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Mikey takes Bob to Panic because Spencer leaves a voicemail on Bob's Sidekick saying, "This is Spencer. You've probably heard that today wasn't the best set we've ever had. If you could drop by later, that would be appreciated."

Mikey has learned that in the world of Spencer Smith, such a message is the equivalent of franticness. At the time Bob receives the message, My Chem actually hasn't heard about the bottling yet. They ask, and a random tech guy catches them up.

Bob seems calm, but between Spencer's formal language and the kinda-sorta crumpling motion the tech fell into while delivering the news, Mikey's worried that Bob might get lost if he sets out to find Panic on his own.

Mikey asks a couple of pointed questions while they wander, pinpointing Panic's location as back at the hotel. Mikey hails them a cab.

Bob knows Spencer's room number, so it's fairly easy to find once there. Zach has set up festival security around the floor. Mikey feels a pang of sympathy; Worm would be going nuts. They've had bottles flung at them left and right, but as of yet nobody's gotten hit in the face, and certainly nobody's passed out.

They have to show their festival passes--Bob's forgotten his, but the staff is willing to let Mikey vouch for him. Zach opens the door for them.

Brendon and Ryan are lying on the bed together. Brendon looks up, smiles and says, "Hey, people came to visit me."

Spencer says, "I'm pretty sure one of them came to visit me."

Brendon makes a face at him. "Be nice. I totally took a bottle to the face for your band."

Spencer snorts. "My band, huh?"

But Mikey notices that when Bob reaches him and slips an arm around his waist, Spencer holds on.

Ryan says, "Guys, it's not that the concern--"

"We want to have 'I'm alive' sex, is what Ross here is trying to say," Brendon tells them earnestly, from beneath a bruise that is easily the size of Mikey's palm.

Ryan rolls his eyes. "Yes. Because I'm sure you're up to it."

"Was that a challenge, Ross?"

Regardless of what it was, Mikey can tell it's time to leave, time to give Ryan a chance to settle Brendon. Mikey silently wishes him luck with that.

Once they're clear of the room, Spencer asks Jon, "You--"

"I'm good, Spence."

Spencer cocks his head a little, looks closely, but says, "Okay," and wanders down the hall with Bob.

Mikey looks at Jon and says, "You drink, right?"

Jon nods cautiously, as though he might be judged. Mikey says, "Let me buy you one."

They go down to the pub on the ground floor of the hotel and Mikey buys Jon three drinks in succession while Jon doesn’t talk about the way his hands are still a little shaky.

Finally Mikey asks, "You even see what hit him?"

Jon stops for a second, just stops. Then there's a quick shake of his head. "I was playing, you know? I was. . . There was the song and it was nice out and I was playing and then he stopped singing and I looked over and he was on the fucking ground. And Brendon doesn't even stay still when he's asleep and for a second I thought he was dead, that maybe, I don't, I don't know what I thought, but he was still and he's not, Brendon just isn't, and I--"

Jon presses his lips together.

"Gonna puke?" Mikey asks.


Mikey hauls him to the bathroom and stays, rubbing his back while he empties the drinks into the toilet. He helps him to the sink so that he can rinse his mouth out, splash his face, and when he's leaning over the sink, water still running, Jon says, "I'm not usually this much of a lightweight."

Mikey says, "I think it can be forgiven."

Jon doesn't look up. "I wasn't even paying attention. I was just playing."

"What would you have done? Caught the bottle?"

Jon laughs humorlessly.

"You saved them once, Jon. You can't save them all the time. Not even Gerard can do that."

"He tries, though."

Mikey sighs, slips his hands over Jon's shoulders. "Yeah. He does."

He tucks his hands under Jon's arms, pulling him up. "Let's get you back upstairs, okay?"

Jon lets himself be taken. When Mikey crawls into his bed with him, both of them fully dressed except for their shoes, all he says is, "You don't have to."

Mikey wraps himself around Jon, says, "I know."

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Skin by egelantier, photo by microbophile