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It was a mistake. Or at least, it wasn't intentional, not at first. It was just that Mikey was all upset about something--Bob didn't even remember what, later. He thought maybe Gerard had been missing, or his bass had somehow made it to the wrong stage or something else that was enough to justify Mikey being upset but not the edge of hysteria that Bob could see creeping in. And Bob, who hadn't lifted a hand to anyone in years--not since he'd started working the boards and found there were better ways to fuck someone's shit up--grabbed Mikey by the arm and smacked him on the ass twice in quick succession.

If asked, Bob couldn't have said why he chose to go that route. It was the same idea as slapping someone who was mildly hysterical across the face, only the thought of hitting Mikey in that way made Bob feel slightly nauseated. There was nobody but the two of them in the dressing room at that time, and Bob wasn't sure it would have changed things had there been, if he would have let someone else handle Mikey, calm him.

The last smack was still echoing slightly in Bob's ears when he snatched his hands back and said, "Oh shit, Mikey, I'm sorry, I don't know--"

Mikey planted his palm over Bob's mouth. There wasn't anything sexy or even coordinated about it. Mikey was blinking at him somewhat furiously, but Bob noticed that his breathing, which had been a little short before, had normalized. Mikey said, "Oh," short and surprised.

Bob repeated the sentiment into Mikey's palm.


So the first time had just been an instinctive--if odd--reaction to Mikey's distress and Bob made plans to come up with a better way to handle that sort of thing in the future. Plans which summarily went out the window the night Mikey traded Ray to room with Bob. Mikey let Bob take the first shower, which was normal. Bob and Frank cared to have the showers first more than the others, and as such, were obliged. Mikey got in afterward, though, and didn't come out. When Bob finally went to go check on him at the fifteen minute point--Mikey's showers generally took all of three, four minutes if he was luxuriating--the steam was so thick that Mikey was actually coughing on it.

Bob pushed the door to the bathroom further open and flipped on the fan. He reached in to the shower and turned the water off. Mikey looked at him, water dripping in his eyes, down his face and said, "Just trying to unwind."

Bob considered Mikey and his wet-rat chic, the pleading in his eyes, the lack of tone in his voice. He handed him a towel. "Dry yourself thoroughly and meet me out there." He repeated, "Thoroughly. It's Frank's job to have a cold every third day." In truth, Bob was just pretty sure that impact hurt far more on wet skin than dry, but whatever got Mikey to actually listen was what he was going to go with.

When Mikey joined him in the room, even his hair was mostly dry. He stood shivering, naked, out in the middle of the room and said, "You don't have to, if you don't-- I know this isn't really, um, normal."

"You ever let your brother find you striving to be that?" Bob asked softly.

Mikey rolled his eyes. "You know what I mean."

Bob did, he just refused to acknowledge that there was anything wrong with being honest about what a person's needs were. "You have a way you want to do this? Bed? Wall?"

Mikey's gaze darted around the room. It settled on a desk that was in the corner. He walked over and placed his palms on the surface. He planted his feet at about shoulder's-length in distance and said, "This, um, okay?"

Bob came to his side. "Mikey, you have to count. If you stop counting, I stop. If you say no, I stop. If you say stop, I stop. Got it?"

Mikey nodded. Bob didn't give him any more warning before bringing his hand down. Bob had some sense that there was a way to warm Mikey up to this, make it pleasurable, but he also got the sense that that wasn't what Mikey was here for, that if Mikey wanted pleasure, he'd ask for that. Mikey said, "One," voice calm and yet needy and Bob went in for a second. Mikey's breath caught on his two, but he was still clearly waiting. Bob sped up, barely, just barely giving Mikey time to tally up in between. But he waited that long, just long enough to know Mikey was still in this with him. Around twenty, Mikey's voice cracked on a sob. At twenty-three he was crying quietly, but steadily. At twenty-eight, his count took on an ease that hadn't been there, almost like he didn't need to think about it so hard any longer. At thirty-four, he screamed at impact, but still counted off. Bob's hand was sore and the sound of Mikey's broken words was pounding in his head, but he had given Mikey certain parameters and he wasn't going to change them now. At forty, Mikey said, "Stop, stop," the words shaky, but the intent clear. Bob really hadn't needed to be told twice.

Mikey leaned the rest of the way over the desk, touching his forehead to it. He'd kept himself basically upright the entire time. Bob hesitated for a second before soothing his hand down the muscles of Mikey's back. They were trembling beneath Mikey's skin. Bob asked softly, "Too much?" He wondered if he was supposed to know, supposed to understand inimically when Mikey had had enough.

Mikey caught his breath to say, "Just enough." He pushed himself up and looked at Bob for a second, smiling. Bob couldn't help but notice how Mikey's shoulders didn't ride so high, how some of his edges seemed softer.

Bob asked, "Lay down?"

Mikey smiled a little wider, "Yeah," and loped the few steps from where he stood to the bed, spilling down face first and wiggling his way up. Bob laughed a little, low in his chest. He went to the bathroom and wet a couple of face towels with cool water and then sat on the side of Mikey's bed, wiping his face down, then his back, then settling the towels over the worst of the damage. Mikey made a happy sound and sank deeper into the bed.

Bob, not entirely sure how awake Mikey was, whispered, "Mikey?"

Mikey shifted himself enough so that he could look up at Bob assessingly for a moment before saying, "Yeah?"

"What--" Bob wasn't sure he had the right to ask this, but then again, Mikey was the one asking him to participate in some form and not that Bob minded, at all or anything, really, but he thought maybe he should know some things. Things like, "What does it do for you?"

Mikey bit his lip for a second, clearly thinking. "Takes me out of my head. Safely. Not like-- Not like the other stuff. Does it-- Do you not like it?" For the first time since he'd walked in, he looked a little unsure of what he was doing, what he wanted.

"No," Bob was quick to answer. "No. I just--" Bob threw the face towels aside and lay down so that he was lined up against Mikey. Gently, he massaged at the skin of Mikey's ass. Mikey moaned, but it wasn't a displeased sound, not even nearly. Bob said, "There are other ways I could do that." He tried to keep his voice even, not allow any eagerness to show.

Mikey was quiet for a long moment and Bob forced himself not to tense in the expectation of rejection. Bob barely heard him when he asked, "Do I have to choose?"

Bob felt himself blink. "Um. No, I mean, no, no, of course not. No."

Mikey grinned then, and turned slightly to hook one leg over Bob's. "I can have whatever I want?"

"I draw the line at involving your brother."

"Oh, way to kill the mood."

Bob wrapped his arm around Mikey and pulled him in closer. "Bet I can revive it."

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Skin by egelantier, photo by microbophile