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It's Time to Play the Music.

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“Are you sure you want to do this?”

Gerard looks at the small bottle of dye that Mikey is holding, at the supplies that he’s got laid out on the sides of the sink. In response, Gerard kneels, head over the tub and says, “Yes.”

Long practice means It doesn’t take long to apply the dye, but long enough that Gerard’s knees are aching, his eyes watering a little as Mikey carefully applies the mixture to Gerard’s hair, his fingers moving steadily, coating each strand.

It’s something they’ve done before. Many times in fact. And it’s something comforting in its familiarity, Gerard listening to the soft sound of Mikey breathing, the feel of his body against Gerard’s as he ensures an even coating of dye over hair.

“Remember the first time I did this?” Mikey says, sounding amused as he wiggles his fingers, a single drip of red marring the bright white of the tub. “You wanted that blue streak.”

“And you said it would be better to use bleach first before adding the dye.” Gerard grins, slipping back into memories of a boiling hot bathroom, a sink discolored with grime, and Mikey’s shuttered expression when he rinsed off that first colour. “I looked like an escapee from Sesame Street.”

“You looked good,” Mikey says, loyal as always, but then adds, “For a Muppet.”

“I don’t think Sesame Street characters are Muppets.” Gerard considers a moment, his eyes watering and scalp rapidly heating. “I think technically they’re puppets. Kermit is a Muppet.”

“Kermit is an asshole,” Mikey says with conviction, digging the pads of his fingers along Gerard’s hairline, soothing the burn with his touch. “A stupid, green whiney asshole. Who’d put a frog in charge of a theatre show?”

Gerard blinks hard, shifting a little, trying to ease the pressure on his knees. “Rolf is the real star of the show, he’s an understated musical genius.”

“Like Ray. And he’s got that awesome hair going on, too.” Mikey stops massaging. His hands still on Gerard’s head. “If Ray is Rolf, that means….”

“I swear, if you mention me and Miss Piggy I’ll…” Gerard pauses, trying to think of a consequence big enough to deal with the comparison. “I’ll cut off your coffee.”

“Harsh,” Mikey says, but Gerard can hear the amusement in his voice, and knows the threat is both empty and pointless. “But think about it, she’s over the top on stage, likes wearing make-up and boas. She’s your long lost twin.”

“Which means she’s also related to you,” Gerard points out, barely able to suppress a sigh of contentment as Mikey starts kneading his scalp again.

“True,” Mikey agrees, and for a long time there’s nothing but the soft sound of breathing and the brush of fingers through hair. “Frank is Animal unleashed.”

Startled out of his zone, Gerard blinks, imagining Frank trapped behind drums. “He’d have to be unleashed, the drums would never survive otherwise, but yeah, I can see it.”

Mikey stops kneading, and leans forward so he can quickly rinse his hands, pink droplets of water running from the tips of each finger. “He’s got the crazed look, too. At least, sometimes.”

“On stage, yeah,” Gerard agrees, resisting the urge to wipe at his tearing-up eyes. “Off-stage he’s Kermit. Energetic and happy, and there for his family and friends.”

“Fuck off he’s Kermit. Frank’s better than that green idiot.” Mikey raps his knuckles against the top of Gerard’s forehead, and then does it again for good measure. “I think the hair dye has scrambled your brain.”

“I think you’re suffering from frog prejudice,” Gerard says, laughing at Mikey’s resulting huff of annoyance. “What’s Kermit ever done to you?”

“Exist,” Mikey says simply, and then, “He’s got a stupid voice, and a big mouth, and have you seen those arms and legs?”

“Body shaming Kermit, you know better.” Head down, Gerard makes no attempt to hide his grin despite his firm tone. “You should love and appreciate everyone, no matter what they look like.”

“And I do,” Mikey says, and reaches off to one side. “Unless they’re stupid green frogs.”

“Amphibian hater.” Gerard shakes his head, stretching as much as he can then stilling when Mikey picks up a roll of saran wrap and waves it in front of Gerard’s face. “No shower cap?”

Mikey frowns, running his thumb nail over the edge of the roll. “This is better, and I get to channel Dexter.”

“You’re not wrapping my whole body,” Gerard points out. Not that he’s expecting Mikey to actually do that, but experience has shown, sometimes it’s better to state these things upfront. “But it would look badass.”

“Like some kind of crazy cocoon,” Mikey agrees, finally finding the edge of the wrap. Shifting position, he starts to cover Gerard’s hair, movements efficient and sure as he wraps, adding multiple layers until Gerard feels like he’s wearing some kind of crazy crash helmet.

“I hate this bit,” and Gerard does, all he wants to do is see his new colour, and not sit waiting in a bathroom that looks like the scene of a slaughter. “We need to clean up this shit.”

“We do,” Mikey says, dropping the roll in the sink as he twists and sits, back against the side of the tub. “And we will when we’re done. We’d just have to do it again then, anyway.”

As a persuasion it’s weak, but Gerard’s always been a pushover when it comes to Mikey, plus, it’s not like he actually wants to clean. Instead he sits too, shifting on the cold floor so he’s side by side with Mikey, their legs stretched out and breathing in unison.

“We should have done a show with the Muppets.” Gerard rubs at his knees, mouth curling up into a smile as he imagines waiting off in the wings, Kermit’s arms whirling as he invites them onstage. “Ray could play the piano with Rolf, and we could have chickens as dancers.”

“Chickens?” Mikey raises an eyebrow, and then says, “I suppose you’d be singing with Miss Piggy.”

“Of course,” Gerard says, his grin widening as he adds. “Kemit could play bass, he’s got the fingers for it.”

“In his dreams,” Mikey says, and mutters. “Green puppet bastard.”

“Muppet,” Gerard corrects instantly, unable to resist. “But If we ever do get an invite I’ll talk to Kermit.” Not that they’re likely to get an invite. But still, Gerard’s learned that anything is possible, and he taps his foot against Mikey’s. “You can bond with the chickens.”

“Chickens are great. Chickens are awesome,” Mikey says, and then, “Everyone is in the show except for that green…”

“Frog bastard. Yeah, yeah, I know. You don’t like Kermit.” Gerard grins, carefully sliding his fingertip under the layers of wrap in an attempt to itch his scalp. “You’re obsessed with him.”

Mikey shakes his head. “The only one obsessed with a Muppet is you.”

Immediately understanding, Gerard turns his head, glaring at Mikey. “Once. That happened once.”

“That I saw.” Grinning, Mikey looks directly at Gerard. “Who knows how many Muppet porn sessions you had in secret.”

“It wasn’t a Muppet porn session.” That Gerard has to protest, because a Muppet porn session sounds seedy and wrong, nothing like an innocent tv watching session where Gerard happened to jerk off while watching Miss Piggy. “It just happened to be on TV at the time.”

“Sure,” Mikey says, making an attempt to clean up as he grabs the empty dye bottle and throws it into the trash. “You say that now but that innocent tv watching session could have warped my childhood.”

“Right.” Gerard draws out the word, because really, no matter how embarrassing it was being caught, there’s no way Mikey’s childhood was warped as a result. “Because Muppet porn was the worst that we did when we were kids.”

“Teens, not kids, and I thought it wasn’t Muppet porn,” Mikey points out, frowning slightly as he flexes and examines his pink-stained fingers. “I’ve got Muppet hands.”

“Like you’ve been jerking off Animal,” Gerard agrees, shrugging, his grin wide at Mikey’s resulting hard look. “What? You brought it up, and you know Animal’s jizz would be pink.”

“Gross. Also, I don’t think it works like that.” Mikey pulls up his knees, linking his hands around them. “You’re assuming Animal has a dick. He could be blank down there. Like a hairy GI Joe.”

“It would explain why he’s so angry,” Gerard agrees, swiping at his forehead in a pointless attempt to tame another itch. “All that thrashing could be an expression of his pent up sexual desire.”

“It could,” Mikey agrees. “Dickless and driven crazy with lust for Miss Piggy.”

“Poor Animal.” Gerard says, mirroring Mikey’s pose as they drift into silence, until, “Think we should tell Frank he’s channelling a dickless, angry Muppet who somehow still produces pink jizz?”

“Fuck yeah.” Mikey’s response is instant as he pushes up on one hip, pulling his phone from his pocket and quickly types a message. “He’ll love the comparison.”

“He will,” Gerard agrees, red-eyed and back aching, but feeling content and happy as he waits for Frank's response and leans against Mikey, his thoughts full of red hair and Muppets.