am (UTC)
Yeah, getting back in the game.
Thursday was the day my lovely wife alotted for this story. No more, no less. ^^
And besides, I am sick in bed at home, so I thought something nice for all of us would be a good idea.

Mondays are still the regular Mondays, as far as I know. :) This is a one-time exception, I think.
talomor on February 13th, 2015 08:15 am (UTC)
Sorry to hear that (about being ill). Hope you feel better soon.
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on February 14th, 2015 11:24 am (UTC)
Thanks, dear! I'm fine again already, just a stomach bug. Just gotta take it a little slow for the rest of the weekend.
Lisa WinqvistLisa Winqvist on February 12th, 2015 12:32 pm (UTC)
Squeeee! Omg Vian! And of course Bobby has talent! Yay! More please? *puppy eyes*
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on February 12th, 2015 04:35 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the comment, Lisa! Sure there will be more, bit by bit. Beryll and I are writing more and more for the PE again, so as soon as the Three Way Dance is finished, we hope to get back to regular Phoenix Empire posts.
demokun on February 14th, 2015 10:56 am (UTC)
Thanks,

I hope you get well soon. And I hope you continue with this story also soon :)
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on February 14th, 2015 11:25 am (UTC)
Story will be continued, after all, there is still quite a few things to discover here... ^^ Thanks for the comment!
corundumapatite on May 22nd, 2015 06:38 am (UTC)
While I was delighted to see 'Destroyer of Worlds' I'm eagerly awaiting more Bobby and the Band. Any updates on when we might see some?
osirisbrackhausosirisbrackhaus on May 22nd, 2015 11:02 am (UTC)
Thank you for commenting, first of all!

I have learned not to promise anything when it comes to writing. This is my hobby, after all, and I have enough deadlines to meet in my RL job. ^^
So no, no update on when there will be a next installment of Bobby and the gang, but I am myself really looking forward to writing those and so it shouldn't be too long. After all, we're finally getting to the point where all the loose threats come together, and it's going to be so much fun!

Next up, though, will be how Yaden met his demon husband Teagan, as soon as I manage to finish that one.

Thanks again!