Mikey had gotten himself comfortable under the table, cloth hanging down to hide him from view when a pair of leopard print sneakers paused outside his hiding place. The owner of the feet hunkered down and peered under the table.
“Dude,” he said. “What are you doing hiding here? There's party games.”
Mikey raised an eyebrow. “There's party games.”
The only thing he could see of the guy was his eyes, dark between the Santa hat and the fake beard. They dimmed slightly.
“Oh,” he said. “Okay.”
Mikey looked at him until he shuffled back and walked away. The table cloth fell back into place.
Mikey worked his phone out of his pocket and checked the time. Too late to cut his losses and leave, and too early for anyone he wanted to see to have arrived. He took another sip of lukewarm Coke as the music changed to a semi-decent punk cover of White Christmas, and closed his eyes as he leaned back against the wall.
His peace was broken minutes later by the return of the sneakers. This time the guy's hand appeared under the table, holding a plate of holiday cookies.
“Quick, before I drop them,” he said. His voice was deep, no trace of Jersey, not that that meant much. Mikey took the plate from him and the guy wriggled under the table and crossed his legs under him. The hat was still in place but he'd tugged the beard down to sit around his neck. Mikey took in olive skin and dark eyes.
“Oh wait,” the guy said, and stuck his arm outside, feeling around on top of the table before bringing down two bottles of beer. “Want one?” the guy asked.
Mikey shook his head and raised his Coke. “I'm good.”
The guy bit into a sugar cookie and looked around Mikey's lair. It was kind of cramped with an extra person.
“Well, I can see why you might prefer it here. It's so spacious.”
“I didn't invite you,” Mikey sighed.
“I was intrigued.” the guy said “There's a pretty cool party out there, must be something here to make you prefer this.”
“It's more what's not here,” Mikey said, “it's quieter here. Or it was.”
The guy swallowed the last of his cookie and nudged the plate toward Mikey. “I can be quiet,” he said.
“You haven't stopped talking,” Mikey said. He chose a cookie and broke off a corner. The guy mimed zipping his mouth shut and sat for a few minutes, drumming his fingers against the floor. Mikey studied him until he turned and said, “I give up. Why are you hiding. Ex-girlfriend?”
Mikey shook his head.
“Casing the joint for a Die Hard style take over?”
Mikey laughed “No.”
“Waiting for a secret assignation?”
“Who says assignation?” Mikey asked. He finished the cookie and reached for another.
“I do,” the guy said, “obviously.”
“No assignation.” Mikey said.
“I give up then.”
“Too many people out there,” Mikey said. Normally he'd be all up for that, in a different context.
“Strange, for a party.” The guy looked at him. Now Mikey had had a chance to study him he looked vaguely familiar.
“It's not all people I mind. Just some of these people. I have to be here for work but the guys I need to see aren't here yet and I'm not really feeling the games.” Mikey explained.
“Not a fan of beer pong?” The guy took a pull of his own beer.
“I fucking rock at beer pong,” Mikey said truthfully “I just can't play it any more.”
The guy tilted his head to one side, eyes bright and lip caught in his teeth. “Why?”
“I'm not drinking right now,” Mikey flapped his hand.
“Oh shit,” the guy said. “Sorry.” He made to hide his beer like just the sight of it would set Mikey off.
“It's ok,” Mikey said, because the guy looked like he wa about to freak out noisily and the last thing he needed was anyone else finding his hiding place. “I can drink, I'm just doing it for my brother.”
“Your brother?” the guy frowned.
“He's been sober three months,” Mikey said, smiling because he was fucking proud of Gerard. “He's doing really well. But the holidays, you know? All the parties. It's tough with everyone drinking. I said I'd give it up too so he wouldn't be by himself.”
The guy didn't laugh, or ask Mikey why he was bothering if his brother wasn't here, or try to persuade him that one beer wouldn't matter, or mock him for it. Instead he just nodded.
“I get that. People can be assholes if you're not drinking. Got a friend who's Edge, he has to deal with it all the time.”
“I'll go back out in a few.” Mikey said “I love parties, just this one asshole wouldn't leave things alone and I can't tell him where to get off because of work. I need to meet a couple people before I go.”
“Now I'm intrigued.” the guy said. “So this is a working day? Night.”
“It's a promoter's party,” Mikey said “Isn't everyone here working?”
“I was here for the punch,” the guy grinned wide and once again Mikey had a vague feeling of recognition.
“I work for Eyeball Records,” Mikey said, though 'work' was probably pushing it given how little it paid. “You heard of us?”
“Yeah,” the dude nodded and the white pom pom on the end of the hat bobbed up and down.
“One of the bands we're interested in is gonna be here, part of the whole unsigned Christmas set. I'm supposed to get them to sign on the dotted line.” Mikey explained.
“A band I’d know?”
“I don't know,” Mikey said “ I don't even know your name, never mind your taste in music.”
“Oh shit,” the guy wiped powdered sugar off his hand onto his black jeans, and then held out his hand. “Sorry, I'm Pete.”
Mikey shook his hand. Pete had a strong grip and a tattoo on one finger.
“Mikey Way,” Mikey said.
“Pleasure to meet you.” Pete said. “So, would I know this band?”
“Depends. How much do you know about hardcore three-pieces?” Mikey said. He didn't think Pete was planning to seduce Angelvenom away to another label, but he was going to be cautious just the same.
Pete laughed, shockingly loud in the small space.
“Well, I've been in a few if that counts.”
Mikey narrowed his eyes and looked at Pete again, substituting sweat-plastered hair for the Santa hat and trying to imagine him on stage.
“Did you fill in for Zeb at the Firepit last week?” he asked finally placing him.
“Yeah,” Pete's grin nearly took over his face “You saw that?”
“I go to a lot of shows,” Mikey shrugged. “You've got a pretty epic scream, dude.”
Before Pete could reply another pair of feet paused outside their table. Mikey thought he'd have to choose his next hiding place more carefully.
“Wentz,” a voice called “You hiding away?”
“Oh fuck,” Pete said and swivelled round to face Mikey “Don't punch me ok? I mean I'd probably have done this later because you're really cute and you seem like you'd have good taste in music and that thing with your brother probably means you're a much better person than the people I usually- just, don't freak out, ok?” And while Mikey was trying to make sense of the sentence Pete scooted forward and kissed him, one hand cupping his shoulder. It wasn't a deep kiss, Pete didn't slip him tongue, but he did press his lips firmly to Mikey's, moving his mouth softly against his.
“Pete you-what the fuck?” A hand flipped the table cloth up and a girl bent down to peer under the table.
“Do you mind?” Pete asked, his hand still on Mikey's shoulder, rubbing slightly. “I was kind of busy.”
Mikey licked his lips, tasting powdered sugar.
“Whatever,” the girl said. She stuck her head further under the table. Pete's grip tightened on Mikey's shoulder. “Leave your fucking rebound hookup and come join the party with me, you know you want to.”
“He's not a hookup,” Pete snapped. “he's my boyfriend and I'm happy right where I am.”
He looked at Mikey, eyes wide, and Mikey didn't need to be psychic to interpret that as 'play along.' He reached up to take Pete's hand, linking his fingers through Pete's. They were strong, calloused in the same places Mikey was starting to get callouses. Bassist, Mikey thought.
“Sorry,” Mikey drawled as deadpan as possible. “This is a private party.”
She looked from Pete to Mikey and back again. “Seriously? Already? You expect me to believe this?”
“Nothing I do is any of your business any more, Sam.” Pete said.
“Especially the band. I told you. I HAVE a band. Now fuck off, I'm having some holiday cheer,” Pete said.
Sam shrugged, long blue hair falling over her shoulder.
“Your loss,” she said, and flipped the cloth back down. Pete didn't let go of Mikey's hand until they had watched her black Docs walk out of sight.
Pete let out a breath and untangled their hands. “Thanks,” he said.
“I've never been a diversion before.” Mikey said.
Pete rubbed his hand over his face, dislodging the Santa hat to reveal black hair streaked with red through his bangs. “I should explain,” he said.
“I'm guessing bad break up?” Mikey said.
“Ok, maybe I don't need to explain.” Pete said.
Mikey shrugged. “I got a few minutes before I need to go out there, and you did kiss me.”
“Really bad break up,” Pete said “For me anyway. Sam didn't seem to really care. I kind of wanted her to think that I didn't either. She was all 'We can totally still be friends, don't be such a downer'.”
“You mentioned a band,” Mikey said. “Do I know your band?”
“You will,” Pete said “Some day. My other half is in Chicago, and we still have to sort out the drummer thing. We're more of a theory at the moment. But we're gonna be awesome. Just you wait.”
“I'll listen out for you,” Mikey said. He checked his phone again and slide it back into his pocket, “I better go do my job.” He wriggled out from under the table and held out his hand to help Pete out.
Standing, Pete was a head shorter than him, short and neat in his red hoodie and tight black jeans and stupid leopard sneakers. He was also really cute. Possibly nuts, but cute.
“Sure sure,” Pete said “Thanks for not blowing my cover there.”
“You should give me your number,” Mikey said, pulling his phone out again.
“Yeah?” Pete's smile lit up his whole face. Mikey had always thought that was just a figure of speech.
“Yeah,” he said, thumbing through to his contacts, “I figure a fake boyfriend should be good for dinner at least.”
“It's a date, Mikeyway,” Pete said.
The apartment was freezing when Mikey woke up the next morning, with that weird pale light that meant fresh snow overnight. He hauled the comforter off the bed with him and wrapped it round his shoulders as he shuffled out into the living room to kick at the heater.
“Already tried that,” Frank piped up from the couch.
“You don't do it right.” Mikey kicked again and it gave a cough and started putting out warmer air. “Success.” Mikey punched the air.
“What would I do without you?” Frank asked. He was wearing the skeleton pajamas Gerard had given him for his birthday, the hood pulled up.
“Die of pneumonia,” Mikey said.
“Manage that already pretty much,” Frank said, thumping his chest like he hadn't give them all a fright. “Coffee's done if you want some.”
Mikey shuffled to the kitchen, comforter trailing behind and, because he was a good roommate, filled up two cups. Frank stuck one hand out of his blanket nest and grabbed the mug. Mikey squeezed onto the couch next to him and spread the comforter out over them both, tucking his feet up under Frank's thighs.
“Good party?” Frank asked once Mikey had drunk enough coffee to make sense.
Mikey looked up from his coffee and shrugged. “Parts were. Hung out with Tony from Angelvenom. Met a guy.” He smiled, remembering.
“Oh yeah?” Under the covers, Frank poked his thigh. “At the party?”
Mikey nodded. “Under the table.”
“You know drink you under the table is just a figure of speech, right?”
“Not drinking,” Mikey reminded him “I was-hiding.”
“You, hiding at a party?” Frank made to feel his forehead and Mikey batted his hand away. “So what's he like? Anyone I know?”
“Don't think so,” Mikey said. “His name's Pete. It took me a while to recognise him but he was at that Somnambulist show you missed when you had bronchitis. He filled in for Zeb.”
“I don't recognise the name,” Frank said. “He cute?” Frank fluttered his eyelashes, because he was a bit of an asshole like that.
Mikey nodded. “He's kind of short. Dark hair. Tattoos on his hand.”
“Hot,” Frank grinned. “didn't know I was your type Mikeyway.”
“Shut up,” Mikey bumped his shoulder against Frank's. “Hey, are you guys playing this Friday?”
“Yeah, you coming? Last show before Christmas, we're going to do the dirty version of Winter Wonderland to close.”
“I thought I might invite Pete,” Mikey said, trying not to think of what a Frank version of any Christmas song would involve. “So make sure you put on a good show.
Frank finished the last of his coffee and gave Mikey the finger.
“Always do,” he said.
Mikey was zipping his hoodie, socked feet dancing cold on the rug when his phone chimed.
hey hey mikeway. Hide under any tables today?
Mikey thumbed back a response No need for table hiding today. No assholes around.
Sad Pete replied almost instantly I love blanket forts
Mikey hit call instead of replying. He could talk and walk at the same time and Ray would look disappointed if he was late for practice.
“Blanket forts are awesome,” he said, when Pete picked up.
“Mikey!” Pete said, “we should build a blanket fort, what are you doing right this minute?”
“Getting ready to go out,” Mikey said. “but you still owe me that date....” outside it had begun to snow again.
“Friday?” Pete's voice was eager in his ear.
“That's tomorrow,” Mikey said, looking round for his boots.
“I'm a seize the moment kind of guy,” Pete said. It sounded like he was smiling.
“My room mate's band is playing Friday night.” Mikey said. “Pencey Prep. They're good, you want to go?” he wriggled his foot into the boot.
“Sounds great,” Pete said, “we have time to get dinner before?”
“If we're quick,” Mikey agreed. “I'll even let you pick.” He buckled his boots and, looking at the thickly falling snow, stole one of Frank's scarves, wrapping it round his neck a few times.
“Friday then,” Pete said. “I'll see you tomorrow.”
“I'll text you the address of the gig,” Mikey confirmed. “So you can pick somewhere close.”
“It's a date,” Pete said, voice warm.
“I know,” Mikey pulled on his beanie and shoved his arms into his coat “I told you that.” He pushed the door open and stepped out into the snow, tucking the phone under his ear as he pulled the door closed.
“So where are you off to then?” Pete said “Work?”
“Nah,” Mikey said, trudging down the street to the beat up old Ford he and Frank shared, “band practice.”
“Whose band?” Pete asked.
“You didn't say you played!” Pete sounded delighted.
“Wasn't a lot of time under the table,” Mikey said “You kissed me before it came up.”
“Not what I meant.” Mikey said, but he joined in with Pete's dirty giggle.
“What do you play? No wait, let me guess.”
Mikey stayed silent.
“Mikey? You there?” Pete said, sounding worried.
“I was letting you guess.” Mikey said. The snowflakes danced orange in the streetlights and he resigned himself to scraping the ice off the windshield.
“Drums? No not drums. And I don't think you're a singer either.”
“That's Gerard,” Mikey said. “My brother.”
“You've got the hands for the keyboard. Long fingers.” Pete sounded thoughtful.
“You were looking at my hands?” Mikey asked, amused. He dug his keys out of his pocket.
“I was looking at all of you,” Pete said. “It's a nice view.”
“You're pretty shameless,” Mikey said. When Pete made a sad noise down the line he said “No, I like it. I play the bass. I'm still learning, I can kind of play the guitar but we needed a bassist more.”
“All the best people play bass,” Pete said, and Mikey remembered the callouses, the (mostly unused) bass slung round Pete at the show.
“Glad to hear it,” he said. “I've got to get to this practice, but I'll see you tomorrow?”
“Later,” Pete said, “don't go getting famous without me.”
“Same to you,” Mikey said “Later, Pete.”
Pete was stamping his feet against the cold by the time Mikey got to the restaurant, pushing his way through the crowds of Christmas shoppers.
“Sorry I'm so late,” he said as soon as he got within earshot. “Everyone suddenly needed to see ME at work.”
“s'okay,” Pete smiled at him, broad and white. “I haven't been here that long.”
“You could have waited inside,” Mikey said.
“I was people-watching,” Pete spread his arms wide to indicate the throngs of people, the high school choir singing carols, people dressed as Santa collecting for charity, parents dragging kids away from window displays.
“It's freezing,” Mikey said.
“Hey,” Pete tucked his hands back into the pockets of his puffy black jacket. “I'm a Chicago boy. Call me when you've felt the wind blowing straight off the lake and we'll talk cold. This doesn't even feel like winter.”
“I feel like I should defend Jersey's honour or something,” Mikey said, “but mostly I just want to eat.”
“After you,” Pete said, opening the door.
Mikey's glasses fogged up as soon as he stepped into the warm air and he felt Pete's hand on the small of his back, steering him until he could see properly,
“Thanks,” Mikey said as they got to their table.
“I haven't eaten here before,” Pete said “But a few of my friends say it's good.”
“I think Gee mentioned this place,” Mikey said, looking around.
“Gerard, my brother.” Mikey opened the menu and looked at the list of dishes, trying to decide.
“The one you gave up drinking for?” Pete asked. He tugged his hoodie off over his head and his t-shirt rode up, flashing a tattoo low on his stomach, edges of bat wings spreading over his abs. He tossed the hoodie over the back of the chair and Mikey saw his arms were covered too. He was so caught up in staring that Pete had to repeat the question.
“Sorry,” Mikey said.
“Don't be,” Pete said, voice low, “Not going to complain about you looking at me.”
Mikey let that sink in for a few seconds before answering. “Gerard, yeah. He's my only brother, and he's the reason I'm not drinking. But I'd do a hell of a lot more for him than give up booze for a few months.”
“I've got someone like that,” Pete said nodding, “Not my brother, but good as.”
“Some people don't get it.” Mikey said. He looked down at the menu again, in case Pete was one of them. “They think it's weird.”
“I don't,” Pete said, “And besides, I like weird. I'm pretty weird myself. Who wants normal anyway?”
“Don't think I could be that if I tried,” Mikey looked up, relieved. Pete was smiling at him, eyes warm and brown and crinkling at the edges. They just looked at each other for long minutes, the silence stretching out with possibility.
“So, you like the Nightmare Before Christmas?” Mikey said at last, changing the subject as the server came over to take their orders.
“What gave that away?” Pete laughed, but he stretched out his arm so Mikey could get a good look at the sleeve. Mikey traced his fingers over Jack and Sally, and Pete shivered, even though the restaurant wasn't cold.
“You'd love our Christmas Tree,” Mikey said “Frank put his Jack action figure up instead of an angel. This must have taken a lot of work.”
“I had it done in stages,” Pete said “But once you start you just kind of want to keep going.”
“You have any more?” Mikey asked, brushing his fingers over Sally's hair, fine black lines on Pete's warm skin.
“That would spoil the surprise,” Pete winked. He twisted his hand so his could graze the inside of Mikey's wrist with his fingertips.
“You said you're from Chicago?”Mikey said, clasping his fingers briefly round Pete's before pulling back, “How'd you end up here?”
“I didn't mean to,” Pete said, moving his hands off the table so the server could put down the dishes of rice, naan and curry. “I was killing time and the band I was teching for made it as far as Jersey before falling apart. A friend let me crash on his sofa and somehow it ended up with me working at the bar down the block and playing in which ever band would have me. I love being on stage.”
“You look pretty good up there from what I remember,” Mikey agreed.
“That your professional opinion?” Pete asked.
Mikey smiled as he tore into one of the naan, “The opinion of someone who sees a lot of shows,” he said. “Though you might want to work more on singing and playing bass at the same time. The scream is epic, I'll give you that.”
Pete snorted through a mouthful of rice.
“I'm better with a pen. I just write the songs. I have my singer, he's just not here yet. ”
“So where is he?” Mikey asked.
“Patrick? He's back in Chicago. He's doing the whole please-the-parents-go-to-college thing, because he's way more sensible than I am. But the second the ink is dry on that diploma we're having a fucking awesome band, no question.” Pete nodded, conviction in every word.
“You sound pretty sure of that,” Mikey said.
“You haven't heard him sing,” Pete said.
“I'd like to,”Mikey said.
“Our first show, I'll put your name on the list,” Pete promised.
“Why do I feel like that's a line you've used before?” Mikey teased.
Pete leaned back in his chair, t shirt rising up again. Mikey wanted to put his mouth right in the centre of the bat, which, judging from the smirk on Pete's face, was exactly the reaction he wanted.
“Only on the really cute boys,” Pete said.
Mikey laughed and shook his head. “Come on, eat,” he said, “We've got like 20 minutes to get to the show. Frank will never let me forget it if we're late.”
“We can't have that,” Pete said.
They didn't wait for the server to clear the plates, just pegged some bills under Mikey's water glass. Mikey zipped his coat back up and pulled his beanie out of his pocket. It squashed his hair, which was annoying, but less annoying than cold ears. Pete seemed to be stuck in his hoodie (it was kind of small) and was wriggling his entire upper body to try and free his arms.
“Dork,” Mikey said softly, and he tugged at the hem of Pete's hoodie so he could push his arms through the sleeves properly.
“Guilty as charged,” Pete said brightly as his head popped up through the collar. He stepped forward and gave Mikey a smacking kiss on the cheek. “Thanks.”
Mikey raised his eyebrows at him but just said, “You done?”
Pete zipped his coat up and nodded. “Ready to face the outdoors.” He pulled a hat out of his pocket, and tugged it on, the red of his bangs standing out in bright contrast to the grey and black stripes, like something out of Gerard's paintings.
The wind had picked up when they stepped outside and Mikey shivered and hunched his shoulders against the cold. Pete slipped his arm around his waist and tugged him close as they walked down the snowy street.
“Warmer?” Pete asked, grinning up at him.
“Getting there,” Mikey said, sliding his arm around Pete's waist in return. It probably wasn't the safest way to negotiate the slushy pavement but Mikey found he didn't really care.
Worm greeted Mikey with a rib-shaking thump on the back and waved them both into the club, blithely ignoring the long line of people in front of them. “Do you know every bouncer?” Pete asked curiously.
“Just most of them,” Mikey said, “but me and Worm went to school together. It comes in handy.”
Pete had let go of him to take off his coat but then just stood there as if he didn't know quite what to do with it. “Give it to me,” Mikey said, holding his hand out. “I'll get Matt to stick it behind the bar.”
“Better take this as well,” Pete said, and wriggled out of his hoodie. Mikey watched the movement of his hips idly.
“Anything else?” Mikey asked, taking the hoodie from him. Pete bounced from foot to foot, seemingly drawing energy from the music thumping over the speakers. He looked around like he was judging his surroundings.
“Only this,” he said, and bounced forward to peck Mikey on the mouth. Mikey curled his free hand into Pete's shirt when he made to pull away and kissed him like he'd wanted to do all evening, wet and messy. Pete pressed closer and kissed back, all coiled energy, and only a wolf whistle from the stage made Mikey step away, feeling Pete sigh as their lips parted.
It was Frank, of course. The asshole was up on stage setting up his rig. “Get some, Mikeyway,” he hooted and pointed. Pete chuckled into Mikey's shoulder and Mikey just gave Frank the finger and went to persuade Matt to stash their coats.
By the time he'd dumped the coats, bought drinks, and fought his way back through the crowds to where Pete was waiting by the bass amp, Frank was calling the pit motherfuckers and introducing the first song.
“Hey,” Mikey said, handing over one bottle, “That asshole up there is my best friend and my room mate. He tells you anything, don't believe him.”
Pete took a drink, “Ok,” he agreed. “They sound pretty good.”
“It's better than his shower singing,” Mikey agreed as Frank belted out 8th Grade. The pit was starting to warm up, people pogoing up and down, legs and arms flailing.
“Come on, dance with me,” Pete said, and set his bottle on the edge of the stage before dragging Mikey into the mass of whirling bodies. Mikey expected him to let go once he'd elbowed his way front and centre, but Pete just pulled him tight to him, chest to back, wrapping tattooed arms around his waist and resting his chin on Mikey's shoulder. The crowd moved around them and Mikey moved with them, jumping up and down as much as he could with Pete clinging to him.
“You want to dance properly you have to let go,” Mikey remarked.
Pete licked his neck and said, “Nope, I'm happy exactly where I am.” He thrust forward, rubbing up against Mikey.
“I see how it is.” Mikey said, and folded his hands round Pete's wrists. Onstage Frank was really getting into it, singing his heart out and whirling around. The pit jostled and bumped them on all sides and Mikey took the excuse to grind back against Pete, who rewarded him with a kiss to the back of his neck.
Someone crashed into them and Pete let go as he flailed for balance.
“My fault,” a tall guy in a plaid shirt said, holding up his hands. Pete patted him on the shoulder but then grabbed Mikey's hand again, “Your guys are good,” he said again.
“I told you,” Mikey said. He could feel the sweat trickling down his back, sticking his shirt to him, the press of bodies and Pete's closeness combining to make him hot all over. Pete was bouncing around as much as he could without letting go of his hand, and Mikey laced their fingers together and jumped with him as the guitars screamed and wailed and the drums vibrated up through the floor. Pete was totally abandoned, shiny with sweat and beautiful, and Mikey pulled him back to him, sliding his arms around Pete's waist to hold him close.
Frank changed it up to as much of a ballad as Pencey ever sung, the bass slow and thudding, an inexorable rhythm that settled into Mikey's hips. He moved with it, slow and liquid, shifting against Pete's ass.
“Mmff,” Pete huffed as Mikey spread his hands out across his stomach.
“Mmmf?” Mikey repeated, kissing Pete's jaw. He could smell the fresh sweat even over the reek of beer and cigarette smoke in the room and he buried his nose in Pete's thick hair and breathed in. Pete was moving with him now, grinding back against him in time with the thud of the bass, every movement sending a jolt straight to Mikey's half-hard cock.
“You enjoying yourself?” Pete asked, voice a little rough, deeper than Mikey had heard it before.
Mikey pressed forward. “Oh yeah,” he said, “You?”
Pete dragged Mikey's hand to the front of his jeans and Mikey felt the hard line of his cock through denim. Mikey rubbed with the heel of his hand and Pete let his head thunk back against Mikey's shoulder.
“Guess that's a yes then,” Mikey said.
They were crammed so close in the pit that Pete couldn't even turn around, hemmed in by all the dancing bodies. All Mikey could do was pant into the back of Pete's neck, tasting the sweat there and nosing into his hair. Pete was sweating through his pale grey shirt and Mikey could see shadows of darker lines that had to be tattoos standing out on his shoulders. Every jostle against them, every time Mikey shoved his hips forward or Pete shifted back, sent a tiny spark of pleasure through him. The crowd was so tight that Mikey half thought no one would notice if he just stuck his hand down Pete's pants, but he wasn't about to risk it. The place was a dive but not that much of one, and they did have some great bands.
“Some foreplay,” Pete said as he trailed his fingers over the back of Mikey's hand.
“We're just dancing,” Mikey tried to sound innocent, but the chuckle Pete gave him told him that hadn't quite worked.
“You dance like this with everyone?” Pete gasped as the crowd pushed him back against Mikey and Mikey hooked one finger inside the waistband of Pete's pants, stroking the hot skin of his belly.
“Only the cute boys,” Mikey said.
“If we don't get out of here soon this could get embarrassing,” Pete said. “Or not. It's not like this is the worse place I've ever had sex.”
“That what we're doing?” Mikey teased. He stroked his finger back and forth and Pete pressed back against him.
“Sure feels like it,” Pete said, and he twisted his hips along with the bass, grinding back. Mikey kissed along Pete's jaw as far as he could reach.
“All right you fuckers,” Frank shouted into the mic “We've got one last song for you, and as it's nearly Christmas, we thought we'd give you something for the holidays...”
The band launched into something that, after a few seconds, Mikey recognised as the promised Winter Wonderland, even if it was more Misfits than Bing Crosby.
“This is fucking awesome!” Pete beamed, “I love holiday music.”
The crowd seemed to agree with Pete because soon they were singing along and swaying in time to the music. Mikey hooked his chin onto Pete's shoulder and joined in. Pencey rounded things off with a last jangle of guitars and drums, and the stage lights faded down even as the band were saying goodbye. As the crowd thinned Pete managed to turn around enough to loop his arms round Mikey's neck and purr,“You want to get out of here?” into Mikey's ear. Mikey hissed as their dicks brushed together through denim and put a hand in the small of Pete's back, slipping his thigh between Pete's so they both had something to grind against.
“Sure you don't wanna hang out some more?” he teased, flicking his tongue over Pete's bottom lip, “Music's still pretty good.”
Pete's laugh was cute off with a groan as Mikey shifted against him, then kissed him with lots of teeth and tongue in answer.
A hand shaking his shoulder made Mikey pull back, reluctantly.
“Gonna introduce me?” Frank asked. He was still in his sweat soaked stage shirt, and must have run straight over to give Mikey shit.
“Kind of busy,” Mikey said, inching his fingers up the back of Pete's shirt. There was a patch of bumpy roughness at the base of his spine and Mikey ran his fingers over it, trying to figure out what it was. Pete gave a little moan and bit Mikey's lip.
“Can see that,” Frank said, “Come on, who's your guy?”
“I don't get in the way of your hookups,” Mikey said.
“I don't hook up in public,” Frank said. He cocked his head to the side. “Well, except that one time.”
Mikey laughed and pulled his hand from under Pete's clothes.
“Pete, this is Frank. Frank, Pete. We met at that promoter's party the other night.”
“He's the guy you were hiding under the table with,” Frank said, delight in his voice. “Only you, Mikeyway.”
“Hey,” Pete leaned past to shake Frank's hand. “Good to meet you. Great show”
“You too,” Frank said, “And thanks. Mikey said you played?”
“Bass,” Pete said, “And I write lyrics.”
Frank's face lit up like he was about to launch into a serious song writing conversation. It was the same expression he wore a lot around Gerard and, not for the first time, Mikey thought he should do something about that. Ray couldn't play every guitar part himself. “Have I heard anything you've done?”
That was it, once Frank got into a music discussion they'd be there till closing. Mikey tugged slightly on Pete's belt loops
“We've got somewhere to be,” he said “I'll bring Frank over for deep musical conversation some other time.”
“Subtle, Mikey,” Frank yelled after them as they pushed through the crowds.
“Overrated,” Mikey tossed back over his shoulder.
“You'll bring me over some other time, huh?” Pete asked, slipping his hand into the back pocket of Mikey's jeans and squeezing his ass.
“I'm not planning on this being a one-time-Oh, hey,” Mikey cut himself off as Tony waved at him and then came over to punch him on the shoulder and thank him for getting Angelvenom signed. They had to spend five excruciating minutes chatting with the rest of the band about their new ideas, the tour plans, and how grateful they were to both Mikey and the label. Pete didn't leave his side, and all through the thanks and the plans all Mikey could think of was getting his hands and mouth on Pete somewhere more private.
“Do you know everyone?” Pete asked, when they'd finally escaped.
“Mostly it's cool,” Mikey said, leaning into Pete, “they're not usually trying to cockblock me.”
“Just look straight ahead and don't make eye contact, and we'll get out of here.” Pete said.
“Thought that was for velociraptors.” Mikey said.
“Those too,” Pete laughed in his ear.
They were nearly at the door, coats collected from Matt (who gave Mikey a wink and a cheesy thumbs up) when someone called “Pete! Pete!”
“Shit,” Pete said, and stopped and turned. It was the girl from the party, Mikey recognised, looking slightly drunker and a lot more pissed.
“Sam,” Pete said. The smile he gave her was small and forced.
“You lied to me,” she said. “I asked around and you're not dating anyone. Don't treat me like a fucking idiot.”
“You ended it with me,” Pete said, “Who I date is none of your business.”
“All those phone calls begging me to take you back,” she said like Pete hadn't said anything, “and then suddenly you're dating someone? You must think I'm stupid.”
“Oh for-” Mikey said, and kissed Pete as messy and lewdly as he knew how. Pete's mouth was hot and urgent and Mikey soon forgot about everything but the kiss, hands spanning Pete's back, Pete's tongue stroking into his mouth. Mikey ground their hips together and gasped against Pete's lips at how fucking good the friction felt. Pete got one leg hooked over Mikey's and rocked up into him, and Mikey felt Pete's hand sneak up under the layers of clothes to press five points of heat into his skin. By the time Mikey pulled back to say something about that being convincing enough Sam was nowhere to be seen.
“Fuck,” Pete said, eyes all pupil.
“Yeah,” Mikey said, breathless, “we should -”
“Bathroom,” Pete said over him
“That works,” Mikey said, and Pete all but shoved him through the thinning crowds and into the bathroom. Mikey walked as quickly as he could, given his hard-on, painful in his tight jeans and found himself backed into the one cubicle with a functional door with Pete plastered to his front.
“Jesus,” Pete said between kisses, “the whole fucking world is cockblocking us.”
“Fuck,” Mikey said. It was all he could manage because Pete fisted one hand in his hair and kissed him harder, scrabbling at Mikey's fly and rubbing roughly. Mikey tried to return the favour but they kept getting in each other's way, hands tripping and tangling over each other as the kiss turned desperate. Mikey was so, so hard, he just wanted to come but he didn't want to stop kissing Pete long enough to do anything but push his hand against the hard bulge of Pete's cock and twist and buck against Pete, trying to get some friction.
“Here, just,” Pete gasped, dragging his wet mouth over Mikey's neck “Lemme just,” and he tried to step back. Mikey whined in the back of his throat at the loss of contact but Pete put just enough space between them to unzip his own jeans and shoved them down a few inches. Mikey stared, getting a proper look at the bat tattoo and-
“No underwear,” he said, dumbly, voice sounding thick even to his own ears.
“Figured I might get lucky,” Pete said. He used the space to attack Mikey's jeans in turn and got a hand on his cock.
“Gnh,” Mikey grunted, because Pete was squeezing him just right, hard and perfect, his callouses a match to Mikey's own, and it was all he could do to get his hand round Pete's cock, so slick and hard, before he felt the orgasm start to uncurl at the base of his spine. He bucked forward into Pete, mouthing at his jaw, wet and sloppy and managed to kiss him just once more before he came.
Pete petted the back of his neck with the hand not covered in come.
“I just,” Mikey said, the words coming slowly, “gimme a second. Just one second.”
“Mikey!” Pete said, sounding a mixture of desperate and pained.
Mikey kissed Pete's neck and made his noodly arms work enough to shove his hand back into the front of Pete's jeans. They were too tight for him to get a proper grip on Pete's dick but he shaped it as well as he could and urged Pete on. “Come on,” he panted, “wanna see you, just, fucking come.”
Pete thrust against him and growled, a throaty scream echoing off the tiled cubicle. Mikey felt him pulse over his fingers, warm and sticky.
“Oh yeah,” Pete mumbled against his mouth. “that's what I'm talking about.” He looked dopey and happy, and Mikey laughed, just from the release.
They wiped themselves off with paper towels. Pete made a face at the mess inside his jeans but shrugged and zipped them up, and tugged his shirt down to cover them.
“Oh,” Mikey said, realising. “ I didn't get to see all your tattoos.”
Pete grinned and folded Mikey into a hug. “Next time,” he said, and kissed him. This time was slow and soft, almost sweet and Mikey got lost in it.
“Hey,” he said minutes later, Pete's head resting in the crook of his neck, lips pressed to his pulse point. “Come home with me?”
“Ok,” Pete said.
When Mikey woke he was wonderfully warm, a cosy satisfaction spreading through his bones.
“Frnk?” he mumbled.
“Kind of offended that's the first word out of your mouth dude,” a deep voice that was not Frank's said.
Mikey forced his eyes open to see Pete's face filling his field of vision. He reached out and poked Pete in the cheek, watching his pale fingers on Pete's stubble-shaded skin. “Oh,” he slurred, “that's why I'm warm.”
“Huh?” Pete's look of confusion took over his whole face. He was generous with his expressions, Mikey realised. He rubbed his eyes and pushed closer, legs sliding against Pete's.
“The heat never works properly unless I kick it,” Mikey said, “It was so warm I thought Frank finally figured it out.”
“Oh,” Pete said, “no, it's still freezing. I'm just a good heater.”
Mikey nodded and snuggled up. With all the blankets and Pete next to him in Mikey's sleep pants and Joy Division t-shirt, he was the warmest he'd been in months. With the bonus of a really hot guy next to him.
“Hi,” he said, and kissed Pete. Pete's mouth was soft in contrast to the rough scratch of stubble. “Did you just wake up?” He asked.
“Been awake a while. I don't sleep much,” Pete said, shifting his head on the pillow.
“You could have gotten up,” Mikey said. “I think we have breakfast stuff.”
“It's okay,” Pete shrugged. “I mostly just watched you sleep.”
“That's kind of creepy dude,” Mikey frowned.
“I'm hoping you'll find it part of my charm.” Pete's foot found Mikey's and then stroked up over his calf.
Mikey curved his hand round Pete's neck and kissed him again, pressing his morning wood against Pete's flat belly. “Take your shirt off and we'll find out,” he suggested.
Pete laughed and tugged his shirt up over his head by the collar. Mikey hadn't been awake enough last night to take in much. Now he could see that Pete had more tattoos, and Mikey wanted to know all the stories behind them. The chill of the room pebbled Pete's nipples and-
“Hot,” Mikey said, reaching out to brush his thumb over the bar in Pete's left nipple. Pete winked at him. “I don't know where to look,” Mikey said, fingers tripping over a tattoo like thorns over Pete's collarbone, skating over Pete's biceps and down his arm to close round his wrist, tapping his fingers on the tattoo of an owl, “You've got ink everywhere.” Pete tilted his head back and let Mikey look his fill.
“Everywhere,” Mikey repeated, and scooted down under the blankets to press his face to Pete's stomach and kiss in the centre of the bat tattoo, like he'd wanted to do since he first saw it. Pete hissed so he did it again, digging his teeth in a little, tasting dried salt on Pete's skin.
“Mikey,” Pete breathed out.
It was too early to tease and Mikey didn't even really want to, so he tugged Pete out of his sweatpants and slid his mouth down as far as he could manage. It was dark and close under the blankets, and Mikey put one hand on Pete's thigh, feeling the muscles tense and release. He couldn't quite deep throat, not like this, but Pete was moaning pretty much nonstop so he didn't think it mattered. He closed his eyes to concentrate on the sounds Pete made, the taste of him in his mouth and the gentle pressure of Pete's hands on his shoulders.
“Please,” Pete panted, pushing the words out.“Mikey.” He sounded broken, desperate.
Mikey sucked harder and moved one hand to rub behind Pete's balls and Pete pushed at his shoulder just as Mikey felt him start to come. He buried his face in Pete's thigh and jerked him through it, the scent sharp and thick in their blanket nest.
“Come up here,” Pete urged and all but hauled Mikey up by the shoulders to kiss him, slipping him tongue. Pete's hands were all over him, never stopping in one place long. Mikey gave up on any kind of finesse and just pinned Pete down beneath him, rutting and grinding against him.
“That's it” Pete's voice was deep growl in his ear “Come on, come on, want to feel it all over me.” He kissed Mikey's jaw, stubble scraping his throat and Mikey twisted his hips once more and came.
“So, charming?” Pete asked.
Mikey laughed and snatched up the abandoned t-shirt to wipe them both off.
“Don't know” he said, “Might have to repeat that to check.”