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No, Not Much

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Marky had been drinking, the bottle was practically glued to his hand for a better part of the night, but he was ever observant of his surroundings and when Joey had disappeared from his periphery Marky made it his mission to find the missing Ramone. Now that Marky had successfully found Joey, who was curled up on his bed with his knees pressed to his chest, he started to forget why he was here.

"Do you have any idea how hard it was to find you?" Marky greets with an overly exasperated sigh as he barges into Joey's room with little finesse. "I had to go up like... three flights of stairs!"

Marky muttered something about the elevator to himself, hanging in the doorway as he did, then looked up to where Joey sat. A sniffle came from Joey and Marky's posture immediately sobered up (as much as it could). He closed the door behind him lightly and shuffled his way over to Joey's bedside, setting the bottle of alcohol down on the nightstand and sitting down beside his friend.

"Hey..." Marky cooed gently, wrapping an arm around Joey's slender frame. He leaves enough space between them so Joey doesn't feel overwhelmed or smothered. "What's wrong, buddy? Why ya cryin'?"

Joey didn't say a word as he curled in on himself, burying his face deeper into his forearms and bony knees. Marky liked to think of Joey as a close friend, that was saying a lot considering the band he was in, and it definitely hurt to see Joey in such a state of sorrow. He scooted closer to Joey, nearly breaking the discarded shades with his knee, as he tried to formulate a different approach.

"I got worried about you when I didn't see you down there," Marky said after a moment, hoping to convey as much concern as he could for Joey. "You just disappeared..."

"I'm fine," Joey says shortly, but it's a lie that gets muffled by his too obvious sulking.

"I may just be a drummer for the Ramones, but I ain't stupid. And I may be drunk, but that doesn't mean I can't comfort a friend," Marky jokes, hoping to make Joey titter just a little.

It doesn't work and Joey still has his face buried in his knees and hair, but he doesn't tell Marky to get lost either. Joey doesn't have the heart to tell anyone to beat it but Marky is pretty good at figuring out when the Ramone wants to be alone. Joey may say that he's fine but his body language screams for Marky to stay, so he does.

Marky picks up Joey's shades and places them safely beside the bottle on the nightstand. He turns back to Joey, moving himself further onto the bed so that he's sitting across from Joey. Marky's head is swimming and he's trying his best to slow it all down for the sake of Joey. He vaguely wondered if Joey had been drinking as well. Alcohol had the perverse affect of bringing out the most critical emotions in Joey.

"D'ya really mean that?" Joey hiccups, raising his head up ever so slightly. His face was shrouded by his hair but it was painfully obvious that his cheeks were soaked with tears.

"What?"

"That I'm your friend?"

"Yeah... Yes! Of course you're my friend, Joey," Marky reassures leaning forward to squeeze a forearm affectionately. "You oughta know you can come to me if you have problems."

"I don't wanna burden you..." Joey chokes as if his issues are something to be ashamed about. "It's not important."

"Hey... If it's enough to trouble you than that's all that should count," Marky chides, shaking Joey gently as if to build up his self-worth. But it was true. Joey's problems did matter. "Was it the OCD again? 'Cus if someone's givin' you shit about it, I'll deck 'em one."

"That's not necessary, but thank you," Joey replies, and Marky can hear the faint smile in his shaky timbre.

Well, that's a start, Marky thinks hopefully.

"C'mon, what's got you cryin' your heart out?"

"I didn't wanna be around those girls," Joey tells him, as if it's the least cryptic thing ever.

Joey's raised his head enough for Marky to see the lower half of his face. His lips looked red and slightly abused like he might've been chewing on them out of habit and it made Marky unconsciously gnaw on his own. There was something indecipherable about Joey that urged Marky to overreact, even about the smallest things. Both positive and negative feelings alike.

Marky is about to give up and accept Joey's response, but something clicks in at the last moment. Through his muddled and blurred brain, Marky replays Joey's sentence once again in his head and realizes the word he used. Girls. Joey had said he didn't want to be around the girls at the party. That would explain a few things.

"Did you say girls?" Marky inquires softly, still touching Joey's forearm tenderly.

"I meant people," Joey lies, getting a little defensive of his own blunder. He hadn't meant to divulge many details. Joey didn't want to ruin Marky's night as well.

"I heard what you said, Joey. What did they do to you?"

"It's not what they did..." Joey confesses, seeing how it's pointless to fool Marky any longer than he has to. "...it's what they didn't do. I mean, it's so obvious who they came to see..."

He doesn't want to accept it, but Marky is aware at what Joey is driving at. Marky hadn't kept an firm eye on Joey the whole night, but he started to remember the overwhelming company of girls hanging off of him and the other guys for the better part of the night. Joey had been pushed aside and forgotten because the girls were too busy flirting with Marky, John, and Dee Dee. Marky felt a wave of guilt wash over him.

"You shouldn't be cryin' over those girls!" Marky exclaims exasperated, grabbing both of Joey's arms now because he can't believe it. "You must be crazy to think those broads are worth even one of your tears!"

Joey gives a small half smile from under his bangs but it disappears just as fast and his frown deepens to Marky's dismay. Joey knows the angle Marky is trying for but his own insecurities are getting the better of him and telling him that Marky has to be lying. He knows Marky has no reason to lie, but still... Joey wasn't known for his self-esteem.

"That's easy for you to say... Girls think you're attractive," Joey dismisses, bringing himself down even further than before. He didn't consciously do it to instill pity from others, he didn't appreciate pity. Joey does it because he truly felt like something was wrong with him and not everyone else.

"Those broads are also attracted to big wallets and accessories. They may look and act interested in who I am initially, but they ultimately care about one thing," Marky tells Joey sternly. He doesn't raise his voice because he's mad at Joey, he's mad at those girls for making Joey think he's nothing. "They don't care about what matters."

"What does matter?" Joey asks, perking his head up.

The unruly mop of curls fall out of the way to reveal Joey's awkward, but truly unique, face. Marky's heart stops for a moment because he can't remember ever seeing the Ramone without his shades on. Joey Ramone never takes them off. They're basically glued to his face, but now... The shades are discarded and his hair isn't in the way to protect him and Marky feels truly honored that he means enough to Joey for him to see him like this.

Marky would be lying if he said Joey didn't look goofy, but not in a bad way. Everyone looked weird to Marky, especially the Ramones. There was something about Joey's goofy face that seemed so perfect, though. Marky couldn't place what it was but Joey was attractive to him. Joey had been born with this particular face and that made him unique and beautiful in his own way. Marky suddenly appreciated the Ramone even more.

"Everything that makes you who you are is what really matters," Marky says ardently, scooting closer so their legs were touching. He wrapped both arms around Joey protectively, feeling the tension melt away from his clenched frame. "I think you're a damn good-looking man, Joey. You've got an attractive personality and any broad at that party would be lucky enough to realize that."

The last of Joey's composure finally cracked and he no longer cared if Marky saw him openly cry. Joey fell forward, throwing himself into Marky's arms as he clung to his friend's words, hoping that Marky meant each and every one of them. He knew Marky was drunk, but he was an honest drunk like anyone else. He felt even more reassured when Marky's arms closed around his shoulders warmly.

Joey sobbed into the crook of Marky's neck while the latter murmured encouraging half-forgotten words into his ear. Marky's hands roamed up and down his back in soothing motions, trying to warm the places where coldness had been. With the final tremors of raw emotion ebbed away they parted slowly, almost awkwardly. Marky wasn't weird about hugging another man, especially not a friend in need, but that wasn't what made it awkward.

There was something that demanded Marky to get closer and stay there with Joey in his arms. It felt oddly right to hold Joey and the fact that Joey was at his most vulnerable strengthened the need to assure the Ramone that he is special. That he is beautiful. Marky reaches up with his hands to cup Joey's face, wiping away the tears drying on his flushed face with the pads of his thumbs.

"You're the beautiful one..." Marky whispers. He leans in and kisses Joey on the cheek, feeling the heated skin and tasting the lingering tears. "Not them."

A blush creeps across Joey's beautifully goofy face and he smiles out of embarrassment. Joey wishes that it was all a joke for the sake of the situation but Marky locks gazes with him before leaning in to kiss him again, this time on the lips. Joey is taken aback, unknowing of how he should respond, but unable to push Marky off. Their lips stay gently locked in place until Marky breaks away, hugging Joey to his body once more.

"We should get back to the party," Joey says even though he doesn't really want to. He figures he owes it to Marky for going through the trouble of cheering him up.

"We don't have to. We can stay here if you want," Marky says, rubbing his thumbs over Joey's cheekbones. He brushes hair out of Joey's face and Joey smiles awkwardly. "We're not missing much anyway, right?"

"No," Joey agrees, letting go of his insecurities for once in his life. "Not much."