Because We Will Rock You finally finished on the West End last week, I'm experiencing slight withdrawal. This is for anyone who feels the same, and who wonders whether the bohemians genuinely enjoyed the changes that took over their lives - even the changes they worked so hard for. I hope you enjoy. (And please let me know if this seems worth continuing, as it's the first thing I've written in a while.)
Staring up into the darkness, eyes following the light on the ceiling that shifts every time a car passes by the building, Scaramouche focuses on her breathing, taking deep, steady breaths intended to calm the deep anxiety that she can barely escape from these days. In the beginning, she had been unnerved by the crowds and the endless, endless noise, but it was also exciting: a new way of life that was as thrilling as it was terrifying. But instead of acclimatising, as Meat and Macca and even Gazz had done, their personalities changing ever so slightly with each week that they became ever more present in the public eye and the media, Scaramouche had withdrawn slightly, and people had occasionally noticed, sure – but it had been with sympathy. It was new, she was simply a bit overwhelmed. But it hasn't stopped.
Now that it has been not weeks, but years, (six of them, and how the hell has it been this long), people have started to question her more and more. Should the crowds not be second nature to her, now? For someone making their living through the emerging and ever-popular genre of new, live, rock-and-roll music, shouldn't the noise be a second nature to her? Why is it that the once-happy teenager who couldn't look at Galileo Figaro, the world's darling, without love in her eyes and a smile on her face, is now rarely seen in public with him – never mind the smiles?
With the recent news stories whirling through her mind – 'SCARAMOUCHE SUFFERING?' 'FIRST LADY OF ROCK AND ROLL REPORTED UNSETTLED AND UNHAPPY' 'SHOULD GALILEO BE SPENDING MORE TIME WORRYING ABOUT HIS GIRL, LESS ABOUT THE MUSIC' Scaramouche reached blindly for the small pill bottle on the small shelf next to her bed, took one with a swig of water, and buried her head under the pillow, searching for sleep – and with it, peace.
Galileo looks at her, and she can see the excitement lighting up his eyes, bright and exhilarated, and she knows that this is truly the best moment of his life so far. She can't help but grin shyly back at him, because his gaze, focused on her at this moment that is the peak of everything they've worked and searched for, means more than either of them could say.
"I just -" he says, and can't finish the sentence, so instead he takes two quick steps forward to grab her into a hug, and kiss her quickly and fiercely when they both draw back. The roar that meets his action is indescribable, and the two of them look across the sea of thousands that are standing before the stage, screaming and waving in their frenzied state, born of the first freedom that any of them have ever experienced.
Releasing her, Galileo bounds forward to take centre stage, holding up his arms to receive an even louder noise, and tilts his head back, up to the lights that caress him, that light the sheen on his face and the stray smudges of makeup that streak his jeans and shirt. Scaramouche watches as the crowd worship the boy she loves, feels a pang of tightness that she puts down to hunger, or stage fright, or this new feeling that she thinks is love, but that she doesn't dare to admit yet.
She is still watching him, in fact, when, from the front of the stage, there is a surge in the crowd, and the audience rises up and envelops him, drawing him down into the crowd until he disappears completely, and her scream of horror is swallowed entirely by the noise of the crowd that feels as if it is swallowing her whole.
The next morning, she awakes with a head that feels as though it is full of concrete, and her mouth is dry as dust. She wakes, in fact, just in time to roll over towards Galileo, who opens one eye lazily, and grins sleepily when he sees her awake.
"Hey, Skirmisher." Her lips twitch into a tiny smile, and she rolls up to be closer to him. He lifts a lazy, heavy arm over her, holding her close, and she tries to relax, closing her eyes and burying her head into his neck. He holds her quietly, moving his hand in sweeping circles across her back. After a few minutes, he asks, "Rough dream again?"
She winces at the irony. "Supposed to be your territory, that, innit?" He smiles gently. "Can't say I miss it."
It doesn't seem fair to her, it really doesn't. Galileo Figaro, 'The Dreamer', for Christ's sake, has barely had one significant dream in nearly five years. Sure, there had been what they'd called The Wakening. A year after they'd taken down Globalsoft and destroyed the half-human half-pixelated businesswoman who took charge of the company, Galileo had awoken, yelling and shouting, and Scaramouche, who had only just got used to a quiet night's sleep, had awoken screaming herself. Galileo, sweating and terrified, had refused to explain it to her, instead calling Khashoggi, for reasons which quickly became clear. A group of Yes-Things who couldn't quite bring themselves to let go of their reign of glory had risen up in a rebellion of their own, and had attempted to glitch every computer the bohemians had held in their stores through a computer code, which disguised a virus, transferred through the slowly developing Ethernet. Since the bohemians' computers also held the code that prevented any further attempts from anyone pushing themselves forward as a major internet-based power – as Killer Queen had done – this made them some of the most significant items the bohemians held.
An overly efficient and entirely ruthless technology department that consisted entirely of two people had been enough to rewrite the (shoddy, they'd discovered) code that the Yes-Things had been using, and a group of over-excited new bohemians, with the brightest new outfits and the neon shades still glowing in their freshly-dyed hair had been dispatched to scare away the Yes-Things brave enough to come and launch an attack in person. Realistically, it had been a group of young teenagers yelling and shoving at one another, with the particularly skilled effector of an impressive right hook being the most dangerous thing any of them had to contend with, and once the Yes-Things had been scared away (it appeared, when looked at through the CCTV, as though they had left out of boredom, but no one liked to correct this), the new young bohemians had returned, giddy with their own triumph, and a raucous party had ensued.
Galileo, exhausted but finally free of more dreams, had been swept up in the celebrations, while Scaramouche (who had been half of the team who had broken up the main threat they had faced – Khashoggi being the other) had gone to bed, taking advantage of their new bedroom, luckily far enough away from the main building to be able to mask all the noise from the party.
When he eventually joined her that night, she closed her eyes, pretending she didn't feel the hand on her shoulder, the whisper of her name that carried the alcohol on his breath across her face. She lay still until she was sure he'd fallen asleep next to her, and for reasons she wasn't quite sure of, she shuffled away from him, and could almost pretend that he wasn't there at all.