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Dramaphobe

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Length: 0:19:22
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Occasionally Mikey wonders what he did in a past life to be surrounded by overdramatic gay men. They come at him on all sides. His brother is, which means Mikey gets it at home. He’s a bartender at a queer nightclub, which means he gets it at work. And his friends are, which means Mikey gets it wherever else he goes. His life is a regular Broken Hearts Club.

He’s got nothing against the gay part. That would be hypocritical considering he likes dick. And even if he didn’t, Mikey’d like to believe he wouldn’t be a bigot. It’s the overdramatic part. There’s always something catastrophic with someone. If you buy into all of it, it can get really exhausting. Sometimes the drama is Gabe being sick of all of Patrick’s shit, or Gerard suffering from emotional exhaustion after trying to wade through Frank’s family drama. Luckily, with so much exposure Mikey’s developed a mental bubble that helps him float above it all. Observe, but not get submerged.

“It’s going to be the worst day of my life.”

“Really?”

“Yes,” Ray moans.

“I’d be happy if Gee was getting married.”

“That’s because your brother wouldn’t impose on his guests. My brother is trying to force everyone to be in love.”

Judging by appearance alone, no one would ever guess Ray Toro is a drama queen. He’s not a chattering twink, and he’s not a gossipy bear. But Mikey was there in high school when Ray moved out for two weeks to give his parents a chance to ‘decide’ if they’d rather have a gay youngest son or a eldest son who used ‘that’s gay’ as an insult. Mikey was there in college when Ray started a protest movement about not having the school radio available to download as a podcast. Mikey’s here now, while Ray’s making his brother’s wedding all about himself. Mikey knows better than to think Ray is calm and collected.

“Take Christa,” he suggests. In Mikey’s mind, Ray’s plus one is obvious.

“My brother gave her her own invitation.”

“Alicia then. She’d go. Might cost you twenty bucks for a bribe. Unless there’s an open bar, then she’ll be thrilled.”

“Mikey, I can’t take any girl. You know how put up or shut up my family are. So what that I come out? They haven’t seen a boyfriend. If I take a girl they’ll assume I was just bi-curious, got some third base, and called it a night.”

Realistically, Mikey’s pretty sure Ray’s immediate family get that he’s really and truly gay, considering he’s identified as gay since he was fifteen. Unfortunately, facts have nothing to do with anything when someone around him is throwing a fit. And there’s always the remote possibility that Ray’s aunts and second cousins would react like that. Maybe Ray is right to worry. He chooses to bypass the whining and head for the solution. “So you want me to set you up, or?”

“Come with me?”

“Uh-”

“It is open bar, you’re right.”

It’s a weak offer, and Ray knows it. Mikey’s sampled everything his shelves contain. He knows how to describe vodkas so he can upsell the premium brands, knows the differences between Phillips and Smirnoff and Skyy and Grey Goose. Alcohol isn’t as tempting as it used to be.

“Gerard won’t lie, Gabe and Pete are dating now, Ryan will agree and then show up four days late and wonder where everyone is. Come on Mikey, don’t make me ask Frank.”

Mikey wouldn’t want to ask Frank to a wedding either. “I’ll go. You’re the designated.”

***

Mikey’s not sure exactly where they’re going. Ray never bothered with giving him an invitation. He agrees it would have been a waste of calligraphy pen on white and cream, but it does leave him ignorant. When Ray pulls into a hotel parking lot Mikey’s confused as to if they’re actually staying here, or stopping for GoogleMaps directions. Ray’s bad at multi-tasking in the car.

Mikey hears the click of the door opening and then Ray turns to him, already half out of the car. “Ready?”

“Here? Who has a wedding at a hotel?” The few Mikey has been to for relatives have involved his ass going numb in a pew while an agonised Jesus looked down on the audience.

Ray pulls his leg back in and closes the door. He turns the key in the ignition so that he can start the air conditioning again. Mikey’s silently grateful. He sweats at the drop of a hat, and he’s in multiple layers. Dark circles around his armpits make a bad impression.

“Lou does. A brother that wouldn’t get married in a church until I could does. Full on Debbie Novotny style.”

“Wow.”

“I told you he’s all about forcing love on other people. I thought my mom was going to strangle him.”

Mikey makes a noncommittal noise. Mrs Toro doesn’t so much have traditional beliefs as she just loves traditions. He’s sure she cares because every Toro ever has probably gotten married in the same church, not because that’s what proper Catholics do.

“Thanks for coming with me. I could totally see Lou telling me to get out if I didn’t have a plus one. It was you or an escort. Glad it was you.”

“Thanks.”

When Ray shakes his head a strand of his long hair pops out of his respectful ponytail. “No. I mean I’m glad it’s you. I think I really like you, man.”

“Yeah?”

“Yeah.”

“Cool.” ‘I like you’ is just about the weakest declaration Mikey’s ever heard. On the other hand, he’s pretty desensitized to statements of affection. A skinny man in mesh with five crantini’s in his system will say ‘I love you’ when you give him a sixth.

Ray looks at him. He’s flushed even though the air conditioning is on full blast. “Just cool?”

Mikey sighs. “I have crushes on all my friends. Doesn’t mean I should do anything about them.” He doesn’t cite Pete, though that man is enough proof for a lifetime.

“Okay. Okay then. Let’s go watch this, and get smashed to relieve the pain.”

He holds back as Ray locks the car door. It’ll sell it more if they walk in side by side. He’d hold Ray’s hand, but that probably wouldn’t be good for either of them right now.

Mikey’s been to a few hotel conventions in his life. Just because he’s not really an active fanboy anymore doesn’t mean he doesn’t still have a navy and bronze scarf for winterwear. He’s seen the extent that a grand room can be decorated. This is about a billion times better. If he had to describe the room in one word it would probably be beautiful.

What’s better is there’s already a few people clustered around the manned bar. Mikey considers waiting, but when Ray heads directly for the corner, he follows. If the groom’s brother can get drunk before the vows, so can he.

***

Mikey wakes up in a bed that isn’t his. It’s not much of a logic leap to figure he’s in a hotel room. His bed is much harder, and his blankets are a pile of old afghans. Not to mention the sound of air conditioning rattling in the corner. He sits up and opens his eyes in panic as he tunes into the undercurrent of sound. Beyond the obnoxiously noisy air conditioner is running water. Someone is in the bathroom, showering. Fuck. What the fuck does he do now?

One option is to flee, right now, before anything confrontational happens. It’s a strong option, the one that makes most sense to his panicked senses. The facts are though that the other guy stayed when he could have sneaked out. Mikey’s not generally one for one upmanship, but this is different. Besides, he should probably chip in for the cost of the room.

Since there’s nothing else to do, he grabs the remote control from the nightstand. He flips past all the different news channels and leaves it at toddler cartoons. While Mikey doesn’t recognise this one, he firmly believes in the power of watching happy things in the morning. Doodlebops do much more for your soul than thirty new people being blown up in a city he can’t pronounce.

The pipes screech as the person turns the shower off, and Mikey tenses in anticipation. Considering he has no memory at all of last night, that he’ll need to scan Lou’s Facebook page to even know who showed up, it’s entirely possible that beer goggles played a part in his hook up. He just hopes the man that walks out doesn’t have a neckbeard. After that one drunk DnD session, Mikey vowed to never make out with another man with a neckbeard again.

The door opens with a cloud of steam and Mikey drags the blankets tighter around him. Seeing the same person naked takes on a different meaning the morning after, and this time Mikey doesn’t even have the benefit of remembering a night before. He’d rather be wearing clothes for this, but he’s got no idea where his suit is.

The person that steps out in the wake of humidity doesn’t have a neckbeard. There’s no facial hair at all, because as far as Mikey knows, Frank’s never had a beard. The fact that it’s Frank puts a twist on the events Mikey can’t remember. Frank is very much the kind of person to strip someone naked before tucking them under the blankets. Of course, he’s also the kind of person to have heavily intoxicated sex.

“Morning. You’re here...why?”

“Me and Gerard crashed. He practically had to save you from yourself. You sent him about thirty pictures of you strangling yourself as you tried to get your tie off so you could pop your collar on the dance floor.”

“Did we-”

Frank shrugs. The movement ripples through his body and causes the towel tied loosely around his stomach to shift. It doesn’t drop off his hips, but it’s close. “Didn’t finish. You puked while we were fucking. Is there a word for something that’s disgusting and hilarious at the same time?”

Mikey’s not sure if he should laugh or die of humiliation.

“We could try for a better round two? One where I don’t have to pull out and wash a trashcan?”

“Well, when you put it like that,” Mikey laughs. Since the debacle that was Pete he’s avoided doing anything with friends. Things get way too messy that way. But any damage that will be done here already has been. Actually getting off won’t change things for the worse.

***

“So, how are we getting home?”

“Well, Gerard has your clothes, and Gerard and Ray have keys, so. Text them?”

Mikey sighs, but picks up his phone from the generic maple nightstand. It doesn’t surprise him in the least that he let Gerard take his clothes but not his phone. He opens the door slightly, sticks his torso out just enough to check the number, then starts texting. time to go home. need clothes first. in room 61.

The knock at the door comes in no time at all. Maybe Gerard didn’t go home, maybe he got a room on the sixth floor too. Maybe there was some sort of afterparty Mikey missed by being completely sloshed off his ass. Hell, maybe he attended. Really, he could have done anything in the last twelve hours.

After a quick look at Frank proves he’s not getting up for anything short of a wall of flames, Mikey gets off the bed. He opens the door just enough that Gerard can get in while he can hide behind it. No need to show off his junk to anyone in the hallway. The awkward position gives Frank a better view than he has, just for a moment, until Mikey releases the doorknob. Then he sees what Frank does; only Ray has come, suit draped over his bare arm as his own dress shirt sleeves are rolled up to the elbow.

“Hey Ray. He’s hiding behind the door.”

Mikey opens his mouth to protest he’s not hiding hiding, then closes it again when it hits him he probably should be. He definitely should be, when Ray turns around with that expression on his face Mikey’s sure of it. That expression says ‘why yes, I do think shit will be going down today, thanks for asking’.

“Pass me my clothes.” The chance of his protective drama bubble bursting is high, but Mikey can try to get out of this situation with it intact.

“Oh, Ray, pass me mine too. I’m getting cold. They’re in the bathroom.”

Of course, it doesn’t matter if he’s calm if Frank is going to be a dicksmack.

“You fucked Frank?"

What’s he supposed to say, he didn’t remember doing it the first time so he had to do it again?

“What’s wrong with fucking Frank?” Frank demands. If nothing else, Frank’s great at attracting attention. Unfortunately, Ray stays focused on Mikey.

“I thought you said you didn’t fuck friends. Bullshit, clearly. You’d fuck anyone. Anyone that’s not someone who actually gives a shit about you.”

“Fuck you Toro! I give a shit! I just blew him instead of falling asleep even though I just came!”

Honestly, Mikey’s surprised Ray doesn’t punch him in the face for that. Frank has a bad habit of saying exactly the wrong thing to people that are already frustrated with him. It’s his particular brand of drama; he’s a ‘wanna go?!’ bro. Sometimes Mikey thinks he got the finger tattoos to make knuckle scrapes and bruises less obvious.

*knock-knock* “We’ll check out in a minute,” Mikey shouts through the door, hands stilling on the buttons of his shirt. He doesn’t have time for a maid right now.

“Did Ray bring you clothes?” Awww, hell. When Mikey doesn’t answer Gerard continues. “When I came back from continental breakfast Ray was gone. I got your text, but I think he got it first? Has he come by?”

“In here!” Frank shouts across the room. “In here being a dick!”

“What?” Mikey can practically hear him shake his head and refocus. “But he brought the suit, right?”

If there’s one person in the universe Mikey knows completely it’s Gerard. He knows his brother is perfectly capable of having an extended conversation yelled through a door. He might as well let him in to save both their voices. Besides, it’ll be a welcome distraction from the other occupants of the room. Apparently Ray did not take kindly to being called a dick.

Gerard comes in and does what he always does in a hotel; tries to force the door closed faster than it can go. Only when it’s fully closed does he turn and survey the room. His face changes as he does. Mikey’s dress shirt is unbuttoned on his chest. Frank is still naked and defiantly not under the blankets on the bed. There’s no lipstick smear on his dick, but the situation is still exceedingly obvious.

“Mikey, you know Ray-”

“I texted you, didn’t I? He just showed up!” He’s not that much of a dick that he’d do this to Ray on purpose. Gerard should know him better than that.

“You can’t tell me who to stick my dick in!” Frank shouts.

“Ohh, look,” Gerard whispers theatrically. Mikey turns in just enough time to see Ray tackle him and start pounding Frank’s shoulders and head into the pillows. Frank, being Frank, fights back immediately, bringing his legs up around Ray’s lower back to try to flip them. It takes a brave man to wrestle naked. That is some Greek parthenon shit.

“I think they’re fighting for my honor or some shit,” Mikey says dryly.

“Tell them to stop!”

“Should I also promise my handkerchief to whoever stops their muscle car closest to the cliff?”

“I thought you hated drama.” Gerard points to their writhing friends. “This is drama.”

Mikey knows. He just doesn’t think that pleading on his knees for them to stop will make things less dramatic. Interfering tends to make things worse, not better. Physically prying Ray off Frank might get himself an elbow in the face. Verbally talking them down won’t work much better. What if Ray wants to hear regret? Mikey can’t give him that.

“Go have another continental breakfast,” Mikey replies.

“Mikey-”

“Go. It’s cool.”

Gerard shrugs and leaves. Mikey stays by the door, counting in his head as he buttons his shirt and gets his shoes on. They’re dress shoes, the kind you actually have to tie and untie. He loses count for a second, distracted by Frank getting an arm free and the subsequent fist in Ray’s side, but resumes from around the same place. Once he’s at one hundred Mikey’s out of the room. Neither Frank nor Ray notices. Or, at least, neither chase after him.

Mikey takes the stairs at the end of the empty hallway, knowing Gerard will be at the elevator. If Gerard spots him he’ll give him that older brother look, like he’s sincerely disappointed. Mikey doesn’t want that. Better to take a cab and avoid them all until they calm down and get over it. Because they will. Mikey knows drama, and he knows even the most overwhelming theatrical fighting can’t sustain itself without being fed. All he has to do is refuse to feed it.