The largest rehearsal hall at Black Box Music echoes with sawed-off, harsh chords, the occasional rattle of percussion and bass almost drowning out the gentle strains of Mozart floating from the PA system that are oddly appropriate for the venue. All of the lights are on, their brightness chasing shadows out of the farthest corners, while the faintest hints of propane gas, cordite and other harsh pyrotechnic scents tinge the air. The six men upon the stage are intent on their work, ignoring the noise and chaos around them. This is the last rehearsal before the band's three invitation-only rehearsal shows, and they're determined to make as much of the little time they have left to perfect the show.
Paul and Richard stand back to back, seamlessly working through a shared solo that is the highlight of the song they were hoping would be the first single from the new album. This album has been so much easier for the band to make, partially from maturity and partially from the spiritual/magical bond that weaves their lives together as one. It has come together in slightly more than year, which has delighted their fan base and puzzles most of the industry, as Rammstein has never been a band to put an album together this fast. Rumors have flown hot and fast via the Internet; the band's management has been hard pressed to keep leaks to a minimum.
They've been surprised that the band was quite agreeable to an invitation only concert, and more so when a second and third date had been proposed. Till had caught Richard's eye at one point during the meeting and said, :: Half of the people would have heart attacks or at least faint if I sneeze right now. They think we're out of our minds for agreeing to almost everything they're asking for. Can I sneeze and see who passes out first?:
::Behave yourself, Till:: Ollie remarked, for all appearances gazing at the table in front of him, idly twisting a pen through his long fingers even though he was laughing inside. ::Sit there and glare but don't scare the normals. Someone has to keep the account books::
::Ah, go ahead and let him scare a few people. I'm bored:: Paul chimed, hiding a smile behind a hand. ::I'll put a couple Euro on the bloke with the tie that looks like a box of crayons threw up all over it::
::Settle down all of you, please!:: Flake said, not bothering to hide his sigh. ::I've got an awful headache and none of you are helping with your yammering. And Till, if you sneeze and kill someone, I'll kill you!!::
::What, did Jenny ring a bell over your head the other night for coming in so late?:: Till asked, cocking an eyebrow at their keyboard player, who returned the raised eyebrow with a ::No, it's working till all hours of the morning on that damn database. I'm so glad Kieran's got a couple other people involved with it now; there's no way on this planet I can do programming work and do the shows at the same time::
::Yeah, but you love it:: Christoph teased. ::Ollie, you're a computer geek, why aren't you involved with this?::
::Because I'm Amelia's contact here in Germany for the shapeshifter community and I'm bloody busy with their databases:: Ollie replied, smothering a yawn. ::I've volunteered to help out when Flake needs help, though::
The meeting comes to an end without incident, the three concert dates are approved, and now the band are standing on the stage, pulling together the last bits and pieces of the show together. Save for a couple of sticky spots that has driven the production crew crazy for days, all is ready to go. The band files off the stage, handing instruments off to the roadies, accepting handshakes, compliments and smiles as they go along. Richard stops long enough to talk to his tech for a moment about the tuning on one of his guitars, when movement that shouldn't be where it is catches his eye.
Without stopping his conversation, he peers around the rehearsal room with every one of his senses wide open, and catches the faintest hint of ozone tinged with charred wood or paper coming from the corner. It's nothing he's ever scented; he notices that Till's nostrils are flaring, the bright overhead lights shining on his tiny gold septum ring. They nod at one another; Till taps Ollie on the shoulder and the two of them slowly make their way to the corner that the faint scent is coming from. No one notices them, for the two men have slightly 'blurred' their presence in the real world so they can investigate without bringing any notice on themselves. They search the area around the far corner for several frustrating minutes and come up empty, which frustrates them all.
::Not this shit again:: Paul hisses through the bond. ::I thought with Siobhan's family putting up all those wards and word getting out about us through the non-human community we'd not have to put up with being harassed the second we step outside the house!::
::Whoever or whatever it is didn't follow us to America for the three weeks we were in California to work on the album:: Christoph says, a frown crossing his handsome-pretty face. ::I expected to have the hounds set on us the second we landed in Los Angeles. Why now?::
::I don't know but the second I find out who it is, there's going to be war:: Till growls, tension singing in his nerves and mental voice. ::Especially now that there's a baby to think of.::
At that comment, both Christoph and Richard's tempers rise; for a moment the air is almost tangibly electric with their rage. While Richard isn't biologically the father of the child that his and Christoph's mate, Lilly, carries, the baby is as much his in his heart and soul. The idea that there might be a person, or persons who would harm mother, child, Christoph, or the rest of his family makes his blood boil. He's already wanting to annihilate the people who have been shadowing his daughter, Khira Li and it won't take much more to send him on a blind spree to hurt someone, anyone. Flake appears from literally nowhere and lays a hand on their shoulders, saying nothing, only reminding them through touch to settle down and save their anger for another time. When it comes to his family and close friends, Richard can be unreasonable, and Christoph's not much better.
::Fuck it, I need to eat and take a break before tonight:: Till sighs, joining the rest of the band as they head for the green room to eat a late lunch. ::I need a nap or I'm going to bite people's heads off more than I do normally::
::And we'd all better be on our toes, especially with the new pyro stuff:: Paul says, slouching down into the first chair he can find with a bottle of soda in one hand and an apple in the other. ::I don't want to back into a flame jet and toast my buns!::
::I'm sure the wardrobe people would thank you if you didn't!:: Ollie teases, a shy smile making the corners of his mouth twitch. ::And I'm sure Arielle wouldn't want to have to put burn gel on your ass three times a day::
::You never know:: Paul replies with a wink. ::You'd be surprised what...::
::Paul, we do NOT need to know much more, thank you very much!:: Richard says with a wince. ::I've been in the room next to you two one time too many. I'm scarred for life::
Paul says nothing in reply, simply grins and bites into his apple.