Every Dog Needs a Home.
Author: The Magic Rat
Warnings: Mention of drug use, M/M snuggles.
Word Count: 2383
Website – Ex Libris: www.winter-wood.net/ex-libris/…
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Disclaimer: Metalocalypse, the members of Dethklok, and lyrics to Dethklok songs belong to Brendon Small, Cartoon Network and Turner Music. Copyright for all stories and original characters such as Badger the Roadie is with the author, and may not be published, copied, distributed or archived without the author's prior written consent.
Summary: Nathan finds something in a bar.
Author’s notes: Part of an art trade with IGotZazz, who wanted a fic about how Pickles and Nathan first met.
It was Pickles. There was no one else it could be – not with that red hair. Granted there was less of it now than when Nathan had sat enthralled front row center of a Snakes ‘n’ Barrels concert, his girlfriend of the time perched on his broad shoulders, whirling her t-shirt over her head. But it was Pickles – lead singer of the recently disbanded Snakes ‘n’ Barrels, looking drunk and defeated and incredibly tiny. If only a quarter of what the tabloids were saying was true, Pickles had reason to look like shit.
Nathan walked over to him, sat down at his table, and gazed at the little red-head. Pickles stared back at him, clearly too drunk to function. He looked like he’d been in a fight. His lip was split, his eye was black, and his throat bore clear imprints of hands. Someone had beaten the shit out of him, and the former rock-god didn’t seem to have a soul in the world to look after him.
“Hey,” said Nathan softly in his low growling voice. “Where ya staying? I think it’s time to go home.”
Pickles was too drunk to reply, if indeed he had even understood Nathan. The very large man sighed, rose to his feet, and walked to Pickles’ side of the table.
“Come on, little guy.”
Nathan scooped Pickles up, carried him out of the bar, and placed him in the back seat of the little craptastic van Nathan hauled the equipment for his own band in. Pickles looked like a newborn kitten – he was weak and wobbling, and some part of his brain not currently drowning in frou-frou umbrella drinks was likely envisioning the end of this van ride with the gigantic stranger who had literally picked him up in a bar having the tag-line of “If you have any information of the rape and murder of former lead singer Pickles…”
“It’s okay,” said Nathan. “I’m not gonna do anything weird to you. I mean… weird-er
than some of the stuff I’ve read about you…”
Some survival instinct was trying to force Pickles to get up, but he was too drunk. He was utterly helpless, and probably scared. Nathan just drove back to his craptastic apartment in his craptastic van to his craptastic roommate. William Murderface currently looked like a refugee from a Terry Pratchet novel as he stood in the kitchen in his AC/DC shorts and a frilly apron, making macaroni and cheese.
“Well you’re home early,” said Murderface as Nathan opened the door to the apartment, then listened to the sound of Nathan’s boots heading down the metal stairs to the parking lot. He cocked his head as he head an odd sort of frightened yodel, and the sound of Nathan talking quietly. Murderface’s eyes narrowed, and he shouted; “THAT BETTER NOT BE A PUPPY!”
Nathan jogged up the stairs with something wiggling weakly in a blanket usually used to wrap their amp. It was too big for a puppy, and the noises it was making were not terribly puppy-like. Murderface watched as Nathan set the bundle on the sofa, and felt his stomach drop as he saw just what Nathan had
brought home from the bar.
“That’sh a rock star,” said Murderface.
Nathan knelt before Pickles, holding his face in his hands, looking into the blurred green eyes. “Yeah, I know. It’s Pickles.”
Murderface crossed his arms. “And you are
aware that kidnapping ish a felony, right?”
“I’m not kidnapping him,” said Nathan. “But I’m not leaving him to drink himself to death either. He can’t sit in a bar gooned out of his head all alone.”
Murderface considered this, then walked over to the couch, kneeling down beside Nathan to look at the former idol. It was hard not to feel sorry for him – he’d taken a damned long fall from grace.
“Hey, fellah,” said Murderface. “How are ya? Little drunk, huh?”
Pickles’ tiny body convulsed, and suddenly Murderface was covered in every single Mai-Tai Pickles had consumed over the course of the evening. Murderface stared down at himself in utter horror for a long moment, then looked at Nathan.
“It’sh your puppy, you clean up after it.”
Nathan sat with Pickles all night, wiping his face, emptying his puke-bucket, and finally, when Pickles seemed a little more rational, holding a coffee cup for him so he could sip the contents.
“So this isn’t a kidnapping,” said Pickles.
“I guess it is sorta,” said Nathan. “But if I’d left you in that bar in your state you would have been robbed or worse.”
“Thanks,” said Pickles quietly.
Nathan noticed Pickles still wasn’t sitting up. He’d been in enough football games to recognize when someone was in pain, and Pickles was clearly hurting. That was fine. Pickles could stay on his sofa for as long as he liked. He noticed Pickles was staring at something, and Nathan groaned inwardly as he realized what – a concert poster of a young, angy Pickles in full flight on stage, hair blowing, ripped jeans hugging his lean body, screaming into the microphone.
“Hey,” said Nathan quietly. “You… uh… want me to call anyone?”
“No one to call anymore,” said Pickles quietly, still staring at the poster.
Yeah Nathan knew how that felt, all right, when the small hours of the morning seemed to crush both heart and soul, and he’d drunk-dial someone if only there was someone to drunk-dial. Then he sighed and got up, reaching down to carefully pick up Pickles.
“Come on,” said Nathan. “I got a spare bed in my room. You can stay there as long as you want, if you got nowhere to go.”
“What about rent?” asked Pickles, watching the floor become far away as he was lifted. Nathan just grinned.
“Hey – you know how many times I got laid because of that song you did, ‘Falling Dark
’? That oughta be worth at least a couple months’ rent.”
Pickles shrugged. “Okay.”
Three-fifths of what would one day be Dethklok had met and settled into something of a routine. Nathan had not asked Pickles to join, but he had done nothing to discourage him from the idea either. Having already been down the road to stardom, Pickles had insights and ideas Nathan and Murderface didn’t. He also had contacts, but it was a bit early to be asking about that. As it was, Pickles could barely get up and drag himself to the bathroom when he had to, and Nathan and Murderface together didn’t add up to a band, unless they wanted to be a really fucked-up version of Simon and Garfunkel.
“We need a guitar player,” said Nathan one night, as the trio watched their old black and white TV.
“What do you have so far?” asked Pickles.
“A bass player and a singer-songwriter,” said Murderface.
There was a long silence. Then Pickles looked up at Nathan. “Hey. Nathan. What do you call a beautiful woman on the arms of a bass player?”
Murderface shook his head. “Man that’sh not cool.”
“Funny though,” said Nathan, grinning.
“Yeah, hilarioush,” said Murderface. “Hey, Nathan, how do you know the stage floor is level?”
“The drummer is drooling out of both shidesh of his mouth.”
“NAHT cool!” protested Pickles.
There was silence. Then Murderface spoke.
“I can’t think of any lead singer jokes,” said Murderface.
“That’s because I’m too awesome,” said Nathan.
“And he’d crush us like a bug,” said Pickles.
Nathan grinned, then looked down at Pickles. “So… uh… You wanna…? I mean I know we’re totally lame and you’re already like…”
“A has-been,” said Pickles.
“Yeah but I wasn’t gonna say
that,” said Nathan. “But… you wanna be in our band?”
“Yeah what the hell,” said Pickles. “Not as the lead singer, though. Had enough of that shit. I can play the drums and that’s where I wanna be. Maybe sing once in a while.”
“Yeah,” said Nathan. “Are you… gonna be able to do that? You uh… kinda took a beating.”
“Yeah,” said Pickles quietly. “But… I’m healing. Nothing’s broken. I’ll be okay.”
Nathan reached down to run his large hand over Pickles’ shoulder and over his back, feeling the healing welts. Pickles flinched.
“C’mahn, I’m not a puppy!”
“Yeah you are,” said Murderface. “Picklesh the Pukey Puppy.”
“What happens if I rub your tummy?” teased Nathan.
Pickles gave him a look that suggested Nathan didn’t want to try. Nathan just laughed, then said quietly; “Hey for what it’s worth… thanks.”
“Fer what?” asked Pickles.
“For joining our band. We might have a chance to be half-decent now.”
“Schtill need a guitar player,” said Murderface.
“I can find us a guitar player,” said Pickles. “His English is pretty bad but he’s got more talent than anyone I ever met.”
“Wait a minute,” said Nathan. “He doesn’t speak English? Where’s he from?”
“Sweden?! You know a Swedish guitar player?! Oh man… that is AWESOME!!! We’re finally becoming a real band.”
Murderface yawned. “Yeah that’sh… great. I’m going to bed. You guysh have fun plotting our rise to stardom.”
Nathan watched Murderface head to bed, then turned his attention back to Pickles. Now that it was just the two of them, Pickles relaxed against Nathan, safe and content for the first time in a long time.
“Who hurt you?” Nathan asked quietly. “I mean… you been here over a month and you’re still bruised and limping.”
“Don’t remember,” said Pickles. “This last year has been pretty much a blur. Groupies, booze, drugs… could have been anybody. Gahd I’m not even twenty yet. How can I be nineteen and used up?”
“You’re not used up,” said Nathan softly.
“I feel used up. I can’t think of anyone else my age who has done the crap I have.”
“So you got some life experience. Big deal.”
Pickles shook his head. “I’m tired. I’m so tired. I miss Tony. I miss him so hard. I wish I could somehow go back in time and fix it all but… I don’t think it could ever be fixed. Because none of it felt like a mistake at the time.”
“Maybe none of it was,” said Nathan. “Maybe it was just… like… rehearsal. For something else.”
“Maybe.” Pickles looked up at him, green eyes taking on a mischievous glint. “Wanna go to our room, push the beds together and have sex?”
Nathan stared at Pickles, blinking, his brain trying to process what Pickles had just said.
“I don’t… know how to have sex with a guy,” said Nathan.
“It’s okay. I can show you,” said Pickles, who seemed to have glossed over the slight detail that Nathan may not want
to have sex with a man. “I still got a couple bottles of Chivas Regal in my bag and some coke and condoms. C’mahn.”
Nathan watched Pickles get up from the couch and limp his way into the bedroom.
“Is this what they mean by ‘party like a rock star
’?” asked Nathan, getting up to follow after Pickles. “Should I be taking notes?”
“Can if you want, I guess.” Pickles paused to look over his shoulder at Nathan. “Just don’t pass out on top of me. Buried under two hundred plus pounds of former football player is not how I want my career to end.”
“Good, because it’s not how I want mine to start.”
From his bedroom, William Murderface lay in bed, staring sourly at the ceiling as he got to listen to the former lead vocalist of Snakes ‘n’ Barrels use his impressive lungs to let half the apartment complex know of his approval of Nathan’s abilities as a lover.
“Thish better not go on every night,” he grumbled, pulling his pillow over his head to drown out at least part of the yodeling and howling.
By the time Pickles and Nathan were done, Pickles was exhausted, and Nathan felt like the football game had gone into overtime. He would have happily gone to sleep, but then he remembered he hadn’t taken the garbage out, and the last thing he needed was a truck stop for cockroaches in his kitchen. Leaving the bed and pulling on his shorts only, he went into the kitchen, took the bag of garbage out of the small can, and left the apartment to walk the trash to the dumpster. He sighed heavily as he spotted a small, sad, and skinny puppy sitting next to it. Nathan tossed the garbage into the dumpster, picked up the puppy, and carried it into the apartment. He shared some baloney with it, gave it some water, then plunked it into bed beside Pickles before climbing in himself and going to sleep. Ten hours later, Murderface would shuffle into the kitchen to find Pickles seated at the table, spoon-feeding a skinny little puppy. He paused, and stared.
“Ish that going to happen every time you two have sex?”
“No, no,” Pickles assured him. “Next time we’ll make sure the condom doesn’t have a hole in it.”
“Hilarioush.” Murderface turned to go to the fridge, and stopped as he encountered a wall of white, He slowly looked up, and found himself staring into eyes the colour of Scandinavian ice regarding him with utter disdain.
“Murderface, this is Skwisgaar. Skwisgaar, this is Murderface.”
The seven foot Norse god leaned down to sniff him, then pulled back, offended.
“Is nots being totals loss,” said Skwisgaar, “we is can bes puttings bags over his head.”
As Murderface and Skwisgaar had their first pushing match of many, Pickles just smiled and fed his puppy. It felt good to be home again.