Call it a Harlequin romance, call it a stupid crush, call it doomed from the start, call it what you want. He called it summer.
Bang The Doldrums
The air was heavy, soaked through, pervasive. Lightening bursts in the distance, followed by the rolling of thunder. Air pressure swept across the plains, restless breezes ruffling the thin cotton of their shirts, sending hair skittering across foreheads.
And for once, Mikey didn't care as rain drops plip-plopped, fat and round, on his arms. He buried his face deeper into Pete's throat, fingers curling over his neck, feeling the beat of his pulse in time with the thunder on his forehead. One-two. One-two. One-two.
He sucked in, deep and strangled, like he was warring for the air he greedily drove into himself. Lungful after lungful, he drank in the humid, stinking night air, and, with it, the subtle sharp tang of the cologne that had been sprinkled across the warm skin under his fingers.
He toyed with the tag of Pete's shirt, letting his eyes clamp shut as he hummed in time to the steady beat of rain drops as the sky opened up and drenched them. He felt arms creep up his back, fisting handfuls of his shirt, before clamping down. He squeaked as he was held tight, tighter, like he would never be let go.
He prayed for that to be true.
"He's a piece of shit Mikey!"
Hazel eyes clamped shut, veins popping up along his temples as he fought back a retort. Chewing his cheek, Mikey hummed low in his throat and counted to ten. He wouldn't yell. He wouldn't. Couldn't. Shouldn't.
"He isn't." Mikey spat finally, kneading his temples with his upturned palms, "He isn't. You're wrong."
"Really?" It came out as a harsh sneer and Mikey knew he let it hurt him more than it should; somehow, he'd always thought Gerard would be the one to understand. That he'd probably be the only one to understand.
And he didn't.
That hurt more than the fist that cracked into his cheek as he'd leaped to his feet, trying to flee the bus and his brother. The silence following the crunch of bone and slap of skin was deafening.
Mikey could feel himself quivering. Just, shaking apart. He remained, frozen, hand to his cheek, head down, not daring to look at Gerard. A muffled whimper erupted from the singer, finally prompting Mikey to lift his head.
"Oh my God, Mikey, I'm so-I'm sorry, Mikey!" Gerard was babbling, crying, real, honest to God's tears were gathering along the edges of his eyes, near mirrors for Mikey's, "Mikey, oh my God, I just, I got angry, I'm sorry-"
He didn't wait to hear the rest. Throwing the stunned singer aside, Mikey crashed his way from the bus, passing a stunned Ray Toro and a wide-eyed Frank Iero. Ray called after him, and Mikey realized his cheek was bleeding furiously, blood dribbling between his fingers where they were still clamped over his cheek.
Fall Out Boy's bus was blissfully empty, save one bored bassist sprawled across the couch, comic in hand, sipping a Diet Coke. Mikey fell, finally sobbing, headfirst into the bus, bloodied, snot dribbling from his nose. The brown eyes of a bassist jerked up and widened.
Arms closed over him, around him, holding him, rocking him. Lips found his cheeks, his chin, his nose, his own. Fingers twisted into the Anthrax shirt he wore and words poured over him like salve, raining from the other man.
He spent the night in a bunk two sizes too small, tangled up tight into the other bassist. When the first rays of sunlight cascaded through a window, illuminating his face, Mikey snuggled back into his chest and grinned as he felt arms wrap tighter around him, protecting him.
They braided their hands together as they ate, Cheerios and milk, two boys crammed into one chair, faces pressed together, chest to back, wound together like a coil. The other Fall Out Boys gave no sign they noticed, or cared to.
They watched the sun sink low in the sky, burnished golds and fiery reds dousing the sky in alcohol colors, the day drawing to a close. They hadn't noticed, really, the sun sinking so low. They'd been talking, just talking, for so long.
Silent now, atop a tour bus that belonged to another band of the Warped Tour of '05, they faced west, hands twined together. Mikey's back pressed tight to Pete's chest, he lounged low in the singer's lap, head resting on his abdomen. Pete toyed with Mikey's silky hair, smiling a little.
"I love you, Pete," Mikey murmured, lost between content and that happy stupor of love. He realized, belatedly; he'd never admitted his feelings aloud before. A beat passed.
"I love you too, Mikey," Pete whispered, leaning down, pressing a kiss to the warm skin of his forehead.
Mikey believed him with every fiber of his being.
Water parks and sunsets, swing-sets and fireworks all blurred together as they melted into one another. Night by night flew by in a haze, with their days sucked up by fans and shows and signings and bass guitars and songs they could barely remember. That didn't matter.
They scribbled words onto one another's bodies in Sharpie and eyeliner, laughing until they couldn't catch their breath. They did all that cliche shit you do when you're in love with the "perfect one". Finishing sentences, wearing each other's clothes, eating from the same dish, swapping basses and spit by the buckets.
They didn't talk about autumn. Somehow, autumn was a woman who was never going to come. She would never change the trees, never shorten their days and stretch out their nights like taffy. She wouldn't.
Where Mikey believed the fairy tale with all his might, he never could control what Pete chose to believe. And Pete, if he was honest on those nights when his eyes wandered over the crowd, pinning down faces and females, didn't believe it for one eensy-weensy second. He loved him, he believed that, but he didn't believe summer would last.
And when the 'woman' inevitably came, pulling out the nights like Pete's fingers yanking his hair, he discovered the bilious truth of summertime. It didn't last forever. The bands, hundreds strong when they began, tapered off, on their own tours, back to their homes. And he faulted himself for still believing in what he thought they'd had.
When he didn't return a single text, he played it off. When he couldn't find the Fall Out Boys' tour bus, he ignored the knot in his gut and said he was overreacting. When he couldn't eat from the serpents in his intestines and he vomited everything that passed his lips, he knew he could deny it no longer.
He was gone.
And he'd left without even saying goodbye. Mikey didn't know how to feel about that, what to make of it, what to do next. From being on-call to on-hold to shut-off to shut-down, he gravitated between transitions. He couldn't get a word from him, couldn't get even finagle an apology.
He felt owed one, at least.
But he knew it wouldn't stop the thunderstorm crashing, thrashing, smashing, its glorious way through his chest cavity, leaving a million destroyed little lives. He couldn't stop the floods of tears, the caterwauls of lightening eschewing from his throat, the shaking thunder of his arms and legs as he shook and broke apart. He felt snapped like a tree branch.
Ray and Frank and Gerard and Bob all tried, failed, to do something, anything, to placate the tempest in his heaving, sunken chest. There was nothing. He was nothing. He felt cliche, felt stupid, felt wrong, felt a million things. But he didn't feel any relief.
Days dragged on, months wandered through, a year slowly racked itself up, and still, he could barely breathe, barely speak, for the thunderstorm in his body. It literally hurt to move, to talk, to eat. He dropped weight like a kite plummeting from the sky when the wind dries up, leaving it dangling, aloft, with nowhere to go but back to earth. He drank more.
He didn't really know what to say to Gerard when he asked him why he couldn't just get the fuck over it? He coudld've fed him bullshit lines about true love, about first loves, about anything, really, to shut him up. Somehow, that summer had felt different. He'd felt different. No one else had ever had what he'd had that summer.
"I don't wanna fucking be here." Mikey knew he was whining, was bitching, was being a fucking downer, again, for the billionth time in as many hours, but he didn't give a shit. He just wanted to fucking go back to the bus, curl up, and try to sleep.
"I don't fucking care." Gerard really didn't, if his snarl was any evidence. Mikey flinched, cringing away. He knew he deserved every ounce of venom his brother was throwing his way; he'd been so fucked up for so long, he no longer deserved sympathy. He was just wallowing by now.
He glanced away, burning red, the storm still raging miserably on. It never ceased. He sighed, rubbing his eyes, flicking them over the CD collection. He hated Best Buy, he decided definitively, grinding his teeth. Gerard wanted a new portable CD player, and had dragged him along.
A flash caught his eye. A familiar name and stomach swoop coursed through him, and he instinctively lunged for the rack, barely noticing he'd knocked over several other cases as his hand hovered for a moment, before he delicately plucked the jewel case from the display, flipping it over and over in his hands.
Infinity on High
His hands shook as he fumbled over the bills to pay for it, ignoring Gerard's venomous protests and filthy looks. He blocked out all sound, all of it, as he practically ran back onto the bus, hurling himself on his bunk, digging frantically through the tangle of blankets, hissing in frustration until he finally dragged his CD player into his lap.
He could barely breathe as he popped the disc in, handling it like it was forged of crystal, and gently flicked first the 'on' then the 'play' buttons. He bit his lip. He held his breath. He waited.
It started slowly, song after song cascading by. He felt his chest tighten, heart sinking, as each passed by. He didn't know what he'd expected, but it wasn't what he got. Then, it started.
"Bang The Doldrums"
Patrick's familiar voice drifted over him.
"I wrote a goodbye note in lipstick on your arm, when you passed out, I couldn't bring myself to call, except to call it quits..."
He sucked in a breath and held it tight, eyes hurting, the storm whipping itself up into a frenzy as a clap of thunder sounded outside the bus, and lightening flashed.
"Best friends, ex-friends till the end, better off as lovers, and not the other way around, racing through the city, windows down, in the back of yellow checkered cars..."
The song marched on, bouncy, rolling, jumping up into his head, thrashing around like just like he used to do, on-stage, laughing obscenely.
Outside the bus, the storm broke, rain hammering, thunder smashing, lightening flashing. It raged on and on and on. And inside, his soul was quiet. He fell back, eyes closed, and pressed 'repeat'. The song played over and over and over.
And finally, the storm quit.
Thanks for reading. I love Pete Wentz/Mikey Way. Seriously. Check it out. http://bandom-ships.livejournal.com/7994.html