Vignettes Part 1: Don't Turn Your Back On The Devil

The atmosphere was hazy, thought Tommi. Hazy was the best way to describe it, at least. A low fog-like cloud hung over the bar, though he wasn't sure if it was actually there - a cloud of cigarette smoke, maybe? - or if it was just his imagination. He could still hear his ears buzzing, though most of the crowd had already cleared out by now, and some soft music had begun to play over the speakers - the type of music that was perfect to encourage quiet conversation among the bar's remaining patrons. The crew were still packing up the last of the band's equipment, and every once in a while, one of them would ask him some question or another about where to put something. Jesus, you'd think that by this far into the tour, they'd already *know*. But such was the life of managing a rock band - there were more and more surprises every day, and he was responsible for "fixing" most of the messes they found themselves in.

He could see Lauri, Jonne, and Kristian at the bar, talking quietly amongst themselves, surprisingly unbothered by fans. In front of them were dozens of empty glasses; all that remained of their drinking binge was three almost-completely-empty beers, the glasses having barely enough of the amber liquid left in them for him to see it from where he was standing. Where Nakki, Jay, and Antti were, he did not know - perhaps they had caught a cab back to the hotel? That seemed right, the more that he thought about it; had one of them said something to him on the way out the door? He couldn't remember, couldn't shake the fog that seemed to be clouding his own head as well as the bar. At least he knew where Double Trouble were at, and that thought settled his mind a little. When those two had been drinking - like now - there was no TELLING what sort of problems they could manage to get themselves into, and he knew he had to watch them at all times. He flashed back to the last time he had turned his back on the drunken pair.

"That damned contraption of a machine won't give me my money!!!" Lauri hissed, his fist colliding with the side of the ATM.

"Oh relax, Lauri, what do you need money for, anyway?" Kristian had asked, that trademark sleazy grin of his curving his lips. "Besides, Tommi's got us covered, isn't that right, Tommi?"

"You wish, Kristian."

And then he had gotten distracted, not for even thirty seconds, by the most beautiful creature he had ever seen - a woman. A woman with long, flowing red hair who had looked at him and smiled pleasantly, making his heart beat just that much faster. He had been single for so long, and the ache of lonliness that squeezed his heart was sometimes too much to bear.

The next thing he had known, he heard a terrible commotion and turned around to see Kristian biting some man's arm and Lauri trying to pull him off. He had later been informed that Lauri had broken the sign in the man's shop window and Kristian had been fiercely defending his friend from any harm. Not that that mattered, because Lauri had been dragged to court and forced to pay a hefty fine anyway.

Those two were going to be the death of him, he just knew it. They were the reason he would die single, and the... Oh no, where had they gone?! His eyes frantically searched the area around which they had been sitting, finding absolutely no trace of Double Trouble OR his little brother. This had bad news written all over it, and panic squeezed tight around his heart.

That's when he turned around and saw it. His jaw hit the floor. There was his baby brother dangling upside-down over the edge of the balcony, looking so adorably helpless and cute, but still giggling, seeming completely unaware of the danger he was in. And there were Double Trouble, standing behind him, sniggering. God damn it. Why did it always seem that Double Trouble decided to pick on poor innocent little Jonne? Sighing, he headed up to the balcony, fully intending to give the two guitarists a scolding they would never forget.

When he got up there, he discovered that somehow, they had managed to secure Jonne to the railing using only their belts, his shoelaces, and a pink lacey scarf. Poor little Jonne. Hopefully he was drunk enough that he wouldn't remember this tomorrow. After several minutes of tugging at the fastenings, he managed to free his little brother, who fell to the ground with the cutest little 'oompf' and looked so adorably bewildered as to how he had ended up on the ground in the first place. Quickly, he grabbed a crewmember by the sleeve and barked an order at him to see to it that Jonne made it safely back to the hotel. HE had to deal with Double Trouble.

By the time he turned to the pair once again, they looked scared; they knew they were in trouble. He grabbed them both by the ears, ignoring their cries of pain, and pulled them close, so that his face was inches from each of theirs. "Whose idea was this?"

The two guitarists exchanged glances. Lauri pointed at Kristian, and Kristian pointed at Lauri. Typical.

"Alright, you two. No more parties for a week. After the gigs, you will go back to the hotel room and you will go to sleep. Do you understand me?"

Kristian - always the braver of the two and most likely the genius behind tonight's little prank - spoke up. "Oh come on, Tommi, we were only having a little fun--"

"Would you like to make it TWO weeks, Kristian?" Tommi asked, his voice firm.

Kristian gulped and relaxed his body a little, showing Tommi that he was being submissive.

"Good. Now the next time you pull a stunt like this, I'm going to take away your cigarettes! Back to the hotel with you!"

He released the two troublemakers and they both quickly scurried outside to hail a cab, the fear of god finally put back into them. Well, at least disaster had been averted. For now, anyway. He shook his head. Should've known better than to turn his back on Double Trouble...