Disclaimer: Brendon's. Not mines. Don't I wish?

Notes:

This piece. This fiction. This beast of burden I got pregnant with Sunday night and just finished giving birth to at 4:11am, I shit you not, I cannot finish typing this fast enough so I can get the damn thing out of my sight for a while. I feel like I've been working on this monster thing non-stop. But I can't just dump it on you and go, "read it and understand all my context, you ugly humps." Cause that's just rude.

Ho'kay. So. DethHealth was just epic. Loved it, loved it, loved it. However, as I said in the episode reaction thread, the very last part of the ending caught me off guard. It was like a sucker punch. Metalocaylpse has done that to me before, and I haven't thought much more about it past an hour. But dammit if I'm not a slave to the pen and it demanded something be written from it Sunday Night. (Bare with me if I get a little too deep for a 15 second exchange, I can't help myself. That's what four years of literary analysis does to your mind.) Not only was I shocked that the dentist cleared his sinuses with a shotgun, but so obviously was Nathan. People have died accidentally in front of him...probably as long as he's been alive. But this was as much of a surprise to him as I imagine it was to everyone else watching it. I made sure to keep the image of his surprised face in my mind for inspiration by watching the episode at least three more times before the night was over (Thanks DirectTV). I was moved to write this...behemoth as a sort of catharsis for whatever it was about that whole exchange that moved me to write in the first place. I think I know what it is that drove me to this, but if I tell you now, you won't get it from my fiction disasterpiece. I'd like to think I have a good enough grasp of everyone's character to write this and it not be horribly OOC or anything like that, but there's always a chance. I'm feeling lucky, so here goes nothing.


" We've been looking all for you, Nathan."

Even though the frontman didn't move, Charles knew he could hear him.

He also knew he could hear all the cries of his name from the many black dots running around the Mordhaus property. Klokateers from all divisions were pulled from their jobs to join in a massive search party.

And it wasn't just Klokateers, as even from the roof they stood on, Charles could see a shock of blonde moving between black clumps like an enraged firefly. Hah. If the situation were less serious, he might have chuckled at the comparison.

But with a pile of bloody clothes in his bedroom, and a stone still, rock silent Nathan Explosion sitting very close to the edge of the roof, Charles couldn't think of anything more serious.

" What's going on, Nathan?" He'd waited in silence long enough. They weren't going to get anywhere with both of them not talking.

Nothing. Not even a grunt. The CFO would have been less concerned if Nathan was doing something other than sit and, presumably, stare out across the property. He would have called off the search and gone right back downstairs if the frontman was busy writing. He might have lingered if he were up here drinking, perhaps posted some Klokateers to get him down safely when he was finished. But he would have left then as well.

Unfortunately, Nathan had nothing with him to explain his reason for being up so high without telling somebody. No tablet, no tape recorder, no alcohol, no nothing. He wasn't even wearing his usual clothes. Gone was the black shirt and jeans, in favor of a simple pair of black sweat pants. The footprints made in the blood leading away from his room let Charles know that he was missing his boots as well.

As soon as he laid eyes on Nathan, Charles was inspecting him for any injuries. His bare back didn't have any scars to it. He was sitting in a normal position, so nothing was apparently broken or bleeding out there. If he had been hurt, then Charles would have forgone concern over everything else and done whatever he had to do to get the lead singer to the medical center. Thankfully, that wasn't the case. But he still needed to know where the blood came from, if it in fact, was not his.

" Would you ah...like to explain the blood to me, Nathan?" He'd only taken a step forward when he asked his question. But the reaction it gave him, made Charles take two steps back.

As soon as he'd moved, Nathan did too. He grunted irritably; actually scooting closer to the edge of the roof. He was glaring at him now, and Charles could see what his original position had hidden. There was dried blood on the left side of the frontman's face and in his hair. The good news was he wasn't bleeding. The bad news was that he was now sitting close enough to the edge that he very well could be soon.

Talk about a step in the wrong direction..." Why don't you...ah come back this way, Nathan?"

He shook his head.

" Come on, just back to where you were. I'll stay over here." And to prove this, Charles backed up further. Slowly, and carefully, he sat down on the roof across from the vocalist; hoping to appear as less of a threat this way.

Nathan stared at him for a solid minute before he did anything else. His head raised only a little, seemingly considering this request of movement. Charles sat still this time, waiting patiently as he was evaluated. Finally, Nathan moved back to his original position; sitting with his arms on top of his knees. Only now he faced the CFO fully, instead of facing thin air. And he wasn't doing so because he suddenly wanted to spill his guts.

Charles made it a point to avoid staring back at the vocalist. The last thing he wanted to do was irritate him further. " Nathan...I need to know where that blood came from."

The lead singer blinked, then looked down at himself. It was as if he were just now noticing the splash of dried blood on his left arm, the side of his face and in his hair. There was a grunt, in what Charles interpreted as annoyance, and Nathan was trying to clean himself off. Abruptly, he stopped though, and did his very best impression of a turtle trying to hide in its shell. He hunkered down, crossing his arms and resting his chin on them.

There was another step back. Charles hummed quietly, and considered a different matter of approach. Nathan didn't move the whole time he did this, until the wind blew by fast enough to blind him with black. He huffed, and raked the long dark strands back. Yet, as he did so, his hand came in contact with something. Closing his fingers around it, he frowned and brought his hand down. Whatever he saw when he opened his hand was enough to make color drain from his face. His hand jerked, and the contents hit the area of the roof between them. The CFO had to squint a bit to see around the sunlight's glare. It was easy to identify such things, when you had seen them before, after all.

Such things like skull fragments and brain matter.

Well, that was certainly unexpected. It was not the first time one of his boys had been covered in human parts. But it was a first for one of them to react so badly to it. Then again, they were becoming seriously concerned about their health these days. They'd all but given Pickles a death sentence and put him in the ground from the doctor's report. Before that, his boys were nearly crushed under ancient rock.

It was a more stressful month than usual, now that Charles thought about it. Maybe more stressful year considering the financial situation his boys had almost gotten themselves into. Then their reputation. Now this health business. On some level, Charles was proud that they were paying more attention to the world around them, not just what existed in and around Mordhaus. But now, as he looked at the lead singer, who was frantically grooming his hair of anything else unpleasant, he wondered how much of that was a good thing.

He'd heard of parents not wanting their children to grow up. Some of his college friends, with their own families and such, would say things like that. At the time, Charles thought it was silly. Why wouldn't you want your kids to grow up and become independent, productive members of society as soon as possible? Why wouldn't you rush them to know the things that you know?

Now he didn't wonder so much anymore. " Nathan...did something bad happen?"

The lead singer had settled down again, resting his chin on his arms. He wasn't watching Charles with so much suspicion now. However, at his question, his linebacker body tensed up considerably. At first, the CFO thought that was all he was going to get. His patience was rewarded though, with a slow nod.

" I see..." His hand raised to adjust his glasses. Charles wanted to make sure he didn't miss any body language or any other non-verbal clues Nathan might give him.

He would have had to have been mentally incompetent to miss the meaning of what the lead singer did next. Slowly, Nathan opened his mouth and bared his teeth. The band manager thought this might be a precursor to his speaking, or perhaps another grunt. But the vocalist only pointed to his teeth. Then his hand moved, index and middle finger extended to point at the side of his head.

Like a gun.

" ...Oh." It was a simple word of acknowledgment.

Yet, as soon as he said it, Nathan's body language changed from semi-placid to completely agitated. He looked angry enough to punch a hole in the roof. When his hand dropped away from his head, Charles feared he might. " ...Why?"

His gravelly voice sounded even more rough than usual. Like it did when he first emerged from liver surgery. Gravel in a metal drum, being shaken around after sitting idle. Had the lead singer really not spoken to anyone since his hunting trip the day before? And now he was speaking to Charles; asking for the answer to a very important question that the CFO wasn't sure he had. " Well...Nathan, everyone's conscious is different. The human mind is a complicated place that psychologists and psychoanalysts try to comprehend even to this da–"

This time when Nathan grunted irritably and shook his head, the band manager knew what he was doing wrong.

" Ah...my apologies...You're right, it's too early for such big words. I ah...don't know why, Nathan."

That did not placate him in the least. " He was my friend..." His hand raised to rake his hair back from his face, but clenched on top of his head in a show of frustration. " I'm Nathan Explosion. People kill each other and climb over the bodies just to get a look at me. Women have killed themselves just because they thought they would never be able to stand next to me. Well he was! He was hanging out with me! On a hunting trip with me! He was friends with me! Nathan Ex-fucking-plosion! And he still blew his goddamn head off!"

Short of being on stage with a microphone in his hand, Charles thought that may have been the longest, most coherent thing Nathan had ever said in his presence. That, in and of itself was very telling of what he initially thought was a situation of just a moody client. Sighing, he removed his glasses and held them folded in his hands. " Nathan...I understand that this may be hard for you to believe, but..." He waited until the vocalist was looking at him again before he continued. " ...the lives of some people don't revolve around Dethklok. Now I'm sure he enjoyed your company. After all, he was hanging out with you. Unfortunately...that may not have been enough to fix whatever other problems were going on in his life."

Nathan blinked a few times as he processed this. Or tried to. Charles could practically see the gears in the younger man's head stalling around the concept he presented him with. He was nothing if he was not patient. (Lord, was he patient.) Now the band manager was prepared for any number of things to come out of the lead singer's mouth; fully expecting them to range from childish, to asinine, to downright stupid.

" Why not?"

Anything but that.

That actually gave him pause, and he needed a second to process what he had just been asked. Now, Nathan Explosion was not a small man by any definition of the word. He was literally built like a linebacker in the same way Michael Phelps was just built for swimming. Broad hips and shoulders, tree trunk legs, wide chest and wingspan, plus the stamina to cram a microphone down his throat and scream into it for hours on end. Most people who bumped into him ended up apologizing profusely, whether it was their fault or not. He was just an all around imposing figure whether he was standing up or sitting down.

But right now, sitting in front of his manager with his head down and knees up to his chin, his green eyes watching, expecting an answer to what he just did not understand, he looked like a 4-year-old boy. A boy who decided 'dead' was not good enough. He wanted to know why the hell his newest friend wasn't moving anymore no matter what he said or promised.

Charles didn't feel guilt very often. (Or ever, really.) But he was definitely feeling some of it now. None of this would have ever happened if he hadn't forced Nathan to the dentist. However irrational this thought was, and he knew it, all he wanted to do was take the pain away from one of his boys. He resolved all other dentistry appointments would take place in Mordhaus and the dentists would just come to Nathan. After a thorough psychological screening, of course.

The vocalist's gaze was unrelenting. Charles knew that an answer was required of him, less he risk damaging his relationship with Nathan beyond forgiveness. He wanted to say something that would just make this all better; insulate the lead singer from further painful knowledge. And if he were 4-years-old, he probably would have. But he was bordering on thirty. There were lots of times that Charles intentionally kept things from his boys for their protection or the subject's protection. This, unfortunately, could not be one of those times.

Nathan would detect any lie he spun, likely take it as an insult to his intelligence, and promptly shut the band manager's out indefinitely. Likewise, anything he said that had too many big words in it, he would take as an attempt to blow smoke up his ass and shut him out just as well. Fingering his glasses idly, Charles resolved to let one of his boys grow up. " Sometimes Nathan...You can do everything right. Everything. And bad things will still happen. People will die. Plans get ruined. It's not your fault or anyone else's. It's just a part of life."

The cloud cover lifted. He could see the gears turning behind the green screen as the lead singer frowned deeply. He was silent for a full two minutes before he shifted, stretching his legs out and bracing his arms on the metal surface behind himself. When he sighed and ran a hand through his hair, both of them relaxed somewhat. " ...Brutal."

A chuckle escaped him before he could stop it. " I agree." His frontman looked almost like his old self again. His physical appearance hadn't changed much, aside from dark circles from his apparent lack of sleep. Yet, he looked a little older, or more mature. Feeling the tension all but fade to nothing, Charles pushed to his feet and placed his glasses back on his face. " Would you like to come down with me, Nathan?"

The vocalist grunted and looked off to the side. " M'just gonna...hang out up here a little while longer...You can tell those jackoffs to stop calling my name though."

" You're not going to slide off and fall to your death?" He was kidding. Sort of.

The answer he got was an arrogant toss of the head once the frontman reoriented himself to face the property. " Please. I've been climbing things since I was two. I don't know how to fall."

Yep. Nathan was definitely back to normal. Or as normal as he got. Charles looked after him for a moment longer, then decided he'd give the younger man his time before convincing him to come down. After all, he'd managed to find his way up there in the dark, barefoot and distraught without getting hurt. Considering that as he moved to the door that housed the stairs down, Charles made a mental note to have some kind of senor put on it. Best not to waste resources should something like this happen again.

Just as Charles was about to go through the door and wish Nathan a good mornin–well, afternoon now, he was nearly bowled over as four males all tried to come through the door at once. He realized this was about to happen thankfully and promptly moved out of the way.

The remaining members of Dethklok stood behind their now calm and cross-legged lead singer, all of them awkwardly and in various states of fidgeting. Toki, who had apparently stopped crying at some point before climbing the stairs with the rest of his bandmates, came forward first and just collapsed around Nathan's shoulders. This only minutely startled the frontman, who tipped forward with the new weight, but adjusted and patted the arms he was suddenly wearing.

Skwisgaar was next, with his faithful Gibson strapped over his back. He carefully made his way over to vocalist's right side and sat down. Their eyes only met in a glance before his guitar found new placement in his lap; fingers back to business as usual.

Pickles and Murderface looked at each other, then the drummer shrugged and ambled over with a nearly full bottle of vodka. And it was that image that had Charles quickly calling two of the bigger Klokateers to stand guard at the door as he descended. As soon as one of them even looked like they were swaying, he wanted his boys carried off the roof.

" See Toki? Told ya Nat'n was feen..." Pickles nudged the vocalist and offered his bottle of vodka. To which Nathan shook his head but gestured for him to knock himself out. Of course, Pickles needed no more prompting.

The Scandinavian had yet to release his hold on the lead singer's shoulders. He, in fact, was in the process of examining him for any life-threatening injuries. " You has us worrieds Na'tan! I thoughts you hamburger-times. Where ams you bleedings?"

" Schtupid Toki, it'sch OBVIOUSCHLY not hisch blood!" Murderface only paused in his knife-scraping of the roof long enough to roll his eyes.

Skwisgaar looked up from his playing, glancing around, then nudging Nathan. " Dis ams nice view of Mordhaus up heres. I can sees why you likes it."

" Yeah," Nathan grunted, "it was a real nice view. Then you guys got up here."

Charles let the chorus of a few 'fuck you's and laughter in at least four different languages that followed him down the stairs ease his anxiety. His lead singer was feeling better. His boys were back in their usual rowdy state. Mordhaus probably got cleaned better than it ever had in the search. All and all, it was turning out to be a good day where no one got hurt.

" Hey Dogface...wanna make some money?"

He wished those orderlies of Klokateers to hurry the hell up though.