Less than fifteen minutes after they board the flight to Australia, Karl persuades the stewardess to give him a sleep mask and a blanket. He spends the flight safely hidden under it and feels no shame in this whatsoever. Even if Daisy shot him a look before he slipped it on and called him a fink.
Karl knows himself, he knows his band mates, and he knows when he needs some time apart from them. He also knows what tension feels like in the air and he's rather hoping that if he pretends to sleep throughout the flight, certain parties will use the time to work out the dramatics that are beginning to twitch through their systems.
Elijah in particular. Karl loves the kid, likes to think of Elijah as a strange child that appeared on his doorstep one morning and claimed Karl as family. However, when Elijah's got his hackles up, the kid is bitchier than some of Karl's more shameful shags, and he has no shame about accidentally-on-purpose forgetting Viggo's coffee order every morning for the past week.
Karl has not taken disciplinary action. That would be acting like Bean and that's not a role Karl would ever be interested in playing. However he's also not oblivious to the moods of his band mates and it would be pretty clear to anyone and their pet cow that Orlando's about ready to throw Elijah into a corner if the kid doesn't zen the fuck out.
Case in point: Orlando, upon hearing for the fourth time, "oh, sorry Viggo, I forgot," stood up, nearly stomped his foot, rapidly left the room muttering something about wet cats and sisters, and returned approximately ten minutes later with the frothiest soy latte money could buy.
There's a soft chiming noise from the speaker above him and a woman's voice begins speaking in Korean. Karl assumes they'll translate if it's something he needs to know. He tugs the blanket up higher on his shoulders and listens as Bean and Astin argue about putting a bongo tuning period on the band's schedule. Karl thinks he hears his name some where in this, which makes no sense, but he's too close to sleep to pursue it.
When he wakes up again the wheels of the plane are hitting the ground with their accustomed jolt. He pulls off the sleep mask, blinking, and winces as he pushes the blanket away and the air-conditioned air moves closer towards him.
The band stumbles slowly down the arrival gate and into the airport terminal. Karl's just turning towards Bernard for orders when he hears a painfully familiar voice cooing towards them.
All Karl can see is her hair dragging behind her as she runs over and crashes into Viggo with a squeak and a hug. Billy takes a step backward and looks toward the gate. "The plane. I'm getting back on it."
"No!" Dom grabs his arm, fast, grinning like he's a saint with wings.
"You!" Billy points at him and tugs his arm away. "Don't think I can't see it!"
"Me?" Dom looks at him, aghast, then looks around at the band. "What?"
Bean sighs heavily behind him. "Miranda, hi. How are things?"
" Hello." Miranda smiles guardedly and looks at him as if she's a bit confused about what he's doing here. "Sean."
"Yes." Bean nods at her.
"I see you've decided to join on again?" Miranda shoots Viggo a very unsubtle look.
"Yes!" Dom smiles at her. "Isn't it grand?"
"Oh," Miranda nods, "of course." She turns back to Viggo. "You have no idea what it means to me that you're here." She tucks her arm around his elbow. "Welcome to my homeland, husband!"
"Uh." Viggo flutters his hand at her and simultaneously shoots at least three band members an apologetic look. "Miranda," he steps away from the group a bit and lowers his voice. "Randy, you know what makes me a little--"
"I know," Miranda laughs, "I try. But it's so fun to watch your face." She looks over at Bernard. "Where are we off to, Bernard?"
There's a pause and then Billy coughs violently and takes another two steps towards the gate, folding his arms and glaring at the back of Miranda's head like he could set her yellow scarf on fire if he tried hard enough. Karl winces. He's pretty sure Dom does too.
"Well," Bernard shuffles a step or two, then clears his throat. "Well, ah. The band's got to--"
Viggo clears his throat. "We can drop Miranda off along the way." He looks at Bernard. "Before we get to the hotel."
"Yes, right!" Bernard nods. "Are you along the way love?"
"Well," Miranda frowns. "Sort of." She looks at Viggo.
"We're just dropping and running, band business, you know?" He pats her hand. "I can call you later."
"All right then," Miranda nods, "I guess. But only if you promise to see an aboriginal flute exhibit with me later."
Karl winces. He sort of wanted to see that.
"Of course," Viggo nods. "If I have time in the schedule."
Elijah picks up his carry on bag. "Can we?" He gestures towards the baggage claim sign.
"Of course," Viggo nods.
He leans down to grab his green army bag, but Miranda grabs it first. "Don't worry about that. Aren't you tired?" She glares at Karl. "You lot need to give him a break some times."
Karl blinks and looks over at Daisy as the band follows Viggo down this corridor. "Who," he glares. "What, does she think we beat him?"
Daisy looks at him, eyebrow raised. "Do you doubt it?"
Karl sighs and looks around at the rest of the band. Viggo does look exhausted. Orlando's been wearing the same sweatshirt for the past four days. Elijah's glaring at a small elderly couple and Billy looks like he wants to climb out the nearest window.
Bean looks at Karl and grins. "Welcome to Australia, Mate."
Billy looks around the green room backstage at Don't Eat the Daisies and he can almost see battle lines drawn between the groups in the same way that Viggo swears he can see music. Liv is sitting on the arm of the chair in the middle of the room, leaning against Karl's shoulder. She's writing in her notebook and laughing at whatever Karl's whispering in her ear. Across from their little bastion of neutrality, Orli is hovering behind the couch Viggo's sitting on, shooting dirty looks around the room like a trained attack dog while also trying to avoid Miranda's flailing hands. Bean is sitting next to Viggo on the couch, looking like he'd rather be anywhere than here, and Billy wonders if he should start counting the days until there's some sort of welding emergency back home. Viggo's listening intently to Miranda and looking somewhat more dazed than usual. Billy frowns at him, but he doesn't seem to notice and Billy can't say that's any different than usual.
Elijah, Dom and Sean are sitting on a bright pink couch pushed against the wall across the room. That couch was originally next to the green one Viggo and Bean are on, but Billy watched Elijah move it as soon as Daisy left to start the show. Once the couch was as far from Viggo as possible, Elijah took out his mobile and has been talking loudly ever since about gigs in New York and his ongoing courtship by Chris Martin. Billy can tell that Elijah's talking to Hannah by the tone in his voice, but Billy also knows that the entire conversation is actually meant for Viggo and not Elijah's sister, because Elijah keeps not-at-all subtly cutting his eyes in Orli's direction, causing Orli to glare even harder. Next to Elijah and his palpable anger, Sean and Dom are talking quietly. Except that "talking" actually means that Dom is listening to half of what Sean says while actually watching Billy out of the corner of his eye to see if Billy's forgiven him yet for the Miranda welcome wagon incident.
For his part, Billy would have been ready to forgive Dom-- if only because he hasn't had one good shag during the two days they've been in Australia-- except that five minutes ago Miranda walked into the green room, smiled dazzlingly and preceded to sit so close to Viggo she may as well have been on his lap. Her laugh pierces the room, louder than Elijah practically shouting, "the money they're offering is insane," and Billy glares at her and turns pointedly away from Dom. He can feel Dom's face fall behind him and mostly he wants to just get over it, but it's one thing to like the woman and completely another to keep her apprised of the band's schedule like some sort of traitor to his country.
Billy watches Sala and Lawrence play poker with Bernard and counts out the beats of "Bard and Pirate" in his head until Daisy's perky PA shows up to lead them onstage. Viggo unceremoniously dumps Miranda on the couch and leads them out of the room, Elijah jumping up to follow right behind.
As they're walking down the hallway, Elijah starts to pick a fight and Karl sighs heavily. "Viggo, I know you decided we should sing 'Voting for the Monkey,' but I think it's a bad idea. This isn't the U.S.-- who the hell cares about--"
"Viggo didn't make that decision, Lij." Orli says and Billy thinks he actually hears him growl. "Ian told us to because that's the bloody first single."
Elijah frowns and turns to Dom. He rolls his eyes and Billy knows from years of experience that Elijah's mouthing something about "teacher's pet," even though Billy can't see Elijah's face. Dom rolls his eyes and sticks his tongue out at Orli when he turns around. Billy feels like a teacher on a school trip as he presses his finger to his lips to quiet everyone before they're introduced and called onstage.
Daisy's sitting on a desk in full drag and it's been awhile since Billy's seen it. He has to admit, it's an impressive act. A red wig tonight, curly and shiny, long blue green dress and Billy thinks of that Disney mermaid when Daisy stands to greet them and the light shimmers as he walks.
"My bandmates, ladies and gentleman. Please don't hold their behavior against them. We are on the last leg of a world tour and you know how rock stars get testy." The audience laughs and apparently only the band can tell that Daisy's not really joking. He turns away from the band as they take the seats that have been set up for them.
"I know you've all missed me while I've been away, and I have to tell you, I wouldn't leave you for just anyone. But this band, they're a special group." The audience laughs and Billy can't see Daisy's face, but he can imagine the expression. "Have I ever told you how I found them?"
Behind Billy, Dom laughs and Billy turns in spite of himself to share a smile. Dom blinks and then nods, but Billy can't quite tell if it's surprise or an apology, so he turns back around quickly.
"--possibly the nastiest drag bar in all of Sydney, but Mitzi dragged me there to do one show for some obscene amount of money and back then, before the glamour of television, I didn't turn that kind of opportunity down." Daisy shakes his head and Billy watches the curls move against his back. "We do a few numbers and some slobbering whacker tries to climb on stage and tears at my wig, so I kicked him off and bailed out on the show. As I left, I ran into my friends Karl and Cate who I'd done some work with a few months earlier."
"Let me tell you," Karl interrupts, laughing, "even back then Daisy was the prettiest fake woman I'd ever seen. Prettier than some of the real ones, truth be told."
Daisy turns to Karl, winks and does a tight little curtsy. "Why thank you, Mister Urban." He turns back to the audience. "Anyway, to make this very long story a bit shorter, Karl introduced me to the crazy bunch you see behind you, I ended up having a few too many shots of something that tasted like turpentine, and it's possible that my feminine virtue may have been lost, because the next day I woke up in a strange bed and found that I was a member of this little collective."
The audience claps and Billy's head hurts, but he keeps a smile pasted on his face. They do a round of audience questions and thankfully most of them just want to talk to Daisy. The one girl who asks Elijah about what he misses most about the states probably doesn't understand what he's talking about when he goes on for a good three minutes about musical opportunity and freedom of expression. He sounds like Sean talking about union labor and is possibly two seconds away from comparing Peter and Fran to communist China and Viggo to Mao when Daisy cuts Elijah off to go to commercial. Billy resists the urge to put his head in his hands.
Daisy comes over to the group, smiles broadly and grits out, "I've not been here in months, this is a live show and if you don't all get it the fuck together, I will pay someone to kill every one of you while you're sleeping." He laughs loudly and then adds, "Painfully."
Billy glances offstage where Miranda is watching and shaking her head, probably in disapproval of the commercial nature of it all. He glares at her and she must notice because she looks startled. Next to him, Liv kicks his ankle and leans in to whisper, "Daisy's not kidding."
When he looks over, Daisy's staring at him with a laser sharp gleam in his eyes. Billy's actually a little scared and sits up straighter.
After the commercial break, they head to the instruments and run through "Bard and Pirate," Elijah glaring the entire time and Orli singing the chorus more enthusiastically than ever. At least Billy can still do this part, even if it isn't quite as fun when he's avoiding Dom's every attempt to make nice. Daisy leads them in their cover of "Dirrty" and then ushers them offstage so he can finish the show alone. Billy wonders if Daisy really has the money to have them all killed.
"Hits are probably cheaper in Australia," Dom whispers in his ear and Billy is too exhausted to do anything but laugh and appreciate that at least some things are still working the way they're supposed to. Dom relaxes a little and walks just in front of Billy. As they reenter the green room he says, "Look, I like her and she called and I didn't--"
Billy shakes his head, "I hate her. I hate you. But if they're all going to spin out of control at the very least I can be getting shagged, so it's fine. Apology accepted." Dom grins and drops three quick kisses on Billy's mouth. "Bastard," Billy mutters as he takes Dom's hand and pulls him towards the door, ignoring what appears to be a disproportionately vicious fight between Orli and Elijah over the relative tastiness of Vegemite.
Dom turns to Bernard and says, "We'll see you back at the hotel. Make sure they don't kill each other, yeah?"
Bernard sighs and Billy gives him a sympathetic frown, but he's done for the day. Later, they'll work on figuring this mess out, maybe give Elijah and Viggo a proper talking to and slap Orli around, but now Billy's going to focus on getting Dom out of the studio and into a taxi and then into a bed. Or at least an elevator.