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"Intelligence is Relative"
Title: Intelligence is Relative
Warnings: Language and kissing.
Disclaimer: I don't own the Monkees and make no aspersions toward their sexualities.
Summary: Peter and Mike have a conversation while moving into the pad.
Author's Note: TORKSMITH.
"Why do you act like that?"
Peter glanced over at Mike, who was leaning his hip against the edge of the couch. He very determinedly did not look the other man up and down, as he wanted to. He had finally found a group that accepted him, he didn't want to get kicked out for being a queer before they had even played a gig together. He picked up another box that was just lying around and lugged it into what had been deemed his and Davy's room.
"Like what?" he asked, trying his best to look confused. "Oh, Michael, is this box yours?" He pointed to a box on the floor that clearly had 'Mike' scrawled across the side.
Mike frowned, stepping forward and picking up the box.
"Like that. You're not stupid, Peter, I know you aren't. Nobody who can understand music like you do is a dummy. So why are you acting like one?" He began to carry the box up the staircase.
Peter followed him, brainstorming furiously in his head.
"I... I'm not sure what you mean, Michael," he stammered, watching Mike place the box down in the room that he and Micky were sharing.
"You know damn well what I mean," Mike replied mildly, turning around and taking off his hat. He adjusted his hair, running his fingers through the flip over his left eye before replacing the hat. Peter watched him, struck by the nonchalant fluidity of the taller man's motions.
He sighed. Why did he have the feeling that he wouldn't be able to hide things from this man? That could be bad, very bad in the future.
"It's easier," he said quietly, letting Mike pass him and then following him through the doorway and down the winding staircase.
"How is it easier havin' people think you're stupid?" Mike asked, perching on the arm of the couch. He looked at Peter inquiringly.
Peter bit his lip, wary of revealing too much. He settled for a nod. "If people think you're not a threat, they won't treat you like one."
Mike raised his eyebrows. "That some sorta moral code?"
Peter let out a soft laugh. "I suppose you could say that. It's just... simpler. To not show people who I really am. It's better for everyone."
"I dunno about that. I like ya." Mike shrugged. "And you ain't puttin' on an act right now, are ya?"
Peter shook his head. "No. Well," he amended. "A little." If he's as good at reading people as he seems, he would have figured it out. I might as well just tell him. Besides, I decided a long time ago that I wasn't going to be ashamed. I'm not breaking my promise just because he's one of the most beautiful men I've ever laid eyes on.
Mike tilted his head, a glint of curiosity in his gaze. "What's a little?"
Peter couldn't look into his eyes when he replied. "I, uh, I'm..."
"Queer?" Mike drawled casually. He stood and walked over to the refrigerator, pulling open the door to grab a bottle of root beer. "You want one?" he asked with a glance back at the couch.
"Uh, no, no thanks..." Peter stuttered, honestly bewildered for the first time in quite a while. "Wait, you already knew?" he aimed his question at Mike when the other man sat back on the couch.
"Well, yeah. You're not the most discreet, Pete." Mike took a long drink from the bottle and Peter was momentarily transfixed by the movement of his throat. He shook himself out of it.
"What? How? When did you-?"
Mike shrugged. "The other day, when you were checkin' out Micky's behind while he was bent over fixin' his snare. Well, that's when I knew for sure. I'd suspected since I met ya."
"Why? I didn't... I don't..." Peter felt a vague stirring of anger at himself in his stomach. He had always taken pride in the fact that he wasn't one of those queers; he wasn't a nancy boy. He was just a guy who happened to like other guys. But now, with what Mike was telling him... Did he act like that?
Mike watched this internal battle, a faintly amused look on his face. "Settle down, shotgun. I just, uh..." For the first time in the conversation, Mike's face took on a pink tinge and he coughed lightly. "You were... watchin' me. And you kept doin' it. Seemed like every time I turned around, you'd have this look on your face."
As Mike's face took on color, Peter's lost it.
"Oh," he said softly. "Um... oh."
"Yeah," was Mike's reply.
"Are you... does it bother you? I can, I can leave, if it's a problem, that's fine," Peter said, feeling his heart break, because it wasn't fine, he wanted to be in this band, wanted to play music with Davy and Micky and, most of all, Mike.
Mike hurried to stop that train of thought. "NO! I mean, um." Mike thought in a not-quite-amused way that this was the most he had blushed in a long time. "It's fine, Peter. I don't, um... mind."
"You don't mind?" Peter asked, looking at Mike with wide eyes. "You don't mind that one of your bandmates, one of the guys you're moving in with has some sort of weird crush on you?"
Mike contemplated this. "No, actually. I should, I know I should, but I don't."
"Why? How do you not hate me?"
Mike's brows drew together. "Now hold on a second, why would I hate you?"
Peter laughed, this one bitter and lacking anything that could be construed as amusement. "Last time I checked, that was a pretty normal reaction to another guy wanting to kiss you."
"Oh!" All of Mike's breath whooshed out of his lungs. "You, you... You wanna kiss me?" he managed to croak.
Peter looked at him with an eyebrow raised. "Um, yeah? I thought that was sort of... implied..." He trailed off, biting his lip. "With the whole 'having a crush on you' thing."
"Oh." That was all Mike could say. "Um, so you wanna...?"
"Yeah," Peter looked down at the couch, tracing the pattern on the upholstery. "Sorry."
"Don't be sorry, Pete. I told you it was fine." Mike waved a hand, thoughts running on overdrive. 'Do I...? I know what that feeling is, I've felt it before, but this is different, new, because this is Peter. Still...'
"Hey, hey, Peter?" he asked, taking off his hat and fiddling with it. "I, uh, I think, that if you ever wanted to, um... y'know, I wouldn't, uh, that'd be okay. I mean, if you did. Want to. Or if you just did. I wouldn't get mad or... anything." Mike nodded firmly.
Peter simply looked at him.
"Never mind," Mike muttered, replacing his hat. "Just, uh, it's fine, Peter. Don't worry about it."
He got up, prepared to begin a trek over to the bandstand. Music always helped him figure out stuff. He was interrupted when Peter grabbed his hand to keep him from walking away. He looked at him in question.
"Thanks, Mike. That, that means a lot." Peter smiled at Mike, dimples winking, and all of a sudden, Mike was entirely too warm.
"No, uh, no problem, Pete." He jerked his thumb over his shoulder. "I think I'm gonna practice until dinner, alright?"
"Alright." The smile shrank, but the corners of Peter's mouth still hung on to it, like his lips just couldn't stop being happy. "I'll be in mine and Davy's room if you need me."
Peter stood, and for a second, before Mike could take a step back, they were pressed close, very close, so close that Mike could simply lean forward and... His eyes flicked up to look into Peter's. Peter looked steadily back, pupils dilated. Mike couldn't help himself. He licked his lower lip, then moved forward, pressing his lips lightly to Peter's.
His eyes fluttered shut as their mouths moved gently against one another. It was a soft, short kiss, and Mike found that he missed Peter's warmth when he finally stepped away. His eyes opened slowly, and his first sight was Peter's blush-stained cheeks. He let a small smile possess his lips, pressing one more kiss to Peter's mouth.
"No problem at all," he said quietly, and Peter's smile was bright enough to rival the sun.