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Living in the Pocket

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So, Tommy's used to phone calls from Isaac that make little to no sense, but this is fucking garbled even for him. Usually the best bet is to let the words flow until something sticks out and Isaac pauses for breath, but basically he's not even making fucking words right now and he also doesn't seem to need air.

Eventually Sophie pulls the cell away from Isaac. "Hey Tommy, how's it going?"

"Uhh, good," Tommy likes Sophie, she has this talent for remembering, like, birthdays and babies and how Tommy takes his coffee and shit. "I went to see my sister, Lisa?"

"Awesome, how's the baby?"

"Good, beautiful." Tommy smiles, his niece is amazing and he totally gets to hand her back any time she's not. "What the fuck is Isaac on?"

Sophie snorts. "He's high on life."

Isaac's shouting something in the background about clean and fucking sober, motherfuckers which doesn't much sound like something Isaac would say, but he's apparently out of his gourd right now, so, whatever.

"Uh huh. So, what was he trying to tell me with that fucked up mess of syllables?"

"He's got a new gig, and he's a bit... excited about it." Sophie sounds fond, like she's pleased for her ridiculous, incoherent husband, but Tommy's stomach drops. A new gig? They're supposed to start promo tour with Adam pretty soon and it's already going to be weird, touring without everyone who was on Glamnation and it'll only get worse if Isaac's not there.

There's a scuffling noise on the other end of the line, and a bang, and Tommy can hear Sophie saying something muffled and then Isaac starts talking and the phone was obviously on the floor or something because he suddenly gets much clearer, like, halfway through. "...wanted to tell him, and now he's going to be worried."

"Hey, Isaac, hello...." Tommy sighs. He's obviously not going to get to be a part of this conversation again until Isaac's good and ready.

"...NO, look, no...Soo-oooph." There are random noises from the other end of the line again and Tommy settles back on his couch to wait it out.

"Tommy," it's Sophie again and Tommy can practically hear her rolling her eyes. "Isaac will be over in twenty minutes."

"Can he bring beer?" Tommy could really, really use a beer right now.

"Nope. He can bring tacos though."

Tacos will probably do, and there might be some PBR in the fridge anyway. "Okay."


Sophie drops Isaac off, which is weird, but Isaac's practically vibrating so it's probably just as well for everyone that he's not been behind the wheel. Tommy waves at her as she drives away; it's kind of like being back at school when everyone needed to get their mom to give them a ride. Sophie would have totally been the hot mom.


"DUDE" Isaac's grabbed at Tommy's arms and the Taco bag is getting crushed in Isaac's hands (not to mention Tommy's arms. Isaac's a strong little shit). "Fucking M.C.R.."

"Yeah, gonna need more words, man."

"They've fucking asked me to play with them!" Isaac is doing a passable impersonation of Tigger.

"My Chemical Romance."


"Have asked you to play with them?"





Isaac somehow manages to grin even wider, finally lets Tommy go and thrusts the taco bag at him. Tommy opens it and, yeah, squashed taco. Tommy swallows, hard. He is going to be happy for Isaac, drumming for My Chem is a huge fucking deal, and if anyone deserves it, it's Isaac, but, fuck, yanno?

"When..." Tommy's voice sounds hoarse and he coughs. "When do you go?"

"Go?" Isaac looks at him, quizzically. "Oh, no, they're not touring or shit, it's, like, a bunch of promo stuff, mostly L.A. stuff. They had someone, for their tour, but there was some messed up shit about stealing and then they got someone else and," Isaac waves his hand "like, politics, but I've spoken to some people to check it out and it's all good."

Tommy's stomach settles back to where it's supposed to be. Not a tour. Just promo shit. Good, that.... he feels really fucking guilty for being happy. He takes a quick detour to the kitchen to get a spoon for his taco mush, and to try and push his face into some kind of appropriate expression.

He walks slowly through to where Isaac's made himself comfortable in the den, legs flung over the arm of a chair and drumming out a beat on his thigh with his fingers, quick and happy. He stands back up when Tommy comes in, pops up like he's too full of bubbles or shit to be still "It's, like, I dunno what their situation is for like their next album or anything, but this fits in right before Adam's stuff, with all the fucking delays and shit and..."

Isaac grabs Tommy again and whirls him around like they're dancing. Tommy's pretty sure he's getting a contact high from the happy.

"I'm fucking drumming for My Chemical Romance."


Tommy doesn't see a whole lot of Isaac after that, he's too busy holed up in a shitty little practice space at the back of some chicken warehouse place, learning the music My Chem have sent him, and when Tommy does see him, he mostly smells like mechanically reclaimed chicken patties (Tommy is never eating a chicken burger again. Or watching anything with Jamie Oliver in it). Tommy downloads M.C.R's latest album and then goes on a youtube hunt for live performances. He's got fucking nothing better to do so he just goes with it when falls into a kinda youtube rabbit hole of interviews, music videos and some documentary-length piece that has to have been filmed a million years ago and totally explains why Isaac's gone all no beer for me, motherfucker.

Tommy watches Gerard Way tripping over himself in a parking lot and decides that, actually, maybe, a little cleanse isn't a terrible idea. He calls Sutan, who tells him to call Adam, who emails him a list of, like, rainforest plants and shit and the brand of juicer he recommends. Adam only laughs for twelve minutes at the thought of Tommy doing something healthy. Tommy is fucking thirty, Tommy can totally fucking eat like a grown-up if he wants.


Juice cleanses suck ass.



By the time Isaac's emerged from his chicken-scented hell hole, the fucking teenaged breakout that had threatened to take over Tommy's entire face has more or less fucked off and Tommy's decided that as long as he, like, turns down the day drinking and only eats meat that's recognizably cut from an animal, it's probably okay.

Vegetarian tacos are perfectly fine.

(Or, at least, no one ever got food poisoning from a vegetable.)

Isaac is still being an annoying bouncy fuck when they meet for coffee after his first practice with My Chem, and Tommy can't help but laugh at how he trips over his words talking about the band's vision. Isaac didn't have any costumes for Glamnation (he totally hogged the body-paint, but that was pretty much his own idea combined with Sutan's general love of drawing on people) but it looks like he's going to have something for this little adventure. Tommy's kinda looking forward to seeing how they make Isaac into a killjoy, he's, like, a tiny little fucker, but he's all wiry and fierce and Tommy's pretty sure he's going to look rad.


Tommy's pretty much got nothing to do right now, other than meeting Isaac for coffee and coming up with reasons why he wasn't at Sophie's yoga class; all the fucking delays with Adam's album and shit have kind of got him in a holding pattern (he's bought, like, six new guitars and a new bass, and he fucking hung curtains on, like, one of those rail things that mean they totally open and everything. He probably needs to get out more but he's not fucking going to fucking yoga again. That shit hurts) and with Isaac doing his My Chemical Romance thing, Ravi's shit's on hiatus right now, too.

He's laid down some shit for Mouthlike and ripped up and totally re-written two of the tracks, but, anyway, he's kind of sitting around in his pajamas a lot.

That totally explains why his entire browser history is full of My Chemical Romance shit and why he's joined four mailing lists, two chat-board things and has set up another twitter account just to follow the guys.

Frank Iero recommends some fucking cool music.


Isaac begs Tommy for a ride to the studio where he's doing his first gig with My Chem - which, nobody really wants Tommy to drive. Tommy is a fucking terrible driver, he gets all distracted and shit and his car is a piece of crap, but fucking hell yeah. Tommy's totally going to sneak in as Isaac's entourage. He can carry a cymbal or something.


He hangs around in the green room while Isaac's setting up and doing sound check and he gets himself a laminate that means he won't get thrown out on his ass. There is a huge ass coffee pot and, like eleven billion different kinds of creamer and shit. Tommy can be happy here for at least a week.


There’s a sudden up-swing in noise as the band burst into the room. Frank Iero is hanging off of Gerard Way and grinning back at Mikey Way, shouting "Fuck you MikeyWay, I will not kill Isaac if I jump on him."

Tommy looks Frank up and down. He's short, sure, but so's Isaac and he feels a sudden rush of protectiveness. He's seen Frank throw shit on stage and, like, jump on the drum kit... Being pancaked on stage would be a totally sucky way to die.

Frank lets go of Gerard and grabs at Tommy's arm, shoving up his shirt sleeve and inspecting his tattoos "Fuck, your ink is awesome." Frank grins at him. "Hi, I'm Frank."

"Uh, Tommy, I'm Tommy." Tommy gestures at Frank "Yours is fucking rad, too."

"Frank, I thought we weren't talking to strange people who turn up in our dressing room anymore?" Ray Toro says, looking steadily at Tommy.

Frank puts Tommy in a head-lock and noogies him. Meeting My Chemical Romance is turning out to be just embarrassing. "He's not strange, he's Tommy, and he's got a fucking laminate."

Somebody, Tommy thinks it might be Gerard, giggles.

"And have you seen his sleeve? No one would get that work done if they were a psychopath." Frank says, like he actually believes it and Tommy wonders where their band-wrangler is because they obviously need one.

"True. Only a sane person would get horror movie monsters inked all over themselves." someone says, totally dead-pan (Tommy thinks Mikey, but seriously, Frank's still got him in a head-lock and it's really fucking difficult to tell. His neck is getting sore, too).

"Toooooommmmmmmmmeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee." Isaac jumps on his back and Tommy pretty much buckles and falls to the ground immediately. Isaac and Frank are small but dense and Tommy's not exactly a giant himself, either. He ends up at the bottom of a pile of squirming musician and he's pretty sure he's going to be one giant bruise tomorrow.

"Wait," That's definitely Ray Toro speaking, he's totally identifiable even with Frank Iero's elbow in his ear. "You know him, Isaac?"

"Yeah." Isaac untangles himself from the pile and Tommy starts breathing to his full lung capacity again. "He plays bass for Adam? And lead for Ravi?"

"Oh, yeah, I recognize him from the video." Tommy has absolutely no clue who said that, but Frank is finally getting off of him, so he figures he'll maybe be able to work it out.

When he finally gets back to his feet, Gerard Way is grinning at him, Mikey Way is over at the coffee pot, looking at it apprehensively, and Ray Toro is half way between the Way brothers, looking at Mikey speculatively.

"Hey," Gerard sticks his hand out towards Tommy and Tommy shakes it. "I didn't recognize you under Frank." He grins "you looked fucking awesome in that Amazonian space-ship-thing."

"Sex bunker." Isaac says.

Tommy just smiles, he'd never been one hundred percent clear on what Ravi's vision for the video was, but it did look fucking rad, with all the blood and the metal and the girls.

Gerard pushes his hair (which is half Crayola red, half roots, pretty much, and is doing that slightly crazy thing that Tommy's hair does when he's not been using enough, like, hair repairing serum shit) out of his face and continues. "I wasn't sure about their costumes, but the concept of having the women win was cool. They totally don't need us - there are studies you know, about how we only use our superior strength to keep them down because biologically we know we're unnecessary now that we have machines to do our hunter-gathering for us."

"Uh. Sure?" Women are awesome. Tommy is totally aware of that. Tommy is also totally aware that so-called superior strength or not, ninety percent of the women he knows could totally kick his ass. He mostly suspects they keep him around to deal with the spiders.

Mikey makes a sad noise over at the coffee pot and Gerard turns on his heel and reaches towards it, making grabby hands.

"I can't give you coffee, Gee." Mikey takes a deep breath and his shoulders crowd upwards. "I can't make it give me any coffee."

"Waaaaaant." Gerard keeps making grabby hands and it's just a little bit sad.

"Uh." Tommy takes a couple of steps towards the craft services table. "I can make it work?"

Gerard and Mikey both turn towards him, with matching wide-eyed expressions of wonder. It's creepy.

"Better get them their coffee, Tommy." Frank is doubled over, laughing at him. "Or your new cultists could turn nasty."


The performance is, of course, fucking brilliant, because Isaac is amazing, and Tommy managed to caffeinate the whole band to their terrifying requirements (he's not quite entirely sure that any of them actually have any blood, because no one should be able to drink that much coffee without being dead) and when it's over Gerard tells Mikey to drive slow, so Tommy can follow them.


So, Tommy seems to have gotten himself a new job, as coffee-bitch for the Way brothers, which makes Isaac giggle like a total fucking maniac, but fuck it, he's getting to hang around with My Chemical Romance and when they're not discussing music (Frankie and Ray are, like, the most interesting men alive) they're discussing shit like why being on tour is totally the same as being a werewolf. It is fucking awesome (and Tommy likes coffee, it's all good).

And he learns to call himself coffee-slave very quickly after Gerard spends twenty minutes earnestly explaining that calling himself a bitch is demeaning to women because it implies that being something female is bad and automatically subservient and encourages societal stereotypes through common language patterns.

He turns up at their practice space one morning with, like, the world's largest starbucks order, plus these fucking hand-knitted, gluten-free, ridiculously expensive vegan muffins that Adam texted him about in a fit of glee and Gerard grabs one of the coffees, downs about half of it and wraps himself around Tommy like he's an over-size teddy bear. Gerard smells kind of funky, but then so does the practice space and it's not like Tommy hasn't spent, like, his entire adult life living in apartments that mostly smell like they should be sealed with biohazard tape.

The mmmh, mmmmmmmmh, noises that Gerard's making right in his ear are fucking way more disturbing than the smell.

Mikey stalks up and grabs his coffee and a muffin and puts something in Tommy's pocket. "You shouldn't have to wait for us" he mumbles and walks off. Tommy has no fucking clue what he means, but his hands are full of coffee and he’s currently growing a Gerard out of his neck, so he just figures he’ll find out later.

Frank is sitting in a corner, tuning his guitar and snickering at him. "They've made you their leader now. You're never getting out."

Gerard wraps his arm a little tighter around Tommy's neck.

Ray walks over to Frankie, kicks him, and turns back towards Tommy. "Gee, stop strangling Tommy, he can't get you coffee if he can't breathe. Tommy, you're not leaving, are you?"

"Uh..." Everyone is staring at Tommy, including Isaac (there seems to have been some kind of initiation ceremony where they taught him their ways....or Ways Tommy starts laughing). "No..? I guess, I'm not, like busy with anything else or anything?"

Mikey nods and turns away to start tuning his bass and Gerard bounces and kisses Tommy on the top of his head before he goes over and starts fucking about with the levels.

Tommy is beginning to see why Bob Bryar used to go on the road with these guys for free. They're kind of like a cult, but like, a totally inept cult that really need, like, minders or shit to check they don't go off with strangers for coffee or, fuck, set fire to themselves of something.

It is ridiculous. They're all married (which should make them, like, grownups. Isaac's usually better at being a grown up than Tommy because he worries that Sophie won't approve if he dies) and like, fucking, parents... He gives Frankie his muffin and goes to lie down on the skanky couch.


It shouldn't be possible to nap while My Chem. are working the kinks out of Planetary (Go!) but Tommy manages it. Probably because he'd only managed one sip out of his coffee before Gerard came over and made Bambi eyes at him and he handed it over.

He wakes up when somebody wafts something delicious smelling under his nose and he sits up, wincing as his neck, back and hips all complain about being crumpled onto the couch. Something is digging into his ass, too.

Frank hands him a bag from the vegan Mexican place down the road. It is fucking amazing; although Tommy really likes cheese with his burritos and vegan fake-cheese is just nasty. Frank grins. "It's an offering from your followers. Gerard was worried you would starve if we all went for lunch and didn't get you anything."

"He's little, he shouldn't skip meals." Gerard says, narrowing his eyes at Frank. "And you ate the last muffin."

Tommy stands up and rolls out his shoulders. "M'not that fucking little, Gee, Jeeze. But, like, thanks." He fishes into his back pocket to get whatever the fuck it is that is trying to burrow into his ass and pulls out a key, "Uhh?" He holds it up.

Mikey nods towards the door. "So you can get in without us."

"Oh." Tommy grins. "Cool. Thanks, man."


Ray explains later (Mikey never explains. The guys mostly seem to understand his microscopic eyebrow movements and Mikey seems to revel in being as fucking obtuse to everyone else as possible.) that they own the fucking lease on the space, so Tommy's welcome to use it whenever, if he wants, and he should totally bring instruments down, maybe they can play together or something. He really, really fucking wants to jam with the guys and decides there and then that he'll do as fucking many Starbucks runs as it takes to make that happen.

It’s stupid, he’ s turned himself into a glorified PA or some shit, and he’s not even getting paid, but he’s having the time of his fucking life, and if he can’t be working with Adam right now (fuck the fucking issues, it’s been too fucking long) then this is exactly where he wants to be.