Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters or Once Upon A Time - the trolls Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz do. If I did, I'd make them canon faster than lighting.
Light starting to peek through the curtains, Killian groaned and curled in the bed. It was too early to analyze why his head felt like someone had decided to use it as a piñata and hit it repeatedly. Or why his eyelids felt like they were welded to his face. Or why everything ached.
Well, that one wasn't too difficult to guess, really. He had gotten royally pissed again the night before.
Sitting up against the - wait, where was the pillow? - he finally opened bloodshot eyes. Blinking repeatedly, he coughed and tried to moisten his completely dry lips. This was the downside of a well-known partying routine, he pondered.
Considering he was rotten rich, attractive and succesfull, what else was a guy to do? As such, he was no stranger to the heavy headed feeling of a still-fresh hangover.
While trying to decide if getting up was the best course of action - staying in bed seemed like the most plausible option, the hammering in his head making him wince in pain every now and then - his phone suddenly beeped, alerting him of a new text. Stretching his arm and noting as an afterthought the little stamp on his hand reading 'Wonderland', one of the fancy clubs he liked to frequent now and then, he picked up the device.
Killian rolled his eyes. Surprise.
Please tell me you didn't end up in a gutter again. I'm in no mood.
Snickering to himself and ready to come up with some good old irish comedy, he froze. August wasn't the only one who had tried to contact him. Not in a long shot. He had several texts, calls, and even a voice message from Jefferson.
For fuck's sake, even Gold had called.
He got up, suddenly worried something terrible had happened. He scratched his head while dialing August, seeing as he was the last one who had tried to get a hold of him. Soft beeping in the back, Killian proceeded to poke through his drawers looking for a pill to easy his headache. Entering the kitchen, he finally found a couple of aspirins lying in the counter. He was filling a glass of water when his friend finally picked up.
"You'd better have an explanation"
Killian smirked. "Don't worry, she meant anything to me – you're always the first in my heart"
He heard him chuckle on the other line. "I don't even wanna hear it. You know what I mean."
"Actually no. What the hell is going on? Did someone set on fire the studio? Someone tried to hit on Belle again and Gold is blaming me?"
Killian wasn't sure how he knew it, but the sigh that left his mate's lips was one of those you could actually translate into words. Sure, the usual one read 'You're an idiot and I don't know how I actually put up with you'. But this one was one that had him a bit concerned. It was one of those. One that said 'You're screwed. This was important'.
"Killian, you didn't show up to the interview."
He dropped his head on the counter and groaned. Oh God. Gold was so going to cut off his balls this time. How had he forgotten? They had been warning him about it for weeks.
"You still there?"
He sighed. "Yeah, still here."
"You'd better show your sorry ass here asap. We're all waiting for you."
He tried humor. "Please promise me you'll have an intervention banner with you when I get there?"
"I wouldn't put it past Jefferson – he's gone completely mad. You'll have to deal with him. In fact, you'll have to deal with everybody."
"See you there, mate."
Dropping the phone beside the untouched glass of water, Killian rubbed his face and an humorless chuckle left his lips. Of course Jefferson would be mad. He couldn't blame him – he had royally fucked up. Again.
He'd have to talk to all of them. His band. His manager. His best friends. His freaking family.
While he picked up a clean shirt and a pair of jeans, his eyes settled on one of that month's magazines, where his band's logo was splayed in the cover under some stupid line he had spat in one of those interviews: The Lost Boys. Some would say that they were flavor of the month material, but Mr. Gold had made sure that was not the case: they'd fought hard to get where they were, and if one thing was true about Gold, it was that he liked to get hold of his power. Alas, he ensured they were not one of those fleeting rock groups who ended up splitting up after a couple of years of skyrocketing fame and faces haunting every teenage girl on the planet. That was not his plan. And he made sure it went exactly how he had designed it would.
He had first met the man when his friend Jefferson told him he was interested in him. They both played every now and then at some seedy pubs - 'a gig is a gig', as his mate would always say when he'd scrunch up his nose at the questionable sanitary conditions of the places they'd sometimes go – and maybe a couple of better-known clubs if they were lucky. Killian wasn't too eager to see him, truth be told – but he trusted Jefferson, and who could say this lad wouldn't be the opportunity they had always dreamt of? He had grown up picturing himself in big stages, rocking away his soul to screaming audiences knowing by heart his lyrics. He had moved from Ireland to LA to fulfill that dream, knocking from one door to another trying to get a recording contract with any record label available. Who would have guessed there were thousands of other aspiring artists out there?
He should have known he'd have to go to the deal's man himself: Mr. Gold.
Whatever he may look like in his crisp suit and piercing eyes, the lad was a real shark, a fucking predator with a cane. He could see the potential in everything and everyone, and worked it for his advantage in any way he saw fit. What he saw in Killian when he first met him, he'd never know – though he'd give his left hand to find out. They had a few meetings and auditions, he met the rest of the bandmates, they discussed different approaches and possibilities of how his music and image could go, and the final proposal was made. The Lost Boys were born.
Killian hadn't been too sure about the whole band thing: he had always found his connection with music as something deeply personal, too far intimate to share it with anyone. Gold had made him see how the band would benefit him – and all of them of course – and how they all agreed: they were not a boy band. They were no Backstreet Boys. They didn't dance, they didn't all sing – he was the lead, they were his bandmates, though they were not his bitches. They were his other half. His better half, now that he care to admit it.
Also, as Gold cruelly pointed out – five pretty boy faces wouldn't hurt with the female fanbase.
As he made his way to the studio, where all their 'serious stuff conversations' took place, he wondered what courses of action they'd take from there - even if they'd chance the possibility of kicking him out of the band. He gulped. He had been fucking around too much. Those first years had been the best of his life: they were hard, of course it was no bed of roses - they had fought with nails and teeth to reach the comforting place they were today. Endless nights of writing, ongoing fights between them, a couple of scares here and there with voice trouble, and the crippling anxiety of believing they were never going to make it.
The thought almost made him laugh now.
The Lost Boys were meant to rise. He knew it now. They'd been called from "unstoppable", to "full of hope", and even some hilarious nonsense Philip had found online where each one of them in the band supposedly represented fairytale characters. That one had been epic. He still found himself grinning like an idiot remembering the laughs it had entailed. Ah, the girls... the sweet fangirls. What would they do without them?
Wether they were charming princes or not, Killian wouldn't have any other knights in battle than Philip, August, Jefferson and Victor. They'd braved anything thrown their way: angry reporters, paps, cat fights in clubs, media bashing – everything you could possibly face in the business. They were the Lost Boys, the orphans who had found each other and wanted to act like kids and go on adventures until the end of time.
And what better way to never grow up than having a band?
Leaving his car beside August's signature bike – seriously, he could afford the newest Hurley in the market and he still rode that piece of crap, what was the guy thinking? - and made his way into the building, blinking his eyes furiously as the midday sun hit his face. He saw Belle, Gold's wife, sitting on her spot roaming around a ton of papers, maniacally looking for something. He neared her stealthily from behind as to not startle her and put his hands on her eyes, effectively blinding her. "Friend or foe?" he whispered faking a ridiculous accent.
"Killian Jones, if you so much as try to humor me after what happened this morning I will lock you down in the elevator for a week" she declared, taking off her hair the cute glasses she wore when she was reading – as in, all the time. Damn, the woman always carried around a book or two in her purse. Killian always liked to joke about how she was the easiest person to give gifts in the whole planet: any kind of printed document, about literally anything, and she was putty in your hands.
He kissed her cheek and sighed. "That bad, huh?"
"I'm afraid it is. Killian, what were you thinking? You knew this one was really important, we've been telling you about it for months! I cannot assure you if they'll give you another interview, I had to work my ass off for this guy to agree – you know not everybody buys your charm, and it was a favor from a friend of work just for YOU of all people, you don't even wanna know how Rump is..."
Well, that didn't help matters. Belle was one of the most respected music journalists out there and always tried to put a good word for them whenever she met any other colleagues and big shots in the industry. And she didn't do it just for his husband's sake – she was deeply fond of all of them. She liked to act as their adopted mother, hugging them every time they ran into each other, bringing them take-away the long days of recording, remembering each and one of their birthdays and draping blankets over sleeping forms in the studio couch.
Shit, now he really felt like a complete asshole.
"Hey, Bells. Hey. I know. I feel like crap. I really do. I don't know what I was thinking, I swear – I forgot it was today."
"Yeah, sure you didn't. I bet you got so drunk last night you didn't even remember your name." She said, looking up at his face. She put her hands on her face and got up, pushing him along the way and leading him to the room where the rest of the Inquisition would surely be waiting for him with a couple of torches and some ritual to voodoo him with.
"Come on. Time to face the music" she whispered as she opened the door.
"When don't I?" he murmured, taking the final step. He saw Gold talking in hushed whispers on the phone pacing the side of the room. That was no good. Philip was sitting in the couch beside August, quietly playing a random tune on his guitar. In the middle of the room sat Jefferson, playing cards on his own – he always carried a pack of cards, said the magic tricks kept the ladies entertained (who did the guy want to kid anyway, he hadn't gotten laid since his wife had passed away years ago). Killian did know in fact that he learned them for Grace's sake. What he didn't know was how to make his mate understand his little girl would enjoy anything he did. There was no denying the kid adored him. And she was the apple of his eye in return.
Victor was smoking in the corner, aimlessly making idle forms with the smoke leaving his lips. Uh oh. It had to be bad if he was smoking. He only delved into his 'guilty pleasure', as he liked to call it, when he was upset or really nervous about something. He was betting on the first option.
August was the first one to notice him. He mock saluted him and opened his arms. "If it isn't our very own prodigal son", he quipped.
He rolled his eyes. "Where's my intervention banner again?"
"You are such an asshole. You don't need an intervention. You need a new brain. And a new liver, now that we're at it, I'm sure."
"My liver is fine, thank you for your concern. And why would I need a new brain anyway?"
"To learn how to properly read a fucking calendar, maybe", Jefferson added from his seat, not even bothering to look at him.
"Enough." Killian internally winced, noting the cold tone Gold had used. His manager approached the table and motioning to all of them to sit around it. He was in trouble alright. "Jones, sit down. We need to talk."
"And here is my intervention. I knew it was bound to happen."
Philip made an exasperated noise. "Killian, for the love of God, do you ever shut up?"
"Ah, but if I did shut up, we wouldn't have this band thing, now would we?"
"Jones. Sit. Now."
They all gathered around and looked at Gold, waiting for the unleash that was sure to come. He rubbed his temples as if they hurt, and finally set his eyes on Killian. "Where in hell were you this morning, and I hope you have a better excuse than 'a crocodile ate my alarm clock'. You've used that one too many times, Jones, and I'm in no kidding mood. You fucked up for real today."
Exhaling a deep breath, he raised his head and looked at his manager in the eyes. "I know. I'm sorry. I don't know how I could forget about it. It won't happen again."
"Damn right it won't happen again, or we'll all be in the street by the end of the year." Gold growled between his teeth.
"I already told you I'm sorry – wait, what? What does this interview have to do with anything?" His head snapped up at warp speed, not sure if he had heard correctly. Damn, was the thing so bloody important it'd cost them their future? He couldn't see how. It was not like they couldn't keep writing their music and selling copies like bagels.
Gold left his seat and walked to the corner, where he had his briefcase. He brought it with him to the table, not opening it until he reached his place again. He took out a couple of magazines and his laptop. "You haven't been keeping up these last months, have you, Jones? I don't know what's going on with you lately, but this is getting out of hand. I mean, what - " he lost what the old man was saying when he spotted some of the pictures and headlines in the cover. For fuck's sake, was that him? Where had those been taken?
Killian was not new to drunk encounters with the paps, but dear God, these were absolutely dreadful. One of the headlines made him cringe in his seat - "Killian Jones lost his pixie dust?", followed by a photo of his slumped form in a club, drink in hand and sweaty forehead creased. He closed his eyes. This was not good. Not at all.
He lifted his gaze and saw his friends staring at him, looks going from concerned to pissed. August clapped a hand on his shoulder and picked up the magazine he had been browsing while Gold kept bantering in the back, going on and on about all the kind of crap the media had been spitting about them after Killian's "rough patch" had stricken those few months ago. He left his face drop in his hands. He didn't want to go there.
He didn't want to think about that time.
Thankfully, Philip, bless his pure soul, interrupted Gold mid rant. "Gold, I don't think we're going anywhere repeating all of this. Killian does need a good earful for this but it's not gonna really help just sit around and blame him for everything. We all know we're screwed if this goes on. The thing is – we should be debating what to do from here. Right?"
Silence fell over the room. Victor spoke for the first time since Killian had gotten in there. "I agree. But first we should ask Jones here for the last time to actually compromise and not fuck it up again."
All eyes on him again, he gulped and nodded. While most of them seemed appeased by the gesture, Jefferson looked at him with hooded eyes. "Or maybe we should find out what the hell has been haunting him these days, pulling him into this freaking nightmare he has dragged us into."
Killian debated between praising his mate for his beautiful prose or punching him in the face. He didn't need this. Not today of all days. "Shut it, Jeff, or I swear I'll beat you into a pulp and not even Grace will recognize his papa's face."
"Kids..." Gold clapped his hands, as if he were a kindergarden teacher asking for attention. "...stop it. Philip is right. Jones, your mistake, our doom. Got it? So we need to fix this, and soon, or not even the best record you can ever come up with will save us. You understand how fans can see this, right? How the media can manipulate anything and everything you do and turn it into something we cannot handle? It's like a monster, feeding off your lives and selling them to the world. It may not be fair, but it's what we got. Now: damage control."
"We need to be in good graces with the media again – show that Jones here isn't in some self destruction mission or something alike", he threw a pointed look in his direction, as if daring him to contradict him. He didn't. "So. If my poor wife actually can reschedule that damned interview or find any other poor soul ready to face off you five bastards, you'll all have to do it, of course, ready to charm the pants off anybody who crosses your way."
"Well, I don't think we'll have a problem with that," Victor muttered under his breath with a little smirk. That was more like him. Dark humor.
"Not so fast, dearies. Damage control means getting measures fast. Seeing as we've lost a bit of our touch these past months, we need to act now. So, in order to show how recovered our charming frontman is, we are all attending this lovely gala we've been invited. Now, listen: I don't want any surprises. I don't want fights, drunk behavior of any kind, slurred words or raised voices, do you hear me? I'll skin each one of you alive if something goes wrong." Gold held a finger threateningly at them
Jefferson looked up indignantly. "Woah woah – why are you bullying all of us? It is Killian you should be worried about!"
"Yeah mate, 'cause you are not known for getting into fights whenever you have a few drinks, right?" Killian smirked at his friend, earning him a glare.
"So where and when is the lovely occasion taking place?" August looked tired about the thing already. Killian knew he wasn't that fond of parties and attention as he was, though he looked like he enjoyed them when he actually went. He was more of the stay-at-home-and-work-with-his-dad-type, even if you would never believe it whenever he had his drumsticks with him rocking out any of their songs.
"Tomorrow night, the Savoy Hotel. 8 PM. No excuses. See you there looking sharp and ready to rise up, or so God help me we're in trouble."
The old man took his cane and his briefcase and finally left the room without glancing back at them, knowing they were all too stunned to even try to complain about anything. They all breathed out with relief when his footsteps became a faint noise in the distance, and chuckled a bit at their antics.
Philip clapped Killian on the back. "So... you never got to tell us what you really did last night."
"Or who." Victor's eyebrow rose and smirked at him. He let out a laugh.
"Ladies, you know I don't kiss and tell. Let a fella have his secrets."
They all rolled his eyes, as they always did. But this was how they were. How they liked to be around each other. They didn't have to put an act for anybody in here.
"You won't fuck up tomorrow, will you?" August's eyes pierced his for a moment.
Killian considered it. He knew things had to change. He wouldn't wallow in misery after the incident – he couldn't. He had ruined their reputation enough because of it. He had let his own life mess up with their professional one – and had compromised it, which he couldn't ignore anymore. He wouldn't let it go further away from this. Even though he didn't know how to move on from it.
Though his mates didn't have to know about that.
Hey guys! Here is the first chapter of this little insane thing I came up after that glorious OUAT AU gifset grazed my screen on tumblr a couple of weeks ago. It begged to be written - though with some changes, af you've probably seen ;)
Anyway, hope you enjoy it as much as I am writing it. It's my very first fic so I'm quite anxious about posting it *crosses fingers I don't get tomatoes thrown at my face*
On another note, this was entirely written playing Coldplay's complete discography.