bob doesn't say anything, but he watches as mikey stays up with gerard all night, over and over, talking or not talking but never actually leaving or sleeping.
it's maybe because he joined the band later than everyone else, but he takes in the deep shadows sweeping under mikey's eyes behind his glasses and the deliberate way he holds himself steady, and he wonders how he can still be labelled as the whole band's younger brother, after all this.
"i'm with gerard tonight, motherfuckers," frank says, grin wide and eyes bright. "he's going to share his comic secrets with me, no lie."
"i'm sure he will." ray accompanies his words with an absurd wriggle of his eyebrows and frank bursts into laughter, raucous and loud. gerard sticks his nose in the air in way that is meant to mean i am above even responding, but they all see the grin pulling at the side of his mouth.
brian heads across the modest lobby, away from a curious receptionist and towards them, holding the key cards out in front of him like gambling chips. three of them, out on offer: gerard and frank, brian and ray, and, by chance or maybe not, bob and mikey.
mikey looks like he's asleep on his feet, eyes half mast. "come on, little dude," bob says, and mikey snorts, but gives a small smile with open eyes as he follows.
it's hard at first, because everybody has their own place already. there's gerard at the centre of things and mikey firmly by his side and frank, like a whirlwind, bustling around them. then ray, like the anchor to hold them all down; bob doesn't know where matt fitted, but he's not sure he wants to, because, well.
he knows the type of person he is, though. patient and stoic, so he just stays still and himself and lets things fall into place.
frank says, once, that he gets ansty sitting in a room for too long with just bob and mikey because they can sometimes be so quiet. it made bob laugh at the time, and mikey smile to himself, because touring is crazy sometimes, and quiet is welcome. but sitting here and flicking through hotel t.v. channels he can see where frank was coming from, just a little. it's not that he doesn't welcome the quiet, but there is something about it tonight that doesn't seem quite right, that goes along with the way mikey seems to smile a little less sometimes, recently.
"you tired?" bob asks. he settles on one channel, and mikey shrugs.
"a little," mikey says. "i guess."
bob pretends not to notice the way mikey's feet are bare and just slightly pointing in towards each other on the cheap hotel carpet, or the way his stomach cramps a little from the intimacy of just that one small detail. instead he says, "frank's gonna force gerard into the shower, isn't he."
"hope so," mikey says, and he laughs. bob smiles back.
there's a time just after bob joins when gerard goes from hardly sleeping to sleeping almost too much. everyone still seems just as wary that it might not be good for him, but bob sees the other side of it too, because it means everyone else can rest a while too. gerard had said to him that he was worried about dragging them (mikey) down while he got himself back up, and bob hadn't know how to react to learning something like that so early on. it means he's a little worried, though, when he sees mikey sat on the couch on the bus and awake when he gets up in the middle of the night for a glass of water.
"hey," he says, quiet enough not to wake anyone else. mikey smiles in reponse, really just a quirk at the corners of his mouth, weak, and so bob sits next to him instead of heading back to his bunk.
he stays as still as he can when he wakes up next and the sun is already streaming in through the slats in the blinds covering the window; until his arm begins to cramp and he has to shift slightly, dislodging mikey just a little from where he is slumped, boneless but still angular, against bob, face pressed into his neck and strange without glasses for once.
"mrph," mikey mumbles. one leg twitches and he shifts again, so bob can move his arm, put it around him and get more comfortable, but he stays asleep.
they're still both there, mikey still asleep, when gerard emerges maybe an hour later. he looks at them for a long, surveying second and then nods at bob -- no words, just unspoken approval, and the moment seems to stretch on for an age until frank comes out into the lounge area as well, throws himself onto the couch on bob's other side and laughs, "the fuck, bryar, i thought i was your favourite," and tries to insinuate himself onto bob's lap.
mikey wakes up with a startled noise. he blinks at the scene around him, grabs his glasses from the table and then walks off into the kitchen without another word. when he comes back, ray has taken his place next to bob and gerard has followed mikey's path into the kitchen, but he has two mugs of coffee and he hands one to bob.
bob's asleep, and when he wakes suddenly for no real reason there are a few wild seconds where he's not sure where he is, too much space and air around him for it to be his bunk. he blinks groggily as he sits up and remembers where he is and then looks around for mikey: mikey is sat by the window, a packet of smokes in hand but not actually doing anything with them.
"way," bob says slowly, voice still thick with sleep, and mikey doesn't turn around to face him for a couple of seconds, as though it takes that long for him to cotton on to the fact bob is talking to him.
"you think the smoke alarm would go off if i smoked out the window?" mikey asks in reponse, and bob just nods, because gerard tried it last time they had a hotel break and they were nearly asked politely but firmly to leave, saved only by brian, quick thinking and even quicker talking.
"you think you should sleep, now we're somewhere halfway comfortable?"
mikey shrugs. bob shrugs back.
he doesn't remember falling asleep, but he's not surprised to wake up and find mikey in bob's bed rather than his own, face pressed into the corner of bob's pillow (strange without glasses, again).
bob only moves so he can shift over a little and give mikey some more room.
"dude," frank hollers across the lobby. gerard's nowhere in sight; bob guesses he's gone to get coffee or to smoke, or maybe both. it's a different receptionist this morning, but she still looks over at them with curiosity. "i know all of gerard's comic secrets now, seriously."
he half walks half runs towards them and leaps onto bob's back. bob doesn't stumble, just stops walking and stands still. stoic, as frank's hands scramble at his collar a little before getting a steady hold on him.
"he smells fucking sweet now as well," frank adds in a stage-whisper, as gerard rounds the corner, coffee in hand and hair looking shinier than usual.
bob doesn't say anything, but he catches mikey's eye. mikey laughs, and bob smiles back.