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Black Moods and Misunderstandings

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One

They're laughing when they come up with the plan, because it's kind of ridiculous, really. They've always made so much of their friendship, of how much the band means to them, no one'll believe this, right?

Messing with people's heads is fun, Tyson says. Nick would know less about that than Tyson , but he does know that keeping people on the edge of their seats is no bad thing sometimes.

Tyson giggles like a freaking schoolgirl as he posts it, then distracts Nick with some shit or other until Nick suddenly remembers their stupid prank (on the world! Tyson declares dramatically, and Nick flaps a hand at him, typing on his phone). Then they settle down with re-heated pizza and make fun of the people on the reruns of American Idol.

It's not till Tyson's gone that Nick remembers having tweeted at all, and he checks the replies he's getting.

Turns out Tyson's right. Messing with people's heads really is pretty fun.

Two

Nick's been this mad at Tyson before, he's sure he has. Well, he's pretty certain he has been. Tyson has a way of getting under his skin – no one knows the route better after twelve years – so he must have been this angry with him before.

Days and days of tense, end-of-tour exchanges culminated in an enormous row, and Nick's not even sure what it was about now. Tyson started it.

He's pretty sure Tyson started it.

But all those times before, he didn't have a convenient way of getting out his anger, and he's reaching for something to type into Twitter with before he even really thinks about it.
Tyson's tweet is at the top of his homepage, and that just makes him hit the buttons harder.

Three

Tyson's seething as he storms out of Nick's house, but his ability to storm properly is kind of defeated by the fact that he can only seethe as far as his own house, which is right across the road from Nick's, the fucking bastard.

If he'd had a car journey, a drive, he might have calmed down, he thinks, when he looks back on it later. But he doesn't. He stomps over to his house and slams the door, but the walls between him and Nick feel flimsy, insubstantial. He wants to lash out, because who the hell is Nick to tell him how to live his life? Every mistake Tyson's made, Nick's been there for, every stupid-ass thing Tyson's done, Nick's watched, and who the hell is he to get up on his high horse about what-the-hell ever? There is one person Tyson will take moralising at him, and last time he checked Nick fuckin' Wheeler wasn't his mom.

At the time, Tyson doesn't think that maybe Nick's a little bit afraid that he's branching out and leaving Nick behind. The thought's anathema to Tyson, he doesn't even consider that it could occur to Nick.

He's tired and angry and tense, too angry to want Nick even though that's where he'd usually be headed right now; instead, he heads for his computer, turning it on with more viciousness than it's really warranted, listening to it with growing impatience as it clunks to life after God knows how long left asleep. Who the hell is Nick fuckin' Wheeler – and he can't remember what the hell his password is, how the hell should he-

He's angry as he logs in to Twitter, angry as he types off the message, angry as he hits 'post', stabbing at the mouse button with a sense of almost malicious victory.

Serves Nick fucking Wheeler right.

Four

Tyson threw a freaking plate at him before he stormed out, and that was a new one. Nick was pretty certain only girls were supposed throw plates, and even then only in movies because in real life, girls tended not to be so stupid about crockery and possible injury.

Tyson, though, Nick thought with a sense of righteous indignation, was stupid about a lot of things.

He'd thrown a freaking plate at him.

Oh, Nick knew he shouldn't have pushed at him, had known that Tyson was bound to react badly, but this was supposed to be a way of calming down after a too-long tour, getting things back together again after weeks of exhaustion and tense interaction. (And hadn't that gone well?) But he hadn't been able to resist pushing, hadn't been able to resist showing Tyson all the reasons why, god help him, he needed to stay with Nick, because sometimes it's a little bit hard for Nick to work out why Tyson hung around him.

It never so much as crosses his mind that maybe pointing out all of Tyson's faults just makes it harder for Tyson to work out why Nick sticks around with him.

And he'd been making good points, he thinks, injured. He'd been making reasonable, balanced points. Tyson was off-balance, off-kilter without Kim. He was acting out, acting over the top in an attempt to compensate for that, he was scared out of his mind over writing the next album, since the last one broke him down into pieces before it built him back up again. Nick got that.

But then shit escalated out of control, and they were screaming at each other before Nick knew where the hell he'd taken the wrong turn. (Probably in starting the conversation at all.)

He checks his emails almost absently, clicking Twitter open without really thinking about it, and Tyson's tweet is at the top there. Something in Nick hardens, any remorse he might have felt disappearing.

Tyson's 'over this shit', is he? Well, two can play at that game.

Five

Tyson had fancied a spot of social experimenting, and Nick is usually pretty willing to be carried along by Tyson's ideas – the harmless ones, anyway. They're mostly harmless, in Tyson's defence, and it didn't seem like too big a deal, post a tweet or so about having a fight, sit back and watch people sweat a bit over it. Nothing too terrible.

The first phone call they get is from Mike, asking what the hell was up. Explaining it's a joke took a couple of minutes, and they figure it's over, are just about to watch Monster Vs. Alien and laugh about it when Shabba rings. He's pretty irate too. Next it's Jen, then Robyn, then Tyson's mom of all people, and suddenly social experimenting doesn't seem like such a good idea.

They check their Twitters, see if anyone's bothered to respond, and find that their responses have exploded.

They exchange one long, panic-struck look before Tyson begins to giggle, high and stupid, and Nick can't help but join in.

This is going to be one hell of a mess to figure out, but right now, Nick's OK with that.

**

It doesn't matter how it went down, in the end, they'll realise one day. Because bust-ups happen and there are bumps in the road and shit hits fans and lightning strikes twice in one place. Point is, people find ways to carry on after all of these things, and if they're not destined for a happily ever after, they'll have a damn good go at it all the same.

And sometimes, just sometimes, it really is fun to mess with people's heads.

FIN