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Title: a foolishly hopeful promise
Fandom: Magic Knight Rayearth
Rating: Teen? (strong language)
Length: 1500ish words
Content notes: None
Author notes: ETA because I forgot to state it: Also for 'voice' on my bingo card for fan-flashworks bingo!
Rock!AU, Ferio/Clef (one-sided as far as Ferio knows, Clef's not actually in this.) Stand-alone prequel to a rock!au I haven't actually finished and posted yet (there are a few snippets on the internet).
Summary: What's a rock band about to start a huge tour meant to do when their singer is more than a little under the weather?

Lantis has an idea. Ferio thinks it's a terrible one.

oOo

Ferio flopped back on the sofa and held his phone above his head for a long moment as it buzzed insistently, then sighed and brought it to his ear, sliding his thumb across the screen. "What's the verdict?" he asked, in lieu of a greeting.

There was a pause before Lantis answered, his voice even rougher than it had been when he'd left. "I'll be fine," he insisted.

Down the line, Ferio heard Geo immediately swearing - 'give me the phone, you're not fine' - but though there was a rustle and a thump (and, distantly, the sound of Eagle snickering) Lantis retained possession of his phone.

"I will be fine," he insisted. "…In a while. I've got the flu."

"He's got the actual real flu and also pneumonia!" Geo bellowed, far louder than he needed to be. "You can't have him back, he'll do something stupid like sing! Sorry."

"…I may also have mild pneumonia," Lantis admitted, wry as he ever got. "But I also have antibiotics and good medical care." There was a pause while he proceeded to have a minor coughing fit, during which Ferio pressed his free hand to his eyes, gripping the phone far too tightly. "But it may be a month or more before I can rejoin the group."

"The tour starts in three weeks," Ferio said, more out of a desperate need to get it in the open than anything else. He should have paid more attention, should have sent Lantis off on holiday when he started falling asleep in the van instead of staying awake to side-eye Caldina's idea of acceptable driving. They were all tired, but he should have seen it was more than that.

"…They're saying three months, probably." Lantis's voice was more than rough, it was shattered. "But you don't need me. Go on tour."

"Lantis, it may have escaped your notice, but we are a rock band and you are our singer. How the fuck-"

"Call your sister," Lantis told him.

Ferio went very still. He opened his eyes to stare at the terrible fawn-coloured ceiling, in this atrocious almost-hotel-almost-motel they were staying in because they hadn't actually 'made it' yet, this was meant to be their chance to try and win over North America (proceeding to South America if time and funds allowed), and tried very hard not to react audibly.

"I don't think she'll lend me her husband for the best part of six months, even if his voice is bloody identical to yours. And I don't think Zagato wants to get on a stage ever again-"

"Not Zagato."

"Fuck," Ferio muttered, and shoved off the sofa, pacing across the floor. It was a good thing the rest of the group had headed out to eat, or he'd be sure to have at least one witness to this. "Look, it's all well and good teasing the fuck out of me, but- there are so many reasons that would end terribly! I mean, I, his voice isn't anything like the same as yours! And he's given up the stage just as much as Em and Zagato have-"

"Not because he hates it."

"He still thinks I'm a kid! He'll think I'm a twelve-year-old with an irritating crush!" Ferio thumped his head against the fridge. "I am a twelve-year-old with a crush. Lantis, no, it'll go wrong, I'll fuck it up, and then everything will be awkward at the holidays and all the Aunts will sit drinking their brandy gossipping about what went wrong-"

There was a sigh, which turned into another coughing fit, which sounded highly unpleasant. Ferio winced, listening to it, but at least it cut him off.

When Lantis had his breath back, the first thing he said was, of course, "You're twenty-six. I'm fairly sure he noticed you growing up or he'd have confiscated that bottle of sherry you stole at-" a pause to cough "-christmas last year instead of helping you drink it-" More coughing. "Shift everything up half an octave. It'll be fine."

"Lantis-"

"It's your best chance to at least get him on stage with you."

Ferio laughed, voice catching a little hysterically, and dropped down to the floor to lean against the wall. "I think the fever's got to you. You're being chatty and you're trying to set us up- what do they have you on right now?"

"I'm tired of the pining," Lantis said, voice flat.

Ferio didn't have an opportunity to respond to that, because there was a rustling on the other end and then Eagle came on the line, sounding as pleasant as he ever did. "You'll have to concede this argument, I'm afraid, Lantis isn't going to rest until you call your sister, and he needs to rest so he doesn't make himself worse. So I'm afraid I'm going to have to take up his side of the discussion."

Well, that was a clear threat. "Fine," Ferio muttered, closing his eyes again.

They had three weeks before they were due in front of an audience. He didn't want to cancel, and…

This was the worst idea anyone had ever had (apart from the whole thing with Zagato quitting Pillar that one time and everything, hopefully), but. That didn't mean he didn't want it, far more than he should, far more than he could remain sensible and cool headed around. "Fine. If the rest of the group agrees to it, we can try it, I guess. And Em agrees to it. And he agrees to it."

"Thank you," Eagle murmured.

Lantis had gone out there to look after Eagle. Fate had, apparently, decided to go the opposite route. "Take care of him, Eagle."

"Of course I will. Here, I'll hand you back a moment, then he'll call you tomorrow."

Ferio just snorted as the phone was handed back to a disgruntled-sounding Lantis who was being told to say goodbye and go to sleep like a good boy, or words to that effect. "Promise you'll get yourself better so when this all falls apart you'll be ready to come back?" he asked, plaintively.

"It will be fine," Lantis assured him. "You'll make the call?"

"If the rest of Ma~shin agrees. Yes, I'll call."

"Good."

oOo

No one else had a better idea, even though no one else was particularly aware of any ulterior motives Ferio might have for borrowing an out-of-practice vocalist. (Well, he didn't think LaFarga knew, and he was the only one who'd also been around long enough to know both of them.) So they said yes, because no one wanted to have come all this way for nothing.

The time-difference to the UK gave Ferio a little while longer to procrastinate (and persuade himself this was for the best, because if anything could kill a decades-old crush on his sister's best friend, it was going on tour with him). But eventually he had to give in and pick up his phone, dialling his sister's mobile.

"How's Lantis?" she said, as soon as she answered the phone. "He's sent Zagato an email, but it's pretty much 'I'll be fine Eagle knows good doctors don't worry', which of course means we're all worried now."

"Well, aside from the fact he's got the 'actual flu', he's also got pneumonia," Ferio said, and waited through the pause while Em did her swearing silently, only a mild hiss escaping her lips.

"That's going to be months until he's in shape to tour, isn't it," she said. "You're meant to start in, what, four weeks?"

"Three." Ferio took a breath. "It's too many concerts to cancel without just cancelling the whole tour, especially if we don't know when he'll be back. Unless you could lend us a singer."

"You can't have my husband, and they aren't interchangeable, no matter what the press likes to say," Em retorted.

"Not Zagato. I want to borrow Clef."

"...Oh dear."

"Em.. I'm serious."Ferio took a deep breath, and launched into the highly sensible argument he'd come up with, not sure if he wanted Emeraude to actually agree with him or not.

When he finished, there was a long pause before she asked "are you serious enough you'll promise to behave yourself at all times for six months? And that I'm not going to end up with a broken-hearted brother and a best friend who won't come to christmas anymore?"

"…I'm serious enough I'll promise I'll do my best. Can't make any promises about my heart though, I haven't any control over that. But I can always stop coming to christmas if it all goes pear-shaped-"

"Don't be foolish. You'd have to trade alternate christmases, of course." Emeraude took a breath deep enough it was audible down the line. "Okay. I'll send him."

"…He might not agree, of course-"

"He'll agree," Emeraude said, with utter certainty. "But… be careful, Ferio. I don't want either of you getting hurt."

"I mean, it's not like he's noticed anytime in the past fourteen years, so it should be fine, really."

Emeraude's silence said what she thought of that. But she was going to send them Clef.

…Now Ferio just had to not fuck it up.

oOo

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