[ Sky – Master Post ]
Title: Reach the Ceiling
Characters: Severen, Sin, Baron, Lir, Arkady, Betty
Notes: This is the re-fit of flashback 2 from Taste Like Sky. I’m slowly working my way through it, trying to fit it in with the rest of the chronology. Gaping timeline perforations should have been fixed. Let me know if you spot one. As far as punk covers of ‘You Are My Sunshine’ go, yeah, it’s possible. Yeah, I was involved in one. No, there’s not a recording.
Sebastian liked to sing, and he did it more and more, as he dragged himself further out of the memory of Boston. It wasn’t about being good, or being heard; it was just about hearing the tones and feeling them spread through his chest. Most often, he sang to himself as he cleaned up his classroom, at the end of the day ― picking up scraps of paper and erasing the chalkboard, before he went home.
Today, he made it all the way through ‘Who By Fire’ and halfway into ‘The Man Who Sold The World’, before he noticed the student leaning in the doorway.
"Oh, no, not me, I never lost control ―" he spun, easily, snatching the briefcase off his desk, and turning toward the door, to leave. As he stopped, mid-motion, coat-tails settling at his back, the figure in the doorway stepped forward, out of the backlighting from outside.
"You’re pretty good at that, Mr. Lindstrom," the boy remarked, cramming his black-nailed hands into his pockets.
"Uh, thanks, Barry. Did you need something?" Sebastian looked shaken and slightly confused. Barry was the kid who sat in the back of his third period class, usually either sleeping or reading ‘Heavy Metal’. He had gotten nothing below a ninety on any assignments, in Sebastian’s class.
"Well, I was just walking by, and I heard you." Barry shrugged awkwardly. "Look, I’m in this band, and we need a singer."
"I wish I could, but the district has rules about fraternization." Sebastian was really just trying to be nice about it. He was a teacher. He had no need for a band.
"I graduate next month, and I’m the baby," Barry countered, blowing a drooping blond curl out of his face. "Just think about it. We’re doing a show at Mitteran’s next weekend, if you want to see us, before you decide. It won’t be a good show, because fuckin’ Mike Leary’s singing, but it’s something."
"Watch your mouth; you’re still in a classroom ― my classroom. And, I don’t go out much," Sebastian started, but thought about the fact that Sin hadn’t left the house for the last two weeks, because he was so caught up in his dissertation. "But, maybe I’ll be there. I need to make my roommate remember that studying’s important, but it isn’t all of life."
"Shoulda got that on tape… Yeah, I’ll see you there, Mr. Lindstrom." Barry grinned cheekily as he sauntered out of the classroom.
Against his better judgement, Sebastian went, and took Sin with him. Sin managed to stop looking ratty, for the first time in weeks, but the deadline neurosis was sketched into every line of his body, all night.
They weren’t expecting much, when the band opened with a screaming-loud punk cover of ‘You Are My Sunshine’. But, by the end of the night, Sebastian caught himself testing his voice on a couple of choruses. Barry was right, he could do it, and do it well. The songs were mostly on the orchestral edge of Goth, with heavy synth, instead of seven extra musicians. It was terribly tempting. He did have the whole summer off.
Barry came to him, after the show, losing other members of the band to the fans, as he walked through the crowd. "I knew you’d be here, Mr. L. What did you think?"
"He thinks you guys are really good. I caught him singing along." Sin leaned over Sebastian’s shoulder and stuck out his hand. "Singularity. I live with him."
"Sit down before you break something, Sin. And stop drinking." Sebastian shook his head as Sin shook Barry’s hand. "You guys are pretty good, though, Barry. A couple of years, and we’ll be hearing you on the radio."
"I’m only Barry to you, here, Mr. Lindstrom. To them, I’m Baron Von Nocturne." Barry laughed as the rest of the band caught up with him. "This lovely lady is Betty Noir, our keyboardist. Pretty-boy, there, is Ebony Arkady, the drummer. And Clark Kent, over here, is Lir Fontaine, our excellent guitarist and bog-awful singer."
"Bog-awful. He’s being nice." Lir ― clearly the Mike Leary spoken of earlier ― smiled sheepishly and offered a hand. "You must be that Lindstrom guy the Baron’s been talking about."
"Sebastian. And you’re not that bad." He shook Lir’s hand and nodded to the rest of the band. "This example of neurosis and slipped wits, behind me, is my good friend Singularity."
"Give me another semester, and it’ll be Doctor Singularity, to you."
"Three semesters. No less, or you’ll be the dead Doctor Singularity." Sebastian shook his head and cocked a thumb at Sin. "Are you sure you don’t want him, instead? He’s the good-looking one."
"We need a singer, not another pretty face. I’m pretty enough for all of us." Arkady said, with a shrug, "Baron says it’s you we want, but we haven’t heard you yet."
"Do you want to?" Sebastian asked, sitting on the edge of a table.
"You know any Sisters?" Lir asked, not expecting much. The guy was a high school teacher. But, then, he was a flamenco guitarist, so there was really no way to judge.
"Yeah, actually, I could do ‘Walk Away’, but I’m better at Bowie than Eldritch. Or Leonard Cohen, but I think I’m on my own, there."
Lir was the only one with sufficient context to laugh. "Paul Anka," he demanded, teasingly.
Sebastian raised an eyebrow, inquisitively, and Lir just smiled challengingly.
"Put your head on my shoulder," Sebastian sang, without so much as a blink, "Hold me in your arms, baby…" He sang the rest of it, mostly to Sin, with a thinly-veiled sardonic edge. Sin did his best impression of a lovestruck teenage girl, just to get a few giggles, but all eyes were on Sebastian, whose voice was like warm waffle-syrup.
Lir was stunned stupid. "Nice," he said, wide-eyed.
"Damn, Baron, he is good." Arkady sounded shocked.
Betty finally chimed in. "Sure, he’ll do. But, his name still sucks, and he ain’t as pretty as Lir."
"Hey, I’m neither of you guys," Lir protested, pointing at Arkady and Betty.
"Pretty can be faked," Sin offered, grinning. He pointed at Arkady. "A little paint could make our Sebastian this guy’s twin."
"Arkady’s my twin," Betty protested, and Arkady pulled one of her pigtails, with a grin.
By the end of summer, Sebastian was calling himself Severen Bellamorte, and he’d called the school to arrange a year’s sabbatical. Viridian Doll was going on tour, and he wanted to be there. Something about the idea of having friends, plural, was a fascination he couldn’t just walk away from. The money would be a little tight, but he and Sin would manage. They always did.