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"There they are!" Ms. Iero's smile greets them as soon as they're through the door. They both drop their bags on her welcome mat, and Gerard watches as Frank gets enveloped in his mom's arms, face buried in the crook of her neck.

Gerard is next, and he accepts the hug only with minimal freaking out. It's been getting easier over the years, of course, but they've been touring so long, it feels like decades since he's last been in this house, or his own mom's, for that matter.

"Gerard," she says when they both pull away, her smile as big and infectious as Frank's. They've got the same eyes, too, and that's what finally thaws Gerard out.

"Ms. Iero," he smiles back, then jumps when she gives him a tiny smack on the head.

"I've got a name, use it," she admonishes and Gerard nods like an idiot, doing his best to ignore Frank's huge smirk over his mother's shoulder.

"Uhm, okay… Linda." He sounds like a kid, but he can't help it, he feels like one. She just nods, reverting back to her genial self, and turns to Frank.

"Frankie, go put your bags in your room. If you need a shower or anything, you're both welcome, but I've got dinner ready to go, if you're hungry."

Gerard can't help laughing at the way Frank lights up. "I can take really fast showers!" he announces before taking off to his old room, already stripping on the way, and leaving Gerard and Frank's mom to stare in his wake awkwardly, Frank's bags still at their feet.

"Would you like something to drink, dear?"

"Yes, please."

*

She knows enough to give him soda, not beer or any other kind of booze, but at least it gives him something to do while he sits in Ms. Iero's bright kitchen, with its slightly peeling walls, and watches her switch out forks on the table for the billionth time.

Frank, that fucker, has been in the shower for what feels like hours. Gerard wouldn't mind a shower of his own, if only to get a moment to himself, but he doesn't want to seem ungrateful or hold up dinner any longer.

"So, Gerard," Ms. Iero finally says, turning towards him and tipping herself a helping of red wine. "You don't mind, do you?" she asks, her eyebrows drawn in quick concern. "I mean, Frankie says you're fine, but –"

"Oh, no, no, it's cool, you can – yeah." Gerard grimaces and tries to pretend he's a lot less awkward than he actually is. He's been on tour with a bunch of boozers for months now. He can certainly handle the presence of the glass of red wine Frank's mom is about to enjoy. He never even liked red wine. It was never quick enough.

"Thank you, dear. I don't normally indulge, but it's the holidays, you know. Anyway, how are you, how have you been?" Her tone is so warm and inviting, it makes Gerard miss his own mom. Of course, Don and Donna are in Hawaii right now, living it up under the UV rays and amongst pineapples or whatever the hell, but he thinks maybe he'll call them tomorrow, it being Thanksgiving and all.

"Good, you know," he offers, taking too big a sip of his Coke, wincing as the carbonation burns his nostrils. "Busy, and we haven't had a break for two weeks straight, so…"

"A little tired, huh?" she smiles, and then gestures towards him. "And writing your comic book, too, right? I know, Frankie's been telling me about it," she adds when Gerard looks up at her, kind of startled.

"Yeah, I – it's been, you know, kind of cool, I guess."

"Oh, don't be so modest, it's doing pretty well! I admit, I know very little about that kind of thing," she says, waving a hand in the air, "but I thought it was very interesting, anyway. You've got a style, as they say," she smiles and Gerard knows he's gaping like a fish, but seriously. Frank's mom reading Umbrella Academy is not something he's ever actually pictured. He quickly tries to remember and then loses count of the number of times he used the word "fuck" in it.

"Uh, well, thanks," he says feebly, and then he's saved by the shuffle of feet as Frank finally saunters into the room, his hair still damp, pajamas already on. Fucker.

"What's for dinner?" he asks brightly, like he hadn't left Gerard to fend for himself for half an hour. He gives his mom a quick peck on the cheek, then puts a hand on her shoulder as she makes to get up. "I'll get it! Oh man, it's nice to be in a human-sized kitchen," he says dreamily and walks over to the stove. Gerard just throws him a dirty look with no real heat behind it.

*

Gerard is scraping the last of the chili from his bowl when they hear the front door open and close. He catches sight of Ms. Iero's quick smile before she gets up and hurries out into the hall, and then looks at Frank. Robert is not such a new development that it's a shock, his coming in without notice, but Gerard guesses that Frank hasn't exactly had time to give it much thought, what with touring and worrying about where to hole up every full moon. He doesn't look upset, though, so Gerard just waits.

"Boys," Robert says as he makes his way into the kitchen, stooping a little. He's tall and gangly, the opposite of Frank's dad, and from the looks of it, kind of nervous, too. Gerard greets him with a smile and a wave, because he is, apparently, five, but he's also busy watching Frank, who jumps up so fast, his chair nearly spins out from underneath him, and extends his hand.

"Hey, Robert!"

They both look like two polite sheepdogs circling each other, and Gerard wishes he could be anywhere else, because the politeness is sucking all the air from the room. Linda is hovering behind Robert, looking a lot more flustered than Gerard's seen her in a while.

"I can't believe you're still awake, the schedule you've been keeping!" Robert says instead of a greeting, and then shocks everyone – probably, by the looks of it, even himself – by pulling Frank into a hug, hand-first. Gerard catches Frank's eye as Frank awkwardly pats Robert on the back, turning a satisfying shade of red.

"Yeah, well, Mom made dinner, so –"

"Of course, of course," Robert huffs, letting Frank go. "Well, I was just –" he turns so he's facing Ms. Iero. "I ate at work, another late night, but I wouldn't mind a beer, I think."

Ms. Iero gives him a "go right ahead" kind of gesture and finally takes a seat again, shooing Frank back into his. Another kind of awkwardness descends on them until Gerard accidentally-on-purpose yawns and pushes the bowl away.

"This was really delicious, thank you, Ms.- Linda," he says, getting up and almost tripping over the table. The table stabs him in the hip in retaliation. "Uh – d'you mind if I take a quick shower?"

"Of course not, dear –"

"You're showering?" Frank pipes up.

"Fuck you!" Gerard feels himself turn bright red while Frank laughs at him, and then practically runs out of the kitchen after throwing Linda a quick apologetic smile.

Two years away from thirty, and this house still makes him feel like a teenager.

*

He can hear quiet voices coming from the living room, the lights turned down low. He considers going in for a moment, then decides everybody is best left alone where they are. He busies himself with unpacking some of the essentials as he sits on the floor – underwear, socks, latest Batman issue, markers, sketchpad.

He leaves Mikey a voicemail that will land somewhere in the Midwest. Alicia's family is big on Thanksgiving, apparently, and they're so new together. Gerard misses him.

He re-pockets his phone and looks around. Frank's room hasn't changed much since they were kids. There are maybe fewer posters on the wall, and the bedspread's new. Clearly, Frank hadn't been the one to pick it out – it's got giant purple flowers and red leaves on it. It's pretty horrible, but back when they were kids, the bed used to be a twin.

The queen strains the walls a bit, filling the small space the way it's never felt before. Gerard shuffles up to the door, still on his knees, and stills until he can make out the three voices chatting. He can't hear the conversation, but he does a one-two kind of shuffle right there on the floor before finally deciding that indecision is the better part of valor, getting on the bed, and leafing through the Batman issue until it slips from his hands and he falls asleep, right there on the ugliest bedspread known to man, the book Frank never managed to finish last time he was home staring at him from the nightstand.

*

Frank nudges him awake, and Gerard jerks up. It's dark everywhere, so it must be fucking late. He'd actually meant to only doze and come out when he was ready, but…

"Tired, huh?" Frank whispers, breath hot over Gerard's face. He's being a total pain in the ass, too, kneeing Gerard in the thighs and shins as he settles down, tugging the blankets onto them both.

"Ugh," Gerard grimaces and buries his face in the pillow where it's wet from his drool. "Sorry, I didn't mean to – everything good?"

"Huh?" He's pretty sure Frank is laughing at him.

Gerard sighs and rolls back onto his side, more awake and aware now. He never shut the curtains earlier, so the darkness that enveloped them a moment ago dissipates into softer dark, the kind that includes dim streetlights and occasional car beams.

Frank is smiling, one hand under his cheek. "It's a bed, Gee," he whispers. "Look at this shit!"

Before Gerard has a chance to process what's so exciting about this, Frank climbs right on top of him and spreads out his body until it's covering Gerard's as much as it can. Gerard oofs and laughs too loudly for the dark before grunting and attempting to shove Frank off. It's kind of a losing battle, though.

"Shouldn't you want all your own space, then?" he asks instead as Frank presses him down and nudges Gerard's chin out of the way to get at his collarbone. He's just such a wolf sometimes.

"I want our own space," Frank informs him, his voice quiet and muffled. "Haven't been able to fuck you properly for months."

Gerard's dick responds to that quicker than his brain does. It's fucking embarrassing, really, how well Frank's got him trained at this point. He tries to cover it up somehow, in any way, but Frank's got the advantage on him. He's already felt it.

"Oh, yeah, you want it," he breathes, and even in the semi-dark, Gerard can see the gleam of his smile when Frank leans out enough to flash it. "Want it right now, Gee?" Frank whispers, his breath ghosting over Gerard's lips.

Gerard squeezes his eyes shut and feels all the exhaustion in his body get drowned out by the pull of Frank, his body, primed and ready. "What about your mom and – what if they hear?"

Frank smiles wider and says, "Just means we have to be very, very quiet." Then he leans back until he's straddling Gerard's hips and strips out of his shirt, his skin bright and pale. "Yeah?"

Gerard has to bite down on his pillow to keep quiet as Frank fucks him. Last month he'd scratched Gerard's hips so hard while they fucked, he'd actually been left with bruises, even after the scratches had healed, and even now, Gerard can feel the tenderness of his skin under Frank's knowing grip. When Frank is close, he bends over him and breathes in tight little gasps against Gerard's back, sending shuddering shivers all down his skin. Gerard's on fire, suffocating on Frank, his dick moving inside Gerard, his knees spreading Gerard's legs so wide, it hurts. In the blur of the moment, he thinks, such a whore for him, then thinks, fuck yes, then whispers, "love you, fuck, fuck yeah, love this so much," and Frank bites down on his shoulder blade as he comes inside him, triggering Gerard into an uncontrollable tailspin of an orgasm. He manages to catch the groan before it leaves his throat and almost chokes on it, his body shuddering and losing the same battle it's always done when it comes to Frank.

And, as always, Frank is the one to gently roll him over afterwards, get a washcloth out of his dresser, and clean up the mess they've both made. He kisses Gerard's hips gently as he swipes at his own come between Gerard's legs, then at Gerard's, splattered down his belly.

Gerard hums and allows it to happen before Frank nudges him back into the wall and settles beside him. Their kiss in the dark transforms into a dream about chasing the sun out in the desert and Gerard only wakes up in the morning.

*

Thanksgiving Day is, all in all, quieter than Gerard might have anticipated. Or, at least, less crazy. No one comes to blows, and now that Robert is in the picture, the fact that Melanie and her daughter are present, fazes no one at all. Frank's dad gives them both huge smiles and hugs, his arms lingering around Frank for a long, drawn-out moment.

When Gerard catches Frank coming out of the bathroom, they exchange a kiss, Frank looking happy, his joy uncomplicated and bright.

"Hey, no hanky-panky," Frank's uncle says when he catches them at it the next minute.

"Ugh," Frank responds, not letting Gerard away from the wall quite yet. "You're one to talk," he adds, grinning as his uncle passes them, rolling his eyes.

"I've been married twenty years, kid. I got rights to some hanky-panky."

"We've been hanky-pankying for ten," Frank throws back and laughs as his uncle slaps his hand over his eyes and groans.

"I don't gotta know this, kid, just let me live in blissful ignorance," he says before disappearing into the bathroom. Gerard thinks he must be ten shades of red by now, but Frank just laughs and gives him another kiss before finally letting him go. "If that guy wasn't already fucking girls at sixteen, then I don't know my family."

*

The house is so quiet now that everybody's gone. Robert, who worked up until the last moment before the party, is upstairs already, probably asleep. Frank's ensconced in the shower. Gerard thinks that if it weren't for natural hunger instincts and whatnot, Frank would spend the majority of his time under running hot water. What a weirdo, really.

When Gerard shuffles into the living room, the only person there is Linda. She's in the recliner Frank had gotten her a few years ago, the glass of red beside her halfway full. Or halfway empty? Gerard gets caught up thinking about that for a moment before she notices him and says, "Have a seat, honey. Long day, huh?"

Half-empty, he decides upon hearing her warm and tired tone. She's definitely just on the right side of tipsy, and he obeys her command without thought, taking up a seat on the couch across from her.

"Get yourself a Coke, baby, stay a while," she says, but he waves her off, smiling a bit awkwardly.

"Nah, I'm okay."

"Okay," she agrees, nodding. "How was the turkey? Frank's no use, having his lasagna, but I like a good turkey on Thanksgiving, you know?"

Gerard, feeling kind of weird about being alone with her, rushes to reassure her. "It was great! Yeah, it was – it was really good."

"Not too dry, right? I hate a dry turkey," she says, her nose wrinkling.

"Nope, definitely moist enough," he nods.

"Good."

She sighs as she takes a small sip. "I'm indulging a bit this weekend, so I'm a little tipsy," she says and gives him a quick apologetic smile. "Goes right to my head, this wine." She squints at the bottle next to her, turning it to see the label better. "Not that it's such a great thing, of course," she says once she's studied it in detail. "Look at you, clean and sober. We're all very proud of you, you know." She lifts her gaze to Gerard and he wants to disappear through the floor. Being a fuck-up is one thing, but being a fuck-up who nearly fucked up two lives and having everybody know it, is somehow very different.

Weirdly, there's no reproach in her look, just a soft kind of sadness, maybe. But she's smiling at him.

"Uhm, tha- thanks," he manages to cough up before running his hand through his hair and looking away. He can still hear the shower running. Damn Frank.

She nods and sighs. "Listen, Gerard. I wanted to – well. I wanted to talk to you."

"Yeah?" Gerard's brain runs through immediate possibilities – does she want them to break up? Have kids? It's definitely much too late for the birds and the bees, and anyway, shouldn't she be talking to Frank about all of this? His pits and his balls go itchy the next second, and he crosses his legs, fiddling with the threads of his ripped jeans. Maybe she wants him to dress better.

"Oh, don't look so stressed, I'm not scary, am I?" she smiles, teasing.

Gerard manages to crack an uncomfortable smile back and shakes his head, aware of how easily she's learned to read him. His throat is dry, though, so he doesn't actually say anything.

She seems to understand, because the next moment she says, "No, I'm not here to tell you off. I wanted to –" she breaks off and Gerard watches as she takes a long sip of her wine. Then she sets the glass down carefully on the end table and rearranges the afghan across her lap. It takes him much too long to figure out that she's nervous, too.

"Yeah?" he finally asks, too weirded out by Linda Iero, the consummate adult, being nervous about anything.

"I wanted to thank you," she says in a rush and fixes her gaze on him. Gerard goes hot and cold all over. What? "I just – I look at him, and…" She trails off, looking away, so clearly on the verge of tears, Gerard has absolutely no idea what to do.

Frank's mom is thanking him. Him, Gerard, who almost fucked things up beyond repair. It's been a few years, but the bright feeling of shame has never fully left him; one reminder, and his belly goes up in flame from it, writhing inside, ready to spring up at any moment.

He still finds himself, on the nights when Frank isn't with him, wondering if it's just the one reason that Frank hasn't left him yet, or if honestly wants to stay. He knows it's dumb, he knows the truth.

He just isn't so sure he'd have made the same choice.

"Linda –" he starts, but she turns back to him, eyes blinking rapidly, and holds up her hand.

"No, wait, let me – I just." She pauses and takes a deep breath, then takes another careful sip of her wine. "You have to know I never expected him to be – happy. Me, the eternal optimist, and here's my son, a – a –"

Gerard bites his lip and nods, giving her an out. She spreads out her free hand and gives a hollow kind of laugh, shaking her head. "I mean, who'd believe it, right? I know that everyone goes through growing pains, but he was just such an unhappy boy, you know? So unlucky. First sick all the time, then…" She pauses to take another, bigger, sip. Gerard looks down at the torn knee of his jeans and fiddles with the thread some more. He remembers. "His dad wasn't really…around, you know. He's made amends since then, but it's a lot easier to love your kid when he's thousands of miles away touring."

Gerard kind of jerks in surprise. He has never, in his whole time of knowing Linda, heard her say a negative word about Frank's dad. "Yeah?"

She shrugs. "Frank's grown up now. He's got a career, he's got you, he's – he's happy. Of course it's easier to call every once in a while, or text, or email, without being expected to show up every other weekend and entertain or comfort him. Don't tell Frankie I said that, though," she rushes to add and glances over at the doorway so quick, Gerard almost misses it. "He worships the ground his father walks on."

Gerard frowns down at his knees again. Frank does and he doesn't, but Gerard is definitely certain of one thing. "He does you, too," he says quietly.

When he dares to look up, she's smiling down at her own lap. "I know."

They sit quietly for a moment, Gerard wishing his body would just stop itching already.

"Anyway, he just never thought of his future," she goes on. "I'd try to get him to look at colleges, of course, since, you know…"

"Eternal optimist?" Gerard asks despite himself.

"Exactly," she smiles back. "I knew it wouldn't work, but I thought – I thought, if I at least get him on the path, you know, just get him to start thinking as if he's got a future…" When she trails off this time, Gerard knows to look away, and watches the family pictures over the fake fireplace. Frank hates it, thinks it's ridiculous that his mom even got it installed, but Gerard thinks he understands. It definitely makes for a nice place to hang portraits.

"Well, anyway." Her voice is a bit thick when she speaks again, but she clears her throat and continues. "Then, you came along."

His ears burn, and he tries to make out the sound of the shower beneath her voice, but can't tell if Frank's done in there yet or not.

"And you changed everything, Gerard," she says quietly. He looks up and meets her gaze guiltily.

It hadn't been his plan. He thinks he fell for Frank the first time he met him, but he never thought they'd stick it out; he'd thought that Frank would run. At first, he'd thought that it would be Frank.

Later, he realized it might have been him.

"I know, you know… That life isn't perfect for you two, I know it's hard. I know the band's getting bigger, you're tired and stressed and – he tells me things, you know?"

Oh God. What has Frank told her?

Gerard drops his gaze again and doesn't even bother covering up his embarrassment; he's just never been good at hiding this shit. That was always half the problem.

Had Frank told her how Gerard bottomed out, fucked up on booze, and coke, and people? Stared at the slippery slope and slid down it like it was a fucking water slide; pushed and shoved at his band until Frank, Frank, walked out on him and decided to start getting his own back.

About the night they figured out that the only person Frank could get it up for was Gerard?

Probably not.

Had Frank told her about the bender Gerard had gone on, he wonders, when he found out that Frank had hooked up with a drummer, but couldn't follow through?

Well, Gerard sure as hell did; tried to, anyway. Warped had been a goddamn mess.

It took a while for Mikey, for the band to forgive him for what happened; it took Gerard even longer to begin to forgive himself.

Gerard catches her eye again. She's giving him a kind smile, sweet, really, but he tries to dissect it. He and Frank were like a fucking car wreck for a while there, speeding towards a cliff with no brakes.

Gerard had never before stopped to consider whether or not he had commitment issues, but they found him all the same. He loved Frank, always had; and the extent of it wound up scaring the shit out of him.

"I can see you're beating yourself up right now," she says bluntly. "But you're okay now, aren't you?"

Gerard bites his lip and nods. That much is true. It took weeks, months of him drying out, pleading forgiveness for being a fuck-up; of nightmares about what life without Frank would be, before they could be them again. It took a long time for the hurt in Frank's eyes to dissipate, for the trust to return.

Gerard couldn't have done it without Mikey by his side; couldn't have done it if Frank hadn't been so very much fucking…Frank.

"Well, then, stop squirming, honey. He wouldn't be here right now if you weren't. He never liked making me unhappy, you know?"

Gerard nods again, then looks up and smiles. Time to man up. "I guess it's – you know, it's hard to remember what I'd… I mean, I don't even know what I was thinking." He doesn't, that's the kicker. They were fucking kids back then. Such stupid fuck-ups.

"We all make mistakes, we're only human," she replies after a while. "But you didn't run away, did you? That's what – that's what I'm trying to say. You stayed, and here you both are."

He realizes that – of course. Of course that's what she'd been scared of. And it was the same thing that had scared Frank all those years ago, plagued him worse than he let on. He'd find someone, and they would run the other way from him. But Gerard knew that. Knew, and still fucked up.

He stopped chasing his own tail when he hit bottom. When he woke up one day to find Mikey standing over him, his mouth a thin line across his pale, skinny face. When he led Gerard to Frank's makeshift bunker and opened up the hatch, Gerard doubled over right there and retched, the booze and drugs the only shit left in his system.

Frank was unconscious, and he was covered in blood. Some caked, some fresh. Gerard remembers the gash across his ribs the most – a vivid, wet red, seeping more red onto his battered, bruised skin, right under the heart.

When his mate had threatened to leave, the wolf had punished Frank worst of all.

"I love him," he blurts out suddenly, unable to catch himself before it's out.

"I know you do," she replies calmly and gives him another wistful smile. "You always have. I knew."

"You did?" What a dumb question, but he can't stop himself at all anymore, apparently. He'd never talked to anyone about what happened apart from the guys, apart from Frank. Not even his mom knows the whole story.

Linda shrugs and reaches for her wine again. Gerard thinks, funny how she'd asked him about the wine bothering him; alcohol had never been the problem; not the main one, anyway. Just a way of excusing everything else. "Of course. You're not the subtle type."

He laughs despite himself and feels awkward, running a hand through his hair. "D'you mind if I just grab myself a soda?"

She shakes her head, and he escapes to the dark kitchen, moving the leftovers out of the way in the fridge to get to the Cokes. He opens the can standing in the middle of the floor, letting the fizz of it soothe him until his heartbeat stops being so goddamn loud.

When he gets back, she's topped off her glass. For a tiny lady, she can sure put away that wine.

She takes another sip, then lowers the glass, and watches him settle in, Coke in hand. "Not flat, is it?"

He shakes his head, feeling like a kid all over again. "Nope, it's great."

"Good." She pauses and tilts her head. "Anyway, I just – I wanted to thank you. For all you've done for him."

Gerard blinks and takes a sip of his own drink. He kind of wishes he had coffee, but he's not about to go rummaging through her kitchen and making a racket. Maybe he and Frank can go for a late-night coffee run, though. He saw a Starbucks had opened up on the main road close to their street.

"You're welcome," he finally manages, and his voice comes out weird and quiet and husky. "He's –"

"There's my boy!" she pipes up cheerfully, and Gerard nearly upsets his drink, he whips around that fast. Frank is standing in the doorway, wearing his worn-out pajama pants and one of their homemade logo shirts he's never gotten rid of. His hair is dark and still dripping, soaking into the shirt. He's grinning at his mom, and when he throws Gerard a look, it's a look. A we're talking later look. Gerard squirms in his seat. Shit, motherfucker. Had he heard?

"What are you two chatting about?" Frank asks cheerfully and saunters into the room, dropping onto the other side of the couch from Gerard. "Hope it's me."

"Of course," Linda rolls her eyes, and doesn't even look at Gerard. At least that makes two of them. He wants that coffee so bad. "Want a Coke or anything, baby?"

"Nah, I'm cool," Frank responds easily and shifts until he's got all of himself on the couch, one foot nudging Gerard in the thigh. Gerard mock-swats at him, but can't help grinning back at him, watching Frank's face.

It hadn't been until they'd gotten Frank up and cleaned off and back in his bunk, carefully, trying not to jar all the places he was hurt, that Gerard, wedged into the far end of the bunk, realized: regardless of nature, he'd mated for life, too.

And from that, he didn't run.

*

"So, seriously, what was she talking to you about?" Frank asks curiously, eyes on the road. They pass the first Starbucks, but Gerard knows Frank has a favorite. He watches the street pass them by and turn into another, then shrugs, relaxing back into the seat.

"You."

"Seriously?" Frank looks at him, surprised. "Was she asking you stuff?"

Gerard runs a hand over his mouth and wonders how much to tell. "Not really, no," he finally answers. "More like… I don't know, guess she was happy."

"Huh." Frank drives in silence for a while, until he pulls into the strip mall lot and kills the engine. He undoes his seatbelt, but doesn't budge, so Gerard mirrors him, sitting quietly in his own seat. "C'mere," Frank finally whispers, but Gerard knows what will be easier.

"You come here," he says, and pulls at Frank until he complies, small frame fitting over Gerard's lap easily. Frank winces at the glove compartment digging into his back, and Gerard's thighs are killing him from the extra weight, but when Frank leans in and kisses him, he stops caring.

You would think they were still teenagers, but it doesn't matter; it fucking feels amazing. Gerard cradles Frank's head in his palms, fingers running through the hair that Frank has grown out in the last few months. It's silky smooth from the shower, because he's a girl who actually conditions his hair, and Gerard gets lost in the feel of it in his grasp. When Frank grinds down against him, Gerard gasps and pulls away.

"Fuck."

"Mmm, why'd you stop…" Frank's eyes are still closed, and he leans back in, breathing harshly against Gerard's mouth.

"We'll fucking get arrested," Gerard pants. "They'll know who we are, too," he says as the realization hits him. They're in Jersey, someone's bound to recognize them. "I don't want that fucking headline."

Frank sighs and leans away until he's resting against the dash. "Ugh, fine. D'you wanna get that coffee?"

It takes a while for them to clamber out of the car, and Gerard doesn't believe it until he's fruitlessly pulling on the door, like the lights being off and the huge sign saying Closed Thanksgiving Day aren't enough to clue him in.

"Seriously?"

Frank is laughing next to him, leaning against the locked door. His eyes are really bright like that, reflected in the street lamps, as if they're glowing. Without thinking, Gerard looks up at the sky, but it's cloudy. He doesn't need to look, anyway; he always knows.

Frank's laughter stops and he tugs on Gerard's jacket. "C'mere."

"No wonder the lot's empty," Gerard complains, but complies, anyway.

Frank shrugs. "I'll make you coffee at home, if you want."

Gerard wrinkles his nose and shrugs. "Nah, it's all right. We should sleep, anyway. I just wanted to, I don't know…"

"Get a little air?"

"Yeah."

It's cold, and in the time since they'd gotten out of the car, their noses have reddened with it. It's a pleasant sort of shock when he feels Frank's against his own, and then their lips meet. What number kiss is this, he wonders briefly, absurdly, before forgetting to think of the answer.

It doesn't matter; it's never gonna be their last.

***