Plane rides and bathtub naps.
“I gave him a cheeseburger and tranq’d him. By the time he wakes up we’ll be at your apartment and he’ll be more than happy to be exploring. Works every time. By the way,” Pete thought for a second, “don’t you like, live with Frank?”
“You said no one knows you’re here.” Mikey looked confused.
“So how does no one know you’re gone if you and Frank live together?” Realization lit Mikey’s eyes and he nodded.
“Oh, Frank’s convinced that Alicia and I are dating. He’ll assume I’m at her place and give me shit for it as soon as I get back.”
“What about Gerard though?”
“Oh.” Mikey pulled out his phone. “I don’t really know. My phone died on the first plane.” Pete’s eyes widened.
“Tell me you’re fucking kidding me, Mikey.”
“Jesus Christ.” Pete muttered, fumbling for his own phone. He scrolled through his contacts until he found Gerard and hit send. He picked up on the second ring.
“Oh god! Pete! Is there any chance you know where Mikey is?! He disappeared a couple of days ago and we haven’t been able to find him anywhere!”
“Gerard, I’m so sorry! If I’d known he didn’t tell you where he was going I would have called you the second he showed up at my house!”
“Mikey’s with you?!”
“Yeah, Gerard. He’s right here.” Gerard burst into tears on the other end of the line.
“Oh thank god! Can I talk to him? Please?!” Pete sighed.
“Yeah, of course. Here he is.” Pete handed the phone off to Mikey, shaking his head at the situation.
‘Really, Mikey?!’ He mouthed at him. Mikey shrugged sheepishly and lifted the phone to his ear.
“Hi, Gee… Yeah, I’m fine. … Umm, California.” Mikey yanked the phone away from his ear and rubbed it with a pained expression. “Of course I’m coming back! We’re at the airport right now! … Yeah, I know you’re going to kick my skinny ass when I get back. …Umm, you can thank him yourself in about a day and a half. … Yeah, he’s coming on tour with us! Isn’t that awesome?!” The genuine excitement in Mikey’s eyes made Pete smile. The yelling from the other end of the phone wiped it away. “Okay yeah I’ll see you soon love you bye!” Mikey shouted before hitting the end button.
He turned to Pete, “He’s really happy that you’re coming.” Mikey was trying to sound as genuine as he could. Pete laughed and accepted his phone back.
“Yeah, I could tell from his reaction. He was so thrilled he screamed his joyful rage.” Mikey smiled.
“Exactly!” Pete rolled his eyes as they moved to the metal detectors. A security guard locked his eyes on an oblivious Mikey and Pete sighed. ‘Seriously?’ He thought to himself. ‘The skinny-dude with dyed black hair and a unicorn badge is a threat?’
“Incoming, Mikes.” Mikey looked up and glanced around.
“What?” The guard stopped and turned around. Clearly he decided that the oblivious and vacant look on Mikey’s face meant he wasn’t much of a threat.
“Please put anything in your pockets and any metal you have on your person in the trays before passing through.” Pete went through first, having to remove his belt buckle, his phone, and his iPod. From the woman’s expression, she’d expected a ton of chains or a cork screw or something. Pete grinned widely at her and she looked at Mikey while he put his belt back on.
Mikey wasn’t wearing a belt, so he pulled his phone, iPod, and his medication before passing through. The woman eyed the plastic bag with concern. “Sir?” Mikey had zoned out again so it took him a moment to realize that someone was speaking to him.
“Are these prescribed medications?” Mikey nodded.
“All except the little white ones. Those are just aspirin. I’ve been… prone to headaches lately.” Mikey looked away for just a moment but it was long enough for both the woman and Pete to understand.
“Thank you, you can go.” She told him gently. He nodded and reclaimed his possessions. Pete rested a hand on his lower back as they walked away.
They spent most of their three plane rides and their downtime at the airports swapping music back and forth or telling stories from tours or their childhood. Pete did whatever he could to keep a smile on Mikey’s face. He dutifully called Gerard every time they hit an airport to let him know where they were. By Pete’s reckoning, it couldn’t hurt to suck up just a little bit.
It was four in the morning when they finally reached New Jersey, and Mikey was fast asleep on Pete’s shoulder. Pete regretfully woke him up and led him out of the plane and on to baggage to take Hemingway out of his kennel and attach his leash. Pete quickly handed the leash off to Mikey, grabbed his suitcases, and headed over to a pay-phone to call a taxi. Mikey fell asleep against the wall. “Mikes. Mikes!” Pete called, holding the phone away from his ear. Mikey woke up slowly and blinked owlishly at Pete.
“What’s your address, dude? You can fall asleep in the taxi.” Mikey thought for a moment, looking puzzled.
“Umm.” Pete rolled his eyes.
“This might take a minute.” He told the operator.
They pulled up at the apartment some time after six and Pete was beginning to feel sleep numbing his mind as well. They lugged the bags and Hemingway up to Mikey and Frank’s door and stood there for a minute.
“Mikey? Sweetheart?” Pete asked in a gentle voice.
“Wha?” Mikey’s eyes were completely blank.
“Now, I know you’re tired, but I need you to listen to me very carefully and think hard. Okay?” Mikey nodded; more of a vague flop of his head. “Do you have a key so we can go inside?” Pete asked very slowly. Mikey furrowed his brow and thought hard. The expression would have been absolutely adorable if Pete wasn’t so exhausted. Suddenly, Mikey jolted and nodded again. He quickly bent down and stuck a hand into his left shoe, pulling a key out of it and pushing it into the lock after a few rounds of trial and error.
“How did you get that through security?” Pete asked incredulously. Mikey looked back at him and shrugged, stumbling inside. Pete followed him and closed the door, surprised at how clean the place was. Mikey had disappeared but it wasn’t all that difficult for Pete to figure out which room was his. There was a bass in the corner and a unicorn poster on the wall; not to mention the picture of Mikey and Gerard on the bedside table. Pete set his bags down out of the way and pulled Hemingway’s water bowl out of one of them, filling it up in the kitchen and setting it on the floor. He still hadn’t found Mikey, but Gerard and Frank were asleep on the couch and the floor respectively.
He wandered through the apartment and very nearly laughed out loud when he finally did find Mikey. His charge had grabbed a sheet from a hall closet, climbed into the bathtub, curled up, and fallen asleep. ‘This is too amazing to keep to myself.’ Pete thought. He pulled his phone out and snapped several pictures before going out to the living room and waking Gerard and Frank up.
“Where’s Mikey?” Were Gerard’s first words. Pete motioned for them both to be quiet and follow him before leading them to the bathroom. Frank was forced to leave before he succumbed to a fit of hysterical laughter, but Gerard just smiled sadly and scooped his little brother up in his arms, carrying him to his room and pulling off his jeans and hoody before tucking him in under the blankets. He turned to Pete.
“I’m going to guess you’re sleeping in here?” Pete was surprised.
“That depends. Are you cool with that or is this a trick question that I’ll have to pretend to be disgusted by under pain of death and sneak back in here later?” Gerard blinked and walked away.
“Okay then.” Pete stripped himself as well and curled himself around Mikey, who was still dead to the world.