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Mikey is supposed to have sushi with Pete in two hours.

He hasn’t seen Pete since before he went to rehab; since the middle of the big manic episode, actually. The last time Pete saw him, he’d looked at Mikey with tense, weird confusion, like he didn’t know what to say or do. At the time Mikey had barely noticed, except being mildly annoyed that Pete didn’t want to party or anything. In retrospect, he can’t blame Pete for being confused. Confusion was pretty reasonable.

Mikey is supposed to have sushi with Pete in one hour and fifty-one minutes.

He’d texted Pete when he went into rehab, and again when he got out. Pete sent love and good vibes and told him he was proud of him. That was good to know, good to hold on to. Now he’s back in the world, he’s been back in the world for months, and he has a girlfriend who loves him and helps him stay stable as much as she can.

And in one hour and forty-nine minutes, he’s supposed to have sushi with Pete. If he can make himself get out of bed and get ready.

Kristin is at work, so she can’t help him. He could text her, and maybe she would come home, or at least text him back with encouragement, but he doesn’t want to, like. Use her. He doesn’t want to make her a crutch.

One hour and forty-five minutes.

Shit, driving to the restaurant is going to take forty-five minutes itself. He only has an hour. He really needs to get out of bed.

Maybe he should just cancel. It would be so much safer to just… not go. Not be where people can see him, not risk Pete looking at him that way again, not have to deal with any of it. Just stay here, under his blanket, with Squirt and maybe some coffee so when Kristin gets home he can pretend he didn’t spend the entire day in bed.

Fifty-seven minutes. Shit.

He gropes around for his phone, brings it to the tip of his nose so he can see, and types a text to Pete. I don’t know if I can make it to lunch. Because I am a fucking sack of garbage, he thinks, but he keeps that to himself.

Pete calls him back, which he did not expect. “Are you okay, Mikey?”

His mind goes kind of blank, like he forgets how to give the expected answer. “Not really.”

Pete swallows. “Did you… did you slip, dude?”

It takes him a minute to figure out what that means. “No! No. God. No. I’m… I’m sober.”

“Okay. Good. What’s wrong?” Mikey couldn’t answer for a minute, and Pete kept going, filling the space. “I mean, if you just don’t want to hang out, that’s okay, I’m not, like, going to judge you or whatever, but you kind of sound…”

“I don’t think I can get out of bed.” It sounds really pathetic out loud, but fuck. If anyone’s going to understand it’s Pete.

“Ohh.” Pete’s quiet for a minute. “The big sad?”

God, he hates this. “The big… fear.”

“Okay, dude. I’ll get the food takeout and bring it to you, okay?”

“Are you sure? You don’t have to come all the way over here.”

“Totally sure. Be there in like… okay, it’s gonna be a while, but I’ll be there. See you soon.”

Pete hangs up and Mikey stares at his phone for a minute, then drops it on the bed. Pete is going to come to him.

He needs to get out of bed and tidy up the downstairs or Kristin will be so, so pissed at him.

It’s easier to get up when he knows he doesn’t have to go anywhere, just downstairs. There won’t be any strangers watching him. If things get weird between him and Pete, Pete can leave and he can hide. It’s so much better.

It’s so much better just not to have the clock ticking in his head.

He’s so lucky that Pete gets it.

**

Pete shows up with everything they need to have a sushi picnic in the living room, sitting cross-legged at either end of the coffee table with everything laid out between them. Mikey concentrates really hard on acting normal, like nothing ever happened, like he didn’t lose his band and mess up his life. Maybe he doesn’t have to do that with Pete, but… well, better safe than sorry.

Pete puts his chopsticks down after a while and looks around the living room. “You can tell what stuff is yours and what’s Kristin’s,” he says. “Definitely two different tastes going on in here.”

Mikey chokes on rice and laughter. “Yeah. We keep, like… discovering new things about each other. Stuff that we have in common or totally, totally don’t.”

“I love that part.” Pete smiles at him and rests his head against the couch. “I hope I get a chance to meet her sometime.”

“She’s cool.” Mikey hugs his knees to his chest. “She’s sweet and, like, grounded and… just really cool.”

“She makes you happy.”

Mikey nods, wishing he had his sunglasses even though they’re sitting in the living room. “She really does. Quiet happy, you know? Not just…” He waves one hand. “I forgot about quiet happy.”

“That’s always the tricky part.” Pete’s smile twists a little, and he closes his eyes.

They sit quietly for a while, and the silence doesn’t make Mikey’s skin itch. It’s like sitting quietly with Kristin, or Gerard. It’s okay.

“Tell me what’s going on in wrestling,” Pete says finally.

Mikey blinks at him. “You don’t care about wrestling.”

“Yeah, but you do. So tell me about it and I’ll listen.”

Mikey laughs a little and shakes his head. “I won’t make you do that.”

“I don’t mind.”

Mikey stretches his leg out and nudges Pete with his foot. “Thanks for doing this.”

Pete makes a face. “Doing what?”

“Bringing the food over. Letting me change the plans.”

“Dude.” Pete rolls his eyes. “I get it, trust me. Sometimes it’s just too hard.”

“I kept thinking about what if somebody recognized me, what if somebody wanted to talk to me, what if I said something stupid or wrong, and then it all just… you know.”

Pete nods. “It spirals.”

“It fucking spirals.” Mikey sighs. “I feel like such a loser when I can’t make it out of bed.”

“If you’re a loser, so am I.”

“You’re my favorite loser.”

Pete throws a chopstick at him. “Likewise.” They laugh for a minute, and then Pete stops, looking at him with intent eyes. “I get it, you know.”

Mikey nods. “I know. I do.”

“Okay. Good.” Pete looks at the table for a minute and twirls his remaining chopstick between his fingers. “Look, dude, you can always..." He stops for a moment, then meets Mikey's eyes. Before he even says the rest, Mikey knows what he means. "You can call me for sushi, okay? You can call me for sushi anytime.”