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liketheroad, chocolate chip cookies, Ryan/Mikey/Spencer

Ryan and Spencer weren't a secret, not in the industry. Mikey was fairly certain their fans didn't know, but even when Pete had been hiring them on, he'd said, "I found these kids. Two of'em are--" and made nonsense motions with his hands that Mikey (sadly) understood perfectly.

Mikey had said, "They're...out?"

Pete shrugged. "Quietly. They didn't lie to me. I liked that."

And that had been that. Panic at the Disco had done its thing, become Pete's pride and joy and Mikey never exactly forgot the conversation, but it just wasn't a big thing, because Ryan played guitar and wrote lyrics and Spencer played the drums and they released albums that people liked. These were the important facts to Mikey. It wasn't until he met them that any of that changed.

*


They weren't on tour, so when Pete said, "Come to my birthday party, Mikeyway," Mikey had said, "I want there to be all of my favorite sodas stocked," and Pete had said, "Jones, A&W and Coke with real vanilla syrup, I know."

It was in Chicago, so Mikey wasn't all that put off. Bob was there, and Mikey missed Bob. He missed Pete, too, but that was different. He was used to missing Pete. Bob wasn't supposed to be far away. Bob met him at the airport and didn't even give him shit about having brought Bunny. Mikey said, "I need a wingman."

Bob said, "Yeah. I even washed my jeans."

"I'll be the envy of everyone in the room."

*


Pete was buzzed by the time they showed, Patrick laughing at him about something--the possibilities were endless, really--while Pete hung over Ryan. He said, "Mikey! Mikeyway! You should meet Ryan Ross!"

It was odd to Mikey that they hadn't, actually, but he nodded and said, "Nice to meet you," his hand out.

Ryan returned the shake and said, "Hello."

"My Chem makes Ryan dance," Pete said solemnly.

"I will drop you. On the floor," Ryan told him.

"But it's my birthday," Pete said.

"The floor," Ryan repeated. Pete didn't challenge him.

*


Mikey wasn't following Ryan, really, it was just that Ryan got all his jokes without having to think about it and was funny in pretty much the exact same way. He wasn't drunk, either. He was making his way slowly through a Cabernet that he was sharing with Alex Suarez, but he was nowhere near drunk. All in all, he was a good guy to spend time with. Spending time with one band member meant spending time with at least one other, and Mikey wasn't surprised when that other ended up being Spencer Smith.

Spencer wasn't drunk, either. In fact, Spencer seemed to have stolen one of Mikey's Jones'. Mikey said, "Pete ordered that soda for me."

Ryan said, not a crinkle on his face, "You should give it back, Spence."

Spencer tilted his head, considering Mikey, careful before he dipped closer and kissed him, the residue of green apple bubbles bursting between their tongues. Mikey scrambled back, looking around frantically before remembering that they were in a booth, in a corner, and nobody was paying any attention. He said, "Um--"

"Should I apologize?" Spencer asked, and there was a twist to his tone, worry, Mikey thought.

"To your boyfriend?" Mikey wasn't sure why that came out as a question. It really shouldn't have.

"Mm, no, you're Ryan's exception. Except we both decided that we had to share, if the opportunity ever came along."

Mikey blinked. "Uh." He looked over at Ryan. He nearly did a double take. Ryan, who had been so calm and wry all evening, wouldn't look at him, was brittle in his posture and Mikey knew how it felt to hold himself that way, all the reasons he did it. "Oh."

Spencer said, "You can walk away. We're not assholes."

Slowly, Mikey shook his head. Ryan was watching he knew, out of the corner of his eye. He could see the second that Ryan started breathing again. It was heady, but mostly, at the moment, Mikey just wanted to taste Spencer again. He said, "Lemme tell Bob I'm leaving."

*


In the morning, when Spencer ordered them all room service, Mikey watched him coax Ryan into eating, watched the two of them fold into each other, clearly knowing the sharp spots to avoid, never having to say more than one or two words to get their point across. Mikey took a cold shower and said, "Right. One night stand. Right."

He ran out of cold water before he was done.

*


When Mikey arrived back home, Frank was on vacation with Jamia, Ray was at one of Krista's family reunions and Gerard was in LA, talking with people about adapting Umbrella Academy. Brian was on the road with one of his bands, so it was pretty much Mikey and his pets. He checked his Sidekick and saw a message from Pete. "corrptng chldrn, mkywy?"

Mikey sighed. "ur 1 2 tlk."

"u no thoz rmrs rnt tru"

Mikey did. "i wuld'v expctd u 2 b th excpshun."

"u wuldv bn wrng"

Mikey said, "Thank you, captain obvious," to nobody in particular. The bird at the window flew right off.

*


Mikey had been home less than two full days when the box arrived. It was from a local bakery, one he'd never heard of. No sooner had he opened up the tin inside the box than the smell of freshly-baked cookies permeated his house. "Oh."

There was a card atop the tin. It said, "Pete said these were your favorite. We weren't sure about which bakery was best, so we figured we'd probably just have to try them systematically. You'll have to get back to us, on a scale of one to ten, one being 'wouldn't feed it to my dogs' and ten being 'orgasm'. Ryan and Spencer."

Mikey picked a cookie out of the tin, butter seeping from the surface onto his fingers, the chips still just slightly softened. He took a bite, chewed and considered. After a while he decided, "Seven."

He liked bigger chips.

*


The cookies came like clockwork for seven weeks, Mikey routinely sending Ryan or Spencer a number to let them know their success level. Ryan always made him explain why. Spencer just kept him chatting, talking about his dogs, Ryan's dogs, the tour they were on, whatever seemed pertinent at the time. By the third week, Mikey admitted to Gerard, "I don't know what they want."

Gerard was busy making an ice cream sandwich from out of two cookies. He didn't look up from his task as he asked, "What do you want?"

Mikey thought of the way Ryan had been silently eager to please, how Spencer hadn't had any problems holding Mikey up when his knees didn't quite want to. He thought of the way there had been laughter that wasn't cruel; nervous and amused and content, but never cruel. He thought about them sending him chocolate chip cookies because they were his favorite. He said, "Something I can't have."

Gerard said, "Mikey--"

Mikey shook his head. "I should tell them to stop sending the cookies. I should-- I should be honest."

"Take it from someone who blows at lying, Mikeyway. Honesty is overrated."

*


On the eighth week, the cookies never came. Mikey tried to be relieved, he tried so damn hard, but mostly he just felt forgotten. He took Piglet Tree for a long walk and told her, "Fall's coming," because Mikey liked fall, and it was usually a cheering thought.

He turned his Sidekick off that night and watched his favorite movies sitting on the floor, because it was there, and easy to find. It wasn't likely to go away, either.

*


Mikey woke up with "Dawn of the Dead" playing. It took him a second to realize it wasn't the screaming that had woken him up. He pushed himself off the floor and ambled to the door, checking the peephole. Then he closed his eyes, opened them, and checked again. He said, "Okay. Okay. Maybe a dream. But you should probably open the door."

He opened the door and said, "Am I still asleep?" before realizing that if they were part of his dream, they probably wouldn't know.

Spencer took off his backpack and slung it into Mikey, who took it by rote. It was heavy. Spencer said, "You tell me."

Mikey was pretty sure dream!Spencer would have kissed him. "Oh. Hi?"

Ryan went up on his toes and kissed Mikey softly. "Pete said you might be confused about what the cookies meant."

Mikey ran a hand over his face. "It's one in the morning."

"Yeah, sorry," Spencer said. "I promised my mom we'd spend a day in town before we left, so it was a late flight."

"Also, we had to stop by the grocery store," Ryan said, as if that made perfect sense. "For the cookie ingredients."

"We were going to make them tonight," Spencer said.

"But you look pretty tired," Ryan took over. With that, not even waiting for a response, the two of them ushered Mikey into his bedroom--well, they got the studio first, but after that it was smooth sailing--and put him in bed, shucking off their shoes and curling around him.

"We're kinda tired, too," Spencer said.

"Mm, night," Ryan said through a yawn.

Mikey tried to ask another question, to fight the surreality a little longer, but they had both relaxed and were clearly exhausted. He let them sleep.

*


Mikey made eggs and toasted bagels in the morning. It was the only thing he could really make, but he was pretty good at it, he added fun things like salsa. Ryan, as it turned out, ate a lot and was very appreciative when well fed. Spencer washed the dishes like a good guest while Ryan sucked Mikey off in the middle of his kitchen. Then Spencer said, "Go clean up, we have cookies to make."

"Are we good at making cookies?" Mikey asked.

Ryan and Spencer looked at each other. Finally Spencer laughed. "No, we're terrible. But we can learn."

Mikey said, "You don't have to."

Ryan said, "We know that, Mikeyway," and smiled, sweet and wide.

sauciloo, mmjederrah Lebanese lentil and rice dish, Mikey/Spencer

It seemed completely unlikely that Mikey would have met Spencer randomly, but that was actually sort of how it happened. Mikey said to Bob, "Why don't you have any salty salty chips in your house? Whhhy?"

Bob said, "Quit your whining, there's an all night convenience store two blocks over."

And really, the chance that Spencer Smith was going to be visiting Jon Walker, who evidently lived within walking distance of that exact same convenience store and would be having a craving for donuts at precisely the same time of night as Mikey needed chips was pretty infinitesimally small, but these things happened to Mikey, so he wasn't sure he could really be surprised.

An hour later the two of them were still standing outside, making their way steadily through their snack of choice, when Bob came running down the street and said, "Next time, take your phone, fucker."

Mikey would have laughed, only Bob really did look like he thought he'd lost Mikey to the night and was going to have to explain that to Gerard, so he said, "Sorry," then, "Hey, Bob, this is Spencer Smith."

*


Spencer was like Bob, kind of. He was calm, but fierce when the situation called for it, and underneath it all lay a deep-to-the-bone geek who had never quite had any direction to his geekiness. The part where he wasn't like Bob was where Mikey would have sort of felt incestuous thinking about kissing Bob. Spencer was incest-free, and even just old enough for Mikey to not feel like a complete child molester.

Mikey wasn't sure whether Spencer was equally interested, really. None of the usual signs were forthcoming, but the usual signs usually came from fans and Mikey wasn't sure that was an indicator of anything that could be used to start a relationship, or, at the very least, a few incidents of exceedingly hot sex. Mikey wasn't picky.

Finally, though, on a night when the four of them went to dinner together, Jon left Bob and Spencer at the table and followed Mikey to the bathroom where he said, "So, you aren't trying to screw with Spencer's head, right? You're just bad at communicating."

Mikey said, "It's a weakness."

"Take him to bed or give him up forever, Goose."

"Uh."

"You've never seen 'Top Gun'?"

"You have?" Mikey asked.

Jon sighed. "I'm going to pee now."

*


They both stayed in Chicago longer than they'd planned, pretty much until Spencer and Jon had to go off and do band things with other band people. Spencer said, "Am I being a girl if I ask if this is more than just a, y'know, summer fling?"

It wasn't summer, but Mikey understood. He shook his head. "Want me to go with you? I could, for a bit."

Spencer laughed. "We need to actually get work done." Then, "Tour starts soon, and we're on the east coast shortly after that. Wanna--"

"Yeah."

"Sure? I mean, there's a reason you guys are taking a break."

Mikey knew. Nobody needed to tell Mikey that. He said, "I'm sure."

*


He joined them in DC and traveled the zigzag way they were making their way up the coast. The night before they got to Jersey, Mikey said, "So, Frank and Ray and Gee wanna go out to dinner with us tomorrow."

Spencer considered the news. "You're kind of an asshole sometimes."

"Yeah," Mikey agreed.

"I know you don't mean it, but--"

"You don't have to. But I thought, um, I want them to meet you."

"I can bring mine, right?"

"I think you're supposed to. How can they know you if they don't meet them?" Mikey was genuinely perplexed at the idea.

Spencer shook his head, clearly amused, and kissed Mikey.

*


Cypress Tree was one of Frank's very favorite restaurants, mostly because it was open late and there were plenty of vegan options. It was one of Mikey's favorite restaurants because of the Turkish coffee and the baklava, and the fact that everything was delicious. When Frank suggested it, Mikey asked Spencer, "Lebanese okay?" and Spencer said, "Uh, sure, we have that all the time."

Mikey rolled his eyes and told Frank Cypress was a go. When they got there, it took a while to get through the hugging--mostly Gerard, Frank and Brendon--and handshaking and friendly--if sometimes mildly threatening--greetings, but they were eventually seated. Luckily, most of the late night wait staff knew them, and not because of the band.

Spencer took one look at the menu and said, "Have any suggestions?"

"Yeah," Frank said, "Lemme order for the table."

Ryan eyed him suspiciously, but Gerard said, "No, he's actually really good at it. It's like, a weird superpower."

Ryan seemed willing enough to believe Gerard, which was hysterical to Mikey, but then, Ryan was young and impressionable. Sort of. And Frank was really good at ordering. Spencer took his cue from the fact that Mikey wasn't protesting and said, "Sounds good to me."

Frank started them off with Fuul and Kubideh. Spencer said, "Tell me what I'm eating," but wasn't squeamish about trying anything. Granted, Frank was ordering vegan dishes, so it wasn't like he was being presented with raw lamb, but still, Mikey sort of liked the adventurousness of Spencer's endeavors.

For the main course, Frank ordered them Balila, fried cauliflower and mmjederrah, the last of which Spencer tried after both the others and said, "Oh. Okay, I get Lebanese food now."

Mikey stole some off Spencer's plate, even though he had his own. Spencer said, "Don't make me sit you next to Jon."

Mikey said, "I'm not scared," even though he was, maybe a little bit. Jon kept stealing food from Brendon and Ray, who was usually hard to steal from.

Spencer asked, "Are you sure this is just, like, lentils? I don't even really like lentils."

"Now you do," Frank said.

Spencer said, "Don't make me regret letting you order," and stole some mmjederrah from Mikey's plate to make up for the amount he'd taken. Frank stuck his tongue out. His mouth was full.

Mikey said, "Way to represent. Thanks."

Spencer laughed a little as he took another mouthful, banging his knee gently against Mikey's. Mikey pushed into the touch. Spencer forked up a mouthful of the mmjederrah and said, "Open up."

shadow8light, chocolate cake, Mikey/Bob

Gerard had meant to be back for Mikey's birthday, that had totally been the plan, but a few natural disasters along the coast made that pretty much impossible. Mikey said, "Who travels down the eastern seaboard in hurricane season?" but didn't make Gerard answer. It was pretty obvious anyway. Gerard did.

Frank had been upfront about the fact that he wouldn't be back in Jersey by that time, and made a promise that they would celebrate when he got back. If Mikey knew Frank--and he really, really did--that meant something like a show at Maxwell's where they prayed hard not to be recognized by anyone. Mikey said, "Looking forward to it," and didn't really think much about it.

Only then Ray ended up developing shingles from a bug bite he'd gotten while hiking with Krista and ignoring it until he ended up in the hospital, very near to having to amputate his arm. His right arm.

Bob was in Chicago, so Mikey resigned himself to spending his birthday by himself. It wasn't that he really minded being by himself, he actually liked it for extended periods of time, but it was hard to take yourself out to dinner, and movies were usually more fun with one of the guys there to whisper to, even bookstores were less of an experience when Gerard wasn't going to point out something super weird to him.

In the end, Mikey decided on ordering pizza in and playing the Wii. It was also more fun with others, but it was still fun by himself and that was what counted. He went to bed at ten o'clock, only to be wakened by his door opening at nearly one. There were only four other people who had the key to his door, so he ventured, "Krista?" because that was the only person who could have gotten access who was both walking and in town. He really hoped the person had a key. He looked around for something to defend himself with when he heard Bob call, "Mikey, hey, come get the lights. I think you changed shit around again."

Mikey pinched himself. "Fucking-- Ow."

He ran down the stairs and turned on the hallway lights. Bob blinked. "You did change shit around."

Mikey shrugged. "I like redecorating." Then, "Aren't you in Chicago?"

Bob looked somewhat despondently at the cake box he had in his hands. "I was trying to come for your birthday. Only my flight kept getting delayed, and, well."

Mikey looked at the grandfather clock that stood in the hallway. "Oh. Well, it's still my birthday in Chicago for another two minutes."

Bob laughed a little. "True."

"You were really just coming up for my birthday?"

"I figured we should probably visit Ray at some point. Explain that our band needs his arm."

"I read him the riot act," Mikey said.

"Yeah. I don't wanna be the one to tell you this, Mikey, but you kind of suck at rioting at anyone."

"He was very cowed," Mikey said.

"Well, okay," Bob said.

Mikey scowled at the clear disbelief displayed in this response. He changed the subject, since Bob would see when they went, he would. "What'd you bring?"

Bob smiled at that. "Let's go in the kitchen."

Mikey led the way, turning on lights as he went. Bob set the box down on the counter and peeled it open, top, then sides. Mikey said, "Wow. That's-- Did you bring that all the way from Chicago?"

Bob shrugged. "I have clothes here. I don't trust the bakeries, though."

Mikey rolled his eyes. Jersey had plenty of good bakeries. Still, it was kind of awesome that Bob had traveled with nothing but his ID and a cake for Mikey. Mikey said, "I don't think I have any candles."

Bob rifled in his back pocket and pulled out a box of birthday candles. He found a lighter in his front one. He put nine candles in, "Two plus six plus one to grow on," and actually sang Happy Birthday. It was off key, but the beat was perfect. He made Mikey make a wish. He got out two plates and cut them both indecently large pieces, pouring milk into a glass for each of them. Bob said, "You first, birthday boy."

"Not anymore," Mikey said.

"I'm pretending, let me enjoy the moment."

Mikey giggled, and took a bite. The cake was nearly as dense as fudge, broken up by a light chocolate buttercream frosting. "Mmmmbob."

Bob smiled close-mouthed, since he was still chewing. He was weirdly polite like that. Mikey leaned in opened Bob's mouth with his. He pulled back almost immediately. He looked at his cake, sure he was blushing. "Good like that, too."

"Mikey--"

"You're the one who made me make a wish," Mikey said truculently.

"Mik--" Bob gave up then, and just leaned in for another kiss. When he had made his point, he said, "Happy birthday."

Mikey nodded, feeling somewhat dazed. "Yeah. Yeah. This is really good cake."

monroe_nell, pudding, Mikey/Jon

"Oh holy shit, sorry, did that get in your eyes?"

Something was attacking Mikey. Something small but terribly, terribly strong. Mikey was about to lash out in blind defense when the something was pulled from him. A calmer voice said, "Sorry about that," and before he knew it, a wet cloth was being pressed into his hands and he was able to wipe the--um, whatever had hit him--from his eyes. He blinked when they were clear, only to see Brendon Urie and Jon Walker both looking at him, terribly abashed and covered in-- "Were you guys having a food fight?"

"It was a pudding fight, Mikeyway," Brendon explained. "And I was winning. But I didn't mean to hit you. You just came in at the wrong moment."

"It's a public restroom," Mikey said.

"Well, yeah." Jon squinted. "We figured the tile would be easier to clean up."

Mikey thought about that. "Logical."

Brendon beamed. He asked, "You won't tell?"

Mikey really thought their appearance was going to speak for itself but all he said was, "Not if you let me in on the action."

Jon handed him a pudding cup and went to lock the door. He clearly wasn't taking any more chances.

*


Brendon was bizarrely good at cleaning. When they'd finished off the last of the pudding cups--Mikey really didn't want to know where they'd gotten the lifetime supply from--he organized the three of them, and by the time they left, it was only marginally obvious that anything had even happened in there. It helped that the pudding had been vanilla.

Brendon skipped off with the comment, "Ryan likes it when I smell like vanilla," and Mikey couldn't help it--he laughed.

Jon joined in after a moment and said, "Whatever, it works for them."

"Not saying a word." He had yet to figure out his brother and Ray, and they probably made more sense than Brendon and Ryan.

Jon rubbed a hand through his hair. It was still pretty goopy. Luckily for him, it wasn't that long. "So."

Mkey said, "Thanks for letting me--" at the same time that Jon said, "Sorry about the--" They both stopped and laughed, gesturing for the other to go. When neither did, Jon looked at Mikey, his cheeks red, but his eyes straight ahead and asked, "You wanna take a shower with me?"

Jon might as well have put his hand down Mikey's pants and right around his cock for all the difference in Mikey's reaction. "Just. Uh. Before I make this decision with my other brain, do you usually--"

"Not usually, but not never, either."

"Okay. Why--"

"Seriously? I mean. You do own a mirror, right?" Jon was looking at him in confusion. The honest belief in it was unbearably hot.

Mikey said, "I like my water pretty scalding."

"I can handle it," Jon said.

Mikey rolled his eyes.

*


They got in with their clothes still on. Jon got water up his nose while kissing Mikey under the spray and had to take time off to cough. Mikey, politely, didn't laugh at him, just peeled Jon's shirt over his head and pounded directly on his back for a bit. Jon retaliated by taking Mikey's shirt. Mikey said, "Wanna wash my back? It's hard to reach," and blinked, guilelessly.

Jon said, "Mikey fuckin' Way," shook his head and got to work.

*


It took two hair washings apiece to get all the pudding out. When they were done the water was cooler and Jon said, "I don't know if I'm ever going to be able to eat pudding without getting hard again."

Mikey laughed, but he was feeling pretty wrung out himself. Jon was an enthusiastic little fucker. He kissed him lazily, just for good measure. They both still tasted slightly of sugar and vanilla beans. Mikey said, "No way."

Jon said, "Glad you walked in when you did."

Mikey said, "Next time, not the eyes. That shit stings."

"Promise."

ignipes, pizza, Mikey/Bob

Mikey knows Bob loves his mom, they all love their mothers, but there is a difference between loving your mom and wanting her to take care of you for the better part of a week while being incapacitated, and Mikey also knows that if he allows that, it will end in someone's murder. Mikey isn't willing to put bets on who would end up dead. My Chem really needs Bob.

He flies down to Chicago the day before Bob's surgery and lets Bob explain the run of his house to him. Mikey basically knows, he's stayed there before, but Bob has systems for things when he's at home. It's weird, but Mikey loves him anyway. Mikey drives him to the outpatient center and waits around, listening to his iPod, taking walks around the building to call the others and say, "No, no, not done yet," and "Yes, I swear, for the love of-- I will fucking call when he's out," eating everything with peanut butter in the vending machines and occasionally reading a really old copy of Newsweek. Mikey misses a lot of shit while they're out on the road, it's kind of informative.

They let him go sit with Bob as he's waking up. Bob makes little unsure noises that make Mikey feel empty in the pit of his stomach, but then he remembers how Gerard made the same kinds of noises when he was waking up from having his wisdom teeth pulled, and Frank also did after having his tonsils taken out, and feels slightly reassured. He says, "Hey. Hey, you should wake up," and slowly, Bob does.

*


It takes the help of a nurse for Mikey to get Bob out to the car, so it's a little bit of a struggle helping him in the house. Bob is awake, but he's pretty groggy and Mikey doesn't want him banging into any walls. Mikey really doesn't want to hear it from the rest of the guys.

He gets Bob into bed without any mishaps and lets him sleep it off, napping beside him for the most part. Bob has a huge bed and he's out cold, so Mikey's not particularly worried that either of them is going to roll into each other. Mikey isn't even really sleeping, just dozing, making sure Bob doesn't make any noises, ask for anything.

Bob finally wakes up around seven and says, "Water?" plaintively, but like he meant it to be kind of even, and Mikey says, "I'll be right back."

He brings the bottle with a straw and holds it for Bob and when Bob says, "Thanks," and doesn't look at Mikey, Mikey asks, "Wanna watch a movie?"

Bob says, "I think I have to sleep some more."

Mikey can respect that.

*


By the second day Bob is awake and he tells Mikey, "This is going to get old real fast. Then I'm probably going to try and kick your ass without my hands, just for being fully functional."

"Better me than your mom." Bob's mom would fight back, Mikey knows. Mikey is a hider. He's good at it. It's saved his life more than once. He tried teaching Gerard, but well, Donna always said that everyone has their talents.

"Probably," Bob admits. "Mr. Bean or Black Adder?"

"Let's start with Black Adder, work our way up."

"Like the way you think."

*


Bob shifts slightly and hisses about twenty minutes into the second DVD. Mikey brings him painkillers which he eyes maliciously, but takes. He's asleep by forty minutes in. Mikey flips off the DVD and goes to give everyone an update.

*


When Bob wakes up, he's hungry for the first time since the surgery. Mikey had managed to make due with foods that could be sucked through a straw until then, but Bob gives him a silently pleading, proud look, and Mikey says, "Combo pizza it is."

He orders himself a cheese and sticks it in the oven when the pizzas arrive. He takes Bob's up to him, sets up the bed-table, opens the box and pries out a piece. Bob says, "Fuck that smells good," which lets Mikey know just how desperate he was for real food, because he sounds utterly orgasmic. He makes it easy for Mikey to feed him, opening his mouth and leaning forward a bit and waiting until he has swallowed to say, "Thanks."

Mikey shakes his head. "Not a big deal."

Bob rolls his eyes but Mikey sticks by his statement. He pretends not to notice when Bob's tongue darts quickly against one of his fingers. He's pretty sure it was a mistake. Mikey might have questionable morals, but he hasn't sunk to assaulting the recuperating injured. Not quite yet.

*


Bob must be on a pizza kick because he insists on having it pretty much every night. His eating gets messier as they go along, but Mikey's pretty sure that's just because Bob is more comfortable with the situation, more sure that Mikey won't mock him. Mikey's glad for that, but the ritual is turning into torture and Mikey is beginning to doubt the wisdom of standing in for Bob's mom. She might have attempted to murder him, but the likelihood of molestation was pretty slim.

When Mikey can't take it anymore, just can't, he puts the damn pizza in the box and leans over the table, kissing Bob within an inch of his life, well aware that it's the worst thing he's ever done, that Bob can't even push him away, he doesn't have working wrists, and fuck, Gerard is going to kill him if he breaks up the band. Knowing all of this, Mikey takes his time, because if he's only going to get one chance, he's damn well going to take it.

When he finally pulls back, Bob licks his lips and says, "About fucking time. I am beyond sick of pizza."

Mikey, who does not generally consider himself smooth, says, smoothly, "Um."

"I kept trying to think of other finger foods, but all I could come up with was chicken fingers and I haven't eaten chicken since--"

"It almost killed you," Mikey nods.

"I was thinking I might have to take it up again, honestly."

"You could have just said--"

"You were taking care of me. I thought it might be a little creepy. Like, Stockholm Syndrome, or something."

"I think that's with prisoners."

"The point stands," Bob argues.

"Well, I was feeling kinda like Kathy Bates, so, I think--"

Bob laughs. "Shut up and c'mere so that I can actually kiss you back."

"Not hungry?"

"Not for pizza. Not for like, ever again."

"Uh huh," Mikey says. "Or at least next week."

Bob grins. "Something like that."

kitaloon, honey, Mikey/Spencer

Mikey can't cook at all, wouldn't know a good restaurant if it landed on him like Dorothy's house on the Wicked Witch of the East, and can eat just about anything so long as it isn't still moving. That said, he has a thing for homemade stuff, stuff that he can trace back to a person with a story, and Spencer knows this. Mostly it came out the time Mikey went to visit Spencer at home and Ginger made them her Bolognese sauce, which wasn't even fancy or anything, but Mikey sat in the kitchen and watched her make it, listened to her go through the steps. He doesn't want to learn, he just wants to hear the story.

Later, when they go back to Spencer's place and spend time relearning each other, Spencer asks, "Donna not really have time to cook when you were growing up?"

Mikey shakes his head. "Her mom didn't really teach her, either."

Spencer says, "That's too bad." Mikey nods, and for the most part, forgets the entire conversation.

*


He remembers a couple of months later when he receives a package in the mail from Spencer. He opens it up to find honey in a jar, an old time Mason jar. There's a note attached describing the orchard the honey comes from--it's been in the family for seven generations. On the back, Spencer has written, "Bet the bees have a story, too."

Mikey unscrews the lid and pries the seal free, dipping a finger in and bringing it to his mouth to taste. It's not too sweet, not the way the stuff in the plastic honey bears often is. It's...lighter. Mikey says, "Mm," and calls Gerard. "Bring biscuits."

"Uh," Gerard says.

"Just do it," Mikey tells him, and hangs up. Gerard will follow instructions if he knows what's good for him.

*


A few weeks later there's another package, this one labeled "avocado honey." Mikey didn't even know there was such a thing, but when he spreads it out onto a slice of toast, dark as molasses and buttery tasting, he knows there's no going back.

He reads the label--Spencer's note says, "label!"--which tells him all about Cynthia Dayton and her dream of an organic farm. It's a good story. Nearly as good as the honey.

*


In early fall there is a package of wildflower honey, a description of the exact blend and how the Susserman family moved with their two young children across the nation to follow a dream of creating undiluted sweeteners. Mikey laughs at that a little, but also gets it. After all, Gerard wants to save lives. He knows better than to throw stones. Also, the honey is really sweet and kind of awesome when Ray's mom bakes it into a cake.

*


The fireweed honey comes with dried fireweed herbs and lore about the medicinal qualities it contains. It sounds kind of magical. Mikey wonders what it would take to get the other guys to eat some. He takes a taste and thinks probably not much.

*


Spencer comes to Jersey in the winter because that's when he can get away. He's bundled from head to toe, so much so that Mikey can barely see his face. It makes Mikey laugh. He unravels Spencer and greets him properly, warming him right up. When Spencer feels ready to talk again afterward, he hands Mikey a jar. It's unlabeled. Spencer says, "Buckwheat honey. Picked it up in Cincinnati from this guy not much older than me. He's part of a commune, they sell their stuff at the Farmer's Market. Zack helped me sneak in, but honestly, nobody ever recognizes me at those places. It's great."

"A commune, huh?"

"Mm, they run their cars on water."

"That's pretty cool."

"Ryan was pretty into the science when I told him, had to go off and try and understand."

"Did he?"

"No."

Mikey smiles. Spencer says, "Sorry there's not more of a story. But it tastes good. He let me try some while I was there."

"You told me the story," Mikey says, yawning, stretching himself over Spencer.

"Mm, storytelling. That's my specialty."

Mikey grins and sets the honey aside. It'll still be sweet later.

slashxmistress, blueberry scones, Mikey/Ryan

"Are you mad?" Ryan asks, and his voice is as flat as ever, but Mikey knows all those tricks and even if he didn't, he would still know Ryan.

Mikey thinks about it, but says, "No. Disappointed, not mad."

After a moment, Ryan exhales, "Yeah, me too."

Mkey gets it, though, he gets why, given the chance, Panic decided to go back to Abbey Road to finish this album as well. Pete assures him that it did wonders for Pretty. Odd., and Mikey knows that the place holds a certain mystique that isn't far off from being a good luck charm for the guys, but most especially for Ryan. Still, Mikey's had plans to come see Ryan for two weeks of that final recording month for forever now, and it's not like the two of them spending time together is something that happens all that often to begin with. He misses Ryan. "Okay."

"Mikey. If it could have been any other--"

"I know, Ryan." He does, too. "It's fine."

"Yeah, fine," Ryan says.

Mikey makes sure to tell Ryan he loves him before they hang up. He can't help feeling it's kind of important.

*


Ryan emails him tickets to London for the same exact period of time he was going to be in Vegas less than six hours later and says, "Come? They're non-refundable."

Mikey rolls his eyes, but he really kind of does love Ryan Ross. There's nothing to be done for it.

*


Mikey arrives while they're in the studio. Spencer clears everyone out and says, "Fifteen minutes, guys," and looks a little apologetic about it. Mikey just says, "Thanks," meaning it.

He kisses Ryan and says, "I fucking hate Transatlantic flights."

Ryan nips at his lips. "I'm glad you came. I made all kinds of secret plans. They would have had to go to waste."

"And?" Mikey says.

"And I'm really fucking in love with you, Michael James Way," Ryan says solemnly. Mikey squeezes his balls and leaves him wanting by way of punishment.

*


The thing is, Ryan has a deep knack for secret plans. It's almost a gift. In this case, Ryan's secret plans involve a private sitting at the Tea Palace, which at first makes Mikey feel insanely out of place and clumsy, and well, American, but then they let him choose from a ridiculous selection of teas and bring him finger sandwiches, and he gets over that, right quick. Mikey likes watching Ryan drink tea, the careful and somehow still absent way he holds the cup, the way his eyes sometimes flit over the rim, wide and happy.

They discuss the mechanics of cutting the sandwiches into perfect squares and make each other taste their choice of tea and laugh at each other's bad--horrible, really--British accents.

Then the sweets tray is served and Mikey forgets everything else because, "Blueberry scones!"

Mikey has a love of scones that has more than once caused Frank to tell him, "That's un-American," but whatever, okay, because Frank's favorite thing in the universe is burritos, and that's not exactly Main Street, Iowa, there. And scones are good, great, even, but blueberry scones are a thing of wonder and rapture. Ryan knows how Mikey feels on this subject. He has sat quietly while Mikey has explained with great depth of emotion.

Ryan grins. "I know. I called around to all the best tea places to make sure we could get them."

It's a really good thing Ryan thought to get them a private seating, because fuck decorum, there's no way in hell Mikey isn't planting himself on Ryan's lap and letting him know just how much he appreciates him being an awesome boyfriend with a nice, slow kiss. When he lets up, Ryan says, "Blueberry scones. Then we take the rest of this to go."

Mikey would argue but a) blueberry scones and b) Ryan tasting like blueberry scones. "Deal," he says, and puts himself back in his own chair.

7iris, otter-pops, Gabe/Mikey/Vicky-T

"How y'doing, Mikey Way?" Gabe had been standing beside Mikey, silent if not wholly still, for roughly ten minutes when he finally asked the question.

There were a lot of things about Gabe that people missed, things that the crazy hid or camoflouged that Mikey could see. He considered it probably a little bit of his own brand of crazy, that he tended to bring out whatever was hiding underneath others' cape of it. The important thing about Gabe, Mikey felt, was that despite the crazy--or maybe because of it--he was solid as brick when a person needed that. Mikey said, in response, "What's up with you and Victoria?"

Gabe smirked. "Nice."

"No, seriously, because she's been doing this thing all night and I--"

"The thing with the Otter Pops?"

"Is it like, a thing? Regular?"

"Just when she wants something. Someone."

"Oh." Mikey figured she'd probably have said if it was him. "Okay."

"Drives me to fucking distraction."

Mikey glanced over at Gabe. "So you're really not--?"

"Things got fucked up with Elisa, and I actually want Victoria to stick the fuck around, so." Gabe shrugged.

"They're different people," Mikey said.

After a long moment, Gabe said. "I'm not. I'm not a different person." Then, "Wanna dance?"

Mikey thought about pursuing it but said, "Yeah. Let's dance," and let Gabe take Mikey's hips in his hands, lead them out to the dance floor like that.

*


Vicky-T joined them at some point, when Mikey was concentrating on the feel of Gabe's thumb on his pulse, the push-pull rhythm they'd established with their bodies. She still had an Otter Pop, although Mikey vaguely recognized that this had to be a new one, different. Her lips were bright berry blue despite the orange color of the pop. She dragged her tongue along the underside of the pop thoughtfully and said, "Hey, how's this corner of the dance floor?"

Mikey was about to leave that all to Gabe, because he sensed there was a reason Vicky-T pulled the Otter Pops out enough around him that he knew what they were for, but suddenly Gabe's fingers were tight around his elbow, almost to the point of pain. Cautiously, Mikey stayed right where he was. Gabe said, "A little empty without you," and fluttered his lashes.

Vicky-T laughed and rolled her eyes. "See what I have to put up with?" she asked Mikey, before sliding the Otter Pop a good ways into her mouth, looking at Gabe as she did so.

Gabe rolled his eyes back, letting go of Mikey and pushing him at Vicky-T a little. "Fine."

He glided away, only slightly less fluid than normal. Vicky-T's gaze followed him, sharp and unsure all at once. She turned to Mikey. "So, he's purposely reading me wrong, right? I mean, I'm not bad at this. I know I'm not."

"You're not," Mikey reassured her, more glad than ever that he sort of sucked at expressiveness.

"And I know he sleeps with women."

"Only the ones he knows he can leave," Mikey said. He hadn't meant to, not really. Gabe was his friend and he kept his friend's secrets, but he also tried to do his best by his friends and Vicky-T was nibbling on the Otter Pop now, lips turned slightly down at the corners. Sometimes a little tough love was called for.

She tilted her head. "Not to be rude, but you and he've--"

"Buddy fuck," Mikey clarified. "Different."

"Think he would do it again?"

"Probably," Mikey answered truthfully. "I would."

Slower, "Think you could get me in?"

Mikey considered the question for a second as she sucked delicately at the tip of the popscicle. He said, "Yeah. Yeah, I do."

*


It was pretty easy, actually. Gabe got a little careless when someone was grinding against his dick, so it was fairly simple to push him to the wall and unlatch the door while he wasn't paying attention. Vicky-T slipped in and Mikey pulled off, leaving Gabe on edge. Gabe laughed a little, "Pricktease," but then stopped when he saw Vicky-T. "Mikey, what the--"

"Stop being a fucking coward," she said. Mikey could see the tight line of her shoulders, the fear in the statement, but not through any fault of hers.

"Victoria--"

"Victoria me one more time and I'm going to kick you in the balls, stiletto point first."

Gabe held up his hands. When he thought it might be safe he said, "I fuck real shit up."

Mikey thought that was, of all the things Gabe could have chosen to say, perhaps the most true.

"I'm an adult," she told him. "I get that things go wrong."

"But--"

"There are other ways of fixing things than to just walk out," Vicky-T said, her legs slightly spread, looking like something of a warrior in disguise. Mikey could see Gabe considering it and started to slink past, pretty sure that was his cue. Both Vicky-T and Gabe grabbed him. They shared a look, and then a smile. Gabe said, "Oh no you don't."

Vicky-T said, "You got my foot in the door. Let me show you how I return favors."

And well, put that way, Mikey really didn't mind being thanked.

rufus, eggplant, Mikey/Jon

Brendon said, "Your boyfriend has food poisoning," sounding mildly impressed and somewhat excited by the situation.

Mikey frowned. "Is he okay?"

"Not yet. Ryan says he will be. Ryan is very calm when people puke all over the place," Brendon said, as if that was supposed to soothe Mikey. Mikey could see, sort of, how it was calming to Brendon. It was also kind of horrifying, if anyone thought about it too hard.

"Is someone keeping him hydrated?"

"Ryan's trying. He can't really--"

"Brendon?"

"Spence says we're gonna have to take him to the hospital if it doesn't let up in an hour."

Mikey's mind stopped for a second, until Brendon said, "Breathe, Mikey."

He forced a little air into his lungs. "Right, okay, yeah. Texts every fifteen minutes."

"I'll call. Sometimes a voice is nice."

Mikey nodded, and sat down on his couch to wait for the next call.

*


They had to take Jon to the hospital for hydration. Brendon called him after they got there and said, "Okay. So, evidently Jon has a freak case of severe intolerance for unbroken down solanine."

Mikey started from the beginning. "Is he okay?"

"Yeah, they gave him some stuff to flush his system and put him on fluids. He'll be fine, he's just gonna need to sleep for like, two days, or something."

Mikey took a deep breath. "What's solanine?"

"Hey, did you know that eggplants are poisonous when uncooked?"

"Brendon."

"No, that's-- Solanine, it's a toxin. It's in all these veggies, but it breaks down when cooked. But Jon evidently accidentally snatched some of the uncooked eggplant Ryan was gonna grill for me, because I don't--"

"Eat meat, yeah," Mikey said.

"He made a face and stuff, and then, like, a little while later, he just started puking. The doctor said that's weird. Most people just build up joint pain. Your boyfriend is weird, Mikey Way."

"Said the pot, Urie."

Mikey could hear Brendon shrugging. "Takes one to know one."

"Go keep him company."

"I'll tell him you say hi."

Mikey closed his eyes. "Yeah."

*


"I was considering never eating eggplant again," Jon said the next day, "but if it gets you to come see me, maybe I'll reconsider."

Mikey came in and laid down next to where Jon was hanging out on Ryan's guest bed. Spencer had said that he still got tired easily. Evidently vomiting everything you'd ever eaten ever would do that to a person. He said, "No worries, if you ever eat anything that's poisonous for you ever again, I won't come visit, I'll send Brian to kill you. He's all business, believe me."

Jon laughed a little. "I can eat the cooked stuff. The poison breaks down. Most people can kinda do it with their digestive system. I just am missing a few...somethings. The doctor explained it, but I was a little out of it."

"Mm," Mikey said, wrapping himself around Jon.

"I have to eat eggplant again, Mikey. Your mom makes that Parmesan kind and she won't like me if I don't eat it and I don't want your mom not to like me."

"She makes an exception for when food causes death."

"I told you--"

Mikey kissed him. "Shut up now."

"Mm," Jon said, as Mikey kissed him again.

Mikey pulled off and Jon asked, "You're going to do that thing where you bring me to the edge and make me promise not to do things that upset you, aren't you?"

"Working up to it, yup," Mikey admitted.

"If I just promise now, will you forego the torture?"

Mikey thought about it. "How can I trust you to tell the truth?"

"I've learned my lesson. I know your dangerous ways." Jon blinked up at him, utterly guileless. Too guileless.

Mikey shook his head. "Nope."

Jon moaned, but submitted. Mikey grinned and started easy.

seanarenay, corndogs, Mikey/Tom

The Panic/Fall Out Boy Cirque Des Enfants wasn't something Mikey missed, ever. He had come the year he had laryngitis and the time it had fallen over Ray's birthday--he'd reamed Pete out for that, but come anyway--and all the years surrounding. The carnival/circus filled with the greatest and most unique acts in circuses from the world entire and everything from the oldest and most favorite rides to new ones that had sprung up was a huge fundraiser for children's poverty. Trust Pete and Ryan Ross to make a circus the newest old thing in celebrity culture. The event was pricey for attendees, free for children. The performers donated their time, as did the food services, tents, just about everything. Whatever the guys couldn't get donated, they covered themselves. The proceeds went wholly to charity. Pete paid any staff through Decaydance, and hired on a lot of unpaid interns.

It was Mikey's routine to get there two nights before the three days of festivities--always a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and help with set-up, aid in keeping the guys calm, making sure nothing disastrous happened, mostly just be a friend.

Spencer came to pick him up at the airport. Mikey hugged him and said, "Hey, I thought Patrick was coming to get me."

"Yeah, well," Spencer said, and filled him in on the latest drama. What it boiled down to was that nobody had wanted Patrick to leave Pete, nobody.

When they got back to the hotel, most of the bruhaha had died down. Pete jumped on Mikey and said, "You're here, the party can start."

"Mm," Mikey said. "Need help with the attendees gift baskets?"

Pete sighed dramatically, "They are all fucked up, Mikey Way. We have people on it, interns and Jonny Walker and Thomas Conrad, but another pair of hands--"

"Lead the way."

*


Tom was another staple of the Annual CDE. Keltie, Haley, Cassie, and Ashlee Mikey somewhat took for granted, even the Hushies and Cobras, really, but Tom's band wasn't on Decaydance and venturing in meant dealing with The Academy guys, so Mikey thought it was pretty great of him to come every year and muck through set up, put up with Ryan's predictable last minute freak outs, and somehow take more pictures than the guys Pete paid to do PR.

When they finished fixing the debacle with the baskets that the guys always placed in all the guests rooms, Tom said, "Hey, everyone's gonna do the beer thing. Wanna take a walk?"

That was the other reason Mikey appreciated Tom being on hand. It was nice not to have to do the, "Nah, I'm just gonna turn in," thing.

"Yeah."

The carnival lights weren't on yet, saving energy for the nights when they would stay on all the way through until morning. The shapes of the rides were looming silhouettes, darker even than the night. Mikey was watching the slight sway of the ferris wheel cars when he heard the whir of a shutter. Mikey turned and Tom peered out from behind the camera, smile only mildly guilty. Mikey smiled. "Not for the press."

Tom shook his head. "Nah. They don't like the artsy stuff, anyway."

Mikey nodded. "Gee'd probably like a copy."

"Sure. I'll email him."

Mikey said, "You guys are on tour, right?"

"Scheduled this fucker in. I asked Jon if he could have possibly chosen a more annoying weekend."

Mikey grinned. "Been there, done that."

"And yet, we're still here."

"Total losers."

"Total," Tom agreed, but they were both laughing, a little, under their breath.

*


Without realizing he was really looking for him, Mikey found Tom near the Gourmet Corn Dog booth. It wasn't unusual for the two of them to hang out together during the days of the event. For one thing, it made them easier to find if they were needed. But mostly it was that they both sort of enjoyed staying out of the way, so their company worked for one another. Tom acknowledged when Mikey pulled up to his side and said, "Cajun, Kobe or original?"

"Uh?"

"Original's made with a chicken dog. I know you're not so much into the red meat."

"Sounds good."

Mikey watched in mild fascination as they the dipped the dogs in the batter and then fried them until they reached the perfect crispiness. Tom got mustard packages for both of them. Mikey took a bite of his. It wasn't as sweet as he was used to, but somehow that was really good, an extra dose of savory that seemed to fit better with the lightly-seasoned dog beneath. "Huh."

Tom smiled and took an indecently large bite of his. Mikey rolled his eyes, then laughed when the spice hit--Tom had ordered the Cajun--and he sputtered. "That how it always is for you?" Mikey asked.

"Wouldn't you like to know?" Tom asked, taking the napkin Mikey offered him with a nod of thanks.

Mikey gave the question undue thought. Before it had always just been the way CDE weekend worked, that the two of them spent an abnormal amount of time together, but he had been considering how easy it had been to slip off the night before with Tom, to let him take pictures without even asking how they looked. "Yeah, I wouldn't mind."

Tom took a smaller bite this time, chewing slowly. "Not in front of the children, Mikey Way."

Mikey shoved him to the side.


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Skin by egelantier, photo by microbophile