Yes, yes, it's been a while.

Guardian Article: Nile Rodgers music/2018/jun/22/nile-rodgers-my-family-were-high-functioning-addicts-i-inherited-that-gene

As for [Nile] Edwards, Rodgers calls him "the best musician I have ever seen in my life". Would they still be playing together if he were alive? "Of course. Bernard died on stage with me." He stops to clarify. "He passed out on stage and we revived him and he continued playing the show, which surprised the hell out of me. I didn't even know he had passed out. He died later in his room. If you look at the last interview with Bernard and me, he says there is no one in the world I like playing with more than Nile. He's my guitar player and I'm his bass player. That always makes me cry." He repeats it quietly as if to himself. "He's my guitar player and I'm his bass player."

When the Guardian gives you a prompt, you better believe I'm going to sit up and listen - no, not really. But it helped. Link if you're interested.

For anyone who cares, I've got a whole backstory thing going with Scaramouche and Andrei, though you don't need to read anything else for this to make sense. Other filler stories are in the works, even if just to clear them out of my head at long last. But when Thessaly was still around, they wrote a piece called Remake the World, in which Scara, for *reasons unknown* (and yes, I have backstory for that, too, read Untitled - or don't, whatever) runs away to live in the van for a few months, and Andrei drags her back. This follows on, think maybe a year after she gets back, though the italicised backstory is pre-runaway. Also, I hate calling Paul "Big Macca", so. Paul it is.

Hope this helps! Please review if you read, it'd be lovely to see who's still around.

Scene: Scaramouche is sprawled on the floor, staring with sightless eyes at a ream of sheet music, spread in a half-circle in front of her. Well-written, concise sheet music was one thing, but Gazz had started insisting on hand-scoring, and it made her want to punch him. She'd recently, trying to explain to him how much this frustrated her, screamed at him that it would have been better if he'd done it drunk, or high. Or possibly he could have explained it to a level-headed five-year-old, and made them write it instead, and it still would have been easier to understand. She'd expected that to push him to shouting, or at the very least storming off, as her version of Gazz should have done… but all it had got her was a sad puppy-dog-eyed look, and a lot of sighing and letting his stupid hair fall over his eyes. Trying not to wonder whether the fact that she'd unceremoniously dumped him, run away to Switzerland for six months, fucked the Head of Security, then come back and re-joined the band might be having anything to do with Gazz's swift descent into a deeply emo state, was messing with Scara's head.

Stifling a yawn, she shoved her hands into her hair, and ruffled it vigorously. There were few things that helped even a little bit when she felt this deeply buried under a mountain of shit she had to get done, but screwing around with her hair helped a bit. She wondered, offhandedly, whether this went any way to explaining Moxy's buzz cut, or Meat's dreads, or Paul's 'hawk. She figured that Madonna would probably have been able to lecture her about it, if she hadn't been giving Scara some serious space since she'd returned.

Dragging herself into a sitting position, Scaramouche sighed loudly, and turned herself back towards the pile of papers, and her precious guitar. What the hell. She could give it a go for ten minutes.

An hour or so later, she was debating the merits of chucking her ancient, priceless, heirloom axe out of the fourth-floor window, and burning all of Gazz's chickenshit scribbled music in a pit somewhere, when Paul wandered in. He gave her a vague nod as he entered, walking with that strange, nonchalant grace that she could never really pinpoint in anyone else, and heading towards the sagging sofa, set beneath the enormous bay window.

The way he interacted with people was weird, Scara thought, watching him sprawled out, gazing out at the view, his ever-present bass leaning up against the wall. He was never really that bothered who was around him. He'd chat to anyone who approached him - though Scara knew him far too well to see any appeal in him as anything other than an almost-mate (which was how she saw most of the bohos.) But for Paul, he was equally unbothered whether there was a roadie announcing they wanted Gazz to kick Macca out of the band, and why didn't Macca go ahead and chuck himself off a cliff while he was at it - or whether a groupie was announcing undying love for him. Which, and the thought made Scara roll her eyes out of habit, happened all the damn time. Still, he was one of the only ones who'd had nothing to say when she's arrived back in rehearsal that breezy Tuesday morning, the day after she'd arrived back from Switzerland. He'd given her a considered look, squeezed her shoulder very briefly, and turned his attentions almost immediately to the guitar she'd made. She still wasn't sure whether he knew how much she'd appreciated it.

As though he could feel her eyes boring into his back, Paul rolled back over to face her. "Hey, Kid."

Scara rolled her eyes again, but Paul shrugged. "Can deny it all you like, Doll, but you're practically still in preschool."

Scara huffed a bit, and shuffled back to lean up against the wall beside the sofa. Paul glanced down at the music. "You still rehearsing?"

She fidgeted, tugging at a bit of hair and shifting her bum a bit to try and get less uncomfortable on the floor. "Not really a rehearsal if no one else is here, is it?"

Paul eyed her. "I could be, if you want. That bit in Gazz's remix of Headlong is still shitty."

Scara sat up a bit straighter. "It'd be shitty even if we got it right."

He frowned. "What's beating you, babe?" Scara merely shrugged, and started chewing the lock of hair. He reached down, grimacing, and gestured for her to take it out of her mouth. She glared a bit, but spat it out and elaborated.

"He doesn't - think about how hard it is for us to find the notes he wants. Like, okay, maybe not for you," she warily eyed the bass he'd brought upstairs with him, "but I just don't know how to get better."

Paul leaned back, folded his arms. "Same way you get better at anything. With practice."

Scara looked up at him, and her eyes shone. Paul, who usually stayed outside of arm's reach of Scara, was caught. He lowered the case beside him to the floor, almost reverently, then followed it, settling in front of her with his legs crossed.

"Come on." He crouched in front of her, grabbed her hands. "Tell Uncle Paul what's up."

She screwed up her face a little, and he was almost convinced she might give in and cry, but then she stared straight at him, and he must have imagined it.

"I suck." She said, simply.

He stared at her. "What?"

She sighed heavily, and planted her hands on her knees. "I suck." She repeated. "I have literally no idea what I'm doing with that thing." She gestured expansively at the guitar, and the music now strewn across the floor.

Paul looked at her, warily. "Er, not sure if you've noticed, but you play like, fucking - like a guitar hero."

She winced. "That's what Gaz says."

Paul sat back, leaning on his hands, arms stretched out behind him. "He's not wrong."

Scara shrugged self-defensively. "I don't know what I'm doing," she admitted. "It worked alright at the rhapsody, yeah, but now we're doing actual music and I just really don't get it." Her whole body was slumped, like the bolshy bravado that usually emanated from her was all that kept her upright. He considered her. "You know how we kept occupied before the rhapsody? Underground?"

She looked at him from under her eyelashes, and he snorted. "Not like that. Well, not all the time, anyway. No, we used to try and make music. We'd go out scavenging for anything that might make a good noise, or a tune, or some kind of rhythm, and we'd bring it back. For the little stuff, tambourines and rhythm stuff, everyone'd get a few minutes having a go with it, trying it out. Meat was our girl with that though." He paused, and Scara was watching him, rapt. Touched, he continued. "She had this way of moving, like she doesn't just know the rhythm, she makes it." He grinned. "She's the only one who could do a decent job as our drummer. I mean, you've seen her dance."

Scara smiled a little. "It's like she's born to do it." Her voice was quiet, as if she wasn't quite sure whether she was saying the right thing, but Paul nodded.

"Totally. Anyway, she has it easy, right, she doesn't have to find the notes or anything."

Her bright, keen eyes were locked onto him. "So how do you do it?"

His face sets. "Like I said, practice." She tilted her head to one side, waiting. He sighed. "I had a lot of free time, right. I joined this lot," he gestured around the room, scattered with bohemian debris, "pretty young, they didn't let me go out on raids, and stuff. I had to stay behind with Nile. He was a good bloke - no, you wouldn't have met him," he headed off Scara's questioning, "but he used to sort out all the instrument fragments we'd got together. We'd hang out for days on end while everyone else went out on raids for food and stuff, and Nile would teach me how to find the notes. We restored this," his hand ran along the edge of the case next to him, and he popped the catch, opening it up to show the bass. "See in there?" He pointed to the bridge, and Scara leaned in to look closely.

Etched into the metal plaque was a tree, next to a wavy line that she guessed must be - "The old river." Paul said, softly. "He didn't write, really, so that was how he signed."

Scara blinked up at him, and her eyes were soft. "What happened?"

Paul smiled reflexively. "Drugs, eventually. He usually smoked the stuff he found, until Iggy showed him how to shoot up."

Scaramouche had heard of Iggy.

He wasn't usually spoken about, which was unusual in itself when it came to the bohemians - they talked about the ones they'd lost with pride, and the sort of respect that felt like it lit you up from the inside when you saw and heard people talking about them.

But Iggy wasn't one of them.

Sometimes, when people fell through the cracks and were picked up - collected, almost - by the bohemians, they didn't quite fit in. Sure, the bohos were a mad lot, they didn't really live by any rules; that was one of the most appealing things about them. But for the most part, they didn't go totally, properly over the rails that often.

Iggy had.

She'd grilled Khashoggi about it once, ages ago, because she knew that he knew everyfuckingthing that had happened down there, from a rough amalgamation of hospital records, birth records, death records (or whatever the Police had pulled together to make up death records), and between them, Meat, Bob and Pop had filled in almost everything else.

Her relationship with Khashoggi had seen worse times, sure, and she still felt a tiny bit of pride in the way she didn't flinch when he appeared in doorways anymore, but the look he'd given her when she'd asked about Iggy induced pure fucking terror.

"Andrei told me a bit," she told Paul.

Paul inclined his head, very slowly. "Yeah," he said. "Figures the Commander'd know about him."

"What you don't understand," Andrei had said, looking graver than she'd ever seen him, "is how entirely outside the law the Bohemians used to live."

She'd almost laughed out loud at that, but Andrei had frowned, and shaken his head. "No, really. You know they have a different relationship with crime than most of the world."

Scaramouche raised a skeptical eyebrow, and Andrei's mouth tightened into a thin line.

"Clearly, I am not explaining this correctly." He leaned back in his chair and steepled his fingers, and she had to work very hard not to shrink back in her chair. Instead, she grit her teeth and leant forward a little. "Clearly not."

If she hadn't known him as well as she did, she'd have missed the smile that ghosted across his lips just then.

"Where to start," he murmured, spinning his chair back to face the multi-monitor setup.

"I've heard the beginning's a very good place," Scara quipped.

He didn't turn back. "Don't push it."

So there we go. I've already got chapters two and three prepped and (almost) ready to go. Please, please give this a review if you actually get this far, even if it's just to point out spelling mistakes or glaring inconsistencies.

Somehow 50 of you managed to visit my stories in March despite me not updating any of them for 6 years so I know you're still there!