k8 (paintedmaypole) wrote in peter_and_fran,
k8
paintedmaypole
peter_and_fran

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Part Thirty-Six



***

After a show, Elijah has always liked to sit on the couch in the bus common room and listen to the soundboard recording. In Europe, he started loading the shows directly onto his iPod, which is cool in ways he can't really talk about to anyone other than Hannah, who always pretends to think these things are exciting even when she's just humoring him. On this tour, they're rarely on the bus the night after a show and Elijah discovered a long time ago that listening in his own hotel room just isn't the same somehow. Thankfully, one thing Peter and Fran has never been very good at is respecting personal space, so Elijah just finds someone else's room to listen in.

In San Francisco, Elijah ends up sprawled across Daisy's extra bed, watching him do his make-up so he can film a live-via-satellite segment for Daisies. When the band was broken up, Daisy would send them all DVDs of the show and Elijah kind of misses seeing it. Elijah listens to the show and makes notes occasionally, but mostly he tilts his head a little on the stack of pillows and watches as Daisy applies fake eyelashes, a carefully smudged charcoal line and several sweeps of a tasteful lilac shadow. He grins into the mirror at Elijah and Elijah waves back.

On his headphones, Viggo's talking about Henry's eighth-grade graduation-- which, really, is exactly the kind of thing that makes Elijah want to listen to the shows immediately, because he was almost eighty-percent sure he'd imagined that. But no, Viggo segued from his son's efforts to tie a tie and the way he ripped his diploma while trying to avoid kisses from an over-enthusiastic aunt into Bean's return. Some people might even say it was a skill.

Elijah can't stop grinning as he listens to Bean and in the mirror, Daisy makes a motion around his ear. Elijah pauses the playback and pulls off his headphones. "Do you need to go? Because I can just--"

"No, no." Daisy turns around, his lipstick only half on. "Do you have like, a dock thing or speakers?" He waves at Elijah's iPod.

Elijah blinks. "Oh. Yeah, sure. Hold on."

"Brilliant." Daisy turns back to the mirror and finishes his make-up while Elijah sets up his speakers on the night table. Once it's ready, Daisy turns away from the mirror and sits down on the floor against the wall, his head bouncing to the beat.

A few minutes later, there's a knock on the door and Daisy gets up to let Orli, Eric and Karl in.

"You're listening to Bean?" Orli asks, not waiting for an answer before he drops onto the empty bed. "He was grand, yeah?"

Elijah nods, because Bean was as close to perfect as you could expect and Elijah doesn't say it, but he thinks that maybe everyone else sounded better tonight than they had all tour.

Karl stretches out next to Elijah and smiles, listening and tapping his fingers against his chest. Only Eric, thrown across the bed next to Orli, looks a little bored. Elijah shoots him a slightly apologetic smile before turning the volume up.

***

Viggo wakes up from a dream about monkeys the morning of the Portland show. They were baking him a pie, an enormous one, the size of a table, with an elaborate latticed crust.

He kept trying to determine if the pie was strawberry, rhubarb or blueberry and they wouldn't tell him. Instead, they kept sending Milo over to him, to tell Viggo to find a tree and meditate. The whole thing felt vaguely like a nightmare and not because of the monkeys or the pie. Why, Viggo isn't sure.

When he wakes up he feels cold, too cold from the air conditioner, and he can't stop thinking about Milo. He picks up his cell phone and calls Orlando.

"Hey." Orlando's voice sounds rusty, like he's using it for the first time this morning.

"Milo isn't talking yet, is he?" Viggo looks at his alarm clock. It's eight am.

Orlando sighs and there's a rustling noise which might be him going back to bed or it might be Eric, wandering away. "No. Milo doesn't talk. Yet."

"Good," Viggo nods to himself. "I had a dream. I was concerned I missed it."

"No," Orlando says quietly. "You didn't miss it."

"Well," Viggo looks down at the comforter on the bed. It's a sort of burgundy red. He has paint in the same shade.

"Well?" Orlando sounds like he might be laughing at him a little. Viggo ignores it.

"Well, that's good then. I wouldn't want to miss that." Viggo pauses for a moment. "Seriously."

"I know," Orlando sighs. "Seriously, I do."

"Okay." Viggo stands up and walks over towards the small concrete balcony hanging off of his room. "I'm sorry I woke you."

"Alright." Viggo can practically see Orlando shrug when he says it. "I'll see you later then."

"Right." Viggo snaps his phone shut and heads for the balcony doors. It's past sunrise, but the sky is looking nice anyway.

***



***

Daisy's the last one back on the bus after a rest stop somewhere in California. In the course of walking the length of the bus from the door to the bathroom (where he thinks he might have left his sunglasses) he has to tip-toe through Viggo, Bean and Karl's poker game, nearly trips over the mess of power cords and other connecting bits that follow Sean, Elijah and their laptops wherever they go, gets an unpleasant whiff of whatever blended organic baby food concoction Dom, Billy and Liv are brewing in the kitchen for Milo and bumps into a foot hanging out of Orlando's bunk that definitely does not belong to Orlando.

Eventually, he makes it to the bathroom and there's no sign of his sunglasses, but he locks himself in anyway just for a few cubic centimeters of space to himself.

When they were first laying out the logistics of the North American dates, Bernard made some noise with reference to the label being cagey about putting up the money for a tour and suggested as a show of good faith, that they only request one bus for the band and one for the crew.

Viggo, of course, was all for it, and said, "We all support car pooling, right?"

After that, Orlando quickly added, "Well, it can't be any worse than the Eurovan, you know?"

For the record, Daisy has always thought that "it can't be any worse than the Eurovan" (a popular line of logic for all things relating to Peter and Fran) is a stupid reason to justify doing anything, because Daisy imagines that the only things that actually are worse than the Eurovan are being buried alive, eating spiders and toupees.

But that's how they all ended up on one bus, and Daisy doesn't think it's been all bad, really. Half the time Liv opts to fly with the baby, or Orlando and Eric get a car and drive separately (thus sparing everyone else from their seemingly-endless-but-really-ought-to-be-expiring-shortly honeymoon phase) or Viggo's camped out on the crew bus driving Sala mad and they can move around without stepping on each other's toes.

But at the moment, every single member of the band plus one stow-away are on the bus and Daisy loves Bean, truly, madly, really, but now that Bean's back, they've had to take turns kipping on the sofa in the lounge because there aren't even enough bunks.

Daisy knows it's pointless to bring up the possibility of two buses when there's only three shows before the South Pacific leg, at which point they'll be lucky to be transported form show to show in a rickshaw, but he's about ready to hitchhike to Portland if that's what it takes to get some peace and quiet.

When he's finally ready to open the bathroom door without having a diva fit, everyone's crowded around the remains of the poker game, Dom, Billy and Liv cheering while Karl feeds Milo whatever string bean and beet mess they've made (Karl being, somewhat improbably, Milo's favorite when he's feeling fussy), Elijah piping in on the tiny speakers of his laptop some salsa remix of "Bard and Pirate" he's being working on, Sean filming the whole thing from an awkward perch on the arm of one of the sofas and Orlando and Eric having emerged from the bunks to watch, Orlando looking delighted and Eric confused.

Daisy grins despite himself. Just a few more days, then. It won't be so bad.

***

Karl hasn't exactly sat around and listed all the people he'd prefer to be stuck with in an elevator, but he's very, very sure that if he had, Professor Eric Bana would not appear anywhere on the list.

Eric flips his phone shut and says, "Well, supposedly everything's fine, but it's going to be a few minutes."

Karl leans his head against the wall as part of a full body slump and closes his eyes. "Great," he says. "Fantastic."

Any hope Karl has that Eric will stand about quietly while Karl tries to sleep standing up (a skill he once perfected while locked for fifty-six hours in a recording studio in Denmark but has since lost due to lack of practice) are abandoned when he hears Eric clear his throat and then say, "So, can I ask you a question?"

Karl grunts in a way that he hopes will clearly mean, "I should well fucking hope not," but apparently something gets lost in translation, because next Eric says, "So, Sean Bean. He was gone, but now he's just back? And you're all fine with that?"

Karl opens one eye, but just barely. "What are you talking about?" he says.

Eric shrugs, and says, "Well. I just wondered."

Karl closes his eyes again. "Shouldn't you be asking Orlando about this?" he says.

"I tried that, actually. And he explained it, or tried, but, well, you know--" Eric trails off there.

Karl gets the impression that he's trying not to say that Orlando could attempt to explain a poodle and end up making it sound like astronomy. Karl can imagine what Orlando would have to say to Eric, of all people, about Bean's return. He even feels a little bad for Eric just thinking about it, so he says, "He was gone. Now he's back. That's it, really."

Thankfully, at that moment, the elevator dings.

***



***

Sala has about two hours to come up with a way to cram about fifteen different instruments into a five by five foot space.

These are not the collective instruments of the band. They are not the instruments of the small high school band performing a cover of "Because of the Guatamalans" during the Portland show. No, these are the "new" and "experimental" materials of Peter and Fran's once again back-up drummer and accompanist, Sean Astin.

"Like he's even going to have time to bloody play all of them," Sala mutters into the side of the large moving crate he's rolling into position on the stage. "Thought he wanted to be a bloody film maker anyhow." He nudges a stack of cords aside and wheels to a place just past them, marked in orange tape on the floor. "Sound experimentation," He makes a snorting noise and wipes his forehead with his t-shirt. "Bloody Viggo."

When Sala stops and looks up from unpacking the large plastic crate holding timbales, a xylophone, timpani drum, chimes, and several other poorly packed items, he notices that there is a distinctly empty space around him. As if the entire crew and band his hiding from him at the moment.

This and only this improves his mood. Slightly.

"Er. Sala?" Bean is peering at him from a distance, just below the stage.

"Yeah?" Sala lifts his chin and looks at him, putting down a set of maracas.

"Well, you know," Bean shrugs. "Here." He walks over and picks up the timpani. "Just tell me where to put things."

Sala nods at him and points over to Bean's actual drum kit. "Move that thing over to the left. We'll see if there's any room left for a band."

"Right." Bean nods and they get to work.

***

Viggo refuses to mount a camera on his guitorgan or on any of his other instruments, for that matter. Or, he doesn't exactly say as much, but when Sean asks, Viggo just stares and then turns away to ask Bean if he wants anything from the vending machine down the hall and the meaning was clear enough to Sean. Sean starts to complain about it, but then he realizes that Dom and Karl are the only people in the room once Viggo and Bean leave, so Sean just sighs a few times and then gets distracted wondering why Dom, Karl and Viggo are the only other people in Elijah's room.

Three hours later, though, Sean's almost forgotten Viggo's refusal, because he's too busy backing around the stage, avoiding cords and Orlando's flailing tambourine arm, getting what has to be the best concert footage yet. He turns his camera on Dom, who plays to it as expected, tongue out and eyes wild as he solos on "Barmaid." Sean laughs at him and is enjoying it enough that he would have filmed the entire solo, except that he notices Billy standing just in front of him, barely strumming his bass and watching Dom with the bright, wide smile that would look completely fake on anyone else.

Sean films the entire show, only remembering once to check and see if Bean needs to be relieved. But, through the camera lens, Sean sees that Bean is dripping with sweat and smoking during Viggo and Dom's patented mid-show banter, grinning and shaking his head at everyone's antics like he'd just been on a bit of a vacation. Sean smiles at him and Bean shakes his head twice to let Sean know he's fine and Sean swings around again, just missing Karl as he leaps across the stage to land in front of Daisy, where the two proceed to do an elaborate jig to the sound of Dom making fun of Viggo's mumbling. Sean smiles and moves in for a closer shot, nodding his head to the music as Bean starts up a beat for Karl and Daisy's dance.
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