Cover by dapatty
There are times that Mikey’s pretty sure that either he or Gerard is a changeling. Like, Gee’s awesome and shit, Mikey’s the luckiest fucker on the entire planet because he totally has the best brother, but….. Fuck Gee is weird about things sometimes.
Gee’s weirdness about being outside is why Mikey’s currently trying to put up a tent (which is totally short for tentacles because you totally fucking need about nineteen of them to make it possible to put up the fucking thing) while Frankie tries to dig a fire pit, and why their dinner is stuck halfway up a tree. Mikey’s pretty sure that bears can climb trees , so throwing it up there just means that neither Mikey nor Frank can get at it, but Gee gave them, like, a brochure, and it said that food needed to be hung up in trees or bears would eat it.
Mikey’s not entirely sure if there are bears in this part of the country. Poison ivy, yes - you only get that once before you become a total, like, expert in spotting it - evil hell-weed - snakes, definitely, possibly even cougars, but probably not bears.
Mikey shrugs and tries to pull one of the pole things to the left. It’s probably good to do all of the things to keep the killer animals away… Frankie would only want to be friends with them, anyway.
“Frankie, do we really need a tent?” Mikey is pretty sure there’s something fundamentally wrong with this tent, like it’s really a modified giraffe.
“Yes.” Frankie clangs his pick-axe off of a rock and a tuft of dead grass catches on fire from the sparks. “Spiders.” Frank stamps out the flames and glares at the rock like it’s insulted his mother.
Mikey takes a deep breath and looks at the sky which is beginning to bleach out that way it does when night will fall soon. He picks up the tent instructions again and starts laying out all of the pieces like they are in the pictures. Maybe Frank will send a rock flying up with his pick-axe and knock Mikey out, making the tent and getting dinner back down from the tree not Mikey’s problem any more. That would be nice.
It is definitely twilight, or possibly dark with a good moon, by the time Mikey’s got the tent up (sort of. They’ll be fine as long as it doesn’t rain) and Frank’s not so much made a fire pit as excavated a bunch of rocks to make a circle and cleared a lot of dead grass out of the way. But, you know, they’ve made a fucking campsite. Mikey takes a picture of it - they deserve some kind of award, like in Boy Scouts. Maybe Gerard will draw them something.
Mikey usually tries to ignore Frank’s terrifying pyromaniac tendencies, because Frank is actually surprisingly responsible about things that would destroy the environment or whatever, but the fire is… enthusiastic, and the gleeful dancing at the flames is mildly disturbing. It's not out of control or anything but Mikey gives Frank a wide berth anyway. Now they just need to get the food bag down out of the tree. It’ll be fine.
“How hungry are you, really?” Mikey asks after the third time Frank falls on him. Mikey is not very good at giving people a boost up, and Frank’s not very good at, like, reaching for things nine hundred feet above his head.
Frank sits up and pulls a stick out of his hair before glaring at Mikey and coughing. “I’m, like, 60% starving.”
Mikey can work with that, he actually prepared for shit like this. “Okay. Why don’t you get some water from the stream and put it on to boil” Mikey read something about parasites in Gee's brochure. They are going to boil the shit out of all water forever.
As soon as Frankie's left the camp to go to the stream, Mikey heads off. It's not, like super super far back to where they left the car - tents are fucking heavy to carry - and Mikey's pretty sure that he can make it there and back without dying or getting lost or stolen by a monster or anything. He's got a fucking flashlight and everything.
He nearly breaks his ankle twice in the dark (he's not super great at using the flashlight to, like, actually light shit) but no one saw, so it doesn't count. His super-secret survival sack (alliteration is cool) is still safely tucked under the passenger seat - Frankie hadn't even noticed him stowing it there. Mikey is so fucking grateful that his changeling brother married Lyn, she's a fucking life-saving queen of awesome and Mikey made sure to get all of the stuff on the list she wrote on the back of Gee's brochure.
Mikey's still locking the car back up (he got distracted fantasising about sleeping in it) when Frank starts shouting.
"Mikey! Mikes! Where the fuck are you? Gee' gonna kill me dead if you're eaten."
"No, he wouldn't." Mikey's not 100% sure that yelling is a good idea, but, like, Frank sounds worried under the exasperation.
"Okay, he'd get distracted drawing your remains and shit, and then he'd just look all disappointed, but Lyn and your mom would totally murder me and they'd tell my mom. "
"True." Mikey's getting a little better at lighting up the bit he's actually walking on, but the dark in the woods feels like it's physically pressing in around him and he really wants to be back in camp with the fire and Frankie. the trees keep catching at his hair, and the sack is completely bullshit to carry, and he swears it's twice as long going back to camp as it was getting to the car.
By the time he's walked four hundred million miles, guided only by Frankie's yelling, Mikey can see the fire, but he can't work out how to get to it... He tries to push his way through a bush, but it's not like pushing through a pit and he drops the flashlight in his fight. Eventually, though, he bursts out into the clearing.
"I brought food" Mikey brandishes his sack. "Or, well, I brought vegetarian jerky and candy and powdered coffee, but...Oof!"
Mikey falls back into the bush as Frank runs over and sends them both flying.
"You are god amongst men, Mikey Way."
"I keep telling you that." Mikey does. No one ever believes him, even Gee only tells him how difficult gods are to stat up in D&D.
"You usually hide it better Mikes, but this is some total loaves and fishes shit." Frank has already burrowed into the sack and is tearing into the jerky.
Mikey makes a quiet disgruntled noise and starts pulling leaves out of his hair.