Frank tucks his knees up to his chest and wriggles onto his side so that he's completely under the table, packed in on three sides by boxes. On the fourth side, James Dewees's enormous hairy hobbit feet are poking him in the ass. He skinned the heels of his hands crawling under the table in the first place, his jeans are covered in dirt, and he's hiding from Pete Wentz under the Reggie & the Full Effect merch table. It is not his fucking finest moment.
His phone buzzes in his pocket and he jerks in surprise, elbowing James in the shin. "Ow, fuck," Dewees yells, and then shoves his chair back and sticks his head under the table. "What the fuck, Frank?"
"Shut up," Frank hisses, rolling onto his other side. "I'm hiding."
James rolls his eyes, "No, seriously, what the fuck?" He puts one hand on the ground and contorts into a Deweesian pretzel, straightening his legs and bending his neck so that he can keep staring at Frank. Frank takes small comfort in the fact that the teenagers walking by the merch table have a really great view of James's ass in pink cutoff sweatpants.
"You can't talk to me," Frank explains, not at all patiently, "that negates the purpose of hiding under the fucking table. Did you not go to motherfucking elementary school?" Some days, there's not much difference between first grade and Warped Tour.
"I sprung full-fledged from my father's head," James says, "but what I want to know is why you are hiding under the fucking table."
This is a fair point. Frank sighs and looks away, up at the scratched underside of the table. "Pete Wentz is after my body."
"Huh." James frowns. "This tour is so weird."
Frank snickers, because James Dewees calling anything weird is fucking surreal. "Yeah."
"Okay, well," James shifts back onto his heels and stands up, leaving Frank staring at his calves again, "Have fun down there."
Frank gives James's legs the finger and digs his phone out of his pocket. The text message is from Gerard, which Frank would know even without the caller ID, because all three words are spelled correctly and the sentence is both capitalized and punctuated: Where are you?
reggie merch, he types back, and, in a rare effort of emphatic capitalization, DON'T TELL ANYONE.
He shoves his phone back into his pocket and sits up, rearranging the boxes to make a little more room under the table. His feet are starting to fall asleep and he hates that; he needs to stretch out his legs, especially if he's going to be here for a while. Maybe he can take a nap, since Fall Out Boy isn't on until three. He's going to get hungry before then, though, unless James takes pity on him and brings him a sandwich, and the chances of that are slim to none. He takes his phone out again and flips through the numbers, fingers skittering absently over the keys. Brian is speed dial six.
"Hey Iero," James says, entirely too loudly, "you have a visitor."
"Seriously, Dewees," Frank hisses, "shut the fuck up." He snaps his phone shut.
James snorts, unrepentant. "Whatever, I'm sending him in." There's a rustling sound—James shoving his chair back and moving away—and Frank sighs and tucks his knees back up. Fitting another person under the table is going to be tricky, unless it's Wentz, and it better fucking not be Wentz.
"Hey Frankie," Gerard says, crawling under the table. There's just enough room for him to squeeze in past Frank, and he fits himself into the empty spaces, sliding his legs under Frank's drawn-up knees and leaning his head against Frank's shoulder. "What the fuck are you doing under the table?"
Frank rolls his eyes and leans into Gerard. "Does Mikey know you're here?"
Gerard shrugs, "I haven't seen him."
"I'm hiding from Pete," Frank admits. "He decided that the way to get back at me for pranking their hotel room yesterday was to come on really strong. I ran away." Gerard snickers, and Frank elbows him in the side, "Don't laugh, Gee, it was terrifying."
"You mean that unlike several thousand teenage girls and my little brother, you don't want to have sex with Pete Wentz?"
Frank shudders, "God, no." It's not that tiny mouthy tattooed guys aren't his type or anything, but— "He's having sex with Mikey."
"Yeah," Gerard agrees. He sounds less upset about it than usual.
"Anyway," Frank adds, "It would just be weird." He turns his face into Gerard's hair, which smells mysteriously and rather pleasantly of hotel shampoo. "He wasn't even really serious, I don't think, but it's Wentz. He's freakishly persuasive." Frank has plenty of freakishly persuasive people in his life already.
"Hmm," Gerard says, "So are you opposed to sex in general, or just sex with Pete?"
Frank jumps, startled, "What? No! I like sex!" Gerard giggles and relaxes infinitesimally against him. "I'm not, like, as fucking obsessed with sex as everybody else on this tour," Frank adds, "because seriously, there is a limit to how many times I want to walk in on various members of my band fucking various members of fucking Fall Out Boy, but I mean, yeah, no, sex is good—" He's babbling, and he bites his lip ring to stop himself. "Sex is good. It's just—you know. This summer. It's weird." It's weird because it isn't last summer, even though he wouldn't repeat last summer for all the tea in motherfucking China.
He can feel Gerard smile against his neck. "It's not bad weird, though," Gerard says thoughtfully, "it's like—I miss Mikey, you know, but maybe—I don't know, Wentz is weird, but he's not, like, evil." Frank snorts, and Gerard giggles again, "No, I mean, really. He means well, I think. I was talking to Patrick, and like, I don't know, maybe it's a good thing. Maybe all the sex is just a manifestation of change. Like, we're happier, so it doesn't have to be uncomfortable and furtive and—and drunk and shit, it can just be—whatever the fuck it is. It's like—it's a different story, maybe. Like the music. Sex is good. I like that." He shifts a little, wrapping one arm around Frank's back.
Frank thinks about his phone in his pocket, and New York, two weeks away. He hasn't called Brian. "Yeah," he says, "It's just been a little overwhelming."
Gerard lifts his head from Frank's shoulder and smiles, gorgeous even in the dusty, refracted light. "I've been thinking," he says, very quietly, "we should have sex."
Frank stares. Gerard's hair is sticking up, flyaway like it only gets the day after he showers, and his eyelashes are very long and very dark. His hand is hot on Frank's back. "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em?" Frank asks, inanely.
Gerard laughs. "That, and I really fucking like you."
"Um," Frank says, still quiet, "I don't—are you—Gee, fuck, what—"
Gerard puts his other hand on Frank's neck, warm and sure. "Gerard," Frank says, lips parting. They're so close that he can feel Gerard's breath on his cheek.
"Hi," Gerard whispers, and sucks Frank's lower lip into his mouth.
Gerard is a casual kisser, open and wet, inquisitive and friendly. Frank knows this from years of stage antics and drunken makeouts and shared space, and he kisses back on instinct, licks his way into Gerard's mouth until Gerard tightens his hand on Frank's neck and slows things down. "What—" Frank tries to ask, but Gerard swallows the question and kisses him carefully, all wicked tongue and focused intent, and Frank gasps into his mouth and thinks, when the hell did that happen?
Gerard bites down on his lip and Frank pushes forward, too fast, hitting his head on the underside of the table and knocking Gerard into a stack of boxes. "Fuck," he says, "Ow, shit, fuck. Gee—" Gerard lets go of Frank's neck and sits up, carefully. "Sorry," Frank says, "sorry, I—fuck."
"What the fuck are you doing down there?" Dewees yells.
"We might have overstayed our welcome." Gerard's cheeks are very pink.
"Yeah, um," Frank says, "Um. Yeah."
"Mikey and Pete have the Fall Out Boy bus, but Bob and Patrick went out for lunch and Ray's in the studio and everybody else is napping or working, so our bus is pretty much free," Gerard says, all in a rush. "Patrick says Pete will be busy for a while, which is actually a lot fucking more than I needed to know about my brother's sex life, but still. Um." He smiles cautiously, suddenly shy. "What do you think?"
Frank thinks that he can't stop staring at Gerard's mouth, and there is no possible way this can end well. "Yeah, okay."
Gerard's smile widens into a grin, and Frank's breath catches. Gerard was drunk, and then Gerard was fragile, and Frank was drunk and worried and scared and careful, and he never thought—but maybe Gerard is right. Maybe all the sex is a symptom of something different, something like change and comfort, or stability, or happiness. He needs to call Brian. "Let's go," he says, and untangles himself from Gerard.
They crawl out from under the table and say goodbye to James, who is signing his name on the arm of a girl in a Reggie t-shirt. "Whatever," James says, waving them off with the end of the sharpie, "your proclivities are your affair."
"I'm not turned on by small enclosed spaces, if that's what you mean," Frank says.
James grins wickedly. "That's not what I've heard."
"Hey—" Frank starts, annoyed, but Gerard puts a hand on his arm and says, "See you later, James," and Frank shuts up and lets Gerard drag him away. They avoid the main grounds, cutting behind stages and through restricted areas until they get to the parking lot. The bus is quiet, and Frank follows Gerard into the back lounge and slides the door shut behind him.
"C'mere," Gerard says from the couch, and Frank blinks, caught in something that is not at all like deja vu. The last time he had sex in this room he was on the phone with Brian, and now Gerard is gazing at him, wide-eyed and hot, achingly familiar and devastatingly sure.
"How long have you been thinking about this?" he asks, a little unsteadily.
Gerard shrugs, "For a while." He sounds embarrassed, but there's still more confidence in his voice than Frank is used to hearing offstage. "It's you, Frank, it's like, how could I not, you know?" He pauses, frowning, "Do you know?"
Frank knows. "I do, but it's still—I—why—" He doesn't quite know how to finish the sentence, so he sits down next to Gerard, instead. Their thighs touch, and Gerard is smiling, and Frank leans over and kisses him. He doesn't know who he thinks he's fooling.
"I think because of pon farr summer," Gerard says, pushing Frank back against the arm of the couch, "like, if it's time for everybody else, why can't it be time for us?" He slides his hands under Frank's shirt and kisses his neck.
"I thought your coping mechanism was to not think about sex," Frank says, shivering under Gerard's hands. "You were being enigmatic and signing tons of fucking t-shirts. Also, even Wentz is not a fucking Vulcan." Gerard laughs, and Frank puts both arms around him, one hand in his hair and one hand on his hip.
"Sometimes it takes me a while to work up to things," Gerard says sheepishly. "Anyway, what the fuck was your coping mechanism?"
Frank freezes, Gerard's fingers on the button of his jeans. "I had phone sex with Brian," he blurts.
Gerard sits up dizzyingly fast, "Motherfucking fuck." He stares down at Frank. "Oh my god, fuck. Brian. Frank—"
"I know," Frank says, "I know, fuck."
"You don't," Gerard says harshly, "You don't know. Fuck, is he—was it okay? I mean, have you. Fuck, Frank, it's Brian."
Frank lets go of Gerard and digs his fingers into this eyes. "It was fucking great, Gerard, it was—it was fucking Brian, what do you think? He wasn't—and I said, when we get to New York, that he and I should—but I think there's always been you."
"Oh hell," Gerard says, slumping forward. Hesitantly, Frank puts his arms around him again. "Shit, Frank, it shouldn't be about me. It should—you and Brian should—I'm not that fucking self-centered."
Frank snorts, half a second of entirely inappropriate laughter. "It's not bad, Gee, I just didn't realize." He strokes one hand down Gerard's back. "Brian's special, but you're fucking special too, and I—"
Gerard lifts his head and Frank stops talking, because Gerard's eyes are dark and haunted and terribly guilty. "What happened?"
"Last summer," Gerard says tightly, "I spent a lot of time on the phone with Brian when I was really fucked up." He looks away, and Frank gets it, suddenly, in a sharp rush of painful clarity.
"He was really good at phone sex," Frank says, slotting the pieces together, "and he was kind of—he was kind of resistant to me returning the favor."
"Yeah," Gerard says bleakly. "I don't remember most of it, but I come off pretty badly in the parts I do remember." He puts his head back down on Frank's shoulder.
"Have you—" Frank starts to ask, but Gerard shakes his head.
"It's better if—there's a lot I don't remember. He never said anything, and I didn't either." His breath is warm on Frank's collarbone. "I'm better, Frankie, I'm—a lot better. But there are some things I don't get to have back."
"I don't think he knows how much we love him," Frank says into Gerard's hair. "I tried to tell him, but I don't think I got through."
"He's Brian," Gerard says, and—yeah, Frank thinks, Brian fucking Schechter.
"What you said earlier," he starts, "about sex being different now," Gerard is warm against him, and he tucks one hand into the small of his back. "That was about Schechter?"
Gerard turns his head to the side and looks up at Frank. "Not entirely. I mean, fuck, like—I can't fix things with Brian. I wish I could, but—and there's you, and you're—I want you, Frank, I want you sober."
"Do you want Brian sober?"
Gerard sighs, breath ghosting over Frank's skin. "Of course I do, fuck."
Frank threads the fingers of his other hand into Gerard's hair. "I'm not sure how I feel about being second best."
"Oh shut up," Gerard says, "Like you don't fucking want him, too." And—oh, Frank thinks, yes, exactly, and then he tugs on Gerard's hair until Gerard lifts his head enough for Frank to kiss him.
"Um," Gerard says. Frank licks across his lips and slides his tongue into Gerard's mouth. Gerard pushes him back down, "Um," he says again, "Okay, yeah, but what about—"
"What if you could fix things with Brian?" Frank asks. Gerard's mouth is red, but his eyes are still haunted. "What if I could fix things with Brian? What if we could both—" He moves his hands down to Gerard's hips and slides his fingers under the waistband of his jeans. "I think not talking about it is worse. He'd do fucking anything for us, Gee, and maybe it's eating him up inside. He needs to know how much he means to us. He needs us to show him." He and Brian and Gerard—they've all been living under the shadow of last summer, but they don't have to; a year is a long fucking time. Gerard's right about that, right about sex being different because they're different, but he's not seeing the whole picture. "It's time to move on, like you said, but we can't move on and leave Brian behind us."
Gerard shakes his head unhappily. "I don't—I told you already, Frankie. I can't. I don't deserve—"
"It's not about you, you fucktard," Frank says, exasperated, "it's about Brian."
Gerard blinks. "But—oh." He sits up, kneeling between Frank's thighs. "You think we could? Really?"
"I think we have a better chance together," Frank says seriously. "I think we should. I think we—"
"Yes," Gerard says, and sticks his hands up Frank's shirt again. Frank arches his back and pulls Gerard down for a kiss. He hasn't quite worked out how they're going to collectively seduce Brian—or whatever the fuck it is they're going to do—but maybe they can figure it out as they go along. Conviction and ingenuity have always worked pretty well for them before.
"Did you just call me a fucktard?" Gerard asks suddenly, breaking the kiss. "What the fuck?"
Frank hooks one leg behind Gerard's back. "Shut up."
Gerard props himself up on his elbows and licks the hollow of Frank's throat. "Make me. Fucktard."
Frank has both hands in Gerard's pants and he knows how to use them. He palms Gerard's ass with one hand and slides the other into his underwear. Gerard is hard under his hand, and his rubs his thumb over the head of his cock. "Shit, Frankie," Gerard says, a little breathlessly.
"C'mon, Gee," Frank growls, suddenly impatient, "clothes."
Gerard nods frantically and tugs his t-shirt off over his head, and Frank takes his hands out of Gerard's pants to help him unzip his jeans. Then he shoves his own jeans down and drops his shirt on the floor while Gerard gets up off the couch to shimmy out of his underwear.
"It kind of sucks that we can't even lock the fucking door," he says, pulling Gerard back down onto the couch. Gerard snorts and straddles his waist, one knee between Frank and the back of the couch and his other foot planted on the floor. Frank's cock brushes up against Gerard's ass, and Frank rethinks the door issue. "Fuck, okay, I don't even fucking care."
"You're an exhibitionist," Gerard agrees, grinding back against Frank's cock.
"I'm really not," Frank says roughly, grabbing onto Gerard's shoulders, "also this is going to be over really quickly if you keep doing that."
Gerard laughs and leans down to kiss him. Frank stops him, one hand over Gerard's mouth, "Lick." Gerard takes a shaky breath and licks the palm of Frank's hand. "Good," Frank says, and kisses him while he gets his hand back around Gerard's cock. He really likes the way it feels in his hand: hot and solid and smooth, and so much better without clothes in the way.
"Fuck," Gerard says, "Frankie, wait, I wanted—"
Frank doesn't let go, "I like this, Gee, don't you like this?"
"I do," Gerard says, far too earnest for the middle of sex, "but I want," he looks embarrassed, again, "I wanted, um, what did you—what did you and Brian—when you were on the phone." His blush goes all the way down his chest. Frank grins, and strokes his fingers down Gerard's cock.
"It went a lot like this," he says, as rough and dirty as he can manage, "he talked, and I jerked off. I let him tell me when to come." He fists Gerard's cock and cups his balls with his other hand, "I said I wouldn't come until he told me I could."
"Jesus," Gerard moans, "Did you—"
"Yeah," Frank says, "yeah, of course. It was Brian, of course I did."
"Frankie—" Gerard gasps, desperate, thrusting forward into Frank's hand and back against his cock.
"Yeah," Frank says, and jerks him off until he comes all over Frank's chest. It doesn't take very long—just a few pulls, and when Gerard throws his head back as he comes, the long line of his throat is devastatingly, shamelessly gorgeous. "After I came," Frank says shakily, "I talked him into letting me return the favor. He took off his pants and got into bed and started jerking off for me."
Gerard shudders above him, coming down. "Fuck," he says, still breathless, "hold that thought." He grabs his t-shirt off the floor and cleans Frank off. "Sorry, I—sorry."
"I don't mind," Frank says, "except—is that shirt clean?" It smells like laundry detergent.
"Um," Gerard says, shifty-eyed. "I did laundry at the hotel."
"Seriously?" Frank shoves his sticky fingers into Gerard's hair and kisses him, "Were you planning ahead?"
"Well," Gerard hedges. "Yes. Kind of. Shut up, it's really not fucking important right now." He drops the shirt and licks his way down Frank's chest, sucking kisses into the naked skin around his tattoos, leaving marks. Frank groans when Gerard bites his nipples, laundry forgotten. "Keep talking," Gerard whispers, "I want to hear the rest."
"Fuck," Frank says, "Okay, he jerked off, and I said—I said I would tease him, use my hand and my mouth but not let him come because—fuck, Gee—because—"
Gerard mouths along the arch of Frank's hip and he shudders, thrusting up into empty air. Gerard is kneeling at his feet, now, backed up against the opposite arm of the couch. "Don't stop," he says.
Frank doesn't stop, "I wouldn't let him come, because I wanted—fuck—I wanted him to fuck me." Gerard kisses the hollow of Frank's other hip, and Frank says, "He came, when I said that I wanted—and I do, I want it for real. I said I wanted to do it for real when we get to New York, but now I want it with you, too."
"Sit up," Gerard says roughly, "I'm going to blow you now."
Frank sits up and Gerard slides off the couch onto his knees. "Fuck, Gee," Frank groans, clutching the arm of the couch, "We have a show—"
"So be careful," Gerard says pointedly, and sucks the head of Frank's cock into his mouth. Frank puts his hands into Gerard's hair, holding on without holding down, and lets Gerard set the pace: slow and gentle and achingly hot. Gerard wraps a hand around the base of Frank's cock, and Frank lets his head fall back against the couch and gasps, breathless, while Gerard takes him apart. "Fuck, Gee."
Gerard hums around his cock—something that sounds suspiciously like a Fall Out Boy song—and Frank grits out a warning, and then another, increasingly desperate until Gerard finally pulls off and says, "Okay, Frankie, okay," and Frank comes.
"Fuck," he says fervently. Then he hauls Gerard back up onto the couch and climbs on top of him.
Gerard laughs, startled and pleased, and puts his arms around Frank's back and shoves his tongue into Frank's mouth. "Hi," Frank says, when they eventually come up for air, "We should probably get dressed." He frowns, "Also, what the fuck was I doing rooming with Cortez last night when we could have been doing that? Do you realize we don't have a hotel night for another six days?"
"That doesn't seem to be stopping anyone else," Gerard says dryly.
Frank kisses Gerard's bare shoulder, "Yeah, but, unlike Pete Wentz, I am not actually an exhibitionist."
"We'll work it out." Gerard turns his head to catch Frank's mouth. "We're doing okay so far."
"I guess we are," Frank agrees, just a little awed, and Gerard grins up at him, wide and bright. Frank kisses the corners of his smile, and then he gets up off the couch and pulls his jeans back on, because there's no sense in tempting fate. Dressed again, they curl up together on the couch. They're not on until the end of the day, so Frank puts his head in Gerard's lap and closes his eyes. He absently considers hunting Pete down and telling him that he's taken, but Wentz would probably see it is as a challenge, and Frank's dance card is full enough. Plus, he's comfortable.
"Frank," Gerard says thoughtfully, fingers carding gently through Frank's hair, "Can I use your phone?"
Frank takes his phone out of his pocket and hands it up to Gerard. "We should take this slow," he warns, without opening his eyes. "It'll be easier in person."
"I know," Gerard says as he dials, "I just want—"
"Yeah." Frank wants to hear Brian's voice, too, because he and Gerard are amazing together, but Brian should be with them.
Gerard kisses Frank quickly, and then there's a faint, wary "Hello," on the other end of the line, and Gerard says, quiet and cautious and warm, "Hey, Brian."
Frank turns his face into Gerard's thigh and listens.