Mikey and Pete have an understanding. When one party invites the other to hangs, either guy has the option to back out at any point without guilting or pressure. However, even with this stated clearly, Mikey still finds himself doubting most of the time when he gets a text from Pete, and considering Pete's back with his band, it's been hard for Mikey to extend invitations to his useless, petty life.
Or that's how it's been.
When Mikey gets a text from Pete and finds himself checking his schedule mentally and replying yes right away, he wonders what changed since last time. (He'd spent a full day psyching himself up to read the text last time, and he didn't exactly cry when he read the message, but he hadn't wanted anyone else to see how he looked, either.) There's the obvious changes that he can remember: band dissolution, other band progression, other band stalling, significant others changes...
His phone goes off to remind him to take the pills he's been on for a few months. The pills he started when he got back on the wagon.
That would do it.
They meet at a festival that Fall Out Boy's playing. Summer this year's been a special level of dry and hot - for SoCal, anyway - and Mikey has to take a break to hydrate before he makes it from the parking lot to the VIP area that Pete (or whoever's helping Pete these days) directed him toward via text.
Being around the energy of working bands again feels good. Mikey knows Gerard and knows Gerard needed to get away from MCR, so it's not like he regrets the ending, but this is the kind of tier he was in when they played last, and it's a good groove. Big enough that there's not live-or-die desperation, not so big that they aren't trying to stay creative and engaged. And the best part is that Mikey can just observe. Drink it in.
There's a couple random musicians he knows in the crowd, and he hugs them when they come up and runs through the basics as fast as he can without being rude. He would have been...not jealous a little while back, but there would have been a cloak of worthlessness dragging him down. (He and Gerard worked out the exact stats for the cloak on tour years ago. He doesn't remember them now, but he probably still has it on an old napkin in Gerard's handwriting somewhere. -10 CHA and -5 HEA or something.) And okay, maybe there is still a little of the "I should be doing this" tug. But he can let it go when he finally makes it to the Fall Out Boy bus clump, front of the line, next to the grass and roped off.
Mikey doesn't say a calm hello to anyone initially. He's too busy being tackled after security lets him in. Good thing he doesn't wear glasses these days, although his nose ring gets pushed around a little.
"Ow," he says into the ground. He picks up his head far enough to say, "Hi, Pete."
The weight leaves his back, and he rolls over to see a grinning Pete over his head, the sun behind his head blocking the details of his face out. They've always been a summer duo, the two of them, and the summer light with the heat and Pete's presence means Mikey feels, with a painful jolt, eight years younger. And then Pete moves to a place where Mikey can see him and the extra years in his face, and he's comfortably in the present again.
"Mikey fucking Way," Pete says, giving him a hand. Mikey takes it and gets to his feet, brushing off his clothes. Pete helps, of course. "Dude."
"Dude." Mikey can't help the smile that's spreading on his face. He wouldn't want to even if he could.
They hug, for real this time.
The first thing Mikey notices is how happy Pete looks. Mikey knows from a similar perspective how major that is, and he can feel his own energy picking up on Pete's as Pete pulls Mikey through the crew to find Joe and Andy. Mikey's had more happy moments lately, sure. But those moments aren't as big or sustained as fifteen minutes walking around and talking to people with Pete.
Of course, there is one person missing, and Mikey feels like an asshole for totally not even thinking of Patrick until Pete scans the crowd and asks, "Where's the man with the hat?"
Joe, sitting in a lawn chair with a plate in his lap, lifts up his sandwich and gestures toward his left. "Food. I couldn't convince him to eat greens again."
"Cool." Pete grabs Mikey by the hand and takes him in the direction indicated.
"Doesn't Patrick eat vegetarian?" Mikey asks as they weave toward the VIP catering tent. He read it in an article or something, back when MCR was on hiatus pre-Danger Days. He'd done a lot of reading back then.
"Not much these days. Oh, there he is."
Mikey sees the aforementioned hat first when they duck inside the tent: a small black thing perched almost artistically on Patrick's head. He doesn't look like the internet assholes who wear fedoras around (not that Mikey's sure it's a fedora anyway). He looks like...well, Patrick. He's fumbling with his plates - because he has two and a drink and only two arms - as he apologizes to a staffer he bumps into, and he's completely ignorant of Mikey and Pete standing just a few feet away.
He expects Pete to get Patrick's attention. But when Mikey raises an eyebrow and looks Pete's way, Pete just says, "Patrick knows we're here. He'll catch up in a sec."
And sure enough, Patrick does. He hasn't looked away from his plates since they walked in the tent, but he weaves through the crowd and makes his way over anyway, tilting the bottle of water he's got tucked into his arm toward Pete without glancing up.
"Can you hold this?" Patrick asks.
Pete takes it and grins at Patrick. "Good thing the makeup sex is killer. I'm too young to be the ball and chain."
Mikey rolls his eyes, but Patrick just shifts his food around until things are easier to carry before he takes the water back with a grateful smile. It's only then that Patrick turns his gaze Mikey's way, grinning at him.
"Hey, good to see you," Patrick says. "Pete didn't tell me he'd asked you along."
"We were talking about shows you guys are playing around here, and this came up. Hope it's okay."
"Sure!" Patrick looks nearly as happy as Pete. "Can we go sit down somewhere? I need to scarf this down."
Pete lets Patrick lead the way, which Mikey's more than happy to do because Patrick's booking it. Mikey's not sure how Patrick isn't spilling his food everywhere; the edge of the plate Mikey can see is waving in the breeze, and more than once, people nearly stumble into Patrick. But they make it back to the buses - and a lawn chair Joe apparently saved for Patrick - without incident, and Mikey leans against the bus they're using for shade to watch.
They talk about random things. Mikey couldn't remember it all later if he tried. He's mostly there for the companionship, the feeling that he's been a part of something and that he might be a part of something again, and he's getting that in spades. Pete's really good at filling Mikey's silences, and even Patrick's chattier than he used to be. He seems more settled in his skin, and that makes Mikey feel nearly as good as Pete doing so well.
It doesn't escape Mikey's notice that Patrick has two very large hamburgers. Patrick delicately takes off the buns of each, and he uses a plastic fork and knife to carve into them. They look really rare, which is not Mikey's style at all, but he's not the one eating them.
Pete notices Mikey looking at the buns later, when Patrick's obviously done eating and hasn't touched them. "Patrick's low-carb these days," he says, and then he dorky laughs in the way that means he thinks he's really funny. Mikey's just glad he didn't make a joke about an all-meat diet.
Fall Out Boy plays after sunset, when the humidity's eased up a fraction and their stage lights have more effect. Mikey sits on a case sidestage, and feeling the edges of it under his ass is just another part of the past-present experience. Gabe would probably have something poignant to say about continuum. Mikey's just glad he's in the now instead of the then.
He's on Pete's side of the stage, of course. Mikey's next to Meagan, who showed up closer to sunset with Bronx in tow. She'd told Mikey before they started that she hadn't wanted to stand out in the heat with a bunch of guys who didn't know how to shower, and Mikey laughed in the way only someone who was a guy who didn't know how to shower could. Bronx is rocking ear protectors similar to ones Mikey's seen Bandit wear, and Bronx keeps busy playing games on some kind of electronic device that Mikey doesn't care enough about to get a closer look at. Bronx does stick his tongue out at Pete a couple times when Pete comes their way. (Pete initiates it both times and looks thrilled to get it back.) Meagan grabs at her stomach a couple times like the little one inside is matching Pete's bass line. No wonder Pete's so happy.
Still, Mikey doesn't watch them or Pete as much as he'd thought he would. His eyes are all for Patrick this time. There was always a quiet intensity to Patrick's performance that was an interesting contrast to his off-stage personality, but the quiet part seems to be gone. He snarls into the mic, thrusts his hips up into his guitar, bites his lip like he's holding something in. And then the songs stop, and he banters with Pete like he's the guy Mikey saw backstage. He's still not the one made for the spotlight, but he's a lot more comfortable when he's there.
When the band leaves the stage, Mikey hands Patrick a towel. Patrick looks him dead in the eyes, intense in exactly the way he is on stage in one glance, but it dissolves when Patrick smiles.
"Thanks, dude," he says, wiping his face and popping out his in-ears. "I'm glad you could come out."
"Me too," Mikey says. He means it.
Mikey texts Pete a lot in the next few days. Fall Out Boy has a little time before they have to hit the road, and Mikey gets Snapchats of Meagan and Bronx and Pete (the latter often shirtless and making faces). It makes Mikey unsettle for some reason, and he thinks it through like he's talking to his therapist and figures out that Pete has something really nice that Mikey feels like he should want, but he doesn't. He feels better after that. Good to know the therapy money's coming in handy.
He also thinks about Patrick on and off. Mikey YouTubes his solo performances to see if he hit some kind of light switch where his onstage persona shifted, but no, it looks like just being on the road solo for a while honed him in the way that experience tends to. He tries to find that vegetarian interview again, and he finds something from the solo era where Patrick says that he likes eating that way, but he's not super strict about it.
He forgets about the whole thing until Pete calls one day.
"I know it's short notice," Pete says, "but you seem kind of bored, and I was thinking, why not tour with us for a couple weeks?"
"There's always extra bunks, and I'd ask Meagan, but she can only do a weekend here and there. Doctor's appointments."
Mikey has enough pills to last him, the prescriptions in case something happens, and he's done phone appointments with his therapist before. He nods to himself for a minute, and then he says aloud, "Sure, that sounds cool."
Pete makes a wordless triumphant sound on the other side of the line.
"Oh hey," Mikey says before Pete can start giving him the details. "Stupid question, and I know it'll come out on tour anyway, but...is Patrick a werewolf?"
He isn't expecting an answer - or, at least, anything more direct than Pete when he feels like being a smartass - but Pete says, "Oh yeah, I didn't tell you? It happened back on hiatus, right after his solo tour. I'm sure he'll tell you all about it. So listen, I need to arrange your plane ticket..."
Mikey listens to Pete in a daze, and he suspects he gives the right answers because Pete sounds happy, but Mikey ends up with the phone turned off and his head buzzing with a million questions he can't pin down.
Mikey's not entirely surprised when he gets to the airport to meet Pete for the flight out and finds Patrick there. Something hurts in his chest when Patrick gives Mikey a wave and a small, uneasy smile. Well, fuck that. Mikey sits in the empty chair next to Patrick and asks, "This seat isn't Pete's, is it?"
Patrick shakes his head, and Mikey nods in acknowledgment, slipping into his "comfortable at the airport" pose. Which is a misnomer: it's impossible to be comfortable at the airport. He crosses his arms and slumps in the chair until he's reached his usual approximation of comfortable, though.
"So," Patrick says in a voice heavy with false cheer, "Pete told you."
"He did. Sorry."
"No, no, it's okay. Pete just gets...well, he doesn't..." Patrick sighs and rubs a hand on his forehead. "I can express myself, honest."
Mikey shifts so he's a little more turned toward Patrick. "Is it bad? The..." He drops his voice. "Werewolf thing."
"Oh yeah." Patrick leans in and whispers conspiratorially. "You know what the worst part is?"
Mikey shakes his head, feels his eyes widen. He's never met a werewolf before. Or someone who's open about it, anyway. There's so many horrible possibilities.
"The dirty laundry on the bus. On any bus. I can smell it outside from ten feet away."
Mikey laughs incredulously, but he winces. "Dude. That really does suck."
"Right? It's not all increased stamina and rare steak. There were some things man wasn't meant to smell." Patrick mock shivers.
Mikey laughs again as Pete comes up and drops himself directly into Mikey's lap. "What did I miss?" he asks. "What's funny?"
"You are," Mikey says, deadpan. Patrick snorts behind a hand.
Tour is...tour. The little details can be different - the cities, the venues, the buses, the people in the crew - but the big things remain. Well. Except for how Mikey never goes onstage during performances. He starts helping Pete's bass tech tune up before the show just so he feels more involved with the process, and on the days he shows up at soundcheck and doesn't use the quiet time to nap in his bunk, Pete lets him jump in. Joe asks more than once if he wants to play in the show, but it's not Warped Tour anymore. No reason to break those boundaries down.
Mikey's going to be on tour for two and a half weeks. It takes three shows and four days before the tour bus stops in the middle of nowhere for a camping night out.
It isn't something Mikey's really done before - My Chemical Romance wasn't exactly full of outdoorsy dudes, minus Gerard and his hikes - but different tours, different standards. Besides, it looks fun. The chairs everyone pulls out are usually put up in parking lots at venues, and they have to fight for shade, but they're far enough out that the air's crisp and, once Mikey ventures far enough off from the bus engines, he can hear the wind whistling through the trees.
He keeps wandering; he sees others milling around with drinks and the occasional weed, and he doesn't want to be around them. (Or he wants to be around them too much, really, but it ends the same way.) Mikey opts to peek in the windows of abandoned cabins sitting near their parking spot instead. They're dusty and chained up for some reason. Maybe they're haunted. He left all his gear at home, fuck. He didn't think he'd see anywhere besides amphitheaters and motels...although, come to think of it, a haunted bus would be really sweet. The bathroom on his does make weird noises.
When waiting around for a few minutes doesn't produce anything spirit-like, he puts his hands in his pockets and follows the paved walkway in front of the cabins to a big pond. Maybe a small lake. He doesn't know the difference. There's a stream-river thing on the end opposite of Mikey, and he's not sure if it feeds into the water or goes the other way. He's really terrible at this outside thing.
He hears a branch snap. Probably one of the guys. He's just out of sight of the buses, but he can see the glow of their camp through the branches of the trees and can hear laughing making it out his way. If Jason Voorhees found him out here, they would hear his screams for sure. Probably not in time to actually do anything, but at least they'd know.
There's a boulder next to a rotting dock, and Mikey sits on top of it and looks at the reflection of the moon in the lake surface. It's not full, but it's more than bright enough to create light. Makes wandering a lot easier. Or staring at nothing.
Grass rustles behind him in a steady pace. Still probably one of the guys...except, when Mikey turns around, the source of the noise is furry and walking around on four legs.
He stops breathing for several very loud heartbeats, and when he realizes it's a wolf, and then realizes again that the wolf must be Patrick, he starts breathing too fast.
Patrick is big as a wolf. Werewolves aren't supposed to be too much bigger than real wolves, but it's not like Mikey's seen either from fifteen feet away. All he's ever seen are coyotes in the hills around LA from a distance, and they're fucking assholes, but they also tend to be leaner. Patrick, in this form, could take Mikey down and probably tear out his throat before he could scream.
A tearing noise in the air, and then Mikey smells blood. He squints.
It's a rabbit. Patrick's eating.
"Fuck," he whispers to himself.
The wolf - Patrick, Patrick - obviously knew he was there. He's been shooting him little looks, but the food's a bigger deal...until Mikey makes noise. Patrick drops the rabbit and raises his head, baring his teeth. His entire muzzle's covered in blood.
Mikey can take a hint.
"Sorry," he says, climbing off the boulder and putting his hands up. "I'm going. Enjoy."
Patrick growls a little, but he makes no move for Mikey. He huffs a breath and goes back to eating. Mikey makes a wide circle around him and, when he's far enough back, jogs back to the bus.
Mikey slips through the crew milling around, shoving his hands back in his pockets to ignore the way they shake. He should find Pete. Or Andy. Or Joe. Or anyone who will talk to him. But he goes back to his bunk, and there's only one number that he can think to dial.
"Mikey Way," Gerard says brightly on the other end as Mikey curls into a ball. "How's tour?"
"Have you ever met a werewolf before?" Damn, his voice is shaking, too.
Luckily, Gerard is Gerard. He talks to someone in the background - probably Bandit, going off the tone of his voice - and Mikey hears bright voices back. The voices fade like Gerard's finding a quieter space.
"No?" Gerard says after a minute, sniffling. "Wait, do you mean when they're human or when they're a wolf? I went to art school with a couple werewolves, but I only talked to them in class, and they were always human."
"Then yeah, totally. You have too. I know we've toured with bands that had werewolves. It's more common than you'd think. Why do you ask?"
Well, that gives Mikey an in. "I ran into one of this tour's werewolves as a wolf."
"Shit." Gerard sounds thrilled. "Tell me all about it."
Mikey curls up against the pillow and relays the encounter as best he can, which is pretty well, actually. Adrenaline makes his memory sharp. And Gerard doesn't have anything to add besides his excitement, but he stays on the line with Mikey until Mikey says he's okay, and it's just nice knowing Gerard's in the world, even if he's not in one of the nearby bunks like he should be.
The air the next morning isn't crisp like Mikey feels like it should be; mugginess weighs it down. But the air's golden, and everyone else is asleep because they were probably up later than he was, and Mikey can look around their campsite without worrying about running into things in the dark.
Mikey jumps and yells really loud. Someone more distant shouts "Shut the fuck up!" back in the tones of the hungover.
But Mikey's actual name came from a shirtless Patrick, hair wet and smile sheepish. He's pale enough that Mikey pulls his sunglasses off his forehead so staring at him will hurt a little less.
"Hey," Mikey says. He's not trying for cool; he just doesn't know what else to say.
"Hi. Sorry about..." Patrick waves his hands. "And last night. I've never done that before. Pete usually calls me his Pomeranian."
"Yeah. You looked like a total purse dog." Mikey bites off the when you were looking at my throat because it doesn't seem quite fair.
"I've never growled at anyone before. Not even the first time I changed." Patrick swallows and his eyes go distant for a second, and then he sighs, and he's present again. "I wouldn't tour if I thought people were in danger. If I thought I really would have attacked you last night."
"So why did I get the growling treatment?"
"I think...I was tired?"
"Yeah. I fell asleep almost right after I ate last night. I bite Pete's head off if he wakes me up too early sometimes. Uh, metaphorically."
Mikey can't help but snort. "So you needed a nap."
"You're possibly the most boring werewolf ever."
"Guilty." Patrick smiles sheepishly again, and Mikey feels any nerves - and the lingering pissiness about getting scared in the first place - ease in his gut.
"So last night wasn't the full moon," Mikey says. "How does that work?"
Patrick gives him a lengthy explanation that starts before bus call and ends after they're on the road again and Mikey's sharing a couch with him. The basics are these: Patrick needs to change once a month or so to keep the change voluntary, but the change isn't tied to the moons. They schedule their breaks with enough time for him to run around in the wild since that seems to give him more mileage on the road.
Pete's around at the end when Patrick's trying to explain how a change feels. There's a lot of useless gesture, and Pete's watching fondly and nodding encouragingly, like Patrick's taking his first steps and Pete's there to catch him.
"It hurts," Patrick finally says, dropping his hands with a sigh. "But it's also kind of magic? I don't know. This is why Pete's the lyricist."
Mikey would give a lot of money to hear Pete's musical take on a werewolf change. But then, it's better if Pete's not a werewolf. A lot better.
Instead of puttering around or napping before shows, Mikey finds himself following Patrick while he gets ready. He listens to Patrick's warm-up vocal exercises, joins in on Patrick's guitar warm-up with one of the spare guitars around, and lets Patrick bounce ideas off him. ("Should I do a Twitter Q&A? Do you think anyone who isn't at the show would be around?")
Sometimes Pete's there, clinging to one of them or listening to whatever band he needs to for his album business in a corner or generally just being Pete. (His pointed looks speak volumes.) Sometimes he's not there, but he'll text Mikey lewd emojis to get his point across. Mikey mostly ignores him. (Pete texts Patrick, too; Mikey knows when Patrick gets really flushed looking at his phone.)
Pete's around when they stop on a patch of road bordering some woods a couple days later.
"Seen Patrick?" Mikey asks when he steps off the bus and Pete approaches.
Pete nods toward the woods. Mikey should have seen that one coming. He starts to climb back on the bus - he can have a night with his phone; maybe he could call Gerard again - but Pete stops him with a hand.
"You should go after him," Pete says.
Mikey makes a noise that could be interpreted as anything and says, "He seems to like his alone time."
Pete rolls his eyes and shoves him away from the road. "Do you trust me?"
"No." But Mikey allows himself to be pushed until he hits the line of trees. It feels somehow darker over here.
"Do you trust me when it comes to Patrick?"
Mikey sighs. "All right, but I'm haunting you until the end of time if you're wrong."
"Deal." Pete smacks a sloppy kiss onto Mikey's cheek and messes with his hair a little before he turns and jumps on the back of some hapless passerby.
Mikey sighs one more time for good measure even though no one can hear it, turns his cell phone's light on, and steps onto a trail a little way down from the parked buses.
It's actually a nice night. It's humid, but it's cooled down some thanks to a breeze that conveniently goes down every time Mikey nervously wonders if some crunch is Patrick. Or, worse, that the crunch isn't Patrick.
He's getting into a walking rhythm - he's gone hiking on simple trails around this time of night with Gerard before, so it's actually not that weird - when he rounds a bend and sees a wolf illuminated by the moonlight. He's sitting, but that doesn't lessen the power in his body or the way his eyes reflect the light on Mikey's phone.
"Patrick?" Mikey says quietly, turning off the light and tucking it away. Even after their talk, Mikey isn't sure about the protocol with werewolves. Is Patrick still Patrick like this? Does he feel like his name belongs to him, or is it too human a concept at a moment like this?
The wolf - no, it's Patrick; Mikey can't think of him any other way right now - steps forward. Mikey forces himself to breathe. Patrick stops a few feet in front of him, within reaching distance, but not so close that they're touching.
"Haunting Pete," Mikey mutters to himself as he extends his hand, and Patrick huffs a breath in a way that sounds somehow canine and like Patrick all at the same time.
Mikey doesn't actually touch Patrick. He just leaves his hand in front of Patrick's nose, and Patrick does what Mikey expects and sniffs it, nostrils flaring. He then pushes forward into his touch, commanding and firm.
Ear scratches. Mikey can do that.
They stand like that for a few minutes. The only noise is Patrick's panting, which, of course. He's got a coat that's got to be better suited for winter in the middle of summer. He's probably dying.
"You thirsty?" Mikey asks, turning to look like that would amplify any potential sounds in the area. Maybe he could pick up some trickling water to help him out.
But Patrick doesn't help him listen. When Mikey withdraws his hand, Patrick pushes forward, butting his head against Mikey's stomach.
"Whoa. What are you..."
Patrick does it again, and again, until Mikey stumbles backward and backs right into a tree. His feet slip on pine needles, and he catches himself with a hand before he does something really awkward, but Patrick uses the opportunity to lean his weight on Mikey until he's sitting. At that point, Patrick sits carefully, extending his paws more delicately than a wolf of his size should be able to, and lays his head on Mikey's lap.
"You've been hanging around Pete too long," Mikey says.
Patrick huffs again and opens his mouth. Mikey's heart skips a beat as he closes his mouth again around Mikey's arm, but his teeth barely touch the skin. It's just enough for him to guide Mikey's arm up, shuffle until his head's underneath his hand, and flop down again.
Mikey can take a hint.
He resumes the head scratching.
Things are fuzzy and hazy and warm until a horn cuts through the trees in a blast and Mikey jerks awake, barely able to see through his bleary eyes. Fucking bus. Fuck, he has no idea when call was supposed to be. He would have set an alarm or something if he'd been on the bus like he'd planned...but then, he wouldn't have had to back there.
He blinks hard a couple times and cracks an eye again. He can smell the fresh edge of pine, and the branches overhead kept the sun from getting in his eyes. He yawns, stretches his hands above his head...and feels resistance in his lap.
"Hey," Mikey says around another yawn, reaching down to shake Patrick without looking. He freezes when he touches bare skin.
"Sleeping," Patrick mutters. And yes. He's naked. Mikey doesn't see anything inappropriate; he's curled up against Mikey like Mikey's legs are a pillow, and his hair's mussed and a little dirty.
Still. Patrick's not Pete.
"Um." Mikey shakes Patrick again.
Patrick bats at his hand, but he smiles and pats Mikey's leg. "Comfy."
"Bus call, dude."
"Oh." Patrick sits up, and Mikey's eyes automatically slide away in that we-share-a-bus instinct cultivated over years of touring. "What time is it?"
"Fuck. Did they leave?"
Swearing sounds weird in Patrick's mouth. Mikey shakes his head and tosses off his hoodie without looking and hopes it helps. "Where do you keep your clothes?"
"I...I usually find them again before I fall asleep. I didn't mean to...I don't..."
The horn honks again. Mikey risks a look at Patrick, who's now on his feet and has Mikey's hoodie tied around his waist.
"Sorry," Patrick squeaks out, and he runs across the trail, bouncing on the balls of his feet and making pained noises every time he hits something. He couldn't be more different than the authoritative wolf that guided Mikey in the woods last night.
Mikey should find the idea less charming than he does.
After that, Mikey gives Patrick his space, even as he can feel his time with the tour winding down. (He also logically knows it's happening since he's out of clean laundry and the airline emailed him a reminder about his flight.) He doesn't avoid Patrick - he finds himself drifting to whatever room Patrick's in, just so he can hear him laugh with the guys or watch him on his laptop or whatever - but he doesn't approach Patrick. Patrick doesn't approach him back, either.
Two days before he's due to leave, Pete comes into Mikey's face and waves a little card. "Hotel night, dude. Here's the hook up."
Mikey takes the card with a nod and goes back to his phone on the green room couch. There haven't been any hotel nights so far, possibly because they've had outdoor nights once a week as a substitute. Mikey isn't sure if he's glad that he gets hotel room smell instead of bus smell, but he's not doing the full tour, so he can live with either for a couple more nights.
He watches the opening of Fall Out Boy's set, but he can feel himself getting tired and kind of sad, so he gets someone who works at the venue to call him a cab and sneaks out of the amphitheater. There's too much overlap between the band's fans and the ones for My Chemical Romance, and Mikey couldn't give them anywhere near his best. Especially if he ran into one of the assholes. He shivers in the backseat at the thought.
A real shower and a real bed where he can watch TV - he settles for some terrible movie on cable - does wonders. Mikey isn't tired enough to sleep after he calms down a little, but there's also no point going back to the venue. Maybe he can wait it out until one of the guys comes back and see what they want to do. Something not involving alcohol could be fun.
He loses himself in poking around on his laptop, sending Gerard an email about his latest comic sketches, when the door clicks open. Mikey looks up mildly. Apparently, he didn't have to track anyone down, which is nice, but he's only in his shorts. Not that it much matters on tour, but. It's only polite to at least have jeans on.
Patrick's standing in the doorway, gaping openly at Mikey. Mikey tilts his head and gives him a little wave, and it's only then that Patrick moves his gaze away and shivers a couple times.
"I...this was the key I got. There aren't two queens in here."
"No," Mikey says, voice warm with the laughter he's not voicing. He should have suspected Pete was up to something when he got a king room. "I don't mind if you don't. Come in before Pete makes you."
Patrick gulps and hops inside the rest of the way, making sure the door's closed before he even drops his bags. Once those are gone, he leans against the door.
"I've been weird," he says, fanning himself with his hat and keeping his eyes firmly on the floor.
"No, I have. And Pete knows why because I somehow still think it's a good idea to tell him things."
"I tell him things, too." Not that Mikey thinks a lot about Patrick's body in the morning sunlight, or the way his insides warm when he thinks of Patrick's laugh, or the way other things warm when he hears Patrick's singing voice. But then, no need to talk when Pete has functioning eyes.
Patrick tears his eyes away from the floor. "So there's something to tell Pete?"
Mikey's a firm believer in being open about things, so he stands, sets his laptop on a table where it won't get knocked over, and says, "If you mean that there's some chemistry crush thing on your end, yeah. Not just you."
"It's safe," Patrick blurts. "I mean. I won't hurt you."
Mikey frowns. "Of course you won't."
"I've never. I mean, I've talked to other werewolves, so I know what happens, but I haven't. Since I got turned."
Mikey could say a lot of things here. That Patrick doesn't have to do anything if he doesn't want to. That Mikey isn't entirely sure he's in the place for whatever Patrick's thinking about. Something comforting. Something wise. But after he thinks about it, and he watches Patrick, he decides to go simple.
"I trust you," he says.
Patrick's entire demeanor changes. He grins, predatory. Maybe there's a bit of the wolf there. But it makes Mikey think more of Patrick onstage than anything, and Mikey runs hot at just the thought.
"Yeah," Patrick breathes, and he closes in on the bed when Mikey gets to his feet.
Their kiss is hot and fierce on both ends. Mikey's a little surprised with himself - apparently he's in the right place for this after all - and he makes a pleased noise into Patrick's mouth as he grabs his hair. Patrick leans into him, and Mikey lets Patrick get them both on the bed.
"Wanted this," Mikey groans as Patrick moves away from his biting kisses to nibble on Mikey's throat. "For a while."
Patrick hums in agreement. "Too bad you're about to leave."
He pushes Mikey's shirt up and bites at his nipples. Mikey gasps and grabs the comforter.
"Isn't...this isn't it," he manages to say when Patrick pulls back and starts taking off his own clothes forcefully. Mikey should probably be taking care of things on his own end, but he wants to get this much across. "This won't be it."
Patrick seems to understand. He nods, and despite the fact that Mikey's getting pretty hard just from the little they've done, Mikey can't look away from Patrick's dark eyes. Not even to check if Patrick's completely naked.
It's a blur after that. Mikey loses his own clothes at some point, and he definitely gets confirmation that Patrick's naked when Mikey takes Patrick's hard cock in hand and strokes him off. It's Patrick's turn to grab Mikey's hair, and a thrill shoots through Mikey that makes precome drip down his cock. Even watching Patrick perform, he never would have guessed he could be like this when fucking. He loves it.
Still, Patrick gently takes Mikey's hand off of him before he comes, and he kisses down Mikey's stomach almost tenderly. That's more in line with the roses-and-chocolate Mikey had in mind. The way Patrick licks once down Mikey's cock before taking it in his mouth, making sure he's making eye contact when he does, is not.
Patrick only pauses when Mikey starts laughing. Mikey slaps a hand over his mouth when he does it - that's not the kind of thing that anyone likes during sex - but Patrick pulls off and asks, "Everything okay?"
"Oh yeah," Mikey says, nodding enthusiastically. "This is just. Great. Really great. You're great."
Patrick blushes very attractively at that. His swollen lips make him look so innocently obscene, and it's just. This is exactly Patrick. This weird swim of contradictions that shouldn't exist in one person.
"You're great, too," Patrick says, and he goes on to show how great he thinks Mikey is by making him come about thirty seconds after he says it. His mouth is just as talented as cock sucking as it is at singing. Talk about delightful revelations.
Mikey wakes up when fur tickles his nose. Or, more accurately, when the tickling makes him sneeze.
The lights are down in the hotel room; he and Patrick had both showered before falling asleep snuggling. But Patrick had been naked and human when Mikey last had his eyes open. Now, he's spooning with a really big fucking wolf that smells like dog and hotel shampoo. Mikey huffs his laugh into Patrick's fur, and Patrick grumbles in his werewolfy way at the noise.
"Nothing," Mikey mutters back. "Go back to sleep."
They both do.
It takes a few weeks for Fall Out Boy to finish their tour. Mikey has to take advantage of his available iPhone upgrade in the meantime. It's probably not only because he texts Patrick constantly, but that can't help.
When Patrick makes it back to his LA place - Mikey said he would be willing to meet Patrick in Chicago, but Patrick has meetings in California - Mikey gives him a couple days to rejoin the world of the non-touring. Mikey's doing other things, anyway: Disneyland with friends, comics time with Gerard and Bandit, and fiddling with Electric Century stuff so he'll have something by the time Record Store Day rolls around. (He has plenty of time before spring, but in case his mood takes another dive in the winter, he wants to be prepared.)
After the adjustment period's over, Mikey drives over to Patrick's to pick him up. He bypasses the house and lets himself into the backyard, which isn't a terrible size for someone of Patrick's means in southern California. The trees bordering the property are probably more important to Patrick, and they're really pretty. Instead of looking for Patrick, Mikey watches the late-afternoon sun filter in through them, listens to the trees rustle in the wind.
And then he hears a wolf snuffle up, and Mikey looks down with a smile.
"Marking your territory?" he asks, scratching the top of Patrick's head. Patrick nuzzles into it before making for his back door.
Patrick's changed and dressed when Mikey makes it inside. Mikey sees Patrick smile for about two seconds before he wraps him up in a hug.
"You smell good," Patrick says against him.
"Mmm hmm. Like home."
Mikey gives him one more squeeze before he lets him go. "Ready?"
"Yeah." Patrick picks up a duffle bag. "You don't mind having me for a couple days?"
"It's the absolute worst," Mikey says in a dry voice on his way out to the car. "Hate it."
Patrick laughs, nose crinkling, and follows.