shallowness: Five panels featuring pictures of different female characters based on my interests at the time. (Nashville irresistible Juliette Barnes)
[personal profile] shallowness
Title: The History Boys and Girl
Fandom: Nashville
Rating: Universal
Characters: Scarlett O’Connor, Avery Barkley, Gunnar Scott, Micah Brenner.
Summary: Missing scene for 3.08, Two Sides to Every Story. Set between ‘Well, I’m happy to fill in for you, if you’ll have me’ and ‘Well, the three of us have, uh, history’.

Disclaimer: Not mine, don’t profit.
Author's Note: I just wanted Scarlett, Avery and Gunnar to bask in what they’d done and to have a bridging scene between the performance and Gunnar’s phone conversation with Noah. 1,881 words. With thanks to gpgurl50 for the beta; any mistakes are mine.

The History Boys and Girl: shallowness

They come off the stage, buzzed. It’s the kind of buzz that you feel when your encore was a crescendo to everything that you and the cheering crowd went through. It’s joyous, and Scarlett, Avery and Gunnar are grinning at each other. Scarlett’s still jumping up and down, and it’s natural for her to hug Gunnar, who bends down, grinning from ear to ear, to reciprocate, the warmth between them tangible, then she does the same to Avery.

“We did it,” Avery says, disbelieving, relieved, and, again, in a stronger voice, “We did it.”

“I could not have done that without you,” she says fervently to both.

“Likewise,” Avery says, raising his fingers to his forehead in salute. “Thank you for filling in.”

She nods, grins, then lets the smile melt into something more reflective, swaying back on the soles of her feet, as Gunnar and Avery do a hand clasping thing to avoid a hug. For her, knowing Avery and Gunnar were there by her side was a big help when she first saw the expectant faces and the lights that had overwhelmed Terry, and could have done the same to her. Somehow, their bodies were like props, keeping the determination to do this from seeping out of her. The work of concentrating on the harmonies and which parts were hers was another help. Like she’d said, she knew the band’s songs, but it was a different kind of knowing to sing them on a stage. The joy of performing carried her a lot of the way, but the graft of it kept her focused.

“It was fun,” she murmurs, more to herself than the others, who are nodding and exchanging words with the other musicians they shared a stage with.

All the years she’d spent with Avery mean she always has a good idea where he’s heading and that translated to performing with him, and all the choruses, verses and hooks she’s crafted with Gunnar, well...Scarlett wants to find Zoey and shake her for giving up on this and then shake her friend’s hand for inadvertently giving her this opportunity. Scarlett isn’t sure what she’ll do when she next sees Zoey, actually, or even where she’ll see her. She knows their couch will be empty and Zoey’s things will be gone from the house. Zoey is as homeless as Terry, it turns out.

Avery notices that Scarlett is getting lost in thought. He can’t help it, the old protective instincts kick in, instincts that hadn’t always existed when he was her boyfriend. He bumps against her.

“You made a lot of fans tonight,” he’s talking as much about the people on stage as the audience. He’s talking about himself. He’s so proud of her, and grateful, because, with her help, one good thing has come out of this crazy day of Juliette ruining his opportunity with Sadie and Zoey nearly scuppering the band.

He spent most of this evening thinking they’d lost any chance with Noah because of Gunnar and Zoey’s disagreement, and then, even, the gig seemed at risk. Until now, he hasn’t really thought through the big chance of success that was dangled before them, and after all his past experiences, he promised himself that he wouldn’t just leap at any shot at stardom before giving it a good look. He’s seen the price, and even if this had grown into a second chance that might lead to more than beer money, how could he go on tour just like that when he’d promised Juliette he’d be there for her and the baby? He recognized Zoey’s hunger, but he doesn’t share it.

He refuses to think about that moment when he knew for sure that that crazy figure in the scooter was Juliette, the destruction she wreaked, or how his exasperation was tempered with something like affection when he’d realized she was jealous. Something like feelings that should be in the past.

He’s going to think instead about how well the set went, considering they hadn’t even rehearsed as a band, that his mind had been filled with the adjustments they’d have to make until Scarlett turned up and said that she’d take Zoey’s place. He’s going to think about how, from their first song, the three of them had clicked. Sure, there were moments that went a little haywire, but Scarlett laughed it off, and one or the other of them would improvise a way out of it. Mostly the harmonies rang true. It felt great to sing songs he’d written, along with people who had his back. It was confirmation that he’s more than just a sound engineer.

Suddenly there are footsteps and a whirl of nine-year-old boy exuberance is cannonballing towards Gunnar.

“Dad, you killed it!” he exclaims, and Avery can’t find it in himself to be cynical about how this was probably Micah’s first gig, so there’s nothing for him to measure them against, because he knows they were miraculously tight, finding some alchemy out of their messy past. All the times he’s shouted at Scarlett, let her down, all the times he’s wanted to punch Gunnar and all the times they’ve both come through for him has bound them, and added something to every chord and harmony. They’d been able to put aside frustrations and tensions, and have a good time; share it, even.

The way Micah’s looking at his father turns Gunnar into Johnny Cash mixed with Watty White and a dash of Superman. As Gunnar wraps his arms around Micah, Avery feels a stab of longing for his girl to look up to him like that some day. He starts to understand why Gunnar can’t tour if it means abandoning this kid.

Gunnar has to laugh at Micah’s words, but says, “It worked out pretty well, didn’t it? Somehow.”

“That manager is going to love you. Everyone did,” Micah says with confidence.

“We’ll see about that,” Gunnar replies, trying to damp down his enthusiasm. He saw glimpses of Noah in the audience, to his surprise, but not enough to read him. He might not be on board with a last minute line-up change. It didn’t scream of professionalism. But they’d put on a good show, Gunnar knew that in his bones, and Micah is the audience member whose opinion matters the most. His praise and his enjoyment are enough.

Micah releases himself and turns to Scarlett.

“When I saw you weren’t Zoey, I thought you were going to suck—“

“Micah!” Gunnar exclaims at the same time that Micah says, ‘But,” and Scarlett looks amused, the smile that hasn’t been far from her lips since the last note she’d sung returning to her face.

“You were pretty amazing.”

“Thank you, Micah,” she says, as if it she’d been given a far more flowery compliment, and, because it’s a hugging kind of night, though she’s been sweating, holds out her arms to embrace him.

Zoey had talked and talked about having to play Mom for Micah and the never-ending chores he’d brought in his wake, and Scarlett had sympathized. It had been obvious that Zoey had felt trapped into doing exactly what she’d left home to avoid, and it had felt like a trap to her, because Micah was Gunnar’s son, not hers, and he’d been a complete surprise.

But here is Micah, in the flesh, just a kid, not some metal cage. It seems like he adores Zoey, and Scarlett is relieved that Zoey had given of her best for him, because Zoey’s best is pretty loveable. She looks over his head at Gunnar, who mouths ‘Thanks.’ She nods at him, taking in the spark of joy in his eyes as he looks at his son, and she thinks that the slight resemblances between them will probably grow over the years. Maybe it’s okay that Gunnar performed for Micah tonight.

“So, what are you going to call yourselves?” Micah asks. “ZAG was Zoey, Avery and Gunnar. Are you going to be SAG?”

He looks at his father, the hero of the night, of course.

“We hadn’t thought that far ahead,” Gunnar admits.

“I don’t think the Screen Actors Guild would let us be SAG,” Scarlett says with a chuckle.

“It’s not that appealing an acronym, either,” Gunnar adds.

“Maybe we could be Scarlett and the Exes,” Avery suggests.

The other two pull faces at him, while Micah looks confused. Avery lifts his hands in apology. “Maybe not.”

“I don’t know if I’m ready for us to be a band,” Scarlett says. “I was just thinking you needed to pull off this gig, and I needed to prove to myself that I could stand up there and sing. ‘Sides, I don’t know how Zoey would feel about it becoming regular - not that I didn’t have a blast - but she helped build this band and write the songs. And I—”

“It’s okay,” Gunnar cuts across the babble, before Scarlett got seriously agitated and the euphoria dissipates. “We know this was a one gig thing, not permanent.”

“Although we were pretty great, you might want to consider it,” Avery says teasingly.

“I’ve got plenty to think about already,” Scarlett replies in a wry but sincere tone. “But I will always remember tonight.”

“I say you leave the heavy duty thinking for tomorrow.”

Gunnar lets out a sigh he didn’t know he was holding. The gig went so much better than he’d dared hope, after Scarlett had come forward. It hadn’t been what he’d planned – but what was, these days? The CMAs hadn’t been. All that obsessing and prep, and he hadn’t been able to go up on stage to get his award. And Zoey. He’d thought that that this gig would be a way, somehow, of patching it up between them, but her words earlier had made it clear that things had been much more broken than he’d thought. He hadn’t been thinking clearly, letting hope and denial blind him to the truth. He’d be sleeping in his bedroom alone that night, and he had to start getting used to that. They wanted fundamentally different things.

Micah, bored, has been looking around at the backstage. Gunnar knows he has to be his priority. His son needs stability, and without Kiley and now, without Zoey around, that’s on Gunnar. Touring isn’t the way to go.

Without Zoey, the question of the band’s future is now up to him and Avery. There’s something strong, a foundation they can build on again, between them, musically. But though they’ve gone beyond reaching an understanding to being friends, they need someone else to balance them out and make the band work. Scarlett brought her own magic, and a female voice makes the harmonies fly and puts a twist on some songs. Someone else might bring something new. It won’t be ZAG, that’s over, just like his relationship with Zoey is, something he’d held off from accepting, because it was going to hurt.

But sorting through that can wait, Gunnar decides. He nods at Avery. “Tomorrow.”

“I’ll call you,” his friend says, then grins at Scarlett, as he had on stage. She smiles back and includes Gunnar. Something eases within him as they share the moment. He calls Micah. It’s time for them to go home.



shallowness: Five panels featuring pictures of different female characters based on my interests at the time. (Default)

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