Martin didn’t rage spectacularly, he was just sitting in his room in an armchair and stared in front of him, not seeing a thing. He still couldn’t comprehend it. He was numb – except that massively throbbing and growing bundle of pain, which was called his heart once. It was as if it was still parceled up: it was throbbing bluntly but massively, waiting for the explosion so it could flood the man.
The shadows were crawling slowly on the walls as the night dragged the world deeper and deeper into darkness. But onto the soul of the sitting man such a darkness crept over and settled down, which couldn’t be chased away or stopped with any artificial light. No, this darkness could have been chased away by only one flame… But he couldn’t get close to that flame. Never again.
In the hall, close to the elevators, a black man was about to dial a number on his cell phone when he spotted the two men walking into the hotel. The shorter blonde one was explaining something with a smile to the taller red-haired one, who adjusted his glasses and solidly laughed.
“Excuse me, Mr. Fletcher, Mr. Eigner” he nodded then offered his hand “I’m Thomas Kirkland, one of the hotel’s managers. I’m sorry to interrupt you, but we have a little problem.”
“What kind of problem?” Andy frowned after shaking hands with the man.
“Sadly I couldn’t contact Mr. Kessler to inform him. But please, first follow me into the elevator…” he waved towards one of the empty lifts.
“What’s the matter?” Chris looked at him and now he seemed worried too.
“One of our guests called us a few minutes ago that he heard worrisome noises and yells from Mr. Gahan’s room. As if he was destroying the furniture. Would you come with me, please, to check what could it be?”
“Sure!” the blonde drummer said immediately while Andy just nodded with worry in his eyes.
“Thank you” the black man put his cell away then they stepped out on the right floor and reached Dave’s silent room.
After they’ve got no response for the knocking and yells, Andy called Dave’s number. The phone rang in the room, so they suspected that the singer was there too. The manager – after they shortly persuaded him – pulled out a card from his pocked, which opened everything in the hotel and the door of the dark room opened soon.
After switching on the light Christian wished he never saw the sight which came into view. All three of them were standing there shocked, frozen to the spot and looking around the destroyed room. Their eyes soon jumped onto the figure of the singer. Dave huddled himself up as much as it was possible as he was lying on the floor, his shoulders still shaking from silent sobs. He didn’t react on the fact that someone had entered the room.
“Oh my god, Dave! What’d happened?” Chris hurried to him, dropping onto his knees between the fragments of furniture and carefully touched the man’s shoulder.
But he didn’t respond just cried and cried unstoppable, the pain – raging inside of him – distorted his face. He wished he could get rid off it!
Chris looked up at Andy with a dark expression “Hurry, call his doc!”
Andy dialed the number speechlessly then nervously rattled out what had happened. When he finished, he kneeled down next to Chris “What could have happened to him?” he looked down at the sobbing man then eyed the destroyed room again “It was a very long time ago since he did something like this… look at him!” he said and put his hand onto one of the tattooed arms, but he didn’t get any reaction.
“I have no idea, but I’m sure it was something rough!” Chris examined him carefully, but didn’t want to move the body too much until the doc arrived “He doesn’t react to anything” he looked down at Dave with worry.
“Dave… what have you done again?” Andy shook his head.
The doc had arrived within a few minutes and without looking around in the room he hurried to Dave. The boys stepped back to give him more space and just watched the doctor palpating Dave then he moved the singer’s arm, which he let without any objection. He took a syringe and stuck it into his vein to give him some medicine. First his condition remained the same but finally his mind got foggy, he calmed down and just his steady breathing was audible. The doctor carefully turned him onto his back and checked his skin. He wanted to close out the possibility that he hurt himself. Then Dave’s hands came. He grabbed a clip and from the wounds he pulled out the splinters and the glass pieces from a mirror. He cleared the wounds and bound them. He checked Dave’s pulse once more then stood up and turned towards the boys.
“He is in shock, I gave him some tranquilizer. His hands were injured from the wood and glass splinters, but thank god these are just smaller injuries. I don’t think his mental state will be rosy… Something really bad had happened to him, which caused this kind of shock. I think we can count on a massive depression after this. He has to rest – cancel a few shows. Be with him a lot, he will need company.”
Chris was stunned and could just nod while Andy was already pushing the buttons on his cell to finally reach Kessler. When he got through at last, he said on a careworn tone: “John, we have a problem…”
In the dark an invisible clock’s finger was closing on to midnight. Just the monotone sound could be heard as it was counting the passing seconds unstoppable, without mercy. Time didn’t know how to stop or how to show mercy, it was just flowing callously in its own way, there was no chance to avert it. It didn’t care what kind of effect it had on others, how many long-awaited events it fulfilled, or how many broken hearts had left behind. Time never looked back at its work, it was just ticking, passing, sometimes running or crawling since the very beginning. No one knew where it came from or where it was going and what it took away.
Martin felt its weight, its passing, as it took away the promise of a better future, which Time tore out from his and Dave’s life and soul, without mercy. They say everything has its purpose, there aren’t coincidences. But now Martin wasn’t able to see what good was in this amount of enormous pain, what was its utility of breaking both of them this way – treading their strong love into the dirt? He didn’t understand why they had to trample with heavy boots on it, killing it, obliterating the emotions and the hope. So this world – humans – had to disappoint him again… It wasn’t the first time, oh no…
Dave wasn’t the only one who had fire. He had his own too, which he always tried to hide so it couldn’t hurt him and this shallow world full of nothing couldn’t exploit it. He didn’t want to show his weak points and hid behind his cold armor. But Dave… he understood him, he felt what was hiding inside of him. He was his soul-mate, the only one, who could really know him and accepted him with every caducity he had. He always felt alive when he was with the singer. The wild fire, the fire of life was flaming inside of him, burning Mart again and again, but he didn’t mind it – he wanted it. He wanted Dave. For a long-long time. And when the singer wanted it too, Dave was his. For longer or shorter times, but he could say that Dave was his. But of course Martin never stressed his “ownership”, he was smarter than that. He let Dave have his freedom, but unawares he tied the singer’s heart and soul to his with subtle and invisible chains. And after it seemed that the broken chains could be soldered he started to look out for this relationship more. But he knew as well that these chains were two-sided, so he became Dave’s, he tied himself to the singer too. He did it willingly, from pure love. The road was long and rough going until they’ve got this far and both of them had to sacrifice and learn a lot on the way. The singer became his body and voice – on the stage, standing behind his microphone he conveyed everything Mart couldn’t give out and reveal in front of the public. But Dave was perfect for this, he could not have found a better “tool” for this, because this man was the other side of his soul, his self, he completed Mart. He found himself in Dave in so many ways… Maybe they have been chasing each others for thousands of years – searching for each other to meet at the end, always in another way. Sometimes just as friends, sometimes as parents and children, and sometimes as lovers… He didn’t know what this life had for them. Maybe this was another test, another step in their spiritual development. Maybe this isn’t the life where they’ll be together for good, maybe this time they could have only this much before moving on.
He couldn’t be sure about anything, but he knew one thing: Dave was the one who gave him faith, courage and hope for this life. He was the one, who made it bearable, enjoyable during these long years – not counting the pain and adversities which they lived through together. No matter what’d happened, he could always go back to Dave, he could always hold on to him. He was his backup. He adored him, no matter what he’d done. In the past Mart just smiled on his gassy cockiness, which was a part of Dave’s defense. The singer too made the world believe that he was strong – both of them knew that if they didn’t do this, the machinery, the hungry hyenas would have broken and tore them into pieces. They had to grow up too early. Things had happened too quickly and the singer remained that confused child – craving for love – who he has always been. Full of desire to prove himself and he had often nearly lost. He had been embossing himself during all these years to make up for the expectations and to gain Martin’s regard, which he didn’t give to Dave in the right way for a very long time. But then Mart supported him, because he loved, adored and admired Dave. Dave became his life, his love and muse, who breathed the kiss of inspiration onto his forehead several times.
And now they took him away.
Andy knocked quietly on Martin’s door. No sound came from inside and from this he judged that the blonde man was sleeping. He won’t be happy that he’ll wake him up, not to mention the news he brought… But nothing moved in the room.
“Martin?” Andy asked when he opened the door with that card he got from the hotel’s manager “Martin? Are you here?” he peered into the room.
The addressed one didn’t look up, he was still deeply closed up inside, sitting in his armchair.
“Mart…” he went closer to the figure in the dark. He crouched in front of him, because Mart wasn’t willing to look up “Oh no… you too?” he sighed with worry when he spotted the expression Mart had on his face “What’d happened?”
His friend moved his head just enough to let his painful gaze met Andy’s, but he didn’t say a word.
Fletch sighed again “I came because of Dave.”
At least this made Mart react. He narrowed his eyes and his hands grabbed the armrests firmly. “What’s with him?” he pulled out the words with great difficulty.
“I don’t know… he totally freaked out. He destroyed his room and doesn’t react to anything. When we found him he was lying on the floor, sobbing. We had to sedate him. It came into my mind that he always listened to you, so maybe if you could talk to him… he doesn’t even see us” Fletch bent his head down “The doc said that he’s in shock, as if he lived through a trauma” he looked up “What the fuck had happened, Martin? No matter what it is, we have to know, the docs have to know so they can help on him! Please!”
“No… I can’t talk to him” he closed his eyes painfully.
“You can’t leave him in such a state!” the red-haired man exclaimed.
“I can’t help him, Andy…” his voice broke.
“No… You always pulled him out of the shit. Always! What had happened between you two? Tell me!”
But the blonde man just slowly shook his head. He didn’t want to look at his friend. He couldn’t say a word.
Andy stood up. He saw that he won’t pull out anything from Martin now. Before he left the room he just said: “I don’t know what’ll be with him” then he left Curly alone.
After a few minutes – his eyes still squeezed shut – Mart bent forward, his hands pressed to his chest, and moaned. That bundle of pain inside decided to rive now. With a dry rattle his suffocating sobs broke out of him.
Dave was in his new room, but he didn’t notice too much of it. He was lying in the bed, curled up into the protection of the fetal ball. The blanket was on him, but these things didn’t reach his mind. He couldn’t see the outside world, he was just listening to the voices of the past as they slowly tore apart his soul. He couldn’t stop it, he had no strength to do so, so the memories – like some kind of a sick film – were repeating in his head, highlighting the details painfully, bringing back the feelings, the touches, torturing him more and more. Inside he was howling, but his soul was no more in connection with his physical self – it was as if someone had cut the lines. His personality had disappeared to suffer in his own personal hell. His mates came to look on him time after time, but he couldn’t see them. They could touch him, talk to him or beg for long hours, he was just staring at the same point on the wall, while the long movie inside his head was spinning. Its end was far away. If it had one at all.
A red-haired man stepped into the quiet room. He took over from Chris, who tried to lead Dave back to reality – without any success. The blonde drummer stood up and looked at Andy, shaking his head. His mate stepped next to him.
“Nothing. Not even his pupil reacted. I don’t know what’d happened to him, but it totally finished him off. Don’t you think maybe he took something?”
“No. Dave has been clean for years now. Believe me, he didn’t take drugs.”
“But then, what the fuck…?”
“I don’t know, Chris… but Martin looks awful too. And I’ve called Jen and asked what’d happened to Dave, but she doesn’t want to come here. I couldn’t get out a word from them, but no matter what it is, I don’t give a shit, if we can help Dave with that, we have to know!”
Christian sighed and ran his fingers through his blonde hair then patted Andy’s shoulder “Relax, pal. Everything’ll be fine. Dave lived through so many things…”
Andy just nodded, though he knew that these were just empty words to cheer him up a bit. Nothing was alright and no one could be sure that Dave will get over this, ever.
Those whom he could always rely on had disappeared from his side. Now Andy had to replace Jen and Martin. He didn’t know if he was good enough for this task, because Dave was close to these two the most. Somehow he never had a tight, near relationship with Andy… because they were so very different! But still – now he could feel the singer close to him, cuz he himself had a few crackups too. He had to help on Dave! Now that his wife and Mart gave up on him... He sighed and started to talk, though he knew that he won’t get any respond. But maybe his voice will break through the thick wall the singer had built around him to close out the outside world, giving comfort to him.
Of course change didn’t come in his band mate’s state – he remained the same when he left him there – quiet, staring into nothing and scary. His eyes were red and puffy from crying, his face pale. Before Andy left he called the doc to inform him that there was no change in his condition. The guy showed up soon and gave an infusion to him, because the singer didn’t drink anything. Andy stepped out of the room – giving his place to Peter – then headed for Martin’s room. Though he didn’t know why – maybe he secretly hoped that the blonde man will figure out something which can save Dave? Or that he’ll be ready to talk to him? Or that he’ll finally tell him what had happened?
He didn’t knock when he reached there – he knew that Mart didn’t go anywhere, but at least he spoke in a few words when he wanted. Fletch thought that he informs him about Dave’s condition – maybe that’ll help him find his tongue.
“I’m coming from Dave” he cut into the middle, pulling a chair next to him. He could say anything to Martin, he never paid attention – except when it was about Dave. As a sign of listening the blonde man turned his head to the side a bit and the sparkles of worry and fear flickered in his empty eyes. “Nothing has changed” he remained silent for a few moments then went on “Martin… I’m very scared that we’ll lose Dave; that he’ll get lost inside there for good. It’s much worse than when he was using – back then we knew the cause and how to solve the problem. But now I don’t know what’d happened and this way I can’t help for him. Please, tell me. You can’t leave Dave like this, suffering this much.”
“No… I don’t want that…” he swallowed hard, but turned his painful gaze away.
“Then tell me something, for god’s sake!” his friend exclaimed “What did you do to him? You did something to Jen?”
“What?” he looked at Fletch confused.
“Did you sleep with her? Or something else made Dave freak out?!” he jumped up from his chair, loosing control for a moment, showing how nervous he really was “You know how nuts he’s about her…”
Martin just blinked shocked for a few moments then laughed out loud, but the happiness was missing from his voice – it turned out rather dry.
But Andy didn’t find the situation that funny. He stepped to Martin’s armchair, leant down and propped his hands on the armrests “No? Then what the fuck did you do again?!” he raised his voice.
“Why do you think that it’s my fault, Andy?” he asked now without any smile and a sullen look.
“You have a hand in this! I know! I know that Dave trusted you the most in the band! And he was here with you so it’s hard to think anything else. What did you do?” he asked again, slowly spelling every word. The bitter anger was clearly audible in his voice.
“I… I did nothing…” his voice failed him “… I just… loved him too much…” he closed his eyes.
It was clear that the red-haired man didn’t expect something like this – he rather thought that they had a bad fight and somehow Jen got into that too and maybe something turned out which caught Dave off guard.
“What… did you say?” he asked back. Looking into the sad eyes he realized that it was more than just a debate… much more. He pulled his chair closer to Martin and sat back on it, putting his hand on his friend’s “Mart… what’d happened?” he asked on a gentle tone – as if he was talking to his little brother “I’m worried not just because of Dave… but because of you too! I see that something’s terribly wrong here, that it eats you up alive. It’ll finish off Dave soon, but sooner or later you’ll follow him and I don’t want to let that happen.”
Martin agonized – looking from Andy to the floor and back. He was pondering.
“I love him…” he whispered barely audible.
“We all love him, Mart. This is why I’m asking you.”
A bitter smile appeared in the corner of his lips then his expression changed back into a dark one. “No… you don’t get it, Andy… I love him” he looked deep into the red-haired man’s eyes.
For a few moments Fletch didn’t answer just examined the green irises “Really?”
Martin just ran his fingers through his curls then nodded.
“And Jen… found out?”
Another painful nod.
“Jesus, Mart… I thought that you’re smarter! I never thought that it’ll get this serious. I thought that this was just fun for you… Still… for how long?”
“Since a…” here he had to sigh “…very long time.”
“So then the thing with Dave… is because of this? Cuz you left him or Jen wants to hand in the divorcing papers?”
“The first option” he fished out his cigarette from his pocket, a little bit feeling at a loss.
“And what’s with Jen?” the next question came.
His friend exhaled the smoke slowly before answering “She couldn’t take it…”
“Oh god, Martin… why do you have to get into such situations all the time?” for a moment he buried his head into his hands then looked up again “What did you expect? That it won’t turn out?” he asked, but his voice wasn’t offending, rather… sad “What should I do now with Dave?”
“Do you think we wanted it this way? We couldn’t do against it!” he spluttered edgily.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t want to accuse you or anything” Andy lifted his head to look into the green eyes “The most important question is now how can we help on Dave? You have to talk to him, Martin! You can’t leave him alone – no matter what had happened. Cuz what’ll come after this? You won’t go on stage, won’t talk to each other? He won’t come into the studio when you’re there? You can’t always hide from each other.”
“Andy… I… I can’t…” he bent his head down, broken.
“And? Then we should break up the band? You think that’d be a solution instead of facing him? You know that in case you run away, this will always haunt you.”
“I didn’t say that! I… I just… Understand me, for god’s sake! It’s too early!” he exclaimed, looking up at him and fresh tears were glistening in his eyes “I die… Andy… It so fuckin’… hurts!” he moaned the end desperately, as if someone was pulling his tooth.
Andy couldn’t do against it – when he saw the tears and the painful expression – he had to move forward without thinking to hug Martin. First the blonde man didn’t want to move, but then he clung to his friend fitfully as he gave out a dry throaty sound, which was a try to suppress his sobs. By that time his tears were running down his cheeks silently – though he thought that there was left none.
“I… love him… very much!” he moaned the words on his haggard voice “I love him… very much…”
“Calm down…” Fletch whispered to his friend, who was clinging to him as if his life depended on it “I’m so sorry that it turned out like this, Mart. Even from outside it was clear that you got along more than you ‘should’, but I was glad. Because both of you went through so many things… I’m so sorry” he went silent and waited for Mart to pull himself together a bit “But he needs you Martin. Maybe more than ever. Only you can bring him back. I know that he’ll react to you.”
Mart gave out some negative sound then pulled away and wiped off his tears.
“Yet… I can’t… I can’t bear to see him… without crashing completely” he shook his head.
“You don’t have to do it now” Andy answered understanding “But please, don’t put it off for too long because you’re afraid. He doesn’t eat or drink or do anything. He’s on infusion. I don’t know how will we make him eat, but if we don’t succeed, the docs will have to put him on the tubes.”
Unwillingly Martin gave out a lamenting moan and squeezed his eyes shut from this outlook. He nearly put his hands to his ears like a little boy, who doesn’t want to hear the scary stories the older boys telling him. But he fought off the need to do so and swallowed hard before nodding uneasily.
“Alright. And please, don’t get to that level like him. Please, take care of yourself. I don’t know what I would do if you dissolved in this too…”
The man just nodded unsure and sank back into his thoughts and pain, not even noticing when his careworn friend said goodbye to him.
Fletch walked down the corridor lost in his thoughts. Sure – he always suspected that there was much more between Dave and Martin than friendship. It was hard not to notice the signs. But – as he said – it didn’t disturb him. Though he would have never thought that their relationship will end this way – that it will cost this much for both of them… They should have been more careful… Sure he knew that it was difficult to control Dave, nearly impossible, but he can get hurt so easily! And Martin isn’t that tough warrior either who faces every problem. And all these things just hurtled down on them. Suddenly Fletch had to save Depeche again. He had to “fix” Dave with kicking Mart’s ass to go and see him. If he has to do so, he’ll do it! But he couldn’t drag his blonde friend there yet – not after this trauma he had to take. Though until that Fletch had to figure out how to keep Dave’s body working. They can’t leave this place for a few days. He won’t let Dave go to one of those institutes… where they’d lock him up and stuff him with meds. No, Dave’d fully disappear in such a place and he had to take care of him. He’ll come up with some story about why they can’t go on with the tour and why they had to cancel more shows, but he’ll manage to solve this. The difficult part was to bring back the singer…