"Hold still," Gerard said. Mikey tried to edge away from him, but Gerard grabbed him by the shoulder and held him still. Gerard's face was contorted, the veins in his throat standing out. Mikey hated this part.
Gerard cleared his throat roughly and horked a glob of glistening green fluid into his hand. Mikey glared at it. "This is gross."
"It's tradition." Gerard wiped the fluid on Mikey's forehead and started carefully smearing it over his face. Mikey closed his eyes tightly and thought about kicking his brother in the balls.
Tradition, yes, on their home planet, where he might get eaten by a predator when he ventured out from their den. But they were on Earth. In New Jersey. In a house, not a den. And he was going to a club, not venturing through the wild forests and lava fields their parents told them about at home. Earth didn't have giant predators who wanted to eat him. He didn't need to be coated in venom before he could go outside.
Gerard was really big on tradition, though.
Gerard spit up some more fluid and wiped it in Mikey's hair. "Be careful," he said sternly. "I don't want to have to come looking for you."
"This is stupid," Mikey told him.
Gerard flickered his third and fourth eyelids at him, and Mikey tried to bite him on the nose. More unfair things about being an alien stranded on Earth: they weren't totally sure how many others of their species might be around, and if they didn't find mates soon-ish, Mikey's dick was going to fall off and he would start mutating into a female. Dimorphism and ensuring survival of the species both sucked.
"Have fun," Gerard said, even though he'd just told Mikey he couldn't have fun because he needed to be careful. Mikey wished his venom sacs were fully developed. He would spit on Gerard's shoes.
The club was awesome. Dancing and drinking and tons of pheromones to flick his tongue at and taste. He could hang out in a crowd of humans like this for days.
He danced back to the bar and ordered a vodka tonic. Vodka was the closest thing they had on this planet to the liquid their mother had brought from home and nursed them on as hatchlings. Kind of funny that here it was a drink for adults.
Mikey turned around and looked up. Tall dude. Holding a drink. Smiling at him. He might get a nice taste of pheromones off this one. "Hi."
The guy leaned in close. "I'm Gabe."
"Nice to meet you, Mikey."
"Likewise." Mikey took his drink from the bartender and gulped it down like water. Gabe didn't even blink.
"We should go somewhere private," Gabe said, smiling wider. His teeth were very distracting.
"That might not be a great idea."
"Oh? Why not?"
Mikey shrugged and gave his stock answer, the one that was absolutely true but that everyone thought was a joke. "I'm toxic."
Gabe grinned even wider. Almost like his jaw was unhinging. And his teeth were really super-pointy. And his skin was...oh. Oh. Scales.
"What a coincidence. So am I."