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Hide and Seek

Chapter everything

"It's no use to try and talk me out of it," you growled as you went about slamming things into a duffle bag.

"Come on Trace, you got to," a voice started to explain from behind you.

You spun and cut them off with a look that would make anyone stop dead in their tracks.

"No. Frank just leave it. There's no point. You know what he was like, what he did to me, what I'm like. Why even try?" you shot at one of your best friends.

The one you told everything too, even though he wasn't the closest of your best friends. For some reason you couldn't bring yourself to tell the others everything that ever went on in your relationship with Steven. That was what Frank was there for, to unload on. It had been like that since he had joined the group so many years ago.

"I know all that, I know it all. And I'm the only one, you made sure of that. So it lands in my lap to try and help, I'm it sister. The one and only at the moment unless you've decided to tell someone else the whole of it?" Frank asked as he crossed his arms across his chest and leaned against the door frame of the parked bus.

"You know damn well none of the others know," you said on the verge of tears, but not because of what he said, just simply from everything that had happened.

"Why didn't you ever tell," Frank started to ask.

"Because. Because Frank I couldn't do that, not after what my past was like. It would kill them, it would kill him, to know. To know what went on between me and Steven. I couldn't do that, not to them, and not to him," you said as you tried not to cringe as you breathed deeply and felt a jab of pain.

"I just don't see why you have to do this now," Frank said after a moment or two of silence.

"Because, damn it!" you swore loudly.

"What's going on?" a familiar voice called out from the front entrance of the bus as footsteps sounded their way towards you and Frank near the bunks.

"Nothing, just go away!" you shouted back, hoping to try and steer away the questions your duffle bag would create.

"Like that's ever wor- what's going on Tracey?" the familiar four eyed voice asked as it stopped dead at the sight of your mostly packed duffle bag.

"Nothing god damn it!" you shouted, frustrated that your escape had been foiled.

"Trace, a partial packed duffle bag doesn't look like nothing. Red puffy eyes doesn't look like nothing. Rudolph syndrome doesn't look like nothing. Yelling and swearing doesn't seem like nothing. Spill," your best friend shot back at you as he crossed his arms, mimicking Frank's position.

There was no harshness in his words, in his pointing out of the obvious, only worry and care. And it tore you up inside. All you had ever wanted, no needed, was love. That's all. And while you got never ending love from the friends that had become the only family for you it just wasn't the same. Your family had given up on you, turned away from you and denied you the love you had been born craving. Your boyfriends had never been able to give it to you, always shying away and running when it was mentioned. And then the one you had thought capable of finally giving it to you had gone and done something far worse.

Was it so hard? Was it a request so monumental that it was deemed impossible? It was just love. And while it was there in the eyes of your friends, it just wasn't the right kind to fill that ache in your body. That ache in your heart and soul. The part of you that craved to be filled. And seeing love in his eyes even though he didn't know the half of it pushed you over the edge.

"Just leave it," you said coldly as you turned away from him.

"Frank could you leave?" your best friend asked suddenly.

"Uh huh. Trace?" Frank asked you, looking for your approval to leave you alone with the new intruder.

"Since when do you need her approval for everything?" your longest running best friend asked sharply.

"Shut it Mikey," you snapped as Frank rolled his eyes at Mikey and looked at you for direction.

You nodded your head at Frank, signaling it was okay for him to leave. That you didn't need him there at the moment, that you could take care of it. Frank took a step forward and gingerly wrapped his arms around your shoulders.

"Just run if you need to," Frank whispered in your ear before letting go and leaving the hallway and then eventually the bus all together.

The silence hung in the air as you slowly and mechanically went back to putting things in your duffle bag.

"So," Mikey said from his position still against the door frame of the bus.

"There is no so Mikey," you said flatly as you zippered your bag closed knowing for sure you forgot something important but not caring at the moment.

"There sure as hell is a SO Trace. What's going on? What don't I know? What aren't you telling me? Me of all people," Mikey said, the last statement coming out soft.

It made your heart ache at his statement, at his admitting his feeling of being left in the dark. But you had. You had to not tell to protect him. Growing up hadn't been easy for you before your parents ran away from you, leaving you broken and barely aware, and it had been hardest not for you but for Mikey. Always it had been hardest on him, even when you had gotten over the filth that your genetic creators were, he hadn't. It's why leaving him in the dark, even though it pained you to do so, had been for the better. Both for him and his brother.

"Does it have to do with Steven?" Mikey asked, your ex's name sounding like a disease on his tongue as it escaped his mouth.

"Yes," you answered, giving nothing more.

"What?" Mikey asked, standing straight and letting his arms tighten across his chest visibly.

"Nothing you need to know," you said as you searched for your canvas purse bag.

"Nothing I need to know? Since fucking when?" Mikey asked.

"Just drop it Mikey, okay. Steven doesn't love me. Never did. He's gone. Taking the first chance I ever saw at love with him in his stupid Thunderbird," you said with no emotion as you put your bag on your shoulder, even though the statement itself made you want to cry.

You just wanted someone who loved you to hold you and tell you it would be alright. That men like Steven were doomed for failure and a tortured future. To tell you that you were worth so much more. But there was no one. Steven had been that, you had thought.

"Oh Trace. I, I. Just let me know," Mikey said, stepping forward and closer to you.

You involuntarily took a shied step back.

"Come on Trace," Mikey pushed.

"Just leave. Me. Be," you said through gritted teeth.

"Trace," Mikey said as he took one step closer.

"God leave me fucking ALONE Mikey!" you screamed.

And with that you pushed passed Mikey, swallowing the groan of pain as your body pushed hard passed his and shot down the hallway of the bus. You sprinted out the bus door and into the dusk. You just ran. You didn't know the city, or town, or even the fucking state. You didn't know the venue, or the surrounding neighborhood. It didn't matter. You just ran.

As your feet pounded on the pavement pulling you farther and farther away from the voices calling your name your vision blurred with tears. You just ran as the tears ran down your face. You turned corner after corner, following broken pavement square after broken pavement square down nameless sidewalk ridden streets. Sometimes the faded light of a dull street lamp broke through the watery haze of your vision but mostly all you saw was hurt.

Your knees almost gave out from under you as your feet hit something your brain barely registered as grass. Within two steps up the grass covered incline you fell to the ground and let the sobs take over your body. Your broken, used and bruised body. And they weren't the silent, pretty, polite sobs either. You were losing it. Losing it all. Your inside was breaking down just like your outside.

You knew that you let out a loud choked keen of a wail as you wrapped your arms around your knees and you cried into your knees as your body curled into the fetal position on the grass. You stayed there for moments, just screaming into your knees as you came completely undone. Finally, as you continued to wrack your body with gut retching sobs, you managed to crawl on hands and knees to the picnic bench you saw in the fading light. Somewhere in the back of your mind some part of your subconscious registered this as some kind of look out spot or something, but you didn't care. Pulling your heaving body up onto the picnic bench seat you pulled your knees up close and wrapped your arms around them as you buried your head into them and rocked back and forth.

You don't know when or where the sense of comfort had arisen from rocking as you had no memories of your parents of ever rocking you, but it helped. Or at least you thought it did.

You just sat there, crying, coming undone, in the now nonexistent light, rocking back and forth on some random picnic bench at some look out spot in some city you didn't know the name of.

"I'm so lost," you managed to utter through chapped lips and broken sobs to no one other than you and the surrounding nature.

At some point you realized that your sleeves were wet. Lifting your head and swallowing the rest of your body wracking sobs you realized that it wasn't just from tears. Your forehead was dripping moisture down your nose, your shirt and hoodie were plastered to your back. It was raining. It wasn't just raining, it was pouring. Hard core, down right pouring. You had always liked the rain, it had always helped you think. Always helped you clear your thoughts. So uncurling your legs you dropped them down and placed your hands under your thighs and gently rocked back and forth in the downpour. Crying silently into the rain that washed away all evidence of your failure to find love. In the rain no one could tell you were crying. No one could tell you were alone, inside and out.

You had no idea how long you had been there alone and crying in the rain, the thought that you were completely lost hadn't crossed your mind again. So when you felt arms go around your shoulders you literally screamed and jumped out of your skin. And not because you had been alone up there, but for other reasons. When was the last time your ex had hugged you without there being a meaning behind it?

"Jesus Trace," a familiar voice said softly from beside you.

You exhaled the breath that you had taken in so quickly. Mikey. But even though his voice registered in your brain it took your body longer to realize it was him so when he went again to put his arms out for you you shied away as if struck.

"Trace, it's just me Trace. Did. Did he hit you or something?" Mikey asked from beside you, not trying a third time to hold you.

You sat there and didn't say anything as he stared at you.

"It. It wasn't all that bad, and it wasn't all that often. It, it only happened every once and a while," you said softly, not looking at him.

Though the light was barely enough for you to see your own hands in your lap since the lamp for the area was so far away you knew you'd be able to see his face. You'd always be able to see his face.

"Oh god baby. No, no, no," Mikey said softly as he put his arms out around you.

This time, this time you didn't shy away. This time you curled into him and let him pull you close as you cried all over again into his wet form. It was different actually saying it to him. It brought about a whole new bought of gut retching sobs. You just sat there and cried into his familiar lithe frame as his familiar thin yet strangely strong arms wrapped you in safety. He smelled good, he smelled like Gerard's cigarettes and his own faint cologne, he smelled like home, like strength. He smelled like laughter. Even with the added odor of wet rock star, which was something akin to wet dog, he smelled good. It had always been a smell that had calmed you down when you were sad and worked up over something. Ever since you were little. And once again, just like always, his smell, the sound of his rhythmic heart beating and the strength of his warm arms around you calmed you down. Turning your face so it was your cheek pressed against his chest and not your face you closed your eyes and focused in on the thump, thump, thump of his heart beat.

"I can't believe you found me," you said softly but just loud enough that you knew he would hear you over the pouring rain that had slowed to a sprinkle.

Funny how the rain always mimicked your emotions, or rained just the amount you needed for what you needed to accomplish in it.

"You know me, I always find everyone's hiding place," Mikey chuckled above your head where his chin was placed on the top of your head.

You chuckled along with him. The pain inside seemed to dim and vanish as the memories of growing up with Mikey came back. The hurt seemed to vanish as you saw the younger, all elbows and knees version of Mikey come to view in your mind's eye.

"That's why we hated having you count for hide and seek, you always found us," you whispered against his chest as you curled into him further, if that was even possible.

"It's not my fault if Gerard is completely hopeless at finding good hiding spots and that I am just unbelievably talented at finding people," Mikey said with a sarcastic air of arrogance about him.

You smiled and rubbed your face against his chest without thinking. You sighed an audible sigh of contentment into the air. It didn't hurt inside when Mikey held you, it never had. He had always made the empty vacant void inside you seem to vanish as if by magic.

You sat in silence like that for awhile, not even trying to figure out how he had actually found you, just knowing and finding comfort in the fact that he had. He always had. It was just how he was.

"You know I'll always find you Trace. Always," Mikey said above you after a few minutes of silence mixed with his steady heartbeat that had lulled you into a stupor close to sleep.

Your eyes snapped open at his words. It couldn't be could it? It couldn't be there in those words could it? After all this time, after all these years of pointless searching. You felt it, or thought you felt it, in the very words he spoke into your hair as he ran his fingers through it. You shifted so you could look up at him. It may be dark, and his glasses may well be fogged from the rain but you knew you'd be able to see his face. You'd always be able to see his face. But this time you needed to see more then just his face, you needed to see his words.

"Will you?" you asked softly as you brushed the excess water off his glasses so you could see his eyes.

The eyes everyone said were identical to his brothers but you had always said were different. The eyes that had always meant home to you.

"Even when you don't want to be found," Mikey said softly as he brought his hand that was running through your tangled hair to stop on your cheek.

"Always," Mikey said softly as he leaned in closely and kissed your forehead slowly.

You let your eyes close just barely as you felt him let his lips linger on the damp skin of your forehead as his hand on your cheek brushed its thumb softly in circles. He just stayed there for moment after moment, his lips pressed to your forehead. Slowly you felt him draw his lips off just enough so you could open your eyes and stare directly into his. You stared into his familiar eyes and saw yourself found.

"Always," Mikey barely breathed as an audible sound before leaning in and placing his lips over yours.

You just let your lips stay there, pressed perfectly against his. It wasn't until you let out the sighed breath of contentment through your nose that you realized you had been holding your breath. Had been holding your breath your entire life. You felt tears softly leak down your face as you pressed hard into the kiss and brought your hands up to grab onto his damp knit winter hat and hair. That hole inside, that massive void, was no longer hurting. You had been found all along, not really ever lost or empty. You had been found. You had been loved, all along. You had just needed to wait till Mikey had finished counting to come find you. Or maybe for you to finish counting to find him.


Ta da! Mikey Way one shot!


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