The first time Pete feels a tug on the red string tied around his ring finger, he’s five years old and doesn’t understand. (soulmate markings au, pete/mikey, summer of like)
When he’s ten years old and understands, he’s more careful. He tries not to tug or pull on it when he’s writing or playing soccer or piano, even though something in his gut wants him to. He wouldn’t want to annoy his soulmate. He’s fine with annoying anyone else, but this is too important. This matters. His little ten-year-old brain holds that as the ultimate truth. The red string is important. The red string matters.
He’s sixteen years old and crying in his room the first time he moves the string with intent. He’s lying there sniffling, curled up in a ball and feeling pathetic, and then the string tugs.
Pete blinks. That wasn’t him. It must have been an accident on the other end, he tells himself, and tries to go back to feeling sorry for himself.
But the next second, there’s this rush of feelings. They aren’t his, but they flood his chest and make him feel warm- feelings of comfort and support and care. Pete almost starts crying again, but not out of anger or frustration this time.
After that, there’s communication. Sometimes, when Pete is feeling like shit, there’ll be that comforting tug, and he’ll tug back and try to express gratitude. Sometimes, he’ll feel sadness from the other end and try his best to reciprocate the help his soulmate gives him.
It’s nice. It’s easy. It feels right.
The first day of Warped Tour 2005, when Pete’s 25, he’s dicking around beside the Fall Out Boy tour bus. He’s got Joe in a headlock, and he looks down at his hand, and he yelps so loudly that Patrick drops the bottle of water he was holding.
“What?” Joe splutters, then stands up straight as Pete stumbles backwards away from him. He’s staring down at his hand in shock. What the fuck. What the fuck.
“String,” he chokes out, and everyone else’s eyes go huge. “Be right back.”
None of them follow him as he practically sprints away from the bus. His heart is racing in his chest, the red string is extending from his hand and trailing along the ground and any second now-
He turns a corner and runs right into-
What the fuck.
What the fuck?
Standing in front of him, staring at him with shock in his eyes and a red string around his finger, is fucking Mikey Way from My Chemical Romance.
He tugs on his string.
Mikey’s hand jolts forward.
“What the fuck,” Pete says.
Mikey laughs uncertainly. “Hi,” he says. “I’m Mikey. I guess you’re my soulmate?”
It’s weird, at first, Mikey being tangible. Pete’s used to him as a sort of entity, a non-existence on the other end of a mystical red string. But now he’s here, in front of him. It’s crazy. It’s amazing. It’s scary.
It gets easier as the tour goes on. The two of them share clothes and go to water parks and Pete writes poem after poem. He has too many words he needs to let out. His heart is singing. He starts dragging Mikey onstage because it sucks to be without him for the hour it takes to perform a set.
He’s in love. He’s so fucking in love. And he’s hardly even scared. They’ve got the string, after all.
Two days before the tour ends, Pete wakes up and Mikey’s gone from his bunk.
He finds him easily enough, just follows the string back to the MCR bus. But it’s just weird that he did it in the first place. Pete tries not to worry. Mikey wanting to spend time with his band is natural, right?
But he can’t help but feel uneasy.
The day the tour ends, the sun goes down and people start to leave. Pete hasn’t seen Mikey all day. He jogs in the direction the string is headed, fear churning in the pit of his stomach.
Mikey’s shoulders tense up at the sound of Pete’s voice, and Pete thinks he’s going to be sick. He walks up to Mikey and takes his string hand in his own, looking down at it because he can’t bear to look Mikey in the eye.
“Now what?” he asks quietly.
Mikey shrugs. “This is goodbye, I guess.”
“What the fuck?”
“What do you mean, what the fuck? The tour’s over. Separate ways or whatever.”
“But we’re soulmates-”
“Look, Pete.” Mikey cuts him off, his voice harsh, and Pete cringes. “I can’t fucking do this, okay? It’s too much. You’re too much. I thought I could do it, but I just fucking can’t.”
There’s an awful silence, filled with crickets and summer sounds that Pete had loved so much the day before. He suddenly hates them more than anything. He drops Mikey’s hand and steps back.
“This isn’t what’s supposed to happen,” he manages. “This isn’t how it’s supposed to go.”
Mikey shrugs in an awful, indifferent way, though something in his face suggests pain. “Things don’t always go the way they’re supposed to.”
And he turns and walks away.
And Pete lets him.