It is nearly eight AM and Vic is already beyond done with his brother’s bullshit. For the twelfth time that morning (so he had been counting, don’t judge) Vic had to attempt to drag his sorry ass out of bed.

“MIKE. UP. NOW,” Vic yells, pounding on his brother’s bedroom door. “IF YOU AREN’T UP IN THREE MINUTES I AM WALKING IN THERE AND LITERALLY DRAGGING YOU OUT OF BED,” He threatens.

His brother’s only response is a muffled, unintelligible groan. Vic leaves one more pound on the door that rattles the entire frame and stalks downstairs, only to be greeted with an all too familiar sight.

The radio is blasting, people’s loud, off-key voices mingling in with the music, the sound of cookware clanking together.

This had become a ritual a while back, not very long after Vic’s parents... Well. He doesn’t really like to talk about it. Anyway, point is, the guys had made a habit of showing up in the mornings to help Vic cook and drag Mike out of bed. Tony had adapted to the idea quickly once Oli told him about it, happy to help Vic out.

“And I thought I had hid the key well enough,” Vic chuckles, walking into the kitchen and leaning against the kitchen counter.

“Obviously not, you little shit. Tryna keep us out, huh? Tired of my fabulous cooking?” Oli says, flicking some of the pancake batter at Vic.

Vic laughs and wipes the batter off of his nose. “Yeah, goddammit. You guys are like fuckin’ herpes. Can’t get rid of you.”

Laughter circulates comfortably around the room, Oli faking shock and pressing a hand to his chest in mock offense.

“Did you just compare me to herpes? Really, Victor? I thought you were above such low, low insults,” Oli says.

“Obviously, he’s not,” Tony comments, earning a glare and some hand gestures from Vic.

“Alright, alright. Calm the fuck down. No one needs to be drawing their guns before noon. Is the monster upstairs?” Andy asks, referring to Mike.

“Yup,” Vic replies, taking plates out of the cabinet and putting them on the kitchen island.

“Be back in five,” Andy says as he heads toward the staircase. Gerard shakes his head.

“I think Mike secretly likes being man-handled by Andy,” Gerard observes, just as Andy tromps downstairs with Mike thrown over his shoulder like a fireman. Mike is uselessly pounding his fists against Andy’s back, Andy ignoring Mike’s resistance and he roughly throws Mike onto the couch.

“Did anybody order a useless pile of shit?” Andy announces, gesturing to Mike.

“Hey,” Mike protests, rubbing his eyes sleepily. “I’m not useless.”

“So you admit to be a pile of shit then?”

“Kiss my ass, Biersack.”

Laughter floods the room again.

“C’mon Mike, Andy, stop flirting and come eat,” Vic calls.


“Now all Oli needs is an apron and he’ll be the perfect housewife,” Andy says as he stuffs his face full of pancake.

“Thanks babe,” Oli says as he leans down and kisses Andy’s cheek.

“Gross, goddammit, what is it with you and kissing me?” Andy says, wiping blindly at his face.

Oli shrugs. “To be honest, you bring it on yourself.”

“Ladies, ladies, ladies, you’re both pretty, now eat. You’ve got fifteen minutes ‘til school.” Tony says. He’s only going to be accompanying them to school, seeing as he had dropped out a year or two ago. The fact that he’s no longer enrolled in school doesn’t stop him from making sure the boys get a clear shot at education, however. If it hadn’t been for his mom’s lack of financial security, he would have graduated, but when his mom needed help bringing in extra money, he dropped out and got a job. Well, two, but you know.

“Andy, what are we gonna do about that Ashley kid?” Gerard asks, standing up from his stool and putting his plate on the counter.

“I’m still not sure about what to think. He could actually have good intentions, or he could be trying to overthrow us. What do you guys think we should do?” Andy replies, sitting back on his stool.

“I say we go for it. If he’s trying to take us out we can just pop a cap in his ass,” Oli says.

“I love how you talk about shooting someone so casually,” Mike chimes in, standing up and getting his jacket, getting ready to leave for school, putting textbooks in his backpack in the next room over.

“Shut up Mike. This is serious business. Not for whiny piles of shit,” Andy says, standing himself and stretching. Mike glowers at Andy, and if looks could kill, Andy would be more deceased than the frog some creepy wannabe Satanist kid nailed to the front door of the church two weeks ago.

“Vic, Gee, you in? Tony?” Andy asks, ruffling Mike’s hair when he sees the look Mike is trying to kill him with.

“Why the hell not?” Vic shrugs, and Gerard nods.

“If any of them are addicted to any form of anything I say no. Druggies are bad, bad, unreliable, lying, cheating, stealing people. Acceptable?” Tony proposes, tapping his fingers against the table, looking at Andy with concern apparent on his face.

“Totally. So it’s settled. Our answer is yes?” Andy says, surveying the looks and postures around the room for any sign of a negative response. He breathes a sigh of relief when there are none and everyone seems compliant. It’s always harder when there’s a disagreement.

“Great. Let’s get going before we’re late.”


“Bye Tony!” Andy calls. Tony gives a two finger mock salute and pulls out of the parking lot, Andy watching carefully until the vehicle is out of sight. Andy had given Tony permission to use the truck to make his rounds, trusting that it would be returned with a full tank of gas and in the condition it had left in.

The group enters the building, Mike separating nearly immediately, either because he doesn’t want to be seen with his brother or because one of his friends shouts his name extremely loudly and Mike is dragged away by said name-shouter before Vic can even get the word “bye” out of his mouth.

“Damn, how is that kid so popular?” Oli asks with a low whistle at the girls that are now surrounding Mike and his friends.

“If I knew, I’d tell you,” Vic replies with a shake of his head. “C’mon. We’ve got class.”

They all separate in the directions of their classes, muttering their goodbyes, as always, just hardly loud enough for the others to hear.

Because goodbyes hurt, even if they’re only temporary.


“How much?” The pudgy, balding man in an expensive suit asks, sweat forming on his brow. He produces his wallet, opening it and pulling out a wad of cash. He’s a regular customer, and this guy knows the drill better than pretty much anybody else.

“$550,” Tony replies, tugging impatiently on the strings of his hoodie. The man nods and counts the bills, handing Tony the larger portion.

“Thank you for your business sir. See you again,” Tony says cheerfully, putting the cash in the front pocket of his backpack.

Tony leans against the cool wall of the alleyway for a while, staring off into space and waiting for his next customer. It isn’t long before someone enters the alleyway. Tony puts on his “happy to see you even though I think you’re a piece of lying shit” smile and greets them, feigning cheerfulness.

“Price?” The guy asks. He has his hood obscuring his face, dark sunglasses over is eyes, face cast downward, voice obviously not used to talking in the tone or pitch its owner is using now. Tony forces himself to stay calm, this guy is giving him money. He needs to fucking stay calm, dammit, this guy probably doesn’t have a gun.

“What do you want?” Tony says, reaching down to his backpack.

“You got any cocaine?”

“Yeah man. How often do you use it? I sell by usage, not by ounce. Weird, I know.”

“Kinda. But like, twice a week?”

“Gotcha. $150. That’ll last you for about a month,” Tony says, producing a plastic baggy of the drug.

“Thanks,” The guy says quickly, handing Tony the money and taking the drugs, stuffing it into his pocket.

“Wait a second, I know you,” Tony says, stepping forward and grabbing the guy’s shoulder as he turns to leave the alley.

“No, you don’t,” The guy protests, trying to pry Tony’s hand off of his arm. Tony is persistent though, he keeps his grip firm and strong.

“Yeah, yeah I do. If I don’t, then prove it, take off the hood and glasses,” The guy sighs heavily, relaxing abruptly in Tony’s grip.

Slowly, he pushes off the hood and takes off the glasses.

Tony simultaneously feels his heart drop and his blood boil.


“Please don’t tell Vic, okay, it would crush him-”

“Why the fuck shouldn’t I? Cocaine, Mike, this shit fucks you over bad. He has every right to know.”

“But you don’t understand! I hardly get any use out of it, it’s all my friends! Just please, c’mon, let me go, okay?”

They’re yelling, their voices sharp and painful against the cement walls, bouncing back and reverberating harshly in the enclosed area. Mike’s eyes are wide with both fear and regret, Tony’s aflame with anger and nothing more.

This, this is betrayal. Not only to Vic, but to Tony as well. That Mike would try to put Tony in the position to be beneath Vic’s fury is a whole new level of disloyalty. Mike had better fucking hope he listens to Tony from now on or he’s going to be skinned alive then and there.

“Nope. Not happening. You’re staying right here until I’m out and we go drop Andy’s truck off. Sit. Get comfy. We’ll talk about this in a bit.”

Mike dejectedly lets his back hit the wall with a heavy, deep thump, heaving a sigh and sliding to the dirty, grimy ground.

It’s only then that Tony notices the stray, silent tear that has left a track down Mike’s cheek.

“Hey,” Tony whispers, bending down and gently wiping the tear off with his thumb, “It’ll be okay.”

A nod is all he receives in return.


The only noise filling the truck is the sound of the engine, nothing else. No music. Just the hum of the engine and the occasional clicking of the turn signal.

Mike had stayed silent for the remainder of the day, occasionally looking up at the customers, sometimes at Tony, but for the largest portion of the day his gaze rested on the peeling and molding posters on the wall. It hurts Tony, a lot. It’s hard enough selling to strangers, but when it’s someone he knew (someone he knew. His best friend’s little brother for Christ’s sake) it feels like someone has tried to give him an appendectomy with a butter knife.

Mike, of all people. He’s a good guy, he has so much going for him, and dammit if Tony had had the opportunities that Mike has right now he never would’ve even touched a cigarette or anything with alcohol in it, let alone started dealing drugs.

“So we need to talk about this,” Tony says as they pull into the parking lot. “We’ve got fifteen minutes ‘til school gets out. That’s enough time.”

“There’s nothing to talk about,” Mike grumbles, leaning his head against the window.

“Uh, yeah there is. You tried to buy – well, bought – cocaine from me. Why?” Tony says and cuts the engine, turning in the driver’s seat to face Mike, who is riding shotgun.

Mike shrugs. “Dunno. My friends and I do it sometimes. We were out, we needed more, I was the one that went and got it this time.”

“Who gave it to you the first time?”

“Some dude named Bert. Creepy fucker. But I was with other people, so it was okay,” Mike says. Tony snorts.

“Yeah, totally okay. Do you think you’re addicted?”

“No... Not really,” Mike replies, folding and unfolding his fingers in his lap. Tony breathes deeply and runs his hands through his hair.

“I’m not going to tell Vic, but on one condition,” Tony says. Mike’s face lights up in excitement, in relief, in every sort of jubilant way possible.

“Thank you, thank you, oh my god thank you. What, what is it? Name it, and consider it done,” Mike falls back against the seat, breathing easily, his previous somber mood completely disappearing and being replaced with happiness.

“Stop doing any form of drug you’ve been doing. And be honest when I ask.”

“Done. Thank you Tony, thank you so, so so so much, oh my god. I thought I was going to be disemboweled by Vic. Thank you, fuck, I can’t say it enough,” Mike says rapidly, leaning across the seat and pulling Tony into a tight hug, catching Tony by surprise and hardly giving him any time to properly react.

“Yeah, yeah. Now get in the backseat, school’s out in two minutes.”

♠ ♠ ♠
one time i climbed a tree and then i jumped off it and i sprained my ankle i don't know what i expected to happen but anyway people cannot fly do not listen to the people that say you can