1. Before the first show they ever played
Long before they were My Chemical Romance, they'd played in a succession of shitty bands, chasing after their dreams and trying to find some meaning in their lives. Gerard's hands were shaking so badly that he poked Mikey in the eye twice with the eyeliner pencil, but Mikey never flinched. He just blinked back the tears and looked at Gerard with the same unwavering belief he'd had in Gerard since he was four.
It terrified Gerard, because he was addicted to that look in Mikey's eyes, to his secret smile.
They switched places. Mikey's hands were steady as he drew the dark lines around Gerard's eyes, smudging carefully with the edge of his finger. "Beautiful," he murmured.
Gerard took a deep, bracing breath. "Let's do this."
2. Practice for Gerard's experiment
Mikey came up for the weekend with the bag of cosmetics that he'd bought, borrowed and stolen over the years. Some of the stuff he never touched; the colors didn't work on his fair skin.
He sat Gerard down at his desk and angled the light so it wasn't casting any shadows and got to work, using a deft touch with the foundation and blush, carefully applying purple eyeshadow and highlighting with eyeliner. He held Gerard's chin between his fingers to turn his face one way, then the other, examining his handiwork with a critical eye. "Yeah, you'll do."
Gerard got up, feeling strangely unsteady, and went into the tiny bathroom, catching his breath at his reflection. "Oh. You made me look pretty."
Mikey hooked his chin over Gerard's shoulder. "No," he said. "I'm just bringing out what's already there."
3. The Smashing Pumpkins
There was something magical about going to see the Pumpkins in concert at the Garden. Maybe it was playing hooky, maybe it was just hanging out and spending time with Gerard again. Maybe it was letting himself feel again.
He didn't care about the why; all that mattered was the rush of blood thrumming through him, making him feel alive, bringing the world into bright focus. It hadn't been that way since Gerard had left for SVA.
Mikey looked at himself in the bathroom mirror, seeing a skinny guy, all awkward angles and sharp edges. The harsh fluorescent light wasn't kind, highlighting every flaw.
He wished he had some of Gerard's softness, something to offset his gracelessness.
"Do my eyeliner?"
He almost jumped when Gerard appeared behind him. He looked at Gerard in the mirror, seeing him, missing him even though he was right there. "If you'll do mine."
"Deal," Gerard said, and crowded close.
4. When Gerard sobered up
His hands were shaking and everyone was pretending not to see, acting like Gerard wasn't on the verge of shattering. None of them really expected Gerard to stick to his sobriety, but they had their hopes.
Mikey winced after Gerard poked himself in the eye repeatedly with the eyeliner and finally took pity on him. He sat Gerard down in front of the mirror and took the pencil from his slack fingers. "Look up," he said, and with a quick, economical motion, outlined Gerard's bloodshot eyes.
Gerard's voice was shaky and scared and Mikey felt something in his chest clench. "You can do this, Gerard. I know you can." He wasn't sure what showed on his face, but whatever it was, it seemed to convince Gerard.
He swallowed audibly and closed his eyes, nodding. "I can do this."
As usual, Mikey was right.
5. Random night, on tour.
It was hotel night and Mikey had been out partying, stumbling back into their room at an obscene hour, reeking of pot and cigarette smoke and booze. Gerard calmly watched him collapse onto the bed and pass out, mumbling to himself.
It was just a little bit of revenge, for what had happened the last time Gerard had passed out.
He used the eyeliner, because they were running low on cash and Sharpies, even though makeup wasn't really Gerard's medium. He was limited in his colors: black, brown and blue, and he didn't know where the blue had come from. He shrugged and worked on transforming Mikey's face into a work of art, drawing swirls and curlicues and turning Mikey's left eye into an improvised Eye of Horus.
Sitting back, he couldn't help but admire his work. Mikey would kill him in the morning, but it would be worth it.