Title: Like God's Only Dove
Category: Romance, angst, Dark!Bono, Zoo era, smut to come
Disclaimer: Ahhhh...oh, wait, no. Not mine.
Feedback: Please and thank you.
Summary: A brooding rock star finds beauty in a young girl who possesses something he lost a long time ago--innocence. But will she give him the solace he longs for? And at what price?
Notes: Thanks as always to Rhiannon, the nicest beta evvvar.
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"Well it isn't always bloody about you, is it?" Bono had never seen The Edge quite this worked up before. He was waving his arms about and screaming like a madman. It might have been funny if it weren't quite so completely unfunny. Still, he fought the urge to laugh.
"Don't you fucking laugh at me, you arse!"
"I can see it all over your smug, ugly gob. You think this is funny, don't you? You think that, as usual, you can say and do whatever the feck you want because you're fecking Bono. Well I've got news for ye mate, you are not the be all and end all. You'd be nothing and nowhere without the rest of us, and you'd do damn well to remember that."
Bono felt the hot blaze of pride burning a hole in his chest and focused all his energy on keeping his mouth shut. It was a battle he never could win.
"I just think," he said through clenched teeth, "that the original lyric was better."
Edge leaned back against the mixer, crossed his arms, and shook his head. Bono glanced at Larry and Adam, who were examining their drumsticks and shirtsleeves, respectively. His gaze returned to the embittered guitarist's baleful stare.
"The original lyric," Edge said softly. "You mean your original lyric." He shook his head again, as if Bono were a petulant child he was tired of dealing with. "Well, I guess that settles it. Fellas, Bono says the original lyric was better. And what Bono says is the God's Gospel truth."
For once in his life, Bono was speechless. He knew he was a damn bloody stubborn mule. He knew he was being a petulant child. He should apologize. He knew he should apologize, and try and come to a compromise with Edge over the lyric, along with everything else they'd been arguing about for the last several months. Arguments that were mostly his fault. But once again it was his pride, not his rationale, that spoke.
"Damn right," he muttered under his breath.
"What did you just say?" Edge's voice sounded icy and calm, but Bono could see the muscles flexing under the thin cotton of his t-shirt as he drew up to his full height. He could sense Adam inching towards them just outside the realm of his peripheral vision, ready to intervene if anyone started throwing punches.
So this is what it had come to. He was a selfish, egotistical arse and his best mate wanted to punch his lights out. If ever the time for an apology was made evident, this would be it.
"Oh, no, I heard you. I'm just a bit hesitant to believe what I just heard." Edge was right up in his face now, and for the first time Bono was actually afraid he was going to hit him. Edge's two inch advantage on Bono felt more like two feet at this proximity.
"No. Don't explain. I get it. God's Gospel truth. Right. Bono-Fecking-Vox has spoken."
They stared at one another for a long moment, the air around them thick with the dangerous sort of mutual animosity that can only be created between friends. Or former friends, as the case may be.
"So you're going to hit me? Your fists can write better lyrics than I can, is that it?"
"My fists wouldn't give your fat mug the satisfaction." And with that, Edge turned on his heel and walked out of the booth, with Larry in close pursuit. Adam gave Bono an apologetic shrug and followed them both.
And Bono was alone.
* * * * * *
The man in the mirror was shaking his head in distaste. A rough-visaged man with unkempt hair, dark circles beneath tired eyes betraying insomnia.
Even Bono's reflection had turned on him.
He'd dreamed of Edge again. Of The Fight. The fight to end all fights. They'd argued constantly for years, playfully bickering and challenging each other; it was part of their process. But never before had they fought like that. And never again after. The tension had been building between them for months, each argument a bit more escalated, a bit closer to crossing the line. A bit less all-in-fun and a bit more all-out-brawl.
It had been his fault. He knew it. Edge knew it. Adam and Larry knew it. And that was why he was here in Los Angeles, hiding amongst photographers and pen pushers, putting off making amends and finishing the album. Or restarting it, as they'd all agreed to scrap it. Scrap it and start fresh. They'd come dangerously close to scrapping each other, calling it quits for the second time in their career. But they'd finally agreed to just take a break, cool off, spend some time apart to regroup.
Bono had welcomed this idea with open arms.
To his credit, he had taken tentative steps since then. Calling Edge now and then to check in. But the distant voice on the other end only brought more pain instead of comfort, and their conversations were usually cut short. It was easier with Adam, ever the peace-maker. Bono's one ally, even though he knew Adam was on Edge's side, if they were taking sides. Larry didn't take his calls.
Bono splashed cold water on his face and stared at the creamy porcelain of the sink, watching the drip-drip of the water falling from his nose and chin. Tomorrow he'd be going back. Tomorrow he'd have to face them. He grabbed a towel from the rack on the wall and dried his face and hair, carefully avoiding his estranged reflection.
His thoughts turned to Angela.
Angela. What had he done to deserve her? Nothing, of course. Because he didn't deserve her. He certainly hadn't deserved that staggering kiss on the pier last night. He wondered what kind of cockeyed girl she was, to let a sad git like him kiss her like that.
It was his last day in the States. He had to see her.
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Rough, calloused hands scratched at her skin, a scruffy jaw ground into her neck as hot, wet breath trailed along her flesh, teeth and tongue and lips taunting her, tearing at her, driving her into a frenzy of nerves and heat and love.
Angela rolled over as the alarm went off, slapping at buttons until she located the one that silenced the infernal thing. Grouchy at having been aroused from her dream, she punched her pillow and tugged the blankets up over her head to shut out the sunlight filtering in through the crooked mini blinds. She tried to fall back into the dream, but the harder she tried, the more awake she became. Heaving a great sigh of defeat, she stomped out of bed and over to the kitchenette. Coffee. She needed coffee.
As she busied herself with filters and grounds, the bitter aroma of the coffee flooding her nostrils and stimulating her clouded brain, she couldn't help but relive the dream. She blushed as she remembered that the fantasy had an inspiration grounded firmly in reality. The kiss. He'd kissed her on the pier last night. And what a kiss it had been. So intoxicated had Angela been by that kiss that she scarcely remembered coming home. She'd half expected to wake up in some strange hotel room, a warm, naked rock star sprawled out next to her.
But it had indeed been just a kiss. Anything beyond that had been a beautiful, vivid dream.
Angela was startled out of her reverie by a knock at the door. She peered through the small window over the sink at the short, leather-clad, bespectacled man standing at her doorstep. Bono. Bono was at her apartment. The ceramic mug that she clutched in her left hand fell into the metal sink with a loud clatter, and he turned toward the window. She ducked under the counter in a panic. How did he know where she lived? What exactly hadn't Julian told him? She slapped a palm to her forehead when she realized that he knew where she lived because he'd brought her home last night. Brought her home after that unbelievable kiss on the pier. Walked her to her door and planted the most proper, infuriating peck on her hand and walked away, whistling.
He knocked again. "Angela?" She heard his muffled voice calling from the other side of the door. Shit. He was still there. And she was an ungroomed ball of bed-head and morning breath huddled on the floor of her pigsty.
"Just a minute!" she yelled, and began scrambling around, tossing dirty laundry into the closet and brushing her fingers through her tangled curls in a desperate attempt to calm them. There was no time to fold up the sofa bed. Or to brush her teeth. She'd just have to make sure he didn't get too close.
She gave the small room a quick once-over, realized she couldn't stall any longer, and opened the door. He was leaning against the lip of the concrete landing (he was always leaning) in black jeans, blue button-down, and that ever-present leather jacket. She was beginning to wonder if he slept in the damned thing.
"Sorry-" she began, but stopped short when she noticed the way he was leering at her. Leering at her legs, to be exact. The color drained from her face and she began to feel faint as she realized why. She was standing there in nothing but the t-shirt and underwear that she'd slept in.
"No need to be sorry, love, I don't-"
She slammed the door in his face and stood there, staring at the white-washed wood in shame and disbelief. The wood gave a muffled shout.
"Do I smell coffee?"
* * * * *
Half an hour later, showered and brushed and fully clothed, Angela was pressed up against the door of the sleek black car, arms crossed.
"Come on, love, don't pout. You have very nice legs."
She threw him a reproving glare, but unclenched at his flattery and settled in a little closer to him in the large back seat.
"That's better," he said as he put an arm around her, his hand settling on her right shoulder, fingers tracing tiny circles into the thin fabric of her peasant blouse. He'd taken off his jacket before climbing into the monstrous car, debunking her theory that it was some sort of growth that had fused itself to his body, and she could feel the rise and fall of his breath through his soft button-down shirt. She burrowed into him, resting her cheek in the hollow just below his shoulder. He smelled divine, like man and earth and the faintest hint of expensive cologne.
"Mmmmm. That's nice." His voice was a low rumble beneath her ear, echoing deep in the cavern of his chest. Her eyes rested on the wiry black hairs poking out from between his buttons.
"Where are we going?"
"It's a surprise," he whispered, kissing her hair.
In that moment, she didn't care where they went. She was perfectly content to stay right where she was, pressed up against him for all eternity in the back seat of a car the size of a small country and worth more than her parents' first house.
She allowed herself to be completely submersed in his scent and warmth. The rise and fall of his chest and the steady beat of his heart became hypnotic and, still sleepy, she was soon lulled into a catatonic sort of state, eyes drifting shut, right hand curling into his left. His large hand encapsulated her smaller one in a gentle, protective grip. He continued his administrations on her shoulder and upper arm, stroking and massaging and generally making her melt all over the leather seats. No sooner had she drifted off into a blissful, protected sleep than she felt him squeezing her shoulder, whispering to her to wake up, they were here.
She looked up at him, smiling serenely down at her. "We're here, Angel," he repeated before giving her a small, soft kiss on the lips. He started to pull back and reach for the door handle but she caught his lips again, and his hand returned to her face as he parted her mouth with his tongue. "Mmmm," he intoned into her mouth as he lingered there, savoring her. "Later, baby," he whispered as he pulled away after a long moment, and this time she let him go. For now.
As he helped her out of the car, she realized they were in front of the Chandler Pavilion. "What are we doing here?" she wondered allowed.
"You'll see," he said with a wink, and took her by the hand. He led her into the cavernous lobby and told her to wait there, his voice echoing off the marble and mosaic tile. He disappeared for a few minutes as she wandered the large room, admiring the black-and-white photographs of the Los Angeles Philharmonic that adorned the walls, stopping in front of one particularly fetching portrait of Esa-Pekka Salonen in a fit of passionate conducting.
"Psssst!" she heard behind her, and turned to see Bono's head and shoulders emerging from one of the many doors into the auditorium, beckoning her to enter. She followed him into the massive, empty room, gaping at the rich velvet seats and crystal chandeliers that disappeared up into the countless balconies.
"What are we doing here?" she whispered, afraid to speak out loud in such a grand and humbling place. Some of the greatest musicians in the world had performed here. Not that she'd ever been able to afford tickets to see them.
"Paying a visit," he whispered back, squeezing her hand and dragging her down the aisle.
"Are we going to see a concert? I've always wanted to see the Philharmonic. And the Opera. I can't believe I've never been in here before, this place is amazing."
He led her all the way down the aisle, enjoying her confusion as they climbed the steps onto the stage.
"Are we supposed to be doing this?" she whispered loudly, pulling at his hand and looking around to see if anyone was going to scold them and run them off. Then she saw it.
It was a nine-and-a-half foot concert Boesendorfer, its black veneer polished to a mirror shine.
"Bono..." she whispered, transfixed. "This...this piano...this is a Boesendorfer!" She crept towards the instrument, admiring its stark beauty and beast-like size.
"The keys!" She was no longer whispering, but shrieking in the most endearing child-like way.
"It has the extra sub-base keys! Nine extra keys! I've never seen one of these before, this is incredible! This is the only type of concert piano in the whole world that has these extra keys!"
Bono had no idea what she was talking about, but it was wonderful to see her so giddy.
"Sit," he said.
"What? No!" Her head jerked up and she looked at him through wide, horrified eyes.
"Play it, sweetheart."
"No...no, I couldn't...we shouldn't even be in here. Someone's going to find us-"
He wrapped his arms around her waist and held her fiercely, savoring the glow that emanated from her, being in the presence of this grandiose machine, warmed at the thought that he'd made her happy. "Angela, I want you to play it. That's why I brought you here. You're not going to get into trouble, I took care of it. And don't worry, no one is going to walk in. I took care of that too." He kissed her gently and pressed his forehead to hers. "Play for me. Please?"
"Ok," she croaked, beside herself with shock. He released her and went to sit in the front row, granting her some privacy with the piano.
She lowered herself gingerly on the padded leather stool, which emitted a quiet 'whoosh' as she settled down onto it. She was both terrified and in love with the incredible piano that stretched out before her. She wasn't even sure she knew how to play a piano this beautiful. She brought her hands down onto the keys and began playing the first thing that came to mind: Ravel's 'Gaspard de la Nuit'. An intense suite that was perhaps the most worthy piece she knew how to play on this instrument that she was so unworthy of. She hadn't played it in years but it flowed freely from her and filled the room with pristine tones. She was amazed at the sound, the volume and the variations that the carefully crafted piano allowed.
She couldn't imagine ever going back to the beat-up, wonkily tuned Yamahas at the music store. Even the Steinway in the Seabar paled in comparison to this.
There were tears in her eyes as she finished.
"Why the tears, sweetheart?" Bono climbed the stairs and pulled her from the bench, settling her deep into his embrace once again. "That was beautiful."
"Happy tears," she whispered into his shirt. "I can't believe you did this."
"Well..." He wasn't sure why, but he was embarrassed. "I just wanted to make you happy. Because...you've made me happy."
She snorted. "Happy? Over the past three days I've tossed my hair at you, ran away from you twice, and slammed the door in your face. You saw me with bed-head! In my underwear! I'm surprised *you* didn't run away after that one."
"Well, that is true. Those were some powerful pale legs...almost blinded me..." She gave him a playful slap as he chuckled down at her. "Whaddaya say, love? Wanna get out of here?"
"Yeah," she smiled up at him. "And, Bono..."
"Thanks. This was...well, the coolest thing anyone's ever done for me."
"You're welcome, darling."
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