Indulgence ©2007

By Jack Llawayllynn

Silentcrowstudio <>

Chapter 21: Performance

By the time Matt entered the city limits Sin was sagging against his back so dangerously that Matt had to fight to balance them both. He wasn't even sure if Sin was conscious or not, his hands lay slack around Matt's waist, but at least he hadn't slipped off the back. Matt felt him slip a little as they took a gentle curve and decided that they just couldn't make it all the way to his apartment. Andy's house was only blocks away. Matt signaled a turn and eased around it. Sin's hands suddenly tightened around his waist again.

"What the hell are you doing?" Sin yelled over the roar of wind and motor.

"Going to Andy's! We can't make it any further!"

Sin didn't respond but at least his hands remained tightly grasped around Matt. Matt took each turn carefully and parked the motorcycle in the carport beside Andy's beat up old Ford van. Sin staggered drunkenly as he dismounted and Matt had to catch him and hold him up. He got both of their helmets off, tossing them down without regard and slung Sin's arm over his broad shoulders, supporting him to the door. Matt tried the knob without knocking, found it unlocked and swung the door open, calling out Andy's name as loudly as he dared in the dark stillness of the night air and nudged the door closed behind him with his heel, propping Sin up against the foyer wall. A light flared off to the left and Andy came staggering out of his bedroom, trying to zip up the fly on a pair of loose, dirty jeans. He flipped on the light and blinked at them hazily.

"What the hell?" he mumbled, trying to take in what he was seeing. Matt's eyes did a slow, involuntary sweep of Andy's long torso, realized what he was doing and turned away quickly to pull Sin up away from the wall.

"He's injured, I'll need some help," Matt said calmly. Andy blinked at them again before the words seemed to sink in and he hurried over to support Sin on the other side.

"What the hell happened?" Andy asked as he guided them to a room next to his own and flipped on the light. Matt sighed at the sight that greeted them, another dirty room, cluttered with old guitars, amplifiers, dusty boxes and a gritty looking bed. They lowered Sin down onto the edge of the bed and Matt glanced around in disgust. "Got any clean sheets dude? He can't sleep under those blankets."

Andy shrugged. "My last girlfriend used to do some washing. Go look in the closet by the bathroom. Maybe there are some there."

Sin snorted, his head in his hands, his elbows precariously propped on his knees. "Andy hasn't had a girlfriend in six months or more."

Matt went anyway and looked in the closet. On the top shelf he found some neatly folded sheets and a thin blanket. They were a little dusty on top but smelled clean. He wadded them under his arm and went back into the bedroom.

"Get him up and I'll change the sheets," Matt said sternly.

"I gotta piss anyway," Sin grumbled as Andy hefted him up. Matt cast a curious glance at Andy's face but Andy seemed only genuinely concerned for Sin, helping him slowly towards the bathroom. Matt hurried to strip away the old blankets and sheets and replace them with the cleaner ones. By the time he had finished Andy was helping Sin back into the room.

"You still haven't told me what's wrong. What's happened?" Andy asked as he lowered Sin back onto the edge of the bed.

"Matt stabbed me in the leg," Sin said quietly and Andy turned toward Matt, angry color flooding his face.

"It was my fault," Sin added quickly. "We were fucking around and I was trying to take a letter opener away from him, just messing with him. Somehow we fell and it wound up stuck in my thigh."

"So it was just an accident then?" Andy asked flatly, his eyes going from Matt to Sin and back again.

"Entirely," Sin said at the same time that Matt said, "Yes, an accident."

"Why the hell did you bring him here then? You could have just taken him to a hospital or something." Andy's eyes were narrowed with suspicion now.

"Tell him Matt," Sin said, but there was a warning in his eyes that silently said, "Think fast and make something up!"

Matt couldn't think fast enough so he pulled some truth from his pocket, just nothing about McKenna. He coughed with true embarrassment and looked away, at the wall. "We were, um, interrupted recently during some rather rough, um, you know. Anyway, the police were called and they burst in on us and I was a bit, uh, bloodied. They only gave us a citation for disturbing the peace but Sin doesn't want to go to the hospital, he's afraid they may try to intervene between us if we both keep showing up there injured."

Andy looked from one to the other again then shrugged. "Whatever. Keep your damn secrets if you want to, just don't come bringing the law down on my head in any way. I have too many drugs in the house to risk the cops coming here."

"No cops, I swear. No one heard the tussle and he didn't even make a sound when the metal went in. No one has any reason to believe there are any problems. Just us coming in late to visit with you, make some last minute revisions to the upcoming gig, whatever." Matt said firmly.

"Ah shit, is he going to be able to perform? We're fucked if he can't."

"I'm sitting right here, jerk-off. Why don't you ask me instead of Matt?"

"Because you are pouring blood onto my damn floor and it looks like you are about to fall out," Andy replied hotly. Matt and Sin looked down in unison and realized Andy was right. Blood had soaked through both the bandages and the denim of his jeans and dripped down onto his boot then pooled onto the floor.

"Let's get him up!" Matt said and he and Andy heaved Sin up onto his feet. Matt ignored Sin's hands trying to swat his away as he undid the buckle on his belt, unbuttoned and unzipped Sin's jeans and eased them down around his ankles. Andy pulled Sin's jacket and shirt off of him then eased Sin back down while Matt worked to get Sin's boots off and pull the jeans free. Sin gritted his teeth as Matt unwound the bandana bandages and peeled them off.

"Jesus!" Andy breathed, peering down at the oozing hole in Sin's leg.

"Yeah, it's deep," Matt agreed, peering down at it. "We'll have to clean it and bandage it again. What do you have that we can use?"

"I don't, wait, one of my girlfriends brought in a first aid kit and left it here I think. Let me go look. Might be in the bathroom, or no, it's under my bed I think." Andy left the room still muttering under his breath, turned right out the door, and then reappeared, going the other way as if he wasn't sure where he wanted to look first.

"Andy didn't buy that story Matt," Sin said through gritted teeth, using both hands to press down on the flesh above the wound to try to slow the steady flow of blood.

"Oh well, so what? It's not like he's going to learn anything anyway. There is nothing to link us to...anything. It was the best I could come up with on short notice. I didn't see you jumping in with a good excuse."

"Yeah, well I don't see you bleeding out either." Sin blinked up at Matt with a pale face and Matt growled a curse word as he spun toward the door to go look for Andy. They ran into each other as Matt rounded the doorway. Matt stumbled, the two of them dancing around each other in the hallway, trying to regain their balance. Matt felt the smooth flesh of Andy's back under his fingers and snatched his hand away when he felt a totally inappropriate stirring in his jeans. Truly his dick had a mind of its own.

"You found the first aid kit?" Matt asked unnecessarily as he snatched it from Andy's hand and turned back toward the bedroom. Sin was still sitting up, keeping steady pressure on his leg with both hands. Matt was relieved when he didn't look up at him, he was afraid that Sin would somehow know of his strange attraction toward Andy if he looked up into his eyes. Matt kept his head down and quickly rummaged through the box, relived to find several packets of gauze and several rolls of clean bandages. Matt turned to find Andy crouching down behind him, pulling Sin's belt free of the loops of his jeans. Andy folded the belt in two and handed it up to Sin.

"You'll need to bite down on that. It's going to hurt like hell when Matt tries to clean that wound.

"Do it quick Matt. I can't keep putting pressure on this." Sin took the belt and put it between his teeth. Matt pulled out a small bottle of rubbing alcohol from the kit and turned toward Sin with dread. Matt uncapped the bottle, his eyes meeting Andy's. Andy nodded slightly and Matt advanced. Andy grabbed Sin's shoulders and pushed him back on the bed, then scrabbled up to straddle Sin's chest, pressing his shoulders hard into the mattress. Before Sin could protest Matt turned the bottle up over the stab wound and used his fingers to open the wound to let the alcohol seep in deeply. Sin screamed through clenched teeth, his body convulsed and his back arched away from the bed but Andy kept his shoulders pressed down firmly. Matt dodged back as Sin's bare foot lashed out involuntarily, nearly catching Matt in the groin. He continued to writhe, his teeth gnashing the leather belt and Matt hurried to place gauze over the wound and wrap it tight. The muscles stood out in Andy's back and shoulders as he held Sin down and Matt was acutely aware of every sound Sin made. Between the sights and the sounds Matt's cock was getting harder by the moment even though his mind was horrified.

"Jesus man, are you done yet?" Andy demanded, glancing back at Matt as he finished tying off the bandages.

"Yes, let him up," Matt said and turned away hurriedly to tidy up the first aid kit, hiding the hard ridge in his jeans.

There was silence behind him and Matt turned his head to see Andy still straddling Sin, looking down into his eyes. Sin's breath still came out in shuddering huffs but his eyes were intense and locked on Andy's. As if feeling Matt's gaze Andy suddenly shook his head in confusion and clambered off of Sin. He headed straight for the door but Matt noticed that Andy too had a hard-on.

"I'll find him some pain pills," Andy muttered as he pushed passed Matt. Matt nodded silently and turned his head back to the first aid kit, moving items around without really seeing them.

"You both enjoyed that didn't you?" Sin asked, his breathing still ragged, his voice edged and hard.

"Not in the way you are thinking, Sin," Matt said quietly, not turning to look at him. "It was just very intense."

"I guess you are going to say you told me so," Sin said quietly.

"About what?"

"Andy," Sin said.

Matt finally turned to face him, his mind and body finally under his control again. "Well, yes, I did tell you so."

Sin nodded, his eyes locked on the ceiling, his arms spread wide across the bed, his feet planted on the floor. His chest rose and fell too quickly and Matt went to sit gingerly on the bed beside him, helping Sin up into a sitting position.

"Put your head between your knees if you feel faint," Matt said sternly. Sin cast him a hateful glare but did make the effort to slow his breathing. Matt put a hand on Sin's back, rubbing in slow circles.

"That feels good, massage my neck, it's cramping like hell," Sin groaned and leaned forward as Matt climbed up behind him on the bed and used his strong thumbs to smooth the cramped muscles in Sin's neck and shoulders. Sin moaned under his hands and Matt felt his cock stir again. Andy came in with an unlabeled bottle of pills and can of soda. He stopped dead in the doorway, his mouth open as if he had been about to say something. He stood gaping at them stupidly until Matt arched an eyebrow at him. Sin never even noticed him, his head was hung languidly, his eyes closed. Andy snapped his mouth shut and continued into the room and set the soda can down on a rickety table by the bed and opened the pill bottle, shaking three out into his palm.

"Here, take these, they'll let you sleep," Andy said gruffly, holding the blue pills down low so Sin could look at them without raising his head.

"What are they?" Sin asked still limp under Matt's massaging fingers.

"Lorcets," Andy said and reached out to place them in Sin's hand. He popped the top on the soda can for him and handed him that too. Matt slide out from behind Sin and stepped down from the bed. He stood beside Andy, both of them waiting and watching to see that Sin took all three pills.

"Quit hovering over me like a pair of mother hens!" Sin barked up at them and put the soda can down onto the table hard enough to slosh some soda over the side and send the wobbly table to rocking. Andy steadied it with his fingertips before turning and leaving the room without another word. Matt sat back down on the side of the bed and began pulling off his own boots.

"Lay down Sin. We're both exhausted so shift over there by the wall and give me some room," Matt said, his voice gruff with fatigue. Matt expected Sin to say something sarcastic or biting back to him but instead he eased himself over against the wall, careful of his injured leg and lay down, facing the wall, one hand gingerly clutching the bandages over his wound. Matt stripped down to his underwear and crawled carefully into the bed before pulling the clean sheet and thin blanket over both of them.

"Aren't you going to turn out the light?" Sin asked groggily.

"No, I'll be checking on you through the rest of the night. I'll want to be able to see you breathing."

"I thought you said I snore like a chain saw, so how could you doubt it?" Sin asked mockingly.

"Shut up and go to sleep," Matt said quietly and turned so that he could rub his hand slowly up and down Sin's back. In moments Sin's breathing tapered off into a steady rhythm. Matt waited though until he was sure Sin was fully asleep before slipping out of bed and pulling his jeans back on. He found Andy in the kitchen, sitting at a dirty and cluttered table, staring off into space and slowly nursing a beer.

"Got an extra beer?" Matt asked quietly and Andy jumped nearly knocking his own can over.

"Yeah, sorry, in the fridge there. I was just...thinking," Andy said and waved a hand toward the dirty door of the refrigerator.

Matt opened it, wrinkled his nose at the moldy smell that wafted out and quickly grabbed a beer and shut the door. He kicked an empty twelve pack box out of his path and moved a stack of girlie magazines from the seat of a chair onto the table and sat down across from Andy.

"So what really happened?" Andy asked Matt, finally looking up and meeting Matt's eyes.

"He was stabbed in the leg with a letter opener," Matt said simply.

"You didn't do it though, did you? It was someone else wasn't it?" Andy pressed. Matt just continued to stare at Andy in silence. Finally Andy dropped his eyes back down to his beer.

"You care about him," Matt said softly, watching Andy carefully.

"Well yeah, of course. He's right, without him Chains ain't shit."

"Ah, come on Andy, it's way more than that, isn't it?"

Andy raised his head and stared at Matt, as silent as Matt had been earlier and as determined to say no more on the subject. Matt gave him a brief nod of understanding. He wouldn't answer Andy's questions and Andy wouldn't answer his. Matt turned up his beer and poured it down his throat then belched loudly and tossed the can into an overflowing waste basket. It hit dead center but rolled off the top of the mountain of trash. When Matt started to rise to go pick it up Andy stood as well.

"Just leave it," Andy said tiredly. "Go to bed. You'll have to be the driving force behind Sin tomorrow. He isn't going to want to get up at all but he'll have to. We always run through the set at least twice on the day of a gig. Doboot and Heath will be here around noon."

"Andy," Matt said, catching Andy's arm. Andy looked down at Matt's hand and then up into Matt's eyes, something sad and defeated there as if Matt had killed his dog. Matt loosened his grip but didn't remove his hand. "Andy, we can't let the other two know how Sin got injured. Just tell them he got drunk and fell down and hurt his leg, okay? He trusts you and let me bring him here. I don't think he feels the same way about the other two."

The defeated light faded from Andy's eyes as they widened in surprise. "He trusts me?"

"Of course, why do you think we're here? I can assure it's not because of your superior cleaning skills."

Andy let out a bark of a laugh then his face sobered. "I thought he hated me because of my drug use."

Matt shook his head. "He wants you sober because your concentration is better and you play your best when you can focus on what you're doing and not get fogged over by your buzz. Sin has been known to do a few drugs from time to time too you know."

"I know but he's not a junkie like I am," Andy said quietly.

Matt dropped his hand and turned away. "Goodnight Andy. I'll see you in the morning."

Andy nodded and watched Matt go down the hall and enter into the spare room with Sin. With a hang-dog sigh Andy went back to his own bed, peeled his jeans off and lay staring up at the dark ceiling, his emotions torn and seething, his mind reeling in confusion. He wasn't sure what he wanted, not really, but the thought of Matt and Sin laying together in a single bed only a wall away kept him awake for several hours before he was finally able to drift off to sleep.

* * * *

Matt slept very lightly through what was left of the night. Every hour or so he would roll over and watch Sin sleep. Under the influence of the pills Sin was very deeply asleep and had not snored at all, the whole night through. Matt gave up on sleep at eight in the morning and rose and dressed. He crept through the house and put on a pot of coffee to brew after washing out the filthy coffee pot. He shook the toaster violently upside-down to make sure there were no bugs in it before popping in two slices of bread. Andy appeared in the doorway dressed only in a clean pair of jeans just as Matt finished buttering the toast. With a huge yawn Andy plopped down in a chair at the table.

"I was dreaming that one of my girlfriends had returned," Andy said with a laugh. "Must have been the smell of early morning coffee."

Matt chuckled and used his arm to push a clear spot in the clutter in front of Andy. He put the plate with the toast on it in front of Andy then went to pour him a cup of coffee and set that before him too before reloading the toaster. Andy stared down at the food before him in puzzlement a moment.

"I wasn't here to steal your breakfast," Andy said at last, still staring down at the toast.

"Eat it. I would have made eggs too but you don't seem to have any. At any rate, I bet you haven't eaten breakfast since your last girlfriend left, have you?"

Andy laughed again. "No, I haven't." He picked up the first piece of toast, devoured it and licked the butter from his fingertips before starting on the next piece. Matt watched him over his cup of coffee as he leaned against the counter waiting for the toaster to spit the bread back out. By the time it popped up Andy was swallowing his last bite. He had eaten like a man starved. Matt buttered the toast and placed that too in front of Andy.

"No dude, you eat it," Andy protested but Matt just shook his head and reloaded the toaster again, resuming his position against the counter, enjoying the sight of Andy's strong jaw muscles working in his jaw, the way he blew his coffee before taking a sip between bites. He ate more slowly this time, and Matt had to turn away to butter his own toast before Andy had finished. Matt ate his toast at the counter while Andy leaned back in his chair, smiling happily.

"I've never seen a man so happily satisfied with toast before," Matt said, laughing.

"Well hell man, I haven't had breakfast in six months! Usually I get up, have a beer and go. Sometimes I skip lunch too, depending on..." Andy trailed off.

"Depending on what drugs you have on hand," Matt finished for him. Andy nodded sheepishly. Matt shrugged as he chewed the last bite of his own toast. "Well, for today you have breakfast in you, pitiful as it was." Matt dusted the crumbs from his fingers. "Look, I need to go out for a bit. Can you check in on Sin every so often, make sure he's alright?"

Andy looked up at him curiously but nodded when Matt didn't elaborate. Matt nodded back then went out to the carport and picked up Sin's helmet from where he had tossed it the night before and set it on a table holding tools and bottles of oil. Matt checked the saddlebags next, surprised and relieved to find the cash still there. He pulled out a few hundred dollar bills and stuffed them in his pocket. The letter opener was still there as well, wrapped up in a bloody bandana and stuffed under the money. Matt couldn't take the chance of being pulled over with either that amount of cash or with the bloody dagger-like letter opener. Matt cast around for a hiding place and saw none. Finally he went over to Andy's van and eased the door open quietly. It was nearly empty, the cords used to tie down their band equipment littering the floor. There was nowhere there to hide it either. With a sigh Matt closed the door. It would be too hard to carry everything into the house in his jacket so Matt simply took the saddlebags off and carried them inside. Andy was in the bathroom, Matt could hear him pissing. Matt slipped into the bedroom with Sin and shoved the saddlebags under the bed. As he was leaving the room Andy came out and jumped at the sight of him.

"Thought I better bring the saddlebags in before I left in case Sin needs anything from them while I'm out. Just tell him they're under the bed," Matt said casually and Andy nodded.

"No problem dude."

"I shouldn't be gone long," Matt said quietly and again Andy nodded.

When Matt returned to the carport he put on his helmet then pushed the bike out into the street before firing it up in the hopes that the sound of it would not wake up Sin. There were some specialty shops in a district nearby, small, individually owned stores offering a variety of items. Sin had pointed out one shop owned by the artist who had sculpted most of the statuettes in Sin's collection but that is not where Matt was headed this morning. Three doors down from the sculptors shop was tobacco shop. Matt had noted it because of the intricately carved canes displayed in the window. Matt was relieved to see the store was already open. He had been worried that they wouldn't open until after lunch like some of the gothic oriented shops in the area. Matt parked the bike and strode into the shop and headed straight for the canes. A small old man came to stand near him.

"Can I help you?" he asked in a quavering voice, his hands shaking with palsy.

"Yes sir, I'm looking for a cane. Something nice, something black, maybe that one there, in the window." Matt pointed at an elegant black cane on display.

"Well now, that one will be a bit too long for you," the old man said, reaching for it anyway.

"It isn't for me, it's for a friend. He's about a head taller than me," Matt explained.

"Oh, in that case this one would work but I have a few in the back that have just come in. I used to do all the carved ones myself but as you can see my hands aren't too steady anymore so I have a few artists who sell through me. I must warn you though, they are considerable more expensive. Would you like to see those?"

"Yes sir," Matt said politely and followed the little man through a heavy curtain into the back of the shop.

"Now this one here, it's one of those hidden sword things," the old man told him, showing him a cane that had been leaning near the wall. "It isn't hand carved of course, it's made in China, but some people still ask for them. That isn't the sort of thing you are looking for is it?"

"No sir," Matt shook his head and leaned the cane back against the wall.

"Ah, here are the new ones," the man said, opening a case lined in packing material. He pulled out a long elegant red stained wooden cane carved in dragons. It was beautifully crafted but not what Matt was looking for. He shook his head and the man laid it aside. The next one was also red stained and was carved all around with thorny rose vines. Again Matt shook his head negatively. They examined four more before the man produced a black cane carved around with ravens in flight. The top of the cane was topped off with a silver wolf's head, the eyes made from some glinting green stone.

"That one, definitely," Matt said, excitedly.

"Well, now, friend, that's real emeralds in the wolf's eyes. It's very expensive."

"How expensive?"

"Five hundred dollars," the man answered, watching him closely with rheumy eyes.

"I'll take it," Matt said without hesitation and the man grinned.

"Excellent! Cash or charge?"

Matt paid in cash, McKenna's cash, and strapped the paper wrapped cane carefully to the side of the motorcycle. He killed the bike's engine in the street before reaching Andy's and pushed the bike into the carport. He entered the house quietly, clutching the cane in one fist. He found Andy seated in a chair beside the bed where Sin was sleeping, one bare foot crossed over the other as he lounged in the chair, watching silently.

"Has he stirred at all?" Matt whispered and Andy flinched, nearly falling out of the chair.

"Damn dude! Are you always sneaking up on people like that?"

"I didn't mean to scare you, I just didn't want to wake Sin."

"Dude, he's out of it. Maybe I should have only given him two of those pills. We're fucked if he can't wake up in time to run through our sets."

"He'll get up when he can. Besides, don't you guys usually practice without him anyway?" Matt asked as he quietly unwrapped the paper from around the cane and leaned it against the beside table.

"Yeah, we often do, but we need him to practice with us at least once a week and definitely before a gig. He likes things just so, you know, and if he isn't there to tell us what it is he wants then we fuck up."

Matt nodded. "Well don't worry, he'll be able to practice and do the gig too. Just let him sleep as long as possible first. Speaking of sleep, why don't you go and lay down, try to get some more sleep yourself. You look like hell warmed over."

Andy heaved to his feet and yawned again. "You know what, I think I will go lay back down, if you are okay with that. I mean, I don't want to leave you hanging. There's a TV in the living room, the remote control should be on the coffee table somewhere under the beer cans and chips but if it isn't then check in the couch cushions." Matt just nodded at the instructions and watched as Andy ambled off back to bed. Matt had to admit that maybe he watched Andy a little longer than was proper, his eyes lingering over Andy's strong straight back and his tight ass hugged in well worn jeans. Matt closed his eyes and turned away. He sank down into the chair vacated by Andy and watched Sin sleep for a little while longer before finally getting up and going to the kitchen to begin cleaning up. By the time Doboot and Heath arrived Matt had the kitchen free of debris, the garbage bags set out in the carport and all the surfaces wiped down. It wasn't spotless by any means but it was a hell of a lot cleaner. He had also put on a fresh pot of coffee and when Heath and Doboot came in they headed straight for the coffee pot, lured in by the smell and stood in stunned surprise to find Matt seated at the table there instead of Andy.

"Uh, what's up?" Heath asked curiously as he edged around Matt to pick up a clean coffee cup from the pile of dishes that Matt had washed.

"Sin got dog drunk last night and fell down, hurt his leg. I couldn't get him all the way home, he kept nearly sliding off of the motorcycle so I brought him here instead. He's in there passed out in the spare room. Andy went back to bed too because we kept him up late. I'll go tell him you two are here." Matt stood to leave and saw from the corner of his eye the two of them put their heads together in quiet conversation as Doboot poured himself a cup of coffee too. Matt tapped lightly on Andy's door and it swung open, the latch broken. Andy was sprawled out in the bed in his underwear, his head covered by his pillow to keep the morning light off of his face. Matt grinned and crept over to the bed. He allowed himself only a moment to admire Andy's hard body before reaching down and snatching the pillow up. "Up and at `em sunshine," he said in a gravelly growl. "Band's here."

Andy's eyes flew open and he blinked up at Matt's leering face in utter confusion. Matt burst out laughing. "Hello? Is there anybody in there?" Matt asked and rapped his knuckles on Andy's head. "I said the guys are here. They want to practice for the tonight's gig."

"Shit!" Andy groaned, throwing an arm over his eyes. "Is it noon already?"

"It's almost one, they're late."

"As usual. Hey, is that fresh coffee I smell?" Andy asked, lowering his arm.

"Yes, but if you want some you better get your fine tight ass out of bed because the other two are in there drinking it like it's the last coffee in the world," Matt blurted out, not thinking. He didn't even realize what he had said until Andy's face had flamed bright red. It continued to redden and Andy reached down to slowly pull the wadded up blanket up over his middle, but not before Matt had seen that Andy's body had reacted to his words in a most embarrassing way, embarrassing for Andy anyway. Instead of showing him mercy and leaving Matt leered at him again, unable to resist temptation. He leaned down close to Andy's ear and whispered, "What are you hiding it for? We both know what you really want."

"" Andy trailed off, shaking his head.

Matt laughed again and finally took mercy on the man, pulling the door closed behind him as he left. Matt checked in on Sin before returning to the kitchen and pouring out the last two cups of coffee. One he handed to Andy as he entered the kitchen. Matt, his back to Heath and Doboot, grinned wickedly and winked when Andy, who was obviously trying to avoid his gaze, looked up in surprise from the steaming cup in his hand. Andy quickly looked away and Matt brushed past him, taking the other cup of coffee and placing it on the bedside table beside Sin's sleeping form. He returned to the kitchen and put bread in the toaster. By the time the toast popped up the other three men had already moved out to the back garage to go over their play list and warm up. Matt buttered the toast, put it on a plate and placed it too on the bedside table for Sin when he woke up. Quietly he closed the door behind him and followed the other men out. Andy jumped yet again when he saw Matt enter and looked away. Matt took a seat at the table where Silverman and Debroy had been sitting the last time Matt had watched the band practice. "You don't mind if I watch do you?" Matt asked and Doboot cheerfully answered "Not at all."

"When is Sin going to join us?" Heath asked pointedly.

"Whenever he wakes up and crawls out of bed," Matt said with an airy wave of his hand. "Better leave him be for now or he won't be worth a shit tonight."

"He's never worth a shit," Heath grumbled but went to sit down behind his drum set.

Matt laughed. "You always lie like that Heath?"

Heath shook his head but he too laughed. Matt spotted a crumpled piece of paper on the floor and remembered Sin tossing it there a few nights ago, the play list for the cover songs and a bare handful of originals that they would be playing. Matt took it to the table and smoothed it out, scanning the list. He liked what he saw because he was familiar with many of the cover songs listed. Estaban had been right. Matt had very quickly developed an extreme liking for heavy metal music and Estaban had steered him well in choosing which albums to buy. When Sin had moved in Matt had discovered even more bands that he liked in Sin's collection. Some of them he had listened to over and over again and knew the words as well as Sin did, though he never sang them out loud in front of Sin. It wasn't that he couldn't sing, he just wasn't used to doing it in front of other people.

Heath started tapping out a beat and the others joined in. Matt lounged back, hands behind his head and closed his eyes, letting the music wash over him in loud, pounding waves. By the third song Matt's heart was racing, he was sitting on the edge of his chair, leaning forward, his body tense with musical delight. Heavy music made him hyper and giddy at times and that added with Andy's delightful blushes every time he made eye contact with Matt had Matt on the edge of manic euphoria. The band started the intro into the fourth song and Matt jumped excitedly. It was one of his favorites, a song done originally by the band Clutch called Mice and Gods. Matt vaulted up onto the stage and waved his arms to get them to stop playing.

"I know this one!" Matt said excitedly. "Andy, hook up that microphone and let me sing it!" When the band members looked at him doubtfully he grinned his most charming smile. "Aw, come on guys, just for a lark. Let me sing it. I mean it's just practice right? Come on, let me have some fun."

"Set the mike up for him Andy," Doboot said finally, giving Matt a curious but intrigued stare.

Andy managed to set the microphone up without once looking Matt in the eye. Andy leaned in and said "asshole" into the mike to test its volume, nodded in satisfaction and went back to stand in his normal place, saying the same word into his own mike to make sure it too was on and at its normal volume for his backup vocals.

"Ready?" Doboot asked and Matt nodded. Heath pounded out the intro again and Matt began to sing, unsure of himself at first but warming up quickly, enjoying the pound of the music being played all around him. Andy seemed to lose any wariness of Matt while he was singing, not shying away at all when Matt moved in close to him for chorus lines. In fact Andy was grinning like a fool, more than pleasantly surprised at Matt's voice once Matt got into the groove of the song. Matt's confidence grew with every word, his voice coming out smooth and sure. He turned toward Doboot and found him grinning too. When the song ended Matt laughed out loud and put the microphone back into it's stand, feeling the sweat just beginning to break out along his hairline. He wiped it away and headed for the edge of the stage to hop down.

"Wait, wait!" Doboot said, grabbing Matt's arm. "Do you know any other Clutch songs?"

"Yeah," Matt said laughing. "Most of them, they're one of my favorite bands."

Doboot exchanged a look with the other two members of the band. "Do you know Milk of Human Kindness?" When Matt nodded Doboot grinned wickedly. "Excellent. Let's see if this boy can put some evil into his voice. He'll have to be able to growl and get out some impressively harsh vocals for that one. Let's see what he's really got."

Matt shrugged and went to take the microphone back out of its stand and turned to face the band. Andy started to play, the others joined in and Matt stepped forward, toward Andy. He swallowed, nervous now, wondering if he could in fact do any justice at all to the harshness of the song. Andy started the singing with him, both growling the lyrics low. When Matt stepped back he was fully lost in the song, easily able to scream the harsher lyrics out alone. Heath kept glancing down at him with surprised eyes. Matt didn't care if he was doing justice to the song now or not, he was too lost in the music to care, giving it his all and enjoying the fuck out of it.

At the end of the song Doboot advanced on him pulling a paper from his pocket. "How many of these songs do you know?"

Matt scanned the play list again. "Well, I know this one by Korn, and this one by Disturbed, ummm...this one by Staind and this one by System of a Down, and all of these here between seven and twelve." Matt shrugged and handed the list back. "About a third of what is listed I guess. I don't know any of the Chains originals though. Sin kept telling me he was going to give me a copy of the demo disk but he never did."

"Okay, let's skip to the Disturbed song and see if Matt can handle the vocals on that one, it's a different style," Doboot said and Heath and Andy nodded in agreement.

Matt laughed. "Come on guys, I was just messing around."

"Well, keep on doing it. You're having fun aren't you?" Heath insisted. Matt nodded a bit reluctantly but the band didn't give him a chance to say anything more before breaking into yet another song. Matt shook his head again but went right into the lyrics without hesitation.

* * * *

Sin woke with a start, confused and dizzy, his leg throbbing like all of hell. He blinked his eyes, dry and gritty and sat up, staring at the unfamiliar room blearily. Sunlight poured in through the window and a dingy clock on the wall showed that it was nearly two o'clock in the afternoon. Sin flopped back down onto the bed, remembering that he was at Andy's house and wondering where the fuck Matt had gotten off to. Outside he heard the band warming up, loudly. He smiled. They, at least, were where they were supposed to be. He decided that Matt must have gone out with them to watch. Sin became aware of the faint scent of coffee and turned his head then smiled. So Matt had been thinking of him after all. Sin rolled carefully, sat up again and swung his legs over the side of the bed, gasping when pain shot through him. He waited for it to ease off then took a sip of the coffee. It wasn't hot but it was still warm enough to be drinkable. While he munched on the toast, which was already starting to go stale, he noticed the cane leaning against the table and smiled again. It was a beautiful thing and he reached out to run his fingers down the length of its carved surface. "Matt knows me well," Sin said, his fingers going up to touch the wolf's head handle. Sin pulled the cane in close and was just about to try to stand when he heard Andy singing Mice and Gods. No, it that wasn't Andy, was it? Sin cocked his head, listening. If that was Andy he was sounding damn good. Sin heaved himself to his feet, leaning heavily on his new cane. He pulled on his clothes slowly and painfully then hobbled to the bathroom and took a piss. When he came out he could hear the band playing Milk of Human Kindness and knew right away that the voice he had heard earlier couldn't possibly have been Andy's because he could clearly hear Andy's backup vocals now. So who the hell was singing?

They've got some damn big balls to recruit a new singer just because he'd injured his leg, Sin thought. Did they think he couldn't perform just because of a minor flesh wound? Another pain shot through him and Sin stumbled against the wall, grinding his teeth and huffing. So okay, maybe it wasn't exactly minor. Still, he could damn well stand behind a microphone and sing. Angry now he pushed himself away from the wall. The singer was belting out the song with gusto and Sin frowned sulkily. Well, at least they had brought in someone with decent talent. He wondered why Matt hadn't woken him up to warn him of this turn of events, this betrayal by HIS band. Silence fell and Sin headed through the kitchen, intent on beating every one of them to death with his new cane. By the time he neared the garage the band had launched into Down with the Sickness by Disturbed. Sin pushed through the door angrily, ignoring the agony in his leg and stopped dead. Matt had his back to him, performing for the band members and obviously enjoying the hell out of it. Sin crossed his hands over the wolf's head and propped himself up on the cane, watching, impressed. When Matt finished the song Sin leaned the cane against his good leg and clapped, but he couldn't keep himself from letting it sound mocking instead of praising.

Matt heard the three, evenly spaced, mocking claps and whirled around, dropped the microphone, and winced at the sound before picking it up with shaky hands. He carefully placed it in its stand and hopped down from the stage.

"I...I was just messing around Sin," Matt said, going to him quickly. " you like the cane?"

"Yes," Sin said simply then limped away with it to go sit at the table. He waved an elegant hand at the stage. "Don't mind me. By all means, continue."

Matt shook his head. "I was just fucking around."

"And such lovely fucking around it was, eh fellas?" Sin called out and Matt flushed, belittled.

"Well I enjoyed it," Doboot said, not at all catching the double meaning in Sin's voice. Andy though was also flushing, embarrassed at Sin's choice of words. Heath just shook his head, knowing Sin's temperament all too well.

"You never mentioned to me that you could sing Matt. All you've ever done around me was mutter the lyrics under your breath." Sin said accusingly.

"It was nothing," Matt insisted. "I was just..."

"Yes, I heard you the first time, just fucking around."

Matt threw his hands up in exasperation then threw himself into a chair next to Sin. "You never said I wasn't allowed to sing with your band either," Matt said quietly.

"Oh, but you are allowed to sing with them. In fact you will be singing tonight with me. You'll take whatever songs you know off of the list. I'll do the rest."

"No way!" Matt said, shaking his head firmly. "I can't do that! I've never preformed before!"

"You just did, I saw you. I heard you. You're good enough and you'll do it. I don't think I can stay on my feet long enough to do the entire set. You'll spell me, give me a chance to rest between songs. The crowd will love you."

"The crowd will pull me off the stage and drown me in piss!"

"Don't be absurd Matt. The crowd will love you because I will tell them to love you."

"You aren't god, Sin!"

"My fans think I am."

Matt snorted loudly. "You are too proud by far."

Sin smiled evilly and used to the cane to support himself as he stood. "Matt will be taking the songs he knows tonight, I'll do the others. You guys don't have a problem with that do you?" he asked loudly so the others could hear him.

"Sounds good to me," Doboot said and the other two nodded. "Looks like you're pretty banged up there Sin. We don't want you falling out on the stage."

"Now wait a minute!" Matt said in panic, leaping to his feet. "I never said I'd do it!"

Sin's hand shot out and grabbed the muscle in Matt's shoulder near his neck and squeezed it hard. Matt managed not to try to twist away but he couldn't quite stop himself from going up on his toes, his shoulders hunching defensively, and muttering, "Ow, ow, ow!" Sin's hand released the pressure on the muscle but clamped down again on the back of Matt's neck and pushed him forward and down. Matt knew he could either comply or Sin would apply sudden and harsher pressure, probably enough to slam his face into the table so Matt complied with the pressure and went to his knees by the table.

"Now, what was it you were saying?" Sin asked, his voice falsely polite but his eyes hard and cold as chipped ice as he stared down at Matt. Matt's eyes shifted to the cane in Sin's hand and didn't for a moment doubt that Sin would use his gift to beat him with. Sin's hand tightened on the handle as if that very thought were going through his mind.

"I said," Matt answered very quietly, "that I don't think I am up to the job."

Sin leaned forward and down, steadying himself on the cane, getting in Matt's face. "Are you telling me no Matt?"

"Jesus!" Andy spat out. "Get up Matt! Why do let him push you around anyway?"

Matt turned to look up at the three men on the stage, having momentarily forgotten their existence while staring up into Sin's cold eyes. Matt's face flushed at the stares he met from the band members. He gritted his teeth and started to rise.

"Going to go rogue on me Matt?" Sin asked quietly, stepping away, giving him room to stand if he chose to.

Matt's eyes flew back to Sin's face. "No! Of course not!" he said and eased back down to his knees.

"You treat him like a damn slave!" Andy snarled and Sin laughed loudly.

"Of course I do!" Sin said, grinning happily. He hooked his hand into Matt's collar and pulled him up. Matt followed quickly, trying not to choke and to keep his balance so as not to drag Sin down as Sin pulled him toward the stage. Sin stopped by the stage, looking up at Andy. "See this collar? Those aren't Matt's initials there, now are they? No, they're mine, just as Matt is mine, to with as I wish."

Andy exchanged a puzzled look with Doboot.

"I don't understand," Doboot said finally, staring down at the collar in a sort of horrified fascination.

Sin yanked Matt forward and kissed him, hard and long, his hand slipping down to splay across Matt's lower back. Sin suddenly pushed him away hard enough to make Matt stagger back. Matt grabbed the edge of the stage and Sin place one hand on Matt's shoulder and one on the stage, using the strength of his arms to pull himself up onto the stage. He swung his legs around, pulled up his cane and stood slowly. Matt sighed and hopped up beside him.

"I always suspected you must be a faggot," Doboot said disgustedly. Andy was staring at an invisible spot on his shoe and Heath stared through his drums like he had seen a ghost.

"And I always suspected you of being an inexcusable dolt," Sin said laughing. Doboot frowned as though he wasn't sure what the words meant.

"I don't want this getting out!" Doboot snarled after a moment of awkward silence. "This could totally ruin us! I don't want to be known as the faggot heavy metal band!"

"We've been playing as a band for over a year and no one has ever suspected that Sin was gay. Why should they now?" Andy asked quietly. "Besides, it's no ones business but his, right?"

Doboot shot Andy a glare. "I can't believe you are taking his side on this!" Andy looked away and Doboot spit out a curse word. "You're one too, aren't you? Damn it Andy! We've been friends for years!"

"No, I'm not! Fuck you anyway! If I was it wouldn't be any of your business either!"

"Shit, you are one," Doboot said, slinging the strap of his bass over his shoulder and setting it down into a stand behind his amp. "I quit. Fuck this! I ain't playing with a bunch of fucking homosexuals!"

Sin's hand shot out and grabbed Doboot's arm, spinning him around. "If you step off this stage Do, then you are out for good, understand? There won't be any cooling off and coming back. You are very replaceable. Heath and Andy, they're good, really good. You're just average and you know it. We only keep you around because you and Andy have been friends for so long. You have all those damn nappy-assed kids to feed. What are you going to do for extra money Do? Go out and flip burgers? Because you know as well as the rest of us that you won't get in with another band as successful as Chains will be after we sign that damn contract of Debroy's. We'll be opening for a lot of the bands that we're only doing covers of now and before long we'll be the main attraction while you, you will be lucky to catch one of our concerts on MTV while you slave over a dishwasher in the back of some sleazy restaurant."

Doboot met Sin's eyes for a long moment of tense silence. "I've seen you fucking groupies backstage before," he said suddenly. "So, you aren't really gay then, right? Just one of them bisexuals or whatever."

Sin grinned his wolf's grin and his hand caressed the wolf's head on the top of his cane. Matt shifted from one foot to the other, ready to defend Doboot if need be. He wasn't going to let Sin beat the man half to death with that cane.

"Believe what you like, Doboot, if it makes you feel better. Yeah, I've fucked a chick or two backstage when I was still soaring high after a show and some bitch was waving her ass in my face, but you know and I know what I really prefer. You yourself said you'd been suspecting for a long time. Matt here, he's my pet. I don't care how you feel about that either. The boy can sing and we need him, for tonight at least. Now, make up your mind, either pick up your bass or get the hell off the stage!"

Doboot shot a glance up at Heath, then over to Andy. Andy flushed and looked away.

"So," Doboot said bitterly, "you aren't going to stand up for me either Andy? Shit! I suspected Sin was a fag, but you, man, I thought I knew you!"

Andy shrugged and stared down at his shoe again.

"Shit! You guys are a bunch of sick fucks!" Doboot jerked his arm from Sin's grasp and went to get his bass, slinging the strap back over his shoulder.

"Fine, think what you want Do, I don't give a shit. I'll let it slide this time but from now on if I hear the word faggot come out of your mouth again I'll break your fucking jaw. Now, since we all seem to finally understand each other, let's get this right before we throw Matt on a stage in front a group of crazed Chains fans. Matt, can you handle this one by System of a Down? You haven't really shown your vocal range and we'll need to hear it."

Matt tried the song but he was nervous with Sin there staring at him. He forgot some of the lyrics and couldn't quite hit all the notes. Sin halted the song halfway through, and slapped Matt on the back of the head.

"Do it right! Focus!" Sin yelled into his face. Matt knew it was useless to argue any further. Sin had his mind made up that Matt would perform on stage that night. He'd issued a severe warning by throwing the word "rogue" at Matt earlier and Matt understood very well that Sin expected total obedience on this. He had no idea how he'd pull it off but he'd do his damnedest to manage it. For Sin. When the band started the song over Matt drew in a deep breath and focused. Sin patted him on the ass at the end saying, "Much better! You'll do fine."

Matt was relieved when the practice was finally over. He wanted to go home and shower. Both he and Sin hadn't had a shower in more than twenty four hours and they both smelled like it after screaming and sweating through two entire sets. Sin was leaning much more heavily on his cane and Matt worried that by show time Sin would be unable to stand at all. He didn't question Sin about it though because Sin's jaw was set in an angry, stubborn style that Matt knew all too well. Matt fished the saddle bags out from under the bed and went to put them back on the motorcycle while Sin spoke quietly to the band in the kitchen. Andy came out just as Matt was finishing tying off the final knot.

"I forgot to thank you for cleaning up in the kitchen," Andy said quietly.

"You're welcome."

"Is Sin going to be able to pull this off tonight? He looks like shit already."

"Yeah, he'll get through it."

"So, um, I guess I'll see you tonight then," Andy said but he continued to stare at Matt across the back of the motorcycle. Matt cocked his head to the side, much like Sin often did and Andy jumped as if he had just realized he had been standing there staring at Matt like an idiot. With an uncomfortable shrug of his shoulders Andy turned and nearly ran into Sin as he came out the door. Andy pushed by him without a word. Sin turned his head to watch Andy disappear through the door.

"What the fuck was that all about?" Sin demanded.

"I have no idea. He just came out to thank me for cleaning up in the kitchen."

Sin tilted his head the same way that Matt had, giving him a hard stare. "That boy doesn't seem to know which of us to be smitten with."

Matt nodded, not denying it. Sin shook his head as if to clear it and picked up his helmet, leaning heavily against the table as he strapped it on. Matt watched him with concern as he pulled on his own helmet. Matt straddled the bike and fired it up. Sin climbed on gingerly, carefully easing his injured leg over the bike first and settling himself clumsily. Matt reached back, took the cane from Sin's hand and slipped it through the saddlebag straps, trapping it there with his leg.

By the time they arrived at the apartment Sin was pale and sickly looking but he took the time to feed the squid before easing himself down on the couch to watch it eat. Matt tossed down the saddle bags that he'd brought up from the bike and went in search of clean bandages and laid them out on the bed. When they both climbed into the shower Matt had to support Sin and was dismayed to see that the wound immediately began to bleed again in the hot spray. Sin ignored it and bathed slowly, washing his hair twice, scrubbing his hands over and over as if trying to remove a stain.

"There is no blood on your hands, Sin," Matt said quietly and Sin shot him a hateful glare but didn't deny that he had been thinking that very thought.

"I think I should lay down a while before we have to leave," Sin said as Matt finished tying off the clean bandages around Sin's thigh. Matt nodded and Sin reached over to unplug the phone so it wouldn't disturb him. Matt had wanted to check for messages on the new voicemail system that Sin had insisted he get to replace his outdated answering machine but Sin had already lain down, his teeth gritting loudly as he pulled his leg up onto the bed. Matt sighed and lay down beside him, his nerves on edge and ragged.

"I'm not sure I can do this tonight Sin," he said in a near whisper.

"Bullshit. You'll do it and you'll do it right," Sin growled and carefully turned over onto his side, away from Matt. Matt stared up at the ceiling and kept his mouth shut. Sin was right. He'd do it and he'd do it well, because Sin had told him to.

* * * *

Matt woke with a start, realizing that he had drifted off to sleep when he hadn't meant to. In a panic he levered himself up and stared over at the digital numbers of the clock. The room was dark, only the streetlights from outside shining through the window. With a sigh of relief he sank back down. They had an hour and a half yet before show time. Sin whimpered in his sleep, his hand clutching weakly at his thigh. Matt frowned, deeply concerned. If Sin couldn't perform they would indeed be fucked. Matt didn't know all the songs on the list and the fans damn sure would not be satisfied with the few he did know. With a sense of impeding dread Matt carefully slipped out of bed and went to retrieve the packet of powder from the saddlebags. He didn't approve of Sin doing drugs but he doubted very seriously that Sin could make it through the night without them. Matt flipped on the light and set the packet on the bedside table along with a hand mirror that had once belonged to Trish. Matt's fingers lingered sadly on the mirror a moment before he turned to wake Sin. As soon as his hand touched Sin's shoulder Sin swung at him, his fist glancing off of Matt's shoulder. Matt lurched away, out of reach. Sin came up swinging again, confused. Matt caught his wrists and shook him.

"Wake up! You're dreaming! It's just me, we're alone, at home," Matt said desperately. Sin's eyes finally focused on him and Matt released his grasp. "It's time to get ready for the show."

Sin nodded but he was looking rather green and bedraggled. "Go fix some sandwiches or something. We haven't had a decent meal in forever," Sin growled and Matt turned away immediately to do as he was told. Sin frowned at his back, wondering yet again how much Matt's mind now worked on impulses planted there by Sin's words while he was drunk on Miss Sylvia's tea. Aunt Sylvia's tea, Sin corrected himself silently, bitterly. His eyes fell on the packet and mirror on the bedside table and widened. So, Matt thought he needed them did he? Sin reached for his cane and rose slowly, like an old man. Pain seared him like all the flames of hell and he stumbled, falling back against the bed. Damn that bitch! Sin thought angrily but then smiled evilly, remembering the kill, Matt's eyes boring into his as her life had drained away. Sin reached for the packet and dug a razor blade out of the drawer. By the time Matt returned with a sandwich for him Sin was feeling much better. Matt eyes skipped from the dusty mirror to Sin's face but he said nothing as he turned away, munching his own sandwich. Sin finished his quickly and licked his fingers clean of mayonnaise before limping over to the closet without the aid of his cane. He rummaged around and starting throwing black material out onto the bed.

"Matt, where are your black jeans? I want you to wear them with this shirt," Sin grumbled and turned to see Matt staring at his back, his eyes concerned. "Well?" Sin demanded.

"In the drawer," Matt said finally and went to pull them on. He caught the black shirt that Sin tossed to him and pulled it on too. It was a Chains t-shirt, the collar cut and the shirt ripped halfway down his chest. Matt's fingers rose to touch the leather collar around his throat. It would be fully visible to the crowd.

"Do you..." Matt swallowed and forced the words out. "Do you want me to take my collar off?"

"No, of course not. Why? Are you ashamed of it?" Sin asked darkly, his head tilted as he stared at Matt.

"No, I'm not. I just didn't know if you wanted me to wear it."

"You will always wear it Matt, until I tell you to take it off or I take it off you myself."

Matt blanched and swallowed. Surely Sin would never really take the collar away!

"Come help me with these," Sin said, holding up another pair of black jeans. "You'll need to wrap the entire length of my leg with bandages but not thickly mind you."

"Why?" Matt asked curiously as he went to stand over Sin when Sin sat on the side of the bed again.

"To catch the blood. We can't have me dripping all over the stage."

Matt's eyes shifted from Sin's thigh to his face. "Can't we cancel Sin? I don't want you killing yourself just to do a damn gig."

"Don't be a stupid jackass Matt, just wrap my damn leg. We're running out of time while you stand there clucking like an old woman."

Matt knelt and carefully wrapped the length of Sin's leg then helped Sin to pull the denim up over the bandages. Up close you could see the outline of the wrappings but from a distance no one would know the difference. Matt helped Sin into his boots and Sin pulled on a plain black t-shirt then topped it with a long black denim coat. Matt had never seen Sin wear the jacket before. It was tight fitting across his shoulders and down his torso then flared out a little just above the thighs. It looked very British and very un-Sin-like. Matt frowned at it and Sin shrugged. "It was a gift from a fan. I never cared much for it either but it will help hide any bleeding that seeps through and darkens the denim."

Matt nodded and when Sin stood Matt found that he rather liked the jacket after all. Sin cut a daring figure in any type of clothing but the jacket made Matt think of travelers of old being stopped in the night by dangerous highwaymen. He could easily picture Sin with gun raised bellowing, "Stand and deliver!" Matt chuckled to himself at the thought and Sin arched a brow at him.

"Never mind me Sin," Matt said, still chuckling. "I've decided I really like that jacket on you after all."

Sin continued to stare at him, trying to discern if Matt was mocking him or not. With another small shake of his head Matt stepped and kissed Sin thoroughly on the mouth. "I really, really like the jacket," Matt assured him when he came up for air.

Sin gave him another doubtful glare but his hand lingered on Matt's ass for another long moment, holding Matt tight against him. Matt could feel the hard ridge in Sin's jeans. "We'll test that later on Matt. See just how much you like it."

Matt nodded eagerly and smiled but Sin pushed him away and turned towards the door.

"Aren't you going to take your cane?"

"No, I don't need it right now and besides, I don't want anyone to know I'm injured. I have to get through this without the cane and with as slight of a limp as I can. I need to perform as I always do."

"I think you should at least take it," Matt insisted.

"No, leave it," Sin said sternly. With another doubtful glance at the cane and a swarm of butterflies building in his gut Matt followed Sin's tall highwayman form out into the night.

* * * *

Matt stood in the shadows, just offstage, feeling extremely nervous and sick to his stomach. Sin had made a beeline straight to Andy as soon as they had arrived backstage. Matt had shifted uneasily against the wall while Sin and Andy had shared drugs in the corner. Andy had looked amazed and bewildered at this unheard of behavior by Sin but shared his stash willingly enough. Matt didn't like it one bit, wondering if Sin was overdoing it and fretting that he would overdose himself. When Sin returned to his side he was literally bouncing on his toes, all thoughts of his injury entirely gone. Sin was obviously feeling no pain.

"Okay Matt, I want you to put your heart into this, got it. I mean really scream the lyrics out. Don't be shy and hold back. You'll make me look bad and I won't tolerate that, understand?" Sin had asked, speaking a bit faster than was normal for him.

When Matt nodded Sin had slapped him hard on the shoulder, almost hard enough to make Matt stagger. Matt had watched Sin turn away and bound out onto the stage with growing alarm. Now his ears were beginning to ring from the first few songs that Sin had belted out and Matt swallowed hard as he watched Sin through the side doorway on the stage, introducing Matt as "newly found talent", explaining to the crowd that Matt would be joining him onstage. When Sin swept his hand toward him and announced his name Matt headed out onto the stage, bedazzled by the lights and deafened by the murmur of the crowd. Matt was absolutely terrified.

* * * * *

Matt soon found that performing on stage was not nearly as hard as he had feared it would be. He fed off of Sin's energy, a drug more potently intoxicating than any powder that Sin or Andy had ever shared. Sin and Matt passed the microphone back and forth through the entire set, taking turns and Matt was relieved to see Sin stagger only once, a step barely missed that only someone closely watching for such a misstep would see it. Sin had simply gone smoothly to his knees without a hitch in his voice as if that had been his intention to start with. The crowd, half of which were Fur Fly Dog fans who had not gotten word of their cancellation, accepted Matt wholeheartedly, cheering him nearly as loudly as they did Sin. Matt was actually shocked when the show came to an end. He felt like he could go another two and a half hours longer without any problems.

Matt paced restlessly backstage as Sin went out to perform one last encore song. Sin finally joined him, the crowd still cheering, trying to coax the band out for yet another song. Sin nearly tripped again as he came through the door and Matt grabbed him to steady him. Sin pushed him against the wall and kissed him hard and long. Doboot pushed passed them glaring angrily, Heath without a single glance and Andy trying not to goggle at them. Sin's hands were all over Matt, his breath coming out in excited huffs. Finally he pulled Matt away from the wall and shoved him toward a small door around the corner. He flipped on the light and Matt saw they were in a tiny broom closet, filled with cleaning supplies and chemicals. Sin didn't give him much of a chance to look long though. He spun Matt around, facing the wall and shoved him against it roughly. Matt gasped when Sin literally ripped the shirt from his back and reached eager hands around to work furiously at Matt's belt buckle. Matt reached down to help him, just as eager to be fucked as Sin was to fuck him. Sin let Matt finish the job of getting his jeans lowered, taking the time to examine Matt's healing back. Suddenly unhappy with what he saw Sin raked his nails down the length of Matt's back, following the half healed furrows he had left there before. Matt stifled a scream, pressing his face into the wall and clenching his teeth as his shoulders hunched defensively. Sin entered him hard in that moment, leaning forward to clamp his teeth into Matt's shoulder. Matt continued to squirm under the pain, whimpering softly, his fists clenched and pressed against the wall as Sin pounded into him. Sin continued to bite him as he pumped away madly and Matt felt him cum deep inside his ass, Sin shooting his load much more quickly than he normally did. Matt hardly had time to realize that Sin had finished so early when Sin spun him around and went down on him. Matt's hands went automatically to Sin's head, resting there languidly as Sin sucked him. Suddenly Sin's jaw flexed and Matt felt a searing pain in his cock. Damn it, Sin had bitten him there too! Suddenly Matt was hunching over again, his hands hard on Sin's head, caught in a terrible undertow of pain and unbearable pleasure. Matt came as suddenly as Sin had, lust rushing far too quickly to dam or stem. Matt literally felt his knees buckle as Sin slid up his body, wiping his chin with the sleeve of his coat. Sin held Matt up against the wall, kissing him hard.

"You did good, kid," Sin muttered into his ear, his long body still pressed hard against Matt's. "I think I might throw you on the stage a bit more often."

Matt flushed under the praise and struggled to get the strength back in his legs. By the time Sin pushed away from him Matt felt stronger but his senses were still tangled, giddiness and pain, spent passion and exhaustion. Matt staggered away from the wall and pulled his pants up, his dick hurting like hell when he pulled the fabric of his underwear up over it and zipped up. Sin hadn't dropped his pants far, careful of the bandages and he quickly put himself in order and snatched Matt's torn shirt from the floor before opening the door and shoving Matt through it ahead of him. As they rounded the corner they found a small crowd there, all three of the other band members, the club owner, and Charles Debroy.

Charles took one look at Matt's bare chest and coughed discreetly into his fist to cover his shock. Doboot glared pure disgusted hatred at both of them.

"Your pay," the club owner said, obviously picking up on the nervous vibes but not understanding them. "I was told four band members but I don't mind paying five, not when I end up with a hell of a crowd like we had tonight. Twice what I had offered Fur Fly Dog and worth every penny." The man placed a wad of cash into Sin's hand, then Matt's.

"It says in our contract that no press can take pictures during our shows without our written permission but there was a photographer in the back blatantly snapping shots. What's up with that?" Sin asked angrily. Matt hadn't seen the man and was surprised that Sin had been able to pick him out of the crowd.

The club owner shrugged and waved at Debroy. "It was one of his men." As he stepped back his eyes seemed to focus on the floor behind them and Matt and Sin turned to see a small widely scattered trail of blood spots on the floor. Andy carefully put a hand on Matt's bare shoulder and turned him around to see his back. Doboot shuttered and took a step back. "Jesus, yall are a couple of sick fucks, that's for sure," he said as he looked at the deep furrows and the very obvious imprint of Sin's teeth in Matt's shoulder.

"Cripes!" The club owner said, also stepping back. "Go put a shirt on that boy! He's dripping on my floors!"

Sin snagged Matt's arm and hustled him into the private bathroom at the back of the club. "It isn't you dripping Matt, it's me."

Matt turned and looked down at Sin's boots. Tiny dots dropped from the side of one boot. Matt jerked the torn shirt from Sin's hand and wrapped it around Sin's calf just above the hem of his jacket to absorb the blood and stop the dripping. There was nothing he could do about Sin's wound until he got him home. Sin quickly unbuttoned his coat, pulled it off and slipped out of his shirt before pulling his coat back on. Matt pulled the shirt on and helped Sin to button the coat back up hurriedly. When they returned to the group the club owner was gone, yelling for someone to come and clean up the blood on his floor. Debroy and Heath were waiting patiently for them to return, Andy and Doboot were nowhere in sight.

"Debroy's booked us two gigs a week for a month solid," Heath said happily.

"That so?" Sin asked, his voice holding a very sharp edge. "Don't you think you should have checked with us before doing that Debroy? We haven't signed a damn contract yet and who the hell gave you permission to bring in the press?"

"Silverman gave me the go ahead on everything. He said if you gave me lip that I should tell you he's been watching the news. I'm not sure what that means but that's what he told me to tell you."

Matt and Sin exchanged a silent look. Neither of them had taken the time to turn on the news or pick up a newspaper. They had no doubt that a story as big as McKenna's would run in papers nationwide. Sin turned back to Debroy and nodded. "Fine, so long as you understand that if I am unable to perform for every gig you've set up then Matt will fill in for me."

Debroy's eyes widened in surprise, he hesitated then nodded. "Okay, I can live with that. He looked real good up there on the stage. He doesn't have your style or presence but he'll do, so long as you aren't planning on bowing out entirely."

"Of course not," Sin said blandly. "I am Chains."

"God you're an arrogant son of a bitch, aren't you?" Debroy asked nastily.

Sin waved a hand airily. "Call me what you will but it all spells the same thing. No matter how you look at it Chains is dead without me."

"You know, I really do not like you at all," Debroy said flatly and Sin laughed before turning away and sauntering off. Matt was impressed. Surely by now Sin was feeling that wound at least a little but there wasn't even a hint of a limp in his steps. Matt hurried to catch up. Sin went straight for the door and the moment it closed behind them he sagged against Matt. Matt had to help him from there across the parking lot to the motorcycle.

"It's getting bad now, isn't it?" Matt asked as he handed Sin his helmet.

"It's been bad, I've just been ignoring it. I can't ignore it much longer though."

Matt slanted Sin a silent look, Sin's profile fierce in the moonlight before it disappeared under the insect-like helmet. Matt swung onto the bike and started it up, waiting for Sin. Sin nearly fell twice before succeeding in getting onto the motorcycle. Matt had no intentions of taking Sin home. He was taking him straight to Miss Sylvia's.