With what I usually write, I should maybe warn for 'absolutely no angst' *g*. Jim and Blair go to a Bon Jovi concert, sort of accidentally. Xasphie betad very quickly and offered to take the tickets if the boys didn't want them, but no such luck.

I'm dedicating this to Orion, for walking both worlds with me. And it all started out so innocently with sending me some stories to read...

Some facts: Richard Burgi's brother, Chuck, actually played on the very first Bon Jovi album which came out in 1984. And while they occasionally play shows longer than three hours, the setlist in here is very much wishful thinking. As is the support act (:

Now, enjoy the show!

One Wild Night

By Demeter

EMAIL: Demeter

Hardly anything Blair did would irritate Jim this badly. He was indulgent, amused, and sometimes, yeah, no problem in confessing that, deeply fascinated. If it wasn't for his Sentinel senses, Jim probably wouldn't have spared him a second glance had they met on the street -- and, didn't he know it, he'd have missed out on a great adventure.

That's right, Blair might have stepped from the merry-go-round on an unknown and sometimes disturbing roller-coaster, but the same roller-coaster had been making so much more sense to Jim since he had someone to share it.

So far, so good. Not this evening though. Jim had spent an endless afternoon in court after a morning of paperwork and was in for the headache from hell. Peace and quiet, and that for the next three days, was a most appealing prospect to him, and he had every intention of making it come true.

Therefore,So, Jim was already irritated when he heard Blair bouncing up the stairs to their apartment, whistling a tune that seemed fairly familiar. He dialed his hearing down noticeably - wouldn't be a great start into the weekend to yell at your roommate for being in a good mood.

For sure, Jim wasn't. Realizing it would have been his night to cook only served to heighten his level of annoyance. He winced at the front door falling shut behind his hyper roommate again.

"I know what you're doing this weekend," Blair proudly announced with a bright smile that indicated nothing good for someone who had the kind of plans that Jim had been favoring.

"Yeah, right, Chief. Sleeping in. No cooking. A little TV and a good book."

For an instant, Blair looked at him quizzically, then he shook his head. "No way, man. Not to mention the fact you'd be *bored* --"

Jim was quite sure that he wouldn't be.

"-- I've got tickets."

"Unless they're V.I.P. tickets for the Jags, sorry, Sandburg, I'm not interested."

At that, Blair made a face as if someone had just run his puppy over, and Jim almost regretted his words. Almost. "But Jim, you've got to come. It's all sold out, and there's this friend of mine who's working part-time for this caterer, and she gave me two tickets for Bon Jovi tomorrow night."

This was getting worse by the minute. Before his senses came online, yeah, maybe Jim would have liked to go to a rock concert with a friend, have a couple of beers and enjoy the music -- but now, no way. Blair should have known better. And even under the best circumstances -- no. Bon Jovi weren't Santana, for one. Most definitely, theirs was the voice of another generation.

"Bon Jovi, aren't they those refugees from the 80s? Sandburg, couldn't you find a *girl* to go with you?"

Blair seemed to consider this for a moment, as he sat down on the arm of the couch. "Well, I know a few who are going to kick my ass for asking you first, but trust me, this is going to be one hell of a lot of fun."

Jim just gave him a doubtful look.

"Come on, say yes!" His eyes were shining with enthusiasm, a man hard to resist.

After another moment, knowing he was in trouble, Jim gave a sigh of the long-suffering. "You owe me for this..."

"Yeah, yeah, no problem. I know it was my night to cook, but would you mind if we go out for dinner? I just can't put my mind to it tonight."

//Oh, good. *Not* busted.// "That's a good idea, Chief." And over dinner and hopefully less headache, he'd talk Blair out of this. Make some girl happy.


"Why didn't you say it right away?"

Blair shrugged, looking a little self-conscious. "You never talked about her. I wasn't too sure about how you two parted."

"Friends. Not very close friends."

"Sorry about that."

"Well, whatever. Angie is a great performer. I'm looking forward to seeing her."

Blair laughed. "Well, you're going to have the definite advantage, because we're not going to be front row unless we join the line right after dinner."

"General Admission?" Jim asked disbelievingly. "I believe it would be the better solution if I just call her some other time."

"Oh, come on! I'll make sure you'll have your dials all fine-tuned. It'll be perfect."

That Jim wasn't entirely sure of, but he had to admit the headache had receded some, and he always liked it when Blair got into something like this. Another tribe to study, another closed society. The way he picked parts of his vast knowledge to share like scenes from a movie was -- irritatingly amiable. And for sure, a field full of ecstatic people having come to see their favorite band had to be an anthropologist's playground. Maybe it wouldn't be too bad to tag along... maybe.

"So how come you've never gone before?" he asked, curious all of a sudden.

Another shrug. "That's a good one. Naomi took me to a few really great shows from various folks when I was a kid, but once I started at Rainier, I was studying so much, I practically missed out on the music scene of the 80s. Besides, I was looking for a Sentinel. That was more important to me."

It might have been the result of the couple of beers they'd had, but those words left Jim with a kind of gloomy feeling and the resolution that it wasn't maybe such a big sacrifice to make. With Angie Ferris as the support act he'd survive, because she was really good.


Now Jim recognized the tune. So Blair Sandburg was a great guy, his best friend whom he dearly loved, but the guy couldn't sing to save his life. But he did. At an annoying 8. a. m. on a Saturday morning, in the shower.

//'if you want me to lay my hands on you'//


It was not the content, definitely not, but Blair being embarrassingly off-key that made Jim blush even in the privacy of his bedroom, that much he was sure of. Going back to sleep was not possible anymore. Groaning, he wondered why Blair was up this early anyway. Angie wouldn't be on stage until 6:30 this evening, so Jim supposed they wouldn't have to go until five, even counting in the traffic. Well, maybe he could even have a bit of the relaxed day he had initially hoped for.

When the water stopped running, he got out of bed, grabbed his robe and went downstairs to start coffee.


The man sitting across the table from him was strung high. Usually, Blair was the one who'd sit at the breakfast table with his hair still dripping, inhaling coffee by coffee and needing a little gentle persuasion to get his day started. Never mind that once he did, he was running on high energy until the wee hours in the morning; it was just the start that was a little difficult.

Sometimes cute, sometimes annoying to witness, knowing that Simon was probably already tapping his fingers on his desk - but it was Saturday today. Not to mention, it was raining. No need to hurry at all.

"Okay, Chief, what haven't you told me?"

"What I... nothing, Jim. I'm just waiting for you to get ready. We need to buy a few things, so we can get going around noon, and we won't make it if you keep dragging your feet."

"Noon." It sounded very patient, like talking to a child. It was exactly the effect Jim had intended because only a lunatic could suggest to go to the concert venue half a day before it started, the weather and General Admission notwithstanding. "When will they open the gates, at four, or five?"

Blair answered in exactly the same tone. "Look, Jim, it might not matter for you where you stand, because you can always zoom in from every place, but remember I can't. I want a good view of the screens at least. And it'll be fun to watch the people there."

Knowing Sandburg, you could also replace 'people' with 'women', Jim thought grumpily. In his opinion, a good view of the screens didn't qualify for being rained on all day. Where was the guy who had always complained about cold and wet? Blair didn't seem to mind so much now; his cheeks were flushed with excitement, and they weren't even *there*.

"Fun. I'm sure."

Blair grinned at him. "Me, too."


In addition to all the other good reasons why he shouldn't be here, Jim was still secretly harboring the fear that he'd be surrounded by girls half his age. He'd hoped they would go for lunch at least, but Blair had argued that they could just as well eat something at the venue - over-priced, not doubt - and in the end, Jim had conceded that his friend probably wouldn't be able to sit down for that long.

All of Blair's concerns about fast food seemed out of the window, too. Jim was quite sure that the vendors at the venue would not sell any tofu or ostrich chili.

So here they were, still a ten-minute walk from the actual entrance, and Jim... no, he wasn't ready to admit it yet. It was still raining, no, not just raining, pouring down, as they sat in the truck for a few more minutes. It had taken forever to find a spot to park, and it wasn't yet noon.

From here, they could watch people arrive in groups, gathering around the stands with food, drinks and, of course, the merchandise. Some of them were as young as Jim had feared, but Blair's age mostly. Well, that, he could deal with.

"Wow," Blair said. "Look at that. People *camped* out here."

"Well, I'm glad you didn't suggest that." It was the strangest thing, but Jim couldn't deny it that some of that collective excitement was starting to grab him. Not about seeing that band, Bon Jovi, or even Angie - hell, he could call her anytime he wanted to. It was something about all these people gathering here, until tonight, about 85,000 if you believed the press.

The gathering of a tribe.

It was like some ancient instinct awakening, the way it felt when Blair played those tribal drums CD at the loft, calling forth distant memories of Peru. Waking the panther.

//Getting silly, aren't we?//

Blair smiled, though he didn't comment. "Let's go."


When they passed the merchandise stand, there was a couple in their fifties who caught Jim's eye. He had long grey hair bound in a ponytail, she had her hair dyed blonde, and both of them looked like extras from 'Easy Rider', witnesses of another time.

Okay, so he had judged the age thing wrong. That was a relief. Jim actually wished the weather could have been better, because, well, it didn't seem all that bad so far. And even if Sandburg was the born observer, it was admittedly fun to watch the people around them. Listen in on their conversations.

Some had been following the band all over the continent, and even farther to Europe. What kind of life would that be to dedicate it so single-mindedly to one purpose? Guiltily, he realized that it couldn't have to be much different from Blair's dedication to his Sentinel study. It had to be that way; otherwise he wouldn't have spent years in an unpaid, unsafe job.

Still, mind-boggling. All that traveling had to cost a fortune.

"Here we are. So what now?"

The entrance was to be seen in the distance, but in front of it, there were already rows and rows of people. They hadn't cared much for lunch, having stayed here all day, probably since before dawn. Getting through the day on cookies and juice, and stuff like that. A far too unhealthy way to live even for Jim, and he wondered how many would make it through the day before collapsing. He didn't envy the security personnel for their job.

"Lunch first," Blair declared. "Then we'll look for a good spot."

"A good spot to do what?" It would still be approximately four hours before the gates opened. If they did it on time. "Look, I'm not going to sit down here in this weather and--" Well, when had he told the guy 'no' the last time and won? Too much exposure to the patented puppy dog eyes had created a softie. //Face it, Ellison.//

He sighed. "Let's get a beer, then."


Two hours had crept along worse than they did on an all-night stakeout. Much to Blair's credit, he hadn't insisted on sitting among the die hard fanatics, of which some sat huddled under plastic sheets, talking, reading, dozing. They were pros, had done this time and again; Jim could tell from their conversations. In heat, in cold, in rain, it didn't matter.

It did matter to Jim, though, and he could tell even Blair seemed a little bored and unnerved. If this went on all day, the ground would be one big expanse of mud. Right, one hell of a lot of fun.

"We could have left just now, and still been on time," he said just for emphasis.

Blair hid a yawn behind his hand.

The excitement had been dimmed remarkably.


In the end, they had found themselves a spot to stand in line when Blair had claimed that the rain was getting less. Who was the Sentinel anyway?

Jim couldn't detect such a thing, but he'd indulged Blair, because he had survived worse, and there wasn't much to do anyway. Behind them, more and more people arrived - people who obviously had more sense than the two of them had proven to have. Most didn't sit down anymore, because it was too wet anyway, and //'it's only going to be two to three hours to wait.'//

Jim was proud not to roll his eyes at that. So, two hours.

He could spot the security guys on the other side of the fence, looking bored as hell, and yelling commands into the crowd from time to time that went unheard. Right, it had to have become tight for the folks in the front.

Here, where he and Blair stood, it was rather laid back, and looking around, Jim didn't think these people here looked like they were going to run like hell as soon as the gates opened. They were couples, a few groups of women - well, his age even. Some guys, too, not many though, in comparison.

Still, the atmosphere was changing again - inexplicably, because it would still be over an hour before the real fun started. Something was about to happen. Jim could feel his fingertips tingling, the many heartbeats, if he bothered to listen, like a giant drum concert.

If he wanted to see where the line ended now, he could only do it with the use of his enhanced sight - and he couldn't help being impressed. On alert, too.

Blair was unusually quiet, but maybe he was just tired. He denied it though. "Man, I could write a whole dissertation on this. It's incredible. I only hope we're going to see something! Well, me, anyway."

Okay, so much for unusually quiet. Jim didn't have time for any reply though, because the next moment one of the security guys had said something that he missed, and suddenly, everybody hurried to their feet, one collective, panicked move.

There was a shove from behind, not of one person, but a wave going through the crowd from the clueless people way in the back who couldn't see anything and probably thought the gates had been opened.

"Always the same crap," he heard a young, female voice sigh. "Now we have to stay like this for the rest of the time."

Size was definitely an advantage in this situation. While he couldn't really move back or forth now, at least Jim could still see something. "Chief, can you still breathe?"

Blair giggled in response. So he could.

"My God, Jim, you can kill me later. I had no idea."

Because there wasn't even an inch between them anymore, which didn't mean anything, as everybody was standing that close now. It was just - unexpected. And exciting, somehow, but that had to come from the general ambience, no doubt about it.

The crowd settled once more.


The pressure from behind was increasing, collective shouts urging the security people to open the gates. It was ten to four. Jim found himself almost joining in. It was too tempting. Hell, it was like he'd time-traveled back to a time that Naomi had probably lived to the max. The pheromones coming from this many people were almost enough to make him dizzy - but of course, there was no way he'd zone, with Blair in his face like this, literally.

Four p.m. came and went. More shouts.

Like before, when everybody had gotten up and squashed themselves together, Jim sensed the slight change in ambience. The security guys and gals had already placed themselves in the sluices. They were waiting for the okay.

"Can you hear anything?" Blair whispered excitedly.

"Yeah. Like a million jackhammers."

Blair turned to look at him, making an annoyed face, and Jim reached out to ruffle his hair, his hand lingering just a moment longer while he was listening in to the men and women who stalled themselves for the roar of the crowd.

"I can," he said. "Hold on, Chief."


Which had been a very good advice indeed. From the moment the gates opened, it took them about twenty minutes to get on the field. Which wasn't much, but it seemed longer considering they seemed to move forward by inches, thousands of people being squeezed through the gates.

"Wow." Blair was shaking his head incredulously when they'd made it past the security, looking a little rumpled, but still smiling. "I hadn't expected it to be that crazy."

People who came in behind them were still running, hoping for the best possible spots. Some cursed the security guys who 'always opened the other gate first'. Some went for the next beer. //Not a bad idea,// Jim thought.

And finally, the pouring rain had lessened some.


They provisioned themselves with beers and hot dogs and then walked further into the stadium. It was still raining, but not so hard anymore, and Jim got his first view of the stage.

It was *huge*, decorated like some amusement park. He had to admit that the sheer dimensions were amazing, and felt sorry for Blair who couldn't see what he could see in detail. As far in the back as they still were, people were mostly relatively calm, going for more food and drinks or standing in line in front of the many comfort stations.

Further in the front, it was a different tale. The voices of people talking sounded excited as they retold earlier experiences, wondering what songs would be on the list tonight, and would there be anything special? The titles didn't mean much to Jim, but he sure as hell couldn't ignore the excitement growing within the crowd.

Out on the tribunes, more and more people took place. It didn't look sold out yet, but he supposed it would soon.

"Hey, Jim. You still with me?"

Jim drew himself back from the near zone just the moment "Black Magic Woman" blasted from the speakers. He felt a grin spread on his face, and it didn't hurt to admit that Blair had maybe been right anyway, and he'd enjoy this.

"Hell, yes, Chief. I am."

Too bad that Blair's connections weren't good enough to get them into that fan club area. Of course, Jim could easily use his enhanced vision, but let's face it, it just wasn't the same.


They'd made it to the far left side, behind the second barrier when Blair spotted his friend who'd given him the tickets, Kelly. She was selling icecream to the lucky ones who'd made it into the space directly in front of the stage. He called her name, and she smiled, coming over to where they stood.

Had intended to stay, anyway. The angle was a bit off, but they'd be able to see parts of the stage very well. Too bad even a Sentinel couldn't see around corners.

"Hey!" She and Blair greeted each other with a kiss on the cheek over the barrier. With a look at Jim, she remarked, "I see you managed to convince your friend."

"As I do most of the time, right, Jim?"

Kelly laughed. "Jim, I don't know about the other times, but I can promise you, you won't regret this. These guys are good."

And he was going to see Angie. Even better.

"But let me try something. Be back in a minute."

At Jim's quizzical look, Blair simply shrugged; so he had no idea either what she was up to. He could see that she was talking to one of the security guards whom she seemed to know, the both of them laughing together.

When she came back, Kelly was smiling even brighter. "I wasn't sure if I'd manage to see you anyway. Gentlemen, you get lucky tonight. Put this on, but quickly, or the other folks on the side with you are going to kill me."

She handed them each a stripe of paper, the color a shrill pink, with a number printed on it in black. Wristbands. The people on the other side of the barrier wore them.

"Wow, Kelly, thank you. See." Blair shot him a triumphant look. "Sure you could call Angie anytime, but isn't this much cooler?"

Jim shook his head with an indulgent smile as they walked past the security guards into the fan area. "You win, Chief. Much cooler."


//Been there, done that.//

Once again, they had nothing to do but wait. Not for so long now, though, because Angie was going to come on stage in half an hour, if she started on time. and now, there was only one barrier in front of them, and a few feet, the photographers' pit, to the stage.

Up front, it looked enormous. They were still on the far left side, not right in the middle, though Jim did not envy the people who were. It didn't look like they could move any... Here, on the side, it was more relaxed. The advantage of those wristbands was that you could leave the area and come back. And even if you stood in the last row of this secluded area, you'd still have a good view.

Fifteen minutes now.


Angie Ferris was a sight as breathtaking as Jim remembered.

She started her show with a fast song, getting the people in the front rows to clap their hands, winning them over immediately. She wore a black mini skirt, a black shirt and surprising high heels.

When the song ended, the roar of the applause was a first taste of what it would be like later.

"Good evening, Cascade!"

The noise from the audience turned even louder, and Jim was glad that he had indeed practiced the fine-tuning of the dials.

There was even a group in the crowd with a banner that said, "We love you, Angie!" The singer acknowlegded them with a smile, thanking them. She did two more Rock songs and then launched into a ballad. Jim found that after all the waiting, minutes suddenly seemed to fly by like seconds. He didn't even see so much a woman he had once, briefly, dated, but a fabulous performer.

Wow, but she was *good*.

Blair just gave him another Told-you-so-look. He was enjoying himself, too.


All in all, Angie played and sang for approximately an hour, and Jim found himself almost disappointed when she announced it'd be the last song now. She had changed clothes, looking incredibly young in her jeans mini skirt and the short black shirt that had 'Bon Jovi' written in twinking Strass stones over it.

"You know, I'm really happy to be here tonight. Thank you for being such a great audience. I have loved Bon Jovi's music ever since I discovered it fifteen years ago, and what can I say... being here now, it's all COMING BACK TO ME!"

She stood there for a moment, smiling brightly, enjoying the reaction of the crowd that knew what was coming next.

Jim remembered that they really did know - the ones who were traveling along had also seen Angie several times, growing to love her music, too. Not that it'd take anyone long. And, of course, they appreciated what she'd said about their favorite band.

"I guess you've heard this one on the radio. Feel free to join in!"

//I gave my heart away, I sold my soul for a promise made...//

Those people were loud! And they knew the words by heart. Zooming in on people's faces, Jim saw happy smiles all around. Partly because of the present moment. Partly, because they were pumped, high on endorphines.

When Angie let them sing along on one part, it sounded like one giant choir.

Her final reward was an almost deafening applause. She blew kisses into the crowd, bowing to the audience. "Thank you so much! You guys are amazing! Now have a great evening with Bon Jovi!"

Whatever happened from now, Jim was quite sure that this had been worth it.


The equipment for Angie and her band was removed quickly by efficient roadies, and now the covers taken off the giant drumkit. The light technicians worked their magic high above their heads near the top of the stage.

And all of a sudden, even the rain stopped, the last rays of sun from today breaking through the clouds, the light feeling almost unreal.

"Now," Blair said, and he sounded just a little bit smug, "do you still regret you came along?"

He didn't seem to expect an answer, and the next moment, his attention was elsewhere. "Look at that!" he exclaimed, pointing at the tribunes where people were passing the time with doing Laola waves. His heartbeat was faster than it had been minutes ago, and Jim noticed with fascination that there seemed to be a *collective* increase.

The concentration of pheromones in the air had also increased remarkably.

Hell, he would have never guessed it, but the coming together of so many *fucking happy* people was pretty intense, feeling very good. And he imagined, just a tiny bit jealous, that Blair had once said with the same expression, "You could be the real thing." Anyway, it was good to see him in that mood, all enthusiastic, and Jim found that having been unnerved about the weather and getting up too early was far away now.

One of the roadies had carried on a microphone on a white stand.

On the stage, roadies brought bottled water and towels. It couldn't be long now. Jim watched two girls, friends, who had just now been let into the fan area, hugging each other. He let vision and hearing sweep over the people close to them. A lot of those in the front seemed to know each other - one giant family.

There was another song over the speakers now, a Bruce Springsteen tune, "Born To Run."

"Two more," Jim heard one woman shout to the one next to her, and they grinned at each other like sharing a secret. Maybe it was. Two more, less than ten minutes. Those who'd seen several shows, knew that the last songs from the speakers before the real thing started, were the same each evening.

Heightening the thrill.

Springsteen, Pat Benatar, Aerosmith -- okay, Jim thought that he'd have to review his earlier opinion - he did know more than Santana, and those songs were probably more familiar to him than they were to most of the younger folks in the audience. Damn, this was fun.

Already, the crowd seemed to be louder than the music, agitated, demanding, hot for the show.

It was like one big wave of energy and sound, jubilance, rising, perfected by his heightened senses, and... Blair turned to share a look with him, wide-eyed, exhilarated.

Seconds now...

The drummer was the first one to enter the stage, being greeted with great elation. A guy with curly shoulder-length hair and a mischievous grin climbed behind those massive towering keyboards while the bassist took his spot on the stage also.

Next was the guitarist, and you'd have to be blind and deaf not to notice that the crowd had just gotten louder and wilder. They launched into the first song, and the moment the singer joined them, Jim got the impression that the people were just about to turn crazy.

In a good way.


The second song after the Bob Dylan cover 'Seven Days' was almost a dialogue between band and audience, as they shouted 'their' lines back with abandon.

While the music was much more familiar than he would have thought, Jim had to admit that the whole experience was extremely interesting, as much as it was fun. The guitarist wasn't half bad... Indeed, all of them knew their job. And there was something Jim could have never expected -- in the man who was commanding the audience as if it was the easiest thing in the world, he could see something of Incacha - and a little of Blair, too.

Shaman of the tribe.

Even the men in the audience, even they weren't completely immune to the effect. Certainly a big part of these guys' fame and fortune, besides the fact that they damn well knew how to play, something not to be taken for granted nowadays.

Almost unnoticed, the sun had been starting to set; it was getting cooler, darker.

It was shocking to realize that half an hour had passed in a heartbeat.

And then it was an hour.

At one point, the singer walked over to the guitarist's side, the two of them talking a brief moment, then sharing a grin like a private joke that only they were in on.

//Now, who do those guys remind you of?//

Then it was annouced that the guitarist would sing a song, and the levels of joyous jubilence rose again. The two men traded places, and the guy whose name sounded very much like a tropical cocktail, Sambora, performed one of his own songs, a sound that seemed familiar and yet different, very blues-y.

In the audience, people who had probably never seen each other before, exchanged smiles. From their reaction, Jim could guess that this didn't happen every night.

Blair turned to him with bright, happy eyes.


//"... these days are fast, nothing lasts in this graceless age. There ain't nobody left but us these days..."//

And there was lots of truth in their words. They were playing the whole scale of emotions in their audience, from the archetypal party song that had everyone singing along - and it wasn't really embarrassing when you did it in a crowd of 85,000, was it? - to the highly emotional ones, to the thoughtful ones, an *all-you-can-feel* buffet.

There was another cover song, this time 'The House of The Rising Sun'. That man could bleed with his voice, it was incredible.

All too soon, they had reached the encores already, the band having yet another trump up their sleeve: They welcomed Angie back on stage, where she and the singer gave a well-received performance of 'It Takes Two'.

"Man, this is amazing! Do you know how old this song is?"

"Yeah. You weren't born when the first version came out."

They had to shout over the sound of the music; it was somehow silly, but in a funny way.

There was another song, another pause with the stage dark, the crowd crying out for more. The band had already said goodbye, bowing to their audience several times, letting the people celebrate them and obviously enjoying them. "No way," Blair said regretfully. "It's been almost three hours!"

If Jim had reached out carefully, he probably could have heard the band discuss one last song, but he didn't need to. The air was still charged; the audience calling out almost as one. Not yet totally satisfied, and they wouldn't go home until they were.

"One more," he said. Knowing it.

"How can you..."

Blair let his words trail off as the band returned to give another song, their very first single. After that, the light was reduced to a spotlight, only singer and guitarist staying behind as the other band members waved and left the stage.

They conferred briefly, then began to play. Whoa, this one hit really close to home.

Those guys did their jobs great, no denying that, but as they sang together, their voices melting into one another, it seemed that this was it, the last one; it absolutely couldn't get better than that.

And that song... it was totally silly to feel like that, in a crowd of 85,000 people, and yet those words seemed to describe his feelings exactly, as he remembered...

//She saw your chart and she faxed it over to me. And when I read that thing, man, it was like -- Bang!, Holy Grail time.// //... of one or two hyperactive senses but not one single subject with all five. You could be the real thing.// //"I'm nobody's hero, but for you, I'd lay down my life"//

When the stage went dark after the two men had left as well, once more saying goodbye, everybody knew it was over, happy, sated. The words and the music were lingering on his mind like afterimages. Jim did the first thing that came to mind, and pulled Blair into a firm hug that was enhusiastically returned.

"Oh man, can you believe this? This was great!"

"Yeah, it was." It wasn't even all that strange; all around, people were smiling and hugging.

"You know, Kelly tells me that one way to come down from the rush is to wait at the hotel and see if they come outside and sign any autographs..."

"Chief, I am not going to--" Jim stopped when he realized that Blair was simply yanking his chain. "Scare a guy, why don't you."

"Okay, okay. One more beer will do. We can take a cab home later."

"Yeah. And Chief?"


"Thank you."

"You are so welcome. They were really cool, weren't they?" The crowd was moving slowly towards the exits, and they left their spot, too. Blair added something, almost whispered, for only Jim to overhear. "Kinda like us."

Jim turned a bit to take one last look at the stage where the roadies were now busily packing up the equipment, to move it into another city. //Yeah,// he thought, smiling. //Kinda like us. Really cool.//

The End