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Sing the Revolution

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Mikey pulls up his foot, his heel against the edge of the bed as he rolls on the stocking. He takes it slow, careful, covering his shin, his knee, half way up his thigh. When the stocking is pulled as high as it goes he runs his hand over the hose, breath quickening at the feel of the delicate material, so smooth against his skin.

Sure all creases are gone he props himself up on his side, taking hold of the clip that hangs from the back of the belt. The clip is tiny, warm from lying against his body, and Mikey attaches it to the edge of the stocking. Unable to resist, he trails his thumb over the lace-trimmed elastic and looks along his body, his teeth digging into his lower lip as he sees the contrast between the black lace and his thigh.

It's a sight that he loves, and he indulges for almost a minute, then sits, needing to fasten the second strap. This one is easier but Mikey still takes his time, loving the ritual of attaching the clip, the snap as it bites down, the way the black of the strap is a match for his panties.

Those are lace-trimmed too, so tiny that each time Mikey marvels they fit him at all. Taking a moment he brushes his hand over his dick, enough for a rush of arousal but no more -- not yet.

Sure the clips are secure he stands in stockings, suspenders and panties, slips his feet into the waiting high heels. They tip his body forward, arching his back and he sways his hips as he walks for his dress.

He's left it lying on Gerard's bed, next to tubes of lipstick and eyeliner, Mikey's brush and gel. Picking it up Mikey slips it over his head and eases it down until it ends at mid-thigh. When he's pulled it into place, the buttons at the front central, the neckline even, the lacy tops of his stockings barely exposed, he takes a step forward.

This is the part Mikey loves, the end result when he can walk and feel free. He's content in his own skin, and when he reaches the mirror he likes what he sees. Someone who looks secure, someone who looks good, someone who looks happy.

~*~*~*~

Frank knew Mikey was going to be his best friend as soon as they met.

He says that sometimes, when they're drunk and giggly, the two of them crowded together in too small of a space. Each time Mikey smiles and pulls Frank into a hug that's all sharp elbows and long fingers and alcohol tinged breath.

~*~*~*~

As always Frank waits outside of the school. His backpack is hanging off one shoulder and he's rocking from foot to foot, energy surging as he's forced to stay still. It's getting close to bell but Frank doesn't move, prepared to wait until the last possible second. Still, he's glad when Mikey appears around the corner and Frank can't help smiling, the day improving within seconds. He launches himself forward and announces. "Superman's a pussy."

"You're a pussy." Mikey looks half asleep and he's limping as he takes out his earbuds and folds himself down onto the nearest empty bench. Bringing up his leg he tugs off his shoe and peels off his sock.

"Gross," Frank says, crowding close and peering at the flap of dead white skin and the raw flesh beneath. "If that got infected your foot would drop off."

"Yeah," Mikey says with a shrug. Slipping his bag from his shoulder he looks inside and takes out a wad of tissue paper. It's dirty and covered with crumbs he shakes off before flattening the tissue out and pressing it against his heel. Holding it in place he covers it with his blood-stained sock.

"If you had a metal foot you could kick people in the face." Frank mimics a kick, barely missing a freshman who shrieks as she jumps to the side. Frank grins wildly and steps backwards when Mikey stands. "Superman should have had metal feet."

"It'd make it harder to fly," Mikey says. He takes a few steps, seemingly satisfied that the tissue is doing its job. "Superman's a pussy."

Frank twists around, falling into place at Mikey's side as they join the crowd streaming into school. "That's what I'm saying. Fucking pussy."

~*~*~*~

Sharing a room is a pain at times, but mostly Gerard loves it.

He likes going to sleep to the sound of Mikey's breathing, the way when he wakes and stumbles into a new day Mikey's right there at his side.

~*~*~*~

Gerard sucks his finger into his mouth and runs his tongue over the droplet of blood.

His fingertips are a mess of tiny red pinpricks, which is cool but also fucking sucks, and he knows he should just give in and buy some kind of thimble. Except that feels a little too much like he's doing real sewing, and right now he tries to kid himself that what he's doing is only for Mikey.

Which it technically is, it's not like Gerard's making himself outfits from scratch, but he has to admit, he enjoys working with material and manipulating it until the clothes fit, matching lines and working with colors until Mikey look the best he can be.

Carefully, Gerard pushes the needle through the strap of the dress, his stitches tiny and even. When he's finished he ties off the knot and sticks the needle in the bat plushie pin cushion and looks at the dress in his lap. This one is different to Mikey's usual. It leaves his shoulders bare and dips low on his chest and Gerard had to talk Mikey into buying it at all, insisting he'd look good when it was finished.

And he will, Gerard knows that, because Mikey always looks good, no matter what he wears. Gerard remembers Mikey's exposed shoulders, the way he walks when he's wearing his heels, last night when he came out of the shower, droplets of water sliding down his bare back. They're memories Gerard holds close, reexamining each one at length when he gets time alone. Which is the problem, and Gerard shoves the dress to one side. Head in his hands he rides the guilt that strikes hard. He's tried to justify to himself that his feelings are due to the clothes, that he only wants Mikey because he looks different when he dresses up, he looks like a woman.

Except, that's a lie because when Mikey's cross-dressing Gerard only sees Mikey. Mikey looking settled in his own skin, confident and beautiful and so obviously male, but even then it's not that simple. Gerard's guilt is there because he doesn't feel guilty about desiring his brother, which is stupid in a way that it isn't at all. Because Gerard loves Mikey, and that love can never be wrong.

~*~*~*~

There's a picture of a five year old Mikey wearing a dress. It was his mom's and he's holding up the front, fabric bunched in his hands and dragging behind him.

His feet are tiny in a pair of high heeled shoes and he's got a strand of pearls wrapped around his neck, his hands on his hips as he grins at the camera.

 

~*~*~*~

Mikey slips his new dress over his head. It slithers over his body, a silky sleek cascade that ends at his knees. Back bare and exposed, he puts his hand at the nape of his neck, pushing up his hair.

"I think it worked," Gerard says through a mouth full of pins before spitting them out. His hands are cool and Mikey shivers, aware of every brief touch as Gerard takes hold of the zipper and fastens the dress. "What do you think?"

Gerard sounds hopeful and Mikey takes careful steps forward. Stepping over comic books and abandoned scissors until he gets to the mirror. It's not full length; he can see his face and the expanse of his chest, the dress that nips in at the waist before flaring slightly over his hips. Gerard's done a good job, and Mikey nods as he looks down at his feet, at his clunky black heels and pale shins, the scab on one knee.

Mikey looks at Gerard's reflection in the mirror. "I like it."

"You sure?" Gerard steps forward and takes hold of one of the straps. He's already shortened them twice, working with Mikey's lack of breasts and thin shoulders. He tugs, pulling up the dress so it ends at mid-thigh. "You'd show more leg like this."

Mikey considers. He likes how the dress looks already, but shorter is good. He keeps looking in the mirror, how their heads are close together, Gerard's body warm and his hands on Mikey's shoulders. "I think. Yeah."

"You look good," Gerard says, he's looking at Mikey in the mirror, his gaze intent, and Mikey runs his tongue over his bottom lip and takes shallow breaths, his skin prickling where it's touching Gerard. Mikey keeps watching, aching for more.

It's the usual reaction, one that's always there. That dizzying feeling of desire and want, made darker with the constant whisper of wrong.

Mikey turns, pushing when against the line that Gerard struggles to resist. He presses a kiss against Gerard's mouth, eyes to the side to watch in the mirror. How Gerard's eyes close and his hands tighten on Mikey's shoulders, how their bodies are pressed close together until Gerard abruptly pulls back.

Gerard lets go of the straps of Mikey's dress. "Take it off and I'll shorten them now." He rubs his hand over his mouth and crouches, picking up the smaller scissors.

Mikey takes off the dress and hands it over. Then sits in heels and his underwear, a quilt held over his shoulders, watching Gerard pick out stitches.

 

~*~*~*~

Frank keeps his skin magazines under his mattress. Playboys and Playgirls in a small, sticky pile.

His mom's never seen them, even when she's changing his sheets.

Each day she kisses his forehead and says that she loves him. Each time Frank says it right back.

~*~*~*~

Frank doesn't attend school. He survives school. He spends most of his time sleeping through lessons or avoiding the rest of the student population who're either stupid or mean or a combination of both.

The only thing Frank likes about school is lunch period, free periods and hanging out with his friends. Mostly that means irritating Bob in the canteen or smoking behind the tree at the edge of the grounds or like right now, reading in the library stacks.

"Frank." Frank looks up when somebody hisses his name. The only person in sight is Mrs. Jenkins at her desk, and Frank knows it isn't her speaking. He scrambles to his feet when again someone says, "Frank."

"Hello?" Frank turns in a circle, then jumps when a book near his head shoots off of the shelf.

"It's me, idiot," Mikey says, peering through a gap in the books. Despite the lack of expression Frank can tell he's laughing inside, because Mikey Way is a book throwing bastard. Frank steps close to the stack, pleased despite his racing heart. He puts his face at the gap.

"You're supposed to be in class."

"I'm skipping," Mikey says. He's got his face against the other side of the shelf and the space between them is dim and musty. "Keep me company."

There's not a chance Frank will say no. He glances over at Mrs. Jenkins. "Meet you outside."

It only takes a minute to gather his books. Stuffing them in his backpack Frank flashes a smile as he leaves, says, "Bathroom," as he opens the door. Technically he's okay to be out of class this period but outside isn't the library. Cautious, Frank looks both ways before hurrying along the empty corridor and out of the side entrance.

Mikey's waiting close by, standing in plain view, like he's got every right to be there and isn't skipping at all. He waves his fingers at Frank and together they walk in companionable silence, skirting the sports field and heading for the bleachers. It's a nice day and Frank enjoys the sun against his face, the smell of fresh cut grass as they duck under the first rows of seats and head for the back. It's disgusting under there, cigarette butts, gum and trash littering the ground. Kicking away a soda can, Frank sits, his back against one of the metal supports.

Mikey sits opposite Frank, their feet touching. "Fucking school."

"School blows," Frank agrees, hating despite being so happy right now, just him and Mikey in their own private world. Opening his backpack he finds his cigarettes and takes one out. Lighting it he takes a drag, letting the smoke seep from his mouth as he hands it to Mikey. "Fuck that shit."

Mikey takes the cigarette, his fingers touching Frank's, says, "Yeah."

~*~*~*~

Gerard's first friend is a girl called Sunny.

They play together at recess, creating games that always end up with them running circles around the yard, Gerard's feet thumping against the ground and Sunny looking back and laughing.

Then one day Sunny refuses to play, goes to stand with the other girls and laughs, saying Gerard is weird.

He never plays like that again.

~*~*~*~

"I'm just saying," Gerard says. "It's like watching a gay Degrassi."

Mikey rolls his eyes and pointedly turns his attention back to his phone. It keeps buzzing and each time Mikey reads and then types out a reply within seconds.

Gerard thumps down on Mikey's bed and leans against his shoulder, reading what he's texting. "I mean, you only saw him an hour ago."

"He's eating muffins," Mikey says, as if that detail is enough for the flurry of text messages between him and Frank. "They're vegan, his mom made them."

"Well if they're vegan." Gerard jerks away when Mikey jabs a sharp elbow into his side. "Seriously, ask him fucking out already."

Mikey types out his latest reply. "It's not like that."

"It's exactly like that," Gerard says, and he knows that it is. He's watched as Mikey and Frank became closer, Gerard's jealousy constant and rising as they circle each other, gathering the courage to take a first step that's denied to Gerard. It's all kinds of frustrating and sometimes Gerard wants to shake them both for being fucking idiots. "You could ask him to the movies."

"We already go to the movies," Mikey says, and reads a new message. "The muffins have chocolate and blueberries."

Sure any elbow danger is past, Gerard leans back against Mikey. "If you asked Frank out he could buy you chocolate."

"I can buy my own chocolate," Mikey says, and Gerard thinks he's going to sidestep the topic like always, until Mikey sighs softly, looking down at his phone. "If he ever does ask I'd say yes."

Gerard stares, because that makes no sense. "What if he's waiting for you to ask first?"

"Then we'll have fun while we wait," Mikey says, and tilts his phone so Gerard can read the latest text. "He's eating a second muffin. He's hungry."

"He's always hungry," Gerard says, and even though he knows Mikey's mind is set he has to push the point. "He wants you, that's obvious."

"Maybe," Mikey allows, and his phone buzzes again, vibrating in his hand. "But it's not that simple, you know that."

"It's as difficult as you make it," Gerard says, looking at who's sent the new message. "Tell him to bring us some muffins."

Mikey waits for a beat and then says, "Okay."

~*~*~*~

Mikey often thinks about Frank. How his hair curls at his neck and how he smiles when he sees Mikey, the warmth of his body as they fall asleep watching movies. He imagines how Frank would look when he's jerking off. How he'd sound, how his fingers would feel wrapped around Mikey's cock.

It's yet another thing Mikey shouldn't be doing. He shouldn't dress in women's clothes. He shouldn't fantasize about his best friend. He shouldn't desire his brother. Mikey doesn't care. He does them anyway.

~*~*~*~*~

"Sleep over tonight," Frank announces, baffling happy for someone clutching a tray of vegetable mush. He sets down the tray and sits next to Bob. "Booze, babes and..." Frank trails off and then adds, "Bitching drugs."

Mikey takes a bite of his own lunch and points his empty fork at Frank. "No babes, unless you're counting mom."

"No!" Frank's eyes are wide, his mouth dropping open. "Your mom's not a babe... I mean, she's not a hag or anything but...." Frank turns, glaring at Bob when he mimics digging a hole. "She's your mom."

Mikey's mouth twitches and he gives Frank a long look. "She'll be out anyway."

Frank grins. "So we'll have the house to ourselves, sweet."

Dubiously, Mikey pokes at what's supposed to be meatloaf. There's nothing special about having the house to themselves, they do most Fridays and even when his mom and dad are in they leave them alone.

"I've got some new stuff." Furtively, Ray pulls a disc out of his bag, holding it between two fingers. "It's supposed to be hard core."

"It better be human hard core," Bob says, scowling at the disc. "Because that shit you brought last week was fucking disgusting."

"How was I supposed to know?" Ray asks, his voice climbing in pitch. "It's not like it had contains tentacle fucking written on the side."

"Wouldn't that mean it was the tentacles being fucked?" Gerard asks and Mikey feels flushed, his thighs pressed together as he remembers tentacles sliding into bodies, the shudder one of the actors made as the badly made prop slid into his ass.

"They could be fucked through their suckers I guess, but it would have to be a minuscule dick." Frank's dropped his fork, his brow creased and mouth twitching as he turns to Bob. "There you go, a use for your pencil dick."

Momentarily Bob's still, then pounces, the table knocked as they fall to the ground. "I'll show you my pencil dick."

Mikey picks up his tray and keeps eating.

~*~*~*~

Wet dreams are nothing new. Even the ones about Mikey.

Frank wiggles out of his pajama pants and throws them to the floor. He's still half hard and runs his hand over his cock, through the jizz that's caught in his pubes and down to his balls.

He's warm and comfortable and not freaked in the slightest.

~*~*~*~

Ray's porn doesn't contain tentacles.

It does contain fucking, cock sucking and a small cast of men groaning and gasping to a background of bad euro pop.

Ray's sitting on Gerard's bed, a pillow on his lap as he leans forward, the light from his laptop illuminating his horror-stricken expression. "Oh God, he's putting his whole hand up there."

Needing to see, Frank pushes Ray to one side, transfixed as onscreen, the guy's hand slips fully inside. "If he keeps going he'll be able to pull out his intestines."

From the other bed there's a squeak of marker against paper and Mikey's a sudden heavy weight against Frank's legs as he levers himself up to look at Gerard. Frank looks too, unsurprised when he sees that Gerard's sketching, and, within a few deft pen-strokes, a figure appears holding a handful of guts.

"Nice," Bob says, from where he's sitting next to Gerard. "The blood's a nice touch."

Gerard smiles slightly and starts to add a second figure. "Blood makes everything better."

It's true, and normally Frank would chime in supporting that idea, but his attention's been caught by the action on the screen, where the guy being fisted is grunting as the camera zooms in on his ass.

"That can't be comfortable," Ray says, his eyes widening even further at the extreme close up. "How does it even fit?"

Gerard looks up from his drawing, says, "Patience and lots of lube."

"Hand size too." Mikey flops onto his back and holds up his hands, wiggling his fingers. "I wouldn't want fucking shovels up my ass, you know? But small hands." He reaches out then, taking hold of Frank's hand and holding it in the air. "That would be okay."

It's a mental image that goes straight to Frank's dick. Thankful for tight pants he turns his head, looking at Mikey, who's looking right back.

~*~*~*~

Mikey wants to die when Gerard finds out.

It's mortifying finding him waiting, the panties Mikey stole and the dress at his side. The dress that's too ugly, too big, too flowery, too stained from being found in a dumpster.

It's the first time that Mikey's ever felt ugly.

~*~*~*~

"You awake?" Frank says, then sinks his teeth in the lobe of Mikey's ear.

Mikey squeezes shut his eyes and then blinks. Frank's face is a pale fuzzy blur in the dark of the room. "I am now, asshole."

Frank pushes himself up and leans over Mikey, reaching toward the floor. Frank's heavy and warm, he smells of alcohol and sweat. "Here."

Mikey takes his glasses that Frank's holding, and the world comes back into focus. Frank drops back onto the bed, propped on one arm, so close Mikey can feel him breathe. He also looks wide awake, as opposed to the others, Ray and Gerard curled on the bed, Bob on a quilt on the floor.

Mikey yawns, he's more asleep than awake, and there's a headache lurking at the back of his skull, half buried by the lingering effects of cheap vodka and beer. "S'up?"

"I'm... Fuck," Frank says, but to himself, like he's having some kind of internal dialogue that's allowing the occasional word to slip free. Mikey fights to stay awake. Frank's his best friend and if he's having some kind of issues Mikey's going to help, but the facts are. It's fucking late.

"Frank?" Mikey says, and then suddenly, Frank's leaning in close and pressing a kiss against Mikey's mouth. It's not a spectacular kiss, more something that's over in seconds and Mikey's left staring at Frank, trying to get his brain to catch up with his body, which right now is all want.

Frank flops onto his back and stares up at the ceiling, almost inaudible as he says dejectedly, "Sorry."

Mikey feels clumsy as he struggles to move. He rolls on his side, cursing as he miss-judges the distance and ends up lying against Frank. Not that that's bad and Mikey's throwing caution to the wind, the complications still there but buried by the sheer feeling of need. Mikey shifts his hand, and ends up wrapping his fingers around Frank's upper arm, thankful that, finally, Frank's made a move. "I'm not."

Mikey's imagined make out sessions under the bleachers, kisses in a bathroom, Frank on his knees in a thousand other places. But nothing like this. In Mikey's messy bed, light beginning to bleed though the sheet at the window, Ray snoring as Mikey makes his own move.

It feels weird, this is Frank, Mikey's best friend, someone that's been there forever. It also feels good, better than good when Frank responds eagerly to the kiss, opening his mouth, his tongue brushing against Mikey's.

Almost instantly Mikey's hard. Trying for control he tries not to grind against Frank's leg, then gives up when Frank reaches up and takes a handful of Mikey's hair, holding on as the kiss deepens.

~*~*~*~

Frank believes in soul-mates, it's just a case of finding the right one.

Finding that person who knows you, someone who loves you, someone who's your lover and your best friend.

~*~*~*~

Most days Mikey arrives at school with Gerard. Waiting at his usual spot Frank watches as they round the corner, their steps slow and perfectly in sync. They both look hung over, skin pale and eyes downcast, swaddled in hoodies and coats like if they expose themselves to the sun they'll burst into flames.

Frank shifts in place and picks at his nail. The kiss with Mikey was huge, it's just, apart from banal text messages they haven't talked since. Frank doesn't know what he's doing. If what they're doing is a secret, hell, if they're doing anything at all. For all Frank knows he's destroyed their friendship for good.

"Hi," Gerard says, and stands next to Frank. This close he's got dark shadows under his eyes and his hand trembles a little as he takes out a cigarette and lights up. Frank stares, it's minutes to bell and Gerard never smokes before class, especially not here, with half the student population pushing past.

"You left yesterday." Mikey's taking out his earbuds as he shoves himself between Frank and Gerard. "I woke up and you'd gone."

"I told you, mom called," Frank says. "My cousins came over." Which Frank doesn't mind, he likes his cousins and they always make him laugh, it's just, the timing was awful and now he feels awkward, like there's something between him and Mikey that neither will mention. He repositions his bag on his back. "We'd better get in."

"Wait." Hidden by Gerard's body, Mikey takes hold of Frank's wrist. "Meet me for lunch."

Which is just weird, because they always meet for lunch, it's just what they do. Confused, Frank's heart skips when he feels Mikey run his thumb over the soft skin of Frank's inner wrist. It's a strange sensation, intimate somehow, and Frank begins to think that maybe he hasn't messed up.

~*~*~*~

Sometimes Gerard thinks Mikey's the bravest person he knows.

He lives his life despite fear, ignoring the doubts that have to press close. Gerard wishes he could do the same, but he can't. He hasn't the courage, has imagined too many painful endings, and he can't lose Mikey too, no matter how Mikey promises that he won't.

~*~*~*~

As usual the canteen is its own version of hell. Clutching his fork Gerard pokes at the mess on his tray, making it wobble. Today they're sitting at a table at the back, close to the trash cans and already they're starting to smell. Not that Gerard cares. It's time away from class and better than that, he gets to watch Mikey, who despite his usual deadpan expression, is so happy that Gerard can't help grinning in return.

It's watching Mikey that tells him Frank's entered the canteen. Gerard turns in his seat and sees that Frank's sneering at a group of cheerleaders who giggle behind their hands as he walks past, approaching their table.

"We've kept you a seat," Gerard says, his grin widening and ignoring the way Mikey's rolling his eyes. At first Frank stands still, his brows pulled together, then sees the only free spot is next to Mikey, any other empty seats covered with coats or bags.

Frank looks at Mikey, says, "You told them?"

"I told Gerard," Mikey says, and Gerard's regretting his impulse to tell the others as Mikey sits frozen, tension there in the way he's staring at Frank, as if gauging if he's done wrong.

Frank turns to Gerard. "I suppose you told everyone else?"

He doesn't sound angry, more resigned and Gerard thinks that maybe he won't have to cut out his own tongue. He sets down his fork. "I didn't mean to."

"Fucking blabber mouth," Frank says, but so fondly Gerard relaxes.

"I saved you a tater tot," Mikey says then, picking the tot off his tray. "If you don't sit I'm going to eat it."

"Fuck that." Frank springs forward and sets down his own tray. Fingers brushing over Mikey's shoulder Frank sits and goes to take the tater tot, but Mikey shakes his head and holds the tot close to Frank's mouth.

It's a risky move for school, but they're mostly blocked by Ray and Bob, and the nearest table is full of Gabe and his friends, none of whom would raise an eyebrow at a little hand feeding. Frank bites, Mikey's fingers brushing against his lips before he pulls back his hand.

Bob clears his throat. "New rule, no porn while we're eating."

"Seconded," Ray says, watching as Mikey sucks his own fingers. "It's not that I'm not supportive of you dating, but no."

Mikey rolls his eyes and pulls his fingers from his mouth. "It was one tater tot."

Which is true, but Gerard has to side with Ray and Bob, not only because it's risky, but more importantly, it means he doesn't have to watch and then struggle to class with a boner.

"It was erotic feeding," Ray says primly, his cheeks flushed. "You're asking to be shoved in a locker."

Frank scowls. "Low blow, Toro. But fine, it'll keep." He turns to Mikey. "Tonight, yeah?"

Mikey's mouth curls into a smile and he glances at Gerard. "Tonight, then only Gerard will be watching."

"Lucky Gerard," Bob says dryly, and Gerard busies himself eating his lunch, trying not to dwell on tonight, and how he is lucky, and also hates his life at the same time.

~*~*~*~

Despite Gerard's rambling monologues about acceptance and owning who you are, Mikey never goes out when he's wearing dresses or skirts. He doesn't want to be seen, or make a statement, or give some kind of fuck you to the world.

He doesn't want to change who he is, or be a girl, or be labeled by any kind of psychological bullshit babble. He just likes girls clothes. Is that so wrong?

~*~*~*~

"Are you going to tell him," Gerard asks. He's working on Mikey's dress again, frowning as he ensures that the fit is perfect.

Mikey winces when Gerard's knuckles dig into his side as he folds in the waistband. "Tell who what?"

"Frank, about this." Deftly, Gerard adds pins and then steps back. "It's part of you, he should know."

"It's always been part of me and I didn't tell him before," Mikey says and he looks down, enjoying the way the dress nips in at the waist and then follows the line of his hips.

"If he laughs I'll punch him in the face," Gerard says, quickly, like even the idea freaks him out.

"What? No." Mikey hasn't even thought about telling Frank, but even so, he knows he won't laugh. Truthfully, he doesn't even know why he's not telling, just, that he hasn't ever had to before. Gerard found out by accident and no one else knows. "It's not about that."

Gerard seems relieved as he rummages in the box where he keeps his sewing supplies. Back to Mikey and looking at the contents he says casually, "It's hot. He might like it."

"I guess." Carefully Mikey moves to look in the mirror. He doesn't look particularly hot right now in the unfinished dress, acne clustered around his nose and his complexion washed out from too many late nights. But that's now, Mikey knows when he makes the effort he looks better, but most importantly, he feels good. That's what matters. "I'll think about telling him."

"Good," Gerard turns back to Mikey, says, "Tomorrow, yeah, when he's back from his uncle's."

Mikey's stomach knots as he imagines saying the words, having to explain something that to him is nothing but normal, but finally says, "Tomorrow."

Gerard smiles and holds up his vampire bat plushie. "Come here, I need to finish the hem."

Getting the hem straight takes time. Gerard's learned to sew on a steep curve and part of that is being demanding in the details, needing to get the perfect line. Mikey stands still and thinks of Frank, those thoughts tangling with his reaction to Gerard, how Mikey's hyper aware of every tiny touch, sparks of sensation that tingle as Gerard works, kneeling at Mikey's feet.

It's a state abruptly smashed when there's a sound of a door opening from upstairs and then Frank yelling, "I'm back motherfuckers!"

There's no time to move, to do anything and Frank bursts in when Gerard's lifting up Mikey's dress, his shoulder against Mikey's inner thigh.

"The fuck?" Frank's smile is fading, going from genuine to confusion before he laughs, says, "You're supposed to let me in on jokes, what's the plan, you're going out to fuck with people's heads?"

Gerard scrambles to his feet, spitting pins into his hand as he looks at Mikey. "No, we're...."

"It's not a joke," Mikey cuts in. He's not ready but he's not about to cheapen something he loves, plus, he knows Frank, knows that he'll react okay. "It's what I do."

Frank's smile is gone now, and he takes a further step into the room. "You dress in woman's clothes? Like, underwear and everything?"

"Sometimes," Mikey says, and Gerard's linked his hand around Mikey's wrist as Mikey scrutinizes Frank's reaction. How he's looking at Mikey like he's never seen him before.

"You're a cross-dresser," Frank says, as if he can barely believe what he's saying. "You're wearing a dress."

"Frank." Gerard moves so he's standing before Mikey, sheltering him as Frank keeps staring.

"I have to go." Frank's backing up, heading to the stairs. "I forgot something at home."

He turns and runs, never looking back and Mikey stands frozen, then tears off the dress and runs for the bathroom. Safely inside he slams the door and fastens the lock before folding down to the floor, curled up and ignoring Gerard who's knocking and asking to come in.

For the first time in years Mikey feels like a freak.

~*~*~*~

When Frank moves he loses his friends.

His mom says they'll keep in touch, that there's email and phones and buses. That never happens. Instead Frank's left alone. With his comics and TV and his mom, needing to start over.

When he gets more friends they mean everything. The people who get him, the people he knows.

~*~*~*~

Frank's hands ache, his toes throbbing from where he's kicked at and pummeled his bed. Head in his hands he sits on the bare mattress, the sheets and pillows at his feet and feels guilty about running, so horribly, painfully fucking guilty that he's having to pull each breath through a band around his chest.

He eyes his phone, needing to call Mikey, is reaching out when there's a knock at the door.

His mom's at work and he thinks about hiding, pretending he's heard nothing at all. Instead Frank crawls off of his bed, pushes himself upright and looks out of the window. He's expecting to see Mikey -- hopes, fears, hopes to see Mikey -- but instead it's Gerard. He's standing back from the front door, looking up at Frank's window. When he sees Frank he says, "Open the fucking door."

He doesn't sound angry, but Frank knows that's a cover. He braces himself as he slowly goes downstairs and lets Gerard in.

"Is your mom here?" Gerard asks, and at Frank's shake of his head Gerard drops the act and says, "I should punch you in the fucking head."

Each word is like ice and Frank wants to turn from the contempt in Gerard's expression. Except, he needs to see that contempt, that rage, because Frank deserves it all. All he can think about is the way Mikey looked before Frank ran. Small and defeated and utterly ashamed. Frank hates that he did that, and if Gerard wants he'll stand still for every punch. He takes a step back and says, "Go on."

Gerard makes a fist and pulls back his hand, and Frank braces himself, disappointed when Gerard drops his arm. "I expected better from you."

It hurts more than a punch. Head down and shoulders slumping Frank wants this day to start over. That he didn't come home early and go to the Ways, or else, reacted differently when he did. "I'm sorry."

"It's not me you should be saying that too," Gerard says. He takes a deep breath and runs his hands through his hair, barely able to look at Frank. "You made him think he's doing something wrong, and no one gets to do that, not even you." Gerard's fingers twitch and he presses his hands against his thighs. "Cross-dressing isn't wrong, Mikey isn't wrong, I can't even believe that you thought...."

"I didn't leave because of that." Frank feels sick, even worse than before, because it wasn't that at all. He starts to push past Gerard. "I need to go see him and explain."

"You need to stay here and tell me what the fuck you're going to say first." Gerard's grabbed hold of Frank's arm, and as placid as he usually is, Frank knows there's no way he's going to get free.

Gerard's love for Mikey is one of the things that Frank loves most, but right now all he wants to do is get away. Briefly he considers physically struggling free, but Gerard's holding so tight his fingers are white against Frank's arm. Resigned, Frank starts to explain. "It's not that he was cross-dressing, I don't care about that. Why the hell should I? It's because he never told me."

Gerard's loosens his grip a little, but he's still holding on. "You're telling me you hurt Mikey because he hurt your feelings?"

Said like that it sounds petty, but Mikey is Frank's best friend, his boyfriend, they tell each other everything. At least Frank thought they did, until he found out there was a huge part of Mikey's life he didn't know at all. Frank feels cast aside and rejection presses heavy. "He should have told me."

"He was going to," Gerard says, and he fully loosens his grip, gently rubbing the finger marks on Frank's arm. "You two need to talk."

"I know" Frank says, relieved when he's pulled into a sudden hug. Frank leans heavily against Gerard, enjoying the feel of Gerard's arms around his body, the softness of his belly and chest that's so different to Mikey. "I'm going there now."

"Good," Gerard says, his head close to Frank's. "But if you hurt him again, I will punch you."

Frank believes him.

~*~*~*~

It's Gerard that suggests they go shopping.

They tour the thrift shops and Mikey stands off on his own, awkward and sure everyone's talking behind his back. All Gerard does is keep looking. That day they come home with a black dress and a pack of new underwear. They're blue with lace at the hip.

Mikey loves them, but not as much as he loves his brother.

~*~*~*~

Mikey lies on his bed, earbuds in and music turned up loud.

Usually that's enough to keep him from thinking, the sheer volume driving away any thoughts. Right now it's not working. Mikey keeps remembering Frank's face, the way he looked as he stared at Mikey, how he turned and ran away.

Mikey's stomach cramps and he squeezes shut his eyes, forcing away the tears that continue to prickle. He's not going to cry over Frank, Frank's an asshole and Mikey hates him.

Except, he doesn't at all.

A lone tear squeezes free and Mikey turns on his side, burying his face in his pillow. He's there for five songs, breathing against the damp fabric, his glasses digging into his face. Locking in his own misery he doesn't hear anyone enter the room, and jumps when someone touches his shoulder. Expecting Gerard, Mikey freezes when he turns and sees that it's Frank. He looks miserable and is saying Mikey's name, his mouth forming the word, inaudible against the thumping music.

Frank tugs the earbud from Mikey's ear, says, "I'm sorry."

Mikey doesn't reply, his world some kind of surreal split where Morrissey is singing in one ear and the other is listening to Frank, who's keeping a careful distance between himself and Mikey as he settles himself on the edge of the bed.

"I'm an asshole," Frank says, and tentatively touches Mikey's leg. "But I didn't go because of what you were doing, the uh, clothes things. I'm an asshole but not that big of a one."

Mikey tugs his other earbud out of his ear, surprised when Frank suddenly socks him one on the thigh, not enough to hurt but a definite thump.

"You didn't tell me," Frank says, and despite the punch he doesn't sound angry, more confused. "I thought we told each other everything."

It's true. Frank tends to call Mikey when he's taking a shit just to say what he's doing and together they've talked about everything from boners to TV to which president's wife had the best tits. Mikey sits and draws up his legs, wrapping his arms around his knees.

"I was going to tell you," Mikey says, and the misery that's lodged in his belly lessens a little when Frank moves up the bed and sits next to Mikey, mimicking his pose.

"Good," Frank says, and he's looking at the dress that's still crumpled in a corner. "How often do you do it? I mean, uh, be a woman."

"It's not like that," Mikey says. He wants to explain but can't seem to find the correct words to what to him is something perfectly normal, eventually he settles for, "I don't want to be a woman. I want to be me, just I like to wear women's clothes."

"Okay," Frank says, seemingly accepting the explanation. "So what do you do, wait until I go and then dress up?"

Despite the casual question hurt bleeds from Frank's tone. Mikey turns to him and says, "I didn't deliberately shut you out." Except that's not true and Mikey amends, "Okay, I did, but not like you think. I didn't know how to tell you, I haven't had to before."

"You told Gerard."

"No, he found out," Mikey says, and sighs as he remembers that heart-to-heart with Gerard and how before that Mikey had felt ugly and ashamed. "Story of my life."

Frank lists to the side and rests his head against Mikey's shoulder. "I'm still pissed you didn't tell me but I'm sorry I ran."

Mikey relaxes even more, relieved that Frank's come back, that he's settling in to stay. Mikey rests his head against Frank's, says, "What do you want to know?"

~*~*~*~

Within days of getting his own computer Frank's signed up for X Tube and has a folder of porn hidden deep in his files.

He likes to watch it late at night, lotion and tissues close by, becoming an expert at surfing one handed.

~*~*~*~

Normally Frank has no issues about talking at all. He'll talk about anything, even things he knows nothing about. Today he knows stuff -- sort of -- but each time he opens his mouth nothing comes out. Eventually Mikey snaps and pushes Frank into the nearest bathroom.

"Jesus, what?"

It's gross in the bathroom. There's toilet paper in wet clumps on the floor and one of the urinals is blocked, the same as every day really, and Frank ducks down, checking for feet in the stalls. When he's sure they're alone he straightens, says, "I did some research, about, you know."

Mikey goes an interesting shade of red as he looks toward the door. "Are you trying to get me killed? Don't say that shit here."

"Everyone's going to class," Frank says, the sound of the bell backing him up. They should be in class too but now that they're here Frank knows he has to talk before he loses his nerve. "I Googled, looked at some pictures and read some shit.

"Good for you," Mikey says, and he's as tense as Frank's ever seen him. "What do you want, an 'I can Google' award?"

Frank feels like the worst kind of boyfriend as Mikey completely shuts down in a way he never is around friends. His arms crossed and looking through Frank as if he isn't there at all. Frank takes a step forward. "Dress up for me."

"What?" That gets Mikey's attention and he stares directly at Frank. "No."

It feels like a rejection, and Frank reminds himself that his timing is awful, that asking here's the worst place he can imagine. If he was any kind of good person he'd drop it and head off for class, but he can't. He's spent hours reading about cross dressing and looking at pictures but it isn't the same. Those people were words on a page, pictures on a website. They weren't Mikey.

"I just. It's part of you," Frank says, and he's starting to hate this thing that's so awkward between them. "I don't want you to hide."

Mikey drops his arms but his hands remain clenched. "I'll think about it."

"Okay," Frank says, and knows that's the best that he'll get.

~*~*~*~
Gerard believes in tolerance and respect. He lives his life by those codes. It's why he was so shocked at his reaction when he found the dress and panties.

Even now he feels guilty, but the facts are, what's obvious in theory is different when it's happening to your own little brother.

~*~*~*~

"What about this?" Gerard stops leafing through the clothes on the rack and pushes a section aside. He exposes a skirt, it's long, pin-striped and nipped in at the waist. It'll be perfect for Mikey and Gerard unhooks the skirt and holds it up in the air, his brow creased as it he looks at the size. "It'll be a little big but I can fix that."

Mikey steps close and runs his fingers over the fabric. As always his reactions are guarded but his mouth curls slightly into a smile and he says, "I'm gonna buy it."

Gerard's glad, both that Mikey likes his choice and also that for the first time today he's actually smiling. Happy that he suggested they go shopping Gerard drapes the skirt over his shoulder and imagines Mikey in the skirt and what's already hidden away in his closet. "You'll need a shirt to match, something plain."

Gerard goes back to searching the racks, discarding the too-old or too-worn or the plain too-ugly. All the time he's watching Mikey out of the corner of his eye. He's leafing through a rail of t-shirts, gaze unfocused and Gerard suspects he's seeing nothing that's actually physically there.

Gerard tugs at a hideous pink dress and it clatters along the rail. It's seeing Mikey like this that makes Gerard want to grab hold of Frank and shake him, which is unfair because after thinking it through Gerard can understand his reaction. It's just, that understanding doesn't help when Mikey's so conflicted, unsure about sharing a part of his life that he's previously held close.

Plus, Gerard has to admit, there's a part of him that's jealous, that Mikey's even thinking about allowing Frank into that part of his life. It's a part of himself Gerard hates because he's got no hold over Mikey. This is his life, his secret to share and Frank should see. He's important to Mikey, his boyfriend, and Gerard's going to encourage Mikey to give him a chance.

If that means Gerard has to share something that made him feel special. Well it'll fucking suck but he'll cope.

Reaching the end of the rail Gerard moves over to Mikey's who's staring at the wall of books. "There's nothing else here. Come on."

They go to the register and Gerard hands over the skirt. The woman behind the counter is old, her hair a pale violet and she's wearing red plastic glasses. She rings up the price and smiles at Gerard. "Shopping for your mom, boys?"

It's nothing they haven't heard before and Gerard grins back as he says, "No, for me. Think it'll fit?"

It's an old joke, something Gerard does to provoke a reaction. Today though, the woman looks over her glasses, her lips pursed as she looks at Gerard while dropping the skirt in a bag. "I don't know, honey. You could maybe do with a bigger size. Something a bit wider to accommodate your rump. There's some a-lines in the back, I can get them if you like."

Gerard's smile fades and he hands over the money before grabbing the bag. "Er, thanks, but it's okay."

Plastic clenched in his hand he hurries for the door, Mikey close behind him.

"Did she say I had a fat ass?" Gerard demands of Mikey as soon as they're outside. He looks at his ass in the reflection of the window and then stares at Mikey who's making no attempt to hide his laughter.

"She burned you," Mikey says, smiling wide as he slaps Gerard on the ass. "Come on fat ass, you can buy me a coffee."

"You should be buying me a coffee," Gerard grumbles, but he's already moving in the direction of the nearest Starbucks. As they walk Gerard keeps thinking about Frank, how he's trying and how already he's an important part of Mikey's life. A part that's going nowhere, and Gerard knows Mikey needs to see Frank while he's dressed up, even if it means letting him into something that was Mikey and Gerard's alone.

Acting on the thought, Gerard grabs hold of Mikey and tugs him to a bench and sits down. "You should show Frank."

Mikey makes no pretense of misunderstanding, just says, "He ran."

"And he explained why." Mikey keeps staring blankly at an advertisement about apples and Gerard breaks out the big guns.

"I ran at first."

Mikey shakes his head. "No you didn't."

Gerard wishes that was true, but the truth is, he did run, even if it wasn't the same way as Frank. "I ran mentally." It's not the proudest time in Gerard's life, when he spent almost a whole night awake telling himself that Mikey was barely a teen and that cross-dressing was only a phase. It was easier that way, instead of thinking there was an important part of his life he hadn't shared with Gerard.

"That makes no sense," Mikey says and scratches at a zit on his chin. "And even if you did, you woke up and Googled sewing."

"Because the dress you had was fucking hideous." Which it was, and even if Gerard didn't fully understand at first, he wasn't about to let Mikey look bad. He looks fully at Mikey, says, "Give him the chance."

Finally, Mikey nods and says, "Okay."

~*~*~*~*~

Mikey likes make-up. His eyes outlined and mouth made glossy.

He never wears much, just enough that he can see a difference, that subtle change that alters his face and makes him more. Makes him look pretty.

~*~*~*~

Mikey stands in one place. Nerves make him feel sick and he's regretting ever saying yes. It's all right Frank catching a glimpse or knowing in theory, actually being here, seeing Mikey get dressed. It's like taking a leap in the dark, and Mikey imagines crashing, Frank being unable to cope.

"If you really don't want him to see I'll phone." Gerard watching from his bed and he picks up his phone, showing it to Mikey. "Just say the word."

It's an out Mikey wants to take. But he won't, despite his nerves he still trusts Frank and he shakes his head, says, "No."

"You're doing the right thing." Gerard stands and walks over to Mikey. Despite being that little bit shorter he stands behind him, pulling Mikey close and holding on. Mikey lets his head tip back and closes his eyes, breaths deep until his only awareness is Gerard's body. The warmth of his breath, the strength in his arms, the way his hair tickles as Gerard presses a kiss against Mikey's ear. "You're showing him how beautiful you are, that's all."

Mikey snorts out a laugh. He's not beautiful, no matter what Gerard keeps saying.

"Fine," Gerard says, as if Mikey voiced some reply. "Not beautiful, hot."

Mikey can live with that. He turns his head, his mouth almost brushing Gerard's. "Why's this so hard?"

Gerard doesn't reply straight away, just looks directly at Mikey, then says, "Because life fucking sucks."

Mikey has to agree.

~*~*~*~

Frank keeps his values held close.

He presents a fuck you attitude to the world, and that's not a lie. Just, he believes in other stuff too. Being polite to your elders, trying your best at all times. He doesn't see how those things can't be mutually exclusive.

~*~*~*~

Mikey's crouching, a canvas bag at his feet. His t-shirt has ridden up at the back and there's a small bruise just off centre to his spine. He looks over his shoulder at Frank. "Okay?"

"Yeah," Frank says. The basement feels too hot and he rubs at his face, expecting to feel sweat. There's none there and he drops his hands to his lap, entwining his fingers.

"Right," Mikey says, soft, as if he's talking to himself more than Frank. He opens the bag and then stands.

"Wear the short one," Gerard suggests. He's standing between Mikey and Frank, a human barrier off to one side and Frank knows if he makes one wrong move, one wrong reaction Gerard will act. It's enough to make Frank feel even more nervous and he swallows and tightens his hands.

At first, there's nothing unusual. Mikey peels off his jeans and t-shirt, dropping them to one side. He's moving quickly and within seconds is standing in underwear and dirty white socks. Frank relaxes a little, this is Mikey, Mikey with his knock-knees and skinny arms and five hairs on his chest.

It isn't even weird that Mikey's half-naked and Gerard's here too. It's just how it is, and Frank's used to seeing them together, side by side, a united force against the world.

Except, things are changing, the setting the same, the people the same, but the rest not at all. Gerard takes a dress out of the bag and unfolds it, handing it to Mikey, who glances at Frank before pulling it on. At first it looks like some kind of shirt, but he keeps going and then it's obviously a dress, tight fitting from bodice to skirt. It's got a long zip at the back, and Mikey's back is exposed, his shoulder blades sharp and his skin smooth and pale. He pushes his hand under his hair at the neck, lifting it up as Gerard takes hold of the zip.

It's a surprising intimate gesture. It shouldn't be, Frank's fastened his mom's dresses before and he knows it's nothing but a zip and fabric, a few seconds in time if that, but Gerard's standing close, his mouth the slightest bit open, his attention wholly on Mikey.

It's like he's looking at something precious, and he fastens the zip slowly, the knuckles of his hand following the line of Mikey's spine. It's one of the hottest things Frank's ever seen.

Immediately he feels guilty. This is Mikey and Gerard, brothers, but Frank watches as Gerard finishes fastening the zip and runs his fingers across the base of Mikey's neck, how Mikey's eyes flutter closed before he moves his hand.

Frank pushes his own hands hard into his lap. When Gerard crouches and rummages in the bag, then looks up. "You want everything?"

"Not today," Mikey says, and he hitches up the skirt of his dress. His thighs and the bottom of his ass exposed, he wiggles out of his underwear and takes the pair of panties that Gerard holds out. They're blue and impossibly tiny; Frank can't imagine how Mikey can even get them on over his junk.

"Fuck," Frank says softly, unable to help speaking out loud. Any thoughts about size issues driven from his mind when Mikey puts one hand on Gerard's head, balancing himself as he lifts up his foot. Gerard feeds the panties over Mikey's ankle, then again with the other side when Mikey swaps feet.

Frank's heart is thundering in his chest and he can't look away from Gerard's hands where he's holding the panties, his paint-splashed fingers and dirty nails against blue lace and Mikey's calf. If he goes any higher Frank thinks he'll come in his pants, and everything's a mix of hot, pervert, hot.

Gerard doesn't go further, and Frank's glad and yet not. He palms his dick through his jeans and tries not to groan when Mikey hitches his dress right up and adjusts the panties, tucking in his junk until there's only the most slightest of bulge.

"Told you you look hot," Gerard says, and looks over at Frank before turning back to Mikey. "Shoes?"

"I think, yeah." Mikey's tugging at his dress, pulling it straight, and Frank doesn't know where to look. At Mikey's hips that seem more rounded under the tight fabric of his dress, the shadow between his thighs or the dip of his collar bone. Frank wants to look at them all, touch them all and he's forcing himself to sit still when Gerard returns with the shoes.

Frank takes in a sharp breath. The shoes are high-heeled but in a way that's all Mikey. They're black, clunky with straps and Mikey eases his feet into each one, stands still as Gerard kneels at his feet and fastens each buckle.

Mikey's resting his hand on Gerard's head, fingers pushed in his hair. He looks at Frank, and beneath the cool gaze uncertainty is still there. "I use make-up sometimes, other shit too, but..."

"You look amazing," Frank says, so fucking turned on he feels like he's about to explode. "Jesus, Mikey. Look at you."

Gerard finishes fastening the buckles and steps to the side, leaving Mikey standing alone. His legs look endless, his shoulders straight, but more than anything, Frank's looking at his face, loving how confident Mikey seems, his happiness as he realizes Frank likes what he sees.

"You look fucking amazing." Frank stands, making no attempt to hide that he's hard. "You're. Fuck."

Frank wants to run, but approaches slow, stepping over discarded clothes until he's standing next to Mikey. In his heels he's even taller than usual, and Frank pushes himself on his tiptoes and hooks his hand around Mikey's head. Fingers tangled in his hair he urges him down, and Mikey goes, meeting Frank half way.

The kiss is long and Frank needs to touch. He slides his hand down Mikey's body and under his dress, loving the way Mikey shudders as Frank hooks his fingers under his panties, touching his dick.

"Frank," Mikey says, his voice rough and Frank wants to push Mikey onto the bed and fuck up his panties, take them off with his teeth.

"I want, bed." Frank keeps holding on, taking stumbling steps while wrapped together, then looks around, remembering Gerard.

"He's gone," Mikey says, and that's all Frank needed to know. He twists around and pushes so Mikey's sprawled on the bed. Heels digging into the mattress and knees parted. Wanton and so fucking hot that Frank's hardly breathing as finally he pounces.

~*~*~*~

Frank read once that if you masturbate too often you get hairy palms.

It's not true, because if it was Frank would have to change his name to Chewbacca.

~*~*~*~

Frank pushes his head back against his pillow, his toes curled in the messy sheet of his bed. His blanket has slithered to the floor and his knees are spread wide, his heart thumping and stars pulsing in front of his eyes. He feels filthy, sweat-soaked and sore, his dick starting to chafe and pubes matted.

He rubs his thumb over the head of his dick, gasping at the sensation that's almost too much. If he goes again it'll be the fourth time tonight, but Frank can't seem to stop. Each time he tries he remembers Mikey, how he looked in heels and the short dress, the shadows of his collar bones and how solid he felt, strength combined with blurred lines of femininity as Frank touched him under his dress.

It's a memory that remains vivid, each detail picked over when Frank finally went home. The way Mikey's breath hitched as Frank curled his fingers under his balls, the heat of his mouth and the way they lay on the bed, Mikey sprawled on his back, dress hitched up high, those blue lacy panties stretched out and obscene.

Frank reaches down at his side, feeling for lace. He brings Mikey's panties up to his face, sniffing the fabric as his memories shift, going backwards until he remembers Gerard.

Frank's always known Gerard and Mikey were close, but tonight he's seen more. The way Gerard kneeled at Mikey's feet, Mikey's fingers in Gerard's hair, how they moved together so easily, two parts of one whole.

Which is such a fucking cliché, and Frank would laugh at himself except he was there, he saw how they looked, how the air almost crackled with sexual tension. Frank groans and lets his knees splay out. It's so wrong, so fucking horribly wrong and he feels like the worst kind of pervert. He doesn't even like Gerard that way. He's Mikey's brother, Frank's friend, dirty, stinky, awesome Gerard -- Gerard who's now changed in Frank's mind.

It's not like he didn't know Gerard was hot. Frank's not blind and he's got practice in looking past grunge to the person behind. It's just; he knew that in the most detached of ways. He didn't lust after Gerard, or imagine what he'd be like as he kissed. All that's always been Mikey, it's still Mikey, apart from how Frank can't stop imagining Gerard's hands against his body, touching Frank the way he did Mikey. Tender, loving and so fucking needy Frank can't imagine how he never saw it before.

Now that he has he can't stop thinking. Hand going back to his dick as Frank adds his own endings to the scene that he saw. Mikey pulling Gerard to his feet, the two kissing, lost in each other as Mikey wraps one bare leg around Gerard, one high heel jabbed into his calf.

Frank knows that he should be ashamed or disgusted, and maybe tomorrow he will be, but for now he's only turned on.

~*~*~*~

Gerard was brought up to always follow his heart.

Which is a message he believes in, that if you want it bad enough you can capture your own star. Except that sometimes that star is a black hole in disguise, beautiful and dangerous, ready to suck you in.

~*~*~*~

Gerard resting his head on his arms, a fork jabbing his cheek. Despite the noise of hundreds of students and the fucking rank smell of boiled cabbage he's more than half asleep. Barely reacting when someone slaps his back and Bob says,

"Wake up, motherfucker."

"Fuck off." Head still down Gerard flips Bob off, then looks up when he hears someone giggle. "Vicky, hey."

"Someone needs their bed," Vicky says, and eases into the seat next to Gerard. From where he's lying he can see she's wearing a white shirt complete with artfully loosened tie, her nails painted blue to match the flower she's got pinned in her hair. As opposed to Gerard she looks pulled together and perfect, really he doesn't know why she keeps hanging out, except for some weird thing where Bob's in the drum line with one of her friends and somehow their table suddenly doubles in occupants at times.

"He's having sexual problems," Ray says, far too cheerful about Gerard's issues.

"Really," Vicky purrs, elongating the word. For a weird moment Gerard thinks she's going to offer to help, but instead she adds. "You can get stuff for that, Gabe could help out."

Gerard pushes himself upright, frowning when the fork detaches from his cheek and drops to the table. "It's not like that. It's Frank and Mikey, they're over-sexed."

Ray, the bastard traitor is laughing and even Bob looks amused. Gerard hates them all, he's exhausted from spending time hiding away, needing distance so he doesn't have to watch Mikey and Frank make out, and kiss and spend far too much time groping each other than should ever be possible.

It's Gerard's constant personal porno of hot, one where not only does he want his brother but also Frank too -- a sudden physical realization that's like a physical kick to Gerard's gut. He's spent the last week constantly half hard and so fucking jealous that he's got a series of drawings where Frank's being killed by various blood-soaked monsters. Which are hidden with the ones of Frank as an avenging angel, of Frank on his own, smiling and happy, of Frank kissing Mikey, the two of them sleeping in bed, the sheets barely covering their shoulders.

That drawing's ripped into pieces, hours of work destroyed, confetti as Gerard casts himself into hell.

"They're kids," Vicky says, as if that explains everything. "Nate's having a party this weekend, you should come, get someone of your own to over sex."

It's a good suggestion, if Gerard wasn't already a pervert who spends hours thinking about his brother and boyfriend having sex. Adding another person to the mix would be a disaster, but still, it has to be better than this.

 

~*~*~*~

The first time Mikey gets drunk he does so alone.

It's Gerard that finds him, hauling him bodily into the bathroom and rubbing his back, there with water and towels as Mikey hurls for what seems like forever.

~*~*~*~

Frank's resting his hand against Mikey's back. From the outside it must seem like the most casual of touch, but in some kind of maddening stuttering rhythm Frank keeps sliding his hand down, his fingers sliding under the waistband of Mikey's pants. Each time it makes Mikey shiver, the sensation driving him insane.

Another touch and Mikey bites back a groan and looks past Frank, seeking Gerard. He's standing against the wall, a bottle of beer in one hand and caught in the one armed embrace of Gabe. Gabe's saying something, talking in Gerard's ear, but Gerard's looking toward Mikey.

When he sees he's been watched Gerard doesn't look away, just keeps staring, cheeks flushed and gaze intent. Mikey feels like he's being studied, that awareness merging with the feel of Frank's hand, the way the bass thuds around them, the beat resonating deep in his chest.

The combination is too much. Frantic, Mikey wraps his fingers around Frank's wrist and says, "Come on."

Frank grins and hooks his fingers in Mikey's pants, holding on as they work their way through the room to the stairs. It takes a while to navigate the people who're dancing in front of the TV and hanging out talking, but all the while Mikey's aware of Gerard. He's still watching and when they pass close Gabe laughs and says, "Nate's room is last on the left."

Mikey smiles a thanks and carefully steps over Vicky and Greta who're sprawled on the bottom step of the stairs, their heads close together in a union of glossy dark and blonde hair. Vicky's wearing a short skirt and dark stockings, the tops have a small bow on the side.

Frank draws in an audible breath, and when they're away from the crowd, looking along a corridor with both open and closed doors he stretches up and says in Mikey's ear. "You have those, right? You should wear them for me."

"I will," Mikey promises, and if he could he'd jump Frank right here. He leans in for a kiss, pushing Frank against the wall, keeping him still with his body.

"For fuck's sake, get a room."

Mikey opens his eyes and sees Bob standing at the open bathroom door. His t-shirt is on backwards and Nate's standing behind him, his hair mussed and untidy. Nate pushes past Bob so he's peering between him and the frame of the door. "There's no one in my room, just don't fuck up my kit."

"We won't," Frank says, and then suddenly pushes Mikey back before jumping, wrapping his legs around Mikey's waist.

Mikey staggers, Frank's not exactly light but Mikey locks his knees and wavers forward, trying to maintain a straight line as Frank bites at his neck.

They make it into the room and Mikey gives it a cursory look, taking in the drums and posters and the impressive wall of CDs. Mostly though, he notices the bed. It's a double and most of the blankets and sheets are lying on the floor. There's also a pair of shorts lying on the pillow, not that Mikey cares. He takes three more steps and drops Frank unceremoniously onto the bed.

"Bastard," Frank says with a grin, which disappears as he stares up at Mikey. "You need to be down here."

Mikey doesn't need the invitation, already he's kneeling, straddling Frank. It's not the most comfortable of positions, Mikey's pants are too tight and the bed just that little too soft, causing Mikey to list and then fall forward.

Frank lets out a whoosh of breath and somehow, utilizing some kind of Iero magic, manages to flip Mikey onto his back, so it's Frank sitting on top.

"Unfair," Mikey says, the world losing its focus when Frank reaches out and takes off his glasses.

"Life's a bitch." There's a soft clink as Frank sets down the glasses on the table next to the bed, then he's lying along Mikey's body, hip to hip, chest to chest, their mouths close together. "I want to fuck you."

The words aren't unexpected. It's something they've discussed, but always in the most abstract of ways. Now it's more concrete and Mikey's never wanted something as much; but not here, in someone's else's bed.

"Not now," Frank goes on, and he's worming his hand between their bodies, fumbling with Mikey's belt. "But soon, I want to fuck you when you're wearing stockings and heels, and when you're wearing nothing at all, or in public, taking you when people are close by."

Each word goes straight to Mikey's dick and his hand pushes against Frank's as he tries to open Frank's pants. He fumbles with the buckle, haste making him clumsy and Frank's licking along Mikey's jaw, down along the line of his neck, biting at the join of neck and shoulder.

Mikey gasps at the sharp flare of pain, hips rocking against Frank's, thankful when, at last, Frank manages to position his hand so he can grip Mikey's dick. He strokes once and Frank's hand is too dry, skin pulling against skin.

"Fuck." Frank pulls out his hand, bringing it close to his face, then spits and clenches his fingers, working the saliva over his palm. About to do the same, Mikey stops when Frank shakes his head and says, "Let me."

Frank holds Mikey's hand steady, and spits again. Momentarily saliva glistens from his mouth to Mikey's hand, then the string snaps as Mikey runs his fingers over his palm. When his whole hand is slick he shifts slightly in place, breathing in so he can get his hand back between them.

Frank helps by pushing up on his knees and Mikey takes advantage of the extra space by easing his hand into Frank's pants. It's a tight fit and Mikey wishes they were somewhere where he could peel Frank out of his clothes, get him naked so Mikey could touch at will, but they're not. Which is fine, Mikey's used to making allowances for tight clothes.

He circles his fingers around Frank's dick, jerking him off with the smallest of movements. It's a rhythm Frank mimics, and his hand is warm where he's jacking Mikey off. His mouth against Mikey's neck, drawing his teeth over the skin until Mikey's panting for breath.

The only thing that matters is Frank, the feel of his hand, the sound of his breathing, shallow and fast, then something changes, some shift in the air that causes Mikey to dig his teeth in his lower lip, biting down when he turns his head and sees Gerard standing at the door.

He's off to one side, hand against the frame as if needing the support. For a moment Mikey thinks he's going to leave when he's caught looking, but he doesn't, and Mikey's glad. Keeps the connection between them, never looking away as he pushes the pace, making Frank whimper deep in his throat.

"Mikey," Frank gasps, mouth open and eyes half closed. Mikey takes that advantage, grips that slightest bit harder, his hand cramping and attention divided between Gerard and Frank.

"Mikey," Frank says again, the word rough, but this time he follows the direction of Mikey's gaze, seeing Gerard who's still standing, half hidden at the door. "Fuck."

Back arching, Frank comes, and Mikey's hand is wet, warm and sticky between his fingers as he follows Frank's lead, orgasm hitting hard. Only then does Gerard leave.

~*~*~*~

The first time Frank punches someone and makes them bleed he ends up puking in a trashcan, remembering the feel of the teeth against his knuckles.

Since then he's fought often, with words and fists, fighting for what's his and what he believes.

~*~*~*~

Frank hears about the fight from Alex. He's standing outside of the gym, a crowd gathered around him as he excitedly says how Mikey had attacked, launching himself at Marcus despite Marcus' friends being close.

Disbelieving, Frank pushes into the group, elbowing people aside until he gets to Alex. "Did you say Mikey? Mikey Way?"

"Yeah," Alex says. His eyes are wide behind his glasses, and he waves his hands in the air as he describes the fight again. "I was heading for Home EC and saw it all. Mikey just jumped at that fucker, got him on the ground and started to punch."

Frank finds it hard to believe. Mikey's not helpless but fighting in the middle of school is suicide, especially taking on Marcus and his friends. Sickened, Frank grips Alex's arm. "Was he okay?"

For the first time Alex's excitement dims and he steers Frank away from the crowd. When they're standing a little aside he says, "By the time I got there Marcus had got in some kicks, his friends too."

The desire to hit out is huge. Frank wants to punch and kick and scream, most of all he wants to see Mikey. "Why didn't you fucking help him?"

"I told you, I was going," Alex says, ignoring Frank's outburst. "By the time I got there Mr. Davies was pulling them off. Last thing I saw Mikey and Marcus were being taken away."

"Fuck!" Frank does lash out now, kicking at locker and leaving a dent in the door. "I need to go."

Without another word Frank runs, heading for the staff area and the principal's office. It's where the unruly students are usually taken, and Frank can't help bitter laughter, the thought of Mikey being unruly one of the stupidest things he's heard. But he'd rather Mikey be there than in the nurse's office, or even worse, en route to the ER.

Ignoring anyone that steps in his path, Frank keeps running, his heart thudding and feeling sick. When he reaches the main office he slows, relief crashing hard when he looks through the sliding window and sees Mikey sitting in one of the chairs lined up against the wall.

He's obviously bruised, his lip cut and his nose swollen under his glasses. He also looks angry, staring defiantly at the floor. Frank taps on the glass, hoping that Mikey will hear. "Mikey."

Mrs. Robson turns in her chair and pulls back the glass. "Can I help you, Frank?"

Frank considers, he likes Mrs. Robinson, she's one of the few members of staff with an easy smile and he crowds close, looking at Mikey. "I wanted to see if Mikey's okay."

"You're know that's not allowed, Michael's waiting to see the principal." Mrs. Robson leans back in her chair and looks at Frank, who's so anxious that he's seconds from crawling over the counter. She reaches forward and pats his hand. "He'll be fine, you can see yourself after school."

"Not now?" Frank says, knowing it's useless but having to try.

Mrs. Robson shakes her head. "You need to get to class, it's only a few hours." She hesitates then and looks back at Mikey. "I'll tell him you're asking about him."

It's all that Frank's going to get but it's nowhere near enough.

A last look and Frank forces himself to walk away.

~*~*~*~

When he was little Gerard accidentally knocked out one of Mikey's teeth.

He's hurt him other times since then. Trapped his fingers in a door, knocked him off a bed when they were both drunk. Gerard remembers each time, each hurt, taking them in along with a helping of guilt.

~*~*~*~

"I told you, Alex said he just flipped."

Frank's pacing at the bottom of the steps and if Gerard didn't feel so nauseated he'd be doing the same. He doesn't understand what Mikey was doing and all he wants is to see him right now. Already he's ten minutes late and Gerard's seconds from going back inside, demanding yet again that they let him see Mikey.

"I don't understand." Gerard's hands are in his hair and stray strands flutter to the ground. "He doesn't fight. It's not what he does." The only time that Mikey's even attempted to fight is defending Gerard. It's not something he's proud of, that he's needed his little brother's protection, but even then it was fighting with sharp elbows and even sharper words.

More hair falls to the ground and if Mikey doesn't come out soon Gerard knows he's going to be bald.

Suddenly Frank stops pacing, head to one side as he looks at the door as it's pushed open. Mikey appears and looks worse than Gerard expected, bruises along his jaw and he's walking with his hand pressed over his ribs.

Fury cresting, Gerard runs up the steps and then stops, wanting to touch but afraid of causing more hurts.

"What the fuck were you doing?!" Frank demands and he wraps Mikey in a brief gentle hug. "Alex said you attacked Marcus."

"I did," Mikey says simply. He's slurring his words and Gerard reaches out, fingertips against the swelling at Mikey's jaw.

"Why the fuck would you do that?" Frank's eyes are gleaming and he's barely able to keep still, his hands fisted and mouth a narrow line. "Are you fucking insane?"

Mikey shrugs and starts to go down the steps, taking each one careful and slow.

"You don't get to do that," Frank says, and moves so he's blocking Mikey's way. "You nearly got killed and I want to know why."

"I'm fine," Mikey says, but he's making no attempt to move, like Frank barring his way is one too many obstacle and he suddenly deflates, exhaustion and pain bleeding through. "I just want to go home."

"When you tell us," Gerard says. He hates pushing like this but he needs to know, especially as he suspects this is something to do with him. "Mikey, please."

There's a long uncomfortable silence, and then Mikey says, "He called you a faggot, okay?"

"That's nothing new," Gerard says, that's just how it works in this school. He gets called a faggot and weird and all kinds of names that he pretends that don't hurt. "They say that all the time."

"Not like this," Mikey says and squeezes shut his eyes. "They said you were fucking Frank, that you were a pedo messing with kids."

It's about what Gerard suspected, another sign that what he's feeling should be dirty and wrong. He reaches out, about to touch Mikey, then drops his hand. "Come on, let's go home."

Together they walk, Frank furious and defiant, his arm around Mikey. Gerard two steps behind.

~*~*~*~

Make-up is the perfect mask.

It hides imperfections, late nights, all sorts of cuts and bruises.

It doesn't hide broken hearts, no matter how hard Mikey tries.

~*~*~*~

"He went out again," Mikey says, words muffled in Frank's lap. "He's hiding and I don't know why."

Frank's running his hands through Mikey's hair, gently working his way through the tangles. Eventually he says, "He could feel guilty, for you getting beaten up."

It's a probable theory and Mikey wishes he could actually talk to Gerard, find out what's going on. Feeling guilty is something Gerard would do, but Mikey needs to tell him he's wrong. Mikey went after Marcus on his own, it was his decision and his risk to take. He eases onto his side, careful of the bruises and looks up at Frank. "I miss him."

"I know," Frank says, and to an extent he will, but not fully, there's no way he can know how Mikey feels, like part of himself is missing.

"I should go and find him." Mikey sits, suppressing a groan as his body protests. He's given Gerard time, hoping he'll come around alone, but it's not happening, and Mikey's getting impatient. "When I do I'm going to punch him in his fucking face."

Frank laughs and jumps upright. "That's what got us in the mess in the first place." He grabs a cookie off the plate at the side of his bed and hands it to Mikey. "Eat, it's cold outside."

"A cookie won't keep me warm," Mikey says, but he shoves the cookie in his mouth, eating it in one go. It tastes good, and he's reminded he hasn't eaten today, too worried about Gerard who took off as soon as he woke.

Frank sighs, says fondly, "I don't know how you fucking survive sometimes," as he gathers the rest of the cookies and shoves them in the pocket of Mikey's hoodie

Mikey shrugs and eats another cookie, it's not like Frank hasn't got a point.

"Where do you want to start?" Frank asks, and bundles Mikey down the stairs and past his mom before she can fret about his bruises again.

Mikey considers. Gerard hasn't got many usual haunts, he likes to hang out at home mostly and the rare occasions he does go out it's with Mikey. Not that Gerard hasn't got other friends, just that they're more joint than solo. Mikey pulls out his phone. "He could be with Bob or Ray. If he's not we can check the coffee houses and museum, he likes to look at the pictures."

"If he's been sitting looking at dinosaur bones all day I'll punch him in the fucking face," Frank says, and before they step outside he stretches up and brushes a kiss against Mikey's jaw. "We'll find him."

Mikey believes him.

~*~*~*~

Once Gerard drank twenty cups of coffee in three hours.

By the time he finished his hands were shaking and he wanted to vomit, and did when he was half way home, throwing up coffee and bile and a half digested muffin.

He's never done that again.

~*~*~*~

This coffee shop isn't one that Gerard would usually visit. It's more gentile, full of old ladies and tables with crocheted cloths, a vase containing a carnation in the middle of each one. Gerard sticks out like a sore thumb, but it's where he needs to be, away from Mikey and Frank, the reminder that Gerard really is wrong and perverted.

He takes another drink of coffee from a china cup, and looks up when the brass bell above the door tinkles. It's like a body blow when Mikey and Frank walk inside and Gerard looks behind him, hoping for a magically appearing back exit.

"Don't you dare." Mikey ignores the women who're watching as he makes directly for Gerard. He sits on one of the spindly wooden chairs, says, "What the fuck, Gee?"

The bruises on Mikey's face are dark and Gerard looks at them and cringes, knowing he's responsible for each one.

"You're an idiot." Frank's sitting on the chair next to Mikey, and Gerard can't help a flash of irritation. Frank knows nothing, he can be with Mikey without the whole world thinking he's wrong.

Gerard takes a drink of cold coffee. "You don't know anything."

Frank bristles but it's Mikey who replies, he's staring at Gerard and says, "It's not easy for him either."

Gerard keeps hold of his cup, looking at the murky contents. "I don't know what you're talking about."

"Two weeks ago someone put a note in Frank's locker, it said all fags should be burned." Mikey moves his arm, and Gerard knows he'll be resting his hand on Frank's leg under the table. "A few days after that someone called us cock suckers and threw an apple, it knocked off my glasses."

"I didn't know." Gerard sets down his cup, before he throws it across the room. It's not that he thinks their school is progressive and perfect, it's not, it's full of people who hate and show that each day. It's just, Gerard didn't know that hate had been directed at Frank, at Mikey.

"People suck," Mikey says, and takes Gerard's cup, draining the contents. "They just do."

Frank's looking between Gerard and Mikey, looking confused. "People do suck, but what's the relevance?"

The relevance is Gerard needs to stop hiding, that what he's feeling is abnormal, but no more abnormal that many other things in the world. At least according to Mikey, Gerard isn't so sure. He plants his elbows on the table, his head in his hands, utterly exhausted.

"You shouldn't have attacked Marcus."

"And you shouldn't have stopped talking to me," Mikey says in reply. "Being punished once was enough."

Gerard stands, the chair scraping across the floor, causing the women behind the counter to scowl in his direction. All he wants to do is go home, watch movies and be with his brother and friends. If that means repressing his own desires, well, that's exactly what Gerard will do.

~*~*~*~

Sometimes Frank thinks he'd have liked a sibling, a sister or brother of his own.

Mostly being an only child is okay, but it has to be nice to have someone who loves you unconditionally, friendship strengthened by blood.

~*~*~*~

Frank's spending as much time as possible at the Ways.

He doesn't sleep over on school nights, his mom's adamant about that, but he does go there to do his homework and most nights eats dinner with Gerard and Mikey, making small talk and chatting with Donna and Don.

It's Frank's second home and he's got spare clothes in Mikey's closet, his own toothbrush lying next to the sink. He can tell you how Gerard swears and stumbles when he first wakes up and how Mikey spends twenty-two minutes doing his hair and one giving his face a cursory wash.

Frank can also tell how Mikey and Gerard seem to be incapable of getting through the day without touching. Hands against arms, sprawling together as they watch TV, how Gerard clings to Mikey's back as they make coffee and how at all times they're aware of where the other is at.

Before Frank would have just said, brothers, and left it at that. It's not like he's got any of his own to compare the experience, for all he knows all brothers act the same. Now Frank knows they don't at all.

The night Gerard helped Mikey dress is burned into Frank's mind and it influences everything he sees. He spends hours permanently turned on and often pounces on Mikey, dragging him away for frantic make-out sessions or if that's impossible, jerking himself in the nearest bathroom.

It's all kinds of exhausting and Frank knows he's some kind of sexual deviant, but he can't seem to stop. He loves Mikey, as a best friend, heading for much more, and it makes no sense that he's lusting for Gerard. Wanting to experience how he kisses, how his hands feel against Frank's skin, and most thrilling of all, how he'd look when he kisses Mikey.

Frank thinks of that a lot. It's his new favorite fantasy, one that's fueled by the feeling of wrong and enhanced by the knowledge that Mikey and Gerard are already seemingly walking that line between close and too much.

"Frank," Mikey says. He's lying on his bed watching TV. There's a huge hickie at the base of his neck, bleeding into the fading bruises and starkly visible despite the dim light of the room. "Are you asleep?"

Frank shakes his head and rolls on his side, head against Mikey's lap. "No, just thinking."

"Thought I smelled burning," Mikey says and tugs at Frank's hair. "Go and make me a drink if you're not watching."

"Fucking lazy," Frank says, but he's already sitting and leaving the bed.

They keep the bottles hidden in Gerard's drawers, and Frank picks through dubious looking underwear until he finds a half bottle of vodka hidden at the very back. It's almost full and Frank sits on the floor, shoes digging in his ass as he grabs the glasses stacked in the corner, giving each one a rub inside with his t-shirt.

There's also a bottle of juice, dust covered and lying on its side. Frank peers at the label before pouring apple juice into each glass. He's not sure how vodka and apple juice will actually taste but Frank's willing to find out. He fills a glass with vodka and takes a sip, grimacing at the taste.

"Gimme." Mikey's lying at the edge of the bed, making grabby hands until Frank hands over the glass. Mikey takes a long drink, his face screwed up in distaste. "That's fucking rank."

He keeps hold of the glass and rolls back into his best of pillows and quilt as Frank makes a drink for himself, then waits, still holding the bottle when he hears a door open and someone come down the stairs. When Gerard appears Frank holds up the glass and says, "You want?"

"Fuck yeah," Gerard says. He's got extra art lessons on Fridays and he's carrying his supplies, a canvas under one arm and backpack hanging on one shoulder. He sets the canvas down, picture to the wall and takes the glass that Frank offers, knocking the contents back in one go. "The football practice ran late, fucking bastards."

Frank pours more vodka and juice and hands Gerard the new glass. He knows how it is with the football team and their compulsion to shout insults when everyone they don't like walks past. Which of course means Gerard, and Frank, and Mikey, and anyone else that they deem in any way different.

Mikey pulls a pillow from under his head, throwing it down in invitation. "We're watching Day of the Dead."

"Awesome." Gerard lets his bag thump to the floor and crawls onto the bed, careful not to spill his new drink. He's left a small space between himself and Mikey, a space that Frank knows is intended for him. Cradling his glass, Frank eases between them. He's half lying on Mikey, Gerard plastered against his back.

It's a good place to be, comfortable, safe, and the thought of being in a Way sandwich is so fucking hot that Frank's sporting a boner, which only strengthens when Mikey looks at him, eyebrow raised and smirking.

"Shut the fuck up," Frank says and Gerard pushes up on one arm, looking across Frank toward Mikey.

"What's he doing?"

"He's doing nothing," Frank grumbles, holding his glass balanced on his belly as he lies against the pile of pillows.

Gerard doesn't look convinced, and leans even closer, as if examining Mikey's face for clues, which isn't fucking fair. It means Frank is trapped between their bodies, having to lie there when they're so close, their faces almost touching.

All they need to do is move an inch, breach that line that's so fragile between them. Before he can stop himself, the words blurting out, Frank says, "Kiss him."

Appalled at his slip he can hardly breathe, noise pounding in his ears as he waits, steeling himself for twin looks of disgust. They don't come. Mikey looks at Frank, says, "You're sure?" And Frank knows he should say it's a joke, that he's some kind of light-weight and the one sip of vodka has scrambled his brains.

He doesn't. Frank nods, says, "Yes."

Frank doesn't know what he expected, but at first nothing happens. Mikey and Gerard are looking at each other and Frank's aware of the history that's passing between them. The intimate knowledge and unspoken words. Frank should feel excluded, because right now the only thing that matters to them is each other, but he doesn't. He feels like he's been allowed to see something precious, so fragile that one clumsy move would break it apart.

Mikey leans forward, and, at last, Gerard does the same.

This kiss is gentle at first, a brush of lips and then someone makes a sound, deep and needy and Frank's got no idea who. Just, he lies still and watches as the kiss deepens, how Gerard's tongue slides into Mikey's mouth and how Mikey's eyes are closed, his glasses tilted to one side.

Frank can feel that Mikey's hard, his dick pressed against Frank's thigh, the same as Gerard's hard too, evident against Frank's other side. Knowing that, how they want each other so badly, Frank scrabbles at his own belt, tugging at the buckle and buttons. Bringing his hand to his mouth he spits in his palm and shoves his hand down his pants.

The first touch is electric and Frank runs his thumb over the head of his dick and clenches his fingers, dropping into a rhythm that leaves him fucking his own hand. He pushes up his hips as he keeps watching, how the kiss is messy and slopping, saliva running down their chins and dropping on Frank's face.

He runs his free hand through that droplet of spit and sucks his own fingers, biting down when Mikey reaches up and grasps Gerard's hair, when Gerard takes a moment to breathe, says broken, "Fuck, Mikey."

It's a sound that pushes Frank over the edge, lust and desire and want contained in two words. He arches his hips, hand clenched tight and mouth open as he gasps for air, shudders when Mikey pulls back from Gerard and takes hold of Frank's hand, bringing it to his own mouth and licks at Frank's fingers.

Frank whimpers, the sound abruptly muffled when Gerard leans in for a kiss. Gentle and all too fleeting as his tongue touches Frank's once before Gerard pulls back and stands, almost stumbling as he looks at Mikey before leaving the room.

Frank expects Mikey to follow, instead he finishes cleaning Frank's hand, pulling his finger from his mouth with one last obscene pop. Mikey lies down, fitting his body along Frank's. "He'll come back."

"Hope so," Frank says, and goes for Mikey's belt.

Mikey shakes his head. "Too late, I'll have to take these off soon or I'll be fucking bald down there."

Frank grins, amused but also proud that he helped Mikey come in his pants. He rests his head against Mikey's shoulder. "You've got sucky staying power."

"Says you," Mikey says easily, and then. "Thanks."

"For what?" Frank asks, idly considering if he should fasten his pants or stay as he is.

"For being you," Mikey says. "For understanding."

Confused, Frank says, "You're welcome," even if he doesn't fully understand what Mikey's actually thanking him for.

~*~*~*~

It takes a while before Mikey realizes people see his family as weird.

It's there in the way they look at him as he walks by, the whispers and how even when he's out with his mom the adults around them give them sideways looks.

Mikey doesn't get it, because his family is normal, it's everyone else's that are strange.

~*~*~*~

"You're being stupid," Mikey says when he finds Gerard lying in bed, the blankets pulled up so the only thing showing is the top of his head. "Really fucking stupid." Gerard doesn't move, and it's not like he's sleeping, Mikey can tell. He pulls down the blankets. "Moronically stupid."

Gerard turns on his back, his eyes are shadowed and blood-shot. "I kissed Frank."

Mikey sits on the bed. "I know, I was there. You kissed me too."

"That doesn't help," Gerard says and covers his face with his hands. "He's a kid and I kissed him."

"I licked the come off his hand, so fucking what?" Mikey doesn't get why Gerard's so upset. What happened was something that they both knew was coming, and sure, a year back he wouldn't have expected the addition of Frank, but now it feels right. "You need to get over yourself."

"Get over myself," Gerard repeats and the bed creaks as he pushes himself up. "I kissed Frank, I kissed you and all I want to do is do it again. That's fucking wrong."

"Says who?" Normally Mikey's indulgent to Gerard's worries and fears, but this seems over the top. They had a good time, a fucking awesome time. "The threesome police aren't about to knock on our door."

"It's not about that." Gerard puts his head in his hands. "You're just a kid, you don't understand."

"Fuck that." Mikey's mad, out of everyone Gerard should know Mikey isn't a kid, he hasn't been for a long time. Making a point he stands and kneels on the bed, straddling Gerard's legs. "I'm not a kid and Frank's okay with this."

"Frank's a walking hormone right now," Gerard says, but he's making no attempt to keep Mikey away. "Don't push this, Mikes. I'm not that strong."

Mikey disagrees, Gerard's one of the strongest people Mikey knows and always has been. He knee-walks further up Gerard's legs, until he's sitting on his lap. "I love you, how can this be wrong?"

"It just is," Gerard says, but he isn't moving away, and opens his mouth willingly when Mikey leans in for a kiss.

~*~*~*~

As soon as he's sixteen Frank intends to get a tattoo.

He's got them all planned out, things that mean something to him, symbols and pictures that will decorate his whole body. He knows some people won't approve, but honestly, Frank doesn't give a fuck what they think.

~*~*~*~

Frank's watched threesomes on X Tube and read about them in lurid detail in the gossip magazines his mom brings home. He never expected to sort of be in one, especially with two brothers.

It doesn't freak him out in the way he expects that it should; but he is worried. Frank needs to talk and obviously his mom is out of the question and Mikey is part of the issue. Which leaves Bob and Ray, not that they seem too eager to give their advice.

"I told you, no sex stuff," Bob says. They're sitting under the bleachers and the late afternoon sun is striped across their bodies. There's a line of sunlight across Bob's face and he squints as he talks. "Google that shit, I'm not interested."

Ray nods in agreement, but Frank keeps on talking. "I can't. This isn't the usual sex shit." He scrapes his fingernails over the ground, grimacing when he hits a wad of chewed gum. "It's...have you ever had a threesome?"

"I've thought about it, sure," Ray says. "But not in practice."

Bob frowns as he stares at Frank. "Is this a real threesome or something you read in Knockers and Knobs Weekly?"

Momentarily Frank's annoyed that Bob thinks the only threesome he can have is in fiction, but annoyance doesn't help the matter at hand. "It's a real one. Sort of anyway."

"What the hell does sort of mean?" Bob demands. "You're either in a threesome or not."

"It means I don't know." Frustrated, Frank's tempted to kick Bob in the knee, so he pulls back his legs, knowing if he does kick out he can kiss this talk goodbye. "Gerard kissed Mikey while I was jerking off and then Gerard kissed me while Mikey licked me clean."

"You had a sort of threesome with Gerard and Mikey?" Ray's voice rises with each word and his eyes are wide open.

Frank scowls back and considers kicking Ray too. "Who else would I have a threesome with? Mikey's my boyfriend."

"And Gerard's his brother," Bob points out. "They're not the first choice I'd think of when you say threesome."

"I don't know, they've always been wrapped up in each other," Ray says, sounding more thoughtful than shocked. "Remember when we camped out at mine that time, they shared the same sleeping bag."

"That doesn't mean they were sexually involved," Bob says slowly, like Ray's some kind of moron.

"I don't think they were - are," Frank amends and pushes the heel of his hand against his dick as he remembers watching Gerard and Mikey. "Full sex I mean, they kiss for sure, maybe other stuff when I'm not there."

"Why are you even telling us this?" Ray's cheeks are scarlet and he's picks up his bag, placing it onto his lap.

"Because I don't know what the fuck that I'm doing. Or if it'll happen again or if Mikey's going to throw me over for Gerard." Which is Frank's biggest fear, because Mikey's love for his brother is huge, and if he can have him in every way, why would he need Frank too?

Bob snorts. "Not going to happen, the fucker's gone over you."

"He is," Ray agrees. "But more important. Do you even want a threesome?"

Frank flops on his back, looking up at the sky through the lines of seats. He's not exactly sure how to answer the question, but there are some things he does know. "I love Mikey, and I like Gerard, a fucking lot. They're both hot and I want them both, kissing, making out, fucking eventually."

"But what about the rest?" Ray asks, when Frank stops talking. "Going on dates and just being together, could you do that as three?"

Which is where Frank runs into problems because he isn't sure. Sexually a threesome is as hot as fire, but after that? Frank barely has experience with one boyfriend never mind two. In the end all he can say is, "I don't know."

Bob stretches out his leg, and presses the tip of his shoes against Frank's arm. "You'll have to find out. If anyone can make a threesome work it's Gerard and Mikey, but you have to remember, Way life isn't normal life. It mightn't work for you."

It's good advice, and Frank commits it to memory before sitting up and launching himself at Bob. "I'm going to tell them you said that."

Bob just shrugs and leans to one side, letting Frank hit the ground. Body aching, Frank lies still, gum in his hair, something squishy under his hand, and two of the best friends he could have at his side.

~*~*~*~

Gerard's not destined for marriage, kids and a white picket fence. He's resigned himself to that, knowing that he's not what people want.

He's too fat, too weird, too everything. That's just fact.

~*~*~*~

"Mikey's not here," Gerard says, when he sees Frank at the top of the stairs.

"I know." Frank takes the steps slowly, as opposed to his usual head long run. When he reaches the bottom he steps hesitantly into the room, like he's going to bolt at any moment. "I wanted to talk to you."

It's Gerard's latest worse fear come true and he concentrates on the sting as he pushes his nails into his palms. "I understand, I'll keep out of your way when you come to see Mikey."

"The fuck?" Frank's brows are drawn together and he keeps walking forward. "Seriously, have you been drinking?"

Gerard shakes his head, and grasps the faint hope. "You're not here to say we're not friends anymore?"

"We're not five," Frank says, stepping over a pile of clothes. He sits on Mikey's bed. "I just. The other night, did you mean it?"

"What part?" Gerard asks, the situation so delicate that he's unwilling to answer questions he doesn't fully understand.

"When you kissed me." For once Frank looks unsure and he starts to bite at a fingernail before dropping his hand. "It wasn't because I'm with Mikey? Like a transference thing."

"Fuck no." That's one thing Gerard knows for sure. He's confused about a lot of things, but that's not one of them. "I wanted to kiss you, I have for a while."

Frank doesn't look sure. "You never said so."

"What was I supposed to do, you're Mikey's boyfriend," Gerard says, and then lays out the full truth. "And it's only a recent thing."

"Like how recent," Frank asks, and Gerard doesn't know him like he knows Mikey, but it's enough to see Frank's suspicions.

"Like a few months recent," Gerard admits. "You were a scrawny kid, Mikey's best friend."

Frank sits forward on the bed. "And now?"

Gerard hesitates, knowing whatever he says now will change everything. He looks at Frank and he's still too young, too involved, the odds stacked against this working at all. Gerard takes a breath and says, "Now I think I'm in trouble."

By now Frank's perching on the edge of the mattress, his knees close to Gerard's. "Does that mean you think I'm hot?"

"Fuck, yeah," Gerard says, and all he wants to do is give in, cross the space between them, but not yet. He has to be sure, to lay his cards on the table. "I don't know if this will work, and if it doesn't I'll always pick Mikey."

"Me too," Frank says, and sounds genuinely regretful when he adds, "Sorry."

Gerard shrugs the apology away. Fact is, they're here because of Mikey, that's not going to change, but it also doesn't mean that their relationship together has to be second best. He inches forward, his knees touching Frank's. "I want to kiss you."

"Thank fucking god," Frank says, and jumps to his feet, sitting on Gerard's knee.

Suspicious, Gerard stares at Frank from only inches away. "Did you plan this with Mikey?"

Frank grins but doesn't reply. Verbally at least.

This kiss is different to the brief one before. It's more intense, Frank's hands in Gerard's hair and his tongue in Gerard's mouth. Gerard wraps his arms around Frank's waist, holding on and following his lead, opening his mouth wider, allowing more access as Frank pushes the pace, holding on painfully tight.

~*~*~*~

Mikey's always gone his own way.

It's what he does. It's what keeps him happy.

~*~*~*~

Mikey stands in one place, arms crossed across his chest. "This is a bad idea."

"It's a fantastic idea," Frank says, and looks up from where he's rummaging through Mikey's bag. He exclaims aloud and holds up a pair of stockings. "Can you wear these?"

"It's stupid." It feels like there's a rock in Mikey's stomach and he bites at his nail, then stops when Gerard flaps at his hand.

"Don't do that." He pulls Mikey into a hug and kisses him on the mouth. "It's only mom and dad."

Mikey leans against Gerard, says, "If you want to be an only child there's less painful ways."

"You're being stupid," Gerard says, and gently pushes Mikey upright. "Go get changed, Frank's about to burst."

Frank looks their way and holds up the garter belt. "How the fuck do you wear this?"

Mikey rolls his eyes. "It's not hard." He walks next to Frank, hoping that he'll give him an out. "I could end up living with you full time."

Frank shrugs and stands. "Mom would love that, now get naked."

Mikey still thinks it's a bad idea, it's a monumental, fucking stupid idea, but both Gerard and Frank are watching, and he starts to unbutton his pants.

"Can I help?" Frank's watching Mikey's every move, looking from his hands to his face. "I know Gerard usually does it, but...."

"We'll both help," Gerard interrupts, and moves to stand at Frank's side.

"I can dress myself you know," Mikey says, but he knows it's not about that. It's more about finding your place, and he wiggles out of his pants and underwear then pulls off his t-shirt.

He thinks he should be more self conscious, standing naked apart from his socks, but there's no way he can be, not when both Frank and Gerard are looking at him like he's the something beautiful.

"Underwear first, yeah?" Frank says, and his cheeks are red as he pulls a pair of blue lace panties out of his pocket. "They're washed. I put them in with mom's stuff."

"I wondered where those went," Mikey says, and is about to take the panties when Frank pulls back his hand.

"Can I.... can I put them on you?"

There's no way Mikey would ever say no. Lifting one foot he peels off his sock, and then keeps his foot in the air, waiting as Frank pulls the panties over Mikey's toes, his ankle, then stops just under his knee. Swapping feet, Mikey takes off his other sock and Frank stretches the panties over Mikey's other foot, then up, so slow and intent that Mikey's going to be fully hard before he gets the chance to tuck in his junk.

Frank gets the panties up, just. He glances up at Mikey and runs his tongue over his lips as he arranges and tucks until the panties are sitting just right, the tiny bows central at each side.

"This next," Gerard says softly, and he hands Frank the garter belt, indicating how he should hold it so Mikey can step inside and wiggle it over his hips. Again Frank takes his time, and he runs his fingers over the straps and examines the clips.

"They attach to the stocking tops?"

At Gerard's nod Frank crouches and picks up a stocking, clumsily rolling it up into a doughnut. Mikey lifts his foot, arm against Gerard for balance as Frank rolls on the stocking, smoothing invisible wrinkles until his hands are at Mikey's mid thigh.

Frank's hands are warm, his nails ragged as he attaches the straps, repeating the steps on Mikey's other leg, so careful that Mikey's breathing is shallow, his skin prickling with every last touch.

"Jesus fuck, Mikey." Frank takes a step back and looks Mikey from head to toe. "You look amazing."

"You do," Gerard says, and Mikey doesn't need a mirror to believe them, because, despite the anxiety that still lingers, he does feel amazing. Confident in his own skin as Gerard turns to Frank and asks,"You picked a dress?"

Frank nods and goes to Mikey's closet. He takes out a short dress, the one with spaghetti straps and the low cut bodice. It'll be the first time Mikey's worn it, which feels right, like yet another new beginning. He takes the dress and slips it over his head, shivering at the feel of the silky fabric brushing over his body and admiring how the neckline dips low, the straps tight against his shoulders.

Frank's standing back, and he says to Gerard. "You fasten it."

Gerard hesitates a moment and then nods. He steps behind Mikey, and this is something that's familiar, the feel of Gerard's hands at Mikey's back, the sounds of his soft breathing as he pulls up the zip.

Gerard touches Mikey's hand, says, "Want me to do your make-up?"

At first Mikey's unsure. Normally the clothes are enough, but Frank's already looking in the bag, and Mikey says, "Sure."

It doesn't take long. Mikey hands Frank his glasses and sits as Gerard pencils on liner, adds shadow and mascara, a thin coat of gloss. When he's finished he stands, knees cracking and says, "Done."

Mikey nods and puts on his glasses, slips his feet into the high heels that Frank has put close. Both Gerard and Frank bend, each taking a foot and fastening the straps around Mikey's ankles, and then, together they step back and offer Mikey their hands.

Mikey takes hold of each one and allows himself to be pulled to his feet. Keeps hold as they walk to the stairs.

"This is stupid," Mikey says, his confidence fading as he slows his pace. In his heels he's much taller than both Gerard and Frank, and as one they look up. "I can't do it."

"You can do anything you want," Gerard says fiercely, squeezing Mikey's hand. "You're fucking awesome."

"What he said," Frank says. "So get your pansy hot ass up the stairs."

"Okay, fine," Mikey says, and takes the first step, rolling his eyes when both Gerard and Frank remain behind him, watching him walk up. He peers over his shoulder. "Having a good look?"

"You know it," Frank says, and holds out his hand to Gerard for a high-five. Their hands slap together and if Mikey wasn't so nervous he'd be laughing. A last look at Gerard and Frank and Mikey keeps climbing, his heels tapping against the wooden stairs and then stops at the top. Only the door separates him from the rest of the house.

"They'll be fine, promise," Gerard says, and he squeezes in next to Mikey, crowding together on the top stair.

"And if they're not you'll make a good Iero," Frank says, and then flashes a grin. "There's a bed at mine with your name on it."

"Yours I bet," Mikey says, and he can feel sweat breaking out at the nape of his neck and under his arms. Heart racing he steps forward and opens the door.

"Hey boys." Mikey's mom is putting pizza in the oven, facing away from the basement. Panicked, Mikey thinks about running but Gerard and Frank are at his back, supporting like always. "Pizza will be done in ten minutes, don't forget, okay?"

Donna turns, and for the first time sees Mikey. For a moment she says nothing, and Mikey's knees buckle, time seemingly frozen. Then she smiles and says, "You look beautiful, honey."

Mikey feels weak with relief. "This is okay?"

"You're my son," Donna says,. "There's not a thing that you could do that would stop me loving you."

They're the words Mikey wanted, the acceptance and unconditional love that he needs.

Gerard grins, says, "Told you," and links his arm with Mikey's. "Pizza and a movie, yeah?"

"Fucking perfect," Frank says, and links Mikey's other arm.

Together they walk forward, and Mikey feels free as they walk through his house, three strong against the world.

Boyfriends, brothers, best friends.