Toki runs away from the band when they are about to visit his father into a snowy forest. Nathan goes to find him.
Toki had never been on his own like this before.
The forest was dark, so dark he could barely see, his only source of light came from the moon. It created a white road across the glittering snow, marked with his footsteps, and he was sure he had ran far enough. He couldn't see his house now, only the tiniest, faintest lights that came from the huge motorbike that the band drove in. His chest was heaving from exhaustion, and the cold was biting, but he didn't care. Someone would look for him, he knew that for certain - but he didn't know whether it would be his father or not. Inflicting the scars he had, once again. The dark lines on his back, sometimes the fainter ones. But that was the reason he never removed his shirt on stage, like Skwisgaar sometimes did, and he only ever took it off when he was totally alone. No one could ever know.
He found a bare spot of grass underneath a tree, and sat there, uncaring of the wetness that was seeping through the bottom of his jeans. Toki let out a shaky sigh, wrapped his arms around himself, and closed his eyes. He felt inside himself the need for his band, even if they were shouting at him. He needed their presence. He needed Pickles's funny accent and cracking all his jokes, whilst drinking. Maybe he would share it with Toki to drown his sorrows. He needed Murderface and his temper tantrums that so amused Toki. He needed Skwisgaar and he needed him to be in the mood to comfort Toki somewhat. Most of all, he felt that he needed Nathan. Nathan was always so strong through anything. Even in his childhood, nothing could break through his solid suit of armour. Nathan was invincible, unbeatable. Especially on stage.
The silence was nothing like Toki could ever comprehend. There was no sound, not even the wind. As if the night had ordered everything in its kingdom to remain utterly still, and Toki did not want to disturb that silence even in his freezing and uncomfortable position. Anything, if it meant getting away from his father. Anything, if it meant feeling safe. Toki liked to feel safe. He craved it. Needed it. The silence was overwhelming, unbelievably quiet. He could no longer hear the distant sound of the sea, or a dog barking.
And then he heard his heartbeat, for the first time in his life, assuring Toki that time was going on. He was alive - alone, freezing, close to crying tears that would freeze to icicles, but alive. He inhaled, then exhaled slowly, watching the fog that seeped from his mouth form shapes in the air, then dissipate forever. He wasn't wearing his fleece. Only his T-shirt and jeans. The cold was beginning to hurt now, but in a dull ache that was almost comforting. Toki's eyes drooped, and he rested his head on his knees, bringing them to his chest. He just hoped that the right person would find him.
Nathan barged through an endless maze of branches, focusing straight ahead, braving the glacial cold and concentrating only on what was ahead. The name ran through his mind, the sight of Toki running into darkness was engraved to his memory, burned to his brain. Snow covered his body, but it brushed off with every stride he took. Only one thing was going through his mind. Toki Toki Toki Toki. Was his rhythm guitarist even still alive? Being out in the cold for so long would more than likely kill someone. For the first time since he remembered, a knot of worry tightened around his stomach and suffocated him. It was difficult to breathe, difficult to focus. He was just running. Running further and harder and faster than he ever had.
He stopped running to observe the silence around him. He heard no voices, no whine-singing from Toki, no screams, no nothing. He looked upwards at the sky that was dominated by the black silhouettes of the trees, and then, disturbing the dead silence that hung around, he roared out.
Nathan began to walk, small, nocturnal birds flying away and squawking in disapproval at the disturbance. The singer continued to shout, walking absently in any direction, following the faint footsteps on the snow that he hoped belonged to the Norwegian. He was in the middle of shouting for Toki once more when he heard a small voice call back to him, distant, far away. A light in the darkness, and Nathan had to reach it. He would claw his way, dig his way, fight his way. The previous hopelessness and failure began to be replaced by pride and success, and he shouted out once more.
"TOKI! Can you hear me?"
In the distance, a tiny voice. "Nathan? Nathans, is that yous?"
"Where are you?" the singer roared as loud as he could muster, not even flinching as his vocal cords violently rattled against his throat.
"Where the FUCK is here?"
Toki began to sing loudly, no particular tune, just 'la la la' over and over, but Nathan quickly realised it was to help the lead singer find him quicker. Nathan followed the voice, using natural instinct and spatial ability to locate the rhythm guitarist. He brushed through trees, looking around frantically, disappointed when there was still no Toki to be seen. But Nathan, always the fighter, never gave up. He ran until he found Toki, wrapped around his knees, a thin layer of frost forming on his skin and his hair wet with damp.
"Toki!" Nathan cried, rushing up to the rhythm guitarist, but suddenly halting himself when the younger man began to cry loudly. "Toki, what the fuck is wrong? Why did you run away?"
"I'm fine, Nathans," Toki protested, rubbing his eyes with great difficulty. His fingertips were red and numb, painful to move. "I t-thoughts for a seconds you w-was my fathers...and I was scareds you woulds hurt mes, like he dids--"
"Wait, what?" Nathan questioned, making space for himself and sitting next to Toki, who covered himself even more, burying his head into his knees until Nathan couldn't even see his face. "Toki, tell me what the fuck happened to you. You said your father hurt you. Did he?" Unable to believe it himself, Nathan couldn't even comprehend what he was asking.
Toki was crying now, shivering violently, tears running down his jeans from his eyes, fighting them with his knuckles pressed against his face. But he managed to nod, and Nathan raised an eyebrow. Toki had never been good with telling people about themselves. But the singer could tell that Toki was probably about to let it all out. And Nathan understood that the rhythm guitarist, the baby of the band, desperately needed someone that would listen. Skwisgaar would more than likely laugh, Murderface would relate it to himself, Pickles...? Pickles could have listened, but only to drink it off and totally forget. Nathan seemed to be the ideal candidate.
"When I w-was a little b-boys," Toki sobbed, lifting his head up, his voice more higher than usual. "My dad u-used to hits me f-for alls kinds of t-things. And..." The rhythm guitarist's bottom lip trembled, the idea of actually revealing his self-destructive secret to Nathan was too much. But it had to be done. Someone had to know, someone who could actually keep a secret. Someone who wouldn't laugh in his face.
Toki turned his back to Nathan, and looked to his right. "Nathans, I can shows you what he d-dids...p-pull my sh-shirts u-up..." Stuttering worse than ever. Nathan was confused at the request, even tempted to dismiss it off as 'gay', but he edged over to Toki more, fumbled about in the darkness until he found the bottom of Toki's shirt. Then, with guidance, he pulled it up. And what he saw made him take everything back about treating Toki like a weak little brother. Toki Wartooth was the most brutal of all in Dethklok.
His back, the skin that should have been pale and innocent, was scarred. The brilliant white tainted with cerise spiderwebs of scars. It shocked Nathan to his very core, and the guilt was like no emotion he had never let into his mind before. It ripped him, compressed him, tore him into pieces. He rested his hand flat on Toki's back, rubbing a scar with his thumb, and listening to Toki cry for just a moment. He placed his shirt back down over the Norwegian's freezing body, and Toki faced him, guilt and embarassment masking his features.
"You a-are the o-only ones that k-knows, Nathans," Toki sobbed, edging closer and closer to Nathan, hope in his heart that the singer wouldn't shove him away. "A-And you has to k-keep m-me warms, o-otherwise I-I'll dies..."
Toki buried himself in Nathan, lying across his lap and face in his arm, trying to get as close as possible. Nathan looked down at the rhythm guitarist and instinctively his arm moved around Toki's back to hold him. He looked at the sky, closed his eyes. Mouthed two words - "Why me?" - and sighed, his arms wrapping around Toki and he was glad he had his black jacket on. Nathan sighed once again. Something was flowing through his blood, something he'd never felt before. Each time he looked down at Toki, the rhythm guitarist looked...well...cute. He felt warm, content. Even with a huge frown on his pale face. Maybe this was what love felt like. A sort of brotherly love. Nathan removed his arms from Toki - coercing a whine forward and the tears started again - but the tiny man was silenced by a large weight over him, like a warm blanket. Nathan's jacket.
"Won't you be c-colds, Nathans?" Toki questioned. "You can'ts dies! That amn't b-brutal..."
"It's totally brutal."
"Not if it's y-yous dyings."
"It's not called dying. It's hamburger time."
Toki's laugh bubbled from his swollen, cold lips, filling the dead air with life. "I cannot believes you remembers thats, Nathan!" He paused for a moment, settling into the singer more. "Was thats the times when Pickles thoughts he was dy- sorrys...hamburger times. I ams glad Pickles didn't. I would have missed hims."
The younger man felt Nathan move, and his body move with him. It took a few moments to realise that Nathan was standing up, and he was carrying Toki. Not over his shoulder. Close to him, almost bridal style. Nathan's mind was exploding with questions and answers, battling it out with his own conscience.
This is so not brutal, in fact, it's so un-brutal it makes me want to be buried alive.
But then again, I…oh, fucking hell. I do care about the little guy. There. I admitted it.
It's still so un-brutal. If the guys see me carrying a guy like a fucking dude would carry his motherfucking wife, I will die. I will die, right now.
Nathan finally saw the light of the Murdercycle through the trees, and he heard Toki shift in his arms. The rhythm guitarist was smiling. Just as Nathan took a step, the Norwegian jumped out of his arms and ran out of the forest, towards the Murdercycle, where his bandmates were sitting.
"This ams dildos. Where is Nathans and Toki?"
"Inschensitive bastards left us here."
"Ye, I know, it's like, I jest wanna go-- the FUCK?"
Pickles was removed from his position in the Murdercycle to being in Toki's arms, possibly crushed by the tightness of the hug. The drummer gasped and begged for air - "Git affa me, you're squeezin' my nipples aff!" - pretty sure Nathan was trying to kill him for whatever reason, but once he heard Toki's childlike laughter, not Nathan, he stopped moving.
"'Ey, 'ey, Toki," Pickles greeted, pushing the rhythm guitarist gently from him, his chest heaving. "That's enough fer now. Y'alright?"
"I thinks so," Toki sighed happily, burying his face into Pickles' black vest, the only source of heat the drummer was receiving.
Nathan soon followed, his shirt damp with frost, and he watched Toki hug all the members of Dethklok. Even Murderface couldn't refuse. Everyone knew Toki's love of hugs and kisses. The cold seemed to dissipate when Toki's arms were around them. His warmth was never-ending, in constant supply. His love for his band-mates stretched to infinity.
"Take it ye don't wanna go talk to yer old man?" Pickles questioned, his arm draped over Toki's shoulder. "Did'na think ye liked yer family all dat much."
"You guys are my family," Toki softly whispered, his words forming into ice and disappearing forever. But they remained with the band, all seemed to brighten up at the sheer thought of it. None of them would admit it unless pressured. They cared about Toki. They cared about each other. Dethklok was nothing if any of them weren't there. Toki closed his eyes and then opened them again, met with the sight of the black material on Pickles' vest. It was true. Dethklok was his family. He had to move on from his terrifying past and focus on the present.
"Yeah, well," Nathan began, scratching the back of his head. "Uh…yeah. Dethklok is family, I guess."
"I woulds rather has Dethklok than has my mom," Skwisgaar sighed, much to the dismay and shock of Murderface.
"How can you schay that, Schkwisgaar? Your mom isch a beautiful woman."
"Pfffft," Skwisgaar rolled his eyes. "She's a whores. I walked ins on her havings you-knows-whats with two other mens. Gee, thanks, moms. Dethkloks is family. I knows that you guys wouldn't leaves any of us all alones."
"My dad's an asshole," Pickles groaned as Nathan started up the Murdercycle. "Told me I belonged in a garbage can. Well, he nevah done nuthin' with his life. At least I fuckin' made it somewhere. My parents just breg and breg about my fucking bruvva, and he's an ex-cahn! Dethklok is my family, I don't want nuthin' to do with my fucking dad or any of 'em."
"You do nots belongs in the garbage cans," Skwisgaar commented, nodding at his proud statement. Much to the shock of Pickles, who had never heard Skwisgaar paying anyone comfort before. "You ams good drummers. But you am still dildos at the guitars."
"The fact that my parents had sex to create me makes me wanna be buried alive," Nathan growled. "And uh, none of you need to have sex to create any of us…so. Yeah. Family."
Toki fell asleep in the Murdercycle on the journey back to the Dethplane. Pickles kept an eye on him, while Murderface and Skwisgaar argued over the fact whether their new album had "zazz" or not. The redhead refused to be involved in such an inane argument. While he was thinking about nothing in particular, the adorable sleeping Toki caught his eye.
"Nathan, 'ey, buddy, you jest gunna let Toki have yer jacket? Don't go friggin' dyin'--"
"--I mean hemburger time on us."
Nathan looked aside at the rhythm guitarist.
"No. He can keep it."
As the Murdercycle drove further and further away from the house, from the nightmare, Toki smiled in his sleep. Around his biological family, he was unhappy. But around Dethklok, he felt needed, wanted, and even though no one said it, cared about. Even if admitting sadness made him gay, Toki would still do it.
Emotions amd family were just things that couldn't be avoided.