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The Scene Isn’t What It’s Been

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The thing about being newly un-engaged and over twenty-one is that his handlers let him get away with a lot of stuff they won’t let Nick and Joe get away with. Kevin hasn’t decided yet whether this is good or bad, but he’s pretty sure he shouldn’t have let Bill Beckett talk him into bus hopping for the four hours they happen to be parked in the same venue lot.

He doesn’t know anyone else at this party. He only knows Bill because Bill knows Demi, so he doesn’t even really know Bill all that well. And right now Bill’s licking salt off another guy’s wrist, and a shirtless guy with a parrot is staring at him. Him, Kevin, not Bill. Kevin thinks the licking thing is probably standard.

Kevin’s got a can of soda in one hand, and he’s trying to look as small as possible, leaning back against the bus kitchenette wall – there’s enough people there that everyone’s spilling out into the lot, and Kevin’s seriously considering a retreat. Bill’ll never even notice he’s gone.

Kevin glances towards the door, and when turns back around, the shirtless guy is right in front of him, still staring, and the parrot squawks, “Pete’s a douche!” and Kevin presses back against the wall as hard as he can; he’s never been a big fan of birds.

“Uh.” It is very clear to Kevin, now that the guy is practically on top of him, that the guy is Bill’s very own Mike Carden and that he’s very, very drunk. “You, um, cut your hair.”

Kevin knows Mike even less than he knows Bill. Basically, he’s only seen pictures. Mike is much more intimidating in person.

“Kevin Jonas,” Mike says, and his mouth folds up in what Kevin’s sure is an evil, evil smirk. He sways towards him, and Kevin can smell beer, and he thinks it’s a good bet that if he gets any closer, that bird is going to peck Kevin’s eyes out.

“That’s me,” Kevin says, and he’s so busy watching the parrot in ever-growing terror that he doesn’t realize Mike’s touching him until he feels cool air along his stomach, the scrape of calloused fingers across his bare skin.

“You, kid,” Mike says, twisting his hand so the front of Kevin’s shirt is balled up. “I think you’re all for me.”

“What?” Kevin’s fingers clench on his Coke can. It would suck if he dropped it, but it’s getting really hard to function with Mike’s hands on his belly.

Mike chuckles, says something that sounds like, “Bill’s a jackass,” and then Kevin’s stomach jumps when Mike skims the tip of his nose up his throat, which is really weird, actually, and Kevin’s not sure whether he should push him away or draw him closer. It just—it feels a little wrong. Especially with the bird watching.

And then Mike bites down on the crook of his neck and Kevin says, “Wait, wait, what?” because this doesn’t make any sense.

Mike’s pressed all along his body, hot, and he peels back just enough to shoo the parrot - Little Adam, he calls him - off his shoulder, to pry the soda can out of Kevin’s grip and set it on the counter next to them.

No one seems to be paying them any attention. With the bird gone, Kevin finds he can’t look away from Mike’s chest, and then, when Mike shifts closer again, pushing a knee in between Kevin’s, the curve of his shoulder, burned slightly from the sun. He’s tense to Mike’s languid lean, holding himself rigid while Mike curls himself around him – he thinks it’s the alcohol, and that makes him more uncomfortable than the whole guy molesting a guy thing. Kevin’s never thought of something like this for himself, but he’s never judged anyone else for it.

For a little while, Mike just breathes on him, and Kevin just lets him. If he moves, Mike’s fingers tighten on him, and it’s kind of like a full-body hug, like the ones The Jerry gives out, only it lasts a lot longer, and there’s, uh, more bare skin against bare skin – Kevin’s shirt is rucked up around his armpits, trapped in between them, and Mike still isn’t wearing one at all.

Mike’s lips move against the skin of his collarbone, like he’s forming words, and Kevin’s heart does this weird little nervous flutter and his breathing kicks up.

“Okay?” Mike asks, muffled, and then he pulls away a little and looks into Kevin’s eyes and smoothes thumbs up either side of his neck, and Kevin thinks maybe Mike isn’t as drunk as he thought.

He doesn’t know why, but he nods okay back.

Mike makes a pleased sound – that’s the only way Kevin can describe it, this little growl – and then Mike’s licking into his mouth and there’s this spark of warmth that shoots down Kevin’s spine, and Kevin has never had this for himself before, but apparently he is way into dudes.

He likes the way Mike’s tongue flicks along his, the way his blunt fingers thrust into his hair, the way he forces Kevin’s head to tilt, his mouth to open wider.

Kevin doesn’t know what to do with his hands, hesitantly rests them on Mike’s hips, just above the low waistband of his jeans, and Mike grins into his mouth and says, “There you go, Jonas,” rasps it almost, rocks up into him, and Kevin doesn’t know if he’s talking about the light grip or the way Kevin’s undeniably and embarrassingly hard in his khaki pants.

Kevin has never been kissed like this before. He’s not sure if this qualifies as kissing, actually, it might be too dirty for that, and it’s thrilling and slightly scary and Kevin squirms and wants something more but he’s not sure what that more is, and he definitely doesn’t know how to ask.

Mike stills him with pressure at his hipbones. He says, “All right, kid,” and then there’s a hand at the button of Kevin’s pants, curled over the belt, fingers teasing, and Kevin sucks his stomach in with a noisy gasp and doesn’t think about stopping – maybe because of Danielle, maybe because of his parents, maybe because he’s more messed up than he thought, after everything.

“This is interesting,” Mike says. His teeth close carefully over Kevin’s ear, biting, then he licks at the sensitive, flushed skin right below and asks, “Have you done this before?”

Kevin wants to lie. He wants to say yes and have it not be a lie, but instead he says, shaky, “No.”

Mike hums a little, sweeps slightly open lips over his jaw until he catches Kevin’s mouth again, this time slower, shallower, and for some reason that breaks Kevin open even more than before – he doesn’t know what’s going on until Mike pulls back, until he realizes his shirt’s neatly smoothed over his chest again, and that Mike’s put careful inches between them, catching Kevin’s wrists and tugging them away from his waist, picking up the can of Coke and placing it back in between Kevin’s fingers.

Kevin is—Kevin thinks his face is on fire. He feels small and reprimanded and lost and dumb. He drops his gaze to his shoes and fights to catch his breath. He just wants to leave, but he can see Mike’s bare feet, still standing a couple paces away, and instead he squares his shoulders and looks up to meet his gaze again.

Mike’s staring at him, a half smile on his face. Hair sweaty and messy, eyes heavy-lidded. He says, “How much time do you have?”

Kevin glances at his watch. His bus rolls out at three, but he’s not sure he can stand here for another two and a half hours. “I should, uh, go.”


Kevin feels awkward about it all. And embarrassed, and, if he thinks about it too much, mortified, but that doesn’t stop him from letting Mike corner him in the bathroom of a Denny’s in Boise, Idaho.

He doesn’t think it’s a coincidence that both their buses are there – he saw Joe and Bill giggling together in a booth before Mike had grabbed his wrist and tugged him along towards the back of the diner.

Kevin isn’t sure what he’s expecting – he’s a little confused by the whole thing, honestly, and the whole thing before, too – so he squeaks when Mike pushes him into a stall, shoves him up against the metal divider, and kisses him, hard.

Kevin surprises himself by kissing hard back, and Mike slurs, “Fuck,” and bites Kevin’s lower lip and just when Kevin’s, like, melting into him, Mike slips his mouth away and presses his forehead into Kevin’s shoulder.

His breathing’s heavy, and he says, “Okay,” and, “I just wanted—” and, “C’mon,” and then he’s urging Kevin back out of the bathroom before Kevin can say anything at all.

They sit with Nick and Butcher and Siska and Mike orders pancakes and coffee. They talk about Fox’s Peter Pan and The Pirates versus Disney’s version and he shares his bacon with Kevin and Kevin just has absolutely no clue.


Somewhere in Texas, they pull into a rest stop well past midnight, and Joe roughly shakes Kevin awake and pushes him off the bus with orders to get him Twizzlers or Chewy Runts or Doritos from the vending machine. Kevin’s sleepy and confused, hitches his pajama pants up his hips, and pads through the dry heat on mismatched flip-flops.

There are five other buses idling in the lot, and a mix of voices in the distance. Kevin yawns and scratches his belly. And then someone’s running full tilt towards him - he sees him out of the corner of his eye - and wraps an arm around his waist and yells, “Jesus fuck, move,” so loud it makes his ears ring.

Kevin stumbles a few steps. “Hey.”

“Move, move,” the guy says, his anxious tone spiking fear up Kevin’s spine, and he thinks kidnapping and slasher flick before recognizing Alex Suarez.

He’s still confused, but he’s no longer worried about getting stabbed to death in the middle of the woods.

Flip-flops aren’t great for running, but Kevin makes an effort. He falls a little behind Suarez but follows him gamely around the back of the building, past the fluorescent spot-lights, conscious of some weird giggling out in the darkness. That’s a little creepy. Maybe he shouldn’t have been so quick to dismiss the painful death by stabbing idea. If he dies, he’s so coming back to haunt Nick and Joe.

They skid down a sloping embankment and into the tree line, and Suarez bends over, gasping, hands on his knees. He says, “Shit,” and, “Fuck,” and, “Who the hell made those two it?”

Bill materializes out of the darkness. “Urie’s very persuasive,” he says.

“He’s not,” Suarez says, “you just get distracted by his ass.”

Bill nods. “I will admit it’s lovely.”

Kevin says, “What’s going on?” because while he’s not exactly worried anymore, he’s still not sure why they’re hiding in the woods of a rest stop in the middle of nowhere.

Bill swings an arm across his shoulders. “Epic Jailbreak, my friend. The Panic wonder twins are the enemy, and we are your loving saviors.”

“Are you drunk?”


Kevin crosses his arms over his chest. “Right.” He’s all for having fun, but Bill isn’t making much sense, Suarez is still gasping curses under his breath, and Kevin had been sound asleep twenty minutes ago, so he’s really not in the mood.

“What the fuck are you ladies doing?” Mike, Kevin can admit to himself, looks like some sort of avenging god. Or Rambo.

“Carden,” Bill says, “we’ve saved you a Jonas.”

“That’s fucking awesome, Bills, but maybe you should save your girl chat ‘til you get some fucking cover,” Mike says, and with that scowl Kevin’s thinking John McClane now, like at any moment in the near future Mike could kill a helicopter with a car.

Some sort of animal dies in the distance.

“Was that a monkey or an owl?” Bill asks.

Suarez says, “It doesn’t matter, Pete has no idea what any of the calls mean, anyway.”

“Biiiiiiiilllly,” a voice calls out, a long, amused taunt, and Mike hisses, “Smith,” and his eyes say, “Shut up or I’ll shut you up,” and wow.

Wow, that is so sexy. Kevin thinks he has a problem here.

An hour later, Kevin stumbles back towards his bus, sweaty and barefoot, the hem of his pajama pants rimmed with dust and dirt. His right elbow is bloodied from where he’d taken a dive into the gravel. He’s limping a little.

He can’t stop grinning.

Before he can punch in the lock-code for the door, a solid weight hits his back, pushes him into the side of the bus. Kevin’s been shoved around so much that night, he just huffs a laugh, squirms until he’s facing his assailant – Mike, and Mike’s grinning, too.

He’s got a smudge on his face that could be either dirt or blood and he says, “G’night, kid,” and tilts his head up, presses their mouths together lightly, not even using any tongue, and when he tries to move away, Kevin catches his shoulders and keeps him still and licks open Mike’s mouth, because there’s something like pure, giddy happiness spangling up and down his bones, all his limbs. This has been fun. Kevin rarely has any real fun anymore, not without his brothers.

“Bye,” Kevin breathes against Mike’s lips, and he feels a little silly, exhausted and stupid-tired, but whatever. He plays the endearingly goofy dumb one on TV; he can take it.


The picture messages of Little Adam start the next day. Little Adam at the beach, Little Adam and a stuffed bear, Little Adam and Siska; Little Adam on a bike, perched on a sleeping Bill, beak poked in a bag of BBQ chips, biting at someone’s rings – Kevin’s starting to maybe like the bird, he’s kind of cute.

He looks up pet parrots on his laptop and finds a link for That Pet Place and orders a handful of bells, blocks and shiny things. He falters when he gets to the shipping address. Can’t ship to a bus, doesn’t know where Mike lives, or where he’ll even be - he considers canceling the order, but sends a text to Bill instead.

Bill texts back, carden resides on moonbeams & ponies, and then, thankfully, Mike’s actual address.

Kevin ships it overnight.

Two days later, Mike texts, u bought my bird crap, and before Kevin can even type back a yes, he sends, my mom loves u, and Kevin knows his smile is probably just ridiculously big.


The next time Kevin sees Mike, they’re a day early to a venue in Louisiana, so he sees Mike on stage. Mike and his forearms, sweaty shirt plastered to his chest, and Kevin scares himself a little by thinking mine.

When Bill spots them in the wings, he says, “Hang on,” to the audience between songs, then strolls over and grabs Joe, curls an arm around his neck and pulls him out on stage. The crowd seems confused, but enthusiastic.

Bill says, “Joe Jonas, ladies and gentlemen,” and then they sing Black Mamba together and Kevin thinks maybe they’ve been planning this; it sounds a little too rehearsed.

Afterwards, after they watch Cobra and Fall Out Boy – and Kevin doesn’t know where Mike went, or any of TAI, really, except Butcher, who’s goofing off with Nick – Gabe herds him into a janitor’s closest and says, “Jonas, Kevin, Kev, I feel like we haven’t spent enough time together.”

Gabe’s a thin guy, but he takes up a lot of room anyway – Kevin’s feeling a little claustrophobic here. “Okay?”

“Suarez likes you.”

Kevin smiles. “That’s nice.” He likes Suarez, too. They’d bonded a little. Hiding from Panic! at the Disco will do that, apparently.

Gabe pokes his chest with a bony finger and nods solemnly. “You know what we must do.”

Kevin has no idea what they must do. He just hopes there are no farm animals involved. He’s heard stories.

“We must find a common interest,” Gabe says. “Tell me, Kevvy, do you have an opinion on Jenga?”

Kevin doesn’t have much of an opinion on Jenga. He figures playing a party game with Gabe is better than, uh, being forced to take hallucinogenic drugs, though – really, Kevin’s heard a lot of stories about Gabe.

The thing about playing Jenga with all of Cobra Starship, two fifths of TAI, and Patrick Stump, is that they’re not actually playing Jenga. They’re playing some sort of hybrid game of skill and dare that, as far as Kevin can tell, has no point except to humiliate each other as much as possible. Awesome.

Kevin doesn’t know what to write on his assigned pieces, so he goes with some pretty tame ones: jump on one foot, burp the alphabet; he gives up after a couple and sneaks his pile into Butcher’s. He thinks there’s a possibility he’s gotten in way over his head when Gabe calls out, “No sexual acts! We’ve got pure little ears to consider.”

A couple rounds into the game, Kevin realizes that no sexual acts means lots of drinking and pissing off Patrick, often both at the same time.

Victoria draws a piece and reads, “Patrick must drink from Gabe’s mysterious cup of alcoholic wonders,” directly after Nate drew, “Two shots of jager for Patrick,” and Kevin drew, “Patrick has to give Siska hugs and kisses,” and Suarez drew, “Patrick has to pound a girly mango wine cooler while shaking his hips to Shakira.”

Patrick says, “I fucking hate all of you,” voice slurring slightly.

“So this is bad news.”

Kevin tilts his head back and grins at Mike. “What?”

“This.” Mike jabs a finger towards the table. “Cobra Jenga, not for the faint of heart.”

“Don’t worry, Carden,” Gabe says, waggling his eyebrows, “we’re being ever so good.”

Hate you,” Patrick says, and then he pulls out a piece and the entire tower comes tumbling down.

“Patrick has prematurely ruined his pants,” Gabe announces, and Patrick lunges across the table for him.

Mike grabs Kevin’s hand and pulls him up out of the way – Gabe’s laughing, but Patrick really seems intent on kicking the stuffing out of him for real. Kevin’s grateful for the save, particularly since the card table collapses five seconds later, squishing Nate and Siska underneath it, spilling Gabe’s cup of alcoholic wonders and both of Ryland’s beers.

Kevin presses his wrist to his mouth to stifle a laugh.


Bill texts Kevin, we’re kissing in kansas, y/y? and Kevin shows Joe, because he has no idea what that means.

Joe says, “Our tours are dating, duh.”

“That. Makes no sense,” Kevin says.

Joe rolls his eyes. “Whatever, Kev, you’re the one who asked them out.”

Kevin is sure that isn’t true. He would’ve remembered asking out an entire FBR tour, right? He asks Nick, though, and Nick just flips through his magazine and says absently, “Well, technically, Bill started it, but then you had to go ahead and make out with Carden, so.”

Kevin feels his cheeks heat. “Um.”

The corner of Nick’s mouth twitches, even though he still doesn’t look up.

Darn it.


Kevin’s crouched with Nick and Spencer in the shadows edging a rest stop parking lot two miles south of Lawrence, Kansas. He digs his knuckles into the gravel, watching the lighted vending machine alcove. Ryland and Joe are sitting side-by-side, Brendon’s stretched out on the concrete on his back, and Butcher’s standing just outside the floodlight, guarding them.

“We need a distraction,” Spencer says.

“One for three,” Nick says, and Spencer nods and says, “Right.”

They both look at Kevin.

“Uh, no.” Kevin shakes his head. Why does he have to be the distraction?

Spencer slings an arm around his shoulders and tugs him into his side. “Oh, but you’re their favorite,” he says, grinning mockingly.

Kevin doesn’t think that’s a good reason. In fact, Kevin’s pretty sure that means he should be kept hidden from all TAI eyes. If he gets spotted by Mike or Michael Guy, they’ll take him down hard and never let him go. He’s seen Gabe do that with Bill.

“I could distract them,” Kevin says slowly. “Or—or, hear me out, we could just pretend we didn’t see anybody in jail, and then go hang out in the trees for a while.” Kevin’s jeans are torn. He’s got road rash on his palms from where he’d narrowly missed getting captured by Bill earlier – Bill’s arguably the easiest member of TAI to get away from, he’s usually too drunk to function properly – and he wouldn’t mind a breather here.

Nick just grins over at him. Nick has this way of grinning at Kevin that makes Kevin want to be the self-sacrificing big brother. It sucks.

“You so owe me,” Kevin says, resigned. “You owe me a goat or a puppy or something. Something big.”

Spencer sings the theme from Mighty Mouse under his breath – Kevin thinks he should be insulted by that; he pushes off Spencer’s thigh to stand, knocking Spencer off balance.

When Kevin’s halfway around the lot, skirting the areas just outside the pools of light, he sees a flash of white cutting swiftly through the open field to his left and realizes Mike’s spotted him. If he doesn’t get Butcher’s attention now, he’ll be captured before Nick and Spencer can free the others.

So Kevin runs for it, taking a leaf from Judd Nelson – geez, he loves that movie – and shouting, “I wanna be an airborne ranger!” at the top of his lungs. He sees Butcher start for him, sees Nick race for the jail as he turns away, and then someone tackles him from behind, flattening him into the asphalt. He conks his head so hard he maybe blacks out for a second.

Mike takes his games of Jailbreak really seriously. He’s always focused and scowling, and it’s equal parts hot and scary. But when he rolls Kevin over onto his back, straddling his waist, leaning over him, his eyes are worried, and he says, “Shit, Kev, are you okay?” and there’s this ridiculous blooming warmth in Kevin’s chest, even though he’s pretty sure he’s got a head wound that’s bleeding all over the place.

Mike smoothes a calloused palm over Kevin’s forehead. “Kevin?”

“Nick owes me a goat.”

Mike cracks a grin. “Yeah, okay.”


Mike gets handsy when he’s drunk – at least, he does with Kevin. He also, Kevin has learned, gets naked.

In the three months since their tours started dating, Kevin’s managed to witness Brendon being naked without getting flustered – Brendon’s more of an in-your-face naked guy, while Mike’s nakedness sneaks up on you out of nowhere. It’s like Kevin doesn’t realize Mike isn’t wearing pants until he realizes Mike isn’t wearing pants.

“Um.” Kevin is trying very hard to retain his higher brain functions, but Mike’s making it difficult. He’s sucking kisses on Kevin’s collarbone and it feels really awesome. Kevin just wishes there were a couple more layers of clothing in between them, just to help with his sanity. And what Bill likes to call his “virgin sensibilities.” He’s making fun of him, Kevin’s sure, but that doesn’t mean it’s not the truth.

Mike bites him – Kevin makes this embarrassing keening sound; he’s still not really used to being bitten, or the way it makes his skin kind of tingle – and says, “What?”

“What?” Kevin’s having trouble thinking.

Mike chuckles, hot breath on Kevin’s skin. He unbuttons more of Kevin’s shirt, and Kevin wonders if maybe he should stop him or something, because they’re on the Cobra bus couch and there’s, like, way too much bare skin showing, between the two of them, and oh—oh, wait, “No, wait, you’re, uh, not wearing pants.”

Mike tilts his head back, eyes dark. He smells like rum tonight, which makes Kevin think of pirates, and Kevin has this—no, really, he has to stop reading Chelsea’s trashy romance novels; no good will come of that, he’ll only get teased really, really badly if Mike ever finds out.

This slow, wolfish grin spreads across Mike’s face. “I guess I’m not,” he says.

And then he leans up, hitches closer to Kevin, and kisses him soft and slow. So soft and slow that Kevin goes kind of boneless underneath him and runs his hands up under Mike’s shirt, around his back, and doesn’t even realize he’s helping make Mike even more naked until Mike grins against his mouth and the catcalls grow loud enough to pierce through the Mike-haze in his brain.


Little Adam has a limited vocabulary. Mostly, he just calls Pete a douche. Sometimes he’ll say, “Bill rocks,” or, “Santi,” or, “I love you,” and Kevin is actually really surprised he doesn’t know any curse words, considering the company he keeps.

In Arizona, Kevin finds Little Adam in a tree.

“Is that Little Adam?” Joe asks, stopping beside him, squinting upwards.

The orange and yellow parrot is perched on the lowest branch of a young oak, and Kevin wonders how long he’s been there; he thinks they missed TAI by at least two days. He says, “Hey, Little A,” and Little Adam squawks, “I love you,” which, you know, does not make Kevin feel warm and fuzzy at all.

Kevin pulls his cell phone out of his back pocket and texts Mike, are you missing something?

tell me u have him, Mike sends back.

Little Adam says, “Bill rocks!” and flutters his wings and sort of fly-hops out of the tree to land on Kevin’s head.

Their tours have a lunch date in two weeks. Two long weeks, and Kevin has no idea how to take care of a bird. Little Adam has sharp claws and he likes to tug on Kevin’s hair and bite at his fingers, and Kevin’s gotten kind of used to him, but birds still freak him out. Mike’s really attached to Little Adam, though, so there’s nothing for it.

“You,” Joe says, almost laughing at him, “have no idea how to take care of a bird.”

Kevin shrugs. “I’ll figure it out.”


Kevin doesn’t want to jump to any conclusions, but he kind of suspects he and Mike have been dating, more so than their tours. For one thing, he’s pretty sure they’re the only ones making out. Also, he has a feeling that the whole of FBR are cheating on them with Warped. Not that they themselves didn’t have a harmless little dalliance with John Mayer three weeks ago, but—oh, geez. Darn it all, Kevin’s lost his mind. He blames Bill and Joe.

On the phone, he tells Mike, “Joe’s trying to teach Little A to say ‘that’s hot.’”

“I’ll kill him,” Mike says. Kevin can’t figure out from his flat tone if he’s kidding or not.

“Yeah.” Kevin sighs. “Yeah, so.”

He can practically hear Mike’s eyebrow go up. “Yeah?”

Kevin scratches the back of his neck, then blurts out, “Are we dating? Like, um, us. You and me.” He sounds like an idiot, he knows this. His face heats.

There’s a long pause and then a laugh, and Mike says, “Kid,” and then he laughs some more. It’s not really all that encouraging.

“Never mind,” Kevin says quickly. He kind of wants to hang up, but he doesn’t like hanging up on people.

“No, wait, wait, I mean,” Mike takes a deep breath, “is that a serious question?” There’s an undercurrent of intense amusement under his words, and Kevin bristles a little.

Never mind,” he says again. If Kevin were a mean sort of person, he’d let his stupid bird go, right, but Kevin is not a mean sort of person. There’s a twisted up knot in his stomach, like he ate a pile of pennies.

Mike chuckles – Kevin hears a soft, “The fuck,” under his breath – and then he says louder, “I’ll see you in two days, okay?”

Kevin swallows thickly. “Okay.”


The thing about tours is that tours end. When they meet up in Nevada, they’re both on the home stretch.

Mike sits next to Kevin in the diner, thigh pressed all along his thigh. They’re in a half circle booth, and on the other side of Kevin are Victoria and Nate, and Gabe’s trying to squeeze in next to Michael Guy, and Kevin ends up not really being able to move his arms, but he doesn’t really mind all that much. Kevin’s having trouble figuring out what that means, but he knows he’s going to be sad when he doesn’t have this anymore.

Kevin picks listlessly at his fries.

Gabe says, “Last call, my friends,” and lifts his glass of soda up in the air. “It’s been something.”

Behind them, Pete yells, “Hell yeah,” and roughly one entire side of the restaurant echoes him.


Kevin usually loves the lull after a tour. Loves lazing around his house, loves sprawling out on his double-bed, loves not having anywhere to actually be for at least a few days. Now, though, he can’t help but think about Mike, and how he hasn’t heard from him in three days, and how Mike’s probably at his own home, not thinking about Kevin at all.

“This sucks,” Joe says, collapsing onto the couch next to him. “I miss Bill.”

“At least it was amicable,” Nick says. “Messy tour break-ups suck even harder.” He’s smirking a little. Kevin gets the feeling that neither of his brothers are taking this seriously enough.

Joe punches Kevin in the shoulder. “Geez, Kev, just call him already.”

It isn’t that simple. Or it is that simple, but what if Mike doesn’t want to talk to him?

“You’re being ridiculous,” Nick says, then tosses his cell onto his lap, and Kevin fumbles it a little when he sees that it’s already calling Mike, and Kevin hates Nick so very much.

He very bravely holds the cell up to his ear anyway.

“Yo,” Mike says when he picks up.

Kevin’s mind freezes. He vaguely registers Joe waving a hand in front of his face.

“Nick?” Mike says.

Kevin finally manages, “Uh, no?”

Mike laughs and says, “Hey, kid,” and this tight coil of tension in Kevin’s chest loosens.

“Hi,” Kevin says, smiling now, and he sinks down lower into the sofa cushions and ignores Joe’s kissy faces, because Mike sounds genuinely glad to hear from him, and that’s awesome.

Joe reaches out and says, “Let me talk to him,” just as Mike says, “So me and Bill are flying in next week, feel like some company?”

Kevin slaps away Joe’s hands, twisting completely off the couch to avoid Joe’s inevitable lunge for him. He lands on the rug with an oomph and an almost breathless, “Yeah, yes.”

They say goodbye and Kevin lays flat on the floor, staring – not at all dreamily, shut up, Joe - at the ceiling, and Nick kicks his side.

“You’re such a doofus,” he says.

As the senior member of the Jonas Brothers, he feels like he should protest that, but Nick kind of has a point.


“For the record,” Mike says, crowding Kevin up against the kitchen sink, hands on either side of Kevin’s hips, “we’re still dating. We’ve always been dating. I’m a decent guy, Jonas, I don’t try to charm just any virgin out of his pants. Got it?”

“Got it,” Kevin says. Mike isn’t touching him, hasn’t touched him since they got there, but Kevin feels hot all over; there’s a buzz of white noise in his ears. “You don’t—wait, pants?”

Mike grins, his same evil grin that always seems to crank up Kevin’s heartbeat, but then Bill calls from the other room, “If you’re done molesting innocents, Carden, I believe Nicholas has just insulted my honor. We Boggle at dawn!”

“I’m his second,” Mike murmurs. “I hope you know how to spell.”

“Sure,” Kevin says, the word broken in the middle, ‘cause Mike’s finally moving his hands up under Kevin’s shirt, and he’s mouthing Kevin’s throat, and Kevin reaches up and tugs on his hair, pulls his head back so Kevin can slide in. Can press back against Mike and kiss him and silently give up, yes, pants, whatever, because Kevin hasn’t felt this way about anyone, ever. It’s kind of amazing.

And then Joe yelps, “Oh gross, dudes,” and Bill says, “It’s perfectly natural, Joseph, here, let me show you,” and Kevin buries his face into the crook of Mike’s neck and laughs.