Bedtime and toothbrushes.
“The last couple of days, actually.” Pete snorted.
“I thought so.” He looked around and was shocked to see that it was already dark. He’d been out of it for longer than he thought. “Come on, Mikes.” Pete adjusted Mikey on his lap and stood up, holding Mikey in his arms as he walked to his room. Mikey muttered something unintelligible. “What?”
“You’re not going to let me sleep alone, are you?” His voice was exhausted. Pete shook his head.
“I thought not.” Pete was concerned until he felt the short puffs of air against skin that told him Mikey was giggling. He smiled, tossing Mikey down on the bed.
“Why?” Mikey groaned. Pete smirked.
“Because you’re not sleeping in jeans and I’m not really sure you want me to strip you right now.” Mikey groaned again and sat up, pulling a plastic bag out of his pocket and dry swallowing a few of the pills inside it.
“What are those?” Pete asked curiously. Mikey answered matter-of-factly.
“They treat the symptoms.” Pete swallowed and looked away. Mikey watched him with a sympathetic expression. Pete felt like their roles might’ve been a little mixed up. He ignored the grief that fought to take him over and extended a hand to Mikey, pulling him off the bed.
“Come on,” he said, “I have a spare tooth brush.”
Mikey was out almost as soon as Pete covered him with the blankets, but Pete stayed awake for a long while, trying to determine if Mikey was more pale than usual, if there were circles under his eyes, if his breathing was off. He was a little bit skinnier than he had been the last time Pete saw him, but that was all. There was no sign of the disease that was slowly killing his friend, but not slowly enough. Never slowly enough. It was to this last thought that Pete fell into a fitful sleep.
When he woke up the next morning he realized that Mikey’s unconscious tendencies hadn’t changed. The first thing he saw was a mop of black hair on his chest. He fought hard not to laugh; Mikey had always liked to cuddle in his sleep. Pete blamed Gerard. Gerard was an enabler. He very carefully detangled a still-unconscious Mikey from his waist and pulled himself out of the bed, grabbing his phone off the bedside table as he left the room.
He went down to the living room and called Patrick. Almost as a reflex. It rang a few times before he picked up. “Pete Wentz awake before noon? What madness is this?” Pete laughed a little.
“The madness caused by Mikey Way showing up on my doorstep yesterday.”
“Really? What’s up? Aren’t they supposed to be starting a tour in a week?”
“Yeah. That’s kind of what I need to talk to you about, Trick.” He was pacing.
“Why, what’s going on?”
“We don’t have much planned for the next… five or so months, do we?” Patrick thought for a moment.
“No, I don’t think so. Pete, would you just tell me what’s going on, please?”
“Trick, I’m going with them on tour.”
“Can I ask why? You two aren’t back together are you?”
“Not exactly, Trick.”
“Dude, you’re freaking me out. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?” Pete sighed and rubbed a hand across his face.
“What I’m about to tell you, you can’t tell anyone, Trick. And I mean ANYONE. Not your parents, not Joe, not Andy, and ESPECIALLY not Gerard. This isn’t my secret to tell, alright?”
“Alright. I understand.” Pete took a moment to compose himself.
“Mikey’s dying, Trick.” His voice broke. Patrick was silent.
“Alexander disease, Trick. He’ll be gone in three months. I just… I need to be there, you know?”
“I know, Pete. I won’t say anything to anyone. I’ll make your excuses to management if they need anything while you’re gone.” Pete was more thankful for Patrick than he thought he’d ever been in that moment.
“You know I love you, right Trick?” Patrick snorted, but it sounded a little bit unnatural. Pete guessed that Patrick was counting the seconds until the call ended so he could break down and cry for Mikey as well.
“You fucking adore me, Pete. I’ll talk to you later, alright? Call me if you need anything.”
“I will, Trick.” He ended the call and went back to his room. Mikey was sitting up on the bed and stretching. He rubbed his eyes and was, for that reason, completely helpless when Hemingway jumped up on the bed and bowled him over, slobbering all over his face. Mikey let out a loud laugh and gently pushed him away, petting him gently.
“I’m going to guess that was Patrick.” Mikey stated, jerking his head in the direction of Pete’s phone.
“I-uh-” Mikey smiled at him.
“I knew Patrick would be the only one you’d talk to, Pete. If I hadn’t wanted you to I would’ve said so.” Pete sighed with relief.
“I’m sorry Mikey, I just-”
“I know. That favor I was telling you about last night…” Mikey hesitated and Pete sat next to him on the bed.
“Yeah?” Mikey took a breath.
“I’m not telling them. I can’t tell them.”
“What do you mean you’re not telling them?”
“I mean they’re not going to know until the very last second. Until I’m five minutes from gone. I can’t hide this from them on my own, Pete. I can’t. The meds aren’t going to work on all of the symptoms. Some of them conflicted with the stuff I’m already on for my bipolar disorder. It’s going to be bad enough at times that I won’t be able to play or be around anyone who doesn’t know.” Pete paled. Mikey looked at him, finally.
“I need you to come with me on tour to help me when I’m bad enough that I can’t take care of myself, to make sure that I take all of my meds, and to take my place on stage when I can’t play. You don’t have to do it, Pete. If you don’t want me to, let me know now. This is too much to ask for from anyone; let alone someone who’s done so much for me already.”
“Mikes, I just cleared my schedule for the next five months. I was already coming with you. Taking care of you isn’t exactly a burden, Mikey. If it had to be anyone, I’d want it to be me.” Mikey smiled at him.
“If you’re sure.” Pete smacked the back of his head gently.
“Of course I’m sure. You know what else I’m sure of?”
“What?” Mikey looked genuinely curious.
“The fact that you stink. Go get in the shower while I pack.” Mikey looked affronted and glanced down at Hemingway.
“Hemmy!” Mikey pointed at Pete, “Bite him!”