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Can't Touch My Brother

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1992

Mikey turned twelve five days ago and he hasn't been able to feel anything in exactly a year.

It had started gradually and was barely noticeable at first -- a no longer itchy sweater, not getting cold at the bus stop in the morning. Then, a burn or a bruise he didn't remember getting. A few months later, his grandma hugged him and it was no different than not being touched at all.

Mikey had been sitting on the couch between his parents, who were upset and failing at hiding it, when Gerard got home from his after-school job. When they told Gerard, he dropped his backpack on the floor and hugged Mikey, and it felt just like always.

* * *

A year later, how most things feel is something between theoretical knowledge and a memory. Mikey knows, somewhat abstractly, and remembers, very vaguely, that touching himself feels good, not just the feedback between fingers and dick but throughout his whole body. He also remembers that back when he was a little kid, before the numbness, falling asleep with his hand down his pajama bottoms every night. Kid stuff, a way to feel comfortable and secure in the darkness.

When the world had just started falling away from him, that became even more important. But when he stopped even being able to feel himself, it seemed worse than pointless, so he stopped. Never mind his junk -- it wouldn't have occurred to him, before, to just run his hands up and down his own arms or put his hands on his belly, but now he'd give a lot to be able to do just that.

Mikey thinks he might stop missing it eventually if not for Gerard. Before, Mikey would have never said he loved Gerard, just like it wouldn't have occurred to him to say that he loved his skin or his lungs or himself. But the occasional overwhelming gratitude at how Gerard cuddles up to him when they watch TV together and how Gerard leans into Mikey and unthinkingly, undeliberately brushes his fingers against Mikey's when they read comics must be what love is, he thinks.

Mikey thinks of himself as one of those deep-sea diving capsules, submerged in an alien world but apart from it, and of Gerard as something that loosens the bolts, cracks the iron, makes the world punch through a palm-shaped hole.

Sometimes Mikey wishes he'd lost the ability to feel Gerard's touch too, because he's not sure that the constant gut-churning terror that someday it, too, will be gone is preferable to feeling absolutely nothing, all the time, for the rest of his life.

1994

Mikey is fourteen and starts high school. He gets shoved around at least every couple of weeks. Gerard is suffering through his last year at home and hides in the basement with his comics and markers and guitar most of the time, but he still checks Mikey over for injuries every day after school. It's a weird kind of ritual, Mikey standing in the middle of the living room and Gerard circling him, looking at him with the same critical eye he might afford a display at Comic Con. He drags his hands through Mikey's hair to feel for scratches and bumps and looks at his fingertips to see if there's any blood, brushes his hands down Mikey's neck and down his arms, kneels down and does the same thing with Mikey's ankles and toes. Mikey can't remember what feeling cold is like, but he knows heat very well. He knows what bruises feel like, too, the warm pulsing twinge when Gerard presses on one that Mikey wants to never go away.

Mikey also takes off his t-shirt there in the living room, so Gerard can put his hands on Mikey's back and make sure Mikey's shoulder blades are moving right (after the one time they weren't), and on Mikey's ribs, to make sure he's breathing okay. Mikey's never breathing okay when Gerard does this, but Gerard doesn't know. His baseline is different.

Mikey examines his legs himself, in the full-length mirror in his bedroom, by sight alone, his hands shaking slightly at his sides. He tries to do something about it a few times, seize the lingering sensation and channel the hot tangle of Gerard-related thoughts in his head into coming, but it never works. He always ends up standing there and watching his boner wilt.

Later, Mikey makes new friends and the assholes leave him alone, so there's less reason to do this every day, but Gerard still does, and Mikey is both grateful and frustrated, but mostly grateful.

1999

He's eighteen and finally, finally the years of living weekend to weekend, waiting for Gerard to come home from art school, are drawing to a close. Mikey's pretty sure he's not supposed to be happy that Gerard doesn't have a job yet and doesn't know what kind of job he wants, but he's been touch-starved for four years and refuses to feel guilty.

The day Gerard comes home for good, Mikey doesn't even have to say or do anything but open the door. Gerard's the one who launches himself at Mikey. He holds Mikey's hand all the way through dinner and a rerun of The Simpsons, the longest two hours of Mikey's life, then tugs him off the couch and leads him to the basement, where they watch a Back to the Future marathon on Fox and gradually slide lower and lower down on the bed until they're horizontal. Gerard lets Mikey rub all over him like a cat, runs his hands up and down Mikey's arms and toes off their socks so their feet can tangle, and, in the end, Mikey lets himself be pulled under the covers.

He almost never lets himself sleep in Gerard's bed, because knowing Gerard knows that Mikey's hard but isn't doing anything about it because he doesn't want to is usually excruciating. Tonight, though, when Gerard turns the light off and nuzzles Mikey's neck, Mikey experimentally presses up against the crease of Gerard's thigh for the first time. Gerard's breath hitches, and he... doesn't do anything, but doesn't cling any less, either, and Mikey backs off. There will be time later. Now, Mikey's just happy that Gerard is here.

He wakes up in the morning with Gerard's full weight on him and the sensation of wet and -- oh, that must be teeth -- on his collarbone that indicates Gerard has been drooling on him for some time. Their t-shirts are rucked up and there's all this skin and nipples and Mikey finds himself struggling to breathe. He presses up a little, shifts, and feels Gerard's nipples slide against his chest and touch his own.

He's instantly hard, but Gerard is asleep and he'd say no if he weren't, so Mikey just lies there, back arched, trembling, so turned on he can't think, until Gerard snuffles in his sleep and rolls off, tucking his face into Mikey's side.

* * *

They go to a show that night. Mikey slips into the pit and Gerard goes over to the bar. One of the perks of Mikey's condition is that he doesn't give a fuck about elbows or sore feet. As long as he doesn't get kicked in the head, he's fine. He'd feel a concussion.

The band is loud and the crowd is drunk. Mikey gets caught up in the moshing, feeling as much as a part of it as he ever will. He's shoved and shoves back twice as hard, until some tiny but dense asshole slams into him and knocks him out of the circle into the throng of bodies leaning away from the mosh pit. Mikey stumbles and rights himself, ready to get back in just as Gerard appears at his elbow and waves a beer at him.

Mikey grabs the beer and moves a couple of rows back, pulling Gerard behind him. He stands leaning on his brother. If they were at home, Gerard could put his hands on Mikey's chest and walk him closer to the speakers and Mikey would feel the beat pound in his ribcage. But it's good now too, with the twinge of pain where their bare arms are brushing and the dizzying strobe lights and the drums. Mikey leans harder into Gerard and feels the bruising seep into his arm and settle there.

After, they stand under a busted streetlight outside the venue, away from the other smokers. Mikey can see Gerard's eyes, wide and dark, by the light of the cherry and the neon sign of the liquor store across the street. The rest of him Mikey can sort of make out, at least the paler parts that aren't covered by his clothes.

Gerard is a little drunk and very cuddly and creeps closer and closer as the cigarette gets shorter, until his head is on Mikey's shoulder, cheek sliding against collarbone, and his palm is resting on Mikey's hip where his shirt is rucked up and his jeans are riding low. We look like a couple, Mikey thinks, and draws Gerard closer until he melts against Mikey, pliant and warm. He can feel the faint heat of the cherry near the spot where Gerard's palm is touching his skin and he sighs because it's so good, the light buzz in his head, the two of them in the muggy night air with a hint of chill when the wind gusts, Gerard's nicotine-smelling hair.

Gerard sighs, warm and damp and alcoholic, and then jerks away with a curse, yanking his hand back and shaking it out.

"What the hell?" asks Mikey, put out. He'd been comfortable.

"Burned myself," says Gerard. He's scowling down at his hand and then jerks his head up, eyes big and worried. "Shit, did I burn you too?"

Mikey stares at Gerard until Gerard blinks and says "Right" and puts his fingertips gently where his hand was before, dragging them in circles along Mikey's side. It tickles, in a completely unfunny, hard-to-breathe way, until Gerard hits the right spot and Mikey hisses.

Gerard looks guilty and upset. "I'm really sorry, Mikes." He strokes his thumb over the sore spot and looks into Mikey's eyes. "Does it hurt?"

"Kind of," says Mikey. It's a concentrated sting, bright and sweet under Gerard's thumb, and Mikey bites his lip and focuses on breathing evenly.

Gerard steps closer and leans his head on Mikey's shoulder again. "Sorry," he repeats. He's still dragging his fingers back and forth over the cigarette burn, lighting up neurons with every stroke, and Mikey doesn't remind him that it wouldn't hurt at all if Gerard stopped touching him.

"I'm sorry," Gerard mumbles again and curls his fingers into Mikey's side. The pain flares up sharper than ever and Mikey can't breathe for a moment because it's so good. "Fuck. Did I hurt you again?"

"Uh. No," manages Mikey. "It's fine. It's okay."

"'Cause I don't want to hurt you. I'd do anything for you, you know. You just have to ask," says Gerard, so earnest that it hurts too.

Mikey hums quietly and pats Gerard's hand where it's resting on his waist. "I'll let you know."

 

2002

He's twenty-one and in a band. He envies Ray desperately, bitterly wants the casual way Ray has with his guitar, how he reaches for the strap and throws it over his head while chugging beer or shooting the shit with Gerard, and especially how Ray rocks out onstage, how he closes his eyes in bliss and lets his fingers take over the riffs.

Mikey can't look away from his bass. He has to put it on in front of a mirror and make Ray double-check his form between songs, make sure he's not fucking up his wrists by holding it wrong. He can't feel the frets or the strings either, so he can't lose himself in the music, can't close his eyes for a moment. He buys a bootleg of their set off a hobo just so he can watch how his brother and his friends rev up the room, make the kids scream.

Gerard's sure that at some point, Mikey'll build up muscle memory, but Mikey's pretty convinced that muscle memory is fucking bullshit with his useless fucking nerves or neurons or magic or whatever the fuck went wrong with him.

On the bright side, Ray hugs the shit out of him after every practice. Mikey can't feel it, but he likes the way Ray smells, the way Ray's breathing sounds, and that Ray hugs him, so he always lets himself cling. Ray never lets go first. And as far as practice time goes, the dead nerve endings in his fingers win out over Ray's calluses any day.

* * *

With the exception of Ray and, later, Frank, Mikey avoids touching anyone who's not Gerard. One evening, though, he's talking to Otter at a house party in Philly. Gerard ambles into the room, stoned and happy, and launches himself at both of them. Mikey grabs Otter to steady himself and -- and-- that's skin and muscle against his for an overwhelming second, until Otter pushes Gerard off with a laugh and it goes away. Gerard's hand is on the nape of Mikey's neck and Mikey's still holding onto Otter's forearm, but Gerard's not touching Otter, and -- wow.

Mikey keeps his wild improbable guess to himself for as long as he can, terrified that he imagined it, but he can't keep it from Gerard for long. At the next practice, Gerard makes everyone hold their hands like he's joining them and Mikey in holy matrimony until Mikey says enough and pointedly starts tuning his bass, turned away from Frank and Ray, who are looking at him with shining eyes.

It doesn't change a lot. For a while, Mikey is afraid that it'll kill the maybe that lives in the crevices of his mind, that Gerard will take this sudden out of a future that had up to this point felt far-off but inevitable. That Gerard would be relieved to be off the hook, wouldn't have to hold Mikey, could let someone else do the work. That he'll find someone to stand between them.

Gerard does make Mikey sit between Frank and Ray on movie or game nights while he sits on the floor at the foot of the couch and manages skin contact with all three of them with the deftness of a tight-rope walker. Mikey keeps waiting for him to pull away, but Gerard never does. Nothing changes and Mikey's afraid to ask why, but he's grateful, and finds himself leaning into Frank and Ray more and more each time.

2003

Recording every set was Mikey's idea. Everyone finds it useful, but Mikey also loves watching his band, finally seeing them like he couldn't at the time. Now that it's been a couple of years, he's better at knowing when he can look up, when there's no chord change for a while and his right hand is positioned well enough that he doesn't need to watch himself, but he still only catches bits and pieces of his best friends.

He loves watching Frank, who never comes near him during shows anymore, not after the time at one of the early shows when Frank accidentally slammed the neck of his guitar into Mikey's stomach. Mikey remembers vividly how Gerard had put his hands where they thought Frank's guitar had connected, afraid to press down, and Mikey bit his lip and willed for sensation to bleed down through his skin to stomach and appendix or liver. (It didn't, and Gerard made Ray drive them to the ER for x-rays.)

He watches Ray, too. The bite of jealousy from before has dulled, leaving only admiration behind.

Mikey also watches his brother. He watches Gerard lean down to the kids on the barricade, watches them touch him and him gift physical contact like it doesn't cost him anything. He's not sure if Gerard notices that it bothers him.

 

2004

After Japan, Mikey is furious and refuses to go near Gerard, let alone touch him. He makes it three weeks until he can't stand it anymore. He crawls into Gerard's bunk in the middle of the night and puts his hands on Gerard's waist, between his belt and his shirt, and his face into Gerard's neck. Gerard's hair is unwashed and smells disgusting, but he pulls Mikey half on top of himself and holds him tight, pushes up their sleeves and t-shirts and runs his hands all over Mikey's back and chest. Gerard whispers "I'm sorry" over and over in Mikey's ear while Mikey grinds against Gerard's thigh and feels Gerard's neck get hot and damp from his breath.

Gerard bucks under him and groans. "Mikey," he says hoarsely. "What are you doing? Tell me what you're doing."

Mikey's not doing anything. They're both wearing jeans and Mikey can't feel anything through the layers of underwear and denim. He doesn't know if he's hard or not. He wants Gerard to open his pants and find out for him. All he can think about is the snick of the zipper being pulled down, the scrape of metal on skin, and the touch of Gerard's hand, the press of a finger through his boxers. He feels like he might go off at any moment just from thinking this.

Gerard's fingers brush Mikey's sides, resting lightly above the waist of his jeans, and Mikey cries out into Gerard's shoulder. Gerard bucks up and digs his fingers in, and Mikey groans and looks down at Gerard's tanned hand on his waist. Fuck. He puts a hand on Gerard's, pushes lightly, and Gerard makes a sound in the back of his throat, but doesn't, won't move his hand further down, under the denim.

"Mikey," Gerard whispers again. "What the hell. Talk to me." Mikey bites his lip and drops his head down on Gerard's chest, listening to Gerard's heartbeat pound. He exhales. The heat of his breath spreads between them and Gerard shudders satisfyingly.

Gerard won't do anything about it. So Mikey doesn't ask Gerard to touch him, doesn't kiss him, but being held is almost enough. Gerard brushes lingering kisses over Mikey's face, smooths his hair back, and whispers "Hey, it's okay, I'm scared too" to him until Mikey falls asleep slumped over Gerard's chest.

The next morning, Mikey stays in the bunk long after Gerard leaves to find breakfast. He tries to jerk off, for the first time in years, to the memory of last night, to come consciously for the first time in his life, but Gerard isn't there, so he can't.

2005

Mikey makes friends with Pete Wentz on the Warped tour. It's -- amazing, breathtaking, frustrating. Pete likes him more obviously than anyone else Mikey's ever met. Mikey knows a lot of people who like him, but most of them don't tell him "I like you, Mikey" every day. Pete holds his hand, which Mikey's done a few times in high school, and teaches him to kiss, which Mikey's done only once.

It's challenging without any sensory feedback. Mikey has to keep his eyes open for it just like for music, trust himself more than he's ever done, but Pete likes it, likes it enough to gasp and twist under him and ask for more. It's not unbearably hot, but it feels like it could be if Mikey wasn't fucked up. Mikey jerks Pete off anyway, licks Pete's come off his hand as Pete stares at him with hot eyes. It doesn't taste like anything, but Mikey's been led to believe he isn't missing much.

Mikey tells Pete that when he closes his eyes, there's nothing to tell him if he still exists. He thinks Pete understands.

Pete watches jealously when Gerard is around and Mikey instinctively drifts towards his brother. He interrogates Mikey about Gerard and Mikey spills not everything, but a lot of it. About what Gerard's done for Mikey, how he's been taking care of Mikey for years. He doesn't tell him that Gerard wears short sleeves even in winter so Mikey has more skin to touch.

He tells Pete that when Mikey feels like a brain floating in something that seems like an enjoyable world to other people, Gerard knows to reach out and cup Mikey's cheek in his hand. He doesn't describe how the pressure of the base of Gerard's palm on the side of Mikey's chin is heavier and warmer than Gerard's fingers on his cheek and how Gerard's thumb digging into the soft flesh of his neck makes Mikey recognize the thudding of his pulse. He doesn't say Gerard's ragged thumbnail sometimes leaves red marks on his skin and that sometimes Mikey pulls away sooner than he'd like to and goes to find a mirror to look at the raised lines.

He thinks that Pete knows anyway, because Pete sits still for a long time after this conversation, touching his own cheek with his eyes screwed up tight.

Mikey semi-deliberately doesn't tell Pete about Gerard's ability to channel Mikey's sense of touch to other people like some kind of nerve whisperer, because it wouldn't change anything anyway. They're not going to make out on top of Gerard, so what does it matter?

Pete finds out about it anyway, by accident, when one afternoon Gerard comes into the lounge while the two of them are curled up on the lounge sofa. He plops down on the other side of Mikey and Mikey leans into him with an involuntary sigh of relief, not looking at Pete on purpose so he doesn't see Pete flinch.

Gerard has his sketchbook with him and waves it inquisitively at Mikey. Pete wants to see it too, so Gerard reluctantly hands it over, and Mikey watches almost from outside his own body as their fingers connect in slow motion, the circuit closes, and there's Pete all along the side of him that was numb.

It's only for a second and Mikey had tried to brace himself, but he's never felt Pete before, couldn't prepare for it. Mikey sucks in a lungful of air and Pete guesses instantly. He lunges and grabs Gerard's hand again, flickers into Mikey's side again (energize, thinks Mikey wildly) and Mikey breathes out and in again, screws up his eyes until he gets used to it. Pete grabs Mikey's hand too (Mikey knows even though his head is turned, because he can feel it, Jesus) and Mikey whimpers.

"Why didn't you tell me, Mikeyway?" mutters Pete with wonder in his voice. Something about the way his body is touching Mikey changes, a shift from a casual sprawl to something more deliberate and tender, Pete focusing and turning into Mikey with his entire body. Mikey feels Pete's lips on his neck, soft and a little wet and a little shivery, like Pete's... Like he's been given a gift. Like Pete's been hoping.

Mikey stares at Gerard, who's staring back, wide-eyed and nervous and something else Mikey doesn't quite recognize. Pete presses two, three kisses into Mikey's neck and Mikey moans. Gerard's eyes go even wider and Mikey pulls his hand away from Pete's.

Now there's nothing except the look of slightly anxious something on Gerard's face, sort of like when they're writing in the studio and Mikey's messing up the riffs because he can't look between his two hands quickly enough, like Gerard's waiting for Mikey to figure it out and get it right. But Mikey doesn't have a script for this, isn't prepared, so he looks at Gerard pleadingly.

Gerard says, "I can't. You have to. Don't look at me like that," and walks out of the lounge.

Mikey watches him leave, and when he turns to look at Pete, he sees that Pete's been rubbing a hand up and down Mikey's arm. It's a little comforting to know that.

* * *

Mikey had prepared for awkwardness with both Pete and Gerard after that, but later has to decide that awkwardness would be preferable to the static fucking nature of his life. He has the same sex with Pete and spends the same amount of time being touched and petted by Gerard. The only new thing is that Gerard's hands feel heavier, more tender, kind of coaxing, but after all these years Mikey can't tell wishful thinking from reality.

There are a few times he comes close to asking, when they're parked overnight and Pete asks to be alone, so Mikey walks back to his bus in the darkness. Warped at night is all patches of light between shadows and shouts, bright carrying noise of glass breaking and unheard, private snicks of lighters in the dark voids between buses. Mikey usually finds Gerard in the darkest shadow by the light of his cigarette and sits down next to him, leans back against the wheel of the bus and breathes in the smell of nicotine and exhaust.

The quiet satisfaction at having hours to do nothing but sit and revel in motionlessness, such a rarity on tour, is still present but quieter than usual. Mikey doesn't know how to bring up what happened. He spends hours running through the hopes and what-ifs he's had for years -- the tentative, terrifying thoughts of ten years ago that had turned into a no less terrifying certainty by the time Gerard started college and left Mikey. Since then, Mikey's been scared of so many other things -- dropping out of college, fucking up on stage, Gerard almost dying -- that the patina of terror at this thing between them wore off and made it impossible for Mikey to hide how much he wanted.

Mikey's sure about himself and almost sure about Gerard, but he's been sure for six years and what he's hoping for seems as far-off now as it did then. And now, he's realizing that Gerard wants something from him, something Mikey doesn't understand. He's frustrated that he can't figure it out when he understands everything else about his brother, and it pools in the bottom of his chest, heavy, undiluted by other sensation.

Warped Tour ends soon after. Mikey doesn't ask Gerard and doesn't feel Pete leave, just wakes up alone with a goodbye he didn't feel on his arm.

2006

Recording the album is hell. The house makes Mikey's skin crawl even though he knows that's impossible. The constant creeping feeling puts him on edge, all the fucking time.

He's irritable and distracted. Playing to Ray's standards is fucking impossible, not when there's tingling up and down his arms and in his fingers that's distracting him from watching the frets carefully. And he's forgotten how hard it is to play new music, when he needs visual cues from the others and has to look down at his own instrument at the same time, and it's so noisy inside his head that there's little room left for quick reactions.

Gerard's being solicitous around him. He makes twitching, aborted gestures towards Mikey's hands, even though it wouldn't help to touch Mikey in the studio or onstage, since he'd have to be touching Mikey's fingers for it to be any use. Mikey feels phantom hands touching his own anyway, feels them in the studio and at night when he's alone in bed. Sleeping next to Gerard would help because there'd be real touch, but Mikey refuses to sleep with Gerard because he won't ever give Mikey what he needs. So he spends the nights alone, just the wrong side of asleep, unable to stop imagining multi-legged invisible things skittering across his body in the dark.

He's tried to make it without Gerard before, but this time Mikey isn't fueled by petulance or self-righteous anger, just despair and stubbornness. He knows that he only has to look at Gerard and he'll smooth away the horror creeping across Mikey's skin, but it isn't everything Mikey wants from his brother, and he doesn't think he can stand not having it all anymore.

* * *

In the end, he has to leave the house. The meds and therapy and being on his own, without Gerard or the band for a while, helps him find the center that he'd never been sure existed. His head is quieter. He's even a little grateful for his numb skin. It's not like when he went without touch for weeks at a time when Gerard was away at college, not when he was so angry at Gerard he couldn't stand to take from him, and definitely not like in the house. Now, he has space to think about things that aren't Gerard, and it inexplicably makes him process the thing that's his feelings about his brother a little better, a little more rationally, than before. He's thinking about it, running through every time he thought Gerard said no, no longer convinced that he heard it right.

He texts Gerard updates on his therapy and Gerard texts back smiley faces and carefully selected stories from their writing sessions that always make Mikey grin. When Mikey calls Gerard, about every week or so, he uses it as a chance to be honest, say what you're thinking.

It takes a few sessions until Mikey works out that there's a second part to being honest, which is asking for what he needs. This realization hits him as he's standing in the Rite Aid checkout line clutching a bag of Ring Dings. He pays for the Ring Dings and forgets his change, a little staggered by the epic of his fail, at least two years of missed cues. He texts Gerard: "were you waiting for me to ask?" and gets a cautious "why?" in return, immediately followed by a "fuck sorry yes."

Mikey texts back: "i'll ask you."

2007

It takes Mikey a few months after coming back to the band to ask. Partly, he wants to give Gerard time, and partly he's still working up the nerve or waiting for the perfect time. Asking his brother to touch him like that (to fuck him, he tells himself, trying to get used to it, to touch him knowing it's headed towards nakedness and more skin than before and sex and maybe orgasms, god, Mikey wants an orgasm) would be taking responsibility, and while Mikey knows it's his responsibility to take, he's not quite there yet.

So a little while after he comes back, after he's clung to Gerard for a while, Gerard rubbing wide circles across his back, he hides his face in Gerard's neck for bravery, takes a deep breath and says, "I want to sleep with you. I mean, I want to have sex. With you. Not very soon, but soon, and I'll ask you when I'm ready, but I need you to tell me now if you're okay with that or if you're going to be."

Gerard hugs Mikey tight and breathes "Yeah" into his ear. Mikey lets out his breath and clings harder.

This begins a spiral of heated awkwardness Mikey isn't sure he can handle for too long. Gerard is just always there. For the first time since the band started, Gerard approaches Mikey on stage with intimidating swagger, seems to almost want to distract him and make him screw up. Gerard bothers Frank too, often enough that Mikey catches something in the corner of his eye at almost every show.

He doesn't see it until they watch the recordings after, and when he does, he can't help leaning forward a little. Watching Gerard kiss, watching Frank melt into it sends Mikey's brain into overdrive, and when he looks sideways at Gerard, always seated away from him like he's teasing, Gerard's already looking back with hot hooded eyes.

Mikey wants with all his mind and all his soul. His body wants it too, even though Mikey can only sometimes see it in the bathroom mirror – flushed cheeks and parted mouth and dilated pupils, sometimes a bulge that he knows means he's half-hard.

Mikey is frustrated all the time thinking about Gerard, how it might happen. He thinks he might pull Gerard into a room, any room, and launch himself at him just to put an end to Gerard looking at him almost normally but with promise in the back of his eyes that only Mikey can tell is there.

He tries to avoid Gerard to give himself space to think and decide, but that makes Gerard keep close when they're together, sitting next to him on the lounge couch, brushing his elbow against Mikey's at breakfast, absolutely unnecessarily steadying him with a hand on the small of his back as they climb the stairs to the stage. Mikey almost expects him to try the yawn-and-stretch move next time they watch a movie. He's half-annoyed, half-breathless from never knowing when the next touch might come, if Gerard's hands will be cold or warm, sweaty or chapped, always hoping it'll be now now now. Gerard is reeling Mikey in and Mikey can't help but let him.

One night Mikey wakes up at dark o'clock and hears the faint but unmistakable sound of Professor Farnsworth announcing some good news in the bus lounge. He grabs his blanket and heads there before he's even aware he's doing it. It's been a week since he was last alone with Gerard. He can still see Gerard's eyes heavy on him. He thinks, maybe tonight.

Gerard's sitting in the middle of the sofa, knees pulled up to his chin and almost entirely covered by a blanket, so that only eyes and hair are visible above it in the glow of the screen.

Mikey clears his throat.

Gerard blinks and turns his head. "Hey! Is it too loud?"

Mikey shakes his head. "I only heard it because I woke up and nobody was snoring. Guess because you weren't asleep."

"I don't snore!" says Gerard indignantly. Mikey looks at him with a straight face, but his lips must twitch eventually because Gerard throws a pillow at him. It falls to the ground about two feet in front of the couch and Mikey covers his mouth with his hand, trying not to laugh aloud and wake everyone up.

Gerard's trying to look annoyed but there's an amused slant to his mouth anyway. "You're fucking hilarious. Sit down with me? This is a good one. Robots."

Mikey can see that. There's a human hunt going on onscreen. Mikey sits down next to Gerard and drapes his own blanket over himself. They sit and watch for a while until the episode ends and Gerard selects the next one from the DVD menu.

"I do really want to have sex with you, you know," Gerard says under his breath.

"What?" says Mikey. His head starts buzzing a little in a way he's started to associate with blushing.

"This waiting," says Gerard and waves his hand. It's under the blanket, though, so it just looks like there's a bird trapped in there. "Is it because you're not ready or because you're waiting for me to change my mind?"

Shit. Mikey looks down at his lap, not sure what to say.

"Because I never once changed my mind about something involving you," Gerard says in his patented sincere and determined voice.

"Did you think that maybe that was the problem? Maybe I want you to want me back, not feel like you have to fuck me to keep me sane."

"What the hell, Mikey. What makes you think I don't want you back?"

"You're my brother. Sorry if I don't assume you want to do me just because I'm wired funny. You probably just want to because I've been popping a boner around you since junior high. You're, like... conditioned."

"If I'm conditioned then you're conditioned too. Do you want to try to get unconditioned some more or do you want to have what you want? Because you can have it," Gerard says, his voice going lower. "I'd do anything for you and I'd want to do all of it. There isn't anything you can ask for that I wouldn't want to give you."

And that's just... Mikey looks ahead at the screen. Pamela Anderson's head is ordering a pizza.

"Mikey?" asks Gerard uncertainly.

Mikey nods a little. "I still need a little while. But I promise I'll ask soon like I said I would."

Gerard heaves a big put-upon sigh. "Okay. But, uh. Let me try something. Tell me if it's too much."

Mikey doesn't feel Gerard move in until his soft mouth touches the corner of Mikey's and the warmth pools out through Mikey's skin from the point of contact. Mikey can feel that he's flushed. This isn't the first time Gerard kissed Mikey on the cheek but the first time he's done it with such heavy intent that it feels like a kiss on the mouth.

All Mikey suddenly can think about is that he's never felt anyone's lips on his and that if he wanted to, it could happen now. Gerard could be the first. He doesn't know if he wants Gerard to kiss him now or if the shivery anticipation is better than anything else could be.

Gerard doesn't move in for a real kiss, but whispers "Do you like this?" into Mikey's skin.

The last thing Mikey wants is to reply and risk dislodging Gerard's lips from their perfect spot. Fuck, it feels so good.

"Do you like this, Mikey," Gerard says, not a question at all. Mikey wants to grab Gerard's hand and put it on his throat to see it his pulse is hammering, and he must tilt his head instinctively because Gerard does it himself, moving the blankets aside and kneeling up by Mikey. Mikey can hear his heartbeat echo for a long moment and his thigh is warm where Gerard's bare knees are touching it.

Mikey swallows. "I... Someone could walk in."

Gerard sneaks a hand up Mikey's t-shirt and licks his lips. Mikey can feel the light brush of Gerard's wet tongue on his jaw and shudders. "Do you want me to stop? It's four in the morning. No one's coming."

Gerard moves his mouth down to Mikey's neck and the corner of Mikey's mouth instantly goes numb. Phantom sensation hovers in Mikey's mind like afterimages of the sun behind closed eyelids and Mikey makes a soft disappointed noise.

"What was that?" Gerard sounds so innocent that his smugness couldn't be more audible.

"God." Mikey grabs Gerard's head with both hands and yanks him back up. "Don't stop."

Gerard inhales sharply, like Mikey surprised him, like he didn't already know what he was doing to him, then presses his mouth to the corner of Mikey's jaw near his ear. "Where do you want me to kiss you?" he asks intently. His voice is quiet and hot. "Here? Or here? Or here?" He moves his mouth down Mikey's jaw. "Or where I kissed you before, here?"

His mouth is open against the same spot as before and Mikey sighs with relief at having it touched again. "Yeah. Right there, Gee."

Gerard takes his lips away and places another kiss there, a hotter, slower one, and the flickering sensation makes lights go off behind Mikey's eyelids. "What happened to someone might walk in?"

"You're a douchebag," says Mikey breathlessly. "Keep kissing me."

"I haven't kissed you for real yet," says Gerard and bites Mikey's jaw. It hurts and Mikey grips the back of Gerard's neck to keep him there.

"Wow," says Gerard and pinches Mikey's side. Mikey does not squeak, but it's close, and when Gerard doesn't let go but pinches harder and twists, Mikey has to concentrate on breathing, because, shit, someone really could wake up and walk in and see them all awkward and twined on the sofa. "Do you like it to hurt?"

"Apparently," says Mikey. "You don't remember?" Gerard releases the fold of skin and pushes on the spot with his thumb. Mikey whines in the back of his throat.

"Like that?" asks Gerard, digging in the ragged edge of his nail like he knows. "When you got banged up in school all the time? The -- Mikey." His other hand snakes down to stroke the tiny red mark on Mikey's hip.

"Yeah," says Mikey. "Just like that. Not here, Gee," he asks, but his hand is still on Gerard's neck and he's still tilting his jaw up because Gerard's mouth feels amazing and he's not ready to stop, god. "God, Gerard, we can't do this now."

"Why not? Everyone's asleep." Gerard nips his jaw again and places a softer kiss over the bite. "Fuck, you feel so good. Can I kiss you? Do you want me too?"

"Because, um. People are on this bus. And we have to stop. I don't want to rush this, okay?" Mikey musters his reserves of willpower and shoves Gerard off. Gerard sprawls back on the sofa and sighs, a little dazed, pupils blown, his mouth dark and slick and wet.

"Shit, Gee. " Mikey blinks at him and tries very hard not to lean forward and taste that mouth. "Shit. I want to wait."

Gerard focuses on Mikey slowly, his eyes intent. "I can wait for you," Gerard says, low-pitched like it's on purpose and raspy like he's been singing for an hour, and Mikey doesn't know if he can.

The next day is torture. Mikey sees a faint bruise on his jaw while he's brushing his teeth, and even not being able to feel it can't make him stop fingering it. He walks into the kitchen still touching it and stops when he sees Frank, Ray, and Gerard all at the table. Frank and Ray are concerned about the bruise and Mikey does his best to lie through his teeth and ignore Gerard, who is half-asleep and not even bothering to pretend he's not looking at Mikey's mouth.

Mikey tries to ignore Gerard all through breakfast and three hours of Final Fantasy by sitting on the opposite side of Ray and Bob. Gerard just... kind of won't shut up or sit still, always making sure Mikey knows he's there. He sounds normal enough to fool anyone who didn't know how he was last night, how quiet and persuasive and tender he sounded, how soft his mouth was.

Mikey can't concentrate on anything, but he's pretty used to trying to stifle his thing for his brother, so he leaves and naps in his bunk for a while until soundcheck. Soundcheck goes fine, as usual; Gerard throws his head back and prances more than usual and Mikey would laugh at this mating display if it wasn't for fucking him. For fucking him. Fuck.

After, there's catering and Mikey makes it through Gerard demolishing a ham sandwich and a strawberry smoothie just fine. Gerard is not a graceful eater.

Mikey decides to take a bathroom break and clear his head now that everyone in the building has descended on the sandwiches and pizza, and is congratulating himself on a stealthy exit while walking back from the bathroom very very slowly, when Gerard appears out of nowhere. He stops a couple of feet short of Mikey, just outside Mikey's immediate personal space. Gerard smiles faintly and carefully brushes Mikey's wrist with two fingers. It's the first sensation Mikey felt since Gerard took his mouth off Mikey's jaw early that morning. He doesn't think that's playing fair because it makes Mikey take a step toward Gerard like he just can't help himself.

"What are you doing here?" asks Mikey.

Gerard steps closer so there's an inch of space between them and puts his other hand on Mikey's cheek. Mikey is completely unsurprised to feel that he's blushing. "Are you gonna corner me now?" Mikey asks.

"I'm just giving you opportunities. I can leave."

Mikey doesn't really want Gerard to leave. He's kind of regretting making Gerard back off this morning.

Gerard is looking at him calmly and so earnestly through the hair falling in his eyes. He hasn't put in any product yet or done his makeup, so he just looks like Mikey's brother, almost exactly the way he's looked most of Mikey's life, give or take a few dye jobs. So constant, and always patient, and Mikey suddenly feels a sharp sadness slide through his mind when he thinks Gerard's been waiting years for this too, waiting for Mikey to come to him. It's hot to think that Gerard, despite Mikey's pretty hesitant encouragement, is struggling to be patient now.

"When did you first think we'd ever do this?" Mikey asks suddenly.

That startles a laugh out of Gerard and his cheeks get pink. Mikey watches, fascinated. Gerard never gets embarrassed. "Uh. Probably when you grew up a little. Probably still earlier than I should have."

"Hmm," says Mikey.

"Is that a good hmm or a bad hmm? Was that the right answer?"

And that... that sums it up. Gerard knows everything about Mikey and he knows this too, but he's always left this up to Mikey to figure out and decide, never presuming, pretending all along that he didn't know so Mikey could have the space he didn't want but needed.

Mikey really loves his brother.

"There's a room," says Mikey, suddenly deciding. "A roadie told me about it the last time we played here. It's for extra equipment they don't use much. Come on."

Gerard beams when Mikey takes him by the hand and leads him down the corridor, away from the sound of voices.The room is out of the way even in this venue that's all full of twisty backstage corridors and supply closets labeled with restroom signs, and it's a few minutes and a few wrong turns and more than a few tested handles before Mikey finds the right one.

Mikey opens the door, pulls Gerard inside, and closes the door behind them.

"There's a lock," says Gerard quietly while Mikey looks around. About half of the stuff in the room is covered by a thick layer of dust and the other half by a thin layer of dust. There's some light coming through a small window on the back wall that lets Mikey make out stacks of chairs and boxes of spare parts. Mikey hears a quiet snick and turns around.

Gerard is leaning against the door. He looks uncertain and pale except for a blush high on his cheeks. "I locked it," he says. "So no one comes in."

"I don't care about that right now," says Mikey and takes the two steps forward to finally kiss him.

Gerard sighs into his mouth and for a moment Mikey stills against him, trying to memorize the feel of his lips, his hot breath. Gerard makes a quiet questioning sound, a small vibration against Mikey's lips, and that more than anything else winds him up. He kisses Gerard deeply, grips his waist and pulls him in to get him closer. He can't feel the pressure of Gerard's body against his, but it makes Gerard whine and bend backwards like he's Scarlett fucking O'Hara. Mikey wishes that was less hot.

Gerard twines his hand in Mikey's hair and tugs hard, keeping Mikey close so he can't stop kissing Gerard even if he wanted to. Mikey kisses Gerard over and over, bends him back further until his head bangs into the door, and they almost overbalance when Gerard makes a shocked, turned-on noise into Mikey's mouth and grabs his hair with his other hand too.

"I can't wait until tonight, fuck," Gerard whispers when Mikey finally has to tear his mouth away to breathe. "Fuck. Mikey."

Mikey moans and hides his face in Gerard's neck. "What are you gonna do to me?"

Gerard shivers. "I have some ideas," he says, and shifts in a way that makes Mikey look down and see Gerard is cupping him through his jeans. Mikey inhales hard. Shit.

"But maybe I want you to tell me. You have the whole show to think about it," Gerard says slyly and reels Mikey in for another kiss. Gerard is in control now, holding Mikey still with a tight grip on his neck and pushing his tongue into Mikey's mouth while Mikey just takes it.

They make out for a long time, long enough that Mikey's mouth feels raw and ravaged. When Gerard slides his hands down Mikey's arms, Mikey feels an unfamiliar ache, pain from bracing against the door entangled with the pleasure of touch; when he touches Mikey's neck, Mikey feels a shock of flaring heat under the slippery, sweaty slide of fingers over tendons. The changing sensations and Gerard's little sighs into Mikey's mouth have long since taken Mikey's brain offline, so he's not sure where they are anymore or how long it's been, just that they need to keep kissing. And then their phones go off.

Gerard flinches, scraping Mikey's lip hard with his teeth and making him gasp from the white-hot flare of good. He steps back, blinking and trying not to fall over, while Gerard scrambles to fish his phone out of his pocket.

"Showtime," says Gerard hoarsely, reaching back to get the lock.

"Yeah," says Mikey and takes his hand.

 

* * *

Mikey doesn't remember much of the show, after. He remembers looking down at his bass, keeping to the back of the stage and avoiding Gerard's frequent looks.

After the show, he's the first to get offstage, and Gerard wraps around him from behind, sweaty and hot, and something twists and sparks in Mikey's mind and his hand aches where Gerard grabs it.

Despite Gerard's hot looks and possessive touches, barely hidden from everyone around them, they get to the hotel room and pass out, suddenly exhausted and barely managing to get out of their jeans. Gerard shoves his knee between Mikey's thighs as if saving himself a spot and that's all Mikey knows until morning, when he wakes up with Gerard spread on top of him.

Everything is the perfect temperature except Gerard's breath on his chest and the sweaty patch of skin where Gerard had snaked a hand under his back. Mikey remembers waking up sort of like that, long ago, and wanting and not taking. He wonders if Gerard would have said yes if he'd asked then.

Mikey trails a hand down Gerard's back and rests it just above the waistband of Gerard's boxers. Gerard's t-shirt is thin enough for sensation and warmth to leak through, but he can't feel how smooth his skin is. Mikey knows that he's reached the waistband when his hand can't go further.

"Hey," he says and clears his throat. "Hey. Gee. Wake up."

Gerard makes a slightly pissed off noise into Mikey's shoulder. "Too bright. Shut up."

"I wanted to ask you something," says Mikey lightly.

Gerard goes completely still but it feels like he's on the brink of movement. "Yeah?"

"Wanna do it?"

Gerard laughs, startled, bright and wide-awake, and grinds down against Mikey. Mikey hisses at the contact and arches up. "Off," he mutters, attempting to pry Gerard's boxers off and getting in his own way, while Gerard giggles and shakes above him.

"Motherfucker, what is so funny?" asks Mikey, pretending to be put out while mentally punching the air, fuck, he is going to get laid.

"You're funny," says Gerard. He gets their boxers off kind of impressively smoothly and settles on top of Mikey. And that's -- shit, that's Gerard's cock brushing his, heavy and not quite hard yet, but getting there fast, and Mikey feels his cheeks flush under Gerard's hands at the feel of it. Gerard grins knowingly and strokes Mikey's cheekbone, and Mikey's cock goes up to eleven in two seconds flat.

"What," Mikey rasps and clears his throat. "Uh, what do you want to do?"

"Nope, you're directing this cruise, bro," says Gerard and grins at him again. Then he ducks down and licks Mikey's chest, a wet hot stripe of feeling where there was none, and Mikey's brain fizzles a little. He squirms under Gerard and arches up again, spreading the little pools of skin-to-skin contact, and puts his hands on Gerard's head. His hair is soft and silky for once, and Mikey threads his fingers through it a few times, scratches Gerard's skull, pulls on it gently, as Gerard hums, pleased.

"Go down on me," Mikey whispers. "Do it."

Gerard smiles against his chest and licks again, with slow, heavy pressure. Mikey whimpers and clenches and unclenches his hands in Gerard's hair. "Fuck," he moans. "Fucking..."

Gerard slides down, bumping the head of Mikey's cock with his chin. Mikey gasps at the scrape of stubble and shoves his hips into Gerard's face. "God," says Gerard right against Mikey's cock. "You're not polite at all. It's fucking hot, baby, so fucking hot. Do it again."

It's almost his stage voice, camp and haughty all at once, and his lips are brushing Mikey's dick like his fucking mic, and the thought makes Mikey twitch and shove his hips forward again. "Mmm," breathes Gerard, moving his head up and down, rubbing his face on Mikey's cock. "What do you want, baby?"

"Fucking suck my cock," Mikey gets out. "You told me to ask you. I'm asking."

"That's not asking, Mikey, that's telling," murmurs Gerard into the spot where the head of Mikey's cock is leaking against his belly. " I wanna make this last for you."

"Ugh," Mikey manages, "You've been making this last for a while, fuck."

"That wasn't just my fault," says Gerard and darts his tongue out to lick the head of Mikey's cock and lap up the gathered precome. Mikey yelps and throws his head back, but Gerard ignores him and slides down, brushing Mikey's cock lightly with his lips and going lower.

There's a bruise on Mikey's thigh from when he bumped into an amp the day before. He finds out about it now, when Gerard discovers it with his mouth and presses his tongue into it hard. Mikey moans.

"It is so fucking hot that you like this," says Gerard with quiet satisfaction somewhere in the distance while Mikey's thigh and brain light up from the dark ache. "Want a few more?"

Mikey makes a noise that he hopes indicates a yes, and Gerard bites down hard on the bruise. "You gotta say it. Tell me what to do."

"Fuck you. Yes, give me another bruise, Jesus," Mikey says and pushes Gerard's head down.

"Yes sir," says Gerard and sinks his teeth into the tendon at the top of Mikey's inner thigh. Mikey cries out and writhes under Gerard's mouth and Gerard lets go and bites down again, an inch away.

"Would you just -" says Mikey when he can breathe again. "Gerard. Fuck."

Gerard props himself up on his elbows. "Was that okay?"

"It -- yes." Gerard presses a hand down on the bites and Mikey throws his head back and pants. He can't feel his cock, and -- "Gerard, would you fucking touch my cock, I can't feel anything."

"Oh, shit, sorry," says Gerard guiltily. He sits up, rustling the bedclothes loudly, and pushes down hard on Mikey's dick with his other hand. Everything comes flooding back in, an overwhelming rush of pain and fucking amazing, and Mikey shouts and comes, splashing Gerard's hand.

Gerard sits up and licks his lips. His cock is hard, red and bobbing between his legs, but he doesn't seem to be in a hurry. Mikey doesn't know if he wants to look at Gerard's flushed slick mouth or his cock or to close his eyes entirely.

"Shit. Was this your first time?"

"I. I've had sex with Pete," says Mikey. "You know that, asshole."

"No, your first time coming." Gerard pulls his lower lip into his mouth and looks down on his hands still covering Mikey's inner thigh and dick. "Fuck, that was hot, you coming like that."

"I've had wet dreams before," says Mikey, trying not to push up into Gerard's touch.

Gerard smirks and presses his hands down. Mikey arches up and whimpers involuntarily. "So how does it compare?"

"Shut up. If it was so important to you to be first, you should have done this earlier."

"Mmm. Still not just my fault," says Gerard and leans down to lick at Mikey a little, swiping his tongue between his fingers.

"Oh god," says Mikey breathlessly, "that's... really sensitive, oh my god."

"Gotta clean you up. Make you a blank canvas for later," murmurs Gerard and licks up the rest of the come carefully while Mikey gasps and writhes under him. Then he sits up, wipes his hand on the sheets, and grins at Mikey. "So."

Mikey smiles back. He feels tingly and warm even though Gerard is barely touching him. He says, "Come up here," and Gerard goes, stretching up above him in one flowing movement. His hair falls in Mikey's face and Mikey shivers.

"Hey," whispers Gerard and brushes a thumb under Mikey's eyes. Mikey can feel wetness there. "Okay?"

Mikey closes his eyes and nods, tilting his face up minutely, and feels Gerard's lips where his thumb was.

"Mikey," Gerard says quietly into his skin. His lips catch on Mikey's lashes. "Mikey," and Mikey feels his soul hammer against his ribcage, reaching for his brother. He wraps his arms around Gerard, pulling him closer. "Anything else you wanna tell me?"

Mikey cranes his neck and finds Gerard's mouth by feel. He kisses Gerard slowly, softly, slipping in his tongue, trying to remember how now that he's less desperate to just be close. Lips and taste and breath are distracting, and he makes a frustrated noise and pulls back. Gerard follows him down and takes over the kiss, smiling into Mikey's mouth and stroking Mikey's throat with his hands. Mikey can suddenly feel the quiet rhythmic echo of his own pulse and his throat contracting and expanding under Gerard's fingers with every breath. He can't help but moan into Gerard's mouth, wrap his legs around Gerard's and pull him closer in just to feel Gerard's cock slide against his stomach, heavy and smooth, lighting up dead nerves.

"Hey," whispers Mikey into Gerard's mouth and brings his hands up to cover Gerard's. "Can you, uh, harder."

Gerard jerks and pulls back to look into Mikey's face.

"Just a little bit," Mikey says and watches the look of concentration on Gerard's face. Gerard squeezes gently and Mikey's pulse thuds in his throat. Mikey swallows just to feel his throat move under the steady presence of Gerard's hands.

Gerard exhales and slowly draws his thumb over the throbbing line of the artery. "What do you like about this?" he asks intently, trailing his finger lower and pushing it into the hollow at the base of Mikey's neck.

"What do you think?" asks Mikey breathlessly. "You know what."

Gerard shakes his head. "You're alive, Mikey, you don't have to prove it to yourself."

Mikey rolls his eyes and arches, exposing more of his neck, begging for contact. "Thanks. Or maybe I just get off on this, at least if you'd just get on with it, come on."

Gerard wriggles a little, making Mikey squirm, and settles over Mikey's hips. "More on your neck?"

"Yeah," says Mikey, "more of everything. God, I want to touch you too, Gerard, you're still hard, I can feel it."

Gerard covers Mikey's throat with his palm again and runs it firmly down Mikey's neck and down his chest. "Yeah, you can touch me. We can do everything. You can do anything you want to me," he croons and rakes his nails down Mikey's chest. Hot sharp trails of pain appear beneath his nails and disappear in their wake, and Mikey misses the pain desperately when Gerard takes his hands away, until Gerard slaps his palms down with a ringing smack and Mikey feels like his chest is on fire.

"Fuck. Fuck, do that again. Harder. "

Mikey feels Gerard's cock jerk at that. There's a wet spot where the tip is leaking against Mikey's stomach, and Mikey can't help lifting up on one elbow to look. Gerard is fucking gorgeous. Mikey sees he's hard again, too, dick leaking just half an inch away from Gerard's, so he shifts a little to let their cocks touch and bites his lip against a whimper.

"This is interesting," murmurs Gerard.

"What's interesting?" asks Mikey. "Are you gonna scratch me again? I don't have all day."

"I love it when you get bossy," says Gerard and scratches Mikey again, nails digging deeper and sharper into Mikey's skin, and slaps his palms down again, making Mikey cry out. "This is hot. I want to spend forever jerking you off, touching your dick and taking my hand away. Wanna make you wait."

"I won't let you unless you fucking do what I say now," promises Mikey. "Do it again, come on."

Gerard rakes his nails down Mikey's chest again and Mikey can barely breathe from the pain. He wants Gerard, wants Gerard's cock in his hand, finally, so he reaches out and strokes his palm over it, then wraps his hand around it and squeezes. Gerard keens. "Oh god, Mikey," he gasps, "come on, more."

Mikey lets go instead and runs a fingertip up and down the length of it, feeling the catch of callus on smooth skin, then wraps his hand around it again and strokes, trying to remember how he did it for Pete.

He looks up at Gerard. He's biting his lip and looking down at his dick sliding through Mikey's fist. His hair is clinging to his face in sweaty strands and Mikey feels a rush of affection he doesn't know how to deal with except get closer. "Hey," he says, putting his other hand on the curve of Gerard's ass -- Gerard's ass, god -- and urging him to move forward, "come on, scoot up," and Gerard goes. Mikey's cock slides into the crook of Gerard's inner thigh, slicked with sweat and precome, and Mikey just wants Gerard all over him. "Don't stop," Mikey gets out. "Mark me up."

Gerard groans and obeys, scratches and twists Mikey's nipples as Mikey speeds up his hand on his cock. A few pulls and Gerard is coming, splattering hot stripes of come on Mikey's chest. With Gerard's come on the welts, Mikey's chest is burning up without Gerard even touching him. Gerard slumps over facefirst onto Mikey's sternum.

"Ew," says Mikey. "That's gross even for you."

"Says the guy who just made me come on him," Gerard says in a muffled voice. He rolls his hips and makes a little pained noise, "You're gonna have to do the work here. I need a minute."

Mikey grabs Gerard's ass for leverage and thrusts up, pulling Gerard down to meet him, his cock sliding between Gerard's thighs and bumping into his balls. Gerard shudders above him and moans loudly, a full-on porn moan, digs his nails into Mikey's sides, and Mikey's eyes roll in the back of his head.

"Fuck," Gerard gasps. "So good. I want to do this to you, wrap myself around you from behind, make you feel it all. I love that you want me, Mikey, love that you came to me."

Mikey keeps moving. The position isn't great and he can feel he could be getting more friction if he rolled Gerard over and went for it, but he doesn't want perfect when he has fucking amazing, Gerard heavy on top of him, in his arms and between his legs.

Mikey moans at the thought and slides his hands over Gerard's ass, pulling him in hard and slipping his fingers into the cleft, and that makes Gerard groan this loud uhhhhhh, mouth open and pressed against the center of Mikey's chest, and Mikey suddenly feels his heart pound once, twice under it and shoots between Gerard's thighs.

He lies back gasping and squeezing Gerard's thighs closed just to keep that perfect sensation of hot wet slick on his dick for a little longer. "Fuck me," he gets out, giving another little thrust. "That's." Maybe he could do that until he got hard again so he could fuck Gerard's thighs some more.

Gerard rolls his hips a little and groans. "Maybe not right now. After a nap." He's still propping his head up on Mikey's chest.

"You know, if you keep doing that, your face is gonna stick that way " says Mikey conversationally, trying to catch his breath.

"Ha ha, you're hilarious. Fuck." He peels his forehead off Mikey's chest and sits up. "This is fucking modern art right there," he comments, dragging a finger through the mess on Mikey's chest.

"No pictures for your portfolio. It's a hard limit," says Mikey firmly.

The right half of Gerard's face is completely smeared and the left is completely red. Mikey fights a smile and sits up with Gerard straddling his lap. He reaches out to touch and kiss Gerard's face and then pulls back a little and looks Gerard up and down. Gerard's thighs are even more of a disaster area and Mikey can't resist it, snakes a hand between them and strokes up and down, sensation shifting between soft and wet, sticky and warm, cups Gerard's balls and watches Gerard's mouth go slack.

"Stop that," says Gerard. His breath hitches. He takes Mikey's hand and brings it to his mouth, kisses it.

"We can do this now?" asks Mikey, because he needs to know.

Gerard bites the edge of Mikey's palm, quick and sharp. "Yeah, we can."

 

2010

At thirty, Mikey knows his bass enough to play by memory. And every night, when Gerard puts one hand over Mikey's heart and the other on his neck, Mikey falls asleep to the feeling of his heartbeat echoing through his body.