There were two things Frank hated: Christmas, and disappointing his mom. Considering his mom's last name had been Claus ever since she remarried, it was a bit of a fucking problem.
He'd done his best to balance it. Maybe his seasonal wardrobe consisted entirely of ripped jeans and ugly Christmas sweaters with profanity on them - the one he was currently wearing was red with "SUX" in white letters, ringed by holly - but that was better than when he'd showed up to the workshop in ripped t-shirts with vulgar drawings scrawled in Sharpie. He had the elf hat both ways, and that should have been enough, but his mom looked so sad when he'd showed up to work the first day with the hat's main seam lined with safety pins.
And that was another thing. He was Santa Claus's stepson, so he didn't have to go to the workshop at all. But he did, and he made toys every goddamned day. He even wore those ear-covering headphones to keep the hardcore he played on his iPhone from blistering the pointy ears of the real elves. Fuckers had really good hearing, too.
Anyway. Frank had been trying as much as he could. He shouldn't have felt guilty when his mom kept him back at the workshop after hours on December 1st. She looked great; the standard Mrs. Claus red dress gave her a glow Frank hadn't seen in years. But there was still the way her entire face seemed to sag with her disappointment.
"Sorry," he said preemptively when his mom leaned against his workshop table. Then he thought about it. He hadn't pranked the elves in weeks. He'd had a civil conversation with Santa at every dinner they'd shared the entire year. "Wait. How'd I fuck up?"
"You haven't," his mom said. She was already rubbing at her head like she did when Frank gave her stress headaches. "I was just talking to Kris, and...have you thought about going back home for the holidays?"
Frank frowned, grabbing at his lip ring with his teeth. He'd moved out of Jersey three years ago when his mom had gone north. No fucking way would he have let her go to some magical portal in the North Pole without him. It wasn't like he hadn't known he could go back, but he was also in a magical fucking portal. Living in the same apartments with Santa, no less. Even Frank could appreciate that shit.
"No," he said, and he could feel his face fall.
"We're not kicking you out," his mom said quickly. "You're always welcome here. But I know how you feel about Christmas, and I'm so busy this time of year...Kris is too, for that matter. You could go home, see your friends."
Because Frank had so many fucking friends. Well, Dewees was usually around. He always had the best weed, too. God, how long had it been since Frank had gotten really stoned?
"I guess I could go check on the house," he said finally, and his mom didn't look happy exactly, but she looked relieved. That was close enough.
Dewees was how he always was, if a little older. His dogs happily congregated around Frank's feet when he first showed up, and after Frank got the dog urge out of his system - he fully intended on bringing a four-legged friend back with him to the North Pole in a month or two - Dewees, being the excellent host he was, packed a bowl for Frank and served him nachos.
It was only when they were both high as kites that Dewees brought up the S word.
"I thought Christmas was the Santa season," Dewees said evenly. He sounded almost exactly the same stoned. Frank always giggled more, and right on time, Frank giggled at the alliteration. Santa season. He also maybe hissed until Dewees waved at him. "No, I'm serious, dude. Wasn't that your big thing? Fitting in up there?"
"I don't want to talk about it." Frank was still giggling a little, but he stuffed his mouth full of chips to prove his point.
Dewees shrugged. "Feel like getting out of the house? Some guys I know are playing tonight."
"When have I ever said no to a fucking band?" Frank scrambled off the couch and was maybe halfway to the train before Dewees caught up. Thrashing around a pit was exactly what he needed.
Except the fucking band was doing a show entirely full of Christmas covers. The lead singer was hot in that week-old-black-eyeliner kind of way, sure, but he was wearing a Santa hat, and Frank was right in front of the stage, glaring at the drum kit.
Frank stayed where he was, arms crossed, as the band played through Santa Claus is Coming to Town and I'll Be Home for Christmas. Their guitarist was thrashing through the songs like he was in a metal band, and maybe Frank hated fucking Christmas, but he could respect good playing. He'd still been playing up north and everything; he couldn't let his own skills get rusty.
When the band took a break to get water, people started yelling requests. The lead singer strutted around as he sipped at his water and threw out a line or two of most of the song people called out acapella. Of course he had fucking vocal chops.
"I see why you like them," Frank begrudgingly muttered to Dewees during a snippet of All I Want For Christmas is You. Dewees elbowed him back.
By the time the band had switched their instruments around, the lead singer said, "Okay, we're ready to do a longer one. Any guesses?"
"Baby It's Cold Outside!" was the first to catch Frank's ears.
"Really?" the singer said, stopping his pacing onstage and turning full out to the audience. "You don't think that song's fucking creepy? This next one's a lot better."
And with that, they launched into Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree, and Frank was kind of a little in love.
He and Dewees hung out after the show and after the band was fully loaded up, mostly because Dewees knew Ray, the guitarist. The two of them hugged big and went off to chat on his own. The drummer was a blond guy who scowled at Frank and fucked off right away, which, what the fuck ever. That left the lead singer and bassist, who were passing a cigarette between them and leaning against the alley wall.
"Dude, you guys can have your own." Frank fished out his pack and held them up.
The lead singer beamed, but he shook his head. "Nah, Mikey's not really a smoker. This is mostly mine."
Frank shrugged and shook out a smoke of his own. The lead singer said, "Oh, hey, I've got my lighter."
He held it out for Frank and held Frank's gaze the whole time. Frank waggled his eyebrows at him in thanks and took a deep drag with a groan. Fuck, nicotine just didn't taste the same up north. Something about that pure magic shit meant that his favorite vices didn't have the same kick.
"Wow, you're really enjoying that cigarette." This came from Mikey, the bassist, who had a much deeper voice than Frank expect.
"Is that a fucking crime?" Frank said mildly.
He looked between Mikey and the singer, but all that was happening was Mikey was smirking a little at the singer, who was gaping at Frank. Which was good. Frank was in no mood to get his ass kicked.
The singer shook himself. "I, uh. Gerard."
Frank frowned. "Okay?"
"That's my name. Gerard."
Frank snorted, but he said, "Frank", and held out his hand. Gerard took it, a flush went through Frank, and...
"Huh," Mikey said, staring up at the sky. "I didn't know it was supposed to snow tonight."
Frank took his hand out of Gerard's in a hurry. Shit. He didn't need to look up to see that there weren't any clouds. Spontaneous snow - the light stuff, enough to be pretty without being messy - was one of his elf powers, which were usually totally fucking cool. But he hadn't gotten off with anyone since he went up to the Land of Chaste Holidays, so he hadn't done any fucking that didn't involve his right hand in years. And he thought stamina would have been more of a problem.
Gerard was still staring at him, though. Frank had a feeling his drought could end if he played his cards right.
Sure enough, after they shared a couple beers inside, Gerard invited him back to his place. Frank had totally been expecting a shitty bathroom hookup, so he wasn't complaining.
Frank ended up getting dropped off at Gerard's house with both Gerard and Mikey because Mikey was Gerard's brother, and, oh yeah, Gerard lived in his parents' basement. Gerard had wrung his hands all awkwardly when he'd taken Frank down the side door, and it was fucking cute.
"I live with my mom and stepdad, dude," Frank said when Gerard was fishing out his keys. "Sometimes that's just how it goes."
Gerard beamed, and as he unlocked the door and walked inside, he moved to take his Santa hat off. Frank said, before he even thought about it, "Uh, can you leave it on?"
"Fuck yeah," Gerard said, laughing. He had a really dorky laugh. It made his nose crinkle and everything. He still sounded serious when he asked, "Does that do it for you? I could bring down some Christmas lights and mistletoe, too."
Frank took a look at the basement. It was kind of a pit, both because it was dim as fuck, and also because shit was heaped everywhere.
"How about we just leave the lights out?" he said, and he went in to kiss Gerard.
Gerard tasted like cigarettes and beer and everything Frank couldn't get in the North Pole. He was musical in a way carols weren't as he sighed happily into Frank's mouth, and maybe he was being a fucking sap, but Frank has missed this. His mom was totally right. Although he would never tell her how right she was.
He tried to drop to his knees to suck Gerard off - it had been way too fucking long since he had a dick in his mouth - but Gerard spun them around and dropped Frank on his bed instead. "This okay?" Gerard asked.
Yeah, because Frank would turn down a blowjob. He patted Gerard's messy hair in agreement, making sure to leave the hat in place, and Gerard unzipped Frank's jeans and went for it. He really knew what he was doing, too, sucking at Frank until he was fully hard, working his hand at the base of his cock to get what he couldn't reach, all of that. Frank was grabbing at the sheets to keep from grabbing at Gerard's hat and working as hard as he could to keep from thrusting in his mouth, and he choked out a warning to Gerard, and...
He ended up jizzing all over Gerard's face. Which was really hot, but not exactly what he was going for.
"Sorry," Frank managed to get out, but Gerard wasn't looking at him. He was looking at...
Frank sat up and gaped at the room. There were glowing glass ornaments hovering everywhere, and he bit his lip ring.
"It's, uh," he said to Gerard, who turned his gaping, come-covered face away from a green ornament by his head to stare down at Frank. "It's a thing? I can do?"
He cringed, waiting for Gerard to throw him out or...something. But Gerard just brightened and said, "Cool", and bumped the nearest ornament with a finger.
Okay. Officially the weirdest hookup of Frank's life.
Frank didn't get Gerard off for the rest of the night, but then, it was hard to get a hand on someone's dick when they were enthusiastically asking you questions about the North Pole. Frank, somehow, didn't actually mind. He liked Dewees because Dewees backed off on that kind of thing, but Gerard seemed so shamelessly into Frank's magic and all things Christmas that had to do with Frank that it was kind of okay.
Maybe more than okay, if the way the basement smelled like candy canes and hot chocolate when they woke up was any way to tell.