Pairing: Bruce Springsteen/Clarence Clemons
WARNINGS: RPS-That means real people. If you find that offensive, this is not the fic for you.
Notes: Written for xmas_rocks 2011. Originally posted HERE!. Thanks to vanillafluffy for superlative and very speedy beta. Takes place during the Born In The USA tour.
Disclaimer: None of this ever happened and I'm not making any money for saying it did.
Summary: Another night on the road and things are getting scary out there.
Clarence is starting to get worried.
He knows a thing or two about the music business. This is so far beyond what any of them could have dreamed of back in the old days. Sure, you don't want to spend the rest of your life being some crappy bar-band. No one gets into this just for the free booze and pussy and the glory that is rock 'n' roll, but damn, baby, this is getting way out of control.
If he thought 1975 was crazy, what with the magazine covers, the first time they sold out the Garden, well that is nothing compared with the shit that's going down now. Who'd have ever thought that Bruce would have hit singles on the pop stations? That "Born In The USA" would go Platinum in less than six months? That they'd be selling out not just the Brendan Byrne Arena, but the whole fucking Meadowlands? Being on that MTV thing? Even getting mentioned by the damned President?
This is when things get crazy. It's how you become Elvis, locked up in Graceland and dying on the crapper, or even John Lennon, trying to live a normal life, but getting killed anyway because you got so big, it just seemed to bring out the madness in everyone else. He shivers a little even thinking about it, because he's looked out at those crowds wondering which one was just stupid or insane enough to try something. Sure, there's security all over the place, but when your number comes up, it ain't gonna matter.
If anyone can handle the pressure, it's Bruce. He's always been the sanest one in the whole band. Gary's had his issues with the booze, Max with drugs, and Danny can't always stay away from the women. Clarence has his own vices, and he's dealing with them, but Bruce is the guy who's never smoked pot and can nurse one beer all night. His one addiction is performing, giving and getting love from the audience. That's why the shows have been getting longer and longer. Bruce doesn't want to leave the stage, even when he's exhausted, nearly hoarse, covered in sweat, he just wants to go on and on.
Of course, this is the first time he's ever seen Bruce crazy in love, and that can change things too. Not that Clarence doesn't like Julianne. Sweet girl. Pretty as all get out. But still, she's Hollywood and Bruce is Freehold. Clarence suspects there's already some trouble in paradise. On one hand, Bruce dedicates "She's The One" to Julianne in concert every night, but you'd have to be blind not to see what's happening between Bruce and Patty onstage, while Julianne is in LA. He's not sure whether staying far from the madness of the road makes her a fool or a pretty smart cookie.
Not your problem, man, he tells himself as he tries to settle down for a pre-concert nap. All he should be thinking about is getting on that stage in...wherever the hell they are and keeping up with the Boss for however many hours it takes Bruce to get his fix that night. He calls the front desk to make sure they have his wake-up call set, and puts on his sleep mask. His last thought before nodding off is a prayer for Bruce; both his safety and his sanity.
Philadelphia. They're in Philadelphia and they just rocked the hell out of Veterans Stadium for nearly five god-damned hours. Clarence is still in awe of Bruce's stamina. That crazy motherfucker was up jogging at six in the morning and then he was in the hotel gym for an hour after that. Bruce claims it's the working out that helps him get through the shows, but Clarence still thinks it's just a man getting what he needs from the audience, the only thing that really makes him happy.
The shower feels good, and the Jacuzzi afterwards feels even better. Shitting in some high-cotton as his Aunt Bessie would say. For all the worrying that goes along with success, there's perks too. For one thing, the hotel rooms are a hell of a lot better. There was a time when four of them would be splitting a room at some dump that barely had hot water, never mind a big-ass tub that could fit the whole band plus roadies and a few groupies for good measure, with jets that get all the pain out and leave you feeling kind of limp. Not completely limp, Clarence thinks wrapping himself in a big fluffy robe, and then decides not to think about it for awhile. Instead he focuses on whether dinner will be room service or a night out. Max is always full of suggestions for where to eat. Drummers are the kings of the road. They knew where to find the best food and everything else.
He's about to call Max's room, when his own phone rings, and somehow he knows who it is.
"Hey, Big Man," Bruce says softly, protecting what's left of his post-concert voice.
"Hey, Boss," Clarence responds, "that was some show you just gave."
"Nah, that was some show we all just gave." There's a pause. "You wanna hang out for awhile?"
Bruce sounds like a kid asking a pal to come over, watch TV, shoot the shit, whatever. They could be back in Asbury Park, playing in a garage somewhere. Only that's not what Bruce means. If he wanted to hang out like kids - like friends - they'd be going out, probably with a bunch of the guys. Even if means a limo these days, rather than a beat up Chevy with Clarence nearly getting crippled by the way his legs get squeezed up and Steve looking for someone in a Cadillac or Rolls to rag on. That's not what Bruce needs right now.
Clarence dresses quickly, putting on a pair of white linen pants and an Aloha shirt purchased during the band's first time in Hawaii. A fleeting memory of a very crazy night back on the River tour; hearing the fans singing "Hungry Heart" from the beach. Steve and Gary had gone surfing or at least tried to. That was another night when Bruce had asked him to hang out. He remembers the sound of the waves and the smell of wilting leis.
Now they have suites so far up, it would be hard to hear anything out there. High cotton, baby. High cotton.
The first thing he smells this time is the pungent odor of Ben Gay, which clings to Bruce almost constantly these days, followed by the milder scent of Bruce's honey-lemon tea. He turns down a cup, but accepts a can of Coke from the mini-bar.
The first thing he sees, or at least notices with the good eye, are Bruce's arms, almost bulging out of beat-up t-shirt with James Dean on the front. He sees those arms on stage every night, but up close they're even more impressive. He can remember when Bruce had been down-right spindly and those three-hour shows would take it out of him so much that Clarence sometimes had to make sure Bruce got back to his room safely.
That's how it had happened the first time. Memphis, of all places, and maybe they weren't packed four into a piss-in-the-sink hotel room, but Bruce and Clarence were sharing a double in some Travel Lodge or Quality Inn, with Gary and Danny in the adjoining room.
Bruce had totally knocked himself playing three encores, including a whole Elvis medley which the band had absolutely never rehearsed. He was high on the love that night, but also exhausted, practically staggering off the stage. Clarence had taken him back to the hotel and more or less tucked him into bed. He was planning to go out on his own for a bit when he felt Bruce reaching up for him, grasping his hand and then his arm.
"Please don't go."
Clarence knew it was wrong and a sin before God. He'd heard the preaching enough times and spent long nights trying to fight it, often failing. He also never thought that Bruce would be interested in that sort of thing. Of course maybe his own desires were deceiving him. Maybe Bruce just meant, don't leave me alone. Stay and talk.
It was like that night in Asbury Park when Clarence walked into The Student Prince because the wind blew the door open and it was like a Revelation from the Lord. The first night he jammed with Bruce, it was perfect, and the first time he let Bruce pull him into that tiny twin bed, it was as though they already knew exactly what the other one wanted and needed. He was sure if Bruce had ever been with a man before, but he didn't hold anything back from Clarence, not his mouth or his ass, and damn if that ass wasn't the most beautiful thing Clarence had ever seen or felt.
Since then, it's never really stopped, although it doesn't happen very often either. Clarence thought maybe, now that Julianne was in the picture, but who was he really kidding? Every faggot he'd ever known had a girlfriend or wife around. It didn't help. When you want something and it's got its hooks in you, there ain't nothing in the world that can stop it.
He has that feeling now, watching Bruce, wondering why tonight, why he can never say no?
Finally, Bruce speaks, this time in his usual voice.
"It's getting scary out there, Big Man."
That's what it's about; the fear. Bruce needs someone to cling to in the darkness, and just because it's a bigger bed, in a fancy hotel, doesn't make it any different than the first time. Bruce is exactly the same, giving him everything, getting down on his knees, sucking Clarence's cock like he's worshipping the Lord, and then, once Clarence is long past thinking rationally, lying on the bed, spreading his legs. That ass is still a thing of beauty, and the sound Bruce makes when Clarence starting fucking him, that muffled groan, is enough to drive all the preaching Clarence had ever head right out of his head. If this was what Bruce needs, then it's Clarence's purpose on earth to give it to him, as sure as God's given him the gift to make music.
He barely hears his name, in the hoarse whisper that Bruce breathes into the pillow. Clarence keeps pumping, grasping Bruce's hips in his big hands.
"Yeah, baby, I got you. The Big Man's got you."
He knows what to do, how Bruce likes it, what he can take and how much he needs. Clarence gives it to him, pounding hard, but not letting himself go until the very end, and finishing off with a serious of hard, deep, thrusts until Bruce is thrashing under him, pushing up, forcing Clarence to cover him completely.
Clarence comes in a rush, holding Bruce tightly, vaguely aware of the velvety feel of skin over muscle under his fingers, and that gorgeous ass pulsing around him. Nothing like it. Nothing in the world.
He sometimes gets the feeling that Bruce wants to hold on to that moment forever. Clarence wouldn't mind either, but eventually he has to pull out and find a comfortable spot on the bed. Even in the darkness, Clarence could see the utter relaxation on Bruce's face and it nearly makes him cry, although whether it's out hope or fear, he doesn't know.
In the morning, walking back down the hall, Clarence takes a minute to say another prayer, this time asking forgiveness.