Jukebox Heroine

Just one guitar, just one screech of the strings. That’s all it takes to set a girl’s heart a flutter and her life in motion. 

 

Kelly flew down the stairs, almost quite literally, and hit the bottom in a dead run, her feet clicking against the floor. She slid around the corner to the kitchen and shouted, “Moooooom!”

Her mother looked up from the pot she was stirring and cocked her head at a rather extreme angle. She looked nothing so much like an owl, but Kelly ignored her eccentricities as she held up her cell phone. 

“Look, look!”

“I am looking.” Her mother said, staring at the brightly lit screen. “Dear, move your feathers out of the way.”

“Huh? Oh, right.” Kelly said, awkwardly adjusting the muted blue feathers of her wing-hand. Handling devices such as cell phones, keyboards, just about anything made for hands with opposable thumbs was a struggle for Harpy class Monstergirls such as Kelly and her mother.

While she had a human torso, from her waist down were feathers which terminated into long, bird-like legs. She had a plume of tail feathers from her backside and from her elbows sprouted a set of large wings covered in muted blue and yellow feathers. Where a human hand should have been was a rough approximation of bones within the wings that, more or less, get the job done. 

“Thank you, now lets see…” Her mother, another Monstergirl, leaned forward, squinting as she read the letters on the screen. “Auditions today for rhythm guitarist for the band, ‘Chad and the Thundercocks,’ oh dear no.”

“Mooom, what do you mean no? Its CHAD and the THUNDERCOCKS!” Kelly pulled the phone close to her breast. “This is everything I’d ever wanted mom!”

“Dear, I know you’ve liked this band for a few years but you’re far too young to go and join them. Besides, I don’t like the quality of some of the ladies around him. They look like sluts.”

“Ugh, mom they’re just band members, not sluts. Besides, I’m twenty and this is my chance! I can finally fly the nest! Didn’t you say you want me out of the house?”

“Well, yes, but with a good job and a nice boy-”

“Mom, there’s no boy nicer than Chad Thundercock.” Kelly looked at her phone with a dreamy expression and sighed. 

Kelly’s mother sighed herself and put her wings upon her daughter’s shoulders. “Kelly, you’re an adult so you can make your own decisions, but I remember when I was into these sort of guys. Yes, they have those rippling… delicious muscles, that gorgeous hair, and that thinly concealed bulge but…”

“Uh mom, you’re drooling.”

“Ahem! But you’ll understand that those aren’t what will make you happy. A man who you can devote yourself to and who loves you back is far more worth your time.”

“Even if said man is balding?”

“I rub the rogaine onto your father’s head every day, dear.” 

Kelly sniffed and put her phone in her shorts pocket. “So basically you’re saying no, is that it? You want to crush my dream, huh?”

“No, dear I just-”

“Now, now, let her have her chance.” Kelly’s father said, entering the kitchen. He gave his wife a quick kiss on the lips before pulling her close and chuckling. “She’s right, she can make her own decisions. And if she fails, at least she knows she has a place to come back to.”

“Thanks Dad.” Kelly said, pumping her wing-hand. “I’m going to get my stuff ready right now and go practice.”

“Kelly wai- oh damnit.” Kelly’s mom said, her words cut off as her daughter bounded up the stairs. She sighed and turned back to her husband, expression annoyed. “And who will be the one to console her when she has her dreams crushed, hmm?”

“It’s good for her to learn about heartbreak too.” Her father said, expression serious. A sly look crosses his face shortly after, however. “Now, let’s see, I think you were saying something about bulges. Since she’s going to be out of the house for awhile…”

His wife tittered. “Ohhh, I’ll get the rogaine!”

——————–

Kelly’s room was a well organized disaster zone. Her floor was cluttered with dirty pairs of panties and trash while any available space on her walls were covered with posters of Chad Thundercock, the lead guitarist of Chad and the Thundercocks. She had to dig through a pile of dirty clothing before she pulled out the object of her desire: her electric guitar. 

Brushing a wing against the delicate frame of the second-hand guitar, she sighed in appreciation of the instrument. How long had it been since she started playing? Five years? That’s when she first noticed Chad and his high-school debut, and she’d been following him ever since. 

It wasn’t just his amazingly good looks, or his short, blonde hair and those gorgeous blue eyes, no she loved the raw power of his music. From the first time she heard him play the guitar she knew this was what she wanted to do too. She’d dreamed of joining his band, playing alongside him on stage and then maybe afterward…

Her cheeks flushed and she shook her head, sitting down on her bed to tune her guitar. S-Sure, a lot of girls dreamed about getting with Chad, but she knew that the man’s tastes were rather eclectic. There was a reason he named his band ‘The Thundercocks,’ and it’s not just because it made him seem sexier, not that he needed the help. No, the man likes a particular brand of girl, and the evidence is clear in the other band members. 

Lethis, the bassist, was a kind of electric weasel Monstergirl known as a Raiju while the drummer, Jean, was a kind of electric eel Monstergirl. Finally the lead singer, Dana, was an electric Harpy type of Monstergirl known as a Thunderbird. 

Yes, there was a common theme to all of them, these “sluts” according to her mother. All of the girls he surrounded himself with were Monstergirls with electric qualities. Well, except for the former rhythm guitarist who left out of the blue. But that wasn’t important because Kelly was preeetttyy sure she knew what Chad was looking for. 

And what a coincidence, because she just so happened to be a Thunderbird too! 

Sure, Kelly wasn’t what most people thought of when they pictured Thunderbirds. Most had very vibrant blue, green, and yellow plumage and hair and often were born with birthmarks that resembled lightning bolts which glowed blue from time to time. The larger the marks, the most energy a Thunderbird could normally produce. 

Kelly’s birthmarks were… small. Small like her breasts, not that such was uncommon for her species either! If her minimal ability to produce electricity was her only flaw then things would probably be okay, but her plumage was rather lacking in color too. The bright blues were muted while she barely had any yellow at all. Some days she had a hard time considering herself a Thunderbird…

But today was not one of those days! She would show Chad how amazing she was and he would let her in the band and then… then…

Well, she’ll conquer that when she gets there. Speaking of which, she lost track of the time! 

Cursing, she tossed her guitar into her case, threw it over her back, and opened her window. A cold autumn wind rushed past her for a moment, tossing about her long, light blue hair. Smiling at the perfect weather, she leapt out of the window and into the air. 

Despite the weight on her back, she flew through gracefully, feeling the rush of the wind on her face and wings. Allowing herself a little indulgence, she let a small current of electricity flow over her feathers, making her spark as she flew. The feeling was, well, electric, and the only feeling better was the sound of metal rattling her bones. 

Kelly landed a little while later at the city’s music hall annex where the auditions were being held. She snickered at the poor fools who had to deal with parking their cars as she walked on by, wondering just how anyone got around without flight. Such sad existences. She felt pretty good as she opened up the doors to find…

The waiting area filled to the brim with people. 

Humans, Monstergirls, people of all shapes, sizes and color. She was daunted to see the number of people who wanted to join the band. It felt like a concert hall with people getting ready to enter, though the tension felt more like a mosh pit. She began to feel a little self-conscious as she held the strap of her guitar-case close to her chest and huddled down on herself.

After she registered with the coordinators, she turned about, bumping straight into someone. 

“Ah, sorry!” 

“Gah! What the hell?”

Kelly flinched back as a tall Monstergirl loomed over her. She gasped when she realized who it was, her mouth flapping uncontrollably. 

“L-L-Lethis?”

The taller Monstergirl before her had long, blue hair and a pair of weasel-like ears. A blue tail poked from her backside while her legs were covered in blue fur that terminated into padded feet. Electricity crawled along her black-leather clad body, (not that it was covering much at all) causing Kelly’s hair to stand up a little.

“Oh… a fan.” Lethis said, her eyes looking bored. “Yeah thanks for coming out or whatever.”

“I love the way you play, I personally think you keep the entire band together with-”

“Yeah whatever you Harpy, listen I need to get past.”

“Oh! Sorry I just, uhm, you know-” Kelly said, unable to make herself move from where she was standing. Unfortunately, the longer she did this, the more agitated Lethis seemed to get, the electricity flowing along her body growing more and more dangerous. She raised a hand but pulled back as someone grabbed Kelly and yanked her out of the way. The Raiju watched for a brief moment before shrugging and walking forward to speak with the registration staff. 

“Hey kid, are you stupid?” A male voice asked. 

Kelly blinked in confusion, looking around until she spotted the man holding her. He was tall, perhaps a foot taller than she was and through his black jacket she could tell that he had a lean, toned build. His hair was brown and short cropped, though his eyes were covered by dark sunglasses, despite being indoors. 

“Uh, what?” Kelly asked, confused at the situation. 

“I asked if you’re stupid and apparently you are.” The man sighed. “It’s not a good idea to get on Lethis’s bad side. She’s kind of a bitch.”

“Well, I mean, I bumped into her so…” She blinked twice, “I’m sorry, do I know you? Your voice sounds familiar.”

“Nah, never met.” He said, leaning over to look at her case. “Nice case, looks worn down in parts. Second-hand I’m going to guess but clearly has seen more recent use.” 

“Yeah, I practice every day.”

“Better than most of these losers.” He said. “What makes an innocent little Harpy like you want to join the Thundercocks?”

“I-I’m not innocent! I’m metal as fuck! And I’m a Thunderbird thank you very much!”

The man cocked his head before clacking his tongue. “Oh I see. You’ve got your eye on same thing all these other little girls do, but you think because you’re a Thunderbird you’ll be able to get into his pants?”

Kelly began to spark with electricity as he said this. The more he spoke the more she crackled, though even at her best, a small discharge was all she could muster. 

“I don’t know who you are, but I LOVE metal and I’ll be damned if anyone insults what I love or the band and the man who TAUGHT me to love it!”

A smirk came across the man’s face. “For the love of the metal, huh? Well, I guess I can respect that. As far as the band, well…” He looked over at the Raiju as she bickered at one of the staff. “You might find that the music you came to love isn’t the same anymore. Later.”

He gestured at her with two fingers before vanishing into the crowd, leaving Kelly confused and alone in a sea of black leather and body odor. 

She sat down in an area away from the other people and their expensive guitars, looking over her worn down one. As people came and went, she couldn’t help but feel her anxiety build while the man she’d encountered before’s words played out in her mind. What was he talking about? What a strange guy-

“Number 197! Please come to the ready room. Number 197!”

Kelly jumped and fumbled her guitar, her wing-hands almost dropping the instrument. She pulled it close to her chest as she walked to the staff member that lead her backstage. Through the backstage hallways she heard the sounds of another contestant playing, their music full of vigor but frankly disjointed. It wasn’t at all the sound of the Thundercocks either. 

Still, she felt incredibly nervous as she sat down in the ready room with another Monstergirl and a human male. The Monstergirl, a cow-like Holstaur with tits so large they threatened to explode the thin fabric keeping them in, held a guitar close to her uh… chest. 

“Oh ho, I’m so excited to meet Chad!” She said, her assets jiggling. “Oh the thought of him listening to music gets me so… so… ohhhh.” Her clothing around her breasts began to leak a little.”

“Mmm isn’t that right girl.” The man said, wearing black leather like many others, though Kelly had the distinct impression that something wasn’t quite right about him. Were those chaps assless?! “That is one fine man. Oh to be on a cramped little tour bus with him, mmm, mmm, mmm. Frankly I have no idea why that spicy little cracker Mick left the band but his loss is my gain honey.”

“Oh, that was sad, wasn’t it?” The Holstaur said, sopping up her leakage. “Just one day up and left the band. No news, nothing.”

“Number 195, you’re up.” A staff member said, popping their head in. The Holstaur leap up, her tiddies flopping all over the place as her hooves clattered on the floor. She gave a small wave to Kelly before heading onto the stage. 

The man didn’t have much else to say as he looked over his guitar, stroking the tip a little too delicately sometimes. When he was called to the stage too, Kelly was left alone, the waiting crushing her until finally the staff member poked their head in and said, 

“Alright 197, you’re up.”

Trembling, Kelly walked down the hallway toward the stage. As she went, she blinked in surprise at seeing the man from before standing with his back to the stage, shaking his head in disgust. For a brief moment she felt his gaze upon her before she was past and into the auditorium. 

The stage was small, much smaller than compared to the main music hall and stadium, where she’d seen the Thundercocks live in person. However it made the situation feel more intimate, made it easier for her eyes to focus on the figure seated a few rows back. 

Chad Thundercock himself. The man wore a tight-fighting black shirt that showed off his ripped musculature, his arms crossed over his chest as he watched Kelly’s taloned feet click-clack onto the stage. Around him sat the rest of his band, including his manager, a raccoon-like Danuki who kept dry-rubbing her hands for some reason.

Kelly made her way to the center of the stage and a staff member helped her plug in her guitar and set it up, checking the system for a moment before giving her the all-clear. When she was alone on the stage, a spot light came up on her, and at that moment did her knees begin to clack. Trembling, she reached out to the microphone and said, 

“H-Hello. M-My name is Kelly and I’m going to play a rendition of ‘Thunderbolt to Valhalla’s Breast.’”

Those in the audience didn’t reply, and with the spotlight on her she couldn’t see their expressions either. She hesitated for a moment before closing her eyes, taking a deep breath, and then picking up her guitar to play. The first chord was the hardest, but once she began, she could feel her fears melt away. 

The power of the music drove into her, through her. She could feel the passion of the piece electrifying her very soul, the weight of the metal driving her onward. Even if she could see the audience, she doubted that she would as her whole attention was given to the music. Just as she’d listened and just as she’d practiced, she let the raw force and passion of the former rhythm guitarist flow through her to create as close to a perfect match of the raw and heavy music she loved. 

“STOP!” 

And then it all came crashing down. The lights went up in the audience and Kelly froze, her chord in mid-strum. She was dazed by the sudden shift, unable to fully comprehend what had just happened at the moment. 

“Oh no, I will NOT be having that shit sound in MY band again!” Chad said, standing in the audience. The man’s hands were balled into fists at his side and his teeth were clenched tight as he glared daggers at Kelly. 

“B-But this is like how the band plays this song-”

“No, shut up you dumb little blue jay.” Chad said, to the amusement of the Thunderbird next to him, her electrifying plumage a stark contrast to Kelly’s. “Get out of my sight this instant!”

“But I… but I just wanted.”

“Staff, remove her.” Lethis said, waving her hand in a lazy motion. A smirk sat on her face as she did so, eyes locked onto Kelly. 

The last member of the band, the eel-like Jean, merely looked up from her phone for a moment, shrugged, then went back to whatever she was doing. 

Kelly’s shoulders slumped as a staff member gently lead her away, Chad still shouting in the auditorium. She could hear him all the way backstage, each word breaking her heart into even smaller pieces. Tears began to roll down her cheeks as the staff member opened the door for her, gesturing for her to go outside. 

On the verge of a total breakdown, Kelly walked outside into the chill autumn air as the door behind her slammed shut. 

“Rough, kid.”

Kelly blinked eyes filled with tears and turned about to see the man from before standing there, arms crossed and leaning next to exit. She stared at him for a moment before her sorrow turned to rage, then back to sorrow, before finally exhaustion. Her legs gave out and she collapsed to the floor, her guitar tumbling to the ground as the tears came in earnest. 

“I understand crying over losing your crush, but that’s no reason to harm your instrument.” He said, kneeling down and picking up the guitar. Kelly didn’t try to stop him, she merely continued to cry ugly tears as her whole world was shattered.

“Not sure why you’d shed tears for that asshole.” He said, looking over the guitar before whistling. 

“He-he was my everything!” She wailed. “I devoted my l-life to this music! A-and he said it was traaash! He called me a fucking blue jay!”

“Now that was uncalled for.” He said, pulling a pick out from inside his jacket. “You made it quite clear to me that you’re a Thunderbird.”

She sniffled and looked at him odd as he began to pluck at the guitar. “W-What are you doing?”

“Playing, of course. Though without an amp this isn’t going to sound great.”

Kelly watched with confusion as he played her guitar, exactly the way she was playing back on stage. Sure, it sounded terrible without the amp but she could imagine what it WOULD have sounded like with it. As he played, she said, tears still in her eyes, “How… are you so good at playing that?”

“Probably because I played it like this for five years.” He said, continuing to play. 

“Huh?” She said, cocking her head. The man chuckled and slowed his playing before reaching up and removing his glasses to reveal bright, green eyes. Kelly’s eyes grew wide and she fish-mouthed for a moment before blurting out, 

“Mick?!”

“In the flesh.” He said, putting the glasses back on. 

“But- but you! You left the band and- and what did you do to your hair?!”

“Cut it, obviously. Felt I needed something new. Besides, long hair is such a pain to take care of, something you’d know, eh?”

Kelly still couldn’t believe it. “I don’t understand, you up and left the band without saying anything. What are you doing here?”

He sighed and picked softly at the guitar. “Well, once you spend some of the best years of your life with something, it’s hard to just let it go. I just wanted to make sure the band was left in good hands but after seeing what he did to you…”

“What he did to me…” She muttered, drawing her legs in close, her wings enveloping her body in a cocoon. “Uggghhh mom was right.”

“Yeah they usually are. Such wisdom as, ‘that Chad kid is going to fuck you over some day,’ or ‘don’t try to fuck the eel, she’ll slip out of a relationship.’”

Kelly gave him a strange expression. “You… and Jean?”

“Oh yeah, like a couple of fish gasping for air. Hot, breathless, and a lot of flopping around.” He shrugged, “But in the end she was getting it on with Chad too.”

“You… didn’t you form the band with Chad?”

“Yeah, just the two of us in high school at first.” Mick said, looking up to the sky. “Just a couple of dumb teenagers who thought playing the guitar would be the fastest way to get laid. Turns out we were right, but it came with more than I expected. One thing led to another and well, here we are. Both chewed out by a man we respected and sitting out in the cold crying about it.”

Kelly wiped at her tears, snickering, “Well now you make us sound pathetic.”

“You said it, not me.” He stood up and held out a hand to her. “Come on, let’s get some coffee, my treat.”

“I don’t know, my mom said I shouldn’t go on random coffee excursions with strangers.”

“Ah, but I’m not a stranger. You know my name and I know yours, Ms. Kelly.”

“How did-?” She cut off as he tapped the sticker with her name written on the guitar. She sighed and took his hand, roughened by years of playing the guitar, with her wing-hand. He smiled at her and handed back her guitar, which she placed in the case. Nodding at a place across the street, he began walking, her following behind him, too filled with a swirl of conflicting emotions to question what was happening. 

————————————————————–

The waitress brought out two cups of coffee, setting them on the table before leaving. Mick lounged out on the booth seat while Kelly sat with her wings in her lap, feeling uncomfortable now that she was here. She looked up at the coffee before looking back down and fidgeting. 

“You played good back there, you know.” 

“Huh?” She asked, looking up with confusion. 

“Back there, in the auditorium.”

“I was just playing it how you always did.”

“Ah that’s cute, but as the guy who played that song, I can tell there was something a little extra there, even if it was a little clumsy at periods. Something that reflected your spirit in the music too. A shame you got cut off early.”

Kelly looked back down. “Thanks but it doesn’t really matter. I guess I might as well do what my mom says and go get a job and find a husband. Give up this whole music business.”

“Mmm, that’s respectable and frankly one of the better moves you could make.” He sipped at his coffee before tilting down his sunglasses. “But is it the move you want to make?”

“Of course not.” She spat at him. “I love music, I love playing. But you know what happened there, the band and the man I idolized threw me to the curb. The bastard.”

“Sounds like you’re starting to come down a little, huh? Starting to hate the man you wanted to fuck, eh?”

“Don’t you fucking start.” She hissed. He merely chuckled and raised a hand in defeat. 

“Well, I kind of get that emotion. Not the fucking part of course, but the anger part. But that shouldn’t stop you from playing, in fact it should fuel you going forward.”

“Huh?” She asked, confused. “I kind of lost any hope of an audition in the future.”

“Well I wouldn’t be so sure about that.” He said, rooting in his jacket for something. A moment later he produced a wrinkled flyer that he handed over to her. 

Kelly frowned and looked over the paper. “It’s a flyer for their Christmas show in town in two months. You’re still on it.”

“I assure you things will change shortly. That concert will become the new testing ground for whoever they choose. Hopefully that Holstaur, because at least her tits will be entertaining.”

“H-Hey!” Kelly said, blushing. “If you’re going to talk about sort of thing then I might as well leave.”

“Oh? Did I hit a sore spot? Well, I think you’re plenty cute in your own way.” 

She blushed even harder at this and began to stand up, but he reached a hand out to her head, gently pushing her back down. 

“Hey, hey, you haven’t heard the proposal yet.”

“E-Excuse me?” She stuttered, face red, sparks appearing around her cheeks. 

“Not that kind of proposal you horny little sparrow. No, it’s a proposal to get back at Chad.”

“Huh?” She asked, sparks suddenly cutting off. “Get back at him?”

“He just broke your heart and your dream. The man dared to say your music was trash! Why not show him he’s wrong in the best way possible? On stage.”

Kelly stared at him with a blank expression. “I don’t understand.”

“The Christmas concert! Now a little bird, aka: that money grubbing manager bitch, told me before I was unceremoniously let go that this concert would have between sets a ‘present’ of sorts in which aspiring guitarists can play in a mock ‘battle’ against Chad.”

“Won’t they just choose people who suck so he wins?”

“Sure, that’s the intention. Feel good experience where Chad is still the best. If he lost during it, whoever beat him would both get a huge boost in popularity AND humiliate him.”

Kelly looked down at her coffee, biting her lip. “I don’t know if I want to humiliate him-”

“Kelly, remember what he said.” Mick said, leaning close. “This is your chance to break into the scene and show him that you’re worthy of his attention. Maybe he’ll even invite you into the band this time or whatever.”

“You think?”

“Uh, maybe.” Mick said. “Anyway, I think you have what it takes. A little polish and you’ll be top of the charts.”

“But I don’t know how else to practice.” She said. “Besides, there’s no way I’ll be selected to play.”

“Oh don’t you worry about that.” Mick said, smirking over his coffee. “And as for practice, well, I’m recently unemployed so I figure I have some time to help you out.”

Kelly blinked at him, surprised. “R-Really? You’d help me out?”

“Of course. I said it before, you have what it takes.” He sipped at his coffee. “Besides, it’ll be nice to have a cute girl like yourself around.”

“Y-you!” She said, flushing again. 

“So we have ourselves a deal?” He said, extending his hand. 

Cheeks still flushed, pout on her face, she took hold of her coffee with her wing-hand, downed it in one swig, then slapped her wing to his outstretched hand in as tight a grip as such could be made. Sparks traveling down her wing, her eyes glowed an electric blue as she said, 

“Deal.”

—————————————

“Woah.” 

Kelly adjusted the trap of her guitar case as she entered through the front door of Mick’s house, staring in wonder. “Your house is so… so… plain.”

“Oh thank you, I Iike the shade of blush you’re wearing too.”

“But I’m not- hey!” She said, huffing at the man. 

He smirked and led her inside. The comment about his house being plain was an understatement. It was a simple, one story building, but where she expected to see memorabilia or fancy artwork, there was nothing on the walls but family portraits and cheap art meant to fill space. Even the furniture was plain and simple but at least rustic so it didn’t look too bad. 

“This isn’t exactly what I expected a rock star’s home to look like.”

“Well I’m not really a rock star at the moment, am I?” He said, opening a door at the end of the hallway. “Anyway, take your jacket off and come inside.”

“Is this another misunderstanding?” She asked, holding onto her guitar-case tight. 

“I don’t see what’s so hard about understanding that.” He said, fully opening the door to reveal a room filled with instruments. “It’s going to get hot and sweaty in here.”

“Woah…” She said in earnest, letting the intentional dig slide as she entered the room to look. All over the walls were various kinds of guitars, some of which sported signatures from other great musicians. A sound-proofing system seemed to be made around the room along with a small stage and a computer system, turning what was likely a bedroom into a miniature studio. 

“Was this what you had in mind?” He asked as he walked over to the computer, booting it up. 

“Uh, yeah, this is more like it.” She said, enamored by the sight. “Is this where you practice?”

“Every day.” He said, walking over to the wall to select a guitar. 

“Oh hey, that’s the one you used on the ‘Penetrated by Lightning’ tour!” Kelly said, eyes wide. “I loved that one! Especially when Chad-”

She caught herself and cursed, though Mick only laughed. “Yeah, that was one hell of a time. I remember how Lethis got wasted after the St. Louis show and fell into the river while grinding her snatch on a railing, thereby electrocuting all the fish in a ten foot radius. Had to fish her sorry ass out and she was still going at it.”

“Hehe.” 

Mick opened a few programs on the computer before sitting down and waving to Kelly. “Alright, let’s get started.”

“Uh, what does that mean?” She asked, confused. 

“Just play me something. Let me see whatever you want to show.” 

“Uh, okay.” She said, sitting down and preparing her guitar. Once ready, she took a steadying breath and began to play. 

Mick didn’t say a word as the heavy music played through his studio. Kelly soon lost herself within the music, playing in a manner that shook her very blood. This was the music she loved, she was the power that fueled her. When she finally finished she found herself panting as she looked up at the man sitting in front of her. 

“How do you feel?” He asked, not moving from his position. 

“Hot and sweaty.” She said, wiping said sweat from her forehead with her wing. “But how was it?”

“Could use some work.” He said, shrugging. “You understand the song, but in your focus to dive into it, you miss some notes every now and then.” He points to the screen where he was recording. “You see here, here, and here? This is where you go off, we need to work a little on a few fundamentals.”

“Fundamentals? I thought we were going to do like, dunno, style or something to beat Chad?”

Mick shook his head. “Want to know something that Chad is really good at? Fundamentals. There’s a reason he’s the lead guitar and it’s not just because his dick is barely contained by his pants.” The man picked up his own guitar and said, “We have time, so we’re going to practice fundamentals.”

“Uggghh.” Kelly said, situating herself for the lessons. 

——————————————————-

“Good progress today.” Mick said, tossing Kelly a towel. She fumbled with it on account of her wings, but nodded and wiped off the sweat from all the playing. They’d been at it since noon and her phone indicated it was nearly six. 

“I guess.” She said. “It felt like when I was just starting out.”

“Self-taught?”

“Yeah.”

Mick chuckled and wiped sweat off his own forehead. “Me too. I’m sure formal training would have been better for me but it was fun to figure things out on my own. Well, and with Chad I suppose.”

“You two really were good friends, huh?”

“… Yeah. But people change. Priorities change. I’ve seen enough behind the music episodes to know that these things just happen.” 

Kelly looked down and frowned. “Can I… ask what happened?”

Mick leaned back and stared at the ceiling. “A disagreement between Chad and I. The girls, well, they were literally in bed with him and the manager figured it easier to drop me like a rock rather than work things out.”

“That… sucks.” Kelly said, feeling down. 

“Well, it’s all the past anyway.” He said, standing up and putting away his guitar. “It’s about time you headed home anyway.”

“Ah, right.” She said, putting her own guitar away. “Uhm, so I guess same time tomorrow?”

“Sounds good to me. Oh, right.” He picked up a book on guitar playing from the desk and handed it to her. “Some homework.”

“Great I’ve been out of school for two years because I hated homework.”

“Well lucky you, it’s an experience.” He chuckled. “Oh, and a parting word of advice.”

“Hmm?” She asked, cocking her head. 

“Don’t wear white next time.”

She blinked twice before looking down at her tank top to see it covered in sweat, showing her bra underneath. Flushing heavily, she wrapped her wings around her chest as Mick laughed out loud. 

The next two weeks were filled with the same kind of training as before. While Kelly found it tedious at first, she was surprised by the information that Mick’s programs were showing her about her own improvement. Her parents even took notice with the relish she put into practicing and her glee to leave every day to go learn with Mick. 

On the following saturday, Kelly came down the stairs, humming to herself. Her mother planted her wings on her hips and asked with a sly smile, “Sooo, who’s the boy?”

“W-what?” Kelly said, startled. “There’s no boy!”

“Uh huh, I know that look. You said you’re going for guitar practice but I wonder if you don’t have a crush on your teacher.”

“It- it’s not like that.” Kelly said, blushing. “He’s just really good at it and my technique has improved since I’ve started going over his place.”

“Oh my!” Her mother said, wing to her mouth as electricity coiled around her body. “My darling little girl is doing something so lewd! Oh, when can we expect the egg?”

“M-Mom! I’ll have you know I’m still a virgin!”

“Oh.” Her mother said, crestfallen. “And here I thought you found someone to make you happy.”

“I-it’s not like that at all.” Kelly said, grabbing food from the fridge. “He’s just a friend.”

“Whatever you say, dear.” 

Kelly shook her head and left the house, flying into the sky. The days were getting colder, but one of the perks of being a thunderbird meant she could insulate herself by running a current over her body. Of course, a sweater was also nice, but a little difficult to manage, what with the wings. Thank god for side ties. 

A few knocks on Mick’s door lead to no answer. Shrugging, and entered the house but found no trace of the man. 

She felt awkward being alone here, and so she wandered a bit to his living room, sitting down on the couch, wings over her knees. Footsteps from the hallway heralded Mick and she looked up a little too quickly, her eyes going wide at what she saw. 

“Oh, hey, didn’t hear you come in.” Mick said, rubbing a towel across his wet hair. The man was shirtless, showing off a rather nice chest. While he didn’t have the raw muscles of Chad, it was enough of a sight to make her heart flutter. A shame he was wearing jeans though-

“Ack!” She said, looking down, face blushing. The carpet around her began to stand on edge as tried to hide her emotions. S-she was a perfectly healthy Monstergirl, its not that she didn’t have a sex drive it’s just… just…

“You alright? Or is my shirtless, sexy body too much for a prude like you?”

“I-I am not a prude!” She shouted, a little too loud. Her eyes shot up to meet his and she blinked in surprise to see he had the towel covering him, a dainty look on his face. 

“Oh my, I seem to have upset the delicate sensibilities of my guest. I do so apologize.”

“Ugghhh! You’re the worst!” Kelly said, tossing a pillow at the man. It hit him and bounced off, though not before making his freshly dried hair stand up. 

“Haha, woah that’s kind of cool. Ah that’s one thing I’ll miss about being around those girls. This kind of bullshit.” He smoothed down his hair with the ease of practice before turning his back to her and waving. “Alright, alright, don’t make a mess in your panties, I’ll be back.”

“N-No one’s making a mess over you.” She said, finding herself a little too worked up over this. Was it because of what her mother had said before coming here? N-No, she did not think of Mick in that way. She’d always liked hunky Chad and Mick was just…

“Hey, you coming?” Mick asked a moment later, sticking his head out from the doorway. “I promise I’m clothed this time.”

Kelly slapped her cheeks and stood, taloned feet clicking as she made her way to the familiar studio. She sat down without ceremony and huffed, going about plugging in her guitar. Mick merely watched her with a smile, to which she asked, “What’s so funny?”

“You. I’ve never really met a Monstergirl like you before.”

“And what’s what supposed to mean?”

“Nothing really. Just an observation.” He turned on his programs again as Kelly made to start practicing her fundamentals again. “Oh, you don’t need to do that.”

“Huh?” She asked, confused. “I thought we were working on this.”

“Yeah, we were, but you’re a little too good at your homework. I think it’s time to move onto something else.”

“Really? Okay, so are you going to teach me some killer shred to beat Chad?”

“I mean, probably, though you’ve listened to all the killer shreds that our band has. No, what I’d like to focus on is what makes your music different. In truth, it’s also what makes the Thundercocks such an invigorating band to listen to.”

“Their raw dedication to the power of metal?”

“Haha, that’s real fucking cute, but no.” He reached over and tapped her nose, a small spark of static electricity coming to life when he does. “The electricity.”

“I don’t get it.” Kelly says. “What does that have to do with anything?”

“Kelly, Kelly, Kelly-belly, Kelly-welly.” 

“Stop.”

“Fair. Anyway, it has a lot to do with it. You see, these electric instruments we use for our music, in the hands of most they can make magic. But when someone who can feed a charge into them plays, they make miracles.”

“I still don’t get it.”

“Well, you do it without thinking, but let me give you a demonstration.” The man picked up his guitar and played a short solo. It sounded amazing to Kelly, who was always fascinated in his playing. 

“Now then, give me your wing.”

“Uh, what?” She said, proffering her wing despite herself. 

He took it with his hand and she blushed, feeling that this scene is a little too intimate. H-Holding hands, huh? He, he wasn’t going to pat her head next, was he? Oh, if she was in public she’d just die!

Small sparks of electricity flowed through her wing as he held tight, finally releasing after what seemed a rather nice, and awkward, eternity. He stared at his hand before nodding and picking up the guitar again, playing the same solo as before. This time, however, the sound was different. Richer, much more potent. It sounded a lot like being in the audience at one of their concerts…

“You’re kidding me.” She said, stupefied. “I never knew.”

“It’s not just guitars- Dana uses her electricity to modify her voice through the microphone while Jean does the same with her drums. It gives them a feel that takes their skill, and they are skilled, and takes it to another level.”

“But… you and Chad?”

“Aha, well… being around those lovely ladies and being… AROUND them comes with certain perks.” He said, coughing into his hand. 

“O-Oh.” Kelly said, looking down at her wing. If the small amount she could produce, then transferred over to him, could make THAT much of a difference, what would happen if she used it directly?

“I see you understand now. So let’s work on getting the hang of things, alright?”

“Y-yeah!” She said, picking up her guitar. “I’m a Thunderbird and I can do this!”

————————————————–

“I’m a Thunderbird and I can’t do thiiiissss!” Kelly whined, hanging her head as she stopped playing. Her attempts at channeling her electricity into the guitar were… bad, at best. 

“Damn, these recordings are worse than when you first started” Mick said, looking at the data on the screen. “You nearly blew the amp at one point.”

“Don’t remind me!” She said, hiding her embarrassment in her wings. “Ohhhhh.”

“Hey, hey now.” Mick said. “It’s not that bad, you just need to practice.”

“I’ve always been terrible at using my electricity, my measly, pitiful amount of it.” Kelly said. “No wonder everyone calls me a fucking blue jay.”

“Kelly, listen-”

“Look at this shit!” She pulled down on her shirt to reveal the small thunderbolt birthmarks running down her breasts. They don’t even reach her nipples, though her action did show a lot of cleavage, such as it was. “Smallest you’ve ever seen, huh? I bet that bitch Dana’s are HUGE!”

She stopped suddenly as Mick put both hands on her shoulders. Blinking in surprise, she looked up to see him staring her in the eyes, rather than down at her exposed chest. 

“Kelly. It doesn’t matter to me the size of your features. It doesn’t matter to me what voltage you can produce. What matters to me is that you can do this, you only need to focus on it. You’re giving in too early!”

“But…”

“Pick up your guitar, Kelly.”

She obediently did so, not exactly certain what she was doing. Sniffling, she watched as Mick stood up and walked behind her, leaning in close to put his rough hands over her wings. His stubbly cheek was next to hers as he said, 

“Play that song again. This time, let me guide you on how to channel your electricity. Let my hands be your guide. Don’t over think, just play.” 

Kelly hesitated for a moment before gulping and beginning to play. She felt nervous at first, but somehow his presence beside her was comforting. His focused breathing and gentle touch settled her heart and let her focus on playing. With a delicate pressure, he helped her find when to add a jolt of her music, something she never realized she was doing beforehand. It started to feel… natural. 

When she finished, she sat there, staring at down at her wings. Did… did she just play that?

“Mick, did you hear-!” She cut off as he turned to him, finding his face right before hers. The calm she felt before dissipated as her heart begins to beat faster. His face was right there, that strong jawline, those gorgeous eyes, and those lips…

She began to breathe a little heavy, trembling as her eyes grew half lidded. Something about this situation felt wrong and yet… all her instincts said it was right. 

“Kelly.” Mick said, breaking the spell. She blinked in surprise as the man released his hands from her wings and pulled back, looking away. “Good work. It’s a start.”

“H-huh?” She said, caught completely off guard. “O-oh! The… the guitar.” Part of her felt incredibly relieved while the majority felt… cheated? She wasn’t certain what she was expecting but this wasn’t it!

“I think that’s enough for today, it’s getting late.” Mick said, going to the computer to start logging data. “Give that a little try at home, more homework.”

“R-right.” She said, gathering her things slowly. “Okay.” Her eyes watched him as he worked, noticing his tense body posture, his face deliberately not looking her way. 

“I’m going to get started working on this, you know the way out.” He said. 

“Yeah.” Was all she could reply. She made her way past him and gave one last look, seeing only his backside in the chair. “Tomorrow…?”

“We’ll start back on monday. Get some rest.”

“Okay. Have a good weekend.”

“You too.” 

She left the room a moment later, the tension growing too thick. When she closed the door to his house behind her, she sank to her knees, the feeling of the cold wind magnified by how red her face was. What just happened back there? It felt like something was going to… but then he pulled away? 

Only then did she realize she had basically flashed the man earlier and didn’t think twice about it. She bit her lip before flying back home.

“Oh Kelly, what have you gotten yourself into?”

—————————————-

“I didn’t think you were coming, you’re usually on time or early.” Mick said, opening the door for Kelly. 

“Aha, sorry I lost track of time.” She said, walking in behind him. 

“Hmm.” Mick said, leading her to the room. “Probably the make-up.”

“Ah… so you noticed.” She said. “I just felt like trying something new is all.”

“Seeing as I had to have it applied near daily, it’s something I notice.” He said. “Anyway, it looks good on you.” For some reason that comment made her rather happy. 

“Anyway.” He said, showing her the data on his program again. “I’ve analyzed a few places you can work on. Did you practice over the weekend?”

“Sort of.” She said, fidgeting. “I was a little… distracted.” It’s not like she could tell him that she kept having wet dreams after saturday. 

“Well, we know what to focus on so we’ll work on that. Afterwards we’ll fixate on a song. You’re going to play one of Chad’s songs, his most famous.”

“Virgin Lightning? Wow, that’s a tough song.”

“Yes, and if you can play it better than him, you’re going to show the world how much better you are.”

“Wouldn’t it also work with a less… demanding song?”

Mick shrugged, “It could but the effect won’t be the same.” He looked over at her, “You said you wanted this, right?”

“Y-yeah.” She said, setting down her guitar case. He seemed much more… serious today. Almost like a different person. Did she do something wrong? “Yeah, of course.”

“Then let’s get to it.” He said, watching as she played. 

The next few weeks went by like this, Mick’s training growing more and more intense. Kelly liked it, of course, as she could tell she was growing better at playing and using her electricity, but something about their dynamic felt off. There was a growing void between them, something she couldn’t describe but which made her feel… sad. Even her mother noticed how she didn’t quite have the same spring in her step when she went to lessons anymore. 

“I’m here.” She said as she opened the door, heedless of whether he answered back or not. 

“Oh hey, great.” He said, walking down the hallway to get her. “Perfect timing, I just got confirmation that you’re in for the guitar battle.”

Kelly cocked her head. “How did you make that happen anyway?”

“I’m still on good terms with the producer and I had a favor to cash in anyway. Nothing major, but hey, this means all your hard work is going to pay off.”

“Yeah.” She said, sighing as she took off her guitar case. “Yeah I guess so.”

Mick frowned and knelt down next to her. “Something wrong?”

“It’s just…” Kelly said, shrugging. “I don’t know, I don’t feel as motivated as before. Maybe it was the raw emotions back then, maybe it was something else, I don’t know but I don’t know if I want to go through with this anymore.”

He stared at her before slowly taking a breath and exhaling. “Kelly… do you know what you’re saying? You want to back down after everything we’ve done? The show is so close and yet you don’t want to do it anymore?”

“I guess… I guess I don’t care about Chad anymore.” She said. “Sure it hurts a little still but maybe him telling me off was good for me. I mean, I probably would never have improved otherwise, and I.. I would never have met you.”

Mick closed his eyes and clasped his hands together. He licked his lips before looking into her eyes, a sad look there. “Kelly… I want to see you succeed at this. I want to see your name up on the lights, I want to see you become the best star you can be. Kelly, if you won’t at least do it for yourself will you… do it for me?”

“I… I don’t understand-!” 

Her words became lost as Mick leaned forward and pressed his lips to hers. Her eyes grew wide and she felt a panic rise within her, but she couldn’t pull away. A small gasp came from her mouth as he pulled away, looking abashed. 

“Kelly I… those few weeks ago I… I’m sorry for how I’ve been acting, I was just afraid that you’d hate me if I did that.”

“Mick, I… I…” She gulped. “I don’t know what to say.”

“Sorry.” He said, standing up. “I think I crossed a line here. I’d show myself out but this is my house, so I’ll help you get your things.”

“W-wait.” She said, taking his hand in her wing. She looked to the side as small voltages of electricity raced through her body, in time with her heartbeat. “I… I don’t mind it.”

“Kelly, but I took advantage of our friendship and-”

“I said I… I don’t mind.” She looked up, a quirk of a smile on her face. “I mean, if you don’t mind, that is.”

Mick hung his head and laughed before turning about and pulling her into a hug. She wrapped her wings around his tight chest, bringing her small frame against his. In this embrace she felt like the worries and tension of the past few weeks were melting away, leaving only the painful beating of her heart. 

He pulled back from her and smiled. “You’re going to be great out there, I know it.”

“O-Of course!” She said, picking up her guitar with renewed vigor, smile from ear to ear. 

“Chad won’t know what hit him!” 

————————————-

December 21st, the night of the Christmas concert finally arrived. The city’s music hall was packed to the brim with fans of a more metal christmas and the sounds of violence and heavy music shook the very foundations of the building. 

Kelly sat backstage, holding her guitar as she waited nervously to be called. She hadn’t been gussied up by the crew in order to maintain a more, “normal person,” look for her appearance, but she still wore clothing of her own to match the venue. Of course, sitting there now, she wished she’d worn something that exposed a little less midriff… 

“Are you sure I’ll be okay?” She asked Mick, who stood next to her with his shades on, frowning as he listened to the music playing on stage. 

“Tch, that Thunder Cat they got to replace me is terrible. The whole sound is ruined.”

“Mick?”

“Oh, sorry, what?” He said, attention on her. “You’re going to do fine, remember everything we trained to do.”

She nodded and held out her wing-hand, which he took without hesitation. She blushed and looked down, feeling oddly more calm like this. “Hey Mick, I… I’ve been meaning to ask. Even if I don’t beat Chad, we’ll still be together… right?”

He smiled and said, “But you’re not going to lose. You’ve got this. In fact, I have something for you.”

Her smile faded for a moment as he let go of her wing and went to grab something, a guitar case. He placed it on the floor in front of her and opened it up to reveal the touring guitar he had used every day at practice.

“Take it, it yours now.”

She gasped and reached down, picking the instrument up. It felt good in her wing-hands, like she was made to play with it. Her eyes lingered on her own, beat-up guitar, but she closed them a moment later and said to Mick, “I don’t know what to say.”

He smirked and gave her a gentle kiss on the lips. “Don’t say it. Show it.”

A cheer went up as the song ended, heralding the end of the Thundercock’s current set. As the crowd roared, a staff member called Kelly forward. She stood up and waved a goodbye to Mick, who waved back at her, a sad smile on his face as she left the ready room. 

Kelly stood backstage as the crowd continued to roar, the band shouting out and talking to them. She did some breathing exercises, trying to calm herself down when she noticed someone standing backstage next to her. Slowly moving her head to the side, she blinked in surprise to find the Thundercock’s manager standing there, eating an apple. 

“Well, well, this is interesting. So you’re the little girl he enthralled.”

“I’m sorry, what?” 

The manager bit into the apple and chewed for a moment before gesturing it at Kelly, “Mick, the man who gave you that guitar. I wondered why he was pulling his last strings. Did he think I wouldn’t notice?”

“Are… are you going to cancel the program?”

The Danuki laughed. “Oh hell no! That would be bad business. Besides, I want to see what the little shit has planned. I feel sorry for you though, poor thing. I hope he doesn’t break your heart too badly. Not that I won’t find a way to make a quick buck off this either way.”

Kelly gave her a strange look, not understanding her words. She had to clear her mind of all this though, and prepare herself for what was to come next. No time for such silly thoughts. She was going to beat Chad and then she and Mick would… would…

Well, they’ll conquer that when they came to it. 

“And next up, a special present to you, the fans! One lucky fan has been chosen to test their mettle against the one, the only, CHAD THUNDERCOCK!”

The crowd went wild at this as Chad entered the stage again, guitar held in his hands. The crew began to help set him up while the manager waved at Kelly as she was dragged out onto the stage. 

Spotlights fell on her as the crowd roared at her arrival. Kelly could only stare in amazement at the sight. How long had she dreamed of something like this? How many nights had she lain awake, thinking how it would be to be the center of attention in front of an audience? Her last experience was less than stellar, but this… It was daunting and yet she could only feel invigorated. 

“What the fuck.” She could see Chad say, his mic off, from across the stage. He smiled and waved but she could tell deep down he was surprised to see her. Good, let him be surprised at what’s about to come. 

When the crew was finished setting her up, they handed her a microphone as Chad held out a hand toward her, ever the showman. 

“Alright little lady! You’re in the Thunderdome now! You think you have what it takes to beat Chad Thundercock?”

The crowd roared as Kelly held the mic up to her mouth and said, “Oh, I know I can. Because if there’s one thing a Thunderbird knows, it’s how to rock.”

Wild cheers erupted at Kelly’s confidence. She smirked inwardly as she noticed the other members of the band, including the new member, giving her glares from behind Chad. 

“Well aren’t we confident. Just the way I like it! Now then, name your song!”

“Virgin Lightning!”

Chad’s face cracked a wide smile. The crowd, however, ate it up. It was one of the most popular songs, with the most difficult guitar solo, after all.

The lights dimmed, save for the spotlights on the two of them. Lasers began to play about the stage as fog blasted out from all angles. Chad began playing first, his fingers deftly starting the song and getting an edge-up on Kelly. 

Smiling, she played back, the sound coming from her guitar making the audience, and the other members of the band, look on in shock. 

Chad frowned as he began to play harder, laser images playing about as if they were shooting from his guitar at Kelly. She fought back, matching him note for note, rising higher and higher in response to his playing, lasers shooting from her guitar as well. 

The crowd absolutely ate it up. Their cheers were electrifying as both Chad and Kelly began to glow blue, the electricity within them discharging through their instruments and into their music. They came close to the solo, the hardest part of the song, and Kelly knew that’s when she had to act. 

As the music grew more and more intense, she channeled more power into her guitar, her sound drowning out Chad’s, if only for a moment. But the moment was all she needed to gain the favor of the crowd, and she played off it, feeding from their energy as her guitar fed from hers. She barely knew where she was anymore but she knew that the metal and the cheers were hers! 

As the final chord hit, she held up the guitar in her wing hand, letting it resonate through the audience as they stood up, cheering so loud she could barely hear anymore. Panting and covered in sweat, she looked out over the crowd to see their eyes on her and her alone. 

The lights singled her out then as she stood there, basking in the glory. A crew member waved at her, pointing at the mic. Slowly, she lowered her guitar and picked up her microphone. She was about to address the crowd when Mick quickly walked onto the stage and took it from her. 

The lights meant for her centered on the newcomer and the crowd gasped when they realized who it was. Some cheered, thinking it was part of the show until Mick said, “How do you like that, eh Chad? Beaten at your own game!”

“What the fuck, Mick?” Lethis said, running on stage to confront the man. “Who let you in here?”

“I don’t need to answer to you, you damn cum sleeve.” He said, waving her away. “I’m here to see that asshole right there, and that bitch over there get fucking schooled.” He pointed at Jean, who coiled back on her eel-like lower body and looked scandalized. 

“Yeah that’s right. You think you can just fuck around with me huh? Turn me down for this asshole and then kick me from the band? Well fuck you. This band ain’t shit without me and I just proved I could take anyone off the street and teach them to be better than you.” He pointed at the Thunder Cat. “You’re shit, you know that?”

The new rhythm guitarist looked down, her ears flattening..

“Mick, what the fuck!” Kelly said. “What the hell are you doing?”

“Rubbing salt in the wounds, Kelly. You beat his ass good and I’m saying what needs to be said. We both got what we wanted.”

“I didn’t want this!” She said, backing away from him. “I just wanted to show I could play! I… I wanted you to be proud of me!”

“But I am!” He said, holding a hand out to her. “You and me, we’re going to be the next be thing.”

“No… not like this.” She said as tears formed in her eyes. “You tricked me!”

“Kelly wait!” He shouted as she dropped his guitar and ran off the stage, crying. She couldn’t tell if the crowd behind her was roaring in anger or cheer, but it didn’t matter. All she felt was a coldness inside her. 

“Nice, I can work this with this.” The manager said, dry-rubbing her hands together as Kelly ran by. “Thanks, kid.”

Kelly didn’t care as she blitzed past and to the outside. She busted open the doors of the music hall to find that it had snowed. Snowflakes continued to fall gently down from the sky and she shivered, taloned feet crunching in the packed whiteness as she walked aimlessly from the music hall.

Feeling numb either from cold or the pain within her, she sunk down into the snow, trying to insulate herself with her electricity as she fought back the tears. That was her moment… the joy she felt, the cheers all for her… gone. They were stolen from her by a man she had trusted. A man she had loved. 

Footsteps came from behind her, crunching through the snow. She didn’t care to look up, she was too tired, physically and emotionally to take notice of who had joined her. Perhaps it was a mugger or a rapist? Wouldn’t that be fitting. 

“Jesus, Kelly there you are.”

Oh, it’s much worse than that. 

“Go away, Mick.” She said, voice hollow. 

“Kelly, come on-”

“I said, GO AWAY!” She shouted, discharging a small amount of electricity, though all she managed to do was fall forward into the snow, her feathers getting wet in the frozen powder. “You’ve done enough already. Just leave me alone.”

“Listen, I just- I mean. Arrgh.” Mick said before sighing. 

“You used me, Mick. Trained me up so I could get you in and make an ass of yourself. All of it was a lie, right from the very start.”

Mick was silent for a long time. Eventually he walked forward, causing Kelly to cringe, afraid he was going touch her. Instead, he dropped something in the snow next to her. It was her guitar case, the one she had discarded without a second thought in favor of his guitar. 

“I was angry at Chad, at Jean… I was ready to find a way to hurt them and I didn’t care who got caught in the crossfire. For that, I’m sorry.”

He turned about, crunching in the snow. “But not all of it was a lie. I really do think you’re amazing and you proved it out there. After this, I don’t deserve to be on stage anymore, my time is past. But you, you belonged up there! You were born for this. You’re the rock star, not I.”

She sniffled a mixture of tears and snot running down her face in the cold winter wind as she looked back at him. “And that kiss, was that a lie too?”

She was met with a look of utter sorrow as Mick looked into her eyes. “That, is what I’m most sorry about. Because out of everything, that kiss was the most honest thing I’d done, for the most dishonest reason.”

Kelly squeezed her eyes shut and began to bawl, letting the emotions of the past few months finally come out in full force. Mick stood there the whole time, as the snow came down around them, watching until she could cry no longer. Exhausted, she slumped down and said, “Why don’t you just go ahead and leave me.”

“Is that what you want?”

“I don’t know what I want.” She said, rubbing at her eyes. “I thought I wanted to be a rock star, then I thought I wanted revenge and now… now despite everything, I still want you!”

Mick knelt down in the snow in front of her and put his forehead to hers. “The crowd booed me off the stage, you know. I almost got escorted out by security but the manager kept them in check. She said to me, ‘Mick, you glorious asshole, you’ve ruined any chance you had at playing on stage again, but you better not ruin that girl’s heart.’”

He gulped. “I understand if you don’t ever want to see me again. But through our time together I can say that… that I do love you, Kelly.”

She sniffed and looked up at him, face an utter mess. “And I love you too, you asshole.”

He reached out and she practically leapt into his arms, her wings wrapping around his warm body. As he held her, she drifted off to sleep too tired to care what came next. 

—————————————–

Kelly flopped onto the couch, exhausted. A roaring crowd came from behind until the door slammed shut, giving her a modicum of isolation. She groaned and laid down, wanting nothing more than to drift off to sleep. The adrenaline and beating of her heart at the scene she just left, however, was making that quite difficult. 

“Fantastic show out there kid.” A familiar Danuki said, dry rubbing her hands. “Crowd is eating you up. I knew signing you was the right call.”

“Chad still hasn’t forgiven you.”

“Chad is washed up. That little pussy he picked up really was shit.”

Kelly placed a wing over her face to hide her smirk. Well, Mick was right about that, at least. And she supposed he was right about her being cut out for show biz. Shortly after her little battle, the Thundercock’s manager had sought her out and hired her to do some gigs. Only a year later and she was still topping the charts. 

“I guess Mick said a few smart things after all.” 

“I’m sorry, what did I say?”

Kelly lowered her wing enough just to uncover her eyes as she watched the man approach her, then squat down to become level to her on the couch. 

“I said, you say something smart every now and then.”

“Oh, like how you’re the best star in the world?”

“Mmm that’s one of them.”

“Or how you’re so hot, everyone wants a piece of you?”

“Also true.”

“And how this big, hot star is all mine?”

She pulled her wing fully down and played at rolling her eyes. “Hmmm, well I don’t know about that one.”

“Damn, there goes my date to the after party.” He said. “I guess I’ll just go back home to a cold, lonely bed and get my lesson plans ready for next week.”

“Hey now, don’t be hasty.” She said, reaching out and bopping him on the head with her wing, causing his hair to stand up. “Those kids at the music school will just have to make do. Because tonight, I’m not letting you have time for anyone else.”

“Is that so?”

“It is so.”

“Well lucky me for having fallen in love with a rock star.”

Kelly laughed and pulled him in for a kiss. “Lucky to both of us.” 

The End

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