It started when Frankie came and sat next to Gerard on the couch one day and said he had something important to talk about, his eyes huge and serious. He cleared his throat, put a hand on Gerard’s knee and said, “I’m a virgin.”
“The fuck.” Gerard turned a page in his comic book. “No you’re not.”
“Ha!” Bob appeared from around the corner, grinning triumphantly. “I knew he wouldn’t believe you! Pay up, short man.”
Grumbling, Frank stood up and fished a couple crumpled bills out of his pocket. “You didn’t give me time to convince him!”
Bob laughed. “What were you going to do, give him a bad blow job?”
“First of all, there is no thing as a bad blow job.” Frank sat back down and threw his arm around Gerard’s shoulder. “And I was just going to give him the big eyes and ask him if he’d teach me the joys of gay sex.”
Gerard, who hadn’t had sex for so long he thought they might have changed it, snorted. “I might not be the best person for that.”
“Oh, Gerard.” Bob sat down on his other side. He pushed Gerard’s feet off the table and picked up his game controller. “I’m sure you’re an excellent lover.”
“Tender and thoughtful,” Frankie agreed.
“Manly and masterful.”
“Gentle yet powerful.”
“Exotic and flavorful.”
“All right!” Gerard stood up and Frankie collapsed into the space he left, giggling. “I’m going to go and talk to someone who has no interest in my sexual prowess.”
“Spoilsport!” Frankie yelled after him. “We could be having sex right now if you’d just played along!”
For the next week, Gerard woke up every morning to a new list of Words that Describe how Gerard is In Bed pinned on the fridge. It disappeared after one of them wrote, ‘Sparkle Motion’ because, Bob explained to Gerard, they felt they’d nailed Gerard’s essence with that one.
Whatever. Gerard was just glad it had stopped.
The next thing was totally fucking ridiculous, and Gerard would never understand how it happened. Just that somehow, he and Frankie managed to oversleep and then get lost and then get *locked in* to like, a storeroom or something and neither of their cell phones worked and it was dark and cold and now they were sitting on the floor and Gerard was utterly convinced that they were both going to die.
“Well, that’s always good for business.” Frank’s hand, barely visible in the gloom, patted Gerard’s arm comfortingly.
Gerard rolled onto his side, sort of, scooting down the wall so he could get his head onto Frankie’s shoulder. “I never got to kiss Christina Ricci.”
“We’re not going to die, Gee.” Frankie put his arm around Gerard and squeezed. It made Gerard feel a little better. “But I’m pretty sure you’ll never get to kiss Christina Ricci.”
“You don’t think she’d go for me?”
“Not unless she’s into some serious narcissism.”
Gerard rolled his eyes, even though Frankie wouldn’t be able to se it. He didn’t look *that* much like a chick. Whatever.
Time passed, and they ran out of Things They would Never Get to Do. “Be a frontman again” was one of Frank’s, and Gerard said, “But I can’t play anything,” and Frankie just shrugged, and it made Gerard feel weird, like one day Frankie might be in a band that didn’t include Gerard, and then what would Gerard do? He’d have to go and live in a cabin. In the woods. For real.
And there wouldn’t be any cell phone reception there either, and the internet wouldn’t work, and no-one would come visit and his parents would forget they had two sons and Frank would be the frontman and no-one would remember Gerard ever existed and he’d die alone, all alone, and his corpse would get eaten by elk. Elks? Elkii. Whatever.
Oh God. It was so dark. It was the end of the *world*.
“Dude.” Frank prodded Gerard. “You okay man? You’re breathing kind of fast.”
Gerard coughed, in a manly, non-screaming hysterical way. “It’s just kind of stuffy in here.”
“Yeah.” Frank changed the subject to Alternative Careers they Might Have Had, then Who Would Play them in The Movie, followed by Time they had Wasted doing Stupid Shit, moving on to Who They would Leave all their Stuff To, and finally, People They Wished they had Slept With.
“That chick who ran the merch stand for that band we saw that one time,” said Frank. He was lying down with his head in Gerard’s lap. He rolled his head around. “You know, with the hair? God. She was amazing.”
“She was fifteen, Mister Specific,” Gerard reminded him. “And I think her parents had like, put out an APB on her.”
“That doesn’t mean she wasn’t hot.”
“Shut *up*,” Gerard jiggled his knee, bouncing Frank’s head. Frank batted at Gerard’s face and Gerard caught his hand, folding it up in his own. Frank laced his fingers through Gerard’s – Gerard could just make out the letters.
“What about you?” Frank said, after a while.
Gerard sighed. “I don’t know. The only girl who ever came onto me when I was in high school, I guess?”
“You know, the way Mikey tells it, she was someone’s mom.”
Gerard grinned. “She was *your* mom.”
Frank snorted, and sort of punched Gerard in the leg, but Gerard squirmed away and they struggled for a bit and ended up both on the floor, which was sort of gross but whatever, Frankie was the clean freak, and as this was most likely going to be the last conversation Gerard ever had with anyone, ever, he might as well be honest, so he said,
Frank stopped moving. Gerard could feel him taking a deep breath. “McCracken?”
Gerard nodded, and then in case Frank didn’t see, said, “Yeah.”
“Wait.” Frank shuffled closer to Gerard until he could see his eyes. “You never slept with Bert?”
Frank blinked twice. “For real?”
“Why is that so hard to believe?” Gerard ignored Frank’s incredulous snort. What the hell? Why did everyone always think Gerard was some kind of Mr. Loverman? He hadn’t had sex for five hundred years. Frank shared a bus with him, he ought to know. “We were wasted all the time, it doesn’t exactly make for optimum, you know.”
“Uh huh.” Frank was grinning from ear to fucking ear, the bitch. “But you’ve slept with guys, right?”
For Christ’s sake. “Of course I have.” Gerard could not believe he was going to die, locked in a storeroom, with a moron. Although. Better that than alone in a cabin with a hungry elk. “I went to art school. Hello.”
“Then why all the Bert regret?”
“I don’t know.” Gerard closed his eyes. He wished he’d never said anything. “We messed around, you know. But never when we were sober.”
Frankie had his hand on Gerard’s side. He rubbed it back and forth in what he probably thought was an encouraging manner. “But I thought you were still, you know. After Japan, for a while.”
“We were. So, okay. Never when *he* was sober.”
They were both quiet for a minute. Gerard really hated the dark. He especially hated being in the dark on the ground in some like, storeroom or some fucking thing, with God only knew what all over the floor. What if there were needles? Needles, waiting in the dark to stab him and give him hepatitis and then he’d need to get a shot which would mean *more* needles, and then he would just die. That was it. Not the cabin thing, or locked in - he would die of fright in some anonymous doctor’s office and pictures of his corpse would get leaked onto the internet and Pete Wentz would write about it on his blog.
Gerard voiced his concerns to Frankie, who dug his fingers into Gerard’s side so hard it hurt and said in a strangled voice, “There are no needles. There’s no anything. There’s nothing here and someone’s going to let us out soon and there’s plenty of air and there’s nothing *here*, okay?”
“Okay, you’re right,” said Gerard, feeling like an asshole. He hadn’t even thought about Frankie’s spider thing, or the claustrophobia. He reached out and found Frankie’s shoulder, squeezed the back of his neck until he felt Frankie relax. “You’re right. You’re right.”
“I am,” Frankie said firmly. He loosened his grip on Gerard, a little. “We’re freaking ourselves out. We just need to distract ourselves.”
“Hey, I am *great* at distracting myself. Right now I’m running through a mental list of all the people who will have to be informed of my death. Starting with my mom, who is totally going to blame Mikey, which actually means I’m probably getting the best end of the deal because one time, when we were kids, I lost Mikey at the grocery store for like two seconds and she grounded me for a month and it sucked, even though I never went anywhere anyway. It was the principle of the thing, you know-”
“Okay, motormouth,” said Frank suddenly, and he was a lot closer than Gerard remembered, and Gerard had his back to the wall, so there wasn’t really any room to maneuver. “You could do a lot better.”
“Than…getting grounded by my mom?”
Frankie rolled his eyes. His hand, warm on Gerard’s side, slid down onto Gerard’s stomach, and then up to Gerard’s chest, and hey, this was new. Gerard knew Frankie was a tactile guy, hell *Gerard* was a tactile guy, but this was – definitely new.
Not *bad*, necessarily. In fact, Gerard decided, as Frankie stroked the soft skin under Gerard’s ear, making him shiver in a totally-not-from-the-cold-way, it was definitely not bad at all.
“I meant you could find something better,” Frankie said, and Gerard actually felt Frankie saying the words, felt the hum in Frankie’s chest and the movement of his lips, “To distract yourself with.”
The wall was freezing through Gerard’s thin jacket, and Frankie was so warm against his front, and really, how the hell had he missed this? Gerard promised himself that once this was over he’d devote a long period of time to figuring out how the fuck he could have been so *stupid*.
“Frankie,” was all he said out loud, and Frankie said, “God, shut up,” and smiled, and Gerard felt that smile against his own mouth for the briefest of seconds and even though there was something really uncomfortable under Gerard’s shoulder and it didn’t smell great wherever the fuck they were, and his hands hurt from hammering on the doors earlier and his throat hurt from yelling that they were locked in and his stomach hurt from missing breakfast and his head hurt from not having any coffee, Gerard still felt completely homicidal when there was a bang and a creak and the room filled with light.
Frank rolled away from Gerard, which sucked, and there was Ray fucking Toro, silhouetted, hair and all, in the doorway, crying, “See how *you* like it when you get left behind, motherfuckers!”
Later, after Gerard had downed about a gallon of coffee and Frank had taken like, seventeen showers and they’d both eaten huge breakfasts and Gerard had yelled at Mikey and Bob for saying they’d only been gone a couple hours and it wasn’t that bad (it *was*) and they’d both ignored Ray when he asked why they’d been lying on the ground, Frankie stopped next to Gerard’s bunk.
“Hey.” Gerard put down the books he hadn’t been clutching to his chest at all. “How’s it going?”
“Better. You know, now we’re free men and all.”
Gerard nodded seriously. He watched Frankie shift from foot to foot, and wow, this was some serious kind of awkward. He cast around for something to say, something he would have said to Frankie the day before, when he didn’t know what it was like to feel Frankie’s fingers on his skin. He discarded ‘wanna make out?’ and decided against ‘so, distractions, huh.’ He was just considering ‘hey, let’s chalk it up to our imminent demise and forget it ever happened’ when Frankie cleared his throat and said,
“So, it looks like we have some time now.”
“On the bus?” Confused, Gerard glanced at the itinerary he kept taped to the wall of his bunk. “Yeah, it’ll be a few hours yet.”
“No.” Frank grinned quickly and then sobered, looking at something past Gerard’s shoulder. “I meant, you know.”
Gerard was totally lost. Was this normal post-almost-kiss with your best friend conversation? He had no idea what he was supposed to do. As usual. “Uh, I guess?”
“I mean, we’ve got time to get stuff done now.” Frank looked at the floor, and gave another of those small smiles, and looked, finally, at Gerard. “So the next time we get locked in a dark cold room and we’re facing certain death, we won’t have anything to regret.”
“Oh,” said Gerard, in an embarrassingly high voice he’d never heard himself use before. “Well. Yeah.”
“So.” Frank rocked on his heels, then thumped Gerard’s knee awkwardly. “I’ll see you around.”
He walked down towards the lounge area, and Gerard was left alone in his bunk, gripping the edge until he could feel the blood pounding in his fingertips. “Well,” he said again. “Yeah.”
During the week that followed, things were surprisingly not as weird as they could have been.
Frank was a little quieter than usual, maybe – although that could have been Gerard’s imagination because Mikey said he hadn’t noticed anything when Gerard asked.
“Why, do you think he’s mad at you or something?” he’d asked, looking over the top of his glasses.
“I just wondered,” Gerard lied, and changed the subject.
For the most part, things were pretty normal. They sat on the bus for hours on end and ate bad food and played amazing shows and great shows and could-have-been-better shows. They did radio interviews, and Frank bugged Bob until Bob resorted to violence and Ray argued with Gerard about guitar solos and Mikey spent every available second on the phone to his girlfriend, and if Gerard and Frank were a little awkward around each other, well, nobody seemed to notice.
Gerard had even managed to tone down his inner monologue to the point where he wasn’t hyper-aware of every movement Frank made, of every accidental brush of skin or every stage kiss that did or didn’t happen or every slight inflection that might have imbued a double meaning into something Frank said.
Well, okay. He wasn’t hyper-aware *all the time*. It was just that he’d thought maybe Frank would be the one to make the next move, if there was a next move to be made, and he just wasn’t. Doing anything at all. And it didn’t even seem as if he was waiting for Gerard to do something either, and sometimes Gerard convinced himself that he must have totally misinterpreted the whole thing.
Except then some innocent touch from Frank on Gerard’s arm would seem to linger a little longer than was strictly necessary, or Gerard would catch himself watching Frank bite his lip while he played video games with Bob, or he would feel Frank’s eyes on him when he stumbled into the kitchenette in just his boxers, looking for early-morning coffee, and then everything would get awkward and stuttery and Gerard would have to go and hide in his bunk and draw furiously until he stopped blushing.
Oh, who the hell was he kidding? Things were totally weird. It was fucking ridiculous.
Gerard didn’t know what to do about it, though, short of pinning Frank against a wall and kissing him to see what he’d do (Gerard’s brain helpfully supplied at least a dozen colorful responses, some ending in nudity but most ending in some part of Gerard getting punched) so he just did nothing, until one stiflingly hot night (the air conditioning always seemed to flow right on past the bunks, for some reason) he was lying on his back trying to escape the heat by getting to sleep, and he heard Frankie moaning.
Not good moaning, not the kind of moaning that Gerard had inevitably heard from Frankie’s bunk before - hell, from everybody’s bunk, the kind of moaning that came from behind lips closed against the sound and made Gerard put his pillow over his head (Gerard himself was a master at totally silent masturbation, a skill none of the others seemed to have acquired) - but bad moaning, distressed and incoherent.
Gerard pulled back his curtain with a soft swish – Frankie, in the bunk across the aisle, had not closed his own, claiming the heat made him feel even more boxed in than usual. He had his knees pulled up to his chest, one hand fisted under his chin and the other grasping fitfully at his pillow. He was frowning.
Gerard watched him for a minute, because Frankie had gone quiet and Gerard didn’t want to wake him up if it wasn’t necessary – none of them got enough sleep as it was.
Frankie’s hair was getting long in the front, and it hung over his eye. Gerard wanted to push it back off his face.
He wondered how it had happened, how Frankie had so easily moved into this space in Gerard’s head that contained touching and looking and anxiety over both of those things. Yeah, that damned moment a week ago that had started all this crap had been a realization, but really, Gerard wasn’t an idiot. He didn’t go around tonguing Toro or Bob on stage, and he knew what it meant. He just wasn’t sure when it had happened, exactly, or how.
His reverie was interrupted by Frankie shifting suddenly and whimpering under his breath. “No,” he muttered, or something that sounded like it, and his face was all screwed up and the lines of his body were tense.
Gerard thought, this is stupid, and reached over to put his hand on Frankie’s wrist. “Frankie. Hey.”
Frankie jerked away from Gerard’s hand like it burned, and thrashed his head on the pillow. “No, please.”
Gerard sat up, leaned over and shook Frankie’s shoulder. “Frankie, come on, man.” He passed his other hand over Frankie’s side, brought it up to smooth the lines on his forehead. “It’s just a bad dream. Wake up.”
The dream kept Frankie for another minute, before releasing him suddenly back into the waking world with a strangled yelp. He grabbed Gerard’s hand, the one on his face, staring wildly around him. “What?”
“You were having a nightmare,” Gerard flexed his fingers, but Frankie didn’t let go. “I woke you up.”
Frankie blinked at him, obviously still mostly asleep. He turned his head into the pillow and exhaled shakily. He was still holding Gerard’s hand.
Not that Gerard was noticing that. He was just concerned about Frankie, and not cataloguing the physical contact between them at all. Nope.
“That was,” Frankie stopped and swallowed. He relaxed visibly as he swam further into wakefulness, squeezing Gerard’s hand. “Thanks for waking me up, man.”
“No problem.” Gerard’s back was starting to burn, hunched over like he was. He wiggled his fingers again and Frankie let go. For no good reason he could think of, he told Frankie, “You were moaning.”
Frankie rolled onto his back and pressed the heels of his hands over his eyes. “Shit.” Yawning, he stretched, and Gerard did not watch his t-shirt ride up, exposing a flat stripe of his stomach. He didn’t. “Did I wake you?”
“No, I couldn’t sleep.” It was the truth, and their hushed conversation in the dim light, both of them jolting back and forth slightly as the road moved beneath them, felt safe and secret. Gerard stood up. “I’m going to make some coffee, I think.”
“You’ll never sleep, then,” Frank said, but he followed Gerard down the bus and hopped up to sit on the counter while Gerard pottered in the kitchenette.
It was always comforting to follow a routine – Gerard once slept with a paramedic who said the best way to calm a hysterical friend or relative down was to get them to repeat stuff: their full name, address, relationship to the patient, social security number. It’s familiar and it’s soothing and it brings back some normality and Gerard felt like that now, unfolding the filter and measuring out grounds. Rinsing two cups and checking the milk hadn’t soured.
Once the water was in, though, there was nothing to do but wait. Gerard drew it out for as long as he could, wiping the counter down and getting the sugar ready and eventually, Frank laughed.
“You can look at me, man, you won’t turn to stone.”
He sounded sleepy and amused and just like Frank, Gerard’s friend, for god’s sake. Gerard turned around and grinned guiltily, hands propped on the counter behind him. “Sorry.”
Frankie shrugged, still smiling. He cracked his neck from side to side. “So.”
“So,” Gerard repeated. “Uh. Was it bad?”
“The dream?” Frankie made a face. “Honestly – yeah. It was pretty bad.”
Gerard nodded sympathetically. He knew all about bad dreams.
Frankie grinned suddenly and said, “So, what? You hear moaning, you come running? You can’t just put your pillow over your head like the rest of us?”
In a rush to vindicate himself, Gerard said, “Oh, no. I knew it wasn’t *that* kind of moaning,” but when Frankie’s smile, impossibly, widened, he realized with a groan that he’d walked straight into a trap.
“You can tell? Dude.” Frankie’s eyes were actually sparkling with glee. “That’s kind of stalkerish.”
“We live in a big metal tube,” Gerard hissed, glancing toward the bunks to make sure Mikey wasn’t up and listening to how Gerard was a giant pervert who liked to listen to Frank jerking off, oh God oh God. “It’s kind of unavoidable.”
Frankie laughed, and looked away. “It’s okay. I could probably pick you out of a line up if I had to.”
Gerard could feel himself boggling like an idiot, but he was strangely powerless to do anything about it. For a start, he had a weird mental image of himself and, for some reason, all of Fall Out Boy jacking off behind a curtain while Frank walked up and down the other side with, like, a notebook.
It wasn’t entirely unpleasant.
And for a middle and a finish, he was pretty sure that Frank had just copped to listening to Gerard jerk off. Even though that was impossible because Gerard was a silent masturbator.
Shaking his head sharply, he said in what he thought was an offhand manner, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“You’re not as quiet as you think you are.”
Gerard shrugged, pretending not to care, pretending he wasn’t shriveling up into a tiny, crippled-with-embarrassment fragment of his former self. He’d been so *careful*. “Whatever.”
He stumbled when Frank’s foot shot out and caught the back Gerard’s knee, pulling him closer, pulling him to stand between Frank’s legs. Gerard waved his hands around, partly because he was horrified by his life, but mostly because he wasn’t sure where to put them.
Frankie grabbed them and held them still.
“You’re not loud or anything,” he said, and he was still smiling, but it was softer, like his voice. His thumb rubbed Gerard’s palm. “It’s just – you breathe different. There are like, little hitches, and you know. Gasps. And stuff.”
Gerard had never felt so massively awkward in his life. “You’re not going to do an impression or anything, are you?”
That made Frank laugh, and Gerard smiled automatically in response, because making Frankie laugh was always on his List of Stuff to Do That Day. He was suddenly very aware of the heat coming off Frank’s body, of all the bare skin left exposed by his boxers and t-shirt, and oh, for Christ’s sake, Gerard could feel himself getting hard at the thought, like a high-school kid getting to second base for the first time.
Gerard was a grown man. He ought to have more control. Speaking of, why wasn’t he wearing his skeleton pajamas? The ones he had on were old and thin and they didn’t hide anything and Frank was going to *see*.
“Would you like me to?” Frank solved Gerard’s problem by pulling him closer, running his hands up Gerard’s arms and into his hair until Gerard shivered and closed his eyes, Frank’s fingers on the back of his neck. “Do an impression, I mean.”
Gerard’s eyes snapped open. “I can’t think of anything worse,” he said, meaning it to be a joke, but the smile started to slide off Frankie’s face and Gerard couldn’t have that so he was brave for perhaps the first time ever and put his hands on Frankie’s knees and said, “I’d rather listen to you.”
That made Frankie smile again, and he leaned in and rubbed his cheek against Gerard’s, whispering, “We can do that,” with his lips on Gerard’s ear.
Gerard turned his head, looked for Frankie’s mouth, thought, this is it, this is it, and then the bus jolted sharply and Gerard fell backwards and there was a bang, bright and painful, and he heard Frankie say, “Oh, SHIT!” and then everything went black.
When Gerard woke up, he couldn’t see.
Obviously someone was trying to kill him.
There was no other possible explanation for it. First the whole Sparkle Motion thing, then getting locked in to like, a place that shouldn’t even have existed, and then just when he realized that he might, in theory, want to participate in some activity involving Frank and nudity and took steps to make that happen (okay, he didn’t running screaming when *Frank* took steps, but that was step in itself for Gerard) he found himself devoid of the optical equipment necessary to fully…engage.
Clearly it was an attempt on his life. He had finally gotten himself a butt-crazy fan in like, Arkansas or somewhere who was doing voodoo on a tiny wooden Gerard. With needles. Needles in its eyes.
Okay, he couldn’t think about the needles. He couldn’t think about the needles or he would throw up. He tried to sit up but realized very quickly that his head was filled with broken glass and dinosaurs, and it would be best to lie very, very still and not disturb them.
He felt around a bit with his hands - he was on a couch, he could tell that much. The couch in question was moving slightly, which told him they were still on the road, and someone was talking quietly.
“Um,” he said, not sure what direction to look in. “Hi?”
“He’s awake,” said someone – Mikey – and Gerard felt the couch dip behind his head. “Hey, how do you feel?”
“Like someone tried to mine through my skull.” Gerard felt Mikey’s hands on his face, stroking his temples. “What happened?”
There was movement and Gerard felt someone else by his side, someone taking his hand. “You hit your head on the counter.” Frank. “Do you remember?”
“Yeah.” Gerard remembered, all right. He remembered waking Frankie up, and he remembered their hugely embarrassing conversation, and he remembered that the bus had veered wildly just as Gerard was about to kiss Frank and change things forever. He wasn’t sure whether to thank the driver or have a contract taken out on his life. “How long was I out?”
“About twenty minutes. We’ll be at the hospital soon.”
Gerard groaned. “I hate hospitals.”
“I know.” Mikey rubbed Gerard’s shoulder, stroked his hair. “But you need to get checked out. You might have lost your brain cell or something.”
Gerard gave him the finger. “You’re lucky I can’t see, or I’d kick your ass right now.”
He heard Frankie suck in a breath. “You can’t see?”
Okay, that was definitely panic Frank was totally failing at hiding. “Is that not normal after hitting your head?”
“Uh,” said Frankie. He went quiet – Gerard could tell he was exchanging worried looks with Mikey, though. He’d seen enough of them when he was still drinking. “I don’t know. We’ll be there soon.”
“Five minutes, guys.” Ray’s voice came into the room. “Hey, he’s awake!”
“He can’t see,” Mikey told him, sounding wretched.
“Well, no.” That was Bob. “He has a washcloth over his eyes.”
Mikey and Frank both went very quiet.
Gerard cleared his throat. “Mikey?”
“Oh.” Mikey removed the washcloth and Gerard blinked as a guilty-looking Frank swam into focus. Over his shoulder were a very amused Ray and Bob. “Sorry.”
Gerard tried to find the words that would express how much of a village idiot Mikey – and Frankie, for that matter – had to be in order to let Gerard think he was going blind because Mikey was too stupid to figure out that Gerard couldn’t see through toweling, but without acknowledging Gerard’s own inability to tell the difference between ‘blind’ and ‘washcloth on my face’.
It turned out they didn’t exist. He settled for, “We are a group of very special boys.”
Gerard was totally fine, he just had a bump on his head, that was all, but Mikey still insisted they get him checked out, threatening to call their mom if Gerard didn’t comply.
Gerard really hated it when Mikey did that.
At the hospital they sat for what felt like hours on uncomfortable orange chairs with a lot of people who looked a lot worse off than Gerard. He was pretty sure one guy even had leprosy. Gerard filled out ten thousand forms and then finally they called his name and he was ushered off to a room on the side and the nurse – Sarah, her nametag said – looked in his eyes and asked him to walk around and touch his nose and made sure he knew his name, and who was president, and how many fingers.
“So you think I’m okay?” he asked, slipping his jacket back on when she was done. “No long-term brain damage?”
“You’ll live to hit your head another day, Mr. Way,” Sarah said, grinning. Then she went pink and asked, very politely, if she might have Gerard’s autograph for her niece.
“Your niece, huh?” Gerard raised his eyebrows and signed the cover of the notebook she passed him with ‘Dear Sarah, thanks for not giving me a shot, xoxo Gerard Way.’ “This okay?”
Sarah went from pink to crimson. “Yeah. Thanks. God. I feel like a dork.”
“Hey. I’m the one with the goose-egg on my skull, here.”
A few more forms and then finally, *finally* Gerard could get back on the bus. He wasn’t allowed to go to bed for a few more hours, though, which sucked, so while the others dragged themselves off to their bunks, he went back to the kitchenette and made the cup of coffee that had got him into this mess.
“You won’t beat me,” he said to it, inhaling the precious, caffeinated steam. “Because I can drink you, see?”
There was a noise from the lounge, and Gerard turned to see Frankie sitting on the couch, smirking. “Loser.”
“You’re the one watching me talk to my coffee,” Gerard pointed out. He took a sip, closing his eyes in bliss. “Oh God. That’s so fucking good.”
When he opened his eyes, Frank had a new expression on his face – his mouth was soft but his eyes were focused, and he said, “C’mere.”
Gerard went, and sat next to Frank on the couch.
Frank looked at him, all intense.
Gerard took another sip of coffee.
Frank took the cup off him and set it down on the table.
Gerard folded his hands in his lap.
It was really awkward. Gerard thought desperately of places one might hide on a moving bus.
Frank said, “Fuck it,” and leaned forward and kissed Gerard.
For a second or two, Gerard was frozen, like his brain didn’t even know what to do with the information his mouth was sending it, but then he felt Frank nip lightly at his lower lip and he heard himself moan, opening his mouth against Frank’s and kissing back, slow and firm and fucking perfect.
Frank tasted like cigarettes and orange soda and the skin under his t-shirt was warm when Gerard put his hands there. He kissed Gerard like he’d been wanting to do it for years, like Gerard had never been kissed before, like it was the only thing that mattered. “Mmm.”
“Mmm,” Gerard agreed. Frankie’s hands were in his hair, tilting his head slightly to allow Frank better access to his mouth, his tongue running along Gerard’s bottom lip, brief, shallow kisses, and then pressing further in until Gerard was dizzy with wanting him.
Gerard moved his hands up, splaying his fingers over Frankie’s shoulder blades, and just as he was about to lie back and pull Frankie on top of him, Frankie broke off, panting, and said, “No.”
Which just wasn’t a word that Gerard was prepared to hear, or willing to accept. “No?”
Frankie shook his head, his eyes on Gerard’s mouth. “I don’t mean no, not this. I just mean – I don’t know about right now.”
“I do,” Gerard leaned forward again but Frankie twisted away. “Frankie, what?”
“You hit your head,” Frankie said, and Gerard would probably be more convinced by his objections if Frankie weren’t running his hands all over everything, across Gerard’s shoulders and in his hair and down his arms and over his thighs, like he didn’t want to stop touching Gerard, ever, which was absolutely *fine* with Gerard. “You hit your head and you should be resting, and I don’t want to do this for the first time worrying if you’re going to have an aneurysm in the middle of it, or something.”
Oh, for. “I’m not going to have an aneurysm.” Unless you’re as good in bed as I think you might be, Gerard did not say, because that would be unforgivably lame. He leaned forward again, but Frank was doing his Resolute Face, and it had taken them long enough to get to this point, Gerard didn’t want to fuck it up by being That Guy, the one who couldn’t take no for an answer. He sighed. “Fine.”
“Good,” Frank said, but it took another minute before he peeled himself away from Gerard and grabbed the remote. “Now you need to stay awake for three hours, and I’m going to keep you company, and we’re not going to do anything untoward.”
“Fine,” said Gerard again, and he couldn’t keep the sulky tone out of his voice, no matter how hard he tried. He picked up his coffee, totally accidentally brushing his fingers up the soft skin on Frankie’s forearm.
“Gerard,” Frank said warningly, not looking away from the TV screen. “If you’re that desperate, go and rub a totally silent one out in the bathroom, Gaspy McGasp.”
“Fuck you,” said Gerard, but he couldn’t help smiling.
Frank just grinned. “Promises, promises.”
Frank was right, of course, because when it finally happened, it wasn’t because of a bet or a nightmare or some unfortunate and highly unlikely circumstance. It was just Frank and Gerard, locking the door to their hotel room and taking the phone off the hook.
It was Frank yelling, “We’re having sex, go away!” through the door when Mikey knocked, and it was Gerard laughing, mortified and thrilled. It was Gerard staring at himself in the mirror of the tiny bathroom, briefly giving in to doubt and panic before Frank walked in, kissed the back of his neck and pulled him out of the bathroom and into bed.
It was Frank stripping out of his clothes and his nimble fingers encouraging Gerard to do the same, and it was just Frank and just Gerard and it was about fucking time.
“Oh,” Gerard said when Frank’s fingers closed around his cock for the first time. “Oh, God.”
“I know,” Frankie agreed, his hips moving against Gerard’s thigh. He was flushed and his mouth was wet and his hand was sure, and warm, and every firm slide up and down Gerard’s cock made his stomach cramp in a completely awesome way.
Gerard thought it would be weirder, that it would be awkward like the first time he kissed a girl, first time he went down on a boy, first time he fucked someone, but it wasn’t, and oh, *God*, it had been a long fucking time since Gerard did this.
He rolled Frank onto his back and kissed him again, deep and hard until Frankie was writhing underneath him, making desperate little noises and clutching at Gerard’s arms and Gerard still seemed to be pretty good at this if that was any indication. He pulled off, feeling, it had to be said, pretty pleased with himself. “So,” he said, rocking his hips down into Frank’s and trying not to whimper at the feel of Frank’s cock against his own. “Which is it?”
Frankie didn’t answer, just pulled one knee up and dug his heel into the back of Gerard’s thigh which was deeply unhelpful because it made Gerard want to nail him right then.
“Frankie,” he said, and with a huge and valiant effort, stilled his hips. “Answer me.”
“Which what is it, man?” Frankie whined, trying and failing to get Gerard moving again. “Come on, what the fuck.”
“Which of the words on your list describes me, you know.” Gerard pulled Frankie’s lower lip into his mouth, bit down gently and felt Frank shudder. “In bed?”
“Fucking *annoying*,” says Frankie, which wasn’t even *on* the list, but then he ducked and licked a wide stripe up Gerard’s throat, bit down just under his ear and Gerard thought, screw this, and rolled onto his side.
He got his hand around Frank’s cock and Frank groaned something garbled and then his hand was back on Gerard and Gerard could hear himself making way too much noise but he couldn’t help it, not with Frankie’s thumb pressing right under the head and the way his hand twisted and he was going to come very, very soon.
“That’s it,” Frank murmured, breathless, thready. “That’s it, I want to hear you, come on.”
Frankie was close too, Gerard could feel the rush under his fingertips, the tell-tale surge under the skin and he moved his hand faster, harder, rewarded with Frankie’s free arm around his neck and Frankie crying out wordless nonsense and Gerard thrust faster into Frankie’s grip, angled his hips just *there* and felt heat and wet on his hand and that was it, game over, and he closed his eyes against the rush, hips snapping forward without rhythm and Frankie’s triumphant exhalation as Gerard came with a yell, his face pressed against Frankie’s neck, shaking.
Minutes, hours, whatever, later, Gerard opened his eyes to see Frankie licking his own fingers clean. “You’re dirty,” he said, and Frank grinned. He had sharp teeth.
“You’re loud,” he replied cheerfully. “I guess that should have been on our list, huh?”
“Fuck *you*,” Gerard said, but he wasn’t really mad. Not with Frankie on the bed next to him, still warm and breathless, and a whole afternoon in front of them with nowhere to go and nobody to see.
He pulled Frankie down, ran his hands over Frankie’s back, licked the sweat from his collarbone. They were quiet, their breathing slowing, heartbeats returning to normal.
Then Frankie said, “Definitely Sparkle Motion,” and Gerard said, “Fuck *you*,” again.
But this time he was true to his word.