Mikey was scared. He was in excruciating pain, worse even than when he fell out of the tree in the backyard and broke his arm when he was a kid.
He tried to call out for someone, anyone, but his voice wasn't working. His throat made a quiet squeak instead of the hearty yell he wanted.
He took stock of what was happening.
Mikey was lying on his stomach in bed, face down, tears soaking his pillow. He looked to the left and saw the alarm clock. It was two minutes after midnight.
Vaguely, he realized that it was his birthday. He was sixteen now.
The pain was coming from his back. Hours before, his shoulder blades had started itching, but now it felt like something was moving under them, trying to break through his skin.
Aliens. It had to be aliens.
The skin broke. He felt the skin over his left shoulder blade tear open, and something pushed out. He sobbed into his pillow as slowly the other side tore open as well.
“Oh, baby,” he heard, and felt almost better. The voice belonged to his grandmother, Elena.
Why wasn't she screaming? Or calling 911? No, she sat on the edge of his bed and pet his hair. “Just breathe, Mikey. Breathe through the pain. I know it hurts.”
What did she know? But he trusted her, so he tried to take deep breaths to get him through it.
“It's started? Oh, I'm late. Shit,” Donna said, coming into the room and sitting on Mikey's other side.
He wanted to ask once and for all just what the hell was happening, but the pain choked him as the things coming out of his back kept pushing and pushing through. They were heavy enough to weigh him down, and it felt weird.
Then, like an umbrella opening, they unfurled. Mikey was afraid to look.
“You can move now,” Elena said. “Your back will be sore for a few days, but that's all.”
“What-” Mikey choked out.
“They're so beautiful,” his mother whispered. “Can I touch?”
“Donna,” Elena said. “Go get something to clean up the blood. And some orange juice.”
His mother left the room and Mikey picked his head up and opened his eyes.
The first thing he saw over his shoulder was white. He startled and almost screeched.
“I'm so sorry I never told you,” Elena said. “There was no way to know for sure if the gene would show up. We thought it might with Gerard, but his birthday came and went without the transformation.”
“Transformation?” Mikey asked, slowly sitting up. It was awkward, because whatever was coming out of his back got pinned beneath him and that made his back ache.
Genes. Transformations. Mikey finally got a good look at what he was sitting on and stood up quickly. Wings. He had-
He had wings.
“Am I a mutant?” Mikey asked, the words tripping over each other and tangling together. Still, Elena understood.
“No, it's not a mutation. It's an inheritance. You are part Veela, just like your grandfather was,” she said.
That was strange. No one talked about Mikey's grandfather. He'd been told once that he and Elena hadn't been married, but that was all.
“What the hell is a Veela?” Mikey asked.
Elena got up and walked over to the full-length mirror on the back of the door. “Come here, honey.”
Mikey walked over to her hesitantly, afraid of what he'd see in the mirror. He averted his eyes and looked at his grandmother.
“No, don't avoid it. Look,” she said.
The wings were as white as pure, fresh snow. They looked extremely soft.
“A Veela is a magical creature. You aren't full blooded, but you have the magic inside you. The wings will go away soon, only to come out during times of extreme duress or great emotion,” Elena said.
Mikey decided then and there to keep his emotions in check. Forever.
“From now on, you'll find that you're extremely … attractive. Others will be drawn to you. You can learn how to control it, so you aren't bothered all the time.”
Mikey studied his face in the mirror. His jaw was chiseled, his cheekbones high. He realized he hadn't been wearing his glasses since the transformation and he could see just fine. Clearer than with the glasses, actually. His hair had turned blond. His eyes seemed to sparkle. His skin was absolutely clear. He was … beautiful was the only word he could think of to describe it.
“Magical. Can I do things? Magic things?” Mikey wanted to know.
Elena looked at his reflection. “This isn't enough for you?”
Mikey shrugged and his wings bobbed. He reached around one side and touched the feathers, and got a pleasant feeling from it. The wings were as soft as they looked, and it was nice to touch them.
“Love is the best and strongest magic of all, Mikey,” Elena said. “Remember that.”
Mikey looked at her quizzically, waiting for her to go on.
She smiled and ran a hand over his hair. “I have a book for you. I want you to read the passages I've marked before you go to sleep again. Because the next time you dream is important, honey.”
Instead of answering directly, Elena began to tell a story.
“I was only twenty when I met your grandfather. He was an artist – I think that's where your brother gets his talent. He was honest with me from the beginning; his heart belonged to another. We became great friends. He admired my dancing and I loved to watch him paint. I sat for him many times.” She sighed. “I fell in love with him. Foolishly. I thought he would get over his lover, but I didn't understand.”
“What was there to understand?” Mikey asked.
Haltingly, Elena explained. “Veelas have one love, one mate. Someone they love completely, whose soul is entwined with their own. Ian hadn't met his mate yet.”
“Whoa, seriously?” Mikey said. Soulmates, fate... it sounded so melodramatic.
“Yes,” Elena answered simply. “And the next time you sleep, you'll see the face of your mate. Perhaps more, you might talk to him or … I'm not quite sure how it works, but the book says it's an intense experience.”
Mikey hadn't quite come out to his family yet. So even though he would be more comfortable with a 'him', he was still surprised when Elena said it.
She smiled knowingly. “You thought I didn't know?”
Mikey relaxed and smiled back.
“So now you know the upside of having a mate – the perfect complement to your personality, a bond that is soul-deep, perfect happiness if you remain together,” Elena said.
“Uh oh. So I take it there's a downside?” Mikey asked.
Elena nodded. “You will meet your mate eventually, because it's fate. The magic will pull the two of you close. But if something happens and you don't remain together, you'll get very sick.”
“Without your mate, you will die,” Elena said softly. “It will be a long, painful death. Your soul itself will wither and cause your body to do the same. At least, that's what your grandfather said.”
“Shit,” Mikey swore, running a hand through his hair. It felt softer than usual. “What if he doesn't like me?”
“From what I have been told and what I have read, you only have to be near to your mate on a regular basis to keep you from getting sick. Completing the bond is the best way, the healthiest and happiest way, but you will still live if you simply stay in contact with your mate.”
Something told him he didn't have to worry about this for a long time. He was only sixteen. Unless his mate was someone who went to his school...
He would know the next time he slept. He'd know right away, recognize someone from school. But if the person was someone he didn't know, then he'd have time.
“Tell me more about Ian?” he asked.
Elena smiled. “He gave me the greatest gift in the world in my beautiful child and lovely grandsons. I'll tell you more about him after you've rested a bit.”
The first time I dreamed of my mate, I cried. I was just sixteen. I knew the dream would come, but I didn't know it would be so vivid.
The most real thing I remember from the dream is the feel of stubble beneath my fingertips. His scent, too, left a lasting impression. I heard his voice, rough but tender.
I treasured my dream until I met him five years later. He was everything I remembered from my dream and more. We've lived together happily ever since.
-Celeste DuBois of France, 1824 (transcribed by her mate)
Mikey didn't remember falling, but he remembered feeling 'off' for several hours before the show.
“You don't look so good,” Gerard had said, but he said that a lot lately. Mikey was used to it. “You gonna be okay for tonight?”
It happened at the end of the show. They were playing Kids one moment and then Mikey was waking up in the back of an ambulance.
At least five different recordings of it went up on YouTube within half an hour of it happening. Mikey watched it on his phone in the ER. It was strange to watch something he didn't remember. The cam was jumpy but he could see himself, playing and bobbing his head, and then he suddenly dropped. The reaction didn't come right away, the band continued playing for a second or two. But then they gathered around him, alarmed and shouting for help.
“Satisfied?” Gerard asked. He sounded pissed off. “See what you wanted?”
Mikey gave him a look devoid of emotion and nodded.
“C'mon, Mikey. You've been running yourself into the ground lately. I have a right to be angry.”
“I haven't been doing that,” Mikey said.
“You've been working while you're sick; I should've made you take some time off,” Gerard said.
Mikey rolled his eyes. “As much as you think you are, you aren't actually the boss of me, motherfucker.”
“The doctor said you're suffering from exhaustion,” Gerard said, and it sounded like an accusation. “How exhausted do you have to be to pass out in the middle of a song?”
Mikey knew what it was and what it wasn't. He wasn't just tired, whatever the doctor said.
“You're taking a break,” Gerard said.
“What? No. I don't need a break, Gee. I need-” He cut himself off. Maybe he could take a trip out to Chicago and then come back.
Mikey pursed his lips together, then blew out a breath like he was giving in. “Okay. I'll take a break. Just a couple of days, though.”
“Two weeks,” Gerard said.
“One. One week, and that's it,” Mikey said with finality.
There had been a weight on his chest for about two years, and he actually felt it lessen when the plane touched down at O'Hare. Maybe it was just his imagination. Maybe it was real.
He didn't have a bag, only his phone, his wallet, and a piece of paper with an address scrawled on it.
He took a cab to the address.
When Bob opened the door, something inside Mikey stood up and sang. He had to put real work into it to keep his expression bland.
“Hey,” Mikey said, and Bob frowned.
“Mikey?” he said, like he couldn't believe it really was him. Like his eyes were deceiving him.
“It's me,” Mikey said. He shrugged. “I was in town.”
Bob stood there. Looking. Probably at the dark circles under Mikey's eyes. He said, “I heard about you falling.”
“Doctor said it's exhaustion,” Mikey said. It was hard not to take a few steps forward and throw himself into Bob's arms. But things had happened, and Bob probably wouldn't catch him this time.
Bob just kept looking at him. “Why are you here?”
Mikey's heart clenched. He wanted to say, Because you're here. He wanted to say, Because I need you. Instead, he shrugged.
“Where are you staying?” Bob asked.
Again, Mikey shrugged. He didn't care where he was staying, as long as he kept somewhat close to Bob. Just being in the same vicinity would help him sleep. Would help him live.
It started to rain, and Mikey just stood there, letting it soak him. Bob's nearness would keep him warm.
“Still an idiot,” Bob mumbled. “Get the fuck inside.”
Mikey's lips twitched at that, and he could feel the grin that threatened to bloom beneath his normal expressionless mask. But he knew better than to let his emotions out. If he let go of his control...
Well. It wouldn't be pretty. He doubted Bob wanted stray feathers decorating his floor. He also doubted Bob would want anything to do with him once he realized Mikey wasn't fully human. A straight-up rejection would kill him. Literally, as the case may be.
“Sit,” Bob said. “What are you thinking so hard about?” He grabbed a towel from the nearby kitchen and threw it at Mikey's head.
Mikey grabbed the towel and rubbed at his hair. “Nothing, really. Just stuff.”
One thing about being with Bob meant that he could let go of the control he had over his pheromones. Most of the time, he kept them covered in a mental net, a tight mesh that let only a little bit of his Veela charm out, where it disguised itself as natural attraction. But it took energy, and with Mikey being as weak as he'd been, letting go now was a relief.
Bob wouldn't be affected. Sometimes, Mikey wished it was that easy. If he could just swamp Bob with pheromones, he'd accept Mikey without reservation. But the same magic that made Bob his perfect match made Bob completely immune to Mikey's charm.
“I wasn't expecting you,” Bob said. Anyone else would have made the whole situation awkward, but not Bob. He just sat across from Mikey in the recliner and looked at him, waiting patiently for an explanation.
Mikey ached for him.
“You changed your number,” Mikey said. Calling or texting Bob had been a last ditch effort to make some kind of connection with him before Mikey got too sick to go on. But the rejection – at least, that's what it had felt like – had made Mikey more ill.
“So, what, you missed me?” Bob asked. He had a smirk on his face that Mikey wanted to kiss away.
The apartment door opened and Mikey tried to rake in all the pheromones he'd put off, but they'd already flooded the room.
“I'm home, and... whoa,” the stranger said, dropping his bags and staring at Mikey. He didn't bother with picking up what he'd dropped, or even with closing the door, he just took a few steps close, then moved closer and closer until he was sitting on the couch next to Mikey, practically sitting in his lap. “I'm Phillip and I'm a professional baseball player. No, football. I'm also in a band, and we're number one in the states right now.”
Bob stared at Phillip and shook his head. “This is my roommate. He's – Phil, stop fucking around.”
“We're being inducted into the Hall of Fame soon and I'll need a date...” Phil said huskily.
Mikey didn't have to deal with this very often, but that didn't mean he didn't know exactly what to do. He smiled – which made Phil fall even deeper – and leaned in close. “Can you do something for me, Phil?” he said, soft and low so Bob couldn't hear.
“Anything!” Phil said. Of course.
“Go on to your room and wait for me, okay? And if I'm not there in half an hour, you can come on out and get me.”
By that time, the pheromones would have cleared the room and Mikey would have everything under control again. Phil would be confused and feel foolish, but there would be no harm done.
Mikey kept smiling. “Mikey.”
“Mikey,” Phil said dreamily. He got up and went to what Mikey assumed was his room, closing the door behind himself.
Bob stared after Phil with a bemused expression. He'd been around Mikey long enough to understand that other people were just attracted to him, though. At least, that was the way Mikey played it. They usually didn't get as swamped as poor Phil, though. Mikey needed to divert Bob's attention.
“I really did,” Mikey said, as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened.
Bob frowned. “You really did what?”
“Missed you,” Mikey said. “You asked if I missed you and I'm telling you I really did.”
He more than missed Bob. He ached for him every day. He loved him as bright and as intense as solar flares, but he could never let Bob know that. Bob would never accept him as he really was.
“What do you want?” Bob asked.
Mikey shook his head. “Nothing. I just wanted to see you.” Touch you, smell you, feel you...
“After all this time?” Bob asked. His voice gave nothing away.
If they had been bonded, Mikey would know Bob's thoughts and feelings, know what he was thinking. But as it was, Mikey had no clue. Bob could be hiding anything behind his cool blue eyes.
“I gave you your space,” Mikey said slowly. “That's what you wanted, right? To make a life of your own without us?” Without me.
“I had to,” Bob said. “I couldn't move on if I was still hanging on to you guys. But I had a life before I met you and I have a life again now.”
Mikey wanted there to be room for him in that new life. Needed it. He bowed his head and looked at his lap to hide his desperation and asked very calmly, “Do you think we can be friends again, now that you've made a new life for yourself?”
“I don't think we stopped being friends,” Bob said.
Mikey let himself smile at that.
“The couch is yours tonight,” Bob said. “And for as long as you want to stay.”
“I've got a week off,” Mikey said. “Then it's back to the tour.”
Bob nodded. Mikey wondered if he missed it, the manic energy of the shows, the magic of the crowd singing back at them. Or if he missed staying on the bus or in hotels, all of them so close, sharing everything from food to clothes.
“Where are you working?” Mikey asked. Not that Bob really needed to work, but Mikey knew him. He'd be keeping busy.
“Right now I'm just doing some studio work for some friends,” Bob said. “But I got an offer today that might take me to LA. A club wants a sound guy.”
Mikey knew Bob's tendency to downplay things, so he figured the club in LA was a big fucking deal, and that the position came with all kinds of perks and benefits, else Bob wouldn't be considering leaving Chicago.
“Sounds good,” Mikey said. “Maybe we'll see more of each other, then.” Even being in the same city as Bob would go a long way to keeping him well. And seeing him on a regular basis would fix a hell of a lot. It wasn't as good as the mating bond, but it was as good as he was going to get.
Bob smiled and Mikey's heart clenched at the sight of it.
The Veela's dream can be so clear it is nearly impossible to distinguish it from reality. Veelas often dream of their mates, especially if they have been apart. The most intense dreams come when it is crucial for the mating bond – the soul bond, if you are of the school of thought that this magical phenomenon involves the soul – to be enacted as soon as possible.
-Willard Pennywhistle, The Greatest of Loves
Mikey woke, soaked with sweat and as hard as a rock. He'd dreamed of Bob holding him down securely, looking into his eyes, fucking him slowly. It was the most vivid dream he could ever remember having, except for the one he'd had after his inheritance – the one that had shown him Bob for the first time.
“You okay?” Bob asked from the kitchen doorway. “Got up to get a snack and you were in here moaning like a ghost. Either you just had a really bad dream or...”
Mikey blushed, but it was dark in the room and Bob couldn't see. “Good one.”
“Ah. Guess you probably don't need to talk about it, then,” Bob said.
Chuckling a little, Mikey shook his head, but it reminded him of all the times Bob had come to his side after a bad nightmare, talking to him and keeping him occupied until the sick, scared feeling went away. He missed that. He missed a lot of things, most of all just Bob being Bob.
“Ice cream?” Bob asked.
“What kind?” Mikey asked in return.
“Mocha brownie,” Bob said, offering the container he was holding.
Mikey took it and peered into the ice cream. “Spoon?”
Bob gave his a lick and offered it to Mikey with a devilish expression.
“Asshole,” Mikey said, but he took the spoon. He turned his head and pretended to dig out some ice cream, then brought the spoon to his mouth. The taste of Bob lingered on the stainless steel, and Mikey couldn't help but moan out loud.
Bob was silent, and when Mikey looked at him, his blue, blue eyes were narrow and pondering.
“What is it?” Mikey asked.
“C'mere,” Bob said.
Mikey moved as if under a spell, taking the couple of steps it took to be right there in front of him.
Bob reached out and held Mikey's chin in his hand, looking into his eyes. Mikey felt like he could see everything. Bob's gaze dropped down to Mikey's mouth and Mikey unconsciously licked his lips.
“C'mere,” Bob said again, softer, leaning in and pressing his lips against Mikey's. His beard scratched at Mikey's skin pleasantly, and Mikey went still. He took in every detail like it was the only kiss he'd ever have in his life and he needed to preserve it. He catalogued every quiet breath, the shape of Bob's mouth, the odd feeling of Bob's lip ring against him.
Bob pulled back, and he was frowning. “Not okay? I thought...”
Mikey licked his lips as a million thoughts flew through his mind. “Definitely okay,” he said softly, before his mind could catch up with his heart. There was no way he was brave enough to tell Bob the truth, though. Bob wouldn't believe him without proof, and the proof – wings, outspread, so undeniably inhuman – might push Bob away forever.
“Then why are you pushing me away?” Bob asked, his voice rough.
Mikey looked at his hands which were flat against Bob's shoulders, poised to do some physical pushing to go with the distance he was putting between them already. He swallowed hard and looked into Bob's eyes. A little truth might go a long way to explaining.
“I want it. I've wanted it since the first time I saw you, before I knew your name,” Mikey said truthfully. “The thing is, I love you, Bob. And I'd rather not do this unless you feel the same.”
Mikey was prepared for Bob to back away and put some space between them. He wasn't prepared at all for the near-violent kiss that crashed into his mouth. Bob's hands were everywhere, pulling Mikey down the hall and pushing him against a wall and climbing up under his clothes and unzipping his pants. Mikey barely had time to breathe before he was naked and flat on his back in Bob's bed.
“Slow down,” Mikey said, gasping for air. If Bob didn't give Mikey a chance to control his emotions, it wouldn't end pretty.
Bob shook his head. “You're always locked up and hiding,” he said. “Gonna make you show me what's underneath.”
“Oh, Jesus Christ,” Mikey said as Bob's hand closed around his cock. Bob's fingers were slick – Mikey had no idea where the lube had come from. Bob chuckled in his ear and then there was tongue and biting and sucking on Mikey's neck, along with some twisting and stroking on his dick. Mikey arched up and moaned loudly, eyes wide and unseeing. He could feel something come into the room, magic swirling around above them, called by their physical acts.
Mikey realized then that he couldn't stop it. The bond would complete whether he liked it or not. This was what it was meant to do, to bind two souls together, to form a lasting magical attachment. And Bob was moving too fast to stop, not that Mikey wanted him to. Bob was like a tidal wave, crashing over Mikey's body again and again, opening him up and stretching him with thick lubed fingers, grabbing and pushing and then thrusting, holy fuck.
They moved together, both of them as loud as a thunderstorm, and Mikey realized suddenly that he needed to move. He rolled and surprisingly, Bob moved easily, until Mikey was straddling him and riding him and then Mikey couldn't hold it anymore, he had to...
He felt the weight of his wings before he saw them. They were outstretched on either side of him, snow white and glowing from the magic of the bond. Bob's eyes were only half-open at first, but then they opened wide and he reached out-
Mikey got so scared, more afraid than he'd ever been. Bob could reject him now and it would kill Mikey. Literally just kill him.
But Bob was reaching out to Mikey's face, not his wings, and he cupped Mikey's cheek. “So beautiful.” And then he thrust up, hard and deep.
Mikey's instincts took over then, and he moaned, throwing his head back, letting the magic go – both the magic in his body and the magic in the room. No more control, just Mikey and Bob, spinning and fucking in a vortex of pure golden energy until Mikey cried out and came so hard he blacked out.
A soul bond occurs between a Veela and his or her mate during a moment of intense emotional connection. Once established, the bond is fragile for the first twenty-four hours, after which it becomes permanent. If the bond is broken while it is at its weak first stage, the Veela will surely die immediately.
Soul bonds facilitate the use of telepathy between bonded mates. Emotions are usually the first and easiest to discern, with whole thoughts and conversations becoming possible over time.
-The Encyclopedia of Magical Creatures, volume 12, 56th edition
Mikey opened his eyes and for a moment had no idea where he was. But he could feel Bob, feel him so completely that Mikey knew he was safe.
“So what the fuck was that?” Bob asked mildly.
Mikey picked up his head from where it was pillowed on Bob's chest and looked into his eyes. He felt a zing of recognition. “I'm … not human,” Mikey said slowly. “Not completely.”
Then he felt Bob's hand on his right wing, touching softly, tenderly. Mikey wanted to close his eyes and moan, but he resisted the urge.
“The wings are pretty hard to miss,” Bob said.
Mikey concentrated on bringing them back in and they retracted.
“You didn't have to do that,” Bob said. “I was getting used to them.”
“They're distracting,” Mikey mumbled.
“How did you do that, anyway?” Bob asked.
Mikey shrugged. “Practice. Why aren't you freaked out?”
“Doesn't seem productive,” Bob said, and pulled him in for a long kiss. So pretty.
Mikey gasped as the first words were transmitted telepathically to his mind along the brand new bond. He was filled with apprehension, wondering what Bob would think of that, too. It was a lot for anyone to take in.
But then, Bob wasn't just anyone. “I take it there's more to it than wings,” he said, stroking Mikey's hair. “I can tell you're worried. Scared. I feel it.”
Mikey tried to feel what Bob was feeling and got nothing but curiosity. He wished he knew what he was doing with the bond – most books he'd read said that thoughts and emotions could be guided and that in time, whole conversations could be shared telepathically. However, Mikey'd only been doing this for a total of eight minutes, and was nowhere near skilled enough to do that. Which sucked, since Mikey had no idea how to explain their new bond and all it entailed with actual English words.
“Do you believe in magic?” Mikey asked.
“That wasn't just fucking we did,” Bob said.
Mikey smiled. No, it'd been a lot more than that. “It created a bond. A soul bond. It's-” He cut himself off.
“Tell me,” Bob said. His hand was stroking Mikey's arm in the most distracting way.
“It's still new. It can be broken, if … if you don't want me.” Mikey was pretty sure Bob did want him, especially since Bob's mind was letting out the word mine intermittently. But still, the idea of Bob rejecting the bond was a scary one. Mikey would die almost instantly if it happened.
“Can't say I didn't wish I had a choice,” Bob said, and Mikey's heart turned over.
“I wanted to tell you everything so many times...”
Bob sat up, hands hard on Mikey's shoulders. “What?” he asked. “How long-” He took a breath. “No, start at the beginning. What are you, if you're not human?”
Mikey swallowed and moved away, putting some distance between them. “I'm called a Veela. I'm a magical creature. Not full-blooded, so I am part human.”
“Okay. And Veelas have wings and … what else?” Bob asked.
“Pheromones, or something like them, anyway. Magical attraction. I usually have it under control, but I can loosen my control if I'm by myself or with family,” Mikey said.
Bob frowned. “Is that why I'm so fucking crazy about you? Magic?”
“No!” Mikey said. He grinned. “'Fucking crazy' about me, huh?”
But Bob didn't smile. “Why not me?”
Mikey took a deep breath and nodded. “Yeah, this is the hard part. Every Veela has a mate. Soul mate, you know, perfect partner? In some places, it's considered an honor.”
“What places?” Bob asked.
Mikey bit his lip. He knew a little about magic through his grandmother, who'd actually known some wizards and witches. But he knew it was a secret... But then, what secrets could he keep from Bob? “Magical places. Where people who are born with magic live.”
Bob huffed a laugh. “Okay, I'm going to think about that later. Right now I want to know – how do you know I'm your mate? That's what you're saying, right?”
“Yes,” Mikey said. “I knew since I was sixteen. I knew... I knew what you looked like, then. How you smelled. Your taste, your voice. And I carried it with me, so the first moment I saw you, I knew you were the one.”
Mikey made a face. “Pretty heavy, I know.”
“So you didn't have a choice. It was just me. From before you met me, I was your soul mate.” Bob was frowning again. Doesn't seem fair.
“But when I got to know you, I fell in love with you,” Mikey said softly. “The magic was right.”
Bob reached out and pushed a strand of hair away from Mikey's face. “Why'd you never tell me?”
Mikey ducked his head. Why did he feel so ashamed? He'd done the right thing. The self-preservation thing. “I was afraid if you knew I wasn't human, that you'd run off and leave me. And I couldn't risk that.”
“Why?” Bob asked.
Mikey shook his head, not looking at him.
“Why?” Bob asked again, this time softer.
Because it would kill me.
Bob must have heard the thought. “Kill you as in make you feel like hell? Or kill you as in...”
“Yeah,” Mikey whispered. “Me, dead.”
“But you know now that I'm not leaving you, right? That I love you?”
Mikey looked up quickly, his eyes wide. “You didn't say that.”
“Well. I do.” Bob looked a little uncomfortable, but when Mikey focused on their bond, he could feel that Bob really did love him. And that he wasn't going anywhere.
“When you left the band-” Mikey started to say.
“I didn't leave you. Just the whole My Chemical Romance thing. I didn't leave you,” Bob assured him.
“I know,” Mikey said. “But being away from you still made me sick.”
“Shit. That's why you passed out?” Bob asked.
“How's it going to work, you being on tour and me being here or in LA?” Bob asked. Then slowly offered, “I could go with you.”
Mikey grabbed Bob's hands and kissed them, then pushed him down on the bed again, snuggling up against his side. “The bond will keep me from getting sick, I think. As long as we see each other once in awhile and talk … I'm sure it'll be fine.”
Bob ran a hand over Mikey's hair and down his back. “And when you're not on tour?”
Mikey grinned and kissed Bob's chest. “I think we'll figure it out.”
Bob kissed him hard and then they didn't talk much for awhile.