Author's notes: written for the secrets challenge and from this prompt: Mikey/Kurt Cobain, timewarp au. not necessarily what the prompt asked for, but... i tried.
There were nights when he really fuckin’ hated New Jersey. Maybe it was more of a love hate or hate to love thing. He’d cracked nail and tooth on the pavement and on knuckleheads too stupid to realize that quiet didn’t really ever mean weak.
Mike punched on the buttons on his radio, flipping the dial to kill the static mumble of Carissa’s bright chatter.
The girl, he was out to prove, had to be injecting caffeine directly into her femoral artery or had daily sunshine enemas to be this damned perky at four fucking am in the morning.
“Things could be worse,” Frankie had said one late night, head lolling against his as they split a spliff between them.
Say that three times fast.
“What could be worse?” Mike was definitely reconsidering letting Frankie talk him into their third round of Street Fighter. The colors and the graphics had started to look jumbly at best. “And what the fuck did Jepha put in this shit?”
Frankie just lifted his shoulder in that half shrug and offered him a blowjob.
Mikey, was only sometimes a fool but never when it involved sex, had agreed. He figured if he woke up in the morning everything would be as it should be. He left the sorting out to God.
“Things could be worse,” Mikey mumbled to himself, elbowing resting cold and wet against the window, cracked to let in ozone scented night and the fat rolling drops of rain.
New Jersey had become nothing more than incongruent lines and jagged leaps. It was just miles to cover and gas to pay. And to get paid.
Mikey flipped on his turn signal, seeing a hand halo out from under a cracked streetlamp. He glanced at his watch. Late for clubbers this far south. Too early for meth freaks. Besides, the railroad tracks were two blocks east.
He’d barely gotten out, “D’ya need a ride?” when the two stumbled in. Grasping and pulling at clothes, Mikey heard something that sounded vaguely like Essex Park.
Figured. His only call for the night would only get him a measly twenty bucks. He flipped on the meter and tugged his hat lower.
He tried to ignore it at first. He had gotten good at it in the past seven months and thirteen days he had been a cabbie. People did all sorts of fucked up shit in cabs. Like it was Vegas on wheels.
Whatever happens in Yellow Cab, stays in Yellow Cab.
And if it did, Mikey made Frankie clean it out the next day. No way was he touching jizz covered seats. Especially when he was bailing Frankie out and taking his shift.
He tried to ignore it. Really tried. At first he thought it’d been a boy and a chick. Pale hair and paler skin and long limbs. The other, the guy, shorter, fatter, balder. Lots of –ers. None of them particularly attractive.
Jesus fuck, the guy was grunting. He really hoped for the Pretty One (so dubbed because anyone that could bend that way in Rearview Mirror Theatre had to be Pretty. Pretty flexible at the least) that the other guy had a big dick.
The noises he could ignore for the most part. It was the smell that was making him clench the steering wheel. Even with the windows cracked and the air going, the smell of sweat, and skin, and sex permeated the small space.
“Jesus fuck, yeah. Yeah.” Rasped out and hitching over the grunting.
The cadence was pretty. A nice two one rhythm.
Then it was over.
Just in time.
Mikey pulled up to the complex, the row of pristine cut out town houses, standing out white against the blackblue skyline. He could see the Garden State in the distance, lights flashing and etched out against the dark.
He waited for them to pull apart, for the door to open. No way was he shutting off the meter till that door opened. “Twenty six even, man.”
Clothing rustled and the sound of paper being crumpled made Mikey’s head turn. The door opened and a twenty and ten were thrown in through the window. He wrinkled his nose and brushed the balled up paper off his thigh.
“Could you drop me off at Edison and Clement Street?” It was the same raspy voice that Mikey had counted off.
“Uh. Yeah. It’s gonna cost you like thirty bucks if I drive the limit.” Mikey said glancing into the rearview. He saw legs and a red skirt. Nice legs and a red skirt.
Pretty One chuckled. “I think I can afford it.” He smoothed his skirt down and shifted to the left. “Enjoy the show?”
Mikey felt the blush start along his cheeks and creep down his neck. “I’ve seen better.” And he had. Get enough tequila in Jepha and he’d ride the vacuum cleaner for quarters.
Not that Mikey would waste laundry money on a drunk Jepha. Dimes maybe, but not quarters.
He could hear the pout from the backseat. “Pity. Well, I might have done better if I’d had a better partner.” There was a flickhiss as a cigarette was lit.
Sex, sweat, ozone, and smoke.
These were a few of Michael’s favorite things. He ordered both dick and nose to stop twitching. Immediately. “Maybe. Seemed to enjoy it.”
Cars were beginning to inch their way into the cityscape, the beginning signs of early morning traffic. Sunrise crept inevitably forward and eating away the night in orange pink bites.
There was the chuckle again, a little amused and a lot pitying. Not self pity, but more like derision at Mike. “They pay for performance. Sometimes I get extra for moaning in time with them.”
He wasn’t necessarily surprised. The back of his cab had seen more ass than the 6, 7, and 8 train. “I’m Mike.”
“They call me K.”
“Like the letter?”
“Like I don’t want to tell you my name.” The answer was sweet and sharp.
Mikey lifted his hands up from the steering wheel in a ‘don’t hurt me’ gesture. “Sorry. So, what’s a nice guy like you doing in a town like this?” He drawled glancing up again and catching sight of scarred wrists and a muscled but slim arm.
“Living. How about you?” Smoke and laughter laced words.
The back of his neck prickled with something. “I drive a cab. I avoid my mom’s calls and I live an apartment with my fellow college drop out not boyfriend.”
“Poor little lost boy,” a cough and laugh echoed in the suddenly too small space.
“Couldn’t afford me.”
Mikey had no counter for that. “There’s a back up midtown. It’s gonna run the meter.” He could cut through Eckart and Hollis, but he figured that K deserved it for the jibe.
“Whatever.” There was a pause. “Tell me about him.”
There was a garbage truck blocking off the street. He squinted pushing his glasses up his nose. “Who?”
“The not boyfriend.”
“Oh. Him. Frank’s a little shit who is in love with my brother but fucks around with me because I let him.” Mike blinked and shook his head. “I haven’t talked or confessed this much since I was twelve and talking to Father Allman.”
“Three Hail Marys and a shot of tequila for you my son.”
Mike laughed and he took the cab up past the truck and flipped the driver off cheerily. “Eventually Gerard’ll get his head out of his ass and Frankie will grow some balls. Either that or Jepha will lock them in a closet. Which neither of them have been in since either of them were in high school.”
K shifted again and leaned against the door, stretching out on the backseat. His head disappeared behind the space and shadow between Mike’s headrest and the doorframe. “So, you won’t be heartbroken and sad when your not boyfriend and your brother ride off into the closet or wherever together?”
“Nah. They’d make each other happy. Besides Gerard needs something. Other than living in my Ma’s basement. Or someone.”
“Mother hen.” Same chuckle shaded with warmth than pity this time.
“Bawk, bawk.” He tipped his head back against the partition and turned a little to look at K. “He keeps wanting to start a band. Took up guitar a while back. Sucked ass at it.”
“Yeah? I was in a band for a while. Did okay. This… this is better.”
Mikey raised both eyebrows, sure that they disappeared under the fringe of hair. “For real?”
“Yeah. More real. Every day it’s real. The music was… a conduit. Tapping into the audience and siphoning off their life. I wasn’t living. Not really. Fooling myself. I really could have lost myself.”
Mikey shook his head. “It’s not like that for me. Music’s. It’s. Fuck, it is life. You know? Throw on a record and you can feel it roll off the record and into your skin. Pulsing. Like…”
He laughed and turned the wheel, taking the next corner almost a little too sharp. “More so.”
K hummed a word of agreement maybe. “You’ve got it. Dave had it. Has it in him. You should join up with your brother. Make music. See where it takes you.”
“Live a little?”
“Live a lot. If that’s what you want.” K flicked the cigarette out the window, red glowing tip skittering in the purple haze of morning and exhaust.
“What do you want?” Mikey asked, easing on the brake. The corner of Edison and Clement was just down another block or so.
There was a long pause, Mikey wondered if he’d somehow overstepped. It seemed impossible after all this.
“Go back and make it okay.” K pulled his knees up, his feet in a pair of ragged All Stars. The laces were a faded redpink with silver thread. Pale calves and ragged sneakers were all Mikey could see in the rearview.
“Make it okay with who?” Mike asked flipping on his turn signal and he glanced in his rear view to try and actually look at K. All he got were streetlight glares and a mess of dirty yellowbrown hair against a smeary windowpane.
“Everyone, man. Everyone. Here’s my stop.” K said with forced cheer. The door opened and closed with a forced slapclick.
Mike rolled his window down and he looked up, blinking rapidly. Haloed in morning sun and all over pale skin and dark eyes.
K grinned and he passed the bills over. “Never saw me, man. Never saw me.” His eyes warm but glinting with a sadness so sharp it cut Mike to the core.
Mike held the bills, damp and cold in his hand and watched K walk away, red skirt flicking back and forth in a two one rhythm.