The Westin Grand Vancouver → Vancouver International Airport
Viggo claims that the city bus service goes, like, right to the airport, but Bernard just grins and takes not a small amount of glee in telling Viggo that he's already reserved car service. Viggo threatens to retaliate by over-tipping the driver with his entire per diem and Bernard says, "Be my guest. But don't expect to bum fag money from me until we get to Korea."
Viggo furrows his brow like he's trying to decide between laughing or leading the people's revolution and, really, what else is new? It must be Tuesday.
Bernard claps Viggo on the back and says, "Be in the lobby in ten minutes or you'll need your per diem to hitchhike to Tokyo."
He strides down the hallway, banging indiscriminately on what he hopes are the doors of everyone else's rooms. Liv peeks her head out of the second door on the right and says, "Hey, can you keep it down? The baby's sleeping."
"Sorry, sorry," Bernard says, making a half-bow of apology. "Lift-off in ten, though, love." Liv nods and shuts her door. Bernard adores Milo, but sometimes he can't believe they've added on a baby to the mix.
"Oy, what's the racket?" Dom says, stumbling out of his room with Billy hanging onto him by the belt loop.
"Hurry it up, then," Bernard says. "You can snog in the car."
Bernard watches them carry on down the hall and thinks he's probably just lucky neither of them could get knocked up, or there'd already be a whole herd of pathologically untruthful, mayhem-wrecking Monaghan-Boyds in tow every time the band went on tour.
Bernard briefly thanks all interested deities for small miracles and raps his knuckles against the door at the very end of the hallway.
"C'mon, c'mon, we haven't got all day, then," he calls out. The door gives way under his fist and Orlando pours out, two lumpy bags hooked under one hand, one with a stray sock bulging out of its struggling zipper. In the other hand, he's got sunglasses, his toothbrush and a crumpled piece of paper. "Hey, I'm ready to go," he says.
Bernard shakes his head, holding the door open behind Orlando for a second before he realizes no one else is coming out.
Vancouver → San Francisco International Airport
Elijah's getting the distinct impression that the suits and ties who make up the rest of the population of first class aren't terribly happy to see them.
Not that anyone in the band has ever had any use for any sort of formality, but sacked out for the seventeen-hour flight to Tokyo, they're looking even more like a bunch of homeless people than usual.
Orli is slouched down in the seat next to him, wearing flip flops and yoga pants, a scarf tied around his wrist, another one holding his hair back and a sweatshirt he's owned longer than Elijah's known him. The sweatshirt might have once been red but has now faded to muted pink and is frayed enough at the cuffs that Orlando can stick his thumbs through the holes, and at the moment he's doing just that.
Orlando hates flying, not because he's afraid, he says, but because sitting for that long fucks up his back. Elijah glances over at him, expecting that he'll already be twitching in his seat, arching his back and looking to get up so he can touch his tongue to his toes or some other ungodly thing. But Orlando is positively still, molded into his seat and staring straight ahead, seemingly at nothing, as far as Elijah can tell.
"Hey," Elijah says, leaning toward him. "You alright?"
Orlando snaps his head up and gives Elijah a confused eye. "What," he says, and then in a rapid fumbling succession of words, "Oh. No. I'm just. No. I'm just tired. You know, tired."
Elijah manages half a smile in return, but says nothing because, okay, that was clearly weird. He'd try to figure out what the fuck is up with Orlando, but it's probably nothing, either that or it's a huge enormous something, and it'll all come out at the worst possible moment. Elijah's not going to mess with that kind of timing. He reaches for his bag; he needs his iPod.
San Francisco International Airport
Their connecting flight in San Francisco is delayed, and Dom's thrown himself into one of the molded, uncomfortable plastic chairs. He's already imagining how all their luggage is going to get stranded in Honolulu or something and he'll never see any of his t-shirts again.
Billy's sitting next to him, reading a book he found on the floor underneath his seat. The book has the Mona Lisa on the cover, but why, Dom's not really sure, because when Dom asked him what the book was about, Billy said, "There's an albino."
Dom kicks Billy's foot with his own. "Billy," he says. "Billy, I'm bored."
Billy kicks him back, lightly. "'M reading," he says. "Y'could read, too."
"There aren't any more books on the floor," Dom says. He's got a book in his bag, but it's some incomprehensible Noam Chomsky thing that Viggo's tried to make him read by slipping it in with his things four separate times now. Dom's not above flushing this copy, just to prove that he's desperate for entertainment, but not desperate enough to read Chomsky. Yet.
Sean wanders over and sits down beside them. He's eating a donut. "Hey, so, I was wondering," he says, "do you guys know where Eric is?"
"No idea," says Billy.
"That's kind of weird, isn't it?" Sean says. He's got little caked bits of sugar on the corners of his mouth. Dom's thinking about telling him so, but not yet. "I mean, that he was here and now he's just not. Did Orlando say anything about him not coming with us to Japan?"
"Dunno," Dom says. "But I imagine he has a job, you know. He probably had to go do professor things, or something. Anyway, what to do you care?"
Sean shrugs. "Just thought it was weird," he says. "Bernard says they might get us on a flight that leaves at four," he adds, and gets up to wander away. Dom doesn't tell him about the sugar still smeared on the corner of his mouth.
After a minute, Dom kicks Billy's foot again. "Billy," he says.
"This is bloody spousal abuse," Billy mutters, and then adds, syrupy sweet, "Yes?"
"Where is Eric?" Dom asks.
San Francisco → Tokyo Narita Airport
Liv's watching the in-flight movie but only half paying attention. It's one of the ones that Ben Affleck and what's-her-face made when they were together, and it's cute but not very interesting. A little bit ago, she switched the audio over to French. Liv doesn't speak any French at all, which makes things entertaining.
When Liv isn't watching the movie, she's sneaking glances at Orlando, who's sitting two seats over from her. In between them is Karl, the complimentary sleep mask pulled over his eyes, snoring lightly.
Orlando's curled up against the window in a position that doesn't look particularly comfortable even if you don't have a Frankenstein spine, and Liv's wondering whether or not she should say anything to him and not just because it might wake up Karl. She takes another glance away from the screen and Orlando sighs and shifts a little bit in his seat, his cheek still pressed up against the glass. It's dark outside and the pilot says they're over the water; she wonders whether Orlando can even see anything beside black and black and black.
He's got on break-up clothes, clearly. Even though he's never had break-up clothes before (he's never even had break-ups before) and that old WSDE sweatshirt used to be his default attire for long trips and cold hotel rooms, this is clearly a break-up ensemble he's rocking, and Liv keeps thinking she should say something, but Orlando's never had a break-up before, so she's not sure.
She pulls down her headphones, leans over Karl carefully, and taps Orlando on the shoulder. "Hey," she says. "When we get to Tokyo, maybe we can go out dancing?"
Orlando turns his head toward her slightly, and the side of his face looks pressed and pink from being up against the window. "Yeah," he says, shrugging a bit. "Okay, sure."
Liv smiles and puts her headphones on again, even though she's completely lost track of the movie at this point. Maybe she'll wait for someone else to bring it up first.
Tokyo Narita Airport → Mercure Hotel Narita
Daisy doesn't know what time it is, either where they started or where they've ended up, and he doesn't care. All he knows is that he wants a shower and sleep, in that order if he can manage. The traffic they've hit on the way to the hotel makes him think it must be on either side of work day hours, but then again, it's Tokyo, it could also be this bustling at three in the morning.
When they finally, finally get to the hotel, everyone piles out of the van slowly like sleepwalkers. Bernard's handing out room assignments, and Daisy accepts his keycard with an absentminded, "Thanks," and eyes the pile of luggage on the curb for his three bags.
Behind him, Bernard is saying, "And, ah, here's yours then, I had you down for two to the room, but shall I tell them that's not the case?"
Daisy glances over his shoulder to see Bernard's talking to Orlando, who was sitting in the van with a blank face that Daisy chalked up to exhaustion but now it looks like he's just staring straight through Bernard, holding the key card as though it's a dead fish. Finally, Orlando lifts his chin up a bit and says, "Yeah, that's, you know, that's right, that's fine."
Daisy struggles to process this information with the pile of melted jelly that's currently passing for his brain and realizes all at once that, oh right, oh dear --
"Hey," Sean says from the curb. "Where is Eric, anyway? Why didn't he say goodbye?"
Orlando leans down to reach for his own bags, so he's staring directly at the ground when he starts to say, "Look, we--" He grabs his backpack with one hand and says, finally, wearily, "We broke up, okay?" He hoists the backpack over one shoulder and walks past Daisy and the rest of them toward the lobby entrance.
40b: When I counted up my demons / Saw there was one for everyday
There are moments when Elijah really, really wishes he'd kept his mouth shut about the Coldplay offer. The flight from San Francisco to Tokyo was delayed and as they lolled about the airport terminal and visited the souvenir shop and requisite airport Starbucks, Elijah noticed the XY album lying there, next to an advertisement for Starbucks radio.
"My next album guys, right there," he pointed at it and grinned. Dom's been on a tear about it ever since. His first step was to begin singing "Don't Panic" under his breath a lot when Elijah was near, but over the course of many, many hours spent in airport terminals and hotel lobbies, with only Peter and Fran members and magazines to entertain him, the teasing has graduated to Dom cutting out every article, advertisement, and photo he could find and taping, pinning or sticking them in some way on to Elijah's belongings.
Elijah, now intimately acquainted with Chris Martin's nose, pores, and support for the Make Trade Fair movement, is beginning to move past unamusement and into annoyance and outright grumpiness. Jet lag and Japan's similarity to an alien planet isn't helping one bit.
During sound check, Elijah's on headset. He's wandered off to a corner of the stage, talking to the guys in the booth about Liv's vocals when Viggo comes in. He waves his notebook at Elijah and climbs up onto the packing crate Elijah's leaning on.
"I know what we need to do." Viggo nods at Elijah, staring dead straight into his eyes. It reminds Elijah of hypnotism. Or cults.
"Yes?" Elijah nods back.
"I'm emailing you some mp3s," Viggo rolls his notebook between his hands. "Female folk singers from Iceland, absolutely hair-raising. It's like shape-note singing, but colder. Have you heard the new Bjork album?"
"Well," Elijah resists the urge to roll his eyes, "I gave it to you. So."
"Right, yeah," Viggo grins. "Great."
Karl coughs meaningfully at Viggo from the other side of the stage. "We going to do some singing today, mate, or do you want to keep going on about Iceland?"
Viggo looks up, slightly startled, and sighs. He looks a bit like a kid being forced to finish string beans. He looks back at Elijah, after he gets over to the microphone. "Anyway, all that plus something loud, like heavy metal on the next album. We should start working on it. It'll be a whole new sound."
Elijah makes a physical effort to not comment and given the sudden pause from Liv, the rather expressive blink that passes between Karl and Daisy, as well as the manic way Dom pounds through the practice session of "Bard and Pirate," Elijah's guessing he's not the only one taken aback by the assumption that there will be a next album or at least that there doesn't need to be some discussion about it first. They're running late, though, and Viggo's already launched into tuning his guitorgan by the time Elijah's collected himself enough to feel annoyed.
The next morning Elijah wakes up and stares blearily at the window. The day is grey, foggy looking, and he realizes he's missed breakfast but too early for lunch. Everyone around him seems to be speaking a foreign language, even the people that look like they might be American, and the people at the hotel are so polite and everything is so clean that Elijah is very tempted to smash things and litter, to make it feel more like home.
When he manages to dress, he drags himself up to see who's still around. Liv tells him that Karl's off to a workshop with a koto player, Sean's cutting footage in his room and Bean and Viggo have disappeared completely, possibly together but she has no idea. She's heading over to Orlando's room with Daisy on a mission to distract and cheer. Or at least get him to stop skulking around his hotel room and moping. Elijah decides he's in no frame of mind to help cheer anyone up, so he heads to Dom and Billy's room, crashing into the very rectangular and trendy red armchair next to the bureau.
"Right then." Billy takes one look at him and sighs. "You and I are going to find one of your American franchises and we're going to sit in it for at least an hour and absorb some capitalism."
Dom's in the shower when Billy decides this, so they leave him a note.
Elijah's in need of some Americana, so we're off. Remember me fondly if the capitalists get me.
They leave this on top of the pile of odd wrist and finger things Dom calls his man-jewelry and head out.
The hotel clerk tells them that there's a McDonalds about a block away, but Elijah's not quite willing to take that step. Instead they settle for another Starbucks and Elijah tries not to think too hard about what this might say about him and the type of American he is.
Instead, he cradles his coffee in his hands, picks at a large sugary thing from the bakery case, and talks to Billy about how they all love Viggo. "But what if we love him the way you love someone that hurts you and your friends tells you not to get involved with?"
"Are you saying we're polyamorous and in an abusive relationship?" Billy pauses to steal some of Elijah's food. "I'm not sure I can deal with so many revelations at once."
"Tibet," Elijah taps at the lip on his coffee cup. "We aren't doing Tibet again. This band is, like, my life. I love it. I'm not just going to let this turn into some Viggo-project again where he can tell us what to eat or whatever."
"Sean might talk to him," Billy frowns. "Or Orlando."
"All I'm saying," Elijah shrugs, "all I'm saying is that group consensus would be a good place to start. "
"Well, Dom'll just make me do craft fairs if we leave this again." Billy smiles, "not that those are a bother, mind you. I'm just saying that I'm not the one turning down Mr. Gwyneth Paltrow for it."
"Shut it." Elijah glares at him. "I'm not doing the stupid Coldplay job."
"Sorry, sorry." Billy shakes his head and doesn't look sorry at all. Elijah drinks his coffee.
"Also," Elijah stares down into his coffee lid. "I've been listening to the Bjork album all fucking month." He sighs. "It would be fucking fantastic to mess with all that."
"Well," Billy nods at him. "Viggo's not usually wrong when he has his psychotic breaks." His cell phone chirps at him, it sounds a bit like frogs, and he peers at the number, then grins. "Yes, my love?" He nods at Elijah, "'Lij says hello," and Elijah can hear Dom shouting a hello back at him. "Yes indeed," Billy says into the phone. "Yes. Well, we wouldn't want that, would we?"
Elijah fidgets with his coffee cup. He's done some damage to the cardboard sleeve, but it's still holding itself together somewhat. He watches Billy's hands as he talks to Dom. Billy always talks on the phone as if the person on the other end of the line was actually standing right next to him in the room. He's waving his hand to emphasize a word and pulling faces during pauses. He looks happy, which Elijah likes.
When Billy ends the call and closes the phone, Elijah knows that plans have been made to return to the hotel.
"You almost done there?" Billy looks at Elijah's cup.
"I can go," Elijah shrugs.
"Well then," Billy stands up, brushing at his pant legs. "Back to the real world then."
They leave the Starbucks, but Elijah can still smell coffee on his hands. He sighs. Bjork's playing on repeat in his head again.
40c. Start as you mean to go on
Bean doesn't say anything when Viggo stops on the way out of the hotel and leads them both to Orlando's room. He doesn't say anything when Viggo taps quietly until Orlando opens the door, sleep-rumpled and frankly, obviously morose.
"Found it," Viggo tells Orlando, and hands him a battered paperback that Bean can't identify. Orlando runs the pad of his thumb across the soft dog-eared corners as Viggo adds, "Sorry if we woke you up."
As far a Bean can tell this is an outrageous lie, because Viggo would wake up a hibernating bear if he thought he had a chance to tell it about the merits of a barrel organ versus a hurdy-gurdy. Bean sighs, and doesn’t say anything.
"'Salright," Orlando says. He scratches absently at his calf with the toes of his other foot. "If I slept any more, I'm afraid I wouldn't wake up. I don't even know what day it is."
"Wednesday," Viggo says at the same moment that Bean says,
"Thursday," and Orlando cracks a bit of a smile. Bean grins back at him and settles with, "It's Tokyo."
Orlando gives a tiny stretch. "No wonder I felt so… tall this morning. Where're you off to?"
Viggo grins crookedly and Bean glances silently at the ceiling. "I promised a friend I'd look him up. We'll see what'll come of it. Maybe nothing."
Orlando shares a dubious look with Bean before wishing them well and disappearing back inside. Bean manages to stay silent all the way down the hall and into the elevator before opening his mouth.
"I see you've skipped straight to the obscure yet symbolic piece of literature," he says lightly. "Does that mean you've already given him a poem and a pebble or a leaf from your pocket or some shite?"
Viggo just looks at him.
Bean shrugs. "That was the order of things, usually, wasn't it?"
"Don't be a cunt, Sean," Viggo says, slowly, like he's considering something.
"Little late for that."
"I can't give him a book," Viggo starts drily, and Bean can tell by the way he's breathing through his nose that he's actually irritated.
"No," Bean says flatly. "Anyone else, but not you."
The doors ping softly open. Through the lobby, Bean can see a light rain is falling onto the small plaza outside.
They reach the entry before Viggo turns suddenly and says, "Sleeping dogs, alright."
Behind him the revolving doors swoosh and glide and Bean replies evenly, "The only sleeping dog I can see needs a haircut and a bit of fucking perspective, and get that look off your face," as Viggo's eyebrows shoot up, "you aren’t fooling anyone, and don't you dare come off surprised."
"Everything surprises me," Viggo says quietly, as if to himself, and Bean could really use a drink right about now.
"I'm sure you like to think so," Bean tells him. Christ, but he's too jetlagged for this.
Viggo looks at him for good minute and then shakes his head until he starts smiling through it, the way that makes Bean suspect he's trying to shake the smile right off his face and failing ruefully.
"Let's go," Viggo says finally, like a compromise. "I mean, Jesus."
They walk through the plaza for a moment in silence before Viggo offers, "As impressions of my mother go, it wasn't bad, but if you're gonna make this a regular thing, we should look into getting you a good wig."
Bean's hair is getting wet and he says "Fuck off," not unpleasantly, and later, holds the door open for Viggo as they reach the restaurant.
Inside it's dim and politely hushed and they both jump a bit when a shadow with a cigarette clamped between its teeth leaps out from behind a floral arrangement and says, hoarsely, "Thank God, thank God, I thought you weren't coming."
"Andy," Viggo says warmly, dripping rain onto everything and Bean wants to laugh a bit. He should've known.
"Viggo, thank God," Andy says again, "Sean, yes, what a joy to see you again, let's sit down, I think drinks are in order?"
Andy looks like something washed up onto a beach in the dead of night and left to be discovered by some hapless holiday-maker, Bean thinks. His hair has been cut away except for a limp and curling strip down the center of his head, a sort of flaccid mohawk on its off-day, Bean realizes, with bits straggling left and right over his scalp like a darkly oily octopus, the shorter bits curling over themselves like a sort of defeated fin. Bean's been in Japan for less than 48 hours and already his similes are starting to smell of raw fish, which worries him.
Across the table Andy is telling Viggo about the ghetto of Japanese pop music and the tortuous get-ups involved, a plea behind every word, and Bean hides a chuckle into his beer. A great deal has happened, it seems, since Andy last agreed to do a bit of session drumming on the last album.
"Latex unitards and trousers, " Andy says, stabbing out his cigarette savagely. "The chafing, my God, you don't even know…"
Bean and Viggo shift sympathetically in their chairs, grimacing. Food arrives, neat disks of rice and pearly strips of fish in little lacquered boxes, black and red. Viggo perks up and regards it with interest, Bean with a skeptical acceptance, Andy with a kind of despair.
"You've got to get me out," Andy says. "Stow me away in your luggage or something. I'm begging you."
"Give it a few more months before we're back in the studio," Viggo says easily. "This is good, what did you say this was?" He taps a little dish of briny salad with seeds sprinkled on top.
Bean doesn't say anything. It's just like Viggo to announce Peter and Fran's next album to a session drummer over some bad Japanese beer, totally unbeknownst to the band. No, Bean is not going to say anything, because there were a lot of reasons to come back to Peter and Fran, and resuming his post as translator and go-between and ambassador for Viggo to the others was not one of them.
He drinks and listens to Viggo talk, winding himself and Andy up with visions of entire albums full of alternative percussion, never using the same instrument twice. He'll give it time to prove to himself that people don't fall into patterns like the grooves and tenons of every frame he's ever built, just because they don't know how not to.