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Holding Days Together

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The Butcher calls Sisky "Baby Boy" in front of Bill and Mike almost has a heart-attack on the spot. Bill taps the end of his pen against his knee and doesn't look up. Mike takes a fortifying swig of Red Bull just in case Bill is still processing. Sisky props his feet against Butcher's ankle and goes back to texting. Butcher never looks up from his sketching.

Mike does not want the day that Bill finally acknowledges that Sisky and Butcher are not just good friends who like to cuddle to be a day when they're touring. Bill is weird about Sisky. It's not that he doesn't get Sisky has sex. No, Mike knows that Bill gets that. He has even seen Bill being encouraging about it (he'd been with when Bill had decided Sisky should have his own condoms - it wasn't an experience he was eager to repeat) but it's just that he starts to get twitchy and worried if Sisky shows signs of having more than casual sex. It's a bizarre world view especially for a guy who likes to talk about the importance to long-term commitment. After the best part of a bottle of Johnny Walker, Bill could only manage to explain that he promised he wouldn't let Sisky get hurt. Casual sex doesn't make broken hearts so it's his job, Bill tells Mike earnestly, to make sure Sisky doesn't get into a tour romance. Mike is sure he must have argued with Bill about that but his memories of that night are fuzzy although the splitting hang-over the next morning remains clear. In the end, Bill's reasoning doesn't really matter. It's just another thing Mike has to add to his list of Bill's oddities that must be dealt with for everything in Mike's life to go smoothly.

When Bill finally does acknowledge the fact that Sisky has been serious with The Butcher since before their tour started, Mike knows that Bill will be weird about it. Long experience has taught Mike that it's much better for all of them to have Bill get weird when they aren't confined to a bus for hours on end. This has left him counting down the days till the end of tour and also wondering what the best way to go about making Sisky and The Butcher actually tell Bill instead of waiting for him to figure it out. This was not what he expected when he agreed to play guitar in Bill's band.

"Lean. Mean. Green." Bill pauses to scribble something out in his notebook.

Mike has been Bill's creative partner for long enough that he knows a list like that is just the verbal component of Bill writing.

"Fighting machine," Sisky says at the same time Bill asks musingly, "tangerine?"

"Boring and clichéd," Mike says before Bill can get irritated by Sisky interrupting him and possibly notice that Butcher is staring dreamily at Sisky again and all but doodling melting hearts around what is quite clearly yet another sketch of Sisky.

Bill is outraged at the suggestion. "It's not."

"Sweet Tangerine, ring any bells?"

Bill pauses and Mike can feel the beginning of a good argument brewing between them. Life is normal and Mike has one less day of tour to worry about Bill finally confronting the facts about Sisky and Butcher.