It was the Halloween that went down in infamy.
They framed the mugshots, hung them in the apartment's entry hall one below the other, smudged lipstick kisses looking like bruises in the stark black and white. For years, their friends would shake their heads and sigh and (in Ludwig's case) facepalm whenever they stepped into the apartment and saw the photos hanging there. But hanging there they stayed.
It had started innocently enough, or as innocent as anything ever was, with the three of them.
There were plenty of potential parties to go to, that Halloween night. Arthur was having one at the club (Francis insisted they drop in there), Sadiq and Gabi were hosting one at their apartment (That was on Antonio's list, both because Gabi was his brother and because there promised to be lots of booze and probably glowsticks), and if tradition held true Feliciano would be trying to hand out pasta to trick-or-treaters and that was always worth seeing.
They were late to begin with, because Francis took forever getting into his costume.
Gilbert's was relatively easy; a pair of torn black jeans stolen from Arthur (they were a bit short on Gilbert's longer legs, but just right around the hips), one of his own black t-shirts, a hoodie with fox's ears and bat's wings and a long tail sewn on and a small army of safety pins to make it all look extra cool, and he was done. He sprawled on the couch, ignoring Antonio's bemused expression.
"What are you supposed to be, anyway?" Antonio asked, watching Gilbert wiggle around to find a comfortable way to lay with those wings and tail without smashing them.
"I'm a demon!" was the answer, Gilbert's grin popping up over the arm of the couch. "It's original! Ish."
"And lazy?" Antonio suggested, since it really wasn't too different from what Gilbert wore every day (minus work, but then again they all had sucky uniforms so it didn't really count). Absentmindedly, he adjusted his cape. "Ish?"
"...Well okay yes, and lazy," Gilbert's grin didn't diminish, though. "Not all of us can have the ass of a matador."
"What can I say," Antonio drawled with an easy smile back, leaning down to kiss Gilbert's nose. "It's in my blood."
Gilbert laughed, reaching up to try and pull Antonio down on top of him, but he avoided it and straightened up again, not wanting to risk damage to his already intricate (and sparkly) costume. "I wonder what's taking Frannie so long, we're going to be really late."
"Did someone mention me?" came the husky voice from the bathroom doorway. Antonio turned and Gilbert sat up to look over the back of the couch, and both of them stopped cold staring.
Francis could be extravagant and flamboyant and a whole rainbow of other words, but neither of them had ever seen anything like this, on Francis or anyone else (not even Feliks, who was probably the inspiration).
For one thing, there was a lot of pink. A lot of pink. And what looked like petticoats and pantyhose and a lot of other really girly things that Antonio didn't know the names of. And high heels with rhinestones. And elbow-length gloves. And a lot of lipstick. But there were a lot of things that were... off about it, too. Like the fact that it looked like Francis hadn't bothered to shave anything, not even his beard. And the front of the dress was low-cut, and it was rather obvious there were no womanly bosoms to be found. Antonio wasn't sure whether to laugh or feel slightly ill at the sight.
"....Fran," as usual, Gilbert had just the right words for the occasion. "You look like a trannie slut."
Francis, rather than being outraged, just laughed and struck what was probably supposed to be a provocative pose, fluttering heavily mascara'd eyelashes. "Ah, do you like it? That is my costume, a trashy transvestite."
Antonio just shook his head, crossing the room to press a kiss to Francis' cheek. "Well. I suppose Halloween is supposed to be horrifying. You look, er, lovely."
Gilbert rolled his eyes, hopping up off the couch and heading for the door to pull on his heavy black boots. "C'mon, we're wasting party time! There's ickle kids out there we could be scaring!"
"You'd know all about that, wouldn't you?" Francis purred, and Gilbert flipped him off. Antonio trailed behind them as they headed downstairs, amused. No one was even drunk yet.
Of course, that was likely to change.
And it did change. Gabi and Sadiq's studio flat was closer than Arthur's club, so it was there they went first. There was techno music and lots of sangria, and even the supposedly non-alcoholic lemonade had quite a bit of vodka in it (though whether that was on purpose or not was anyone's guess). It was crowded and warm and dark, and Antonio got caught up in an argument between Gabi and Sadiq (it was like watching a ping-pong match, really) and lost track of his boyfriends for quite awhile.
By the time he found them again Francis' pantyhose were long gone, and his lipstick was rather smeared (all over Gilbert's neck and jaw).
Amused and a little jealous and really more aroused than he had any right to be, Antonio declared that was enough sangria for all of them and it was time to go to Arthur's, where at least if Gilbert and Francis decided to go back to necking in the corner, Antonio could probably catch a handjob off Arthur.
In hindsight, it wasn't a good idea. Gilbert and Francis were both far too drunk to be walking all that way, and Antonio wasn't exactly sober himself. It was amazing they made it as far as they did; three and a half blocks before the black and white police car pulled smoothly up to the curb beside them.
They didn't resist, really. Francis just sort of tumbled into the back of the car giggling and Antonio decided his confession this week was already going to be damning enough so why even bother and he climbed in on top of Francis. That set Gilbert off swearing, and only Antonio reaching out to grab him by the fake tail saved him from a possible tasering. He did end up getting shoved in on top of Antonio in handcuffs, though.
The mugshots told the story after the fact.
Francis, with his mascara smeared into hideous raccoon eyes and lipstick smeared like the terrible hooker he claimed to be, leering into the camera. He swore it was a come-hither look but most everyone else agreed he looked like a serial murderer. Drunk and disorderly, and somehow lucky enough that Antonio was sober enough to argue against the prostitution charge.
Gilbert, with lipstick smeared along his jaw like a particularly messy five o'clock shadow, grinning his usual 'fuck-all-hell-yeah' grin and flipping off the camera. Drunk and disorderly and resisting arrest.
Antonio, looking contrite and somewhat sheepish, because he knew even then that no one was ever going to let them live this down. Stupid kids got arrested on Halloween, not grown men, and even then they're at least getting arrested for good things like egging people's houses and smashing pumpkins left on porches. One perfect lipstick kiss graced his right cheek, indelible ink on the photograph. Public intoxication and contributing to the delinquency of others.
They spent the night in the drunk tank with a couple teenage girls and one lonely old man. Mostly they spent it huddled together in the corner, Gilbert passed out asleep and Antonio drifting in and out and Francis (always Francis) bright-eyed and flirting with whoever passed within earshot.
Ludwig came to pay their bail the next morning, and the look on his face set Gilbert to laughing even through the hangover. Antonio just apologized and Ludwig sighed, shook his head and drove them all home. "I suppose I should have expected this," were his parting words as Antonio herded everyone out of the car and up the stairs to their apartment.
Francis crawled straight into bed, pink dress crinkled beyond repair, bare feet hanging off the end of the bed (the high heels were long gone. Gabi found one later at his apartment, but the other one was lost forever, like Cinderella's shoe). Gilbert muttered something about a shower and staggered toward the bathroom, where soon enough Antonio could hear retching. He set out two aspirin and a glass of water on the kitchen counter, then leaned against the window frame and looked out at the morning.
Another Halloween come and gone. November. And soon enough it would be time for Christmas and then on into next year, and... Antonio shook his head, thinking of the night before. In the big picture, one night really shouldn't matter so much.
But, he couldn't help but think with a smile, sometimes it just did.
He was jerked out of his thoughts by Gilbert staggering into the kitchen, stark naked. Antonio hardly batted an eye, this was a surprisingly (or unsurprisingly) regular occurrence. "Aspirin is right th-" He stopped, blinking and rubbing his eyes to make sure he was seeing what he was seeing.
"...Gilbert," he said carefully, trying not to laugh and quickly failing. "You have lipstick on your dick."