Title: Yours As Much As Mine
Rating: PG, barely.
Summary: Mikey isn't sure if this is friendship or something else, but he likes it.
Author's Note: Set in the Centre AU. For private____ryan's birthday.
Disclaimer: Not true. No monies.
Happy birthday, babe.
The rain had started right after Mikey had gotten on the bus. He hadn't noticed it at the time- it was too dark outside and too light inside to see anything through the window and he had his headphones on. By the time the doors opened onto the world the shower had become a downpour, the gutters turned into tiny rivers. He'd considered staying on the bus, but not seriously and not for long.
That was partly because it would only take him back to his house, and he was too fucking bored to stand it there tonight. But it was mostly because he could see Pete's window from the road, and the light was on.
His pants and shoes were soaked by the time he got through the front door, not bothering to knock. He knew it would be open. It always was. He squelched down the hall to Pete's room, giving a perfunctory tap before entering just in case he was jerking off. It hadn't happened yet, but there was always a first time. Pete was lying on his bed, staring up at the Morrissey poster he'd tacked to his ceiling at the beginning of summer. He blinked, turned over, and smiled.
"Hey, bro," he said. He'd put on eyeliner at some point that day, and by the looks of it had spent the rest of the day tying to rub it into his skin. "What took you so long?"
Mikey dropped his backpack on the floor by the door and came to sit on the bed, leaving wet footprints on the floorboards. "It's raining," he said, unnecessarily.
"No shit. It's like fucking monsoon season out there." He gestured vaguely to the window, still looking at Mikey. There was a song playing on the radio on his nightstand, something pretty and soft. It might have been the Cure. "Did you get a drive out?"
Mikey shook his head. "Bus."
"Bummer. It's a long walk from here to the stop." His hand inched forward to touch the sodden hem of Mikey's T-shirt. "You want something to wear? I can loan you a pair of jeans and a hoodie."
Mikey thought of saying no, in the same idle way he'd thought of staying on the bus, but that didn't last long either. It made no sense to sit there in wet clothes, especially considering how easily he caught cold and how damp Pete's bedspread was getting. He nodded and watched Pete get up and go to his closet, rummaging around for a good few minutes before emerging with a ratty Nirvana hoodie and a pair of skinny jeans. He tossed them at Mikey and jumped back onto the bed, bouncing slightly.
"They're dirty," he said, sounding almost proud. "I haven't done laundry in... fuck, two weeks? Three? We can't use the washing machine too often; it jacks up the electricity bill. It's bad enough that Frank takes half-hour showers every day." He nudged Mikey's foot with his own. "Go on, put them on."
Mikey did not leave to change. That would have been weird. Instead he got up and stripped off his wet clothes, tossing them onto a chair. He would have thrown them on the floor in his own room, but Pete kept his things tidy, most of the time, and he never felt comfortable messing it up. Like he should have a maid following him around all the time, carefully smoothing and straightening the things he'd put out of order. Pete was a little dude, and so the jeans were a little tight; the hoodie, however, was roomy and comfortable, warm against Mikey's damp, cold skin.
"Pete," he said, looking down at the sleeves, "what's this stain?"
"The one on the left sleeve."
Pete shrugged. "I dunno, man. I haven't worn that thing since before Jeanae. Who knows what crazy shit I was getting up to? It's probably not jizz, though, just so you know."
"Probably not jizz. Fantastic," Mikey muttered, sitting back down. Pete was on his back again, his feet against the wall, still staring at Moz. The song on the radio ended and another one came on, some Wolfmother bullshit that Mikey had heard once and hated months ago. The silence stretched and grew thin.
"Penny for your thoughts," said Mikey, because he was never above a bribe. Pete looked at him and smiled again, that broad, goody smile that Mikey could never help liking.
"Do you have a penny?"
Mikey shook his head. "A quarter, maybe. That's too much for thoughts, though."
Pete made a face. "That's nice, dude, thank you." He rolled over onto his stomach, feet beating out a rhythm on the plaster. "You've seen Almost Famous, right?" Mikey nodded. "Okay, cool. Remember that scene right after the guy who played Dr. Manhattan in Watchmen jumps off the roof, and he and Patrick Fugit get back on the bus and they all sing 'Tiny Dancer'?"
"Okay. And then Patrick Fugit leans over to that chick- the groupie, she was in that movie where she writes an article about Matthew McConaughey being a dick-"
"How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days."
"Yeah. The fact that you knew the title off the top of your head means you lose like ten thousand bro points, but whatever. Anyway, he leans over to this chick and says, 'I have to go home,' and she looks at him and says, 'you are home.'" He stopped and closed his eyes, apparently at the end of that train of thought.
"And?" Mikey prompted after a few minutes. Pete opened his eyes and grinned.
"Nothing," he said. "I just really like that scene."
Mikey rolled his eyes. "That wasn't even worth a penny," he said.
"Fuck you, man, that's some emotional shit." Pete sat up, pushing his bangs out of his eyes. They'd gotten longer; Mikey hadn't seen him cut them since before he and Jeanae broke up, before he'd moved into the house with Frank, before Mikey had started sleeping over four nights out of seven and commuting back home for work every morning. "She means that the bus, or like rock and roll or music or whatever, that's really his home. Right? Like he lives there, that's where he belongs, in that scene and with those people."
"Okay," Mikey said, because Pete seemed to be waiting for an answer. "Well, that's what it means, doesn't it?"
"No. Watch that scene again, man, and fucking pay attention. He's not even singing when she says that. He's looking at her, listening to her, sitting as close to her as he can. He doesn't give a shit about the music. He gives a shit about her. She means that music is where he belongs, but that's not what he hears. When she says 'you are home' he's looking at her."
"Okay," Mikey said again, "so he's looking at her. So what?"
"So that's what home is to him. It's not that bus or backstage at a show or his mom's house or whatever. It's her. It's sitting there with her, listening to a bunch of drunken assholes singing Elton John. Or lying in a bathtub watching her pee. Or trying to stop her from fucking dying in that hotel room. That's home, all those times and places, because that's where she is. So he is home. Get it?"
Mikey remembered a day earlier that summer. He'd come over in the afternoon and found Pete swanning around in his boxers like a slob, eating Kraft Dinner out of the pot. They'd sat there and watched some bullshit procedural drama and gotten just a little bit drunk and stayed up until seven the next morning for no reason at all. It would have been boring if it had been anyone else. Probably had been boring when it had been someone else, some other person Mikey had wasted the day with. But it wasn't. It was Pete.
So he said, "Yeah, I get it," and Pete smiled and Mikey lost himself in that for a second, in the curve of his mouth and the way his eyes narrowed just a little. The song on the radio changed again to a song Mikey thought he maybe recognized, one his mom or dad used to play. Pete nudged him with his foot.
First you look so strong,
Then you fade away.
The sun will blind my eyes,
I love you anyway.
"'Vapour Trail'," he said, because he knew what Mikey was thinking. He usually did. Mikey wasn't sure why, or how it made him feel, or what it meant that they were two guys hanging out in a bedroom who could strip in front of each other and talk bullshit about movies and hold hands while listening to "Vapour Trail."
Which was what they were doing, suddenly and somehow. Pete's fingers were caught up in his and they were soft and the skin was smooth and the pressure was slight and subtle but it was there. Mikey wondered if this was normal. If this was just something people did, or if it meant something. He kept his hand very still, feeling Pete's thumb move slowly back and forth over his knuckles. It felt tentative, like Pete wasn't quite sure of himself, but when Mikey looked at him his face was calm and composed, his eyes half-closed, one cheek resting against his other hand.
Mikey looked at him. He saw the shadows under his eyelashes, the minute creases in his lips, the rise and fall of his shoulders, and he looked and he looked and he wanted to look more, wanted to fill himself up with this moment somehow because the song was perfect and his hand was warm and the rain drummed gently against the roof like a metronome, keeping time. He felt something rising in his chest like a bubble, as though he was about to say something stupid and beautiful.
First you form a smile,
I watch you for a while.
You are a vapour trail,
In a deep blue sky.
What he said was, "It's a great song."
What he thought was, you're home.
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