Mikey Way was definitely Pete’s favorite thing about Warped Tour.
“Definitely Mikey Way,” he announced to the bus at large.
“God, Pete, you can’t tell an interviewer that,” Patrick bitched from the lounge. His headphones were around his neck as he took a break in creating shit that made Pete want to live inside his brain to lead the band in a group discussion of what they would and wouldn’t say during the interview. (Pete thought that the discussion was unfairly directed towards him.)
“I think Mikey would appreciate it,” Pete said. He was carefully unraveling a Fruit Roll-Up Mikey had given him at the last stop. He was fairly certain he was going to be greeted with Batman’s disapproving glare, and that was reason number forty-seven why Mikey Way Was Pete’s Favorite Thing About Warped Tour.
“You’re going to give him the wrong impression,” Joe said.
“The interviewer?” Pete asked.
Joe rolled his eyes, like Pete was being dense. Pete knew he was a lot of things, but dense was not one of them. He glared as Joe said, “No, Mikey.”
“There’s nothing misleading about the truth. Patrick’s my favorite person, and Mikey Way is my favorite thing about Warped,” Pete insisted. He looked down at the Fruit Roll-Up. Batman seemed to disagree, so Pete stretched him out until he fit over Pete’s face and chased Andy around the bus doing his best Batman impersonation.
“So I pinned him down yelling, ‘I am vengeance, I am night, kiss my fruit-face,’” Pete concluded, and Mikey snorted so hard his glasses slid down his nose, even with the cute nose-wrinkles theoretically holding them in place.
“That, my friend, is most excellent,” Mikey said, and without prompting they both did the requisite air-guitar riff.
“You’re my favorite thing about this summer,” Pete said, leaning back. The sun was setting and they were both done for the day – one of the stranger things about Warped was having nights off, where all you had to do was make it to a bus in time to end up at the next town – and Pete leaned his head on Mikey’s shoulder.
He abandoned that course of action pretty quickly since Mikey definitely had the superpower of the boniest bones ever, but as he leaned back on his own elbows Mikey seemed to stiffen, shooting darting glances over at Pete, like he’d done something incomprehensible. Pete ignored the butterflies in his stomach – bred out of thin air, he thought, uncertain what was different – and asked where the hell Mikey had managed to find Batman Fruit Roll-Ups.
Alicia did this thing where she would roll her eyes and make Pete feel two feet tall, and not just because she was an Amazon and towered over him.
“What?” he said, standing on his tippy-toes to try and make himself feel less inadequate. It didn’t work.
“You have a crush,” she said.
“Hey, I am over you, missy,” Pete replied. “I just made that Mulder-Scully joke about us in fun, not because I wanted to work out our sexual tension.”
“Not on me, doofus,” she replied, doing the emasculating eye-roll of ‘Pete, you are an idiot’ again. “Mikey gives you butterflies.”
“Mikey doesn’t give me sexy butterflies,” Pete said. There were unsexy butterflies in his stomach just at the thought.
“All butterflies are sexy,” Alicia said confidently. “Especially butterflies that appear around a cutie like that.”
Pete suspected Alicia was projecting her own feelings onto his self-admitted butterflies. Just because he’d had a flutter when leaning his head on Mikey’s shoulder while watching the sunset and talking about Batman…
“I have to go,” he said and walked quickly towards My Chem’s bus as Alicia laughed at him.
“Your brother gives me butterflies,” Pete announced as soon as he cornered Gerard Way. Cornering was pretty easy, what with Gerard being in his bunk with his eyes closed at the time.
He blinked a lot and made Pete repeat himself twice before saying, “Why are you telling me this?”
Pete would have thought the answer was obvious. There was an unspoken rule to not mention The Bert Thing aloud to Gerard, though, so he decided to be delicate about the situation. “I just, you know, need discouragement. I thought you were the man for the job. Stern, caring older brother type. Threaten me with a shovel. You know the drill.”
“I wouldn’t even know where to find a shovel,” Gerard said. He still looked rather bleary. Pete didn’t wear a watch but he was relatively certain it wasn’t normal sleeping hours. At least, Joe had still been awake when he left. “Willow was awesome, though. What’d you think of her overall character arc?”
“They sell them at Lowes,” Frank mumbled, rolling out of a bunk onto Pete’s feet, cutting off Gerard. “And Mikey’s in back watching Xena with Ray. Go make out with him so we never have to speak of you again.”
Gerard twisted around in his bunk, pulled off a sock and threw it at Frank. Pete appreciated Mikey’s warnings about how any mention of the Bert Thing was met with swift retribution. That sock had clearly been rank a week ago.
“No, really,” Pete said, sticking his head inside Gerard’s bunk and giving him puppy-eyes. Gerard did not look swayed, despite the fact that the exact same look had gotten Mikey to give up his last package of Puchitto Hi-Chew, even though it was the ramune and cola flavor. Pete guarded his own rare Japanese treats with his life, and his puppy-eyes had to be pretty amazing if Mikey had…
He burst into the back lounge, causing Ray to squeak, and announced, “Do I give you butterflies?”
“Of fright?” Ray said. “Because that’ll be a resounding fuck yeah.”
“What did Alicia say?” Mikey demanded.
“Why? What’d she say to you?” Pete said. It would be just like her to orchestrate some plot that ended in Pete’s utter humiliation… except for how that wouldn’t be like her at all.
“Nothing!” Mikey said and stared intently at the tv. Ted Raimi and Bruce Campbell were making ridiculous faces. Pete held up a finger, ready to announce his own butterflies, but they were kind of absent and Ray was right there so Pete sat down on the couch beside Mikey and said, “So what’s happening?”
Mikey explained the plot and Pete snuggled under the Teen Titans blanket and stole Ray’s Red Vines. The butterflies returned when Mikey shifted his long awkward legs and ended up leaning against Pete, but he didn’t say anything.
Pete didn’t really know how to proceed. But he was starting to think about how awesome it would be to kiss Mikey Way, and he didn’t really know how to deal with that. He wasn’t gay, at least, he’d never been before, but Mikey was just… Mikey.
He thought about asking Alicia, but he wasn’t going to turn her into a human Game Genie.
“Patrick, what do I do?” he said. He didn’t like the whiny edge to his voice, but he was desperate and Patrick had to know the perfect solution.
“Please don’t write a bunch of love songs about Mikey Way that I’ll have to sing every night,” Patrick replied.
“You are a genius,” Pete said.
Pete had gone to the John Hughes school of romance so he taped the mix cd he made to the window of My Chem’s bus and tossed pebbles at the window until Mikey appeared. (Well, first Bob appeared and told Pete what he was going to do with those pebbles, then a minute later Mikey appeared.)
“Wha?” Mikey managed. His hair was sticking up at funny angles and there was dried drool on his cheek.
Pete belatedly remembered that most people slept.
He pointed to the mix cd (he’d embarrassingly had to borrow some boxes to climb on to tape it on the bus window) and Mikey took it, looking amused.
Pete blew him a kiss and scampered off.
Pete paced the hallway of his bus, perfecting the route where he stepped over Joe’s boxers, didn’t slide on Andy’s comics and skip-jumped over Patrick’s scattered cds. He did however get his feet all tangled up in one of his own pairs of pants and went face-first into Joe’s bunk.
“Hey man,” Joe said, completely relaxed. He was watching Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Pete squirmed his way into Joe’s bunk, half-laying on Joe, and checked his phone, because the show reminded him of Ways.
“A watched cell never beeps,” Joe said sagely.
“I blew Mikey a kiss fifteen whole minutes ago,” Pete replied. He checked his sidekick again. Nada. Bupkis.
Joe patted his head. “Mikey gets kisses blown to him all the time.”
“Not from me!” Pete said, willing Joe to understand the vital meaning Pete had put into that kiss that he didn’t even know if Mikey had caught.
Pete fidgeted until Joe kicked him out of his bunk, then as Pete decided to go for a Pop-Tart his phone buzzed.
Mikey liked his cd. Mikey liked his cd!
Pete skipped to the front of the bus before skidding on a doodled-on issue of AP and landing on his ass.
Pete knew the next step in romancing someone was to take them on a mindblowingly awesome date, so on their next day off he coerced Mikey into going to a water park with him.
This, as it turned out, was a totally stellar idea for several reasons, the most important of which was getting to see Mikey in his swim trunks. He had the palest chest Pete had ever seen and the most hilarious farmer’s tan and his knobby knees stuck out and Pete wanted to make Mikey stop wearing clothes forever if this was what he’d get to see all the time. Unlike every other band who had ever gone on Warped, My Chem tended to wrap up like mummies.
“You look like the ugly duckling,” Pete said, prodding at Mikey’s glasses. “Why are you waddling?”
“Flip-flops are tricky,” Mikey replied.
Pete snickered and Mikey shoved him and Pete stumbled into the kiddie pool, where he received several dirty looks. He didn’t know if it was his tattoos or just the fact that he was a grown-ass man standing in the kiddie pool.
Pete followed Mikey to a prime spot to leave their towels, and he offered to put sunblock on him, which was stellar idea number two because it meant he got to touch Mikey’s bare skin.
He definitely had a crush, as odd as it felt to be fluttery over pasty white skin and a shape that was distinctly masculine, even as skinny as Mikey was.
They went on the water slides and Pete lead Mikey around the park since he talked him into abandoning his glasses back with their towels and shit, and if Pete took that opportunity to take Mikey by the hand, well, Pete was an opportunist.
They went on the lazy river on towards the end of the day, when Mikey’s shoulders were turning pink and Pete’s hair felt sticky from the chemical-laden pool water. Pete didn’t let himself think about what he was doing too much, just grabbed onto a handle on Mikey’s innertube and pulled himself closer and leaned forward and kissed Mikey.
It was a nice kiss, warm and wet, until Pete leaned forward too much and toppled both their tubes, sending them splashing into the water.
He surfaced with a laugh, and blinked away the burn of chlorine just in time to see Mikey do the same.
“I’ve got a surprise,” Mikey said. “Close your eyes.”
The thing was, Pete liked kissing Mikey. A lot. They’d gotten a lot of practice since the water park and Pete was pretty sure Mikey had skyrocketed to his Top-Three-Kissers list, with an eye on number one.
Mikey had great technique, yeah, but it went beyond that, to the tingling Mikey’s presence sent through Pete, to the basic, undeniable fact that Mikey was one of Pete’s favorite people.
Pete had fucked up a lot of friendships with sex, and he wasn’t even sure if the swooping feeling in his stomach when he thought about sex with Mikey was anticipation or dread. There was the fact that Mikey had a dick, which Pete didn’t really know how to work around, and also the fact that Pete would be happy just talking to Mikey forever about Skeletor.
But he closed his eyes anyway and waited.
“Open up,” Mikey said, and Pete opened his mouth obediently and…
He had a mouthful of cereal.
Stale, fruity breakfast cereal.
“What?” he mumbled, eyes popping open. Colorful crumbs shot out with every word. “What’s this?”
Mikey proudly held up a box of Fruit Brute, which Pete grabbed. “Oh my god,” he said, swallowing the cereal. “Where the fuck did you find this?”
“A Big Lots in Arkansas,” Mikey said. “I’ve been saving it.”
“This is epic,” Pete declared. “The greatest breakfast one could ever wish for!”
He leaned over to grab the box from Mikey, who held it over his head as Pete pushed him into the couch in a tangle of limbs. Mikey carefully set the box upright on the floor as Pete kissed him. Mikey’s mouth tasted like stale-fruit dust, just like Pete’s, and Pete held in a hundred jokes about fruits and brutes as they lazily made out.
Pete kept his hands safely above the belt, just like always, and then when Mikey grabbed his ass he stiffened.
Mikey shifted awkwardly and Pete knew that shift. That was the same shift he did when he was about to say something he knew someone wasn’t going to like. He tried to sit up without elbowing Mikey and was only somewhat successful.
“I don’t think… I don’t think we’re going to work out,” Mikey said, saying the words in such a rush Pete had to take a moment to translate them in his head.
Pete was horrified. “We’re totally going to work out!”
“I just keep thinking about what happened with Gerard,” Mikey said. “And how they weren’t friends anymore after things got fucked up.”
“Then we just won’t fuck up!” Pete said.
“Or do you mean, we just won’t fuck?” Mikey asked. Pete couldn’t read his expression.
“I…” Pete had no answer.
“I think we need to stop,” Mikey said.
Pete felt like his heart was a punching bag. “Being friends?”
“No, this,” Mikey said, motioning towards disarrayed shirts and swollen lips. “I want to be friends.”
“So do I,” Pete said. He paused, then said, “Michael J. Fox should’ve done his mom.”
“I… what?” Mikey said.
“Then he would have been his own dad!” Pete said. “But he didn’t.”
“Even though it would have been awesome,” Mikey said. “It would have gotten too weird.”
Pete nodded. “But he still loved his mom and he got past the weirdness.”
Mikey laughed. “So instead of being motherfuckers, let’s watch Back to the Future.”
“Only if I get some more of that disgusting awesome cereal,” Pete said.
“Thumb war for it,” Mikey declared, which was totally cheating, him and his freaky bony double-jointed thumbs.
“Rock-paper-scissors,” Pete insisted, and they went to find the movie.